Monday, November 24, 2008

The Staircase to Happiness

Dear Friends,
Greetings to you all. Last week we have seen the succession of steps which will spell our destruction. We will be continuing on the same idea for a while. Let us see how Jagad Guru Sri Sankaracharya has explained similar idea using a corollary of what is instructed by Veda Vyasa (see last post).
The following verse is from the famous 'Bhaja Govindam' by Sri Sankaracharya - Here, the Acharya explains the sequence of steps which will lead us to the 'Goal' - the state of permanent happiness. Bhaja Govindam is also known as 'Mohamudgaram' (Moham+ut+garam = that which dispels our Illusion). Please read the verse and listen to the audio file. The meaning follows.


सत्संगत्वे निस्संगत्वं

निस्संगत्वे निर्मोहत्वं

निर्मोहत्वे निश्चल तत्त्वं

निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः

సత్సంగత్వే నిస్సంగత్వం

నిస్సంగత్వే నిర్మోహత్వం

నిర్మోహత్వే నిశ్చల తత్త్వం

నిశ్చలతత్త్వే జీవన్ముక్తిః

sathsangathvae nissangathvam

nissangathvae nirmohathvam

nirmohathvae nishchala thaththvam

nishchalathaththvae jeevanmukthih

Purport or Bhaava

Step 1 Attachment with the 'REAL' (Sat-Sangatwam) leads to detachment (Nis-Sangatwam) with the 'UNREAL'

Step 2 This detachment (with UNREAL) extinguishes the Illusion (Nir-Moha-twam)

Step 3 Devoid of the Illusion (false body ideation & ego) we attain the stability of mind (Nits-Chala-Tat -Twam)

Step 4 This stability of mind and focus on the inner - Self Supreme (Nits-Chal -Tat -Twam) results in understanding firmly that every one of us is a form of the Almighty and that we are all equally created. This results in the ultimate happiness here itself, while we are alive (Jeevan Mukti), because we no more divide ourselves on any basis like caste, creed, gender, colour, wealth and so on. Then, all the evils of in fighting and inner fighting, we are rid of. Isn't it the happiness par supreme !!

We have to clearly reflect on the deeper purport of the word 'SAT' and A-SAT here.

Normally, we all understand the meaning of 'Sat-Sangatwam’ as association with good and godly natured people or engaging ourselves in recitals, rituals and chants etc. True, may be these are essential stepping stones to calm our mind and help us reach the ‘Goal’ of Happiness. In fact, nine types of means are prescribed in the Bhagavatam by Veda Vyasa (see 7th canto – verse 47 and 48) to attain to the final Goal. These means are only the means but are
not the end (goal) by themselves. We are always confused and interchange these means for the Goal and get more preoccupied and become anxious about the means and lose sight of the real Goal. We have been strongly warned about this in Srimad Bhagavad Geeta itself (chapter 2, verses 42-44 and chapter 17, verse 6) 

When we look at the commentaries and analysis on Bhaja Govaindam, we are given to understand the word ‘Sat’ means - the REAL. The concept of the REAL is elucidated in Viveka Choodamani by Sri Sankaracharya – REAL perception is the understanding that every creature is a reflection of God and we are all equal. The body-centric ideation and ego with all the associated divisions in our mind is the A-SAT (unreal) to which we all cling.

So, the Staircase for our ascent to the ultimate Happiness is in our clear understanding of the SAT and A-SAT and developing intense attachment with the SAT and equally strong detachment with the A-SAT - The 'Satsangatwae Nissangatwam'. Step by step - this leads to Jeevan Mukti.

Bye till next week, Best wishes to all,

Dr Sarma

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Flow Chart for our downfall

Dear Friends,

Greetings to you all. Last week, I couldn't post any message on this blog due to other preoccupations. I am now continuing with the ideas already dealt with in the previous post, where in we discussed the evil effects of desires and craving. The following two slokas are also from Srimad Bhagavad Geeta from the 2nd chapter, Samkhya Yogam, verses 62-63, where in the Lord gives the sequence of steps - like a flow chart - which spell our doomsday and result in total destruction of us. Let us understand them, so that we can try and meticulously avoid falling prey to this downhill path.

ध्यायतो विषयान् पुंसः संगस्तेषूपजायते ।

संगात् सञ्जायते कामः कामात् क्रोधोभिजायते ॥

क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात् स्मृतिविभ्रमः ।

स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात् प्रणश्यति ॥

ధ్యాయతో విషయాన్ పుంసః సంగస్తేషూపజాయతే

సంగాత్ సంజాయతే కామః కామాత్ క్రోధోభిజాయతే||

క్రోధాద్భవతి సమ్మోహః సమ్మోహాత్ స్మృతివిభ్రమః

స్మృతిభ్రంశాద్బుద్ధినాశో బుద్ధినాశాత్ ప్రణశ్యతి ||

dhyaayatho vishayaan pumsah sangasthaeshoopajaayathae

sangaath sanjaayathae kaamah kaamaath krodhobhijaayathae ||

krodhaadhbhavathi sammohaah sammohaath smtrthivibhramah

smtrthibhramshaadh budhdhinaasho budhdhinaashaath pranashyathi ||

Purport or Bhaava

The Slippery Steps for Man's Doomsday

Step 1 -  Incessent negative (wrong) thoughts about the sensual pleasures - lead to

Step 2 - Growing mental anxiety to fulfil them - this leads to

Step 3 - Perpetualtion of desires and craving for them - when unfulfilled they beget

Step 4 - Anger (never our desires will be fully satisfied) - this is dangerous and leads to

Step 5 - Delusion (that we are right - loose control on our actions & words) - this leads to

Step 6 - Loss of perception of the end results of our desire prompted actions- it causes

Step 7 - Crash of discriminative ability (or wisdom) - Devoid of this, sure we end up in

Step 8 - Doomsday and Perish

Take a close look at these seven steps which cause our total downfall. The idea here is, each step leads to incresaingly complex next stage. If we act and interrupt this chain of events, we can save ourselves or else we perish. It becomes complex to interrupt in the later steps and we should arrest this in the early part of this flow of events; Best done at the first step of incessant negative thoughts related to sensual plesaures. Sage Sri Veda Vyasa has carefully constructed this flow chart for us, to apply in our lives. He has emphasized what will happen if we get channelized into negative thoughts. We shall see a corollary of this from Jagad Guru Sri Adi Sankara in our next post.

That is all for now. Bye till next post,


Dr Sarma

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Kaama and its notorious power

Dear Friends, 

This week's post is from Sreemad Bhagavad Geeta, our sacred scripture by Sri Veda Vyasa. These are from the third Canto, the Karma Yoga, verses 36 and 37. There are several intersting questions raised by Arjuna (for our sake). The following is, one among such, with a proper reply from the Lord.

अर्जुन उवाच
अथ केन प्रयुक्तोयं पापं चरति पूरुषः ।
अनिच्छन्नपि वार्ष्णेय बलादिव नियोजितः ॥

అర్జున ఉవాచ
అథ కేన ప్రయుక్తో అయం పాపం చరతి పూరుషః |
అనిచ్ఛన్నపి వార్ష్ణేయ బలాదివ నియోజితః ||

Arjuna uvaacha

aTha kaena prayukthO ayaM paapaM charathi pooruShaH |
anichChannapi vaarShNaeya balaadhiva niyOjithaH ||

Purport or Bhaava

Arjuna inquisitively questions the Lord

O! Lord Krishna (VaarshNaeya = born in the family of VrishiNis or Yadavas)! But, impelled by what (forceful reason) does man commit sin? Though loath to (unwilling to commit) sin, much against his wishes, constrained, as it were, by force he is driven to commit sin.

The inquisitive question is couched in such familiar words; it appears as though it is raised by some student like us. In fact Veda Vyaasa raised this here, for the sake of us, speaking through the mind of the disciple, Arjuna. Everyone understands intellectually what is RIGHT and what is WRONG, (who doesn’t know the moral and legal codes!) but it is only when one acts, invariably gets tempted to do the WRONG. Always, there is an inner war in all of us between our IDEOLOGY (the human in us) and our ACTION (the beast in us). The question here is what is the exact nature of the SATAN-in-our-bosom, which thus systematically loots away the good in us? It looks as though some impelling extraneous force is making us commit sin though we are unwilling to do so. Is it so?

श्री भगवानुवाच

काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुण समुभ्दवः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विध्द्-येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥

శ్రీ భగవానువాచ

కామ ఏష క్రోధ ఏష రజోగుణ సముద్భవః
మహాశనో మహాపాప్మా విద్ధ్యేనమిహ వైరిణమ్ ||

Shree bhagavaan uvaacha

kaama ESha krODha ESha rajOguNa samudhbhavaH
mahaashanO mahaapaapmaa vidhDhyaenamiha vairiNam ||

The Lord says to Arjuna: "Listen, I shall tell you who that enemy is of whom you have asked- who is the source of all evil"

The Bhagavaan affirmatively answers this conundrum (difficult problem)

It is the excessive desire or craving (Kaama) and it is the wrath (intense rage or anger of epic scale). The former is born out of extreme passionate activity (Rajas). The later is the resultant product of the former. The Kaama (we must for sure know) is voracious, of insatiable hunger, all devouring and is the greatest sinner. Let us know this thoroughly as our worst enemy ever.

Very often, we are reminded of the SIX internal enemies that conquer us if we do not attempt to subdue them. They are: Kaama (excessive desire or craving), KrOdha (intense anger or wrath), LObha (lust or perpetual craving for more and more of what we have got), MOha (illusion or the false understanding of what is right and wrong and the false perception of body-centric ideation), Madha (Ego or excessive self-centric arrogance that we are the supreme), Maathsarya (Vengeance and hatred). Of these SIX, only TWO are emphasized here in this reply by the Lord. Let us see the interplay of these SIX internal foes. 

The fundamental cause is the Kaama (craving). If it is fulfilled, we crave for more and more (show me one person who is satisfied with what is already granted!) and that results in LObha (Lust) and repeated fulfillment automatically begets the Madha (Ego). If the Kaama (craving) is not satisfied or meets with obstacles, it leads to KrOdha (intense rage or wrath) and also begets Maathsarya (hatred) on seeing those who have their desires fulfilled. All these five culminate in the sixth, the MOha (illusion).

Thus, if the Kaama is in full swing, born out of projected, eccentric, tangential and passionate activity – also called the Rajas, all its close associate culprits make happy inroads into our bosom and become permanent residents there. Thus, armed by the company of the five other terrorists, the fundamental culprit Kaama annihilates the good in us and perpetuates the beast in us.

Hence, the Lord has warned all of us (as though he is warning Arjuna) to be aware of this Kaama, the inner SATAN-in-our-bosom, and beware of this notorious criminal. The desire (Kaama) enshrouds the wisdom in us. It is this craving that forces men to commit sin. Desire may be defined as: A constant agitation of the mind, expressing as an uncontrollable impatience to gain something – simply can be termed craving.

We will continue in the next few weeks on looking at the echo of this message from the pens of other great saints and prophets. Till then, bye. With best wishes to all.

Dr Sarma