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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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.

***

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

Logic in Sanskrit – Tarka Sastra

In the time before knowledge got written down, codified, popularized,  the work of Philosophers, Scientist, Scholars, Writers were different. The epistemological study was to be done in painstaking manner, starting from observation, understanding, query, analysis, dialogue, discussion, discourse, deliberation, debate, dialectic, decision and finally conclusion to avoid confusion, And for successful debate, specially between conflicting ideas, philosophy and thought,  dialogue and debate was an option to reach conclusion. To this the scholars of ancient India, the Sanskrit scholars have researched and came to an inference that the primary need is common understanding of the words, their association and method of understanding. This is the starting point of logic. The scholars had written what is called “Nigandu” (Thesaurus), “Tarka Sastra”, and “Nyaya Sastra” as first step towards logical understanding.

Tarka is the process of questioning and cross-questioning that leads to a particular conclusion. It is a form of supposition that can be used as an aid to the attainment of valid knowledge. Tarka Sastra is a science of dialectics, logic and reasoning, and art of debate that analyzes the nature and source of knowledge and its validity

Sanskrit is stated to be the ideal language for computer processing because of its structure. It is one of the ancient language, constructed by human being (all languages are created by human being). The fact that it was well deliberated, with concise grammar for expanding the language in case of future requirement is one of the reason for its popularity till date. Understanding philosophy, especially philosophy and Sanskritic writings makes it difficult because of the subjects dealt there in and the concise manner in which it is written. Of course it was need of the time that it has to be written in short forms for the oral tradition was in prevalence for imparting knowledge and in many cases may predate writing and printing. Logic thus becomes imperative to understand these texts and that was also written down somewhere along the way. By writing down the way in which it is constructed decoding the knowledge becomes easier to that extent.

Tarka Sangraha” by Annam Bhatta is one such book on Logic. The book in its original, or should I say thesis, in Sanskrit is just of fifteen pages. But is a great aid in understanding or processing of concepts so that clear understanding of the same can be obtained. The similarity between current day computer language constructs of DDL (Data Definition Language), SQL (Structure Query Language), RDBMS (Relational Data Base Schema) is evident. The book had clear classification, data description, structure, linking between data sets, context and way to manipulate and manage the data. Such is format of this book.

To give an overview, there are primarily seven categories to describe in which anything and everything in the world can be fit in. From there it starts like this.

Data Sets

  • Categorie is of seven types which is – substance, quality, action, genus, difference, co-inherence and non existence.
  • Substance in turn is classified into nine type which are earth, water, fire/light, air, ether, time, place, soul and mind.
  • Quality has 24 attributes
  • Actions are of five types
  • Genus are 2
  • Difference are of five types
  • Coinherence is one and
  • Non existence has seven data points.

To give an example let us take the case of earth which is the first data point mention in the category substance.

Data Definition : Description of a substance: Earth has an inherent odour. In can be in its atomic structure or can be used with other substance to produce various things. In body part it is present in the nose for it is the organ on smell, in its mass form it is prevalent everywhere. Its primary color is brown but can take other colors. It has a taste, it is tangible. It is measured in dimension and so on. This is essentially achieved by linking the various data sets.

Knowledge Creation: Having identified the various categories and related data sets it also specifies how knowledge of any subject can be achieved. Knowledge is gained by understanding. Primarily there are two ways. One is remembrance for which prior knowledge and memory is needed. The other is Notion for unknown aspects. Notion is of four types. Notion could be right or wrong. And the right notion is obtained in the following means – Perception, Inference, conclusion by similarity, and assertion by authority. And further if you take the example of Inference, Inference could be obtained for two reasons. For self-understanding or for the purpose of instruction to others. And the way of doing it by proposition, reason, example, application and conclusion. Thus the various ways of knowledge acquisition in systematic manner if expounded.

Thus they have a system of both inductive and deductive reasoning based on data. The reasoning is methodical, scientific, investigative and rationalistic. Considering the timeline of these literature and how ancient it is and yet modern logically it becomes our duty to understand what our ancestors thought in various subjects and restore it to its natural glory. And this is sure to facilitate us to understand the frontiers of knowledge, which are extensive in a conscious, constructive and consensual way.

***

Ref: Tarka Sangraha Annam Bhatta

 

Being Discriminatory and Overcoming Tendencies

We all have a vasanas or tendencies or propensity to act in a certain way, in a given situation. The less aware we are at the moment of action, the more likely it is that we will act in that way again and again. Depending upon whether these are good, bad or mixed, tendency it could decide our state of wellbeing. Being freed from these discriminatory tendencies leads one to liberation or freedom.

Origination of Behavioral Tendencies

How do we create tendencies? Every thought, feeling, imagination, perception and action creates an impression in our mind. When they become deep rooted they are called vasanas or tendencies. These tendencies then can become manifest or hidden. These tendencies create like or dislike in us and prompt us for action. If they are weak we can dismiss it and if it is strong then one is compelled to act.  If our tendencies are good, then actions tend to be favorable else we end up having problems and sufferings.

These tendencies cloud our mind and take away our freedom of action. How do we overcome the desire for objects? How do we free ourselves from our tendencies, our discrimination between likes and dislikes, good and bad. One needs to have strong intelligence and mind power to overcome our negative tendencies.

Cultivating intellect

Intellect is of two kinds – sharp and subtle. Sharp intellect is the one we use in our day to day life and that helps us in understanding physical world, analyse and categorise objects, people and actions of the world and help us to acquire material wealth and enjoy our life. This is essential to bring fame, wealth and worldly success.

Subtle intellect, on the other hand helps us to understand ourselves better and the questions of existence in this world. Questions such as who am I, where from I come, where do I go henceforth, why this world is full of sufferings, is this real. Understanding these questions call for different kind of intelligence.

But for a person which intelligence is predominant depends upon their status in life and their general tendencies in life. Whether inherent or acquired, our tendencies are the ones which decides our life to a great extent.

Sage Vasistha counsels Rama thus:

“That which is desired by man is called purushartha and the effort to gain the desired goal is also purushartha. Fate is what comes to us as a result of our past actions, todays efforts carves tomorrows destiny. What comes to us in the present is our destiny what we do with what we get is our effort. Therefore, success and failure are in our hands. Consequently, instead of wasting time in worrying about past or the future we must do our best with whatever we have on hand.

One who waits for better times to come waits forever. One who blames luck, stars or god can never succeed.”

– “Yoga Vasistha sara Sangraha” – Swami Tejomayananda

Overcoming bad  and cultivating good behavioral tendencies

One needs to lift oneself up by their own effort. And how do we work.  To be effective our work has to be well directed, well thought, focused and continuous till the goal is achieved.

We are of our mind. All of us are bundles of good and bad tendencies while good dominates in some and bad in some. Both these tendencies have to be overcome to attain freedom.

Bad tendencies are those desires that seek pleasure, destructive, of negative emotions and inauspicious.  Overcoming bad tendencies require subtle energies. It needs us to understand ourselves and our aspirations, likes and disposition better as a first step.

So how can this be achieved.

  • By being intellectually alert
  • By analysis
  • By substitution
  • By outgrowing
  • By observing others
  • By one’s own suffering
  • By path of action
  • By path of devotion
  • By path of knowledge
  • By path of meditation

 

Bad tendencies pollute our mind and affect our joy and peace in life. Bad tendencies are overcome by cultivating good tendencies. And what are they? Any thoughts and aspirations that express feelings and thinking of upliftment of oneself and others, studying scriptures, being creative, introspection and meditation and doing one’s duty. The awareness of our thought helps us in cleansing the mind. Whenever we find oneself getting into negative thought, bad company be it of books, people, situation, or programs that evoke the bad in us we need to get out of it immediately and substitute it by alternate thoughts and actions. Some of these desires are overcome as we fulfill or as we outgrow it

We should also learn to question our desires, needs and aspirations and understand where they lead us to. When we watch them in our mind without trying to question, control or manipulate it they vanish by themselves.

It is not only bad tendencies but also good tendencies affect us.  At first one has to transform bad tendencies into good and ultimately be freed of good tendency also.

Cultivating Good Behavioral Tendencies

For liberation one need to cultivate the quite mind, inquiring mind, content mind and association with wise people.

The mind has to remain quite despite provocations, insults, problems, sufferings and unfulfilled desires. We should develop intellect to question the nature of reality – who am I, why am I here, where have I come from, where do I go from here, who are my parents, what is this universe in which I live so on and so forth. And we should cultivate the virtue of contentment. Spiritual progress is possible only for the one has who attained material contentment. Hence material contentment should be achieved.   Needless to say associating with wise help us improve ourselves, understand the goal of life and the means to reach it.

Being intelligent, discriminatory, calm and alert in the moment with our intellect one would be able to decide between alternative courses of action and overcome detrimental innate tendency if any and  lead a good life.

  • Adopted from Chapter II, Preparatory teachings of Sage Vasistha, Yoga Vasishta Sara Sangraha, Swamy Tejomayananda, Central Chinmaya Mission Trust Publication

Leon Denis on “Thought”

Importance of thought

There is no subject more important than the study of thought, its powers and its action. It is the initial cause of our elevation or our abasement. It prepares all the discoveries of science, all the marvels of art, but also all the misery and shamefulness of humanity. Following its given impulse, it founds or destroys institutions, empires, and characters.

Man is only great, save through his thoughts, for by them his works shine and are perpetuated through the centuries.

On Thoughts, Feelings and Expression

To give thought all its force and its amplitude, study great problems. To express freely we must first feel powerfully—to enjoy the high and profound sensations, we must go to the source from which flows all life, harmony, and beauty. All that is noble and elevating in the domain of intellect emanates from the one eternal source of living thought.

Thought and the body:

The influence of thought on the body is revealed to us by occurrences observable about us every moment. Fear paralyses the movements; astonishment, shame, and terror provoke pallor of colour; anguish affects the heart action; grief causes tears to flow, and long continued produces lowering of vital forces. These are all proofs of the powerful action of the mind on the material envelope.

Thought Works

Thought is creative. It not only acts about us, influencing others for good or ill, but above all, it acts in us. It generates our words and our actions, and by them constructs each day the glorious or miserable edifice of our life present and to be. We fashion our soul and its envelope by our thoughts. They produce forms and images which are printed on the subtle material of which our etheric body is composed. So little by little our life is peopled with forms frivolous or austere, gracious or terrible, gross or sublime; and the soul shines with beauty, or grows ugly and repulsive.

Call to artists:

O writers, artists, poets, you whose numbers increase daily, whose productions multiply like a rising tide, often beautiful in form, but weak at the foundation—superficial and material, what talents you expend on mediocre results ! what vast efforts are wasted on evil passions, on inferior and unworthy interests!

Think on these things

We waste our thinking with puerile and sterile studies, with work which blunts the conscience, and the spirit.

Who among you will give the world the epic of the soul striving for the conquest of its destiny in the immense cycle of the ages—its sorrows and its joys, its descent into the abysses of life, its rising on wings of aspiration into the light—its immolations and holocausts which are ransoms for past acts—its redeeming missions and its growing participation in divinity?

Which one of you will give to earth the powerful harmonies of the universe—the gigantic harp vibrating under the thought of God—the song of worlds, the eternal rhythm which rocks the cradle of the stars and the humanities!

Who will tell of the conquests of life —life always growing greater, more serene, more illumined by rays from on high? The march from summit to summit, the pursuit of happiness—of power and pure love?

Who will sing the work of man immortal toiler, lifting through his doubts, anguish, and tears, the sublime and harmonious edifice of his thinking consciousness and personality—always onward—always upward—always higher? Who will teach us these things? The inner voices, and the voices from Beyond!

We are What we think

We are what we think, if we think with force and persistence and will. But almost always our thoughts pass constantly from one subject to another, rarely do we think for ourselves, but instead reflect the thousand incoherent thoughts of the environment where we dwell. Few men know how to think: how to drink from profound sources—from the great reservoir of inspiration which each one carries within himself—even the most ignorant. They make for themselves an envelope peopled with ephemeral forms. Their minds are like a building open to every passer-by. Rays of light are mingled with shadows in perpetual chaos.

On need to Control our thoughts

Before all other things, to learn how to control our thoughts is most important; how to discipline and turn them in one direction toward a noble and dignified goal. The control of thought leads to the control of actions; for if one is good the other will be equally so, and harmony will regulate our lives. If our acts are good and our thoughts are bad, and we carry in ourselves a false centre, sooner or later the influence of our evil thoughts will fall fatally upon us. Sometimes we see a striking contradiction between the thoughts, writings, and actions of certain men, and we are led to doubt the good faith and sincerity of their utterances. But often the acts of these men are but the blind impulsion of accumulated thoughts and forces that will be realized in future actions.

On avoidance of news, noise and discussions

Avoid noisy discussions, vain words, frivolous reading: read daily papers sparingly. Passing lightly as they do from one subject to another, they render the mind unstable. We live in a period of anaemic intellectuality which is caused by the rarity of serious study and the insufficient educative system: let us attach ourselves to substantial works—to works which can enlighten us on the profound laws of life and facilitate our evolution. Little by little we will find growing in us a greater intelligence and consciousness, and our etheric body will shine with reflections of high and pure thoughts.

On reading, thinking and assimilation

It is well to choose our reading with care, then to let our thoughts ripen it until we can assimilate the quintessence. In general, we read too much—too hastily—and meditate not at all! It is better to read less and reflect more on what we read. It is a sure method of fortifying our intelligence to gather the fruits of wisdom and beauty which we find in good books:

In silent, reflective study lies development of the thoughts. The greatest works are elaborated in the silence. In meditation the mind is concentrated: it turns toward the grave and serious side of things: the light spiritual world inundates it. About the thinker, invisible great spirits come, eager to inspire him. It is in the half-light of tranquil hours, or in the discreet shade of his study lamp, that they can best enter into communication with him.

Excerpt from “Life and Destiny”, Leon Denis (1846 – 1927), Translated by Ella Wheeler Wilcox