Thursday, 14 September 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 6 part 3

              The  seeker has to  contemplate  on the emptiness  of  life , give  up his  attachments  to  his  body  and  stop  wasting  his  life  in  fulfilling  his  bodily  and  worldly  pleasures. . At  the  same time , he  should  remember the  fact  that  it  is  only  through  the  physical  body he  can  attain  the  four  purusharthas . So  one  has  to  take  care  of  one's  body  by proper  diet , exercise  ,  clothing  and  shelter ,so  that  by  the  grace  of  the  Lord ,he  develops  a  desire  to  know  his  true  nature  and  approaches  a  guru , gains  knowledge  and  becomes  free. . With  this  right  knowledge ,he  should  live  in this  body with  detachment towards  his  body  and  the  world . The   body and the  world   indeed  are  necessary  in order to  turn  his  mind inwards  and  contemplate  on the  highest  Truth .

        In  modern  times, the  concept  of  donating  one's  eyes  and  other  organs  after  death  is  spreading  thereby  helping  millions  of  lives  ,who  may  be in need  of  dead people's  organs.  This  idea  is  fast  catching up . So one  should  express   to  his  family members  his  desire  to  have  his  organs  donated  after his  death. Some  desire  even  to donate  the  body  for  medical  and  research  purposes. , after  they are  dead and  gone . It  then  becomes  the  responsibility of the  family  members    to  carry  out  their  last  wish.  

Bhaja Govindam -verse 6 part 2

                Through  contemplation  on the  Lord , the  seeker should  take  away  his  mind  from  the identification  with  his  body , and  from all  the  vanities  of  the  world  and  keep  his  mind  centred  on the  Lord.  This  is  not  to  say  that  one  neglects  the  body.  So  the  prayer  for  a  healthy  body  by  the  seeker  is  considered  to  be  alright  ,because  that  prayer  is  for  pursuing  the  spiritual  path for  which   one  definitely  needs  good  health.  The  jivatma  comes  to  identify  with  the  body  and  hence  gets  affected  by  whatever  happens  to  the  body.  As  long  as  he  is  alive  ,everyone  enquires  about  his  welfare.  But  he forgets  the  fact  this  will  perish  one day  ,so  he  should  not  give  over  importance  to  this  body  When  life  leaves  this  body,  it  becomes  dead  matter , so  worthy  only  of  cremating  it. . The  very  next  moment  of  the  death of  the  body, the  family  starts  making  preparations  for  its  cremation.   Even  the  wife  for  whom  this  body  was   dear, now  fears  going  near  the  dead  body  of  her  husband  and  does  not  want  to  delay  the  cremation. 

         Even  while  living  , this  man should  develop a  sense  of  detachment for  the  body , giving  up  the  identification  with  the  body with  the  right  understanding that  this  body  is  only a  temporary  vehicle  given  to him  for  his  spiritual  growth  and  life  would  be  snatched  away  from  him without  giving  him  any  advance  notice. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Bhaja Govindam - verse 6

            The  acharya  in the  sixth  verse  says : As  long  as  there  is  breath  in the  body  of  a  man  ,so  long  only  everyone  in  his  family  would  enquire  about  his   welfare.  Once  life  leaves  this  body  , the  body  decays  and  even  the  wife  is  afraid  of  going  near  that  body.  The  earlier  verses  highlighted  the  hollowness  of  pursuing  wealth  and  worldly  pleasures   and  indulging  in  sensual  pleasures,  the  sixth  verse highlights  the  importance of understanding  that  this   body  is  only  a  temporary  vesture  given  to  him  by  the  Lord.  So  the  acharya  wants  us  to understand  that  we  should  not  waste  our  life  in  giving over importance  to  this  physical  body.  The  jivatma  along  with  the  subtle  and  causal  body  quits this physical  body  when  his  prarabda karma  gets  exhausted. So  Sastras  say  this  human  birth  is  very  rare  hence  precious ,  so  seek  the Divine  even  when  life  is  still  in this  body. 

        Sastras  do not  tell us  to  neglect  this  body , nor  to deny  fulfilling  its  needs  in   legitimate ways.  We  have  to  keep  this  body  healthy  , so  that  we  can  pursue  the  path  of  knowledge , attain  jnanam  and  become  free .  In  one  of  the  lines  of  the  shanti  mantra   in  the  Mundaka  Upanishad both  the  guru  and  the  disciples  pray " may  we have     hale   and  healthy limbs  to  enable  us   to  sing the  glories  of  the  Lord  and    , may  we  live  the  entire  span  of  our  life , so  that  we  can  dedicate  our  life for  a  higher purpose."  So  a  perfectly  healthy  body  is  essential  for  enquiring  and  knowing  the  Truth 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 5

           In  the  5th  verse  ,the  acharya  says that  as long  as  a man  has  the ability  to  earn  and  save so  long  only  his  family  members  will  respect  him and  will  be  attached  to  him. Later on  when  he  comes  to  live  with  an old  and  infirm  body , when  he  becomes  an useless  member  of  the  family  ,  he  draws  no  more  respect from  them .  Man  is  generally  a  selfish  being.  Whenever  he  gives  something  to  others  ,he  expects  some  benefits  from them. . This  is  seen  in many  families . When  the  earning  member  of  the  family  retires  from  his  job and  so  stops  earning, then  the  other  members  of  his   family  stop  paying  him  any  respect. 

     The  capacity  to earn  and save ,   that  is  spoken  of  in this  verse  , as  the  vittarjanasakti ,  is to  be  taken  in its  widest  sense because  wealth  refers  to all  things  that  you  think  can  give  you  happiness.  It  also  includes all  the  powers  both  secular  and  spiritual  that  you   may  have.  So  the  acharya  says  that  all  the  wealth  and  powers  you  may  earn  will  leave  you  one day  as  everything  is  impermanent.  So  the  goal  of  life is  not  just  earning  money , though  money  is  essential  for  a  decent  survival.  Sankara  says  look  for  peace and  self  sufficiency. , so  that  you  do not  get  affected  by  others' changing  attitudes  towards  you.  

      Let  a  man  develop  the  pratipaksha  bhavana against  the  world which  boosts  his  ego  when  he  has  wealth  and  rejects  him  when  he gets  old  and  infirm.  So  through  contemplation , you  should  take  away your mind from  all  the  vanities of  the  world  and keep  your   mind  centred  on the  Lord. . This  is  not  to  say  that  one  should  not  earn  nor  go  after  making  a  successful  career . In  modern  times  the  financial advisors  advice  a man  how  to keep his   savings   safe  so  that  he  has  financial  independence . But  before  the  world  rejects  you  , reject  the  world  and  all its  false  vanities. . Through  this  pratipaksha  bhavana , realise  that wealth  does  not remain  forever with you  nor  your  physical  body  remains  the  same as you age. . So  prepare  yourself  to  live  an  independent  life , not  depending  on anyone  for  your  needs. . This  is  intelligent  living. 

Friday, 25 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 4 part-3

                In  the  Vivekachudamani  , acharya  Sankara  says three  things  are  very  rare. -durlabam - to  be  born  as a  human  being, to have  a  burning  desire  for  Moksha  and to  surrender  to a  man  of  wisdom. . Human  birth  is  very  rare. This  is  not  our  first  birth  , we  definitely have  gone  through  thousands  of  lives  as  different  types  of  animals  , and  by  the  Grace  of  the  Lord  only  we  are  now  blessed  to  have  a  human  birth  . But  this  birth , as in other  different  types  of  birth , is  ephemeral  and  fleeting  and  can  be  snatched  away  any  time  by  Lord  Yama, the  God  of  death, when  He  so chooses . Hence  the  acharya  says  employ  this  life in a  deep  discriminative  understanding  of  the  goal  of  life and  perceive  the  futility  of  all  mundane  pursuits  of  life. . So  taking  to  the  path  of redemption  is  rarer  still  and  rarer  still  it  is  to find  a  proper  Guru  and  have  the  shraddha  to surrender  unto  him.  and  all  this  happens  only  by  the  grace  of  the  Lord. 

       Let  not  anyone  think  that  the  grace  of  the  Lord  falls  down  on us  from  a  packet  in the  skies  at  the  whims  and  fancy  of  the  Lord. . In  Vedanta,  Grace  is  to  be  understood  as  the  sum total  of  all  results  gained  through  healthy  and  intelligent  way  of living  in which  man  has  lived all  his  previous  lives following  disciplines  and  not  squandered  away  the  precious  life  in unhealthy  pursuits  of  wealth  and  pleasures.  So  the  acharya  says  in the  Vivekachudamani  that  if  after  being  born  as  a human  being  if he  squanders  his  life  in chasing  pleasures of  the  world   and  not  seek  the  life  Divine  ,then  it  is  equal  to  committing suicide. By  his false  attachments  to the  world  of  objects  and  beings  ,he  forgets  his  real  nature  , he  looks  for  permanent  happiness  from  impermanent  things.  So  he  becomes  a  samsari  ,a  victim  of  his  own  ignorance. . This  the  acharya  calls  as  spiritual  suicide. 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 4 part 2

          In  the  4th  verse,  the  acharya  is  showing  an  urgency  in his  words  when  he  says  do not  waste  your  life  over mundane  and  useless  things. . Lord  Buddha  ,it  is  said , also  showed  a similar  urgency  in his  words  when  he  said ' sarvan dukkham , dukkham,  sarvam  kshanikam ,kshanikam '. The  analogy  of  the  water drops  on the  lotus  petals  has  Vedantic  importance . The  lotus  is  born  in water,  nourished and  nurtured by  water  and  ultimately  perishes  in water.  and  then  becomes  an expression  of  water only. . Similarly  , Brahman  the  infinite itself  expresses itself  as  the  jivatma  by mere  sankalpa. . The  jivatma  is  the  expression  of  the  Paramatma / Brahman  at  the  individual  level.  When  the  jivatma , which  has  identified  itself  with its  own  instruments,  transcends them  , it  comes  back to  its  own  source  -the  Paramatma. . So  the  waterdrops  falling  on a  lotus  petal   and  merging  with  the  waters  of the  lake is  the  same as  the  jivatma shedding  its  own  identifications  and  merging  back  with  the  Paramatma  and  realising   that it  was  none  other  than  the  Paramatma  / Brahman  at  all  times. 

       The  physical  body  is  attacked  by  various  types  of  diseases  which  cause  pain  to the  physical  body  . But  suffering  is  always  at  the  mental  level. So  one  can  choose  to  suffer  or  choose  not  to. Suffering  is  optional.  The  intellect  is  always  bothered  by  desires  and  they  are  deadly  if they  are left  unchecked  for  they  then  turn  into  greed , anger , delusion ,envy, conceit  and  fear. . So  the  individual  gets  surrounded   by diseases and  endless  desires   and  the  jivatma  suffers  all  through  his   life. . The  acharya  expresses  concern  at  the  individual  who  just  wastes  all  his  life going  through  pain , suffering  and  sorrow. . So  he  says  put  in your  best  efforts  in the  here  and  now to  attain  the  state  of  liberation. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Bhaja Govindam -verse 4

            In  the  fourth  verse , the  acharya  states :  the  water drops  playing on a  lotus  petal has an  extremely uncertain  existence , so  also  is  life  so  unstable . understand  that the  world  is  consumed  by desire  and  conceit  and  is  riddled  by pangs  of  sorrow. . Acharya  is  trying  to  make  us  understand  how  ephemeral  and  short lived  is  the  life  of  an  individual  . Life  has  all  kinds  of  experiences  , both  pleasant  and  unpleasant  , but  mostly  it  is  riddled  with  pain,  sorrow  and  suffering. . The  acharya  is  comparing  the  transitoriness  of  an  individuals's  life to  that  of  little  water  drops  on the  lotus  petals and  the  waterdrops  can  fall  off any  moment  from  the  lotus  petal. . Similarly  , everything  in life,  why  life  itself  is  so  uncertain  that  nobody  knows  when  the  bell  will  toll  for  him  and  snatch  away  his  life  in a  fraction  of a  second  for  Lord  Yama  does  not  serve  any  notice  before  he  comes. 

      Even  in the  midst  of  this  uncertain  short  life span  ,he  is  continuously  affected  by  diseases and  goes  through  physical  pain and  suffering  because  of  the  prarabda  karmas.  The  intellect  fights against  the  attacks  by  different  types  of  desires. . Most  of  the  time  the  intellect  loses  its  discriminative  powers and  fails  in controlling  the  desires.  Actually, in this  verse,  the  acharya  has  two  important  things  to  say.  First  he  points  out  to  the  individual  to  understand  the  ephemeral  nature  of  life  and  hence  his  impending  mortality. . In  the  second  half  of  the  verse,  he  talks  about  the  world  which  is  as  though  ridden  with  pain. . So  the  seeker  has  to  develop  a  pratipaksha  bhavana towards  his  own  uncertain  existence  and  the  sorrow  filled  world.