Grieving to Surviving

 

Grieving to surviving

Grief sometimes becomes unwanted guest in our life. it strikes you when you least expect it. Loss and pain spares none. Our life is package policy of some action, inaction, happiness, sorrow, growth, decay and that keeps changing constantly. While we can predict that life expectancy is 70 on an average, it also means there are people who live upto 40 only so that someone else can leave up to 100 which we conveniently forget. When you happen to be in unfortunate 40, it attacks one with such a vehemence that one does not know what hit.  What follows loss be it of failure in exam, not getting that coveted job, promotion, losing a girl friend or boyfriend, or death of loved ones, is utter desolation. N amount knowing from story books, movies, games, poetry, why leave philosophy does not prepare one adequately for the reality. Worst of all is the loss of beloved.

On death of loved ones, what follows is ethereal. First you become numb. Your mind, senses do not cooperate. Your body is constantly fatigued. You tend to rewind all of your life together. You question your every action and see where you went wrong and right, though you could not go back and change any of them. Your relations, friends, people who live with you do not understand what is going on. Acquaintances and others because it does not directly impact them tend to think why the fuss. They expect you to come back to the mainstream and function at your pre loss level at the earliest. This is definitely the case if you are working, studying, or participating in the society in some form.

You tend to question the society. You tend to question the purpose of life. You ask why me. You are on guilt trip. You think of what all you could have done or not done to avoid this from happening. You cry your heart out, of course alone. You understand that individual factors do not matter for every diabetic with that particular number or a heart patient, or a cancer patinet you can find thousands that have been living with that conditions for decades. For every person who has decided to end life following failure in exams you know there are millions who fail to clear the exam, take it up next time or look for alternative and continue to live happily. You come to an understanding that “Death defies Logic”. Any amount of rationalization, thinking, whacking you brain cells to make sense is not going to work.

Then there is withdrawal from society. The music that used to enthrall you now evokes no response. Some time may be anguish.  Here again, the songs, movies, dramas, entertainment full of pathos, to borrow from P. B. Shelley, “our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought” that you used to enjoy tend to worsen the situation. For they are no more words, lyrics, poetry, music, sound, acoustic but new knowledge, understanding, reality. So they tend to make you grieve more. But ultimately it helps in catharsis. You come to a situation when your tear glands have completely dried and that there are no more tears left. A situation similar to blue sky following a thunder storm.

Slowly you look up. You find that your appetite has been non existing. Your interest in day to day life, mask that we wear by way of our dress, make up, fashion etc has been torn away. It is not possible to go to the earlier role. Or rather futility of it is understood. You see that the world has moved ahead when you were grieving and as the famous adage goes – “Time and tide stops for none”. And that you are a non-entity and your space in this multi-universe is like a speck.

You tend to think of the life you had. You think of the time when your loved ones can not stand your suffering, getting angry or being down. Your think of the time when they were rejoicing with you in your glory, cheering you, consoling you, supporting you through ups and downs, sharing burden with you, loving you, caring for you, protecting you, helping you grow, helping you claim you place in this world, in nutshell being with you forever!!!  You think what they would think if they have been here with you now. You think of other people who are there for you now. You think that they are gone and you are here must have some reason. You come to an understanding that grieving is not going to bring them back. You understand from scriptures that they are there, but nor in the form you know. From manifestation to un-manifestation.

They are moments that slowly change. The song both of you used to like. The rituals you used to carry. The song of cuckoo to which you both used to wake up. The dog that you used to feed. The trees that you have planted and have grown big. The wardrobe you have accumulated over a period and history behind each of the items. Innumerable nonsensical things that are shared memory now. You start to reminiscence. You think of the plans for future you had. You think what your loved one would have wanted you to do if they had been alive. You think what would be their reaction when they see you in current state. Something strikes in you. They would not be happy to see in despair. They would want one to lead life to full fill their duties, dreams, aspirations and take care of their dependents as they did when they were alive.

Each one of us have a karma to fulfill. Some independently some jointly. With the passing away of the loved one be it parents, spouse, children, friends, grandparents, relatives our joint responsibility there off ends. New normal has to be created. Nature abhors vacuum.  So we need to think how we will the vacuum created by the departure of our loved one. The time, energy, space, activity that we shared with them is not going to be available anymore to us. But we have to fill the time that is available to us. It is a clean state available for you to start afresh.

Start small. Establish a routine. Venture out to the familiar areas. If uncomfortable go to a new area, new market new place. Any thing that can bring you out of your sorrow state. Minute by minute. Understand you can spend your time grieving or doing that would make both of you proud. Being stoic helps. Start adding things one by one, be it books, music, movie, friends, events, outing, travel. Look at every aspect of your life. Keep what helps you and be ruthless in saying no to what you think has no place in life any more. Do this in every aspect of life clearing away the clutter and cobwebs both in your physical and mental realm.  Find activity that is beneficial to fill the time. Understand that your life must go on, and so also the relationship with your departed one but with different dimension. You owe your endurance, success, happiness to them and doing that makes you, them and everyone around you proud and happy. It is not going to be easy. It is not going to happen at a snap of your hand. It is not that you are not going to face resistance from the world around you. Yet it must be done. May the power be with you.

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P.S. I had my own thoughts as to whether I should put it in the blog considering the topic is generally considered off limit. But then even if it can helps one person…….

 

 

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The Way of Meditation – Gita VI

The Way of Meditation – Gita VI

Man, to succeed in life, excluding the external factors beyond his control, from his individual self, need to have co-operation from his body, mind, intellect, ego and consciousness. When any one of these are out of control, then energies are frittered away and then one has to concentrate and work to bring the energies that are off under control. Of these mind is challenging. It controls the sense organs and when not in tune is controlled by sense organs. It often flirts from one subject to another thereby hampering focus which is essential for any action to succeed.  In this chapter 6 of Gita, Krishna shows the way of bringing mind under control by Meditation, the techniques there off and how this meditation is likely to lead one to freedom.

Krishna elucidates, the qualities of a meditator/yogi, the ideal physical environment for meditation, the food, attitude, practice requirements for meditation , for if any one of these is not ideal one is likely to be disturbed and  concentration becomes difficult. And ends it up with importance of meditation and the benefits there off. There by in this chapter Krishna shows us the way for our emancipation through the practice of meditation.

Let the man be lifted by his own self:

Man is his best friend and worst enemy. Self help is the best help. A man’s own self, and his discriminative knowledge is the only friend. Any external object, event, person that one gets attached creates attachment and bondage. But the man who has not control over himself, his self injures him, like any external enemy and for such a person there is no need for an external enemy. He who has conquered himself and is serene in mind is constantly absorbed in supreme self, alike both in heat and cold, pleasure and pain, in honour and dishonor is wise. Yoga of meditation helps man to uplift himself and one who accomplishes meditation becomes a Yogi.

Qualities of a Yogi:

Yogi is one whose heart, through knowledge and realization, is filled with satisfaction, who having conquered his senses, never vacillates, and to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are the same.  Yogi is one who has equal regard for well-wishers, friends and foes; for those who are related or indifferent to him, for the impartial and the malicious and even for the righteous and sinful. Now how does one get to that state of inner poise.

Way of Meditation

For some people meditation happens naturally. They can sit, pull their senses away from external objects, quieten the mind and turn consciousness inward with least resistance. Such people are also able to function effectively in the outer world.  They are able to organize their life, have purposeful life and carry calm demeanor not impacted by the happening around them. They can renounce their thoughts -all thoughts of imagination, planning for future and dreaming and be in the here, now.  Such a person is called Yogi.  Others need practice.

For meditation to happen one should always try to concentrate his mind, retiring into solitude and living alone, having subdued his mind and body and got rid of his desires and possessions. He must purify the mind the of past impression, agitations, ego-centrism and integrate the mind.

The Seat: In a clean spot having fixed his seat, a firm seat that is neither too high nor too low and being comfortable and sitting there, restraining the activities of his mind and senses and bringing his thoughts to a point, he should practice yoga for the purification of the self.

The posture: one should sit firm, holding his body, neck and head erect and still, and gaze steadily at the tip of his nose without looking around. When the eyes are withdrawn from sense objects, the mind becomes steady and the eye balls are still and the gaze is directed as it were to the tip of the nose. His breathing has to be measured.

Serene and fearless, chaste and celibate, with disciplined mind thinking of Brahman creator he has to meditate.

The Food: Yoga is for one who neither eats too much nor for him who eats too little. It is not for one who sleeps too much nor for him who sleeps too little. It is for one who maintains moderation in eating, sleeping and in every activity, he undertakes. Simply put no extremes. Body well provided for and under control. When that happens the bodily disturbances and distractions disappear and so also the thoughts of presence or absence of body.

Controlling the Mind: Mind by nature is restless and difficult to control. It is a friend if one has controlled it, else it is one’s enemy. The uncontrolled mind runs behind the pull of sense objects. Controlling one’s mind is the first step towards one’ release and not easy.  However, this can be achieved by practice and by detachment. Austerity, continence, discrimination and faith are also helpful. And last but not least one should persevere despite failures for control of mind being difficult is not likely to happen in the very first attempt or few attempts. So persistence is imperative.  An understanding that sensory enjoyments are likely to lead one to short time happiness with another side being pain and sorrow effort must the taken to detach oneself from engaging in excess of sensory pleasures and entertainment.

Success in Yoga –  When the well controlled mind practices meditation, resting on self, free from longing for objects – seen or unseen, belonging to this world or the next, then one is said to have attained yoga.  Yoga is not possible for one who cannot control himself. And the test of Yoga’s validity lies in one’s seeing results through actual experimentation.  Thus by practice alone can one attain Yoga. And the path being difficult, if one fails in his path, he would still be benefited. For having tried, the knowledge stays with him.  And by virtue of his practice he can take it up from there towards perfection anytime in this life or here after.

Benefits of yoga of Meditation – Yoga is a unique state of self-realization. When meditation is practiced thus, with subdued mind, one attains the peace and subsequently freedom and bliss. The mind is completely tranquil, passions are quieted, free from stress and strains and becomes one with Brahman.

In deep meditation sense object are pulled in and merge with mind. With mind also rested and calmed becomes steady. In that state cognition alone functions and that is when self is realized. When mind is under control, focused, calm, seeing the real self one experiences boundless joy that is beyond the sensory perception can bring in. One is able to go beyond pain, transcends sorrows. As a result of this realization of Brahman and oneness with Brahmans, one attains a state where he is able to see himself in every one and in everything and vice versa. He realizes Unity, Brahman and oneness with Brahman. The result of this knowledge is liberation.

Thus is the way of Meditation, imparted by Krishna in sixth chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

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Knowledge – A Gateway to Freedom – Gita Chapter IV

Knowledge, Action and Renunciation – Way to Freedom

Freedom can be obtained by either following the path of Knowledge, Action or Renunciation and the path differs based on the individual’s latent tendencies.

Why birth:

As per Hindu philosophy, there is reincarnation. Everybody has had multiple births and death but are not aware of it. And that there is a definitive pattern behind taking birth. Natures decide the course. Everyone is born with certain tendencies and these latent characters of one decides one’s preferences and orientation in life. There also exists the reason behind everyone’s birth and the success is in knowing our purpose of being born, our areas of work, field of operation and tendencies which we must harness and fine tune so that our purpose in life can be fulfilled. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna states his life purpose as – “whenever there is decay of “Dharma” – morality, virtue, righteousness – and there is rise of “Adharma” – decay, decadence, injustice, wickedness, – I am born in this world; for the protection of good people, for the destruction of evil-doers, for re-establishing the right.” Only different being his birth and ours is that his is not guided by the desires and karma but by his own determination and based on the needs of time. He is not bound by the life-death cycle which we are. And the ultimate freedom for a human being is supposed to be getting liberated from this cycle.

Knowledge as-a-way to freedom:

Krishna says – Those who know me, my action, my birth obtains freedom. Those who can get rid of desire, fear and anger, worship me, get purified in the fire of wisdom, or whichever way they reach out to me get liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Ways of Action and Organizing Society:

Men are endowed with different temperaments and tendencies. All are not equal and each one has some tendencies that are prominent. Action is the easiest way to achieve material success in this world. For this purpose, the society and people working are divided into four divisions, based on the energy requirements for effective functioning, each function being complementary. The four castes or varnas are created, are aligned with types of tendencies and actions, being the tendency for knowledge acquisition and exposition, for warrior-ship, for commerce and business and for production involving ground level work. Four division of labors, based on their tendencies and capability, each meant for specific purpose or excelling in certain works to express themselves to fulfill societal functions. There is no work that is low or high and all are equally important for the effective functioning of the society. This division helps in one expressing themselves freely based on their inherent tendencies. It is not that others cannot do it but something like the economic concept of comparative advantage. This we find still prevalent in organizations and more akin to consultant, architects, authors, teachers forming intellectual class, Military, Police, CEOs, Controllers, Sales and Marketing, forming part of warrior clan.  And Business, trading, Farming and producing class constituting the third section and service oriented work forming the other sections of the society.  It is important to note here, that as Krishna says in the opening verses of this chapter, these knowledges has however deteriorated and collapsed in the course of time, when being handed over from generations to generations and societal imperfections that this has becomes the most mis-interpreted concept in Hinduism and India currently.

Way of doing work:

Do work without doers-ship. Do without enjoyer-ship. Work. Engage.  Be amidst work. But do not think that you are doing it. Because the nature that is present in the world does it. Circumstances make it happen. It is a collective action.  To understand this better, if you have put a seed to grow, for it to start giving fruit, in addition to you, the sun, water, nutrients from soil, may be birds for pollination need to work together for the tree to start giving fruit. And when it starts fruiting may be the enjoyer could be somebody else. In the same manner, your duty is just to work without bringing into thinking that it is who you are doing and you are the enjoyer. When engaging in action, understanding that the circumstances and my inherence tendencies is making me do this, without getting impacted by the ego, you are free from the sorrow of individuality and not bound by the suffering born out of work.

Action, Inaction, Prohibited Action

In familiar parlance action means movement and inaction is absence of movement. Any action against law is prohibited action. Life means activity, a way to evolve, is dynamic and cannot even for a second cease to work. When life cases death occurs. So, action is inevitable.

Action is imperative if one lives. One cannot renounce action. Every action has a reaction and one has to bear the fruit of their karma.  However, any action that is performed without attachment, that I am the doer or for the fruits of action does not bind the soul.  Work is needed for purification of the self. Even if one is high up in the ladder in the society and can do without performing any work, it has to be done so that no wrong precedent is set for others still in the lower spectrum of evolution.

Action in inaction and Inaction in Action:

Performing action with an understanding that it is being done by body and mind, not induced by once nature, one self and the soul is not involved in it is inaction though action is being done. Here action essentially means those actions that is needed to be done and not the ones impelled by one’s desires, likes and dislikes and circumstances.  Similarly, when one thinks no action is being performed while say sitting, sleeping etc., it means no perceptible bodily action is taking place. It needs to be understood that the bodily action of breathing, digesting, circulation of blood etc. is happening involuntarily. Our mind may be busy in thinking, dreaming, extrapolating and visualizing. So seemingly inactive one is active.

And the man whose work is devoid of desires and purposes to enjoy the result of action, and whose actions are based on knowledge he is called a sage by the wise. Such a man, even when involved in worldly action performs it because he had to do it and to set example for others rather than for fulfilling his desires or expecting any results. If he is a renunciate he works to maintain his bodily functions only. Free from desire, with the mind and the self-controlled, having relinquished all  possessions doing mere bodily action, he incurs no sin.

Satisfied with that which comes to him by chance, or in course of nature, rising above the dualities or like and dislikes, pleasure and pain, hot and cold etc., being equipoise both in success and failure, working with such frame of mind even though he is working he would not be bound by the actions.

That man from whom all attachment is gone, from whom all cause of bondage, right and wrong has fled away, whose mind is ever fixed in wisdom alone, who acts  with a view,  to  the  performance of a sacrifice, his action with  its result is reduced to  nothing meaning does not create bondage arising out of action. Thus, work not prohibited in scriptures, work performed with the right knowledge of doing, without the desire for its action and with a sacrificial mindset frees one from the bondage arising out of such actions.

Know that, Brahman is the “Real, Consciousness and the Infinite”. He is cognized by all and is the innermost self of all.  It is instrument of action. He is all pervading. He manifests himself as an instrument of action, and the five forms actions and its accessories.

Work as a Yagna-Sacrifice:

Sacrifice is not limited to fire sacrifice or yagna alone as known in the traditional circle. It includes all work done with restraint, focus and effort. Thus, there are multiple ways in which sacrifice is performed.  Controlling one’s senses, Imparting knowledge one had gained to others, charity by donating wealth, following austerity, sacrifices by way reading, writing, acquiring knowledge, following scriptural vows are of different ways of sacrifice. Essentially all works that require discipline, excellence and renunciation of something is what is meant as Yagna here. It is work for work’s sake and duty for duty’s sake.

Controlling food, sensory intake, engaging in pranayama – Controlling one’s incoming and outgoing breath, and performing the sacrifices one is said to obtain freedom.

The sacrifices performed with material objects produces material effects, whereas wisdom-sacrifice does not. Therefore, sacrifice where knowledge is involved is superior to the sacrifice performed with material objects.  For, wisdom, which is the means to moksha comprehends all action.

Superiority of Wisdom:

Wisdom being the means to one’s freedom, Krishna says that it should be the basis for all actions. Then he describes why, how, from whom, with what mindset one gets to acquire wisdom. And what is this wisdom and benefit of acquiring this wisdom.

Approach the Guru, the teacher who is a realized self, with a sense of humility, enquiry and respectful mindset and by providing him service. Enquire what is the cause of bondage and how to get relieved from it.  And What is wisdom (Vidya) and what is ignorance and mistaken belief (Avidya). Guru can then impart knowledge of action, renunciation and wisdom.

Once this wisdom is obtained, clarity sets in and one will not be confused again as one is now. One is also able to perceive that all beings, all manifestation say from self to grass is of same Creator (Brahma), consciousness and the whole universe exists in oneself and one in the universe. There is a oneness, a unity of all things and all beings which is essence of Upanishadic wisdom.

With the right knowledge one can cross this samsara. While prarabdah karma, responsible for this life, that has commenced has to run its course, the result of future action, accumulated karma from actions of previous life that has not commenced (sanchita karma), yet to start and yet to fructify can be nullified by right knowledge.

Thus, the seeker of freedom, who has perfected himself by practice in yoga of action, knowledge and renunciation will attain peace and spiritual wisdom. On the other hand, the man who knows not  the Self, the man who has no faith in the teachings of his Guru, the main whose mind is full of doubts is  ruined.

Therefore, the man by practice of Karma Yoga has all his doubts and ignorance cleared and by knowledge acquires wisdom.  Hence Krishna commands – Arise! O Arjuna! Fight.  And thereby energizing us also to get out despondency and perform in this world with knowledge and wisdom.

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25th April, 2017

The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -III

continued from previous post…..

  1. Pingala: There was a dancing girl named Pingala, she was tired of looking for customers. As time went by no one came and she became anxious and frustrated. At the height of frustration she gave up her wait for customer and went to sleep. At that moment it also dawned on her that she does not need anyone for her happiness and bliss, decides to give up her pursuit of wealth and pleasing customers. She teaches that abandonment of expectation from people leads to contentment and infinite joy. Also with Atma contained in oneself there is no need to search outside for happiness and contentment.
  2. The kurara bird (hawk):A hawk carrying a prey was attacked by other birds like crow, eagle and other larger animals eyeing for same prey.  After some fierce fight, the bird carrying the prey, out of fear for its life,  let it fall so that other birds immediately went after the prey  allowing the original bird that had the meat to escape. From this one learns that there is intense competition and aggression in the world to acquire  material objects and for worldly pleasures. One who yearns for it is likely to come into contest and clash with fellow being who also compete for the same leading to avoidable aggression, strife, worry and stress. By balancing, managing and controlling ones wants one can save himself much of the unhappiness, have  and enjoy peace of mind.
  3. The child:Two children fight for some time. Their parents intervene to end the fight and they end up being enemies for life. But the children who were fighting initially  after some time forget and start playing together again. This is because they are free from ego and innocent. Be like a child to be happy.
  4. The young girl:There was a young girl who was doing work with hands full of bangles. During work it jangled against each other and was making noise. Since she had guest then, she did not want them to know that she was doing work. So, to reduce noise she removed all bangles except two. This reduced the noise to a great extent, but still was making noise, then she removed one more and was wearing only one in each hand. This way she could work without making noise and desist other from knowing what she was doing. So too, when many people live together, there will be noise, clashing of interests, disturbance, discord, dispute and fighting. Even when there are only two people difference of opinion and resultant discord is bound to be there. So, the ascetic is better of living in solitude. This is what the maiden working with hands full of bangle teaches one.
  1. The arrow maker: Once there was an arrow maker who was so absorbed in his work of making a straight arrow that he did not notice the king’s procession passing by. Then I learnt that to produce excellent result focus is necessary.
  2. The snake: The snake never builds a place for itself. It moves around and changes its place and sheds it outer skin. Thus it is able to lead safe life. An ant though puts effort and makes ant hill and later that is taken by snakes. Likewise, the householders endure difficulty in building and running their house by themselves while ascetic lives free by roaming around and not being rooted in one place. Thus one should know that people aspiring for carefree life should live lite, know his true self, and understand that at the end of his life time one will shed this body and get a new life as per one’s actions in this life time.
  3. The spider: The spider weaves its web from the thread in the form of a fluid. After sometime, it gathers up the web into itself. Thus the God projects the whole world during creation phase and after sometime, withdraws it into itself at the time of dissolution. The individual soul too takes birth in the body as per its past action, and in alignment with its inherent tendencies acquires intellect, mind, sense organs and bodies of action. Its latent tendencies direct the role play and actions while in this world and space. And at the end of allotted time-frame, death occurs when the soul again withdraws its senses, mind, and tendencies acquired in the life time and leaves the body. Thus, birth and death, creation and dissolution happens is what one learns from Spider.
  4. The wasp/Caterpillar: Wasp trapped a weaker insect in his hive. This insect took on the mentality of a wasp out of intense fear of the wasp, and thus became a wasp in its next life. This illustrates how one attains in the next life what one’s mind is fixed upon. You are the company you keep and what you think you become is what one learn from caterpillar. Good thoughts, company and action will lead one to higher level/birth.

Thus are the advise of Dattatreya to Yadu on what he has learnt from nature around him and how inculcating it in his life has made him blissful.

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The Nature as Teacher – 24 Gurus around us -II

continued from earlier post…..

Of the following 24 teachers from around us we saw The earth, Air, Sky, Water, Fire, Moon, Sun, and Pigeon in the previous post. In this let us see what the stories of python, sea, moth, honey bee, elephant, honey collector, deer and fish teaches us.

The Earth The Air The Sky Water Fire Moon
Sun Pigeon Python Sea Moth Honey Bee
Elephant Honey Thief Deer Fish Prostitute Pingala Kurara Bird
The Child Young Girl Arrow Maker Serpent Spider Wasp
  1. Python: Python does not roam around looking for food instead waits for food to come to him and eats whatever comes it way, be it sufficient or not. It teaches us to accept whatever one comes across in the life, taking sufferings, hardships, miseries in life, joy, happiness, wealth in ones stride. Be rest assured and content with one’s state and be peaceful, you will get what is needed.
  2. Sea: Sea is deep. Sea is Clear. Sea cannot be crossed easily. Can’t churn it. Because of monsoon or the rivers emptying in it, sea does not swell or shrink. A sage, like sea is clear minded, unmoved amidst the tribulations of life. His wealth of knowledge is available to all those who associate with him.
  3. Moth: A moth is captivated by the radiance of flames, gets attracted, approaches flame, gets burned and dies. Thus being attracted by the outward look of things, we get deceived and fall prey. Man is foolishly gets tempted by the illusory pleasures of the visual sense and gets caught in the ceaseless cycles of birth and death. The wise one, understand the illusion of the sensory world and controls it and thereby obtains freedom.
  4. Honey Bee: A honey bee obtains honey from all flowers, without harming the flower and within the limit. Also note that the honey bee does not drink honey but it gets killed for it by honey gatherers. Thus a wise man should be able to know how, where and how much obtain necessary things, without harm for the self and the giver, without being greedy.
  5. Elephant: A bull elephant is captured by using female elephant as bait. Thus is man/woman gets lured by infatuation and sex and uncontrolled and unrighteous attraction to opposite sex is harmful is what elephant teaches one.
  6. Honey Thief: Honey being greedy collects honey, stores it, does neither eats it by self or allow other honey-bees to eats it. And one fine day it looses it to honey collector. Similarly man accumulates wealth by hard work, over a period of time, by umpteen sacrifices, forsaking enjoyment, and may lose it suddenly to fire, flood, treachery, tax, or if he were to die to his heirs or third party if issue less who may use of misuse his wealth. Thus being greedy leads one to loss is what honey bee teaches
  7. Deer: The deer is very fond of music and is very much attracted by it thus is trapped by hunter using music. It is trapped by the sense organ of listening – the ear. Thus excessive passion and sensory pleasure of listening to music and dance is thus harmful is what Deer teaches.
  8. Fish: The fish in search for food, due to greed is caught by the tasty bait and dies. Similarly, man meets his destruction by his craving for delicious food. Among the senses, tongue is the most powerful and difficult to control, and once controlled it makes it easy for one to manage other sensory pleasures. Learn to eat healthy and balanced food and be saved. Control your tongue, the sense organ for taste is what one learns from Fish.

To be continued

Why Suffer

The Fault is of the Sufferer

Suffering is inevitable aspect of life. All of us suffer. When we suffer the first questions that crosses our mind is why, why me, why now, what did I do wrong, is there a reason for it, will I recover and where do I go from here.  And many a times that answers we get, if at all we get, would be more complex and confusing. And rarely we get answers that are simple, profound and to our liking.

When we suffer, due to some reason after the first set of questions, we want to know who is at fault. And when a problem resulting in suffering occurs, be it in home, school, college, office, public space, it happened because of so and so, or an incident, or accident or a natural cause.  If one were to go by psychiatrist, after analyzing our life, one identifies that our parents, siblings, teachers, Government etc. are the reason one is suffering.

In his book “The fault is of the sufferer”, Ambalal Patel, A Jain Guru gives an interesting says that, Sufferings happen because of three cause – one’s Karma (Action) which is Law of the Nature, mistakes committed by us in the past, and ignorance of the ways of the world.

Karma and Nature’s Law

“Nature’s law governs this world at all times. The simple rule being -Those who deserve merit receive their merit and those who deserve punishment are punished. Nothing operates outside the law of nature. The law of nature is completely just, but because one does not understand it, he does not accept it. When one’s understanding becomes pure, he will be able to accept nature’s justice. “This law is exact and no one can ever change it. There is no law in this world that can inflict suffering upon anyone, not even the law of the government”.

Past Mistakes

One is free of sufferings, but we suffer because of our past mistake, be it of this life or past life, and are bound by it. Because of our mistakes, be it of understanding, thinking, action in any area of the field we work, mistakes happen resulting in failure, accidents, loss, gain and so on. And once we identify the mistake and eliminate it we can be free of resultant suffering.

Ignorance

Majority of the People do not have the knowledge of the Reality of this world and how it functions. They only have the knowledge of ignorance, the relative world, which causes them to wander endlessly, life after life. To give an example, if someone steals your wallet, need to identify whose fault is it and why is that only your wallet was stolen and not anyone else’s?

Karma is Relentless

We read newspapers or watch TV, we get to know about lots of untoward incidents like, theft, accidental death and atrocities happening. This leads to worry, anxiety, negative thinking, unwanted imagination causing us suffering. One needs to know that You will only be robbed if it is in your karmic account. If it is not in your karma, then no one in this world can touch you, so be fearless  and not afraid of what is happening around us. No one has any control over you. If you happen to get robbed, all you need to do is ask yourself who is really suffering and then move on. The world is not meant for suffering, it is meant for enjoying. People receive that which is due to them according to their karmic account. Some people are happy and some are suffering all because of our legacy. Most importantly, if you are suffering, it is your own fault. Therefore, do not see anyone else’s fault, otherwise you will create new karmic accounts for your next life.

Learn to Live

One must learn how to live life. Suppose you fight at home, say between father and son, or husband and wife, and one of them is suffering and not able to sleep while the other has no concern whatsoever and is able to go about himself/herself, and sleeps soundly, know that the one who is suffering is at fault. The fault is of the sufferer.

There is no one in this world that can inflict the slightest bit of suffering upon you, and if someone does, he is merely an instrument in it. And do not blame the instrument, but know that the fault is of the sufferer. Once this fact is understood all problems and quarrels at home will cease and then one can use the energy to do other things.

If you just understand that the fault is of the sufferer, the burden of this worldly life will be lifted significantly. God’s law says that at any given time, at any given place, the person who suffers is at fault. A pickpocket is happy when he steals a person’s wallet. He will enjoy himself with the money he stole, whereas his victim will be suffering. He must have stolen in his past life and so today nature has caught him and therefore he is paying for his mistakes. Therefore, the sufferer is at fault.

Freedom from Suffering

No one is at fault. The fault is of the person who blames others. There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma. They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If you want to know who is at fault in this world, find the one who suffers. He is at fault.

Problems between people are escalated and exacerbated by each placing the blame on the other. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they must suffer them all over again. Their accounts can only be settled through awareness and intelligence that the fault is of the sufferer. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled.

World as Machine

If your finger gets stuck in the gears of a machine, the machine is not at fault. Similarly think everyone around you is like a machine. All these parents, children, husbands, wives, colleagues, partners, society, Government are nothing but machinery. They are not responsible for your suffering. By thinking like this shift the blame to self and thereby reducing the suffering gain control. If you do not let yourself be affected by the actions of others, then you do not suffer. So, understand that fault is yours and that is why you suffer. Comprehend this one will be at peace.

The Action Reaction Cycle

There is nobody at fault in this world. Everyone gets what he or she deserves according to his or her karma (Actions). They are not creating new faults today. Today’s situation is the result of past karma. Today one may repent but since he has already made a contract in his previous life, he has no choice but to fulfill it. If they continue to blame each other, they will create new accounts and they will have to suffer them all over again. Therefore, if you want to be liberated from this world, you have to accept whatever comes your way, whether it is good or bad. This way, your accounts will be settled. Whatever you have given to others, you will receive in return. If you accept it gladly, you will be settling your account. If you do not accept it, you will have to suffer. Know that the fault is of the sufferer.

Your inner enemies of anger, pride, attachment and greed (krodh, maan, maya, lobh), makes you see faults in others. The vision of the Self, does not see any faults in others.

Our sufferings are either physical, mental or intellectual. Sometimes it is the ego that suffers and so the ego is at fault. Sometimes the mind suffers and so the fault is of the mind. Sometimes the chit (the subtle component of the mind that is composed of both knowledge and vision) suffers so the chit is at fault. The Real Self is detached from the mistakes of the relative self. In situations at home, in the business, at work, everywhere, just look to see who is suffering; the one who suffers is the one who is at fault and exists as long as there is ault. Once the faults are gone, no one in this world, no event in this world, will have the power to give any suffering to you.

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Excerpts fromThe fault is of the Sufferer”, by Ambalal B Patel, A Jain Guru.

Way of Intelligent Life – Sankhya yoga – Gita II

In Gita, second chapter, Krishna after listening to the lamentation of Arjuna arising out of his fear, attachment, worry that makes him weak and ready to leave the battle field, shows him the glimpses of life and how one has to face it valiantly.

We are all like Arjuna, in dire need of guidance, redemption from the conflict, sorrow and having to fight every step of the life and for us Knowledge is the only way out. Understanding, knowledge and action is that which can pull up the man from misery. The person who fights, gets up every time falls, bold, gives up cowardice is respected. Weakness is never appreciated. This and other world is for the one who is strong, fights a righteous war, strong of body, mind and intellect. Strength is life and weakness is death. Weak cannot achieve anything in this life and bold person can do wonders.

Grief is Meaningless:

Grief is meaningless. Keeping mind constant in all eventualities is the way of wise.  Wise are not tossed by the ups and downs of life. He who harmonizes his thoughts, word and deed is able to maintain his integrity and character. These are necessary quality to avoid conflict and disharmony.

Regarding death, people come and go but the atman/soul is eternal. Like a baby is born, becomes youth, then middle age, old age follows ending in death. During these times the body changes – baby dies, youth is born and so on at every stage. But the identity of the person remains the same. The change is to the body and not to the atman. Thus, birth and death is for the body only and atman is eternal.

Sense organs are the organs of pleasure and pain and that originates from what one sees, hears, eats, does, smells and understands with mind. These pleasures of bodily origin start and ends with body. And they also change with time, and place that what is enjoyable once many not be other times. And the fact that body is perishable so also joy and sorrow. understanding this and training the mind to treat both equally is what makes one healthy and competent.

Correspond this with soul the indweller in the body. It is eternal. Was there before we were born and will be there after our death. And through birth, childhood, youth, middle age, old age and death it remains unchanged and unaffected. It has taken this body to experience this world made of sense objects and body. Understanding this and leading the life removes one from ignorance and pain and pleasure. Life is a series of experiments where we are born again and again to learn until our liberation.

Body is only an agglomeration of elements hence as good as nonexistent. It is like water that remain in states of water, waves in ocean, ice berg, vapor, rain clouds and so on. But the wateriness is common. So change is natural. And what changes cannot give everlasting pleasure. What is born is sure to die. So grieve not. And as one discard the old cloth and gets a new one, atman acquires bodies.

Atman is awareness. Pure consciousness, it is untouched by time, space and causation, states of mind such as sleep, dream, wakefulness are beyond it. Consciousness is ultimate reality. It is unaffected by all changes that happen to the body. The body changes but atman does not. This is similar to the sky that remains unaffected by all the movement of clouds, electricity in it. Atman is unborn, eternal, constant and ancient. It is not killed when the body is slain. Weapons do not cleave the atman, fire burn it not, water does not wet it and so does wind not dry it. Essentially meaning that it is beyond elements. Hence it is eternal. Hence unmanifested, unthinkable and immutable. Therefore Grieve not. Many people come in to our life midway and go away some time same way. Hence, no point in lamenting for the changes that are bound to happen.

Death is certain of Birth and birth of that which is dead. Do your duty. Like Warriors is to fight a rightful war. And fighting war, being your duty is better than renouncing and walking off.

Grieve not for death. one has to do his duty to the best of his ability. While doing his duty thus, time comes when he becomes successful. When the time is right little effort becomes appropriate and leads to great results. No matter what, diffidence and despondency should be avoided. Pursue the right course of action. Between what one likes and what is good, and when they are contradictory, follow what is good. For the tide of fortune and the opportune time comes to one and all consistent with law of growth and evolution. Fame and honor are for those who lead a righteous life in this world. So also, that ill will, misfortune and dishonor comes to those who forsake their duty.  And dishonor and ill-fame is worse than death. So withdrawing from war front is not advisable for generations will talk ill about this and there is no way that can be remedied.

Be fearless. Don’t Be a weakling:

A man given to fear does not achieve anything in this world and any deed done out of fear will cause the need for repentance in future. If you avoid fight now, you will be scorned as one who ran out of fear. And your enemies will slander and ridicule you which could be worse than fighting the war and facing the consequences thereof. To explain further, people who have been praising one hitherto for valour, courage, strength, capability, achievement, success etc., when find that one has withdrawn fearing setbacks will talk ill about the same person at the back.  So, don’t give into this. Either way, if you win you will enjoy this earth and if you perish fighting then will reach heaven. So, get up and fight.

In pain and pleasure, gain and loss, victory and defeat engage in work be equipoised that way you would be successful. Not to rejoice in pleasure, gain, victory as it is done in the mundane world and on the contrary slump when things do not go in one’s way. Doing work during all times, is the way to prosperity.

Be firm of mind. Be concentrated. Don’t dissipate energy in multiple directions. Understand the purpose of life is not to enjoy life but attain perfection. Be beyond the three Gunas that favor knowledge seeking, action orientation and languishing in darkness. Be free from the pairs of opposites, ever balanced, unconcerned with getting and keeping and centered in the self.

Work, Not in anticipation of results:

The most repeated, famous and misunderstood verse of Gita – You have right to your duty and not to the fruits there off. Be you not the producer of action so also of inaction. Work has multiple aspects and participants to it. One cannot control every aspect of it. You can do your duty to the best of your ability according to the prevailing circumstances. Having done that whatever be the result, you would not be affected by it. So also by not focusing on the results, not worried about it you can gather all his energy and focus it on the execution. Clarity, understanding and efficiency increased there by producing superior results inevitably.   So be active. Shun inaction. And when you work, work righteously without worrying about the fruits of action.

When work is done despite ones likes and dislikes of a mind in equilibrium new Karma does not accrue to him and old bad karma vanishes. And one who works likes that acquires perfection in mind. Slowly indifference to the world of actions sets in. and when ones intellect, till then tossed about various dualities of pain and pleasure, likes and dislikes, conflict of ideas and opinions has become poised and reaches equilibrium such a man reaches yoga and nearer to godhead.

Being  a steadfast man

Arjuna asks Krishna about the quality of man who is steadfast, wise, and in Samadhi. How does one with these attributes walk, sit and speak. How does one understand the eternal consciousness. Self on its own, when contented gives one happiness. However when a man reaches outside for sense objects and presumes that it gives him happiness, he needs to understand that it is verily the self, the atman, the indweller in every one that gives happiness. Thus shunning desire helps one to avoid pain and related pleasure that accrues from it. Remaining self satisfied and not running after world outside is the first step towards steady state of mind.

A man of steadiness is of calm mind where all his sorrows have been destroyed. He is in a state of equilibrium, unaffected by joys and sorrows and anchored in intellect.

Pacifying the mind

He whose mind is not perturbed by adversity, who does not crave for happiness, free from attachment, fear and anger is the man of constant wisdom. One has to face endless problems, trials, tribulations, adversities, untoward events in life. some have it more and some are lucky to have their life untouched by these events. The man of wisdom is one who remains unperturbed by these happening, view them as unavoidable and ignore them. If not ignored then man ends up adding fuel to the fire and worsens the scene and ends up increasing the volume and intensity thereby getting affected more.

Detrimental Effect of Anger

Once senses are brought under control, conflicting thoughts are arrested in its initiation state itself and thus mind is subjugated. Then focusing on eternal power, leads to wisdom. Alternatively giving way to sensual pressures leads to attachment to them and from the attachment comes the desire to have more and when the desire leads to expectation and the failure of fulfilling it leads to anger. From anger arises delusion, which in turn results in confused memory which becomes the cause of ruin and one’s ultimate fall. Two things that are noteworthy. Anger. Anger is temporary insanity. When the mind is occasionally upset it results in anger and when permanently affected it is lunacy. Both results in delusion. State of mind given to anger obscures thought, reasoning and vision resulting feeling is confusion.one loses the power of discriminating good from the bad resulting in delusion leading to indiscriminate violence  paving way for self-destruction.

Control Mind for Peace:

There is no wisdom in fickle minded, nor is quietness. To the unmeditative mind there is no peace and without peace no joy or happiness. Hence disciplining the mind becomes essential.  Uncontrolled mind, the mind that runs after sense objects results in lack of discrimination and dispersion of mind power. Like a rudderless ship we cannot predict where the mind would take one to. Thus the mind that follows sense objects leads one to astray away from desired result. To avoid this use of senses should be under the control of mind rather than mind running behind the senses. Rather than man who desires desire, the one who works with equanimity would attain peace. When the sense organs brings contact with the outside world the man of steadfastness, is able to work on them consciously thereby preventing the changes to the desire from resulting in unwanted feelings, longings, aversion etc. and does not allow them to affect his mind. This steady state of mind leads to liberation. His state of mind produces peacefulness on those who come in contact with them. Thus the man who lives devoid of “I”, and “Mine”, free from desires is said to live a peaceful life.

Viewed from worldly point:

Chapter II of Gita that proposes the way to intelligent life is makes an interesting reading, profound in its impact. Yet if one is to ask a question, is it practical, implementable the answer would be easier said than done. While it is difficult but not impossible. And all things that are said impossible at one time, it means it takes longer time to accomplish.  The first step in any redemption effort is the knowledge of how it is done. once the understanding is reached, constant contemplation will pave way for actionizing and that we start following it. To start with may be one out of ten time you remember and that is o.k., to start with.  both in sorrow and joy I should be same and maintain my equanimity, that would be successful. Then slowly by discipline, practice, constant repetition in mind one start internalizing it and follow the teachings of Gita. Therein lies the way to freedom.

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Arjuna’s Dilemma – Gita I

“Vande Guru Paramparam”

The Bhagavad Gita, “Song Celestial” has been a guiding force for man. It is born out of quandary, in the war zone, amidst action, inaction and numbness. Arjuna the great archer the world has ever produced, eulogized for his valor is at loss: How can he fight a war – a war with his relatives, teachers, kinsman; with whom he is to enjoy his kingdom when he wins the war and when he wins the war it would be at their demise. What do one do with kingdom, luxuries and life thus obtained? If such a war is won is it worth it. At what cost: when this thought comes to his mind he is in a dilemma. He wants to stop the war and call a truce. To fight or not to fight is the raging war on his mind. He is putting forth his doubts and questions that plague his mind to Sri Krishna.

Gita is a dialogue that happens then between prince Arjuna and Krishna who is to be the charioteer to him in the Mahabharata war being fought between Kauravas and Pandavas. The conversation is mind opening dialogue where the profound philosophy of life is enumerated in 18 chapters and 700 slokas. The Gita is supposed to have answers to all the ills that plague the mankind. It has also had profound impact on western philosophers, scientists and vedantins. The question that arises is can a song advised to a warrior in the battle ground be applied to ordinary folks. What are the lessons that Gita proposes for ordinary human beings to lead a healthy life? This is the doubt that arises in common man.

The first chapter of Gita known as “Arjuna Vishada Yoga” discusses the questions that arises in the mind of Arjuna. While Arjuna laments about not needing to fight the war considering the consequences of it and leaving the warfront, the central theme of issues raised by him are generally faced by each one of human being, whatever be their place, role, status, time etc. For aspiration, desire, Loss, illness, pain, suffering, sorrow- No one is immune to it. No vaccine for that has been found yet. But yet life must continue. For the sake of living, dead and living dead.  Do one continue to wallow in their personal misery, debating who is big, yours or mine, or get over it, face it boldly and overcome it.  This depends on how we respond to sorrow. Some overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast and becomes bewildered. Or one overcome with pain, his mind exhausted, comes to search outside. This was exactly the scenario in which Arjuna finds himself to be and raises the questions to Krishna for answer.

Some of the questions that Arjuna addresses to Krishna explains the scenario of every one of us faces in life. That is what makes the Gita the first philosophy and psychology book.

  1. How do we face the obstacles, problems, sorrow, suffering that we face in doing our duty and living in this world, whatever may be our age, role, status, aspirations, field of operation and country to name a few?
  2. How do we address the conflicting, emotions, desires, thoughts that rage war in our minds? How do we control the mind that runs riot?
  3. What happens when the problems that we face or not due to any external enemy from across the border, or even our house, ourselves but our own – starting from body, mind, intellect, our possessions, family and relations.
  4. What happens when one has to face demonic qualities of hypocrisy, arrogance, conceit, anger, and harsh speech of our own or our enemies. What is the effect. How do we handle it?
  5. How do we keep our spirits high or rather remain in equanimity in all circumstance, good and bad and indifferent?
  6. Do I allow my senses to run free? And when that happens mind follows senses and intellect the mind and all of them creating havoc. How do I rein them in and keep them in control?
  7. How can we remain fit enough to fight the battle? As weak man is not capable of fighting the battle
  8. How do we battle between compassion and justice? Should our enemy be vanquished or do be become nonviolent and let him go especially when compassion is more as a sign of run-away emotion.
  9. It is known that dejection has to fill the heart before compassion can enter. How do one handle the transformation state.
  10. How do one decide? Does one go after what you desire or what is good?
  11. What should one do in the mental state of dejection be it cause of physical, mental, or intellectual reasons.
  12. How do one purify mind and intellect. How to overcome weakness. Become bold.
  13. Will I succeed is overcoming sorrow. How do I vanquish the mental anguish of having to fight a war with my near and dear?
  14. How do we overcome ambiguous thinking, and gain knowledge and the discriminative capacity – the capacity to judge what is right and what is wrong
  15. How do we equip ourselves to execute our appropriate duties that we face in life effectively?

For a man action, struggle, effort, engagement, work and striving decides the life, growth and evolution. Without these one is in a state of inertia, a comfort zone where status quo is maintained. In comfort no growth happens. Yet in a state of movement life is a constant struggle and uncertain. And evolution is to happen whether one wishes or not. Under these condition how does one live. How does one be and what is the purpose of this life is what Gita teaches.

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P.S: This is the first in series of article where I try to write my understanding of Gita. And Gita being profound, subjective is the reason why it has attracted many philosophers and commentaries. Nothing is like original. So I would recommend you read the original. Following are some of the References that I would be using.

  1. Sri Gita Rasa Ratnakar, by Swami Akhandananda Saraswatiji Maharaj, Satsahita Prakasan Trust
  2. Commentary on Bhagavad Gita, Swamy Krishnananda, The Divine Life Society
  3. Bhagavad Gita, Swamy Nikhilananda, Ramakrishna Vivekananda Central
  4. Holy Gita, Swami Chinmanayananda
  5. Gita Home Study Course, Swamy Dayananda Saraswati
  6. The Bhagavad Gita, Swami Chitbhavananda, Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Role of Action and Destiny in Success

All men are subjected to and governed by destiny and action. Our actions do not become successful either by action or destiny alone and need both for success. Action when destiny is not auspicious and absence of action when time is right, is not likely to be successful. Thus for human success action and destiny has to go hand in hand like timely rain in well prepared soil.

Sometimes, destiny acts on its own without waiting for action. It is also impelled by destiny that one takes up certain work at times, exerts and that leads to success. However, it is seen that the work of competent man, even when well directed, is without the concurrence of destiny does not produce the expected results at times. This makes some respond that action and intelligence are of no use and tend to be idle, and work without intelligence.

Normally, any act done produces a result depending upon the effort. It is also seen that no action leads to misery. A person obtaining something without effort and person who exerts not obtaining something is an exception. Action is needed to support life. Action is needed for happiness. Action is needed for experiencing the world. Action is always carried out aiming for some good and if it succeeds or fails in producing the expected results it is still accepted as no action or idleness is detrimental. However, world denounces one who seems to enjoy luxuries of life without obtaining it by sustained effort and is derided by society. Thus intelligent people do not subscribe to any benefit that is not result of once action rather they believe that it is injurious to one.

Efforts become unproductive only under two conditions.  One when destiny supports but no action and the other when action take place but without destiny. Without exertion no act in this world will become successful. When an action is undertaken with dedication, combined with knowledge and skill, blessed by gods and destiny it is sure to result in success. Also those actions undertaken with the advice of counsels, elders, knowledgeable people and well-wishers is likely to produce result. On the contrary, when a person undertakes any work without the advice from counsels, moved by passion, anger, fear and avarice it is likely to fail. Taking the counsel of wicked, foolish, cunning and those not wishing us well, acting without foresight, ignoring the advice of well-wishers is also likely to lead to failure.

Thus a man guided by expert counsel, well-wishers, elders should undertake action that is well thought, skillful and exert for it to becomes successful. If those men whose acts do not succeed even after the application of exertion, should without doubt be regarded as afflicted by destiny.  Thus having put the best efforts possible such man has nothing to ponder upon and is happy for his effort.

 

Adopted fromMahabharata”, Book 10, Sauptika Parva, Kisari Mohan Ganguli Translation from Sanskrit

Three states of Mind

The Man, the Mind and the world  

The senses together with mind, intellect, ego and consciousness makes the world of man. The eyes, ears etc. connect with the external object, send in the details of it to the mind which then connects with intellect and ego or personal experiences to produce the conscious knowledge about the object of visualization, hearing etc. Thus the real world is in the action, reaction of mind to the external objective world. Thus the world is not what is outside but what is in our perception, our decoding of it and our reaction to it. The real sense of self is beyond all that. This makes the mind as the most important instrument in the hands of the man. If the man is willing to stand up with and work the mind, then he becomes intelligent. If he is not able to control it then it falls apart and bound to lead him to destruction.

The Hinduism and Yoga philosophy understands this and is particular about the various tendencies, characteristics, attitudes of mind and how mind can be cultivated for more informed life and happiness. This commentary is an effort to understand the various characteristics of mind, its effect, its modification and ultimate selection of attributes that one needs for the appropriate stage of life.

Mind and its tendencies per Vedanta

The mind is said to be in three states or gunas  namely, Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Gunas in Sanskrit means quality, attribute, virtue, or characteristic. These thress gunas operate in man in his mind/thought/action in various proportions. In fact, these three characteristics make up the world. Everything that is manifested such as space, time, knowledge, action, result, material goods, the situation is a composition of these three attributes. The interaction between these qualities leads to the evolution of man. All the three gunas are important and cannot operate in isolation and yet they have been graded as per the benefits that accrue to the man because of these traits.

Three states of Mind

Now what are the qualities of each of these states. Each of them has some inherent attributes associated with it, acts on person in certain way and there are ways to overcome it.

Tamo Guna: It is a state of ignorance.  Tamo guna represents a state of darkness, inertness, a state where ones memory is weak and who is indifferent. Inertia, coarseness, heaviness, obstruction and sloth are some of the qualities of people with dominance of tamo guna. Tamas is the state of ignorance, darkness, laziness, indulgence and brute force.  It is lowest of the three forces/gunas. It promotes darkness, dissolution, death, destruction, sloth and resistance. It is also a guna or quality that is needed to counter evil. It is the lowest, heaviest, slowest and most dull like an earthen pot. It is devoid of the energy of rajas and brightness of sattva.

Tamas is due to ignorance, poverty, backwardness, illiteracy, disease, malnutrition, poor health, bad habits and resultant weak mind. It results in ignorance and heaviness as it opposes knowledge and lightness and produces the nature of sorrow and sadness that leads to a state of being bound by the circumstances.

Tamas can not be countered by sattva but has to be changed by engaging in action which is a rajasic quality.

Rajo Guna :

It is a state where is mind is full of passion and motion. The leading attribute of rajo guna are  quality of energy and activity. Dynamism, activity, excitement and pain and pleasure are the leading characteristics of the people dominated by this quality. Rajasik people are action oriented, who have strong belief in their doership, individualistic, and blinded and attached to the results of their action. Ideal example for rajo guna dominated person are business men, soldier and politicians. They are driven by their sense organs and mind and like to enjoy life in its fullest possibility. They love food that is pungent, sour and gives pleasure to senses.  In terms of color red depicts them well.

Rajas is the state of activity whose chief motives are power and enjoyment. When one is in this state, the mind makes him restless, a workholoic, seeker of new sensations and variety. He has a passion for new places, person, objects, activity, music, books, travel, food and enjoyment in general. They are extraverts. They tend to be judgemental and seeing both good and bad and hence are affected by pain and pleasure to a great extent.  It is worldly, achievement oriented mind always in search of something and hence in continuous state of activity and agitation arising out of it. Rajo guna is needed whenever any action is to be carried out. The down side of this need for uncontrolled activity is unfixity of mind affected by distractions that prevents a person from being focused in an activity for a long time there by creating obstacles in reaching desired results.

Rajo guna when combined with tamo guna results in actions that is detrimental but still needed to wake up people from their state of apathy and darkness.  And when rajo and sattva guna is combined the result is beneficial to everyone. Rajo guna in its own tends to be activity for selfish gain and when combined with sattvik tendencies would result in collective goodness. The activity driven state when finds an outlet that is uplifting, purposeful, pure and beneficial goal the outcome is bound to be liberating. If on the other hand one tries to control the restlessness by artificial means it is likely to find outlet in some other means that could be detrimental. So well directed and controlled activity is essential for peace and happiness.

Intensely active mind is known to take a satvic turn and history is repeat with such examples

Sattva Guna:

Sattva is the quality of purity and light. It is a state where one is not attached to the result despite performing, where one has faith in self and poise, fineness, lightness, illumination and joy are the qualities. Knowledge is the prime mover here and saint, sage are the people in whom Sattva is said to be dominant. Sattva people are said to like food that is wholesome, pure and easily available and their color is white.

Sattva is the state of serenity, calmness. It is not the apparent state of calmness and laziness of tamas. It is rather an active state and like the calmness on the top of lake where in ripples have stopped post the creation of ripple when a stone is thrown in.   It is a state where mind is controlled and unaffected by the thoughts emanating from and the actions of external world. It is where the mind is not affected by the dualities of pain and pleasure. It is a state where patience and desires are under control. It is a state where mind is steady unaffected by the turbulence created by the external world and internal deliberations on it. It is a state of awareness where in one knows that the world is in mind and ultimate peace is in mind. There is no dualities in the world and that there is only one creator and everything else is the different manifestation of the same. It is ultimate state where and which leads to liberation.  It leads to a state of great knowledge, of pure and determined will and a state of being-consciousness-bliss. Sattvic virtues are patience, generosity and Sattva guna is developed by prayer, thinking, good company, meditation, light food, discrimination and self-learning.

The result of such state of mind is that because of its steadiness one is able to get rid of ignorance and gains knowledge. He gains freedom from the pain and pleasure syndrome comes from the activities. The mind is able to enquire into various aspects of the world and is able to take impartial and superior decisions, though it is not the ultimate aim of it. The mind that delights in itself ultimately and becomes capable of engaging in focused activities for a longer duration is the character of mind in Sattva dominated persons. It is the mind that is capable of turning out outstanding work whatever may the field in which one is engaged.

Sattva to be effective has to manifest on its own accord and should not be forced.

The result of tamo is carelessness and laziness, rajo is anger and sense of balance or equilibrium is from the result of sattva state dominating.  Rajas is akin to life force in one and Tamas is the physical body and Sattva is the natural state of mind a state where the externalities have no effect and the state where mind is calm, conscious and happy.

-by Karparation