Saturday, June 11, 2011
The Bhagavad Gītā (Song of God) has captured the imagination of thinking men and women all over the world. It has been translated into many languages and has among its devotees people belonging to many religions and nationalities. The uniqueness of the gospel of the Bhagavad Gītā lies in the fact that its follower need not belong to a particular formal religion or sect. “Each man devoted to his own duty attains perfection,” declares the prophet of cosmic vision, śrī Kṛṣṇa who continues to explain succinctly how this perfection is attained. He from whom all the beings have evolved and by whom all this is pervaded – worshipping him (God) with the due performance of his own duty, man attains perfection. (18:46)
Here, then, is a unique gospel which does not tamper with your station in life, distract you from your duties, disturb your faith nor lure you away from the path you have chosen but illumines your path and strengthens your faith. Its proclaimed object is to free you from worry and anxiety, to protect you from yourself – your own lower self, full of unruly desires and unjustified prejudices, deluded by ageless ignorance and therefore haunted by meaningless fears of imaginary calamities.
In the Gītā Dhyānaṁ which is chanted before reading the Gītā, there is a lovely verse. In it the Gītā is considered the milk, the upaniṣad are compared to the cow and Kṛṣṇa to the cowherd. The Indian cowherd never milks the cow till the calf has had some and thus inspires the cow to release the milk. Here it is Arjuna who serves that role. They whose intelligence is filled with goodness enjoy this drink. Please do not get the wrong impression that Kṛṣṇa himself gave the teaching chapter by chapter: “That was the second chapter, and now begins the third chapter.” It was a continuing dialogue. If you understand that, you might also appreciate why the thoughts
are all jumbled. For instance, karma yoga is discussed in the second, third, fourth and
last chapters. Scriptures have all been obviously put together by human beings however much you and I may wish to believe that they are direct revelations of God. Of course, it is God speaking through them – so on the one hand you can see that all teaching comes from God; on the other hand you can see that all teaching is man-made, polluted by human speech. The Yoga Vᾱsiṣṭha says: ‘Study this scripture and you will be free. If you think that because it is man-made you have no faith in it, go and seek some other scripture, but find enlightenment.’ So, study the Gītā, but stop the mind from selective understanding. If you are accepting or rejecting a scripture or a teaching because your mind likes it or dislikes it, you are in the same mill, going round and round and round, it is totally useless. There is a great risk in trying to philosophise a teaching. A teaching is a teaching! The mind that wants to analyse that teaching runs into infinite, endless difficulty, because once you begin to analyse something there is no end to it. The teaching is totally outside. Unity, diversity, perishable, imperishable, you, I, he, etc., are all words and ideas created by the mind, sustained by the mind and dependent on the mind. God is the dictionary in which all these words are found, and in which all these ideas can prevail. No word has a meaning built into it. The meaning of a word arises within you – often because of
conventional usage, but always because of your understanding or non-understanding. Words have no meaning at all except to the extent that we intuit some meaning to them. We are so full of definitions and our own understanding, that it is impossible to teach us. It is our own understanding that receives the new knowledge and therefore it instantly becomes old. It is far easier to teach someone who is totally raw than someone who thinks he knows or can understand. Therefore Arjuna could not be taught until he collapsed. Swami Sivananda once said: “If you want to become a professor, please go to the library and study all the commentaries on the Bhagavad Gītā and write one of your own. On the other hand, if your main motivation in seeking to study the Bhagavad Gītā is to practise it and attain self-realisation, then take one verse and live it.” Knowledge and action are not two divergent paths; they can be like railroad tracks – both of them leading in the same direction. The Yoga Vāsiṣṭha says that a bird flies with two wings, not one. You must know what you are doing, and do what you know to be right. We should take up the study of the Bhagavad Gītā with humility, with an eagerness to know what this tiny little scripture has to offer us to enrich our lives, to enable us to become useful citizens and, by God’s grace, to know for ourselves what life is about. We are asked to study the Bhagavad Gītā in order that the message may be incorporated in us so that it might become operative when the time arises – incorporated in the literal sense that it becomes part of the cells of our body.
Thousands of years ago there was a conflict between they who were called the Pāṇḍavā and they who were called the Kauravā. One person cannot quarrel with himself. A quarrel or conflict means between two forces and a union means between two forces. Without this division there is no conflict – and no union! We are told that the Pāṇḍavā had chosen lord Kṛṣṇa to be on their side, not to fight on their side – Kṛṣṇa was merely driver of an armoured car. What has this to do with us? Is the Bhagavad Gītā relevant to us? If it is not we are wasting our time, or, what is even worse, we might misinterpret the message. It has a relevance to us because there is ongoing conflict in us. When you are not in conflict with anybody here, you experience conflict within when you recognise that experience is division, division means conflict; there is a division between the idea you have of what you should be and the knowledge you have of what you are. Is it possible for you to observe this division either arising or existing in you all the time? The conflict (and its resolution) implies two forces. If in reality you are split into two forces, you cannot become reconciled. You cannot find this union within yourself unless you ‘die’ – then you (‘I’) do not exist! The entire Bhagavad Gītā is an investigation into the question: ‘Is this split real?’. You experience this split, there seems to be this inner conflict. You cannot attempt a reconciliation, a union, because any attempt at bringing it about pre-supposes a division. Therefore the scripture tries to divert your attention from either accepting or rejecting this division, and introduces a third approach – vicāra, investigation. Instead of assuming that there is a division and that division must inevitably lead to conflict, is it possible to look into it? That is what Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna. And that is what is relevant to us in the daily battle of our lives. The reason why, perhaps, Kṛṣṇa chose the battlefield to deliver this message! There are apparently two contradictory schools of thought – one saying that you must love your neighbour, and the other saying you are your neighbour. If you are your neighbour, why should you love your neighbour? As long as the division lasts and until this knowledge or experience of oneness arises, it is better to love him than to fight with him. Two things are possible when there is a division – you can love or you can hate. When the division has gone you will know what love really is.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We have been born billions of time in all imaginable forms and in all imaginable places. We have been worms, ants, cats, monkeys, elephants, humans, gods and all the other beings for billions of times. In all these forms we have experienced suffering and pleasure. And the desire for more pleasure becomes the fuel for continued existence and hence the wheel continues to move.
As long as we continue to exist there is no end to our suffering. From the time of our birth till our death there is always suffering. We blindly believe that the acquisition of people, wealth and fame will put an end to our suffering. But do we really find true happiness in them? We continuously and foolishly try to satisfy our desires until we become completely disillusioned by this. Then a sudden realization comes that there is no true happiness in the world. True happiness comes from transcending the world.
What is the cause of this suffering? It is ignorance. The world continues to be pleasurable and painful because of this ignorance.
Ignorance of what? Ignorance of our true nature. This world appearance veils our vision from the truth. With insight, it is easily seen that nothing in this world can give you pleasure and what appears to be pleasurable is actually a source of pain.
There is no pain or pleasure that has not been experienced. All experiences are transient. There is no permanency in this world, everything is changing whether one likes it or not.
One can realize that this existence is futile with insight, insight into the true nature of the world and one self. Once this is realized then one is automatically in a higher level of understanding and becomes eligible for the next process - realization of the truth. Until then this world will continue to be a source of both pleasure and pain.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The scriptures declare that the unmanifest (whatever that means!) in a split second of ‘forgetfulness’ of its true nature imagined itself to be something different. This is the origin of the ‘ego’ and of the universe as we know it. Then there is the theory of the big bang and how the world came to be. What was before the big bang? There was ‘nothing’ before the big bang. There was just the unmanifest ‘potentiality’. The scripture also says that it is still and forever like that; in the state of potentiality, Potential existence. It means all the things in this universe that appears so real is in actuality the idea in the unmanifest’s head (if it has one). Quantum physics today has proved this concept. It says matter exists in a state of potentiality, there is no actual matter, but there is always the potential for it.
At the deeper level of universe’s structure, all the forces come together as one. And with the discovery of the unified field we now know that life is fundamentally ‘one’. At the basis of diversity, there is unity. And that unity is the basis of mind and matter and is the consciousness, universal consciousness. Consciousness is not created by the brain, it is fundamental in nature. It is the very core of the nature; we can call this the unified field.
Progress in modern physics over the past quarter century has been mainly in exploring deeper levels of natural law, from the macroscopic to the microscopic. From the molecular, to the atomic, to the nuclear, to the sub nuclear levels of nature’s functioning the so called electroweak unified scale, grand unified scale, super unified scale and what they have discovered at the core basis of the universe, the foundation of the universe is this single universal field of intelligence, a field which unites gravity with electromagnetism, light with radioactivity with the nuclear force, so all the forces nature and all the so called particles of nature – quarks, leptons, protons, neutrons, electrons are now understood to be ‘one’. They are all just ripples on a single ocean of existence that is called the unified field or the super string field.
The realization of this oneness in the nature is and has been called ‘enlightenment’. So now I know why I am here………..i am here to realize the oneness in the universe.
But if everything is unreal and is just potential existence, how can there be the question of oneness? You can talk of one only if you have the idea of two. So is there really such thing as oneness……? That is the question to be pondered and realized through meditation.
So what are the practical uses of knowing this? After we know that the universe is fundamentally an illusion we can solve all the problems that we have created by taking things too seriously…….after all life is an illusion and is like a drama, just play your role and when you wake up from the dream you will know the ‘joke’ being played on you…..life is not a serious thing. Just have fun, let go…become hollow and empty.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Intelligence in itself is an abstract "thing". It cannot be understood or comprehended.
Human life so far can be put in these few words - birth, growth, experience, learn, eat, sleep, earn, accumulate, reproduce and die. If you take a cat, its life isn't so different either, we can just delete the words earn and accumulate in its case.
So now the bigger question........are we here to do just these things? or is there some higher purpose or goal for us to be here? If these questions have come to you at any time, then you are ready for higher evolution for higher knowledge, the secret of existence and the answer for the question itself. And of course the answer has to be found by you and you alone, no one can be "told" the answer to these questions. But someone can help you.........
This 'someone' is the GURU or the master. Don't imagine the guru as just a man with beard, sitting on a chair with closed eyes......he is much more than we can see (or cannot see). Guru itself means that which is very big....so big that you cannot comprehend its "big"ness. Yet he is your very own, you don't need to push some buttons to call him, he is there even without you calling him. His only intention is to make you dissolve in himself. Then after that there is no you and me.............there is only the ONE.
The guru is the door for us to go inside the house of 'self knowledge'. If you choose to walk alone you may fall of sometime or the other, so a guru is necessary. He shows us the way to walk and we have to do the walking......he cannot walk for us.
Different masters "manifest" at different times and place according to the need of that hour. But not all recognize him, some even crucify him. But make no mistake, the world is more than what we just see, world is not just matter, it is consciousness and consciousness (energy) can neither be created nor destroyed. The consciousness can "be" without the world, but the world or anything cannot be different from consciousness......if you don't get it just close your eyes and meditate.............welcome to the party !!!!