Tuesday, July 31, 2018

1185. God.... without Region, Religion and Reason.

By reading a few of our scriptures I have understood that God is a manifested form of an Infinite Energy. The personification of that Infinite Energy was required to help comprehend it in a simple way at the initially stage. What could be the reason behind understanding God???

The purpose of everybody’s birth is to fulfil the Purusharthas (The Four Objectives of Life). The ultimate among them being Moksha. Moksha in simple words to to get back home, to the source. It is to sever the vicious cycle of birth-death-rebirth. Moksha highly depends on Karma; Karma is our action (Agama) not the resultant fruit (Prarabdha or Sanchita). And I believe that our Agama Karma can get us Moksha. Perfoming Bhakti and attaining Jnana too can be the way for Moksha.
Bhakti is “to surrender” and Jnana is “to gain Knowledge.” Bhakti is not limited to worshipping God alone and it is not restricted to surrender only. “Bhaktavijaya” was a book my mother used to read when we were young. The book was a translation of Mahipati’s Marathi work to Kannada. The 300 year old literature has Soul-stirring Stories of several Saints. In one chapter the book glorifies the importance of servitude towards parents. Pundarika made Vithala wait as he was busy serving his parents and Vithala had no other go but to wait standing on a brick outside the house of Pundarika. Here the importance to serve parents is the highlight and God can wait.

God is Energy and it can only be felt like how Sun beam is felt when it reflects on the surface of an object. When light falls on ocean, it makes the ocean appears to be blue in colour. Light is colourless and yet it makes the colour of the ocean blue. And when we look at the ocean at night it is not blue, this makes us think that the light beam from the Sun is personified as it reflects from a surface. Likewise God is formless Energy like Sunlight. We fail to understand this Energy, so we need it to be personified into some “form” so that its nature is perceived.

Every scripture only guides us and the ultimate decision is ours. Even while giving the sermon in Gita, Sri Krishna tells Arjuna, “Yatha Ichasi, Tatha Kuru” (Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 verse 63). Sri Krishna puts the onus on Arjuna after explaining him on why he has to fight and how he has to fight. This was to make Arjuna aware that it is his Karma alone that matters more, as He can only guide him. So here I could understand that even God doesn’t come between me and my Karma, all I have to do is concentrate on the signals I receive from Him through my “Dhi” (Intellect) which is aligned to Him always and attempt to do only the good Karmas.

I am not Edging God Out displaying my EGO and obviously I am not an atheist too. My belief is firm on my awareness that the God which the Upanishads refer to as “THAT” is an infinite Energy which is not confined to a particular REGION or in a particular
RELIGION or for a particular REASON.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

1184. Dark Matter matters ....!

Sri Krishna once performed Ashvamedha Yagna at Dwaraka and himself was the Dikshita (Ordinator). When the Yagna was on a Brahmin came there crying. Arjuna who was also present there asked him the reason for the tears. Brahmin told him that his wife is about to deliver their tenth child and was in labour pain. He wanted someone to save his child as all the nine children born earlier had vanished in thin air the moment they came to this world. Arjuna volunteered to rescue his child. The Brahmin insisted Sri Krishna to intervene, but Sri Krishna was in the midst of the Yagna.

Arjuna assured the Brahmin that he will rescue the child and if he failed to do so, he will jump into the burning pyre. Unwillingly the Brahmin agreed and together they both went to the Brahmin’s house. Arjuna encircled the place with his mighty arrows and stood at the entrance guarding it. However, the child vanished in thin air as soon as it was born.

Brahmin was very upset with Arjuna for not letting him get the help of Sri Krishna. Arjuna promised to get the child back and went in search to Yamaloka, Indraloka, Agniloka, Adhityaloka, Chandraloka, Vayuloka, Kuberaloka, Varunaloka and Prajapatiloka but did not find the child. He returned back and as told he decided to jump into the fire.

Sri Krishna came to know about this and rushed to stop Arjuna from taking the extreme step. He took Arjuna in a huge chariot and drove towards north-west direction crossing the seven seas. He entered the Ghanodaka region and further rode the chariot till He reached His original abode, Anantasana. Sri Krishna entered in asking Arjuna to remain outside. He brought the ten children of Brahmin who happened to be the attendees of Maha Vishnu and due to some curse had been born in Bhuloka as the children of that Brahmin. Sri Krishna and Arjuna returned back to Dwaraka and handed over the children to Brahmin.

This is an incidence is recorded in Srimad Bhagavatam by Vyasadeva. After this incident Arjuna requested Sri Krishna to enlighten him about the worlds they went pass while going towards Anantasana. Sri Krishna explains Arjuna all the lokas. Now, what interested me is the mention of Ghanodaka region here.

When I was a kid I had heard about Sri Varahaswamy protecting the modesty of Bhudevi (Mother Earth). Hiranyaksha (Golden Eyed), the Rakshasa (Demon) had kidnapped Mother Earth and dumped her in an “Ocean.” Which ocean was it??? It could definitely not be an ocean which is on the Earth that the demon was carrying. Could it be ocean in any other planet??? No, as the search for water in other planets is yet to fructify. Then in which place did Hiranyaksha hide Mother Earth???

Here the incidence of Brahmin from Srimad Bhagavata provides answer. It says that when Sri Krishna was passing the “Ghanodaka” (Nether Ocean) region which was Ghana (Solidified) Udaka (Water) his chariot had to cut through dark. Darkness is not matter, it is absence of light as we all know. But in Srimad Bhagavata Vyasadeva mentions that the wheels of the chariot had to cut through the “Dark”, was it matter then??? This Ghanodaka was the place where Hiranyaksha had placed Mother Earth. 

Roughly 80 % of the mass of the Universe is made up of material that scientists cannot directly see. Dark matter is not darkness as it does participate in gravitation. It is not visible but its effects likes distortion and bending of light is felt. Ghanodaka is the “Dark Matter” that science is curious now. So, Sri Krishna took Arjuna on a trip to “Dark Matter” and beyond that to his Eternal Abode called Anantasana (Anantasana is one among the Tridhamas where Maha Vishnu stays, other two being Shwetadweepa and Vaikunta).

Friday, July 27, 2018

1183. Eclipse.....!

Grahana (Eclipse) was supposed to be to Surya (Sun) and Chandra (Moon) but when we were young, Grahana had us too in its grasps. There was a set of Do’s and Don’ts’s to be followed before, during and after the eclipse period. As we were in an agrahara (Brahmin settlement) the rules that had to be followed was even stricter. But one thing that was fascinating was that everyone was in a relaxed mood as nobody was supposed to eat anything during the eclipse period. The last meal had to be taken at least 2 hours before the start of the eclipse so there was no kitchen work till the end of eclipse. We could find the women folk sitting together and tlaking to each other. It was confirmed that there is no leftover in the kitchen. Water, milk, curds and pickles were protected from the harsh rays by putting a piece of Dhurva grass in it.
We were not allowed to have the glimpse of the eclipse. Our elders warned us not to venture outside. Out of curiosity the middle aged members of our family would darken the glass pieces with the soot from the oil lamp to view the Sun through this darkened portion of the glass. Lunar eclipse too was not advised for viewing. If there happened to be a pregnant member in a family then it was a big issue. Pregnant lady was asked to literally hidden in a dark room closing the doors and making sure that even a small hole or crack in a window or door was plugged.
Remembering those days make me feel how concerned our elders were towards a pregnant member. Today we have technology which brings the eclipse live at our drawing room. In fact the whole discussion on this eclipse started a few days back in almost every channel. What irritated me is that every programme on this celestial event that could have been a wonderful event was overshadowed to create fear.
Astrologers started reading out the list of Rashis (Zodiac Sign) that are to be affected due to this eclipse and provided the remedies for that. Astronomers created a flutter with words like Jala Pralaya (Water Deluge) and Prakruti Vikopa (Nature Disturbance). As it is we have overflowing rivers and streets, these words bring in anxiety and unease. Understood that the Television Channels want to increase their Television Rating Point but they could have done that with nice informative topics on this celestial event. This is my view.
There is nothing that can happen which we don’t deserve, so even if there is eclipse or not, rains does happen and if rains are abundant the rivers and streets do overflow.
Finally for the sake of keeping the mind (Chandra is Manokara you see) away from these dangerous news, I request my friends to chant this Chandra Gayatri and experience the Chandra Grahana (if it is not cloudy).
Om Kshira Putraya Vidmahe
Amruta Tattvaya Dhimahi
Tanno Chandrah Prachodayaat.
(Om. Let us meditate on the glorious Son of Milk, the glowing Moon. May that Chandra, the essence of nectar, inspire and illumine our Mind and Intellect)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

1182. Maha Vishnu as Bauddha....!

Buddha was sitting in the seat of silence under a huge tree. A villager approached Him and asked, “Do you agree that God exist?”

Buddha replied, “No, I don’t agree!”

A few hours later another villager came to Buddha and asked. “There is no God, what do you have to say?”

Buddha said, “Of course yes! He is present!”

Then another person came to Buddha and asked, “Does God Exist?”

Buddha closed His eyes and remained in the seat of silence for a few minutes.

The person looked at Buddha closing His eyes and closed his eyes too. No one knew what transpired and the man bowed down to Buddha in reverence and said, “I had approached many Masters with this question, none could answer. You are the only one who provided the answer.” and he left.

Now the disciples of Buddha were confused as Buddha’s answer to the three was contradictory and conflicting answers. One of them asked, “O Master! you gave different answer to the three similar question could you please dispel our confusion.”

Buddha explained, “Fundamentally my answers to the questions do not relate to God. My focus was more on the questioner than the question. The question from the first person sounded to me like he was a theist. The second was an atheist. The two were not firm on their belief and wanted my opinion. My understanding is that sceptical beliefs are hurdles for realization of Truth. Whether it is a theist or an atheist they are bound by their own beliefs and dogmas. A firm believer or a firm atheist do not ask others opinion. The first and second person had already some opinion in their mind with which they were not satisfied. So I had to answer to them against their belief. As far as the third person is concern he was seeking Truth. He had nothing in his mind but wanted to know. So I remained silent looking within. My message to him was to remain silent, contemplate and know. Some questions cannot be answered in words; they have to be felt and experienced within. He simply followed me and in silence he went within, something transpired. The answer he got made him overwhelmed with gratitude. I did not provide any intellectual answer yet he was able to relish the taste of the Existing Truth.”

Maha Vishnu appeared as Bauddha to nudge us from clinging to rituals and dogmas. Some say Bauddha rejected Vedas and hence He cannot be an incarnation of Maha Vishnu. The truth is that He appeared to correct our mistakes in getting stuck in the Karmakhanda (Ritualistic) section of Vedas and push us towards the Jnanakhanda (Wisdom).

Bauddha uttered thus:
“Sarvam Kshanikam Kshanikam,
Sarvam Dukham Dukham,
Sarvam Svalakshanam Svalakshanam,
Sarvam Shunyam Shunyam.”

The literary meaning is: 
“Everything is Temporary, 
Everything is Unpleasant, 
Everything is of its own Nature, 
Everything is Void.” 

But one can analyse it as:

Life is momentary and we need to use this present moment without wasting it for unnecessary activities.

Bhagavata Purana talks of pleasant moments and unpleasant moments in our life; it compares our Pleasant moments to Mustard and Unpleasant moments to Meru Parvata (Mountain Meru).  
Every person or thing is unique in his or its own Nature and hence everything is different from the other. This difference divides us and diversity prevails.

At the end everything becomes invalid or worthless. How many kings ruled this land where are they now, buried in the sands of time? This reality makes us think that in future this present is a Shunya.        

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

1181. Ancient Indian Metallurgy.

We have an industry in Bengaluru catering to Electrical Motor and Transformer industries. Our main raw material is Electrical Steel which is special steel alloy having magnetic properties. This iron alloy becomes special with the addition of Silicon which has got the properties to make the alloy produce specific magnetic properties. Silicon is an abundant element on Earth next only to oxygen. Though Silicon is not found free in nature it occurs chiefly as silicon dioxide and as silicates. Handful of sand from the beach has by mass 47% of Silicon in the form of Silica. The variation in Silicon content in the metallurgy of this special steel alloy enables us to get better electrical parameters when used in the appliances like motors and transformers. 

Initially when we were new to this field we found it difficult to understand about this steel. Our practical knowledge was limited due to the overloaded theoretical knowledge got from books and lecture on this alloy. We had read about these metals in our Material Science class when in college but had never seen one. It was here I understood that theory was different from practical; it was tough to get the appropriate steel from the traders to suit to our client’s requirement. At one instance, we had a client who was a vendor to the Electronics and Radar Development Establishment of the Defence Research & Development Organization. He required a particular core section for a transformer and we assured him of getting him the core section. It was an R & D project for him too and I would take the samples to his unit in the morning and by evening he would call me and say that the core has not met the required electrical parameters. We ended up giving 19 samples. It was very difficult for us to get the perfect electrical steel grade to match their requirement. Finally we did pin point the required raw material to supply to the client who made transformers for DRDO. That is when my interest towards material science got a push, internet and various books on metallurgy caught my attention. From ferrous to non ferrous my interest grew. 

Metallurgy is not a new topic for us as our ancients were experts in it. My post yesterday mentioned about iron cast of Bhimasena done by Sri Krishna, one of my readers was surprised and wanted to know if the art of casting was known during Mahabharata times. 

“Lohakarma Shastra” (Metallurgy) was done by the process of Secana (Pouring of Metal). In fact metals were mentioned in Vedas much before Mahabharata and Ramayana. Rig Veda mentions about Hiranya (Gold) and Ayas (Iron), (Note: we call magnet “Ayas-Kanta”', Iron-Lover as magnet attracts iron). Atharva Veda talks about Rajata (Silver), Trapu (Tin) and Sisa (Lead). There are many literature from Siddhas who were proficient in handling Avityaja (Mercury). They have a secret formula to solidify mercury which has medicinal benefits.

In our ancient texts like Mahabharata and Agni Puranas there is a reference of a word “Taila Dhauta” that is done to the arrow heads. Taila in Sanskrit is oil, Dhuta is wash. In today’s world we make the iron alloy brittle by a treatment. The process involves heating the iron alloy at high temperature and immediately immersed the white hot alloy in oil at room temperature; this process is called “hardening.” The iron alloy hardens by losing its resilience quality making it brittle. Arrow heads and sword edges need to be brittle. 

We had artisans who could make mirrors out of metal. Even though we do not have the evidence to prove our hold on metallurgy, we can know that our ancients were well-versed in handling metals in the past.

Monday, July 23, 2018

1180. All Hugs are NOT the Same....!

Meghanada was the eldest son born to Ravana and Mandodari. When he was born his birth cry sounded like thunder and hence he was named “Meghanada” (Sound of Thunder). He was an expert in magical warfare, sorcery and tantra. At the war between Shri Rama and Ravana, he joined the battle when all his brothers had been killed. When he was confronted by Shri Rama and Lakshmana, he fought fiercely and seized them both using Nagapasha (a trap of a million snakes). Both the brothers fell on the ground breathless. Nagapasha was untangled by Garuda. Learning that both Shri Rama and Lakshmana had been rescued by Garuda and were still alive, he used the Vasavi Sakthi, the magical dart of Indra against Lakshmana. Lakshmana fell unconscious, poised to die precisely at the Sunrise. His life was saved by Hanuma, who brought the whole mountain of Dronagiri which had the magical herb Sanjivani from the Himalayas to Lanka overnight. This act of Hanuma made Shri Rama emotional, He hugged Hanuma.

After the Mahabharata war Sri Krishna takes the Pandava brothers to Dhritarashtra. Dhritarashtra is eager to meet them and is especially interested to meet Bhimasena. Bhimasena had as been responsible for the death of all his sons. “Come to me” said the Blind King. When Bhimasena went to receive his blessings by touching his feet, the Blind King stretched out his arms and said, “I wish to hug you, Bhimasena”.

Sri Krishna knew how desirous Dhritarashtra was to hug Bhimasena and had already had an iron statue made for this occasion. He brought the statue in front of Dhritarashtra. The Blind King pressed the statue so hard that it crushed. Dhritarashtra thought he had killed Bhimasena and realised his mistake and tears rolled down his eyes. Sri Krishna said, “I very well knew how enraged you were and this is the reason I had arranged for an iron statue of Bhimasena to be made. You will not get back Duryodhana by killing Bhimasena. You had earlier said that sons of Pandu were your sons too and you also know the atrocities hatched by your sons against them. Your sons planned to kill the five brothers on many occasions but were saved; now why do you want to be a sinner by killing Bhimasena?

All Hugs are NOT the Same.....!

Hugging is actually to display the emotional feel of bonding we have with the other person. But hug can be used as a tool to conceal hatred and fake the non-existent bond also. The intention behind a hug is more important than the act itself. When the intention is clear in the way of action there is no need for a hug. The person who is hugging and the person who is receiving the hug already are aware of the existing bond, then this ritual of hugging will become an outwardly display for others to know about the bond.      

Thursday, July 19, 2018

1179. Economics of Livelihood.....

There is abundance in resource and our requirement is adequate. Yet there is chaos in managing the abundant resource, why??? The rich and poor gap is widening and all the efforts to bring in equality have failed. In the early seventies the then government brought in the land reforms and declared “tiller is the owner of the land” in the process it distributed poverty among the haves instead of uplifting the have nots. The communist thought too did not make the living better. Is there a solution to this???

According to our ancients there are different Vritti (Livelihood) which we adopt. The difference in the livelihood we adopt causes the imbalance in managing the resource. Understandably it is impossible for everyone to follow a similar kind of livelihood. Our livelihood depends on many parameters for some it will be subjected to how much they earn, while for a few it will be entirely on their taste and some have their livelihood to their whims and fancies.

The different Vritti which our ancients observed are in a way to help us understand the present scenario. Every human being has a unique thought process and it varies not only among different individuals but also among siblings. The way we earn and spend is equated to the vrittis described and it has to be noted that there is no hierarchy in it.

First and most commonly used is the Madhukara Vritti (Bee’s Livelihood). Madhukara in Sanskrit is a Honey-Bee. Honey-bees fly from one flower to another flower collecting nectar and deposits in its hive for the future. But one fine day it is relished by someone else. In the process of amassing wealth the one who has hoarded will never enjoy it. This Madhukara Vritti when adopted in spiritual life it is the best. One can go about collecting knowledge and then compile them in a book adding their own experience in acquiring that knowledge so that others can make use of it.

Then there is this Pashavika Vritti (Beast’s Livelihood). Pashu in Sanskrit is Beast. A lion hunts down a huge elephant but doesn’t consume the whole its leftover is for the scavengers. A few not only work hard and earn so much that after enjoying it they leave it for others to flich on it.

Next is Ajgara Vritti (Python’s Livelihood). Ajagara in Sanskrit is Constrictor. A python devour its prey whole without leaving anything for others and also it goes into hibernation for some time. Likewise a few work hard for a few days and earn well and spend the entire earnings and then take rest for a few days.

Dhenu Vritti (Cow’s Livelihood) is one more. Dhenu in Sanskrit is Cow. Cow munches on the grass only to its stomach full and will not consume more than required. There are a few who are contented with what they earn and their earning is consistent.

Silonchana Vritti (Grain Collectors Livelihood) Grain collectors are birds which peck on the fallen grains from the crop in the fields. These are individuals who work as daily wages and are always contented.

Now, the rarest of them all Salina Vritti (Modest Livelihood) Salina is one who is modest. He does not worry about is earnings he only knows to work and keeps a strong feeling that his stomach will be filled.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

1178. The two extremes....!

Upanishads in one occasion says you are everything and in another it reminds you are nothing. This “everything” and “nothing” being opposite words the statement seem to be like Asatyabhasa (Paradox).

Upanishads says you are everything because at any given point in time you are in contact with the Collective Consciousness. It will be impossible for you as an individual to escape the tangible and the intangible elements of the Universe that is constantly in touch with your being in numerous ways. At the same time you are nothing. Being part of the Collective Consciousness in a way suggests that you are truly nothing as an individual. The identity we keep is itself because of the notion that we are separate from the Universe. This identity which separates us and gives us the tag of an individual is very insignificant in the relative scope of the infinite Universe.

Now if we contemplate on the Upanishad statement and tie these two thoughts into one another  the concept and realization of knowing will be that we are nothing, yet everything. If I am nothing I can be everything. Once you believe in something as an absolute, you are automatically precluding yourself from believing in the opposite, which means that in some ways a part of your freedom of thought as a human being is forfeited as a result.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna that a hallmark of a Sthitaprajna (Steadfast) is in the ability to holding the opposites together and transcending the duality. To transcend this we need to tread the pathless path. The pathless path is to train the mind not to stick to one extreme alone. The opposites reside in either extreme and if I am stuck with one extreme, I am automatically precluding myself from reckoning the opposite. This means that in a some way a part of my freedom of thought is forfeited as a result. 

Walking the pathless path makes my mind open to both extremes. I would be creating a dynamic persona that adapts everything and anything on a whim, because ego and preconceptions don’t get in the way. 

Take your beliefs and preconceptions yet consider it's opposite. 

Regard them both.

Rise above them. 

Transcend duality.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1177. The Metal Mirrors....!

A mirror can be manufactured without using conventional glass. They make mirrors from metal it is a rare piece of craft that has existed since  Vedic period. The experts used “Dhatu” Shastra. Dhatu is metal and its science is metallurgy. They have expertise in combining metal like copper and tin to produce  distortion free reflection.

Our ancient artisans made ornaments like bangles and rings, cooking vessels and bells by casting copper based alloys. While working on the alloy, they discovered the reflective property of one particular ratio of copper-tin alloy. This characteristic of the polished metal has been explored for making “Aranmula Kannadi” (Aranmula Mirror).

This alloy is a precious inherited gift which is kept a secret and has been handed over through generations which has earned them the Geographical Indication tag. Aranmula is a temple town near Chengannur, in Pathanamthitta District, Kerala State, India. 

A few centuries back the head priest of Aranmula Parthasarathy Temple found that the crown made for the Deity had developed a crack. He then updated it to local King who summoned the bronze smith and ordered him to make a new crown within three days. The bronze smith was worried as he did not have sufficient material or time to fetch them. He came home and told his wife about this. It is claimed that while she was sleeping, Parvathi Devi appeared in her dream and told her the ratio proportions of a copper-tin alloy that shine like a mirror. 

The crown was made from the combination turned out to be a marvel of art and craft. It appeared to be like silver in colour, as brittle as glass and had the shine of rare brilliance. When cleaned using wax and coconut oil it acquired the quality of reflection. Further the alloy casters soon worked out the ratios of different metals to make it more reflective.

The bronze smiths of Aranmula liberally patronized the artisans and even laid down an order that the mirror should be one of the eight auspicious articles used in all Hindu religious rites including marriage. Hence it became a very popular ritualistic article among the Malayali Connoisseus and this great piece of art flourished. Though the demand gradually declined as the cheaper glass mirrors were available, the popularity of this handicraft has not and never will.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

1176. Out of the Cave....!

The Allegory of Cave by Pluto provides us an insight on what we believe is our life, our religion, our family, our community, our society, our city and our country. Though it is providing a backdrop that shapes our perspective, it is also creating a prejudice from which it is difficult to escape. The cave represents the ideologies which we are stuck with and looking to break free from them. Breaking free does not mean to explore new understandings but to become aware of deceptions. Plato wants us to uncover the biggest deception and to question ourselves as to who we are, what is the purpose of our existence, what should be our actions, and importantly what we perceive in others, their existence, their actions and their perceptions. Even more so, we why presume the action and perception of others.

Allegory of Cave throws light on our corporal existence. As Plato points out, there are those who want to remain in the cave as they have taken the cave for “reality”, and have become hostile towards any effort to enlighten them of the things outside the cave. So let us not focus on those dont want to get out of the cave. Now, what is it for those who have the zeal to come out of the cave??? And is it for us to step out of our mind and intellect index and get in touch with the pure Light of Consciousness like the person who ventured out of the cave??? This is the question Pluto is asking us? If yes, we have come out of deception.

But the biggest question is how to uncover self-deception and escape from it??? Self-deception is allowing ourselves to believe something about ourselves that is not true, because the truth is more unpleasant.

One must be very careful of this. Coming out of the cave is not to enter another cave. Of course it was not the philosopher’s intention, but we should not take this allegory and create another cave for ourselves. We think there is actually a cave and we need to get out of it. It is quite natural to think so as mind works on these lines only. Mind has materialised it within us and created yet another puzzle for itself. How can mind get out of the puzzle it has created for itself. Mind creates the puzzle and the same mind wants to solve it. It is like a single person playing the game of hide and seek. It is like immovable object meeting the unstoppable force. The trick is to become aware of these mind mechanics. These Mind mechanics can clear doubts on our corporal existence but can never make us understand our spiritual existence.  
Without the light of awareness, the mind is lost and only goes deeper and deeper into the jumble. Awareness is what takes us out of deception as well as self-deception. If we look only to address deception unmindful of self-deception and want to ask how to know how it is to be outside the cave, the question is a big welcome sign into yet another cave. This is what Sri Dakshinamurthy said, “The entire universe is like a city seen within a mirror, seeing happening within one’s own self.”

With awareness there are no caves…………!

Monday, July 9, 2018

1175. Attitude....!

 “Attitude is Everything” says a poster. “Your Attitude determines Your Altitude” says another.

What exactly is this “Attitude”???

Attitude is the preconditioning of behaviour or response. Attitude is an acquired state of mind got from enduring the experiences in life. By using it one is liable for his actions and reactions that can be evaluated as negative or positive. Either way the person is labelled as “having too much attitude” but this remark also holds different meanings. In doing things confidently a person is regraded as one with positive attitude. On the other hand if a person is too egoistic he is seen as displaying a negative attitude towards others. So, there can be many definitions of attitude depending upon the perspective. The ability to face a situation in a right manner is to have a positive attitude. This positive attitude depends more on the condition rather than on the effect in regard with the cause.

A Zen master who was in a high altitude monastery was unable to tolerate the extreme cold. When all the firewood accumulated to survive the winter got exhausted, he broke the wooden statue of Buddha into pieces and put them in the fire. When the astonished disciples asked him why he did so, he said “I want the inner Buddha to be alive.” Zen attitude differs from what Buddha had preached. Buddhism concentrated on cause and the aftermath (Effect) while Zen speaks about the cause and conditions (Present). Our action depends on cause and effect as per Buddha point of view but action could also depend on the cause and conditions from Zen masters views.

If an example is to be considered here, two persons are sleeping on the railway platform of a remote village. One of them has lost his home in a fire and has made the platform his shelter for the day and the other guy is from the neighbouring village who takes shelter in the platform as it is safe for him to be there. For the person who had lost his home sleeping on the platform is effect, while for the person from the next village it was a condition to sleep on the platform. This explains the attitude of seeing things. Attitude is always confronted by perception. If “A” says “B” has “Attitude” problem then “B” thinks “A” has “Perception” problem.  
Attitude also helps in perceiving the situation so that a solution can be derived at. 

In the Ramayana, instead of arguing with Kaikeyi and trying to claim His rights over the throne, Shri Rama dealt with the situation from a higher level. He disclosed that he was in fact waiting for such an opportunity where he could unload his burden of responsibilities and learn from the Sages in the forest. When an eagle is chased by a horde of crows, it doesn’t fight back it chooses to fly higher and out of the crows reach. This is the attitude of an eagle. Instead of delving into negative situations, Shri Rama chose to focus on the positives that could be awaiting Him.

When Arjuna visited the Indralokha (Heaven) the celestial nymph, Urvashi cursed him to become a eunuch for rejecting her proposal. He converted that curse into an opportunity by using it to his advantage during the one year of incognito stay at Kingdom of King Virata.

In both the cases it was the condition which was used to the advantage.

So using the prevailing condition to the best of advantage is “ATTITUDE”.

Friday, July 6, 2018

1174. Killing of Vaali.........

Ramayana has a lot for us to instruct on how to perceive things when we are put in a quandary. Killing of Vaali by Shri Rama which is elaborately mentioned in Kishkinda Khanda is one such episode which had made me think a lot on the how Shri Rama could differentiate Nyaya and Niti to decide on what He has to do.  
Rakshasha Kabandha advises Shri Rama to befriend Sugriva and help him as he is troubled by his brother Vaali. Vaali had abducted Ruma, wife of Sugriva and had driven him out of the kingdom. Shri Rama helped Sugriva by killing Vaali. Many doubt was it ethically or morally correct for Shri Rama to kill Vaali. Sage Valmiki covers all issues but leaves it to us to break the puzzle and understand. Superficially Sage Valmiki has penned everything against the action of Shri Rama. 

Why would he do it??? 

Many authors overlook the ethical aspects in order to highlight the character, while some point out everything against the character and let the reader crown the character. When we look at Ramayana as a Kathanaka (Story) instead of the taking it as Itihasa (History) we miss this finer gradations.

According to Kabandha Vaali was not “Evil,” when he mentions about him to Shri Rama he says Vaali was “Angry” (Sugriva had thought Vaali was killed by Maayavi and assumed Kingship of Kishkinda). Sugriva had misjudged the situation and countermanded the instruction of Vaali. As punishment Vaali banished Sugriva and since they were Vanaras the “Alpha Male” traits was at display in taking Ruma. So Shri Rama was aware that Vaali was not wicked. 

Sugriva too did not wish for Vaali’s death instead he asked Shri Rama to do whatever may deem it fit so that he is not troubled by his brother. But at the time of accepting friendship Shri Rama had already promised Sugriva that He will eliminate Vaali.  Shri Rama made the promise to Sugriva before knowing the reason for enmity between Vaali and Sugriva. So what could be the reason that Rama passes death sentence to Vaali?
When invited by Sugriva to duel for the second time, Tara, wife of Vaali warns about Shri Rama. Vaali clearly says Shri Rama will not sin by killing him when he is fighting with Sugriva. 

How could Shri Rama shatter the hopes of Vaali???

These are all ethical points that cropped up while reading Ramayana of Sage Valmiki which we need to contemplate upon.

In Sanskrit there are two distinct words Niti and Nyaya both relate to justice but these two are off separate concentrations and there is a basic distinction between them. Niti is a term used for organisational propriety and behavioural correctness. Nyaya stands for a more comprehensive concept of realised justice. For Example, we have Matsyanyaya “Rule of the Fish” big fish devouring the small fish. There is no Niti (Ethics) here. If the big fish feels for the small fish then it will have to starve. When looking at an issue from Nyaya angle Niti should not be a hindrance.   

Vaali wanted the Kingdom for himself and Sugriva had to hide in Rishimukha hills where Vaali was not permitted. While taking over the Kingdom he had taken Ruma too showing his “Animal Instinct.” Shri Rama did not approve it. Vaali also sought to have extended help to find Sita. But Shri Rama was not impressed that coming from the mouth of a “Wife Stealer.”