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.

 

 

#10 year challenge

2019 started off in a crazy way!! An egg went on to bag the highest number of likes on instagram and shortly came the “#10 year challenge” . It required an individual to post a picture of him/her in the present and 10 years ago i.e., A picture that was clicked back in 2007-2009 and a current picture of the guy/girl would have to be posted with the script : #10 year challenge to show the person’s past and present appearance. It is also called #HowHardDidAgingHityou.

But lets pause for a moment and think. True, as mortals we all age but, ask yourselves these questions-

In 10 years, How much have we appreciably evolved in the mental platform?

In 10 years, How mature have we become?

In 10 years, How has your thought process evolved ? Is it actually evolving ? Are we actually involving in something useful ?

I mean, think over it! Is it really necessary? We all age but don’t you think that if we are actually mature we would focus on improving our understanding on the grand scale rather focusing on how our body has changed. The body has to age and die out one day or the other and this is the law of nature. No amount of external make-up can change the fact. Even the external make-up is temporary. We cannot control this change but what is under our control is the directionality of our mind. It takes the slightest tap to set the mind on the wrong path. Whether we like it or not, we must see the truth as it is- External beauty is temporary. It is the character that matters.

Bruce Lee said

” Knowledge will give you power, but character respect”.

BG 2.22

“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up old ones”.

BG 2.13

” As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change”.

Hence let us not worry how we looked 10 or 50 years ago- sure it will be nostalgic but it is more important to develop and control our minds. Let us strive to ameliorate our notions about the world and our psyche and see things the way they are.

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 1)

The ultimate aim of spiritual life.

Moksha… many spiritual practioners strive to attain moksha. Well, there are primarily four types of moksha:

  1. Saalokya Mukti (Going to same abode as per form of the Lord)
  2. Saamipya Mukti (Being close to that form of the Lord)
  3. Saarupya Mukti ( Attaining the same form of the Lord)
  4. Saayuja Mukti  ( Merging with the Supreme Lord)

To attain moksha, one must be pious- in thoughts, words and deeds. To be pious one need not bathe in the Ganges or trek the Himalayas. It all begins with the simple yet important decision of surrendering to the Almighty. It is stated in the Bhagavad Gita

BG 18.65

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo ‘si me

“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend”.

Krishna promises Arjuna that those who worship him with faith will undoubtedly reached Him. Krishna is self sufficient, He can protect and serve Himself yet He choses to be served by His devotees inorder to give them the chance to come back to Him.

The tale of Gajendra Moksha is a well known story told to kids in their early stages in order to instill the faith in them that God always hears you in whatever situation you are. In short, a king was cursed to become an elephant by the great sage Agastya. One day, the elephant was wading in the waters of the Mandara hills. A crocodile caught hold of the giant’s leg and dragged it into the water. Due to king’s pious karma, he remembered a prayer to the Lord and in its dire situation with utter devotion called out Lord Vishnu’s name. Lord Vishnu arrived at the scene and liberated both the crocodile( who was also cursed for his insolant behaviour towards a sage) and the elephant( who attained Saarupya mukti). This story truly tells us the Lord is hearing us and all we need to do is call out to Him sincerely.

In the olden days, sages and kings would perform penance for thousands for years( I am pretty sure that you would have read/heard stories at least). Their penance was not a simple one, it would be a one of utterly back-breaking(Literally). Imagine standing on one toe for 10000000…… years just to please a diety to get a boon.In todays world and current scenario, its obvious that one cannot stand one a toe for thousands of years on a hilltop with nothing but a loin. Let alone one toe, the average lifespan of humans have dropped down to 68 years( male) and 72 years for female. So what is the solution if one can’t perform such penances to please the Lord? How are we supposed to attain liberation from this cycle of birth and death?

The Answer is simple: chant His names– be it the Vishnu Sahasranamam, Achyutastakam, Hare Krishna Mantra, Narasimha Kavacham and thousand others. Even visiting temples to pray to the diety is a form of expressing your devotion. Visiting temples with devotion can indeed wash away the sins accumulated over many life times. For example, the tirupati temple, located in Andhra Pradesh, the second richest temple in the world is a must visit! Located on the Tirumala hills also known as Venkatachala hills, the literal translation is Ven meaning sins and kata meaning destroyed. According to scriptures, if one visits these hills with utmost devotion inorder to see the Lord, his/her sins are washed away.  Not only tirupati, but any temple visited with sincerity and selflessness i.e., if one goes to a temple with no other intention except to seek the Lord’s  mercy and his grace one is sure to receive His protection.

So why does Moksha come with a price? And most importantly, what is the price that one must pay inorder to get liberated from this “material world” ?

Lust

One of the three gateways to hell…. The sure path to doom and devastation

BG 2.62-63

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

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

It is evident from the above verses that attachment causes an individual to fall back into the material pool. It is not an instant one but it is a series of steps  which are in fact quite subtle and they may occur without our awareness.

When the senses find something that gives it pleasure, it attaches to it. This can be for any of the five senses- eyes,ears,nose,tongue and skin. For example, an ice cream which is a favorite for millions, pleasures the tongue and eyes; music pleasures the ears and so on. Once the senses attach to the objects of their desire, the senses develop a lust to obtain/attain that object.

What is Lust?

BG 3.37

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna which is born of contact with the the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his love for Krishna gets tarnished with lust i.e., due to attachment, this love which we have for the Supreme Father gets transformed to lust. Love for Krishna can be transformed to lust by modes of material nature but transforming lust to love is extremely exasperating. When lust unsatisfied, it turns into wrath which is transformed into illusion. Therefore, lust is the greatest enemy which induces the pure living entity to remain entangled in this material world. It drags us from the plane of reality and truth and drowns us in the ocean of nescience.

Where does this lust originate from? The answer is also given by Krishna:

BG 3.40

The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.

Mind is the center of all activities of the senses. Thus when we hear about the sense objects the mind generally becomes the reservoir of all ideas of sense gratification and as a result, the mind and the senses become the storehouse of lust. Intelligence is the immediate neighbor the spirit soul. Lusty intelligence influences the spirit soul to attain false ego and identify itself with matter. The spirit soul thus becomes addicted to enjoying the material senses and mistakes this as true happiness.

BG 3.41

Therefore, O Arjuna, best of Bharatas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self realization.

Thus the Supreme Lord asks us to slay this enemy in the very beginning of the spiritual journey as it hinders the entity from attaining self realization. Lust is only the perverted reflection of love of God which is natural of every living being. If one is educated during the genesis, that natural love for God cannot deteriorate. Turning lust into love is the highest perfection.

Mind- Friend or Foe?

BG 2.56

One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness and who is free from attachment,fear and anger is called a sage of steady mind.

The mind is a friend of the controlled and the enemy of the uncontrolled. The individual who masters his mind, masters his senses. Controlling the mind is the x-factor in leading a spiritual life. We are where our mind takes us. The mind is potentially the most dangerous weapon. It has the ability to destroy and individual if not controlled.

The mind can be trained and it’s energy can be channelized to do productive work. The mind must be under control at all times. This can be done in several ways however the best and the most effective method is by chanting the Lord’s name, thinking of Him, serving Him. When the mind is trained in this manner it will have no choice but to be at your service.

If the mind is not controlled, it will create absolute chaos. The uncontrolled mind leads the senses to act as they will. If the mind and senses are not controlled the results are evident from the following verses.

BG 2.60

The senses are so strong and impetuous,O Arjuna,that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavouring to control them.

BG 2.67

As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the boat,even one of the roaming sense on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.

Thus, one must engage the mind and the senses in the service of the Lord.

The soul

The real nature of the soul is described in the Bhagavad Gita as ‘INDESTRUCTIBLE’. Consciousness is spread throughout the body. It is this which differentiates between a dead and a living being. Each and every body is the embodiment of an individual soul and the symptom of the soul’s presence is perceived as individual consciousness.

According to the Mundaka Upanishad this atomic soul which is 1/10000 the size of the tip of the hair on your head is situated in the heart of every living entity. Life of an entity is due to the light of the ātma. Medical science has proven that the heart is the seat of all energies in the body.

BG 2.22

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.

BG 2.25

It is said that the soul is invincible, inconceivable and immutable. Knowing this you should not grieve for the body.

Therefore the body itself is unimportant and we must cleanse this bodily concept of life. That is I am spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Just as how a machine is looked after by maintaining it similarly the body must be maintained to perform the prescribed duties.

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita was spoken by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra to deliver mankind by giving a message which is very relevant in the modern ages. The Bhagavad Gita in a nutshell is “You have the right to perform your prescribed duties but you are not entitled to fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the result of your activities and never be attached to not doing your duty. Perform your duty and have faith in the Supreme Lord”.  It is in fact a boon to mankind and its significance can’t be given in a few words.

This book of 18 chapters and 700 verses.  is the ideal source of inspiration we can look up to. If one looks at the book deeply, one will observe that the solution to every problem in the world is encoded in it be it- controlling the mind, desires, lust, anger, taking a decision. There is no simpler book that enlightens us on the five truths: The jiva( the living), Isvara( The controller), Prakriti( The material nature), karma( Activity) and time.

The Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all scriptures. Reading and contemplating it is equivalent to mastering all the scriptures.One who reads the sacred conversation of Krishna and Arjuna with faith and without envy becomes free from sinful reactions and his /her ignorance will be dispelled. But the necessary condition is “without envy”. Krishna’s concluding statements are “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear”.

 

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!!!