Inner Life Management.

One must remain immune to the all that happens to him/her externally. One must not let external activities influence one’s condition of mind, instead remain steadfast on his /her path and continue one’s journey in search of the truth.

A man ought to live in this world like a lotus leaf, which grows in water but is never moistened by it; so a man ought to live in this world-his heart to God and hands to work”.

-Swami Vivekananda

Lord Rama. The seventh of the principal ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu is the perfect exampe of one who managed his inner life perfectly! If one closely looks at his life, Rama’s life was not that of a happy-go lucky person instead his life was a tragedy. At every step he had some disastrous event or the other.

Rama was born to the King Dasharatha and Queen Kaushalya of Ayodhya. Born in the comforts of the palace, after receiving education was taken by a sage (Vishwamitra) to fight demons at a very young age.  Due to anger and hatred of a servant in the palace, his mother Kaikeyi asked some boons which landed him in the forest for 14 years. His young and newly wed wife also accompanied him. His dutiful younger brother Lakshmana went along with him to the forest to help him. His father passed away due to grief of seperation from his beloved son. They fought several demons in the forest. His wife got kidnapped by the demon king Ravan. Rama walked a lot in search of his wife before he received help from an army of bears and monkeys. He fought and defeated Ravan and took his wife back but not before a fire test (for testing his wife’s purity). He took Sita home. After sometime, due to political reasons, he had to send his pregnant wife into forest again. After several years, he fought his sons without knowing it was his sons and almost killed them. Sita returned to Earth right in front of Rama’s eyes. He had to cut all ties with his favorite brother (Lakshman) due to a promise. After ruling for many years, he returned back to heaven by entering River Sarayu.

This is the summary of what all happened in his life. No would want to take this much trouble in one life-time. But then if all this has even happened, why do people worship Rama? The answer lies in the fact that Rama has managed his inner life. Despite the facts that such events happened to him in succession, he did not crack up or give up in life instead he bravely faced all the trials and tribulations that destiny had in store for him. He did not let the emotions get the better of him no matter how depressing it was. True he felt emotions but he didn’t let them cloud his judgement. He remained the way he was, He didn’t forget the qualities he was brought up with.

Take a moment and think, if one of these incidents would happen to us in our lives, we would crack up. Several would just give up. Many would lose hope for living but Rama chose to fight on. One must take inspiration from this quality of Rama and try to find meaning and purpose to life. 

Wishing you all a Happy Rama Navami and may you all find the inner strength of your life.

Anger- The obliterator of the Self

Buddha said,

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burnt”.

Anger is an emotion we all experience almost every-day. It is a strong negative emotion that has the ability to ruin the state of mind. Anger makes one emotionally disturbed, intellectually confused, physically violent and spiritually lost. The overall effect of anger is deadly.

“Anger is an enemy with the face of a friend. Anger is like a very sharp sword. Anger destroys everything”.

Ramayana

So, when does one become angry? Or more importantly, one must ask themselves, why am I angry? Or why should I become angry. It is a question that has different answers as different people have different trigger points, temper and reason.

In Sanskrit, anger has many synonyms but in English, they mean the same. For example, some of the synonyms of anger are Cope(कोप), Krodh(क्रोध), Dwesh(द्वेष) etc however the cause of Cope, Krodh and Dwesh are not the same.  The cause of Cope is issue based. It is temporary. Cope has to be shown at times in the interest of work. It is necessary to survive in this world. Krodh on the other hand is person based. In other words it is grudge. This should not be there. If this exists, slowly this grows into Dwesh (literally translates to Dvi+visha which is double poison). And Dwesh kills you every single day. They say poison kills you once and for all but Dwesh exists till death. The feeling of Dwesh is a nasty one. The very presence of the other person physically and mentally causes you to breed hatred and resentment towards the other individual. It eats you from within and you lose your state of mind. The peace which you actually deserve is lost for the simple cause of breeding hatred, anger and all such negative thoughts in your head.

A very good example to illustrate what damage anger does to oneself can be learnt from the Ramayana. Manthara, the personal maid of Queen Kaikeyi was obsessed with Bharat occupying the throne. She hated the fact that the whole kingdom loved Rama more than Bharat. This hatred that she bore flared up when she came to know that Rama was going to be coronated as King of Ayodhya. No sooner did she hear this than she ran to Kaikeyi to give her the “bad” news. Kaikeyi was joyful upon hearing the news but then Manthara manipulated her into thinking that Rama would enslave her son and rule like a tyrant. The seed of hatred has been planted. Now the course of action. Years ago, Kaikeyi received two vows from her husband, King Dasharatha. She decided to use them – First ask for Bharat (her son) to be coronated as King and second- Banish Rama to vanvas (to live in the forest) for 14 years.

You might think what is the big deal? Now Rama was not only loved by his father and mother but was loved by all. The whole kingdom in fact had started making preparations for his coronation. No sooner did the news break out to the people they were at a loss of words. And what was the news- Dasharatha fell unconscious (because he couldn’t imagine surviving without his favourite son), Rama has given up the throne and will go to the forest for 14 years (to fulfil his duty to abide by the promise given by his father to his mother), Bharat will be King, Kaikeyi asked such boons and Manthara was the root cause. Just observe. One person bore a seed of hatred and see how catastrophic the results turned out. The events later on turned to be worse but the point is look how dangerous how anger is.

“You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger”.

-Buddha

BG 2.63

“From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When the memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost and when intelligence is lost one falls down into the material pool”.

In conclusion, Anger is something we must avoid as much as possible. Unless and until is required to show it, it must be kept at bay. Anger can’t be avoided entirely because it is a part of our system but it can always be kept under control. As mentioned earlier, Cope must be used but never let it transform into Krodh and dwesh therein. Anger can truly disturb our state of mind. We may not be able to control our feelings but we surely have the power to control the shape of the mind. Its ok to feel angry at times but when it turns the state of mind into that of depression or resentment, beware!! You might have taken the wrong turn.

 

 

Prayer- A Contemplative Conversation

Martin Luther King Jr. said

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step”.

Most of us in our times of our difficulties question our faith, beliefs as to whether God exists or no? If he does why the suffering? In such times, it is important to hold ourselves as firmly as possible. No matter how painful the situation, no matter how bad the day goes, ‘Be Strong’. Don’t forget, a diamond undergoes a lot of grinding, cutting and polishing before you see it as it is.

You may wonder, what is it that will hold me together? The answer is Optimism, Faith and Prayer.

Believe it or not, a prayer is man’s greatest power. It enables us to maintain a rapport with the Supreme. A prayer in layman terms would be “Conversation with God”. Prayer can be the unfolding of your innermost emotions, thoughts, a few verses in His glory. A prayer doesn’t change God or affect Him in anyway. It brings about a transformation in the person who has said the prayer.

A question may arise- If it’s a conversation, where’s the part where God talks to you?

The fact is God does talk to you. All you need to do is ‘listen’. There is a huge difference between listen and hear. Listening involves your mind as well whereas hearing doesn’t. In other words, you register what is being spoken to you while in hearing you do not. You always listen when you are calm and quiet. A calm mind can empower the body with tremendous energy. The best way to calm the mind down is to meditate. Meditation means to contemplate and what better way than to contemplate on the Supreme.

BG 9.22

ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyuktanam
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham

But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form-to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.

Srimad Bhagavatham 6.1.19

“Although not having fully realized Krishna, persons who have even once surrendered completely unto His lotus feet and who have become attracted to His name, form, qualities and past-times are completely freed of all sinful reactions, for they have thus accepted the true method of atonement. Even in dreams, such surrendered souls do not see Yamaraja or his order carriers who are equipped with ropes to bind the sinful”.

It is clearly stated, one who simply surrenders to Him, has nothing to fear.

Always remember,

“God is the best listener. You don’t need to shout or cry our loud because he hears even the very silent prayer of a sincere heart”.

Clincher

The year has come to an end. Pretty much, everyone has had their share of ups and downs this year. A multitude of people would have already listed down “New Year Resolutions”. These include to improve physical and mental well being, improve finances, improve career, education, get over grudges and so on.

35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of participants didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.. There can be several reasons such as – Lost track of it, Lack of will power, too many distractions and incapable of handling them, “Ahh leave it, will try it from next year”. Just as one plans ahead of any journey, similarly in the journey of life also, every individual must chalk out his/her steps. If one consults their own experience, they will understand that it is better to lay out short term goals which lead to a long term one. Many a times, people aim at the target but forget to reconsider the path. An aimless arrow is the most dangerous one.

As the year ends, I thought of putting across a few thoughtful quotes which would surely lighten the hearts of knowledge within us and take a step closer to realizing one’s self.

“Be a good person, but don’t waste time to prove it”.

“You’re the driver of your own life, don’t let anyone steal your seat”.

“Never apologize to others for their misunderstanding of who you are”.

“Be the same person, privately and publicly”.

“If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down”.

“The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful your life becomes”.

“If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living in the present”.

“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys”.

“Never get too attached to anyone, because attachments is the root of expectations and expectations lead to suffering”.

“Overthinking is the biggest cause of unhappiness”.

“Greatness in man lies in simplicity. Seeking attention only leads to disappointment”.

“Man acts according to his intelligence”.

“Remain humble no matter what your status is”.

“Never make a decision when you are in extremes of moods. Always make decisions with a calm mind”.

“Righteousness is useless unless paired with foresight”.

“Half knowledge is dangerous”.

Hope these quotes from the ancient times bring upon the light of wisdom in our life to carry on even in life’s darkest times.

Wishing you all a Happy and a Prosperous New Year. May you all find the courage even in the darkest corners of your life 🙂

Moksha comes with a price ( Part 2)

Why should one pay a price in order to get liberated from this ocean of nescience?

The answer is simple. If one has to get anything in life, he/she has strive towards it; perseverance, determination and routine. The same applies even to Moksha. Well, you might be wondering what is Moksha? In simple terms, moksha is liberating or rather breaking your self from the endless cycle of birth and death, breaking yourself from the cycle of karma (Karma is your activity. Whatever you do, good or bad, you get the reward/punishment for your respective deeds). In the Bhagavatham, the definition of liberation given is as follows:

muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ
sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ

” Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies”.

However, feeing oneself from the bonds of maya( The external energy of the Lord) is not as easy as ABC.

One must train to control his/her senses to the extreme and subdue the mind. The mind may roam here and there but it is the duty of the individual to bring it back under control. The mind is always full of desires which will try to divert you. One cannot be desireless however, you change the quality of your desire. To break free from a bad habit or to advance oneself in the spritual realm all it takes is Abhyasa(Practise) and  Vairagya( Detachment). Take the example of a horse. The horse being restless by nature will try to be free from your clutches. If you don’t take control of the horse, the horse will take you for a ride to wherever it wants to go. So, you must be firm in dealing with the mind. Ofcourse it will be a tedious task to bring it under control but once you have it your command, imagine the wonders you can achieve. You hold the reins of your mind. You can direct and channelize your thoughts in whichever direction you want. This is abhyasa. Now you may wonder. If abhyasa is enough to bring the mind on track, why Vairagya. One cannot remove the quality of heat from fire or wetness from water; Similarly, the mind even if under your control will show the tendency to suggest the old sinful paths. Hence, with Abhyasa, one must detach from the old unrighteous path.

The path to moksha may seem to be one with thorns, but the goal for attaining Moksha- To be one with the Lord, to return to His abode should be thought and in an instant all these distractions will vanish. As Buddha said,

“Your pain is a part of your greatness”.

Logically, if someone were to give you a choice to sleep on a soft bed and a bed of rocks, what would one choose? It’s obvious. The soft bed. Even the person who is used to sleeping on rocks if the bed is given to him, he will know comfort. Similarly, we must aim for the higher taste (spiritually). Initially, it may be difficult to accept the change, but once you do, I can assure you, you feel a differnt aura altogether. In the material world, nothing is permanant- not even your happiness, nor your sorrow. Nor your kith and kin. Everything is just an illusion.

You may ask, if everything is illusional, what is real?

Are we living the right way?

Are we living the right way?

The news paper is flooded with articles about terrorisms, famines, child torture, injustice, racism, animal slaughter, loss of natural habitats, economy crash, ISIS and much more. People are crazy for some film actor/actresses. Ask yourself this question. What did the actor/actress do for you that you are showing them such devotion? All of us are misguided souls who is somehow try to fill the voids in our life.

Everyone is identifying everyone else with the appearance- Indian, American, Asian, Chinese, Black, White and the list goes on. We must cleanse this bodily concept of life. “AHAM BRAHMASMI”- I am spirit soul part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In the Bhagavad Gita, it is said:

“Janma mrtyu jara vyadhi

Dukho dusanu darshanam”.

This material world is filled only with misery. One who is born in this material pool is bound to undergo the stages of death, disease and old age.

An excerpt from Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam states

“Punarapi jananam Punarapi maranam

Punarapi Janani jatare shayanam

Iha samsare khalu dustare

Kripaya pare pahi murare

Again and again one is born,
And again and again one dies,
And again and again one sleeps in the mother’s womb,
Help me to cross,
This limitless sea of Life,
Which is uncrossable, my Lord.
We are eternal servants of Lord Krishna, we are individual sparks. Just like Krishna, who by nature is sat-chit-ananda (eternal-Full of knowledge- happiness) and we being part and parcel of Him are also in search of pleasure. In this world, people try to derive happiness in several ways- playing sports, watching movies, hanging out with friends, intoxication, gambling and the list goes on. All this may seem right, but is it so?

Everyone is busy solving problems by advancements of civilization, scientific knowledge and technology because they cannot solve the four main problems. Hence, they set aside these problems because they can’t make any solution and waste the human life.

What is the purpose of our birth?

The answer lies in Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 18 verse 66):

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

The universe consists of 8.64 billion bodies of which the human birth is a rare one and must not be wasted in nescience. In layman terms, if we simply waste our life by eating, sleeping, mating and defending what’s the difference between a dog on the street and us. Every activity that we perform if carefully analysed comes under the category of eating, sleeping, mating and defending.

Every human must understand his position- I am a conditioned soul. He should use this life to understand God and make solution to different types of birth, death and different transmigration from one body to another.

That’s the way to live!!!