Thursday, 29 January 2015

The law of karma

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part  39 
The  Gita revisited 
The law of karma 

                  Divine laws  govern  all  actions  and  determine  the  effects  of all  actions  . Thus the destiny  of each individual  is  directed  not by chance   but  according  to  the   causes  he  himself  sets  into  motion. . An  ignorant  man thinks  that  what  comes  to  him  in life  is  his  fate. . There  is  no such thing  as  fate  other  than  what  has  been  predestined  by  his  own  actions  , here in the  present  or way back  in the  past  , may  be  in  any  life  before  this very particular  earthly life  

                  One's own  actions  in the  past  then  become  the  self created  causes  as  to  why  some  are poor  while  others  are rich,  some  healthy  while  some others are  sickly   and  so on.  in the  present . If  we  fail  to  accept  this  where  is the  justice  of  God  if  he  made  all  as  equals  but  put some  under  favourable  situations  and  others under  unfavourable  circumstances  , in which case  He  becomes  a tyrant  who has  no rule  of laws   to support His  actions   There  are  many  inequalities  between  each individual's  life  and  a  rational explanation  is possible  only when  we accept  the law of karma  .

                 The  law of  cause  and effect  governs  our lives  and   is called   the law of karma . Karma means  actions  and  it also means  the fruits  of our actions  . These  fruits  of  our own actions   which come  to us  as  joys or sorrows   are  generally  believed  by the lay man  as  fate. , but as we have seen  it, is  his  own  actions  have  fructified  to  give  him joy  or sorrow  as the  case  may  be. . Hence  there can  be  no other explanation for the  inequalities  among  human beings . The    fruits  of actions  that is the  effects  of  our actions , are  what  make  it hard  for  people  to change  themselves  or  their  circumstances. 

              If then  success  or failure  have  been  more or less  determined  by  our own  actions  in the past  ,the  question that arises  in the  mind is  ,"is   there  no remedy  by which we  can alter  our present  condition ?".
  The  good new is that  we have  been  gifted with  two  wings , namely, reason and  free will  to  empower  ourselves  to  face  our life  or  to a great extent  change  our life;s  situations   to help progress  in spite  of adverse  situations  .

to be continued..... 




Friday, 23 January 2015

The only mission in life

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section  7 part 38 
The Gita revisited 
The  only mission in life. 

                God  is  the  unmanifest, nameless , infinite Self. He  creates, maintains  and ultimately destroys  the  world  He  has  created  . Yet  ,we fail  to  recognise  the  infinite  substratum  behind  all  the  changes  that  take  place. and  continue  to  worship  the  finite  forms  of various deities  forgetting  that  the  one  supreme  absolute  God  lies  behind  all  these  finite  forms  . Some  worship Nature  as  God, some  see  God  as  a  power  , for  some  others  God  is  a particular  incarnation  such as  Sri Rama  or  as  Sri  Krishna  . Many  see  God  only  in an idol  in  a particular  temple  of their  choice  but  yet a  few  may see  God  as  the  various  deities  like  Agni devata,  Vayu  devata  and  so  on. 

           The  above  mentioned  belief  systems  are  narrow  and  should be  given  up. as  they  make  the  believers  fanatic  about  their  own  faiths  and   help  develop  hatred  for  other  belief  systems  . One  should have  a holistic view  of life  and  see God  as  God  is  and  not  in the  way  one  wants  to  see  Him. In  the  film  '  pk  "  , one  of the  characters  says  "  believe  in a  God  who made us  and  not in a God   whom  we  have  made  "  This  is indeed  an  appropriate  statement  . God  should  be  known  as  He  is  and   not in the  way  we  have  made  Him  to suit  our  own   convenience .
           There  is  only  one  infinite  and  unmanifest  God  and  knowing  Him  as  our  own  Self  and  as the  Self  of all  is  the  only  mission  in life  . Other  goals  are  finite  and  can  never  satisfy  man's  quest  for  eternal  happiness  . To  know  Him  is    to become  one  with   Him  . 

to  be  continued...  

Sunday, 18 January 2015

worshipping finite gods .

HARI  OM 

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 37
The Gita revisited 
Worshipping  finite  gods .

                        If  God  is  our  own  infinite  Self  and  the  Self  of all, why is it then that we worship finite gods  is  a question that will  arise  in any right thinking  mind   of a seeker  of knowledge. . God  is   one  and  infinite  . He  governs  the  world  He has created  through  various deities  whom He  has appointed  to be in charge  of various departments  like  Vayu devata, agni devata  and  so on. . The  man  on the  street  has  hundreds  of desires   and  he  worships  these  devatas  to get  all  his desires  fulfilled  . He  worships  goddess  Saraswati  to get knowledge, Lakshma  to get  wealth, Durga  to gain power,  Ganesa  to ward off  obstacles   and  the  list  goes  on and  on. 

                     The  Lord  says  in the Gita  that  whoever  desires  to faithfully   worship  any  particular  finite  form   , whichever  form  it  might  be, He  grants  such a devotee   with  the  necessary  sincerity  to  worship  such  devatas. . Even  as  this  devotee  matures  to the  higher  level  of  spiritual  growth  , he  realises  that  God  alone  is  the  source  of all  power   and  He  alone  should  be  worshipped  ,though  he  might  continue  to give  due respect   to the  finite  gods  for  what  they  stand  for   and  also  give  respect  to all  those  who are  still  in that  level  where  he was    previously  and  respect them and their feelings  for continuing to worship  finite  gods. . He  now  understands  that  worshipping  finite  gods  for  fulfilling his  desires  , prevents  him  from  knowing  the  one  and  only infinite  God  ,who  is  none  other  than  his  own  true  Self  .He  realises  that  worshipping  finite  gods  can  give  only  finite  joy  ,while   realising  and  worshipping   the  infinite  God  will  lead  him  to  infinite bliss  within  .

to  be  continued....

Friday, 16 January 2015

Sa mahatma sudurlabah

HARI OM  

Practical steps to spirituality- section 7 part 36  

The  Gita revisited

Sa mahatma  sudurlabah  ,

          Of  the  four  kinds of devotees we  have seen in the previous page  , the  first  two ,namely,the  Arta  and the  Artharthi  ,though praying  to God  either  for  removal  of   his problems  or  for  obtaining  wealth  and  worldly  comforts  ,are  indeed  considered  as  God's devotees  because  they  believe  in God's  existence  and  in His  Omnipotence   and  in His  capacity  to  remove  human  problems  and  fulfill  desires  of all  kinds. . These  devotees  evolve  to the  higher  level  of  becoming  a jigyasu  , when  they   would  want  to  know  about  God  and  His  relation with the world  . Yet  the  fact remains  that  the  first three  types  of devotees  seek  God  only  for  themselves  and not for  the  love  of  God. 

         The  fourth  type  is  the  jnani  bhakta who  is ' My  own Self 'says  the  Lord. The  jnani bhakta loves  God ,seeks  Him  for  the  love   he has for God  and  realises  Him  as  his  own  infinite Self   and  also as  the infinite Self  of all. . Hence  he is the best devotee  . He  sees God  in all  and hence  serves  all with  love. He  recognises  that  the  whole  world  is pervaded by God   and  He  is  in all  beings  . The  Lord says  that  such a bhakta  who sees  God  everywhere   and  in all is very rare  Such a great soul is very rare  ,' Sa  mahatma  sudurlabah. 'says  Lord Krishna  .

           If  such a  mahatma  is rare  , a Realised  Master  is  rare  , does it mean  that  Realisation  can  only  remain a dream  for  us  ordinary  mortals  ?God  is all  pervading  and  is the  Self  in all. It  is  only  because  of the  power  of  Maya  on  us  ,we  remain  ignorant  of  our real nature  and  lead  a  mundane  existence  .and  do  not  ever  strive  to seek  Him  or  know  Him. . Even  as a dreamer  knows  the waker as soon as he  awakens  , and  even  as the  illusion  of the  snake  on the  rope  is removed  by knowledge  and  one  realises  instantly  that it is  a rope  , similarly  ,the  instant  our mind  is ready  Realisation is  immediate  .. It  is the  result  of  God's Grace  flowing  through  our  right efforts  in  the  right  direction  from countless  lifetimes   and merits  gained  in all these lives  that  we can  come  to enjoy  a pure ,subtle  and concentrated  mind  ,which when  ready  will  help  us  to  realise   God  instantly  as  our  own  Self  and  as the  Self  of all.

to be  continued....


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Four kinds of devotees.

HARI  OM  

The practical  steps to spirituality- section 7 part 35
The  Gita revisited  
Four kinds of devotees. 

                       Lord Krishna  says there are four kinds of devotees  of God:  the Arta,  the Artharthi, the Jingyasu and  the  Jnani. . A few devotees   called  the Arta  pray  to God  to remove their grief  when  they are faced  with  health, wealth or  relationship problems  and such other problems   in their  life. And when  their  problems melt away, they stop praying to God.  The  Artharthi  are the second type  of devotees  who pray to God  to fulfill all their desires  . They  have lots of attachments  to worldly  things  and  hence  pray for  wealth, material  comforts  , name  , fame  , possessions  ,   power  and so  on. believing that  the  attaining of these  will  give them  permanent happiness.  Hence  they  bargain with God,that  they  would  contribute a certain amount  to  a  specific temple of their  choice  if their prayers are answered  .But  they  are  considered  higher  than  the  Artas  because  the  Artas  pray  only  for a very short while  for the removal  of their problems   and  once their problems disappear  they  forget  God. 

               The  third  type  of devotees  are  the  Jingyasu ,who worships  God  as  a seeker  who wants  to know  about  God  , His  relationship with  the jiva  and jagat.  He  is  superior  to the  above  two  as  he  seeks  God  not for any worldly  benefit  but  to  know  Him.  The  last  type  of  devotee  is  the  Jnani  who is  the  Realised  Master  who  has  realised  his  own  Self  as  that  infinite  and   God   as being the  infinite  Self  of all.  He  worships  God  without  any  expectations  from  God as he is  free  from  all  worldly  desires  The  Jnani  is  the  best devotee  of God  as  he is ever  united  with  God  in love. The  Lord  says  "  the  Jnani  devotee  is  My  own  Self  ."   The  first  three  types  of devotees  love God  with an  ulterior  motive  ,while  the Jnani  loves  God  unconditionally   and  God  too  loves  him  . They are  one with each other. The  Jnani  loves  God  for  His  sake  while  most  of us  who will  fall  under  one  of the first  three  types  love  ourselves  most  and  love  God  only  for our sake  . 

to be  continued... 

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The power of Maya

HARI  OM  

Practical steps  to spirituality- section 7 part 34

The Gita revisited 

The  power of Maya  . 

                      We  have seen  in the  previous page  that  God  can be seen  in nature , in all things  and  beings. If  it  is  so  easy  to  see  Him  , why  does  not  man seek  Him and  know  Him  ?. The  Lord  says  it  is  because  of the  Lord's  own  power  'Maya '..

                       Maya  is  the  Lord's  divine creative  power which  exists  in Him. . Maya  cannot  be  perceived  directly  but  it can  be  experienced  through  its  influence  on  us  ,because  of which  we consider  ourselves  to  be  finite  individuals  living in bondage  undergoing  constant  conflict  and sorrow. Maya  is  of the  nature  of  ignorance  and  due  to  this  we  continue  to  stay  ignorant  of our  real  nature. . Only  the  Lord  can  remove  the  veil  of ignorance  from our  minds  . . It  is  because  of  Maya  , we  carry  thoughts  such as  I  , me  , mine  , you  yours  and  so  on.  and I  come  to  differentiate    myself   from  others. . This  sense  of  separateness  creates  hatred, jealousy  , anger,  greed   and  all  kinds  of mental  agitations. 

               The  question now  arises  , is  it  possible  to cross  the  ocean  of  Maya  ?. It  is  said  that   it  is  the  Lord  alone  who  has the  power  to  help  us  get  over  the  grip  Maya  has  over  us. . It  is  only  through  His  Grace  that we can  cross  the  ocean  of  samsara  and  be  free  from  Maya's power on us   and  all  this  is  made  possible  only  when  we  totally  surrender  to the  Lord   and  take  refuge  in  His  lotus  feet. Advaita  Vedanta  proclaims  that  ignorance  of  our  true  nature  ,which again is  caused  by  the  power  of  Maya, can  be  removed  only  by knowledge  of  God  /Self. . Performing  spiritual  sadanas  cannot  by themselves  remove  the  veil of  Maya  . They can  only  purify  our  minds  to  prepare  and  make  us  fit  to receive  knowledge. Realising  God  as  our  own  infinite  Self  alone  can  liberate  us  from  our  self made  bondage  , from  our  ignorance  of our  true  nature  from  the grip  of  Maya  .

to  be  continued...

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Where can you see God ?

HARI  OM  

Practical steps to spirituality-  section 7 part 33  

The Gita revisited  

Where can you see  God  ?

                  Lord  Krishna  says  God  is all pervading  , He  is  everywhere and  in everything  .He  is  the  ' isness  '  in all things  and  beings  . Everything exists  in Him  and  because  of  Him. . We  can  see  Him  in  nature  , in all  of  God's  creations  . He  does  not   exist  as the  light  in the sun and  the  moon  but  in  Him  ,who  is  light  ,the  sun and  the  moon  exist  .. He  can be seen  in the innocent  smile  of a child,  He  can  be seen  in the  loving  embrace  of a mother  of her  child  ,in  the  loving  eyes  of  young couples  in love, . He  can  be seen  in the  divine  smell  that  comes  from  earth  with the  first  rains  after  summer  , He  can  be  seen  as  life  in the  variety  of creatures  . He  is  the universal  symbol  OM  .  We  can  see  Him  in  the  excited  and  happy  faces of  all  Indians  when  India  wins  a cricket  match. . We  can  see  Him  in the  compassion  of  a  saint  , in the  selfless   service  of a Mother  Teresa  , in short  in the  humaneness  in human  beings. God  is  the  wisdom in the  wise  and  the  majesty  in the  mighty                                                       

                God  can  be  seen  in the  sun rising  over a  hill   and  setting  in the  sea. What  a  view  it  is  and  who  cannot  but  believe  that  God  exists  very much  here  in the  rising and setting of the  sun. . In  the  Bhagavatham  , child  Prahlada  tells  his  father  Hiranyakasipu  the  God  exists  everywhere  and  even  in the  pillar. To  prove  the  child  right  , God  comes  out of the  pillar  as  Lord  Narasimha  , and  destroys  the  father  and  protects   the  child.  The  Lord  says  that  everything  in the  world  has three  qualities  :  sattva, rajas  and  tamas  . They  exist  because  of  Him  but  He  exists  even  without them  . He  is  of  independent  existence   and  hence  the  lord  says  in the  Gita  "  I am  not  in them  but they  are in  Me. 

to  be  continued....


Friday, 2 January 2015

cause of creation

HARI  OM 
Practical steps to spirituality- section  7 part  32

The  Gita revisited  

Cause of creation 

             The  seventh chapter of the Gita  talks  about  the cause of creation. . The  world is  made  up of  matter and  spirit. . The  eight fold  lower aspect  of the  Lord  consists  of  the  total  unmanifest  creative  potential  , the total  mind,  the  total ego,  and  the five great elements  :  space, air,  fire , water  and  earth. . All  these  make  up  the  entire  gross  and  subtle  unmanifest   and  manifest  matter  of this  universe  . This  also  includes  each  individual  body  , senses  ,mind  , intellect  , ego, and  vasanas. . The  Lord's  highest  aspect  is  His  manifestation  as  life  which  enlivens  all  matter  . The  two  aspects  of  the  Lord  are  the cause  of the  entire  universe  of  inert  objects  and  sentient  beings. 

         There  are  difference  of opinion  among  scientists  about  the  cause  of  creation  . Some  believe  that  sub-atomic  particles  are  the  cause, some  others  say  it  is  big-bang  or  black hole  that  is the  cause  of creation.  Some  others  believe  that  some  deity  or  mind  is  the  cause  of creation  . Vedanta  firmly  affirms  that  finite  things  which are a  part  of  the  created  things  cannot  be  the  cause of creation. . The  ultimate  cause  has to  be  one  infinite  entity. . Since  all  matter  exists   and  all  beings  have  consciousness  , the  cause of  the universe  must  be  of the  nature  of  existence  and  consciousness,  the  infinite  Self  of  all. 

        The  infinite  Self  of  all,  God  , is  of the  nature  of  eternal  existence  . God  creates  the  world  with  the  help  of  His  higher  and  lower  aspects  . He  is  the  substratum  from which  the  world   comes  into  existence  and  goes  back  to  Him. He  does not  undergo  any  change  to  become  the  world  . He  only  appears  as  the  ever changing  world  . He  is  both  immanent  and  transcendent  . He  pervades  creation  like  the  thread  in the  beads  of  a necklace  . Without  Him  , nothing  would  exist  . God  is  the  "  isness  "  in all  things  and  beings  . 

to  be  continued....