Sunday, 20 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam- verse 3 part 4

                        The  acharya  says  reflect  over and  over  on this  aspect  in your  mind . In  the  Vivekachudamani  , Sankaracharya  says  in verse  22 " dosha  dhrishtyaa  muhurmuhu "  to  rise  above  desires  for  kanchana  and  kamini. . Reflecting  on this  ,one  develops  the  pratipaksha  bhavana ,that  is  ,through intellectual  evaluation  you  view sense  objects  from  a  different  angle. Sense  objects are  only  ephemeral  ,  temporary  and  the  law  of  diminishing  returns  applies  here   and  the  more  you  indulge  in sense  pleasures  , the  more you  develop  a  disgust  for  them. 

                   In  the  Kathopanishad , Nachiketas , when  tempted  by  Lord Yama with  varieties  of  wealth  and  pleasures,  says  they  are  ephemeral  ,and  they  tend  to  decay the  fire  of  all  senses  in man  . The  sense  objects  being  finite  and  when  meddled  with,  they  tend  to  weaken  the  very instrument  of  our  appreciation  and  enjoyment. . The  first  laddu  is  sweet and  may be  welcomed  eagerly,  but  not  so  much  the  fifth, and  definitely  not  the  twentieth  laddu  which  will  give  only  pain. . Nachiketas  uses  the word ' svah  abhava '  that  they  will  not  last  even  till  tomorrow.  

            The  acharya  sees  them from  a  new  angle  . He  says  the  entire  body  of  a  man  or a  woman is  composed  only  of  flesh  and fat  packed  within  the  skin. . So  when  this  truth  is  brought  in front  of  one's  mind  ,  one  comes  to  retreat  from  the  indulgence  of  sensual  pleasures . So  through  developing  a  pratipaksha  bhavana , one  can  re-educate  one's  mind that  after all  the body  comprising  of  only  flesh,  fat,  bones  and  blood  is  after all  not  that  pleasing  to  look at  when  seen  from the  new  angle. . So  the  acharya  in the  very  beginning  of  the  Bhaja  Govindam  thrashes  the  importance  given  to  the  two  most  important  attractions  man  has  that  of  wealth and  his  instinctive  longing  for  the  flesh.  

Friday, 18 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 3 part 3

      Among  the  six  disciplines  in the  sadhana  chatustaya  sampatti,  one  of  them  is  sama  -mind  control  or  calmness  of  the  mind , which  can  be  achieved  only  when  the  mind  withdraws  itself  from  the  external  world  of  objects  and  draws  the  mind  within. . Usually  our  minds  get  agitated  because  of  various  desires  that  strike  the  mind  for  the  sense  objects.  Even  when  the  mind  is  withdrawn   from  the  sense  objects  , it  continues  to  revel  in  the  pleasures  gained  from  them. . So  the  mind  by  constant  practice  has to  be  diverted  from  its  pleasure outings  to  diviner  fields.  In  bhakti  , the  devotee puts his  whole  mind on  concentrating  his  mind  upon  his  Ishta  devata   and  this  helps  him  gradually  to  withdraw  his  mind  from  its  pursuits  of  sense  objects. 

     In  the  path  of  jnana  yoga  ,the  mind  is  given  an  alternative  field  of  contemplation  , that  of  contemplating  upon  the all  pervading  consciousness  principle  , also  called  as  Brahman  / Atma.  Here  also , as  in  bhakti  yoga,   the  mind  gets  weaned  away  from  entertaining  thoughts  of  the  sense  objects. The  mind  in these  sadhanas  ,whether  in  bhakti  yoga  or  in jnana  yoga  ,  never  forcefully  drops  the  desires  , because  the  mind  develops  vairagya  and  the  desires  for  sense  objects  fall  off  on  their  own  from  the  mind  because  the  mind  has  got  attached  to  diviner  fields.  The  intellect  becomes  aware  of  the  imperfections  and  weaknesses  in the  field  of  objects . The  more  and  more  one  practices  these  sadhanas , one  gains  self  control  and  stops  revelling  in the  sense  objects . So  in this  third  verse  the  acharya  is advising  us  to  withdraw  the  mind  from  the  sense  objects  ,through  constant  practice . This   is what  is  meant  when  the  acharya  says  'varam  , varam'  here. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 3 part2

                  It  is  true  that  man , like  all  animals ,  is  governed  by  the  natural  instinct  for  sex ,for  preservation  and  propogation  of  his  species   and  hence  he  runs  after  women . His  mind  becomes  fully  infatuated  with  lust  and  his  intellect  gets  deluded. . The  idea  expressed  in this  verse  is  not  to  abstain  totally  from  sensual  pleasures  but  to  give  up  the  endless  cravings for  sense  pleasures. . So  through  the    two  most  powerful  motivations  for  acquiring  and  enjoying  , he  becomes  a  slave  to  them   and runs  after  kanchana  and  kaminee  and  this  is  what  is  condemned  by  the  acharya. 

            Biologically  ,man  and  woman  are  attracted  to  each  other . But  this  natural  instinct  has  to  be  sublimated   and  directed  into  diviner  fields . . With  these  two  verses,  the  acharya  warns  us not  to  indulge  in  greed  or  lust. . The  sense  objects  do  exist  and  attract  us ,but  we  should   keep  a  strict  vigil  over  them ,by  developing  vairagya  through  repeated  practice  of  keeping  away  from  sense  pleasures. . The  objects  seen  in the  world  are  never  seen  as  they  are  but  seen  through  our  own  subjective  mind. There  is  beauty  in  nature,  in all  that  is  created  by  the  Lord  and  we  should  be  able  to  appreciate  even  a  man's  beauty  or  woman's  beauty  objectively.  Then  we  can  come  to  see the  beauty  in  our  own   inner  world  of joy  and  happiness . 

       In  the   second  chapter  of the Bhagavad  Gita  , the  Lord , while  giving  sadhanas  for  transforming  oneself  from   being  a  pragya  to  sthira  pragya  , emphasizes  the  importance  of  three  exercises  such  as  shama  and  dama   and  nidhidhyasanam.  Shama  and  dama  refer  to  getting  mastery  over  our  senses  and  mind. , without  which  one  cannot  get  peace  of  mind . The  Atmananda  can  be  reflected  only  in  a  calm  and  peaceful  mind,   that is  not  disturbed  or  distracted  by  the  sense  organs  or  the  wandering  mind. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam- verse3

            From  the  days  of the  Upanishads to  our  own  times , we  find  Sastras give  us  a  warning to  give  up  greed  for  wealth and  the  passion  (  lust )  for  women.. Here  the  term  'woman   ' has  to  be  understood  as  any  object of pleasure. . The  whole  of  mankind  from  time  immemorial  works  for  sukha  prapti  and  dukkha  nivritti - attainment  of  happiness  and  escape  from  pain. and . man's  sense  of  insecurity  born  out  of his feelings  of incompleteness  and  finitude ,makes  him  run after  wealth ,and  he  builds  a  cover over  himself with  wealth  and  money. . When  a  certain  amount  of  wealth  is  acquired  to  satisfy  his  basic  essential  necessities  like  food  ,shelter, clothing  ,  his  mind  now  goes  in search  of  attaining  happiness  through  sense  objects.  Sastras  are  never  against  acquiring  wealth nor  against  finding  pleasures  from  the  objects  of  the  world. That's  the  reason  why  artha-kama  are   two  purusharthas  accepted  by  the  Sastras.(  the  other  two  purusharthas  are  dharma and  moksha ).  All  legitimately  earned  wealth  ,Sastras  accept  and   all  legitimate  material  and  sensual  pleasures  too  are  accepted . 

       In  the  3rd  verse  the  acharya  says " seeing  the  bosom  and  navel  of  a  woman ,do not   fall  a  prey  to  frenzied  delusion . It  is  only  a  modification  of  flesh  and  fat etc. Reflect  on  this  over  and  over  again  in  your  mind "  . We  saw  that  man  is  driven  by  two  powerful  forces all  through  his  life that  of  the  desire  to  acquire  and  the  desire  to  enjoy.  Let  us  understand  the  word ' woman '    from  a  higher  point  of  you.   The term  'woman  ' is  only  a  symbolic  representation  of  all  objects  of  enjoyment.  The  acharya  would  not  have  used  the  term  woman   only  to  mean  the  female  among  the  human  species.  Hence it  can  refer  to  a  man seen  from  a  woman's  point  of  view. . So  let  us  understand  the  term  'woman'  in the  context  of  the  verse as  representing  all  enjoyments  derived  from  the  sense  objects. 
            The  explanations  on this  verse  continue.....

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam-verse 2 part4

         The  Isavasya Upanishad  starts  as  follows  ' isavasyam  idam  sarvam'.  meaning  all  that  comes  as  our  experience is  pervaded  by  Isvara. , like  the  clay  pervades  the  clay pot.  Isvara  is  the  upadana karana  of  this  universe ,so  the  cause  appears  as  names  and  forms.,that  the  world  is  just merely  names  and  forms  with  no independent  existence or  reality.   When  we  go  through  life  with  this  Isvara  dhrishti,  we  are  free  from  sorrows  . Now  the  question  arises as to  how to  maintain this  Isvara  dhrishti ,  which  is  advaita  dhrishti , at all  times? The  Upanishad  says  that  after  gaining  this  knowledge , you  protect  yourself  by  not  accumulating more  and  more  wealth ,  having  more  relationships   but  only  by  tyaga you  can  protect  yourself  that  is   remain  in this  Isvara  dhrishti . 

       The  Brihadaranyaka  Upanishads  talks  about  three  types  of  desires:  putreshana,  vitteshana  and  lokeshana.  Wealth  is  desired for  what  it  can  buy  us,  son is  desired  for  going  to  higher  lokas  ,so  they  both  can  be  classified  as  sadhana ,the  means,  while  the  third  desire  becomes   the  sadhyam  ,what  you  get  from them,  the  pleasures  and  experiences  .  It  is  only through  vairagyam  you  can  protect  yourself  from these  desires.   The  upanishad  says  you  are  running  after  worldly  objects  as  though  they  are  real . ,protect  yourself  from  the  mithya  jagat. . Do not  covet  others  wealth  ,  do not  hold  on to  someone  else's  wealth . . Even  after  the  understanding  has  come, the  lingering desire  for   others wealth  might  still  be  there . So  give  up   your  desire for  wealth .  Only  as  long  as the  bhedbhav  is  there,  one  comes  to  desire  for  others  wealth,  when  the  advaita  bhava  comes  ,then  everything  is  mine  and also at the  same  time  , everything  is  everyone's  attitude  comes. Then you  stop  being  greedy  for  more and  more  wealth  and  stop  craving  for  others wealth also.   

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Bhaja govindam- verse 2 part3

             In  the  7th  verse  of  the  Vivekachudamani,  acharya  Sankara  ,quotes  the  famous  statement  of  the  Brihadaranyaka  Upanishad that  the  Deathless  and  the  Imperishable  can  never be  gained through  the  possession  of  wealth.  and   there  is  no hope  of  immortality by  means  of  wealth. . The  word' immortality '  here  indicates  not  a  continuous and  monotonous living  in  joy  in a  lazy  yonder  there, but  a  perfection  here within  ourselves wherein  we  experience  peace  and  tranquility.  This  peace  ,says  the  acharya  , cannot  be  gained through  wealth (  vittam )  of  sense  objects.   Here  wealth  refers  to  the  wealth  that  gives us  immediate  experience   and  it  is  the  sense  objects  that  directly  convey  experiences  to  us  from  the  external  world. . Hence  a  continuous  and  infinite experience  of  tranquility cannot  be  gained  through  the  sense  objects. 

      So  when  the  mind  is  freed  from  passion  ,  one  is  asked  to  meditate  upon  the  Lord.  When  the  mind  is  withdrawn  from  its  present  preoccupation  with  wealth , it  becomes  empty and  such  an  empty  mind  then  comes  to  be  filled  with  thoughts  of  the  Divine.  There  is  no  end  to desires , because  when  a  particular  desire  gets  fulfilled  , the  mind  remains  satisfied  just  for  a  short  while  as  it  experiences  peace   but  the  restless  and  ever  craving  mind  jumps  over  to  get  newer   and  newer  desires  fulfilled  through  the  power  of  wealth.  But  such  a  person  entertaining  desires  can  never  find  satisfaction  in  life because  wealth  can  purchase  only sense  gratifications.  Attachment  to  his  wealth  brings  sorrow because  he  has  to  find  ways  and  means to  preserve  what  he  has  acquired . So  the  struggle  for  acquiring  wealth  and  preserving  it  ,goes  on  all  through  his  life. . Lord  Krishna  says   in the  Geeta  ' surrender  unto  Me  and  I  will  take  care  of  you,  by  giving  you  what  you need  and  protecting  what  you  have '  "  Yogakshemam  vahamyaham  "  says  the  Lord. 

Friday, 28 July 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 2 part 2

       We  saw  in the  last  page,  the  acharya  is  telling  us, seekers,  to  give  up  our  thirst  to possess  wealth.  Now  a  doubt  may  arise  in our  minds as  to  how  we  can  give  up all  our  desire  for  wealth .  We  do  need  wealth  in some  form  or the  other for  our  very  survival  ,for  fulfilling  our  daily  needs like  food  ,shelter  and  clothing .  Vedanta  is  never  against   earning  money  . Vedanta  tells  us  only  to  give  up  our  thirst  , the  craving  or  greed  for  more  and  more wealth  ,which  then makes  us  slaves  of  the  material  wealth  , in  fact  , we  have  to remain  masters  over  our  possessions. 

     This  greed  for  wealth  can  be given  up  only  by  shifting   our  minds to  subtler  aspects  of  life.  When  we  engage  our  minds in thoughts  of  God/ Self  ,  the  lower  aspects  of  our  personality  like  anger, desire  , greed  etc  will  fall  off  on their  own  .  In  this  verse , the  term 'wealth '  is  to  be  understood  to  include  all  worldly  objects  of  possession  ,with  which  the  possessor  in us  feels  a  temporary  satisfaction .  So  the  acharya  says  cleanse  the  mind off  its  lust  for  objects  ,  greed  for  possessions  ,  covetousness  for  wealth   and  divert  the  mind in  contemplation  on the  Lord  which  will  help  us in 
  giving  up  lust  and  greed  and  live  in joyous  contentment  and  satisfaction  with  what  we get  as  result  of  our  action. 

     We  seek  satisfaction  in life through  acquiring  and  hoarding  more  and  more  wealth , but  we  fail  to  see  that  they  fulfill  us  only  temporarily  and  the  thirst  returns  to  force  us  to  acquire  and  hoard  more  and  more wealth. . This continues  chasing wealth,  mercilessly  torments  us all  through  our  lives. To  come  out  of  this  vicious  cycle ,we  have  to  discover  contentment  within ourselves. . We  should  acquire  wealth  only  through  honest  means   and  not  feed  on  greed  or  covetousness  ,which  would  often  make  us  acquire  wealth  by  dishonest  means.   Only  then  we  can  find  peace  and  happiness in life  and  only   in  such  a  peaceful  mind  that  contemplation  of  the  Self  is  possible.