Archive for the ‘education’ Category

The negative energy which manifests within an individual, and consequently, a negative energy within the society is basically due to the imbalance of human mind. This imbalance of mind eventually leads to sufferings. Every life is an integral part of the divine, and is capable of rising to experience the bliss. This capability is dormant with some, and with others they are active, or more conducive to be activated quickly. To bring the mind to a balance towards activating the bliss, the following 13 impurities of mind should be controlled which are the root cause of suffering:

1) Ragam: desire to indulge in recreational sexual activities rather than for procreation.
2) Dvesham: to take revenge on those who disturbed us or inflicted pain.
3) Kamam: desires or passion for materialistic pleasure.
4) Krodham: anger, or restlessness due to unfulfilled desire.
5) Lobham: unwillingness to give or share with others.
6) Moham: blind towards distinguishing good and bad while satisfying the desire.
7) Madham: arrogance in achieving the desire based on wealth and power.
8) Maatsaryam: envy/jealousy upon the success/achievement of others.
9) Irshya: thoughts about why do I experience this sorrow and not others.
10) Asuya: indignation at the merits or goodness of another.
11) Dambham: pretending to do good things for publicity/popularity (hypocritical/deceitful).
12) Darpam: pride in believing that no one else can match with one’s quality or skill.
13) Ahamkaram: impudent or insolent behavior.

Even if any one of the above impurity dominates the mind, we end-up driving ourselves to inauspicious circumstances eventually. We should learn to eradicate any impurity arising in our mind at its beginning stage itself. Then, we will be able to put ourselves in auspicious circumstances to experience the divine bliss.

s

Consistent indulgence in ignorance (māyā) by humans over several of previous births makes him strongly associated with the accumulated/consequent subtle impressions (samskaras) and tendencies (vasanas) which hinders from listening to the voice of God. The pursuit of spiritual path to know the purpose of life appears contrary to human nature, and his conscious mind is always agitated. The humongous effort to make the conscious mind stable is to start with controlling one’s lust/passion/desire (kāmam) and anger (krodham). Adopting a yogic lifestyle makes it easier to achieve stable mind.

“The beginning of saintliness is killing of egoism or Ahamkara. The end of saintliness is Eternal Life. The key to saintliness is humility and self mortification. The light of saintliness is silent meditation. The garb of saintliness is virtue and tolerance, not the Gerua cloth alone.”  – Sivananda

Once the conscious mind is stable, the superconscious mind will start to manifest which is the faculty for pure intellect, reasoning and intuition towards realizing the truth. Then, in silent meditation, it will be possible to hear the voice of God. This inner voice which is very divine, pure and clear will guide us in the spiritual path to know the purpose of life. Meditation is a beautiful way to connect with God and enjoy the bliss of divinity. Finish up the daily meditation with this shloka (from Śivamānasapūjā) :-

Ātmā tvaṁ girijā matiḥ sahacarāḥ prāṇāḥ śarīraṁ gṛhaṁ
pūjā te viṣayopabhogaracanā nidrā samādhisthitiḥ|
Sañcāraḥ padayoḥ pradakṣiṇavidhiḥ stotrāṇi sarvā giro
yad-yat-karma karomi tat-tad-akhilaṁ śambho tavārādhanam||

“Thou (Lord Shiva) art Atma; Buddhi is Thy consort, Parvathi (who is born of mountain); the Pranas are Thy attendants; this body is Thy house; the action of sensual enjoyment is Thy worship; deep sleep is the establishment of Samadhi; walking by my feet is the perambulation around Thee; all my speeches are Thy praise; whatever actions I perform, are all Thy worship; Oh Shambhu!”

Further reading:
1) Śivamānasapūjā
2) Yoga in Daily Life – by Sri Swami Sivananda

varaha

Classical puranams are 18 in numbers, divided into three equivalence classes, namely sattvika puranam, rajasika puranam, and tamasika puranam consisting of 6 puranas each. Varaha puranam contained in sattvika classification is correlated with one of the innumerable avatharams of Lord Vishnu, namely the varaha avataram. Avatarams are manifestation of Supreme Lord as earthly life form. Out of innumerable avatarams, ten of them are commonly worshiped together (principal avatarams), which is termed as dashavatharams which encompass various life forms.

The final take home message, or concluding remark of a particular scripture present as a verse within that scripture is referred to as charama slokam. Such a final remark present in varaha puranam is called as varaha charama shlokam. There are two more important charma shlokams, namely,  rama charama shlokam contained in Ramayanam, and krishna charama slokam contained in Bagavad Gita (or equivalently, Mahabharatham).

Lord Vishnu took an avataram as a wild boar (varaham) emerging from the nostril of Lord Brahma. The mission of this manifestation was to rescue the mother earth (bhuma-devi) which was immersed in the primordial ocean (pralaya-samudram) by a demon Hiranyaksha. The primordial ocean, or the pralaya-samudram is a highly viscous (jelly like) matter present in cosmos. Upon rescuing bhuma-devi from this pralaya-samudram, there occurred a series of question-answer conversation which is later compiled by Vyasa as varaha puranam.

It is understood that during the time of death, what people think in mind also influences the next birth. Bhuma-devi points out to varaha about the difficulty of being devotional and think of Lord during these last moment, and prayed to show mercy to all her children (we humans) and provide a solution to avoid this last moment dilemmas. Then, varaha promised to Bhuma-devi that instead of humans thinking about Lord during the last moment, He himself will think about them during their last moments if they accepted Him with all devotions when they were perfectly healthy both physically and mentally (also known as sharanagathi). This promise is summarised as varaha charama slokam:

sthithE manasi susvasthE sarIrE sathi yO nara:
dhAthusAmyE sthithE smarthA visvarUpam cha maamajam
tathastham mriyamANam thu kAshtA paashaNa sannibham
aham smarAmi madh bhaktham nayAmi paramAm gathim

If a person who while having mind and body in good shape with all the natural elements in fine fettle, thinks of me as the birth-less one, when such a person reaches the time of death lying insentient like a log of wood or stone and becomes unable to think, I will remember that person at that time and take him to the highest state.

Further reading:
http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/archives/jul98/0166.html

Trying to understand avidyā as a negated form of vidyā, or interpreting it as ignorance or delusion is not a straightforward comprehension.  Though vidyā  is generally understood as knowledge, the lakshana (unique characteristic definition) of vidyā  (the lakshya) as per vedānta (upanishads)  is – “that knowledge which leads to moksha (liberation) alone”.  All other knowledge related to material understanding is vidyā’s sādharana-dharma (general characteristics, not a unique one). It is difficult to comprehend avidyā as something opposite to vidyā in terms of lakshana.

The lakshya-lakshana can be well understood based on an example. When we give a lakshana – “an animal with a trunk”, then the  lakshya is elephant, because no other animal exists with a trunk, and it becomes a unique characteristics (lakshana).  A description like – an animal with four legs, or with two eyes, etc are not lakshana, they are sādharana-dharma.

Avidyā is a dosham (defect) to our intellect which makes the Supreme Self (Brahman) to be misinterpreted as materialistic world (jagath-vasthu). When milk becomes separated upon adding drops of lemon juice while heating, we say that the milk possess dosham. When our intellect suppresses the real nature of things and manifests something else in its place, our intellect possess dosham.

The lakshana of avidyā is anirvachaniyam (indeterminate, or which cannot be defined). To understand this, we need to understand what sat-vasthu and asat-vasthu means.  sat-vasthu are those objects which are physically real, or existent, such as rabbit and lion. asat-vasthu are unreal, or non-existent objects such as horn of a rabbit, and trunk of a lion.  Here, horn and trunk by themselves are sat-vasthu, but when they are associated with rabbit and lion respectively, they become asat-vasthu.

Is it possible for an object to co-exist as both sat-vasthu and asat-vasthu? Shankaracharya says it is possible, which is also the lakshana of avidyā and describes it by giving snake-rope upamāṇa pramāṇa (analogy).

A person can misinterpret a rope as a snake in a dim light. Why this person thinks of only a snake and not any other animal? Because, snake is a sat-vasthu which the person is already familiar with before, and is highly correlated with the attributes of a rope, like zig-zag or curly shape formation. In this situation, snake exists, and is a sat-vasthu. Upon inspecting the situation under bright light, the person understands that it is only a rope, and also the rope never gets the qualities of snake just for mistaking it (adhyāsa – false attribution). Now, before close inspection, the snake existed (sat), and upon close inspection, there occurred a perceptual error (khyāti) to the previous cognition and the person has to accept that snake is non-existent on a rope (i.e., asat, similar to horn non-existent on a rabbit, or trunk non-existent on a lion).  Since in this situation, the snake was both sat and asat, and consequently it cannot be concretely categorized into either sat or asat, it becomes a peculiar entity termed as anirvachaniyam (which cannot be defined).

Lakshana of avidyā is also similar to this, i.e., anirvachaniyam.  Avidyā cannot be said as asat, because its effect is experienced (like suppressing a rope and  presenting a snake in its place). Avidyā cannot be said as sat because it does not really exists (a rope becoming a snake just because it is mistaken is non-existent). The reason why avidyā cannot be real is due to upanishads ordaining that there exists only one real object (sat-vasthu), and that is the Supreme Brahman. So, accepting avidyā as sat will contradict upanishad teachings. This leads to a conclusion that avidyā is neither sat nor asat, and is therefore undefinable (anirvachaniyam).

This dosham of suppressing the real nature and presenting something unreal in its place exists in two levels. When this is attributed in the level of jivātma (individual consciousness), then it is referred to as avidyā, and when it is attributed in the level of paramātma (supreme consciousness), then it is referred to as māyā. So, māyā and avidyā can be related to each other as whole and part respectively. In an individual, for instance, the avidyā engulfs the intellect and suppresses the real nature of atman which is brahman, and presents body, names and forms as real which in supreme reality is non-existent on brahman. Vidyā will help us remove this veil of avidyā eventually with the grace of God.

Further reading:
1) http://sivanandaonline.org/avidya
2) http://sivanandaonline.org/maya
3) http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/moksha/moksh_04.html

saraswati

The epistemology in Classical Indian Philosophy is referred to as pramāṇa-śāstra. pramāṇa literally means “knowledge source” or “means of knowledge”. pramāṇa-śāstra  (theory of knowledge) encompasses methodologies to obtain knowledge and understanding through reliable means of reasoning.

Various schools of ancient Indian philosophies (e.g, Advaita, Vishishtadvaita, Dvaita, Samkhya, Nyaya, Yoga, etc) discusses and upholds many pramāṇas, but in general all of them falls into the following eight pramāṇas (first six of them are prominent ones):

1) Pratyakṣa: knowledge perception through five senses (external perception), and through mind or intuition (internal perception).
e.g., how a lion looks like is perceived through vision.

2) Anumāṇa: infer some fact based on the knowledge of already existing or known facts.
e.g., by looking at smoke, we infer that there is fire.

3) Upamāṇa: trying to understand a fact based on analogy.
e.g., some attributes about tiger could be understood by analogy of a cat with exaggerated attributes.

4) Śabda: relying on the verbal testimony of experts for knowledge.
e.g., learning various scriptures through oral tradition from Guru.

5) Arthāpatti: conclusions based on facts derived from circumstances.
e.g., Devadatta fasts during the day but still he is obese. Being obese as well as fasting during the day deducts a reasoning that Devadatta overeats during night.

6) Anupalabdi: understanding a fact based on absence or non-availability of something.
e.g., an elephant is not there in front of me implies there is no elephant.

7) Sambhava: speculating a possibility that something might have been in a certain way.
e.g., by looking at a ruined place, we speculate that this might have happened due to a flood.

8) Aithihyam: hearsay that is derived from many generations, and at least half of the fact is believed to be true.
e.g., A sculptor promised to finish the work of a pillar before rooster’s crowing in the morning. Some people purposefully made the rooster crow much before the normal time. So, the pillar remained unfinished. This is the aithihyam behind this unfinished pillar.

Further reading:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pramana
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology-india/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_philosophy

Ganapati_1

Gaņapati Mantrā
Rig Veda
(Mandala 2, Sūktā 23, Mantrā 1) 

गणानां त्वा गणपतिं हवामहे  (gaņānām tvā gaņapatim havāmahe
)
कविं कवीनामुपमश्रवस्तमम् । (kavim kavīnām upamashravastamam)
ज्येष्ठराजं ब्रह्मणाम् ब्रह्मणस्पत (jyeşhţharājam brahmaņām brahmaņaspata)
आ नः शृण्वन्नूतिभिःसीदसादनम् ॥ (ā naĥ shŗņvan ūtibhiĥ sīda sādanam)

We invoke the lord of the hosts of mantras,
Seer among all the seers, supreme in all hearings,
The eldest king and the lord of all the mantras.
Hearing our invocations, may he fulfill us and manifest his powers in our bodies.

This deity is addressed as Gaņapati, the leader of the heavenly hosts. Gaņa means a host, or host of mantras. Brahma in the vedas also means mantra, or the potent word. This deity is the Lord of all mantras when the mantra is recited with full understanding of its meaning. It enters our subtle bodies and releases the concealed powers in us. The prayer here is “May he hear us and manifest his powers in us“.

In later purāņas and in present times, the deity Gaņapati is the elephant-headed god, son of Shiva and Parvati, patron of studies and art, scribe of the epic mahābhārata, etc. However, there is no need to bring in such descriptions in the vedas because purāņas came several millennium after the Rigveda, and the purāņas express the truths of Rigveda, diluted as it were so that they are easily accessible to the common person.

The symbolic representation of Gaņapati interpreted to foster self development is depicted in the following picture:

Ganapati_2

 

Further reading:
http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Symbolism_in_Hinduism.htm

family

जनिथा चोपनेथा च्  यस्तु विध्याम् प्रयच्चथि
अन्नधाथा भयथ्राथ पन्चय्थे पितरस्म्रितः !
Own father, one who initiated upanayanam, one who imparted knowledge (guru; teacher),
one who provides food, one who dispells fear from our mind – these five people qualifies as one’s father.

गुरुपत्नि राजपत्नि जयेष्टपत्नी तदैव च्
पत्निमात स्वमाता च् पन्चय्थे मातरस्म्रितः !
Wife of guru,  wife of king, wife of elder brother,
mother-in-law, own mother who gave birth – these five people qualifies as one’s mother.

– ManuSmrithi; Neethi Saaram.