Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Only a rare few seek spiritual knowledge

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality - section 7 part 31

The Gita revisited  

Only a rare few seek  spiritual knowledge 

                        In  the  modern  times  , we find  that  we can  get  along with others, build a successful career,  get  married  and  carry  on lots  of activities  , all  these  even  without   having  any  spiritual  knowledge. So  no one feels  the need  to  pursue  the path of knowledge   to meet  their  daily  needs  .  Hence  as  and when  someone gets  interested  in spirituality  ,we  call them  escapists   or  failures  in life. . Yet a few  others  who  understand  the  importance  of this  pursuit   think  that  this  pursuit can  be taken  when  they retire  from active  life  because  they  will then have  nothing else  to do in life.  And  some  others  give  importance  only  to the performance  of  rituals  without ever  enquiring    why they  are doing them  .

                      There are a rare few  who  are not  satisfied  with  the philosophy  of 'eat, drink and make merriment  ',but want  to know  the answers  for  many  questions  regarding themselves, the world, and  God   and whether  there is a  higher  purpose  in life  ,if  so  , what  .  They are the  ones  that  seek  spiritual  knowledge   ,as  Lord  Krishna  tells  in the  Gita  that  they  have  carried  forward  their  quest from their  previous  lives. and  are born  in conducive  environments  and  families  to continue their journey forward .. Even if a few get interested  in the pursuit of Truth  , we might say  ,may be only a few come to know God.  This could be because  the  others are not blessed  with the right Guru to lead them in the right direction  ,even  if they have had an interest in this pursuit. Or  may  be  ,half way through their  journey  ,they  got distracted  and  had squandered  the available time  and energy  in  worldly pursuits  . Some  in the course  of the spiritual journey  do sometimes  develop  some  extraordinary  powers  (  siddhis  )  but get carried away  by  exhibiting these powers  to gain  popularity   and  the  truth remains that their spiritual  growth  stops then and there.  So  it  is the  rarest  of the rare  that  is endowed  with the  capacity and  sincerity  to  make the  real  efforts  to reach  the  ultimate  destination.

                      Those  of  us  who are  already  in the pursuit of Truth   and  have the  blessings and  guidance  of  the  Guru   , I do not see  any reason why  we cannot   attain  Self-knowledge  in this very  life. . Let  us  not  waste  this  precious  human  life  gifted  to  us     in seeking  worldly pleasures  . Let us keep  reminding ourselves  that the  only mission  in life  is to know  ' who  I  am  '.Let  us  make  a strong  new year  resolution   in 2015  to  keep  this  fire  , the  urge  to get  moksha  , burning  withing  our bosom   ,so  that  all  our  activities  will  be directed  only  towards  reaching  our  ultimate destination.    I  wish  all  readers  a successful  journey  in this  direction   in the  coming year   

to be continued....
                                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Jnana and vijnana

HARI  OM  

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 30 

The Gita revisited 

Jnana  and vijnana  

                 Some  great thinkers  opine  that  the  Gita is divided  into three  sections   which  explain the  mahavakya  "  That  thou art  ". The  first six chapters  explain  the  term  "  thou  "  ,  the  next  six chapters  about  "  That  '  and  the  last  six chapters   explain  the term  " art  "  , the  relation between   the thou and   That  . . So  it becomes  important  for the seeker  of  knowledge  to  know  about  himself, who  he  is,  what  is  his  identity  and  what are his  duties  and  so  on. . Then  it becomes  important  to  know about the  world  he lives in.  and  finally  it becomes  important  to  know  about  the  nature  of  God  and  what does  He  do    and  His  relation with the  world   he has  created   and  with the  individuals  . In  short  , spirituality tries  to find an answer  about  the  individual (  jiva  ),  the  world  (  jagat  )  and  God  (  Iswara  ).  Lord  Krishna  promises  Arjuna  in the  beginning  of the seventh chapter  that  He  would  impart  total  knowledge  (  jnana  )  and  wisdom (  vijnana  ) about  Himself   and   the  world   and  knowing  which  nothing  more  remains  to  be  known  by the  seeker. 

                 Jnana  is  knowledge  or  information  about  all  aspects  of a topic  , vijnana  is  giving  a  deeper  insight  into the  topic. Jnana  is   general    knowledge  ,while  vijnana  is  specific  knowledge   like  a  general  physician   having a general  knowledge about medicine   and a  specialist  having specialised knowledge  about   say  eye,  nose  and so on  . . Jnana  is  scriptural  knowledge   and  living that  knowledge  becomes  vijnana  . . Jnana  is  knowledge  of  the various  aspects  of the  world  , but  to  know  it  along  with its  ultimate  cause   is  vijnana. . While  jnana  is  to know  that  God  exists  , vijnana  is  going one step  further  to  know  that  He  and  I  are  essentially  one .. Jnana  is to know that  God  is the  ultimate cause  ,vijnana  is  to realise  that  I am  that  infinite  Self  , the  ultimate  cause  . Thus  jnana  is  just the  intellectual  understanding   of who  I am  ,while  realising  myself  as  That  is  vijnana  . . Once we  know  both  jnana  and  vijnana  , there remains  nothing  more  to  be  known like  knowing  that  all  gold  ornaments  are made  of gold  , one  automatically  comes  to  know  the  toe ring, ear ring,  the  nose ring  and  so  on as  gold  only. 

to  be  continued....     

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Listening to the Guru

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 29

The  Gita  revisited. 

Listening to the Guru 

                          Lord  Krishna  is  urging  Arjuna  to truly listen  to  the Lord's  teaching  . Listening  directly  to the  Guru's  words  is  very important  in the  spiritual path even in the present times , even  though  CDs  , e- classrooms  , online  learning   are  all  available  to  the  modern  student of Vedanta. . Yet  they can never  take the place  of   listening directly  to the  words  that  come from the Guru sitting   in front  of  him . Vedanta  deals  with  subtle  subjects  and  only a  Guru  can explain  the  correct  meanings  of  the  scriptures  ,so  that the  student  comes to  understand  them  in the  proper way. 

                         Scriptures  say  that  even  mere listening  with a prepared  mind  can  lead  to  Realisation  of  the Truth. (  sravana  matrena  jnanam  bhavati  )  . Towards  the  end  of the  Gita  , we  find  Arjuna  confessing  to  the  Lord   after  listening  to the  Gita  that  his  doubts  have  been  dispelled,  and his ignorance  and delusions  have  been  destroyed. . Hence  sravana  is a very important   subtle  spiritual  practice  (  antaranga  sadhana  )  . It  is said in the scriptures  that  manana  and   nidhidhyasana   are needed  only  when  realisation  does not take  place   through sravana  . . Such  is the  power  of listening  to  the  Guru.  I have  understood  the  importance  of listening directly to the Guru's words  from my own  experience  with   Gurus  while  attending vedanta classes  in Mumbai   and  I now continue to attend  Upanishad classes  . I can write  with confidence  that  before I met my Gurus  ,when  I was doing  self study,  my knowledge  of the scriptures  was only superficial  and  sometimes  I even  misunderstood  certain facts  discussed  in the  scriptures.  I am indeed  indebted  to  my Gurus   for guiding me in the right path  and helping me understand   the texts  without any  misunderstandings  

                    Listening  to the  Guru  requires  the  student  to  listen  with an open  mind   and with good  intentions  to understand   and  realise  the  Truth  . Secondly  ,he  should  be  ready  to  do what all  needs to be  done  to  understand  the teaching  to realise the Truth . Thirdly  , he should have  love  for  the  knowledge   and  the  teacher   and  lastly   a great  respect  for the  knowledge   and  faith in the  teacher.

  to  be  continued.....  

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Sama darshana

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part  28

The Gita revisited

Sama darshana 

                 A man  of perfection has sama darshana  , the  vision of oneness  for  all of  God's creations  . He  is a realised master who sees  the  infinite Self  in all  and  all  in the Self.  And  because  he has  realised  his  oneness  with all  , he now has the  vision  to  see  God  in all  and all  in  Him  . . He  speaks  but little  but whether  he is in solitude  or  amongst a crowd  ,his  mind  is  always  centred  in the Self . Since he identifies himself with all,  he  considers others joys and sorrows  as  his  own . He  gives  due respect  to all  , never  hurting  or  harming others  even  verbally. . He  has the  vision  of  equanimity, equality and  balance.

               For an  ordinary man  on the  street  , his  joys  and  sorrows  depend  on others  , on  the  circumstances  he  is  placed  , while  a  man  of perfection  remains  calm and poised  under all  circumstances  of  his  life. . He  does  not put a subjective  value  on  things  as  he sees  things  as they are. . He  remains  totally  unaffected  by the  presence  or  absence  of  things  or  people  around  him. . He  has  no  preferences  ,hence  he  accepts  all  that  he  comes  across  in life  . . He  gives  importance  to  each  and  everything  that  he  uses  in his  daily  life's  activities   and  gives  due respect  even  to  objects  of  daily  use. . Human  relationships  are   complicated  ,hence  difficult  to  maintain .. But  that is  not  so  for a man  of perfection. He  has  total  acceptance  of  all  the  events  that  happen  in his  life  (  he  still  has  to  go through  his  prarabda  karma  )   and  of  all  people  he  has  to  deal  with  in the  course  of  his  life's  activities. . He  has  total  acceptance  of  all  and  has  no  prejudices  or  expectations  from anyone  . He  is  a happy  man  who loves and respects  all.

to  be  continued....

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Why do good people suffer ?

HARI  OM  

Practical  steps to spirituality- section 7 part  27

The Gita revisited 

Why do good people suffer ?

                                 Let us first examine  what we really  mean  by flourishing  and suffering . . For the man  on the street  , flourishing and suffering mean the presence  or absence  of worldly comforts  , pleasures, name,  fame,  power or possessions  . The general  belief  is that  good people suffer  and bad people prosper   and  that  it is not necessary  to do  or  be  good  . 

                                 A person who values  good , feels  good  by doing good deeds  . For such a person  compromising  with the values  he cherishes  would amount  to  suffering  . . We  all  are familia with  the story  of the  child  Prahlad  . Even  though  he  was  tortured  by his  father  by various means  for taking the  Lord's name , yet  for  him  forsaking  the  Lord's  name  would have been  a greater  suffering. . In  India's  independence  movement  , thousands  went through  great  suffering  , but  for  them  to remain as  slaves  under the  British  amounted  to  a greater  suffering. 

                           If a  person expects  comforts  , pleasures  and  recognition  from  his  goodness  then  it  means  that he  does not have  real  value  for  goodness  but  only  for  all  the  comforts, pleasures  and recognition he  cherishes  . Such a person is not really  good  but  only  seemingly  good   and  he  might even  be willing to  make  compromises  with  values.  Such a  person  is  not  good  enough  or  a  potentially  bad  person. . The  potentially  bad person  suffers  when  he  has to make  compromises   in trying  to  be  good  . 

                       Every person under the sun   faces  problems  whether  he  is  good  or  bad. Each person has   to go through  the  result  of all  his past   good and bad karmas . Hence  whether  one  is good  or bad  now,  he  has  to  go through   conducive  or  non- conducive  situations  in life  . His  good  actions  in the  present  do not cancel  out  his  past  bad  actions  .and  hence he has to go through  the  sufferings  for  his  past bad actions. . The  important  point  we  seekers  must  remember  is  that  by  being  good  in the present  helps  to face  bad situations with courage  . Lord Krishna  urges  us    to  be  good  and  do  good  . The  good we  do   is never  lost  ,says the  Lord. and  the  bad  we  do  is  also  never  lost   and  will  come  back  to  visit  us  for  sure. 

to  be  continued.....

Sunday, 14 December 2014

he continues from where he left

HARI  OM  

          Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 26

The  Gita revisited

He  continues from where he left 

               Arjuna wants  to know what happens  to a person ,though possessed  of faith  but  cannot  control his mind   and  what happens  to him when  the  mind has fallen  away from yogic  practice  ,without having reached  its perfect state  . Arjuna wants  to  know  if  that person has lost  in his pursuit  of  his goal  of Self- Realisation  ,like  a wandering  cloud , with no  solid footing  in either this  world  or in the  other  . In short  ,what  happens  to a person  who  is  short  of  achieving his  goal  in this  life  ,is  what  Arjuna  is  curious  to  know from the  Lord. 

             The  Lord  says  that  such a  person's  sincere efforts  never goes waste  . A   sincere seeker  is  anxious  to  know  what  will  happen  to  him  ,who has  given  up  all  pleasures  and  comforts   to  attain the  bliss  within  but  nevertheless   does not  attain  the  goal  of  Self  - Realisation  , would he  be  losing  both  the  worlds  . The  second  anxiety  of  the seeker  is  if  he  happens  to  die  before  attaining  his  goal  ,will  all  his  efforts  go waste  .   and  thirdly  ,if  he were  to get distracted  from the  path of meditation  due to  some  external  or  internal reasons  , will  all  the  efforts  undertaken  all  through  his  life  become  useless  . 

               The  Lord  says  that  nothing   that he does   in the  here and  now   or  has  done  in the  past   is  ever  lost  . He   continues  his spiritual  journey  from where he left  in his  previous  life. Nature  helps  him   by  making him  take  birth  in such a  place  and  family  ,where  all  circumstances  are  conducive  for  the  continuation  of  his spiritual  journey  . He  is  born   in a   pious or  aristocratic family  or  he  may  be born  in a  family  of wise people  . The  circumstances  of his  life  then  help  him   to  regain the  yogic intelligence that was  cultivated  in his previous life   and  go on to  continue  once  again the  striving  for  perfection  . Due  to  his previous practice  , he  is  carried  along  in the  present  life  spontaneously   towards  his  goal  . The  Lord  says  by  constantly   trying   and  by controlling  his  mind  , the  yogi  purged  of  all  evil  impulses  in him   and  made perfect through  many  births  , finally  attains  the   supreme  goal  . 

to  be  continued....

Sunday, 7 December 2014

How to control the mind ?

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 25

The Gita revisited 

How  to control the  mind ?

                We  have  seen  Arjuna  saying  to Lord Krishna  that  the  mind being restless  by  nature is  difficult to   be controlled. and  hence  how  can   such a  mind  meditate  on the  Self . The  Lord  had  given  certain  external  and inner  preparations  that  have  to  be  done  at  the  seat  of  meditation. . The  Lord  agrees  with  Arjuna  that  the  mind  is  restless  but  He  adds  that  it  is  difficult  to  be controlled     only by  one  whose  mind  is  not  in his  control  and  that  by  practice  and  dispassion  ,the  mind  can  be  brought  under  his control.  The  two  most  important  prerequisites  for  successful meditation   are  discrimination  (  viveka )  and  dispassion  (  vairagya  ). These  are  the two  wings  that  help  the  mind to  fly  high in meditation 

              By  a  diligent  practice  of  discrimination  , of  the  right  from the  wrong  , the real  from the  unreal and  owning up  our  true  essential  nature   and  through  detachment  from  what  we  are  not(  we  are  not  the  finite  being  which  we  falsely  believe  ourselves  to  be ), we  can  surely  make  progress  in  controlling  the  stubborn  mind  and  meditating  on the  Self. The  seeker  has  to  time  and  again  remind  himself  of  his  true  nature   and  through  studying,  reflecting   and  discussing  with  like  minded  people  the  Truths  given  out  in the  scriptures  , he  can  make  it a  habit  to  come  to  think  of  himself  as  an  infinite  being  . The  meditator  must  always  remain alert   to  keep  his  mind  peaceful  

           Restlessness  cannot  be  the  real  nature  of  our  mind  because  the  mind  does  get  to  enjoy  moments  of  peace  , calmness  and  concentration  . Restlessness  of the  mind  is  caused  by  anger, greed  , jealousy  and  so  on  ,while  compassion  and  love  make  the  mind   calm and  peaceful. . For  all  practical  purposes  , we  can  make  an  inventory  of  all  the  situations  in our  life  that  create  agitations  in our  mind  and  then  learn  to  deal  with  them  in a  positive  way ,so  that  our  mental  agitations  get reduced  and  the  mind  then learns  to  remain peaceful  free  from   all  agitations 

to  be  controlled 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

causes for mind's restlessness

HARI  OM  

Practical  steps to spirituality- section 7 part 24

The Gita revisited

Causes  for mind's restlessness.

                   The  mind  becomes  restless  due  to  some  of the  following reasons. . When  we lose our objectivity   and come  to  identify  with a  thought, the  mind  then gets  agitated  . As  long as  we can  view  events  and  circumstances  of  life  objectively  ,we  remain  calm  but  the  moment  we lose  objectivity  and  come  to  identify  ourselves  with  people  and situations   , restlessness  in the  mind.gets created. . Secondly  ,the  mind  comes to justify  all  our  negative  thoughts  and  in  the  process  we  strengthen them  and  create  restlessness  in the  mind. . Thirdly  ,when  the  mind , like  a  child  constantly  condemned ,  loses  its  self  confidence   and  turns  rebellious  and  violent  . Lastly  a  mind  that  is  not  ready  to  face  its  own  weaknesses  tries  to  escape  from  facing  the truth  by  taking to  drugs  , alcohol   and  so  on  to  forget  itself. 

                   What  is  the  remedy  for  treating  the  mind  of  its  restlessness  ?. The  remedy  lies  first in  unconditional  acceptance  of  whatever  we  are   and  of  all  the  people  around  us  and  of  all  the  circumstances  in  our  life.  Only  this  cheerful  acceptance  can  calm the  mind  . Such a  quietened  mind  can  then  respond  to  life's  situations  in  a  positive  way. . We  should  train  our  mind  gently  but  firmly   to  listen  to  the  call of  our  intellect   and  remain alert  at  all  times. . Scriptures  advocate  spiritual  practices  like  japa  and  tapa  to  discipline  the  mind  . Each  one  of  us  has  to  find  out  the  best  possible  method  suitable  for  us  to  tackle  the  naughty  mind.  And  we  must  learn  to  practice  that  method  that  suits  us  to  quieten  our  mind  especially  in meditation. 

to  be  continued....

Friday, 28 November 2014

nature of the mind

HARI  OM  

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part  23

The Gita  revisited 

The  nature  of  the  mind  

                   Arjuna  raises  a very  important  question regarding the  nature  of the  mind.  He  wants  to  know  how  the  mind , which is  by nature restless  , could  be  controlled  . This  indeed  is  a universal  question  ,which  all  of us  for  sure  would  also  have  in our  mind  . We  would  all  agree  that  the  mind ,which  by  nature  is  restless,  fickle  and  stubborn ,  is  difficult  to  be  controlled. . The  mind  by  its  very  nature  is  extremely  restless  and  keeps  jumping from one  thought  to  another  at a  terrific  speed  . The  mind can  create  chaos   and  confusion   and  can torment  us  . The  mind  is  strong  and  presents  to  us  every  moment   with an  assortment  of  worries,  demands  and  fears. . Once  the  mind  gets  hold  of a desire or  an  idea  , it keeps  hankering  after  that desire  until the desire gets  fulfilled or until  the idea comes to its  logical  conclusion. It  also  looks  as  though   it  is  unmanageable  or  unrestrainable  .

                   Such being the  nature  of  mind  , how  can a  man  sit   quietly  in meditation   is a  question  that  all  of  us  would  be  raising  like  Arjuna  did to  Lord  Krishna  . So  Arjuna  thinks  it  is  unrealistic  to  expect  evenness  out  of  this  restless  and  unsteady  mind. . He  says  it  is  easier  to  control the  wind  than  the  stubborn  mind  . The  Lord  agrees  with  Arjuna  that  the  mind  that  is  unsteady  by nature  is  difficult  to  be  controlled. But  the  Lord  assures  Arjuna  that  the  mind  can  be  brought  under  our  control  by  the  twin  practices  of  abhyasa  (  practice  )  and  vairaghya  (  dispassion )  . 

to  be  continued.....

               

Monday, 24 November 2014

Benefits of meditation

HARI  OM  

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 22

The  Gita  revisited  

The benefits  of meditation .

                           We  are always  in the  habit  of asking what   we will gain from doing  any action   and  for that  matter  ,we will  always  be  inclined  to  ask  what  we will  gain from  meditating  . Meditation gives  supreme peace  . We  have all  experienced  the  disturbance  in the  mind  when  there  is  a lot of noise around. . While it   is  true that a noiseless  place  does give  peace  to our  mind , the  mind that attains  peace in meditation  is  the  supreme peace  of  one's own nature  ,which  is not external  and  which  is beyond all  states.  Such a  mind  becomes free  of all  desires. 

                    In  meditation  , the  meditator  feels  totally  fulfilled  as  he has gained  the very purpose  of  his  life. . There  is  total satisfaction  which  is beyond  the  mind and  body  and  this  satisfaction  is  not temporary  and  is  never  lost.  A finite  object  or  being  cannot  bring  joy  or  sorrow   by itself  . It  is  the  association  or  dis association  with  them that  brings joy or  sorrow. All  sense pleasures are the  root cause  of sorrow  , whereas  the  bliss  of  one's  own  nature  is eternal, endless  and  unconditional  . In  meditation  , one  remains  in direct  contact  with  the  infinite  source  of  joy. 

                     When  we  talk  about  worldly  gain  , we know  it  is impermanent  . On  gaining  worldly  things  ,the  mind  does  not feel  fulfilled   and  it craves  for  new  things  and  newer  experiences. . In  the  gain  of the  infinite Self  in meditation  , the  gain never gets  lost  . This  gain becomes  incomparable  to  any   worldly  gain  . This  gain  of  realising  one's  own  infinite  nature  gives  complete  fulfillment  and  there  then  remains  no  desire  to  gain  anything  thereafter  . Hence  that  is  the  supreme  gain we are  talking  about  here. 

to  be  continued.....

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Two obstacles in meditation

HARI  OM  

Practical steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 21

The Gita  revisited  

Two  obstacles  in meditation  

                  The  Kathopanishad  says   walking the  spiritual  path  is  like  walking on a   sharp  razor's  edge    and  hard  to  tread  and  needless  to  say  there will  be  obstacles  at  every stage  of  one's  spiritual  journey. The  obstacles  that  are external  are  mainly  due  to a  lack  of preparation  before  meditation. . These  can  be  corrected  to a  great  extent  . The  two most  important  obstacles  a  seeker  faces  in  meditation  are  sleep  and   mental  agitations  .  The  meditator  might feel  sleepy  because  of  ill-health  or  tiredness  

                   The  mind  usually  knows  only  two  states  that  of  getting  distracted  by  external  events  /objects. or  going  off  to  sleep. . So  in  meditation, when  the  mind becomes  quiet  , the  meditator  goes  off  to  sleep  .So it  is  important  for  the  meditator  to  change  his  life style  and  he  must  ensure  that  he gets  enough sleep  in the  night.  A person  performing selfless  actions  (  karma  yoga  )  can  overcome  sleep  to a great  extent  . Even  as  one  feels  sleepy  at  the seat  of  meditation, he  should awaken  himself  by  means  of  deep  breathing  or  by  loud  chanting  of  mantras. .

                  The  second  obstacle  one  faces  in meditation  is  mental  agitations. . The  mind  by its  very nature  wanders  from  one  thought  to  another. . At  the  seat  of  meditation  , thoughts  that  disturb  the  mind  should  be  arrested  and  an  alert  mind  should  bring the  mind  back  to  its  focus  on the  Self. . This  can  be  achieved  successfully  with  practice.  The  meditator  must  make a  firm  resolution  just  before  meditating  that  he  would  keep  his  body  still  and  not  move  it. . Secondly  ,that  while  he  is  at  the seat of meditation, he  is  only a  meditator  and  does not belong to  anyone  nor  anyone  belongs  to  him. . His  only  identity  is  that  of  a  seeker  of  Truth   and  thirdly  , that  meditation  is  the  only  important  task  of  his  life. and  that  nothing can  distract  or  disturb  him  .

to  be  continued......

Monday, 17 November 2014

Meditation involves two processes

HARI  OM  

Practical  steps to spirituality- section 7 part 20

The Gita  revisited  

Meditation involves two processes  .

                Meditation   involves  two processes , that  of withdrawing  the  mind  and  absorbing it in the  Self. . The  mind has to be withdrawn  from all  its  preoccupations  with   the  external  world  of  objects  and  beings  . The  memories  of the  past  , the  agitations  in the  present  and  the  fantasies  in  the  future  ,all  three  agitate  the  mind  and  make  the  mind extroverted  . . The  mind has to be kept   extremely  alert  in  not  entertaining  any thoughts  that  could  disturb  it. . The  mind  has  to  be  intelligently,  slowly  , patiently  and  gently  but  firmly  withdrawn  from  all its  preoccupations with the  external  world .

         The  second  process  involves  keeping  the  mind  absorbed  in the  Self.  The  mind that has been  withdrawn  from  its extrovertedness  cannot  stay  in  vacuum.  and  such a mind  then  has to  be  kept  engaged  on  looking  within  . The  meditator  has  to  give up  all  his  identifications  with  the  body- mind- intellect  and  his  individuality. . In  meditation  ,he  owns  up  his  own  true  nature  . It  is  because  of  one's  ignorance  of  one's  Self  that  one  comes  to  identify  oneself   as the  finite  individual  . In  meditation  the  thought 'I am  finite  ' has to be replaced  by   the  thought   'I  am   the  infinite   Self.'and  this  thought  has  to  be  repeatedly  sustained  during  the  course  of  meditation.
           
          The  meditator  by  sheer  practice  comes to  carry  this  one  thought  ' I  am  the  infinite  Self'  to  the  exclusion  of all  other  thoughts  . In  course  of time  ,the  intellect  becomes  totally  still  with  this  one  thought  alone. And  this  eventually  leads  him  to  a  thoughtless  mind  /intellect  in to  a  state  of samadhi  ,into  the  state  of  Self  -Realisation  . The  individual  meditating  realises  the  infinite  Self  as  his  own  true  nature  as  of  the  nature  of Sat- Chit-Ananda. 

to  be  continued.....      

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The preparations before meditating

HARI  OM  

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 19

The Gita revisited  

The preparations before meditating 

                       Lord Krishna  speaks  about preparations needed  before the seeker meditates  . Some  of the external preparations  are  selecting  the right place  and  time  and  the  need  to remain in solitude while  meditating. . The  seat  should neither be too soft nor  too  hard  , neither  too  high nor too low, so that  it allows  him to maintain   the  correct  posture . The  sense organs  must be withdrawn  from  their  field. 

                    Coming down  to the  inner  preparations  , the  Lord  says , it is  important  to fine tune  the seeker's  mind at the seat  of  meditation. . There  should  be  no  anticipation  nor  expectation  of any specific  result  ,or  of  any  extraordinary  experience  . These  distract  and agitate  the  mind  and  keep  him  extroverted. All  the  knowledge  both secular  and spiritual  should be  thrown  out of the  mind  before  meditating  because  only a  relatively  calm and peaceful mind can  experience  inner peace  while  meditating. . The  mind can  be  quietened  by the repetition  of a  mantra  or  observing  one's breath. . Some  carry their  worries    like,' what will  happen  to  my  family  if  I went  into a  samadhi? ' ,or ' what  will  happen  to  me  if I  lose  body  consciousness ? ' to the seat  of  meditation. . Such fears  should be discarded  . It  is  important  the seeker  sits in meditation as a seeker  of Truth  and  hence  should give  up  all  identities  ,such as  I  am a  father, a  business  man  and  so  on. 

                    Another  important  aspect  of meditation  is  to  develop  devotion to  God  and  this  devotion alone  will  help  the seeker  to  keep his  mind  focussed  .In  meditation , the seeker  should realise  God  alone  as  Supreme  ,so that  his  mind does  not  drift  away  towards  any  of his  relationships  or  for that  matter  in to  any  important  task  that    has  to  be completed. . If and  when  the  seeker  decides  to  meditate  ,he  should  also  firmly  resolve  to meditate  regularly  and sincerely  and  with  a lot  of enthusiasm  to  eagerly  await  his  meeting  with  God  / or  his own  Self  in meditation. 


to  be  continued.....

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A life of moderation

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 18

The Gita revisited

A  life  of  moderation  conducive  for  meditation 

                 We  should make meditation an integral part of  our life. To  be  able  to meditate  , we should  experience peace  and  calmness  all  through the  day  for  which  we  should  have  a  life style  conducive  to  successful  meditation.  Scriptures  advocate  a  life  of  moderation  .It  is  said  of the  Buddha   that  when  he  was  on his  quest  for  Truth, he  totally  denied  himself  food  and  he  became  so  terribly  weak  that  he  fell  down  and  became  semi-conscious  . It  is  then  that  he  heard  a  master  explaining to a  student  that  a  musical  instrument  produces  sweet    music only   when  its strings  are  not  strung  too  tight  nor  too  loose  but  just  right  . The  buddha  understood  then  and there that  complete self denial  will  not  help him  in his  spiritual  journey  

             The  Gita  says  'yukta  ahara  '. meaning  the  seeker  should  eat  the  right  quality and  quantity  of  food  to  keep  himself  healthy  and  the  mind  calm and  alert. . This  applies  to  all  sensory  intakes  . Continuing, the  Gita  says  '  yukta  swapna  avabodha  '.meaning  too  much  sleep  or  the  lack  of  it  keeps  the  mind   dull  or  agitated  . Sound sleep  rejuvenates  us  . So  it  is  important  the  seeker  maintains  regular  sleeping  and  waking  hours. 

             Continuing  on this  topic  ,the  Lord  says  ,  'yukta  vihara  '. meaning  entertainments  refresh  us  . But  entertainments  should  be  of  sattvik  in nature  ,so that  they  really  refresh  and  lighten  the  mind  and  not keep  it  agitated  . And  finally  the  Gita  says  '  yukta  cesta  '  meaning  neither  the  lazy  man  nor  the  workaholic  can  sit  peacefully  in meditation  . It  is  only  a  man  who  performs  selfless  actions  that  can  have a  peaceful  mind at  the  seat  of  meditation. . Thus  the  seeker  should  understand  that  meditation  is  not  possible  for  one  who  eats  or  sleeps  too  much  or  too  little  , nor  for  the one  who  is  lazy  nor  for  one  who  tires himself  in frenzied  activities  through out  the  day. 

to  be  continued.....  

Thursday, 6 November 2014

The purpose of meditation

HARI  OM  

Practical steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 17  

The Gita revisited  

The purpose of meditation . 

                 Meditation  is to stay  in one's own  true nature  . It  is not a special  action,  a form  of worship ,  japa  or a concentration exercise  .. Meditation is just being  what you are  -the  infinite Self. . Meditation involves  the withdrawal  of the  mind  from the  external world  of objects  , emotions  and thoughts  and  keeping it focussed  on the  Self  . . It  is  the  individual  jiva  identified with its  mind and  intellect  who   is  the  meditator  .Neither  the  body  , the sense organs  , the  physiological functions  ,nor  the  infinite  Self  meditates  . It  is  the  mind that meditates  

             Lord Krishna  has given a detailed  description of the  posture, the seat  of meditation  , and  so  on, but they are only aids  in meditation. . The  meditator  meditates  not  on any external  object  . The  object  of  meditation  is  the  subject  "  I ", which is  of the  nature  of  Sat- Chit  - Ananda  . Some  meditate  on divine  forms,  some  on  OM  ,but  these can  can only make  our minds  pure, concentrated  and  subtler. . They cannot make us realise   and  abide in the  Self. and  this  is  the  purpose  of  meditation. . The  mind  and  intellect are the  instruments through which  one  meditates . Hence  the mind and intellect have  to be  made  pure and  peaceful  before  it can meditate  on the  Self  . The  mind  has  impurities  such as  raga and dwesha  , kama and krodha   and  karma yoga  can  help remove their  physical expression. . 

         The  intellect has  the  impurities  of  ajnana  (  ignorance)  , samsaya  (  doubt  )  and  viparyaya  (  vagueness  and  false notions  )  . Ignorance  and  doubts  can be removed  by  sravana  and  manana  respectively   and  the seeker  could get  clarity  and  subtlety . . The  false  notions  like    "  I  am  a  finite  being  "  ," I  am  the  body  "  , " I  am  the  doer  of actions  and  the  enjoyer  of  the  results  of actions  "..   have  been  with us  from many life times  . The  purpose  of  meditation  is  to remove  these  false  notions  with the  knowledge  that  I am  the  infinite  Self  .The  removal  of  the false  notions by  owning  our true  nature  is  called  meditation  (  nididyasana  ). 

to  be  continued..... 

Monday, 3 November 2014

who is fit to meditate ?

HARI  OM 

Practical  steps to spirituality- section 7 part 16

The Gita  revisited  

Who is fit to meditate  ?

                           In  the modern  times  , there are  various  programmes  for  instant  realisation  and  many  types  of meditation  are  taught  by teachers  ,who claim  that  practising  them  one could attain  moksha  . One  just  comes  to wonder  if  meditation  is  a  lifestyle,  a technique  ,a  skill, a  journey  or  the  destination. , whether  it  is  a  perishable  product  or  the  imperishable  Truth. The  general  conception  about a  meditator  is  one  who  sits  quietly  in solitude  without  any other occupation  . Meditation  ,in the real    sense  of the  term , is  the  absorption of  the  mind  on  the  Self  within   where there is  inner  calmness  and  peace   in the  meditator's  mind.  

                          A desire filled  mind  can  never  sit  quietly  in meditation  . Such a  mind  becomes  restless  and  extroverted  and  can  never  look  within  . A  person  who  indulges  in all  kinds  of  pleasures  and  entertains  thoughts  about  sense pleasures  , can  never  go  through  the process  of  meditating  on his  higher Self. We  have  seen  in the  first  chapter  , a  highly  confused  Arjuna  wanting  to  run away  from  his  duties  of  fighting  the  righteous  war   being  advised  by  Lord  Krishna  that  karma  yoga  is  a  necessary  preparation   to  the  path  of  meditation  and  to  living  a  peaceful  and  happy  life. . When  a  karma  yogi  performs  actions  with  the twin attitudes  of  Iswara  arpana  bhavana  and  Iswara  prasada  ,  he  comes  to  give  up  his  likes  and  dislikes  and  comes  to  carry on his  obligatory  duties  selflessly   and  he then  comes  to have  a  calm and  peaceful mind  ,which  is  essential  for  him to sit  and  meditate  

                      We  have  seen  in previous  pages  that  the  true  renunciate  is  one  who  has  renounced  his  desires  . Only  a  relatively  desireless  mind  can become  quiet   and  turn  within  and  meditate  . By  walking  the  path  of  selfless  actions  ,one's  mind  becomes  relatively  free  of desires  and  turns  within  and  contemplates. Only  such a  mind  is  then  ready  to  renounce  worldly  and  religious  duties  and  follow  the  path  of  meditation. 

to  be  continued........

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Raise yourself from the fallen state

HARI  OM  

 Practical steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 15 

The Gita revisited 

Raise yourself from the fallen  state 

                     We  can  raise ourselves  from the fallen  state  only when we become intensely aware  of  our fallen  state  and  when  we  have a  compelling desire  to  come  out of this fallen  state   and  finally  when  we  are prepared  to  make  the necessary  efforts  to  raise  ourselves  from this  state. 

                     What  is  the fallen  state referred  to  here  ?. We believe  we  are  mortal  beings  ,who are  finite   and  hence  go through  sorrow  and  sufferings  all  through  our lives  and  let us not forget  that  this  suffering and  sorrow  has been  created  by  our own  ignorance  of  our true  nature. . Being ignorant  of our true nature  ,we get tossed  about  like a  boat  on the  rough seas!

                     The  first  step  we  should take  is  to learn  to  control  our  mind  ,for  a  controlled  mind  is  our  best  friend  and  an  uncontrolled  mind is  our worst  enemy. . An  uncontrolled  mind  can  give  us  endless  troubles  and  sorrows  by  its  fanciful  imaginations  ,  compulsive  desires  or  negative  thinking  . A controlled  mind  , on the  other hand  ,is  our best friend  ,who  helps  us  to  face  all  of  life's  problems  and  troubles  and  encourages  us  to  rise  up  again and again  from  the  repeated   falling. . A controlled  mind  guides  us in the right direction  , and  guides  us  to take  the  right actions  to  correct  our past  mistakes  and  to reach  the  pinnacle  of  perfection  in this  very  life  . We  can  attain Self- knowledge  in this very life time   ,in the  here and  now  . Why  wait  for the next  life  to  fulfill  our  goals  ? Start the  journey  now  . It  is  never too  late  . 

to  be  continued..... 


lift yourself by yourself

HARI  OM 

Practical steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 14 

The  Gita revisited  

Lift yourself by yourself  

                The  Gita says  , " lift yourself  by yourself  "  . " uddaredatmanatmanam  ". Verses 5 and 6 of chapter 6  tell  us  not  to degrade  ourselves  , not  to  look  down  upon  ourselves  or  distract  ourselves,  not  to  fall  in the eyes  of others  or  in our own  eyes. . The  most  important  message  is   that  our  mind  is  our best  friend  and  our worst  enemy. , meaning , a  controlled  mind  is  one's best friend  and  an  uncontrolled  mind  is  one's  worst  enemy. . The  Gita  continuing  on this  topic  says  ,"  raise  yourself  by  yourself   and  do  not  allow  yourself  to  fall" . While  lifting  ourselves  ,we  must  lift  ourselves  in the  right  and  best way possible  using  righteous  and legitimate  means  to  come  up in life. . We  should  choose  such  options  that  suit  our  swabhava  . 

             We  all  do  have  ideals  but  it so  happens  that  we  always  fall  short  of our  ideals  . We  should  raise  ourselves  step  by  step   and  go  higher  and  higher  . If  and  when  we  find  ourselves  falling  from  our  goals  we must  become  conscious  and  take  steps  to  correct  that immediately. . One  thing  we  always  find  in our  life  is  that   when  we  sometimes  try to make  compromises  in our  life   we then  come  to feel  guilty  only  for  the  first  time  , after  which  the  mind , which  is like  a devil ,  gets  used  to  compromises  and  accepts  them  and  they then    become  a part  of  our  behaviour  . 

               The  Gita  says  that  we  should  never glorify  the  fallen  state  and  all  that we need  to do  is  to  come  out  of this  fallen  state  of  compromises   and  bounce  back  to  our  original  state  so that  we  continue  our journey  from there on. We  must carry  a clean  conscience  and  not  fall  in the  eyes  of others  nor in our own  eyes. . While  setting  goals for  ourselves  , we should  not get distracted  by  the  obstacles  which  might come  our way. Obstacles  there will  be, more so  in the spiritual  path ,  but  we  must remain steadfast  in  making  our efforts  reach  their  intended  goal. . We  should become  accountable  and  responsible  for  what we do in our  life. 

             The  Gita  gives  the  universal  call  to  us  not  forget  our true  nature   and  live  like  a mortal and  finite  being . The  call  of the  Gita  is  to  lift ourselves  back  to  our  immortal  and  infinite  nature and  we  , humans alone , can  realise  the  Truth. 

to  be  continued.....

Saturday, 25 October 2014

How do we overcome the twin enemies ?

HARI  OM  

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 13  

The Gita revisited  

How  to overcome the twin enemies within us  ?

                    It  is  only  a  Realised  master  who  is  totally  free  from desires  and hence  from  anger  too. It  is  frustrated  desires  that  turn  into  anger  and  while  a person is  angry  ,he  loses  his  intellect  and  once  the  intellect  is  lost  ,everything about  him gets destroyed  and  he  becomes  a  living corpse. !

                 The  first  step  is  to  reduce  our  likes  and  dislikes  by  not  brooding  over them  . By  brooding  over them  ,we tend  to strengthen  them  . As and  when  a  desire  or  anger   crops  up  in the  mind  , we  should  not  give  them  a  physical  expression. , because  they  are  afterall  only  thoughts  in the  mind. . We  should  learn  to  control  them  at  the  thought level  itself. . We  should  reduce   our  desires  and  anger  through   spiritual  sadhanas  like  japa,  tapa,  prarthana  ,vows  and  so  on.  Then  ,with  right understanding  and  reflection   on the  harmful effects  of desires  and anger  on the  personality  , and  how  one  gets  destroyed  by  living  an  uncontrolled  life  filled  with these  twin enemies , one  can  indeed  overcome  these enemies  within  us. 

             We  should  perform  all  actions  with  the  attitude  of  karma  yoga  ,wherein  we  do actions  without  any  expectations   but  as an  act  of worship  of  the  Lord   and  we  then  come  to  accept  cheerfully .  the  results  ,whatever  they    be  , as  Iswara  Prasada  . Doing  actions  with  karma  yoga  attitude  weakens  our  likes  and  dislikes   and  we then   continue  to  do  all  actions  as  obligatory  duties   done  for  the  sake  of  the  Lord   and we  surrender  unto  Him  and accept  the  results   as  gifts  from  the  Lord. 

         Desires  and  anger  can  crop up  in our  minds  any  time   . So  scriptures  advice  us  to  remain ever  vigilant  at  all  times  . Only  an  alert  mind  can  withstand  their  attack. . It  is  only  a controlled  and  alert  mind  free  from  likes  and  dislikes  that  can  apply  itself  on  spirituality  . Only  such a  mind  is  available  for  meditation  and  for  keeping  the  mind  absorbed  on the  Self  

to  be  continued.....

Friday, 24 October 2014

the twin enemies within

HARI  OM  

Practical  steps  to  spirituality- section 7 part12

The  Gita revisited 

The  twin enemies within 

                  We  control the world  through  external  conquests  , material  gains  or  through Self-knowledge  . But  for  this  to  happen  ,first  we need  to  have  a  control over  our senses  and  have  to  conquer  our  mind. . So  before  conquering the  world  ,we  have  to  conquer  ourselves. . Pujya  Gurudev  Swami  Chinmayananda  would  say  that  we  should  learn  to  manage  ourselves  first  . 

              Desire  and  anger  are  the  two  most  important  trouble  makers  in our  life. . They  are  the  most  difficult  to  control  and  if  not  kept  under  a  check  ,they  lead  us  to  other negative  tendencies  like  greed,  hatred,  jealousy  ,prejudice  , possessiveness  and  so  on. . We  have  seen  in earlier  pages  , how  desire  for  an  object  starts  with  a  sankalpa  and  turns  into  a  wish  to  possess  it. It  then  becomes  a  burning  desire  to  possess  that  object  by  whatever  means  . This   then  overwhelms  our  intellect  and  we  stop  thinking  about  whether  what  we  are  doing  is  right  or  wrong  . The  desire  to  possess  the  object  is  so  powerful  that  it  has  silenced  our  intellect  totally  and  compels  us  to  act  and  react  blindly. . We  become  a  helpless  person  tossed  about  by  our  mind  which  is  gripped  fully  with  the  desire  to  get  the  object  by  hook  or  crook. 

               Even  as  the  liking  for  an  object  turns  finally  into  a  compelling desire  to  possess  it  ,  a  dislike  can  into a  desire  to  avoid  that  object  or  being. . This  then  gets  strengthened  into  anger  or  hatred  . One  then  loses  one's  sense of  decency  in  dealing  with  others   and  comes  to  use  harsh  and  inappropriate  words   and  one  might  also  take  the  extreme  step  of  indulging  in violent  actions. . The  Gita  warns  us  not  to  come  under  the sway  of  desire , anger  and  greed  which  Krishna  says  are  the  three  gateways  to  hell. . They  rob us  of  our  peace  of mind  and  happiness  . The  Lord  says  that  he  who can  withstand  the  twin  forces  of  desire  and  anger  (  greed  is  only  a  by-product  of  desire )  is  a  happy  man  . 

to  be  continued....


     
        

Friday, 17 October 2014

Pleasures are momentary

HARI  OM  

Practical steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 11

The Gita  revisited  

Pleasures  are momentary 

                  All  of  man's  actions  are aimed  at  getting  happiness  and  that too  unlimited  happiness  and  an  happiness  that  will  last for ever. . Man's  swabhava  is  to remain  in Bliss  -eternal  happiness    and  for  this  he  does  not  need  to  acquire  anything  external  to  him. All  that  he  needs  to  know  is  that  the  Self  is  of  the  nature  of  Sat  -Chit-  Ananda  . Not  knowing  this, he  goes  in search  of  happiness  from  objects,  beings  , relationships  and  circumstances   and  so on. Man's  true  nature  is  to  remain  blissful   and  to  realise  this  he  has  to  put an end  to  all  external  pursuits   and  find out  for  himself  that  the  inexhaustible  and  eternal  happiness  is  right  within  him. 

            When  the  sense  organs  come  in contact  with  conducive  sense  objects  , we  get an experience  of  joy  which  we  call  as  pleasure  . This  experience  of  joy  is  momentary  and  depends  on  so  many  factors  like  availability  of  the  objects  in the  right  quantity  ,at  the  right  time  and  in the  right  place. The  body  must  be  in good  health, the  senses  in good  working  condition  and  most  importantly  ,the  mind  must  be  in a  good  mood  to  enjoy. We  know  that  the  law  of  change  applies  at  all  levels  of  existence  and  hence  the  body,  senses,  mind,  objects  and  circumstances  are  constantly  changing  . So  to  get  an  experience  of  joy  under  such  circumstances  is  very  difficult. and  if  one  of the  above  factors  goes  missing, one  fails  to  experience  joy. Another  important  factor  about  experiencing  joy  is  that  even  after  getting  to  experience  joy,  it is  only  momentary  and  does  not  last  long  .

        The  pleasures  of the  world  create  more desires  , tire and weaken  the  mind  and senses  , create  dependency  , attachments  , fear  of  loss  , greed  for  more  and  anger  when  obstructed. . The law  of  diminishing  returns  works  here  . The  famous  and  most  sought  after  Rasagollas  from  Bengal  give  immense  pleasures  but  even  as  a person  continues  to  eat  them  more  and  more  , one  starts  developing  a  hatred  towards  them  ! Scriptures  say  pleasures  are  wombs  of  sorrow  and  a  wise  man  does  not  revel  in pleasures. 

to  be  continued....  

Monday, 13 October 2014

The highest renunciation

HARI  OM  

Practical  steps to spirituality- section 7 part 10

The  Gita revisited  

The  highest renunciation. 

               At  the  first  level,the  mind  is still  full  of  desires, likes  and  dislikes. , attachments  to  worldly  things, name, fame  , power  , possession, position and  so  on. . It  is  only  when  the  mind  is relatively  free  of  all  the  above  that  it  can  renounce  worldly  possessions  and  activities. .Scriptures  advice  spiritual  practices  like  japa,    living a  life  of self control,   yajna  , dana  and  tapa  , and  so  on  to  help  the  mind  get rid  of  its  impurities   and  be  ready  to  give  up  all  its  attachments  to  worldly  'toys'. The  detachment  ,  vairagya  ,  comes  about  through  the  selfless  performance  of  actions  (  karma  yoga  )  either  in this  life  or  some  previous  life. 

           A  person  thereafter  takes  to  a  full time  spiritual  life  . In  the  advanced  level  where  the  mind is  already  made  pure  and  subtle  through  karma  yoga  or  karma  sannyasa  ,  one  takes  to  the  enquiry  and  contemplation  on  the  nature  of  the  Self. And  thereafter  it  becomes  easy  to  renounce  the  notion  of  doership  in the  fire  of  knowledge. . This  is  the  highest  renunciation  that  is  spoken  of  in  Vedanta  .

          So  to  sum up  ,one  travels  from  karma  yoga  doing  selfless  actions  which  lead  to  inner  detachment  . This  preparatory  renunciation    leads  him  to  renounce  worldly  possessions  and  activities   and  make  his  mind  pure  and  subtle. . He  then  enquires  and  contemplates  on  the  pure  Self  with a  pure  and  calm  mind. . He  then finally  reaches  Mukya  karma  sannyasa  , which  is  the  highest  renunciation  or  Self  Realisation  , wherein  he  totally  renounces  the  notion  of  doership  and  realises  himself  as  the  non-doer  Self. 

to  be  continued....... 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

householder's life versus renunciate's life

HARI  OM  

Practical  steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 9

The  Gita  revisited  

householder's life versus  a renunciate's life 

                Different questions arise in the minds  of sincere seekers  of  knowledge  whether  one  could remain  in one's family  and yet  be  able  to pursue and  attain Self-knowledge  or  does  seeking  knowledge  requires  one  to renounce  the  world and   become  a full time  seeker  . So  it  looks  as  though  there  is  a  tug of war  between  a householder's  life  and  a renunciate's  life.

               The  Gita  helps  the  seeker  to  first  understand   where  he  stands  , where he  fits  in  actually  , at  which  stage  of  spiritual  growth  he  really  is  , so  that  he  takes  to  grow according  to  his  abilities  ,his  mental  frame  and  so  on  in the  pursuit  of  spiritual  knowledge. . The  Lord  says  either  of  the  two  paths , that  of  being the  householder  or  being  a  sannyasi  , can  help  prepare  our  minds  for  spiritual  knowledge  and  yet  for  the  majority  of  us  ,who  have  lots  of  likes  and  dislikes  and  worldly  desires  ,the  path  of  selfless  performance  of  action  is  better  than   the  renunciation  of  worldly  actions.  Doing  is  better  than  renouncing  actions  for  the  majority  of  us  because  of  the  fact  that  our  minds  are  filled  with  raga  and  dwesha  . Hence  we  are  advised  to  remain  in the  midst  of  our  family  , in the  midst  of  worldly  activities  and  perform  our  obligatory  duties  selflessly  and  unconditionally  so  that  the  mind  becomes  free  from  selfish  desires  and  likes  and  dislikes  and  becomes  fit  to  walk  the  path  of  knowledge  

             While  the  path  of  renunciation  of  worldly  action  (  karma  sannyasa  )  is  better  suited  for  those  who  have  very few  worldly  desires  and  have  a  strong  thirst  for  spiritual  knowledge  and  have  already  developed  dispassion  towards  worldly  life. . Whichever  path  one  chooses  to  follow  ,both  involve  ,giving  up  of  likes  and  dislikes   to  make  the  mind  pure  and  fit  to  walk the  path  of  knowledge  . Both  paths  involve  the  seeker to  remain  steadfast  in  the  path he  has  chosen  . The  most  important  qualification  for  a householder  to grow  spiritually  would  be  to  give  up all  his  attachments  towards  his  family  members, towards  worldly  objects  , name  fame  ,power  ,position  and  possessions  . In  short  he  has  to  develop  vairagya  , dispassion  for  all  temporary  and  ephemeral  things  . 

to  be  continued......