Thursday, June 16, 2011

56. Control over Senses - Indriya Nigraha.

Control over five senses is a difficult notion but is easy to comprehend if we start with the fundamentals. Human beings have five sensory organs: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Our mind and body depend on these five senses for the information of the outer world. With the relevant information’s supplied from these five organs our body functions through movement of muscles or release of chemicals in the bloodstream to activate any sensors. The inputs given by the sense organs make our mind feel the emotions of joy, excitement, apprehension or desire. The mind is not in contact with the outer world by itself. If the five sense organs give the information of the outer world to the mind then the individual reacts to it sometimes he is trounce by panic, rambling with delight, overjoyed by excitement, bewildered by anxiety, unsteady by desire and so on. If we do not have a suitable method to filter and control the inputs from the five senses then our mind will have to bear the consequences of all the worldly experiences. So without the help of the five sense organs our mind is cut off to the outer world. It is near impossible for us to cut off the five sense organs from the world.

Even though the five senses is outwardly focused, it is our mind which will be enthusiastic to the information provided, for instance if we are on the way to attend the funeral of a close relative and we happen to pass by a place where a film shooting unit is picturising a song sequence where the actress is clad in skimpy dress, even though our eyes are seeing the event does our mind which is engrossed in the thought of the death of the relative interested? No, why? Just because it is not in a position to entertain the inputs provided by the sight.

Once Veda Vyasa and his son Sukha Muni walked past a river. There were many young girls taking bath in the river. When they saw Sukha Muni, they continued to bathe, without any shyness. But the moment they saw Vyasa, they hastened to cover themselves with clothes.

Vyasa was old man but Sukha Muni was youth. Vyasa was surprised by their act and asked them why they did so. The girls replied that they had to cover themselves in the presence of a man. Then what about Sukha Muni, who had just passed by, Vyasa wondered and wanted to know. Why had they not covered themselves when Sukha Muni had passed by?

The girls replied that Sukha Muni would not notice that which is outside, for he saw nothing but would be engrossed in Self. But Vyasa had his five senses beaming to the outer world and so they had to cover themselves up. Vyasa himself was a great sage. And yet even could not attain the state which his son had reached, namely Indriya Nigraha, control over senses and was not in a position keep his eye sight away from the body of the young girls. Sukha Muni was in this sense superior to his father.

To ensure avoidance of unwanted inputs to our mind from our five sense organs, we need to develop a system that filters and controls the input. This control system which Patanjali Maharshi explains in the Yoga Sutras is Indriya Nigraha, an ability to shut out or restrain from the information and related instinctive reactions from the five sense organs at our choice.

55. Everything is Pre-planned, Nothing happens by Chance!!!!

In our life span we come across people from whom we get some sort of help, or learn something from them and then we conclude that these happenings are coincidence. We never know who these people are they maybe our neighbour, colleague, an old friend, or a complete stranger. The moment we meet them we are assured that something will influence our life in some profound way. This is termed as Runanubhandha. The Karmic debts (Rina) lead to bondage or attachment (Bhandha). These Karmic attachments pull us into the wheel of existence.

“Runaanubandha rupena Pashu, Patni, Sutha, Alaya”. --------- “We get material comforts like vehicle, wealth, wife/husband, children, House we live in, friends etc., according to our Karma.”

Sometimes the interaction with those people may seem ghastly, agonizing, and unreasonable at the beginning, but in the process we realise that without undergoing those obstacles we would have never estimate their support, strength, helping nature in them. Everything is per-planned and nothing happens by accident. But this is not that very easy to understand but time will let us know by unfolding the mysteries. Not a thing happens by chance or by means of luck.

Grievance, ill health, adoration, moments of glory, and utter idiocy all occur to analysis the limits of our endurance with these people. Without these small assessments our life would be like a smoothly road taking us nowhere. It would be secure and at ease, but boring and utterly meaningless.

People we meet in a way shape our life in the success and disgraces we experience, help us in molding our self and making us understand who we are. Even the dreadful experiences can be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most touching and important ones.

The gist of Bhagavad Gita is:

“Whatever happened, it happened well.
Whatever is happening, it is happening well.
Whatever will happen, it will also happen well.”

There is a Chinese story of an old farmer who had an old horse for tilling his fields. One day the horse escaped into the hills and, when all the farmer's neighbours sympathised with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

A week later the horse returned with a herd of wild horses from the hills and this time the neighbours congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

Then, when the farmer's son was attempted to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later the Kings army marched into the village and enrolled every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg they let him off. Now was that “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?”

54. I Bow to the Divinity in You!!!!!!!

“I bow to the Divinity in You!” This sentence was always used by Swami Rama of Himalayas whenever he used to address a gathering. True, a person should understand that we are all the creations of Supreme. All are Divine as I am. We all are basically an eternal, imperishable and immortal Atma.

We are not this perishable body nor the agitated and contaminated mind filled with egotism, annoyance, audacity, greed, cravings, etc. Neither are we this inadequate and fixed intelligence which, at times is prone to error and fails us at very crucial period. But beyond body, senses, mind, and intellect, we shine dazzling as an eternal and immortal Atma.

Not that we are not interested in identifying the Divinity but ours is a weird way of looking at it, we are fascinated in the “miracles” of Divinity like the “Shirdi Sai Baba Statue idol opens eyes” or“a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary began dripping water” or “statue of Lord Ganeshji drinking milk”. If we look at in our daily life there are many more miracles happening which are the acts of Divinity like, “the painted canvas at the Sun rise in horizon” or “ the peeing out sprout from the seed” or “the bud blossoming fully as a flower.” These are also the acts of Divinity which we ignore.

A greeting with two hands together gesture, named “Namaste” has come into our culture as a universally accepted as harmless gesture. It does have a spiritual significance also. A namaste greeting is when someone puts their palms together with fingers pointing upward and gives a slight bow to another person. It means that the person who is doing this gesture is acknowledging the presence of Supreme in the other person. It literally means “may our minds meet.” This world would be a better place if we recognise the Divinity in others. But first we have to discover the Divine in ourselves and conduct our lives in a peaceful, spiritual manner to be able to find Divinity in others. It is the concern of humanity and humility. It is a way of changing our world and life by allowing the experience of love and compassion to happen inside of us. It is about humbling our self and setting aside our ego to recognize the Divinity in all others, and ultimately in our self.

Divinity is beyond description in any way but is imminent as a witness in the whole universe of living and nonliving things. It is like oil in a seed, aroma in a flower, ghee in the milk, fire dormant in the fire-wood, sweet juice in a fruit. Just as Supreme remains hidden like the thread that holds the pearls in a necklace. He pervades the entire universe. The prime duty of man is to recognize the Divinity and to convey his experience to every single person in the society.

In Bhagavad-Gita Lord Krishna says:

Vidyavinyasampanne Brahmane Gavi Hastini: Shunichaiva Shvapake Cha Panditah Samdarshinah (Bhagavad-Gita 5.18)

“A learned person sees a dog, a dog-eater, an elephant, a cow and a brahmana all on an equal level."

The only solution to eradicate casteism and racism is this sloka from Bhagavad Gita. The hatred among the humans will definitely be solved once we start recognizing the Divinity in others. The white men think that they are better than black, simply because of the colour of the skin which is perishable. Another rift is between the communists and the capitalists always friction and disharmony on account of peripheral differences. Bhagavad Gita teaches us to see the equal nature in all living individuals, both in their happiness and distress, because the living individual is not a product of material energy, but the material energy is created by the living force.

53. Our Richness is in Contentment!!!!!!!!!!

The wisest person is the one who lives within his income and tries to spend less than what he is capable of earning. This attitude stops him from going into debt. But in this prevailing scenario we are made to purchase through our plastic cards and are bound to be debtors for the whole life. May be I am wrong but this plastic cards have made us get into the habit of impulse buying.

Contentment is richness, craving is poverty. Craving for more is a sign of inadequacy and the moment we feel so we are beggars. A wealthy business man who is always interested in making more money than becoming successful in business is really a beggar. For that matter a daily wagers coolie who earns few rupees and feel contented is a crorepati. For at least he does not have nagging feeling of lack and the beggarly attitude of more. A successful man may not be the happiest one but a happy man will surely be a success in life. It is observed that in contentment one is in abundance he infact has enough to spare for his fellow beings. Once contented there is nothing that can make us unhappy about. If the craving is rejected then in one moment we can experience that the object we were yearning for follows us this is the law of abundance.

Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase. For some contentment is moral laziness but it is not true, contentment is in terms of the material obsession not for the work attitude. Working is different and earning is different, as we know that a person who works like a donkey may not earn more while a person who is not so good at doing work may earn more. So the term contentment should not be taken as moral laziness. One should do sincere efforts in any endeavor, but be ready for whatever happens to the result. True contentment is not about having or not having possession of object; it is actually about the contentment of the soul. Like a person in water never feels thirsty.

Contentment is easily being developed in us by looking at the brighter side of life rather than traveling nomadic waywardly in the darkness of hankering. Discontentment has a lot of tentacles which holds our peace of mind and we are never satiated and satisfied, in the mad rat race for achieving what others have materialistically. We sacrifice our ethics, values and even ignore conscience in an attempt to materialize our desires and fulfilling our malcontent mind. The evident result is loss of peace, dignity and contentment. Contentment is to be derived from within. We cannot get from external sources. It’s something which is within ourselves and we are to bring it to surface.

There was a sage who put out a board on a vacant ten acres site which read like this “THIS 10 ACRES SITE BELONG TO ME I AM WILLING TO GIFT IT TO A PERSON WHO PROVIDE ME THE PROOF THAT HE IS CONTENTED” in response to this many would approach him and the sage would laugh and tell them, “If the 10 acres site is a necessity, then you are not contented.”

52. Facts of Karma Unveiled!!!!!!

Karma is universal law that says every psychological, emotional and physical act how much ever insignificant it is ultimately comes back to us with same impact. There are many misconceptions about Karma. This is an attempt to go into details of it and try to understand Karma better.

Karma is not what we often hear when people in distress tell like: “may be this is my Karma” or “that is his Karma.” The expression like this will symbolize Karma as something bad, which is not true.

Then is Karma our destiny? No, every individual has free will. And no external force can act on our life. If destiny means something expected which is firm and controlled by mystic power then Karma and destiny are not the same. Karma is the after effect of individuals past deeds. In Sanathana Dharma Supreme is not responsible for our destiny. We are the creators of our own destiny by the virtue of past deeds. Past deeds determine the present, and the present deeds decide the future according to the doctrine of Karma. Karma is not the thoughts alone even our words and action are responsible for good, bad or mixed destiny.

Can our prayers to Supreme protect us from the remorse of our bad Karma? No, we have this habit of accusing Supreme. “Why has God done this to me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” Supreme has no hand in intensifying or diluting our Prarabdha Karma. Prarabdha Karma is like the money that is withdrawn from the account which has to be spent whatever happens. Then what is the meaning of prayer, prayers are meant for us to keep our mind calm so that we don’t accumulate bad Karma in future.

So Karma inherited in the past life cannot be modified??? Yes, we can modify, it is a simple equation of deposits. The Sanchita Karma is like deposits. Here it is still in the account (not encashed) so if we acquired sufficient credit by doing good Karma it may wipe out the effect of bad Karma, the one in the deposit. (Never mistake for the one which is already encashed which has to be spent).

Can Karma be completely wiped out???? Yes it can be wiped off, In Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, Sloka 37, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna “Just as blazing fire burns firewood to ashes, true knowledge attained by the grace of God, through a Guru, burns all Karma to ashes.” Here Lord Krishna is specific on the Sanchita Karma (deposit) not Prarabdha Karma, which anyhow will get exhuasted at the end of the indviduals life span.Sanchita can be wiped out only if we do deeds with an atittude of non-doership.

Can astrology cause or dictate Karma? No, astrology is an actual relation between us and the characteristics of the solar system and certain star huddles. But it is not a cause and effect relation. Planets and stars don’t cause or dictate Karma. Their orbital relationships establish proper conditions for Karma to activate which is unavoidable. Then what is the use of doing all the rituals in the name of astrology then? Shear solace for the disturbed mind. Once a person is acquainted with the Law of Karma then he is not worried about the hurdles in life and will not go to correct his astrological status. And for this a strong mind that accepts Law of Karma is needed.

Does past Karma alone can lead to success without any effort???? No, the results of past Karma alone cannot lead to success unless our efforts are utmost. That is why in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna after informing Arjuna that his destiny favors win in the battle advises Arjuna to fight. In Chapter 11 Sloka 33, the Lord Krishna says “Arise, o Arjuna, conquer thy enemies, enjoy the kingdom and win the glory.” Although the impact of an individual's past Karma cannot be underestimated, it is the effort the one must utilize as free will.

So there cannot be free will because the present life is determined by the past Karma????? No again, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, our first Vice-President said “In the game of life, the cards are given to us, we do not have the opportunity to select them, they are traced to our past Karma, but we can throw and pick cards in the play as we please, and do what suit to us and as we play we gain or lose. And that is what free will is.”

51. Arranged or love, Marriages sustain only with LOVE!!!!!!!

In an arranged marriage the groom and bride will have little or no say. This is because the elders of the family believe that marriage is not merely a union between a man and a woman, it is a merger of two families. Hence many other factors will be given more preference apart from getting the consent of the couple. The compatibility of not only the couple, but also that of the two families, the monetary security of the young couple, social and other support networks essential for a descent living is also considered relevant. After all these factors are considered only then do they ask the choice to the couple concerned and sometimes they don’t also. If asked, what the couple who are not known to each other would decide about? It is not only looks but they need to understand if their mentalities match. This is the only small setback in an arranged marriage the bride and groom are not sure if they are of same wavelength. More importantly in such kind of marriages there is the support of all the family members in case something may go wrong in future, they will volunteer to settle the minor issues that may crop up as in all marriages.

In love marriage only the couple concerned has the say and they agree to marry because they are in love with each other in spite of cultural differences which may seem unconcern at that time. According to this criterion, it may be love at first sight or it may occur as the time passes on. Love is blind they say, so no comments on it. The positive note about this type of marriage is that the couple would have understood each other well, having said that there is one more side to consider the couple would also indulge in impressing each other when in courtship. In that case the either of them will come to know about the real nature only after marriage. This is one of the major reasons for the break up here.

The selection of a life partner is a huge task it requires to know the temperament, adjusting nature, academic interest, and financial potential of the would-be-spouse. It is near to impossible to meet all our requirements which we expect in the partner. The process involved in arranged marriages is to see that maximum of the overall requirement is taken into account with virtual importance of each aspect. It is done more in an implicit rather than in an explicit manner. Also, it is based on the theory that the partners can discover and establish to love each after marriage even though they have not met before. This is not impractical but a possible anticipation if parents own experience is taken into account if theirs is an arranged marriage.

There are statistics which imply that love marriages are more susceptible to break compared to arrange marriage. We cannot take it as a thumb rule and conclude that all love marriages end up breaking or all arranged marriages stick together. If we believe what these statistics indicate? Love marriages more importantly which appears to be love at first sight or that which happen at inappropriate age may not be a safe or adequate basis for choosing a partner for life. In this statement we should not mean that love in a marriage is irrelevant. On contrary, it is very important. Love in not just liking for each other. Indeed, no marriage can last without love for each other.

The important observation to be made is that whether it is the arranged marriage or the love marriage, if it has to sustain then there should be love, understanding and compassion for each other. There should be no clash of ego and respecting each other is the key. A long-lasting commitment to each other's well-being keeps the marriage going and this is more important than anything else. In the end it is not the type of marriage that matters but more importantly it is how well the couple jell with each other.

With all this phases considered parents have to advice the youngsters who are students, the difference between infatuation and love. They should make them understand that there is always a right time to think about it and right now it is time to think of their studies and set their mind in career development. Once they feel they have settled they can consider about who would be their life partner, of course with the concern of the parents. If parents are taken into confidence in this matter, they will and should support. If this is inevitable then there is no point in opposing the wishes of the young couple as the first love is the one which haunts a lot in future.

50. If Self is Gold our Attitudes are Ornaments!!!!!

Our senses helplessly comprehend the Reality which is mystifying as this world. The normal person sees only the form in a thing and attributes complete authenticity to it. Simultaneously, he witnesses the unpredictability of the form, but he is unaware of it or ignorant to it. Every philosophy put forth an effort to make us understand the Reality behind the form. Further when one looks from the Reality point of view, there is no form either.

In Vedanta to make the seekers understand Reality, unique illustrations are used. Lets take an example here of the gold and the ornament. For a normal person who looks at an ornament, at the first glance sees the thing as only the ornament. But on second thought, he acknowledges that it is made of gold. His sense perception has made him to think of the thing as ornament first and then the gold. After some more contemplation, he recognizes that between the form and the gold in the ornament, the form often gets modified, while the gold remains constant. In view of the fact that gold is the vital element of all gold ornaments and since the form is only a momentary appearance leaving nothing behind, he is obligatory to admit that the gold only is eternal and that the form as ornament is merely a make shift. Thus if a person is made to understand gold in its pure formless nature by asking him to look at the ornaments from the standpoint of gold, then he sees nothing but gold in the ornaments just as a banker or a robber would. At this level even in the form it is the gold that appears and not the ornament. An “ornament” is an ornament only by principle, but at the core it is actually gold.

Taking the lesson from the above Vedantic illustration and applying to the Self and our own body, senses and mind, we can see the Self in its pure nature as gold and the others as the form. If we see the world from the view point of that pure Self, we can see the whole world as nothing but our own real Self. This is how we are helped to experience the Truth of the Upanishad dictum: “SARVAM KHALVIDAM BRAHMAA” This entire universe is verily Brahman - Chandogya Upanishad Ch. 3 Sec 14 Verse 1

Now having said that, let’s analyse further. If we try to take away our mind from the ornament, the ornament alone does not disappear it takes the gold also along with it and this creates a void and we are left helpless and are placed in the dark. But if we are taught to see the gold in the ornament and understand that the gold is the only part which is permanent, then in every succeeding view of the ornament, we will highlight only the gold in it.

Similarly, when we start seeing our body, senses and mind as the ornaments of the real Self we have only to emphasize the Self in each. The shift of our interest, from the appearance to the essence is all that is needed. Then, everything appears as gold or the real Self.

Hence we can observe that, we may not like the make or type of the ornament and dislike the way it is crafted but have we found any person who has got complaints with the gold itself???? Likewise our attitudes as rude, humble, arrogant, adamant etc are like the ornament but the true self is like gold and no one will and should have a problem with it.