Friday, August 26, 2011

Shri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Geeta:

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत | अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं स्रुजाम्याहं || ( : ७ )

Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharat| Abhyutthanamadharmasya tadatmanam srujamyaham|| (4: 7)

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय  च  दुष्कृताम | धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय  संभवामि  युगे  युगे || (:८ )

Paritraanaaya sadhunam vinashaya cha dushkrutam|
Dharmasamsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge|| (4: 8)

Whenever there is a decline in righteousness, O Bharata, and a rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest myself. For the protection of the good and for the destruction of the wicked. For the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every age, from age to age.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maharshi Veda Vyasa

Maharshi Veda Vyasa (Krishna Dvaipayana) was born to Parashara Rishi and Satyavathi Devi at the end of the Dwapara Yuga and his birth is said to be with the blessings of Lord Shiva. He studied the Shastras under sages Sanaka and others. The Puranas say he received initiation at the hands of his twenty-first Guru, Sage Vasudeva.

He systematically compiled the Vedas under four distinct categories thus making them easily accessible. He also wrote the Brahma Sutras, for our quick and easy understanding of the ‘Shrutis’ (Upanishads). He wrote the Mahabharata, the eighteen Puranas and established the system of teaching them through Upakhyanas or discourses. Vyasa’s last work was the Bhagavata Purana which he wrote under the instigation of Devarshi Narada.

The Brahma Sutras or Vedanta Sutras (as they deal with Vedanta only) are divided into four chapters and each of these into four sub-sections. It is interesting to note that they all begin and end with sutras (aphorisms) which when read together mean, “The inquiry into the real nature of Brahman has no return.” It means going that way one reaches Immortality and no more returns to the world.

Vyasa is considered  a ‘Chiranjivi’, one who still lives and guides seekers and students of the Vedas. His Life is an example of one incarnated for the spreading of spiritual knowledge alone. His works inspires the students of Vedanta even to this day. He continues to live for the welfare of the world.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shanti Mantra

तच्छं  योराव्रणीमहे | गातुं  यज्ञाय  | गातुं  यज्ञपतये  | दैवी  स्वस्तिरस्तु  नः  | श्र्वस्तिर्मानुषेभ्यः   | ऊर्ध्वं  जिगात्तु  भेषजं  | शं नो अस्तु  द्विपदे  | शं  चतुष्पदे  | ॐ  शान्तिः  शान्तिः  शान्तिः  |

Taccham yoraavraneemahe| gaatum yajnaya | gaatum yagnapataye | daivee swastirastu nah | Swastirmaanushebhyah | urdhvam jigaattu bheshajam | sham no astu dvipade | sham chatushpade | Om shantih shantih shantih |

May all the adversities and lack, leave us for ever, so that we can sing in/of the sacrifices and for the Lord of sacrifices (Vishnu). We pray to the Divine Lord for the welfare of one and all. May the medicinal plants grow and grow in their potency. May the human beings (bipeds) be at peace. May all other beings (quadrupeds) be at peace. May there be peace (at all levels physical, mental, spiritual and in individual, environmental and natural conditions).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bhaja Govindam!

संसारादचिराद्भव  मुक्तः|
द्रक्ष्यसि  निजहृदयस्थं  देवं  || (भज  गोविन्दं)

Gurucharanaambujanirbharabhaktah, samsaaradachiraadbhava muktah | Sendriyamaanasaniyamaadevam, drakshyasi nija hrudayastham devam || Bhaja govindam ||

Cherishing your Guru’s lotus feet, you free yourself from the enslavement of the world soon (without delay), with the disciplining of sense organs and mind, come to see the Lord that dwells within your heart.

Saint Augustine beautifully defines ‘Faith’ as, “Faith is to believe what you do not see and the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” This faith and devotion to the Guru is necessary, as what the Guru says we may not immediately apprehend. With faith, that secret power of the mind to hold on to what we believe, we come to experience that fulfillment which the Guru indicates.

Hence, Shankaracharya, in this verse, addressing seekers urges them to keep up their faith in the Guru and come to be liberated from ‘samsara’ or the bondage of limitedness, sense of lacking and unfulfilled. This liberation is not in some time far away, but here and now, through the discipline of senses and the mind. A blessing by the champion of Advaita is indicated here, as He says, “May you come to experience the Lord that dwells in your heart.”

Disciplining the mind is required as we need to maneuver the flow of thoughts easily and be able to shift our attention from the ever changing world of names and forms, to that constant, ever lasting Self within us, we come to the realization/seeing of that Divinity/Lord.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Seek You, O Mother !

Verses from Bhavani ashtakam:

न तातो न माता न बन्धुर्न नप्ता न पुत्रो न पुत्री न भृथ्यो न भर्ता |
न जाया न विद्या न वृत्तिममैव गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि  ||
na taatho na maataa na bandhurna napta na putro na putri na bhruthyo na bharta |
na jaayaa na vidya na vrittimamaiva gatistvam gatistvam tvameka Bhavaani ||

I have no father, no mother, no associate, no son, no daughter, no spouse, no grandchild, no servant or master, no wisdom and no calling. In Thee is my only haven of refuge, in Thee my help and strength,
O Bhavani!

न जानामि दानं न च ध्यानयोगं न जानामि तन्त्रं न स्तोत्रमन्त्रं  |
न जानामि पूजां न च न्यासयोग गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि ||
na jaanaami daanam na cha dhyanayogam na jaanaami tantram na stotramantram |
na jaanaami pujaam na cha nyaasayoga gatistvam gatistvam tvameka Bhavani ||

I am a stranger to giving in charity and to meditation, to the scriptures, hymns and mantras. I know not how to worship or to renounce. In Thee I seek refuge, in Thee my help and strength, O Bhavani!

विवादे विषादे प्रमादे प्रवासे जले चानले पर्वते शत्रु  मध्ये  |
अरण्ये शरण्ये सदा मां प्रपाहि गतिस्त्वं गतिस्त्वं त्वमेका भवानि  ||
vivaade vishaade pramaade pravaase jale chaanale parvate shatru madhye |
aranye sharanye sadaa maam prapaahi gatistvam gatistvam tvameka Bhavani ||

In struggles, in grief, in travel, in danger, in waters, in fire, in the wilds, in the mountains, surrounded by foes, protect me my Savior! In Thee is my only haven of refuge, in Thee my help and strength, O Bhavani!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Narada Bhakti Sutra

Championing the path of devotion to the Highest, Sage Narada prescribes the way it is to be done in this life  ” Pursue and cultivate Love alone.” When we are in tune with ourselves, we are in tune with the Universe. We begin to see that all things in Creation are expressions of the same Love.

अभिमानदंभादिकं  त्याज्यं  || (नारद  भक्ति  सूत्र - ६४)  
Abhimandambhadikam tyajyam || (Narada Bhakti Sutra- 64)
Narada extols the methods of practice of cultivating and developing Love. He tells us to give up pride and vanity, cast aside hypocrisy and jealousy. These negative urges are great obstacles on the spiritual path. These mental habits bring agitations and dissipates our energy. The heart then no longer has the energy to grow and evolve. It's easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible. But it is difficult to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, only when we love can we come to know someone. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God's creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

We must be able to see the thread that holds all the flowers together in a garland. Once we learn to see the Maker and all things made, as the Maker himself, then, this holistic perception leads us to ultimate perfection.

Bulleh Shah, a sufi poet, in his famous poem in Punjabi says, ”Je rab mildaa nahathiyaan dotiyaan .... ve Mian Bulleyan rab unhaanu mildaa atade dildaa sacchiyaan acchiyaannu”.
Roughly translated "If bathing and washing were ways to reach God then surely frogs and fish are closest to Him .... but Bulle Mian says it is the one with a clean mind and pure heart who realises God."
His poetry highlights his mystical spiritual voyage through the four stages of Sufism: Shariat (Path), Tariqat (Observance), Haqiqat (Truth) and Marfat (Union).

Dirt if any is the one inside. The rest we can simply wash off. The type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with water is the stain of hatred, envy, greed, anger that  contaminates the mind. The body can be purified through bathing, abstinence, fasting, but only love can purify the mind. Only a pure and clean mind is capable of realizing the fulfillment of devotion, such a devotion with no sense of distinction between the Lord and oneself.

”प्रेम  कार्यं , प्रेमैव  कार्यं ” || (नारद  भक्ति  सूत्र - ६६ )
”prema kaaryam, premaiva kaaryam” || (naarada bhakti sutra- 66)  

Love is to be accomplished, Love alone is to be accomplished. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Intellectual miserliness

The shastras/ scriptures talk of moksha/ atma gyaan/ Brahman as a state of awareness/ consciousness inherent in us, realizing which, delivers us free from sorrow, suffering, all limitations and sense of bondage. This state, which is, our true nature of being, is eternal, limitless, of the nature of knowing and bliss.

This being so it also points to the fact that humans show a great sense of intellectual miserliness when it comes upon enquiring into it. Knowing that there is such a state of ultimate fulfillment we still do not seek it. This indeed is a wondrous mystery of Creation.

Misers are those who have enough money to spend but don’t have the heart to spend it on themselves or on others. The ones who do not have any money and therefore do not spend cannot be called misers. The misers do not spend as they are afraid of money going away or because their priorities are not clear and they are not clear about what the money is for.

The scriptures give us interesting definitions for misers. It is extended here to the disuse of one’s intellect (buddhi).

यो  वा  एतदक्षरं  गार्ग्यविदित्वा  अस्मात  लोकात  प्रैति स  कृपणः  | (ब्र्हदारन्यकोपनिशद : ३ : ८ : १० )

Yo vaa etadakshram gaargyaviditvaa asmaat lokaat praiiti sa krupanah | (brhadaaranyakopanishad: 3: 8: 10)

“A miser is one who leaves this world not knowing that he or she is Brahman.”

Sri Krishna too urges Arjuna thus:

बुद्धौ  शरणमन्विच्छ  कृपणाः  फलहेतवः  | (भगवद  गीता : २ : ४९ )

Buddhau sharanamanviccha krupanaah phalhetavah | (Bhagavad Gita: 2: 49)

Seek refuge in ‘buddhi’ (right attitude) and apply it to achieve the highest. Those who put this intellect to limited use and work therefore to achieve limited results alone (dharma, artha and kama alone) and not for ‘moksha’ are misers.

This person is called a miser because he or she is given an intellect but does not use it. This ‘buddhi’/intellect is the discriminative power one is endowed with. Its primary use should be for gaining Self-knowledge. Moksha, the highest fulfillment, gaining which nothing remains to be gained. Misers whose aims are small and not ‘moksha’ underutilize their buddhi.  The misers with money, leave it behind unintentionally, for others to enjoy it, but no one can enjoy their ‘buddhis’ after they are gone.