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Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Devotional worship of the Guru - the preceptor - is one of the most touching and elevating features of the Hindu cultural tradition. The auspicious moment of Vyaasa Poornima, The full moon day in the Hindu month of Ashad (July-August) chosen for observing this annual festival, is no less significant. It was the great sage Vyasa, son of a fisherwoman, who classified the accumulated spiritual knowledge of the Vedas under four heads - Rig, Yajur, Saama and Atharva. To him goes the credit of composing the authentic treatise of Brahma-sutras to explain the background of Vedas. He also wrote the eighteen Puranas, the stories of our great heroes and saints, to carry the spiritual and moral precepts contained therein to the common masses.
The greatest of epics of all times and of all climes - Mahaabhaarata - embodying the immortal song of God, the Bhagavad Gita, also in it, is also the priceless gift of Vyasa. The Bhaagavata, the thrilling and devotional story of Sri Krishna, was also his contribution. It is in the fitness of things that Vyasa should be looked upon as the supreme preceptor of mankind. Offering of worship to him signifies the worship of all the preceptors of all times.
The Guru in the Hindu tradition is looked upon as an embodiment of God himself. For, it is through his grace and guidance that one reaches the highest state of wisdom and bliss. "My salutations to the Guru, who is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. The Guru is Parabrahma incarnate"
Gururbrahmaa gururvishnuh gururdevo Maheswarah |
Guruh-saakshaat parabrahma tasmai shrigurave namah ||
Various have been the great sages and saints who have been the spiritual and religious preceptors to countless individuals down the centuries. If you have your personal Guru, worship him.
But is there anyone who can be looked upon as the preceptor for the entire Hindu people - for all their past, present and future generations? Obviously, no individual can play that role. A human being is after all mortal and, however great, has his own limitations. He cannot be a permanent guide for the entire nation for all the time to come. The preceptor for a whole society should be able to act as a perennial source of inspiration to the people, embodying the highest and the noblest national values and ethos.
To the Hindu people, such a Guru can be OM. Which is universal, and represents all, without any barrier as declared by Swami Vivekananda. In Vivekananda Kendra we have adopted this as symbol of GURU.
The annual function of Sri Guru Pooja presents a moment of introspection for us to check up how far we have progressed in this path over the last one year, and take lessons from it and resolve to march faster in the current year.
How to use this day -
1. In the Morning Meditate on the Guru and chant his prayers.
2. Later in the day, the sacred worship of the Guru's Feet is performed. Of this worship it is said in the Guru Gita:
Dhyana moolam guror murtih; Pooja moolam guror padam;
Mantra moolam guror vakyam; Moksha moolam guror kripa
"The Guru's form should be meditated upon; the feet of the Guru should be worshipped; his words are to be treated as a sacred Mantra; his Grace ensures final liberation".
3. Satsang should be organized, during which discourses are held on the glory of devotion to the Guru in particular, and on spiritual topics in general.
4. Sing the Names of the Lord and the glories of your Guru. The best form of worship of the Guru is to follow his teachings, and to propagate his glory and his message."
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
You are not merely creation of some external circumstances. You have control on your reactions. As soon as you start regulating your reactions, you start achieving your humanness. Then inward march is unique. You are handling your own mind. You are creating a sense of calmness within, great achievements will come thereby. Human evolution begins with the achievement of this balancing of the mind between a sensory input and motor output. That should be strengthened more and more. The whole subject of The Gita is training of this human mind for total human development by handling this world around it, and also by handling oneself in masterly manner. We don’t remain creature of some masterly process outside. We become masterly force inside handling our own life. This must be achieved by every human being’s. Today neurology and psychology tell us that nature has given us this organic capacity by which we can handle our own destiny. He or she can be free and can exercise this freedom; this is the teaching of biology, neurology and Vedanta. Vedanta takes the experience of freedom to highest level of development and calls it mukti.
So, how to handle this packet of psycho-physical energy? Which, we have got at the time of birth. How to develop it, expand it and bring out the best out of it. This is what we know by understanding Gita. And who is to do it? Each one of us. Other’s can help, but actual work is our own.
Taken from writings of Swami Ranganathanandaji.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The concept of Calmness of mind is a wonderful concept; with calm, silent, steady work you achieve great things, when with tremendous conviction, calm and steady work you face the problems, you find the best solutions. Every experience of the external world throws the mind into waves, just like dropping of a stone in the water of lake creates waves. Some experiences create bigger waves, which throws the mind in to confusion. We lose our mental balance; most of us have some sort of balance in our day to day working only occasionally when something big happens we are thrown out of balance. But with training we can increase our capacity to keep the mind steady even when unsteadying influences work on it.
Shri Krishna teaches the philosophy of life and work – and life and work means upsetting the mind often. So we must learn to handle the mind. We must keep the mind calm and steady- it is the beginning of his teachings. – That’s what he defines in “Samatvam Yoga Uchyate.” Calm and steadiness is Yoga.
In primitive stage of mind-like in animal-any impulse arising must find an immediate expression in action. Then that impulse dies away. That is the nature of animal behavior. In human also if the mind is not trained this is the case. But by nature with evolution, certain amount of calmness has come to human system. Because nature has provided for it every sensory input will be observed and then passed on as motor output. A little gap between input and output, even the most ordinary men have. This is the beginning of tremendous development of human psyche.
We say – action and reaction are equal and opposite – that is mechanical law. But in case of human beings, it can be altered. If action is one unit reaction can be 10 units or no units. That is the freedom human beings have. This capacity to regulate the reaction is our biggest achievement.
Taken from the writings of Swami Ranganathanandaji.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
Behind this changing body mind complex, there is something eternal, something infinite in man. This is the basic teaching of Upnishadik sages regarding human being. We do not know it, but knowing or not knowing does not make any difference to truth. For, it is the truth which was discovered and rediscovered and placed for our own rediscovery, for our own redemption. We do not need any body to come from heaven to redeem us. Our redemption is built into us, our eternal nature as ever free Atman. This is constantly emphasized in Vedantic literature.
That’s what Shri Krishna refers in 2nd chapter 20th verses – this Atman has not got any birth, nor death, it is immortal, when body goes it is always there. This Atman in every one of us, even in animal, insects everywhere is the innermost self. The only difference is, animal cannot realize this truth. Only human being has the organic capacity to realize this truth. That is the highest human uniqueness. Evolution has risen to that level in man, wherefrom he can know the truth of the world around and the truth of one’s own immortal self as well.
Once one discovers this truth and gets established in it – he or she becomes fulfilled – for the whole journey of evolution at the human stage is towards this discovery.
You may know about stars, earth, about this and that, they are all welcome. But the greatest knowledge you can get is about yourself. When you know your true nature, that you are deathless, ever pure, unborn etc. and you get established there, what a big change will come in your life, and all your dealings with others. All crimes, delinquency, all pettiness, meanness, will vanish from human life.
So, a little attention to this subject is absolutely essential for every human being.
--Adopted from writings of Swami Ranganathanandaji
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Indian thinkers when studied the world they found two things – one is real other is unreal – they called it sat and asat.
There are two aspects of the world one is changing – ever changing and another is unchangeable. Shankaracharya says – every moment it is becoming something else. Change is the characteristic of this external and much of the internal world and anything which changes moment to moment vedanta calls it unreal. It exists but it is unreal, it appears but it is unreal. The nature of this manifested universe, a universe which one experiences with the five senses, is that, it is constantly changing, and therefore is unreal.
Whatever changes is unreal. Then where is the reality? Vedanta says there is the changeless reality beyond the sensory level; sat is real, it cannot be nonexistent. You come to the world of reality which is unchanging, infinite and eternal. This distinction was made very early in our philosophy. This becomes more and more confirmed when you study modern physics dealing with matter or modern biology dealing with living systems. For example your body changes in every few years, everything in the body has changed, yet you say i feel, i am the same person. Some sort of unity is there in this world of change. Man alone can discover it.
Mandukya karika a vedantic text gives a beautiful definition – “that does not exists in the beginning and in the end, and appears only in the middle is called unreal”.
Then what is real- that which exists in past, present and future is called real. It is always there. Is there such a real, “yes” says Vedanta, and that is the search of philosophy everywhere in the world.
adopted from writings of Swami Ranganathanandaji.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Fourteenth verses of second chapter of Bhagwad Gita, mentions a word - tamstitikshwa – bear with them- it is a wonderful statement, in English we say “what cannot be cured must be endured”. You fall sick, you go to doctor, he will treat you, and there is a science about it. So for you are concerned you have to co-operate with tremendous determination to bear it as long as it is there. So tamstitikshaswa develops strength of mind. Try to remove the pain as for as you can, by treatment. What you cannot cure – bear with. The capacity to bear is different in different people. Some can withstand pain to a great extent others cannot stand a little difficulty.
In normal life, the biggest hurdle comes – when sense organs come in touch with sense objects, a chain of pleasure and pain, hot and cold comes in to effect, but these are temporary, they will keep on changing. They are not permanent. They will come and go. So at the time of difficulties -bear with them, difficulties are not going to stay permanently. A strong mind will sail you through. Remember pleasures are also not going to stay permanently. They will give way to pain.
Capacity to withstand pain, changes and chances comes from mind; strength of mind can be increased by proper understanding and practice. Life is not all fun, all pleasure; difficulties will often test you from different angles.
Strength of mind and control of sensory system are very important for any decent human being. Virtue and morality cannot stay without this kind of self discipline.
Shankara Charya – talks about – titikcha- as bearing of all suffering without anxiety and weeping and without the intension to react, a quality every student of Vedanta must acquire.
Adopted from writings of Swami Rangnathanandaji.
It is one of the”Shad-sampat”
Shad-sampat means the six virtues. This practice actually consists in developing six qualities or virtues. They are:
- Sama - Tranquility or control of mind. Calmness. This is the ability to keep the mind within and unaffected by the external world.
- Dama - Control of the senses. This consists in not letting the senses run out towards the sense objects. To the question, "Why do we need to control the senses when we can directly work on sama and control the mind itself - the mind being superior and more powerful than the senses?", the vedantins answer: If one were able to control the mind perfectly, dama would be unnecessary, otherwise it is a more powerful strategy to work on the mind apparatus from all sides.
- Uparati - Renunciation of activities which are not duties. Following the last two practices, the mind is so peaceful and calm most desires have been eradicated and there is no more reason to perform the activities in which most people indulge.
- Titiksha - Endurance, forbearance of the pairs of opposites. The mind must become strong enough to not waver in the face of the opposites: success and failure, hot and cold, pleasure and pain, sunshine and rain, etc.
- Shraddha - Faith. It is defined by Sri Sankaracharya as faith in one's guru, god, the self (atman) and the scriptures (shastras).
- Samadhana - Perfect concentration, one-pointedness of the mind. It takes a great degree of mastery to reach this level. Few reach it.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Dharma or philosophy taught in the Vedas is of a twofold nature, characterize by pravrtti , out ward action and Nivrtti, inward contemplation, meant for the even stability of the world, which are meant to ensure the true abhyudaya- socio economic welfare, and nihsreyasa, spiritual freedom of all beings.
Both action and meditation are needed for human well being, if only one or the other is there, there will be no health, individual or social, see the wonderful insight , the comprehensive wisdom of the ancient Indian sages! Through pravrtti you establish a welfare society through the improvement of your economy and political system. Through Nivritti – you achieve, what we call to day value oriented life that comes from humanity’s inner spiritual dimension. Otherwise plenty of wealth power and everything else you have through pravrtti, but only prvritti and no nivritti – society will be all right in short run, but in long run, it will be in trouble. The whole of modern western civilization is in trouble, because there is no emphasis on nivritti. The spiritual dimension is missing. There is emphasis only on prvritti – work, work and work, earn more money, but remain inwardly poorer and poorer until one becomes nervous wreck. Many people are thus suffering in the modern world.
The endless pursuit of money, power and pleasure is driving today’s world. The result is creation of widespread value erosion and increasing violence. That is not the way to maintain a healthy human society. The abhyudaya – the socio economic development can not come without co-operative endeavour , there is need for co-ordination, team spirit and helping others in their work and appreciating others success. This is the one value which we have to assimilate in our society.
The Adi Shankara says – a philosophy of life which integrates social welfare and spiritual freedom, through action and meditation is the best way.
Adopted from Swami Ranganathanandaji’s writings