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DHARMA
(Sanatan Dharma - Hindu Religion)
What is Dharma? Dharma is so called, because it holds: Dharma alone holds the people, etc. The word Dharma is derived from the root DHR- to hold- and its etymological meaning is ‘that which holds’ this world, or the people of the world, or the whole creation from the microcosm to the macrocosm. It is the eternal Divine Law of the Lord. The entire creation is held together and sustained by the All-powerful Law of God. Practice of Dharma, therefore, means recognition of this Law and abidance by it. That which brings well-being to man is Dharma. Dharma supports this world. The people are upheld by Dharma. That which accrues preservation of beings is Dharma. Dharma leads to eternal happiness and immortality. That which is Dharma is verily the Truth. Therefore, whosoever speaks the truth is said to speak Dharma, and whosoever speaks Dharma is said to speak the truth. One and the same thing becomes both. Dharma includes all external deeds, as well as thoughts and other mental practices which tend to elevate the character of a man. Dharma comes from the Divine and leads you to the Divine.
No language is perfect. There is no proper equivalent word in English for the Sanskrit term Dharma. It is very difficult to define Dharma. Dharma is generally defined as ‘righteousness’ or ‘duty’. Dharma is the principle of righteousness. It is the principle of holiness. It is also the principle of unity. Bhishma says in his instructions to Yudhishthira that whatever creates conflict is Adharma, and whatever puts an end to conflict and brings about unity and harmony is Dharma. Anything that helps to unite all and develop pure divine love and universal brotherhood, is Dharma. Anything that creates discord, split and disharmony and foments hatred, is Adharma. Dharma is the cementer and sustainer of social life. The rules of Dharma have been laid down for regulating the worldly affairs of men. Dharma brings as its consequence happiness, both in this world and in the next. Dharma is the means of preserving one’s self. If you transgress it, it will kill you. If you protect it, it will protect you. It is your soul companion after death. It is the sole refuge of humanity. That which elevates one is Dharma. This is another definition. Dharma is that which leads you to the path of perfection and glory. Dharma is that which helps you to have direct communion with the Lord. Dharma is that which makes you divine. Dharma is the ascending stairway unto God. Self-realisation is the highest Dharma. Dharma is the heart of Hindu ethics. God is the centre of Dharma. Dharma means Achara or the regulation of daily life. Achara is the supreme Dharma. It is the basis of Tapas or austerity. It leads to wealth, beauty, longevity and continuity of lineage. Evil conduct and immorality will lead to ill-fame, sorrow, disease and premature death. Dharma has its root in morality the controller of Dharma is God Himself. Maharshi Jaimini defines Dharma as that which is enjoined by the Vedas (wisdom) and is not ultimately productive of suffering. Rishi Kanada, founder of the Vaiseshika system of philosophy, has given the best definition of Dharma, in his Vaiseshika Sutras: "That which leads to the attainment of Abhyudaya (prosperity in this world) and Nihsreyasa (total cessation of pain and attainment of eternal bliss hereafter) is Dharma".
In the matter of Dharma, the Vedas are the ultimate authority. You cannot know the truth about Dharma through any source of knowledge other than the Vedas. Reason cannot be the authority in the matter of Dharma. Among the scriptures of the world, the Vedas are the oldest. This is supported by all leading scholars and antiquarians of the entire civilised world. They all declare with one voice, that of all books, so far written in any human language, the Rig-Veda Samhita is undoubtedly the oldest. No antiquarian has been able to fix the date when the Rig-Veda Samhita was composed or came to light.
Just as a doctor prescribes different medicines for different people according to their constitution and the nature of their disease, so also Hinduism prescribes different duties for different people. Rules for women are different from the rules for men. The rules for different Varnas (castes) and Ashramas (the four stages of life) vary. But, non-violence, truth, non-stealing, cleanliness and control of the senses, are the duties common to all men. Dharma depends upon time, circumstances, age, degree of evolution and the community to which one belongs. The Dharma of this century is different from that of the tenth century. There are conditions under which Dharma may change its usual course. Apad-Dharma (apad = distress) )is such a deviation from the usual practice. This is allowed only in times of extreme distress or calamity. What is Dharma in one set of circumstances becomes Adharma in another set of circumstances. That is the reason why it is said that the secret of Dharma is extremely profound and subtle. The truth of Dharma lies hidden. Srutis and Smritis are many. The way of Dharma (which is) open to all is that which a great realised soul has traversed.
All other religions also lay stress on Dharma. Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Islam are all remarkably alive to its value. Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Kant, Swedenborg and Spinoza are all striking examples in the interesting history of Western philosophy for the high pedestal on which they have placed morality, duty and righteousness, and adored them all as the only means to the attainment of the goal of life. Each religion lays greater stress on certain aspects of Dharma.
Of the four grand objects of human aspirations ( Purusharthas), viz., Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, Dharma is given the foremost rank in the scriptures. Dharma alone is the gateway to Moksha, to immortality, infinite bliss, supreme peace and highest knowledge. Dharma alone is the primary Purushartha. Dharma is the first and foremost Purushartha. Through the practice of Dharma alone can you ever hope to achieve the crowning glory of all human endeavours, viz., Moksha (liberation) which is the best and the highest of all desirable things. Practice of Dharma leads to the perfect realisation of essential unity or the final end, the highest good, namely, Moksha (liberation). The practitioner experiences peace, joy, strength and tranquillity within himself. His life becomes thoroughly disciplined. His powers and capacities are exceedingly intensified. He realises that there is one underlying homogeneous essence, a living truth, behind these names and forms. He is transmuted into divinity. His whole nature gets transformed. He becomes one with the Eternal. He beholds Brahman (the Supreme Reality) above, Brahman below, Brahman to the right, Brahman to the left, Brahman in front, Brahman at the back, Brahman within, Brahman without and Brahman pervading the whole world.
Dharma can be classified under two heads: (1) Samanya or the general, universal Dharma. (2) Visesha or the specific, personal Dharma. 1.Contentment, 2.forgiveness, 3.self-restraint, 4.non-stealing, 5.purity, 6.control of senses, 7.discrimination between right and wrong, as also between the real and the unreal, 8. spiritual knowledge, 9.truthfulness and 10.absence of anger come under the general or universal Dharma. The rules of the castes and orders of life are specific Dharmas. These are the tenfold characteristics of Dharma according to Manu. Dharma assumes various kinds: (1). Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law), (2). Samanya Dharma (general duty), (3). Visesha Dharma (special duty), (4). Varnashrama Dharma (duties of caste and Order), (5). Svadharma (one’s own duty), (6). Yuga Dharma (duty of the age or period in history), (7). Kula Dharma ((duty of family), (8). Manava Dharma (duty of man), (9). Purusha Dharma (duty of male), (10). Stri Dharma (duty of female), (11). Pati Dharma (duty of husband). (12). Raja Dharma (duty of king), (13). Praja Dharma (duty of subjects), (14). Pravritti Dharma (duty in worldly life) and (15) Nivritti Dharma (duty in spiritual life) (16). Putra Dharma (duty of the son), (17) Pitra Dharma (duty of father) (18). Matra Dharma (Duty of mother), (19). Patni Dharma (duty of wife), (20) Guru Dharma (Duty of teacher).
Sanatana Dharma means the Eternal religion, the Ancient Law. This is based on the Vedas. This is the oldest of living religions. Hinduism is known by the name Sanatana Dharma. What the Vedas alone declare to be the means of attaining the summum bonum or the final emancipation, is the Sanatana Dharma or Hindu Dharma. The foundation of Sanatana Dharma is Sruti (Vedas); Smritis are the walls; the Itihasas and the Puranas are the buttresses or supports. In ancient times, the Srutis were learnt by heart. The teacher sang them to his pupils and the pupils sang them after him. They were not written in book form. All the sects, all the philosophical systems, appeal to (look upon) the Sruti as the final authority. The Smriti stands next in authority to the Sruti. Hinduism stands unrivalled in the depth and grandeur of its philosophy. Its ethical teachings are lofty, unique and sublime. It is highly flexible and adapted to every human need. It is a perfect religion by itself. It is not in need of anything from any other religion. No other religion has produced so many great saints, great patriots, great warriors and great Pativratas. The more you know of it, the more you will honour and love it. The more you study it, the more it will enlighten you and satisfy your heart.
India has been and is the home of Dharma and religions. The religious history of the world tells us that from time immemorial, India has been the home of great sages, seers and Rishis. All the great religious ideals that have moulded the character of men, the loftiest tenets of ethics and morality that have raised human beings to magnanimous heights of divine splendour and all the sublime truths of spirituality that have made men divine and have moulded the spiritual ideals of nations and saviours of mankind, first arose in India. The spiritual horizon of India has always been illumined with the glory of the self-effulgent sun of wisdom of the Upanishads. Whenever there was any upheaval in any part of the world, the origin of this could be traced to the wave of spirituality caused by the birth of a great soul- a special manifestation of Divinity- in some part of India. Hindus have had a culture, civilisation and religion millennia older than those of any other country or people. God did speak to the world through India’s Rishis, Yogis, Mahatmas, Alvars, prophets, Acharyas, Sannyasins and saints. Their teachings are really inspired. God is the one Light and Truth from whom emanate the teachings of all faiths. India is the home and abode of religions. It occupies the proud first place in religious devotion and godliness. It is famous for its Yogis and saints. The goal of India is Self-realisation or attainment of God-consciousness, through renunciation. The history of India is a history of religion. Its social code and regulations are founded upon religion. Minus its Yoga, religion and its regulations, and India will not be what it has been for millennia. Some Hindus are still not aware of the distinguishing features of Sanatana Dharma. If every Hindu knew and understood what Hinduism is, the Hindus of today would all be gods on this earth. May you all be endowed with the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma! May you all endeavour to protect the Eternal Dharma! May the secrets of Sanatana Dharma be revealed unto you all, like a fruit in the palm of your hand, through the grace of the Lord! May the blessings of Rishis be upon you all! Glory to the Vedas and Sanatana Dharma! Glory to Brahman (Supreme Reality), the source of all Vedas and Sanatana Dharma.
Every religion has a generic form or Samanya Rupa and a specific form or Visesha-Rupa. The general form remains eternally the same. It is never changed by any circumstance whatever. It is not affected at all by changes of time, place, surroundings and individual differences. This aspect of religion is called Sanatana or Eternal. That which changes according to the change of time, place and surrounding circumstances is the external aspect or ritual, of Dharma. Samanya Dharma is the general Dharma or law for all men. Varnasrama Dharma are special Dharmas which are to be practised by particular castes and by men in particular stages of life. The Samanya Dharma must be practised by all, irrespective of distinctions of Varna and Asrama, creed or colour. Goodness is not the property of any one class, creed, sect or community. Every man possesses this virtue.



FUNDAMENTALS OF DHARMA
(Non-violence, Truth, Purity, Self-control etc.)
The Vishnu Samhita enumerates forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the mind, purity, practice of charity, control of the senses, non-violence, service of the Guru, visiting places of pilgrimage, compassion, simplicity, absence of greed, worship of the gods and the Brahmanas, and absence of malice as the ingredients of Samanya Dharma, the general law for all men. The Mahabharata enumerates as the fundamentals of Dharma: (1). The performance of Sraddha or offering oblations to the forefathers, (2). Religious austerity, (3). Truth, (4). Restraint of anger, (5). Satisfaction with one’s wife, (6). Purity, (7). Learning, (8). Absence of envy, (9). Knowledge of the Self and (10). Forbearance It is said in Padma Purana that Dharma proceeds from continence, truthfulness, austerity, charity, self-control, forbearance, purity, non-violence, serenity and non-thieving and that one should recognise Dharma by these ten factors. According to this Purana, bestowing gifts on deserving persons, fixing one’s thoughts on Lord Krishna, adoration of one’s parents, offering a portion of the daily meal to all creatures and giving a morsel of food to a cow are the characteristics of Dharma. According to Matsya Purana, freedom from malice, absence of covetousness, control of the senses, austerity, celibacy, compassion, truthfulness, forbearance and fortitude constitute the fundamentals of Sanatana Dharma. Patanjali Maharshi, the exponent of Raja Yoga philosophy, recommends that ten virtues should be practised by all men. The first five are: Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Brahmacharya (celibacy in thought, word and deed), Asteya (non-stealing) and Aparigraha (non-covetousness). These constitute Yama or self-restraint. The other five virtues are: Saucha (internal and external purity), Santosha (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of scriptures or recitation of Mantra) and Isvarpranidhana (consecration of the fruits of all works to the Lord). These constitute Niyama or religious observance. The Gita enumerates the following virtues as Daivi-Sampat or divine qualities: fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in the Yoga of Wisdom, alms-giving, self-restraint, sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, straightforwardness, harmlessness, truth, absence of wrath, renunciation, peacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion to living beings, non-covetousness, mildness, modesty, absence of fickleness, vigour, forgiveness, purity and absence of envy and pride. All these virtues are manifestations of the four fundamental virtues: 1. Non-violence, 2. Truth, 3. Purity, 4. Self-control All the above virtues come under the above four cardinal virtues. The virtues that are enumerated under the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism and the virtues prescribed by Lord Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount, also come under the above fundamental virtues. The development of the divine qualities is indispensable for the attainment of Self-realisation. Brahman or the Eternal is purity. The Eternal cannot be attained without the attainment of purity. Brahman is Truth. The Eternal cannot be attained without practising truth. Brahman is fearlessness. The Eternal cannot be attained unless you become absolutely fearless. Attachment to the body causes fear and Dehadhyasa. If only you become fearless, then the identification with the body will vanish. You have rendered the heart harder than flint, steel or diamond through greed, miserliness, harshness and rudeness. You can soften it only through the practice of mercy, sympathy, charity, generosity, magnanimity, harmlessness, mildness, disinterested action and untiring service of the poor. You have made the heart crooked and narrow through hypocrisy, untruthfulness, backbiting and tale-bearing. You can expand it through the practice of straightforwardness, truthfulness, purity of heart, alms-giving and non-covetousness. You have rendered the heart impure through lust. You can purify it through the practice of celibacy in thought, word and deed.
Ahimsa or non-violence is the most important virtue. That is the reason why Patanjali Maharshi has placed it first in Yama. Practice of Ahimsa must be in thought, word and deed. Practice of Ahimsa is not impotence or cowardice or weakness. It is the highest type of heroism. The practice demands immense patience, forbearance and endurance, infinite inner spiritual strength and gigantic will-power. Ahimsa is a modification or expression of truth only. Satyam (truth) and Ahimsa always go together. He who is established in Ahimsa can move the whole world. In his presence, all hostilities vanish; lion and cow, cobra and mongoose, live together peacefully. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism lay great stress on Ahimsa. Lord Jesus also has emphasised much on Ahimsa in his Sermon on the Mount. He says: "If any one beats you on one cheek, show him the other cheek also". He who is firmly established in Ahimsa can hope to attain Self-realisation. He who practises Ahimsa develops cosmic love to a maximum degree. Practice of Ahimsa eventually leads to realisation of oneness or unity of Self. Such a man only can attain self-restraint. Retaliation – tooth for tooth, blow for blow – is the maxim, doctrine or principle of an Asura or a man of diabolic nature. This belongs to the beastly nature. To return good for evil is divine. Constant vigilance and alertness are needed in the practice of Ahimsa. If you are careless even a little bit, you will be carried away by the force of previous wrong Samskara (impression or tendency) and impulses and will become a victim of Himsa (violence), despite your good intentions.
Brahman (the Supreme Reality) is Sat or Existence-Absolute. Truth must be observed in thought, word and deed. If you are established in truth, all other virtues will cling to you by themselves. Harishchandra sacrificed everything for the sake of truth. He lives still in our hearts. Yudhishthira was also devoted to truth. There is no virtue higher than truth. Practice of truth and Ahimsa constitute the crown and glory of ethical life. In the Taittiriya Upanishad, the preceptor says in his convocation address to the students: "Satyam vada"-Speak the truth. The world is rooted in truth. Dharma is rooted in truth. All religions are rooted in truth. Honesty, justice, straightforwardness and sincerity are only modifications or expressions of truth.
Purity comprises both external purity and internal purity. Purity implies both purity of body and purity of mind. Purity of body is only the preliminary to purity of mind. The body is the temple of God. It should be kept clean by daily bathing and clean dress. Cleanliness is a part of godliness. The restriction in diet is best calculated to make the mind pure. Food exercises a direct influence on the mind. Sattvic food makes the mind pure. Purity of food leads to purity of mind. Mind is only made up of the fine essence of food. As the food is, so is the mind. You must be pure in thought, word and deed. Your heart must be as pure as crystal; as pure as the Himalayan snow. Then only the divine light will descend. Purity comprises such virtues as frankness, innocence, straightforwardness and absence of all evil thoughts. He who is endowed with purity will find it easy to tread the spiritual path.
You must have perfect self-control or self-mastery. Self-control implies both control of the body and control of the mind. Self-control does not mean self-torture. You must lead a well-regulated and disciplined life. You must keep all the senses under your perfect control. The senses are like turbulent and wild horses. This body is like a chariot. Mind is the reins. Intellect is the driver. The Atman is the Lord of the chariot. If the senses are not kept under proper control, they will throw this chariot into a deep abyss. You will come to ruin. He who keeps the reins firm and drives this chariot intelligently by controlling the horses (senses), will reach the destination (Moksha or the abode of Eternal Bliss) safely. Self-control implies self-sacrifice, annihilation of egoism, patience, endurance, forbearance and humility. Overcome Raga or attachment by Vairagya or dispassion. Dispassion will dawn in your mind if you look into the defects of sensual life such as birth, death, disease, old age, pain, sorrow, etc. (Mithya-Drishti and Dosha-Drishti). Overcome anger and hatred by Kshama or forgiveness, love and selfless service. Overcome evil by good. Return good for evil. Overcome lust by the practice of Brahmacharya and regular Japa (repetition of Mantra or Lord’s name) and meditation. Conquer greed by charity, generosity and disinterested actions. Conquer pride by humility and delusion by discrimination and enquiry. Overcome jealousy by magnanimity, Atma-Bhava and nobility. Conquer egoism by self-sacrifice, self-surrender, self-abnegation and meditation on the non-dual, eternal, self-luminous Brahman, thy innermost Self, the Inner Ruler, the immortal. May you all attain eternal bliss and immortality through the practice of the cardinal virtues or the fundamental Dharma.



ASHRAM DHARMA
(Four Ashramas – Brahmacharya, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra)
The principle of Varnasrama Dharma is one of the basic principles of Hinduism. The Varnasrama system is peculiar to Hindus. It is a characteristic feature of Hinduism. It is also prevalent throughout the world according to Guna-Karma (aptitude and conduct), though there is no such distinct denomination of this kind, elsewhere. The duties of the castes are Varna Dharma. The four castes are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. The duties of the stages of life are Asrama Dharma. The four Asramas or orders of life are Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanprastha and Sannyasa.
A person's duties, are determined by the stage of life (Ashrama) to which he belongs. Life, which is regarded by Dharma as a journey to the shrine of truth, is marked by four stages (Ashramas) each of which has its responsibilities and obligations. Four Asramas or stages of life are; Brahmacharya, or the period of studentship, Grihastha or the stage of the householder, Vanaprastha or the stage of the forest-dweller or hermit, and Sannyasa or the life of renunciation or asceticism. Each stage has its own duties. These stages help the evolution of man. The four Asramas take man to perfection by successive stages. The practice of the four Asramas regulates the life from the beginning to the end. The first two Asramas pertain to Pravritti Marga or the path of work and the two later stages- the life of Vanaprastha and that of Sannayasa- are the stages of withdrawal from the world. They pertain to Nivritti Marga or the path of renunciation.
Life is very systematically and orderly arranged in Sanatana Dharma. There is opportunity for the development of the different sides of human activity. Due occupations and training are assigned to each period of life. Life is a great school in which the powers, capacities and faculties of man are to be evolved gradually.



VARNA DHARMA
(The four orders of human beings)
Often misunderstood , Misused or abused and generally known as caste system (Brahman, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras)
In the Mahabharata it is described as the ‘Four Orders of Human Beings’. There is no country on earth where the four orders of human beings do not exist. 1. Teachers (at schools, colleges and universities) and spiritual leaders (priests, Imams, Rabbi, Pandit) are Brahmins. 2. Government, judiciary, law-enforcement agencies and the defence force. Ministers, civil servants, military, soldiers, police are Kshatriyas. 3. Food producers & Wealth producers. Farmers, industrialists, merchants, business people, professionals (doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, etc) are Vaisyas. 4. Labourers are Sudras
Human society is like a huge machine. The individuals and communities are like its parts. If the parts are weak and broken, the machine will not work. A machine is nothing without its parts. The human body also can work efficiently if its parts and organs are in sound and strong condition. If there is pain in any part of the body, if there is disease in any organ or part of the body, this human machine will go out of order. It will not perform its usual function or work. So is the case with the human society. Every individual should perform his duties efficiently. The Hindu Rishis and sages formed an ideal scheme of society and an ideal way of individual life, which is known by the name Varnasrama Dharma. Hinduism is built on Varnasrama Dharma. The structure of the Hindu society is based on Varnasrama Dharma. Observance of Varnasrama Dharma helps one’s growth and self-evolution. It is very indispensable. If the rules are violated, the society will soon perish.
The aim of Varnasrama Dharma is to promote the development of the universal, eternal Dharma. If you defend Dharma, it will defend you. If you destroy it, it will destroy you. Therefore, never destroy your Dharma. This principle holds true of the individual as much as of the nation. It is Dharma alone which keeps a nation alive. Dharma is the very soul of man. Dharma is the very soul of a nation also. In the West and in the whole world also, there is Varnasrama, though it is not rigidly observed there. Some Western philosophers have made a division of three classes, viz., Philosophers, Warriors and Masses. The philosophers correspond to the Brahmanas, warriors to Kshatriyas and the masses to Vaisyas and Sudras. This system is indispensable to keep the society in a state of perfect harmony and order.
In Purusha-Sukta of the Rig-Veda, there is reference to the division of Hindu society into the classes. It is described there that the Brahmanas came out of the face of the Lord the Creator, Kshatriyas from His arms, Vaisyas from His thighs, and the Sudras from His feet. The division is according to the Guna and Karma. Guna (quality) and Karma (kind of work) determine the caste of a man. This is supported by Lord Krishna in the Gita, also. Lord Krishna says in the Gita: "The four castes were emanated by Me, by the different distribution of qualities and actions. Know Me to be the author of them, though the actionless and inexhaustible""(Ch.4-13). There are three qualities or Gunas, viz., Sattva (purity), Rajas (passion), and Tamas (inertia). Sattva is white, Rajas is red and Tamas is black. These three qualities are found in man in various proportions. Sattva preponderates in some persons. They are Brahmanas. They are wise persons or thinkers. They are the priests, ministers or philosophers who guide kings or rulers. In some persons, Rajas is predominant. They are Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. The Kshatriyas are warriors or men of action. They fight with the enemies or invaders and defend the country. The Vaisyas are traders. They do business and agriculture and amass wealth. In some persons, Tamas is predominant. They are Sudras. Sudras are the servants. None of these qualities is highly developed in the Sudras. They serve the other three castes. In a broad sense, a Sattvic man, who is pious and virtuous and leads the divine life, is a Brahmana, a Rajasic man with heroic quality is a Kshatriya, a Rajasic man with business tendencies is a Vaisya and a Tamasic man is a Sudra. Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and also, uprightness, knowledge, realisation and belief in God are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of their own nature. Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity, and also, not flying from battle, generosity and lordliness are the duties of the Kshatriyas, born of their own nature. Agriculture, cattle rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaisyas, born of their own nature. And action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudra, born of their own nature.
The underlying principle of caste system or Varna Dharma is division of labour. Rishis studied human nature carefully. They came to the conclusion that all men were not equally fit for all kinds of work. Hence, they found it necessary to allocate different kinds of duties to different classes of people, according to their aptitude, capacity or quality. The Brahmanas were in charge of spiritual and intellectual affairs. The work of political administration and defense was given to the Kshatriyas. The Vaisyas were entrusted with the duty of supplying food for the nation and administering its economic welfare. The Sudras did menial work. The Rishis felt all these needs of the Hindu nation and implemented the system of Varna and Asramas. This division of labour began in Vedic times The Vedas taught that the Brahmana was the brain of the society, the Kshatriya its arms, the Vaisya its stomach, and the Sudra its feet. There was a quarrel between the senses, the mind and the Prana (life-force or vital -energy or life- breath) as to who was superior. There was a quarrel amongst the different organs and the stomach. If the hands quarrel with the stomach; the entire body will suffer. When Prana departed from the body, all the organs suffered. The head or stomach cannot claim its superiority over the feet or hands. The hands and the feet are as much important as the stomach or head. If there is quarrel between the different castes as to which is superior, then the entire social fabric will suffer. There will be disharmony, rupture and discord. A scavenger and a barber are as much important as a minister for the running of the society. The social edifice is built on the law of spiritual economics. It has nothing to do with superiority or inferiority. Each class contributes its best to the common weal or world-solidarity. There is no question of higher and lower here.
A Brahmana (Brahmin or priest) is no Brahmana if he is not endowed with purity and good character, and if he leads a life of dissipation and immorality. A Sudra is a Brahmana if he leads a virtuous and pious life. What a great soul was Vidura! What a noble, candid, straightforward student was Satyakama Jabala of Chhandogya Upanishad! Caste is a question of character. Varna is not the colour of the skin, but the colour of one’s character or quality. Conduct and character count and not lineage alone. If one is Brahmana by birth and, at the same time, if he possesses the virtues of a Brahmana, it is extremely good, because certain virtuous qualifications only determine the birth of a Brahmana.
The Hindus have survived many a foreign conquest on account of their caste system. But they have developed class jealousies and hatred in the name of the caste system. They have not got the spirit of co-operation. That is the reason why they are weak and disunited today. They have become sectarians in the name of the caste system. Hence there is degradation in India. The caste system is, indeed, a splendid thing. It is quite flawless. But the defect came in from somewhere else. The classes gradually neglected their duties. The test of ability and character slowly vanished. Birth became the chief consideration in determining castes. All castes fell from their ideals and forgot all about their duties. Brahmanas became selfish and claimed superiority over others by mere birth, without possessing due qualifications. The Kshatriyas lost their chivalry and spirit of sacrifice. The vaisyas became very greedy. They did not earn wealth by honest means. They did not look after the economic welfare of the people. They did not give charity. They also lost the spirit of sacrifice. Sudras gave up service. They became officers. They wished that others should serve them. The greed and pride of man have created discord and disharmony. There is nothing wrong in Varnasrama. It is arrogance and haughtiness in men that have brought troubles. Man or the little Jiva (individual soul) is imperfect. He is full of defects. He is simply waiting for claiming superiority over others. The Brahmana thinks that the other three castes are inferior to him. The Kshatriya thinks that the Vaisya and Sudra are inferior to him. A rich Sudra thinks that he is superior to a poor Brahmana or poor Kshatriya or Vaisya.
"The four orders of human beings" refers to the whole of mankind and is not confined to any one country, or any one race group. We usually associate 'the four orders of human beings' with India (where it is generally known as the caste system, often misunderstood, misused or abused).
Consider for a moment an imaginary scenario where from the map of the world India is made invisible. Now apply the principle of 'the four orders of human beings' to all the countries in the world. Not one country will be found where this principle is not made applicable. Imagine again that in a given country, all the men, women and able-bodied youths decide to join the defence force of the country (claiming equality amongst all human beings). They are all sitting pretty with a rifle in hand waiting for the enemy to show up. Who will do the cooking to feed this defence force? What about tilling the land to grow the food to feed this defence force, and who will wash the clothes? If during war situation the wounded have to be operated upon, who will teach how to perform surgery? The maintenance of general cleanliness, removal of garbage etc. will have to be done by whom? The young boys and girls will remain uneducated because the whole population is sitting pretty with a rifle in hand waiting for the enemy to show up. Who will run the schools?
There are no industries, no labour force, no business community, because there are no 'four orders of human beings'. Without the division of labour, there is no human progress. Witness the crippling results of any general strike, by the workers of any vital industry, when such strike is sustained over a lengthy period. Such action can cripple any country. Let all the countries legislate that as from next month no human beings on this earth will perform the task of labourers (claiming that it is beneath human dignity and that all human beings are equal). What is stopping any country from enacting such legislation? If a labourer wins a lottery for ten million dollars, will he, thereafter, voluntarily remain a labourer? Labourers in this world are not labourers by choice.
Now the big question is: who can decide who is to be the labourer and who is to be the professor to teach at the medical college? Who will decide that? The division of labour, which broadly falls into 'the four orders of human beings' is based upon "guna and karma" of each individual. The word 'guna' in Vedanta means Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas (the three qualities born of Nature also known as "prakriti). To say that we should abolish the four orders of human beings (the caste system) also amounts to saying that the authority of the scriptures is to be brushed aside and substituted by some modern day thinker who argues that "In this day and age" the eternal principles do not apply. Consider the following extracts from the Bhagavad Gita: Bhagavad Gita, Ch.4, the Lord says: "The fourfold caste has been created by Me according to the differentiation of Guna and Karma;" Bhagavad Gita, Ch.18, the Lord says: "There is no being on earth, or again in heaven among the gods, that is liberated from the three qualities born of Nature."
Gita Ch.18, verse.41: "Of Brahmanas, Kshtriyas and Vaishyas, as also the Sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature." If we look at newly born human babies, we can see their physical features. Can we see in them the potential of the future Beethoven, Michelangelo, Einstein, a great saint or a common criminal? One baby may be endowed by nature with artistic abilities and another with musical talent, and yet another may be devoid of both these attributes. These are qualities born of nature. Human efforts can complement these qualities or attributes as when a teacher guides and inspires a pupil to achieve greater heights in a chosen field. When those babies grow up, their careers are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature. The four orders of human beings are based upon "qualities born of their own nature. In a maternity hospital, can we draw lots from a hat and fasten a tag on baby numbered one as the future labourer, the second baby as the future industrialist, the third baby as the future army commander, the fourth baby as the future college professor and the fifth baby as the future common criminal? Obviously not. The situation or the station in life for the individual will be determined by "qualities born of their own nature". These fundamental principles apply to all without geographical boundaries.
The eternal principles apply to all . One does not have to subscribe to a system of belief or carry the banner of any religion to include or exclude the application of eternal principles. Swami Sivananda says: "Mankind is organised into the four castes and each man`s life is divided into four stages, according to the nature of the Gunas and the degree of growth or evolution. This is the division of labour for which each caste is fitted according to its own nature. The duty prescribed is your sole support, each devoted to his own duty in accordance with his own nature or caste,and the highest service you can render to the Supreme is to carry it out whole-heartedly, without expectation of fruits, with the attitude of dedication to the Lord. The caste system is, indeed, a splendid thing. It is quite flawless. But the defect came in from somewhere else. The classes gradually neglected their duties. The test of ability and character slowly vanished. Birth became the chief consideration in determining castes. All castes fell from their ideals and forgot all about their duties.” .
The suppression of wrath, truthfulness of speech, justice, forgiveness, begetting children upon one’s wedded wives, purity of conduct, avoidance of quarrel, simplicity, and maintenance of dependants, these nine duties belong to all the four orders (equally).
Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness, and also uprightness, knowledge, realisation and belief in God are the duties of the Brahmanas, born of their own nature. Gita Those duties, however, which belong exclusively to Brahmanas, I shall now tell thee. Self-restraint, O king, has been declared to be the first duty of Brahmanas. Study of the Vedas, and patience in undergoing austerities (are also their other duties). By practising these two, all their acts are accomplished. If while engaged in the observance of his own duties, without doing any improper act, wealth comes to a peaceful Brahmana possessed of knowledge, he should then marry and seek to beget children and should also practise charity and perform sacrifices. It has been declared by the wise that wealth thus obtained should be enjoyed by distributing it (among deserving persons and relatives). By his study of the Vedas all the pious acts (laid down for the Brahmana) are accomplished. Whether he does or does not achieve anything else, if he devotes himself to the study of the Vedas, he becomes by that known as a Brahmana or the friend of all creatures.
“Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity and also not fleeing from battle, generosity and lordliness are the duties of Kshatriyas, born of their own nature.” Gita I shall also tell thee, O Bharata, what the duties are of a Kshatriya. A Kshatriya, O king, should give but not beg, should himself perform sacrifices but not officiate as a priest in the sacrifices of others. He should never teach (the Vedas) but study (them with a Brahmana preceptor). He should protect the people. Always exerting himself for the destruction of robbers and wicked people, he should put forth his prowess in battle. Those among Kshatriya rulers who perform great sacrifices, who are possessed of a knowledge of the Vedas, and who gain victories in battle, become foremost of those that acquire many blessed regions hereafter by their merit. Persons conversant with the old scriptures do not applaud that Kshatriya who returns unwounded from battle. This has been declared to be the conduct of a wretched Kshatriya (viz., returning unwounded from battle). There is no higher duty for him (Kshatriya) than the suppression of robbers. Gifts, study, and sacrifices, bring prosperity to kings. Therefore, a king who desires to acquire religious merit should engage in battle.
[Note: For without battle, he cannot extend his kingdom and acquire wealth to give away and meet the expenses of sacrifices.]
Establishing all his subjects in the observance of their respective duties, a king should cause all of them to do everything according to the dictates of righteousness. Whether he does or does not do any other act, if only he protects his subjects, he is regarded to accomplish all religious acts and is called a Kshatriya and the foremost of men.
Agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade are the duties of the Vaishya merchant class), born of their own nature. Gita I shall now tell thee, O Yudhishthira, what the eternal duties of the Vaisyas are. A Vaisya should make gifts, study the Vedas, perform sacrifices, and acquire wealth by fair means. With proper attention he should also protect and rear all (domestic) animals as a sire protecting his sons. Anything else that he will do will be regarded as improper for him. By protecting the (domestic) animals, he would obtain great happiness. The Creator, having created the (domestic) animals, bestowed their care upon the Vaisya. Upon the Brahmana and the Kshatriya, he conferred (the care of) all creatures. I shall tell thee what the Vaisya’s profession is and how he is to earn the means of his sustenance. If he keeps (for others) six kine (cows), he may take the milk of one cow as his remuneration; and if he keeps (for others) a hundred kine, he may take a single pair as such fee. If he trades with other’s wealth, he may take a seventh part of the profits (as his share). A seventh also is his share in the profits arising from the trade in horns, but he should take a sixteenth if the trade were in hoofs. If he engages in cultivation with seeds supplied by others, he may take a seventh part of the yield. This should be his annual remuneration. A Vaisya should never desire that he should not tend cattle. If a Vaisya desires to tend cattle, no one else should be employed in that task.
Action consisting of service is the duty of the Sudras (helpers class), born of their own nature.Gita I shall tell thee, O Bharata, what the duties of a Sudra are. The Creator intended the Sudra to become the servant of the other three orders. For this, the service of the three other classes is the duty of Sudra. By such service of the other three, a Sudra may obtain great happiness. He should wait upon the three other classes according to their order of seniority. A Sudra should never amass wealth, lest, by his wealth, he makes the members of the three superior classes obedient to him. By this he would incur sin. With the king’s permission, however, a Sudra, for performing religious acts, may earn wealth. I shall now tell thee the profession he (Sudra) should follow and the means by which he may earn his livelihood. It is said that Sudras should certainly be maintained by the (three) other orders. Worn-out umbrellas, turbans, beds and seats, shoes and fans, should be given to the Sudra servants. [Note: A Beshtana is literally a cloth tied round (the head); hence, a turban or Pagree. The word Ousira is applied to both beds and seats. The Hindu Upanaha had wooden soles.] Torn clothes that are no longer fit for wear, should be given away by the regenerate classes unto the Sudra. These are the latter’s lawful acquisitions. Men conversant with morality say that if the Sudra approaches any one belonging to the three regenerate orders from desire of doing menial service, the latter should assign him proper work. Unto the sonless Sudra his master should offer the funeral cake. The weak and the old amongst them should be maintained. The Sudra should never abandon his master, whatever the nature or degree of the distress into which the latter may fall. If the master loses his wealth, he should with excessive zeal be supported by the Sudra servant. A Sudra cannot have any wealth that is his own. Whatever he possesses belongs lawfully to his master.
AGAIN BHAGWAN SAID IN GITA: “Each man devoted to his own duty, attains perfection. Better is one`s own duty (though) destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no sin. One should not abandon, O Arjuna, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke."
1. THE SANATAN DHARMA (SRUTI), Tradition eternal which is not subject to change.
2. THE YUGA DHARMA (SMRITIS), Tradition valid for only an epoch or an age responding to the urge for change. Yuga Dharma are limited, temporary and relative in their scope and authority. The detailed workings, the minute points which have been worked out through centuries of social necessity, little ratiocinations about manners and customs and social well-being, do not rightly find a place in the category of religion. We know that in our books, a clear distinction is made between two sets of truths. The one set is that which abides for ever, being built upon the nature of man, the nature of the soul, the soul's relation to God, the nature of God, perfection and so on; there are also the principles of cosmology, of the infinitude of creation, or more correctly speaking, projection, the wonderful law of cyclical procession, and so on; these are eternal principles founded upon the universal laws of nature.
The other set comprises the minor laws, which guide the working of our everyday life. They belong more properly to the Puranas, to the Smrtis, and not to the Sruti. These have nothing to do with the other principles. Even in India, these minor laws have been changing all the time. Customs of one age, of one yuga, have not been the customs of another, and as yuga come after yuga, they will still have to change.
In the Krita age, all the duties exists in their entirety, along with Truth. No knowledge or object came to men of that age through unrighteous or forbidden means. In the other yugas, duty, ordained in the Vedas, is seen to gradually decline by a quarter in each. Sinfulness grows in consequence of theft, untruth, and deception. In the Krita age, all persons are free from disease and crowned with success in respect of all their objects, and all live for four hundred years. In the Treta, the period of life decreases by a quarter. It has also been heard by us that, in the succeeding yugas, the words of the Vedas, the periods of life, the blessings (uttered by Brahmanas), and the fruits of Vedic rites, all decrease gradually. The duties set down for the Krita yugas are of one kind. Those for the Treta are otherwise. Those for the Dwapara are different. And those for the Kali are otherwise. This is in accordance with that decline that marks every succeeding yuga. In the Krita, penance occupies the foremost place. In the Treta, Knowledge is foremost. In the Dwapara, Sacrifice has been said to be the foremost. In the kali yuga, only gift is the one thing that has been laid down.



PURUSHARTHAS
(Four Purushartha – Dharma, Arth, Kaam, Moksha)
In the domestic mode of life, those who are of pious conduct, who desire the fruits of virtuous course of behaviour with spouses in their company, have this mode of life ordained for them. In it Virtue, Wealth and Pleasure may be obtained. It is thus suited to the cultivation of the triple aggregate. Acquiring wealth with irreproachable acts, or with wealth of high efficacy which is obtained from recitation of the Vedas, or living upon such means as are utilised by the regenerate Rishis, or with the produce of mountains and mines. The householder's mode of life (Grihastha Ashrama) is regarded as the root of all the others (Brahmacharya Ashrama , Vanprastha Ashrama, Sanyasa Ashrama). That man who in the observance of this householder's (Grihastha) mode of life seeks the acquisition of the triple aggregate (viz., Religion, Wealth and Pleasure), with that of the great end of the three attributes of Goodness, Passion and Darkness, (Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas) enjoys great happiness here and at last attains to the end that is reserved for persons that are virtuous and good. Even that householder who observes the duties of his mode of life and who abandons sensual pleasure and attachment to action, does not find it difficult to obtain heaven.
The affirmative attitude of Hinduism toward life has been emphasised by its recognition of four legitimate and basic desires: 1. Dharma or righteousness, 2. Artha or wealth, 3. Kama or sense pleasure, 4. Moksha or freedom through communion with God or the Infinite.
These four attainments of life are collectively known as Purushartha. Of these, the first three belong to the realm of worldly values; the fourth is called the supreme value. The fulfilment of the first three paves the way for Moksha.
1. DHARMA (VIRTUE)
Dharma or Virtue is the fundamental means by which to attain the other three goals. Dharma is founded in Truth and it is the support of the universe. But the majority of people in their ignorance forget the first and the last, and run after worldly pleasures, often resorting to unrighteous means. As a result they suffer all through their lives. Misery is the inevitable result of adharma (opposite of dharma). Observing this sad plight of the people, Vyasa says in the Mahabharata: "Artha and Kama, which all people desire so much, can be attained from Dharma itself. Why then do they not follow Dharma?" Sri Shankaracharya said: "Dharma is the law of conduct by means of which man attains worldly prosperity as well as final beatitude or Moksha". The key to individual and social ethics of Hinduism is the conception of Dharma, whose full implications cannot be conveyed by such English words as religion, duty or righteousness. Derived from a root which means to support, the word signifies the law of inner growth by which a person is supported in his present state of evolution and is shown the way to future development. A person's Dharma is not imposed by society or decreed by an arbitrary God, but is something with which he is born as a result of his actions in previous lives. Dharma determines a man's proper attitude toward the outer world and governs his mental and physical reactions in a given situation. It is his code of honour. Dharma is the basis of both individual progress and social welfare.
2. ARTHA (WEALTH)
Dharma should be strictly adhered to for the attainment of worldly prosperity. Wealth must be earned or acquired according to Dharma.
3. KAMA (PLEASURE)
The object of the third legitimate desire is Kama, or the enjoyment of sense pleasure. This covers a vast area- from the enjoyment of conjugal love, without which the creation cannot be maintained, to the appreciation of art, music and poetry. Sense pleasures, if not pursued according to Dharma, degenerate into sensuality. Wealth and sense pleasure, which are only means to an end, are valuable in so far as their enjoyment creates a genuine yearning for spiritual freedom in the mind of the enjoyer.
The fourth legitimate desire, equally irresistible, is related to Moksha, or freedom from the love and attachment prompted by the finite view of life. Man, who in essence is spirit, cannot be permanently satisfied with worldly experiences. After fulfilling all his worldly desires and responsibilities a man still wants to know how he can suppress his inner restlessness and attain peace. So at last he gives up attachment to the world and seeks freedom through the knowledge of the spirit. In Mahabharata Balarama (who was conversant with the rules of morality) said: Morality is well practised by the good. Morality, however, is always afflicted by two things, viz., the desire of Profit entertained by those that covet it, and the desire for Pleasure cherished by those that are wedded to it. Whoever without afflicting Morality and Profit, or Morality and Pleasure, or Pleasure and Profit, follows all three, viz., Morality, Profit and Pleasure, always succeeds in obtaining great happiness. .



MOTHERHOOD
(Mother- the wanderful creation of God or God…)
“In the destruction of a family, the immemorial religious rites of that family perish; On the destruction of spirituality, impiety overcomes the whole family,” Arjun in Gita “The position of women in any society is a true index of its cultural and spiritual living,” S. Radhakrishnan.
Bhishma said: The mother is the panacea for all kinds of calamities. The existence of the mother invests one with protection; the reverse deprives one of all protection. The man who, though divested of prosperity enters his house, uttering the words, "O mother!"- has not to indulge in grief. Nor does decrepitude ever assail him. A person whose mother exists, even if he happens to be possessed of sons and grandsons and even he himself is hundred years old, but in the eyes of his mother he looks like a child of two years of age. Whether the mother is able or disabled, lean or robust, the son is always protected by the mother. None else, according to the ordinance, is the son’s protector. Then does the son become old, then does he become stricken with grief,then does the world look empty in his eyes, when he becomes deprived of his mother. There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother. For having borne him in her womb the mother is the son’s dhatri. For having been the chief cause of his birth, she is his janani. For having nursed his young limbs, she is called amva (Amma). For nursing and looking after the son she is called sura. The mother is one’s own body. There is no mode of life that is superior to serving one’s mother. .
The act of giving birth is the only moment when both pain and pleasure converge in a moment of time. It is in the manner of the sharp point of a needle, astride upon that point are both pleasure and pain, simultaneously assailing the female that is undergoing the miracle of childbirth.
This is the only instance where both pleasure and pain work in unison. also a miracle. This is the second miracle. Before the childbirth, the lady was a woman. After the childbirth, the woman is transformed into a mother. This is a revolutionary act; an evolutionary happening; in the manner of the silkworm getting transformed into some winged angel; a miracle. This is the third miracle.
This experience of transformation into motherhood is a privilege reserved exclusively for women. Men do not undergo such miraculous transformation. Motherhood is another name of devotion. The selfless love and devotion towards the infant or child are grown from the seeds of innocence; no cunning, scheming, selfish motives here.
The future happiness and well being of the child is absolutely dependent upon the proper preservation and functioning of the family unit. The future well being of the society, of the community and of the nation is absolutely dependent upon the proper preservation and functioning of the family unit. The measure of the level of happiness and well being of a nation is measured by the happiness and well being of the families. Family is a pious phenomenon productive of goodness that acts as a shield against the eroding influences that melt and distort culture and noble values.
Well functioning family is verily a temple that transforms a house into home. The single male or female lives in a house of bricks and mortars. The male ego and the female ego reside in the mind of the male and the female. Unbending and rigid male and female egos are destructive of family units. For married couples especially, let there be more love and less ego. Second in importance after the word ‘love’ comes the word ‘Sorry’. It’s characteristic is pious humbleness. Where the male and female egos are about to collide, let the word ‘Sorry’ intervene. It will encapsulate the egos. Mother’s time with children, guided by wisdom and properly utilized, lays the proper foundations for nation building. A well-balanced individual with solid psychological foundations is the quality thread that goes into making the fabric of the nation. At the root of nation building are the three miracles. Proper understanding of this fact and its implementation will be the fourth miracle. .
It is in this sphere that Indian thought, with its spiritual view of life, has much to contribute to steady the feet of men and women in East and the West. Motherhood is a spiritual transformation of wifehood. The wife may and does demand and take; but the mother feels it her privilege to give. If woman as wife is socially significant, woman as mother is spiritually glorious. The culture of the Hindu trains him to look upon all women as forms of the one Divine Mother. The mother is more worthy of reverence than father or teacher according to our scriptures.
"From the point of view of reverence due, a teacher is ten fold superior to a mere lecturer, a father a hundredfold to a teacher, and a mother a thousandfold to a father." Manu Smriti
Since the marriage union takes place in the presence of fire, the husband is the wife’s highest deity. She is no wife with whom her husband is not content. In the case of women, if their husbands be gratified with them all the deities also become so. That wife with whom her husband is not pleased becomes consumed into ashes, even like a creeper adorned with bunches of flowers in a forest conflagration. A woman has no protector like her husband, and no happiness like her husband. Abandoning all her wealth and possession, a woman should take to her husband as her only refuge. What chaste woman is there that would, when deprived of her husband, venture to bear the burden of life?
A householder’s home, even if filled with sons and grandsons and daughters-in-law and servants, is regarded empty if destitute of the housewife. One’s house is not one’s home; one’s wife only is one’s home. A house without the wife is as desolate as the wilderness. In the Mahabharata, a husband describing her truly devoted wife says: "She never eats before I eat, and never bathes before I bathe. She rejoices if I rejoice, and becomes sorry when I am sorry. When I am away she becomes cheerless, and when I am angry she ceases not to speak sweetly. Ever devoted to her husband and ever relying upon her husband, she was ever employed in doing what was agreeable to and beneficial for her husband. Worthy of praise is that person on earth who owns such a spouse. That amiable wife knows that I am fatigued and hungry. Devoted to me and constant in her love, my spouse is exceedingly sweet-tempered and worships me devoutly.
Even the foot of a tree is one`s home if one lives there with one`s spouse as a companion. Without one`s spouse, a very palace is truly a desolate wilderness. One`s spouse is one`s associate in all one`s acts of Virtue, Profit and Pleasure. It is said that the wife is the richest possession of her husband. In this world the wife is the only associate of her husband in all the concerns of life. The wife is ever the best medicines that one can have in sickness and woe. There is no friend like unto the wife. There is no refuge better than the wife. There is no better ally in the world than the wife in acts undertaken for the acquisition of religious merit. He that has not in his house a wife that is chaste and of agreeable speech, should go to the woods. For such a man there is no difference between home and wilderness.
HUSBAND’S DUTY (Always treated her with affection) Bhishma said: Respect, kind treatment and everything else that is agreeable, should all be given unto the maiden whose hand is taken in marriage. Her sire and brothers and father-in-law and husband’s brothers should show her every respect and adorn her with ornaments. If they be desirous of reaping benefits, for such conduct on their part always leads to considerable happiness and advantage. Women should always be worshipped and treated with affection. There where women are treated with respect, the very deities are said to be filled with joy.
There where women are not worshipped, all acts become fruitless. If the women of a family, in consequence of the treatment they receive, grieve and shed tears, that family soon becomes extinct. Those houses that are cursed by women meet with destruction and ruin as if scorched by some Atharvan rite. Such houses lose their splendour. Their growth and prosperity cease.
Women are weak. They fall an easy prey to the seductive wiles of men, disposed to accept the love that is offered to them, and devoted to truth. There are others among them that are full of malice, covetous of honours, fierce in disposition, unlovable and impervious to reason. Women, however, deserve to be honoured. Again Bhishma said: Do ye men show them honour. The righteousness of men depends upon women. All pleasures and enjoyments also completely depend upon them. Do ye serv
The begetting of offspring, the nursing of children already born, and the accomplishment of all acts necessary for the needs of society, behold, all these have women for their cause. By honouring women, ye are sure to attain to the fruition of all objects. Women have no sacrifices ordained for them. There are no Sraddhas which they are called upon to perform. They are not required to observe any facts. To serve their husbands with reverence and willing obedience is their only duty. Through the discharge of that duty they succeed in conquering heaven. In childhood, the sire protects her. The husband protects her in youth. When she becomes old, her sons protect her. At no period of her life does woman deserve to be free. Deities of prosperity are women. The persons that desire prosperity should honour them. By cherishing women, one cherishes the goddess of prosperity herself, and by afflicting her, one is said to afflict the goddess of prosperity.
"Take religion away from human society and what remains is a forest of brutes" - Swami Vivekananda "The two great pillars upon which all human well being and human progress rest are, first the spirit of religion and second, the spirit of science. These two groups of sciences - the science of inner nature and the science of outer nature - need to pull their resources together to advance man on the evolutionary path of total fulfilment. Without the spiritual nourishment coming from religion, the phenomenal progress of the modern age has become wobbly in its movement and blind in its course. - Swami Ranganathananda
Swami Shivananda wrote: The performance of domestic duties, the management of her household, the rearing of children, the economising of the family means- these are a woman’s proper office. She is already endowed with divine power. She already governs the world by her power of gentle love and affection. To make noble citizens by training her children, and to form the character of the whole human race is undoubtedly a power far greater than that which a woman could hope to exercise as a voter or a law-maker, as a president, minister or judge. The mother's impressions strike deep root in the brain of the foetus that dwells in the womb. If the pregnant woman does Japa (repetition of Lord's name with or without rosary) and Kirtan (Singing the Lord's glories), if she studies religious books and leads a pious life during pregnancy, the foetus is endowed with spiritual inclination or spiritual tendency.
A woman’s natural sphere of activity is the home, where she can prove most helpful to man, because she is the most adored. She can be patriotic by living in a simple homestead, bringing forth noble, cultured citizens, politicians, warriors and saints. In the modern life babies are born and brought up in nursery schools and maternity homes. They do not know the health giving, affectionate, tender and soul-expanding caresses of their mothers. They do not know what it is to sleep in the warm embrace of a loving mother. Brought up in the atmosphere of bargain and economics, they develop even in their teens, an unceasing devotion to the dollar and mammon. The social atmosphere in the modern life is overcharged with sex. Early marriages may be rare in the West but not early sex-indulgence. There cannot be real love between the parties. Marriage becomes a contract, not a sacrament. Hence there are countless divorces. Bharat (India) recognises the ideal of motherhood as the highest for a woman. There is so much talk in the modern life about the emancipation of women. Scrutinise her closely and you will find her a slave of appetites, fashions, and the dollar. In our Vedic period women enjoyed an honourable and exalted position. They occupy a high position now also. The object of marriage is mutual happiness of the parties, the raising of children, and worship and service of the Lord. Coming to the forefront in blazing daylight is certainly not the test or criterion of the true greatness of a woman. The happiness for a woman lies not in catering for carnal passions, not in challenging man in his own field by forgetting her natural course of duties, but in leading the ideal life as taught in the sacred scriptures; the crowning glory of womanhood. Then alone will woman be restored to the original dignity of the Universal Mother, which she is to every Indian now.
The eternal fidelity of a Dharmic woman to her husband makes her an ideal of the feminine world. It makes her sublime. This lofty virtue of fidelity runs deep in the heart of every Dharmic woman of Bharat. The inspiring force of the home is the woman. The home is the origin and beginning of every form of social organisation. It is the nursery of the nation. It is the sweet place wherein children are trained for future citizenship. The woman illumines the home through the glory of motherhood. Man is incapable of doing the domestic duties incident upon the rearing of children. Good habits, right conduct and formation of good character are created in children spontaneously in a well regulated home under the personal influence of the mother. The loving kindness and the cultured gentleness of the mother help the children to unfold their native talents and dormant capacities quickly. Children absorb ideas by suggestion and imitation. Early training and impressions formed at early age are lasting. The mother at home can do the formation of character very efficiently. Therefore, home is the most beautiful training ground for the building of character in children under the personal guidance of the mother and father. Woman is the backbone or bedrock to sustain religion and national strength, peace and prosperity. Manu declares: "The woman who always does good, who is efficient in work, sweet in speech, devoted to her duty and service of her husband, is really no human being but a goddess."
If the mother trains her children on the right lines from the early age, she is rendering great service indeed to the nation and national culture. Women have good and ample opportunities of improving national health and increasing prosperity. It is they who really build the family. They can utilise their talents and abilities in making the home a cradle of culture, character, personal ability and religious revival. It is therefore wrong to say that their lives are cramped and stunted by attending to the duties at home, and that no scope is given for their evolution and freedom. This is a sad mistake indeed. The life of a woman is as noble and serious as that of a man. There is no doubt about this. It is the women who keep up the life and happiness of the home through their smiles, tender affection, sweet speech, grace, angelic presence and charming personalities. The home will be a real void without them. It will lose its peculiar charm and beauty without their presence. Women are the mothers of the home. The extraordinary ability, intellectual attainments and magnetic personalities of modern women are standing monuments of their undoubted equality with men. The personal influence of women at home is essential to unify the various interests of the family. It is women alone who can rear or nurse children. Hindu wives are queens of their own homes. The husbands should treat their wives with intense love and respect. They should be regarded as equals in all respects and held in the light of partners in life. If a man earns and the wife stays at home, it does not mean that the woman is a parasite and a slave. She is indeed the builder of the home and family. Verily, women exercise an authority over their husbands through their love, tenderness, affection, grace, beauty, selfless service, fidelity, purity and self-abnegation.
The chief duty of woman is to maintain her PATIVRATA DHARMA. To a woman, there is no higher duty than service of her husband. She should worship him daily. She should take sole refuge in her husband. He is everything to her. He is her all-in-all. She should perform all actions to please him.
Manu says: "For a woman there is no other sacrifice. She who loves her husband with intense devotion and faith is honoured even if the husband is not endowed with virtuous qualities. The wife should not look to the defects of her husband. She should not even talk of his defects to her relatives and friends. If a woman looks into the weaknesses or vicious qualities of her husband she is not a devoted wife. Even if the husband fails to show much love towards her, she should love him with a full heart. She should speak sweetly and gently to him. She should speak with warm affection. She should never show her anger towards him. This is difficult but gradually she will gain strength of mind and power of endurance through the grace of the Lord. It is difficult to have the divine feeling towards the husband all at once. It will develop gradually through constant reflection, service and training of the mind. She should be extremely vigilant. She should possess endless patience. Even if the husband is unrighteous she should be faithful to him. She should pray to God to put him on the path of righteousness, to infuse in his heart faith and devotion and make him realise God-consciousness. A devoted and chaste wife who sticks tenaciously to her dharma (duty) can change the life of her husband to the path of righteousness even though he may be wicked. Many have succeeded in doing so.
She should lead a life of perfect contentment. The path of "STREE DHARMA" (duties of women) is also the razor’s path. It is only through the grace of the Lord that she can surmount all difficulties and obstacles on the way. Then the path will be rendered smooth and easy.
Respect all your husband’s relatives. Be helpful to your aged mother-in-law and father-in-law. Do prostration to the aged women of the house, to your father-in-law, mother-in-law, sadhus, sannyasis, and brahmacharins, when they come to your door. Treat the guests and friends of your husband with respect. Invite them to dinner on auspicious occasions. Never live beyond the income of your husband. Be charitable and spend one-tenth of your husband’s income in charity. Cut the coat according to the cloth. Never borrow. Never allow the expenditure to exceed the income of your husband. Train your children by giving them moral instructions. A virtuous son brings fame to his parents. A wicked son brings a bad name.
Some women are very talkative. They are fond of tale-bearing and criticism. They should observe the vow of silence for two hours daily. Jealousy, hatred, pride, hypocrisy, suspicion, intolerance and crookedness are some of the common evil qualities in women. They do not know how to behave properly towards their mother-in-law and other family members. There is always some rupture in the home. All sorts of troubles crop up in a family through those women. They should destroy their vicious and mischief making nature by developing kindness, patience, truthfulness, adaptability, love and contentment. Then only will there be happiness and joy, peace and prosperity in the home.
Ansuya said: Listen, O Princess (Sita). A mother, father and brother are all kind to us; but they bestow only limited joy. A husband, however, bestows unlimited joy (in the shape of blessedness). O Videha’s daughter, vile is the woman who refuses to serve her husband. Fortitude, piety, a friend and a wife- these four are put to the test only in times of adversity. A woman who treats her husband with disrespect, even though he is old, sick, dull headed, indigent, blind, deaf, wrathful or most wretched, shall suffer various torments in hell (the abode of Yama, the god of death). Devotion of body, speech and mind to her lord’s (husband’s) feet is the only duty, sacred vow and penance of a woman.
There are four types of faithful wives in this world: so declare the Vedas, the Puranas and all the saints. A woman of the best type is convinced in her heart of hearts that she cannot even dream in this world of a man other than her lord. The middling regards another’s husband as her own brother, father or son (according to his age). She who is restrained by considerations of virtue or by the thought of her race is declared by the Vedas as a low woman. And know her to be the lowest woman in this world, who is restrained only by fear and want of opportunity. The woman who deceives her husband and loves a paramour is cast for a hundred cycles into the worst hell known as Raurava. Who is so depraved as the woman who for the sake of a moment’s pleasure reckons not the torment that shall endure for a thousand million births? The woman who sincerely takes a vow of fidelity to her husband easily attains the highest state; while she who is disloyal to her lord is widowed as soon as she attains her youth wherever she may be reborn. A woman is impure by her very birth; but she attains a happy state (hereafter) by serving her lord. (It is due to her loyalty to her husband that) Tulasi is loved by Sri Hari to this day and her glory is sung by all the four Vedas. Listen, Sita, women will maintain their vow of fidelity to their husbands by invoking your very name, Sri Rama being dear to you as your own life. It is for the good of the world that I have spoken to you on the subject. .
Narada said: Listen, O Rama, when you impelled your Maya (deluding potency) and infatuated me, O Lord of Raghus, I wanted to marry. Why then, did You not let me accomplish my desire? Lord Sri Rama said: Listen, O sage: I tell you with all the emphasis at my command that I always take care of those who worship Me with undivided faith, even as a mother tends her child. If an infant child runs to catch hold of fire or a snake, the mother rescues it by drawing it aside, when, however, her son has grown up she loves him no doubt, but not as before. The wise are like My grown up sons, while humble devotees are like My infant children. A devotee depends on Me, while the former (a wise man) depends on his own strength; and both have to face enemies like lust and anger. Pondering thus the prudent adore Me and never take leave of devotion even after attaining wisdom. Lust, anger, greed, pride etc., constitute the most powerful army of Ignorance. But among them all the fiercest and the most troublesome is that incarnation of Maya called woman. Listen, O sage: the Puranas, the Vedas and the saints declare that woman is like the vernal season to the forest of ignorance. Nay, like the hot season she dries up all the ponds and lakes of Japa (repetition of mantras or the Lord’s name), austerity and religious observances. Again, lust, anger, pride, and jealousy are so many frogs as it were; like the rainy season woman is the only agency that gladdens them all. Even so latent desires of a vicious type are like a bed of lilies, to which, like the autumn, she is ever agreeable. All the different virtues are like a bed of lotuses; like the middle of winter, woman, who is a source of base (sensuous) pleasure, blights them all. Again, the overgrowth of the Yawasa plant in the shape of mineness flourishes when the close of winter in the shape of woman appears. For owls in the shape of sins, woman is a delightful night thick with darkness. Even so reason, strength, virtue and truth are all so many fishes as it were; and woman, so declare the wise, is like a hook to catch them. A young woman is the root of all evil, a source of torment and a mine of all woes. Therefore, bearing this in mind, O sage, I prevented your marriage. .
In the spring of your youth, in the morning of your days, when the eyes of men gaze on you with delight, and nature whispers in your ear the meaning of their looks; ah! hear with caution their seducing words; guard well your heart. Do not listen to their soft persuasions. Remember you are made man`s reasonable companion, not the slave of his passion. The end of your being is not merely to gratify his loose desire, but to assist him in the toils of life, to soothe him with your tenderness, and recompense his care with soft endearments. Who is she that wins the heart of man, that subdues him to love, and reigns in his breast?
Lo! there she walks in maiden sweetness, with innocence in her mind, and modesty on her cheek. Her hand seeks employment; her foot does not delight in idle wandering abroad. She is clothed with neatness; she is fed with temperance; humility and meekness are as a crown of glory circling her head. On her tongue dwells music; the sweetness of honey flows from her lips.
Decency is in all her words; in her answers are mildness and truth. Submission and obedience are the lessons of her life; and peace and happines are her reward. Before her steps walk Prudence; and Virtue attends at her right hand.
Her eye speaks softness and love; but discretion with a sceptre sits on her brow. The tongue of the licentious is dumb in her presence; the awe of her virtue keeps him silent.
When scandal is busy, and the fame of her neighbour is tossed from tongue to tongue, if charity and good nature open not her mouth, the finger of silence rests on her lip.
Her breast is the mansion of goodness; and therefore she suspects no evil in others. Happy will be the man that should make her his wife; happy the child that shall call her mother.
She presides in the house and there is peace; she commands with judgment and is obeyed. She rises in the morning; she considers her affairs; and appoints to every one their proper business.
The care of her family is her whole delight; to that alone she applies her study; and elegance with frugality is seen in her mansions. The prudence of her management is an honour to her husband, and he hears her praise with silent delight.
She informs the minds of her children with wisdom; she fashions their manners from the example of her own goodness. The word of her mouth is the law of their youth; the motion of her eye commands their obedience. She speaks, and her servants fly; she points, and the thing is done; for the law of love is in their hearts; her kindness adds wings to their feet.
In prosperity she is not puffed up; in adversity she heals the wounds of fortune with patience. The troubles of her husband are alleviated by her counsels, and sweetened by her endearments; he puts his heart in her bosom and receives comfort.
Happy is the man that has made her his wife; happy the child that calls her mother.
The mother is the panacea for all kinds of calamities. The existence of the mother invests one with protection; the reverse deprives one of all protection. The man who, though divested of prosperity enters his house, uttering the words, "O mother!"- has not to indulge in grief. Nor does decrepitude ever assail him. A person whose mother exists, even if he happens to be possessed of sons and grandsons and even he himself is hundred years old, but in the eyes of his mother he looks like a child of two years of age. Whether the mother is able or disabled, lean or robust, the son is always protected by the mother. None else, according to the ordinance, is the son’s protector. Then does the son become old, then does he become stricken with grief, then does the world look empty in his eyes, when he becomes deprived of his mother. There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother. For having borne him in her womb the mother is the son’s dhatri. For having been the chief cause of his birth, she is his janani. For having nursed his young limbs, she is called amva (Amma). For nursing and looking after the son she is called sura. The mother is one’s own body.
Within the city of Brahman, which is the body, there is the heart, and within the heart there is a little house.
This house has the shape of a lotus, and within it dwells that which is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized.
What then is that which, dwelling within this little house, this lotus of the heart, is to be sought after, inquired about, and realized? As large as the universe outside, even so large is the universe within the lotus of the heart.
Within it are heaven and earth, the sun, the moon, the lightning, and all the stars.
What is in the macrocosm is in this microcosm.
All things that exist, all beings and all desires, are in the city of Brahman; what then becomes of them when old age approaches and the body dissolves in death? Though old age comes to the body, the lotus of the heart does not grow old.
At death of the body, it does not die.
The lotus of the heart, where Brahman exists in all His glory – that and not the body, is the true city of Brahman.
Brahman, dwelling therein, is untouched by any deed, ageless, deathless, free from grief, free from hunger and from thirst.
His desires are right desires, and His desires are fulfilled.
As here on earth all the wealth that one earns is but transitory, so likewise, transitory are the heavenly enjoyments acquired by the performance of sacrifices.
Therefore, those who die without having realized the Self and its right desires find no permanent happiness in any world to which they go; while those who have realized the Self and its right desires find permanent happiness everywhere.
-Chandogya Upanishad



SANATAN DHARMA
(Religion of Humankind)
Sanatan Dharma cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centred and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’ Swami Vivekananda wrote: There are these eternal principles, which stand upon their own foundations without depending on any reasoning, even much less on the authority of sages however great, of Incarnations however brilliant they may have been. We may remark that as this is the unique position in India, our claim is that the Vedanta only can be the universal religion, that it is already the existing universal religion in the world, because it teaches principles and not persons. If you want to be religious, enter not the gate of any organised religion. They do a hundred times more evil than good, because they stop the growth of each one's individual development.... Religion is only between you and your God, and no third person must come between you. Think what these organised religions have done! What Nepoleon was more terrible than those religious persecutions? If you and I organise, we begin to hate every person . It is better not to love, if loving only means hating others. That is no love. That is hell! If loving your own people means hating everybody else, it is the quintessence of selfishness and brutality, and the effect is that it will make you brutes.
Truth is of two kinds: (1) that which is cognisable by the five ordinary senses of man, and by reasonings based thereon; (2) that which is cognisable by the subtle, super-sensuous power of Yoga. Knowledge acquired by the first means is called science; and knowledge acquired by the second is called the Vedas. The whole body of super sensuous truths, having no beginning or end, and called by the name of Vedas, is ever existent. The Creator Himself is creating, preserving and destroying the universe with the help of these truths.
The person in whom this super-sensuous power is manifested is called a Rishi, and the super-sensuous truths, which he realises by this power, are called the Vedas. This Rishihood, this power of super-sensuous perception of the Vedas, is real religion. And so long as this does not develop in the life of an initiate, so long is religion a mere empty word to him, and it is to be understood that he has not taken yet the first step in religion. The authority of the Vedas extends to all ages, climes and persons; that is to say, their application is not confined to any particular place, time and persons. The Vedas are the only exponent of the universal religion.
SANATAN DHARMA IS GOD CENTRED - NOT A PROPHET CENTRED. Dharma (Hinduism) is God centred. Hinduism is based upon Eternal Principles. Eternal principles apply to all human beings everywhere. The laws of physics exist and work all the time. The healing principle will get to work immediately the moment a little cut is sustained on a finger. No one can tell when this healing principle began or when it will end. It is there existing eternally, all pervading (available everywhere), omniscient (aware all the time and therefore healing principle gets to work when injury is sustained). (These simplified examples serve to understand God’s power: omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent). Hinduism is based upon Eternal Principles. If a great scientist like Einstein, discovered or realized laws of physics, Hinduism would call him a great Rishi (Maharshi or seer of truth.) Such seers of truth are not confined to any one age or country. Self realized persons like Jesus Christ would be called Rishis (seers) and their teachings would be readily acceptable to those who properly understand the principles of ‘Hinduism’. From the ancient times, many great Rishis achieved self-realisation through such practices as meditation and austerities and they realised knowledge concerning Eternal Principles. Their knowledge, taught to disciples, and eventually made available in written form, is known as the Vedas (Ved = knowledge), the scriptures upon which Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism) is based. Sanatan means eternal and Dharma means religion.
The word 'Hinduism ‘ does not appear anywhere in Hindu scriptures, The proper name for Hinduism is ‘Sanatan Dharma’ Sanatan = eternal Dharma = religion. Hinduism is God centred whereas other religions are prophet centred. For this reason the whole of mankind has to abide by (or is affected by) the eternal principles. The question of acceptance or rejection of Hinduism by any individual simply does not arise, or is irrelevant. It is illogical to talk of conversion to Hinduism. It is like saying that the laws of physics (e.g.gravity) will apply to you only if you belong to an organization or organized religion. Sri Madhusudana Sarasvati Wrote: (Commentary Gita Ch.3, Shloka 16) But he who has realised the Spreme Entity and does not derive pleasure from the senses, he on account of being self-fulfilled, does not incur sin even by not performing the rites which are thus the cause of the movement of the Wheel of the World.
From Brahadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10: Even the gods cannot prevail against him (he who has realised the Spreme Entity). There need be no performance of any action even in the form of worship of gods for averting obstacles
The very fountain-head of our religion is in the Vedas (Srutis) which are perfectly impersonal; the persons all come in the Smritis and Puranas- the great Avataras, Incarnations of God, Prophets, and so forth. And this ought also to be observed that except our religion (Sanatan Dharma; Hinduism), every other religion in the world depends upon the lives of some personal founder or founders. Christianity is built upon the life of Jesus Christ, Mohammedanism (Islam) upon Mohammed, Buddhism upon Buddha, Jainism upon the Jinas, and so on. It naturally follows that there must be in all these religions a good deal of fight about what they call the historical evidences of these great personalities.
If at any time the historical evidences about the existence of these personages in ancient times become weak, the whole building of the religion tumbles down and is broken to pieces. We escaped this fate because our religion is not based upon persons but on principles. That you obey your religion is not because it came through the authority of a sage, no, not even of an Incarnation. Krishna is not the authority of the Vedas, but the Vedas are the authority of Krishna himself. His glory is that he is the greatest preacher of the Vedas that ever existed. So with the other Incarnations; so with all our sages. Our first principle is that all that is necessary for the perfection of man and for attaining unto freedom is there in the Vedas. You cannot find anything new. You cannot go beyond a perfect unity, which is the goal of all knowledge; this has been already reached there, and it is impossible to go beyond the unity. Religious knowledge became complete when Tat Twam Asi (Thou art That) was discovered, and that was in the Vedas.
What remained was the guidance of people from time to time according to different times and places, according to different circumstances and environments. People had to be guided along the old, old path and for this these great teachers came, these great sages. Nothing can bear out more clearly this position than the celebrated saying of Sri Krishna in the Gita : "Whenever virtue subsides and irreligion prevails, I create Myself for the protection of the good; for the destruction of all immorality I am coming from time to time."
What follows? That on the one hand, there are these eternal principles, which stand upon their own foundations without depending on any reasoning, even much less on the authority of sages however great, of Incarnations however brilliant they may have been. We may remark that as this is the unique position in India, our claim is that the Vedanta only can be the universal religion, that it is already the existing universal religion in the world, because it teaches principles and not persons
No religion built upon a person can be taken up as a type by all the races of mankind. In our own country we find that there have been so many grand characters; even in a small city many persons are taken up as types by the different minds in that one city. How is it possible that one person as Mohammed, or Buddha or Christ, can be taken up as the one type for the whole world, nay, that the whole of morality, ethics, spirituality, and religion can be true only from the sanction of that one person, and one person alone? Now the Vedantic religion does not require any such personal authority. Its sanction is the eternal nature of man, its ethics are based upon the eternal solidarity of man, already existing, already attained and not to be attained.
The Hindu can worship any sage and any saint from any country whatsoever, and as a fact we know that we go and worship many times in the churches of the Christians, and many times in the Mohammedan mosques and that is good. Why not? Ours, as I have said, is the universal religion. It is inclusive enough, it is broad enough to include all the ideals. All the ideals of religion that already exist in the world can be immediately included, and we can patiently wait for all the ideals that are to come in the future to be taken in the same fashion, embraced in the infinite arms of the religion of the Vedanta.
The Hindus, like the Jews, do not convert others; still gradually, other races are coming within Hinduism and adopting the manners and customs of the Hindus and falling into line with them.
Our watchword, then, will be acceptance, and not exclusion. Not only toleration, for so called toleration is often blasphemy, and I do not believe in it. I believe in acceptance. Why should I tolerate? Toleration means that, I think that you are wrong and I am just allowing you to live. Is it not a blasphemy to think that you and I are allowing others to live? I accept all religions that were in the past, and worship with them; I worship God with them, in whatever form they worship Him.
With the Hindus you will find one national idea- spirituality. In no other religion, in no other sacred books of the world, will you find so much energy spent in defining the idea of God.
There is no philosophy in the world that is not indebted to Kapila. Pythagoras came to India and studied this philosophy, and that was the beginning of the philosophy of the Greeks. Later, it formed the Alexandrian school and still later the Gnostics. It became divided into two; one part went to Europe and Alexandria, and the other remained in India; and out of this, the system of Vyasa was developed.



THE SOUL AND ITS DESTINY
(Where do we go after dying)
Is everything the result of chance or the result of previous actions? Vyasa said: Is the Supreme Being the doer, or is man the doer? Is everything the result of Chance in this world, or are the fruits that we enjoy or suffer, the results of previous actions? If man does all acts, good or bad, being urged thereto by the Supreme Being, then the fruits of those acts should attach to the Supreme Being Himself. If a person cuts down, with an axe, a tree in forest, it is the person that incurs the sin and not the axe by any means. Or, if it be said that, the axe being only the material cause, the consequence of the act (of cutting) should attach to the animate agent (and to the inanimate tool), then the sin may be said to belong to the person that has made the axe. This, however, can scarcely be true. If this be not reasonable, that one man should incur the consequence of an act done by another, then, guided by this, you should think that the consequences of all acts must attach to the Supreme Being Himself, He being the urger of us all. If again, man be himself the agent of all his acts virtuous and sinful, then Supreme Director is none, and therefore, there is no Supreme Being and no next world. No one can ever turn away from that which is destined. If again, Destiny be the result of the acts of former lives, then no sin can attach to one in this life even as the sin of cutting down a tree cannot touch the maker of the axe (no one being free in this life, all one's acts being the result of previous acts, there can be no responsibility for the acts of this life).
Bhishma said: A man attains to riches that makes charitable gifts. One secures obedience to one's command by the vow of silence; all the enjoyments of life by practice of austerities; long life by Brahmacharya (celibacy); and beauty, prosperity and freedom from disease by abstaining from injury to others.
Heaven is attained by the practice of truth, nobility of birth by sacrifices. By abstaining from food or by regulating it, one attains to residence in heaven. By reading all the Vedas, one is instantly liberated from misery, and by practising virtue in thought, one attains to the heavenly regions. That man who is able to renounce that intense yearning of the heart for happiness and material enjoyments,- a yearning that is difficult of conquest by the foolish and that does not abate with the abatement of bodily vigour and that clings like a fatal disease unto him,- is able to secure happiness. As the young calf is able to recognise its mother from among a thousand cows, so does the previous acts of man pursue him (in all his different transformations). As the flowers and fruits of a tree, unurged by visible influences, never miss their proper season, so does Karma done in a previous existence bring about its fruits in proper time. With age, man's hair turns grey, his teeth become loose; his eyes and ears too become dim in action; but the only thing that does not abate is his desire for enjoyments.
God is pleased with those acts that please one's father, and the Earth is pleased with those acts that please one's mother, and Brahma is adored with those acts that please one's preceptor. Virtue is honoured by him who honours these three. The acts of those that despise these three do not avail them.
1. Absolute or transcendental and
2. Relative or phenomenal.
From the absolute standpoint, the soul is non-dual, immortal, ever pure, ever free, ever illumined, and one with Brahman. It is untouched by hunger or thirst, good and evil, pain and pleasure, birth and death, and the other pairs of opposites. That is the soul's true nature. The realisation of which is the goal of a man's spiritual aspiration and striving. From this absolute standpoint, the soul is called PARAMATMA or Supreme Soul.
But from the relative standpoint, the Vedanta philosophy admits the existence of a multitude of individual souls called JIVATMAS, and distinguishes them from the Supreme Soul. Attached to the body, the individual soul is a victim of the pairs of the opposites. Entangled in the world, it seeks deliverance from the eternal round of birth and death, and with that end in view, studies the scriptures and practises spiritual disciplines.
The embodied soul is associated with the sense organs, the mind and vital breath (Prana). There are ten sense organs, all subordinate to the mind as the central organ; five organs of perception and five organs of action. The five organs of perception comprise the organ of taste (tongue),smell (nose), vision (eyes), hearing (ear), and touch (skin). The five organs of action are the hands, the feet, the organ of speech, the organs of evacuation and the organ of generation.
The mind is the inner organ and consists of such functions as desire, deliberation, doubt, faith, want of faith, patience, impatience, shame, intelligence and fear. The impressions carried by the organs of perception are shaped by the mind into ideas, for we see only with the mind, hear with the mind. Further, the mind changes the ideas into resolutions of the will. There are four functions or divisions or parts of the mind.
1. One part of the mind called Manas, creates doubt.
2. The Buddhi (intellect) makes decisions
3. Chitta is the storehouse of memory
4. Aham (the ego), creates I-consciousness.
The five organs of action, the five organs of perception, the five pranas, the mind, and the intellect constitute the gross and the subtle body of the embodied soul (jiva). The subtle accompanies the individual soul after death, when the gross body is destroyed. The subtle body is the abode of the KARMA or impressions left by action, determining the nature of the new body and mind when the soul is reborn. As the jiva (the embodied soul) does and act, so it becomes.
The presence of an irrefragable Self or consciousness is assumed in all acts of thinking. The Self or consciousness, which is the true 'seer' or subject, is unchanging intelligence, and can never be imagined to be non-existent. Atman (the Self) in man and Brahman in the universe are completely identical.
The idea of body, senses, and the mind, associated with the non-self, is falsely superimposed upon the Self, and the Self, which is of the nature of pure consciousness, appears as a jiva, or phenomenal being, subject to the various limitations of the physical world.
The real soul and the apparent soul. The real soul is birthless, death less, immortal, and infinite. The same real soul, under the spell of ignorance, appears as the apparent man identified with the body, mind and senses. This apparent man becomes, on account of his attachment to the body, a victim of birth and death, virtue and vice, and the other pairs of opposites.The apparent man is bound to the world, and it is he,again, who strives for liberation. The enjoyment of material pleasures, and the subsequent satiation and weariness; the consciousness of bondage, and the struggle for freedom; the injunctions of the scriptures, and the practice of moral and spiritual disciplines- all this refers to the apparent man. Again, it is the apparent man who performs virtuous or sinful deeds, goes, after death, to heaven or hell, and assumes different bodies. But it must never be forgotten that rewards and punishments are spoken of only with reference to the reflected, or apparent soul. The real soul is forever free from the characteristics of the relative world. But the real soul is always free, illumined, and perfect. The real sun, non-dual and resplendent, shines brilliantly in the sky, though millions of its reflections are seen to move with the movement of the waves.
Vyasa said: "That has been said to be Manifest which is possessed of these four attributes, viz., birth, growth, decay and death. That which is not posessed of these attributes is said to be Unmenifest. Two souls are mentioned in the Vedas and the sciences that are based upon them. The first (which is called Jivatman; embodied soul) is endued with the four attributes already mentioned, and has a longing for the four objects or purposes (viz., Religion, Wealth, Pleasure and Emancipation). This soul is called Manifest, and it is born of the Unmanifest (Supreme Soul). It is both intelligent and non-intelligent. I have thus told thee about Sattwa (inert matter) and Kshetrajna (immaterial spirit). Both kinds of Soul, it is said in the Vedas, become attached to objects of the senses. The doctrine of the Sankhyas is that one should keep onself aloof or dissociated from objects of the senses. That yogin who is freed from attachment and pride, who transcends all pairs of opposites, such as pleasure and pain, heat and cold, etc., who never gives way to wrath or hate, who never speaks an untruth, who, though slandered or struck, still shows friendship for the slanderer or the striker, who never thinks of doing ill to others, who restrains the three, viz., speech, acts and mind, and who behaves uniformly towards all creatures, succeeds in approaching the presence of Brahman. That person who cherishes no desires for earthly objects, who is not unwilling to take what comes, who is dependent on earthly objects to only that extent which is necessary for sustaining life, who is free from cupidity, who has driven off all grief, who has restrained his senses, who goes through all necessary acts, who is regardless of personal appearance and attire, whose senses are all collected (for devotion to the true objects of life), whose purposes are never left unaccomplished, who bears himself with equal friendliness towards all creatures, who regards a clod of earth and a lump of gold with an equal eye, who is equally disposd towards friend and foe, who is possessed of patience, who takes praise and blame equally, who is free from longing with respect to all objects of desire, who practises Brahmacharya (celibacy), and who is firm and steady in all his vows and observances, who has no malice or envy for any creature in the universe, is a Yogin who according to the Sankhya system succeeds in winning Emancipation." "I am the Self seated in the hearts of all beings" -Gita,Chapter 10. The soul is the very pivot of our existence. Either man is the body and has a soul or man is the soul and has a body. If man is the body and has a soul, then the materialist is right. Then glorification of the body is the goal of existence, and competition, violence, and hatred are the means to attain this goal. But if man is the soul and has a body, then religion is right. Then the body becomes a secondary thing, only a means to fulfil a spiritual end.

How is it possible for persons whose bodies have been destroyed to re-appear in those very forms?

Vaisampayana said: This is certain, viz., that acts are never destroyed (without their consequences being enjoyed or endured). Bodies, O king, are born of acts; so also are features. The great primal elements are eternal (indestructible) in consequence of the union with them of the lord of all beings. They exist with what is eternal! Accordingly, they have no destruction when the non-eternal are destroyed. Acts done without exertion are true and foremost, and bear real fruit. The soul, united however with such acts as require exertion for their accomplishment, enjoys pleasure and pain. Though united so (that is, with pleasure and pain), yet it is a certain inference that the soul is never modified by them, like the reflection of creatures in a mirror. It is never destroyed. As long as one’s acts are exhausted (by enjoyments or endurance of their fruits good and bad), so long does one regard the body to be oneself. The man, however, whose acts have been exhausted, without regarding the body to be self, takes the self to be something otherwise. Diverse existent objects (such as the primal elements and the senses, etc.) attaining to the body, become united as one. To men of knowledge who understand the difference (between the body and self), those very objects become eternal. In the Horse-sacrifice, this Sruti is heard in the matter of the slaying of the horse. Those, which are the certain possessions of embodied creatures, viz., their life-breaths (and the senses etc.), exist eternally even when they are borne to the other world. I shall tell thee what is beneficial, if it were agreeable to thee, O king. Thou hast, while employed in thy sacrifices, heard of the paths of the deities. When preparations were made for any sacrifice of thine, the deities became beneficially inclined to thee. When indeed, the deities were thus disposed and came to thy sacrifices, they were lords in the matter of the passage (from this to the next world) of the animals slain. For this reason, the eternal ones (viz. Jivas or individual souls), by adoring the deities in sacrifices, succeed in attaining to excellent goals. When the five primal elements are eternal, when the soul also is eternal, he called Purusha (viz., the soul invested with case) is equally so. When such is the case, he who beholds a creature as disposed to take diverse forms, is regarded as having an erroneous understanding.
He, who indulges in too much grief at separation, is, I think, a foolish person. He who sees evil in separation should abandon union. By standing aloof, no unions are formed, and sorrow is cast off, for sorrow in the world is born of separation. Only he who understands the distinction between body and self, and not another, becomes freed from the erroneous conviction. He that knows the other (viz., self) attains to the highest understanding and becomes freed from error.
As regards creatures, they appear from an invisible state, and once more disappear into invisibleness. I do not know him. He also does not know me. As regards myself, renunciation is not yet mine. He that is not possessed of puissance enjoys or endures the fruits of all his acts in those too dies in which he does them. If the act were a mental one, its consequences are enjoyed or endured mentally; if it were done with the body, its consequences are to be enjoyed or endured in the body.
It (the self) is not born, and It does not die; nor is it ever that this One having been nonexistent becomes existent again. This One is birthless, eternal, undecaying, ancient; It is not killed when the body is killed.
-Gita Ch.2 Verse 20
Of the unreal there is no being; the real has no nonexistence. The nature of both of them, indeed, has been realised by the seers of Truth. -Gita Ch.2, Shloka 16
As after rejecting (discarding) wornout clothes a man takes up other new ones (clothes), likewise after rejecting wornout bodies the embodied one (soul) duly attains new ones. -Gita Ch.2 Verse 22
Since death of anyone born is certain, and of the dead (re-)birth is a certainty, therefore you ought not to grieve over an inevitable fact. -Gita Ch. 2 Verse 27



OM
(No other word could do this)
THE GAYATRI MANTRA
Om Bhur Bhuvah Svah Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
The presiding deity of the Gayatri Mantra is Lord Sun. Gayatri is personified as a goddess, the consort of Brahma (Sarasvati), and mother of the Vedas.
The Gayatri Mantra is never chanted for the purposes of material gains, physical or otherwise. Its very invocation concludes with an appeal to the pure Consciousness to illumine more our heart-mind. It is a prayer unto the Self to unveil itself and come to manifest as pure wisdom in our life.
The Gayatri Mantra is one of the oldest available Divine hymns. In the ancient Vedic literature, this mantra is dedicated to the deity Sun. This mantra is sung in the Vedic-meter called Gayatri. This is considered to be the most important mantra written out in Gayatri meter, and therefore, by tradition, this mantra has come to be known as Gayatri.
It has actually been observed that by the repetition of this Gayatri Mantra with the right understanding of its sacred meaning, the ordinary negative tendencies in the human mind can be erased out to a large extent.
It is believed that for any one frightened in the dark, immediate chanting of the Gayatri Mantra is advised to get over the nervousness of the fright.
It is also believed that on starting any important and great work if a person detects some bad omen, that person must immediately sit down and chant eleven times the Gayatri. If on starting again, he meets with a new set of bad omens then he is to sit down again and chant the Gayatri for sixteen times, to remove the effects of the bad omen encountered.
The deeper philosophic meaning of Gayatri:
In our inner life, the sun represents the light-giver, the illuminator of all experiences, the ATMAN(Soul). This pure consciousness in us, the inner centre of our personality around which the matter envelopments function with mathematical precision- just as around the sun the entire solar system revolves- is being invoked to shine more and more in our intellect.
Without the Atman ( the light that is our consciousness), the bodily matters become inert and dead, just as without the sun life would have been impossible.



OM
(or AUM)
(The most sacred symbol in Dharma)
This letter AUM (OM), indeed, is the (inferior) Brahman (Hiranyagarbha); and this letter is, indeed, the Supreme Brahman. Anybody, who, while meditating on this letter, wants any of the two, to him comes that. -Katha Upanisad.
This medium is the best; this medium is the Supreme (and the inferior) Brahman. Meditating on this medium, one becomes adorable in the world of Brahman. -Katha Upanisad.
AUM being the sound symbol of Parmatman (Supreme Reality), it is considered to be the first vibration as sound emanating at the beginning of creation. From the three matras of AUM came out the three 'feet' of Gayatri, and from its three 'feet' came out the three Vedas and the three Vyaahrtis BHUR-BHUVAH-SUVAH representing the three cosmic world planes.
From A came out tat savitur varenyam which expanded itself into the Rg-Veda and the cosmic plane Bhuh.
From U came out bhargo devasya dhimahi, which expanded itself into Yajur Veda and the plane of bhuvah.
From M came out dhiyo yo nah prachodayat- which expanded itself into Sam Veda, and the plane of suvah.
The first Veda RG is stuti-para-devoted to devotion. The second Veda Yajuris kriya-para - devoted to work (action). The third Veda Sam is jnana-para -devoted to knowledge.
Om, we meditate(dhimahi) on the spiritual effulgence(bhargas) of that adorable Supreme Divine Reality (varenyam devasya), the source or projector (savitr) of the three phenomenal world planes the gross or physical (bhuh) the subtle or psychical (bhuvah) and the potential or causal (suvah), both macro cosmically or externally and micro cosmically or internally.
May the Supreme Divine Being (Tat) stimulate (prachodayat) our (nah) intellect (dhiyah), so that we may realise the Supreme Truth.
The Blessed Lord said:
"Among words, I am the one syllable AUM" Bhagavad Gita, Ch.10
From Mandukya Upanishad, First Mantra:
"AUM, the word, is all this (phenomenal universe). A clear explanation of it (follows). All that is past, present and future is indeed, AUM. And whatever else there is, beyond the three fold division of time,- that too verily is AUM (OM).
The syllable AUM is a sacred Mantra of the Vedas.It is an esoteric formula from which all written and unwritten sounds, letters and words have emanated. The letters A, U, M, which when combined, form the syllable AUM (or OM), represent the entire vocabulary of articulation, as they represent the various sounds uttered through the vocal organ (mouth). A (pronounced as the 'u' in cut) represents gutturals,U(as in 'put') represents labials and M (pronounced exactly as 'm' in 'mother') represents nasals. The sabda (sound) which comes out through the vocal organ, is in a pregnant form within, till it is spelt out.
The alphabetical letters of all languages form the corpus of meaningful expression. In the deep-sleep state, objects, ideas, as well as letters are all latent. So speech is an expression of consciousness.
The word that signifies God is AUM. AUM, often written OM (to rhyme with home), is the most sacred word in the Gayatri Mantra, which contains the essence of the Vedic philosophy. Hindus regard this word as an effective symbol of Brahman (the Supreme Reality), and give the following reason.
Every thought has a counterpart in a word or sound; the word and the thought are inseparable. The external part of a thing is what we may call the thought. The same thought may be expressed by different words or sounds. Though the sounds vary, yet the relation between the sound and the thoughts is a natural one. This relation is effective only if there is a real connection between the thing signified and the signifying symbol; otherwise the symbol will never be universally accepted. When that natural connection exists, the symbol, when it is used, recalls the thing signified.
According to Patanjali, there is a unique relation between the Godhead and the word AUM. Hindu philosophers regard AUM as the most generalised sound, the substratum and common ground of all sounds. The three letters A, U, M, pronounced in combination as Aum, are the generalised symbols of all possible sounds. A (pronounced awas in dawn)is the root sound, the key, pronounced without the tongue's touching any part of the palate; it is the least differentiated of all sounds. Again, all articulate sounds are produced in the space between the root of the tongue and the lips; the throat sound is A, and M is the final sound produced by the closing of the lips. U represents the rolling forward of the impulse that begins at the root of the tongue and ends at the lips. When properly pronounced, AUM represents the whole gamut of sound-production as no other word can. It is therefore the matrix of all sounds, and thus the fittest symbol of the Godhead; it is the Word which, according to St John, was in the beginning, was with God, and was God
The word AUM is not invented by any man. It is the primordial and uncreated sound which is heard by mystics absorbed in contemplation, when their minds and senses are withdrawn from the world.
The three aspects of creation, preservation and destruction are expressed by the three letters AUM. A signifies the creative aspect of the Deity because A is the beginning of all sounds. U signifies the preservative aspect because the sound that is produced in the throat is preserved, as it were, by U, while rolling through the mouth. Finally, M is the symbol of the destructive aspect of the Deity because all sounds come to an end when the lips are closed. There is also an undifferentiated sound which comes at the end of the utterance of AUM and which is the symbol of pure consciousness, or the attributeless Brahman. Both the symbol and the entity signified by it are without parts or relationships. The undifferentiated sound finally merges in silence, which also is the final experience of the mystics.
The word AUMsignifies God. By repeating it and meditating on its meaning, the aspirant develops introspection and overcomes such obstructions to the spiritual life as 'disease, mental laziness, doubt, lack of enthusiasm, lethargy, clinging to sense-enjoyments, false perception, non-attaining of concentration, and falling away from concentration when attained'.
These three letters AUM pronounced in combination as OM, may well be the generalised symbol of all possible sounds. The letter A is the least differentiated of all sounds, therefore Krishna says in the Gita. "I am ‘A’ among the letters." Again all articulate sounds are produced in the space within the mouth beginning with the root of the tongue and ending in the lips – the throat sound is ‘A’, and ‘M’ is the last lip sound, and the ‘U’ exactly represents the rolling forward of the impulse which begins at the root of the tongue till it ends in the lips. If properly pronounced, this OM will represent the whole phenomenon of sound production, and no other word can do this.
"Among sacrifices, I am the sacrifice of silent repetition" Gita




SELF - ATMA: WHO AM I ?
"Know the (individual) self as the master of the chariot, and the body as the chariot. Know the intellect as the charioteer, and the mind verily the bridle". (The mind is like the reins, which enable the charioteer, viz., the understanding or intellect to hold the horses, i.e., the senses, in check) "They call the senses the horses; the senses having been imagined as horses, (know) the objects as the ways. (The road is the world of objects over which the senses move.) The discriminating people call that Self the enjoyer when It is associated with the body, senses, and mind." Kath Upnishad
Every living being longs always to be happy untainted by sorrow; and everyone has the greatest love for himself, which is solely due to the fact that happiness is his real nature. Hence, in order to realize that inherent and untainted happiness, which indeed he daily experiences when the mind is subdued in deep sleep, it is essential that he should know himself. For obtaining such knowledge the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ in quest of the Self is the means par excellence.
‘Who am I?’ I am not this physical body, nor am I the five organs of sense perception.
I am not the five organs of external activity.
I am not the five vital forces.
I am not even the thinking mind. Neither am I that unconscious state of nescience, which retains merely the subtle Vasanas (latent impressions or mental tendencies), being then free from the functional activity of the sense organs and of the mind, and being unaware of the existence of the objects of sense perception.
Therefore, summarily rejecting all the above mentioned physical adjuncts and their functions, saying "I am not this; no, nor am I this, nor this," – that which then remains separate and alone by itself, that pure awareness verily am I. This awareness is by its very nature Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss).
If the mind, which is the instrument of knowledge and is the basis of all activity, subsides, the perception of the world as an objective reality ceases. Unless the illusory perception of the serpent in the rope ceases, the rope on which the illusion is formed is not perceived as such. Even so, unless the illusory nature of the perception of the world as an objective reality ceases, the vision of the true nature of the Self, on which the illusion is formed, is not obtained.
The mind is a unique power (sakti) in the Atman (Self), whereby thoughts occur to oneself. On scrutiny as to what remains after eliminating all thoughts, it will be found that there is no such thing as mind apart from thought. So then, thoughts themselves constitute the mind.
Nor is there any such thing as the physical world apart from and independent of thought. In deep sleep there are no thoughts: nor is there the world. In the wakeful and dream states thoughts are present, and there is also the world.
Just as the spider draws out the thread of the cobweb from within itself and withdraws it again into itself, even so out of itself the mind projects the world and absorbs it back into itself.
The world is perceived as an apparent objective reality when the mind is externalized thereby forsaking its identity with the Self. When the world is thus perceived, the true nature of the Self is not revealed. Conversely, when the Self is realized, the world ceases to appear as an objective reality.
By a steady and continuous investigation into the nature of the mind, the mind is transformed into That to which the ‘I’ refers; and that is verily the Self. Mind has necessarily to depend for its existence on something gross; it never subsists by itself. It is this mind that is otherwise called the subtle body, the ego, the jiva or soul (individual soul).
That which arises in the physical body as ‘I’ is the mind. If one enquires whence the ‘I’-thought in the body arises in the first instance, it will be found that it is Hrdayam or the Heart.
[Note: The word ‘Hrdayam’ consists of two syllables, ‘Hrt’ and ‘Ayam’ which signify ‘I am the Heart’.]
That (Hrdayam or Heart) is the source and stay of the mind. Or again, even if one merely but continuously repeats inwardly ‘I – I’ with the entire mind fixed thereon, that also leads one to the same source.
The first and foremost of all the thoughts that arise in the mind is the primal ‘I’-thought. It is only after the rise or origin of the ‘I’-thought that innumerable other thoughts arise. In other words, only after the first personal pronoun, ‘I’, has arisen, do the second and third personal pronouns (you, he, etc.) occur to the mind; and they cannot subsist without the former.
Since every other thought can occur only after the rise of the ‘I’-thought and since the mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts, it is only through the enquiry ‘Who am I?’ that the mind subsides. Moreover, the integral ‘I’-thought, implicit in such enquiry, having destroyed all other thoughts, gets itself finally destroyed or consumed, even like the stick used for stirring the burning funeral pyre gets consumed.
Even when extraneous thoughts sprout up during such enquiry, do not seek to complete the rising thought, but instead, deeply enquire within, ‘To whom has this thought occurred?’ No matter how many thoughts thus occur to you, if you would with acute vigilance enquire immediately as and when each individual thought arises as to whom it has occurred, you would find it is to ‘me.’ If then, you enquire ‘Who am I?’ the mind gets introverted and the rising thought also subsides. In this manner as you persevere more and more in the practice of Self-enquiry, the mind acquires increasing strength and power to abide in its source.
It is only when the subtle mind is externalized through the activity of the intellect and the sense-organs that gross name and form constituting the world appear. When, on the other hand, the mind stays and abides in the Heart, they (name and form) recede and disappear. Restraint of the out-going mind and its absorption in the Heart is known as introversion (antarmukha -drshti). The release of the mind and its emergence from the Heart is known as Bahirmukha-drishti (objeciveness).
If in this manner the mind becomes absorbed in the Heart, the ego or the ‘I’, which is the centre of the multitude of thoughts, finally vanishes and pure Consciousness or Self, which subsists during all the states of the mind, alone remains resplendent. It is this state, where there is not the slightest trace of the ‘I’-thought, that is the true Being of oneself. And that is called quiescence or Mouna.
This state of mere inherence in pure Being is known as the vision of wisdom. Such inherence means and implies the entire subsidence of the mind in the Self. Anything other than this and all psychic powers of the mind, such as thought- reading, telepathy and clairvoyance, cannot be wisdom.
Atma (atman) alone exists and is real. The world, the individual soul and God are, like the illusory appearance of silver in the mother of pearl, imaginary creations in the Atma. They appear and disappear simultaneously. Verily, the Self alone is the world, the ‘I’ and God. All that exists is but the manifestation of the Supreme.
For the subsidence of mind there is no other means more effective and adequate than self-enquiry. Even though by other means the mind subsides, that is only apparently so; it will rise again.
For instance, the mind subsides by the practice of pranayama (restraint and control of breath and vital forces); yet such subsidence lasts only as long as the control of breath and vital forces continues; and when they are released, the mind also gets released, and immediately becoming externalized it wearily wanders through the force of its subtle tendencies.
The source of the mind on the one hand, and of breath and vital forces on the other, is one and the same. It is really the multitudes of thoughts that constitute the mind; and the ‘I’-thought is the primal thought of the mind, and that itself is the ego. Now, breath too has its origin at the same place whence the ego rises. Therefore, when the mind subsides, breath and vital forces also subside; and conversely, when the latter subside, the former also subsides.
Breath and vital forces are also described as the gross manifestation of the mind. Till the hour of death the mind sustains and supports these forces in the physical body, and when life becomes extinct, the mind envelopes and carries them away. During sleep, however, the vital forces continue to function, although the mind is not manifest. This is according to the divine law and is intended to protect the body and to remove any possible doubt as to whether it is dead or alive while one is asleep. Without such arrangement by nature, sleeping bodies would often be cremated alive. The vitality apparent in breathing is left behind by the mind as a ‘watchman’. But in the wakeful state and in samadhi, when the mind subsides, prana (Vital force) also subsides. For this reason (viz., that the mind has the sustaining and controlling power over breath and vital forces and is therefore ulterior to both of them), the practice of pranayama is merely helpful in subduing the mind but cannot bring about its final extinction.
Even like pranayama, Murti-Dhyana (meditation on form), Mantra or Nama-Japa (repetition of sacred syllables or of names of deities), and the regulation of diet, are only aids to control the mind. Through the practice of Dhyana or Japa the mind becomes one-pointed. Just as the elephant’s trunk, which is otherwise restless, will become steady if it is made to hold an iron chain- so that the elephant walks (goes) his way without reaching out any other object- even so the ever-restless mind, which is trained and accustomed to a name or form through Dhyana or Japa, will steadily hold on to that alone.
When the mind is split up and dissipated into countless and varying thoughts, each individual thought becomes extremely weak and inefficient. When, on the contrary, such thoughts subside more and more till they finally get destroyed, the mind becomes one-pointed, and thereby acquiring strength and sustaining power, easily reaches perfection in the method of enquiry in quest of the Self.
Regulation of diet, restricting it to Satvic food (i.e. simple and nutritious food that sustains but does not stimulate the physical body), taken in moderate quantity, is of all the rules of conduct the best; and it is most conducive to the development of the satvic qualities of the mind.
[Note: Satvic qualities: Purity,Self-restraint, evenness of temper, tenderness towards all beings, fortitude, freedom from desire, freedom from hatred and arrogance are the outstanding virtues of the satvic mind.]
These satvic qualities in their turn, assist one in the practice of Atmavichara or enquiry in quest of the Self.
Countless Vishaya-Vasanas (subtle tendencies of the mind in relation to objects of sense-gratification), that come one after the other in quick succession like the waves of the ocean, agitate the mind. Nevertheless, they too subside and finally get destroyed with progressive practice of Atmadhyana or meditation on the Self. Without giving room even to the thought which occurs in the form of doubt, whether it is possible to stay merely as the very Self, whether all the Vasanas can be destroyed, one should firmly and unceasingly carry on meditation on the Self.
However sinful a person may be, if he would stop wailing inconsolably, ‘Alas! I am a sinner, how shall I attain salvation?’ and casting away even the thought that he is a sinner, if he would zealously carry on meditation on the Self, he would most assuredly get reformed.
So long as Vishaya-Vasanas (subtle tendencies of the mind in relation to objects of sense-gratification) continue to inhere in the mind, it is necessary to carry on the enquiry, ‘Who am I?’ As and when thoughts occur, they should, one and all, be annihilated then and there, at the very place of their origin, by the method of enquiry in quest of the Self.
Not to desire anything extraneous to oneself constitutes Vairagya (dispassion) or Nirasa (desirelessness). Not to give up one’s hold on the Self constitutes Jnana (Knowledge). But really Vairagya and Jnana are one and the same. Just as the pearl-diver, tying stones to his waist, dives down into the depths, and gets the pearl from the sea bed, even so every aspirant, pledged to Vairagya can dive deep into himself and realise the precious Atman. If the earnest seeker would only cultivate the constant and deep contemplative ‘remembrance’ smrti) of the true nature of the Self till he has realised it, that alone would suffice. Distracting thoughts are like the enemy in the fortress. As long as they are in possession of it, they will certainly sally forth. But if you would, as and when they come out, put them to the sword, the fortress will finally be captured.
Firm and disciplined inherence in the Atman (Atmanishtha), without giving the least scope for the rise of any thought other than the deep contemplative thought of the Self, does verily constitute self-surrender to the Supreme Lord. Let any amount of burden be laid on Him. He doth bear it all. It is, in fact, indefinable power of the Lord that ordains, sustains and controls everything that happens. Why then, should we languish tormented by vexatious thought, saying ‘This wise (way) to act; but no, that way ……..’, instead of meekly but happily submitting ourselves to that power? Knowing full well that the train carries all the weight, why indeed should we, the passengers travelling in it, carry the small individual articles of luggage on our laps to our great discomfort, instead of putting them aside and sitting at perfect ease?
That which is Bliss is verily the Self. Bliss and the Self are not distinct and separate but are one and identical. And That alone is real. Not even in one of the countless objects of the mundane world is there anything that can be called happiness. It is through sheer ignorance and unwisdom we fancy that happiness is obtained from them. On the contrary, when the mind is externalized, it suffers pain and anguish. The truth is that every time our desires get fulfilled, the mind turning to its source experiences only that happiness which is natural to the Self. Similarly, in deep sleep, in spiritual trance (samadhi), in a state of swoon etc., when the desired object is obtained or when evil befalls an object considered undesirable, the mind turns within and enjoys that Bliss of Atman. In this manner, wandering astray forsaking the Self and returning back again to it within, is the interminable and wearisome lot of the mind.
It is pleasant under the shade of a tree; scorching is the heat of the sun without. A person toiling in the sun seeks the cool shade of the tree and is happy under it. Staying there for a while, he moves about, but unable to bear the merciless heat of the sun, he seeks the shade again. In this way, he moves, going out from the shade into the sun, and coming into the shade from the sun without.
He that acts in this manner is the unwise one. Whereas the wise one never leaves the shade. Even so the mind of the enlightened sage (Jnani) never exists apart from Brahman, the Absolute. The mind of the ignorant one, on the other hand, entering into the phenomenal world, suffers pain and anguish, and then turning for a short while towards Brahman, it experiences happiness. Such is the mind of the ignorant one.
This phenomenal world, however, is nothing but thought. When the world recedes from one’s view - that is when free from thought- the mind enjoys the Bliss of the Self. Conversely, when the world appears – that is when thought occurs- the mind experiences pain and anguish.
Not from any desire, resolve or effort on the part of the rising sun, but merely due to the presence of his rays, the lens emits heat, the lotus blossoms, water evaporates and the individuals in society take up their respective avocations in life. In the proximity of the magnet the needle moves. Even so, the soul or jiva (individual soul), subjected to the three-fold activity of creation, preservation and destruction that take place merely due to the unique presence of the Supreme Lord, performs acts in accordance with its Karma, and subsides to rest after such activity.
But the Lord Himself has no resolve. No act or event touches even the fringe of His being. This state of immaculate aloofness is likened unto that of the sun who is untouched by the activities of life, or unto that of the all-pervasive space, which is not affected by the interaction of the complex qualities of the other four elements.
All scriptures without any exception proclaim that for attaining salvation mind should be subdued, and having known that control of mind is their final conclusion, it is futile to make an interminable study of the scriptures. What is required for such control is actual enquiry regarding oneself by self-interrogation ‘Who am I?’ How then can this enquiry in quest of the Self be made merely by means of a study of the scriptures?
One should realise the Self by the eye of wisdom. Does Rama need a mirror that he may recognise himself as Rama? That to which the ‘I’ refers is within the five sheaths, whereas the scriptures are outside them. Therefore, to seek by means of the study of scriptures, the Self, that has to be realised by summarily rejecting even the five sheaths, would only be futile.
To enquire ‘Who am I that is in bondage?’ and to know one’s real nature is alone liberation. To keep the mind constantly turned within and to abide thus in the Self, is alone Atma- Vichara (self-enquiry), whereas Dhyana (meditation) consists in fervent contemplation of the Self as Sat-Chit-Ananda (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss). Indeed, at sometime, one will have to forget everything that has been learnt.
Just as it is futile to examine the rubbish that has to be swept up only to be thrown away, even so it is futile for him who seeks to know the Self, if instead of casting away the Tattvas that envelope the Self, he sets himself to enumerate them or to xamine their qualities. He should on the other hand, consider the phenomenal world with reference to himself as merely a dream.
Except that the wakeful state is long and the dream state is short, there is no other difference between the two. All the activities of the dream state appear, for the time being, just as real as the activities of the wakeful state seem to be while awake. Only, during the dream state the mind assumes another form or a different bodily sheath. For, thoughts on the one hand, and name and form on the other, occur simultaneously during both the wakeful and dream states.
There are not two minds, one good and the other evil. It is only the Vasanas or tendencies of the mind that are of two kinds, good and favourable, evil and unfavourable. When the mind is associated with the former, it is called good, and when associated with the latter, it is called evil. However evil-minded other people may appear to you, it is not proper to hate or despise them. Likes and dislikes, love and hatred are equally to be eschewed. It is also not proper to let the mind often rest on objects or affairs of mundane life. As far as possible one should not interfere in the affairs of others. Everything offered to others is really an offering to one self; and if only this truth is realised, who is there that would refuse anything to others?
If the ego rises, all else will also rise; if it subsides, all else will also subside. The deeper the humility with which we conduct ourselves, the better it is for us. If only the mind is kept under control, what does it matter where one may happen to be?
The Blessed Lord said: "Let a man lift himself by his own Self alone, let him not lower himself; for this self alone is the friend of oneself and this self alone is the enemy of oneself." (5). The self is the friend of the self for him who has conquered himself by the Self, but to the unconquered self, this self stands in the position of the enemy like the (external) foe." Gita




VIDURA NITI
(Mahatma Vidur)
Poison slays but one person, and a weapon also but one; wicked counsels, however, destroy an entire kingdom with king and subject. Alone one should not partake of any savoury viand, nor alone reflect on concerns of profit, nor alone go upon a journey, nor alone remain awake among sleeping companions.
There is one only defect in forgiving persons, and not another; that defect is that people take a forgiving person to be weak. That defect however, should not be taken into consideration, for forgiveness is a great power. Forgiveness is a virtue of the weak, and an ornament of the strong. Forgiveness subdues (all) in this world; what is there that forgiveness cannot achieve? What can a wicked person do unto him who carries the sabre of forgiveness in his hand? Fire falling on a grassless ground is extinguished of itself. And unforgiving individual defiles himself with many enormities. Righteousness is the one highest good; and forgiveness is the one supreme peace; knowledge is one supreme contentment; and benevolence, one sole happiness.
Even as a serpent devours animals living in holes, the earth devours these two, viz., a king who is incompetent to fight, and a Brahmana (Brahmin) who does not sojourn to holy places. A man may attain renown in this world by doing two things, viz., by refraining from harsh speech, and by disregarding those that are wicked. O tiger among men, these two have not a will of their own, viz., those women who covet men simply because the latter are coveted by others of their sex, and that person who worships another simply because the latter is worshipped by others. These two are like sharp thorns afflicting the body, viz., the desires of a poor man, and the anger of the impotent. These two persons never shine because of their incompatible acts, viz., a householder without exertion, and a beggar busied in schemes.
These two, O king, live (as it were) in a region higher than heaven itself, viz., a man of power endued with forgiveness, and poor man that is charitable. Of things honestly got, these two must be looked upon as misuse, viz., making gifts to the unworthy and refusing the worthy.
These two should be thrown into the water, tightly binding weights to their necks, viz., a wealthy man that does not give away, and a poor man that is proud. These two, O tiger among men, can pierce the orb itself of the sun, viz., a mendicant accomplished in Yoga, and a warrior that has fallen in open fight.
O bull of the Bharata race, persons versed in the Vedas have said that men’s means are good, middling and bad. Men also, O king, are good, indifferent and bad. They should, therefore, be respectively employed in that kind of work for which they may be fit.
These three, O king, cannot have wealth of their own, viz., the wife, the slave, and the son, and whatever may be earned by them would be his to whom they belong.
Great fear springs from these three crimes, viz., theft of other’s property, outrage on other’s wives, and breach with friend. These three, besides, being destructive to one’s own self, are the gates of hell, viz., lust, anger, and covetousness. Therefore, every one should renounce them.
[Note: Compare from The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, verse 21. The Blessed Lord said: "Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the self – lust, anger and greed; therefore one should abandon these three."]
These three should never be forsaken even in imminent danger, viz., a follower, one who seeks protection, saying: ‘I am thine’, and lastly one who has come to your abode. Verily, O Bharata, liberating a foe from distress, alone amounts in point of merit, to these three taken together, viz., conferring a boon, acquiring a kingdom and obtaining a son.
Learned men have declared that a king, although powerful, should never consult with these four, viz., men of small sense, men that are procrastinating, men that are indolent, and men that are flatterers. O sire, crowned with prosperity and leading the life of a householder, let these four dwell with thee, viz., old consanguineous relatives, high-born persons fallen into adversity, poor friends, and issueless sisters.
On being asked by the chief of the celestials, Vrihaspati, O mighty king, declared four things capable of fructifying or occurring within a single day, viz., the resolve of the gods, the comprehensions of the intelligent persons, the humility of learned men, and the destruction of the sinful. These four that are calculated to remove fear, bring on fear when they are improperly performed, viz., the Agni-hotra (sacred fire ceremony), the vow of silence, study, and sacrifice (in general).
O bull of the Bharata race, these five fires should be worshipped with regard by a person, viz., father, mother, fire (proper), soul and preceptor. By serving these five, men attain great fame in this world, viz., the gods, the Pitris, men, beggars, and guests. These five follow thee wherever you go, viz., friends, foes, those that are indifferent, dependants, and those that are entitled to maintenance.
Of the five senses beholding to man, if one springs a leak, then from that single hole runs out all his intelligence, even like water running out from a perforated leathern vessel.
These six faults should be avoided by a person who wishes to attain prosperity, viz., sleep, drowsiness, fear, anger, indolence and procrastination. These six should be renounced like a splitting vessel in the sea, viz., a preceptor that cannot expound the scriptures, a priest that is illiterate, a king that is unable to protect, a wife that speaks disagreeable words, a cow-herd that does not wish to go to the fields, and a barber that wishes to renounce a village for the woods. Verily those six qualities should never be forsaken by men, viz., truth, charity, diligence, benevolence, forgiveness and patience. These six are instantly destroyed, if neglected, viz., kine (cow), service, agriculture, a wife, learning, and the wealth of a Sudra. These six forget those who have bestowed obligations on them, viz., educated disciples, their preceptors; married persons, their mothers; persons whose desires have been gratified, women; they who have achieved success, they who had rendered aid; they who have crossed a river, the boat (that carried them over); and patients that have been cured, their physicians.
Health, unindebtedness (being debt free), living at home, companionship with good men, certainty as regards the means of livelihood, and living without fear, these six, O king, conduce to the happiness of men. These six are always miserable, viz., the envious, the malicious, the discontented, the irascible, the ever suspicious and those depending upon the fortunes of others. These six, O king, comprise the happiness of men, viz., acquirement of wealth, uninterrupted health, a beloved and a sweet-speeched wife, an obedient son, and knowledge that is lucrative.
[Note: the sixth item was inadvertently omitted by the translator.]
He that succeeds in gaining the mastery over the six that are always present in the human heart, being thus the master of his senses, never commits sin, and therefore, suffers calamity. These six may be seen to subsist upon other six, viz., thieves, upon persons that are careless; physicians, upon persons that are ailing; women, upon persons suffering from lust; priests, upon them that sacrifice; a king, upon persons that quarrel; and lastly, men of learning, upon them that are without it.
A king should renounce these seven faults that are productive of calamity, inasmuch as they are able to effect the ruin of even monarchs firmly established; these are women, dice, hunting, drinking, harshness of speech, severity of punishment, and misuse of wealth.
These eight are the immediate indications of a man destined to destruction, viz., hating the Brahmanas (Brahmins), dispute with Brahmanas, appropriation of a Brahmana’s possessions, taking the life of a Brahmana, taking a pleasure in reviling Brahmanas, grieving to hear the praises of Brahmanas, forgetting them on ceremonious occasions, and giving vent to spite when they ask for anything. These transgressions a wise man should understand and understanding, eschew.
These eight, O Bharata, are the very cream of happiness, and these only are attainable here, viz., meeting with friends, accession of immense wealth, embracing a son, union for intercourse, conversation with friends in proper time, the advancement of persons belonging to one’s own party, the acquisition of what had been anticipated, and respect in society.
These eight qualities glorify a man, viz., wisdom, high birth, self-restraint, learning, prowess, moderation in speech, gift according to one’s power, and gratitude.
This house has nine doors, three pillars, and five witnesses. It is presided over by the soul. That learned man who knows all this is truly wise.
O Dhritarashtra, these ten do not know what virtue is, viz., the intoxicated, inattentive, the raving, the fatigued, the angry, the starving, the hasty, the covetous, the frightened, and the lustful. Therefore, he that is wise must eschew the company of these. In this connection is cited the old story about what transpired between Suyodhana and Prahlad, the chief of the Asuras in relation to the latter’s son. That king who renounces lust and anger, who bestows wealth upon proper recipients, and is discriminating, learned, and active, is regarded as an authority of all men. Great prosperity attends upon that king who knows how to inspire confidence in others, who inflicts punishment on those whose guilt has been proved, who is acquainted with the proper measure of punishment, and who knows when mercy is to be shown.
One should seek to know one’s self by means of one’s own self, controlling one’s mind, intellect, and senses, for one’s self is one’s friend as, indeed, it is one’s own foe. That man, who has conquered self by means of self, has his self for a friend, for one’s self is ever one’s friend or foe.
Desire and anger, O king, break through wisdom, just as a large fish breaks through a net of thin cords. He who in this world regarding both religion and profit, seeks to acquire the means of success, wins happiness, possessing all he had sought. He who, without subduing his five inner foes of mental origin, wishes to vanquish other adversaries, is, in fact, overpowered by the latter.
It is seen that many evil minded kings, owing to want of mastery over their senses, are ruined by acts of their own, occasioned by the lust of territory.
As fuel that is wet burns with that which is dry, so a sinless man is punished equally with the sinful in consequence of constant association with the latter. Therefore, friendship with the sinful should be avoided. He that, from ignorance, fails to control his five greedy foes, having five distinct objects, is overwhelmed by calamities. Guilelessness and simplicity, purity and contentment, sweetness of speech and self-restraint, truth and steadiness, - these are never the attributes of the wicked. Self-knowledge and steadiness, patience and devotion to virtue, competence to keep counsels and charity, - these, O Bharata, never exist in inferior men. Fools seek to injure the wise by false reproaches and evil speeches. The consequence is, that by this they take upon themselves the sins of the wise, while the latter, freed from their sins, are forgiven. In malice lies the strength of the wicked; in criminal code, the strength of kings, in attentions of the weak and of women; and in forgiveness that of the virtuous.
To control speech, O king, is said to be most difficult. It is not easy to hold a long conversation uttering words full of meaning and delightful to the hearers. Well-spoken speech is productive of many beneficial results; and ill-spoken speech, O king, is the cause of evil. A forest pierced by arrows, or cut down by hatchets may again grow, but one’s heart wounded and censured by ill-spoken words never recovers. Weapons such as arrows, bullets and bearded darts, can be easily extracted from the body, but a wordy dagger plunged deep into the heart is incapable of being taken out. Wordy arrows are shot from the mouth. Smitten by them one grieves day and night. A learned man should not discharge such arrows, for do they not touch the very vitals of others?
One that sets fire to a dwelling house, an administerer of poison, a pander, a vendor of the Soma juice, a maker of arrows, an business astrologer, one that injures friends, an adulterer, one that causes abortion, a violator of his preceptor’s bed, a Brahmana (Brahmin) addicted to drink, one that is sharp-speeched, a raker of old sores, an atheist, a reviler of the Vedas, and takers of bribes, one whose investiture with the sacred thread has been delayed beyond the prescribed age, one that secretly slays cattle, and one who slays him who prays for protection, - these are all reckoned as equal in moral turpitude as the slayers of Brahmanas.
But a well-born person, by his deportment; an honest man, by his conduct. A brave man is tested during a season of panic; he that is self-controlled, in times of poverty; and friends and foes, in times of calamity and danger. Decrepitude destroys beauty; ambitious hopes destroy patience; death destroys life; envy, righteousness; anger, prosperity; companionship with the low, good behaviour; lust, modesty; and pride destroys everything.
Silence, it is said, is better than speech. If speak you must, then it is better to say the truth. If truth is to be said, it is better to say what is agreeable; and if what is agreeable is to be said, then it is better to say what is consistent with morality.
A man becomes exactly like him with whom he lives, or like him whom he regards, or like that which he wishes to be. One is freed from those things from which one abstains, and if one abstains from everything he has not to suffer even the least misery. Such a man neither vanquishes others, nor is vanquished by others. He never injures nor opposes others. He is unmoved by praise or blame. He neither grieves nor exalts in joy.
Sorrow kills beauty; sorrow kills strength; sorrow kills the understanding; and sorrow brings on disease.
Instead of helping the acquisition of his object, dries up the body, and makes one’s foes glad. Therefore, do not yield to grief. Men repeatedly die and are reborn; repeatedly they wither away and grow; repeatedly they ask others for help, and they themselves are asked for help; repeatedly they lament and are lamented. Happiness and misery, plenty and want, gain and loss, life and death, are shared by all in due order. Therefore, he that is self-controlled should neither exult in joy nor repine in sorrow. The six senses are always restless. Through the most predominant one amongst them one’s understanding escapes in proportion to the strength it assumes, like water from a pot through its holes.


RELATIVES (1)
They that are no longer in peace with their relatives, obtain no sleep even if they have recourse to well made beds; nor do they, O king, derive any pleasure from women, or the laudatory hymns of bards and eulogists. Such persons can never practise virtue. Happiness can never be theirs in this world. Honours can never be theirs, and peace has no charm for them. Counsels that are for their benefit please them not. They never acquire what they have not, nor succeed in retaining what they have, O king, there is no other end for such men save destruction.
As milk is possible in kine (cows), asceticism in Brahmanas, and inconstancy in women, so fear is possible from relatives. Numerous thin threads of equal length, collected together, are competent to bear from the strength of numbers, the constant rolling of the shuttlecock over them. The case is even so with relatives that are good, O bull of the Bharata race, separated from one another. Burning bran produce only smoke but brought together they blaze forth into a powerful flame. The case is even so, O Dhritarashtra, with relatives. They, O Dhritarashtra, who tyrannise over Brahmanas, women relatives, and kine, soon fall off their stalks, like fruits that are ripe. And the tree that stands singly, though gigantic and strong and deep rooted, has its trunk soon smashed and twisted by a mighty wind. Those trees, however, that grow in close compact are competent owing to mutual dependence to resist winds more violent still. Thus he that is single, however, endowed with all the virtues, is regarded by foes as capable of being vanquished like an isolated tree by the wind. Relatives, again, in consequence of mutual dependence and mutual aid, grow together, like lotus stalks in a lake. These must never be slain, viz., Brahmanas, kine, relatives, children, women, those whose food is eaten, and those also that yield by asking for protection.
O king, without wealth no good quality can show itself in a person. If, however, you are in health, you can achieve your good, for he is dead who is unhealthy and ill.
O king, anger is a kind of bitter, pungent, acrid, and hot drink, painful in its consequences; it is a kind of headache not born of any physical illness, and they that are unwise can never digest it. Do thou, O king, swallow it up and obtain peace. They that are tortured by disease have no liking for enjoyments, nor do they desire any happiness from wealth. The sick, however, filled with sorrow, know not what happiness is or what the enjoyments of wealth are. Beholding Draupadi won at dice, I told thee before, O king, these words: "They that are honest avoid deceit in play. Therefore, stop Duryodhana!" Thou did not, however, act according to my words. That is no strength, which is opposed to softness. On the other hand, strength mixed with softness constitutes true policy, which should ever be pursued.
That prosperity which is dependent on crookedness alone is destined to be destroyed. That prosperity, however, which depends on both strength and softness, descends to sons and grandsons intact. Let therefore, thy sons cherish the Pandavas, and the Pandavas also cherish thy sons, O king, let the Kurus and the Pandavas, both having same friend and same foes, live together in happiness and prosperity. Thou art, today, O king, the refuge of the sons of Kuru. Indeed, the race of Kuru, O Ajamida, is dependent on thee. O sire, preserving thy fame unsullied, cherish thou the children of Pandu, afflicted as they are with the sufferings of exile. O descendant of Kuru, make peace with the sons of Pandu. Let not thy foes discover thy holes. They all, O god among men, are devoted to truth. O king of men, withdraw Duryodhana from his evil ways.
Vidura said: O son of Vichitravirya, Manu the son of the Self-created, has, O king, spoken of the following seven and ten kinds of men, as those that strike empty space with their fists, or seek to bend the vapoury bow of Indra in the sky, or desire to catch the intangible rays of the sun.
THESE SEVEN AND TEN KINDS OF FOOLISH MEN ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. He who seeks to control a person that is incapable of being controlled.
2. He who is content with small gains.
3. He who humbly pays court to enemies.
4. He who seeks to restrain women’s frailty.
5. He who asks him for gifts who should never be asked.
6. He who boasts having done anything.
7. He who, born in a high family, perpetrates an improper deed.
8. He who being weak always wages hostilities with one that is powerful.
9. He who talks to a person listening scoffingly.
10. He who desires to have that which is unattainable.
11. He who being a father-in-law, jests with his daughter-in-law.
12. He who boasts at having his alarms dispelled by his daughter-in-law.
13. He who scatters his own seeds in another’s field.
14. He who speaks ill of his own wife.
15. He who having received anything from another says that he does not remember it.
16. He who, having given away anything in words in holy places, boasts at home when asked to make good his words.
17. And he who strives to prove the truth of what is false.
THESE EIGHT QUALITIES SHED A LUSTRE ON MEN:
1. Wisdom
2. High lineage
3. Acquaintance with scriptures
4. Self-restraint
5. Prowess
6. Moderation in speech
7. Gift to the extent of one’s power
8. Gratefulness
These high qualities, O sire, are necessarily brought together by one only by gifts. When the king favours a person, that incident (of royal favour) brings in all others and holds them together.
HE THAT PERFORMS ABLUTIONS WINS THESE TEN:
1. Strength
2. Beauty
3. A clear voice
4. Capacity to utter all the alphabetical sounds
5. Delicacy of touch
6. Fineness of scent
7. Cleanliness
8. Gracefulness
9. Delicacy of limbs
10. Beautiful women
HE THAT EATS SPARINGLY WINS THESE
1. Health
2. Long life
3. Ease
4. His progeny also becomes healthy
5. Nobody reproaches him for gluttony
There is sin in accepting gifts from, and danger in making gifts to them, whose very sight is inauspicious and whose companionship is fraught with danger. They that are quarrelsome, covetous, shameless, deceitful, and are known as unrighteous, their companionship should always be avoided. One should also avoid those men that are endued with similar faults of a grave nature. When the occasion that caused the friendship is over the friendship of those that are low, the beneficial result of that connection, and the happiness also derivable from it, all come to an end. They then strive to speak ill of their (late) friend and endeavour to inflict loss on him, and if the loss they sustain be even very small, for all that they, from want of self-control, fail to enjoy peace. He that is learned, examining everything carefully and reflecting well, should from a distance, avoid the friendship of vile and wicked minded persons such as these.


RELATIVES (2)
He that helps his poor and wretched and helpless relatives obtains children and animals and enjoys prosperity that knows no end. They that desire their own benefit should always succour their relatives. By every means, therefore, O king, do thou seek the growth of thy race. Prosperity will be thine, O monarch, if thou behave well towards all thy relatives. Even relatives that are destitute of good qualities should be protected. O bull of the Bharata race, how much more, therefore, should they be protected that are endued with every virtue and are humbly expectant of thy favour? Favour thou the heroic sons of Pandu, O monarch, and a few villages be assigned to them for their maintenance. By acting thus, O king, fame will be thine in this world. Thou art old; thou should therefore, control thy sons. I should say what is for thy good. Know me as one that wishes well to thee. He that desires his own good should never quarrel, O sire, with his relatives. O bull of the Bharata race, happiness should ever be enjoyed with one’s relatives, and not without them. To eat with one another, to talk with one another, and to love one another, is what relatives should always do. They should never quarrel.
In this world it is the relatives that rescue, and the relatives that ruin (relatives). Those amongst them that are righteous rescue; while those that are unrighteous sink (their brethren). O king, be thou, O giver of honours, righteous in thy conduct towards the sons of Pandu. Surrounded by them, thou would be unconquerable by thy foes. If a relative shrinks in the presence of a prosperous relative, like a deer at the sight of a hunter armed with arrows, then the prosperous relative has to take upon himself all the sins of the other. O best of men, repentance will be thine (for this thy inaction at present) when in future thou wilt hear of the death of either the Pandavas or thy sons. O think of all this. When life itself is unstable, one should in the very beginning avoid that act in consequence of which one would have to indulge in regrets having entered the chamber of woe. True it is that a person other than Bhargava, the author of the science of morality, is liable to commit actions that go against morality. It is seen, however, that a just notion of consequence is present in all persons of intelligence. Thou art an aged scion of Kuru’s race. If Duryodhana inflicted these wrongs on the sons of Pandu, it is thy duty, O king of men, to undo them all. Reinstating them in their position, thou wilt, in this world, be cleansed of all thy sins and be, O king of men, an object of worship with even those that have their souls under control. Reflecting on the well-spoken words of the wise according to their consequences, he that engages in acts never loses fame. The knowledge imparted by even men of learning and skill is imperfect, for that which is sought to be inculcated is ill understood, or, if understood, is not accomplished in practice. That learned person who never does an act, the consequences of which are sin and misery, always grows. The person, however, of wicked soul, who from folly pursues his sinful course commenced before falls into a slough of deep mire.



CHANAKYA NITI
(Chanakya Pandit Compiled by: Patita Pavana dasa)
CHAPTER ONE
1. Humbly bowing down before the almighty Lord Sri Vishnu, the Lord of the three worlds, I recite maxims of the science of political ethics (niti) selected from the various satras (scriptures).
2. That man who by the study of these maxims from the satras acquires a knowledge of the most celebrated principles of duty, and understands what ought and what ought not to be followed, and what is good and what is bad, is most excellent.
3. Therefore with an eye to the public good, I shall speak that which, when understood, will lead to an understanding of things in their proper perspective.
4. Even a pandit comes to grief by giving instruction to a foolish disciple, by maintaining a wicked wife, and by excessive familiarity with the miserable.
5. A wicked wife, a false friend, a saucy servant and living in a house with a serpent in it are nothing but death.
6. One should save his money against hard times, save his wife at the sacrifice of his riches, but invariably one should save his soul even at the sacrifice of his wife and riches.
7. Save your wealth against future calamity. Do not say, "What fear has a rich man, of calamity?" When riches begin to forsake one even the accumulated stock dwindles away.
8. Do not inhabit a country where you are not respected, cannot earn your livelihood, have no friends, or cannot acquire knowledge.
9. Do not stay for a single day where there are not these five persons: a wealthy man, a brahmin well versed in Vedic lore, a king, a river and a physician
10. Wise men should never go into a country where there are no means of earning one's livelihood, where the people have no dread of anybody, have no sense of shame, no intelligence, or a charitable disposition.
11. Test a servant while in the discharge of his duty, a relative in difficulty, a friend in adversity, and a wife in misfortun.
12. He is a true friend who does not forsake us in time of need, misfortune, famine, or war, in a king's court, or at the crematorium (smasana).
13. He who gives up what is imperishable for that which is perishable, loses that which is imperishable; and doubtlessly loses that which is perishable also.
14. A wise man should marry a virgin of a respectable family even if she is deformed. He should not marry one of a low-class family, through beauty. Marriage in a family of equal status is preferable.
15. Do not put your trust in rivers, men who carry weapons, beasts with claws or horns, women, and members of a royal family
16. Even from poison extract nectar, wash and take back gold if it has fallen in filth, receive the highest knowledge (Krsna consciousness) from a low born person; so also a girl possessing virtuous qualities (stri-ratna) even if she were born in a disreputable family.
17. Women have hunger two-fold, shyness four-fold, daring six-fold, and lust eight-fold as compared to men


CHAPTER TWO
1. Untruthfulness, rashness, guile, stupidity, avarice, uncleanliness and cruelty are a woman's seven natural flaws
2. To have ability for eating when dishes are ready at hand, to be robust and virile in the company of one's religiously wedded wife, and to have a mind for making charity when one is prosperous are the fruits of no ordinary austerities.
3. He whose son is obedient to him, whose wife's conduct is in accordance with his wishes, and who is content with his riches, has his heaven here on earth.
4. They alone are sons who are devoted to their father. He is a father who supports his sons. He is a friend in whom we can confide, and she only is a wife in whose company the husband feels contented and peaceful. 5. Avoid him who talks sweetly before you but tries to ruin you behind your back, for he is like a pitcher of poison with milk on top.
6. Do not put your trust in a bad companion nor even trust an ordinary friend, for if he should get angry with you, he may bring all your secrets to light.
7. Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise counsel keep it secret, being determined to carry it into execution.
8. Foolishness is indeed painful, and verily so is youth, but more painful by far than either is being obliged in another person's house.
9. There does not exist a pearl in every mountain, nor a pearl in the head of every elephant; neither are the sadhus to be found everywhere, nor sandal trees in every forest.
[Note: Only elephants in royal palaces are seen decorated with pearls (precious stones) on their heads].
10. Wise men should always bring up their sons in various moral ways, for children who have knowledge of niti-sastra and are well behaved become a glory to their family.
11. Those parents who do not educate their sons are their enemies; for as is a crane among swans, so are ignorant sons in a public assembly.
12. Many a bad habit is developed through over indulgence, and many a good one by chastisement, therefore beat your son as well as your pupil; never indulge them. ("Spare the rod and spoil the child."
13. Let not a single day pass without your learning a verse, half a verse, or a fourth of it, or even one letter of it; nor without attending to charity, study and other pious activity.
14. Separation from the wife, disgrace from one's own people, an enemy saved in battle, service to a wicked king, poverty, and a mismanaged assembly: these six kinds of evils, if afflicting a person, burn him even without fire
15. Trees on a riverbank, a woman in another man's house, and kings without counsellors go without doubt to swift destruction.
16. A brahmin's strength is in his learning, a king's strength is in his army, a vaishya's strength is in his wealth and a shudra's strength is in his attitude of service
17. The prostitute has to forsake a man who has no money, the subject a king that cannot defend him, the birds a tree that bears no fruit, and the guests a house after they have finished their meals.
18. Brahmins quit their patrons after receiving alms from them, scholars leave their teachers after receiving education from them, and animals desert a forest that has been burnt down.
19. He who befriends a man whose conduct is vicious, whose vision impure, and who is notoriously crooked, is rapidly ruined.
20. Friendship between equals flourishes, service under a king is respectable, it is good to be business-minded in public dealings, and a handsome lady is safe in her own home.


CHAPTER THREE
1. In this world, whose family is there without blemish? Who is free from sickness and grief? Who is forever happy?
2. A man's descent may be discerned by his conduct, his country by his pronunciation of language, his friendship by his warmth and glow, and his capacity to eat by his body.
3. Give your daughter in marriage to a good family, engage your son in learning, see that your enemy comes to grief, and engage your friends in dharma. (Krsna consciousness).
4. Of a rascal and a serpent, the serpent is the better of the two, for he strikes only at the time he is destined to kill, while the former at every step. 5. Therefore kings gather round themselves men of good families, for they never forsake them either at the beginning, the middle or the end.
6. At the time of the pralaya (universal destruction) the oceans are to exceed their limits and seek to change, but a saintly man never changes.
7. Do not keep company with a fool for as we can see he is a two-legged beast. Like an unseen thorn he pierces the heart with his sharp words.
8. Though men be endowed with beauty and youth and born in noble families, yet without education they are like the palasa flower, which is void of sweet fragrance.
9. The beauty of a cuckoo is in its notes, that of a woman in her unalloyed devotion to her husband, that of an ugly person in his scholarship, and that of an ascetic in his forgiveness.
10. Give up a member to save a family, a family to save a village, a village to save a country, and the country to save yourself.
11. There is no poverty for the industrious. Sin does not attach itself to the person practicing japa (chanting of the holy names of the Lord). Those who are absorbed in maunam (silent contemplation of the Lord) have no quarrel with others. They are fearless who remain always alert.
12.-13. What is too heavy for the strong and what place is too distant for those who put forth effort? What country is foreign to a man of true learning? Who can be inimical to one who speaks pleasingly?
14. As a whole forest becomes fragrant by the existence of a single tree with sweet-smelling blossoms in it, so a family becomes famous by the birth of a virtuous son.
15. As a single withered tree, if set aflame, causes a whole forest to burn, so does a rascal son destroy a whole family.
16. As night looks delightful when the moon shines, so is a family gladdened by even one learned and virtuous son.
17. What is the use of having many sons if they cause grief and vexation? It is better to have only one son from whom the whole family can derive support and peacefulness.
18. Fondle a son until he is five years of age, and use the stick for another ten years, but when he has attained his sixteenth year treat him as a friend.
19. He who runs away from a fearful calamity, a foreign invasion, a terrible famine, and the companionship of wicked men is safe.
20. He who has not acquired one of the following: religious merit (dharma), wealth (artha), satisfaction of desires (kama), or liberation (moksa) is repeatedly born to die
21. Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, comes of Her own accord where fools are not respected, grain is well stored up, and the husband and wife do not quarrel.


CHAPTER FOUR
1. These five: the life span, the type of work, wealth, learning and the time of one's death are determined while one is in the womb.
2. Offspring, friends and relatives flee from a devotee of the Lord: yet those who follow him bring merit to their families through their devotion.
3. Fish, tortoises, and birds bring up their young by means of sight, attention and touch; so do saintly men afford protection to their associates by the same means.
4. As long as your body is healthy and under control and death is distant, try to save your soul; when death is imminent what can you do?
5. Learning is like a cow of desire. It, like her, yields in all seasons. Like a mother, it feeds you on your journey. Therefore learning is a hidden treasure.
6. A single son endowed with good qualities is far better than a hundred devoid of them. For the moon, though one, dispels the darkness, which the stars, though numerous, cannot.
7. A stillborn son is superior to a foolish son endowed with a long life. The first causes grief for but a moment while the latter like a blazing fire consumes his parents in grief for life.
8. Residing in a small village devoid of proper living facilities, serving a person born of a low family, unwholesome food, a frowning wife, a foolish son, and a widowed daughter burn the body without fire.
9. What good is a cow that neither gives milk nor conceives? Similarly, what is the value of the birth of a son if he becomes neither learned nor a pure devotee of the Lord?
10. When one is consumed by the sorrows of life, three things give him relief: offspring, a wife, and the company of the Lord's devotees.
11. Kings speak for once, men of learning once, and the daughter is given in marriage once. All these things happen once and only once.
12. Religious austerities should be practiced alone, study by two, and singing by three. A journey should be undertaken by four, agriculture by five, and war by many together.
13. She is a true wife who is clean (suci), expert, chaste, pleasing to the husband, and truthful.
14. The house of a childless person is a void, all directions are void to one who has no relatives, the heart of a fool is also void, but to a poverty-stricken man all is void.
15. Scriptural lessons not put into practice are poison; a meal is poison to him who suffers from indigestion; a social gathering is poison to a poverty-stricken person; and a young wife is poison to an aged man.
16. That man who is without religion and mercy should be rejected. A guru without spiritual knowledge should be rejected. The wife with an offensive face should be given up, and so should relatives who are without affection.
17. Constant travel brings old age upon a man; a horse becomes old by being constantly tied up; lack of sexual contact with her husband brings old age upon a woman; and garments become old through being left in the sun.
18. Consider again and again the following: the right time, the right friends, the right place, the right means of income, the right ways of spending, and from whom you derive your power.
19. For the twice born the fire (Agni) is a representative of God. The Supreme Lord resides in the heart of His devotees. Those of average intelligence (alpa-buddhi or kanista-adhikari) see God only in His sri-murti, but those of broad vision see the Supreme Lord everywhere.


CHAPTER FIVE
1. Agni is the worshipable person for the twice born; the brahmana for the other castes; the husband for the wife; and the guest who comes for food at the midday meal for all.
2. As gold is tested in four ways by rubbing, cutting, heating and beating -- so a man should be tested by these four things: his renunciation, his conduct, his qualities and his actions.
3. A thing may be dreaded as long as it has not overtaken you, but once it has come upon you, try to get rid of it without hesitation.
4. Though persons be born from the same womb and under the same stars, they do not become alike in disposition as the thousand fruits of the badari tree.
5. He whose hands are clean does not like to hold an office; he who desires nothing cares not for bodily decorations; he who is only partially educated cannot speak agreeably; and he who speaks out plainly cannot be a deceiver.
6. The learned are envied by the foolish; rich men by the poor; chaste women by adulteresses; and beautiful ladies by ugly ones
7. Indolent application ruins study; money is lost when entrusted to others; a farmer who sows his seed sparsely is ruined; and an army is lost for want of a commander.
8. Learning is retained through putting into practice; family prestige is maintained through good behaviour; a respectable person is recognised by his excellent qualities; and anger is seen in the eyes.
9. Religion is preserved by wealth; knowledge by diligent practice; a king by conciliatory words; and a home by a dutiful housewife.
10. Those who blaspheme Vedic wisdom, who ridicule the life style recommended in the satras, and who deride men of peaceful temperament, come to grief unnecessarily.
11. Charity puts and end to poverty; righteous conduct to misery; discretion to ignorance; and scrutiny to fear.
12. There is no disease (so destructive) as lust; no enemy like infatuation; no fire like wrath; and no happiness like spiritual knowledge.
13. A man is born alone and dies alone; and he experiences the good and bad consequences of his karma alone; and he goes alone to hell or the Supreme abode.
14. Heaven is but a straw to him who knows spiritual life (Krsna consciousness); so is life to a valiant man; a woman to him who has subdued his senses; and the universe to him who is without attachment for the world.
15. Knowledge is a friend on the journey; a wife in the house; medicine in sickness; and religious merit is the only friend after death.
16. Rain which falls upon the sea is useless; so is food for one who is satiated; in vain is a gift for one who is wealthy; and a burning lamp during the daytime is useless.
17. There is no water like rainwater; no strength like one's own; no light like that of the eyes; and no wealth more dear than food grain.
18. The poor wish for wealth; animals for the faculty of speech; men wish for heaven; and godly persons for liberation.
19. The earth is supported by the power of truth; it is the power of truth that makes the sunshine and the winds blow; indeed all things rest upon truth.
20. The Goddess of wealth is unsteady (chanchala), and so is the life breath. The duration of life is uncertain, and the place of habitation is uncertain; but in all this inconsistent world religious merit alone is immovable.
21. Among men the barber is cunning; among birds the crow; among beasts the jackal; and among women, the malin (flower girl).
22. These five are your fathers; he who gave you birth, girdled you with sacred thread, teaches you, provides you with food, and protects you from fearful situations.
23. These five should be considered as mothers; the king's wife, the preceptor's wife, the friend's wife, your wife's mother, and your own mother.


CHAPTER SIX
1. By means of hearing one understands dharma, malignity vanishes, knowledge is acquired, and liberation from material bondage is gained.
2. Among birds the crow is vile; among beasts the dog; the ascetic whose sins is abominable, but he who blasphemes others is the worst chandala.
3. Brass is polished by ashes; copper is cleaned by tamarind; a woman, by her menses; and a river by its flow.
4. The king, the brahmana, and the ascetic yogi who go abroad are respected; but the woman who wanders is utterly ruined.
5. He who has wealth has friends. He who is wealthy has relatives. The rich one alone is called a man, and the affluent alone are respected as pandits
6. As is the desire of Providence, so functions one's intellect; one's activities are also controlled by Providence; and by the will of Providence one is surrounded by helpers.
7. Time perfects all living beings as well as kills them; it alone is awake when all others are asleep. Time is insurmountable.
8. Those born blind cannot see; similarly blind are those in the grip of lust. Proud men have no perception of evil; and those bent on acquiring riches see no sin in their actions.
9. The spirit soul goes through his own course of karma and he himself suffers the good and bad results thereby accrued. By his own actions he entangles himself in samsara, and by his own efforts he extricates himself.
10. The king is obliged to accept the sins of his subjects; the purohit (priest) suffers for those of the king; a husband suffers for those of his wife; and the guru suffers for those of his pupils.
11. A father who is a chronic debtor, an adulterous mother, a beautiful wife, and an unlearned son are enemies ( in one's own home).
12. Conciliate a covetous man by means of a gift, an obstinate man with folded hands in salutation, a fool by humouring him, and a learned man by truthful words.
13. It is better to be without a kingdom than to rule over a petty one; better to be without a friend than to befriend a rascal; better to be without a disciple than to have a stupid one; and better to be without a wife than to have a bad one.
14. How can people be made happy in a petty kingdom? What peace can we expect from a rascal friend? What happiness can we have at home in the company of a bad wife? How can renown be gained by instructing an unworthy disciple?
15. Learn one thing from a lion; one from a crane; four a cock; five from a crow; six from a dog; and three from an ass.
16. The one excellent thing that can be learned from a lion is that whatever a man intends doing should be done by him with a whole-hearted and strenuous effort.
17. The wise man should restrain his senses like the crane and accomplish his purpose with due knowledge of his place, time and ability.
18. To wake at the proper time; to take a bold stand and fight; to make a fair division (of property) among relations; and to earn one's own bread by personal exertion are the four excellent things to be learned from a cock. 19. Union in privacy (with one's wife); boldness; storing away useful items; watchfulness; and not easily trusting others; these five things are to be learned from a crow.
20. Contentment with little or nothing to eat although one may have a great appetite; to awaken instantly although one may be in a deep slumber; unflinching devotion to the master; and bravery; these six qualities should be learned from the dog.
21. Although an ass is tired, he continues to carry his burden; he is unmindful of cold and heat; and he is always contented; these three things should be learned from the ass.
22. He who shall practice these twenty virtues shall become invincible in all his undertakings.


CHAPTER SEVEN
1. A wise man should not reveal his loss of wealth, the vexation of his mind, the misconduct of his own wife, base words spoken by others, and disgrace that has befallen him.
2. He who gives up shyness in monetary dealings, in acquiring knowledge, in eating and in business, becomes happy.
3. The happiness and peace attained by those satisfied by the nectar of spiritual tranquillity is not attained by greedy persons restlessly moving here and there.
4. One should feel satisfied with the following three things; his own wife, food given by Providence and wealth acquired by honest effort; but one should never feel satisfied with the following three; study, chanting the holy names of the Lord (japa) and charity.
5. Do not pass between two brahmanas, between a brahmana and his sacrificial fire, between a wife and her husband, a master and his servant, and a plough and an ox.
6. Do not let your foot touch fire, the spiritual master or a brahmana; it must never touch a cow, a virgin, an old person or a child.
7. Keep one thousand cubits away from an elephant, a hundred from a horse, ten from a horned beast, but keep away from the wicked by leaving the country.
8. An elephant is controlled by a goad (ankusha), a horse by a slap of the hand, a horned animal with the show of a stick, and a rascal with a sword.
9. Brahmanas find satisfaction in a good meal, peacocks in the peal of thunder, a sadhu in seeing the prosperity of others, and the wicked in the misery of others.
10. Conciliate a strong man by submission, a wicked man by opposition, and the one whose power is equal to yours by politeness or force.
11. The power of a king lies in his mighty arms; that of a brahmana in his spiritual knowledge; and that of a woman in her beauty youth and sweet words.
12. Do not be very upright in your dealings for you would see by going to the forest that straight trees are cut down while crooked ones are left standing.
13. Swans live wherever there is water, and leave the place where water dries up; let not a man act so -- and comes and goes as he pleases.
14. Accumulated wealth is saved by spending just as incoming fresh water is saved by letting out stagnant water.
15. He who has wealth has friends and relations; he alone survives and is respected as a man.
16. The following four characteristics of the denizens of heaven may be seen in the residents of this earth planet; charity, sweet words, worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and satisfying the needs of brahmanas.
17. The following qualities of the denizens of hell may characterise men on earth; extreme wrath, harsh speech, enmity with one's relations, the company with the base, and service to men of low extraction.
18. By going to the den of a lion pearls from the head of an elephant may be obtained; but by visiting the hole of a jackal nothing but the tail of a calf or a bit of the hide of an ass may be found.
19. The life of an uneducated man is as useless as the tail of a dog, which neither covers its rear end, nor protects it from the bites of insects.
20. Purity of speech, of the mind, of the senses, and a compassionate heart are needed by one who desires to rise to the divine platform.
21. As you seek fragrance in a flower, oil in the sesamum seed, fire in wood, ghee (butter) in milk, and jaggery (guda) in sugarcane; so seek the spirit that is in the body by means of discrimination.


CHAPTER EIGHT
Low class men desire wealth; middle class men both wealth and respect; but the noble, honour only; hence honour is the noble man's true wealth.
3. The lamp eats up the darkness and therefore it produces blackened lamp; in the same way according to the nature of our diet (sattva, rajas, or tamas) we produce offspring in similar quality.
4. O wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet. The rainwater enlivens all living beings of the earth both movable (insects, animals, humans, etc.) and immovable (plants, trees, etc.), and then returns to the ocean where its value is multiplied a million fold.
5. The wise who discern the essence of things have declared that the yavana (meat eater) is equal in baseness to a thousand candalas (the lowest class), and hence a yavana is the basest of men; indeed there is no one more base.
6. After having rubbed oil on the body, after encountering the smoke from a funeral pyre, after sexual intercourse, and after being shaved, one remains a chandala until he bathes.
7. Water is the medicine for indigestion; it is invigorating when the food that is eaten is well digested; it is like nectar when drunk in the middle of a dinner; and it is like poison when taken at the end of a meal.
8. Knowledge is lost without putting it into practice; a man is lost due to ignorance; an army is lost without a commander; and a woman is lost without a husband.
9. A man who encounters the following three is unfortunate; the death of his wife in his old age, the entrusting of money into the hands of relatives, and depending upon others for food.
10. Chanting of the Vedas without making ritualistic sacrifices to the Supreme Lord through the medium of Agni, and sacrifices not followed by bountiful gifts are futile. Perfection can be achieved only through devotion (to the Supreme Lord) for devotion is the basis of all success.
13. There is no austerity equal to a balanced mind, and there is no happiness equal to contentment; there is no disease like covetousness, and no virtue like mercy.
14. Anger is a personification of Yama (the demigod of death); thirst is like the hellish river Vaitarani; knowledge is like a kamadhenu (the cow of plenty); and contentment is like Nandanavana (the garden of Indra).
15. Moral excellence is an ornament for personal beauty; righteous conduct, for high birth; success for learning; and proper spending for wealth.
16. Beauty is spoiled by an immoral nature; noble birth by bad conduct; learning, without being perfected; and wealth by not being properly utilised.
17. Water seeping into the earth is pure; and a devoted wife is pure; the king who is the benefactor of his people is pure; and pure is the brahmana who is contented.
18. Discontented brahmanas, contented kings, shy prostitutes, and immodest housewives are ruined.
19. Of what avail is a high birth if a person is destitute of scholarship? A man who is of low extraction is honoured even by the demigods if he is learned.
20. A learned man is honoured by the people. A learned man commands respect everywhere for his learning. Indeed, learning is honoured everywhere.
21. Those who are endowed with beauty and youth and who are born of noble families are worthless if they have no learning. They are just like the kimshuka blossoms ( flowers of the palasa tree) which, though beautiful, have no fragrance.
22. The earth is encumbered with the weight of the flesh-eaters, wine-bibblers, dolts (dull and stupid) and blockheads, who are beasts in the form of men.
23. There is no enemy like a yajna (sacrifice) which consumes the kingdom when not attended by feeding on a large scale; consumes the priest when the chanting is not done properly; and consumes the yajaman (the responsible person) when the gifts are not made.


CHAPTER NINE
1. My dear child, if you desire to be free from the cycle of birth and death, then abandon the objects of sense gratification as poison. Drink instead the nectar of forbearance, upright conduct, mercy, cleanliness and truth.
2. Those base men who speak of the secret faults of others destroy themselves like serpents that stray onto anthills.
3. Perhaps nobody has advised Lord Brahma, the creator, to impart perfume to gold; fruit to the sugarcane; flowers to the sandalwood tree; wealth to the learned; and long life to the king
4. Nectar (amrita) is the best among medicines; eating good food is the best of all types of material happiness; the eye is the chief among all organs; and the head occupies the chief position among all parts of the body.
5. No messenger can travel about in the sky and no tidings come from there. The voice of its inhabitants is never heard, nor can any contact be established with them. Therefore the brahmana who predicts the eclipse of the sun and moon, which occur in the sky, must be considered as a vidwan (man of great learning).
6. The student, the servant, the traveller, the hungry person, the frightened man, the treasury guard, and the steward: these seven ought to be awakened if they fall asleep.
7. The serpent, the king, the tiger, the stinging wasp, the small child, the dog owned by other people, and the fool: these seven ought not to be awakened from sleep.
8. Of those who have studied the Vedas for material rewards, and those who accept foodstuffs offered by shudras, what potency have they? They are just like serpents without fangs.
9. He who neither rouses fear by his anger, nor confers a favour when he is pleased can neither control nor protect. What can he do?
10. The serpent may, without being poisonous, raise high its hood, but the show of terror is enough to frighten people -- whether he be venomous or not.
11. Wise men spend their mornings in discussing gambling, the afternoon discussing the activities of women, and the night hearing about the activities of theft. (The first item above refers to the gambling of King Yudhisthira, the great devotee of Krsna. The second item refers to the glorious deeds of mother Sita, the consort of Lord Ramachandra. The third item hints at the adorable childhood pastimes of Sri Krsna who stole butter from the elderly cowherd ladies of Gokula. Hence Chanakya Pandita advises wise persons to spend the morning absorbed in Mahabharata, the afternoon studying Ramayana, and the evening devotedly hearing the Srimad-Bhagvatam.)
12. By preparing a garland for a Deity with one's own hand; by grinding sandal paste for the Lord with one's own hand; and by writing sacred texts with one's own hand -- one becomes blessed with opulence equal to that of Indra.
14. Poverty is set off by fortitude; shabby garments by keeping them clean; bad food by warming it; and ugliness by good behaviour.


CHAPTER TEN
1. One destitute of wealth is not destitute, he is indeed rich (if he is learned); but the man devoid of learning is destitute in every way.
2. We should carefully scrutinise that place upon which we step (having it ascertained to be free from filth and living creatures like insects, etc.); we should drink water, which has been filtered (through a clean cloth); we should speak only those words, which have the sanction of the satras; and do that act which we have carefully considered.
3. He who desires sense gratification must give up all thoughts of acquiring knowledge; and he who seeks knowledge must not hope for sense gratification. How can he who seeks sense gratification acquire knowledge, and he who possesses knowledge enjoy mundane sense pleasure?
4. What is it that escapes the observation of poets? What is that act women are incapable of doing? What will drunken people not prate? What will not a crow eat?
5. Fate makes a beggar a king and a king a beggar. He makes a rich man poor and a poor man rich
6. The beggar is a miser's enemy; the wise counsellor is the fool's enemy; her husband is an adulterous wife's enemy; and the moon is the enemy of the thief.
7. Those who are destitute of learning, penance, knowledge, good disposition, virtue and benevolence are brutes wandering the earth in the form of men. They are burdensome to the earth.
8. Those that are empty-minded cannot be benefited by instruction. Bamboo does not acquire the quality of sandalwood by being associated with the Malaya Mountain.
9. What good can the scriptures do to a man who has no sense of his own? Of what use is as mirror to a blind man?
10. Nothing can reform a bad man, just as the posteriors cannot become a superior part of the body though washed one hundred times.
11. By offending a kinsman, life is lost; by offending others, wealth is lost; by offending the king, everything is lost; and by offending a brahmana (Brahmin) one's whole family is ruined.
12. It is better to live under a tree in a jungle inhabited by tigers and elephants, to maintain oneself in such a place with ripe fruits and spring water, to lie down on grass and to wear the ragged barks of trees than to live amongst one's relations when reduced to poverty.
13. The brahmana (Brahmin) is like a tree; his prayers are the roots, his chanting of the Vedas are the branches, and his religious acts are the leaves. Consequently effort should be made to preserve his roots for if the roots are destroyed there can be no branches or leaves.
14. My mother is Kamala devi (Lakshmi), my father is Lord Janardana (Vishnu), my kinsmen are the Vishnu-bhaktas (Vaisnavas) and, my homeland is all the three worlds.
15. (Through the night) a great many kinds of birds perch on a tree but in the morning they fly in all the ten directions. Why should we lament for that? (Similarly, we should not grieve when we must inevitably part company from our dear ones)
16. He who possesses intelligence is strong; how can the man that is unintelligent be powerful? The elephant of the forest having lost his senses by intoxication was tricked into a lake by a small rabbit. (This verse refers to a famous story from the niti-sastra called pancatantra compiled by the pandit Vishnusharma 2500 years ago).
17. Why should I be concerned for my maintenance while absorbed in praising the glories of Lord Vishwambhara (Vishnu), the supporter of all? Without the grace of Lord Hari, how could milk flow from a mother's breast for a child's nourishment? Repeatedly thinking only in this way, O Lord of the Yadus, O husband of Lakshmi, all my time is spent in serving Your lotus feet.


CHAPTER ELEVEN
1. Generosity, pleasing address, courage and propriety of conduct are not acquired, but are inbred qualities.
2. He who forsakes his own community and joins another perishes as the king who embraces an unrighteous path.
3. The elephant has a huge body but is controlled by the ankusha (goad): yet, is the goad as large as the elephant? A lighted candle banishes darkness: is the candle as vast as the darkness. A mountain is broken even by a thunderbolt: is the thunderbolt therefore as big as the mountain? No, he whose power prevails is really mighty; what is there in bulk?
5. He who is engrossed in family life will never acquire knowledge; there can be no mercy in the eater of flesh; the greedy man will not be truthful; and purity will not be found in a woman or a hunter.
6. The wicked man will not attain sanctity even if he is instructed in different ways, and the Nim tree will not become sweet even if it is sprinkled from the top to the roots with milk and ghee.
7. Mental dirt cannot be washed away even by one-hundred baths in the sacred waters, just as a wine pot cannot be purified even by evaporating all the wine by fire.
8. It is not strange if a man reviles a thing of which he has no knowledge, just as a wild hunter's wife throws away the pearl that is found in the head of an elephant, and picks up a gunj (a type of seed which poor tribals wear as ornaments).
9. He who for one year eats his meals silently (inwardly meditating upon the Lord's prasadam); attains to the heavenly planets for a thousand crore of years. ( Note: one crore equals ten million)
10. The student (brahmacari) should completely renounce the following eight things -- his lust, anger, greed, desire for sweets, sense of decorating the body, excessive curiosity, excessive sleep, and excessive endeavour for bodily maintenance.
12. He alone is a true brahmana (dvija or "twice-born") who is satisfied with one meal a day, who has the six samskaras (or acts of purification such as garbhadhana, etc.) performed for him, and who cohabits with his wife only once in a month on an auspicious day after her menses.
13. The brahmana who is engrossed in worldly affairs, brings up cows and is engaged in trade is really called a vaishya.
14. The brahmana who deals in lac-die, articles, oil, indigo, silken cloth, honey, clarified butter, liquor, and flesh is called a shudra. 15. The brahmana who thwarts the doings of others, who is hypocritical, selfish, and a deceitful hater, and while speaking mildly cherishes cruelty in his heart, is called a cat.
16. The brahmana who destroys a pond, a well, a tank, a garden and a temple is called a mleccha.
17. The brahmana who steals the property of the Deities and the spiritual preceptor, who cohabits with another's wife, and who maintains himself by eating anything and everything s called a chandala.
18. The meritorious should give away in charity all that they have in excess of their needs. By charity only Karna, Bali and King Vikramaditya survive even today. Just see the plight of the honeybees beating their legs in despair upon the earth. They are saying to themselves, "Alas! We neither enjoyed our stored-up honey nor gave it in charity, and now someone has taken it from us in an instant."


CHAPTER TWELVE
1. He is a blessed grhasta (householder) in whose house there is a blissful atmosphere, whose sons are talented, whose wife speaks sweetly, whose wealth is enough to satisfy his desires, who finds pleasure in the company of his wife, whose servants are obedient, in whose house hospitality is shown, the auspicious Supreme Lord is worshiped daily, delicious food and drink is partaken, and who finds joy in the company of devotees.
2. One who devotedly gives a little to a brahmana who is in distress is recompensed abundantly. Hence, O Prince, what is given to a good brahmana is got back not in an equal quantity, but in an infinitely higher degree.
3. Those men who are happy in this world, who are generous towards their relatives, kind to strangers, indifferent to the wicked, loving to the good, shrewd in their dealings with the base, frank with the learned, courageous with enemies, humble with elders and stern with the wife.
4. O jackal, leave aside the body of that man at once, whose hands have never given in charity, whose ears have not heard the voice of learning, whose eyes have not beheld a pure devotee of the Lord, whose feet have never traversed to holy places, whose belly is filled with things obtained by crooked practices, and whose head is held high in vanity. Do not eat it, O jackal, otherwise you will become polluted.
5. "Shame upon those who have no devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, the son of mother Yasoda; who have no attachment for the descriptions of the glories of Srimati Radharani; whose ears are not eager to listen to the stories of the Lord's lila." Such is the exclamation of the mrdanga sound of dhik-tam dhik-tam dhigatam at kirtana.
6. What fault of spring that the bamboo shoot has no leaves? What fault of the sun if the owl cannot see during the daytime? Is it the fault of the clouds if no raindrops fall into the mouth of the chatak bird? Who can erase what Lord Brahma has inscribed upon our foreheads at the time of birth?
7. A wicked man may develop saintly qualities in the company of a devotee, but a devotee does not become impious in the company of a wicked person. The earth is scented by a flower that falls upon it, but the flower does not contact the odour of the earth.
8. One indeed becomes blessed by having darshan of a devotee; for the devotee has the ability to purify immediately, whereas the sacred tirtha gives purity only after prolonged contact.
9. A stranger asked a brahmana, "Tell me, who is great in this city?" The brahmana replied, "The cluster of palmyra trees is great." Then the traveller asked, "Who is the most charitable person?" The brahmana answered, "The washer man who takes the clothes in the morning and gives them back in the evening is the most charitable." He then asked, "Who is the ablest man?" The brahmana answered, "Everyone is expert in robbing others of their wives and wealth." The man then asked the brahmana, "How do you manage to live in such a city?" The brahmana replied, "As a worm survives while even in a filthy place so do I survive here!"
10. The house in which the lotus feet of brahmanas are not washed, in which Vedic mantras are not loudly recited, and in which the holy rites of svaha (sacrificial offerings to the Supreme Lord) and swadha (offerings to the ancestors) are not performed, is like a crematorium.
11. (It is said that a sadhu, when asked about his family, replied thusly): truth is my mother, and my father is spiritual knowledge; righteous conduct is my brother, and mercy is my friend, inner peace is my wife, and forgiveness is my son: these six are my kinsmen.
12. Our bodies are perishable, wealth is not at all permanent and death is always nearby. Therefore we must immediately engage in acts of merit.
13. Arjuna says to Krsna. "Brahmanas find joy in going to feasts, cows find joy in eating their tender grass, wives find joy in the company of their husbands, and know, O Krsna, that in the same way I rejoice in battle.
14. He who regards another's wife as his mother, the wealth that does not belong to him as a lump of mud, and the pleasure and pain of all other living beings as his own -- truly sees things in the right perspective, and he is a true pandit.
15. O Raghava, the love of virtue, pleasing speech, and an ardent desire for performing acts of charity, guileless dealings with friends, humility in the guru's presence, deep tranquillity of mind, pure conduct, discernment of virtues, realised knowledge of the sastras, beauty of form and devotion to God are all found in you." (The great sage Vasistha Muni, the spiritual preceptor of the dynasty of the sun, said this to Lord Ramachandra at the time of His proposed coronation)
16. Kalpataru (the wish fulfilling tree) is but wood; the golden Mount Meru is motionless; the wish-fulfilling gem chintamani is just a stone; the sun is scorching; the moon is prone to wane; the boundless ocean is saline; the demigod of lust lost his body (due to Shiva's wrath); Bali Maharaja, the son of Diti, was born into a clan of demons; and Kamadhenu (the cow of heaven) is a mere beast. O Lord of the Raghu dynasty! I cannot compare you to any one of these (taking their merits into account).
17. Realised learning (vidya) is our friend while travelling, the wife is a friend at home, medicine is the friend of a sick man, and meritorious deeds are the friends at death.
18. Courtesy should be learned from princes, the art of conversation from pandits, lying should be learned from gamblers and deceitful ways should be learned from women.
19. The unthinking spender, the homeless urchin, the quarrel monger, the man who neglects his wife and is heedless in his actions -- all these will soon come to ruination.
20. The wise man should not be anxious about his food; he should be anxious to be engaged only in dharma (Krsna consciousness). The food of each man is created for him at his birth.
21. He who is not shy in the acquisition of wealth, grain and knowledge, and in taking his meals, will be happy
22. As centesimal droppings will fill a pot so also are knowledge, virtue and wealth gradually obtained.
23. The man who remains a fool even in advanced age is really a fool, just as the Indra-Varuna fruit does not become sweet no matter how ripe it might become.


CHAPTER THIRTEEN
1. A man may live but for a moment, but that moment should be spent in doing auspicious deeds. It is useless living even for a kalpa (4,320,000 *1000 years) and bringing only distress upon the two worlds (this world and the next).
2. We should not fret for what is past, nor should we be anxious about the future; men of discernment deal only with the present moment.
3. It certainly is nature of the demigods, men of good character, and parents to be easily pleased. Near and distant relatives are pleased when they are hospitably received with bathing, food, and drink; and pandits are pleased with an opportunity for giving spiritual discourse.
4 Even as the unborn babe is in the womb of his mother, these five are fixed as his life destiny: his life span, his activities, his acquisition of wealth and knowledge, and his time of death.
5. Oh, see what a wonder it is! The doings of the great are strange: they treat wealth as light as a straw, yet, when they obtain it, they bend under its weight
6. He who is overly attached to his family members experiences fear and sorrow, for the root of all grief is attachment. Thus one should discard attachment to be happy.
7. He who is prepared for the future and he who deals cleverly with any situation that may arise are both happy; but the fatalistic man who wholly depends on luck is ruined.
8. If the king is virtuous, then the subjects are also virtuous. If the king is sinful, then the subjects also become sinful. If he is mediocre, then the subjects are mediocre. The subjects follow the example of the king. In short, as is the king so are the subjects.
9. I consider him who does not act religiously as dead though living, but he who dies acting religiously unquestionably lives long though he is dead.
10. He who has acquired neither virtue, wealth, satisfaction of desires nor salvation (dharma, artha, kama, moksa), lives an utterly useless life, like the "nipples" hanging from the neck of a goat.
11. The hearts of base men burn before the fire of other's fame, and they slander them being themselves unable to rise to such a high position.
12. Excessive attachment to sense pleasures leads to bondage, and detachment from sense pleasures leads to liberation; therefore it is the mind alone that is responsible for bondage or liberation
13. He who sheds bodily identification by means of knowledge of the indwelling Supreme Self (Paramatma), will always be absorbed in meditative trance (samadhi) wherever his mind leads him.
14. Who realises all the happiness he desires? Everything is in the hands of God. Therefore one should learn contentment.
15. As a calf follows its mother among a thousand cows, so the (good or bad) deeds of a man follow him.
16. He whose actions are disorganised has no happiness either in the midst of men or in a jungle -- in the midst of men his heart burns by social contacts, and his helplessness burns him in the forest.
17. As the man who digs obtains underground water by use of a shovel, so the student attains the knowledge possessed by his preceptor through his service
18. Men reap the fruits of their deeds, and intellects bear the mark of deeds performed in previous lives; even so the wise act after due circumspection.
19. Even the man who has taught the spiritual significance of just one letter ought to be worshiped. He who does not give reverence to such a guru is born as a dog a hundred times, and at last takes birth as a chandala (dog-eater).
20. At the end of the yuga, Mount Meru may be shaken; at the end of the kalpa, the waters of the seven oceans may be disturbed; but a sadhu will never swerve from the spiritual path.
21. There are three gems upon this earth; food, water, and pleasing words -- fools (mudhas) consider pieces of rocks as gems.


CHAPTER FOURTEEN
1. Poverty, disease, sorrow, imprisonment and other evils are the fruits borne by the tree of one's own sins.
2. Wealth, a friend, a wife, and a kingdom may be regained; but this body when lost may never be acquired again.
3. The enemy can be overcome by the union of large numbers, just as grass through its collectiveness wards off erosion caused by heavy rainfall.
4. Oil on water, a secret communicated to a base man, a gift given to a worthy receiver, and scriptural instruction given to an intelligent man spread out by virtue of their nature.
5. If men should always retain the state of mind they experience when hearing religious instruction, when present at a crematorium ground, and when in sickness -- then who could not attain liberation.
6. If a man should feel before, as he feels after, repentance -- then who would not attain perfection?
7. We should not feel pride in our charity, austerity, valour, scriptural knowledge, modesty and morality for the world is full of the rarest gems.
8. He who lives in our mind is near though he may actually be far away; but he who is not in our heart is far though he may really be nearby.
9. We should always speak what would please the man of whom we expect a favour, like the hunter who sings sweetly when he desires to shoot a deer.
10. It is ruinous to be familiar with the king, fire, the religious preceptor, and a woman. To be altogether indifferent to them is to be deprived of the opportunity to benefit ourselves, hence our association with them must be from a safe distance.
11. We should always deal cautiously with fire, water, women, foolish people, serpents, and members of a royal family; for they may, when the occasion presents itself, at once bring about our death.
12. He should be considered to be living who is virtuous and pious, but the life of a man who is destitute of religion and virtues is void of any blessing.
13. If you wish to gain control of the world by the performance of a single deed, then keep the following fifteen, which are prone to wander here and there, from getting the upper hand of you: the five sense objects (objects of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch); the five sense organs (ears, eyes, nose, tongue and skin) and organs of activity (hands, legs, mouth, genitals and anus).
14. He is a pandit (man of knowledge) who speaks what is suitable to the occasion, who renders loving service according to his ability, and who knows the limits of his anger.
15 One single object (a woman) appears in three different ways: to the man who practices austerity it appears as a corpse, to the sensual it appears as a woman, and to the dogs as a lump of flesh.
16. A wise man should not divulge the formula of a medicine which he has well prepared; an act of charity which he has performed; domestic conflicts; private affairs with his wife; poorly prepared food he may have been offered; or slang he may have heard.
17. The cuckoos remain silent for a long time (for several seasons) until they are able to sing sweetly (in the Spring) so as to give joy to all.
18. We should secure and keep the following: the blessings of meritorious deeds, wealth, grain, the words of the spiritual master, and rare medicines. Otherwise life becomes impossible.
19. Eschew wicked company and associate with saintly persons. Acquire virtue day and night, and always meditate on that which is eternal forgetting that which is temporary.


CHAPTER FIFTEEN
1. For one whose heart melts with compassion for all creatures; what is the necessity of knowledge, liberation, matted hair on the head, and smearing the body with ashes?
2. There is no treasure on earth the gift of which will cancel the debt a disciple owes his guru for having taught him even a single letter (that leads to Krsna consciousness).
3. There are two ways to get rid of thorns and wicked persons; using footwear in the first place and in the second shaming them so that they cannot raise their faces again thus keeping them at a distance.
4. He who wears unclean garments, has dirty teeth, is a glutton, speaks unkindly and sleeps after sunrise -- although he may be the greatest personality -- will lose the favour of Lakshmi.
5. He who loses his money is forsaken by his friends, his wife, his servants and his relations; yet when he regains his riches those who have forsaken him come back to him. Hence wealth is certainly the best of relations.
6. Sinfully acquired wealth may remain for ten years; in the eleventh year it disappears with even the original stock.
7. A bad action committed by a great man is not censured (as there is none that can reproach him), and a good action performed by a low-class man comes to be condemned (because none respects him). Just see: the drinking of nectar is excellent, but it became the cause of Rahu's demise; and the drinking of poison is harmful, but when Lord Shiva (who is exalted) drank it, it became an ornament to his neck (nila-kantha).
8. A true meal is that which consists of the remnants left after a brahmana's meal. Love, which is shown to others, is true love, not that which is cherished for one's own self. To abstain from sin is true wisdom. That is an act of charity, which is performed without ostentation.
9. For want of discernment the most precious jewels lie in the dust at the feet of men while bits of glass are worn on their heads. But we should not imagine that the gems have sunk in value, and the bits of glass have risen in importance. When a person of critical judgement shall appear, each will be given its right position.
10. Sastric (scriptural) knowledge is unlimited, and the arts to be learned are many; the time we have is short, and our opportunities to learn are beset with obstacles. Therefore select for learning that which is most important, just as the swan drinks only the milk in water.
11. He is a chandala who eats his dinner without entertaining the stranger who has come to his house quite accidentally, having travelled from a long distance and is wearied.
12. One may know the four Vedas and the Dharma-sastras, yet if he has no realisation of his own spiritual self, he can be said to be like the ladle (spoon) which stirs all kinds of foods but knows not the taste of any.
13. Those blessed souls are certainly elevated who, while crossing the ocean of life, take shelter of a genuine brahmana, who is likened unto a boat. They are unlike passengers aboard an ordinary ship that runs the risk of sinking.
14. The moon, who is the abode of nectar and the presiding deity of all medicines, although immortal like amrta and resplendent in form, loses the brilliance of his rays when he repairs to the abode of the sun (day time). Therefore, will not an ordinary man be made to feel inferior by going to live at the house of another?
15. This humble bee, which always resides among the soft petals of the lotus and drinks abundantly its sweet nectar, is now feasting on the flower of the ordinary kutaja. Being in a strange country where the lotuses do not exist, he is considering the pollen of the kutaja to be nice.
16. (Lord Visnu asked His spouse Lakshmi why She did not care to live in the house of a brahmana.She replied:)" O Lord a rishi named Agastya drank up My father (the ocean) in anger; Brighu Muni kicked You; brahmanas pride themselves on their learning having sought the favour of My competitor Sarasvati; and lastly they pluck each day the lotus which is My abode, and therewith worship Lord Shiva. Therefore, O Lord, I fear to dwell with a brahmana".
17. There are many ways of binding by which one can be dominated and controlled in this world, but the bond of affection is the strongest. For example, take the case of the humble bee, which, although expert at piercing hardened wood, becomes caught in the embrace of its beloved flowers (as the petals close at dusk).
18. Although sandalwood is cut, it does not forsake its natural quality of fragrance; so also the elephant does not give up sportiveness though he should grow old. The sugarcane does not cease to be sweet though squeezed in a mill; so the man of noble extraction does not lose his lofty qualities, no matter how pinched he is by poverty.


CHAPTER SIXTEEN
2. The heart of a woman is not united; it is divided. While she is talking with one man, she looks lustfully at another and thinks fondly of a third in her heart.
3. The fool (mudha) who fancies that a charming young lady loves him, becomes her slave and he dances like a shakuntal bird tied to a string.
4. Who is there who, having become rich, has not become proud? What licentious man has put an end to his calamities? What man in this world has not been overcome by a woman? Who is always loved by the king? Who is there who has not been overcome by the ravages of time? What beggar has attained glory? Who has become happy by contracting the vices of the wicked?
6. A man attains greatness by his merits, not simply by occupying an exalted seat. Can we call a crow an eagle (garuda) simply because he sits on the top of a tall building.
8. The man who is praised by others as great is regarded as worthy though he may be really void of all merit. But the man who sings his own praises lowers himself in the estimation of others though he should be Indra (the possessor of all excellences).
9. If good qualities should characterise a man of discrimination, the brilliance of his qualities will be recognised just as a gem, which is essentially bright, really shines when fixed in an ornament of gold.
10. Even one who by his qualities appears to be all knowing suffers without patronage; the gem, though precious, requires a gold setting.
11. I do not deserve that wealth which is to be attained by enduring much suffering, or by transgressing the rules of virtue, or by flattering an enemy.
13. Those who were not satiated with the enjoyment of wealth, food and women have all passed away; there are others now passing away who have likewise remained unsatiated; and in the future still others will pass away feeling themselves unsatiated.
14. All charities and sacrifices (performed for fruitive gain) bring only temporary results, but gifts made to deserving persons and protection offered to all creatures shall never perish
15. A blade of grass is light, cotton is lighter, and the beggar is infinitely lighter still. Why then does not the wind carry him away? Because it fears that he may ask alms of him.
16. It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace. The loss of life causes but a moment's grief, but disgrace brings grief every day of one's life.
17. All the creatures are pleased by loving words; and therefore we should address words that are pleasing to all, for there is no lack of sweet words.
18. There are two nectarine fruits hanging from the tree of this world: one is the hearing of sweet words (such as Krsna-katha) and the other, the society of saintly men.
19. The good habits of charity, learning and austerity practised during many past lives continue to be cultivated in this birth by virtue of the link (yoga) of this present life to the previous ones.
20. One whose knowledge is confined to books and whose wealth is in the possession of others, can use neither his knowledge nor wealth when the need for them arises.


CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
1. The scholar who has acquired knowledge by studying innumerable books without the blessings of a bonafide spiritual master does not shine in an assembly of truly learned men just as an illegitimate child is not honoured in society.
2. We should repay the favours of others by acts of kindness; so also should we return evil for evil in which there is no sin, for it is necessary to pay a wicked man in his own coin.
3. That thing which is distant, that thing which appears impossible, and that which is far beyond our reach, can be easily attained through tapasya (religious austerity), for nothing can surpass austerity.
4. What vice could be worse than covetousness? What is more sinful than slander? For one who is truthful, what need is there for austerity? For one who has a clean heart, what is the need for pilgrimage? If one has a good disposition, what other virtue is needed? If a man has fame, what is the value of other ornamentation? What need is there for wealth for the man of practical knowledge? And if a man is dishonoured, what could there be worse than death?
5. Though the sea, which is the reservoir of all jewels, is the father of the conch shell, and the Goddess of fortune Lakshmi is conch's sister, still the conch must go from door to door for alms (in the hands of a beggar). It is true, therefore, that one gains nothing without having given in the past. 6. When a man has no strength left in him he becomes a sadhu, one without wealth acts like a brahmacari, a sick man behaves like a devotee of the Lord, and when a woman grows old she becomes devoted to her husband.
8. There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.
9. The woman who fasts and observes religious vows without the permission of her husband shortens his life, and goes to hell.
10. A woman does not become holy by offering charity, by observing hundreds of fasts, or by sipping sacred water, as by sipping the water used to wash her husbands feet.
12. The hand is not so well adorned by ornaments as by charitable offerings; one does not become clean by smearing sandalwood paste upon the body as by taking a bath; one does not become so much satisfied by dinner as by having respect shown to him; and salvation is not attained by self-adornment as by cultivation of spiritual knowledge.
14. The eating of tundi fruit deprives a man of his sense, while the vacha root administered revives his reasoning immediately. A woman at once robs a man of his vigour while milk at once restores it.
15. He who nurtures benevolence for all creatures within his heart overcomes all difficulties and will be the recipient of all types of riches at every step.
16. What is there to be enjoyed in the world of Lord Indra for one whose wife is loving and virtuous, who possesses wealth, who has a well-behaved son endowed with good qualities, and who has grandchildren born of his children?
17. Men have eating, sleeping, fearing and mating in common with the lower animals. That in which men excel the beasts is discretionary knowledge; hence, indiscreet men who are without knowledge should be regarded as beasts.
18. If the bees that seek the liquid oozing from the head of a lust-intoxicated elephant are driven away by the flapping of his ears, then the elephant has lost only the ornament of his head. The bees are quite happy in the lotus filled lake.
19. A king, a prostitute, Lord Yamaraja, fire, a thief, a young boy, and a beggar cannot understand the suffering of others. The eighth of this category is the tax collector.
20. O lady, why are you gazing downward? Has something of yours fallen on the ground? (She replies) O fool, can you not understand the pearl of my youth has slipped away?
21. O ketki flower! Serpents live in your midst, you bear no edible fruits, your leaves are covered with thorns, you are crooked in growth, you thrive in mud, and you are not easily accessible. Still for your exceptional fragrance you are as dear as kinsmen to others. Hence, a single excellence overcomes a multitude of blemishes.
.


THE TIRUKKURAL
(Sant Tiru-valluvar)
PART 1
God is the end of all knowledge. The goal of life, which is birthlessness and the end of all pain and suffering, can be reached only by those who have surrendered totally at His divine feet.
There are none so great as those who have renounced the world. They have knowledge of both worlds, the world of trials and hardships, which is the world we live in, as well as the world of peace and eternal bliss.
The ascetic controls the five senses, namely the senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. This is the first step to God-vision. It is the seed, which eventually flowers in heaven. The fully developed Yogi who has mastered the senses is truly a king. The rest of the world, who are slaves to their senses and passions, are obliged to bow to such a sage of wisdom.
In a beautifully simple way, Tiruvalluvar wastes no time in talking about what is good and what is not. Goodness is purity of mind, and that which ought to be done. Vice is that which has to be avoided.
Perform good action at all times. The Yoga of good action is also a path to God-realisation. Birth and consequent suffering are not for a true Karma Yogi who serves God.
The duties of a householder, who earns money and brings home an income, are just as important as those of an ascetic. It is he who supports the renunciate, the students and the needy.
He who lives virtuously as a householder, is sure to make progress Godward. A home in which love and virtue abound is truly heaven on earth.
A good wife is one who is virtuous and keeps control over the household budget. She is chaste and honourable, is the husband’s helpmate in everything that he does. Children are their parent’s greatest treasures.
Receiving guests and extending hospitality to them was given great importance during Tiruvalluvar’s time. A householder should serve guests first before partaking of meals himself. Neglect of guests is considered as something mean. On the other hand, the Goddess of Fortune smiles on one who is hospitable.
The ideal householder is courteous in speech, does not lose his self-control, and is free from envy. He is full of love and gratitude to those who have helped him in any way.
Self-control is the mark that identifies a wise man. He has perfect control of the senses, and withdraws them just as a tortoise withdraws its limbs into its body. At a rash moment it is possible to do harm which would take time to heal. The tongue is a troublemaker. Valluvar urges its control. One who controls his tongue perfectly is free from anger. Anger is your worst enemy.
[Note: Swami Shivananda says that of all the spiritual practices the most difficult one in which to succeed is to be able to bear insult and injury. This is called forbearance. The poet (Valluvar) also beseeches us to forgive and forget.]
Do not return evil for evil. Not even the penance of fasting can compare with the penance of refusing to respond to the hurt caused by the cruel words of others.
Do not be envious of the success of others. Do not be greedy. It is better to confront someone directly; slandering and backbiting are wrong. He who speaks ill of others will find others speaking ill of him. Take stock of yourself for a few days and count the number of times you speak ill of others. You will be amazed how guilty all are of slander.
Idle, useless talk is the mark of the unwise. Hence, refrain from it at all costs. Gossiping, faultfinding and slandering should not be indulged in.
Give, give, give. It is a strange truth that the more one gives, the more one receives. You must have heard of this riddle- "The more one takes out, the bigger it grows". What is it? The answer is- a hole! Charity is very much like that. Give to others with a loving heart, and the world will one day be at your feet. Pure, loving charity is one of the greatest purifiers of the heart.
The renunciate or Sannyasin is one who has renounced the world and its pleasures of the senses. Such a person is also called an ascetic. The saint makes a distinction between domestic virtue (good deeds practised by a householder), and ascetic virtue. Even virtues come in degrees! For this to be understood, try to work out the difference in meaning between kindness and compassion.
Anyone- even the basest of men- can possess money. But only those who are truly kind are wealthy.
Successful people often forget that they, too, were once weak and sought the compassion of those stronger than themselves. We remember unkind acts done to us for years and years. Those who lack compassion and love have very few friends.
Be sincere at heart, judge men by their actions, not by their looks; a straight arrow causes pain, yet a bent lute brings joy into the hearts of the listener. Even amongst Sadhus (ascetics), there are some hypocrites- men who pretend to be what they are not.
"If you should ask what truth may be, It’s speech from every evil free". "If it will yield pure, unmixed good, Truth may be replaced by falsehood". (292)
[Note: Ahimsa or non-injury of any form is the highest virtue. Sri Swami Shivananda says: "Do not injure any being or creature in thought, word or deed". Valluvar also exhorts man to refrain from killing in any form.]
"All virtue’s aim is not to kill, For killing leads to every kind of ill".
"You may lose your life but still, Another being you should not kill".
Saints have repeatedly spoken of the unreal nature of this world. Can you name anything that will remain exactly the same after a million years? That is why we are told not to place our faith in the objects of this world. They can never give us true happiness. Valluvar says:
"Only the base and ignorant, Hold transient as permanent". (331)
"A day seems real but it is a knife, That daily saws a portion from your life". (384)
"The soul from body any day, Like bird from egg-shell, flies away".(338)
"Death is sinking into slumbers deep Birth again is waking out of sleep". (339)
The goal of life is the attainment of the state of permanent happiness. For this, renunciation is necessary. Renunciation means giving up all wealth, pleasures of the senses, and the fruits of all actions. It does not mean running away to a cave or to an Ashram. The senses must be subdued and the ego crushed. Birth carries with it the seeds of suffering. Happiness comes only when we realise God and overcome both birth and death.
It is desire that is the source of all pain and suffering. If one can gain mastery over desire, one experiences true freedom and enjoys lasting peace and bliss. Desires can never be satisfied by fulfilling them. Trying to satisfy them by fulfilling them will be like adding fuel to the fire to extinguish the flame. Desires make the mind restless with all kinds of thoughts whirling about.
Anyone- even the basest of men- can possess money. But only those who are truly kind are wealthy.
Successful people often forget that they, too, were once weak and sought the compassion of those stronger than themselves. We remember unkind acts done to us for years and years. Those who lack compassion and love have very few friends.
Be sincere at heart, judge men by their actions, not by their looks; a straight arrow causes pain, yet a bent lute brings joy into the hearts of the listener. Even amongst Sadhus (ascetics), there are some hypocrites- men who pretend to be what they are not.
"If you should ask what truth may be, It’s speech from every evil free". "If it will yield pure, unmixed good, Truth may be replaced by falsehood". (292)
[Note: Ahimsa or non-injury of any form is the highest virtue. Sri Swami Shivananda says: "Do not injure any being or creature in thought, word or deed". Valluvar also exhorts man to refrain from killing in any form.]
"All virtue’s aim is not to kill, For killing leads to every kind of ill".
"You may lose your life but still, Another being you should not kill".
Saints have repeatedly spoken of the unreal nature of this world. Can you name anything that will remain exactly the same after a million years? That is why we are told not to place our faith in the objects of this world. They can never give us true happiness. Valluvar says:
"Only the base and ignorant, Hold transient as permanent". (331)
"A day seems real but it is a knife, That daily saws a portion from your life". (384)
"The soul from body any day, Like bird from egg-shell, flies away".(338)
"Death is sinking into slumbers deep Birth again is waking out of sleep". (339)
The goal of life is the attainment of the state of permanent happiness. For this, renunciation is necessary. Renunciation means giving up all wealth, pleasures of the senses, and the fruits of all actions. It does not mean running away to a cave or to an Ashram. The senses must be subdued and the ego crushed. Birth carries with it the seeds of suffering. Happiness comes only when we realise God and overcome both birth and death.
It is desire that is the source of all pain and suffering. If one can gain mastery over desire, one experiences true freedom and enjoys lasting peace and bliss. Desires can never be satisfied by fulfilling them. Trying to satisfy them by fulfilling them will be like adding fuel to the fire to extinguish the flame. Desires make the mind restless with all kinds of thoughts whirling about.


PART 2
Wonderful advice to those who are in power. These include kings, rulers and employers. Such persons must be learned and courageous, and have an ability to express themselves in public. They must have an ability to choose the right place, time and people for various activities of the State. A king must be humble and listen to the advice of wise men.
A ruler must be well read. A wise ruler is a good ruler. He must be versed in both mathematics and the arts, that is, numbers and letters. These are the true eyes through which man sees the world.
There must be no hesitation in eradicating faults. A good leader corrects his own errors first, before pointing out those of others. The head of a state cannot afford to make any errors. The spirit of perfect humility, service of the people, and complete freedom from desire are the hallmark of a great king.
It is important for a king to have worthy friends. This applies, of course, to everyone. As water gets discoloured when a little soil is put into it, so also man’s character, wisdom and reputation are all influenced by the company he keeps. Good friendship grows from strength to strength. A full moon is destined to lose its intensity, but good friendship can never weaken. A true and sincere friend is one who gently corrects your faults and helps you to improve. He is always true and frank in his relationship towards you. The face does not always reveal what lies in the heart. So, beware of false friendship.
"With soil changes the water’s taste; With mates changes the mental state".(452)
"Good men’s friendship grows like crescent moon; Friendship with fools, like full moon will wane soon". (782)
"Though the wicked should unbounded friendship show, It’s better if their friendship does not grow". (811)
"Beware of men who are full of deceit, Whose hearts are bitter but whose smile is sweet". (824)
Rulers, while exercising discipline, must be compassionate and kind, and refrain from harshness. Cruelty brings ruin.
"Harsh words and punishment beyond the right Is a file that saws away a monarch’s might". (567)
"True modesty and kindly word combined, e is a jewel; the rest are not refined". (595)
Never give up trying. Have a strong will. These are the secrets of success. Without effort there is no gain. When troubles come, face them. Every failure is a stepping stone to success. He who refuses to be defeated by failure will overcome all grief and pain.
Those who speak to large audiences have a responsibility. They have to choose their words carefully, and should use the time allotted to them profitably. Book knowledge is empty if one does not have the ability of transmitting it to others effectively.
There is no harm, in amassing wealth. But such wealth should be earned by the individual by honest means. Money gained by a person in a deceitful manner or by causing pain and suffering to others ought to be spurned.
"To buy with money one’s unconsciousness, s nothing but rank foolishness". (925)
There is no such thing as drinking ‘secretly’. "Who drink in secret and whose eyelids close, At them the village laughs, for all the village knows". (927)
" ‘I do not drink’, make no such foolish claim, For what you hide, the drink will soon proclaim". (928)
"To reason with a man who is dead tight Is like searching under water with a light". (929)
Alcohol, drugs and gambling are addictive. A single taste of any of these vices drives one to greed, and a desire for more. A fish, attracted by the bait on a hook, will find it nearly impossible to gain release after a bite at the baited hook. Likewise, an addict cannot escape easily from an addiction. This is especially true of gambling. Avoid these vices like one avoids a king cobra. You lose your wealth and your dignity and can gain nothing but poverty.
"Dress, wealth, food, fame and learning all depart, If on gambler’s gain he sets his heart". (939)
Nobility is a state of mind. Although the word is often used to describe people of royal birth, nobility is within the reach of all, even beggars. What then are the signs of nobility? Amongst other things, they are good conduct, modesty, truth, humility, cheerfulness, generosity, and kind and courageous words. One must have a charitable heart even though one does not have the means. He must show excellence in speech, be humble and treat everyone, be he a servant or king, with great respect. He should always speak sweetly and lovingly.
‘The high born will not stray from these things three: Good conduct, truth and modesty". (952)
"A smile, generosity, good words and courtesy: These are the signs, they say, of true nobility". (953)
"The high born, though they have no means for charity, Won’t lose their ancient liberality". (955)
"Plants reveal the soil from which they grow, And men of noble birth, their speech will show". (959)
Shun acts that will cast doubts on your honour. Success and failure can be used to advantage; success should make one more respectful and failure strengthen one’s dignity.
Greatness is a quality of mind, not of birth. All are equal at birth. Our actions make us different from one another.
"Living beings are all alike at birth, The difference comes from acts of special worth". (972)
"High born, whose souls are mean, are never great; The low, of lofty mind, are not of low estate". (973)
While the road to perfection is a long, slippery and very difficult one, the mastery of a few virtues will take one there by leaps and bounds. Do not kill any being or creature. Even loftier than this is not to injure anyone in thought, word and deed. Ahimsa is one of the highest of virtues. Give up the detestable faultfinding habit. Always return good for evil.
"Not killing is the essence of penance; Not finding fault is virtue’s excellence. (984)
"The strength of the noble ones is humility; With that, the wise disarm all enmity". (985)
It is wrong to belittle others. Even highly intelligent people lose respect from everyone if they are not courteous.
"Though sharp as file, their intellect is good, Who are void of courtesy are blocks of wood". (997)
What is the use of money if it is not used for the common good? Imagine a fruit tree in a busy market place. If it bears tasty fruit, it brings joy to people, but if it bears poisonous fruit, it is of no use; its presence is a source of great pain. A wealthy miser is like such a tree. He has everything, but is in greater need than others, for he is not really happy and peaceful.
"Who neither spend their wealth nor give, Amidst their millions, in want they live". (1006)
If you desire to attain perfection, you must not be afraid to have a genuine feeling of shame whenever you commit any mistakes. Those who have no feelings of guilt are usually unaware of their faults. Some people consider it a weakness to blush. On the contrary, blushing is not at all a weakness, but a virtue. It reveals a sense of shame and is a sign of modesty and humility.
‘Food, clothing and the rest are common to the race, But modesty is mankind’s special grace". (1012)
"Those who have no shame at heart, their stance Is like wooden dolls; when pulled by string, dance". (1020)
PART 3
In the third book ‘On Love’, the saint portrays a mood rather than a conduct. This section is of use only to householders. It is a very deep and subtle portion of the scripture. The saint talks of meetings, of falling in love and the pangs of parting experienced by lovers. He portrays the blossoming of love. The quarrels and reunions of lovers are described with delicacy and humour. This third book is not as well-known as the other two.
Saint Tiruvalluvar was one of the greatest social philosophers of the ancient world. Saint’s writings show that he was interested not only in the behaviour and conduct and bearing of a person, but also in the harmonious development of society. His advice is valuable to ascetics as well as to householders.
He roundly condemns accumulation of material wealth, but praises it if such wealth is acquired by honest means and used for the common good of society. In the same breath he encourages the growth of intellectual and spiritual development. He wants people to acquire learning and, having learnt, practise it. Yet, spirituality is superior to all else. As early as in the second verse, he says: "Of what avail is learned scholarship, If the Lord’s divine feet they do not worship?" (2)
Every translator, without exception, has admitted that it is not possible to capture the elegance of Saint’s beautiful style and rhythm in a translation. It can, at best, be a pale reflection of the original work.
His teachings have had a warm place in the hearts of everyone for many generations, and have become part of their culture and life. They might not have always followed the saint, but they have loved, cherished and revered him.
There are many translations of the Tirukkural. Maharishi Shuddhananda Bharati’s translation is simple to follow. In his introduction he says: "The Tirukkural is the guiding light to humanity. It leads one to live in moral purity, in eternal wisdom, in spiritual knowledge, and in perfect prosperity, wealth and health. It is a faithful friend to the family man, to the mother, to children, to teachers, artists, scholars, rulers and politicians.


KURAL - THE GREAT BOOK OF TIRU – VALLUVAR
First Book of Kural
There is no great wealth one can acquire than Dharma and no misfortune greater than the forgetting of it
Forgetting Dharma is failing to perform one’s duties according to Dharma. Go as far as your strength and resources permit without swerving from the path of Dharma.
Keep the mind from evil thoughts. This is the whole of Dharma. The rest is only of the nature of sound and show.
The key to purity of action is purity of thought. The attainment of a mind free from evil thoughts is the aim of a religious life, and this is a silent process. External observances are sound and show.
True religious life consists in the avoidance of four things: envy, the craving for pleasure, anger and harsh speech.
Do not say to yourself ‘Let me see about it later when I shall be better fitted.’ Live the true religious life now. It will be the one unfailing support when all else will disappear and become of no use.
Only the joy that comes from right conduct is true happiness. Other pleasures are really sources of pain and causes of shame.
Pleasure will soon become shame and pain, if the act that procured it was unrighteous. Right conduct is therefore not only right but also wise.
The householder so-called helps the other orders in the proper fulfillment of their duties.
The unmarried student, he gives up active life and goes to the jungle, and the Sannyasin, can carry on as such, only because some others live as good householders. The householders therefore should not be looked upon as selfishly living for pleasures while the others are leading lives of abstinence. The householder works for the others who renounce work.
Love and right conduct give to the householder’s life its true character and purposefulness.
Family life is beautiful and purposeful only if it is marked by love and Dharma. Love makes it beautiful and Dharma is fulfillment of its purpose.
If a man goes through the householder’s life along the way of Dharma, nothing is left for him to attain by becoming a recluse or going to the forest.
Of all classes of aspirants to Dharma, the householder who lives up to the standard is the most estimable.
There is more penance in the life of a householder who does what should be done and avoids any lapse from Dharma, than in the privations of hermits.
He, who leads his life in this world, as he should, ranks with the gods in heaven.
She is a true-life companion who proves equal to the tasks of a householder’s life, adjusting herself to the breadwinner’s resources.
It is essential for happiness in family life that culturally and economically the wife should fall into line with the family of her adoption. The partnership will not work otherwise.
There is no true family life where the wife has not the qualities required for helping in the fulfillment of the duties of a good householder. If the mistress of the house has not these qualities, neither wealth nor other circumstances can be of any avail.
The husband’s virtues cannot make up for it.
If the mistress of the house possesses the qualities of a true-life partner, nothing will be wanting. If the mistress of the house does not have those qualities, naught will avail.
What possession of greater value can one have than a wife, if she be firm in her loyalty to her partner in life?
The true wife thinks not of God when she rises in the morning. She offers her worship to the husband and that is enough. Even the clouds will obey and pour the rain at her command.
Of what use is that purity which is brought about by physical restrictions and isolation to which women are subjected? Their own senses of a pure life is the best watch.
Of all things one may be blessed with, we can think of nothing equal to the joy of having begot children who have grown up to true enlightenment.
Far sweeter than heavenly ambrosia is the porridge in which one’s child has dabbled with its little hand.
They speak of the sweet tones of the flute and of the harp, who have not had children and heard them lisp their newly learnt words.
The best inheritance that a father can provide for his son is an education that will fit him to take an honoured place among cultured men.
In bringing up sons, fathers should remember that not wealth but education conduces most to their happiness.
Hearing words of appreciation uttered by people about her son, the mother feels greater joy than what she felt on the day he was born.
The son’s greatest filial service is so to conduct himself as to make men say in wonderment ‘Great must have been the father’s good deeds to be blessed with such a noble son’.
Those who have not the loving disposition, belong wholly to themselves. The tenderhearted belong to others even in their bones.
The love in their hearts makes them possession of the living world outside of them.
The enlightened hold that the saving joy of the soul when burdened with the body is the experience of human affection.
Human affection is possible only if the soul is clothed in flesh and blood, and it is worthwhile for the sake of the experience of such affection to suffer the miseries of life on earth. The soul would like to be born in flesh and blood for the sake of enjoying this incident of life on earth.
Affection is a training for bhakti (devotion), and out of bhakti will come unsought, true enlightenment, the goal of all religious endeavour.
Strewn with pleasure is the way to heaven, for it can be attained by well ordered family life.
This is contrasted by implication to the toilsome path of celibacy and penance.
Men of imperfect understanding think that a tender heart helps one only in the path of good morality. Love inspires the warlike deeds of the brave soldiers too.
Inflexible law withers the soul of him that has no love in his heart, even as the sun shrivels up the bodies of boneless worms.
As the spine supports the bodies of vertebrates, love supports the soul. Without it, it shrinks and stops the spirit’s evolution.
Where there is no tenderness of heart, life is barren of purpose. Can a tree that is dried up in the desert sun put forth leaves?
Without a tender heart, of what avail are the externals of family life? Just as the outer ear or eye may be there, but it is of no avail to the deaf and the blind, so is the soulless routine of a householder’s life purposeless without tenderness of heart.
Without tenderness of heart, the body is but bones covered up with skin. In love alone is the secret of life.
Life functions really in love and not in the physical activities of the body.
The only justification for a man to remain in family life and for acquiring and keeping property (without becoming a Sannyasin) is that he may command the means by which help may be given to those who seek help.
Family life is not a right but a duty arising out of the obligations of the individual to society.
To seat for a meal by oneself, keeping out those who come expecting hospitality, is a thing to be abhorred even if the food were the elixir of immortality.
The goddess of prosperity will be gladdened in heart and linger in the house of the man whose smiling face welcomes those who seek hospitality.
Must he indeed sow seeds in his field, who eats what remains after feeding the guests?
The gods will look after the affairs of the man who feeds his guest before sitting down himself to eat. Hospitality is itself seed enough for his fields and the crops will rise.
"What have we gained spending all our lives in toil and care? Nothing avails now. There is nothing to lean upon." Thus on their last day will lament those who have failed to perform the sacrifice of hospitality and look after those who come for help.
Hospitality is equivalent to a religious sacrifice.
How stupid those misers are who fail to practise the law of hospitality! They succeed in being poor in the midst of plenty.
The delicate flower withers away if you take it to the nose to inhale its fragrance. But the guest who comes for a meal will shrink even at a distant look that indicates unwillingness to receive.
We should treat poor guests more delicately than the most delicate flower.
The speech of enlightened men consists of truth soaked in affection.
Gentleness of speech is not pleasant falsehood, but the truth that is spoken by men who know the whole of the law and are not misled by dry dogmas, who are full of affection for the person to whom the truth is addressed, and therefore find the words that save truth from harshness.
The kindly word and the glad and loving look accompanying a gift are appreciated even more than the gift itself.
To give is good. But the sweet manner accompanying the gift touches the heart of the receiver even more than the good gift itself.
The relief of distress consists in the glad face, the welcome look and speech that is marked by genuine consideration for the feelings of the man who is in distress.
The gift that is thrown at the distressed without these accompaniments does not really relieve suffering but hurts.
One need not fear poverty if he has gladdened the hearts of men by kind words.
The world will not leave such a man to suffer by reason of adversity.
Not jewels but courteous deportment and gladness of speech are the things that adorn.
Truly it is strange that people speak harsh words, when they have themselves felt and experienced the joy that kindly speech begets.
Every moment we have direct personal experience of the marvellous effect of kind words from others and yet, when we speak, we forget it and indulge in harsh speech.
When gentle words are available, why do men choose the words that hurt? Is it not foolish to pick unripe berries when ripe ones can be had for the plucking?
The good deed that is done not in return, but in the first instance, is more precious than anything is in this world or beyond. Nothing can repay that act.
What is done in return for something previously done can never be as great as the deed born out of sheer generosity, be it ever so small by itself. There is therefore nothing that can be considered an adequate repayment. It is above every other kind of goodness.
By itself the help rendered may be a trifle, but the hour of need when it was given makes it bigger than the whole world.
It is bad to forget a favour done to you. But if someone does you a wrong, it is good to forget it that very day.
Painful like death itself may be the evil that you suffer at a man’s hand. But remind yourself of some good thing that he once did for you. It will help you to forget the present pain.
The acquisition of a man of rectitude goes down to his children without diminution and will protect them against adversity.
It may seem that no evil attaches to the acquisition that comes by swerving from the path of rectitude. But do not be tempted. Give up the thought at once.
Who lived a life of rectitude and who did not can be seen from how the children they have left behind fare.
The swerving of your mind can be perceived by you before anyone else sees it. Look upon it as an evil portent and beware.
If the man who walks firmly in the path of rectitude thereby loses his worldly possessions, his poverty does not lower him in the estimation of the world. He retains his status in society as if nothing had happened to him.
Let businessmen know that it is good business to protect the interests of others exactly as they do their own.
Note: Self-control is as necessary a virtue for the householder as for the recluse. ‘Adakkam’ in Tamil may mean either self-control or humility. Self-control, guarding against cupidity, pride and anger, is what is dealt with here.]
Self-control takes one to the gods. Want of it will push one into utter darkness.
There is no possession more precious than self-control. Watch yourself therefore as you would watch treasure.
It is well for everyone to be meek, but for those who have wealth meekness is added possession.
If a man lives a life of self-control and withdraws the five senses from tempting pleasures as a tortoise, upon sensing danger, draws its head and limbs into its shell, he shall have insured himself against evil in seven births thereafter.
You may neglect everything else, but be ever vigilant in restraining your tongue. Those who fail to do so meet with great trouble.
The injury caused by a burn heals, but the pain caused by the thoughtless word is never forgotten by the man who is hurt. It remains forever in his mind like an ugly scar.
If a man knows how to control the rising anger in his mind and guards himself against losing his temper, all other virtues will seek him out and wait on his pleasure.
Discipline of life is more precious than life itself, for it is out of that discipline that life derives value.
One may study many philosophies and clear his doubts but it is the well-regulated life that ultimately avails and nothing else. Therefore, guard it whatever may be the difficulty involved. The well-regulated life ennobles every rank of life. Where this fails, good or noble parentage will not save the man.
The Brahmin can study again what he has forgotten of the scriptures and make up for lost memory. But if he neglects regulation of life he forfeits forever the advantage of his birth. A well-regulated life brings honour. Neglect of it will lead to utter disgrace.
The learned really betray ignorance when in spite of their learning they fail to regulate their lives in accordance with the principle of social cooperation.
It is stupidity to entertain amorous thoughts about one who belongs to another. Any one that knows either the way of Dharma or that of worldly wisdom will avoid this folly.
Among those who stray from the path of right conduct, there is none so stupid as the man who trespasses into another man’s home.
It is better for one to be dead than to be tempted by thoughts of sin where one has been received with trust.
Of no avail will be a man’s importance, however great it may be, if he is thoughtless and lacks the simple wisdom of not violating another’s home.
It may seem all too easy to err with another’s wife, but the disgrace will be irredeemable for all time.
Enmity, Sin, Fear and Disgrace will always dog the path of the man who violates the sacredness of another’s home.
He is not a true householder who lets his amorous thoughts dwell on those who belong to others. He may in conduct be a good husband and a good father and everything else, but the impure thought is enough to make it all unreal.
Manhood consists in being able to control one’s mind and being proof against amorous thoughts towards one that belongs to another. It is good religion as well as social order.
Does not the earth support the man that is engaged in digging it? It is proper that we too bear with those who wrong us.
If one wrongs you, put up with it. But it is better still to forget it if you can.
It is not a very great achievement if one inflicts revenge for a wrong done. It is a golden achievement and will remain in the public memory as such, if a strong man shows forbearance in the face of wrongs done to him.
Retaliation gives but a day’s joy. Forbearance brings glory for all time.
Arrogance leads a man to do wrong to you. But your pride should be to defeat him by your forbearance.
The man who shows forbearance in the face of insult has truly practised the discipline of the Sannyasin though he is a householder.
Ascetics go without food and do penance, but forbearance in the face of the foolish attacks of ignorant men is a greater penance than such fasting.
There is no greater wealth than the possession of a mind that is free from envy.
It is he that cares not for his own spiritual or material well being that allows his mind to entertain envious thoughts instead of feeling happy when he sees the well being of others.
Envy makes a man lose happiness without having a single enemy in the outer world. His own envy is enough to do all the mischief.
The goddess of good luck is impatient with men who cannot bear the sight of other people’s good fortune. She immediately entrusts such men to the charge of her elder sister.
You may be blessed with every good trait and all good fortune. But the one serious blemish of envy is enough to cast you into hell-fire.
Envy makes hell for the man who nourishes that feeling in his present life as well hereafter.
None has grown richer by envying. No one has lost anything by not envying.
If a man’s mind turns to thoughts of abandoning rectitude and taking by illegitimate means what belongs to others, it will automatically lead him from error to error and bring disgrace on him and his family.
Those who desire to be happy in the real sense do not turn to what is not legitimate, which at the most can give but transient pleasure.
Those who have acquired true vision by keeping their senses under control never think of other’s possessions to make up for their want.
Of no avail is keenness of intellect, of no avail is wide knowledge, if greed seizes a man and leads him to folly.
If indeed you live a householder’s life in order ultimately to learn to look upon all beings with the eye of universal love and charity, how ruinous to that plan it is to let greedy thoughts enter your mind!
Do not covet others’ possessions. When you come to possess the things, which you laboured illegitimately to obtain, you will find no true enjoyment therein, such as you had desired. True enjoyment is possible only if the acquisition is lawful.
Greed is folly. It results only in misery equivalent to death. On the other hand, it should be your pride not to be tempted to look with covetous eyes on other people’s possessions. Cultivate this indifference. It will give you a sense of triumph.
You may sometimes speak the harshest things to a man’s face, but do not indulge in the folly of attacking any one behind his back.
If men would see their own faults as they see the faults of others, verily evil would come to an end in this world.
He who indulges in purposeless talk causing disgust to his company earns universal contempt.
Indulging in indecent talk in mixed company does great mischief than even wrongs done to friends.
The very thought of wrongdoing frightens good men, although bad men see nothing terrible in wrongdoing.
From evil springs fresh evil, like fire which regenerates itself. Men should shrink from sin as from a terror even worse than fire.
The highest and most precious of all arts consists in not returning evil for evil.
Even by inadvertence do not think of any act that would hurt another. If you plan evil for any one, Dharma will decree your own ruin.
The evil pursues the evildoer as a man finds his shadow pursuing him wherever his feet may take him. Those who commit evil cannot escape nemesis.
Do you love yourself? Then do not do to any one what falls in the class of wrongdoing, however small it may be.
What good did the creatures of the earth do to the clouds that pour the rain? So indeed should you serve society, seeking no return.
Good men put forth industry and produce wealth, not for themselves but for the use of society.
There is no pleasure in this or in the other world equal to the joy of being helpful to those around you. Do not lose the opportunity for this rare pleasure.
Man is born as a social being. He alone truly lives who functions as a social co-operator. He who does not recognize this duty is to be counted as one dead.
When prosperity comes to a man who has understanding and knows his duty to his fellowmen, it is like the village water tank that is filled by the rain.
When the village water tank gets filled by rain it is an occasion for joy for the whole community. The tank keeps the water from running to waste or being dried up, and serves to quench the people’s thirst throughout the year. So should the government feel when a good man prospers.
When wealth comes to a large hearted man, it is like the village tree coming to be in fruit.
If wealth comes to one who is blessed with a large heart it becomes the unfailing drug plant for society’s troubles.
Poverty does not stop the social co-operation of those who have a clear understanding of the duties of life. They continue their social service undeterred by adversity.
The worst misery that poverty brings to the large hearted man is the pain of not having resources enough to serve others in the manner he had been accustomed to.
If social co-operation appears to ruin you, it is indeed worthwhile to be ruined. You may sell yourself into slavery if that would enable you to serve the people around you.
That alone is a gift, which is given to the needy. Gifts to others are in the nature of business transactions wherein what is given is expected to be duly returned.
To depend on and receive charity, even when poverty permits it, invariably hurts. On the other hand, to give to the poor is good, even if there were no future world wherein merit is duly rewarded.
You may find it unpleasant to be approached for charity. But that is only until you see the radiant face of the man whose distress you have relieved. The ascetic’s strength of mind enabled him to bear hunger and out of it arises his power also. But the act of relieving another’s hunger is greater than suffering hunger oneself.
Fortunate is he who saves men from the devastating curse of hunger, for he has thereby deposited his possessions in a well-guarded vault.
Have not these men ever experienced the delight of giving? Else, why are they so hard-hearted and refuse to give and at the end of it all disappear from earth, leaving behind what they withheld from the needy?
Wretched is he whose poverty forces him to beg for alms. But more wretched indeed is he whose narrow heart makes him close the door against the hungry so that he may eat by himself.
Death is most painful. But even that becomes pleasant to the good man when he finds himself unable to help the wretched.
Poverty is wealth if it is brought about for causes that raise a man in the esteem of the world. Death under certain circumstances is life everlasting. Such poverty, which is not poverty, and such death, which is not death but life, comes only to those who understand true values.
When men have not lived so as to earn the esteem of good men, why do they not see and grieve over their own fault but blame the world that refuses to esteem them?
Diverse are the teachings of the religions of the world, but in all will be found that compassion is that which gives men spiritual deliverance. Hold on to it.
Soul-endangering sin flees from him who looks upon all beings with affection.
Even as happiness in this world depends on material possessions, compassion is that on which your happiness in the world beyond wholly depends.
Those who have lost their possessions may flourish once again. But there is no hope for those who have failed in the duty of compassion.
Can one who has no compassion in his heart practise Dharma through other virtues? It is no more possible than that one who has no understanding can teach the true meaning of things.
When a man is inclined to be cruel to those over whom he has power, let him think of himself trembling before the cruelty of stronger men.
How can a man adopt the way of compassion, gorging on the flesh of other beings in order to fatten his own flesh?
Meat eating is inconsistent with tenderness to life or compassion. Nature cannot work a contrary whatever be the casuistry (clever but false reasoning) about it. If we must eat meat, let us not talk of compassion.
The butcher with the knife in his hand cannot turn his heart to compassion. It is just the same with one who has trained his mind to find pleasure in the eating of the body of another creature made tasty with condiments.
Eating the meat that is obtained by killing is gross stupidity. It is the direct opposite of the doctrine of compassion to kill the doctrine of non-killing by eating meat and thereby encouraging others to kill.
If men will decide not to kill for the sake of eating no one will make a trade or profession of slaughtering living creatures.
What is meat but a cruel and ugly ulcer or wound in the body of another creature? How can one who realises this make it an article of food?
More meritorious than a thousand burnt offerings is to give up the practice of killing a living creature and eating its carcass.
All the creatures of the world offer worship to the man who refrains from killing and abstains from meat.
Share you food with the hungry and help life in all forms. Refrain from causing death to any form of life. All the codes enjoin this.
Life is dear, but even to save your life, do not do that which would deprive another creature of its own dear life.
Penance really consists in the fortitude with which the pain that falls to one’s lot is borne and in the avoidance of causing pain to sentient beings. This is the substance of penance, nothing else.
Blessed is he who is qualified for penance. To those who undertake penance in the form of self-inflicted pain without being truly qualified, penance is mere profitless travail.
Those who have not renounced the worldly life must have kept out of the order of ascetics only to be able to look after those who undergo penance. The gold in the furnace shines the more it is in the fire. So do they who suffer in order to chasten their spirit; they shine the more resplendently for the pain that they willingly bear.
He who has acquired mastery over his self is the object of universal worship.
If one has falsehood in his heart and secretly breaks the law of celibacy the five elements that watch from inside his body laugh at the futile fraud.
Of what avail are the trappings of purity or sainthood when within him his conscience knows its inescapable guilt?
The feeble minded wearing the brave trappings of strength is like a miserable cow putting on the skin of a tiger to save itself from being impounded while feeding stealthily on the corn in a stranger’s field.
If a man hides himself in the externals of a saint and under that cover commits sin, he descends to the life of the mean bird catcher who hides in the bush to trap innocent birds.
Making public pretensions to purity of life, if you secretly act contrary to the law, soon you will be landed in numberless troubles and you will lament in exceeding measure.
There are some in this world who, like the kunri seed, are beautifully red all over, but have in their hearts a black spot like that seed.
There are many that pass for holy men who keep foulness in their hearts and go through the external ablutions of saints in order to hide their sins.
Is not the cruel arrow smooth and straight, while the curved lyre makes sweet music? Our judgment must depend not on appearance but on conduct.
Avoid what the world condemns. If you succeed in this, there is no need for the shaven head or the growing of long beards.
Truthfulness is attained if one’s speech is such that it harms no being in the world.
If one could speak an untruth, which brought good without the least blemish of evil, it might be classed with truth.
Of all things confirmed in our experience, the rule of truthfulness stands out most firmly established. There is nothing more precious than truth.
If you are truthful in thought and word you are superior to one who undergoes penances and gives gifts.
Truthfulness earns the esteem of the world besides bringing in its train the merit of every other virtue without the physical privations of penance.
Water makes external cleanliness. Truthfulness is the detergent of the heart.
Lamps do not give the light that holy men desire. It is the light of truth that illuminates their path.
He truly is without anger who does not give vent to anger when the wrongdoer is under his power. Where his anger cannot hurt, that is when he cannot effectively retaliate, what matters is whether he guards against anger or not.
Everyone knows that it is bad for oneself to lose temper in dealing with superiors. But where anger is directed against persons in one’s power it is the worst of all offences.
From anger is born all evil. Let us forget the cause for provocation given by anyone.
Can there be any greater enemy to mankind than anger, which kills laughter and joy (which indeed are the greatest of blessings on earth)? Let him who would save himself guard against anger. The anger that is not held back is disastrous to oneself.
He who thinks anger is a profitable or worthy thing and yields to it is bound to suffer the evil thereof, even like the fool that hits the ground with his hand.
Great may the wrong done to you; like many tongued fire it may burn, but it is worthwhile yet to struggle and rein back one’s anger, if at all possible.
There is nothing lost by not entertaining anger. On the contrary it will be seen that what is sought to be attained comes quicker if the mind is kept free from it.
The best punishment for those who do evil to you is to shame them by returning good for evil.
Is there anything in much learning if it does not make a man feel the pain of others as keenly as the pain in his own body and avoid causing it?
When a man has experienced pain and knows what it is, how can he bring himself wantonly to cause pain to others?
The pain that a man causes to another in the forenoon returns to him that very afternoon.
Like the crowd that gathers to see a play comes dazzling wealth. It disappears like the gathering, which melts away when the play is over.
We imagine the day is something by itself. But to those who can see the truth, the day is in reality nothing but the relentless movement of the saw that unremittingly saws through life.
Do that which is good without delay, for you must do it before the tongue fails and the last hiccup seizes you.
Wondrous indeed is this world where one who was here yesterday may not be found today.
We cannot be certain of living the next minute. But we are not content with even a million plans.
The soul’s connection with the body is just like that of the bird’s connection with the eggshell. The bird leaves it joyfully to fly in the air.
The soul is indeed a homeless wanderer. It stays for a brief time in the body, as the homeless wretch who takes shelter under some roof, only to leave it at the earliest call.
As one by one you detach yourself from the things of the world you are saved from pain in respect of it.
The absence of something to that extent makes it easier to give it up wholly, i.e., even the thought of it. Possession tends to hold the mind in delusion and therefore is a hindrance to true knowledge.
If one’s heart is set on ending the round of births, there is no purpose in keeping any attachments alive. Even the body is a burden to be got rid of soon.
Pain of all kinds holds him in its relentless grip who fondly holds on to the things of the world.
Those who renounce wholly, i.e., who give up even the thought of things to be desired, have saved themselves. The rest are deluded and are still in the net.
Deliverance comes only with the abandonment of attachments. Else the fleeting world must be one’s home again and again.
Let attachment to the Lord be your one attachment. That attachment will help you to free yourself from other attachments.
Those who have learnt to perceive the Real, will surely take the path leading to deliverance from rebirth.
Root out the three evils, Desire, Anger and Delusion, and all grief shall end.
The miseries of life are born of error that deems the worthless as things of value.
The cause of all our grief is that we base life on false values. Life based on true values ends in deliverance.
Heaven is nearer than the earth they stand on, to the enlightened that have freed themselves from the entanglements of doubt.
If there is no true understanding all the knowledge that the five senses give is of no avail.
True understanding is that which uncovers and shows the reality behind the apparent and diverse exteriors of all things.
[Note: The desirelessness recommended in Indian philosophy does not appeal to the modern mind, which depends upon hope and faith in human effort. Religious dogma apart, detachment is recognised as a great and necessary virtue in all human endeavour. The philosophy of non-desire is intimately associated with detachment in work.]
Desire is the seed out of which is born the unending cycle of birth and death.
There is no worthier object to be desired than deliverance from births, and this worthy desire can be fulfilled if we renounce desires.
There is no possession so great as Non-desire either in this world or in the worlds beyond.
Purity is attained by freedom from desire. And this freedom from Desire can be attained if one sincerely desires to attain the Real.
It is only those who along with the thing given up have given up the desire for it that can be said to have renounced. Those who have not done this have not truly renounced.
Desire is the greatest deceiver. Dread and guard against it. This vigilance is the whole of the moral code.
If the pain of pains called Desire were kept out, one can, even in this life attain unbroken happiness.
The industry that produces wealth and the indolence that brings about adversity in this life are brought about by how you lived in the previous life. Past deeds produce the industry and indolence, which are the apparent causes of the acquisition and the loss of wealth in this life.
Folly seizes even the wise when it is decreed by the law that they must lose their possessions, and the dull become shrewd when their past good deeds are ripe for being rewarded by prosperity.
Men are of two categories. Some are decreed by the law of Karma to be prosperous and some are decreed to be wise.
Prosperity comes by the decree of the law of previous good and bad deeds. The best efforts in this life may not produce good results where it is not so decreed and the least may yield prosperity when it is so ordained.
The possessions that do not belong to one according to the unchangeable decree of Karma cannot be retained in spite of the most vigilant care, and that which belongs to a man by that decree cannot be lost even if he were most careless about it.
Even those who have no possession to renounce will not give up the world and earn the fruits of renunciation, because they have not earned that wisdom by previous good deeds.
When men have good luck as a result of good deeds in past births, they accept it without raising any question and enjoy the full benefit of it. But when they get bad luck, they complain and vex themselves. Truly men are unreasonable!


TIRUKKURAL BOOK 2
The negligence that is apt to arise out of the intoxication of achievement is more harmful than even inordinate anger.
Those who are not vigilant cannot attain greatness. This applies to all the orders of life; and all codes accept this conclusion.
To the languid and negligent, wealth can give no benefit, even as fortification cannot give security to cowards.
There is nothing so good as vigilance in dealing with everyone and at all times without any lapse.
Watch beforehand. He who is not vigilant will repent later in vain.
There is nothing that is impossible if one brings to bear on one’s work the instrument of a vigilant and resourceful mind.
When you are feeling elated by your prosperity, think of those who in the past were ruined by lapse of vigilance.
Every aspiration may indeed be achieved if one knows to keep his aim ever before his mind.
Family virtues (i.e., inherited qualities) naturally persist, but are apt to disappear unless kept up by unflagging industry, even as a temple light will go out unless the wick is properly snuffed and looked after.
When men are fated to be destroyed, procrastination, forgetfulness, languor and sleep are festive boats that wait to tempt and take them.
He who falls a victim to inaction, and does not labour strenuously, first meets with censure from friends, but will finally have to put up with every one’s contempt.
One can make up for many natural defects through industry.
The king who is fired by the spirit of ceaseless effort will find the whole world under him.
Let not the magnitude of any task unman you. Strenuous effort ever brings victory.
Guard against inaction in respect of your allotted task. Man is born to action. He who fails in this is lost to the world.
The pride of being useful to others can be enjoyed only by those who are blessed with the spirit of ceaseless effort.
The wish to be useful to society entertained by one who is not prepared for a strenuous life is like the fond desire of a weakling to wield weapons of war.
He who is in love with work, and spurns pleasure, can remove the troubles of his friends and relatives and stand as a pillar for their support.
The dark elder Sister dwells with idleness. She of the lotus dwells in human effort.
No one can blame you if nature has not endowed you with superior intelligence; but to have knowledge and to fail to put forth your best effort is blameworthy.
Even if through misfortune the object aimed at is not attained, the effort pays its own wages. Sustained and courageous effort enables man to see Fate turn its back and flee from the field.
Laugh when you meet misfortune. There is nothing like this to overcome it and pass on to victory.
Misfortune may come like a flood. But it vanishes in the wise man’s mind by a thought.
Man is born to be the target of misfortune. The wise man knows this and will be unperturbed by it.
He who does not allow the craving for pleasure to grow in him, and who understands that it is the lot of man to meet with trouble, will not feel it difficult to face misfortune.
If when enjoying good fortune, you keep your mind free from excitement, you will be proof against grief in misfortune.
Acquire a sound knowledge of things that should be learnt, and then act accordingly.
Learning is divided into two simple divisions, ‘mathematics and literature or numbers and letters’. They are like two eyes to human life.
The uneducated man’s life, whatever his station may be, is no better than that of a man cursed with blindness.
Only the literate can be said to have eyes. The unlettered have but two openings in the face, not eyes.
Learning has to be acquired in fear and humility. The seeker of knowledge must stand before the learned even as a man in want stands before the rich giver, eager and trembling. He who is proud and does not care to undergo this must remain ignorant and is doomed to inferiority in life.
Study brings knowledge in proportion to the industry bestowed, even as water oozes into the sandpit in the riverbed in the measure of the digging.
While really the learned man finds in his learning his own pleasure, he sees that others look upon him as a benefactor, conferring pleasure on them. Hence the truly learned are in love with knowledge.
Uneducated men are like alkaline soil. Their existence is worthless and nominal.
Even if unlettered man displays great good sense, it will not be recognized by the learned.
An unlettered man’s conceit will find its end when the occasion for speech arrives.
The size and personality of a man who is externally grand but has not an intellect improved by learning is like the grandeur of large clay images made beautiful with coloured paste.
Wealth in the hands of ignorant men, and poverty that afflict learned men, cause grief to them as well as to the world at large. But between the two misfits, the latter is not so great a misfortune as the former; for, while poverty cannot cause real harm to the spirit of the learned, wealth in the hands of the ignorant is a danger to the world.
The unlettered though born in a higher social class are inferior in status to those who though born low have acquired learning.
True knowledge is an inner fortification that enemies cannot destroy, and is the ultimate impregnable defence.
True knowledge controls thought and conduct and keeps both away from evil, and helps one to keep in the right path.
True knowledge enables one to understand the true import of things from whomsoever one learns them and not to be misled by the circumstances in which they appear.
It finds easy and convincing expression for one’s own thoughts, and enables one to grasp the essence of what is said by others, be it however complicated.
Knowledge befriends the world. It fosters a spirit of equanimity saving one from both excitement and depression.
The man of True Knowledge understands how the world moves, and moves accordingly.
Unlike the ignorant man, the man of True Knowledge knows beforehand what will befall. Thereby he escapes even stunning grief.
He fears what is truly to be feared, and refrains from it. It is a folly not to fear what should be feared.
A discriminating mind is the greatest of possessions. Without it, all other possessions will come to nothing.
Listening as a means of learning is particularly prescribed for the illiterate. It will be a staff to lean upon when beset by weakness.
The oral precepts of a teacher who leads a good life help one as a staff helps the weak to walk.
Be it but little, listen and assimilate. It will produce great good.
Study marked by searching enquiry and much listening to learned men will save one from foolish statements even if labouring under error.
Listening to the expositions of learned men gives one the humility of speech that appertains to true learning. Mere study is apt to leave one conceited.
The friendship of men of character is like the young moon, which grows as the days pass, but friendship with fools diminishes with familiarity like the moon after her full phase.
With deeper study one sees more and more beauty in a book and derives enhanced pleasure. Likewise good men’s friendship does not lose its freshness but gives increased pleasure every day.
True friendship is that which comes swiftly to the rescue in the hour of trouble, even as the hand goes instinctively to hold the dress, when it chances to slip down in company.
Identity of feelings makes friendship; it is needless for friends to meet often or be long together.
The face may wear a smile at the sight of one, but only he is a friend whose sight brings about an internal joy, which fills the whole soul.
The triple service of friendship is to take the friend out of the wrong path, to lead him into the right path, and to share in his misfortune.
There is nothing so harmful as friendship contracted without discrimination, because the quality of friendship is that friendship once made cannot be given up.
Let friendship be contracted only after knowing the man’s good points, his birth, his defects and his connections (relatives and friends).
It is worthwhile making sacrifices to acquire the friendship of one who is well born and is sensitive to public opinion about him.
Go out in search for those in whom you find the capacity to censure you and if necessary make you weep without flinching when you go wrong, and of leading you into the good path. Make friendship with such men.
Misfortune has its use in that it serves as a yardstick for you to spread out and measure the constancy of friends and relatives.
Do not entertain thoughts, which must lead to the shrinking of enthusiasm. Do not make friends with those who instead of giving you strength weaken you in difficult situations.
It is a gain by itself if one gets away from the friendship of fools.
Do not take trouble to keep up the friendship of worthless men. It is well to allow it to die out, be they ever so honey-like (sweet).
What does it matter whether we gain or lose the friendship of selfish men who when it is profitable to them befriend us and leave us when it is not?
The friendship that weighs advantages is of the same class with the affections and courtesans and partnership among thieves.
It is better not to befriend than to depend on friends who when you face trouble desert you, as it is better to go on foot than ride to battle on an unbroken horse.
The opposition of wise and good men does infinitely greater good than the closest friendship of a fool.
One gets a million times more benefit from enemies than from the friendship of mere jolly good fellows and jesters and the like.
Allow your friendship silently to die out with men who fail to help where they could.
It is bad even in dream to associate with those whose words and deeds differ.
There are some who seek to befriend you at home and in private, but attack your fair name on public occasions. Avoid all advances on the part of such people.
Learning and culture have no effect on hatred. They do not help to remove enmity.
Do not be misled by politeness or courtesy of language on the part of enemies. The enemy bends his words as he bends his bow, which is not for your good.
An enemy’s hands clasped in salutation may conceal a weapon. So also are his tears (of pretended grief or sympathy) not to be trusted, i.e., be on your guard and do not be deceived by external signs of friendship.
The biggest folly among follies is to cherish a desire for a prohibited object.
There is no bigger fool than the man who has acquired much learning and preaches the same to others, but who does not control himself.
A fool getting hold of wealth is like a lunatic taking intoxicating liquor, i.e., it was bad enough being mad but liquor is added to make it from bad to worse.
The friendship of fools is perhaps the best, for in this case separation brings no grief!
A fool’s entry into an assembly of wise men is like unwashed feet on a clean bed. One fool ruins the character of a whole assembly.
The self-inflicted miseries of ignorance are greater than what can be inflicted by enemies.
There is no folly so great as the folly that makes men proud of their own wisdom.
Pretending knowledge of things not learnt, one loses credit for even such faultless knowledge, as one really possesses.
It is a folly to imagine that by wrapping oneself in cloth, one has covered one’s indecency, when the greater indecency of a bad character is still exposed.
Protection against the heat of the sun is good. So also is water good. But sometimes even these become harmful and then they are to be avoided. Relatives, when they become evil-minded, are a danger to be guarded against.
There can be no real union in a community when there are mutual hatreds concealed in the mind, just as a lid of a vessel serves only to cover and does not become one with it.
Those who are governed by their wives are unable to act generously and boldly in respect of large interests of friends and society in general. Domination by one’s wife leads to narrowness of outlook and initiative.
Inordinate attachment to one’s wife is not only an impediment to the attainment of spirituality, but in the world of action even it is to be avoided.
Again, he who neglects his duties on account of his attachment to his wife will find himself overwhelmed by public scandal.
The false embrace of a woman who sells her body for money is like trying to find pleasure in the embrace of the dead body of an unknown person in a dark room.
To show reason to one who has indulged in liquor is like taking a light to search for a man who has drowned in deep water.
Will one in his free moments watch someone else who is drunk and realise what happens to one when under the mischief of the potion?
Those who drink in secret soon become the laughing stock of the locality, for the effects of the indulgence cannot for long remain unknown.
Gambling, even if you win, is a thing to be avoided. The winning is like the fish swallowing the hook.
Even when losing, gambling is sweet and holds the victim in its grip, resembling in this the attachment to life in spite of excruciating physical agony, which would be relieved by death. The sick victim avoids death and holds on to life
Attachment to life is like the grip that the game (gambling) gets on its victim.
Make a careful diagnosis, discover the true cause of the disease, think out the proper remedy and apply it effectively.
In prescribing the treatment, the good physician takes into consideration the strength of the patient, the progress of the disease and the season.
Four elements go to make effective treatment: the patient, the doctor, the remedy and the attendant.
If we eat only after making sure that what has been already eaten has been digested, no drugging will be required to keep the body in good health.
Make sure that the previous meal has been digested, and wait till you are quite hungry. Then eat what you have found to agree with your health.
Even then, the food should be taken in right measure. Moderation in eating is the secret of longevity.
The man, who stops just a little before he feels he has had enough, retains the joy of eating; on the other hand, the big eater invites disease.
Much pain is saved if one learns to eat only what has been found to suit one’s health and to say ‘no’ i.e., exercise self-restraint in respect of quantity.
The ignorant man, who eats beyond the measure of the fire or beyond his power of digestion, must be prepared for all sorts of ailments.
The three humours postulated by those learned in the science of the human body cause disease if there is superfluity or deficiency, i.e., if excess or deficiency in food or work upsets the balance.
When you have wealth, cultivate humility. When your means are strained, then it is that you should hold your head high.
The hair on the head is a thing of beauty. Removed from its place, it becomes filth. The same is the fate of men who descend from their own level of honourable conduct and demean themselves.
Death by starvation is preferable to the maintenance of comfort and show of respectability by dependence on those who look down upon you and do not take you as one of them but only render help as to one inferior.
The world will admire and worship the glory of men who give up life when overtaken by dishonour.
Glory consists in wealth of spirit. To decide to live though devoid of it is inglorious.
Equal are all in birth. Distinctions are the result of greatness in action in some and the absence of it in others.
As a virgin guards her own purity, men should guard their unsullied greatness.
The high-minded man hides the faults of others from view, but the little ones busy themselves only about the faults of others.
The crow does not hide it when it finds something to pick and eat, but calls its fellows and then starts eating. Prosperity comes only to men who develop this disposition.
Those relatives that go away for some reason will come back as soon as you have discovered in yourself the cause of their desertion and the defect is removed.
If any go away but come back not for affection but for a known selfish object of their own, the king should not on that ground summarily reject them.
He should do what they want, but before taking them back into confidence test them.
When wealth is neither enjoyed by oneself nor given to deserving persons, the possessor becomes a disease to society.
Wealth that is not utilised for helping the distressed is like a maiden who is possessed in abundant measure of all the qualities a wife and a mother should have, being barren to remain and die unmarried.
Eating, covering oneself against the weather and the rest are common to all, but the distinction of good men is the spontaneous repugnance to impropriety.
Even as life finds its abode in the body and separation from it means death, so is honour inseparably lodged in a sensitive conscience, without which it cannot but die.
A sensitive conscience is a jewel that sets off the virtue of good men. Without it pride becomes a disease of the flesh.
Honour’s true home is the conscience of the man who shrinks from causing dishonour to others even as he does from soiling his own reputation.
Men of honour would give up life for honour’s sake, but never abandon honour even to save life. If you break the rules of religion, y
ou are lost to your caste, but if you act against the dictates of honour, you are lost to virtue itself.
The movements of a man who has not a sensitive conscience are like the simulation of life by marionettes (puppets) moved by strings.
Strange indeed is the complete physical resemblance of the unscrupulous to the human species. It is the best example of mimesis we know of.
Blessed indeed are the unscrupulous, for they do not suffer from the anxieties and troubles of those who have scruples.
The unscrupulous resemble the gods, for, like gods, they do what they please and are bound by no restraints of conduct.
Fear of punishment is the only code for unscrupulous men. They observe restraints only under the pressure of fear. Sometimes a little good may be got out of them by operating on their greed.
Good men serve at the mere call to serve. But the worthless serve only when crushed, like the sugarcane.
What is the use of unscrupulous men in this world? When occasion arises they hasten to sell themselves.
Many other industries may be taken up, but ultimately the world depends on agriculture. So despite its troubles, it is the worthiest occupation.
The tillers of the soil are the axle-pin of the revolving world. On them depends the sustenance of life for those that, unable to take up the plough, follow other occupations.
They only live by right that till the soil and grow their food. The rest are parasites.
The state that has fields waving with full-eared corn will see the sovereignty of many princes resting under the shade of its munificence.
If the tillers of the soil withdraw their labour, even the serenity and concentration of spirit of those who have renounced the world will cease to be.
If the ploughed soil is left to dry to a fourth of its bulk there will be a plentiful crop without even a handful of manure being put in.
More important than ploughing is manuring. Then, after weeding the field, more important than even watering is the guarding of the crop.
If the good man fails to bestow personal attention on his field, then like a neglected wife it turns its face away in loving anger.
The goodwife Earth laughs at the foolishness of men who sit idle, bemoaning their poverty.
Every morning opens with the blighting thought of the struggle for existence that must again be faced.
Even truth gets depreciated in value by reason of indigence (poverty). The exposition of truth coming from the mouth of the needy man carries no weight and proves ineffective.
A mother’s love is the one thing that can be expected to stand unaffected by the exigencies of fortune. Even this is likely to grow lukewarm when the son is a poor man.
If there were no poor people to seek help, this beautiful world would be only like a temporary stage for a marionette (puppet) show.
If a man approached has an open heart and knows his debt to society, then, indeed, to be in need and to receive help becomes a beauty and a pleasure.
If the world were so ordered that some of its inhabitants must live in dependence and on the mercy of others, the Creator would indeed deserve the curse of becoming a wandering beggar himself.
There is no dish so sweet as that earned by one’s own labour, be it but the thinnest gruel.
The ‘No’ of the unwilling man is poison and death to the suppliant. But it is strange that such mortal poison did not hurt the man through whose mouth it passed and with whom it was in primary physical contact.
A prince will be a lion among princes whose state has an adequate army, whose people are industrious, whose country has ample food resources, who has wise and vigilant ministers, who commands the friendship of foreign princes, and whose forts are dependable. The prince who commands these six essentials is a lion among rulers.
They are fit to rule who possess in unfailing measure fearlessness, liberality, wisdom and enthusiasm in action.
The necessary good characteristics of a good ruler are diligence, learning and courage.
A good government never swerves from dharma (righteousness), it puts adharma out of the kingdom, and its military honour is unsullied.
The duties of the ruler are production of wealth, conservation of resources, defence of the state and right expenditure. In a good government these duties are well performed.
If the ruler is accessible and is not harsh in speech, the state will attain fame.
If the king acts according to the law and protects his people, he will be regarded as a god.
The people will rest happy under the umbrella of a prince who has the quality of listening to the advice of his ministers even when it is unpleasant.
In every action there are the three elements of loss, acquisition and value. The quality and measure of each of these three elements should be weighed before undertaking any action.
The prince whose undertakings are carefully launched after deliberation with a body of tried counsellors will find no impediment in the achievement of his objects.
The wise do not launch an undertaking by which, for a possible future gain, they will lose what is already got.
Ill-considered aggressive operations serve only to mobilise and strengthen an enemy.
But it should be remembered that a merely passive attitude is ruinous if the occasion calls for action.
Plan fully before launching out on action. To think of devising ways and means in the course of the action is fatal.
The energy that is spent on action without being first adequately spent on planning it out, will be empty of results, whatever may be the manpower placed in the field.
The means adopted should be such as would not be condemned by an enlightened world which never approves of unworthy means.
Many are those whose ambition has led them into aggressive campaigns without properly estimating the strength at their command, taking them to destruction.
He meets his end speedily who does not behave wisely towards alien powers and who does not realise the limitations of his own strength but loses himself in self over-estimation.
Too great a load of even peacock feathers will break the axle-tree of the cart.
The tree climber can negotiate the branches up to a limit. If his enthusiasm takes him beyond the limit, he falls and meets with death.
It is not a great misfortune for a state if its revenues are limited, provided the expenditure is kept within bounds.
The seeming splendour of a career carried on without adjustment to means, will suddenly disappear leaving no vestige behind.
Is there anything impossible if the right means are adopted and the right hour is chosen?
The kings who desire to conquer wait calmly for the right time to arrive for striking.
The restraint of the energetic is like the rearward (backward) steps that the fighting ram always takes before charging.
The anger of the wise does not exhibit its heat immediately on provocation, but smoulders within until the time arrives for action.
Do not stint in courtesies, but show obsequious humility before your humility before your enemy; when the time arrives for action, you will be able to make him bow his head before you.
Occasion comes but rarely. When it comes, seize it promptly if you are intent on a great aim.
Imitate the stork in bidding your time; but when the time is ripe, act with swift and sure aim as the stork does.
Till you find the place suitable for surrounding the opposing force, do not begin your attack, and do not commit the fatal mistake of underestimating the enemy’s strength.
Even if your force is numerous and eager, defensive fortifications are not to be neglected, as that advantage helps in many ways.
Though you are weaker in your army, if you choose the right place to give battle and your operations are conducted with care, you may win as if you had a bigger army.
The enemy’s plans will be upset if you attack choosing an advantageous place, and if your forces are well protected.
If full (adequate or proper) thought is spent over the plan of operations and you are able to choose your own place of action, there is no need for other support; the courage of your men will carry victory.
With a large army you should not engage in battle in a place fit only for a smaller force; for then your full force will not have room for action and is likely to be demoralized.
Even though their fortifications and army may be weaker, it is not easy to attack and overcome those who have the advantage of operating in their native country.
In deep waters, the crocodile triumphs, but out of the water it is powerless.
The crow defeats the owl in daytime. The kings who intend to defeat the operations of their strong enemies must choose the right time.
The strong-wheeled chariot cannot be driven on the sea, and the boat that moves swiftly on the water cannot be used on land.
Before entrusting a man with power, test his loyalty by putting him through trials in respect of his attachment to life, religion, wealth and pleasures.
Birth in a good family, freedom from defects- moral and intellectual- and sensitiveness to public censure; these are the necessary qualifications for being chosen for high office.
Even those who have successfully acquired rare learning and are known to be free from defects may betray some incompetence under close examination.
Test and find out the good and bad points and see, which predominate, and decide.
The touchstone for discriminating the qualified from the unqualified is conduct.
Do not choose men who have no relatives. Having no social ties, they do not fear social blame and are therefore not to be depended upon.
Choosing by affection, without making sure that the necessary qualifications are possessed, will bring every form of disaster. Entrust work to men only after testing them. But after they have been so appointed, accept their service without distrust. It is wrong to choose men without care and equally wrong to distrust men whom you have chosen.
Loyalty, a discriminating mind, clear-headedness, freedom from the lure of property, are four essential qualifications.
Again, in spite of every other test being satisfied, there are some who are not suitable by reason of the nature of the particular work to be entrusted to them.
Men should be appointed to duties, who have the ability needed for their performance and the resourcefulness to meet the situations arising therein. Everything will go wrong if you nominate one out of mere friendship or admiration.
Transfer full responsibility to the man, once you fix upon him. We cannot get the full value of a man if we do not trust him fully.
Fortune will desert him who does not love and trust his diligent and efficient agent.
If the king unceasingly looks after the upright conduct of his executive, the people will not go wrong.
The king’s ministers are his eyes. So he should choose them with circumspection.
Who can hurt the prince that commands the loyalty of advisers who do not hesitate to give unpleasant counsel and to point out to him when he goes wrong? The prince who has not this priceless protection of advisers that have the courage to tell him when he goes wrong will find his ruin even if there be no enemies to attack him.
To be born in a good family is a useful qualification. Consistency in thought, word and deed and a quick reaction against anything mean or improper are natural to persons well born.
Old families though poor and unable to be munificent (generous) maintain their standard of right conduct.
They have something to lose though possessed of no wealth, viz., the credit of their families, which keeps them from deceit and impropriety.
Any fault of theirs, however small, is observed by the world and shows out clearly even like the spots in the moon.
The sprouts indicate the nature of the soil. So does softness of speech indicate a good family.
Harshness raises doubts as to good birth.
An instinctive aversion to evil is the secret of a happy and virtuous life. Courteous behaviour is the essential characteristic of good birth.
All dharma and all the codes of teachers are ultimately dependent on the king’s good government.
The world lies at the feet of the king who rules with benevolent regard for his people.
It is not the strength of arms that give success to the king, but his rule and its uprightness.
The king will fall and destroy himself who is not easy of access or does not give the fullest consideration to representations made to him or does not follow established procedure and decide justly.
It is not a matter for blame, but the office and duty of a king, who should protect his subjects against external foes and look after their welfare, to be severe with those that are found to offend against the law.
Capital punishment for grievous offences is like the weeding of fields, necessary for the protection of the crops.
The oppressive king who misgoverns is a worse sinner than the murderer The tyrant’s request for gifts from his people is like the armed highway robber’s demand couched in the language of politeness.
As the rainless sky dries up the earth, so does a king devoid of compassion destroy the people living thereon.
Under a ruler who does not follow the law, it is a greater misery to be possessed of wealth than to be poor.
A minister should be resolute in action, have the welfare of the people at heart, possess learning and be ever active.
He should be skilled in the art of dividing enemies, of conserving alliances made, and of regaining lost friendships.
There is no such thing as a situation too intricate for the minister to solve, if he possesses both natural intellect and learning on the subject of statecraft.
Even if well versed in the accepted theories of action, one should also understand the current ways of the world, and act suitably.
There are some who, though they are good in thinking out and preparing plans, are not adept in practical action.
The king may be one who, though ignorant himself, also refuses to listen to wisdom from others. But it is the duty of the minister to speak out what he deems to be true and good.
A minister who remains by the king’s side and harbours treacherous thoughts, has the potentiality of seventy crores (seven hundred million) of opposing enemies.
Real wealth is one’s will to action. Without it all possessions are worthless.
A vigorous mind is a true asset, material possessions are fleeting and cannot be depended upon.
Think ever of rising higher. Let it be your only thought. Even if your object were not attained, the thought itself will have raised you.
Success finds its own way like a dependent to go in advance and honour the man of will.
The lotus plant grows up to the height of the water. So does man rise just up to the height of his will.
Huge is the elephant and possessed of sharp pointed tusks, but it trembles before the tiger.
An aspiring mind is the quality of manhood: without it men are wooden images of men.
The spy service and authoritative books on statecraft should be deemed as the two eyes of the king.
The duty of a king is to learn at once all that happens at all times to all people.
The intelligence-men should watch closely all the executive officers of the state and the relatives of the prince as well as those that were known to be not well disposed towards the prince.
To be admitted into this service, a man should be skilled in putting on disguises that raise no suspicion. He should not be disturbed or unnerved by the scrutinizing looks of those he observes. He should be able, under all circumstances, to guard secrets and not give himself away.
The garb of sannyasin (monks) and of religious orders were favourite disguises to obtain admission into places usually inaccessible.
The information brought by a spy should not be accepted implicitly, but should be tested through another member of the service.
The spy service should be so managed that the members do not know one another. Let there be corroboration through three sources of information.
Do not confer any public marks of appreciation on the members of the intelligence service because thereby you would be disclosing what should be kept from the knowledge of people.
One may possess every other qualification; the gift of persuasive speech is a thing apart.
The councillors should take great care about their speeches as they may make or mar the prosperity of the whole state.
What is good speaking?
It should be such as would hold fast the convinced and it should be pleasing even to the unconvinced.
Speak after making sure that what you say cannot be refuted by any argument on the other side.
Neither right conduct nor any worldly good can result from talking above the heads of those who are addressed. Speak suitably to the capacity and attainments of the audience.
Speak pleasingly and welcome the good ideas in what is urged on the other side. This is the way of good councillors.
What makes a councillor invincible in debate is a convincing style, a good memory and fearlessness.
The world loses no time to follow the rare councillor who speaks weighty things with orderly coherence and sweetness of expression.
It is only those that have not learnt to speak briefly and correctly that indulge in much speaking.
There are flowers that blossom in plenteous clusters but bear no sweet fragrance. Like to these are those who, though learned, have not the mastery of expression to convey their knowledge to others.
Those are masters of the art of speaking who take note of the disposition and mood of the assembly and choose their words and adopt a style of speech to suit them.
Good and successful speech requires a careful understanding of the disposition and receptivity of the audience and a clear understanding of the subjects talked about.
Be radiant before those who are radiant. But before the ‘white’ assume the colour of slaked lime. If the audience is composed of simple folk, hold back your learning and be a simple and unlearned man.
In an assembly of seniors (in age and accomplishments) it is a wise rule to restrain yourself and avoid preceding them with your speech.
It is easy to find men ready to face death in battle, but more difficult to find men free from nervousness when having to face assembly.
Of what use is it for a man who has no physical bravery to carry a sword? So is mere learning of no use to the man who is nervous before an assembly of men of keen intellect.
Avoid at all times action that is not in accordance with the moral law. Those who seek to be great should refrain from everything that might tarnish their good name.
Do not do that which good men would condemn even if it means your helplessly looking on without finding food for your starving mother.
Success achieved without minding the prohibitions of the moral law brings grief in the wake of achievement.
To seek to further the welfare of the State by enriching it through fraud and falsehood is like storing water in an unburnt mud pot and hoping to preserve it.
Do not do that which your better sense tells you that you will afterwards regret. But if you have done such a thing, it is well that you at least decide to refrain from such folly again.
A courtier should not absent himself too often, nor indulge in too great proximity to the king. Not too far, not too near, like one who warms himself near a fire, this is the rule of conduct for those who have to be near princes whose minds are changeful and undependable.
Avoid casting your desire on things desired by the prince himself, if you wish to prosper.
Once suspicion enters the prince’s mind, it is hard even for the cleverest to set himself right with him. So avoid all cause for it if you desire to be safe.
Avoid, in the presence of your prince, whispering to someone else or smiling to someone as if you and he understood something between yourselves.
Do not display any inquisitiveness about the prince’s secret conversations with others, however important the matter may be. Wait until he says it to you if at all.
Ever avoid talk concerning things that do not matter, even if the prince shows interest in them; but concerning things that touch his interest materially, speak to him what you know without waiting to be asked.
Do not look on your prince as your junior in years or as related in such and such wise to you; but let your behaviour be as it should be to him whose divine privilege and duty is the protection of men.
It would be disastrous to presume on the familiarity born of long connection and act contrary to etiquette.
Great stress is laid on the ability of those serving in the king’s cabinet to read his mind. This is as it must be in serving under autocratic princes or in the cabinets of modern dictators.]
The requisites for a prosperous State are industrious producers, good and learned men forming the elite, and high-minded men of wealth.
A State should be free from too many groups and divisions and from anti-social, destructive elements, and from murderous offences that disturb the king’s peace.
A State may have everything mentioned in this chapter, yet if it has not the right kind of ruler, they will all come to nothing.
Fortifications are as important for the prince who, confident of his strength, sets out on an aggressive operation, as to the cautious who are satisfied with self-defence.
A good fortress should have a moat with water during all seasons, and an esplanade, with hills and dense forests around.
The fortress wall, it has been laid down, should be high, broad, strong, and built so as to be difficult of attack by enemy’s machines.
The length to be defended must not be too great, but there must be ample space inside, and the fort must in all respects be such as to dishearten the enemy.
The fortress must have good natural defences, and plenty of food resources inside, and afford scope for the garrison to attack the enemy from inside without exposing themselves.
Though good in every respect, a fort is yet not dependable unless it has a good garrison that will rise to the occasion and knows how to fight in its defence.
A fort should be built so as to be difficult of being taken by siege, or by storm, or through the betrayal of traitors.
All the excellences of the fort come to nothing if the commander is not a man of ability.



GITA
(Bhagwad Gita - Sung by God)
The first six chapters of the Bhagavad Gita predominantly relate to the path of action or karma yoga also known as the yoga of action. (The relationship between the body and the soul is explained in the second chapter).
The middle six chapters (7th to 12th) explain the paths of meditation (Dhyana Yoga) and devotion (Bhakti Yoga). The sixth chapter already begins to deal with the mind through the topic entitled as Dhyana Yoga or the Yoga of Meditation. Here, the mind is the equipment that is involved. For the purpose of our understanding, it will help to remember that the mind has two fold tendencies. 1. The mind can be full of emotions and can lead a person to the path of devotion or bhakti. One can sing the praises of the Lord and cultivate the very fine emotions of pure love (eg., Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Mirabai). 2. The second tendency of the mind is its ability to lead a person into meditation. The Yoga of meditation is also known as Raja Yoga.The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Maharaj are the best guide since the ancient times, for the practice of Raja Yoga.
The last six chapters (13th to 18th) relate to the path of Knowledge or Jnana Yoga. This relates to the intellect portion of B-M-I.
Thus we are able to emphasise four major Yogas of the Bhagavad Gita.
1. Karma Yoga (Yoga of Action). 2. Dhyana Yoga (Yoga of Meditation).
3. Bhakti Yoga (Yoga of Devotion). 4. Jnana Yoga (Yoga of Knowledge).
The imagery associated with the Bhagavad Gita is that of a chariot with four horses. Arjuna is inside the chariot and the chariot is being driven by Lord Krishna. The human body is the chariot and Arjun is the embodied soul. This body (chariot) is being driven by the Supreme Lord. God's will prevails. The explanation about this imagery is taken from : The Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva
The Gita again and again emphasizes that one should cultivate an attitude of non-attachment or detachment. It urges repeatedly that one should live in the world like water on a lotus leaf. "He who does actions, offering them to Brahman and abandoning attachment, is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water." - Gita, 5-10.
Attachment is due to infatuation. It is the offspring of the quality of Rajas. Detachment is born of Sattwa. The former is a demoniacal attribute; the latter is divine one. Attachment is born of ignorance, selfishness and passion, and brings with it death; detachment is wisdom, and brings with it freedom. The practice of detachment is a rigorous discipline. You may stumble like a baby who is just learning to walk, but you will have to rise up again with a cheerful heart. Failures are not stumbling blocks but stepping-stones to success.
Try to dwell always in your own Self. Abide in your centre. Think of the Self constantly. Then all attachments will die automatically. Attachment to God is a potent antidote to annihilate all worldly attachments. He who has no attachments can really love others, for his love is pure and divine. "Therefore, without attachment do thou always perform action which should be done; for, by performing action without attachment man reaches the Supreme." - Gita, 3-19.
Discourses 13, 14 and 15 deal with Jnana Yoga (Yoga of knowledge). He who has knowledge of nature and of God, of the three qualities or Gunas and their operation, and of the wonderful tree of Maya, can transcend nature and the Gunas, can uproot the deep-rooted tree with the axe of dispassion, and attain direct Self-realization, which releases him from the rounds of births and deaths. Discourse 15 is a very soul-elevating one. It contains the essence of Vedanta. He who rightly understands this discourse will soon attain liberation.
Discourse 18 also must be studied again and again. It contains the quintessence of the whole Gita teaching. It is the pinnacle of the magnificent hill of knowledge of the Gita. It is the crowning jewel in its priceless necklace, and in it is condensed the substance of the teachings of the preceding seventeen discourses.
The Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the essence of the soul-elevating Upanishads. It is a universal scripture applicable to people of all temperaments and for all times. It is a wonderful book with sublime thoughts and practical instructions on Yoga, Devotion, Vedanta and Action. It is a marvellous book, profound in thought and sublime in heights of vision. It brings peace and solace to souls that are afflicted by the three fires of mortal existence, namely, afflictions caused by one’s own body (disease etc), those caused by beings around one (e.g. wild animals, snakes etc.), and those caused by the gods (natural disasters, earth-quakes, floods etc). The Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna (the Supreme Soul and the individual soul). It is narrated in the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata. It comprises 18 discourses of a total of 701 Sanskrit verses (Shlokas). A considerable volume of material has been compressed within these verses.
The Bhagavad Gita is a unique book for all ages. It is one of the most authoritative books of the Hindu religion. It is the immortal song of the Soul, which bespeaks of the glory of life. The instructions given by Lord Krishna are for the whole world. It is a standard book on Yoga for all mankind. The language is as simple as could be. Even a man who has an elementary knowledge of Sanskrit (language) can go through the book.
The teachings of the Gita are broad, universal and sublime. They do not belong to any cult, sect, creed, age or country. They are meant for the people of the whole world. Based on the Upanishads- the ancient wisdom of the Seers (Rishis) and saints- the Gita prescribes methods that are within the reach of all. It has message of solace, peace, freedom. Salvation and perfection for all human beings.
On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Lord Krishna, during the course of His most instructive and interesting talk with Arjuna, revealed profound, sublime and soul-stirring spiritual truths, and expounded to him the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti (Devotion) and Karma (Action). The whole world is one huge battlefield. The real Kurukshetra is within you. The battle of the Mahabharata is raging within. Ignorance is Dhritarashtra; the individual soul is Arjuna; the indweller of your heart is Lord Krishna, the charioteer; the body is the chariot; the senses are the five horses; mind, egoism, mental impressions, senses, cravings, likes and dislikes, lust, jealousy, greed, pride and hypocrisy are your dire enemies.
Glory, glory to the Gita! Glory to Lord Krishna, who placed the Gita before men of this world to attain liberation! May His blessings be upon you all! May the Gita be your centre, ideal and goal!
Blessed is the man who studies the Gita daily. Twice blessed is he who lives in the spirit of the Gita. Thrice blessed is he who has realized the knowledge of the Gita or attained Self-knowledge! Om Tat Sat. Om Shanit, Shanti, Shanti. (Peace).
<, Arjuna felt at odds with his svadharma. But however unattractive a man’s svadharma may be, he has to find fulfilment by persisting in it, because it is only through such persistence that growth is possible. There is no question of dignity involved here. This is the law of growth. Svadharma is not the sort of thing that one takes up because one thinks it is noble or gives up because it seems lowly. In fact, it is neither great nor small. It is equal to our measure. In the words of the Gita ‘One’s own dharma, even if devoid of merit, is the best for oneself’ (Sreyaan svadharmo vigunah). The word ‘dharma’ means not the organised religions, like Hindu-dharma or Muslim-dharma or Christian dharma. Every individual has his own distinct dharma. The 200 people who are in the audience in front of me have 200 different dharmas.
Even my own dharma today is not what it was ten years ago; it will not be the same ten years hence. As the course of one’s life changes through thinking and experience one’s old dharma drops off and a new dharma comes in its place. One achieves nothing by self-willed obstinacy in this matter. However superior another’s dharma may appear to be, it is not good for me to adopt it. Quite often, it only appears easier. If a man in household life is not able to look after his children properly and, getting disgusted, gives up the world, it will turn out to be hypocrisy and will even become burdensome. If a man’s mind is truly detached, surely renunciation is not difficult for him. Even if someone else’s dharma seems easier, one should not take it up. It is really a question of one’s vocation. One’s dharma consists in following one’s true vocation. The question is not whether it is high or low, easy or difficult. The growth must be real and fulfilment genuine. ‘Swadharma’ is one’s own prescribed duty in life according to the eternal law.
From all this discussion, you would have understood that the purpose of the Gita is to remove the illusion that stands between us and our svadharma. Arjuna was perplexed about his dharma; a delusion had arisen in his mind over his svadharma. As soon as Sri Krishna points this out, Arjuna himself admits it. The Gita’s main task is to remove this illusion, this sense of ‘mine’, this attachment.
Vyasa, the author of the Mahabharata (the verses of the Gita form part of the Bhishma Parva of the Mahabharata), said right at the beginning, ‘In this epic, I am lighting a lamp to dispel the dark illusion that covers the heart of humanity’.
From other sources: The following simplified illustration may be helpful in understanding the concept of ‘Svadharma’. (This may not define the true definition of ‘svadharma’).
A lady can be a teacher to her pupils at the school; a mother to her children; a daughter to her father; a lover to her fiancée; a chairperson of the ladies club; a nurse to a patient; the president of her country. The duties of a person can change many times in a day, from moment to moment. Her duties are different in the role of a teacher, a mother, a nurse, a lover, or president of her nation.
After the death of King Pandu, his brother Dhritarashtra (who was blind), succeeded to the throne. Dhritarashtra educated the five sons of Pandu (the Pandavas), along with his own one hundred sons (Kauravas). As they grew to be men, the Pandavas distinguished themselves by their piety and heroic virtues. In consequence, Duryodhana, Dhritarashtra’s eldest son, became jealous and planned to murder them. The Pandavas survived various murder plots. But Duryodhana was persistent and was for carrying on the feud, but Dhritarashra wisely listened to the advice of his uncle Bhishma, which was to offer to the Pandavas half of his kingdom.
So the kingdom was divided. The Pandavas got the worst of the land, a wilderness along the Jamuna River. They cleared it, built a fine city, and crowned Yudhishthira, the eldest brother, as their king.
Now the five brothers lived in triumph and splendour, and Duryodhana hated them more than ever. His jealousy hatched a new plot for their ruin. The pious and noble Yudhishthira had a dangerous weakness for gambling. So Duryodhana challenged him to play dice with a clever sharper named Shakuni, knowing that the king would feel bound in honour to accept. They played. Shakuni cheated. Yudhishthira lost game after game, staking his wealth, his kingdom, and finally his brothers, wife Draupadi and himself. All were now the slaves of Duryodhana’s vengeance, subject to insult and cruelty, until Dhritarashtra intervened and insisted that they be set at liberty and their kingdom given back.
But Duryodhana worked upon his father until he obtained permission for another dice match. The loser was to forfeit his kingdom and retire to the forest for twelve years, then he must live for one year in the city without being recognized; if he was discovered, the term of exile would begin again. This game Yudhishthira also lost. So the Pandavas went into exile to the forest.
When the period of exile was over at last, Yudhishthira asked for the return of his kingdom, but Duryodhana refused. Yudhishthira said he would be content with just one village for himself and for each of his brothers. But Duryodhana, in the insanity of his greed, would not agree even to this. Duryodhana refused to give to the Pandavas even an inch of land, covered by a sword’s sharp point. The older members of the family tried to arbitrate, and failed. So war became inevitable. Neighbouring kings were drawn into the quarrel, until the whole of India was involved.
Both sides wanted help from Krishna. To both, Krishna offered the same choice. ‘Either you can have the help of my kinsmen and soldiers, the Vrishnis, in the battle, or you can have me alone. But I shall take no part in the fighting’. Duryodhana chose Krishna’s army. Arjuna preferred to take Krishna himself, as his personal charioteer.
The battle was fought on the plains of Kurukshetra, a sacred place of pilgrimage near Delhi. It was here, just before the armies engaged, (with Arjuna’s chariot standing between the two armies) that Krishna and Arjuna had the dialogue that is recorded in the Bhagavad Gita.
The battle lasted eighteen days, and ended with the death of Duryodhana and a complete victory of the Pandavas. Thereafter Yudhishthira became the undisputed ruler of India. He reigned for thirty-six years.
Bhagavad Gita literally means the Song of God. It is a dialogue between the Supreme Self and the embodied soul represented by Arjuna. In the Gita dialogue there are four speakers: King Dhritarashtra, Sanjaya, Arjuna and Krishna.
King Dhritarashra is blind. The sage Vyasa, who is traditionally supposed to be the author of the Mahabharata and the Gita (which forms part of the Mahabharata), offers to restore his sight, in order that he may watch the battle of Kurukshetra. But Dhritarashtra refuses. He cannot bear to see his kinsmen killed. So Vyasa confers psychic powers of clairvoyance and clair-audience upon Sanjaya, who is Dhritarashtra’s minister and charioteer. As they sit together in the palace, Sanjaya describes to his master everything he sees and hears on the distant battlefield. Sanjaya acts as the medium and through his mouth, the words of Krishna and Arjuna are reported. Occasionally, Sanjaya pauses
The Gita is not primarily concerned with Krishna as an individual, but with his aspect as Brahman, the ultimate Reality.
King Dhritarashtra speaks but once. In fact the whole narrative of the Gita is sanjay’s answer to his single opening question:
Dhritarashtra said: ‘Tell me, Sanjaya, what my sons and sons of Pandu did, when they gathered on the sacred field of Kurukshetra eager for battle?’
[Note: The reading of the Bhagavad Gita, verse by verse, may be commenced from here.]



Gita Chapter 2
SANKHYA YOGA
2.11 Thou hast grieved for those that should not be grieved for, yet thou speakest words of wisdom. The wise grieve neither for the living nor for the dead.
2.12 Nor at any time indeed was I not, nor these rulers of men, nor verily shall we ever cease to be hereafter.
2.13 Just as in this body the embodied (soul) passes into childhood, youth and old age, so also does he pass into another body; the firm man does not grieve at.
2.14 The contacts of the senses with the objects, O son of Kunti, which cause heat and cold, pleasure and pain, have a beginning and an end; they are impermanent; endure then bravely, O Arjuna.
2.15 That firm man whom, surely, these afflict not, O chief among men, to whom pleasure and pain are the same, is fit for attaining immortality.
2.16 The unreal hath no being; there is no non-being of the real; the truth about both has been seen by the knowers of the Truth (or the seers of the Essence).
2.17 Know That to be indestructible, by Whom all this is pervaded. None can cause the destruction of That, the Imperishable.
2.18 These bodies of the embodied Self, Who is eternal, indestructible and immeasurable, are said to have an end.
Therefore fight, O Arjuna.
2.19 He who takes the Self to be the slayer and he who thinks He is slain, neither of them knows. He slays not, nor is He slain.
2.20 He is not born, nor does He ever die; after having been, He again ceases not to be; unborn, eternal, changeless and
ancient, He is not killed when the body is killed.
2.21 Whosoever knows Him to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and inexhaustible, how can that man slay, O Arjuna, or cause to be slain?
2.22 Just as a man casts off worn out clothes and puts on new ones, so also the embodied Self casts off worn out bodies and enters others which are new.
2.23 Weapons cannot cut It, fire cannot burn It, water cannot make It wet, and air (or wind) cannot dry It.
[Note: The five elements cannot destroy the soul. Four of the elements are mentioned here. Weapons are from earth
element; the other three are fire, water and air. The fifth element is space.] 2.24 This Self cannot be cut, burnt, wetted, nor dried up. It is eternal, all pervading, stable, immovable and ancient.
2.25 This (Self) is said to be unmanifested, unthinkable and unchangeable. Therefore, knowing This to be such, thou shouldst not grieve.
2.26 But even if thou thinkest of It as being constantly born and constantly dying, even then, O mighty armed, thou shouldst not grieve.
2.27 For certain is death for the born, and certain is birth for the dead; therefore, over the inevitable thou shouldst not grieve.
2.28 Beings are unmanifested in their beginning, manifested in their middle state, O Arjuna, and unmanifested again in their end. What is there to grieve about?
2.29 One sees This (the Self) as a wonder; another speaks of It as a wonder; another hears of It as a wonder; yet having heard, none understands It at all.
2.30 This, the Indweller in the body of everyone is ever indestructible, O Arjuna; therefore, thou shouldst not grieve for any creature.
2.31 Further, having regard to thy duty, thou shouldst not waver, for there is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than a righteous war.
2.32 Happy are the Kshtriyas, O Arjuna! Who are called upon to fight in such a battle that comes of itself as an open door to heaven.
2.33 But if thou wilt not fight this righteous war, then having abandoned thine own duty and fame, thou shalt incur sin.
2.34 People, too, will recount thy everlasting dishonour; and to one who has been honoured, dishonour is worse than death.
2.35 The great car-warriors will think that thou hast withdrawn from the battle through fear; and thou wilt be lightly held by them who have thought much of thee.
2.36 Thy enemies also, cavilling at thy power, will speak many abusive words. What is more painful than this?
2.37 Slain, thou wilt obtain heaven; victorious, thou wilt enjoy the earth; therefore, stand up, O son of Kunti, resolved to fight.
2.38 Having made pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat the same, engage thou in battle for the sake of battle; thus thou shalt not incur sin.
2.39 This, that has been taught to thee, is wisdom concerning Sankhya. Now listen to wisdom concerning Yoga, endowed
with which, O Arjuna, thou shalt cast off the bonds of action.
2.40 In this there is no loss of effort, nor is there any harm (production of contrary results or transgression). Even a little of this
knowledge (even a little practice of this Yoga) protects one from great fear.
2.41 Here, O joy of the Kurus, there is but a single one-pointed determination; many branched and endless are the thoughts of the irresolute.
2.42 Flowery speech is uttered by the unwise, taking pleasure in the eulogising of the Vedas, O Arjuna, saying, "There is nothing else." 2.43 Full of desires, having heaven as their goal, they utter speech which promises birth as the reward of actions and prescribe
various specific actions for the attainment of pleasure and power.
2.44 For those who are attached to pleasure and power whose minds are drawn away by such teaching, that determinate reason is not formed which is steadily bent on meditation and samadhi (super-conscious state).
2.45 The Vedas deal with the three attributes (of Nature); be thou above these three attributes. O Arjuna, free yourself from the
pairs of opposites, and ever remain in the quality of Sattva (goodness), freed from (the thought of) acquisition and preservation, and be established in the Self.
2.46 To the Brahmana who has known the Self, all the Vedas are of as much use as is a reservoir of water in a place where there is a flood.
[Note: All the transient pleasures derivable from the proper performance of all actions enjoined in the Vedas are comprehended in the infinite bliss of Self-knowledge.]
2.47 Thy right is to work only, but never with its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive, nor let thy attachment be to inaction.
2.48 Perform action, O Arjuna, being steadfast in Yoga, abandoning attachment and balanced in success and failure. Evenness of mind is called Yoga.
2.49 Far lower than the Yoga of wisdom is action, O Arjuna. Seek thou refuge in wisdom; wretched are they whose motive is the fruit.
2.50 Endowed with wisdom (evenness of mind), one casts off in this life both good and evil deeds; therefore, devote thyself to Yoga; Yoga is skill in action.
2.51 The wise, possessed of knowledge, having abandoned the f ruits of their actions, and being freed from the fetters of birth, go to the place, which is beyond all evil.
2.52 When thy intellect crosses beyond the mire of delusion, then thou shalt attain to indifference as to what has been heard and what has yet to be heard.
2.53 When thy intellect, perplexed by what thou hast heard, shall stand immovable and steady in the Self, then thou shalt attain Self-realization.
Arjuna said:
2.54 What, O Krishna, is the description of him who has steady wisdom, and is merged in the super-conscious state? How does one of steady wisdom speak, how does he sit, how does he walk?
The Blessed Lord said:
2.55 When a man completely casts off, O Arjuna, all the desires of the mind and is satisfied in the Self by the Self, then is he said to be one of steady wisdom.
2.56 He whose mind is not shaken by adversity, who does not hanker after pleasures, and is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.
2.57 He who is everywhere without attachment, on meeting with anything good or bad, who neither rejoices nor hates, his wisdom is fixed. 2.58 When like the tortoise which withdraws on all sides its limbs, he withdraws his senses from the sense-objects, and then his wisdom becomes steady. 2.59 The objects of the senses turn away from the abstinent man eaving the longing (behind); but his longing also turns away on seeing the Supreme.
2.60 The turbulent senses, O Arjuna, do violently carry away the mind of a wise man though he is striving (to control them).
2.61 Having restrained them all he should sit steadfast, intent on me; his wisdom is steady whose senses are under control.
2.62 When a man thinks of the objects, attachment for them arises; from attachment desire is born; from desire anger arises.
2.63 From anger comes delusion; from delusion loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination; from
destruction of discrimination he perishes.
2.64 But the self-controlled man, moving among the objects with the senses under restraint and free from attraction and repulsion, attains to peace.
2.65 In that peace all pains are destroyed; for the intellect of the tranquil-minded soon becomes steady.
2.66 There is no knowledge of the Self to the unsteady and to the unsteady no meditation is possible, and to the un-meditative
there can be no peace, and to the man who has no peace,
how can there be happiness?
2.67 For the mind, which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination, as the wind (carries
away) a boat on the waters.
2.68 Therefore, O mighty armed Arjuna; his knowledge is steady whose senses are completely restrained from sense-objects.
2.69 That which is night to all beings, then the self-controlled man is awake; when all beings are awake that is night for the muni (sage) who sees.
2.70 He attains peace into whom all desires enter as waters enter the ocean which, filled from all sides, remains unmoved; but not the man who is full of desires.
2.71 The man attains peace who, abandoning all desires, moves about without longing, without the sense of mine and without
egoism.
2.72 This is the Brahmic seat (eternal state), O son of Pritha. Attaining to this, none is deluded. Being established therein,
even at the end of life, one attains to oneness with Brahman.



Gita Chapter 11
YOGA OF THE VISION OF THE COSMIC FORM
Arjuna said:
11.01 By this word (explanation) of the highest secret concerning the Self which Thou hast spoken, out of compassion towards me, my delusion is gone.
11.02 The origin and the destruction of beings verily have been heard by me in detail from thee, O lotus-eyed Lord, and also Thy inexhaustible greatness.
11.03 (Now) O Supreme Lord, as Thou hast thus described Thyself, O Supreme Person, I wish to see Thy divine form.
11.04 If thou, O Lord thinkest it possible for me to see it, do Thou, then, O Lord of the Yogis, show me Thy imperishable Self.
The Blessed Lord said:
11.05 Behold O Arjuna, forms of Mine, by the hundreds and thousands, of different sorts, divine and of various colours and shapes.
11.06 Behold the Adityas, the Vasus, the Rudras, the two Ashvins and also the Maruts; behold many wonders never seen before, O Arjuna.
11.07 Now behold, O Arjuna, in this, My body, the whole universe centred in one – including the moving and the unmoving –
and whatever thou desirest to see.
11.08 But thou art not able to behold Me with these thine own eyes; I give thee the divine eye; behold My lordly Yoga.
Sanjaya said: 11.09 Having thus spoken, O king, the great Lord of Yoga, Hari (Krishna), showed to Arjuna His supreme form as the Lord.
11.10 With numerous mouths and eyes, with numerous wonderful sights, with numerous divine ornaments, with numerous
divine weapons uplifted (such a form He showed).
11.11 Wearing divine garlands (necklaces) and apparel, anointed with divine unguents, the all wonderful, resplendent (Being)
endless with faces on all sides.
11.12 If the splendour of a thousand suns were to blaze out at once (simultaneously) in the sky that would be the splendour of that mighty Being (great soul).
11.13 There, in the body of the God of gods, Arjuna then saw the whole universe resting in one, with its many groups.
11.14 Then, Arjuna, filled with wonder and with his hair standing on end, bowed down his head to the God and spoke with joined palms.
Arjuna said:
11.15 I see all the gods, O God, in Thy body, and (also) hosts of various classes of beings, Brahma, the Lord, seated on the
lotus, all the sages and the celestial serpents.
11.16 I see Thee of boundless form on every side with many arms, stomachs, mouths and eyes; neither the end nor the middle nor also the beginning do I see, O Lord of the universe, O Cosmic Form.
11.17 I see with the diadem, the club and the discus, a mass of radiance shining everywhere, very hard to look at, blazing
all round like burning fire and the sun, and immeasurable.
11.18 Thou art the Imperishable, the Supreme Being, worthy to be known. Thou art the great treasure house of this universe; Thou art the
imperishable protector of the eternal dharma; Thou art the ancient Person, I deem.
11.19 I see Thee without beginning, middle or end, infinite in power, of endless arms, the sun and the moon being Thy eyes, the burning fire Thy mouth, heating the whole universe with Thy radiance.
11.20 This space between the earth and the heaven and all the quarters are filled by Thee alone; having seen this, Thy
wonderful and terrible form, the three worlds are trembling with fear, O great-souled Being.
11.21 Verily, into Thee enter these hosts of gods; some extol Thee in fear with joined palms ‘may it be well’ saying thus, bands of great sages and perfected ones praise Thee with complete hymns.
11.22 The Rudras, Adityas, Vasus, Sadhyas, Vishvadevas, the two Ashvins, Maruts, the manes and the hosts of celestial singers, Yakshas, demons and the perfected ones, are all looking at Thee, in great astonishment.
11.23 Having seen Thy immeasurable form with many mouths and eyes, O mighty armed, with many arms, thighs and feet, with many stomachs, and fearful with many teeth – the worlds are terrified and so am I. 11.24 On seeing Thee (the Cosmic Form) touching the sky, shining in many colours, with mouths wide open, with large fiery eyes,I am terrified at heart and find neither courage nor peace, O Vishnu.
11.25 Having seen Thy mouths fearful with teeth (blazing) like the fires of cosmic dissolution, I know not the four quarters, nor do I find peace. Have mercy, O Lord of the gods, O abode of the universe.
11.26 All the sons of Dhritarashtra with the hosts of kings of the earth, Bhishma, Drona and Karna, with the chief among our warriors.
11.27 They hurriedly enter into Thy mouths with terrible teeth and fearful to behold. Some are found sticking in the gaps
between the teeth with their heads crushed to powder.
11.28 Verily, just as many torrents of rivers flow towards the ocean, even so these heroes in the world of men enter Thy flaming mouths.
11.29 As moths hurriedly rush into a blazing fire for (their own) destruction, so also these creatures hurriedly rush into Thy mouths for (their own) destruction.
11.30 Thou lickest up devouring all the worlds on every side with Thy flaming mouths. Thy fierce rays, filling the whole world with br> radiance, are burning, O Vishnu!
11.31 Tell me, what Thou art, so fierce in form. Salutations to Thee, O God Supreme: have mercy. I desire to know Thee, the original Being. I know not indeed Thy doing.
The Blessed Lord said:
11.32 I am the mighty world-destroying Time, now engaged in destroying the worlds. Even without thee, none of the warriors arrayed in the hostile armies shall live.
11.33 Therefore, stand up and obtain fame. Conquer the enemies and enjoy the unrivalled kingdom. Verily by Me have they been already slain; be thou a mere instrument, O Arjuna.
11.34 Drona, Bhishma, Jayadratha, Karna and other brave warriors – these are already slain by Me; do thou kill; do not be
distressed with fear; fight and thou shalt conquer thy enemies in battle.
Sanjaya said:
11.35 Having heard that speech of Lord Krishna, the crowned one (Arjuna), with joined palms, trembling, prostrating himself, again addressed Krishna, in a choked voice, bowing down, overwhelmed with fear.
Arjuna said:
11.36 It is meet, O Krishna, that the world delights and rejoices in Thy praise; demons fly in fear to all quarters and the hosts of the perfected ones bow to Thee. 11.37 And why should they not, O great soul, bow to Thee who art greater (than all else), the primal cause even of the Creator
(Brahma), O Infinite Being, O Lord of the gods, O Abode of the universe; Thou art the imperishable, the Being, the
non-being and That which is the supreme (that which is beyond the Being and the non-being).
11.38 Thou art the primal God, the ancient Purusha, the supremerefuge of this universe, the knower, the knowable and the
supreme Abode. By Thee is the universe pervaded, O Being of infinite forms.
11.39 Thou art Vayu, Yama, Agni, Varuna, the moon, the Creator, and the great-grandfather. Salutations, salutations unto Thee, a thousand times, and again salutations, salutations unto Thee.
11.40 Salutations to Thee, from front and behind! Salutations to Thee on every side! O All! Thou infinite in power and prowess, pervadest all; wherefore Thou art all.
11.41 Whatever I have presumptuously said from carelessness or love, addressing Thee as O Krishna, O Yadava, O Friend, regarding Thee merely as a friend, unknowing of this, Thy greatness.
11.42 In whatever way I may have insulted Thee for the sake of fun while at play, reposing, sitting or at meals, when alone (with Thee), O Achyuta, or in company – that I implore Thee, immeasurable one, to forgive.
11.43 Thou art the Father of this world, moving and unmoving. Thou art to be adored by this world. Thou, the greatest Guru; (for) none there exists who is equal to Thee; how can there be then another superior to Thee in the three worlds, O Being of
unequalled power?
11.44 Therefore, bowing down, prostrating my body, I crave Thy forgiveness, O adorable Lord. As a father forgives his son, a friend his (dear) friend, a lover his beloved, even so shouldst Thou forgive me, O God.
11.45 I am delighted, having seen what has never been seen before; and yet my mind is distressed with fear. Show me that
(previous) form only, O God; have mercy, O God of gods, O Abode of the universe.
11.46 I desire to see Thee as before, crowned, bearing a mace, with the discus in hand, in Thy former form only, having four arms, O thousand-armed, Cosmic Form (Being).
The Blessed Lord said:
11.47 O Arjuna, this Cosmic Form has graciously been shown to thee by Me by My own Yogic power; full of splendour, primeval, and infinite, this Cosmic Form of Mine has never been seen before by anyone other than thyself.
11.48 Neither by the study of the Vedas and sacrifices nor by gifts nor by rituals nor by severe austerities can I be seen in this
form in the world of men by any other than thyself, O great hero of the Kurus (Arjuna).
11.49 Be not afraid, nor bewildered on seeing such a terrible form of Mine as this; with thy fear dispelled and with a gladdened heart, now behold again this former form of Mine.
Sanjaya said:
11.50 Having thus spoken to Arjuna, Krishna again showed His own form and the great Soul (Krishna), assuming His gentle form, consoled him (Arjuna) who was terrified.
Arjuna said:
11.51 Having seen this Thy gentle human form, O Krishna, now I am composed and am restored to my own nature.
The Blessed Lord said:
11.52 Very hard indeed it is to see this form of Mine, which thou hast seen. Even the gods are ever longing to behold it.
11.53 Neither by the Vedas nor by austerity, nor by gift, nor by sacrifice can I be seen in this form as thou hast seen Me (so easily).
11.54 But by single-minded devotion can I, of this form, be known and seen in reality and also entered into, O Arjuna.
11.55 He who does all actions for Me, who looks upon Me as the supreme, who is devoted to Me, who is free from attachment,
who bears enmity towards no creature, he comes to Me, O Arjuna.
[Note: This is the essence of the whole teaching of the Gita. He who practises this teaching will attain Supreme Bliss and Immortality. This verse contains the summary of the entire philosophy of the Gita.
He who performs actions (duties) for the sake of the Lord, consecrates all his actions to Him, who serves the Lord with his heart and soul, who regards the Lord as his supreme goal, who lives for Him alone, who works for Him alone, who sees the Lord in everything, who sees the whole world as the Cosmic Form of the Lord and therefore, cherishes no feeling of hatred or enmity towards any creature even when great injury has been done by others to him, who has no attachment or love to wealth, children, wife, friends and relatives, and who seeks nothing else but the Lord, realises Him and enters into His Being. He become one with Him.]

Hari Om Tat Sat



Gita Chapter 12
THE YOGA OF DEVOTION
Arjuna said:
12.01 Those devotees who, ever steadfast thus worship Thee and those also who worship the imperishable and the
unmanifested – which of them are better versed in Yoga?
12.02 Those who, fixing their mind on Me, worship Me, ever steadfast and endowed with supreme faith, these are the best in Yoga in My opinion.
12.03 Those who worship the imperishable, the indefinable, the unmanifest, the omnipresent, the unthinkable, the immovable
and the eternal.
12.04 Having restrained all the senses, even-minded everywhere, intent on the welfare of all beings – verily they also come unto Me.
12.05 Greater is their trouble whose minds are set on the unmanifested; for the goal, the unmanifested, is very
hard for the embodied to reach.
12.06 But those who worship Me, renouncing all actions in Me, regarding Me as the supreme goal, meditating on Me with single minded Yoga.
12.07 To those whose minds are set on Me, O Arjuna, verily I become ere long the saviour out of the ocean of samsara.
12.08 Fix thy mind on Me only, thy intellect in Me, (then) thou shalt no doubt live in Me alone hereafter.
12.09 If thou art unable to fix thy mind steadily on Me, then by the Yoga of constant practice do thou seek to reach Me, O Arjuna.
12.10 If thou art unable to practice even this Abhyasa Yoga, be thou intent on doing actions for My sake; even by doing actions for My sake, thou shalt attain perfection.
12.11 If thou art unable to do even this then, taking refuge in union with Me, renounce the fruits of all actions with the self controlled.
12.12 Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is better; than meditation the renunciation of the fruits of actions; peace immediately follows renunciation.
12.13 He who hates no creature, who is friendly and compassionate to all, who is free from attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving.
12.14 Ever content, steady in meditation, self-controlled, possessed of firm conviction, with the mind and intellect dedicated to Me, he, My devotee, is dear to Me.
12.15 He by whom the world is not agitated and who cannot be agitated by the world, and who is freed from joy, envy, fear and anxiety – he is dear to Me.
12.16 He who is free from wants, pure, expert, unconcerned, and untroubled, renouncing all undertakings or commencements – he who is (thus) devoted to Me, is dear to Me.
12.17 He who neither rejoices, nor hates, nor grieves, nor desires, renouncing good and evil, and who is full of devotion, is dear to Me.
12.18 He who is the same to foe and friend, and also in honour and dishonour, who is the same in cold and heat and in pleasure and pain, who is free from attachment.
12.19 He to whom censure and praise are equal, who is silent, content with anything, homeless, of a steady mind, and full of devotion- that man is dear to Me.
12.20 They verily who follow this immortal dharma (law or doctrine) as described above, endowed with faith, regarding Me as their supreme goal, the devotees, are exceedingly dear to Me.
Hari Om Tat Sat


Gita Chapter 16
THE DIVINE AND THE DEMONIACAL
The Blessed Lord said:
16.01 Fearlessness, purity of heart, steadfastness in knowledgeand Yoga, almsgiving, control of the senses, sacrifice, study of scriptures, austerity and straightforwardness,
16.02 Harmlessness, truth, absence of anger, renunciation, eacefulness, absence of crookedness, compassion towards beings, uncovetousness, gentleness, modesty, absence offickleness’
16.03 Vigour, forgiveness, fortitude, purity, absence of hatred, absence of pride – these belong to the one born in a divine state, O Arjuna.
16.04 Hypocrisy, arrogance and self-conceit, anger and also harshness and ignorance, belong to the one who is born in a demoniacal state, O Arjuna.
16.05 The divine nature is deemed for liberation, and the demoniacal for bondage. Grieve not, o Arjuna, thou art born with divine properties.
16.06 There are two types of beings in this world, the divine and the demoniacal; the divine has been described at length; hear from Me, O Arjuna, of the demoniacal.
16.07 The demoniacal know not what to do and what to refrain from; neither purity, nor right conduct nor truth is found in them.
16.08 They say: ‘This universe is without truth, without (moral) basis, without a God, brought about by mutual union, with lust for its cause; what else?’
16.09 Holding this view, these ruined souls of small intellect and fierce deeds, come forth as the enemies of the world for its destruction.
16.10 Filled with insatiable desires, full of hypocrisy, pride and arrogance, holding evil ideas through delusion, they work with impure resolves.
16.11 Giving themselves over to immeasurable cares ending only with death, regarding gratification of lust as their highest aim, and feeling sure that that is all,
16.12 Bound by a hundred ties of hope, given over to lust and anger, strive to obtain by unlawful means hoards of wealth for sensual enjoyments.
16.13 ‘This has been gained by me today; this desire I shall obtain; this is mine and this wealth also shall be mine in future’.
16.14 ‘That enemy has been slain by me; and others also I shall slay. I am the lord. I enjoy. I am perfect, powerful and happy’.
16.15 ‘I am rich and born in a noble family. Who else is equal to me? I will sacrifice. I will give (charity). I will rejoice’, - thus deluded by ignorance,
16.16 Bewildered by many a fancy, entangled in the snare of delusion, addicted to the gratification of lust, they fall into a foul hell.
16.17 Self-conceited, stubborn, filled with the pride and intoxication of wealth, they perform sacrifices in name out of ostentation, contrary to scriptural ordinances.
16.18 Given over to egoism, power, haughtiness, lust and anger, these malicious people hate Me in their own bodies and those of others.
16.19 These cruel haters, worst among men in the world, I hurl these evil-doers into the womb of demons only.
16.20 Entering into demoniacal wombs and deluded, birth after birth,not attaining Me, they thus fall, O Arjuna, into a condition still lower than that.
16.21 Triple is the gate of this hell, destructive of the self- lust, anger and greed; therefore one should abandon these three.
16.22 A man who is liberated from these three gates of darkness, O Arjuna, practises what is good for him and thus goes to the Supreme Goal.
16.23 He who, having cast aside the ordinances of the scriptures, acts under the impulse of desire, attains not perfection, nor happiness nor the Supreme Goal.
16.24 Therefore, let the scripture be the authority in determining what ought to be done and what ought not be done. Having known what is said in the ordinance of the scriptures, thou shouldst act here in this world.
Hari Om Tat Sat


Gita Chapter 18
THE YOGA OF LIBERATION BY RENUNCIATION
Arjuna said:
18.01 I desire to know severally, O mighty armed, the essence or truth of renunciation, O Hrshikesha (Krishna), as also of abandonment, O slayer of Keshi.
The Blessed Lord said:
18.02 The sages understand sanyasa to be the renunciation of action with desire; the wise declare the abandonment of the fruits of all actions as tyaga.
18.03 Some philosophers declare that action should be abandoned as an evil; while others (declare) that acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity should not be relinquished.
18.04 Hear from Me the conclusion or the final truth about this abandonment, O best of the Bharatas; abandonment, verily, O best of men, has been declared to be of three kinds.
18.05 Acts of sacrifice, gift and austerity purify the hearts of those who have no desire for rewards. These actions are considered obligatory and ought to be performed. Actions that are skilfully performed lose their power to bind the soul and free it from earthly bondage.
Now, O Arjuna, I will explain to thee that skilful way by which actions can destroy their own effect.
18.06 But even these actions should be performed leaving aside attachment and the desire for rewards. O Arjuna; this is My certain and best conviction.
18.07 Verily the renunciation of obligatory action is not proper; the abandonment of the same from delusion is declared to be Tamasic.
18.08 He who abandons action on account of the fear of bodily trouble (because it is painful), he does not obtain the merit of renunciation by doing such Rajasic renunciation.
18.09Whatever obligatory action is done, O Arjuna, merely because it ought to be done, abandoning attachment and also the desire for reward, that renunciation is regarded as Satvic (pure).
18.10 The man of renunciation, pervaded by purity, intelligent and with his doubts cut asunder, does not hate a disagreeable work nor is he attached to an agreeable one.
18.11 Verily, it is not possible for an embodied being to abandon actions entirely; but he who relinquishes the rewards of actions is verily called a man of renunciation.
18.12 The threefold fruit of action (evil, good and mixed) accrues after death to the non-abandoners, but never to the brabandoners.
18.13 Learn from Me, O mighty armed Arjuna, these five causes as declared in the Sankhya system for the accomplishment of all actions.
18.14 The seat (body), the doer, the various senses, the different functions of various sorts, and the presiding deity (divinity), also, the fifth,
18.15 Whatever action a man performs by his body, speech and mind – whether right or the reverse- these five are its causes.
18.16 Now, such being the case, verily he who – owing to untrained understanding-looks upon his Self, which is isolated, as the agent, he of perverted intelligence, sees not.
18.17 He who is free from the egoistic notion, whose intelligence isnot tainted (by good or evil), though he slays these people, he slayeth not nor is he bound (by the action).
18.18 Knowledge, the knowable and the knower form the threefold impulse to action; the organ, the action and the agent form the threefold basis of action.
18.19 Knowledge, action and actor are declared in the science of the gunas (Sankhya philosophy) to be of three kinds only, according to the distinction of the gunas. Hear them also duly.
18.20 That by which one sees the one indestructible Reality in all beings, not separate in all the separate beings – know thou that knowledge to be Satvic.
18.21 But that knowledge which sees in all beings various entities of distinct kinds as different from one another- know thou that knowledge to be Rajasic.
18.22 But that which clings to one single effect as if it were the whole, without reason, without foundation in Truth, and trivial – that is declared to be Tamasic.
18.23 An action which is ordained, which is free from attachment, and which is done without love or hatred by one who is not desirous of any reward – that action is declared to be Satvic.
18.24 But the action which is done by one longing for the fulfillment of desires or gain with egoism or with much effort- that is declared to be Rajasic (passionate).
18.25That action which is undertaken from delusion, without a regard for the consequences, loss, injury and (one’s own) ability- that is declared to be Tamasic (dark).
18.26An agent who is free from attachment, non-egoistic, endowedwith firmness and enthusiasm and unaffected by success or failure, is called Satvic (pure).
18.27Passionate, desiring to obtain the reward of actions, greedy, cruel, impure, moved by joy and sorrow, such an agent is said to be Rajasic (passionate).
18.28 Unsteady, vulgar, unbending, cheating, malicious, lazy, desponding and procrastinating- such an agent is called Tamasic.
18.29 Hear thou the threefold division of intellect and firmness according to the gunas, as I declare them fully and distinctly, O Arjuna.
18.30 That which knows the path of work and renunciation, what ought to be done and what ought not to be done, fear and fearlessness, bondage and liberation – that intellect is Satvic (pure), O Arjuna.
18.31 That by which one wrongly understands dharma and adharma and also what ought to be done and what ought not to be done- that intellect, O Arjuna, is Rajasic (passionate).
18.32 That which, enveloped in darkness, sees adharma as dharma,and all things perverted – that intellect, O Arjuna, is Tamasic (dark).
18.33 The unwavering firmness by which, through Yoga, the functions of the mind, the life force and the senses are restrained- that firmness, O Arjuna, is Satvic (pure).
18.34 But the firmness, O Arjuna, by which, on account of attachment and desire for reward, one holds fast to dharma (duty), enjoyment of pleasures and earning of wealth- that firmness, O Arjuna, is Rajasic (passionate).
18.35 That by which a stupid man does not abandon sleep, fear, grief, despair and also conceit – that firmness O Arjuna, is Tamasic.
18.36 And now hear from Me, O Arjuna, of the threefold pleasure, in which one rejoices by practice and surely comes to the end of pain.
18.37 That which is like poison at first but in the end like nectar – that pleasure is declared to be Satvic, born of the purity of one’s own mind due to Self-realisation.
18.38 That pleasure which arises from the contact of the sense organs with the objects, which is at first like nectar, and in the end like poison- that is declared to be Rajasic.
18.39 That pleasure which at first and in the sequel is delusive of theself, arising from sleep, indolence and heedlessness-that pleasure is declared to be Tamasic.
18.40 There is no being on earth or again in heaven among the gods, that is liberated from the three qualities born of nature.
18.41 Of brahmanas (brahmins), kshatriyas and vaisyas, as also of sudras, O Arjuna, the duties are distributed according to the qualities born of their own nature.
18.42 Serenity, self-restraint, austerity, purity, forgiveness and also uprightness, knowledge, realisation and belief in God are the duties of the brahmanas (Brahmins), born of (their own) nature.
18.43 Prowess, splendour, firmness, dexterity and also not fleeing br> from battle, generosity and lordliness are the duties of the kshatriyas, born of (their own) nature.
18.44 Agriculture, cattle rearing and trade are the duties of the vaisya (merchant), born of (their own) nature; and action consisting of service is the duty of the sudra (servant-class), born of (their own) nature.
18.45 Each man devoted to his own duty attains perfection. How he attains perfection while being engaged in his own duty, hear now.
18.46 He from whom all the beings have evolved and by whom all this is pervaded – worshipping Him with his own duty, man attains perfection.
18.47 Better is one’s own duty (though) destitute of merits, than the duty of another well performed. He who does the duty ordained by his own nature incurs no sin.
18.48 One should not abandon, O Arjuna, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke.
18.49 He whose intellect is unattached everywhere, who has subdued his self, from whom desire has fled,-he by renunciation, attains the supreme state of freedom from action.
18.50 Learn from Me in brief, O Arjuna, how he who has attained perfection reaches Brahman (the Eternal), that supreme state of knowledge.
18.51Endowed with a pure intellect, controlling the self by firmness, relinquishing sound and other objects and abandoning attraction and hatred.
18.52 Dwelling in solitude, eating but little, with speech, body and mind subdued, always engaged in meditation and concentration, taking refuge in dispassion.
18.53 Having abandoned egoism, strength, arrogance, desire, anger, and covetousness, and free from the notion of mine’ and peaceful, - he is fit for becoming Brahman.
18.54 Becoming Brahman, serene in the Self, he neither grieves nor desires; the same to all beings, he obtains supreme devotion unto Me.
18.55 By devotion he knows Me in truth, what and who I am; then having known Me in truth, he forthwith enters into the Supreme.
18.56 Doing all actions always, taking refuge in Me, by My grace he obtains the eternal indestructible state or abode.
18.57 Mentally renouncing all actions in Me, having Me as the highest goal, resorting to the Yoga of discrimination do thou ever fix thy mind on Me.
18.58 Fixing thy mind on Me, thou shalt by My grace, overcome all obstacles; but if from egoism thou wilt not hear Me, thou shaltperish. 18.59 If, filled with egoism, thou thinkest; ‘I will not fight’, vain is this, thy resolve; Nature will compel thee.
18.60 O Arjuna, bound by thy own karma (action) born of thy own nature, that which from delusion thou wishest not to do, even that thou shalt do helplessly.
18.61The Lord dwells in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, causingall beings, by His illusive power, to revolve as if mounted on a machine.
[Note: The Lord abides in the hearts of all beings. It is He Who has given a gift of this marvellous machine to you. It is by His power that all bodies move. The Lord is the real actor within.]
18.62Take refuge in Him with all thy heart, O Arjuna; by His grace thou shalt obtain supreme peace (and) the eternal abode.
18.63 Thus has wisdom, more secret than secrecy itself, been declared unto thee by Me; having reflected over it fully, then act thou as thou wishest.
18.64Hear thou again My supreme word, most secret of all; because thou art dearly beloved of Me, I will tell thee what is good.
18.65 Fix thy mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. Thou shalt come even to Me; truly do I promise unto thee, (for) thou art dear to Me.
18.66Abandoning all duties (relinquishing all dharmas) take refuge in Me alone; I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not.
18.67 This is never to be spoken by thee to one who is devoid of austerities or devotion, nor to one who does not render
service or who does not desire to listen, nor to one who cavils at Me.
18.68 He who with supreme devotion to Me will teach this supreme secret to My devotees shall doubtless come to Me.
18.69 Nor is there any among men who does dearer service to Me, nor shall there be another on earth dearer to Me than he.
18.70 And he who will study this sacred dialogue of ours, by him I shall have been worshipped by the sacrifice of wisdom (by the Yajna of knowledge); such is my conviction.
18.71 The man who hears this, full of faith and free from malice, he, too, liberated, shall attain to the happy worlds of those of righteous deeds.
18.72Has this been heard, O Arjuna, with one pointed mind? Has the delusion of thy ignorance been destroyed, O Dhananjaya (Arjuna)?
Arjuna said:
18.73 Destroyed is my delusion as I have gained my memory (knowledge) through Thy grace, O Krishna. I am firm, my doubts are gone. I will act according to Thy word. Sanjaya said:
18.74 Thus I have heard this wonderful dialogue between Krishna and the high-souled Arjuna, which causes the hair to stand on end.
18.75Through the grace of Vyasa I have heard this supreme and most secret Yoga direct from Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, Himself declaring it.
18.76 O king, remembering this wonderful and holy dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna I rejoice again and again.
18.77 And, remembering again and again, also that most wonderful form of Hari, great is my wonder, O King; and I rejoice again and again.
18.78 Wherever there is Krishna, the Lord of Yoga, wherever there is Arjuna, the archer, there are prosperity, victory, happiness and firm policy; such is my conviction.
Hari Om Tat Sat Om Shantih! Shantih! Shantih!



VICES - MOST POWERFUL FOES
(Be careful of them)
Bhishma said to Yudhishthira: These vices are regarded as very powerful foes of all creatures. These approach and tempt men from every side.They goad and afflict a heedless man or one that is insensate. Indeed, as soon as they (these vices) see a person, they assail him powerfully like wolves jumping upon their prey. From these proceed all kinds of grief. From these proceed all kinds of sin.Every mortal should always know this. I shall now speak to thee of their origin, of the objects upon which they rest, and of the means of their destruction. Listen first, O king, with undivided attention, to the origin of wrath truly and in detail.
Springs from covetousness. It is strengthened by the faults of others. Through forgiveness it remains dormant, and through forgiveness it disappears.
As regards lust,it springs from resolution. Indulgence strengthens it. When the man of wisdom resolutely turns away from it, it disappears and dies.
Envy of others proceeds from between wrath and covetousness. It disappears in consequence of compassion and knowledge of self. In consequence of compassion for all creatures, and of that disregard for all worldly objects (that knowledge brings in its train), it disappears. It also arises from seeing the faults of other people. But in men of intelligence it quickly disappears in consequence of true knowledge.
Loss of judgment has its origin in ignorance and proceeds from sinfulness of habit. When the man whom this fault assails begins to take delight in (the company and counsels of) wise men, the vice at once and immediately hides its head. Men see conflicting scriptures. From that circumstance springs the desire for diverse kinds of action. When true knowledge has been gained, that desire has been allayed. The grief of an embodied creature proceeds from affection which is awakened by separation. When, however, one learns that the dead do not return (whatever the grief one may feel for them), it subsides.
It proceeds from wrath and covetousness. Through compassion for every creature and in consequence of a disregard for all earthly objects, it is extinguished.
It proceeds from the abandonment of truth and indulgence of weakness. This vice disappears in consequence of one's waiting upon the wise and good.
Pride in men, springs from birth, learning and prosperity. When those three, however, are truly known, that vice instantly disappears.
Jealousy springs from lust and delight in low and vulgar people. In consequence of wisdom, it is destroyed. From error (of conduct) inconsistent with the ordinary course of men, and through disagreeable speeches expressive of aversion SLANDER takes its rise. It disappears upon a survey of the whole world.
When the person that injures is powerful and the injured one is unable to avenge the injury, hate shows itself. It subsides through kindliness.
Unkindness proceeds from a sight of the helpless and miserable persons with whom the world abounds. That sentiment disappears when one understands the strength of virtue.
Covetousness in all creatures spring from ignorance. Beholding the instability of all objects of enjoyment, it suffers destruction. It has been said that tranquillity of soul can alone subdue all these faults.
From the Mahabharata, Santi Parva. Narada said: Use a weapon that is not made of steel, that is very mild, and yet capable of piercing all hearts. Sharpening and resharpening that weapon correct the tongues of your kinsmen. The giving of food to the best of your power, forgiveness, sincerity, mildness, and honour to whom honour is due, these constitute a weapon that is not made of steel. With soft words alone turn away the anger of kinsmen about to utter cruel speeches, and mollify their hearts and minds and slanderous tongues. Nothing but intelligence and forgiveness, restraint of the senses, and liberality are present in a person of wisdom.



SANKHYA PHILOSOPHY OF KAPILA (Sankhya – The Amazing Science of Soul)
The philosophy of Raja Yoga is based upon the Sankhya system of philosophy of Kapila. The Sankhya system is so called because it describes twenty-five categories or principles of the whole universe. The word ‘Sankhya' comes from the Sanskrit word, which means ‘number’, and sometimes it is called ‘the philosophy of numbers’. But there is a meaning to this word, and it means right discrimination between the true nature of things and the apparent nature as well as discrimination between the natural and the spiritual, and hence it is called the Sankhya System i.e. the system that describes the proper discrimination and right knowledge of things. It gives the names of twenty-five principles of the universe, and describes the methods, by which we can know and analyze these principles and their nature. This system of philosophy was discussed in ancient times in India, and it was systematically thought out by Kapila.
Kapila is known as the father of the doctrine of evolution because he is the first who gave the logical arguments for the support of the doctrine. It is believed that Kapila lived long before the Greek philosophers Plato and Pythagoras were born. Some of the Oriental scholars are of opinion that the Greek philosophy drew a great deal from the philosophy of Kapila, and Kapila’s psychology as well as the principle of cosmology are most ancient ones in the world. Though the idea of evolution existed long before Kapila and also before Plato and Pythagoras, yet Kapila was the first who taught by observation and experiment how to solve the mysteries of this universe. He scientifically studied the process of evolution of things, and tried to trace the real cause of the phenomenal universe. It was well known in India that these material objects were made up of atoms and molecules, is known as the system of Sankhya or number. Kapila was a great supporter of the atomic theory, but he was not satisfied with the dead and unconscious atoms, though he described the atoms to be the cause of the phenomenal universe. He said that mere dead matters (atoms) cannot be the cause of everything in the universe, and so he studied in his own way of tracing the cause of atoms, and he thought that atoms were not the primary cause of the universe, but there must be some cause behind the atoms, out of which the atoms are produced. So he studied the process of evolution in a scientific way, and discovered the real cause of the phenomenal universe, some of the laws, which harmonize, with those of the modern science. By scientific investigation Kapila came to the conclusion that something can never come out of nothing. And so, though he discovered that Prakriti is the cause of evolution, yet he found that Purusha, the shining intelligence is really the cause behind the dead and inert Prakriti, and finally concluded that the unintelligent Prakriti, coming in contact with the intelligent Purusha, becomes the cause of evolution of the phenomenal universe.
(In Herbert Spencer’s philosophy, you will also discover this fundamental principle of evolution).
In fact, Kapila discovered that when the unintelligent inert (jada) i.e. unconscious Prakriti comes in contact with the intelligent conscious Purusha, evolution of the phenomenal universe begins. He said that Prakriti and Purusha are conjoined together like lame and blind (pangu-andhavat) men, and when the insentient Prakriti comes in contact with the sentient Purusha, the universe evolves. The insentient Prakriti itself is inactive, and so action or vibration of evolution begins in Prakriti, when it is associated with the intelligent Purusha. It is true that in the Rig-Veda and Upanishad (Taittiriya Upanishad), the gradual process of evolution of the phenomenal universe has been described, but Kapila’s method of investigation into the theory of evolution is more systematic and scientific.
Now the word ‘Prakriti’ is sometimes translated in English as Nature. But we use the word Nature in a variety of senses. Modern scientists may call it the eternal energy, which is beginningless, endless and eternal. The modern scientists have come to the conclusion that everything of the universe has come out from a primordial substance, and the forces are correlated to one another. By ‘energy’ they mean ‘the potential state of all things’ and potential means latent. A tree is potential or latent in a seed form. When we are handling a seed, we are handling the potential tree. The tree exists in the seed in a causal form, and all the peculiarities which will come out and make up any particular tree, are there already in the seed. If we call the seed cause, the cause will mean the unmanifested form of the tree, and when the seed is manifested in the form of a tree, we call it the effect. Therefore nothing comes from the outside. Environments may bring out a certain thing, but the tree is already there in the seed, otherwise any seed may produce all kinds of tree, and therefore, there would not be anything to control the nature and kind of the tree. As for example, an elm would produce a fig, or a fig seed would produce a mango, and there would be a great want of regularity.
It has been said before that according to Kapila, an effect lies in the cause, and so there ought to be no difficulty in understanding the nature of the manifold universe. We see today with our senses the outcome or effect of an unmanifested cause, known as Prakriti or eternal energy. The eternal energy would be the sum-total of all the conditions, and everything that exists in the universe exists, in latent state. So if we try to trace the cause of the universe, we will have to conceive of that substance which includes everything, for nothing will come from outside of that substance. Everything of the universe comes out from Prakriti in the form of a gradual process, and it has already been said that Prakriti is eternal, beginningless, and endless. But it has no self-consciousness. It becomes one of the conditions of self-consciousness, when it comes in contact with the sentient and intelligent Purusha. If we can imagine that this whole universe is an ocean of ether and the vibration of ether produces waves, which are called the objects of senses, then we will find that everything which our senses perceive as odours, sounds, etc. all are the expressions of the waves of the ethereal motion or vibration. Again if we can imagine that the ethereal motion existed at a certain time in a motionless state, where there was no vibration, then all the phenomenal appearances will vanish in a moment and the whole universe would go back to its primordial state, and that would be called an ‘involution’. Involution is quite opposite to evolution. But it should be remembered that evolution (sristi) and involution (nasha or pralaya) are no other than the manifested (vyakta) and unmanifested (avyakta) forms of the same Prakriti.
Kapila said that the process of evolution and involution exists throughout eternity, and there is no beginning and no end of that state or condition. All thoughts come out of that state. The moment you ask the question: "Where is the beginning?" you are in state of vibration, and your thought is included in that state. That is, it includes mind and ego and all other objects of sense powers, and everything which we can think of. All things are included in that one substance of Purusha-Prakriti combined. All these different forces are latent, and when they are called into action, there is manifestation. When the Prakriti is disturbed, then it begins to be set into motion, and produces a state, which possesses all the potentialities of self-consciousness. That is, it (Prakriti) is illumined by a spiritual light, and when it is illumined by a spiritual light of the Purusha, it becomes conscious, and that state is described as Mahat, the first state before the evolution of the phenomenal object. To make it more explicit, it can be said that the moment the Prakriti is illumined by the spiritual light of the Purusha, it is possessed of self-consciousness, and then begins the evolution. Kapila said that Prakriti is the combination of the three qualities, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, and when these qualities remain in a balancing state, the Prakriti remains in its own form, and there begins no evolution or creation; but as soon as that balance is disturbed (gunakshobha), evolution begins and the subtle and material things begin to manifest.
It has been said before that Prakriti creates everything of the universe through the process of evolution, when it comes in contact with the Purusha, but the moment that illuminated intelligent Purusha becomes conscious of itself, the subjectivity begins. That is, there must be a subject and an object. The moment the Purusha begins to be conscious of it, there comes the division between the subject and the object. But that subject and object are the combination of the spiritual life. If you study your own nature, you will find that there is something which is constantly changing, and something that does not change. In fact, our consciousness has been manifested as or related to the subject and the object which are changing, but the light of consciousness or the consciousness that underlies them and forms the background of them, is constant and not changing. That is, the primordial substance that forms the background of the universe, is not subject to change. But the relational knowledge or phenomenal consciousness is always changing. Now, when we say "I", we mean not only that light of shining self-consciousness, but also the mind and the thinking principle. So we think generally of the mind of the sense powers, and of the physical forms which are known as the son or daughter of Mr. or Mrs. or so and so. Now, when you think of the body, you become one or identified with the body. If there be any heat or cold, you identify yourself with those feelings of heat and cold. You also always identify yourselves with hunger or thirst, pain or pleasure, etc., and you feel them, and take upon yourself all those changes, and, consequently, you cannot separate those changes from yourself.
So there are two things, the one is unchangeable Self, and the other is subject to changes. Kapila analyzed it scientifically, and discovered the secret that there is an unchangeable something behind the changing things, and it is the source of all changes, and that unchangeable something is the Purusha. He said that when the Purusha contacts the Prakriti, the pure consciousness of the Purusha is transformed into Buddhitattva or the state of mind. Here you will find a little difference between the system of Kapila and that of the modern scientists, because the scientists of modern times do not differentiate between the unchangeable one and the changeable something. The atoms are on the subject side, and on the other side would be the mind as well as the power of hearing, seeing, smelling, etc. Kapila also analyzed the method of perception (pratyaksha-jnana). As for example, he said that we see some colours and the things and there must also be something, which produces the sight.
We are possessed of five senses, and we cannot perceive more objects than our five senses allow. We feel, see, hear, smell and touch. As there are five senses for perception, so whatever we would perceive with any of these senses, would be the combination of these five. We can see hundreds of colours, but the sense of colour is in itself. It is called in Sanskrit the Tanmatra. It is not differentiated and is not seen with our eyes. We also find that there may be great varieties of sound, but the essence of sound is one. We may have a high or low pitch of the sound of a flute or a piano or any other instrument, but all these do not exist in the essence of sound, and that must be considered by itself. The sense of sight and the sense of colour and that which produces colour have also produced the power of seeing the colour, and it is some relation to the organ of the sight. In this way, we see the relation between the external objects and the subjective state and also the condition of the object through which sense objects are perceived or sensed. The power of seeing, the object of sight and the organ of vision, are only the different states of that something which possesses the sense of colour, or sight, or potentiality of perception, and the potentiality of perception exists in that primordial substance, known as the Prakriti. So the whole universe can be summed up in this way, and the manifestation of substance and the study of the universe become very simple.
There are twenty-four states of evolution. It has been said that there is a primordial state of evolution i.e. the state where the primordial substance is illumined by the spiritual light. Then comes the bifurcation of the subject and the object; then comes the essence of things; then come the mind, the sense organs, and the organs of action, such as moving power and power of speech, and last of all come the gross forms of different things. But these twenty-four states or principles (tattvas) are changeable, and that which knows these twenty-four states or principles, is unchangeable, and that is called the Purusha, or the real Self. That is the source of consciousness as well as the source of all intelligence. We cannot think of its beginning, or its end. It is not affected by any of the changes or conditions of the different stages of evolution, but it is above all these changes, and so it cannot die, and cannot be born, but it is free and above all relativity. It may be called immortal, and it gives the life to that which evolutes. It is the source of activity, but it is not our soul. Our body may move, but how can we say that our soul is moving? If we go from here to any other city, do we think that our soul is moving with us? If that spirit moves with us, where is the seat of that spirit? Is it confined like an atom in our body, or is it out of all the conditions of space and time?
These questions do not bother many minds, but these are the problems of the philosophers. The philosophers try to trace relation between the soul and the external object and its condition. But the Sankhya system says that the Purusha has no relation to space. It is absolute, and yet it is many. Because each individual has a true spirit, which is beyond space, time, and changes of body and mind. It is beyond thought and word. In truth, the word Purusha cannot be translated into English with its equivalent term. The word ‘soul’ does not convey the proper meaning of the Purusha. There is no other way of expressing the idea. The ego is subject to evolution, but that which is the Soul of souls, is the Purusha, who is not subject to evolution or it can be said that evolution cannot touch the Purusha. These two eternal things are admitted by the Sankhyas. These two are separate, and that which is subject to evolution, produces all these changes and varieties of phenomena so long the Purusha or knower does not realize the nature of the Prakriti.
How long does this world exist in relation to you? This question disturbed the minds of the Hindu philosophers in ancient times. The answer was that as long as we are thinking of the world, so long this question exists. This answer may appear mysterious to us. But if we think of the answer for some time, we will see that it is true. As long as we are looking at the world, it exists for us. But if we go beyond thought, then the world will not exist in relation to us.
There is a beautiful illustration given in the Sankhya philosophy. The eternal Energy (Prakriti) is compared to a dancing girl in a theatre, and the observer is the Purusha. The girl dances as long as the observer is there, but the moment the observer ceases to look at her and understands the dance perfectly, it fails to amuse him. Similarly at the opera, if there were no observer, of what use would it be? As long as the audience is there, there will be dancing and performances. There would not be any manifestation, if the people did not go to see it. Such is the case with the evolution or manifestation of the universe. This evolution is for the pleasure of the Prakriti and also for letting the Prakriti know what powers she possesses.
In studying this universe, we are astonished to see how many things are there. If everything exists in a primordial state, we would not know that there could be such variety of colours, or so many beautiful flowers, and at the same time, we know nothing of ourselves, and we do not know how we have got this body. We do not think of it; we do not know what this thought is, or where it came from. We are working constantly to get something, but we do not know what that thing is. This is the result of the charm and fascination of the powers of the Prakriti. Prakriti is fascinated and charmed, when it is reflected by the Purusha.
As long as that state continues, so long the world exists, and we will be bound to see and talk about these things. But the moment we go beyond thought, all pain vanishes, and all suffering ceases, and we enjoy a state which cannot be described by anything of the world, because anything of the world cannot reach it, and we are in a state of perfect peace and rest. By knowing ourselves, we will know the nature of that which deluded ourselves for a long time. That which made us unhappy, does not belong to us, and we say: "Now we are above feeling, and anything cannot delude us". In fact, all feelings exist in relation to us, but when we feel that we are above feeling and emotion, nothing can affect us.
The power of seeing may exist in relation to me, but I am not the power of seeing. I never had any eyesight, and never have had, but, for the time being, I have come in contact with the instrument, which is the power of eyesight. If it changes, I call myself blind, because something has happened in the instrument, and I think that, I am blind. If the body grows, I say that I am stout, and if I do not grow stout, I say that I am thin, but the knower is beyond all space relations. Such is the difference, when we have the perception of our true nature. We have hypnotized ourselves, taking upon our shoulders all the changes and thinking that they are our properties. All sufferings proceed from this lack of discrimination and right knowledge. To know ourselves and our true nature as well as the true nature of that which is changing, is the right knowledge, and this right knowledge destroys all suffering, misery, and sorrow.
The Sankhya philosophy tries to show to the world that everything exists in the world, produces some kind of suffering and sorrow. We cannot have absolute happiness in this world of change. This is only the transitory relation to certain things which produces a favourable condition in our mind. The same thing will produce a different feeling in some other person. The heat, which is very desirable in winter, is unbearable in summer. We cannot expect a constant pleasure in an external gross object, and if we expect that, we will delude ourselves. We may go on and on, and that expectation will not be realized. The philosopher knows this, so he stops all such foolish expectations. He goes to the extreme, and expects that which he is sure to get. The philosopher goes below the surface of things, and sees the true nature of things, and does not delude himself. But an ordinary man will have to go through all these experiences and different states of evolution. By gaining all these experiences, we know that this is a changeable condition.
The ultimate object of this process of evolution is to make the Purusha realize his true nature and glory, and this Purusha is the real spirit and the true nature of every individual. We should know that all these do not exist in Purusha, but exists in Prakriti, and when that is done, the Purusha or the Soul begins to manifest its true nature and glory, and that is emancipation where all senses cease and all sense objects are transformed.
The Sankhya system does not believe in any God, the Creator. In the Sankhya, it is not necessary to think of a creator, as everything is explained by the process of evolution of one substance, who is going to be the Creator. So this idea of a creator was thrown overboard one thousand years before the birth of Christ. However, the Sankhya, being a system was based entirely upon the doctrine of evolution, rejected the idea of a creator of the universe. This philosophy again includes all stages of suffering in the Purusha.
There are places, where we feel as though we had come to heaven. But all these are included in the different stages of evolution, and so we need not think of any heaven as a place outside the universe. This idea is considered to be a very simple one, which comes to ordinary persons who do not understand the real nature of things.
As the Sankhya system did not believe in any such creator, it accepted the Purusha as an immortal and all-knowing shining principle. Out of this system grew different sects in India. The Jaina is one of them. This philosophy (Jaina) is most intimately connected with the Sankhya philosophy. The fundamental principles of the Buddhist philosophy also depend upon the Sankhya theory. In fact, all systems of Indian philosophy believe in the doctrine of evolution. Even the Buddhists do not believe in the existence of the phenomenal universe, and still they believe in the doctrine of evolution. All those who believe in God, also believe in the theory of evolution. The word ‘creation’, which is generally used in the sense of bringing something out of nothing, does not find a place in any of the philosophies in India. We do not find a single exception, which conveys this meaning. The Yoga philosophy accepts all these descriptions of the twenty-five categories (chaturvimshati-tattvas) of the Sankhya system, and at the same time it has a conception of God. The fact is this that Kapila rejected the utility and existence of God, but Patanjali, the propagator of the Yoga system, admitted for many reasons the utility and existence of God, the Creator, and he said: "Purusha-vishesah Isvarah" i.e. the Purusha, described by the Sankhya, is known as Isvara, the Creator, in the Yoga system, and for this reason Patanjali’s Yoga system is known as the ‘Seshvara-Sankhya’ i.e. the Sankhya philosophy that admits the existence of God. Patanjali’s system of Yoga is a new, or rather an original addition to the domain of Indian philosophy. .



SRI SANKARACHARYA
(Adiguru Bhagawan Sri Shankaracharya)
The ultimate openness of the Godhead, living beings, and the universe is emphasised by Sankaracharya as the essence and conclusion of Vedanta as expounded in the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma-Sutras. Sankaracharya, popularly called Sankara, was born, according to modern scholars, during the eighth century after Christ. The year of his birth is given as A.D. 788 and that of his death as 820. He belonged to a sect of austere, scholarly, and industrious Brahmins of Malabar in South India. After completing the study of the Vedas, he embraced the monastic life at an early age, devoted himself to the practice of spiritual disciplines, and was soon recognised as the leading philosopher and mystic of India, and a reformer of Hinduism.
Before his death at Kedarnath in the Himalayas, at the age of thirty-two, he had travelled the length and breadth of India and established monasteries at the four corners of the country. Sankara lived during the decadent period of Buddhism when India was torn with sectarianism and religious conflict, causing bewilderment to earnest seekers of truth. In open debate and through his now well-known commentaries on the scriptures he refuted the views of his opponents and established non-dualism as the ultimate teaching of the Vedas. It is refreshing to contemplate the serenity and unshakable assurance of Sankara’s philosophy amidst the polemics of his time.
It may be safely stated that Sankara’s interpretation of Hinduism is, even today, India’s original and unsurpassed contribution to the philosophical thought of the world. He established the fact that ultimate reality, though supra mental, need not remain a dogma of religion or the private vision of mysticism, but that it is a philosophical truth which may be demonstrated by reason and which is supported by universal experience. Despite ceaseless activity, he found time to write, in addition to his more famous works, several small philosophical treatises and to compose hymns in praise of the Hindu deities. In Sankara one finds the unusual combination of a philosopher and a poet, an astute thinker and a clear writer, a savant and a saint, a mystic and a religious reformer, a debater of rare forensic power and a passionate lover of God. He is one of the brightest stars in the philosophical and religious firmament of India.
The knowledge of Vedanta, like all other forms of genuine spiritual knowledge, has been transmitted through a succession of teachers. Books may give information or even mental stimulation, but the guru, or teacher, helps to awaken spiritual consciousness. Naturally, a high degree of perfection is expected of the teacher, who must be properly qualified.
A teacher must be properly qualified and should possess knowledge of the scriptures in order to dispel students’ doubts. He must have direct experience of God, the most important qualification. Free from sinfulness and selfish motives, he must be’ like an ocean of mercy which knows no reason’. With infinite patience and infinite love he unfolds the disciple’s heart, as the breeze opens the buds at the advent of spring. The father provides one with the physical birth, but the teacher with the spiritual birth. The student should approach the teacher with respect, in a spirit of service, and ask him intelligent questions. The meeting of a qualified student with a God-like teacher – as when Peter met Christ, or Vivekananda met Ramakrishna- is a wonderful event in the spiritual world. The ideal teacher here described is indeed rare. But one may also derive benefit from a less perfect guide. As the mind of the pupil becomes purer, he finds that God- who dwells in everyone’s heart- is guiding him on his spiritual path.
An aspirant, pure in thought, word and deed, seeks the help of a spiritual teacher. God no doubt dwells in all men and is their inner guide. But since at the outset a man’s impure thoughts usually distort the divine voice, he needs a guide to show him the right path. The teacher quickens the spiritual awakening; a candle is lighted from another lighted candle. Religious history shows that even the greatest saints and mystics have taken help from a qualified teacher. The mere study of books is not enough.
The disciple approaches the benign guru and says to him, in the words of Sankara: ‘Save me from death, afflicted as I am by the unquenchable fire of the forest of the world, a fire which blazes violently on account of the wind of the wicked deeds performed by me in my previous lives. Save me, who am terrified and who seeks refuge in thee; for I know of no other with whom to take shelter. How I shall cross the ocean of phenomenal existence, what is to be my fate, and what means I should adopt- as to these I know nothing. Condescend to save me, and describe at length how to put an end to repeated births and deaths, fraught with suffering and frustration.’
The distressed disciple is reassured by the guru: ‘Fear not, O blessed one. There is no death for you. There is no means of crossing the ocean of apparently interminable births and deaths in this transitory world. The very way the sages have trod heretofore, I shall point out to you. It is through the touch of ignorance that you, who are the Supreme Self, find yourself under the bondage of the non-self, whence alone proceeds the round of births and deaths. The fire of knowledge, kindled by discrimination between the Self and the non-self, consumes ignorance with its effects.’
The successful study of Vedanta presupposes a sort of intuitive knowledge of the limitations and misery inevitable in the life of the embodied soul: there is suffering in birth, disease, old age, and in death. One believing in progress and ultimate perfection in the phenomenal world will not be able to grasp the essence of non-dualistic Vedanta. Furthermore, the student of non-dualism must be equipped with proper qualifications. True knowledge does not consist of mere information; it must transform a man’s character and inspire the activities of his daily life. An objective attitude, faithful adherence to facts, an intellectual honesty may be adequate for scientific knowledge, but Vedanta requires much more.



THE FOUR CARDINAL DISCIPLINES OF VEDANTA
This discrimination springs from the intuitive conviction that the eternal and unchanging Brahman alone is real, and all other objects are transitory and unreal. The student is born, as it were, with this conviction on account of his having been previously disillusioned, by experiences in previous lives, about the reality of the happiness one may expect on earth and in the heavenly worlds. Discrimination is the first and the foremost discipline; without it the next discipline cannot be practised.
This means non-attachment to all pleasures, ranging from the enjoyment of the tangible objects found on earth to that of the happiness a virtuous soul experiences in heaven. All actions are by nature finite; therefore, their results, too, are finite. Such impermanent factors of an action as the doer, his body and sense organs, and the physical accessories he employs, cannot produce a permanent result. A student of Vedanta must be endowed not only with a keen power of intellect in order to discriminate between the real and the unreal but also with a stern power of will to give up the unreal. Too often the unreal appears to us in the guise of the real, and too often we lack the power to renounce even what we know to be unreal.
(i)control of the body and the senses
(ii)control of the mind
(iii)prevention of the sense-organs, once they are controlled, from drifting back to their respective objects
(iv)forbearance
(v)complete concentration;
(vi)faith.
Self-control must not be confused with torture or mortification of the body. The sense organs, which are ordinarily inclined toward material objects and employed to seek only the pleasant, should be controlled in order to create that inner calmness without which profound spiritual truths cannot be grasped. But self-control does not mean the weakening of the organs, as is explained in the Katha Upanishad by the illustration of the chariot. The body is compared to the chariot, the embodied soul to its master, the intellect or discriminative faculty to the driver, the mind to the reins, the senses to the horses, and sense-objects to the roads. The chariot can serve its purpose of taking the master to his destination if it is well built, if the driver can discriminate between the right and the wrong road, if the reins are strong, if the horses are firmly controlled, and if the roads are well chosen.
Likewise, the spiritual seeker should possess a healthy body and vigorous organs, unerring discrimination, and a strong mind. His discrimination should guide his senses to choose only those objects, which are helpful to the realisation of his spiritual ideal. If the body, the mind, or any of his faculties is injured or weakened, he cannot attain the goal, just as the rider cannot reach his destination if the chariot and its accessories are not in the right condition. Thus the two important elements emphasised in the practice of self-control are discrimination and will power.
The middle path, which makes a man ‘temperate in his food and recreation, temperate in his exertion in work, temperate in sleep and waking’ has been extolled by the Bhagavad Gita and also by Buddha.
Through the practice of forbearance, the student remains unruffled by heat and cold, pleasure and pain, and the other pairs of opposites. By means of concentration, he keeps his mind on the ideal. Faith enables him to listen, with respect to the instruction of the teacher and the injunctions of the scriptures. This faith is not mechanical belief, but an affirmative attitude of mind regarding the existence of reality, as opposed to a negative and cynical attitude. The man who always doubts comes to a grief.
A serious student of Vedanta relies through rational investigation and actual experience that a man attached to the world is a bound creature and never really happy. Thus a genuine aspirant longs for freedom; but this longing must not be confused with the momentary yearning created by frustration or worldly loss. True renunciation and longing for freedom are the two vital disciplines through which the other disciplines bear fruit. Without these, even ethical virtues create only a mirage of spirituality. The Upanishads state that the knowledge of the self reveals itself only to one who longs for it intensely.
Sankaracharya lays emphasis on bhakti as a means to the realisation of freedom, and defines it as a single-minded longing for truth. Without this emotional urge the aspirant often becomes lost in the wilderness of philosophical speculation or seeks satisfaction in intellectual gymnastics.
The path of knowledge is steep and austere, and the search for impersonal reality is extremely difficult for those who are constantly aware of their duties to the world. This path, therefore, is usually pursued by monks, who have renounced the world. The monastic ideal of India is as ancient as the Hindu spiritual culture itself, though it received added impetus at the time of Buddha. Sankaracharya, in his commentaries on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma-Sutras, emphatically asserts the incompatibility of the unitive knowledge of Brahman with any kind of activity, ritualistic or philanthropic, because the latter cannot be dissociated from the triple factors of the doer, the instrument of action, and the result of action. Thus he is convinced that the non-dual Brahman can be realised only by all-renouncing sannyasins (monks), and not by householders, if the latter are true to their dharma.
To the qualified pupil who has properly approached the preceptor, the latter gives instruction so that he may overcome ignorance and realise the oneness of existence. It is explained to the pupil that on account of Maya, or nescience, Brahman, that is to say, Pure Consciousness, appears as the conditioned Brahman or the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the universe. From the conditioned Brahman evolve the five subtle elements of akasa (space), air, fire, water, and earth, which, becoming gross, produce the universe and all the physical objects contained in it. Under the influence of the same nescience, Brahman appears as the individual soul, who is endowed with a mind, a body, sense organs, vital breaths, and is a victim of birth and death. All this is called in Vedanta the illusory superimposition of the unreal upon the real.
This superimposition does not change in the least the nature of pure consciousness, just as the illusory water of the mirage does not affect the desert. From the relative standpoint, however, the conditioned Brahman is the cause of the universe: Maya is the material cause, and pure intelligence the efficient cause.
Next, the teacher explains the refutation or negation of this illusory superimposition. As a snake perceived in a rope is found, after proper investigation, to be nothing but the rope, so also the world of unreal entities beginning with ignorance and ending in the material universe and physical bodies and the conditioned Brahman- all superimposed upon Reality through ignorance- is finally realised to be nothing but pure Brahman. Causality itself, as also time and space, belong to the realm of phenomena and cannot affect Brahman. Brahman alone exists; the universe apart from Brahman is non-existent. Vedanta is neither pantheism, which would tacitly admit of Brahman’s becoming the universe, nor is it illusionism, which would accept the reality of a Maya under whose influence Brahman projects the universe. From the ultimate standpoint there is neither projection nor becoming. Pure consciousness is immutable.
According to non-dualists, the true nature of Brahman is realised through the method of negation. Every act of negation leaves behind a positive residuum. Thus, when the snake is negated, there remains the rope, and when the rope is negated something else remains. After all the changing superimpositions have been negated, there remains Being, or Sat, which is pure consciousness.
It may be contended, as certain of the Buddhist philosophers have argued, that when the process of negation is carried to its logical conclusion, what remains is a void; thus ultimate reality is a void, or non-existence. In reply it is said that there must be a perceiving consciousness, which is aware of the void. And this consciousness is Brahman. He who doubts or denies this fact is himself Brahman.
Later Vedantists have recommended the practice of the disciplines prescribed by Patanjali in the Yoga-sutras for the attainment of the knowledge of Brahman through samadhi, or total absorption. There are two kinds of samadhi. The experience of the one, in which the aspirant retains the distinction of the knower, knowledge, and the object of knowledge, may be likened to looking at a clay elephant and remaining conscious of the clay that permeates the figure. In this samadhi one retains consciousness of the individual soul, the body, and the world, and at the same time sees them all as permeated by Brahman, or pure consciousness. In the other samadhi, the I-consciousness is totally obliterated, and there no longer remains any distinction between knower, knowledge, and the object of knowledge. This experience may be likened to the dissolving of a lump of salt in the water of the ocean, from which it was originally extracted; the salt cannot be separated any more from the water.
The need of vigilance is imperative at every step of the spiritual life. The obstacles which beset the path until the goal is reached are generally created by the mind’s inability to rest in Brahman, though it has become somewhat detached from the world. The four main obstacles are torpidity, distraction, attachment, and enjoyment of bliss. Often the student, while practising meditation, falls into a state of sleep because his mind is without a support either in Brahman or in the world. The remedy for this is devotional music, study of the scriptures, a visit to holy places, or some such stimulating spiritual exercise.
Second, the mind, while practising meditation, feels distracted by ideas, for the most part petty and inconsequential, which flit through the mind like the dust particles dancing in a sunbeam coming through a chink in the door or the wall into a dark room. They are often the result of the aspirant’s futile talk and physical movements when not engaged in meditation. The remedy is in the pacification of the mind through patience and perseverance.
Third, the mind may suddenly be seizes by a violent attachment to a long forgotten experience lying nestled in the subconscious mind. This can be overcome by means of stern discrimination and will power.
And last, one may feel quite satisfied with the enjoyment of an inferior bliss or a foretaste of the joy of Brahman, and be unwilling to make any further effort to reach the ultimate goal. This is explained by the illustration of a man who has heard of a treasure box hidden under a stone. As he approaches the place, he is challenged by a powerful dragon. A life and death struggle follows and at last the dragon is killed. But the man feels so exhilarated by the destruction of his enemy that he dances about in joy, forgetting all about the treasure. A spiritual seeker, too, becomes extremely delighted when, after a stubborn fight, he suppresses certain passions and attachments, and forgets to go further in order to realise his freedom. Sometimes the enjoyment of the delight arising from supra physical experiences makes the aspirant forget his goal.
The remedy for this obstacle is that the aspirant should not permit his mind to dwell long on any transient experience. He must detach himself from all forms of reflected bliss, however alluring they may appear, and not stop till the goal is reached. With sincerity and zeal, earnestness and perseverance, patience and love for the ideal, the devotee finally overcomes all obstacles, great and small, through the blessings of his teacher and the grace of God: he realises his oneness with Brahman.
Now the imprisoned lion is freed from its cage and can roam again in the forest, its natural habitat; the bound soul has attained freedom while dwelling in the body. The characteristics of a free soul have already been described (Read Page ‘The soul and its destiny’). Himself released from fear, he gives the assurance of fearlessness to all. Himself free from worry, he does not cause worry to anyone. He lives, works, and dies under the spell of the soul’s immortality, non-duality, and divinity. But whether endowed with a physical body or not, he has entered into a realm of new consciousness, from which he redirects his activities for the welfare of all. By the birth of such a person, as a Hindu poet has said, his family becomes purified, his mother blessed among women, and the earth sanctified for having nourished a worthy soul.
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BHAKTI – SURRENDERM
One way to approach God, according to traditional Hinduism, is by practising any one of five dualistic attitudes, or modes. These attitudes, or modes, are manifested in the relationship between the devotee and God, and they are:
Shanta Bhava * The peace and stillness felt in the presence of God Dasya Bhava * The attitude of a servant towards his Master Sakhya Bhava * The attitude of a friend towards a Friend Vatsalya Bhava * The attitude of a parent towards a Child Madhura Bhava * The attitude of a lover towards the Beloved.
Aphorism 1. Narada gives these as the signs of Bhakti (devotion): When all thoughts, all words, and all deeds are given up to the Lord, and when the least forgetfulness of God makes one intensely miserable, then love has begun.
Bhakti is intense love for God.
Aphorism 2. In its intrinsic nature this divine love is immortal bliss. Aphorism 3. By attaining It, a man becomes perfect, immortal, and satisfied forever.
Aphorism 4. On attaining That a man does not desire anything else; he grieves no more, he is free from hatred or jealousy; he does not take pleasure in the vanities of life; and he loses all eagerness to gain anything for himself.
Aphorism 5. The devotee may first become intoxicated with bliss. Then, having realized That, he becomes inert and silent and takes his delight in the Atman (Self).
Aphorism 6. Bhakti (devotion) cannot be used to fulfil any desire, being itself the check to all desires.
Aphorism 7. (Supreme love is attained) by uninterrupted and constant worship of God.
Aphorism 36. By hearing of and singing the glory of the Lord, even while engaged in the ordinary activities of life.
Aphorism 37. There is no difference between God and His devotees. Aphorism 41. When a man attains this supreme love, he sees his Beloved everywhere, he hears of Him everywhere, he talks only of Him, and he thinks of Him only.
Aphorism 55. The devotee does not grieve at any personal loss, for he has surrendered himself, everything he has, and even the rites and ceremonies which are enjoined by the scriptures.
Aphorism 61. Even though the devotee may have surrendered himself utterly to the Lord, he must not renounce action in the world but continue to perform it, giving up the fruits of action to the Lord.
Aphorism 62. Dedicate all your actions to God and direct all your passions, such as lust, anger, pride, and so forth, toward God.
Aphorism 65. When such lovers of God dwell on earth, their forefathers rejoice, the gods dance in joy, this earth becomes sanctified.
Aphorism 71. Among them there are no distinctions based on caste, learning, beauty of form, birth in a high or low family, wealth, possessions, and the like.
Aphorism 72. Arguments are to be avoided. Aphorism 74. Because there is no end to them and they lead to no satisfactory result.
Aphorism 75. The Bhakta should cultivate harmlessness, truthfulness, purity, compassion, faith and other such virtues.
Aphorism 78. To love the eternal Truth- this indeed is the greatest love. Aphorism 82. Whoever believes in this auspicious description of divine love by Narada, and has faith in these teachings, becomes a lover of God, attains the highest beatitude, and reaches the supreme goal of life.
Bhakti Yoga-Yoga of Devotion. A man’s actions may be compared to the flight of a bird, which needs three things –two wings and a tail– for its graceful movement. By means of the wings it balances itself in the air, and by the tail, like the rudder in a boat, it keeps its course. In a worker, love and knowledge are the two wings, and meditation the tail. When these function harmoniously, the action becomes graceful. Let us now discuss love as a spiritual discipline. This is called Bhakti Yoga or the yoga of divine love.
Love as a force of attraction operates at different levels: the material, the human, and the spiritual. On the material level it draws together the particles of an inanimate object; on the human level it joins friend and friend, parents and children, husband and wife; and on the spiritual level it unites a man with God. The real source of attraction is the spirit or God; a particle of matter cannot of itself attract another particle. Because God as spirit pervades the whole universe and because He is the inmost self of all beings, one sees the force of attraction operating everywhere. There is no essential difference between a lower form of attraction, for instance the attraction of a mistress for her lover, and a higher form of attraction, such as the attraction of children for the mother. The apparent difference is due to the difference in the channels through which the love is expressed.
Love is a creative force, and through creation one seeks joy and immortality. Desiring this joy some that are virile in body beget offspring, and some that are virile in mind create art, compose poetry, write philosophy, organize states, or engage in similar pursuits. There are yet others, virile in spirit, who through love beget God-consciousness, the bestower of the highest good. Through creation one hopes to become immortal. Parents expect immortality through their offspring, as the poet, the artist, the philosopher, the statesman, and the scientist through their respective work. The lover of God seeks everlasting life through union with him.
A lover finds joy in beauty and shrinks from ugliness. Birds and animals choose spring for their mating season; human lovers seek beautiful surroundings; and lovers of God always search for beauty, which for them is the good. Love based upon physical attraction, called worldly love, is short-lived, unsatisfactory, and inadequate, because the objects of such love are material forms, which are impermanent and limited. It is based upon such external factors as physical beauty, which are ephemeral, name and fame, wealth, power, and position, which too are transient. One is also afraid to offend one’s beloved for fear of losing her love. Neither spontaneous nor natural, it harbours an element of jealousy. Furthermore, worldly love constantly changes. A baby is absorbed in his mother. When he grows up he becomes interested in his school fellows. Then he marries, and his wife fills up his heart. Next come children. Even the love of heaven, which is brightly painted by the popular religions, is a form of material love; the denizens of heaven, too, enjoy material objects. The difference between the enjoyments in heaven and on earth is not one of kind but merely one of degree; life in heaven is a continuation of earthly life. A worshipper of God is a materialist if he seeks physical enjoyment here and hereafter.
Love based upon intellectual attraction is more impersonal and enduring. Thus if friendship or conjugal love has for its support common philosophical, artistic, or other intellectual interests, it will last longer than love based upon physical factors, which contains the seeds of quick deterioration. It is a matter of common observation that the more intellectually developed the life of a person is, the less he takes pleasure in the objects of the senses. No man enjoys his food with as great satisfaction as a dog or a pig. The life of the animal lies entirely in its senses, which in many cases are keener than those of human beings. The primitive man obtains more happiness from physical objects than does an educated man; but he is denied the joy arising from the contemplation of music, philosophy, or science. The offspring of intellectual love is more satisfying than that of physical love. What earthly offspring can compare with the intellectual offspring left behind by Homer, Kalidas, Beethoven, Asoka, or Leonardo da Vinci?
The same is true of immortality; the immortality conferred by intellectual offspring is infinitely more enduring than that conferred by physical offspring. But intellectual immortality, too, is a relative one. The most satisfying love is associated with God; divine love is immortal because God is immortal. In it there is no trace of ugliness, because God is the source of pure beauty, whose reflection one sees in the beauty of the physical and intellectual creation.
When love of God fills the heart all other forms of love pale into insignificance. One star rises, then comes a bigger one, and next a still bigger. As the biggest star appears, the smaller ones become dim. At last the sun, the biggest star, appears, and all the others fade out. God is the biggest star, and the lover of God is not interested in worldly love, physical or intellectual. Although he does not, like an agnostic or an atheist, deny heaven, he is not interested in it, because it is inadequate to satisfy the yearning of his soul. The unceasing craving of his immortal spirit finds no satisfaction in any finite, perishable material object.
The Katha Upanishad narrates the story of Nachiketa, who sought from his teacher the knowledge of the imperishable self. When tempted by the teacher with gold, cattle, children, grandchildren and a long life on earth and in heaven, the pupil said: ‘But these will endure only till tomorrow. Furthermore, their enjoyment exhausts the vigour of the sense organs. Even the longest life is short indeed. Keep your horses, dances, and songs for yourself.’
One cannot fully enjoy the love of God unless one rises above all worldly attractions. In the teachings of Christ one sees the utter incompatibility between the Kingdom of Heaven which lies within a man’s heart, and the kingdom of the physical world. But worldly love is not futile, because it is also the love of the spirit; though clogged and distorted with mortal matter, it provides the love hungry soul with various steps by which love of God can finally be realized. Through these successive steps the possessive attraction is gradually transformed into self-negating divine love. The experience gained through the enjoyment of worldly love teaches a man about its impermanence. Then he feels the irresistible attraction of God, who, like a huge magnet, is always drawing living creatures to Him. On account of the mental impurities produced by attachment to the world, a man does not feel the force of this attraction, as a needle coated with mud is not attracted by a magnet. But when his mind becomes pure through the practice of detachment, he feels the attraction of God and longs to be united with him.
Spiritual love, or bhakti, is directed only to God. Whose effulgence puts to shame ‘a million suns, a million moons, and a million gods of beauty.’ He is the Personal God, or the spirit in the form of a person. One of the bhakti scriptures says: ‘The sages who are satisfied with the Supreme Self and who are free from all the tie of the world, show to the Personal God a love that knows no reason; such is the greatness of God.’ ‘He, the Lord, is of His own nature ineffable love.’
God, the object of the devotee’s love, is sometimes described as a projection of the human mind. Dharma emphatically repudiates this view. According to non-dualism, it is Brahman which, through Maya, its own inscrutable creative power, appears as God. If the form of God is a projection of the mind, it is Brahman itself that projects this form for the purpose of creating the universe and helping the devotees. Therefore, from the non-dualistic viewpoint, the Personal God is as real as the universe and living beings. When the universe and living beings ultimately merge in Brahman (Supreme Reality), God too becomes one with it.
According to the qualified non-dualist Ramanuja, the ultimate reality is the Personal God, which is non-dual but admits of the distinction of inanimate nature and living beings, both of which form part of Him. According to the dualist Madhava, the Personal God, the universe, and living beings are all real. To return to the non-dualistic position; the Personal God is the highest manifestation of the Absolute in the relative universe; as from the relative standpoint the creation is without beginning or end, so is He without beginning or end.
When a man obtains love of God, he loves all, hates none, and becomes satisfied forever. It is that same intense love which non-discriminating persons have for the fleeting objects of the senses. When love of God is fully developed, the lover forgets both the world and the body, so dear to all. This love cannot be exploited for any worldly purpose- neither for health, nor for wealth, nor for longevity, not for happiness in heaven. It cannot be genuine if the lover shows the slightest attachment to the world. In it there is no room for jealousy or hatred, because the devotee sees everything as the manifestation of God. Bhakti is both the ideal of spiritual life and the means to its attainment.
The discipline of bhakti is the easiest and most natural of all spiritual disciplines, because it does not demand the suppression of normal impulses; it only tells the devotee to turn them to God. Thus he is asked to feel passionate desire to commune with God, to feel angry with himself for not making spiritual progress, to feel greedy for more spiritual experiences, and so on. But without the most rigorous training, love of God may degenerate into dangerous emotionalism, manifestation of which is bigotry. The narrow-minded worshipper often measures his devotion to his own religious ideal by the amount of dislike he shows for the religious ideals of others. In the history of religion nothing has been more directly responsible for cruelty, hatred, and bloodshed than fanaticism.
Ramanuja, a great teacher of bhakti yoga, speaks of the preparations necessary for the development of genuine love of God:
One wishing to cultivate love of God should discriminate about food; for, as the Upanishads say, when the food is pure the mind becomes pure. The gross part of food helps to build up the body, and the subtle force lodged in it manufactures thought. The influence of food on thought is easily observed; a heavy meal induces mental indolence; and after drinking a large quantity of liquor one finds it difficult to control the mind. Certain kinds of food excite the mind and the senses, and other kinds dull them; a vegetarian diet is helpful. Dirt and dust must be removed from food, which also should be free from any contact with the saliva of another person. Lastly, food cooked or served by an impure person adversely affects the devotee’s mind. Therefore a lover of God who develops a sensitive mind should be careful about food.
(Sankaracharya gives a wider meaning to food: it means not only what goes into the mouth, but also what is taken by the other sense organs besides the tongue. The objects of the senses should be conducive to the cultivation of the spiritual life; therefore discrimination should be applied to what we see, touch, hear, smell, and eat.)
Second, the devotee should control extreme desires for material objects. Objects are helpful only in so far as they further the spiritual life. They are means to an end, and not an end in themselves. The desire to possess them should be suppressed if they lead to enlargement in the world.
Third, the devotee of God should practice devotion unflaggingly. As progress is never made at a constant level, he should remain undisturbed by the ebb and flow of his spiritual life. During the period of ebb, he must hold to the progress he has already made, and during the flow he should move forward swiftly. What a person does or thinks now is the result of his past practices, and thus he can build for the future through his present practices. By practice the mind can be made to flow uninterruptedly toward God, as oil flows uninterruptedly when it is poured from one jar to another. Love for the ideal makes practice easy and pleasant. If the devotee feels dryness of heart, he can remove it with the help of devotional music.

Fourth, one should learn unselfishness by doing good to others. The selfish man can never cultivate divine love. The Dharma scriptures speak of five unselfish actions, called the ‘fivefold sacrifices,’ to be performed by a pious
householder. The following are the five great duties of a householder: 1. The study and teaching of the Vedas, 2. Daily worship of the gods through appropriate rituals, 3. Gratification of the departed ancestors by offering their spirits food and drink according to the scriptural injunctions, 4. Kindness to domestic animals, and 6. Hospitality to guests, the homeless, and the destitute.
Fifth, one should always practise purity, which comprises truthfulness, straightforwardness, compassion, non-injury, and charity. God is truth and reveals Himself to the truthful; it is said that if one never deviates from the truth for twelve years, one’s words become infallible. Straightforwardness means the simplicity and the guilelessness of the innocent child, who is specially favoured of God. By means of compassion, a man controls his greed, and selfishness. A devotee abstains from injuring others by thought, words, or deed. There is no virtue higher than charity; he who goes to the extent of hurting himself while helping others receives divine grace.
Sixth, one should avoid despondency. Religion is not gloominess; one does not find a melancholy saint. The cheerfulness of a devotee comes from his faith in God.
Seventh, a devotee should avoid excessive merriment, which makes the mind fickle and is always followed by sorrow. Laughter and tears are inseparable companions.
The devotee who practices these seven disciplines acquires genuine love for God.
Preparatory and Supreme.
During the preparatory stage certain forms of external help are necessary. Needless to say, the aspirant must be ready for the spiritual life; he must feel a true yearning for God. Sometimes momentary impulses are mistaken for such yearning. One may feel a desire for the spiritual life when struck by a blow from the world, in the shape of the death of a near and dear one, or loss of money. But one generally recovers from such a shock. He is a true devotee of God who, though he may possess all kinds of material goods, is not interested in them because he is aware of their impermanent and unsubstantial nature. Such an aspirant, pure in thought, word, and deed, seeks the help of a spiritual teacher. God no doubt dwells in all men and is their inner guide. But since at the outset a man’s impure thoughts usually distort the divine voice, he needs a guide to show him the right path. The teacher quickens the spiritual awakening: a candle is lighted from another lighted candle. Religious history shows that even the greatest saints and mystics have taken help from a qualified teacher; the mere study of books is not enough.
1. Prarabdha, so much of past actions as has given rise to the present birth.
2. Sanchita, the balance of past actions that will give rise to future births - the storehouse of accumulated actions
3. Agami or Kriyamana, acts being done in the present life. If by the knowledge of the Self only the Sanchita and Agami were destroyed and not Prarabdha, the dual number would have been used and not the plural.(Sanskrit language grammar has singular, dual and plural numbers).
Swami Shivananda says; Conscience is the light of the Soul that burns within the chambers of your heart. It is the little spark of celestial fire that makes known to you the presence of the Indweller, the author of the divine laws of truth and holiness. It raises the voice in protest whenever anything is thought of or done contrary to the interest of its Master.
Conscience is the voice of the Self which says ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when you are involved in a moral struggle. It is a call from within to do an act or to avoid it. Conscience is the internal monitor. Conscience is a form of truth which is the knowledge of our own acts and feelings as right or wrong. Conscience is a silent teacher. It is the soundless inner voice that shows you the path of virtue and godliness. It is a sudden, dictatory command to plunge deep into the depths of virtue, or to rise high above the level of vice. The positive elements that adorn conscience are truth, courage and justice.
Conscience is the best Minister of Justice. It threatens, promises, rewards and punishes, keeping all under its control. If conscience stings you once, it is an admonition; if twice, it a condemnation. To act against the conscience is to act against reason and Divine Law.



GIVE YOUR MIND TO GOD
(Yogakshemo Vahaamyaham)
Om With our ears may we hear what is good. With our eyes may we behold thy righteousness. Tranquil in body, may we who worship thee find rest. Om… Hail to the Supreme Self! -Mundaka Upanishad
Calmness is a steady flow of the mind toward God. Self-restraint is control of the organs of sense. Patience is bearing the burden of life cheerfully. Steadiness is overcoming the palate and the impulse of sex.
The highest charity is refraining from violence. Austerity is the giving up of desire. Valour is the conquest of one’s own self. To know the truth is to see the oneness of the Self with God.
Truthfulness is true and agreeable speech as exemplified by the sages urity is nonattachment to work. Renunciation is overcoming the world. irtue is the treasure that men covet. , the Supreme Lord, am the sacrifice.
The greatest gift is the gift of knowledge. he greatest strength is the control of prana. ortunate is he who meditates on My divine powers. he highest profit is in devotion to Me.
Wisdom is removing false ideas of multiplicity and realizing the unity of the Self. Modesty is abhorrence of evil deeds. xcellence of character arises from disregard of worldly considerations. Happiness is the transcending of both pleasure and pain. Misery is hankering after pleasures of sense.
Learned is he who discriminates between bondage and freedom. Ignorant is he who identifies himself with the body. The right path is that which leads to Me. The wrong path is that which causes restlessness of the mind.
Heaven is the domination of sattva in the mind. Hell is the predominance of tamas. The teacher who has realised his oneness with Me is the true friend.
He indeed is rich who is rich in virtues. Poor is he who is discontented. Mean is he who is not master of his senses. Godly is he who is not attached to objects of sense. Divine is he who has overcome both good and evil. -Srimad Bhagavatam



JAPA
(REPEATING GOD'S NAME)
Among sacrifices I am the sacrifice of silent repetition (Japa) Gita
1. Karamala: This involves the doing of Japa on the fingers and can be done on the fingertips. The second and more effective way recommended in the scriptures is by doing Japa on the segments of the fingers. One of the important rules to observe when doing this type of Japa is to keep the fingers together and not separate.
2. Varnamala: This involves the doing of Japa using the alphabet of the Sanskrit language. Detailed instructions for this type of Japa are given in the ‘Sanat Kumara Tantra’.
3. Manimala: This is the most recommended and the most common way of doing Japa when a Mala (or Rosary) made of beads threaded together is used. The beads used are of various types. Malas are made of Rudraksh seeds, stems of the Tulasi (Basil) plant, shells, lotus plants, gold, precious stones, pearls, crystals etc.
Different types of Malas are used for different purposes. A Lotus-Mala is used to destroy enemies. A Kusa-Mala is used to destroy sins. A Silver-Mala is used to fulfil desires etc.
Different sects tend to use different types of Malas. The Shaktas, Shaivites and Smartas use the Rudraksha-Mala. The Vaishnavites use the Tulasi-Mala. The Ganapatis may use the ivory-Mala.
One complete Mala of any of the above three categories involves the repetition of the Mantra 108 times. The 109th bead called the Meru or summit acts as the guide. An important rule is not to cross over the Meru on completion of a Mala but retract and do the next Mala commencing at the point of finishing the previous Mala. Thus we work back and forth from the Meru. An important interpretation of this rule is that the Meru represents the Guru or Preceptor whose importance in any spiritual discipline is unsurpassed, and he should not be crossed in any circumstance.
One complete Mala consists of 108 repetitions. Various reasons are given with regard to the significance of this number. Some of the main reasons are:
It has been established that man takes 10 800 breaths during a period of twelve hours. Therefore, in a period of 24 hours, one takes 21 600 breaths. One half of this time may be allowed for sleeping, eating or other essential activities. The remainder of the time should be spent in the thought of God. The merit of taking God’s name is multiplied 100 times when done on a Mala. Therefore, 108 Mantras done on a Mala is equivalent to the taking of God’s name 10 800 times.
There are 27 Nakshatras or Heavenly Bodies that regulate our destinies. Each Nakshatra enters 4 phases or Charans in the course of an astrological day or Tithi. Therefore all the Nakshatras pass through 108 Charans (27 x 4 = 108) during any Tithi.
The Shastras (scriptures) say that the Brahman (God) is symbolically represented by the figure 9. The three figures in the number 108 add up to nine (1 + 0 + 8 = 9). The figure 9 itself when multiplied by any other figure and the digits of the answer when added up will provide the answer as exactly 9.
Examples:
9 x 28 = 252 (2 + 5+ 2 = 9)
9 x 1855 = 16 695 (1 + 6+ 6 + 9 + 5 = 27) (2 + 7 = 9)
9 x 1368 = 12 312 (1 + 2 + 3 + 1 + 2 =9)
4.The different stages of creation are all linked to the figure 9 as will be seen by adding up each of the following figures:
A Kaliyuga consists of 432 000 human years
A Dwaparyuga consists of 864 000 human years
A Tretayuga consists of 1 296 000 human years
A Satayuga consists of 1 728 000 human years
A Mahayuga consists of 4 320 000 human years
A celestial year in Brahma’s life consists of 3 110 400 000 000 human years
Brahma’s lifespan consists of 311 040 000 000 000 human years.
The digits of each of the above figures when added up or the digits of those answers when added up will produce the figure 9. The figure nine has therefore been taken by Hindus to represent Brahman or Infinity.
The kitten mews and the mother cat runs and carries it away. Even so, the devotee cries and the Lord comes to his rescue.
Prayer is depending on God for help in distress. Prayer is giving an opportunity to God to comfort the devotee. Prayer lightens the heaviness of your heart by opening it to God. Prayer is expecting God to decide what is best for you when you are in a dilemma. Man learns to pray through despair.
Prayer is not asking, but a communion with God through single-minded devotion. Prayer is nearness to God. It is tuning of the mind with God. It is fixing the mind on God and meditating on Him. Prayer is surrendering oneself to God completely, and melting the mind and ego in silence, in God. Prayer represents a mystic state when the individual consciousness is absorbed in God. It is an uplifting of the soul to God, an act of love and adoration to Him. It is worship and glorification of God. It is thanksgiving to God for all His blessings.
Prayer is an invocation, a calling forth of spiritual forces ever flowing through the human heart, mind and soul. It is a great spiritual force that is as real as force of gravity or attraction. It is the very soul and essence of religion, the very core of man’s life. No man can live without prayer.
The blind, the deaf, the lame, the armless, the puny, the ignorant and the debased, the lowliest and the forlorn- all can pray to God; for prayer belongs to the heart and its feeling, and not to the body.
Prayer does not demand high intelligence or eloquence. God wants your heart when you pray. Even a few words from a humble, pure soul, though illiterate, will appeal to the Lord more than the eloquent flowing words of an orator or a learned man.
The child does not know grammar and pronunciation. It utters some sounds, but the mother understands! When mother understands the language of the heart, what to say of the inner witness? He knows what you wish to say. Even if you make mistakes in your prayer to Him, even if there are mistakes in the Mantras you recite, if you are sincere, if the prayer comes from your heart, He listens to it, because He understands the language of your heart.
Prayer should spring from the heart and should not be mere lip-homage. Empty prayer is like sounding brass or tinkling cymbal. Prayer that comes from a sincere, pure heart is at once heard by the Lord. The prayer of a cunning, crooked, wicked man is never heard.
God ever responds to the appeal of His sincere devotees. It is only the insincere man who says that God is deaf. He is ever watchful of the distress signals of His children. Open your heart to Him without reservation and the response will be instantaneous.
Breath has been given to you by the Lord to be spent in prayer. Kneel down and pray, but let it not cease when you rise. Prayer should be lifelong; and your life should be one long prayer.
There are no problems that cannot be solved by prayer, no suffering that cannot be allayed by prayer, no difficulties that cannot be surmounted by prayer, and no evil that cannot be overcome by prayer. Prayer is common with God, the miracle by which God’s power flows into human veins. Therefore kneel down and pray.
When the storms of lust and anger, vanity and viciousness rage within your bosom, kneel down and pray. For the Lord, and He alone, has the power over the elements. In thy supplication is thy strength, shielded by His mercy, and spurred on the path of righteousness by His Divine Will.
Kneel down and pray. Pray not for earthly goods or for heavenly pleasures, but pray for His grace. "Thy will be done, my Lord! I want nothing for myself." This shall be thy prayer. For you know not what is good for you; you may be asking for trouble, and praying for perdition. Pray for Grace and that His righteousness might descend on the soul.
Greet the dawn of the day and bid adieu to the setting sun with a prayer of thankfulness- firstly for a fresh day granted, and lastly for His Grace received. Thus shall your life be blessed and thus will you radiate His blessings to all around you.
Prayer is a mighty spiritual force. It is spiritual food for the soul, a spiritual tonic. Prayer is a powerful spiritual current. There is nothing so purifying as prayer. If you pray regularly, your life will be gradually changed and moulded. Prayer must become habitual, then you will feel as if you cannot live without it. It lightens the heart and fills the mind with peace, strength and purity. When the mind becomes pure through the power of prayer, the intellect becomes sharp and keen. Prayer elevates the mind. When you link yourself with the inexhaustible cosmic powerhouse of energy you draw power, light and strength from Him.
Prayer is a trusty companion along the weary path to liberation. It is the rock to which a man can cling when he is drowning in the ocean of births and deaths. It frees him from the fear of death and brings him near to God, making him feel the divine Consciousness and His essential immortal nature.
Prayer works wonders and moves mountains. Even when the medical board pronounces a case to be hopeless, prayer comes to the rescue, and the patient is miraculously cured. There have been many instances of this description. You may be aware of this. Healing by prayer is really miraculous and mysterious. Prayer is an unfailing remedy in all situations.
Many a time I have experienced its marvellous potency. You too, can experience it.
You cry when your house is burgled; you weep and wail when your child dies; you writhe in agony when your limbs are crushed. O man! Do you ever cry for God? Cry for Him always. He will avert all kinds of calamities. Twine yourself around Him for support. You will be free from the injuries of life. Follow this method and reap the harvest. Pray and prosper. None in this world will save you. It is God alone who loves you most. Call on Him and invoke His mercy. Pray fervently from this very second. You will attain eternal bliss. .
True prayer is the mental and verbal expression of the highest spiritual ideal. It consists not in trying to get anything from outside, but unfolding the higher powers that are slumbering within the soul. It is the expression of that determination of the individual soul for reaching the highest goal of life; it is the constant desire, or constant aim, or constant thought of attaining to the highest spiritual realization. True prayer is said to be heard by the Supreme Being when we remember our spiritual nature. When an earnest soul longs for spiritual illumination and prays for the manifestation of higher powers that are latent, then the Divine Spirit, which is the Soul of our souls, is said to hear that prayer from within and not from outside; and then it manifests its nature.
A true prayer is the expression of that attitude of the human mind which arouses the divine nature in man and makes it govern the lower, selfish or animal nature by which we are directed in our ordinary life to perform selfish acts. According to Vedanta, lip-prayer is no prayer at all. True prayer is always mental. It is the earnest longing of the heart.
Whenever we think in words, and we mentally repeat the name of the Ideal concentrating our mind on it, that prayer is the true prayer. It is another form of meditation. And when such a meditation or true prayer leads to the realization of the Divine Spirit, then it is said that prayer is heard. True prayer is like a ladder by which the individual soul ascends to the domain of transcendental Reality.




INSPIRING STORIES
(Da-Da-Da = Dama-Dana-Daya)
What is the easiest way of practising and bringing religion into our lives? There are two broad principles governing human action. The first of the two principles is based on the attitude of GIVING. The second is based on the attitude of TAKING.
If the attitude of TAKING prevails in a society you will find its members possessed with multifold selfish demands and desires. Consequently, there is struggle, stress and strain in that society with crimes, robbery, rapes, corruption, inconsiderate selfish behaviour, becoming prevalent at national, community, family and individual levels.
Let their attitude change to GIVING. Their demands and desires drop their selfishness. Harmony, peace and happiness will reign in that very same society. The dignity of human race is founded upon the principle of GIVING. Life is to give, not to take. One ought not to demand from society. Perhaps one's only right in the world is to give, to serve. To serve one and all. Serve the nation, serve the society, the family and yourself. This is the first of the elements of right living. We need to do service to maintain our proper spiritual well being. While the physical body resorts to service, the mind must embrace the world with love.
This is the second element of right living. All our emotions must be amalgamated into a mass of universal love. Our pleasures and pains are identical with those of our fellow creatures. This is true love. The feeling of true love arises from purity. Such purity of love upgrades us to greater spiritual heights.
Knowledge of Vedanta inculcates the elements of right living into our physical, mental and intellectual personalities. Our actions develop a spirit of true service. Our emotions get chastened with pure love. Our
discrimination gains subtlety to distinguish between the higher and the lower aspects of life with the result that our attachment for the lower drops off. By maintaining these disciplines at the three levels of our personality, we live an ideal life.
A very very narrow bridge was improvised connecting two high mountain tops. The bridge was like a narrow wooden plank slung across the two mountain tops and had neither railings nor even ropes for protection. From the bridge, looking below, long way down, ran the treacherous rapids of a mighty river meandering through giant boulders.
One day, a mountain goat came along and wanted to go across the bridge to the other side of the mountain. The goat started walking over the narrow bridge. Mountain goats are sure-footed animals and are fearless mountain climbers.
At about the same time, another goat started crossing the bridge from the other end. The two goats came face to face in the middle of the bridge. The bridge being very narrow, the two goats could not go past one another. And there was no way the goats could make about turns. There was absolutely no possibility that the goats could turn back.
The second goat spoke arrogantly to the first goat: "You are obstructing my path. Get out of my way, you silly goat! I am in a hurry to go to the other side."
The first goat replied: "I was first to step on to the bridge and therefore I have the right to cross the bridge first."
The second goat retorted angrily: "I am the strongest goat around. I have never lost a fight with other goats. Look at my great big horns and think again. Either you quickly get out of my way or else…!"
The two goats started fighting. Their horns locked and it was indeed, a strange sight to behold. High up above on a narrow bridge two goats could not come to terms with each other. They threw caution overboard and as a result there ensued a battle between two fools. Both goats lost their balance and fell to their certain deaths.
After one week, by a strange co-incidence, two other goats started crossing the bridge from the opposite ends. One goat from this end of the bridge and the other goat from the other end. And the two goats met in the middle of the bridge.
The first goat spoke most politely: "I beg your pardon sir! It was too late when I realised that you were also crossing the bridge from the other end. Anyway, I am much younger than you are. I have been taught by my parents and by my teachers that I must respect my elders and that we should be gentle and kind to all creatures.
Furthermore, I remember the advice that when confronted with any problem, first offer a prayer to the Lord and seek His guidance. Problems and solutions always go together. Think of a bath-towel. If one end of the towel is where problems like to reside then the other end of the towel is where solutions reside. Both ends go together wherever the towel goes. Problems and solutions are inseparable. One has to merely search for the solution. I must first think about a clever solution."
The second goat said: "And what might that (solution) be?"
The first goat said: "Let me sit on this bridge with my head turned to one side so that you can slowly and carefully step over my back and cross over. I will then get up and be on my way."
Thus the two goats crossed the bridge safely.
Abdridged [Note: Dama-Dana-Daya. The first two letters of each of these three words are the same ‘Da’. Dama means Self Control. Dana means Give (Charity). Daya means Compassion.] Three classes of Prajapati’s sons lived a life of continence as students with their father Prajapati (the Creator)- the gods, men and demons. (Devas, manushyas and Asuras).
The gods on the completion of their term, said, "Please instruct us."
Prajapati told them the syllable ‘Da’ and asked, "Have you understood?"
The gods said: "Yes we have understood. You tell us to CONTROL OURSELVES."
Prajapati said: "Yes, you have understood".
Then the men said to Prajapati: "Please instruct us."
Prajapati told them the same syllable ‘Da’ and asked, "Have you understood?"
The men said: "Yes we have understood. You tell us to GIVE." Prajapati said: "Yes, you have understood."
Then the demons (Asuras) said to Prajapati: "Please instruct us." Prajapati told them the same syllable ‘Da’ and asked "Have you understood?"
The demons (Asuras) said: "yes we have understood. You tell us to HAVE COMPASSION."
Prajapati said: " Yes, you have understood." That very thing is repeated by the heavenly voice, the cloud (through thunders) as ‘Da’, ‘Da’, ‘Da’ : Control yourselves, Give and Have Compassion. Therefore one should learn these three – Self Control, Charity and Compassion.
For the devas, pleasures of the flesh (senses) was the temptation and the control of the senses was their ally.
Men are generally avaricious, selfish. Therefore Prajapati told them to have charitable heart. Give of their ability, time, wealth, service etc.
Demons (Asuras) are generally cruel and given to injuring others. They lack compassion and therefore the demons should learn about compassion and practice compassion (Daya).
The assembly of gods once met and decided to appoint a man to the position of Lord of Death, the official title being Lord Yama. They selected the most righteous man for this post. His duty was to take (escort) man at the proper time (upon death) to the celestial regions.
A man by the name of Amrita, living on earth, thought to himself that the one thing he feared most was death. He hit upon a bright idea that if he befriended the Lord of Death, then may be death can be kept at a distance. Amrita practised austerities and concentrated his mind upon Lord Yama, the Lord of Death. Lord Yama was pleased and granted a vision to Amrita. Lord Yama said: I know, by the aid of my divine powers, that you seek to befriend me. Your wish has come true. My presence is only available to those upon whose deaths my messengers or I take their souls to my domain. Those that are born must die and those who die will be born again. This is the eternal law. No one can escape death. Yet I grant you my vision while you are still living.
Amrita said: As a token of our friendship, I ask this favour of you. If death is inevitable, I ask that if I am to die, then at least let me know beforehand of the time when my end is to come so that I can make proper provision for my family before departure.
Lord Yama said: Sure, this is a simple matter. I shall certainly inform you beforehand. But as soon as you get the message, please set about making the preparations. With these words Lord Yama, the Lord of Death, disappeared.
Many years passed. Amrita’s hair began gradually to turn grey, but he was living happily with not a thought about the fear of death. His life was full of sensual pleasures and enjoyments. He did not look forward to receiving any correspondence from his friend, Lord Yama, and he was pleased that so far no letters had arrived from the Lord of Death.
Some more years passed by. By this time Amrita had lost most of his teeth. But he was living without any worries about death or dying. Still no letters had arrived from his friend, the Lord of Death.
As the years rolled by, Amrita’s eyesight became dimmer. Old age is catching up with me, he thought. But I am thankful that my friend has still not sent any letter addressed to me. I know that my friend, Lord Yama, always keeps his promise. He will surely send a message beforehand.
Some more years passed by. Amrita was now an old man who could not stand straight up. With his back bent forward, he could not walk without the support of a walking stick. His skin was all wrinkled. One day he suffered a stroke and became paralysed. People said his condition was very critical. But Amrita was still in a happy frame of mind. As long as his friend Lord Yama had not sent any letter, the thought of death and dying never entered his mind.
Then the inevitable happened. Lord Yama, the god of death, entered the room. Amrita was startled and his mind was seized with fear.
Lord Yama said: My friend, come now, you have suffered greatly. Today I have come to take you with me.
Amrita was trembling with extreme fear. He said: Alas, you have betrayed me. You have not kept your word. You did not send any letter to me. You have now come with your fearful form to take me away. Are you not ashamed to thus deceive a friend?
Lord Yama said: O man! You spent all your life in shameless sense indulgence. Now you cast aspersions on me, the Lord of justice. Pleasures and enjoyments made you blind. How then could you know the letters I sent you? Not one, but four letters did I send to you. But you heeded them not.
Amrita was greatly puzzled: Four letters did you say? But not one reached me. It is just possible that they may have gone astray in the post.
Lord Yama said: With all your cleverness you were fool enough to think that I would take up pen and paper to write letters to you. O deluded mortal! Time is my messenger who brought my messages to you. Now take your mind back in time and recollect, years ago, your hair turned grey. That was my first letter. You did not heed my message but blackened your hair with dye.
My second letter reached you when your teeth began to fall out. Then too, you took no warning, but got yourself a set of false teeth. My third letter was sent to you when your eyesight failed. The fourth message was when your body became paralysed.
Amrita said: Oh no! I have grievously erred. Unforgivable is my error. Yet once more I crave your indulgence, Lord Yama.
Lord Yama replied: Indulgence! What more indulgence is there for me to give? What use did you make of the priceless opportunity bestowed on you of the gift of this human birth? Sensual indulgence and drunkenness- with these you wasted your life. Wasting this precious human life, fie on you! Now you shamelessly ask for more time. Time for what?
Amrita said: O friend, remember our past friendship? Please recall those days now and bestow on me one more chance.
Lord Yama said: That friendship was of that time. Now it’s done. I come neither as friend nor as foe. I come as the dispenser of the granite law. This law is above love and above hatred. This law is just, true and impartial. No human servitor am I who for gifts or money would from duty’s path swerve. My course is straight and true to the end. I carry out the stern dictates of destiny. All mortals have to bend to my final mandate. This is the divine law. Now let us go.
Lord Yama, the god of death, puts the noose over the dying man’s neck. The man begins to gasp and then chokes. An agonised expression fills his face.
People said: Amrita is dead.
Doing good is a blessing to ourselves. Swami Vivekananda calls upon us to serve God in man, and gives the key to blessedness in the following words:
“We may all be perfectly sure that it will go on beautifully well without us, and we need not bother our heads wishing to help it. Yet, we must do good; the desire to do good is the highest motive power we have, if we know all the time that it is a privilege to help others. Do not stand on a high pedestal, and take five cents in your hand and say, ‘Here, my poor man,’ but be grateful that the poor man is there, so that by making a gift to him you are able to help yourself. It is not the receiver that is blessed, but it is the giver. Be thankful that you are allowed to exercise your power of benevolence and mercy in the world and thus become pure and perfect….
“No beggar whom we have helped has ever owed a single cent to us: we owe everything to him because he has allowed us to exercise our charity on him. It is entirely wrong to think that we have done, or can do, good to the world, to think that we have helped such and such people. It is a foolish thought, and all foolish thoughts bring misery. We think that we have helped some man and expect him to thank us, and because he does not, unhappiness comes to us. Why should we expect anything in return for what we do? Be grateful to the man you help, think of him as God. Is it not a great privilege to be allowed to worship God by helping our fellow men? If we were really unattached, we should escape all this vain expectation, and could cheerfully do good work in the world.”
****
During a period of devastating famine in his kingdom King Rantideva spent the whole of his wealth in feeding the hungry and the distressed. Deeply pained by the sufferings of his people and by way of atonement, the King undertook a fast for forty-eight days and did not take any food or even water during that period. On the forty-ninth day, when he was satisfied that almost all the hungry and the distressed in his kingdom had been well looked after, he decided to break his fast. Just as he was about to do so by taking a morsel of food and a cup of water he heard the piteous cry of a person of low caste (Pulkasa as he is called in the Purana), asking for water to quench his thirst. The King was then in the midst of his ministers and councillors. He stopped tasting the water placed before him and ordered that the cup be given to the Pulkasa. The people around him remonstrated strongly at this suicidal act on the part of the King. It was pointed out by them that it was too much on his part to take the risk of sacrificing his own life for the sake of a pulkasa after this long fast of nearly forty-eight days. Immediately afterwards the King began to take the morsel of food. Even for that food there came a guest at his doors. At this stage, Ranti Deva made the famous pronouncement recorded in fitting terms by Vyasa:
“I do not seek from the Supreme Lord the highest Bliss attended with the eight powers or siddhis. Nor do I care for apunarbhavam or cessation of the cycle of births and deaths. But my only desire is to be present in all beings, undergo suffering with them and serve them so that they may become free from misery.” In the next verse he continues to say:
“Hunger, thirst, fatigue, loss of strength in limbs, distress, languor, grief, disappointment, delusion – all these undesirable features of my distressed soul have all disappeared upon my giving water to one who was suffering from acute thirst.”
The Trimurtis, the rulers of the three worlds, revealed themselves to him and praised his heroic sacrifice and infinite mercy for his suffering fellow men. There can be no higher or nobler humanitarian ideal than the one revealed by this episode. Not only did Ranti Deva seek to relieve the misery of his fellow-men, but he also desired to so identify himself with them and become a part of them so as to undergo their suffering and thereby share their miserable predicament.
Mahatma Gandhi, took hold of this great teaching of the Srimad Bhagavatam as the inspiring motto of his life. He inscribed this verse in front of the Sabarmati Ashram founded by him for the inspiration and guidance of his followers. The fundamental basis of the great national movement started by Mahatma Gandhi was suffering and sacrifice for the liberation of his countrymen from foreign yoke.
. Three Basic Truths In This Story - this great utterance of Ranti Deva lays down three basic truths for the guidance of mankind:
1. The paramount duty of relieving the suffering of others both for moral purification and for bettering the lot of our brethren.
2. The doctrine of sharing the suffering of others both for moral purification and for lessening the burden of the sorrow.
3. This duty of relieving the suffering of others is greater than that of working for one’s own salvation or the attainment of moksha or of siddhis or miraculous powers.
The echo of Ranti Deva’s sacrifices we hear in the story told about the great English nobleman, Sir Philip Sydney, who, lying wounded in the battlefield, felt severe thirst on account of much loss of blood. He asked for a cup of water to quench his thirst. But finding another soldier in a similar distressing predicament by his side, Sir Philip offered the cup to the soldier instead of taking the water himself, saying: “Thy need is greater than mine.”
There are two other episodes in the Srimad Bhagavatam that very clearly illustrate the great ideals of service and sacrifice for the sake of the poor and the suffering. One is the story of Sage Dadeechi, who was deeply engrossed in tapas (austerities). During that time, Deva Loka was under the throes of a great struggle against the invading Asuras (demons). To stem the tide of the invasion was the task of Indra, the ruler of Deva Loka.Though Indra fought many battles, he could not succeed in resisting the invasion. He was advised by the Rishis that if he could improvise a bow made out of back-bone of the great Muni (Sage) Dadeechi, he could acquire the necessary powers to fight his foes successfully and rescue Deva Loka from them. While every one was afraid to approach the great sage with such a request, Indra made bold to go and seek his help in the matter. He pleaded with him and put forward the reason for such an extraordinary request on his part by pointing out his own miserable condition and the predicament of the Devas. Veda Vyasa very wisely queries through the mouths of the Devas:
“Is there anything that persons who are full of compassion cannot forsake? Surely, the world is selfish and does not understand the distress of others.” Dadeechi quickly reacted to these words of the Devas. He said: “Impelled by compassion and possessed of this transient body, he who does not desire Dharma or fame is to be pitied even by non-sentient beings like trees.”
Dadeechi thereupon quietly acceded to the request of Indra. By his powers of Yoga he gave up his life so that his backbone might be utilised for making the mighty bow, Vajrayudha. Dadeechi is considered in the Puranas as one of our earliest ancestors and he shines in this great country as the illustrious example of sacrifice for the sake of the liberation of the suffering from their distress. No sacrifice is too great for the noble-minded in this world. In fact, Dadeechi may be regarded as the starting point of the galaxy of saints that have adorned this great country.
In the same work (Srimad Bhagavatam), we have the thrilling episode of the famous King Mahabali. This king performed a great sacrifice in which he vowed to make generous gifts to all those who came and asked for anything from him. Lord Vishnu approached him in the guise of a dwarfish Brahmachari (celibate student) and asked for a gift of three feet of ground to be measured by his own diminutive feet. The preceptor of King Bali, Sukracharya, discovered who the Brahmachari was and for what purpose he was asking for such a gift. He tried to dissuade the King from his intended act of generosity. It was also pointed out by the Acharya that the Brahmachari would seize the place, the power and the wealth of the king and would hand them over to Indra. But the king stuck to his promise and propounded in the following weighty words the highest ideal of charity: “Righteous men like Dadeechi and Sibi do good to other beings even at the expense of their own lives, which are difficult to abandon. Then what concern should there be about land and such other things? It is even common to see men who fight in the battlefield without turning their back, give up their life. But it is rare to see those who would make a gift to a deserving person.”
What is meant by this is that at the spur of the moment or in a fit of heroic anger a person may give up his life in the battlefield fighting the enemy. But in a calm moment in ordinary life he will not give up his wealth to a deserving person approaching him for help and assistance. Saying this, King Bali stuck to his promise in spite of the remonstrations of his preceptor, lost his entire kingdom and came to grief. Here again we have the instance of a person who pursued this glorious ideal of charity and sacrificed his all for the sake of it. In the historic pronouncement of King Bali quoted above, the King gives the example of Dadeechi and Sibi.
The story of king Sibi is a brilliant and thrilling one. It is found in the Mahabharata, Aranya parva, adhyayas 130-131.
To test the high character of Sibi, Indra assumed the form of a falcon and pursued a dove to kill it. In dire distress, the dove approached the King and asked for refuge. Moved by intense compassion Sibi readily promised succour. The falcon that pursued the dove came to King Sibi and remonstrated with him that it was pursuing the dove, which was its natural food. The falcon demanded that the King should hand over the dove. But the king said that he had given promise to the dove to save its life and therefore he was unable to accede to this demand. Thereupon the falcon asked King Sibi to give up a portion of his flesh, to be equal in weight to that of the dove for satisfying its own hunger. King Sibi readily agreed to do so and began to cut a portion of his thigh and weighed it in the balance against the dove. But the weight of the dove was greater. Thereupon, the King proceeded to cut other portions of the flesh from his body and weighed them in the balance. Still, it was found that the dove was heavier in weight. Finally, the King placed himself in the pan offering the flesh of his whole body to the falcon.
When this climax was reached, the falcon assumed its real form as Indra and praised the King for his heroic sacrifice for the sake of the dove and said: “Your fame will last so long as the world lasts.”
The story of King Sibi is unique in many respects. Not only do we find illustrated therein the unbounded love which a person should entertain towards all beings including birds and beasts, but also the paramount duty of protecting even at the risk of one’s own life for anybody who seeks refuge. This duty relates even to the beings other than one’s own kind like the bird in the story. Rightly as Indra said, the fame of King Sibi has been enshrined not only in our great epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata but also in the literatures of our other regional languages.
Tiruvalluvar was a saint who lived in Tamil Nadu over two thousand years ago. Very little is known of him. He lived in Mylapore, which today is a part of the city of Chennai (Madras). Many stories have been written about his greatness. However, most scholars today find it rather difficult to sift out fact from fiction.
Tiruvalluvar was married to Vasuki, who was a chaste and pious woman. She was an ideal housewife. Soon after they married, Valluvar was one day seated at his supper table and about to start his meal, when he said: "My dear Vasuki, kindly place alongside my supper a tiny bowl of water, as well as a toothpick. Will you please do this every day?"
Vasuki dutifully obeyed, asking no questions. Every day, without fail, she would place this tiny bowl of water and a needle alongside her husband’s supper. But strangely, Valluvar seemed to have no use for either! Years went by, but neither the water nor the needle was used. Yet, Vasuki did not waver in her duty even once.
It was only on his deathbed that Valluvar, perceiving a troubled look on her face asked, "What is troubling you, dear Vasuki? Please tell me." Vasuki said: "My dear lord, for many years now, I have pondered as to the reason behind my lord’s strange request that a needle accompanied by a little water be placed on your supper table. I am troubled that the secret may be buried along with my revered lord and husband.""
Valluvar smiled and said gently: "Dear Vasuki, you are a devoted wife and have served me very well all these years. Kindly forgive me for not explaining to you earlier the reason for my request to you. You see, if a grain of rice or a morsel of food accidentally fell onto the table while I was eating, it would be a great sin to let such food go to waste. With the needle available, I could easily pick up the fallen food, rinse it in the water you so kindly provided, and eat it thereafter. Food would thus not go wasted."
Is it not marvellous that the famous poet dropped not even a grain of rice in all the years that he was married to Vasuki! We too, can practise and master the art of eating correctly, if we put our mind to it. This delightful story tells us what kind of a person Tiruvalluvar was.
Also study the spirit of perfect obedience in the devoted Vasuki. If aspirants can have such unquestioning obedience to their Guru, they would soon crush the ego, which is the root of all pain and suffering. You too, should try hard to obey your teachers and parents at every opportunity. This is the key to success and happiness.
Valluvar was a philosopher, that is, a man of great wisdom. He gave the world a most wonderful gift in the form of the Tirukkural.
The great scholar and statesman, Sri Rajagopalachari said: "Tiruvalluvar was one of those rare and great men whose catholic spirit rose above all kinds of castes and creeds, and whose vision was not clouded by dogma or prejudice of any kind".
The saintly Tiruvalluvar and his devoted wife Vasuki have been held as perfect ideals of the Hindu household life ever since they left this earth.
A rich man had a garden and two gardeners. One of these gardeners was very lazy and did not work; but when the owner came to the garden, the lazy man would get up and fold his arms and say : “How beautiful is the face of my master”, and dance before him. The other gardener would not talk much, but would work hard, and produce all sorts of fruits and vegetables which he would carry on his head to his master who lived a long way off. Of these two gardeners, which would be more beloved of his master? Shiva is that master, and this world is His garden, and there are two sorts of gardeners here; the one who is lazy, hypocritical, and does nothing, only talking about Shiva’s beautiful eyes and nose and other features; and the other, who is taking care of Shiva’s children, all those that are poor and weak, all animals, and all His creation. Which of these would be the more beloved of Shiva? Certainly he that serves His children. He who wants to serve the father must serve the children first. He who wants to serve Shiva must serve His children – must serve all creatures in this world first. It is said in the Shastras (scriptures) that those who serve the servants of God are His greatest servants. So you will bear this in mind.
Let me tell you again that you must be pure and help any one who comes to you, as much as lies in your power. And this is good Karma. By the power of this, the heart becomes pure (Chitta-shuddhi), and then Shiva who is residing in everyone will become manifest. He is always in the heart of everyone. If there is dirt and dust on a mirror, we cannot see our image. So ignorance and wicked ness are the dirt and dust that are on the mirror of our hearts. Selfishness is the chief sin, thinking of ourselves first.
He who thinks, “I will eat first, I will have more money than others, and I will possess everything”, he who thinks, “I will get to heaven before others, I will get Mukti (liberation) before others” is the selfish man. The unselfish man says, “I will be last, I do not care to go to heaven, I will even go to hell if by doing so I can help my brothers.”



PUJA & CEREMONIES
(Om Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah)
Tilak is a mark of auspiciousness. It is put on the forehead with sandal paste, sacred ashes or kumkum (red tumeric). The devotees of Siva apply sacred ashes (Bhasma) on the forehead, the devotees of Vishnu apply sandal paste (Chandan), and the worshippers of Devi or Shakti apply Kumkum, a red tumeric powder. The scriptures say: "A forehead without a Tilak, a woman without a husband, a Mantra the meaning of which is not known while doing Japa (recitation), the head that does not bend before holy personages, a heart without mercy, a house without a well, a village without a temple, a country without a river, a society without a leader, wealth that is not given away in charity, a preceptor without a disciple, a country without justice, a king without an able minister, a woman not obedient to her husband, a well without water, a flower without smell, a soul devoid of holiness, a field without rains, an intellect without clearness, a disciple who does not consider his preceptor as a form of God, a body devoid of health, a custom (Achar) without purity, austerity devoid of fellow-feeling, speech in which truth is not the basis, a country without good people, work without wages, Sannyasa without renunciation, legs that have not performed pilgrimages, determination unaided by Viveka or discrimination, a knife which is blunt, a cow that does not give milk, a spear without a point- all these are worthy of condemnation. They exist for name’s sake only."
From this you can imagine the importance of Tilak or the sacred mark. Tilak is applied at the Ajna Chakra, the space between the two eyebrows. It has a very cooling effect. Application of sandal paste has great medicinal value, apart from the spiritual influence. Application of sandal paste will nullify the heating effect when you concentrate and meditate at the Bhrumadhya. Tilak indicates the point at which the spiritual eye opens. Lord Siva has a third eye at the Brumadhya. When he opens the third eye, the three worlds are destroyed.
So also, when the third eye of the Jiva is opened, the three kinds of afflictions – Adhyatmika, Adhidaivika and Adhibhautika- are burnt to ashes. The three Karmas- Sanchita, Prarabdha and Agami,- and also all the sins committed in the countless previous births, are burnt. When you apply the Tilak, you mentally imagine: "I am the one non-dual Brahman free from all duality. May my eye of intuition open soon." You should remember this every time you apply a Tilak.
There are various methods of applying Tilak. Saivas apply three horizontal lines with the sacred ashes. The vaishnavas apply three vertical lines (Tripundra) on the forehead. When they apply Tilak, they say: "O Lord, protect me from the evil effects of the Trigunatmika Maya which has Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas as its binding cords."
Some Vaishnavas apply only one vertical line. Only the method of application differs, but the significance is the same in both the Vaishnavas and the Saivas.
Disciplines such as religious fasting etc. that entail merits are generally called Vrat. To accept some rules of discipline is in itself a Vrat. For any advancement in life we have to accept some restrictive disciplines. A river is bound by the banks, tree is bound to earth, the strings of Sitar (musical instrument) are also bound and thereby music is produced. The essence of Himadri-Vrat chapter describes Vrat as a special undertaking, keeping some goal in mind, and making a resolution about it. In the spiritual field, to apply control over the pleasures of our sense organs, a solemn vow to observe regulatory discipline- that is Vrat.
The one who undertakes to observe Vrat is called Vratdhaari. He lives within the bounds of his vows, ever anxious to upkeep noble ideals. By being rock steady in the observance of Vrat and vows adds power to internal consciousness and that is why the followers of Vaidic culture, upon their children attaining understanding age, make them undergo the Yajnopavit (sacred thread) ceremony that urges them to a life within restrictive bounds. Those people whose life is devoid of any goal, Vrat, noble ideal or duty, are not able to achieve or do anything of importance.
Vrat is a resolution with a special purpose in mind. Great power is enfolded within such resolution. Great accomplishments like the creation of the universe, are achieved through such powers. The Upanishads describe this as "Ekoham Bahushyami…" God (Ishwar) bethought Himself ‘I will manifest and assume diverse names and forms’. He then underwent austerity. Meaning that resolution was made to encompass (Aitereya Upanishad).
Ishwar then prepared the five Tanmatras (subtle elements), and with the aid of resolution activated them (Aitereya Upanishad ½). In the beginning all this was Atman (God) – one only. Besides Him there was no other for company. This Super soul then bethought Himself ‘This is My firm decision to create human beings’ (Aitereya Upanishad). The Rishis hint at the cryptic message that the great work like the creation of the universe was also accomplished only through (the aid of) resolution.
Resolution is a means to awaken our dormant powers. Just as a person will employ all his powers to (successfully) attain any difficult objective, in the same way, to accomplish the objective of his resolution, he gathers all his powers and uses them. In the manner of the feebleness of the scattered rays of the sun that have no effect on paper or cloth but can burn if they are concentrated (as through a magnifying glass), if a man gathers his unsteady mind and directs it to accomplishing a single task, his purpose will become fruitful. To make a resolution means to concentrate one’s powers.
In each field of activity in our lives, resoluteness of purpose is necessary to tread on the path of progress. Mahatma Gandhi said, "Life without solemness of purpose is like a house without foundation". The strength of such solemnness of purpose is what makes this world endure. Not to have such solemness of purpose means to live with wavering indecision. Lack of courage to adopt a resolution is a sign of weakness. Such people are unable to successfully tackle any job. According to Mr. James Allan, "As a matter of fact, the greatest weakness (shortcoming) of man is his lack of resoluteness of purpose". To remove this weakness, Vrats have been assigned a pride of place in Hindu religion. Through practice firm decisions become a matter of routine. The practical aspect of Vrat is closely linked to regulation of diet. When the observance of proper dietary principles becomes a habit, then, no matter what his field of activity is, such person’s resoluteness of purpose will always make him a leader. Thus for material and spiritual developments in life, it is absolutely necessary to cultivate the habit of Vrat.
Vrat does not mean instant liberation from sins (faults) but rather a resolution to the effect that from today, with complete purposefulness, we will try to progress towards our chosen goal, and will mend any mistakes. We shall fight the tendencies of laziness and procrastination that reside in the mind. The meaning of Vrat is, with firmness of purpose, make a resolution to progress in the direction of perfection. To err is human, but to be perfect is possible when we reach the heights of Sadhanaa (spiritual disciplines). Vrat is undertaken to reach such a stage.
Vrat is a kind of austerity. ‘Tapo dvandva sahanam’. Tap (austerity) means, for achieving any auspicious goal, in our (daily) life, be prepared to face with equanimity happiness and sorrow. This is the key to success in any field of activity. Tap (austerity) is the father of powers and accomplishments. Where there is Tap (austerity), there are to be found power, liberation, heaven, happiness, peace, bliss, wealth, knowledge, fame, and all. Any person who wants to lead a noble life must adopt Tap (austerity or Vrat) as his companion. All great people who have achieved success in the world have Tap (Vrat) hidden in their background. Those who do not undertake austerities (Tap or Vrat) face failures in their lives and blame destiny (for their failures). Despairing, they are not aware that they have dug up the very foundations of destiny and success. Merely to observe the regulations regarding fasting is not a Vrat but proper conduct, love, disciplines, honesty, good manners, non-stealing, truth, non-killing (non-violence), unselfishness, etc., and with firmness of purpose to take a vow to practice these virtues, is also called a Vrat. The greatest Vrat is with resoluteness of purpose, to eliminate from our lives demoniac tendencies and to develop (acquire) godly qualities (daivy sampat or divine wealth).
Vrat bestows all kinds of advantage at the physical and spiritual levels. During the observance of vrat, one either completely abstains from food, or partly abstains from food and this gives physiological rest to the digestive apparatus, which in turn awakens and increases the digestive power, leading to ease (comfort) of digestion and purification of the mind. The basis of all these is dependant on healthy digestive apparatus and purity of mind. The physical body of a person who regularly observes Vrat remains free of disease. Vrat helps to prepare the proper mental groundwork for contemplation and meditation. Persons who over indulge in food exhibit grosser thoughts and intellect. To sharpen the intellect, our scriptures prescribe the sacred precept of Vrat. The thoughts that are produced on the day of Vrat embed their powerful influence on the mind. The preceptors of our religion have woven stories and morals around Vrat that inspire us and help us make our lives full of strength (full of confidence and virtues).
The fasting aspect of Vrat makes the mind strong and increases its firmness and the stories connected with Vrat, if their purport is understood, can transform the life of a person. Today, unfortunately, people listen to the stories for their entertainment values and do not attempt to understand the significance that lies buried within the stories and also do not apply their teachings in their lives.
In the Mahabharata, Santi parva (162-10) the following is written about Satya:
"That which is immutable, imperishable, eternal, everlasting, and is not subject to change, in other words, is ever the same".
There are two paths laid out in front of our lives. Prakriti (nature or matter) and Satyanarayana. There is ignorance on one side and bright sunshine of knowledge on the other side. There is darkness on one side and a heap of light shining brightly on the other side. The Upanishad provides guidance in life: "Asato Ma Sadgamaya, Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya, Mrityorma Amritam Gamaya". Satyanarayana Vrat points to the same direction. To progress on the path of truth is the main purpose of Satya Narayana Vrat. Come, let us all learn to observe Vrat in its true spirit (after understanding its true meaning).



MANTRAS AND SACRED FIRE CEREMONY
(Mantra-Sacred Fire, Havan-Agnihotra-Yagna-Homa)
Agni (fire) is the deity that represents all the other deities. Agni is said to be the mouth of the gods. Agni is known as the messenger of the gods. Whatever man has to say to the gods, to the higher powers, he conveys it through Agni. All the gods are fed through Agni. Agni is the link with the Supreme Lord of all the worlds. Agnihotra or Havan is a primary and fundamental rite during the performance of which oblations to the Supreme are offered in the consecrated fire. The rite is usually performed in the external fire in which the Supreme is invoked. "I am the brilliance in the fire." Gita "The deities are said to have Agni for their mouth" –The Mahabharata, Santi Parva
"Agni is Vishnu. Entering all creatures, he upholds their life-breaths." -The Mahabharata, Santi Parva.
Yajnas link human beings with the hidden cosmic forces called DEVAS. "The great elements starting from Space to Earth are grosser than the former ones. Of these five SPACE and AIR are formless and cannot be comprehended by eyes. The WATER and EARTH are grosser in that order and have form and shape. The element FIRE is formless when unmanifest and attains form while manifested. It is therefore a bridge (link) between the manifest world and the unmanifest world. Therefore fire is the conveyor of all the offerings to the formless manifestation of Pitris and gods and other deities. It is fire who accepts the offerings of forms from the world of mortals and conveys it to the world." -Swami Anubhavananda.
I am the kratu (a kind of Vedic sacrifice), I am Yajna, I am the offering (food) to the manes; I am the medicinal herb and all the plants; I am the mantra; I am also the ghee or the melted butter; I am the fire; I am the oblation. - Gita, Chapter 9
It is unto Krishna (the Supreme Lord) that the sacrificial priests pour their libations. It is unto Him that people dedicate diverse kinds of food. He is the soul of the deities and human beings, and Pitris. It is He who is the Sacrifice performed by those persons that are conversant with the rituals of sacrifices. The Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva
The sacred fire waits for libations to be pourd, upon it when the hour for Homa arrives. -The Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva.
Five great daily sacrifices: 1. Brahma Yajna or Veda Yajna. 2. Deva Yajna. 3. Pitri Yajna. 4. Bhuta Yajna. 5. Manushya Yajna.
What is the significance behind chanting of Veda mantras and the mantras connected with the havan ceremony? Man`s body is filled with innate intelligence. Through speaking words of confidence and power over and over, man gains conscious attention of the intelligence within the organs of the body.. as he continues speaking words of power, that innate intelligence is tapped and it releases increased life and substance into the mind, body and affairs of man.
“Modern metaphysicians are rediscovering the fantastic powers released through spoken words. By certain arrangements of words, such as in Veda mantras, a tremendous vibratory force could be set upon in the invisible which profoundly affects physical and metaphysical substance in the body of man.” James Newton Powell
According to the rishis (seers) the mantras are the living body of the luminous inner truth of which they sing, a truth which does not reveal itself to the busy conceptual mind as readily as to the more receptive inner audience of unbounded awareness unfolded through meditation.There are four different levels of languages describing four domains of Vedic experience.
1. Language of communication or everyday speech. The gross physical level of articulate speech (Vaikhari).
2. Language of ritual, the rhythmic sacrificial language of chant.Language as `thought', which is not yet spoken (Madhyama).
3. Language of illumination, of vision. The level of luminous, `flashlike' intuitive' `seeing' speech (Pasyanti)
4. Language of eternity, of imperishable silence. The silent, unbounded, absolute level of speech (Para).
Speech reveals herself only to the seer, the one she loves. Speech is born of tapas (austerity) and throughout the Vedic literature is related to Agni (fire). Mystics of all ages have discovered the relationship between the repetition of sound and an inner fire, and these take the mind to profound depths and eventually spiritual illumination. The rhythmically formulated word, with its tendency towards rhyme, its alliteration, assonance and other types of repetition make it an instrument of power. The sound of such words is often of greater importance than their meaning, which has often been lost. Intoned speech becomes experienced as inner light.
The Veda is eternal and of non-human origin. The transcendance of the seer might give birth to an entirely new utterance, a new mantra, finite and localised when heard by the mundane sense of hearing, but with its origins in the infinite, and capable of again revealing the Infinite to the seer. The function of the Vedic mantras is to reveal their own inner being.
The entire body of Vedic knowledge is Vac-(goddess of speech, Sarasvati)- with combinations and permutations of sound- in all its various degrees of manifestation. The meaning of the mantra is known not by attending to the semantic meaning, but by attending to the tendencies- the dynamics of sound. One of the Vedic or Yogic method of gaining knowledge is organised on the level of sound. Within the tendencies of the sounds of the mantras lie the method of gaining knowledge of the 'object' the mantra describes.
The Vedic mantras possess the impulses or tendencies which constitute the knowledge of these 'objects'. Thus there is a close relationship between sound and form. This knowledge is on the level of pulsating consciousness. The Veda is a supreme example of a type of poetry in which the life of the symbol corresponds so intimately with the truth it clothes that it is indeed the living form of that truth. There are, residing within the language of the Veda, a hierarchy of potencies, indwelling powers of speech which inspire by means of sound and a transcendental logic.
Image, sound and sense were indissolubly united to forge luminous language- symbols capable of conveying the most orient hues of the imperishable. The mantras are secret words, seer wisdoms, which utter their indwelling meaning to the seer prepared by tapas. The uncanny longevity of these hhymns (mantras) can be attributed to the fact that they are in such intimate contact with the eternal. The mantras are self- revealing, preserved by the imperishable for those who would seek their indwelling dimensions. The mantras exist in a supreme, imperishable location, in which all the gods are seated. By the friction between the worshipper and the mantra (mind instrument), Om, the inner fire is the kindled and the highest Truth is seen.
Om sarveshaam swastir bhavatu, Srveshaam shantir bhavatu, Sarveshaam poornam bhavatu, Srveshaam mangalam bhavatu
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, Sarve santu niraamayaah, Sarve bhadraani pashyantu, Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet
Auspiciousness (swasti) be unto all; peace (shanti) be unto all; fullness (poornam) be unto all; prosperity (mangalam) be unto all. May all be happy! (sukhinah) May all be free from disabilities! (niraamayaah) May all look (pashyantu)to the good of others! May none suffer from sorrow! (duhkha)
Om asato maa satgamaya, Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya, Mrityor maa amritam gamaya.
Lead us from the unreal to the Real, From darkness to Light, From death to Immortality
Om poornamadah poornamidam, Poornaat poornamudachyate, Poornasya poornamaadaya, Poornamevaavashishyate
That (pure consciousness) is full (perfect); this (the manifest universe of matter; of names and forms being maya) is full. This fullness has been projected from that fullness. When this fullness merges in that fullness, all that remains is fullness.
- Peace invocation -Isa Upanishad Om sham no mitrah sham varunah sham no bhavatvaryamaa, Sham na indro brihaspatih sham no vishnururukramah
Namo brahmane namaste vaayo twameva pratyaksham, Brahmaasi twaameva pratyaksham brahma vadishyaami
Tanmaamavatu tadvaktaaramavatu, Avatu maam avatu vaktaaram.Om shantih shantih shantih!
May Mitra, Varuna and Aryama be good to us! May Indra and Brihaspati and Vishnu of great strides be good to us! Prostrations unto Brahman! (Supreme Reality). Prostrations to Thee, O Vayu! Thou art the visible Brahman. I shall proclaim Thee as the visible Brahman. I shall call Thee the just and the True. May He protect the teacher and me! May he protect the teacher! Om peace, peace, peace!
Om saha naavavatu sahanau bhunaktu Saha veeryam karavaavahai, Tejasvi naavadheetamastu maa vidvishaavahai. Om shantih shantih shantih
May He protect us both (teacher and the taught)! May He cause us both to enjoy the bliss of Mukti (liberation)! May we both exert to discover the true meaning of the sacred scriptures! May our studies be fruitful! May we never quarrel with each other! Let there be threefold peace.
Namaste sate te jagat kaaranaaya, Namaste chite sarva lokaashrayaaya, Namo dvaita tattwaaya mukti pradaaya Namo brahmane vyaapine shaashvataaya
Salutations to that Being, the cause of the universe! Salutations to that Consciousness, the support of all the worlds! Salutations to that One Truth without a second, which gives liberation! Salutations to that pure, eternal Brahman who pervades all regions!
Om yaschandasaamrishabho vishwaroopah Chhandobhyo dhyamritaat sambabhoova. Sa mendro medhayaa sprinotu, Amritasya devadhaarano bhooyaasam. Shareeram me vicharshanam, Jihwaa me madhumattamaa. Karnaabhyaam bhoori vishruvam, Brahmanah Koshoasi medhayaapihitah. Shrutam me gopaaya, Om shantih shantih shantih!
May He, the Lord of all, pre-eminent among the Vedas and superior to the nectar contained in them, bless me with wisdom! May I be adorned with the knowledge of Brahman that leads to immortality! May my body become strong and vigorous (to practise meditation)! May my tongue always utter delightful words! May I hear much with my ears! Thou art the scabbard of Brahman hidden by worldly taints (not revealed by impure, puny intellects). May I never forget all that I have learnt! Om peace, peace, peace!
Om aham vrikshasya rerivaa, Keertih prishtham gireriva. Urdhwapavitro vaajineeva swamritamasmi, Dravinam savarchasam. Sumedhaa amritokshitah, Iti trishankor vedaanu vachanam, Om shantih, shantih, shantih! Meaning:
I am the destroyer of the tree (of samsar; worldly life). My reputation is as high as the top of the hill. I am in essence as pure as the sun. I am the highest treasure. I am all-wise, immortal and indestructible. This is Trishanku’s realisation. Om peace, peace, peace!
Om aapyaayantu mamaangaani vaak, Praanashchakshuh shrotramatho. Balamindriyaani cha sarvaani sarvam, brahmopanishadam, Maaham brahma niraakuryaam maa maa brahma niraakarod, Niraakaranamastva niraakaranam me astu, Tadaatmani nirate ya upanishatsu dharmaaste. Mayi santu te mayi santu., Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
May my limbs, speech, Prana, eye, ear and power of all my senses grow vigorous! All is the pure Brahman of the Upanishads. May I never deny that Brahman! May that Brahman never desert me! Let that relationship endure. Let the virtues recited in the Upanishads be rooted in me. May they repose in me! Om peace. peace. peace!
Om vaang me manasi pratishthitaa, Mano me vaachi pratishthitam. Aaveeraaveerma edhi vedasya ma aanisthah, Shrutam me maa prahaaseer anenaadheetena Ahoraatraan samdadhaami ritam vadishyaami, Satyam vadishyaami tanmaamavatu tadvaktaaramavatu Avatu maam avatu vaktaaram avatu vaktaaram, Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Let my speech be rooted in my mind. Let my mind be rooted in my speech. Let Brahman (Supreme Reality) reveal Himself to me. Let my mind and speech enable me to grasp the truths of the Vedas. Let not what I have heard forsake me. Let me spend both day and night continuously in study. I think truth, I speak the truth. May that Truth protect me! May that Truth protect the teacher! Let peace prevail against heavenly, worldly and demoniacal troubles. Om peace, peace, peace!
Om bhadram no apivaataya manah., Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Salutations! May my mind and all these (the body, senses, reath etc.) be good and well! Om peace, peace. peace!
Om bhadram karnebhih shrunuyaama devaah, Bhadram pashyemaakshabhiryajatraah Sthirairangaistushtuvaamsastanoobhih, Vyashema devahitam yadaayuh Swasti na indro vridhashravaah, Swasti nah pooshaa vishwavedaah Swasti nastaarkshyo arishtanemih, Swasti no brihaspatir dadhaatu. Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
Om, O worshipful ones, may our ears hear what is good and auspicious! May we see what is auspicious! May we sing your praise, live our allotted span of life in perfect health and strength! May Indra (who is) extolled in the scriptures, Pushan, the all-knowing Trakshya, who saves from all harm, and Brihaspati who protects our spiritual lustre, vouchsafe prosperity in our study of the scriptures and the practice of the truths contained therein! Om peace, peace, peace! Om yo brahmaanam vidadhaati poorvam, Yo vai vedaanshcha prahinoti tasmai. Tam ha devmaatma buddhi prakaasham, Mumukshurvai sharanamaham prapadye Om shantih, shantih, shantih!
He who creates this entire universe in the beginning, and He about whom the Vedas gloriously praise and sing, in Him I take refuge with the firm faith and belief that my intellect may shine with Self-knowledge. Om peace, peace, peace!
Om vishwaani deva savitar duritaani paraasuva, Yad bhadram tanma aasuva
O all pervading, Supreme Lord, the effulgent Creator, we place our faith and trust entirely in Thee. Keep away from us all that is evil and bestow upon us all that is good.
Om agne naya supathaa raaye asmaan, Vishwaani deva vayunaani vidvaan; Yuyodhyas majjuhu raanmeno, Bhooyishthaam te nama-uktim vidhema.
O Supreme Lord, who art light and wisdom, Thou knowest all our thoughts and deeds. Lead us by the right path to the fulfilment of life, and keep us away from all sin and evil. We offer unto Thee, O Lord, our praise and salutation.
Tvamekam sharanyam tvamekam varenyam, Tvamekam jagatpaalakam svaprakaasham; Tvamekam jagatkartu paatruprahartru, Tvamekam param nishchalam nirvikalpam.
O Thou my only refuge, O Thou my one desire, O Thou the one protector of the world, the radiant One. O Thou the creator, sustainer and dissolver of the whole world, O Thou the one great motionless Being, free from change and modification.
Vayam tvaam smaraamo vayam tvaam bhajaamo, Vayam tvaam jagat saakshiroopam namaamah; Sadekam nidhaanam niraalambameesham, Bhavaambhodhi potam sharanyam vrajaamah.
O Thou eternal all-pervading witness of the whole universe, we meditate on the one Truth. We silently adore Thee and offer Thee our salutation. We take complete refuge in that one Almighty Being, the basis of everything, self-supporting and supreme, a vessel in the stormy sea of life.
Om dyauh shaantih Antariksham shaantih, Prithivee shaantih Aapah shaantih, Oshadhayah shaantih Vanaspatayah shaantih, Vishvedevaah shaantih Brahma shaantih, Sarvam shaantih Shaantireva shaantih, Saamaa shaantiredhih Om shaantih, shaantih, shaantih!
O Supreme Lord, Thy celestial regions are full of peace and harmony; peace reigns on Thy earth and Thy waters. Thy herbs and trees are full of peace. All Thy forces of nature are full of peace and harmony. There is peace and perfection in Thy eternal knowledge; everything in the universe is peaceful, and peace pervades everywhere. O Lord, may that peace come to me!
May peace radiate there in the whole sky as well as in the vast ethereal space everywhere. May peace reign all over this earth, in water and in all herbs, trees and creepers. May peace flow over the whole universe. May peace be in the Supreme Being Brahman. And may there always exist in all peace and peace alone.
Om peace, peace and peace to us and all beings!
Sri Ramakrishna: "What are you saying? You will call on God and He will not listen? He is omnipresent and omniscient. How do you know that He does not listen to your prayers? You have no faith, so you are doubting Him."
The goal of the Upanishadic teachings is the attainment of the unitive knowledge of Brahman (God). This knowledge is incompatible with rituals in any form, which naturally presupposes a distinction between the doer, the instrument of action, and the result. But direct knowledge of God can be attained only by a fortunate few who are altogether free of worldly desires and attachments and who have practised uncompromising discrimination and renunciation. The minds of average seekers are restless and attached to the world. Dharma teachers say that spiritual life begins with symbolic worship but in the end such worship is transcended. According to the Puranas, to see God everywhere naturally and spontaneously represents the highest spiritual stage. Meditation comes second. In the third place is worship through symbols and fourth is the performance of rituals and pilgrimage to sacred places. According to another text, worship through images is the preliminary stage. Next higher is the recital of Mantras and the offering of prayers. Superior to that is mental worship, and the highest of all is contemplation of the Absolute (God).
The adept sees God everywhere, but the weaker devotee requires a concrete support. As the pilgrim makes his progress, he goes from the lower to the higher form of worship. After reaching the goal, he sees the same godhead everywhere – in images, stones, nature, in all living beings, and in his own heart.
One of the means of gradually acquiring inner calmness is ritualistic worship. According to Vedantic teachers, rituals, in order to be effective, should be accompanied by meditation. Meditative worship called upasana, is directed to the saguna (with form) Brahman (God), that is to say, the conditioned Brahman, or to any other deity approved by the scriptures. Upasana is described as a mental activity; the mind of the worshipper should flow without interruption toward the object of worship.
The mechanical performance of rituals without meditation has very little immediate spiritual value. But rituals are conducive to deeper concentration, which has a real spiritual significance.
The physical symbols used in the popular religion of India are classified into two groups:
1. They may be natural objects such as the sun, a river, fire, or a special piece of stone.
2. They may be images or pictures. These symbols remind the devotees of certain aspects , powers, and attributes of the Godhead; through it one contemplates the Godhead. All worship and contemplation, in so far as they are mental activities, are symbolic. To see God everywhere and to practice the presence of God uninterruptedly is not possible for the beginner. So he is asked to see God wherever there is a manifestation of His power, splendour, beauty and love.



RITUALS
Rituals of religion, like the husk of a seed preserve its life and make it germinate. Philosophy without religion becomes meaningless. Religion without rituals becomes insipid. The rituals of a religion, like the husk of a seed, preserves its life and make it germinate. It is only when the rituals are separated from the faith and assume an independent existence that they become mechanical and lifeless.
Human beings have not yet reached those heights where they can dispense with all sorts of symbols and rituals and devote themselves to purely abstract principles. Rituals give a concrete shape to the abstract spiritual ideals and add colour and zest to life.
Worship of God through symbols and images, offering oblations into specially consecrated sacrificial fires, the practice of meditation at sunrise, noon and sunset,- these were some of the rituals obligatory on almost all the Hindus during the ancient days. Even to this day, these have been kept up, though in a modified form, and with lesser intensity.
A wisely planned and solemnly conducted ritual prepares the ground, creates the atmosphere, suggests the mood and predisposes the mind so that the spiritual aspirant may easily detach himself from the world and feel the mysterious presence of the Supreme power called God.
To such a living form of a Deity is the worship offered, in which not only the mind and heart but the whole body of the worshipper participates. Traditionally this worship has sixteen stages:-
1. Asana - seating of the image, 2. Svaagat - welcome of the Deity, 3. Paadya - water to cleanse the feet, 4. Arghya –offerings, 5. Aachman - water for sipping and cleaning the lips, 6. Aachman -offered again, 7. Madhuparka - honey, ghee, milk and curds, 8. Snaan - water to bathe the Deity, 9. Vastra – garments, 10. Aabharana ( ornaments), 11. Gandha - sandal paste or perfume, 12. Pushpa – flowers, 13. Dhupa – incense, 14. Dipa – light, 15. Naivedya - food for consecration, 16. Vandana - prayerful homage.
Abhisheka is a part of the worship of Lord Siva. Without it, the worship is incomplete. It is the ceremonial bathing of the Siva Lingam in Siva temples.
A pot made of copper or brass, with a tiny hole in the centre, is kept hanging over the image or Lingam of Siva. The water drips (falls) on the image throughout the day and night. Pouring water, milk, ghee (clarified butter), curd, honey or coconut water over the Lingam is also Abhisheka. Whilst this is done, the Rudram is chanted loudly with devotion and love. Lord Siva is invoked by performing this Abhisheka.
Monday is a very important day for worshipping Lord Siva. The thirteenth day (Pradosha) of the bright and dark fortnights is also considered sacred. On these days, devotees of Lord Siva offer special worship with plenty of prasad.
The water of the Abhisheka is considered very sacred. It is known to grant great benefits on the devotees who take it as the Lord’s prasad. It purifies the heart and destroys countless sins. You should take it with intense faith and devotion.
When you perform Abhisheka with devotion, your mind is concentrated. Your heart is filled with divine thoughts and with the image of the Lord. You forget your body and your surroundings. Egoism vanishes. When the body is forgotten, you begin to enjoy and taste the eternal bliss of Lord Siva. The recitation of Mantras during the Abhisheka purifies the mind.
The greatest and the highest Abhisheka is to pour the waters of pure love on the Lingam in the lotus of the heart. The external Abhisheka with objects is intended to lead to this internal Abhisheka, wherein there is a flow of pure love.
The sacred prasad of the Lord and the holy water of the Abhisheka purify the heart if taken with faith and devotion. They can bring peace and prosperity.
Incurable diseases are cured by performing Abhisheka. It bestows health, wealth, prosperity, peace of mind and purity of heart. It expands the heart. It calls for self-sacrifice and self-surrender. There must be a natural feeling in the heart. "I am Thine, my Lord. All is Thine, my Lord."
The word ‘prasad’ means that which gives peace. During any form of worship, ritual or ceremony, Hindus offer some items of food to the Lord. Puja is done with Bael leaves, flowers, Tulasi (Basil plant), Vibhuti and these are given as Prasada from the Lord.
Prasada is that which gives peace. Prasada is the sacred food offering of the Lord. During Kirtans (Singing hymns), worship, Puja, Havan and Arati, the devotee offers sweet rice, fruits, jaggery, milk, coconut, plantain and such other articles to the Lord, according to his ability. After offering them to the Lord, they are shared between the members of the house or the Bhaktas (devotees) in a temple.
Water, flowers, rice, etc., are offered to the Lord in worship. This denotes that the Lord is pleased with even the smallest offering. What is wanted is the heart of the devotee. The Lord says in the Gita :
"Patram Pushpam Phalam Toyam Yo Me Bhaktya Prayacchati; Tadaham Bhaktyupahritamasanami Prayatatmanah" – Whoever offers a leaf, a flower, a fruit or even water with devotion, that I accept, offered as it is with a loving heart".
It is not necessary that one should offer gold, silver and costly dress to the Lord. The devotee offers these according to his ability and position in life, thereby denoting that the whole wealth of the world belongs to the Lord. A rich man offers costly things to the Lord. He feeds the poor and serves the sick, seeing the Lord in his fellow-beings.
The mental Bhava (attitude) of the devotee offering Bhog to the Lord has very great effect. If an ardent devotee of the Lord offers anything to the Lord, that Prasada, if taken, would bring very great change even in the minds of atheists. The Grace of the Lord descends through Prasada. Go through the life of Narada. You will realise the greatness of the sacred leavings of the Lord as well as those of advanced Sadhakas and saints. Namadeva offered rice etc., to Panduranga Vitthala and He ate the food and shared it with Namadeva as well. If the food is offered with an yearning heart, sometimes, the Lord takes that food assuming a physical form. In other cases, the Lord enjoys the subtle essence of the food offered, and the food remains as it is in the shape of Prasada. While feeding Mahatmas and the poor people, that which is left behind is taken as Prasada. When a sacrifice is performed, the participants share the Prasada which bestows the blessings of the gods. When Dasaratha performed Putrakameshti (a sacrifice performed wishing for a son), he got a vessel full of sweetened rice that he gave to his queens, by taking which they became pregnant.
There are sixteen main Sacraments (Samskaras). These range from conception to funeral ceremonies.
1. Garbhadhan (Sacrament of Impregnation)
2. Punsavanam (second or third month of pregnancy)
3. Simantonnayana (between the fifth and eighth month of pregnancy)
4. Jatakarma (At the time when the child is being born)
5. Namakarana (Naming the child)
6. Niskramana (Child is brought out of house.3rd and 4th month)
7. Annaprashana (The first feeding of cereal at six months)
8. Chudakarma (First time cutting of hair, 1st year or 3rd year)
9. Karnavedha (Piercing the ears in the third or fifth year)
10. Upanayana (Investiture of Sacred Thread) From 8th year
11. Samavartana (When studies are completed)
12. Vivaha Samskara (Marriage ceremony)
13. Grihasthashrama (Sacraments relating to house-holders.)
14. Vanprasthashrama (Renouncing the house-holder's life)
15. Sanyasashrama. (Leading the life of a monk)
16. Antyeshti (Funeral: last rites of the dead)
Samskaras (Sacraments) are rituals and sacrifices. By virtue of their performances the life of the performer receives a higher sanctity. Samskaras cover the entire life of a Hindu from the moment he is conceived in the mother’s womb till his death- inclusive of his funeral ceremonies and thereafter, for the smooth passage of his soul to another world.
Just as gold and diamonds that are dug out from the ore need refining and polishing in order to shine in all their splendour, man too needs these Samskaras or purificatory ceremonies in order to shine in his best form physically, psychically and spiritually.
There are several objects of the Samskaras, as can be seen from the Mantras and symbolism used in the ceremonies. These can be broadly divided into two categories; to invoke beneficence from the kindly gods and to keep away or remove hostile or evil powers that beset human life at various stages.
Samskaras aim in the first instance at material gain to the individual. During some ceremonies prayers are offered to gods for health, wealth, children, intellect etc., which contribute to domestic and social felicity. Samskaras mirror self-expression of joys and sorrows, hopes and ambitions, which man exhibits in a dignified way when he celebrates these functions with feasts, presents, decoration, music and also in funeral ceremonies in an appropriate mood.
Samskaras also create an awareness of the attainment of social status and privileges for the individual. The boy who is given the sacred thread acquires the right to study the Vedas; the married man gains the title to perform the Dharmas mentioned in the Vedas.
Samskaras bring about cultural gains. The ancient lawgivers underscored the introduction of higher religion and sanctity in the lives of those who undergo Samskaras. Some impurity is inherently attached to the pre-natal stage of birth and Manu and Yajnavalkya see in the Samskara ceremonies, the removal of those impurities, so that man’s body is made fit to become a temple for God to reside. Samskaras are moulders of character.
Sage Angiras poetically refers to the development of personality that the Samskaras endow on its adherents: "Just as a picture is painted with various colours, so the character of the individual is formed by the proper performance of the Samskaras."
Sage Gautama said that Samskaras along with the eight Atma-gunas take one to Brahman (Supreme Self) or Moksha.
In short, the whole gamut of Samskaras is designed to channel the entire energies of man towards the creation of a perfect secular as well as spiritual life in himself in a manner that is not only ingenious but essentially practical, dignified and compulsory in the interest of all-round human welfare.
To quote Max Muller, the emphasis placed upon these ceremonies by the ancients disclose "the deep-rooted tendency in the heart of man to bring the chief events of human life into contact with a higher power, and to give to our joys and sufferings a deeper significance and a religious sanctification.”
Having taught the Vedas, the teacher thus instructs the pupil: Speak the truth. Practise Dharma (religious duties; righteousness and ritualistic worship). Do not neglect the study of the Vedas. Having brought to the teacher the gift desired by him, (enter the householder’s life and see that) the line of progeny is not cut off. Do not swerve from the truth. Do not swerve from Dharma. Do not neglect (personal) welfare. Do not neglect prosperity (refers to righteous actions by which wealth is earned). Do not neglect the study and teaching of Vedas.
Do not neglect your duties to the gods and the Manes. Treat your mother as god (Matru Devo Bhava). Treat your father as god (Pitru Devo Bhava). Treat your teacher as god (Aacharya Devo Bhava). Treat your guest as god (Atithi Devo Bhava). Whatever deeds are faultless, these are to be performed- not others. Whatever good works have been performed by us, those should be performed by you- not others.
Those Brahmins who are superior to us- you should comfort them by giving them seats. Whatever is to be given should be given with faith, not without faith- according to one’s means, with modesty, with fear (of the scriptures or of sin), with sympathy.
Now, if there arises in your mind any doubt concerning conduct, you should conduct yourself in such matters as Brahmins would conduct themselves- Brahmins who are competent to judge, who (of their own accord) are devoted to good deeds, and are not urged to their performance by others, and who are not too severe, but are lovers of Dharma.
Now, with regard to persons spoken against, you should conduct yourself in such a way as Brahmins would conduct themselves- Brahmins who are competent to judge, who (of their own accord) are devoted to good deeds and that are not urged to their performance by others, and who are not too severe, but are lovers of Dharma.
This is the rule. This is the teaching. This is the secret wisdom of the Vedas. This is the command of God.
This you should observe. This alone should be observed.
THE "TWICE-BORN" (DWIJA) From Manusmrti (Laws of Manu)
According to the injunctions of the revealed texts, the first birth of an Aryan is from his natural mother, the second (happens) on the tying of the girdle of Munja grass, and the third on the initiation to (the performance of) a (Srauta) sacrifice. II.169
Among those (three) the birth which is symbolised by the investiture with the girdle of Munja grass, is his birth for the sake of the Veda; they declare that in that (birth) the Savitri (Goddess of knowledge) is his mother and the teacher is his father. II.170
They call the teacher (the pupil’s) father because he gives the Veda (knowledge); for no body can perform a sacred rite before the investiture with the girdle of Munja grass. II.170
He who has not been initiated should not pronounce any Vedic text excepting those required for the performance of funeral rites, since he is on a level with a Sudra before his birth from the Veda. II.172
The student who has been initiated must be instructed in the performance of the vows, and gradually learn the Veda, observing the prescribed rules. II.173
In the eighth year after conception, one should perform the initiation (Upanayana ceremonies of sacred thread) of a Brahmana, in the eleventh year after conception (that) of a Kshatriya, but in the twelfth year that of a Vaisya. II.36
The initiation of a Brahmana who desires proficiency in sacred learning should take place in the fifth year after conception, that of a Kshatriya who wishes to become powerful in the sixth, and that of a Vaisya who longs for success in his business in the eighth. II.37
The time for the Savitri initiation of a Brahmana does not pass until the completion of the sixteenth year (after conception), of a Kshatriya until the completion of the twenty-second, and of a Vaisya until the completion of the twenty-fourth. II.38
After those (periods men of) these three (castes) who have not received the sacrament at the proper time, become Vratyas (outcastes), excluded from the Savitri (initiation) and despised by the Aryans. II.39
With such men, if they have not been purified according to the rule, let no Brahmana ever, even in times of distress, form a connection either through the Veda or by marriage. II.40
Let students, according to the order (of their castes), wear (as upper dresses) the skins of black antelopes, spotted deer, and he-goats, and (lower garments) made of hemp, flax or wool. II.41
The sacrificial string of a Brahmana shall be made of cotton, (shall be) twisted to the right and consist of three threads; that of a Kshatriya of hempen threads; and that of a Vaisya of woollen threads. II.44
A Brahmana shall carry, according to the sacred law, a staff of Bilwa or Palasa; a Kshatriya, of Vata or Khadira; and a Vaisya, of Pilu or Udumbara. II.45
Having taken a staff according to his choice, having worshipped the sun and walked round the fire, turning his right hand towards it, the pupil should beg alms according to the prescribed rule. II.48
His girdle, the skin (which serves as his upper garment), his staff, his sacrificial thread, and his water-pot he must throw into water, when they have been damaged, and take others, reciting sacred formulas. II.64
The ceremony called Kesanta (clipping the hair) is ordained for a Brahmana in the sixteenth year from conception; for a Kshatriya, in the twenty-second; and for a Vaisya, two years later than that. II.65
This whole series of ceremonies must be performed for females also, in order to sanctify the body, at the proper time and in the proper order, but without the recitation of sacred texts. II.66
The nuptial ceremony is stated to be the Vedic sacrament for women (and to be equal to the initiation). Serving the husband (equivalent to) the residence in the house of the teacher, and the household duties (the same) as the daily worship of the sacred fire. II.67
Thus has been described the rule for the initiation of the twice-born, which indicates a (new) birth, and sanctifies. II. 68. .
Bishma said: Listen to me O Yudhisthir; the worship of mother, father and preceptor (teacher) is most important according to me. The man who attends to that duty here, succeeds in acquiring great fame and many regions of felicity. Worshipped with respect by thee, whatever they will command thee, be it consistent with righteousness or inconsistent with it, should be done unhesitatingly, O Yudhishthira! One should never do what they forbid. Without doubt, that which they command should always be done. [Note: Literally, "One should not follow that course of duty which they do not indicate. That again is duty, which they command. This is settled."] They are the three worlds. They are the three modes of life. They are the three Vedas. They are the three sacred fires. The father is Garhapatya fire; the mother, the Dakshina fire; and the preceptor is that fire upon which libations are poured. These three fires are, of course, the most eminent. If you attend with heedfulness to these fires, you will succeed in conquering the three worlds. By serving the father with regularity, one may cross this world. By serving the mother in the same way, one may attain to regions of felicity in the next. By serving the preceptor with regularity one may obtain the region of Brahma. Behave properly towards these three, O Bharata, you will then obtain great fame in the three worlds, and you will be blessed, great will be your merit and reward.
Never transgress them in any act. Never eat before they eat, nor eat anything that is better than what they eat. Never impute any fault to them. One should always serve them with humility. That is an act of high merit. By acting in that way, o best of kings, you may obtain fame, merit, honour, and regions of felicity hereafter. He who honours these three is honoured in all the worlds. He, on the other hand, who disregards these three, fails to obtain any merit from any of his acts. Such a man, O scorcher of foes, acquires merit neither in this world nor in the next. He who always disregards these three seniors never obtains fame either here or hereafter. Such a man never earns any good in the next world. All that I have given away in honour of those three has become a hundredfold or a thousand-fold of its actual measure. It is in consequence of that merit that even now, O Yudhishthira, the three worlds are clearly before my eyes.
He who favours a person by imparting to him true instruction, by communicating the Vedas, and giving knowledge which is immortal, should be regarded as both a father and a mother. The disciple, in grateful recognition of what the instructor has done, should never do anything that would injure the latter. They that do not reverence their preceptors after receiving instruction from them by obeying them dutifully in thought and deed, incur the sin of killing a foetus. There is no sinner in this world like them. Preceptors always show great affection for their disciples. The latter should, therefore, show their preceptors commensurate reverence. He, therefore, that wishes to earn that high merit which has existed from ancient days, should worship and adore his preceptors and cheerfully share with them every object of enjoyment. With him who pleases his father is pleased Prajapati himself. He who pleases his mother gratifies the earth herself. He who pleases his preceptor gratifies Brahma by his act.
Honour your mother. Look upon her as god. Honour your father. Look upon him as god. Honour your teacher as god.
For details please read my book HINDU VIVAH.
The Marriage Ceremony
1. Reception of the bridegroom and his parents by the bride’s parents at the entrance gate of the hall.
2. The reception of the bridegroom on the stage and giving of presents by bride’s father.
3. Bride’s parents give their daughter away to the bridegroom.
4. Sacred Fire Ceremony
5. Solemn vows and joining hands
6. Stone-stepping ceremony
7. Fried-rice (popcorn) offered as oblations into the sacred Fire.
8. Marriage knot symbolised by tying one end of the groom’s scarf with the bride’s dress.
9. Walking around the Sacred Fire taking holy vows.
10. The ceremony of Seven steps
11. Sprinkling of water, meditating on the sun and on the Pole star
12. Cooked food offered as oblations into the sacred Fire.
13. Benediction (blessings)
The bride and the groom take seven steps together, stepping upon first mound of rice with the right foot as the priest recites a mantra.
1. May the first step lead to food that is both nourishing and pure.
2. May the second step lead to strength (at the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels).
3. May the third step lead to prosperity.
4. May the fourth step lead to all round happiness.
5. May the fifth step lead to progeny (noble and virtuous children).
6. May the sixth step lead to long life.
7. May the seventh step lead to friendship (through harmony, understanding).
The bride and bridegroom says:
Having completed the seven steps, be thou my life long companion. Mayst thou be my associate and helper in successful performance of the duties that now devolve upon me as a householder.



DAAN, DAXINA, CHARITY, GIFTS
(The prosperity secret of the ages)
“By making gifts one acquires all kinds of enjoyable articles. By making gifts one simply increases own wealth. By making gifts one acquires great fame and high achievements.” Mahabharat
Those who make gifts obtain happiness. The householder should always make gifts according to the measure of his power. He should also perform sacrifices frequently after the same manner. Indeed, he who wishes to achieve his own good should always achieve meritorious acts. The householder should acquire wealth by righteous means. The wealth thus acquired should be carefully divided into three portions, keeping the requirements of righteousness in view. With one of those portions he should accomplish all acts of righteousness. With another he should seek to gratify his cravings for pleasure. The third portion he should lay out for increasing.
The prosperity secret of the ages is that giving can make you rich! The Hebrews, one of the wealthiest groups the world has ever known, credit their wealth over the centuries to their use of this prosperity idea: you will be made rich by giving.
Many of our modern millionaires have used this prosperity secret and have often pointed it out as the formula that brought them riches.
Giving can make you rich for when you systematically give, you open the way to systematically receive. But when you do not give, you stagnate, dam up, and close many channels to your prosperity.
Perhaps you are thinking, “But I do give every cent I can find to pay the bills and to keep going financially.” Yet there is another kind of giving you must know about and practise in order to prosper. When you practise this other type of giving, putting it first in your financial affairs, then divine order will come into your finances. You will find yourself prospered in both expected and unexpected ways. Your money will begin to go further, and other financial surprises will come forth so that it becomes easier and easier for you to pay the bills and ‘get ahead financially’.
The ancients, who knew the wisdom of the ages, understood the nature of universal substance out of which all wealth is created. They knew that by consistently giving, you move on universal substance, forming a vacuum which substance then rushes to fill with new supply. That is the nature of substance: it abhors a vacuum and always rushes to fill it. Giving in order to make room to receive is a scientific method that always works to prosper those who use it consistently. It can work for you too!
(The air we breathe fills the lungs. If we do not give out stale air, if we do not make room to receive fresh air, if we do not create the vacuum by expelling the stale air, then the supply of new fresh air cannot rush in.)
This is a giving universe. You have to constantly give in order to constantly receive, because the universe is constantly giving to you. If you do not balance the act of receiving by giving voluntarily in some good and happy way, the universe will force you to give in some unhappy way. But give you must!
“Give and it shall be given unto you” (Luke, 6:38);
works whether you want it to or not. Where there is no voluntary giving, something is taken from you. People who think they cannot afford to give constructively and freely have to give anyway, destructively and involuntarily – to doctors and hospitals for their ill health; to lawyers fir their accidents, legal and business problems; to accountants and to the Internal Revenue Service for their income tax problems; and in other undesirable ways. If you do not give voluntarily of your financial resources, you can expect that body ailments, financial entanglements, human relations problems, and general confusion in your affairs will follow.
When you see a person who has constant problems of ill health, financial difficulties, family inharmony, general confusion and dissatisfaction in his life, not only is he not thinking right, but neither is he giving right. Where there is no voluntary giving, something is taken from them!
You cannot cheat the basic law of the universe, which is giving and receiving. It works regardless of your attitude towards it. You can only cheat yourself out of much health, wealth and happiness by trying to foolishly bypass it.
Catherine Ponder added: Although I had often heard tithing mentioned in church for many years, I had not realized it was a prosperity law for my personal benefit. I assumed it was the church minister’s way of trying to raise money to support the church.
As a $25 a week secretary, desperately struggling to find any prosperity law that would work, I read L.E.Meyer’s fascinating booklet, ‘As You Tithe So You Prosper’. This booklet contains many thrilling stories of people in every walk of life who have prospered through consistent tithing, and I began to think seriously about the subject. I also remembered that my own parents had been much more prosperous after they began to tithe.
By tithing in the right attitude, you substitute faith in God’s power to supply your needs for the old fear that you must hold tight to every penny or live in lack.
Many people have the mistaken idea that giving to a needy person is tithing, but it is not. Giving to the needy is often the worst thing you can do for them, since it keeps them from developing their own prosperity consciousness. Until they do develop a prosperous state of mind, they will continue to be in need, no matter how much you do for them. The greatest thing you can offer the poor is to introduce them to prosperous thinking.
Your tithe is not properly used for yourself, relatives, friends, or charitable purposes. If one wishes to give to those channels, it should be a gift over and above the tenth which one gives directly to spiritual work. The prosperity law of tithing as practised by all the ancient civilizations, was that the tithe went always to the religious leaders and temples, to those in the Lord’s work.
Some people give only to civic, cultural, educational, or charity causes instead of to religious organizations. It is fine to give for these purposes if you feel so led, but your first tenth should go to religious causes which uplift and inspire you, or to people in religious work who are an inspiration to you. All other giving is to be commended, but is secondary to direct tithing to the Lord’s work.
People sometimes say, ‘I do not tithe regularly but I give large amounts occasionally to god’s work.’ It does more good to tithe regularly smaller amounts than giving large amounts spasmodically. Just as it is necessary to breathe out regularly in order to receive fresh air into the lungs, so it is necessary to give regularly if you wish to receive regularly.



FOOD AND MIND
(Eat good – think good – speak good)
Pure food increases the vitality and strength of those who eat it. It augments the energy of the mind also. Sattwic food produce cheerfulness, serenity and mental clarity and helps the aspirants to enter into deep meditation and maintain mental poise and nervous equilibrium. It supplies the maximum energy to the body and the mind. It is very easily assimilated and absorbed.
Rajasic food distracts the mind. It excites passion. It excites passion and emotion.
Cannabis indica (ganja), bhang, opium, cocaine, charas, chandoo, all stale and putrid articles, are Tamasic. Beef, wine, garlic, and tobacco are Tamasic foodstuffs. They fill the mind with anger, darkness and inertia. A fruit diet exercises a benign influence on the constitution. This is a natural form of diet. Fruits are very great energy producers. A fruit and milk diet helps concentration and easy mental focussing. Barley, wheat, milk and ghee, all promote longevity and increase one’s power and strength. Fresh fruit juice and the water wherein sugar-candy is dissolved are very good beverages. Butter mixed with sugar candy, and almonds soaked in water, can be taken. These cool the system.
Live a natural simple life. Take simple food that is wholly agreeable to your system. You should have your own menu to suit your constitution. You are yourself the best judge to select a Sattwic diet (that suits your constitution). The Five Great Elements they create miracle: Earth. The solid state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is stability, fixity or rigidity. Earth is stable substance. Water. The liquid state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is flux. Water is substance without stability.
Fire. The power which can convert a substance from solid to liquid to gas, and vice versa, increasing or decreasing the relative order in the substance. Fire's characteristic attribute is transformation. Fire is form without substance.
Air. The gaseous state of matter, whose characteristic attribute is mobility or dynamism. Air is existence without form.
Space. The field from which everything is manifested and into which everything returns; the space in which events occur. Space has no physical existence; it exists only as distances which separate matter. THE THREE DOSHAS: These Five Elements condense to the Three Doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which are effectively Air, Fire and Water respectively. Vata is the principle of kinetic energy in the body. It is mainly concerned with the nervous system, and controls all body movement. Kapha is the principle of potential energy, which controls body stability and lubrication. The tissues and wastes of the body which Vata moves around are Kapha's province. Pitta. controls the body's balance of kinetic and potential energies. all of Pitta's processes involve digestion or "cooking", even if it is the cooking of thoughts into theories in the mind. The enzymatic and endocrine systems are Pitta's main field of activity.
THE SIX TASTES IN FOOD: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Pungent, Bitter, Astringent. All these tastes are essential for proper functioning of the organism, and reach us primarily through our food.
Affirmations are one of the simplest and most powerful things we can do to change the quality of our lives, and to create the things we want. Affirmations are the force of creation.
“Every thought has a counterpart in a word or sound; the word and the thought are inseparable. The external part of a thing is what we may call the thought. The same thought may be expressed by different words or sounds. Though the sounds vary, yet the relation between the sound and the thoughts is a natural one”. The power of affirmations can be stated very simply: Affirmations are the force of creation. For
AUM being the sound symbol of Parmatman (Supreme Reality), it is considered to be the first vibration as sound emanating at the beginning of creation.
“In the beginning was the word….”(John 1:10)
To affirm means to make firm. There is very little mystery about how and why affirmations work, once the principle is understood. An affirmation is simply a spoken declaration, in the present tense, which creates a desired reality.
Affirm what you know to be true in your heart, and you will create that reality. Affirm that you are free, and strong, and attractive, and prosperous, and loving – and you will find, often in a remarkably short time, that your outer world will begin to change as a reflection of your changing inner consciousness.
To understand how an affirmation has the power to create something, we must first understand how creation works. A great many different mythologies, mystical traditions, scientific studies, and religions have investigated the mysteries of creation. Many of these have come up with similar findings.
How is it possible for another person to know what idea or thought I have in my mind? Is it possible for me to make that idea come out of my mind and make it enter the mind of another person? To do that, I will have to summon the help of Mother Saraswati (Vak Devi) the goddess of speech (also known as the goddess of learning), or use the written word to communicate. This power or shakti when combined with the static thought, makes it possible for the thought or idea to travel.
This is a miraculous power or shakti. If I am speaking to an audience of fifty people, this power becomes manifold or multiplies and with my each thought enters the minds of all fifty people. If my talk is broadcast via satellite and if there are a million listeners, this shakti becomes a million fold. Its capacity is unlimited.
This combination of the product of human consciousness (thought) with Shakti makes manifestation of things possible. The clothes we wear, the chair on which we seat, the books we read, the computers we use; all these were first conceived as ideas in the human mind. The chairman of a big corporation conceives of an idea that a fifty-story sky-scraper building should be built. He conveys this idea, using his power (shakti) of speech, to the board of directors who approve it.
The idea is then conveyed with the aid of Mother Saraswati (speech or written words) to the financiers, to the architect, to the contractors, to the labourers on site. The result is the manifestation of a fifty-story building. The thought became a thing. Thoughts are things. Examine everything that surrounds one in the house. Everything before being made existed as thought or idea before becoming a stove, table, clock, calendar, screwdriver, soap powder.
Through our words and the thoughts behind them, we are continually giving our bodies operating instructions. By being observant, we can become aware of this process.
As we have seen, everything, before it is created on the physical plane, is at first a spiritual impulse, then a thought, then a feeling. Before we can build a house, there must be a blueprint for it, a design, an idea. Words are creative ideas spoken, made manifest into the world.
Vedanta (Hinduism) explains this process as VASANAS VASANAS are subtle impressions which the individual soul will carry with when the soul separates itself from the physical body upon the death of a person. To understand this term VASANA, first think of ice, which is gross. It is solid and it can be touched or felt and can be cut into different shapes. Water is subtler than ice. Water cannot be cut into shape, although it will assume the shape of its container. Water is liquid and not solid like ice. Steam is subtler than water. We cannot hold steam in our hand as we can hold water. Steam is visible for a while and then it becomes invisible. Humidity in the air is subtler than steam. The presence of humidity in the air cannot be seen .The vasanas are like the humidity in the air, subtlest of all. The vasanas undergo transformation at the level of the intellect into thoughts. The thoughts in turn undergo transformation at the level of the mind into desires; and the desires undergo transformation at the level of the physical body into actions.
Every thought and every word – positive or negative – is an affirmation, and is creating the reality of the affirmation. The simplest way to do affirmation consciously is just to say them to yourself, either out loud or silently, whenever you feel like it. Especially say them to counteract any negative thoughts or words you find yourself thinking or saying. This is not a tool for repression – allow yourself to have any thoughts and feelings you have – don’t reject them – and yet, give yourself the time and energy to affirm a more desirable reality after you have experienced and explored your so-called ‘negative’ feelings.
For example, if you find yourself thinking, ‘This job is making me sick,’ look at what you are thinking, and see if that’s something you really want to create for yourself. If it isn’t, affirm to yourself, out loud or silently, and with emotion, ‘I am strong and healthy, when I do my work,’ or ‘I am eternally strong, healthy, and young,’ or something which feels good to you. Say it repeatedly, if necessary, and say it with emotion, until it feels like it has sunk in. By just becoming more aware of what you are saying and what you are thinking, you will find that you have plenty of material to deal with. Notice the things that aren’t working in your life, and find affirmations to correct the situations.
Of course, your feelings about your job may be a very valid reason for you to find another, healthier job. But if you choose for the present to remain in the same situation, create the most positive thoughts you can about it.
Make the affirmations in the present tense – even if it seems unrealistic. Don’t affirm, ‘I am going to create abundance in my life,’ because the results will always be waiting to happen in the future. Instead, suspend your current beliefs for a moment, and affirm, ‘I now have abundance in my life!’ – and you’ll soon find that it is true. How soon your abundance will come depends on how strongly your affirmation is repeated, and whether or not you are affirming the opposite on deeper levels of your consciousness (your subconscious negative beliefs).
Many people are unconscious of this – and they are so often saying things like, ‘This is really making me sick,’ or ‘This job is killing me,’ or ‘He is a pain in the neck,’ or ‘This is driving me crazy,’ or ‘I can’t do it.’ These words are affirmations, just like any other words. No wonder these people are getting sick, dying too young at jobs they hate, getting headaches, going crazy, and failing in life.
Look at your life – clearly and honestly. You will see what you have been affirming to yourself. Most of us have created a lot of things that we would prefer to do without. It is time to affirm, to create something better for yourself. We have been giving ourselves affirmations all our lives. And others have been giving us affirmations all our lives. The only problem has been that we have not been consciously aware of the process and power of affirmations, and so we have affirmed a lot of things, which we could do better without.
Anything you say or think to yourself is an affirmation. Anything anyone else says to you is an affirmation, if you accept it. Our subconscious minds accept it all – whether for better or worse. Many of us grew up in environments, which may not have been totally supportive. Most of us had parents, families, friends, and other peers who may have given us a lot of terrible affirmations, which were destructive to out self-image. Children often tell each other that they are stupid or ugly or unable to do something. Brothers or sisters often say unflattering things to each other. These are unfortunate, negative affirmations.
Most people are still carrying with them, in their basic core beliefs, the non-supportive things, which their parents, teachers, friends, and families told them when they were so young that they didn’t have the awareness to question or ignore. And these affirmations have an especially powerful effect when there is a strong emotion behind them- those moments when Mommy is deeply upset, and yells: “You never do anything for me!” give the child a deep affirmation of his or her own selfishness and worthlessness.
It’s no wonder that people have affirmed themselves into neurosis, poverty, selfishness, unattractiveness, sickness, weak and limited self-images, etc. Fortunately, affirmations are so powerful that a few minutes of conscious, deep, positive ones repeated daily for a few weeks could do years of unconscious, deep, negative ones. This is especially true because the positive affirmations have the greatest power in the universe behind them: the power of truth. Because the truth is that you are a free being. You are not limited or restricted. And your life is worthwhile. And you are good person –not a bad one. And you are really loving – even though that love may be buried under years of unexpressed anger and guilt and frustration. Therefore, we emphasize again:
. Affirm what you know to be true in your heart, and you will create that reality. Affirm that you are free, and strong, and attractive, and prosperous, and loving – and you will find, often in a remarkably short time, that your outer world will begin to change as a reflection of your changing inner consciousness.
Another powerful way to do affirmations is in the relaxed state of mind and body, which is often called ‘meditation’. By all means, find some time to meditate – even just five minutes in the morning will bring results within a week or two. The following exercise is relaxing, energizing, and healthful, as well as being the most powerful way to deeply absorb affirmations. It is the most effective way to create anything you wish.
Just sit or lie comfortably. Take a few deep cleansing breaths – even take a few minutes to breathe deeply, if you get into it. Deep breathing is one of the best possible things we can do for our minds, bodies, and spirits.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath and affirm, silently to yourself as you exhale, ‘My body is now relaxing’. Take another breath and affirm, as you exhale, ‘My mind is now relaxing.’ Take one last deep breath and affirm, as you exhale, ‘I am now letting everything go.’
Then choose any affirmation – any instruction you want to give your body and mind, anything you wish to create. See it happening here and now as you say your affirmations. If excitement and enthusiasm arises to support the affirmation, all the better – the stronger the feeling, the sooner the reality you wish to create manifests.
Say each one repeatedly, until it feels good to you. Try these, and see how they feel
‘I am deeply relaxed…..
‘I am strong and healthy….
‘I am open, I am free….’
Feel yourself being relaxed. See yourself strong and healthy. Feel yourself open and free. Choose any other affirmations you wish to work on, and repeat them, many times, until you feel sure that your subconscious has unquestionably gotten the message. Picture yourself as having completely fulfilled the affirmation.
Enjoy yourself – don’t work too hard at this. Have fun with your creative imagination. Take a final, deep breath at the end of your meditative affirmations, and affirm:
‘This, or something better, is now manifesting, for the highest good of all! So be it! So it is!’
Now return to your waking day, fully relaxed and refreshed, able to effortlessly accomplish whatever you want.
The more energy you put into your affirmations, the sooner you will experience results. Imagine yourself easily and effortlessly becoming what you are affirming. Don’t worry if you can’t ‘visualize’ it in your mind’s eye – just feel it, imagine it. By doing so, you are creating that reality in your thoughts, and in your emotions. Soon a vast, deep reservoir of power in you- the power of your subconscious mind, your connection with the infinite – will bring about in physical reality what you are affirming.
The measure of an affirmation’s success is whether or not it soon manifests in your world. You should be able to manifest almost anything you are affirming within 21 days. There are some exceptions to this, if the project is vast or complicated, or the goal is distant. But the results should become clearly evident to you in a short time. You should be able to feel the change. If the results aren’t happening, it is only because you are affirming something else on deeper, perhaps less conscious levels which is creating something contradictory to what you are affirming consciously. If you are repeating to yourself for example:
‘My connection with infinite intelligence is yielding me a vast personal fortune.’
Every day, with emotion, and after three weeks you are still broke, then you have to find out what else you have been telling yourself that is creating a contradictory reality. Writing affirmations and their responses is the best way to do this.
Take a notebook. On one page, write: ‘Affirmations’ across the top. On the next page, write ‘Thank you!’ across the top. Then begin writing your affirmation on the page headed ‘Affirmations.’ Put your attention to it; pour your feeling into it. You want to be self-sufficient, or beautiful, or whatever – and the truth of the matter is that you deserve it, so you might as well create it for yourself.
Keep on writing the same affirmation, and keep putting your full attention on it. Soon you will probably notice some kind of inner resistance popping up – some words you are telling yourself (affirming to yourself) on deep levels. Whatever they are, write them down on your ‘Thank you’ page. On this page, you are encourages to voice all your reactions to your affirmations.
Say you are writing, for example, ‘My connection with infinite intelligence….’ And you find yourself thinking, ‘What connection? I am a blundering idiot!’ Immediately turn to your ‘Thank you’ page and write those words. It is called your ‘Thank you’ page because, as you write those words, you want to mentally thank yourself for sharing them with you (this may sound artificial or strange, perhaps, but it works). Then go back to writing affirmation. ‘…is yielding me a vast personal fortune.’ Then you may find yourself thinking, ‘A vast personal fortune? I could never handle it’ – so write that down too on your ‘Thank you’ page. Then go back and write your affirmation again. And so on.
After writing your affirmation 10 or 20 times, you may have 10 or 20 or 30 comments on your ‘Thank you’ page. Look at them carefully – these are the things you are affirming to yourself on deeper levels, which are creating your present reality. Sometimes it is enough just to look at them and see how foolish they are, and how they are not really true for you. Sometimes these negative affirmations dissolve as soon as you look at them. At other times, you may have to create new affirmations for yourself that are especially designed to counteract what you have been telling yourself. In the example above, where you found that you were thinking you could never handle a vast personal fortune, you may want to affirm something like, ‘I am capable of handling a vast personal fortune easily and skilfully’ – or, if that is too confronting, lower your gradient for yourself and affirm, ‘I am capable of skilfully handling my financing.’
Do this daily, if necessary. Breakdown your resistance with more affirmations. That is all that is necessary to do. When you finally get to the core of your resistance – to the ‘biggie’ which you are holding onto, the one terrible thing about yourself that you haven’t dared to admit even to yourself – when you finally find yourself writing it out on your ‘Thank you’ sheet, you will feel something releasing in you. Then find the affirmation, which deals with it directly, and release it for all time from your consciousness. You’ll find yourself feeling wonderful (literally – wonder full). Now you are coming into your own power. Now you are not limiting yourself any more. You are free to be who you want, and to create the life you want. It is your birthright.
Following are some sample affirmations, ones that I have worked with personally. Let these serve as examples for you to create your own. I have inner peace and contentment – true success!
I have total freedom to do whatever I wish.
I now create world peace and transformation.
I am an open channel for exquisite, endlessly abundant creativity, in many many forms.
I have real personal confidence, and a very positive self-image.
I am connected deeply, intimately, with my higher self, and my enlightenment.
I have beautiful, harmonious, satisfying relationships.
I am in perfect health, for as long as I wish, in this body.
I have physical strength and attractiveness, for as long as I wish, in this body.
My income exceeds my expenses.
My connection with infinite intelligence is now easily yielding me a vast personal fortune.
Work and play with one, two, or three at a time – as many as you feel you can handle – until you achieve results.
Sulabha said: O king, speech ought always to be free from the nine verbal faults and the nine faults of judgment. It should also, while setting forth the meaning with perspicuity, be possessed of the eighteen well-known merits.
Take it for certain, O king, at my word, that these characteristics of Ambiguity and the other (numbering five in all), when occurring together, constitute a complete and intelligible sentence.
The words I shall utter will be fraught with sense, free from ambiguity (in consequence of each of them not being symbols of many things), logical, free from pleonasm or tautology, smooth, certain, free from bombast, agreeable or sweet, truthful, inconsistent with the aggregate of three, (viz., Righteousness, Wealth, and Pleasure), refined (i.e., free from Prakriti), not elliptical or imperfect, destitute of harshness or difficulty of comprehension, characterized by due order, not far fetched in respect of sense, corrected with one another as cause and effect and each having a specific object.
That speaker, again, who, abandoning all regard for his own meaning uses words that are of excellent sound and sense, awakens only erroneous impressions in the mind of the hearer. Such words in such connection become certainly faulty. That speaker, however, who employs words that are, while expressing his own meaning, intelligible to the hearer, as well, truly deserves to be called a speaker. No other man deserves the name. It behoveth thee, therefore, O king, to hear with concentrated attention these words of mine, fraught with meaning and endued with wealth of vocables. Mahabharat.



MAYA
(Vivek-churamani by Sri Sankaracharya)
Maya can be destroyed by the realisation of the pure Brahman, the one without a second, just as the mistaken idea of a snake is removed by the discrimination of the rope. She has her gunas as raj
as, tamas and sattva, named after their respective functions. Verse 110. Rajas has its Viksepa-Sakti or projecting power, which is of the nature of an activity, and from which this primeval flow of activity has emanated. From this also, mental modifications such as attachment and grief are continually produced.
--Verse 111.
Lust, anger, avarice, arrogance, spite, egoism, envy, jealousy, etc.,- these are the dire attributes of Rajas, from which the worldly tendency of man is produced. Therefore Rajas is a cause of bondage. - Verse 112.
Avrti or the veiling power is the power of Tamas, which makes things appear other than what they are. It is this that causes man's repeated transmigrations, and starts the action of the projecting power (Viksepa). -Verse 112.
Absence of right judgment, or contrary judgment, want of definite belief, and doubt- these certainly never desert one who has any connection with this veiling power, and then the projecting power gives ceaseless trouble. - Verse 115.
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Why does the non-dual soul appear in a manifold form? What is the cause of this multiplicity in the universe? How does the One become the many, and the Absolute become the relative? In answer, Vedanta says that this is due to the identification of the soul, or the Absolute, with material upaadhis, or limiting adjuncts. What is the cause of this identification? Vedanta explains this as MAYA or ignorance. The finite human mind cannot comprehend the exact relationship between the One and the many, Reality and appearance, the Absolute and the relative. From the standpoint of the relative, there is no Absolute. The Absolute is a mystical experience characterised by the absence of duality.
That is why Vedanta calls this apparent identification of the Absolute with the relative by the name of MAYA. It is an inscrutable power that inheres in Brahman, or the Godhead. Under the influence of this cosmic ignorance, the all pervading, eternal, and infinite spirit forgets its real nature. It is something like a man going to sleep, which first makes him oblivious of himself and then creates the fantastic dream world. It is also a well known fact that on account of ignorance one sees water in the desert, as in the case of a mirage. As long as the sleep and the illusion last, the experience of the dream and the mirage appear to be real. On account of maya, the infinite soul, or the Godhead, identifies itself with the finite, material forms and becomes individualised.
Furthermore, it superimposes upon itself the attributes of the material form with which it is identified. Thus the birthless, deathless, immortal soul, which is of the nature of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, appears to be finite, phenomenal being subject to hunger and thirst,pain and pleasure, birth and death, good and evil, and the other pairs of opposites.
As long as ignorance lasts, these relative characteristics appear to pertain to the soul and to be real. All the individualised, finite beings one sees in the universe are manifestations of the non-dual soul through maya; but as maya has no absolute reality, the individual soul created by it not, ultimately speaking, real. As, in spite of the perception of the illusory mirage, the real nature of the desert is not affected, so, in spite of the perception of illusory birth and death, the soul is always of the nature of light, infinity,bliss, and immortality.
1. Tat Tvam Asi
(That Thou Art). From Samveda- Chandogyopanisad
2. Aham Brahmasmi
(I am Brahman). From Yajurveda- The Brhadaranyakopanisad
3. Ayam Atma Brahman
(This Self is Brahman). From Atharva Veda -Mandukyopanisad
4. Pragnanam Brahman
(Brahman is Consciousness) From Rgveda- Aitareyopanisad
Who are our universal parents? Our divine Father and our divine Mother? Bhagavad Gita, .
"My womb is the great Nature (Prakriti or MAYA). In that I place the germ (embryo of life). Thence is the birth of all beings".
"Whatever forms are born ,O Arjuna, in any womb whatsoever, the great Brahma (Nature) is their womb and I am the seed-giving father."
In the great Prakriti, I place the seed for the birth of Brahma (the creator, also known as Hiranyagarbha, or Ishwar, or the conditioned Brahman); and the seed gives birth to all beings. The birth of Brahma (the creator) gives rise to the birth of beings.
The primordial Nature (prakriti) gives birth to Brahma, who creates all beings. "Whatever forms are produced, O Arjuna, in any womb whatsoever, the great nature is their womb and I am the seed giving father". (I am the father; the primordial Nature is the mother).
"Wherever a being is born, whether unmoving or moving, know thou Arjuna, that it is from the union between the field and the knower of the field". (Purusha is the knower of the field; Prakriti is the field; Shiva is another name for the knower of the field and Shakti is the field; Spirit is another name for the knower of the field and Matter (Prakriti) is the field).
"I am endowed with two Shaktis, namely the superior and the inferior natures; the field and its knower (spirit is the knower of the field; matter is the field.) I unite these two".
"Know these two- my higher and lower natures- as the womb of all beings.Therefore, I am the source and dissolution of the whole universe". "He sees, who sees that all actions are performed by nature alone, and that the Self is action less".
"I am the father of this world, the mother, the dispenser of the fruits of actions and the grandfather; the one thing to be known, the purifier, the sacred monosyllable (AUM), and also the Rg, the Sama and the Yajur Vedas".


ARDHANARISHWAR
How is it possible for another person to know what idea or thought I have in my mind? Is it possible for me to make that idea come out of my mind and make it enter the mind of another person? To do that, I will have to summon the help of Mother Saraswati (Vak Devi) the goddess of speech (also goddess of learning), or use the written word to communicate. This power or shakti when combined with the static thought, makes it possible for the thought or idea to travel.
This is a miraculous power or shakti. If I am speaking to an audience of fifty people, this power becomes manifold or multiplies and with my each thought enters the minds of all fifty people. If my talk is broadcast via satellite and if there are a million listeners, this shakti becomes a million fold. Its capacity is unlimited.
This combination of the product of human consciousness (thought) with Shakti makes manifestation of things possible. The clothes we wear, the chair on which we seat, the books we read, the computers we use; all these were first conceived as ideas in the human mind. The chairman of a big corporation conceives of an idea that a fifty story sky-scraper building should be built. He conveys this idea, using his power (shakti) of speech, to the board of directors who approve it.
The idea is then conveyed with the aid of Mother Saraswati (speech or written words) to the financiers, to the architect, to the contractors, to the labourers on site. The result is the manifestation of a fifty story building. The thought became a thing. Thoughts are things. Examine everything that surrounds one in the house.
Everything before being made existed as thought or idea before becoming a stove, table, clock, calendar, screw-driver, soap powder. This is at the human level of microcosm.
At the cosmic level of macrocosm, the combination of Shiva and Shakti (Spirit and Matter) makes possible the manifestation of the universe.The dynamic shakti functions on the static Shiva. The substratum is Shiva and the vibrant manifestation is shakti. Like the screen (the substratum) and the projected image upon the screen.
Shiva and shakti are inseparable aspects of the one Reality, like the whiteness in milk; like the brilliance in diamond and like the word and its meaning. Just as heat is inherent in fire, the power inherent in God (Shiva) is maya (shakti). The manifest universe is the display of shakti or maya.
Man is constituted of both Shiva and Shakti. The persisting personality in him is Shiva and the perishing form is shakti. The being in him is Shiva and the becoming in him is shakti. The awareness or consciousness is Shiva and the physique is shakti. The sentient Shiva manifests Himself through the insentient matter viewed as shakti. The insentient physique enshrines and nurtures the sentient in man. In other words, mother Nature nurtures what is sentient in man. Shakti rears the Shiva in man. Therefore, worshipful attitude towards Shakti is incumbent upon man evolving in Shivahood.
Theology abounds in terms such as Uma-Maheshwar, Lakshmi-Narayana, Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Shiva-Shakti, Purusha-Prakriti, Ardhanarishwar, spirit and matter. These are all indicative of the fact that existence is a mixture of the sentient and the insentient.
The divine power is addressed as Amba in Kashmir and Bhavani in Rajasthan. Gujarat calls her Kalyani and Mithila invokes her as Uma. Her other names used everywhere are Durga, Chamundi, Saraswati, Bhagavati, Meenakshi, Kamakshi, Lakshmi, Kali etc.
The male and the female elements coexist even in the vegetable kingdom which is still in the primitive stage of evolution. In the feathered kingdom as well as in the animal kingdom, the male and the female do jointly contribute to the formation of the progeny. If humanity was viewed as a unit it is found to be constituted with half- man , half-woman. The entire creation is evidently the embodiment of the masculine and the feminine principles. Shiva is therefore adored as Ardhanarishwar (ardha = half; nari = woman; Ishwar =Lord). The sentient and the insentient are the two categories that constitute nature. Nothing exists outside the pale of these two.
Life in its original state is called Shiva. The apparently insentient body or the vehicle through which it manifests itself is called shakti. It is because of the interplay of life and matter that nature is able to reveal itself in all its splendour and glory.
Thus the powers and activities of all beings are manifestations of nature (shakti) alone. Without Durga (shakti), Shiva has no expression; and without Shiva, Durga has no existence.Shiva is the silent witness. He is motionless and absolutely changeless. He is not at all affected by the cosmic play. It is Durga who does everything. She is the power by which the whole universe is permeated and energised. She is the personification of all wealth, power, beauty and virtue. It is she who bestows wealth- both material and spiritual- dispels difficulties and annihilates the evil ones.
The 13th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is the Yoga of discrimination of the Kshetra and the Kshetrajna. The body is called Kshetra, the field. There is an intelligent principle that not only resides in the body but also cognises and governs it. The sages designate that discerning principle as Kshetrajna. Kshetra is called Prakriti or matter, Kshetrajna is called Purusha or Spirit, Prakriti or matter is insentient. Purusha or Spirit is sentient.
"Know me as the kshetrajna in all kshetras. The knowledge of kshetra and kshetrajna is deemed by Me as true knowledge". Gita,
Therefore true knowledge is the understanding of both matter and Spirit. The knowledge pertaining to Prakriti or matter is classified as Apara Vidya or the lower knowledge and that pertaining to the Purusha or Spirit as Para Vidya or the knowledge superior.
The Mother's grace is boundless.Her compassion is illimitable. Her knowledge is infinite.Her power is immeasurable. Her splendour is indescribable.Approach her with an open heart. Lay bare your heart to her with frankness and humility. Make a total unreserved self-surrender to her. Worship her with faith and unflinching devotion.
The truth established in the Vedas, the Puranas and the Tantras is but one Satchdananda. In the Vedas it is called Brahman, in the Puranas it is called Rama, and in the Tantras it is called Shiva.One Satchdananda is called Brahman, Rama and Shiva.
The formless God is real , and equally real is God with form. It is like an infinite ocean, water everywhere, to the right, left, above, below. Water enveloped in water. It is the water of the great cause, motionless. Waves spring up when it becomes active. Its activities are creation(Brahma), preservation(Vishnu) and dissolution(Shiva).
Brahman is where reason comes to a stop. There is the instance of camphor. Nothing remains after it is burnt- not even a trace of ash. Brahman is beyond mind and speech, beyond reason and logic. A salt doll entered the ocean to measure its depth; but it did not return to tell others how deep the ocean was. It melted in the ocean itself.
Like butter and buttermilk, one finds that Satchidananda Itself has become the universe and the living beings. The blood and semen are thin liquids, and out of them comes such a big creature as man. Everything is possible for God. First of all reach invisible Satchidananda and then coming down, look at the universe. Everything is its manifestation. It is God alone who has become everything. The world by no means exists apart from him.
The non-dualistic philosophy of Vedanta says that the acts of creation, preservation and destruction, the universe itself and all its living beings are the manifestations of Shakti, the divine power or MAYA.
If we reason it out, we realise that all these are as illusory as a dream. Brahman alone is the reality, and all else is unreal. Even this very Shakti is unsubstantial, like a dream.
But though you reason all your life, unless you are established in samadhi (deep meditation), you cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of Shakti. Even when you say, "I am meditating" or "I am contemplating", still you are moving in the realm of Shakti; within its power.
Brahman(Shiva) and Shakti are identical. It is like fire and its power to burn. One cannot conceive of the sun's rays without the sun. Thus one cannot think of Brahman without Shakti, or of Shakti without Brahman. One cannot think of the Absolute without the relative, or of the relative without the Absolute.
The primordial power (Adyashakti) is ever at play. She is creating, preserving and destroying in play, as it were. This power is called Kali. Kali is verily Brahman and Brahman is verily Kali. It is one and the same reality. When we think of it as inactive, that is to say, not engaged in the acts of creation, preservation and destruction, then we call it Brahman. But when it engages in these activities, then we call it Kali or Shakti. The reality is one and the same; the difference is in name and form.
In the Vedas, the creation is likened to the spider and its web. The spider brings the web out of itself and then remains in it. God is the container of the universe and also what is contained in it. After the creation the primal power (shakti) dwells in the universe itself. She brings forth this phenomenal world and then pervades it.
Bondage and liberation are both of her making. By her maya, worldly people become entangled in worldly maya, and again through her grace they attain their liberation. She is called the saviour, and the remover of the bondage that binds one to the world.
The sky appears blue at a distance; but look at it closely and you will find that it has no colour. The water of the ocean looks blue at a distance, but when you go near and take it in your hand, you find that it is colourless. Men are deluded through her maya and have become attached to the world.
Bondage and liberation are of the mind alone. It is all a question of the mind. The mind will take the colour you dye it with. If you are in bad company, then you will talk and think like your companions. On the other hand, when you are in the company of devotees, you will think and talk only of God.
If a person repeats the name of God, his or her body, mind and everything become pure. Have faith in His name.
The bridging of the gulf between the Supreme Reality and our relative world is provided by MAYA, the divine mother
The Upanishads describe the Absolute (the Supreme Reality) as being beyond the grasp of our senses, mind and intellect; being extremely subtle.
"Being without beginning and devoid of any qualities (attributes), the Supreme Self, imperishable, though dwelling in the body, neither acts, nor is tainted". Gita,
The relative world of the senses and mind, the world we see and experience, this world of multiplicity; how does this world originate from the Supreme non-dual principle?
This bridging of the gulf betweent the Supreme Reality and our relative world is provided by prakriti or maya or nature called Adyashakti, the Divine Mother.(Absolute and relative, nitya and lila).



CREATION
(The great expanse of sparkling particles)
1. Om ritam cha satyam chaa abhiddaat tapaso dhyajaayata. Tato raatryajaayata, tatah samudro arnavah.
2. Om samudraadarnavaadadhi samvatsaro ajaayata. Ahoraatraani vidadhad vishwasya mishato vashi.
3. Om surya chandramasu dhaataa yathaa purvamakalpayat. Divam cha prithivim chantarikshamatho swah.
This world was created by the luminous God who is the impeller of all actions in accordance with the laws of creation and the laws of life. Primordial matter, which was lying dormant in darkness, began to evolve. By evolution the great expanse of sparkling particles of matter began to gain momentum. This movement of particles brought into existence place and time. Thereafter as a continuation of the process of evolution the Creator of the world divided it into day and night in accordance with His laws. The support of the world made the sun and the moon; the stars and the earth; the other heavenly objects and self-luminous worlds as in previous cycles of creation. .
Sunken City Off India Coast - 7500 B.C.? 10 000 B.C.? 50 000 B.C.?
How to fix the date of the Mahabharata -A practical suggestion The following text is taken from the Mahabharata. The text in Section VI predicts the sinking of the City of Dwaravati. Section VII describes how the city of Dwarka was swallowed up by the ocean. Geological expertise can help determine the period when the city of Dwarka was lost beneath the ocean waves.
NASA Images Discover Ancient Bridge Between India & Sri Lanka
Space images taken by NASA reveal a mysterious ancient bridge in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka. The recently discovered bridge currently named as Adam's Bridge is made of chain of shoals, c.18 mi (30 km) long.
The bridge's unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made. The legends as well as Archeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the a primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago and the bridge's age is also almost equivalent.
This information is a crucial aspect for an insight into the ancient epic RAMAYANA, which was supposed to have taken place in treta yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago)......
The Suryasiddhanta speaks of the division of time. According to it:
In the beginning all this was Atman – one only. There was nothing else active. He bethought himself, ‘Let me now create the world.’ He created these worlds.
The Blessed Lord said, “those people who know the day of Brahma which is of a duration of a thousand yugas (ages) and the night which is also of a thousand yugas’ duration, they know day and night.” (Gita, Ch. 8)
[Note: Day means evolution or projection or manifestation of the universe. Night means involution of the universe known as pralaya. The worlds are limited or conditioned in time. Therefore they return again. The world of Brahma (Brahmaloka or Satyaloka) is also transient, although it lasts for a thousand ages. When the four great yugas have gone round a thousand times, it makes a day time of Brahma and when an equal number of yugas pass again it makes a night. Those who can see and live through the day and night of Brahma can really know what is a day and what is a night.]
The Suryasiddhanta speaks of the same division of time. According to it:


. Years
Kaliyuga consists of 432,000
Dvaparayuga 864,000
Tretayuga 1,296,000
Krtayuga 1,728,000



. Years
Thus a Mahayuga consisting of these four yugas comprises 4,320,000 yrs 4,320,000
71 such Mahayugas at the close of 1,728,000 years make one Manvantara of 308,448,000
14 such Manvantaras constitute one kalpa of 4,320,000,000
Two Kalpas make a day and night of Brahma of 8,640,000,000
360 such days make one year of Brahma consisting of 3,110,400,000,000
100 such years constitute Brahma’s lifetime 311,040,000,000,000
of .


The world is absorbed in the avyaktam or the Unmanifested or Mulaprakriti during the cosmic pralaya (involution of the world). Just as the tree remains in a latent state in the seed, so also this whole universe remains in a latent state in a seed form in the Mulaprakriti during pralaya. This is the night of Brahma. This is the cosmic night. Again the world is projected at the beginning of the Mahakalpa (evolution). There comes the cosmic dawn or cosmic day. The eternal rhythm of cosmic day and night (evolution and involution) is kept up in the macrocosm.
Nothing that comes under this ever-revolving wheel of cosmic day and night lasts forever. That is the reason why the seers of the Upanishads, the sages of yore lived in the transcendental Supreme Being, the Imperishable Self, the indestructible Purusa, the supreme goal of life, the highest end of man, which is beyond the cosmic day and night. Just as the seeds that are fried can hardly germinate, so also those who have attained to the imperishable Brahman, the Absolute, the Eternal, cannot return to this world of sorrow, pain and misery. They know neither day nor night. They are one with Existence Absolute.
The manifested and the unmanifested dwell in Brahman. Brahman is beyond the manifested and the unmanifested. When the world and the body are destroyed Brahman is not destroyed. The waves come out and subside, but the ocean remains naffected. So also the worlds come and subside, but Brahman the source of everything, the source of Mulaprakriti, ever remains unaffected. Just as ornaments come out of gold and then go back to gold when they are melted, so also all the worlds come out of Brahman and go back to Brahman. Gold is in no way affected by the various forms such as earrings, bracelets, anklets, etc., that have been made of it. Even so Brahman is not in the least affected by the projection and destruction (dissolution) of the worlds and the bodies of beings. He remains always as He is.] From the Unmanifested all the manifested (worlds) proceed at the coming of the ‘day’; at the coming of the ‘night’ they dissolve verily into that alone which is called the Unmanifested. (Gita, Ch. 8, Verse 18) [Note: When Brahma awakes, all manifestations, moving and unmoving (animate and inanimate) stream forth at the coming of the ‘day’ from the Avyaktam or the Unmanifested. When Brahma goes to sleep, all the manifestations merge in the Unmanifested, for the cosmic night has set in. "Coming of the day": Commencement of creation.
"Coming of the night": Commencement of dissolution.]
This same multitude of beings, being born again and again, is dissolved, helplessly, O Arjuna, (into the Unmanifested) at the coming of the night and comes forth at the coming of the day. (Gita, Ch. 8, Verse 19)
[Note: Avidya (ignorance), kama (desire) and karma (action) are the knots that bind the individual to samsara. Desire is born of avidya. Man exerts to attain and enjoy the objects of his desires. During this activity he favours some and injures others through the force of raga-dvesa (love and hatred or attraction and repulsion). Therefore he is caught in the wheel of samsara or transmigration. He has to take birth again and again to reap the fruits of his own actions. He repeatedly comes forth and dissolves through the force of his own karma. The individual souls have lost their independence as they are bound by ignorance, desire and activity. Therefore they are subject to the sorrows, miseries and pains of this samsara. In order to create dispassion in their minds and a longing for liberation in their hearts, and to remove the fallacious belief that a man reaps the fruits of what he has not done or that he does not reap the fruits of what he has done, the Lord has said that all creatures involuntarily come into being again and again at the coming of the day and dissolve at the coming of the night (on account of the actions or karmas caused by desire born of ignorance).]
But verily there exists, higher than the Unmanifested another Unmanifested Eternal Who is not destroyed when all beings are destroyed. (Gita, Ch.8, Verse 20)
[Note: Another Unmanifested is the ancient or Eternal Para Brahman Who is distinct from the Unmanifested (Avyaktam or Primordial Nature), Who is of quite different nature. He is superior to Hiranyagarbha (the Cosmic Creative Intelligence) and the Unmanifested Nature because He is their cause. He is not destroyed when all the beings from Brahma down to the ants or the blade of grass are destroyed.]
All beings, O Arjuna, go into My Nature at the end of a kalpa; I send them forth again at the beginning of the next kalpa. (Gita, Ch.9, Verse 7)
[Note: "Prakrti": The inferior one or the lower Nature composed of the three qualities , Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas.
Just as the grass grows from the earth and dries up in the earth, just as the ripples and waves rise from the ocean and disappear in the ocean itself, just as the dreams proceed from the mind and melt away in the mind itself when the dreamer comes back to the waking state, so also the beings which arise from Nature merge into it during dissolution or pralaya.
Pralaya is the period of dissolution.
Maha-utpatti is the time of creation.]
Animating My Nature, I again and again send forth all this multitude of beings, helpless by the force of the Nature. (Gita, Ch.9, Verse 8)
[Note: The Lord leans on, presses or embraces Nature. He invigorates and fertilises Nature which had gone to sleep at the end of the mahakalpa or universal dissolution and project again this whole multitude of beings. He gazes at each level and plane after plane comes into being. The term Prakrti denotes or indicates the five kleshas or afflictions, viz., avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga (likes or attachments) and dvesa (dislikes), and abhinivesa (clinging to earthly life).]
My womb is the great Brahma; in that I place the germ; thence, O
Arjuna, is the birth of all beings. (Gita, Ch.14, Verse 3)
[Note: My womb is the great Nature. The cosmos is evolved out of His Nature. Nature is called the great Brahma for she is the resting place of the five subtle elements and also the mahat (cosmic mind). She is called the great Brahma, because through Her the whole manifestation takes place.
I lay in it (the Mahatbrahma) the embryo of life; then all beings begin to come to life therefrom. In the great Brahma or Nature I place the germ or the seed for the birth of Hiranyagarbha; and the seed gives birth to all beings. The birth of Hirahnyagarbha or Brahma (the Creator) gives rise to the birth of beings.
The Primordial Nature is like the clay. She cannot create the forms Herself. She gives birth to Brahma Who creates all beings just as the potter creates various forms from the clay. I am endowed with two Saktis, viz., the superior and the inferior Natures, the field and its knower. I unite these two (the spirit and the matter). The individual soul comes under the influence of the limiting adjuncts, viz., ignorance, desire and action. On account of ignorance (avidya), the individual soul forgets his original divine nature, gets himself entangled in the meshes of desire (kama) and action (karma), and revolves in the wheel of birth and death.]
Whatever forms are produced, O Arjuna, in any womb whatsoever, the great Brahma is their womb and I am the seed-giving father. (Gita, Ch.14, Verse 4)
[Note: "I am the father": The Primordial Nature is the mother. The whole manifested world is the child Nature has produced in its association with Me. Therefore I am called the father of this world.
"wombs": Such as the gods, men, cattle, beasts, birds, etc.]
Under Me as supervisor Nature produces the moving and the unmoving; because of this, O Arjuna, the world revolves. (Gita, Ch.9, Verse 10)
[Note: The Lord presides only as a witness. Nature does everything. By reason of His proximity or presence, Nature sends forth the moving and the unmoving. The prime cause of this creation is Nature. For the movable and the immovable, and for the whole universe the root cause is Nature itself.
Although all actions are done with the help of the light of the sun, yet the sun cannot become the doer of actions. Even so the Lord cannot become the doer of actions even though Nature does all actions with the help of the light of the Lord.
As Brahman illumines avidya (ignorance), the material cause of this world, He is regarded as the cause of this world. The magnet is quite indifferent although it makes the iron pieces move on account of its proximity. Even so the Lord remains indifferent although He makes Nature create the world.
As the Lord and the Witness, He presides over this world which consists of moving and unmoving objects. He is a mere witness only.
The Rishis, measuring time, have named particular portions by particular names. Five and ten winks of the eye make what is called a Kashtha. Thirty Kashthas would make what is called a Kala. Thirty Kalas, with the tenth part of a Kala added, make what is known as a Muhurta. Thirty Muhurtas make up one day and night. Thirty days and nights are called a month, and twelve months are called a year.
Persons conversant with mathematical science say that a year is made up of two Ayanas (dependent on sun’s motion), viz., the northern and the southern. The sun makes the day and the night for the world of man. The night is for the sleep of all living creatures, and the day is for the doing of action.
A month of human beings is equal to a day and night of the Pitris (deceased ancestors). That division (as regards the Pitris) consists in this: the lighted fortnight (of men) is their day which is for the doing of acts; and the dark fortnight is their night for sleep. A year (of human beings) is equal to a day and night of the gods.
The division (as regards the gods) consists in this: the half year for which the sun travels from the vernal to the autumnal equinox is the day of the deities, and the half year for which the sun travels from the latter to the former is their night.
Computing by the days and nights of human beings about which I have told thee, I shall speak of the day and night of Brahma and his years also. I shall in their order, tell thee the number of years, that are thus for different purposes computed differently in respect of the Krita, the Treta, the Dwapara, and the Kali yugas. Four thousand years (of the deities) is the duration of the first or Krita age. The morning of that epoch consists of four hundred years and its evening is of four hundred years. [The total duration, therefore, of the krita Yuga (age) is four thousand and eight hundred years of the deities.]
As regards the other yugas, the duration of each gradually decreases by a quarter in respect of both the substantive period with the conjoining portion and the conjoining portion itself. [Thus the duration of the Treta is three thousand years and its morning extends for three hundred years and its evening for three hundred.]
The duration of the Dwapara also is two thousand years, and its morning extends for two hundred years and its evening also for two hundred. The duration of the Kali yuga is one thousand years, and its morning extends for one hundred years, and its evening for one hundred.
[Note: The Krita extends in all for 4800 years. The Treta for 3600; the Dwapara for 2400; and the Kali for 1200. These are, however, the years of the deities.]
These periods always sustain the never-ending and eternal worlds. They who are conversant with Brahman, O child, regard this as Immutable Brahman.


AITAREYA UPANISHAD
1. In the beginning all this was Atman – one only. There was nothing else active. He bethought himself, ‘Let me now create the world.’ He created these worlds.
2. He bethought himself, ‘Here then are the worlds. Let me now create the guardians of the worlds.’ From the waters themselves he drew forth the person and gave him a shape.
3. He bethought himself, ‘Here are the worlds and the guardians of the worlds. Let me create food for them.’
4. He brooded upon the waters and from the waters so brooded on, a form was produced. The form that was produced – that was indeed food.
5. The food that was thus created wished to run away. The person sought to seize it with his speech. He could not grasp it with his speech. If he had grasped it with his speech, then by merely speaking of food one would have been satisfied.
6. He then sought to seize it with his breath. He could not grasp it with his breath. If he had grasped it with his breath, then by merely breathing on food one would have been satisfied.
7. He then sought to seize it with his sight. He could not grasp it with his sight. If he had grasped it with his sight, then by merely seeing food one would have been satisfied.
8. He then sought to seize it with his hearing. He could not grasp it with his hearing. If he had grasped it with his hearing, then by merely hearing of food one would have been satisfied.
9. He then sought to seize it with his skin. He could not grasp it with his skin. If he had grasped it with his skin, then by merely touching food one would have been satisfied.
10. He then sought to seize it with his mind. He could not grasp it with his mind. If he had grasped it with his mind, then by merely thinking of food one would have been satisfied.
11. He then sought to seize it with his Apana (digestive breath). He got it. It is this breath that takes in food. It is this breath that lives on food.
12. He (the Atman) bethought himself, ‘Now can this thing (this person) live without me?’ He bethought himself, ‘By which way shall I enter it?’ He bethought himself, ‘If speaking is done by the organ of speech, breathing by breath, seeing by the eye, hearing by the ear, touching by the skin, thinking by the mind, eating by the Apana (digestive breath) – then who am I?’
13. So cleaving asunder this end (of the head), He entered by that way. This is the opening known as Vidriti (the cleft). It is the place of bliss. For Him there are three abodes (in the body) – three states of sleep – this one, this one and this one.
14. So piercing the end (i.e. the place where the parting of the hair ends), the Lord entered through that door. Three conditions of sleep: the three states of consciousness – waking, dream and deep sleep.]
15. He (the Jiva or the embodied soul), being born, knew and talked only of the created objects. How should he speak of any other? And then (after enlightenment) did he see this very Person, Brahman, the All-pervading and say ‘This have I seen.’


1. Who is he whom we worship as Atman? Which one is Atman? Is it he by whom one sees, or by whom one hears, or by whom one smells the smell or by whom one speaks the speech, or by whom one knows the sweet and the bitter?’ 2. That which is known as the heart, the mind – that is consciousness, perception, discrimination, intelligence, wisdom, insight, steadfastness, thought, acuteness, impulse, memory, volition, decision, life, desire, control – all these are indeed, the names of intelligence (Prajnana). 3. This Brahma, this Indra, this Prajapati, these gods, these five great elements – earth, air, space, water, fire – these things together with small creatures, and those of different origins – those born from an egg, those born from a womb, those born from sweat and those born from a sprout; horses, cows, men, elephants; whatever breathing thing there is here, whether moving or flying, and whatever is stationary – all this is guided by intelligence, is based on intelligence. The world is guided by intelligence. Intelligence is the basis. Intelligence is Brahman (the Supreme reality). 4. By means of this Intelligent Self the (Vamadeva) soared upward from this world and, having fulfilled all his desires in the yonder world of heaven, became immortal – yea, became immortal.



BRAHMA – SUTRAS
(the universal religion)
In the Dharma philosophical tradition Vedanta means the essence of the Vedas, as described in the Upanishads, the Brahma-Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. It includes three main systems of Dharma philosophical thought, namely, dualism, as taught by Madhavacharya, qualified non-dualism, as taught by Ramanujacharya, and absolute non-dualism, whose chief proponents are Gaudapada and Sankaracharya. The philosophy of non-dualism, embodying the conclusions of Vedanta, seems to have influenced to a greater or lesser degree all the philosophies and religions of Bharat. It is the unique contribution of the Hindus to the philosophical thinking of the world."
The three basic texts of Vedanta are the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma–Sutras. Together they are referred to as the Prasthan-traya or the triple canon of the Vedanta.
The author of the Brahma-Sutras is Badarayan whom Bharatiya tradition identifies with Vyasa. In the Brahma-Sutras, Badarayana- Vyasa strings together the leading concepts of Vedanta in an orderly manner. The Sutra is an exquisite garland made out of the Upanishadic blossoms. It is divided into four chapters known as Adhyayas. Each chapter consists of four parts called Padas. Each part has a number of sections called Adhikaranas and each section has one or more aphorisms or Sutras. According to Sri Sankaracharya, the number of sections is 192. The total number of aphorisms (Sutras) is 555.
In the first chapter which is on Harmony (Samanvaya), Badarayana teaches that the Vedantic texts, taken as a whole, have as their purport Brahman, the non-dual Reality. Badarayana shows that the Vedantic texts harmoniously teach Brahman as the plenary Reality, the world-ground which is of the nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, which is the supreme object of meditation, and which is the final goal to be realised.
In the second chapter which is titled ‘Non-conflict’ (Avirodha), Badarayana discusses the objections that may be raised against the metaphysics of Vedanta. According to Vedanta, Brahman is the substratum, the sole and the whole cause of the universe. Some theistic schools do not subscribe to this view. They hold that God is only the efficient cause who fashions the world out of extraneous matter which is co-eternal with God. Badarayana shows that this view is not sound because God would then become limited and finite. The world (universe) appears from Brahman, stays in it, and gets resolved into it. This does not involve any effort on the part of Brahman. The example of milk turning into curd is useful for realising that there is no need for an external agency for the world to appear. The truth is that the world is not separate from Brahman; it has no independent existence. The effect is non-different from the cause. In other words, the effect is appearance, the cause alone is real. An analogy would be to compare the non-evolution and evolution of the world to the folded and spread out states , respectively, of a piece of cloth. What is the status of the individual soul? Is it the product of Brahman?
In the third chapter of the Brahma-Sutras, Badarayana discusses the means to release-sadhana. If the soul had performed the appropriate meditations, it goes along the path of the gods (Devayana) and reaches Brama-Loka. The last chapter of the Brahma-Sutras is on ‘The Fruit’ (Phala). Prarabdha is the karma which has begun to fructify and is responsible for the present body. The truth is that for the Jivan-Mukta (liberated ) there is no body at all. The knower of Brahman realises the Absolute, non-different from Brahman. When one has gained release, there is no more involvements in the samsara; no more return to the cycle of birth and death.
From the time of the Vedas, the earliest recorded history of India’s spiritual culture, till this day, Hinduism has shown goodwill and respect for other religions. Despite sporadic instances of sectarian intolerance, the history of India is singularly free from religious strife. Even before the Christian era, India afforded shelter to a Jewish group, which was given freedom to pursue its own form of worship. Thomas, one of the apostles of Christ, came to India to preach the gospel of his master, and established a church in South India, which is still functioning. Most of the Parsis, when persecuted in their homeland came to India, where they are living today as the remnant of the grand ancient Zoroastrian faith. Hindu kings, frequently helped the Moslems to build their mosques, in spite of the fact that the Moslem rulers of India destroyed Hindu temples, disfigured Hindu images, and converted the Hindus to their faith often by ruthless methods. The religious clashes between Hindus and Moslems that have occurred during the present century (20th century) have been inspired largely by political factors, religion being used merely as a pretext.
The respectful attitude of Hinduism toward other religions can best be understood in terms of its philosophical basis. As has been explained earlier, ultimate reality, according to Vedanta, is Brahman, or the spirit, which is devoid of name, form, or attributes; and in the relative universe the highest manifestation of Brahman is the Personal God, who is worshipped under different names and forms by Hindus, Jews, Christians, and Moslems. A passage in one of the Hindu scriptures says: ‘Though without parts or attributes, Brahman assumes forms for the welfare of the spiritual seekers.’ The Personal God leads devotees to the realization of the spirit. Though Buddhism does not officially recognize the Person God, yet in actual practice the attitude of Buddhists towards Buddha is not very different from that of the votaries of other religions toward their respective prophets or saviours.
A religion which regards ultimate reality as impersonal truth, and at the same time recognizes the validity of its concrete manifestations for the benefit of struggling aspirants, cannot but admit the validity of all religious ideals and show them respect. The situation is quite different with those for whom the Personal God is the ultimate reality. To accept the doctrine of exclusive salvation and develop the concept of ‘either-or’ are natural for them. Hinduism has never developed the theory of a jealous God or exclusive salvation; the idea of a chosen people is alien to it. In the Hindu monotheism all other deities are either absorbed in the Supreme God or accepted as parts of Him. Whereas in the Semitic monotheism they are not tolerated. The Bhagavad Gita says that people under the compulsion of desires, following their own natures, worship other deities with suitable rituals. The supreme God does not frown upon such worship; on the contrary, He deepens their faith in their respective ideals and enables them to obtain the object of their desires. The ultimate fulfillment of desires, however, comes from Him alone who is the real dispenser of the fruits of worship. To a disciple who criticized the questionable rituals of a certain Hindu sect, Sri Ramakrishna said that the members of that sect, too, if sincere, would enter God’s mansion- it might be by the back door.
Christ proclaimed that in his Father’s house there are many mansions, and to emphasize the statement, added that he would not have said so if it were not true. Vivekananda said that a man does not progress from error to truth, but from truth to truth- more correctly, from lower truth to higher truth. It cannot be that among sincere devotees of God some are in total error and some completely right. A man’s spiritual life and method of worship are determined by his inner evolution. The Bhagavad Gita warns that the wise should not unsettle the understanding of the ignorant, but should instruct them, coming down to their level.
It is good to have been born in a church, but one should not die in a church. Religions as human institutions cannot be absolutely perfect, but God is perfect. Religion is not God, but shows the way to God. The teachings of any organized religion deviate somewhat from those of its founder. It is said that Satan was once asked how he would tempt a possessor of pure truth, and he replied that he would tempt him to organize it. As clocks should be corrected from time to time by the sun, so also religions. The correction is made by saints, who directly commune with God, and not by theologians, who are only interpreters of the scriptures.
As already stated, Hinduism, both at its source and during the period of its subsequent development, exhibits a remarkable spirit of catholicity. As early as the time of the Rig-Veda it was said: ‘Reality is one; sages call it by various names.’ We read in the Upanishad: ‘May He, the One without a second, who, though formless produces by means of His manifold powers various forms without any purpose of His own; may He from whom the universe comes into being at the beginning of creation and to whom it returns in the end- endow us with good thoughts.’
Again: ‘As flowing rivers disappear in the sea, losing their names and forms, so a wise man, freed from names and forms, attains Brahman, who is greater than the great.’
One cannot distinguish a Hindu from a Moslem, or a Christian from a Jew, when they are absorbed in the infinite spirit. One sees differences only on a lower level, but from the summit all distinctions disappear. That the non-dual spirit is worshipped under different names is reiterated by Hinduism. Here is a text from a Hindu scripture: ‘May the Lord of the universe, the remover of evil- whom the devotees of Siva worship as Siva, the Vedantists as Brahman, the Buddhists as Buddha [and we may add, the Christians as the Father in heaven, the Jews as Jehovah, the Moslems as Allah], the followers of the Nyaya philosophy who are clever in logic as the Divine Agent, those devoted to the Jain doctrines as Arhat, the ritualists of the Mimamsa Schools Karma- grant us all the desires of our hearts.’
That all paths lead to the same goal is emphasized in the following hymn: ‘Different are the paths laid down in the Vedas, in Sankhya, in Yoga, and in the Saiva Vaishnava scriptures. Of these, some people regard one and some another as the best. Devotees follow these diverse paths, straight or crooked, according to their different tendencies. Yet, O Lord, Thou alone art the ultimate goal of all men, as the ocean is the goal of all rivers.’
Hinduism itself provides for more than one divine incarnation. A good Hindu shows respect to them all and to those believed in by other religions as well. It is related that when at one time Arjuna extolled Krishna, who was of a dark complexion, as the unique avatara, Krishna asked his disciple to follow him, and they entered a forest. Krishna pointed out to Arjuna a big tree and asked him if he knew what kind of a tree it was. After observing it, Arjuna said that it was a blackberry tree with clusters of berries hanging from it. But coming nearer, Arjuna discovered that they were not berries at all, but innumerable Krishnas hanging from the tree of the Absolute. Krishna, Buddha, Christ, and the other incarnations are so many waves in the ocean of existence – knowledge-bliss-absolute.
One day Ananda, the foremost disciple of Buddha said to his master that Buddha was the greatest of all the prophets of the past, present, and the future. Thereupon Buddha asked the disciple whether he knew of all the prophets that had been born in the past since the creation, and of all the prophets that would descend on earth in the future till the world came to an end, and even whether he knew of all the godlike men who were living in different parts of the earth at the present time. Ananda was ashamed of his dogmatism.
According to Hinduism, no prophet is unique in the sense that he is the greatest of all. All receive their message from the one source and present it to men to suit their particular needs. In the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, and Moses one may see apparent differences due to the peculiar requirements of the people whom these prophets taught. But in their communion with reality they all experienced the same goodness, beauty and truth. The common inner experiences of prophets are not noticed by their followers; the apparent external differences in their teachings account for much of religious quarrelling and controversy.
The harmony of religion found its most vivid expression through the spiritual experiences of Ramakrishna. This saint of modern India practised all the dualistic and non-dualistic disciplines of Hinduism and always arrived at the same state of God-consciousness. He pursued the teachings of Christ and Mohammed, and attained the same spiritual goal. One noticeable feature of his spiritual practices is that when he followed a particular path, he became completely absorbed in it and forgot everything else. While pursuing Islamic disciplines, he ate, dressed, and acted like a Moslem, removed the pictures of the Hindu deities from his room, and stopped going to Hindu temples. Thus he taught from actual experience, and not from mere book knowledge, that all religions are but different paths to reach the same goal. He also taught that a devotee of any faith need not give up his own rituals or beliefs, for he will certainly realise God with their help if he is sincere.
Different religions are differing forces in the economy of God; all working for the good of mankind; as we cannot destroy any force in nature, so we cannot destroy any of these spiritual forces. Different faiths are necessary to suit the diversity of human temperaments. Some men are emotional, some rational, some introspective, some active; again, there are those who wish to contemplate an abstract ideal, and those who wish to worship through concrete symbols. If there were only one religious discipline, there would be no hope for those who did not respond to it. Hence it is fortunate that there are many religions instead of only one, as many would prefer to have it. The greater the number of religions, the more chances people will have to satisfy their spiritual hunger.
If there are different restaurants in a city, everyone will have an opportunity to choose the food that is most suited to his taste and requirement. People can get the same nourishment from rice, bread, or potatoes; the same illumination comes from lamps of different shapes, and the same white milk from cows of different colours. Religion will not have fulfilled its mission until every man has evolved his own religion, revealing to him his unique relationship with its Creator. If only one religion remained in the world, religion would be dead; variation is the sign of life, and always will be. Thinking beings must differ; difference is the first sign of thought. A thoughtful person prefers to live among other thoughtful persons, for the clash of thought stimulates new thinking. The very fact that all the great religions have survived till today proves that their utility is not gone. The religions of the world are not really contradictory or antagonistic; they are complementary. There is, in fact, no such thing as your religion or my religion, your national religion or my national religion; there is only one universal religion, of which all the so-called different faiths are but different manifestations. God is often described in Hinduism as the wish-reflecting gem. In Him everyone finds a reflection of his own ideal of truth, goodness, and beauty.
The different religions emphasize different facets of the supreme reality. Islam, perhaps more than any other religion, stands for the brotherhood of men among its own devotees. With the Moslems there are no social distinctions. It is inspiring to read about the pilgrimage of the Moslems to Mecca. There hundreds of thousands of the faithful discard their differing dress, whether of prince, ordinary citizen, or beggar, put on the seamless white garment which makes the chieftain indistinguishable from the shepherd, and proceed to the holy shrine to declare their surrender to almighty Allah. Before God all Moslems are equal.
With the Christians the central idea is: ‘Watch and pray, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ – which means, purify your minds and be ready for the coming of the Lord. And one cannot but admire the love of God, which innumerable Christians show through love of men, to whose service they devote their time, energy, and material resources. The idea of ‘sharing’ is perhaps the most striking feature of Christianity in practice.
Judaism has clung to the idea of God’s power and justice, and the Jewish people with dauntless patience have faced the ordeals and sufferings through which they have passed for two thousand years without losing their faith in God’s power and justice.
Buddhism teaches how to attain peace through renunciation and service. In these days of selfishness and competition, it is a joy to see Buddhist monk serving people with infinite love and infinite compassion, as taught by their prophet.
Hinduism makes the realization of God, who is both within and without, the central fact of life. Thousands of Hindus are willing, even today, to renounce everything- including the world itself- to experience the reality of God.
Thus the different religions are like different photographs of the same building from different angles; but all of them are genuine pictures. Though people with vessels of different sizes go to a lake and carry away water, which takes the form of the vessels, it is all the authentic water of the lake. And after all the vessels have been filled, the lake still appears to contain the same amount of water. None can exhaust the infinite power, beauty, love, and goodness of God.
In so far as religions belong to the realm of men’s inmost soul, there are many remarkable similarities between them. The inner experience is the same everywhere; only the outer expressions are different, as determined by time and place. The end and aim of all religions is the realization of God, though the methods of realization may differ. The scriptures of the different religions merely point out different means to the attainment of freedom and universal love. All religions, in the words of Vivekananda, from the lowest fetish-worship to the contemplation of the Absolute, are so many attempts of the human soul to grasp and realize the infinite, each determined by the conditions of its birth and association- and each of these marks a stage of progress; every soul is a young eagle soaring higher and higher, gathering more and more strength, till it reaches the glorious sun.
All the great religions, whether evolved in the regions of the Arabian Desert or on the fertile banks of the Ganges, are founded on strikingly similar principles. They all believe in the existence of a soul which does not die with the destruction of the body, and in the reality of a God who is above nature and without beginning or end. Both Hinduism and the religions of Semitic origin believe in the original perfection of the soul; they also believe that men, by their own actions, have made themselves imperfect. But they all admit that souls will regain their perfection through knowing God. Saints and holy persons are objects of worship and veneration in all religions, and the Golden Rule is both implicit and explicit in all. All religions consciously or unconsciously exalt God’s holy name and all claim to show the way out of the prison-house of this world. All exhort their followers to practise such spiritual disciplines as faith, prayer, self-control, and contemplation. The idea is implicit in the teachings of all prophets that the human mind can, at certain moments, transcend the limitations of the senses and of reasoning based upon sense data, and come face to face with truth, so in many fundamental matters religions show striking similarity.
Here we must take into consideration certain fundamental factors, which constitute an organized religion. Though the realization of God, or the attainment of perfection or freedom, is the ultimate goal, yet this can be achieved only by stages. At one stage religion emphasizes ritual, at another stage mythology, and at a third stage the doctrines and disciplines which constitute its philosophy. Ritual, mythology, and philosophy may be considered the three important constituents of a well-organized religion. Mythology is the concretisation of philosophy. It seeks to explain philosophy by means of the legendary lives of men or supernatural beings. Ritual is still more concrete. Bells, music, flowers, lights, images, and other concrete objects are freely used in ritual. But no agreement among religions can be established with respect to philosophy, mythology, or ritual.
Ritual has often been condemned by Protestant Christianity and Islam. Hinduism, the Mahayana Buddhism, and Roman Catholic Christianity recognize its importance, especially for beginners. A symbol, by the law of association, brings to mind the abstract ideal for which it stands. Music, it is well known, helps to concentrate the mind. Ritualistic worship, as described in the preceding chapter, helps to develop a devotional attitude. Some of the greatest saints of the world have been produced by religions rich in ritual and mythology- both of which have also contributed to the development of art, literature, and music. The stories of the fall of Adam and Eve, and of the Deluge, have important philosophical implications. Through various myths the scriptures try to explain abstruse truths. God’s omnipresence, infinitude, or omniscience can scarcely be grasped by beginners in religion. And in spite of our intellectual attainments, most of us are only beginners.
Ritual, mythology, and philosophy, are necessary factors in religious growth. Like husks, they protect the kernel of religious truth. The kernel is the essential part of a seed, but without the husk it cannot germinate. When the sprout appears the husk drops away. As one begins to dive deep in search of God, the non-essentials of ritual, mythology, and philosophy are discarded.
There is, however, no such thing as pure religion. All faiths are conditioned by the three factors already mentioned, and all religious disagreements arise in these three fields. There cannot be any universal philosophy acceptable to all religions. When the followers of a religion regard its doctrines and disciplines as universal and desire others to accept them, a refusal on the part of the latter arouses ill feeling, and sometimes human beings act like wild beasts. The same is true of mythology: when a religion claims that its myths alone are historical fact while those of others are pure superstition, misunderstanding and friction arise. In the field of ritual, the disagreement is just as pronounced: the followers of one religion may regard its own ritual as particularly holy, while declaring those of others to be arrant nonsense. Thus religious fanatics quarrel about non-essentials, fighting as it were, over empty baskets while the contents have slipped into the ditch. Yet these non-essentials are necessary and must remain until men are firmly grounded in religious experience. As long as these exist different temperaments and needs, it will be impossible to find a universal philosophy, a universal mythology, or a universal ritual. Yet a universal religion is the dream of people who want to eliminate religious friction. What is this universal religion? Where does one find it?
Attempts have been made in the past to create a universal religion. There are the instances of Christianity and Islam, some of whose zealous leaders hoped to make their own faith into a universal religion. In order to impose it upon others they employed not only force of character, but more often bribery, persuasion, the sword, or a combination of all these. This desire in one form or other still persists, though history shows that a universal religion can neither be created nor imposed upon others in this way. Then people tried to formulate a universal religion on an electic basis, by gathering together the non-conflicting ethical and other elements from the different faiths and eliminating those factors, which give rise to friction. This intellectual method met with no better success, because religion is not a product of the intellect, but rooted in the direct experience of God by prophets and seers. Devoid of any roots, an intellectual religion withers away quickly, though it may look beautiful, like a bouquet of flowers of different colours picked from various plants. Attempts are often made to promote religious goodwill by means of interfaith breakfasts and luncheons or by symposiums and discussions. All these functions stimulate the mind, but they do not go far.
As we have said, the universal religion already exists and needs only to be discovered. We do not see it because we emphasize rituals, mythology, and philosophy and ignore the basic truth. It is like universal brotherhood. We do not easily recognize this brotherhood because of our emphasis on racial and national prejudices. If we hold these in check we can see our brothers everywhere; but if we keep these prejudices intact and at the same time start organizing to promote human brotherhood, we only succeed in making confusion worse confounded. Human beings differ from one another in size, shape, and colour of skin, but an underlying humanity is common to all. One may not be able to lay one’s finger on it, yet it exists all the same. Likewise the universal religion, in the form of God-consciousness, runs through all faiths, whether primitive, ethical, or highly mystical.
The Lord says in the Bhagavad Gita: ‘I am the thread that runs through the pearls, as in a necklace.’ Each religion is one of the pearls. Through high philosophy or low, through the most exalted mythology or the most primitive and superstitious beliefs, through the most refined ritualism or the most stupid fetishism, every sect, every soul, every religion, consciously or unconsciously is struggling upward, toward God and freedom. Every vision of truth that a man has had is a vision of God and of none else. The Bible, the Vedas, the Koran, are so many pages in the scriptures of the universal religion, and an infinite number of pages remain yet to be unfolded.
The universal religion does not imply a set of universal doctrines or disciplines, or a universal ritual. Such a religion would be impossibility, because of the diversity of human nature. The universal religion has no location in time or space. Its area is infinite, like the god it preaches. Krishna, Christ, Buddha, and Moses all have honoured places in it. Its sun shines upon all spiritual seekers: Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, or Moslem. In its catholicity this universal religion embraces in its infinite arms savages and civilized people, saints and sinners, philosophers and lovers of God, active men and contemplatives. There is no room in it for persecution or intolerance. Recognizing the potential divinity of all men and women it devotes its entire force to aiding men to realize their true divine nature. The real universal religion is not a creed or a doctrine; it is an experience. It is God-consciousness.
How are we to promote the universal religion? Let us recognize the fact that religions are complementary and not competitive. Saints and mystics have flourished in all religions; some such men have not belonged to any organized church. It is absurd to imagine that God is solely or even chiefly concerned with religion. Let us discard the idea of toleration, which carries with it a sense of superiority. Let us think of other religions in terms of respect and positive acceptance. A believer in the universal religion feels equally at home in a mosque, a church, a synagogue, or a temple. He sees his brother’s face in a Moslem, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew, or a Hindu. He salutes all the prophets of the past, bows down before all godlike persons who are working today for the uplift of humanity, and keeps himself in readiness to show reverence to all the prophets of the future.
Let us encourage every man to dive deep into the mysteries of his own religion, and, provided he is sincere and earnest, he will one day discover for himself the universal religion.
In a circle with many radii, the farther we move from the centre, the greater will seem the distance between one radius and another. As we move toward the centre the distance will narrow down. At the centre all radii meet. The radii represent the different religions, and the centre is God. The farther we move from God, the greater will seem the difference between one religion and another. The nearer we are to God, the closer we shall feel toward other religions. In God we all meet. In order to promote religious harmony; let us deepen our religious consciousness. Let us come nearer to God by following our respective faiths, and not by jumping from one faith to another. Let the Hindu, the Moslem, the Christian, the Jew, emphasize the spirit and not the letter of their scriptures, and all religious quarrels will stop. Our religious edifice should keep all its windows open so as to permit fresh air from outside to come in; but we must not allow the wind to sweep the edifice off its foundation. The enemy of Islam is not Hinduism; the enemy of Christianity is not Judaism. All religions are challenged today by a common enemy: the rising tide of skepticism and secularism. If the religions do not hang together, they will hang separately. A Christian, to paraphrase the words of Arnold Toynbee, can believe in his own religion without having to feel that it is the sole repository of truth. He can love it without having to feel that it is the sole means of salvation. He can take Buddha’s words to heart without being disloyal to Christ. But he cannot harden his heart against Krishna without hardening it against Christ.
In order to promote the universal religion we must not destroy other faiths. When a so-called civilized religion destroys, in the name of enlightenment, the beliefs and practices of a primitive people, it destroys something of their soul; religion is a part of the soul. We must not exterminate any faith, however crude it may be, nor superimpose our beliefs upon others; there must be no proselytism. By our own ardour and sincerity we may try to deepen people's faith in their own religions. Take a man where he stands to give him a lift.
To be sure, there will always remain differences in the non-essentials of religion. The world is a complex machine with intricate wheels. Let us try to make it run smoothly; let us lessen the friction by greasing the wheels, as it were. How can this be done? By recognizing the natural necessity of variation. Truth can be expressed in a hundred thousand ways, and each of these ways is true as far as it goes. And this expression of truth need not always be through a conventional theological God, but may use the medium of science, or art, or philosophy, or consecration to duty.
The preachers and ministers of religion have a tremendous responsibility in the promotion of world peace through the harmony of religions. It is to them that people look for guidance. How uplifting it will be if every church observes the holy days of other faiths! How effectively respect for other religions can be created if, for the scriptural reading, a minister selects passages from scriptures other than his own! How impressive it will be for the congregation if he tries to prove a point in his sermon by quoting from the words of prophets other than his own! People will then realize that religious experiences are universal phenomena and not the exclusive property of any one faith.
This idea of exclusiveness always creates suspicion. A man with a sixth toe may be unique, but he is certainly not normal. When we begin by claiming superiority for our own religion, we end by asserting the superiority of our own interpretation of it. As Dr.Radhakrishnan has said, we start with the statement that Christianity is the best of all religions. Next we say that Protestantism is the best form of Christianity. Next, that the High Church is the true Protestant church. And lastly, that our own interpretation of the High Church is the best interpretation of the Christian religion.
Humanity is stricken today with a serious malady. This malady is essentially spiritual; political friction, economic unrest, and moral confusion are only its outer symptoms. Man is not at peace with his neighbours, with nature, with himself, or with his Creator. Greed, lust for power, and anger are abroad. Ill will and suspicion are poisoning the very source of inter-racial and international relationships. The challenge of aggressive evil, which is undermining human society, can be met only by aggressive good. A drastic change in our thinking is imperative. Human nature shall have to be transformed. But this transformation can come neither through psychotherapy nor through science and technology, nor through military, political, or economic pacts. It is religion that can contribute in a large measure to bringing about the change. The great faiths of the world owe it to humanity to rise to the occasion.
As there are many dangers ready to engulf humanity, so also there are infinite possibilities to create a glorious world. Distance has been annihilated and men are now in a better position than ever before to compare notes with one another regarding their achievements and failures. Everyone has access to right knowledge and everyone can learn to make free use of it. In this fateful hour it is the duty of the religions to act as pointers to the goal of peace and freedom. Let them give tired humanity a song to sing. And let these mottoes be emblazoned on their banners: ‘Not destruction, but fulfillment,’ ‘Not condemnation, but acceptance,’ ‘Not dissension, but harmony.’



DHARMA SCRIPTURES
(By Saint and Savants of Bharatversha)
SOME OF THE HINDU SCRIPTURES
(1). The Vedas, (2). The Upanishads, (3). Puranas, (4). Nyaya, (5). Vaiseshika,
Five Gyan Shastras:
Mimamsa, Brahma-Sutras, Sankhya, Yoga, Dharma-Sastras,
The six scriptures are
(1). Srutis
(2). Smritis
(3). Itihasas
(4). Puranas
(5). Agamas
(6). Darsanas
The four secular writings are:
(1). Subhashitas
(2). Kavyas
(3). Natakas
(4). Alankaras
The Veda is divided into four great books:
(1). The Rig-Veda
(2). The Yajur-Veda
(3). The Sama-Veda
(4). The Atharva-Veda
The Yajur-Veda is again divided into two parts:.
(1). The Sukla Yajur-Veda
(2). The Krishna Yajur-Veda.
Veda consists of four parts:
(1). The Mantra-Samhitas or hymns.
(2). The Brahmanas or explanations of Mantras or rituals.
(3). The Aranyakas (philosophical interpretations of the rituals).
(4). The Upanishads (The essence or the knowledge portion of the Vedas).
(2). Upasana-Kanda The Upasana-Kanda or Worship-Section deals with various kinds of worship or meditation.
(3). Jnana-Kanda. The Jana-Kanda or Knowledge-Section deals with the highest knowledge of Nirguna Brahman. (Nirguna = without attributes or forms. Brahman = the Supreme Reality).
There are two Brahmanas to the Rig-Veda:
(1). The Aitareya
(2). The Sankhayana
The most important Upanishads are :
(1). Isa
(2). Kena
(3). Katha
(4). Prasna
(5). Mundaka
(6). Mandukya
(7). Aitareya
(8). Taittiriya
(9). Chhandogya
(10). Brihadaranyaka
(11). Kaushitaki, and
(12). Svetasvatara and
(13). Maitrayani.

There are four Upa-Vedas or subsidiary Vedas:
(1). The Ayurveda (science of life and health)
(2). The Dhanurveda (science of war)
(3). The Gandharva Veda (science of music)
(4). The Arthasastra (science of polity)
The Vedangas:
There are six Angas or explanatory limbs, to the Vedas:
(1). The Siksha of Maharshi Panini (Phonetics)
(2). Vyakarana of Maharshi Panini (Sanskrit Grammar)
(3). The Chhandas of Pingalacharya (Prosody metre)
(4). The Nirukta of Yaska (Philosophy or etymology)
(5). The Jyotisha of Garga (Astronomy and astrology)
(6). The Kalpas (Srauta, Grihya, Dharma and Sulba) belonging to the authorship of various Rishis.
The Pratishakhyas, Padapathas, Kramapathas, Upalekhas, nukramanis, Daivatsamhitas, Parisishtas, Prayogas, Paddhatis, Karikas, Khilas, and Vyuhas are further elaborations in the rituals of the Kalpa Sutras.
Among the Kalpa Sutras, the
(1). Asvalayana, (2). Sankhayana and the (3). Sambhavya belong to the Rig-Veda.
(1). The Mashaka, (2). Latyayana, (3). Drahyayana, (4). Gobhila and (5). Khadira belong to the Sama-Veda.
(1). The Katyayana and (2). Paraskara belong to the Sukla Yajur Veda.
(1). The Apastamba, (2). Hiranyakesi, (3). Bodhayana, (5). Bharadvaja, (6). Manava, (7). Vaikhanasa and the (8). Kathaka belong to the Krishna Yajur-Veda.
(1). The Vaitana and the (2). Kaushika belong to the Atharva-Veda.
There are four books of Itihahas:
(1) The Valmiki-Ramayana
(2). The Yogavasishtha
(3). The The Ramayana (4). The Mahabharata
The Puranas are of the same class as the Itihasas. They have five characteristics (Panch-Lakshana):
(1). History
(2). Cosmology ( with various symbolical
(3). illustrations of philosophical principles)
(4). Secondary creation
(5). Genealogy of kings Manavantaras
The Eighteen Puranas:
(1). Vishnu Purana
(2). Naradiya Purana
(3). Srimad Bhagavata Purana
(4). Garuda (Suparna) Purana
(5). Padma Purana,
(6). Varah Purana
(7). Brahma Purana
(8). Brahmanda Purana
(9). Brahma Vaivarta Purana
(10). Markandeya Purana
(11). Bhavishya Purana
(12). Vamana Purana
(13). Matsya Purana
(14). Kurma Purana
(15). Linga Purana, (16). Siva Purana
(17). Skanda Purana and
(18). Agni Purana. Of these, six are Sattvic Puranas and glorify Vishnu; Six are Rajasic Puranas and glorify Brahma; six are Tamasic Puranas and glorify Siva. The Upa-Puranas: The eighteen Upa-Puranas are: SanatKumara, Narasimha, Brihannaradiya, Sivarahasya, Durvasa, Kapila, Vamana, Bhargava, Varuna, Kalika, Samba, Nandi, Surya, Parasara, Vasishtha, Devi-Bhagavata, Ganesa and Hamsa.
The Agamas:
(1). Jnana or Knowledge
(2). Yoga or Concentration
(3). Kriya or Esoteric Ritual
(4). Charya or Exoteric Worship
The Agamas are divided into three sections:
(1). The Vaishnava
(2). The Saiva
(3). The Sakta The Vaishnava Agamas, The Saiva Agamas, The Sakta Agamas
The Shad-Darsana (the six schools of philosophy) or the Shat-Sastras are:
(1). The Nyaya founded by Gautama Rishi
(2). The Vaiseshika by Kanada Rishi
(3). The Sankhya by Kapila Muni
(4). The Yoga by Patanjali Maharshi
(5). The Purva Mimamsa by Jaimini
(6). The Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta by Badarayana or Vyasa
There are hundreds of other scriptures. These are just some of them.




HINDU SECTS
(By Swami Shivananda)
Hinduism is extremely catholic, liberal, tolerant, and elastic. This is the wonderful feature of Dharma. A foreigner (visiting India) is struck with astonishment when he hears about the diverse sects and creeds of Hinduism. But these varieties are really an ornament to Hinduism. They are certainly not its defects. There are various types of minds and temperaments. So there should be various faiths also. This is but natural. This is the cardinal tenet of Hinduism. There is room in Hinduism for all types of souls- from the highest to the lowest- for their growth and evolution.
The term ‘Hinduism’ is most elastic. It includes a number of sects and cults, allied, but different in many important points. Hinduism has, within its fold, various schools of Vedanta; Vaishnavism, Saivism, Saktism, etc. It has various cults and creeds. Hinduism accommodates all types of men. It prescribes spiritual food for everybody, according to his qualification and growth. This is the beauty of this magnanimous religion. This is the glory of Hinduism. Hence there is no conflict among the various cults and creeds. The Rig-Veda declares: "Truth is one; sages call it various names- Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti." The Upanishads declare that all the paths lead to the same goal, just as cows of variegated colours yield the same white milk. Lord Krishna says in the Gita: ‘Howsoever men approach Me, even so do I welcome them, for the path men take from every side is Mine." All diversities are organized and united in the body of Hinduism.
Hinduism provides food for reflection for the different types of thinkers and philosophers all over the world. All sorts of philosophy are necessary. What appeals to one may not appeal to another, and what is easy for one may be difficult for another. Hence the need for different standpoints. All philosophies of Hinduism are points of view. They are true in their own way. They take the aspirant step by step, stage by stage, till he reaches the acme or the pinnacle of spiritual glory. Sanatana-Dharmists, Arya-Samajists, Deva- Samajists, Jainas, Buddhists, Sikhs and Brahmo-Samajists are all Hindus only, for they rose from Hinduism, and emphasized one or more of its aspects.
The Hindus are divided into three great classes, viz.
1. Vaishnavas who worship the Lord as Vishnu;
2. Saivas who worship the Lord as Siva; and
3. Saktas who adore Devi or the Mother aspect of the Lord.
In addition, there are the Sauras, who worship the Sun-God; Ganapatyas who worship Ganesh as supreme; and Kumaras who worship Skanda as the godhead.
1.
The Vaishnavas are usually distinguished into four principal Sampradayas or sects. Of these, the most ancient is the Sri Sampradaya founded by Ramanuja Acharya about the middle of the twelfth century. The followers of Ramanuja adore Vishnu and Lakshmi, and their incarnations. They are called Ramanujas or Sri Sampradayins or Sri Vaishnavas. The teachers are Brahmins. The disciples may be of any caste. They all recite the Ashtakshara Mantra: "Om Namo Narayanaya." They put on (display) two white lines and a central red line on the forehead.
Vedantacharya, a follower of Ramanuja, made some reform in the Vaishnava faith. This gave rise to the formation of two antagonistic parties of Ramanujas, one called the Northern School (Vadagalai) and the other the Southern School (Tengalai). The Tengalais regard Prapatti or self-surrender as the only way to salvation. The Vadagalais think that it is only one of the ways. According to them, the Bhakta or the devotee is like the young one of a monkey which has to exert itself and cling to its mother (Markata-Nyaya or Monkey Theory); whereas, according to the Southern School, the Bhakta or the devotee is like the kitten which is carried about by the cat without any effort on its own part (Marjala-Nyaya or Cathold Theory). The Northern School accept the Sanskrit texts, the Vedas. The Southerners have compiled a Veda of their own called ‘Nalayira Prabandha’ or ‘Four Thousand Verses’, in Tamil, and hold it to be older than the Sanskrit Vedas. Really, their four thousand verses are based on the Upanishad portion of the Vedas. In all their worship, they repeat sections from their Tamil verses.
The Vadagalais regard Lakshmi as the consort of Vishnu, Herself infinite, uncreated and equally to be adored as a means (Upaya) for release. The Tengalais regard Lakshmi as a created female being, though divine. According to them, she acts as a mediator or minister (Purushakara), and not as an equal channel of release.
The two sets have different marks on their foreheads. The Vadagalais make a simple white line curved like the letter U to represent the sole of the right foot of Lord Vishnu, the source of the River Ganga (Ganges). They add a central red mark as a symbol of Lakshmi. The Tengalais make a white mark like the letter Y that represents both the feet of Lord Vishnu. They draw a white line half way down the nose. Both the sects brand the emblems of Vishnu- the discus and the conch- on their breasts, shoulders and arms.
The Tengalais prohibit their widows from shaving their heads.
The usual surnames of the Ramanuja Brahmins are Aiyangar, Acharya, Charlu and Acharlu.
The followers of Ramananda are the Ramanandis. They are well-known in upper Hindusthan (India). They are branch of the Ramanuja sect. They offer their worship to Lord Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. Ramananda was a disciple of Ramanuja. He flourished at Varanasi about the beginning of the fourteenth century. His followers are numerous in the Ganga (Ganges) valley of India. Their favourite work is the ‘Bhakti-Mala.’ Their sectarian marks are like those of the Ramanujas. The Vairagis are the ascetics among the Ramanandis.
The Vallbhacharins form a very important sect in Mumbai, Gujarat and the Central India. Their founder was born in the forest Camparanya in 1479. He is regarded as an incarnation of Krishna. The Vallabhacharins worship Krishna as Baba-Gopala. Their idol is one representing Krishna in his childhood till his twelfth year. The Gosains or teachers are family men. The eight daily ceremonials for God in the temples are Mangala, Sringara, Gvala, Raja Bhoga, Utthapana, Bhoga, Sandhya and Sayana. All these represent various forms of adoration of God.
The mark on the forehead consists of two red perpendicular lines meeting in a semicircle at the root of the nose and having a round dot of red between them. The necklace and rosary are made of the stalk of the Tulasi (holy Basil plant).
The great authority of the sect is the Srimad Bhagavata as explained in the Subodhini, the commentary thereon of Vallabhacharya. The members of the sect should visit Sri Nathdvara, a holy shrine, at least once in their lives.
This sect is prominent in Bengal and Orissa. The founder Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Lord Gouranga, was born in 1485. He was regarded as an incarnation of Lord Krishna. He took sannyasa (monkhood) at the age of twenty-four. He went to Jagannath where he taught Vaishnava doctrines.
The Chaitanyas worship Lord Krishna as the Supreme Being. All castes are admissible into the sect. The devotees constantly repeat the Name of Lord Krishna.
Chaitanya’s Charitamrita by Krishna Das is a voluminous work. It contains anecdotes of Chaitanya and his principal disciples and the expositions of the doctrines of this sect. It is written in Bengali. The Vaishnavas of this sect wear two white perpendicular streaks of sandalwood paste or Gopichandan (a kind of sacred clay). Down the forehead uniting at the root of the nose and continuing to near the tip. They wear a close necklace of small Tulasi beads of three strings.
[Note: During the twentieth century, Swami Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta became the founder Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness with branches all over the world. This movement urges devotees to recite with faith and devotion the following Hare-Krishna Mantra: "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare"
The founder of this sect was Nimbarka or Nimbaditya. He was originally named Bhaskara Acharya. He is regarded as an incarnation of the Sun-God (Surya). The followers worship Krishna and Radha (Krishna’s consort) conjointly. Their chief scripture is the Srimad Bhagavata Purana.
The followers have two perpendicular yellowish lines made from Gopichandan clay and applied from the root of the hair to the commencement of each eye-brow and there meeting in a curve. This represents the footprint of Lord Vishnu.
The Nimbarkas or Nimavats are scattered throughout the whole of upper India. They are very numerous around Mathura. They are also the most numerous of the Vaishnava sects in Bengal.
The Madhavas are Vaishnavas. They are known as Brahma Sampradayins. The founder of the sect was Madhavacharya, otherwise called Ananda Tirtha and also called Purna-Prajna. He was born in 1200 ad. He was a great opponent of Sankaracharya’s Advaita system of philosophy. He is regarded as an incarnation of Vayu or the Wind-God. He erected and consecrated at Udipi the image of Lord Krishna.
The Gurus of the Madhava sect are Brahmins and Sannyasins. The followers bear the impress of the symbols of Vishnu upon their breasts and shoulders. They are stamped with a hot iron. Their marks on the foreheads consist of two perpendicular lines made with Gopichandana and joined at the root of the nose. They make a straight black line (using charcoal from incense offered to Krishna), which terminates in a round mark made with tumeric.
The Madhavas are divided into two classes called the Vyasakutas and the Dasakutas. They are found in Karnataka.
Truthfulness, study of scriptures, generosity, kindness, faith and freedom from envy form the moral code of Madhavas. They give the Lord’s names to their children (Namakarana Sanskar), and mark the body with His symbols (Ankana). They practise virtue in thought, word and deed (Bhajana).

Radha Vallabhis worship Krishna as Radha-Vallabha, the Lord or the Lover of Radha. Harivans was the founder of this sect. Seva Sakhi Vani gives a detailed description of the notion of this sect and more of their traditions and observances.
Charana Dasis, Dadu Panthis, Hari Chandis, Kabir Panthis, Khakis, Maluk Dasis, Mira Bais, Madhavis, Rayi Dasis, Senais, Sakhi Bhavas, Sadma Panthis, are all Vaishnava sects.

2. THE SAIVAS
The Saiva Brahmins of the Tamil India have their title Aiyer. They are called Smartas. They all wear three horizontal lines of Bhasma or Vibhuti (holy ash) on their forehead. They all worship Lord Siva. The different sects are:
1. Vadamas : Vada Desa Vadamas, Chola Desa Vadamas and Inji Vadamas
2. Brihatcharanam: Mazhainattu Brihatcharanam, Pazhamaneri Brihatcharanam, Milaghu Brihatcharanam and Kandramanikka Brihatcharanam
3. Vathimars
4. Ashtasahasram
5. Choliyas: Otherwise called Pandimars and inhabitants of Tiruchendur, and
6. Gurukkal: A sub-sect of Vadamas not recognized as one amongst them and whose duties are to worship at temples. They are also known by the name of Oattar in southern districts of Madras. These are different from Archaks. Archaks belong to any of the above sub-sects and inter-marry with persons of other professions, but not Gurukkal or Pattar. While Gurukkal is used only for Saivites, Pattar and Archak are used for Vaishnavites also.
SAIVA BRAHMINS OF MALABAR:
1.Nambuduri 2.Muse, and 3.Embrantiri
SAIVA BRAHMINS OF BENGAL:
1.Chakravarti 2.Chunder 3.Roy 4.Ganguli 5.Choudhury 6. Biswas 7. Bagchi 8. Majumdar, and 9.Bhattacharji

1.Smarta 2. Haviga 3.Kota 4.Shivalli 5.Tantri 6.Kardi 7.Padya
TELUGU SMARTAS
1.Murukinadu, 2.Velanadu 3.Karanakammalu 4.Puduru Dravidis, 5.Telahanyam 6.Konasima Dravidi and 7.Aruvela Niyogis
LINGAYATS
They are called Vira Saivas. They are found in Mysore and Karnataka. They wear on their neck a Linga of Lord Siva that is placed in a small silver box.

Akas Mukhis, Gudaras, Jangamas, Karalingis, Nakhis, Rukharas, Sukharas, Urdhabahus, Ukkaras are all Saiva sects.


3. THE SAKTAS
The saktas are worshippers of Devi, the Universal Mother. Dakshinis, Vamis, Kancheliyas, Kararis are all Sakta sects.
MISCELLANEOUS


The Sauras adore the Sun, the Ganapatyas adore Ganesh, and the Kaumaras adore Skanda. The non-Brahmins of South India are Naidu, Kamma Naidu, Chetty, Mudaliar, Gounder, Pillai, Nair,Nayanar and Reddy.
Nanak Shahis of seven classes (viz., Udasis, Ganj-bhakshis, Ramrayis, Sutra Shahis, Govinda Sinhis, Nirmalas, Nagas), Baba Lalis, Prana nathis, Sadhus, Satnamis, Siva Narayanis are other miscellaneous sects.
The founder of the Arya Samaj was Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who was born in Kathiawar in 1824. This Samaj is more of a social institution, with a religious background. It has Gurukulas, schools, and Pathshalas. The Suddhi Sabha is a proselytizing branch of the Arya Samaj.
[Note: The followers of the Arya Samaj do not perform idol worship. Swami Dayanand Saraswati wrote "Satyarth Parkash" (Light of Truth). This volume serves as the principal guiding light of the Arya Samaj. Some of the principles of the Arya Samaj are: God is the primary source of true knowledge and of all that is known by its means. The Vedas are the scriptures of all true knowledge. All acts ought to be performed in conformity with Dharma i.e. after due consideration of right and wrong. The primary object of the Arya Samaj is to do good to the world i.e. to ameliorate physical, spiritual and social standards of all men. All ought to be treated with love, justice, righteousness and due regard to their merits.]
The Brahmo Samaj was founded originally by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, early in the nineteenth century. The Brahmo Samajists do not perform idol worship. Keshab Chandra Sen introduced some changes in the year 1860. There are now two branches within the Samaj, viz., Adi Brahmo Samaj which holds to the tenets laid down by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and the Sadharana Barahmo Samaj which is somewhat modern and which follows Keshab Chandra Sen more closely. This Samaj has followers in Bengal.
The first founder of the sect was Parsvanatha. Its first active propagator was Mahavira. The Jains are found in great numbers especially in the western coast of India. They are divided into two principal sects- the Svetambaras (clothed in white garments) and the Digambaras (sky-clad or naked).
The Jains do not admit the divine origin of the Vedas. They do not believe in any Supreme Deity. They pay reverence to holy men or saints who are styled Tirthankaras, who dwell in the heavenly abode and who, by long discipline, have raised themselves to divine perfection. The images of one or more of these Tirthankaras are placed in every Jain temple. The Jains are strict vegetarians. They attach great sanctity to life. They practise Ahimsa (non-killing, non-violence). Strict Jains strain water before drinking, sweep the ground with a brush before treading on it or before sitting, never eat or drink at night and sometimes cover their mouths with muslin to prevent the risk of swallowing minute organisms.
There are two classes of Jains, viz., Sravakas who engage themselves in secular occupations and Yatis or monks who lead an ascetic life.
"Sikhism, while some of its' founding Guru's were Hindu, was created as a response to Hinduism and the reign of the Muslim Mughal empires."
‘Obedience to the Guru brings release from future births’ this is a firm conviction of the Sikhs. Sikhs adopt the five Kakas, viz., 1. The Kes (uncut hair), 2. The Kachhca (short drawers), 3. The Kara (iron bangle), 4. The Kirpan (steel dagger), and 5. The Kangha (small-tooth comb worn in the hair).
The Udasis are an ascetic order of the Nanaksahi Sikhs. Srichand, son of Guru Nanak, embraced Sannyasa. Udasis are his followers. Lakshmichand, another son of Guru Nanak, led the life of a house-holder. Vedis are his followers. Nirmalas are ascetic followers of Guru Govind Singh. The Akalis are brave warriors. The Akalis wear a distinctive dress of blue, and a black turban. The teachings of Guru Nanak are contained in the first book of the Adi Granth. No Sikh smokes tobacco.
Salutations unto the ancient Rishis, seers, saints, paramhansa sannyasins and sadhus, who are the repositories of divine knowledge and wisdom and who guide the destiny of the world in the past, present and future.
Every religion has a band of anchorites who lead the life of seclusion and meditation. There are Bhikshus in Buddhism, Fakirs in Mohammedanism (Islam), Sufistic Fakirs In Sufism, and Fathers and Reverends in Christianity. The glory of a religion will be lost absolutely if you remove these hermits or Sannysins or those who lead a life of renunciation and divine contemplation. It is these people who maintain or preserve the religions of the world. It is these people who give solace to the householders when they are in trouble and distress. They are the messengers of the Atman-knowledge and heavenly peace. They are the harbingers of divine wisdom and peace. They are the disseminators of Adhyatmic science and Upanishadic revelations. They heal the sick, comfort the forlorn and nurse the bed-ridden. They bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak and courage to the timid, by imparting the knowledge of the Vedanta and the significance of the ""Tat Tvam Asi" Mahavakya (great saying).
Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanat-Kumara and Sanat-Sujata were the four mind-born sons of Lord Brahma. They refused to enter the Pravritti Marga or worldly life and entered the Nivritti Marga or the path of renunciation. The four Kumaras were the pioneers in the path of Sannyasa. Sri Dattatreya also is among the original Sannyasins. The Sannyasins of the present day are all descendants of the four Kumaras Dattatreya and Sankaracharya.
Sri Sankaracharya, regarded as an Avatara of Lord Siva and the eminent exponent of Kevala Advaita philosophy, established four Maths (monasteries) one at Sringeri, another at Dvaraka, a third at Puri and a fourth at Joshi Math in the Himalayas, on the way to Badrinarayana shrine.
Sri Sankara had four Sannyasin disciples, viz., Suresvara, Padmapada, Hastamalaka and Totaka. Suresvara was in charge of Sringeri Math, Padmapada was in charge of Puri Math, Hastamalaka was in charge of Dvarka Math and Totaka was in charge of Joshi Math.
The Sannyasins of Sringeri Math, the spiritual descendants of Sri Sankara and Suresvacharya, have three names, viz., Sarasvati, Puri and Bharati. The Sannyasins of the Dvaraka Math have two names, viz., Tirtha and Asrama. The Sannyasins of the Puri Math have two names, viz., Vana and Aranya. The Sannyasins of the Joshi Math have three names, viz., Giri, Parvata and Sagara.
The Dasanamis worship Lord Siva or Lord Vishnu, and meditate on Nirguna Brahman. The Dandi Sannyasins, who hold staff in their hands, belong to the order of Sri Sankara. Paramhansa Sannyasins do not hold staff. They freely move about as itinerant monks. Avadhutas are naked Sannyasins. They do not keep any property with them.
The Sannyasins of the Ramakrishna Mission belong to the order of Sri Sankara. They have the name Puri.
Then, there are Akhada Sannyasins, viz., Niranjana Akhada and Jhuni Akhda. They belong to the order of Sri Sankara. They are Dasanamis. They are found in the Uttar Pradesh State only.
Rishikesh and Haridwar are colonies for Sannyasins. Varanasi also is among the chief abodes of Sannyasins.
In South India, there are Tamil Sannyasins who belong to the Kovilur Math and Dharmaputram Adhinam. They do not belong to the Sri Sankara order. They are Saivas.
Nagas are Saiva Sannyasins. They are in a naked state. They smear their bodies with ashes. They have beard and matted locks.
Guru Nanak’s order of ascetics is called Udasis. They correspond to Sannyasins and Vairagis. They are indifferent to the sensual pleasures of this world (Udasina). Hence they are called Udasis.
A Vairagi is one who is devoid of passion. Vairagis are Vaishnavas. They worship Lord Rama, Sita and Hanuman. They read the Ramayana of Tulasidas. The mendicant Vaishnavas of the Ramanandi classs are the Vairagis. Sri Ananda, the twelfth disciple of Ramananda, instituted this ascetic order.
The founder of this order was Ramcharan who was born in the year 1718 in a village near Jaipur in Rajasthan. The Rama Sanehi mendicants are of two classes, viz., the Videhis who are naked and the Mihinis who wear two pieces of cotton cloth dyed red in ochre. Their monastery is in Shahapur in Rajasthan. The Rama Sanehi sect has the largest following in Mewar and Alwar. They are found also in Mumbai and Poona (in Maharashtra State), Surat, Ahmedabad in Gujarat State), and Hyderabad and Varanasi.
Kabir Panthis are the followers of saint Kabir. They are numerous in all the provinces of Upper and Central India. There are twelve branches. Kabir Chaura is at Varanasi. It is a big monastery of Kabir Panthis. Dharamdas was the chief disciple of Kabir. The followers are expected to have implicit devotion to the Gurus, in thought, word and deed. They should practise truthfulness, mercy, non-injury and seclusion. The followers of Kamal, son of Kabir, practise Yoga.
The Dadu Panthis form one of the Vaishnava cults. Dadu, the founder of this sect, was a disciple of one of the Kabir Panthi teachers. The followers worship Lord Rama.
Dadu was a cotton cleaner. He was born at Ahmedabad. He flourished about the year 1600. The Dadu Panthis are of three classes, viz., the Viraktas who are bareheaded (clean shaven head) and have one cloth and one water-pot, the Nagas who carry arms and who are regarded as soldiers and the Vistar Dharis who do the avocations of ordinary life.
The Dadu Panthis are numerous in Marwar and Ajmer. Their chief place of worship is at Naraina, which is near Sambhur and Jaipur. Passages from the Kabor writings are inserted in their religious scriptures.
Gorakhnath was a contemporary of Kabir. He is regarded as the incarnation of Lord Siva. He calls himself as the son of Matsyendranath and grandson of Adinath. There is a temple of Gorakhnath at Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Bhartrihari was a disciple of Gorakhnath.
Gorakhnath wrote Goraksha-Sataka, Goraksha-Kalpa and Goraksha-Nama. They are in Sanskrit.
The followers of Gorakhnath are usually called Kanphatas, because their ears are pierced and rings are inserted in them, at the time of their initiation. They worship Lord Siva.
These are Sadhus of the Nimbarka Sampradaya. They are Vaishnavas. The Sannyasins of the Ramanuja Sampradaya wear orange coloured cloth, a holy thread and tuft and Tri-danda or three-staff. At present, they are very few in number.
Sri Pirannath was the founder of this sect. He was born in 1675 at Jamnagarh, district Rajkot, in Kathiawar. He was the Devan (chief minister) of Raja Jam Jasa. The followers are to practise Ahimsa, Satya and Daya – non-violence, truthfulness and compassion. They study the sacred book, Kul Jam Svarup or Atma-Bodha, in Hindi, which contains the teachings of Sri Pirannath. It contains 18000 Chaupais. They worship Bala-Krishna, i.e., Krishna as a small child.
The followers are found mostly in the Punjab, Gujarat, Assam, Nepal and Mumbai. There are two Maths or monasteries –one at Jamnagarh and the other at Pamna.
What is the universalistic Smarta Sect?
Smartism is an ancient brahminical tradition reformed by Shankara in the ninth century. Worshiping six forms of God, this liberal Hindu path is monistic, nonsectarian, meditative and philosophical. Aum Namah Sivaya.
Smarta means a follower of classical smriti, particularly the Dharma Shastras, Puranas and Itihasas. Smartas revere the Vedas and honor the agamas. Today this faith is synonymous with the teachings of Adi Shankara, the monk-philosopher, known as shanmata sthapanacharya, "founder of the six-sect system." He campaigned India-wide to consolidate the Hindu faiths of his time under the banner of Advaita Vedanta. To unify the worship, he popularized the ancient Smarta five-Deity altar-Ganapati Surya, Vishnu, Siva and Shakti-and added Kumara. From these, devotees may choose their "preferred Deity," or Ishta Devata. Each God is but a reflection of the one Saguna Brahman. Shankara organized hundreds of monasteries into a ten-order, dashanami system, which now has five pontifical centers. He wrote profuse commentaries on the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Bhagavad Gita. Shankara proclaimed, "It is the one Reality which appears to our ignorance as a manifold universe of names and forms and changes. Like the gold of which many ornaments are made, it remains in itself unchanged. Such is Brahman, and That art Thou." Aum Namah Sivaya. Sabhar: Himalayan Academy



DASNAMI SAMPRADAYA
One of the major achievements of Acharya Shankara was to organize the Hindu monasticism. He divided the Hindu monks into ten sects called "Dasnami" and organized them under four heads with the Headquarters at Dwaraka in the West, Jagannatha Puri in the East, Rameswaram in the South and Badrikashrama in the North. These became the four sacred "Dhams", "Holy Places" of the Hindus. He also enumerated other details of the order of Hindu monks grouped under these heads for their identity. Although there are today a number of Hindu monastic sects, the most authentic are the ten established by Acharya Shankara.

Dakshina - Amnaya (Southern) Paschima - Amnaya (Western) Purva-amnaya (Eastern) Uttara-amnaya (Northern) Math - Monastery Shringeri Dwaraka Jagannath Puri Jyotirdham Pada (status) or Title Puri, Sarasvati, Bharati Tirth, Ashram Vana, Aranya Giri, Parvat, Sagara Acharya Sureswar Hastamalaka Padmapada Totakacharya Sampradaya (Sect) Bhurivara Keeravara Bhagavara Anandavara Kshetra Rameswar Dwaraka Purushottam Badri-kshetra God (Deva) Adi-Varaha Siddheswar Jagannatha Narayana Upanishad Brihadaranyaka Chhandogya Taittiriya Mandukya Veda Yajurveda Samaveda Rikveda Atharva-Veda Mahavakya Aham-Brahmasmi Tattvamasi Prajnanum Brahma Ayam Atma Brahma Goddess Kamakshi (Sarada) Bhadra Kali Vimala Purnaa Giri Tirtha (River) Tungabhadra Gomati Tirtha Mahodadhi Alakananda Gotra Bhaveswar Adhigata Kashyap Bhrigu

DASANAMA SANYASINS: Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanat-Kumara and Sanat-Sujata were the four mind-born sons of Lord Brahma. They refused to enter the Pravritti Marga or worldly life and entered the Nivritti Marga or the path of renunciation. The four Kumaras were the pioneers in the path of Sannyasa. Sri Dattatreya also is among the original Sannyasins. The Sannyasins of the present day are all descendants of the four Kumaras, Dattatreya and Sankaracharya. Sri Sankaracharya, regarded as an Avatara of Lord Siva and the eminent exponent of Kevala Advaita philosophy, established four Maths (monasteries) one at Sringeri, another at Dvaraka, a third at Puri and a fourth at Joshi Math in the Himalayas, on the way to Badrinarayana shrine. Sri Sankara had four Sannyasin disciples, viz., Suresvara, Padmapada, Hastamalaka and Totaka. Suresvara was in charge of Sringeri Math, Padmapada was in charge of Puri Math, Hastamalaka was in charge of Dvarka Math and Totaka was in charge of Joshi Math. The Sannyasins of Sringeri Math, the spiritual descendants of Sri Sankara and Suresvacharya, have three names, viz., Sarasvati, Puri and Bharati. The Sannyasins of the Dvaraka Math have two names, viz., Tirtha and Asrama. The Sannyasins of the Puri Math have two names, viz., Vana and Aranya. The Sannyasins of the Joshi Math have three names, viz., Giri, Parvata and Sagara. The Dasanamis worship Lord Siva or Lord Vishnu, and meditate on Nirguna Brahman. The Dandi Sannyasins, who hold staff in their hands, belong to the order of Sri Sankara. Paramhansa Sannyasins do not hold staff. They freely move about as itinerant monks. Avadhutas are naked Sannyasins. They do not keep any property with them.
The Sannyasins of the Ramakrishna Mission belong to the order of Sri Sankara. They have the name Puri.
Then, there are Akhada Sannyasins, viz., Niranjana Akhada and Jhuni Akhda. They belong to the order of Sri Sankara. They are Dasanamis. They are found in the Uttar Pradesh State only.
Rishikesh and Haridwar are colonies for Sannyasins. Varanasi also is among the chief abodes of Sannyasins.


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