Tuesday, May 29, 2018

1158. Gratefulness or Indebtedness......!

Kritagnatha Bhava (Gratefulness) is a state of mind born out of Compassion. It is not something to hold on to, as in to return the favour, or gesture that has a subtle meaning of bondage; though often, unnoticeable. That is altogether another thing. In fact, that itself is no longer gratitude, but referred to as Runattva Bhava (Indebtedness) which is born out of Guilt. And we know that no debt can carry an experience of joy and freedom but for a sense of obligation. Gratefulness reinstates while Indebtedness annihilates us. They both are from different roots and the outcome of experience is different. An act that is born out of Compassion always has joy and freedom in it, what arises from Guilt will carry resentment, discomfort and slavery in it.

When we hear someone say “I am indebted to you” then it is s a momentary expression and they make it into an obligation, to a point of stressfulness; forgetting the initial intent of an act which was to bring about joy and freedom itself. Sometimes, these kinds of expressions are held on so tightly in the mind that it lasts a lifetime, or sometimes even beyond.

In the Kurushetra war on the tenth day Bhishma was wounded by the arrows inflicted of Arjuna. The arrows had pierced the chest of the grand old man in such a way that his body was unable to touch the ground when he fell from the chariot. As he remained lying on the support of the arrows and his head was hanging. He requested Arjuna to make some provision and Arjuna immediately stuck three arrows to the ground beneath Bhishma’s head to support it. 

Bhishma was bestowed with boon of “Iccha Mrithyu” (death when desired) by his father Santanu. Starting from that day Bhishma was on the bed of arrows for 58 days waiting for Uttarayana Punya Kala. The war ended eight days after Bhishma was injured. Sri Krishna along with Pandavas and Draupadi went to see Bhishma. Yudhisthira questions Bhishma about the Supreme to whom one has to surrender, then as an answer flows the lovely Thousand Names of Sri Hari, the famous Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Stotra. Further while still on his bed of arrows, Bhishma clears the doubt on Dharma that Yudhishtira had. Draupadi was amazed and gave a sarcastic smile. She wondered how the grand old man of Kuru clan can now talk about Dharma now while at the Kuru Sabha when Dushasana was disrobing her he remained tight lipped.

Looking at Draupadi and knowing her qualm, Bhishma tells her that the arrows from Arjuna had leaked away all the blood which was produced due to the food consumed from the Kaurava kitchen. Here one has to understand that Bhishma did not mean to say that the food he consumed was the cause for him to stay loyal, but the word he had given to his step mother Satyavathi that he will safeguard the interest of the Kuru clan. This is what is called being “Indebted” to. 

Just imagine what a person who says “I am indebted to a Party and not to the Public” may have to face in future…….!

Monday, May 28, 2018

1157. Leaves, Shoots, Flowers and Fruits.....!

Hindu scriptures are written in Deva Bhasha (Language of Gods), Sanskrit. The narration of a subject in those scriptures is done in any of the three Bhasha (Descriptions) namely Guhya (Mystical), Darshana (Philosophical) and Samadhi (Elemental). Vedas are in Guhya, Upanishads are in Darshana and Puranas are in Samadhi Bhasha. 

In the usage of Guhya Bhasha, the subject when taken out of context will mean exactly the opposite of what it used to interpret when within the context. Vedas are therefore comprehended by using Nighantu and the Nirukta, the oldest Indian treatise on etymology, philology and semantics. Vedas are very difficult to understand without them. 

Since it was very difficult to understand they were written in Darshana Bhasha as Upanishads. In Darshana Bhasha the subject is communicated in such a way that the actual hidden meaning is revealed but yet it is not as simple as we get to know the subject in a conventional way. The essence of the subject is revealed in the form of a conversation between a Guru and his Shishya. To understand the dialogue there has to be a preceptor who can unveil the intricate meanings.

The Upanishads which were in Darshana Bhasha were still more decode into Samadhi Bhasha. Here the theme of the subject is communicated in a conventional way in the form of stories and parables. They are called Puranas. In the form of stories the quintessence of the hidden meaning could be captured easily. Hence if a seeker starts with Puranas he can then move on to Upanishads and from there on it will be simple for him to get fused with Vedas.  

Vedas are Apaurusheya, meaning that it is not a composition limited by geography, time and authorship. It was Bhagwan Vyasadeva who divided it into 4 parts namely Samhitas, Brahamanas, Aranyakas & Upanishads using Darshana Bhasha. Then again when even Upanishads seem to be like a tough nut to crack Vyasadeva wrote Puranas. Puranas provide the simplest way of understand the language of Vedas.     

To provide an example of how the three Bhasha were used by Bhagwan Vyasadeva, He equates Vedas to a tree. Vyasadeva interprets further that the Leaves of that tree are Dharma (Righteousness), Flower is Artha (Prosperity), Kama (Desire) is the Shoots while the Fruit is Moksha (Liberation). Telling Vedas are like tree is Guhya Bhasha, when he explains that the four Purusharthas are its Leaves, Flowers, Shoots and Fruits it will be Darshana Bhasha. A common man can only understand if the relationship between the four Purusharthas and the anatomy of the tree is described. 

Vyasadeva says just as the tree needs Leaves to survive we too need Dharma, without it there is no Artha (Flowers) or Kama (Shoots) or Moksha (Fruits). Artha is like flower which many of us think is the ultimate goal, if we are “Alpa Tripta” (contented with few) and stop our endure here we will not get the Fruit which is the ultimate. Kama is like Chiguru (Shoots) which are fresh tender leaves which are so only for a few days. Kama, the desire also like Shoots are temporary they are no longer there if satiated but they are many as in a tree, desire too is short but always  overlapping one over the other.  

Moksha is the ultimate fruit which we all wait for to relish to the fullest.  

Saturday, May 26, 2018

1156. Power-Hungry....!!!

“My son alone should be the ruler” this is how every selfish father would think. The welfare of the citizens is never the concern, only the name and fame of the dynasty becomes imperious. This has led to disaster time and again. A father who is blinded by the love for his son will never see if his son is worthy enough to be the leader, he just wants to see him ascend the throne. His progeny clinging to power will be the only wish and will do anything to let the power remain within his dynasty. The hunger for power and love for dynastic rule is deadly combination. It takes the sense out of the individual and drives him to restore to the most unethical and illegal methods. If this attitude is nurtured it develops hatred towards the rival. The hatred is so much that the individual can go to any extent to stop his rival from gaining power, even after knowing that his rival is better than him. This is the point where the love for dynasty takes a back seat temporarily to counter the rival. The hate towards the rival for a while subdues the love for dynasty. 

Ashwattama, the son of Dronacharya wanted to take revenge on Pandavas after the entire Kuru Dynasty was wiped off in the Kurukshetra war. In haste he hurled the mighty “Brahmastra” as a counter to that Arjuna too shot the “Brahmastra”. The collusion of the two mighty weapons would be disastrous to mankind and hence Bhagwan Vyasadeva requested both Ashwattama and Arjuna to retrieve the weapons. Brahmastra is a Shastra (Weapon) which is used with a particular mantra; the mantra is the code to the weapon and with the mantra a Shastra becomes Astra. As there is a mantra to initiate an Astra there is a mantra to abate it too. Arjuna and Ashwattama both recited the mantra to subdue the weapon. While Arjuna was successful Ashwattama failed. 

Even after knowing about the mantra to abate why did Ashwattama fail to control the Brahmastra??? 

After the Kurukshetra war Duryodhana with the broken thigh is lying in the battlefield. The rage of revenge is not yet doused. Ashwattama one of the survivors approached him and asked him about the next course of action. Duryodhana asks him to ensure that the entire clan of Pandavas was eliminated. He did not wish Pandavas to rule Hastinapura. With the entire Kuru Dynasty and its well-wishers killed in the war it was only Pandavas who could rule Hastinapura as per Raja Dharma. The question was who would rule Hastinapura if the entire clan of Pandavas were eliminated. The hatred towards Pandavas made Duryodhana lose his sense and request Ashwattama to procreate children with his wife so that they can rule Hastinapura. 

Ashwattama who was a Brahmachari for his entire life did not object to the proposal which was against Dharma. This became the reason for him to not retrieve the Brahmastra. This incidence from the life of Duryodhana tells us that the mind-set to cling to power which he had obtained as an asset from his father Dritharashtra. This mindset had made him stoop so low that he never imagined how his wife Bhanumathi would have felt if Ashwattama had approached her asking her to co-operate with him to beget children. The hatred towards others pulls an individual to think as a criminal and behave like a beast.

That is what being Power-Hungry is all about!!!!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

1155. Antah Karna Shuddi.....!

My Thatha (Grandfather, my father’s father) had a piece of land in Gauribidanur where he used to cultivate groundnuts. Earlier in a write up I had also mentioned about the important lesson I got from him while he saw him de-weeding and his views about how the weeds affect the quality of groundnuts. Now I could reflect it to the unwanted thoughts which are like weeds and harm the constructive thoughts in the field called mind. 

The groundnut cultivation was when a few yards away from the land flowed River Pinakini. The water was sufficient for the cultivation. As time passed the river dried up and the sand mafia stepped in. With the water source drying up and no other source of water my Thatha rented
out that piece of land to touring talkies. 

The concept of touring  talkies is to watch movies projected on a white cloth which works as a screen under a temporary shed. There is no flooring done the audience sat on the ground and for those who can afford there were few wooden chairs. When we had vacations we would go to the touring talkies. 

Somehow I was not keen on watching movie in a touring talkies. The dust stirred up by the audience while moving in and out of the tent would settle on the white cloth on which the movie is projected. The dust and soil
does not let the screen remain white and this makes the movie
projected apear dull. Moreover the screen too is not still, it is shaky due to the wind behind. After watching movies in theatres in city, one may not be interested on watching them in touring talkies. The screen was soiled and hence the picture projected on it was not bright, it was not the fault in the projector or in the movie reel. Just the dust and the wind spoils the clarity of the picture on the screen.

Just as the picture is not clear on the screen due to the dust on it, to experience the Antaryami within is not possible with a clouded Antahkarna the inner conscience. 

This Antahkarana comprises of:

Manas: which always interacts with the world through the sensory organs and it is called Mind.

Buddhi: The realm of thoughts and faculty of Discrimination and it is called Intellect.

Chitta: the massive storehouse of inherent Impressions (Vasanas) and Tendencies (Samskara) formed as a consequence of repeated actions performed in the present as well as previous births and it is called Memory. And finally

Ahamkara: The predominant notion of one's own personality like “I am so and so” and it is called Ego.

These four faculties of the Antahkarna has to be clean to experience Antaryami. When there is discipline in mind without chaos the Antahkarna will automatically become Clean (Shuddha) as crystal, with a crystal clear Antahkarna, the veil of Ignorance (Maya) which is like the dust on the screen is lifted. With the veil of Ignorance gone Antaryami, the in-dwelling entity in every individual like water in the depths of the earth is sure to grace the Mind with His vision.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

1154. Inspire or Control.....!

Prerana (Inspiration) and Niyantrana (Control) are two actions which have the same result but have different approach. A person who is transparent, selfless and resourceful can influence others and the one who has status, money and power can have others in control. Prerana is the accomplishment that motivates the receiving party and Niyantrana is the act of exploitation towards the receiving party. Influence can encourage others even without position; to inflict fear control has to have a position or status. A personality that can influence others is human-friendly while the controlling personality takes refuge in terror tactics. Those who conduct on controlling can gain upper hand over those who influence.

In Mahabharata the sons of Pandu were great inspiration to their subjects but the sons of Dritarashtra were controlling them. The ability to inspire by Pandavas was the trait which was like the thorn in the flesh for Duryodhana so he threw them out of Hastinapura by manipulating.  In Gokula Sri Krishna the inspired people of Brundavana as he moved around even when He was not a ruler. He was neither King nor the commander of the Yadavas, yet He was the most inspirational personality among Yadavas. His influence had earned him the affection of those people which He would not lose.

Kamsa, the ruler of the Vrishni Kingdom had the power of position by controlling his people. Therefore he was always worried about losing control and had Chanura and Mushthika to create fear. The guarantee of position got by control has the fear of losing it, and when it is lost, it gives rise to anxiety and insanity.

It is better to be inspiration to people than have control over them and always fear of losing the power which leads to creating madness for oneself and others. Pandavas were exiled after grabbing their Kingdom but never did they lose the art of inspiring others. Kauravas enjoyed the power but had inspired none in their entire life. Eventually, they lost power too so whatever control they did have due to their status and power was also lost in war. Whatever power the Pandavas had, they used it wisely to increase the ability to inspire others always. When they lost everything in the Game of Dice, they still held the wealth of inspiring others.

We have to choose wisely, so that we can rise above easily even when our position is taken away, instead of succumbing to madness. Pandavas lost power several times but they came out victorious. Kauravas were anxiety stricken even by the thought of losing power. So they were controlled by their own fear and had no time and interest to inspiring anyone else positively. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

1153. Bylakuppe....!

One of my friends in FaceBook wanted to know why Buddhism is not No.1 religion while Christianity is, though Buddha was born before Christ. Ironically some go by numbers to say that so and so is the No.1 religion. We all know how Constantinople, the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire became the present Istanbul and how Hagia Sophia was converted to Ottoman Imperial Mosque. While one community used its might the other used its missionary to become No.1 religion. What is this No.1 when you lose Humanity???

We had been to Madkeri last week and while returning back to Bengaluru we visited a place which is near Kushalnagar to the west of Mysore. If Dharamsala in Himachal Pradesh is the host to the Tibetan Buddhists in search of peace, tranquillity and spiritual guidance this place in Karnataka has two Settlements of Tibetan Buddhists. The two Tibetan refugee settlements started in the year 1961 and 1969 respectively has now grown into a full-fledged town housing the largest Tibetan population outside of Dharamsala in India. During the Chinese aggression in 1958 as many as 1,50,000 Tibetan refugees spread out all over the world with a more than a 1,00,000 settling in different parts of India.

Karnataka was one of the southern states to open up settlements for the Tibetans in villages like Bylakuppe, Hunsur, Mundgod and Kollegal. Bylakuppe which is 80 kms from Mysore is the host to a largest Tibetan community in exile with about 40,000 people in settlements containing monasteries, kindergarten to higher level secondary schools, health care clinics, hospital with traditional Tibetan medical facility and also a court within. The settlement is spread over 3000 acre which was leased by the then Government of Mysore. In 1966, 4,000 acres of forest land near Mundgod in Uttara Kannada district was allotted to about 15,000 Tibetan refugees followed by the establishment of two more the Rabgayling settlement in Gurupura village near Hunsur and Dhondenling at Oderapalya near Kollegal. Currently, the population of Tibetan refugees in India is estimated to be around 1.5 lakh and Karnataka has the largest number, estimated at 45%. It has been 50 years and the second generation of those Tibetan Refugees are living happily and most importantly without fear. This is the culture of my land India; we Hindus do not use might or ministry to make Hinduism No.1 in the first place we do not believe in No.1 as we welcome any religion or any philosophy.   

Vast open lands with Tibetan houses and colourful flags fluttering in front of the monasteries welcome us. The most popular and visited monastery is Namdroling, which can be sighted from a distance. As it was a day after Buddha Jayanthi we were not allowed inside the shrine as there was some rituals being performed. The volunteer there talked to us in fluent Kannada and explained it to us. We could peep inside through the window to have a glimpse of the 60 foot tall statue of Buddha flanked by Padmasambhava and Amitayus on either side sitting serenely amidst the colourful paintings, sculptures and small statues. The statues they say are made of copper and plated with gold ……and they are amazing!!!