THE BHAGAVAD GITA
Twenty-fi fth-Anniversary Edition
Edited and with a Preface by
CHRISTOPHER KEY CHAPPLE
THE BHAGAVAD GITA
Twenty-fi fth-Anniversary Edition
Edited and with a Preface by
CHRISTOPHER KEY CHAPPLE
A Series of Books to learn Sanskrit
Sanskrit is the language of all mankind; it is an international language and also the language of the gods. The gods are called "girvanas"; so Sanskrit is called "Gairvani". While the emperor of Tamil poetry, Kambar, describes it as the "devabhasa", the Sanskrit poet Dandin calls it " daivi vak"(divine speech) in his Kavyadarsa: " Samskrtam nama daivi vak. "
Sanskrit has no syllable that indistinct or unclear. Take the English "word". It has neither a distinct "e-kara" nor "o-kara". There are no such words in Sanskrit. Neither is the "r" in "word" pronounced distinctly nor is it silent.
Sanskrit, besides, has no word that cannot be traced to its root. Whatever the word it can be broken into its syllables to elucidate its meaning. Sanskrit is sonorous and auspicious to listen to. You must not be ill disposed towards such a language, taking the narrow that it belongs to a few people.
To speak Sanskrit is not to make some noises and somehow convey your message. The sounds, the phonemes, in it are, as it were, purified and the words and sentences refined by being subjected to analysis. That is why the language is called "Sanskrit"[Samskrtam]. The purpose of Siksa, and in greater measure of Vyakarana, is to accomplish such refinement.
To speak the language of Sanskrit itself means to be refined, to be cultured. As the language of the gods it brings divine grace. The sounds of Sanskrit create beneficial vibrations of the nadis and strengthen the nervous system, thereby contributing to our health.- H.H. Pujyasri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamiji, 68th Pontiff of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam
LEARN TO LIVE
Baba said, "Mere reading won't do. You have to think and carry out what you read, otherwise, it is of no use." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. 21
A learned Pundit was once giving discourses on the Bhagavad Gita in the august presence of a Maharaja.
One day the turn of this sloka came:
Ye janaah paryupaasathe
Yogakshemam vahamyaham." (Gita chapter 9, verse 22)
The Pundit was explaining enthusiastically the many-sided implications of this sloka, but the Maharaja shook his head and said: "This meaning is not correct."
He continued to dispute the correctness of every one of the explanations the Pundit gave. The poor Pundit had won meritorious distinctions at the court of many a Maharaja and was honoured by them all with pompous titles. He felt as if he was stabbed when the Maharaja in the presence of the entire band of courtier condemned his explanation of this sloka a 'wrong'.
He smarted under the insult; but plucking up courage, he again set upon his task, and marshalling all his scholarship, he plunged into an eloquent discourse on the multiple meaning of the words, "Yoga" and "Kshema."
The Maharaja did not approve of even this; he ordered: "Find out the meaning of this sloka and having understood it well, come to me again tomorrow." With this, the Maharaja rose from his throne and went into the inner apartments.
The Pundit lost even the few grains of courage left in him. He was weighed down by anxiety; he tottered under the insult; he reached home and, placing the copy of the Gita aside, he dropped on his bed.
Surprised at this, the Pundit's wife asked, "Tell me why you came home from the palace today in such grief? What exactly did happen?" She rained one anxious question after another so that the Pundit was obliged to describe to her all that had happened, the insults heaped on his head, the command with which the Maharaja sent him home, etc.
The wife listened calmly to the account of what had happened and after pondering deeply over the incident, she said, "Yes; it is true. What the Maharaja said is right. The explanation you gave for the sloka is not the correct one. How could the Maharaja approve it? The fault is yours."
At this, the Pundit rose in anger from the cot, like a cobra whose tail is trodden hard. "What do you know, you silly woman? Am I inferior in intelligence to you? Do you, who are engaged in the kitchen all the time, cooking and serving, claim to know more than I? Shut your mouth and quit my presence," he roared.
But the lady stood her ground. She replied, "Lord! Why do you fly into such a rage at a statement of mere truth? Repeat the sloka once again to yourself and ponder over its meaning. You will then arrive at the right answer yourself." Thus by her soft words the wife brought calm into the mind of her husband.
The Pundit started analysing the meaning of each individual word in the sloka. Ananyaaschinthayantho maam, be began, deliberately and slowly, repeating aloud the various meanings.
The wife intervened and said, "What use is it to learn and expound the meanings of words? Tell me what your intention was when you approached this Maharaja. What was the purpose?"
At this, the Pundit got wild. "Should I not run this family, this home? How am I to meet the cost of food and drink, of clothes and things, for you and all the rest? It is for the sake of these that I went to him, of course; or else, what business have I with him?" he shouted.
The wife then replied. "If you had only understood what lord Krishna has declared in this sloka, the urge to go to this Maharaja would not have arisen.
The Lord in the Sloka clearly explains that – "Ananyaschintayanto maam ye janaa paryupaasate" which means :Whoever worships me without any other thought or any other material worries and if one surrenders to ME completely at all times, his mind ever fixed on Me…
"Teshaam Nityaabhiyuktaanam Yogakshemam Vahaamyaham" which means –" To those devotees of mine, I would provide everything that they need and fulfil all their requirements in life(yoga and kshema)".
Thus explaining the sloka to the Pundit the wife remarked –"You have not done these; you approach the Maharaja, believing that he would provide everything. That is where you have gone against the meaning of the verse. That is the reason why he did not accept your explanation."
Hearing this, that reputed scholar sat awhile, ruminating on her remarks. He realised his mistake. He did not proceed to the palace the next day. Instead, he got immersed in the worship of Krishna at home.
When the king inquired why the Pundit had not appeared, courtiers said that he was staying at home and had not started out. The king sent a messenger, but the Pundit declined to move out.
He said, "There is no need for me to go to any one; my Krishna will provide me with everything; He will bear my Yogakshema Himself. I suffered insult because I did not realise this so long, being blinded by eagerness to know the manifold meanings of mere words. Surrendering to Him, if I am ceaselessly engaged in worshipping Him, He will Himself provide me with all I need."
When the messenger took this message to the palace, the Maharaja proceeded to the dwelling of the Pundit on foot; he fell at the feet of the Pundit, saying "I thank you sincerely for explaining to me this day, out of your own experience, the meaning of the sloka which you expounded yesterday."
THIS ONE MAKES A DIFFERENCE
"As we all know, four things are common to all the creatures, viz. food, sleep, fear and sexual union. In the case of man, he is endowed with a special faculty, viz. knowledge, with the help of which he can attain God-vision, which is impossible in any other birth." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. 8.
One day a clever fox began wondering, "Why man is considered the acme of creation and in what way is he superior to animals? Both man and beast have emotions and passions. Both have their own good and bad qualities. Why then this superiority? Let me go to the king lion and seek his advice."
Thinking thus, the fox hurried to the lion's den. "How nice to see you after so many days. Come tell me what is it that you want?" said the lion.
The fox said in all humility, "Oh, King, Man is growing all-powerful and is claiming sovereignty over the entire creation. I cannot tolerate man's arrogance and his claim of superiority over all animals. In what way are we inferior? Can we not establish our superiority? We must do something about it."
The lion nodded its head and said: "True dear, what shall we do?" The lion and the fox discussed the problem for a long time and decided finally to call for a conference of all animals in the forest. They would discuss thoroughly the relative merits and demerits of man versus animals.
The lion then said to the fox: "Go and make all arrangements for the conference. Invite all animals, big and small without any exception. But, who will preside over the conference?"
The fox replied: "There is a sage in our forest who has been doing penance since a long time. He is a friend of both man and animals. He will certainly have no preference or prejudices. Why not request him to be the Chairman?"
"Do so", replied the lion.
In a week's time the fox executed the whole plan. A vast area in the forest was cleared to hold the conference. On the appointed day the animals began filling up towards the conference venue. Very soon, all the animals were seated in their respective places. The sage arrived in time and took his presidential seat. The lion and the elephant stood on either side of the sage, while the fox stood in front
of the gathering.
The fox being the Secretary of the conference welcomed the gathering and said: "I welcome you all and thank you all for attending this conference". Referring to the Agenda of the conference, the fox said: "I am pleased to place before you four major points over which we have to deliberate. You have to think well and come forth with your opinions as these points have a vital bearing on our self-respect. Man as well as the animals are born alike, of the womb of the mother. Then why should animals be called 'janthu' and man as 'manava'? They should be addressed alike.
There is a fantastic notion that man is wise and animals are foolish. We cannot accept this humiliation and baseless stigma.
It is claimed that man has the most blessed faculty of speech. But what is the reason for pride when man is only abusing this faculty? In what way do we suffer for want of this faculty? Though we are dumb, we are able to procure food, find shelter, rear our children and live happily. So, man cannot be considered as superior to us only because of this rare faculty of which he boasts.
Finally, they say that we are cruel and that man is kind and compassionate. In fact, we are more kind and considerate than man. So, we have to refute this allegation, as well.
Having read out the agenda, the fox went and sat in its place.
The lion stepped forward and raising his head, said in a dignified manner: "I totally approve of all the points of the agenda. I cannot consider man superior to us in any way. Let us first of all take up the point of valour and strength. Is there one among men who can excel me in strength and valour? Even though I am the sole monarch of the forest, I do not indulge in any act of injustice and corruption. I don't kill any animal unless I am hungry. Such being the case, can man claim to be superior to us?" "Never, never", roared the whole assembly.
The lion then resumed its seat beside the sage. The elephant got up and trumpeted its own glory. "In form, stature, and strength, I am far superior to man. He is a pigmy beside me. As for intelligence, I am reputed for my subtle intellect. Since time immemorial, for every important and auspicious function in the temple or in the palace my presence is considered auspicious. In fact pious men offer me fruits and flowers with deep feelings of reverence. How can man call himself superior to us?" The whole assembly roared: "He can't, he can't". The elephant went back to its seat by the side of the sage.
Then came forward the dog and saluting one and all in the assembly said aloud: "I have sound reason to claim that the animals are certainly superior to mankind. Take for example, the quality of love, faithfulness and loyalty. Can any man boast of himself being superior to the dog in these qualities? Man himself keeps us and treats us as a member of his family because of these rare qualities. But, what about men? They have no sense of gratitude even. They keep us on cheap food or on the left over bits at their meal. Man, in his relation to his own master whom he serves is ungrateful to the core. Sir, I am sure, we animals are far superior in these characteristics to man." Having spoken thus, it went and sat in its place.
It was now the turn of the President to give out his decision on the matter under dispute.
The sage got up and said: "My dear friends, what the dog has said is true. Man often says one thing and does another. This inconsistency is not to be found in animals". All the animals clapped for long with joy. The sage continued: "In the matter of food, sleep and allied habits of living, there is absolutely no difference between man and animals. But, there is one fundamental difference. The animals cannot transform themselves, while man can transform himself through education, company and emulation. The animals cannot even change their food habits".
The fox at once got up and questioned, "Oh Master, What you have said is true. But do you think that all men transform themselves?"
The sage said: "Why, without doubt, such men who do not, are worse than animals.
The sage continued: "Men have got another virtue, discrimination". The fox said: "It is true that they have discrimination, but what is the use? They put even animals to shame in their bad conduct. Oh, what a pity. Man spends all his time, talents, strength and money to earn his bread, while we animals procure food without any labour."
The sage could see that the fox was trying to exceed the limits and make much of their instinctive nature.
So, he said: "Oh, dear animals. You must also be told about another important distinction. Man can conquer illusion. He can realise the self or atma and attain immortality. In fact the very word "man" indicates these attributes:
M - means Maya;
A - means the Atmic vision and
N - means Nirvana.
The animals asked him: "Oh Wise one! Do you mean to say that all men make use of these three attributes?"
"No, not all of them," replied the sage.
"Then those who do not attain nirvana by conquering illusion and having atmic vision must be treated as our comrades" asserted the animals, in one voice.
"Oh, Dear ones." replied the sage, "I have come to this forest only to be your friend and prove myself a true Man".
December 17, 2011 10:20 hrs IST
Moscow: Bhagvad Gita, one of the most sacred Hindu religious texts, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as "an extremist" literature across Russia, with a court in Siberia's Tomsk city all set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors.
The final pronouncement in the case will come just two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was here for a bilateral summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev from Dec 15 to 17.
The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June this year, seeks to get a Russian translation of 'Bhagvad Gita As It Is' written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), on the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declaring it as a literature spreading "social discord", apart from rendering its distribution on Russian soil illegal.
In view of the case, Indians settled in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the ISKCON religious movement here have appealed to Manmohan Singh and his government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the Hindu religious text, an important part of Indian epic 'Mahabharat' written by Sage Ved Vyasa.
The ISKCON followers of Russia have also written a letter to the Indian Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi seeking immediate intervention, lest the religious freedom of Hindus living here be compromised.
"The case is coming up for a final verdict on Monday in Tomsk court. We want all efforts from Indian government to protect the religious right of Hindus in Russia," Sadhu Priya Das of ISKCON and a devotee of a 40-year-old Krishna temple in central Moscow, told IANS.
The court, which took up the case filed by the state prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State University for "an expert" examination Oct 25 this year.
But Hindu groups in Russia, particular followers of the ISKCON, say the university was not qualified, as it lacked Indologists.
The Hindus had pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance`from a majority religious group in Russia, and have sought that
their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld.
The prosecutor's case also seeks to ban the preaching of Prabhupada and ISKCON's religious beliefs, claiming these were "extremist" in nature and preached "hatred" of other religious beliefs.
"They have not just tried to get the Bhagvad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist," Das said.
In fact, the ISKCON devotees have taken up the matter with the Indian embassy in Moscow too, apart from writing to the Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi, for an early diplomatic intervention, before things get worse and the court passes an adverse verdict banning the 'Bhagvad Gita' and Krishna consciousness teachings.
In the Nov 1 letter, addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON's New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor's affidavit claims Lord Krishna "is evil and not conforming to Christian religious view".
Goswami also urged Singh to accord priority to the matter during his Moscow stay and to take it up with the Russian authorities.
Indian diplomatic corps officials at the embassy here, who were unwilling to be named, told IANS that they have been following up the case since the time it was brought to their notice earlier this year and that they had also taken up the matter at the appropriate levels in the Russian government to get the case either withdrawn or get the defence to fight the case to obtain a favourable verdict.
Officials at the Indian Prime Minister's office, who are part of the Indian delegation accompanying Singh, confirmed the case and the letter they received from ISKCON in this regard to IANS.
"This matter is receiving the highest attention and the Indian embassy officials in Moscow have been instructed to follow up the case with the Russian authorities," they said.
In the unbroken line of preceptors from Adi Sankara Bhagavatpada, downdards our beacon light in the Sanatana Vaideeka Marga, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi, the 68th Sankaracharya, shone as bright as Adi Shankara. It was the good fortune of his devotees and of this century, that He was the exemplar for prompting peoples' knowledge, faith and interest in the Karma-Bhakti-Jnana marga. For the learned and the layman, He expounded words of wisdom. These run into over 4000 pages and are being published in various languages. Indonesia has been similar to India, in their way of talk, habits, worship and culture. This has been so for ages. It is a true fact that Sri Mahaswami (Sage of Kanchi) had an affection towards the people of Indonesia. This book titled "Divine Nectar 50" has been translated into the Indonesian language by IBA NOOR AND STAFF "REALIA" Indonesian language school, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and published by P.R. Dandapani of P. T. Ispat Indo, Surabaya, Indonesia, while N. Rajan of UCO Bank Madras has been the co-ordinator . we bless the families of IBA NOOR, STAFF of "REALIA" , P.R. Dandapani, and N. Rajan and pray to MAHATRIPURASUNDARI SAMETA SRI CHANDRAMOULEESWARA that all Indonesians should read this book and benefit thereof. May those engaged in this noble task be the recipients of all bounties and we offer our blessings.
The medicine of Grace to wipe out our sorrows is to develop unshakable faith in God and tolerance is the medicine of Grace to wipe out our sorrows. Bhakti alone can give us the capacity to put up with sorrows. Temples are the agencies for developing that Bhakti. Hence, the need for temples at all places. All offerings to the deities in the temples are tokens of our gratitude to God.
That which is within all, which is seen as "This" is the source. He who is within and sees as "This" is God. It is the reality. It is in yourself. What is limited is Sadhana; what is unlimited is the end.
He alone is an Acharya, who, after clearly understanding the conclusive teachings of the Sastras, makes the people of the world gain their welfare by making them stick to the path shown in the Sastras and also himself does everything according to Sastras and remains in that experience.
Many acts relating to God, like building temples, digging tanks are performed. While executing them, there would be many difficulties. There would come also several kinds of dishonour. Not minding any of these, they would complete their tasks with mental one-pointedness removing impurities from their minds and letting the mind wander. By straightening their mind, they acquire mind control and at the end, they realise the Reality that is to be known. Digging tanks, building temples and such other acts are called poorttam. The performance of sacrifices, etc., is known as ishtam. Combining these two, we have the word Ishtapoortam.
In all that you do, let love be the sole motive. Any need must be with reference to another. Let action be out of love. Passions such as desire and hatred , anger and malice must be totally eschewed. If love becomes the grounding principle of all deeds . then most of the ills of the world will vanish.
We know many faults we commit, even if others do not know them. Sometimes we realise we are doing so many evil things and repent bitterly and feel why we should be born . Our duty is to pray to God -"I have committed so many faults. Will you not, 0 God, give me the will power not do like that in future and will you not purify my mind?" We must note down in a diary every night before we go to bed the faults committed by us and pray to God to give us courage and intelligence not to do so. This must be propagated widely.
Parameswara and Sriman Narayana are one and the same in reality. They are not two. This is the conclusive view of all the sastras. Names differ, forms are different, occupations vary, but the reality which is within Them is one and the same.
What is the purpose of human birth? To earn, to eat, to undergo misery everyday and finally to die? Instead of earning and suffering, can we not die now? The purpose of birth is to avoid re-birth. Except man, all animals grow horizontally. Only man grows vertically. Instead of growing horizontally, it is God's will that he should grow vertically in order to look up. God has given to animals devices for self-protection; to man alone He has given intelligence. By doing nothing, we avoid re-birth; By giving up attachment, we avoid sins.
When any object is consumed by fire, it becomes charred. If that black residue is burnt again, it becomes white ash. White ash continues to remain white even when burnt again. This shows that white is the ultimate and black is proximate to it. Science tells us that diamond and coal are basically one. White and black are not colours. The primary colours get separated from the objects to which they are attached when subjected to the test of fire and ultimately white. Similarly, in the mental and spiritual place, the Ultimate Reality is Siva, who is white and proximate to Him is Parvati, who is dark. When we test everything in the fire of Jnana, or true knowledge, the residue is Siva. Ash in the material plane corresponds to Siva in the spiritual plane. We smear our bodies with the sacred ash to remind ourselves of Siva and the fact that the ultimate goal of life is Siva.
Much is said about the personal God and the impersonal absolute God with attributes and without attributes. It is only when all the colours in the light mix together that we get the colourless rays of the sun. Similarly by the very virtue of being the abode of attributes, God becomes Nirguna, attribute-less.
By education we realise Truth. There are many truths, History is one truth. Geography is one truth, Mathematics is one truth. The content of truth is the greatest in Mathematics. In others, there is an element of imagination. In Geography, we come across names Asia, Africa, Madras, Calcutta, etc. These names were given by us. By imagination, we have given names "plateau" "valley", etc. By a process of gradual elimination of all that is imaginary, when we arrive at truth, that Truth is found to be God. To think of Him with real devotion is the fruit of education.
What is the use of education? Its first use is to develop humility (vinaya). In olden days, the disciple who went to a guru was called "vineyan" meaning a person of humility which is the hall-mark of Instruction he had from his guru, the fruit of education. Education without humility is no education. Education is the same today as it was before, but methods have changed. The medicine is the same but if the diet is changed, the medicine becomes poison. Education has today become merely the means of livelihood. For true education, the student should go to a guru and follow the guru-kula system.
Right education should make us know that God is the Truth. Knowledge must fill one with good qualities, through which one can realise the Truth, that is God. Therefore, the goal of knowledge is the understanding of the Ultimate Truth. The first fruit of education must be humility and self control.
The total surrender to the Lord is a means of learning our insignificance and the transcendent grace of the Lord.
If we engage an inquiry into the Atman, at the end of it, it will be clear that God is in us as our very self. When that stage is reached, we have no use for the devas. Then all karmas will fall away from us. But, until then, we must obligatorily do the karmas directing them to the Gods.
Those who are the leaders of a group, society, or state should not neglect the established religious customs and usages. For themselves the may mot be in need of Church ceremonies, for instance, their advance in spirituality may not require them. But if they begin to neglect them, the people for whom the rituals are really helpful, will also start neglecting them. This would be setting a bad example. In the words of the Bhagavad Gita, the wise one should not unsettle the minds of those who are ignorant, and are attached to action: on the contrary, he should encourage them to perform what they should perform, by himself doing the appropriate actions well and with diligence. It is duty cast upon the leaders and those that are at the top to lead the people from where they are, and not to refrain from participation in the traditional ways of worship.
Of all scriptures, the Gita has acquired a specialty of its own. Like this, there are many other books of wisdom. In the Mahabharata, there are many chapters teaching wisdom. Besides, in the Sivapurana, Vishnupurana, Skandham, etc., there is Jnanopadesa.
So also in agamas. But what is the special importance of Gita due to? Not only in our country but in countries like Java, people follow the Gita. My inference is that because it was born in an atmosphere utterly free from attachment - attachment to life, attachment to body, attachment to kith and kin, but out of attachment only to Reality, it has become so famous.
On deep consideration, ahimsa appears to be good as an ideal or for preaching. But practically speaking, it is difficult to follow fully. First of all, we must love others. But if we love anyone too much, the end is sorrow. Therefore we should love God who always gives happiness and not sorrow. I ask myself if we love God, should we not love anyone else in this world? So long as there is false knowledge which distinguishes God from the rest of the world, there will be differences. If we attain Jnana that God is all, we will develop the same love for all that we have for God; This is the sign of Ahimsa.
For the sake of food, clothing and shelter, everyone is toiling and sorrow-stricken. If sorrow is to be banished and if we are to be ever happy, we must dedicate all our actions to God. If we get His grace, then we need not do anything and can be happy. God is a good master. By praising Him always, we cannot please Him. He is indifferent to our praise or dispraise, action or inaction. But all our actions are ordained by Him and are meant only to purify our minds.
Why so many Gods? Is it not enough to have only one? Other religions speak of one God only and not many. We are assailed by such doubts. We eat to satisfy hunger, the stomach becomes full, there is no trouble or hunger. Then why can't we take cooked rice alone? Why should we eat so many side dishes? So, if we eat, it is just not to fill the stomach, but we want food tasty to the palate and pleasing to the eyes. Whoever is attracted to a particular God he worships that.
By multiplying wants, we only increase poverty. What is essential for life and honour should be made available to all the people of the country. It is for this we want plans. Men of means should live like the poor and should not increase their wants beyond necessities. The rich should share their prosperity with the poor. This is punya, leading to salvation. The more we increase our wants, to that extent, there will be no peace or comfort and it will only produce poverty and sorrow.
Vedanta which is the peak of the Vedas teaches the way for the removal of sorrow. Hatred and desire arise only in respect of the objects other than us. That desire will not arise if those objects are rendered identical with us, if there is nothing other than us, then desire will not arise. If there is no desire, there will be no effort and no sin. When there is no sin, there will be no body and there will be no misery.
We may get many types of sorrow. What seems to be sorrow to all the people of a place may not seem sorrowful to us. If we stay always happy, without wanting to attain anything untouched by sorrow like the lotus-leaf and the Kalakodi - seed, that is called yoga. "Know that to be indicated as yoga which is separation from being united with sorrow, The removal of association with sorrow."
In order to reach one purport, why should the Veda speak of many matters? This question may arise in our minds. It is through many matters that it is possible to understand that one purport which is Reality - yoga, meditation, austerity, sacrifice, performance of karma; when these are accomplished, what they indicate is that one Reality. It is that Reality which is the true purport of the Veda. Other things are of a changing nature. They become woven into a story and then even that story disappears.
What for is the science of medicine? It is for keeping the body strong and healthy. What if the body is not strong and healthy? The body will be subject to diseases. What if there is disease? One will not be able to function properly. He who has given this body is the supreme Self. This is the truth, we should practice several disciplines. We can practice them only if the body is well. In order to keep it well, we must prevent it from becoming a prey to disease. The science of medicine tells us how to prevent diseases. Thus, Ayurveda helps in the realisation of Advaita experience.
Savikapla Samadhi: The mind is steady without any distraction, contemplating its object wholly absorbed therein.
Nirvikalpa Samadhi: This is the goal of yoga. In this, the mind ceases to function and vanishes once and for all, leaving the self to shine forth alone. In Advaita too, the path of meditation is recognised; but here the object of meditation is the distinction-less Brahman.
Sahaja Samadhi: This is realised through the path of enquiry. It is the natural state of Self - realisation and one of utter unconcern for the fleeting phenomena.
There is nothing to feel elated about seeing the people worshipping me. But when I reflect that is worship to the God, who they think are approachable through me, I feel glad that there are so many who believe in a compassionate God who will hear them and remove their misery.
Our religion Hinduism has grown by devotion, meditation and self - purification. The other religions might have grown by propaganda and conflict. The reason for crores of our people remaining within the fold of Hinduism, in spite of powerful propaganda of other religionists, wars, lure of money, etc., is we see a great man (Mahatma) in our midst by whom we are impressed. We develop devotion to him and generate faith in our religion. There is a text in the Veda which says that a flowering tree attracts bees automatically. If we examine ourselves and we find one of use to be perfect, the world will follow him.
A child eats earth. Its hands are tied by the mother. The child gets angry and cries. Is it without reason the mother ties it's hands? We do not know the mercy of Universal Mother. The good or harm coming to us has its source in Her Grace; Suffering - Her Grace for some reason. We must accept whatever comes to us, good or bad, as Her Grace. We do not know why she gives it. Our vision is limited. We do not know what precedes it or follows it. If we are able to look into the past present and future, we will know that God does no harm to us. Other than God, there is no kith or kin for us.
We cannot say that a child or an idiot who keeps quiet without activity like a stone is great. We cannot presume that he has attained jivanmukti. This is the result of sin. He is a Yogi or Jnani whose intellect is very subtle and as sharp as a sword. He has to become like a withered tree, an immovable object with a steady mind. He must understand all that is happening around him. His knowledge should be perfect. He should not be affected by passion or sorrow. He should always be happy. None of us is like that and Iswara is described as Sat-Chit-Ananda.
If God is the ocean of mercy and if He knows everything, He must know what we want. Why should we appeal to Him to do this or that? The reasonable answer is that instead of begging useless people at useless places, we plead before the Highest and the Omniscient. Otherwise, we have no justification to ask Him to give us this or that.
Everything disintegrates on earth and this earth also will vanish one day. The sun will disappear and the whole universe will go. Then there must be some powerful substratum responsible for creation, protection and destruction. We call it God. We have the faculty of thinking and capacity of doing, in smaller or greater measure. This also merges after our death with the omnipotent. Being, from whom we derive this energy. The stable principle which is the cause of creation and destruction of all energy is God, called by any name.
Mother loves her child but later on, an unfaithful sun causes her sorrow. We know of cases where mother starts litigation against sons or sons against mother. If one loves another, and if one of them dies, the bereavement causes sorrow. The bank helps people who have deposited money with them. It is supposed to remove the sorrows of the people in times of need. But when the bank itself is liquidated or closed, the depositors weep. Their sorrows once gave sustenance to the bank. The more we love, the greater the sorrow in consequence. Then, shall we decide that we should not love anyone at all? The object of this birth is to bestow undivided love on someone. The subject of our love should not be quarrelsome or separable. If we say that we should love only the imperishable God, then the question is: can we hate others? Let us learn to love all be realising that God is in all. God is eternal and our love for him should be eternal.
I am prone to come to the conclusion that there lives none without predominantly selfish motives. But with years rolling on, an impression, that too a superficial one, true to my nature, is dawning upon me that there breathe on this globe some souls firmly rooted in morals and ethics who live exclusively for others, voluntarily forsaking not only their material gains and comforts but also their own sadhana towards their spiritual improvements.
It is clear to us that there is birth and there is death. Passion is the cause of birth. Time is the cause of death. What is created by passion is destroyed by time. If passion comes, the seed sprouts. If time comes, the tree dies. Kaalo Jagat Bhakshaka: Even the sun and the moon disintegrate when time comes. If there is no passion, there is no production. If there is no time then there is no destruction. Therefore we have to conquer Kaala and Kaama. Iswara burnt Kaama and kicked time. So if we go to Him, there is neither birth nor death for us. Let us therefore pay to the Universal Father and Mother.
"Jagatha pitarau Vande Paarvati Parameswarau"
A master has two servants. One always flatters the master, the other just performs his duties without any love for the master. If the master is a fool, he would love the flattering servant. If the master is too clever, he will not love either the man working for wages or the flatterer. The master will love more the one who does his job as his own out of devotion. So is the case with the Good Master, God.
Why do we break coconut before Lord Ganesa's idol? He is the Son of Parameswara and asked His Father to sacrifice His head with three eyes because only then, he thought any effort would be crowned with success and without any obstacle. So, instead of the head with three eyes, we are breaking coconut which has three eyes. Ganesa is so powerful as to demand the head of his own father. Whatever is superior to everything else must be sacrificed to God. Symbolically, we are sacrificing the three - eyed coconuts created by God, as ordained by Him. When a sannyasin attains Siddhi, this is done. This practice is in vogue only in Tamil Nadu.
Thinking that God is far away from you, you are wandering in search of Him. So long as you do not know, He is far away. Though you may wander, you cannot see Him, but he is near you. He is distant, yet near. The story of a girl wanting to marry the highest among men, a king, ended, after all the travels, in the discovery of an ordinary man her parents had already selected. The bridegroom was so near. She took a long route to arrive at a point so near.
We see our reflections in a mirror. In a row of mirrors, thousands of reflections are seen. It is only one person who sees all these reflections. The one who resides within us and who sees all this, is God. The seer is the cause of all the seen. That cause is knowledge which is the basis of this world. Where is that knowledge? Within you, what is macroscopic is microscopic in you.
Joy comes in the form of status, money, etc. comes from without. We feel isolated. But it is the smallest fragment of the great joy from within, which is Ananda. Paramatman, the ananda within is not worried whether any joy comes from outside and mixes with it or not. Waters enter into the sea, which though ever being full, is ever motionless.
If we analyse the teachings of the Gita, there may appear to be many contradictory matters regarding bhakti, karma and jnana. But the Lord takes the devotee step by step. We must meditate on the form of God as described in the scriptures. This bhakti will enable us to understand the universal nature of God. Spiritual vision will then make it clear that God without form is the Supreme Reality, which hears without ears, moves without legs. To worship God at the initial stage, metaphysical knowledge is not necessary. The more and more we meditate, bhakti grows and we automatically realise the universal form. There is no distinction between the devotee and the object of devotion.
Our minds should automatically seek and cling to God just as iron filings are attracted by the magnet; the heart of the chaste wife seeks her husband; the creeper embraces the tree; the rivers go to the sea.
Philosophical truths and ordinary people have nothing much in common. Therefore outward garb is useless. The representatives of religion must have real worth, peace - loving nature (shantam), austerity (tapas) and unselfish nature. Hinduism, in spite of its vicissitudes, is surviving even to this day. This is due to the blessings of a succession of saints. If there is one saint among us, the world will prosper.
It is natural that man should seek to satisfy his wants like hunger, thirst, and a place to rest. There are duties which an individual has towards himself, the social group and the nation. Ordinarily, the performance of these duties remains on the level of satisfying the creaturely wants. But there is a way of performing these duties which will elevate everyone concerned spiritually. That is dharma. And it is the duty of the king or the state to see that the citizens are provided every opportunity for spiritual growth and progress. That is the meaning of saying: "Raja Dharmasya Kaaranam".
Upaasana is dhyaana or concentration of meditation. A form is required for concentration. Reality is always the same and changeless. God, as the Ultimate Reality, is Formless. But Upasana of a Form is done with a purpose, namely, the attainment of a given benefit. The purpose to be attained by worshipping or concentrating on a Form differs. The scriptures tell you how to meditate and on what all Forms and with what results. For Upasana, you have to follow the Sastras or Scriptures. The different upasanas are all aids in the path to the ultimate goal, namely, understanding Reality. Scriptures prescribe Upaasana n order to train the mind to concentrate. Upasana is the affair of the individual; there is nothing collective about it.
Neither the raw fruit nor the tree wants to leave each other. But when the fruit becomes ripe, this attachment automatically disappears. Man requires to experience anger, jealousy, passion, etc. just as the fruit had to undergo various stages of growth and taste before it became fully ripe so to get automatically detached from the tree. We cannot overcome these experiences in the beginning. But we must ponder over the fact why we undergo these experiences. Otherwise we will be the losers. We will become slaves of these experiences and can never achieve fulfillment or contentment.
When adversities overtake us, we blame God and complain that He is blind to our misfortunes. But if we indulge in a little introspection, we will realise that our faults are so enormous that we are utterly unworthy of His grace and, in spite of that we are able to get food, shelter and clothing. It is due to the abundant mercy of God. We must consider the difficulties we encounter as a blessing in disguise.
A mother may tie the hands of her child who has the propensity to pick up and eat mud. This seeming cruelty of the mother is for the good of the child. Similarly troubles are verily God's grace to save us. In the entire picture of life, troubles form but a tiny spot. In our inability to visualise the past and the future, we complain when we suffer in the present. A proper perspective will enable us to understand our present plight in its proper setting.
Whenever any honour is done to a person the recipient must remember the divine source from which he derived the qualifications to receive that honour, and feel humble and not elated with a feeling of self - importance.
Cultivate Friendly attitude to conquer the minds of men;
Look at others as yourself;
Give up war; give up jealousy;
Don't commit aggression without reason;
Mother earth is like Kamadhenu to fulfil wishes;
The Lord God is like father showering mercy
People of the World !
Live with discipline;
Live with charity;
Live with mercy;
May all people attain greater well - being
UNBROKEN UNBOUNDED LOVE
"How can we praise love? Everything is insignificant before it. Without love our reading, hearing and the study are of no avail. In the wake of love follow devotion, dispassion, peace and liberation with all their treasures. We do not get love for anything unless we feel earnestly about it. So where there is real yearning and feeling, God manifests Himself. It includes love and is the means of liberation." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch.48.
Once there was a great king named Vishwamitra. One day he learned that there was a saint in his kingdom whom everybody adored. The name of this saint was Vashishtha, and everyone gladly touched his feet.
Now, although Vishwamitra was a very great king, nobody used to come and touch his feet. People were afraid of him, and they would tremble before him. But with Vashishtha it was different. People gladly touched Vashishtha's feet with deepest appreciation and admiration. So Vishwamitra was extremely jealous of Vashishtha.
Vashishtha was a very great saint. After praying to God for many, many years, Vashishtha had realised God and could speak to God face to face. Vishwamitra knew that this was the reason why everybody was adoring Vashishtha instead of him, so he too started praying to God. He prayed to God for a couple of years very seriously, often fasting but still he did not realize God. Then he became impatient. He went to Vashishtha and said, "You have realised God, but I have not been able to. I wish you to tell the world that I have also realised God, like you."
Vashista replied, "How can I say that?"
"You can say it," the king insisted. "If you tell people, everybody will believe you, because you yourself have realized God. You know who God is you speak to God. Tell everyone that I have realized God. Otherwise I shall kill your children."
Vashishtha said, "You can kill my children, but I cannot tell a lie."
Vishwamitra was a most powerful king. One by one he had the hundred sons of Vashishtha killed. The hundred sons were very well educated, kind and spiritual. They had studied the Vedas, the Upanishads and other religious and sacred books. Nevertheless, the notorious king killed them all. Even after doing this Vishwamitra was not satisfied because Vashishtha still refused to announce that he had realized God.
After a few months he thought, "This time he has to tell the world that I have realized God, or I shall kill him." With this idea in his mind he went to Vashishtha's small cottage. Before knocking at the door he stood outside quietly listening to the conversation inside.
Arundhati, one of Vashishtha's wives, was saying to her husband, "My lord, why don't you say that Vishwamitra has realised God? If you had said it I would still have all my children. They were such nice, kind, devoted children. They were all jewels. But just because you wouldn't say that he has realized God, he has killed all my children, and who knows what he will do next."
Vashishtha said, "How can you ask me to do that? I love him. He has not realised God. How can I tell people that he has realized God? I love him and that is why I cannot tell a lie."
Even though Vishwamitra had killed the hundred sons of Vashishtha, the father could still say that he loved him. When Vishwamitra heard what Vashishtha said, he came running in and touched Vashishtha's feet, crying, "Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me, my lord. I never knew that anyone on earth could love a person who had killed all his children."
Vashishtha placed his hand on Vishwamitra's head and blessed him. He said, "Today you have realized God, because today you know what love is, what truth is. God is all forgiveness. I am forgiving you because the God in me is forgiving you. Today you have realized God."
What do we learn from this story? We learn that the ideal of forgiveness is the supreme ideal. When we pray to God we see God's qualities: love and forgiveness. When we receive love and forgiveness from God we can behave like God towards other people.
Vashishtha's hundred sons were killed, yet even then he loved Vishwamitra. Then, when Vishwamitra begged for forgiveness, Vashishtha gave it immediately, as well as giving him his inner Light, Joy and Power.
Like Vashishtha, we always have to forgive people when they do wrong things. In this way we give them our Light, our Truth, our Joy. From this story we also learn the importance of associating with holy men.
Do not develop ill-feeling inside your heart for the man who has insulted you or injured you. This is worse than open anger. This is mental cancer. Do not nourish grievances. Forget and forgive.
PRIDE WILL PUT A STOP TO PEACE
"If we become egoless, then our success is assured." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. 24.
After the battle of Kurukshetra was over, one day Yudhishthira said to Krishna, "Krishna, we Pandavas have won. Needless to say, it is all your Grace. Otherwise, we could never have won. But you know, Krishna, in spite of our victory, something is bothering me. Do you know what it is? I have no peace of mind. Now that we have defeated the Kauravas, we are supposed to be very happy. But how can I be happy when I have no peace of mind? Why is this so? Why is it that I cannot be happy and peaceful?"
Krishna said, "Yudhishthira, O King, how can you be happy when your worst enemy is still alive?"
"My worst enemy is still alive!" Yudhishthira exclaimed. "Who is he? How is it that I do not know anything about him? Please tell me, Krishna, where my worst enemy is."
Krishna said, "Your worst enemy is not elsewhere. It is inside you. You have been feeding and nurturing that worst enemy for a long, long time. Unless and until you have conquered that enemy, no matter what you achieve, no matter what you do for yourself or for mankind, you can never have happiness."
"O Krishna, for God's sake, tell me who my worst enemy is. Stop your philosophy and now illumine me."
Krishna, with a loving heart and a smiling face, embraced Yudhishthira and said, "O Yudhishthira, you are by far the best not only among the Pandavas, but among all mortals, all human beings. Yet one enemy of yours, which is nothing short of weakness, is most destructive. And that weakness-enemy of yours is your unfortunate pride. Conquer the iota of pride that you have. Then happiness will flow into your mind, and peace will smilingly settle down inside the very depths of your heart."
Yudhishthira said, "Your wisdom-blessing is my mind's happiness and my heart's peace, Krishna, my Krishna."
"A guide is always necessary to show us the right way in small or great matters." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. 32.
Patrul Rimpoche was roaming the Tibetan mountains. One day he heard about a great hermit who had spent twenty years in a cave meditating on the Perfection of Patience. Desirous to meet such a saintly being, he went in search of his cave. Poking his head around the entrance, he called out, "Hello there, what are you doing?"
His meditation disrupted by this impertinent hollering, the hermit opened his eye and inquired, "What do you want?"
The beggar crouched down in front of him, his eyes glinting with mischief, without uttering a word.
"Who are you? Where do you come from?" pressed the hermit.
"I come from behind my back, and I'm going in the direction I am facing."
Nonplussed, the hermit continued, "Where were you born?"
"OK," he said, trying to contain his rising frustration, "What – do – you – want?"
"Well, I was curious to know what you're doing here."
The hermit was keen to impress this simpleton. "You see my son, I have been meditating here for twenty years on Lord Buddha's Perfection of Patience.
The beggar howled with laughter, poking him in the ribs with a dirty finger, and said, "Oh, what a great scam. Gullible locals, are they? How much are you making these days?"
The hermit thundered, "How dare you! You barge in here. You give me all these crazy lines. Now you insult me. Out. Out."
As he rose to leave, Patrul Rinpoche calmly observed, "And where's your perfect patience now?"
The hermit's anger froze instantly, as he realized the vanity of his claim. Sitting down and taking a deep breath, he started meditating in earnest for the first time.
Patrul Rimpoche lived in the nineteenth century and was one of the greatest scholar in Buddhism. This highly realized saint roamed all over Tibet anonymously, dressed as a beggar, creating mischief along the way. His primary goal was to focus the mind of people on true spiritual pursuits, while exposing false teachings and fake spirituality.
This hermit had deluded himself for over twenty years, and grew comfortable in it. But a single encounter with a master can shatter a lifetime of delusions and re-establish us on the true path. Were these twenty years of previous meditation a waste of time? Quite the contrary. They were the necessary preparation to bring about this profound transformation.
YOUR REAL NATURE
Baba said, "You will come across a great Saint by your good luck, and then he will show you the future path, and give rest to your mind and make you happy." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. 21.
Once, while out hunting, a lioness gave birth to a cub amidst a flock of goats. She left her newly born baby amidst the goats and returned to her den in the forest. This baby lion began to live with the group of goats. He ate, slept and stayed with them. As he grew up, the shepherd named him Lindiyo, a name normally reserved for goats and sheep. The lion responded to his name, skipped and danced, like every tame animal.
Lindiyo grew up into the full frame of a lion but he himself never knew it. To himself, he was only a weak, frail goat.
One day, while they were on lush pastures, a huge lion roared and attacked the flock. All the goats fled with fear; they ran in all directions to save their lives. Even Lindiyo scampered away.
The lion was astounded and looked twice. ''How did a lion get mixed up with a flock of goats?'' he asked himself. He leaped and chased Lindiyo and soon seized him. Lindiyo was trembling with fright. He shut his eyes tight. ''Hey, you!'' the lion shook him, ''You're a lion. How did you end up in this group of goats?''
''Please, let me go. My name is Lindiyo, Sir, please let me go!'' the lion-goat helplessly pleaded for mercy.
''Come come! You're not a goat! Rather, goats are your daily dinner. Why have you lost your senses? Come with me to the riverside.'' So saying the lion dragged Lindiyo to the river bank and where the water was quite still, he showed him his own reflection. ''See, look at your face. It's like mine. You have a golden mane, see the paws and the claws, everything is like mine. You are a lion and not a goat.'' He further taught him to stand tall and roar like a lion. ''Come on speak like I speak and roar; and remember these goats are our food, not friends.''
Lindiyo suddenly realised his true identity and broke out from his shell of limitations. He himself roared and drove away the goats. He had become a lion from a lion-goat.
We too, suffer from a similar problem. Our true identity is Atman which is not different from the one prevailing consciousness -Brahman, but we have somehow lost that knowledge and believe ourselves to be the body.
We all see ourselves as Lindiyo. We must realise our real nature and identity as the Atman and become the master of Maya and not its slave. And to attain such knowledge, we need to approach a Guru, who shows and convinces us that we are not Lindiyo but the pure and powerful Atma, which is nothing but Brahman - the Absolute Truth.
IT IS EXAMINATION SEASON – FACE YOUR TEST CONFIDENTLY
"We are tested as it were. If we only hold on steadily to Baba with full faith and continue our endeavours, our efforts will be ultimately crowned with success." – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. 29.
Once there were two disciples of Rishi Apaddhoumya. Their names were Aruni and Upmanyu. Both were young and very quiet. They obeyed the Guru in everything.
Once the Guru decided to test them to the full. He sent them to the forest to graze the ashram's cows. He also ordered them, ''Don't eat anything.'' Both disciples always obeyed the Guru, and so they ate nothing. But whenever they felt hungry they would milk a cow and drink some milk.
After some days the Guru asked, ''What do you eat?''
They replied, ''We eat nothing cooked but do drink milk.'' The Guru said, ''From now on, don't drink milk either.'' The disciples agreed and went happily off to the forest to graze the cows.
In the afternoon both felt hungry, but the Guru had ordered them not to drink even milk now. And so they went to a village and begged pieces of fruit and ate them. Thus they began to do this every day.
A few days later, the Guru asked ''What do you eat?''
They replied, ''We beg pieces of fruit from the village and eat those.'' The Guru instructed, ''We should never beg in this way.'' So the two promised never to beg again.
Aruni and Upmanyu again went to the forest to graze the cows. Never did they find fault with their Guru.
For three to four days they managed to survive without food. But hunger grew and they could bear it no longer. The Guru had commanded not to eat or drink milk. So they ate some wild berries.
The berries were poisonous and the two became blind. As they made their way back to the ashram holding each other's hand they fell into a dry well one hundred hands deep. Seeing the cows return alone to the ashram the Guru became worried. Where were Aruni and Upmanyu? He set out in search of them.
He searched the jungle calling, ''Hey Aruni, Hey Upmanyu.'' He couldn't see them anywhere. However, the two disciples heard their Guru calling and shouted a reply from the bottom of the well.
''Where are you?'' the Guru shouted. ''Over here, in the well,'' they called back.
The Guru had some people climb down into the well and bring the two disciples up. When he saw them he realised they had become blind! He asked the reason for this. They humbly answered, ''You commanded us not to eat or drink anything, but we were so hungry that we ate some wild berries. They were poisonous and then we became blind. And as we tried to make our way back to the ashram, we fell into this empty well.''
The rishi was extremely pleased with their devotion to him. He called Ashwinikumar, the physician of the demi-gods. He gave them potent medicine and so both boys could see again.
The Guru so tested his young disciples, but they were not discouraged. They did not run away and leave the Guru. They had immense faith and devotion and love for their Guru that they were ready to do anything at their Guru's command. Such true faith in a Guru definitely leads one to the "Truth" and brings us true wisdom and enlightenment.