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.

In Pursuit of Happiness

You are the source of your happiness. Be happy 🙂

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create”.

 – Buddha

Happiness, one of the most sought out thing in the world. But what is this happiness? And why is it that only a few have found this and not the rest? Is there a secret map? Well, the answer is – No there is no such secret map.

Happiness is a state of mind where the individual is content from within and not due to any external stimuli. People who are happy have understood that happiness derived from external sources tend to fade away sooner or later but it is the happiness from being content from within that is ever-lasting. Happiness only comes to those who appreciate what they have. A very good example to prove this statement already floats in the internet. Many of us would have seen kids in under-developed regions or slums smiling from ear-to-ear in spite of having very little material comforts and yet the upper strata of the society having much more than this aren’t. Being comfortable and being happy are not one and the same.

Even the brightest/ richest people today commit suicide!! Why??? First of all, there is no guarantee of a tomorrow. There’s no guarantee that we will wake up tomorrow. If you do, there you go, you have a reason to be happy. Simply be grateful for being alive and try making your day as productive as possible. Failure is a part of life and is the nature of this world to have dualities (success-failure, cold-hot, wet-dry etc). One thing we must understand- Without sorrow we won’t know what is Happiness. This doesn’t mean we sulk and sit down waiting for happiness to come to us. Being happy is not a compulsion, it is a choice. 

Another reason why people aren’t happy because they place their happiness on people and other material objects. Which means only as long as that person or object is with them, they are happy. Once they go, so does the happiness. This is pseudo-happiness. We do not need others to keep ourselves happy.

Happiness is a contagious energy which radiates positivity all around. No one would like to hang around with someone who is pessimistic in life. Oscar Wilde said

“A flower blossoms for its own joy”.

Be like a flower. Be happy for yourself because you deserve it. Don’t do for others but for yourself because you deserve to be happy.

The question that remains unanswered: How to be remain happy? Quite an easy answer.

You are an individual, an independent one. If you are dependent on others to keep you happy, wouldn’t that make you a slave to their behavioural needs and emotions? It is ridiculous to think that somebody else or something can make you happy or unhappy. So, don’t give your remote to others. Operate it yourself.

BG 5.23-24

“Before giving up this body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is well situated and happy in this world”

“One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices every moment and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated in the Supreme, and ultimately he attains the Supreme”.

Thus, the path of spirituality too becomes easier when one is happy. Unless one is able to relish happiness from within, you cannot retire from the external engagements meant for driving superficial happiness. A happy person can therefore sit silently at any place and enjoy the activities of life from within. Such a person no longer desires external material happiness.

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.

 

 

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?