Whatever your varna (2) (station), social status or stage of life, carry on your enjoined duties and continue to take the name of God (3).
If it is not possible to assist others, then at least see to it that you do not harm anyone.
Following your own dharma (5) and taking the name of the Lord (3) will eliminate all the accumulated sins from your previous births, bestowing happiness and peace.
A thief is free to steal, but he is subject to judgement, whether he likes it or not.
Man can choose virtuous acts, for which he will go to heavenly realms and can enjoy divine pleasures, or he can choose evil acts, for which he will go to a hell (1) and suffer extremely fearsome and sorrowful results.
As for the fruits of our actions, scriptures tell us: "By dharma doing, sin is destroyed." So if someone commits a sin at some time, he should do meritorious acts to destroy the bad karma: Virtue will increase and thereby eliminate the effect of sins. Therefore, by repeating the [inwardly glowing] name of Bhagaván [heartfelt enough and over a long enough time], sin is destroyed.
If an individual has committed sin, he should plunge into virtuous action and should also take the [most fit] name of God (2) with faith and devotion. In this fashion the accumulated sins will be destroyed, and within a short time virtue will begin to accumulate, by the help of which he will reach the sadgati (good end) (3).
A true spiritual path leads to the good end - maybe little by little, and maybe fast. It is individual.
Because the mind has become sullied with impressions, it is difficult to generate prema [good love] (4) for Bhagaván, but if one contemplates on God even with a crude mind, one can obtain his grace.
Whatever the condition of the mind, whatever sins may have been committed in the past - the power of righteousness in [a good] name of Bhagaván (2) makes it impossible to continue doing evil in the present.
There can be no greater loss in a life than wasting it.
There is no alternative to serving, and no one is free from the necessity of worship [in best or fit ways]. If you do not worship God [adequately], who is "omniscient and capable of anything," then you will serve at the feet of some merchant [seth], or wealthy person [sahukar]. Therefore, the great-minded will depend on Paramátmá, who will assist us in this world and the next.
Regardless of how much wealth one accumulates, it will always be limited, and there is always the possibility that a change of fortune [due to prárabdha karma] (2) will bring poverty.
It is of little use to rely on one whose own position is unstable. Paramátmá can grant happiness everywhere in this world and the next. [Alternatively:] The most intelligent is the one who worships Paramátmá to always stay happy in this and the other world.
You may not be able to fulfil every desire.
In this world, do what is required to maintain the body, and concentrate your efforts on attaining the greater vision of Paramátmá (1).
The divine and the mundane must go hand in hand. For it would be impossible to keep up the body if you were to abandon all karma (2).
On seeing that even great and powerful ones cannot fulfil all their desires, why hope to fulfil all your dreams?
Conduct the affairs of the world with deep wisdom, focusing on the greater goal of buddhi (discernment).
Face the bad with equanimity.
A human being cannot sit quietly doing nothing for very long. It is natural to act from latent tendencies.
The fruits of doings within a brief span remain unexhausted even over a long period of time, and unexhausted actions accumulate from life to life.
Vedic scriptures have explained how to exhaust the forms of karma: They are removed by profound knowledge, jnana, and undivided in-depth focus on the Lord, Bhagaván.
On attaining human birth one should exhaust the store of karma. All sorts of accumulated karmas cannot be exhausted by experiences only. Karma that has started to "sprout" or work in a life, can be spent only by experience. And by dedicating current actions to Bhagaván, one can avoid bondage.
In these ways, having burnt up accumulated karma by the fire of knowledge; commenced karma by experience; and current karma(s) by dedicating them to Bhagaván (when they are performed), one can be freed from [karma] bondage.
If for some reason you are unable to undertake a sadhana (spiritual practice), and are thus impaired when it comes to attaining profound knowledge, at least you should start dedicating your current actions to Bhagaván. Then what you do in this life will not cause future bondage.
Not even a jnani, sage, can escape the karma that has begun to take effect. Occasions that result from such karma must be faced resolutely. One should not lose heart even in calamitous times. In the same way, do not become negligent when enjoying happy occasions. If you act in this way, merit will accumulate.
Do not waste precious time by worrying, or [final] release will be difficult.
Value your human birth and act with discrimination. Understand what path will truly benefit you, and commit your life to dharma (2) (righteous ways, virtue, etc.). Submitting to dharma yields great fortune.
If you submit to dharma, it will better you in this world and even elevate you in paraloka (3) (the afterlife)
Minding one's own dharma is urgent in all the fields of individual life - personal, social, political, national, and international.
In all areas, if one maintains his body, senses, mind and intellect according to dharma, he can avoid adharma (4) (non-dharma). (Cf. Bhagavad Gita 3.35)
Who acts, will be held accountable for the result. So whatever you do, consider carefully whether it is opposed to dharma. Do not carry through (execute) even a portion of an action which is opposed to dharma.
The net effects of actions opposed to dharma may be profitable for violent, dull, and dark-minded people [of tamas (6)], but ultimately powerlessness and disaster.
It is not possible to act without desire. Two motivating factors are required for initiating an action: (a) knowing [or hoping] one can fulfill a desire; (b) knowing [or estimating] that one can accomplish the action [by oneself or with help, or through others].
Actions that are intentionally dedicated to God [Bhagaván], do not cause bondage.
Refrain from desiring to reap the fruits of action.
Those who beg or request, ask in accordance with their own level.
The individual soul who desires to reap the fruit of its action, desires something of little importance: He who is all-knowing and all-powerful, bestows something great.
Thus: Getting released is through acting while [more or less] free from karma-bondage [one way or another].
Worldly people "spare no effort" to gain wealth, children, and fame, and by comparison do very little to know God. Such people ignore the right means of getting supremely happy and instead employ wrong means. They lead to sorrow and pain.
It is impossible to get [lastingly] happy by worldly things: is like trying to marry the son of a barren woman. Real happiness does not inhere in worldly things like wealth, spouse, progeny. Due to lack of discrimination we seek happiness in the wrong way.
Living becomes purposeful when one prepares for the future.
If "you live merely to fill the belly in the morning and empty it by the evening," as the proverb says, then life is futile.
When seeds are roasted there is no chance for them to sprout later. Similarly, when the human mind is roasted in the fire of knowledge and devotion, then there is no chance to return and germinate anew in the cycle of life and death.
As long as you are not free from the love of worldly objects, develop devotion to God.
Along with the pain of birth and death, there is no end to the suffering one can encounter during one's lifetime. It is impossible to free oneself from this suffering without the realization of Ishvara (1) [The Supreme Being and Lord].
Generally, whatever one worries about or practises for a long time is remembered at the time of death. If a Vedic scholar goes mad, even in madness he will repeat the verses of the Veda. Similarly, during the throes of death it is highly probable that one will remember that which one practised during life.
Whatever mistakes that were committed in the beginning of life are already past, but not so the mistakes at life's end.
It is said, "All is well that ends well:" To avoid mistakes at the time of death, make your preparations now: this is prudence.
You will eventually be separated from all objects of this world. These objects . . . [i]t is unnecessary to love them. If you love them, you will weep, not only in this life, but [rather possibly] in many lives to come.
Don't love the things of this world excessively.
Today's friend can become tomorrow's enemy.
Happiness and sorrow . . . you create either one.
Karma (1) is impersonal, and so is the consequence of action: it automatically returns to the doer. There it affects the conscious mind [cetana (2)], where it brings happiness or sorrow.
If someone becomes the conduit of good karma, then let them appear. [And we] should peacefully experience the consequences of our previous actions, whether they are good or bad, gladdening or saddening for us.
If we insult a pious Brahmin (3), we shorten the length of our own life.
When we donate something and publicly congratulate ourselves for it in all four directions (4), then the benefit of giving goes to waste.
When you wish to destroy something, talk about it. When you wish to preserve something, cover it up.
If you do something wrong but confess it to another, its effects will be diluted. Similarly, if you do something good and then talk about it, the effect will be dispersed among the people who hear of it, and its effect will be diluted.
Who worships God with complete devotion is incapable of non-prescribed acts (1).
However great a sinner you may be, take the name of God (4) [recite the proper mantra] and attain the path of truth [sadgati (5)].
Should you make a request, then you will ask for a small thing that is in accord with your own status, but if God simply bestows, then He will give from his status. For Him who is omniscient and omnipotent, anything is possible.
Whatever you are going to do, think deeply about it before acting, because whatever good or bad comes out of it will come back to you.
The strength and intellect you have today are based on your previous actions. To waste your sakti (power) or to misuse your buddhi (1) [intellect] would be irresponsible.
Through good behaviour and through following dharma, we can make our worldly life happy, as well as our life in the next world.
If somebody chooses not to accept the existence of God, so be it. But if he wants to see any peace and happiness in this world, he must see all other living beings as he sees himself. In the same way, he should follow the principles of dharma (2).
We learn from the company we keep. Keep solidly good company (3).
- buddhi: intellect, intelligence, wit; the intellectual faculty and the power to form and retain concepts, reason, discern, judge, comprehend, understand.
- dharma: righteous dealings and ways are part of what dharma stands for. [Dharma note]
- company: people we are associated with or gathered among; our in-group - [Company note]
Treatment can be effective if the medicine suits the disease.
Ordinary diseases can be cured by ordinary medicines, but for chronic diseases one needs a special prescription.
Humanity is entrenched in the impressions of countless past lives, and suffers from bhavaroga (1) [the disease of becoming, the disease of rebirths, spirit-illness.] To free oneself from this terrible disease, one needs very powerful medicine.
The difference between a chronic disease and a disease of rebirths, (which is brought on by wrong thought, speech, and action) is that a chronic illness spoils but one human life, while a disease of rebirths causes lifetime after lifetime of suffering.
Desire (2) is the root cause of suffering and it is also the root of the great tree of bhavaroga [the disease of becoming].
Desire is the root which nurtures the various branches of this tree of repeated rebirths.
- bhavaroga: the disease of becoming, the disease of rebirths, spirit-illness, based on old cravings.
- desire, craving: Craving is held to be the main cause of suffering in Buddha's teachings too. Yet desire for wholesome things is seen as liberating and enhancing on the Way. Further, one is encouraged by Buddha to "generate desire" for fostering of skillful qualities and abandoning unskillful ones. (WP, "Desire")
Due to absence of dharma (1) [rigtheous ways, including morals] in education, people are losing the ability to discriminate between right and wrong. Therefore, they think that whatever they are doing is correct. The concept, "I'll go to hell if I commit sins," has almost vanished. Because of this, falsehood is now increasing throughout society. People seem to think that there is nothing more to life than sense pleasures. Therefore, they have become unconcerned about how they get the wealth they need to have these enjoyments.
Nevertheless, wrong dealings to earn money will never result in peace.
Bad habits of association have reduced the morality of people in society.
Nowadays people do not believe they can get by without resorting to unfair dealings. They have no faith in the future or in Visvambhara (2) [The supporting Lord]
Have faith in God, and conduct your affairs honestly. From doing so, you will feel contented in this life, and contentment is the true form of happiness.
As it is said: "A liar cannot be peaceful in this life even if he is as rich as Kubera (3) [a Lord of Wealth in Hindu mythology]. He will always be doubtful and his heart will burn with anxiety. Thus he will not be happy in this world, and in the other world he will be ruined.
- dharma: righteous ways, essential and good work, proper conduct, morality etc. On the learning level, see mastery learning. Also see benefits of well structured homelearning. [Dharma note]
- Visvambhara: all-bearing, all-sustaining Lord; support of the world.
- Kubera: overlord of wealth and treasures in Hindu mythology.
The righteous person will [hopefully] experience peace in this world and in the beyond. (1)
Improve yourself and benefit greatly.
When we dwell on the faults of another, those faults enter into our mind (2) and contaminate it, and this is not beneficial.
Every evening, consider how many good and bad impulses came, and how many left.
Think first about your own faults.
First protect yourself; then later worry about others.
- a karma teaching: (1) "It may depend on karma, wholly or in part." Karma may be seen as fruits (consequences) of doings from long ago and of more recent doings, and of doings in the making, which can be things you do wisely and well today too. To bulwark against bad things may be part of presently made karma (doings).
"Making good karma matters," is an old teaching. It may be understood as, "Do good if you can, but get skilled and careful enough too." [Karma note]
- antah-karana: heart and mind, "the "inner organ". In Vedantic literature its parts are "I" (ahamkar), buddhi (intellect, intelligence, higher mind), manas (middle-level mind) and memory.
This world is like a dharmasala (1) [a resting-place for travellers]. To involve your mind here is a waste. Do your work in a simple way. Whatever comes your way, deal with it appropriately. (2)
It is great foolishness to entrap yourself in affairs of this world. In this short life it is not wise to make a fuss of things. Conduct your daily affairs courteously. Don't get caught up in too much thinking about things.
As long as you breathe, spend your time singing the praises of Bhagaván.
If you allow your mind to get trapped in daily affairs, then you will have to be reborn again and again. Therefore, act with great discretion; conduct your mundane business with the help of your body and your wealth, while keeping your mind in association (3) with Paramátmá (4). With these priorities, you can become happy and peaceful.
- dharmasala, (dharmsala, dharmshala): a charitable resting-house etc.; a court of justice, charitable asylum. Thus, a dharmsala is by analogy a temporary place where just measures may be meted out, some get insane, and pious ones may improve their lot by sound measures and skills.
- Dealings: a long, good look at the trends and the fact that a human life ends and much with it, can lead to a view that life may be used to better benefits.
- Association: In association with: allied with, affiliated with (and more)
- Paramátmá: "Self Beyond", The Supreme Self, the Supreme Spirit.
If you wish to drink water from the Ganga, take it from where the stream is clean; you need not drink Ganga water from a gutter.
If a teacher is of good character, then listen to him. [However], someone of poor character may cheat people. Protect yourself against people such as these, and try to protect other decent people as well.
Only he who is endowed with character is fit to be respected. As a matter of principle, one should reject those deserving rejection and honour those deserving honour.
If unworthy people are honoured, then their number will increase and their stench will spoil society.
Always keep your bags packed. We never know when the call will come. The call of death . . . then and there, one must drop everything (1). Fortunately, the journey need not be difficult if you are prepared from the beginning.
He who is always ready to go cannot commit sins. Sins are possible [if] one forgets the life hereafter. (2)
One who remembers always that he has to leave one day will not adopt lying and bad conduct. (3)
You too will one day leave this world. Why not prepare for the journey from the outset? One way to insure comfortable travel is to be sure that you do nothing you will have to repent while on the journey.
If you are not cautious, then you will be unable to save yourself from falling.
The flow of samsára (4) is always downward. Therefore, always be careful.
At the time of death you will remember what you have done during your whole life, be it bad or good. Recalling the bad, sinful actions you have committed, and understanding the terrible result of all these actions, you will become totally depressed. So take care not to do even one sinful action that will be regretted at life's end.
- bags: A much related Latin reminder is "Memento mori." It means "remember you will die", and serves reflection on the value of earthly goods and pursuits. Memento mori has been a means of perfecting the character by cultivating detachment and turning the attention towards the the soul and afterlife. (WP, "Memento mori") — So what has bags to do with it? They contain good deeds and bad deeds, and are brought with us also we die, according to karma teachings in Hinduism and Buddhism alike.
- karma: , redressings for balance somehow, give retributions and rewards in the beyond and lives to come in a wider scenario. That is much of Buddha's teaching. [Karma note]
- On conduct: "Dying men speak the truth." And many who have come back from near-death experiences go for much the same: [Near Death Experiences]
- samsára: the world, including "the way of the world", etc.
Our worshipping of God (1) is written in our destiny. Those with less fortunate destinies will be involved in inevitable losses by working day and night, for wealth and other worldly pleasures. (Mod)
People who are greatly lacking in discernment don't have time and energy to go for knowing God (2). They don't focus on the very source of happiness and peace, but struggle day and night to gain worldly things. How great is their lack of discrimination! Not to focus on the very source of happiness and peace, but pursuing the shadowy wonders and luxuries of samsára (3) is such great foolishness.
By knowing Bhagaván (4) one can gain everything. If you ignore Him and try to gain anything, if you acquire something, you will not be satisfied with it. If you apprehend the real nature of Paramátmá (5), the things of the world will automatically come under your command (6). In worshipping God there is benefit. (Mod)
- Worship. Guru Dev refers to fit and sound worship that is very well protected - Sound meditation is the best form of worship on the way to wake up, to Atmabodhi, awakening to Self.
- Know God: through Atmajnana, Atmabodhi, Self-knowledge
- samsára: the rounds of births and deaths, the world
- Bhagaván: the Lord God, the Blessed Lord
- Paramátmá: the Self Beyond, the Supreme Atman.
- command: Siddhis (higher powers) are listed in several traditions. Paranormal powers may come unsought and do fine jobs. (Radin 2013)
The One who has created you is omnipotent, and his name is Visvambhara (1). He has taken upon himself the care and sustenance of the universe. Have faith in Him - He will protect that which He has created. But if you forget Him, you commit the fault of ingratitude, and then it is no wonder if He neglects you.
"If Bhagaván is sustaining and maintaining me, it is futile for me to worry about filling my stomach." (Mod.)
The One who took care of you in the womb (3) will continue to take care of you even now.
- Visvambhara: all-bearing, all-sustaining Lord; support of the universe
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord
- Care: The little kitten and the baby monkey are used to illustrate two ways of trust: The kitten way is of surrender. Cats are made that way. The little monkey's way is clinging to mom for dear life, striving. Hence, if our faith is not strong, we may seek to take care ourselves too, so as to find time to meditate a lot, improve our karma by many good deeds, and much else.
- womb: It is the mother's matrix that is told of.
When it is certain that all things cannot be completed, then it is foolish to make a great fuss about them. One day it will be necessary to leave this place, whatever your program. Therefore you should not trouble yourself much for the things that you one day have to leave.
As long as you live, live peacefully. Continue peacefully with your enjoined duties while remembering Paramátmá (1). Have faith in Him. If instead you place your faith in cleverness, deceit, and dishonesty, then the path ahead will be darkened (2). Act in such a way that you experience peace in this life, and your future path will be bright, too.
- Paramátmá: the Supreme, Blessed Spirit, Supreme Atman.
- path ahead: This is part of the karma teachings.
Become filled with sakti (1) [capability, skill, ability, power] and live out your life. You have got a human body, so - pursuing the aims of man (2) - become strong.
It is not wise to forget the treasure hidden in your own house and go begging from door to door.
Surrounded on all four sides by misery and chaos, [spend time to] live the sakti in your life, recall the examples of your forefathers. (3) [Mod]
Enter the shelter of the omnipotent controller of creation (4). Develop your spiritual powers. (5) Master the creative principle of Creation's Controller. Only then can you become capable in reality, and thus become a steady source of strength.
Be convinced that you can be a knower of past, present, and future (7), and make all elements and powers of the universe favourable (7). Do your best to manifest your abilities and powers. (Mod)
- sakti and shakti: Literally, "capability, skill, power, ability, strength, effort, energy." Shakti is held to be a personal form of God. Shakti is also present in males in a hidden form, just as yin is in yang in Taoism. She is an agent of change. A significant form is Kundalini Shakti. Personified sakti is a goddess, even a Great Goddess. The question is how to develop a sakti that matters. Skills are called for, and efforts too.
- Four main aims: Pleasure (kama), wealth (artha), righteous dealings (dharma), and freedom (moksha) are four main goals in a life.
- forefather examples: What may run in families, "Take the best, leave the rest." That may be good. Some modifications may be fit and fine too. There may be much good in good forebears, and little good to follow up in bad ones. Making a successful blend of the good streaks for the sake of an inbringing Tao (way of living): that is much to heed, teaches Tao Te Ching too.
- Controller of Creation: Ambá, Jagadambá (World-woman), Wise Mother, Good Woman. Also known as Bhavani, "giver of life", meaning the power of nature or the source of creative energy.
- Spiritual powers: Precognition, future sight, is a claimed psychic ability to see events in the future. Dean Radin sums up research evidence: "The accumulated evidence is clear: Precognition exists." (2013, 177). Knowledge of past, present and future is one of the siddhis. [More] Patanjali's Yoga Sutras 3.16: "Through perfectly concentrated meditation [sanyama] on the three stages of development comes a knowledge of past and future." The key is fit sanyama.
Just as waves appear to emerge from the surface of the ocean, the all-pervading Paramátmá (1) who is without qualities or attributes and without form, assumes qualities and form. The One who is without form is the One who takes on every form. So the formless, attributeless One takes on attributes, and in turn makes the unmanifest available to us. From this: don't get involved in controversies over the manifest and the unmanifest.
Have faith in something for your own welfare: Strengthen your faith in atman (2) or Paramátmá, learn the necessary spiritual disciplines from a sadguru (n), and according to your eligibility, take up those methods.
When faith in the form (4) [icon of a goddess etc.] becomes strong, then the bondage of life and death will be cut, and you will lead a happy and peaceful life in this world as well.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Spirit, or "Atman beyond"
- Atma: spirit, soul.
- Sadguru: True guru.
- the form: Skt. sakara the morphed Spirit, an icon wisely formed - Also: having form, beautiful; having a trunk, having any shape or definite figure, having a fair form, having hands (etc.)
Don't soil the seat where you expect to sit. Whatever post you have accepted, don't degrade it.
Take proper care of what you own.
Whatever work you have taken in hand, bring it to a successful conclusion [as far as you can]. Accept only work for which you are fit. If you accept a lofty position for which you are not actually qualified, it will only lead to future difficulties and unhappiness. [Cf. the Peter principle (1)] But always pay attention to this matter: whatever post you have accepted, never bring disgrace to it.
Maintain excellent relations with your mother and father, so that your position as son is not disgraced. Maintain loving excellent relations with brothers and sisters, so that your position as a brother is not disgraced. Maintain excellent relations with your wife, exercising proper limits, so that your position as a husband is not disgraced. Be humbly devoted to your guru, so that your position as a disciple remains above reproach. If you are working as a civil servant, conduct your work according to the law. Don't take advantage of your position and thereby ruin your good name. The gist is that whatever seat you occupy, don't soil it.
In accordance to your birth, whether [you are a] Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Sudra (2), uphold your family dharma (3). Whatever Asrama (4) [life stage] you hold - Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, or Sannyasa - protect the laws of each (5) while performing your duties with dignity. Don't ever act in such a way that your place and position will be disgraced.
- Peter principle: The Peter principle was formulated by Laurence J. Peter. It says people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their "level of incompetence". It happens when an employee with a measure of success in previous jobs reach a level where he or she is no longer competent. (WP, "Peter principle"). If real competence (ability. proficiency) follows suit with one's formal position it may work well if nothing unforeseen happens . . . Compare Murphys Law (an adage): "If anything can go wrong, someone will sooner or later see to it." There are many variants of it.
- Varna: type or class. Law-books like the Manu Samhita classify social classes and allot general doings and roles to each: Brahmins have roles as priests, scholars and teachers. Kshatriyas are rulers, warriors and administrators. Vaishyas are farmers and traders. Sudras are labourers and service providers. The varna is generally traced to the Purusha Sukta verse of the Rigveda (10.90.12): " When they divided Purusa . . . The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rajanya made. His thighs became the Vaisya, from his feet the Sudra was produced.
- dharma: duties, rights, laws, conduct, nature, attribute, manner, virtues, good works, customs, support, observance, practice (etc.). Among the meanings are "established as fit for many forebears could work well for this life also". [Dharma note]
- áshrama: An áshrama is one of four life stages. The four ashramas: brahmacharya (student), grihastha (householder, breadwinner), vanaprastha (retired) and sannyasa (spiritual). (see Olivelle 1993, 119, etc.)
- laws for all: Some laws are good, other laws are not as good, and other laws more or less unjust. Some get revised too, for that reason, or because times and conditions have changed. Sound discernment is called for.
Don't invest your love in samsára (1). Even after you detach your mind from the affairs of the world, you will find that they continue. As long as you have a body, your mundane affairs are perpetuated by prárabdhas [and more] (2).
You will always have preferences in the field of worldly objects and relationships. Reserve your greatest love for God and your ordinary love for the activities of the world.
Day to day dealings will be taken care of by prárabdha [commenced karma - and more].
If you pursue worldly objects for their own sake, then you'll find yourself at a loss. It's a dangerous thing to become personally identified with wealth, son, and wife.
Give your foremost love (3) to Paramátmá, and keep the shadow of love for mundane affairs, so that your work here will not be disrupted and your future will be bright.
- samsára: the world and its fares, including ways of humans; rounds of births and death
- prárabdha: a portion of the total karma from many lives. Prárabdha is that part of it that is administered for the life that is lived. - Karma talk: There are other ways to deal with life than detachment and acceptance of one's lot. Deep meditation (or roasting karma seeds so only a few of them sprout, or none), developing skills (improving one's lot), finding means of protection, including mingling with others (in a likeable, conform fare), and much else. One may also prevent karma seeds from sprouting by "Don't go there" where they may do so. One should make good karma too, as Buddha teaches. Maybe it can counteract bad karma that has sprouted
- love God: To put the cart before the horse is a phrase against doing things in the wrong order. Knowing God comes first. For "If you don't know me you don't actually love me," is quite a point to bear in mind. It is wise to consider that so long as you don't know God, many religious-looking feelings engendered in the rituals and ceremonies of a church may be due to thwarted id (old libido), losses and lacks in life. So know yourself or gain Self-knowledge, and thereby God, Paramátmá, the "Self beyond". That is the ancient Vedic teaching. By-and-by you may awaken to divine love fairly well too.
Taking birth as a deva (1) [deity] is considered comparable to taking birth as any other life form. Birth as a god is attained by those who perform certain sacrifices and karma, etc. associated with divinity, with the intention to enjoy divine pleasures. The minds of the devatas (2) [deities] wander incessantly because of the abundance of enjoyable things in the heavenly realms, and hence they cannot fulfil the four aims of life (3). For this reason, the human birth is considered superior, because here, by doing as much as possible towards those four aims, one can eventually realise non-difference (4).
A human being is like a lump of pure gold. Birth of a human being is said to be the very best birth for action. Having attained this birth, one should perform the best four-aims actions (5). Fulfilling one's own dharma (6) while keeping faith in Paramátmá (7) is the greatest four-aims way of living.
- deva: (Lit. a shining one, or celestial one). A deity. The name for female deity is devi. Devas are benevolent and mighty supernatural beings. In Vedic literature, some devas represent forces of nature and some represent moral values. (WP, "Deva [Hinduism]")
- devatá: the same as deva. Moreover, devika is the same as devi.
- life aims: artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), dharma (proper ways etc.), and moksha (Freedom).
- non-difference: In such a state, "Oneness is" (Ekam sat). The word used is Abheda non-difference. In Vedánta philosophy abheda stands for unity of the individual self with the Supreme Spirit (beyond).
- gold: a metaphoric device. Cf. Yajnavalkya in Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 4.4.4.
- dharma: duties etc. [Dharma note]
- Paramátmá: "the Self Beyond", Supreme Atman, Supreme Spirit, etc.
One can attain peace and happiness only when one is free from worries.
If you want to destroy all worries then you must understand the intrinsic nature (1) of samsára (2). By understanding the true nature of this world, you can destroy the subtle impressions of all vásanás (3) [fancies, desires, etc.]. The nature of this world is such that once you understand its essence, it can never again generate attachment in your heart.
Worries crop up because of our love for various objects. Because of worry, one becomes restless in spite of having all possible wealth, name, and influence.
"Worry is considered more powerful and terrible than a funeral pyre, because the funeral pyre burns the dead, but worry burns the living." Hence, try to become worry-free (4). Only Paramátmá (5), who is supremely free and independent, is capable of freeing you from all worries. Thus you should worry more about attaining Him, and then all other worries of samsára (2) will be dissolved.
Continue to engage in worldly activities, but remain aware that all these things exist for the sake of action alone, and they are not worthy to be loved. If your mind gets entangled with some object and then starts worrying about it, your whole life could be spoiled. Therefore, keep your mind on Paramátmá (5) and continue to live a life of dharma in this world.
- nature of the world: svarupa, its true form, own form; true nature; true form.
- samsára: rounds of births and death, the world
- vásaná: fancy, liking, knowledge, impression as formed, inclination, desire, expectation, notion, idea, mind impression, longing, perceptions, knowledge had from memory (and more)
- worry-free: Meditation relieves from stress. [◦Documentedly]
- Paramátmá: Self Beyond, Supreme Spirit, etc.
- dharma: "a life of dharma", a fit way of living - living well in accord with Natural Law and Rita (fundamental order), the best selected fare in a family-formed succession, etc. [Dharma note]
Paramátmá (1) is the dweller within at every moment, watching each and every action. No one can perform any action without his knowledge.
To think while performing an action that nobody knows about it, you may fool yourself, but if you have done something wrong and have escaped detection by your peers, don't think for a moment that nobody knows. He who must judge right and wrong is watching all your actions, and can do nothing for the person who has ruined himself. (Mod) (2)
Do not perform any action which will go against the all-knowing Almighty's liking. His law and liking is extolled in the Vedashastra (3). Do not perform any such action for which permission is not given there.
Become a person of character. Infuse purity (4) into all your actions, purify your emotions and sentiments, and conduct your daily affairs in accordance with your own dharma and family standing. Only then will your antah-karana (6) [heart and mind] be purified. As the purity of your inner instrument grows, your resolution is strengthened, your actions will become virtuous, and your faith in Paramátmá will increase. All manner of auspiciousness will come from increased faith in Paramátmá, Let this be the guiding principle in all your actions, by which all good things will be gained, both in this world and in the next.
- Paramátmá: The Spirit Beyond, Supreme Spirit
- the Judge: The ultimate source of justice could have many hands: dharma; karma (retributions), and rita (basic order), for example. A judge needs to be duly informed to mete out just retributions and rewards in what may be a "tangled web of live." — One may come to wonder how many lives many pass before consequences manifest if they are not quite instant. To avoid that kingdoms deteriorated by criminals escaping and thriving, laws were made and enforced by those in power. Many kings were supposed to uphold dharma (righteous dealings) through fit law-enforcements. The epic poem Ramayana is fairly much about these issues. However, bandits and kings may not be so very different in some cases, so the bandit on top may also be king, and that must be foul. [Robber Chih] (extracted from Watson 1968, 323-31)
In brief: Right and might may fight a lot. Some laws may be good for folks, and some may benefit ruling classes. Many kings are not having divine rights, even many such guys may like others to believe it. But "their actions betray them."
Already in the earliest Vedic texts, Rita is the truth and cosmic principle which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. Rita stands for such order, and is linked with the notion of karma too cosmic retribution. Failing to follow the ordinances of Rita was thought to cause various forms of calamity and suffering. Dharma eventually grew to overshadow Rita in prominence in ancient texts. (WP, "Rta")
- Vedashastra (also: Vedashastra - from Veda, knowledge, and s(h)astra, precept, rules, manual, compendium, book or treatise" in a general sense). One meaning: Vedic precepts.
The Vedas are a large body of ancient religious texts in Sanskrit, and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The Vedas have been carefully preserved since ancient times. According to tradition, Vyasa is the compiler of the Vedas. He arranged them into four collections. Each Veda has been further classified into four major text types. The fourth of these types is the Upanishads. Schools of Indian philosophy that cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox". Texts in the Vedas discuss similar ideas and concepts.
- purity: Meditation furthers it.
- antah-karana: heart and mind, "the "inner organ". In Vedantic literature its parts are classified as "I" (ahamkar), buddhi (intellect, intelligence, higher mind), manas (middle-level mind) and memory.
The controller of the gross body is the subtle body with the mind [manas (1)] and intellect [buddhi (2)]. It is essential to culture the mind.
Maharishi Patanjali teaches in the Yoga Sutras [1.33] that the mind can be purified by keeping it in one of these states: friendliness, compassion, happiness, and indifference.
Be friendly toward your peers; compassionate toward the weak, disadvantaged, or suffering; and happy for those who are wiser or better off than you in some way.
And maintain indifference toward those who oppose or hate you. If you fail to remain indifferent toward them, it will generate hatred in your own mind.
In this fashion, maintain these four mental dispositions. (3) Then feelings of envy, hatred, jealousy and so on may not arise in your mind [Mod]. Purity of mind will increase, assuring effortless achievement in your daily affairs. Ultimately this leads to freeing the mind from sense pleasures and makes the mind inner-directed so that you can engage yourself in meditation on the Lord.
- manas: mind
- buddhi: intellect, intelligence
- mental dispositions: tendencies to act in specified ways that may be learned. "Steady application to a principle" is the basis (Yoga Sutas 1.32). Guru Dev gives examples of how to apply a Patanjali sutra verse. Cf. WP "Samskara (Indian philosophy").
Many get cheated in pursuit of supernormal abilities, also called siddhis (1) [paranormal powers]. Our duty is to warn others. Despite our warning, some may choose to be careless.
Siddhis come in five ways:
1. Some individuals are born with miraculous abilities. They may have done some upásana (2) in previous lives, but not enough to have merged with Bhagaván. A siddha (3) from birth did not need to hear, learn, or memorise in order to understand.
2. Many kinds of siddhis come about through the use of medicinal herbs. When I used to live in the forests, on many occasions Kols and Bhils came and told me about the qualities of certain herbs. (4) One time a Bhil brought me a root, the use of which - even at a distance - would scare tigers away. By using certain medicines, man can live for hundreds of years. There is also a herb that produces the power to fly in the sky when it is kept in the mouth.
3. Siddhis can come from using mantras. When the favour of the mantra's deity is gained, it will confer wonders according to its nature. This is the essence of gaining siddhis through mantras. Ordinary people may obtain some siddhis from yaksinis, or karna-pisacis and so on, or bhuta-pretas, (5) or trifling demigods, and they will tell people about the past and present. Or, they will do some magic and pretend that they are siddha yogis. (6) This is how they cheat common people.
4. Siddhis can come from tapas (7) [that matters] (Mod). Practising brahmacharya, (8) fasting, and putting up with various difficulties to attain God are forms of sattvic tapas (9). This leads to peace and happiness. Tapas [severe meditition and more] done with the intent to attract, kill, deceive, or immobilise someone is either rajasic or tamasic tapas (9). This will not lead to peace or satisfaction, but will lead rather to the increase of unhappiness, anxiety, desire, and anger. Due to the increase of these inner enemies, ultimately the aspirant will be destroyed.
5. Siddhis can come from samádhi (10). However, these siddhis are impediments in the aspirant's efforts to gain liberation while living [Jivanmukti] (11) With these siddhis can come long-lasting effects, and if one does not use them up, then they will become permanent.
The miraculous powers of yogis are very subtle. They are used only out of compassion and for the welfare of the world. We should understand this and by that protect people from delusion.
Do the bhajan (12) of God. If you become eligible for siddhis, they will seek you out. One becomes "eligible" by conquering worldly attachments. If you cut off attachment to the world and increase attachment to meeting the one Paramátmá (13), then clusters of siddhis themselves will follow behind you; you will not need to search for them.
You should choose such a path that will not destroy your dignity. When there is a possibility that you can develop a direct relationship with the omnipotent Paramátmá, then it would be your misfortune if you should instead go around chasing after some petty siddhis. If you pursue siddhis, they will elude you. If you understand siddhis as an obstacle in the path of your spiritual progress and free yourself of the desire to obtain them, then suddenly you will find yourself surrounded by siddhis. The best way to keep siddhis under your control is to continuously be inclined toward Bhagaván and never have a desire to use them. This is the path of svadhinata (14) [being Self-dependent]
If you begin to chase after the siddhis, you choose reliance on another, a dasa (15) [servant] of siddhis. Try not to. Rather try to become their master. If you become the sevala (16) [attendant, servant] of Bhagaván, then you become the master of siddhis. By becoming the servant of Bhagaván, then all will do your service. This is in reality svatantra (16) [Self-dependence] (15) and the path to svavalambi (17), Self-sufficiency.
- siddhis: Siddhis, paranormal abilities, psychic and spiritual powers] may be inborn, or they may be gained by the use of drugs [special medicinal plants], or by mantras, fervour (austerities), or by meditation." (Patanjali Yoga Sutras 4:1)
- upásana: steady meditation, spiritual practice.
- siddha: a perfected and wise (enlightened) one; one who has gained a siddhi or several of such paranormal capabilities.
- Kols and Bhils: tribal groups of people.
- Many spirits: (a) Yakshini (Yakshi) is the female counterpart of the male Yaksha, and they attend Kubera, the Hindu god of wealth and they are purported to guard treasures hidden in the earth. Yakshinis are often depicted as beautiful and voluptuous, with exaggerated, spherical breasts. Yakshinis are usually considered benevolent, yet there are also malevolent ones among them in Indian folklore. (b) A karnapisaci is a demon; a type of goddess; a fortune-teller. (c) And bhuta pretas are elemental ghosts ( bhutas, elements, and pretas, ghosts).
- siddha yogis: accomplished yogis with higher powers, etc.
- tapas: practices like stern meditation, self-discipline, pious activity, austere living. (Yoga Sutras 2.32, 2.43 and 4.1; WP, "Tapas (Indian religions)")
- brahmacharya: Literally: 'conduct consistent with Brahma' based on control of the mind. In one context, brahmacharya is the student stage of four age-based stages of life. It means chastity too during that stage. In monastic traditions, brahmacharya implies renunciation of sex.
- sattvic, rajasic and tamasic: of the three gunas (qualities, attributes in a classification system): Sattva means 'goodness, constructive, harmonious;' and lifts upwards; rajas relates to passion, active, drive (energy), confused; and tamas to darkness, destructive, sloven, chaotic. Also: Wisely directed devotion transcends the three gunas. Such devotion is "the intentness of the soul on its own nature. Or devotion may be called intentness on the reality of the Self." - Shankara (in Johnston 1946, 12)
- samádhi: a state of meditative consciousness had by well sustained meditation.
- jivanmukti: jiva: individual spirit, and mukti, freedom. the state of a free soul, of one liberated while living.
- bhajan: Devotional music in free form, usually lyrical. Ideas from scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints and loving devotion to a deity are the typical subjects of bhajans with lead singers, music, and sometimes dancing. A bhajan may be sung in a temple, in a home, under a tree in open, near a river bank or a place of historic significance.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Spirit, Self Beyond, etc.
- svadhinata: being subjected to one's Self.
- dasa: servant etc.
- sevala: attendant, servant
- svatantra: Self-dependence
- svavalambi: Self-sufficiency
To cook and eat paddy, remove the husk. Likewise, no one attains Brahman without breaking the bondage of karma, even if they are reading Vedánta books and proclaiming, "I am pure, I am purified." So long as the jiva (1) is bound by karma, it is separate from Paramátmá, When the bondage to karma is broken, then jiva and Paramátmá are one.
The Veda and shastra (2) show the path of escape from karma's noose. If we surrender our kriyamana karma (3) [current actions] to Paramátmá, we can be freed from the cycle of rebirth.
Even if not all of the husk is removed, if only a tip is torn off, that will make the kernel incapable of sprouting.
Likewise, nirmali (4) (a purifer) has the power to render water useful, but if you do not grind it and mix it into the water, it will have no effect. In the same way, however good Sanatana Vedic Dharma (5) may be, if you do not put it into practice, then you will not be able to remove sorrow and poverty.
- jiva: spirit, soul.
- shastra: precept, rules, manual, compendium, book or treatise.
- kriyamana karma: karma created in the present - leaving traces in the mind and the world we are inside, it is taught.
- nirmali: Strychnos potatorum Linn. Seeds are used to purify water.
- Sanatana Dharma: "Eternal Righteousness". Fit forms of yoga-meditations may bring help. That is about the crown of many Vedic teachings.
When the hope for happiness in this world is broken, people turn toward God. [Mod] (1).
Ceaseless, careful thinking is imperative. If you think that to be without women, wealth, family, servants, and so on is sorrowful, then just examine the lives of those who have had all these things. If they have found happiness and not more distress from them, then go right ahead and try to obtain them, too.
Abandon thirsting for what brings sorrow [Mod]. You will find happiness by abandoning such thirst [desires] and worshipping Ishvara (2).
Do not humble yourself before anyone out of the hope for happiness in this world . . . The treasury of happiness lies within.
One cannot get water from a mirage. We see water from a distance, and keep running, running, to slake our thirst. This is how it is for people who seek happiness from worldly objects such as wealth, women and children. As soon as they become engrossed in accumulating them, they become engrossed in worries.
If you want to experience happiness and peace, don't seek them in the world outside, search within yourself. The all-pervading Paramátmá is the essence of happiness, and his permanent abode is in your heart. (3)Therefore, seek Him inside yourself, and you will find Him quickly.
- Broken and worshipping: "We pray a lot to the Almighty in our distress." (Indian proverb, paraphrased)
- Ishvara: the Lord.
- The abode: Upanishadic teaching. See e.g. Svetasvatara Upanishad 3.20 and 4.17 and Maitrayana-Brahmaya Upanishad 7.7.
This world - you remain here awhile and then move on. When you are staying, you do the things you have to do and then you are on your way. If there is something lacking in the accommodations, you think, "Let's just adjust a bit, and then we will be leaving."
Life - you will not be staying here permanently. Therefore, don't take great interest in the management of this world - only to the degree necessary to sustain yourself. But elaborate plans for this world may not be fulfilled.
It is useless to initiate vain plans which can never be truly fulfilled.
Apply yourself in moderation to meeting the requirements of day-to-day affairs while applying yourself wholeheartedly to God-realisation (1), with full faith that only God can give permanent happiness and peace:
Do what must be done to meet your worldly needs, while keeping God foremost in your mind and heart. This is the plan for happiness and for a bright spiritual future.
- God-realisation: The first step: Atmajnana, Self-knowledge.
One can ask: If Bhagaván is truly omnipotent, then He can destroy all of creation at his very whim, so why can't He protect dharma and destroy the wicked without bothering to incarnate himself? [Bhagavad Gita 4.7] The answer is that by assuming an incarnation, Bhagaván displays his awesome power far and wide, and the multitudes of his devotees gain liberation as they sing his praises.
When God assumes form it is not for the purpose of experiencing happiness or unhappiness; He takes on a body through the power of his mysterious lila (1) [pretence]. So Bhagaván performs only as a role in a play.
- lila: charm, disguise, pretence, sport or play. It is often loosely translated as the "divine play" The creative activity of the Divine is called play (etc.) of God, and the world is seen as the stage of the divine play (etc). Lila is an important idea in the traditional worship of Bhagaván Krishna.
Keep your mind on God and carry on your daily affairs. They will continue to unfold. Distinguish between top priority and secondary priorities. We will be blessed by God if we make Him our first priority. Just a little of Paramátmá's blessing can make an individual life completely auspicious.
The omnipotent Bhagáván made this promise: "I will bestow yoga and prosperity to those who worship me with the attitude of singlemindedness." (see Bhagavad Gita 9.22)
The human being spends his whole life for the sake of acquiring things and taking care of them. When almighty God takes the responsibility of both, then we become free to spend our lives worshipping Him. What greater foolishness is there than forgetting God?
When God has promised that He will take care of these two things, there is no reason to wonder how your daily affairs will work themselves out, as long as you establish worshipping God as the first priority for your mind. When your mind is engaged with God, your daily business will be carried on quite nicely. This is the established teaching of the Upanisads and of the Bhagavad Gita, and it is the experience of countless devotees of God.
There is a recent story about a constable named Chunkai Das. One day, after reading the Ramayana for several hours and losing track of time, he remembered that he was expected at his post. When he came there, he was told by a soldier again and again that he had been there, done his duty and handed it over to the soldi er. "And now you have returned."
Chunkai Das made out that while he was absorbed at home, Bhagáván himself had come and done his duty for him. He left his job, saying, "If my Lord can take such pains for my sake, I can leave this job for his sake."
Many devotees have had this type of direct experience: Bhagáván has fulfilled all their mundane affairs himself.
Thus, engage the mind mainly in meditation and remembrance of God, and engage body and wealth in activities enjoined by the scriptures [that matter]. This way the life here and the life hereafter will be bright.
- Ramayana: a poem about Rama, Sita, bears, monkeys and more.
- Bhagáván: the Blessed Lord, one's personal God, the Lord, etc.
Moksha (1) [liberation of the spirit] is not the only benefit conferred by deep meditation into God. Spiritual practices will not only give you liberation, but wealth and honour also.
By performing upásana (2) [deep meditation etc.] one climbs the first step of sravana (3) [listening]. The second step is kirtan (4) singing the glories of Bhagáván, the third step is remembrance, and the fourth step is to meditate on the lotus feet (5) of the Lord ceaselessly in one's mind. But Lakshmi must be dealt with. (6). She appears to the devotee as wealth, fame, respect and prominence, and it may ensnare him or her in this world and distract him and her from fit worship. Thus, wealth, fame, respect and prominence may distract and turn into obstacles. [Mod]
Day and night you worry and scheme for wealth and skulk about to get cash, fame and prominence. All of it will come to you without effort if you but turn towards Bhagáván [as is fit].
If you want liberation there is no other way than through worshipping God (7) [very, very well]. If you want worldly treasures, then you should also surrender to Him. When a spiritual aspirant does tapas (8) [heats up, sort of], then the Lord of heaven, on the seat of Indra (9), will become fearful and try to create obstacles to his tapas in the form of temptations. The goddess of wealth [i.e. Lakshmi] also brings the aspirant riches to distract his attention from God.
To remember God well not only imparts liberation, but will also jolt Lakshmi and protect you from her trickery (Mod). Therefore, do what will maximise your wealth. By this we mean that through spiritual practice you can attain all the ends of life. When you begin to attract the attention of the Omnipotent, then what is not possible for you? In these times, people leave their own houses and are pushed around at the homes of the seths (10) [wealthy merchants and more]. Many people have faith in the wealthy; yet they have no faith in the Omnipotent One. They stumble from door to door. (Mod).
Even now the world falls in line behind one who has faith in God. Therefore, if you must praise someone, praise Bhagáván, so that the life here and the life hereafter will both benefit.
Reduce your worldly desires and increase your love for God (11). The right use of a human body is to embark upon that path where all manner of opportunities lie waiting.
- moksha: liberation of the spirit.
- upásana: regular, deep meditation.
- sravana: hear, reflect on the Upanishads to gain insight and understanding; mental activity linked to Brahman. Some teachings describe sravana as the first stage in the spiritual quest, where it is for the individual to ascertain well.
- kirtan: Sanskrit for "narrating, reciting, telling, describing" of an idea or story. Kirtans may include acting and very often musical forms of narration with dances and/or shared songs that embody religious ideas.
- lotus feet: A God-man is likened to a lotus flower too: Even though the lotus grows in muddy water, the flower rises above the water, and dirty water bounces off it.
- Lakshmi: the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity; a principal deity thought of as Mother of the world. Lakshmi is depicted in Indian art as elegantly dressed and also able to prevail in the dark. Hand-held lotuses are symbols of fortune, self-knowledge and spiritual awakening.
- worship: "There is worship and worship." Some forms of it help. Buddha tells in the Bhumija Sutta that wrong methods and wrong ideas are not fruitful in meditation.
- tapas (from heat, warmth): austerity, penance, deep meditation
- Indra: the foremost god in the Vedic pantheon, the king of Heaven and the Devas - the Lord of the highest Heaven (Indraloka). His mythologies and powers are similar to those of Jupiter, Zeus, and Thor. Indra's importance wanes in Indian literature from post-Vedic times (800 BCE – 200 BCE). There he is depicted as the god who disturbs monks as they meditate because he fears self-realised human beings may become more powerful than him.
- seth: wealthy merchant. [Indra note]
- bhakti: love for God, devotion. [Bhakti note]
Your friends and family members look to you to fulfill their own wants and needs. Perhaps none of them wants your heart, but they still mind your body and wealth. (Mod.)
But remember that the same heart and mind that nobody in this world may want is just what can help you reach Paramátmá.
Use your body and wealth to do business in the marketplace, this world, but keep your heart on the path to Paramátmá, who is ever with you. Train your attention as is necessary for it. Save your heart.
As for merchandise [of this world] you must pay according to its value.
Your mind and heart will always be with you, even in heaven, therefore keep in contact with the permanent One, Paramátmá. Maintain your inner focus only on Paramátmá. Only He is worthy of your constant attention. Contact with Him will confer permanent happiness on us.
Can you keep your focus on wealth, women, children, or favoured friends? Not for a long time, because no object of this world can really satisfy the mind. When the heart attains the Supreme, it will dwell there forever. After acquiring Paramátmá, the heart desires nothing. Ultimately, the heart must go to That which is worthy of it.
Conducting your activities according to the guidelines of the scriptures [that matter] is a means to promote prosperity, moral development, and moksha (1), great freedom.
Whatever something requires of you in life, your efforts must correspond.
However great the punya (2) [merit] required to cross the ocean of samsára (3) [the material world], that much punya you must acquire. If a parched man requires a large draught of water to quench his thirst, but you give him only a sip, his thirst will not be quenched.
You can acquire punya by reading religious books such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, etc., but reading alone will not accumulate enough merit to cross the ocean of samara.
We are not saying here that reading religious books is useless. We are saying that it is not enough merely to read the scriptures - you must also apply the truths that you find there to your daily life. Only then can your reading be considered useful, and you can accumulate great merit. If you want to escape from ruin, then free yourself from sin, and do not pursue human goals opposed to the shastras (4). Free yourself from sin, and acquire merit - this is the way to improvement.
- moksha: liberation of the spirit.
- punya: invisible wealth; merit, good karma -
- samsára: the world we are in
- shastra sacred book, treatise of instructions for regulating life (etc.); science in general (and more).
For most people it is not appropriate to withdraw from the world and become totally dedicated to the worship of God (1). Conduct your day-to-day activities, but conduct them in such a way that they do not impede your main goal in life, attaining God-realization. To engage your mind in samsára (2) more than is needed is losing [a sense of] propositions.
Be careful where you put your mind in daily affairs. Consider first the degree to which something requires your mind's attention. Engage the mind to the minimum in samsára and to the maximum in Paramátmá (3).
Be careful to do things according to the shastras, while at the same time keeping the mind minimally engaged. If you continually think of Paramátmá, then your daily affairs will be pleasant and the ultimate goal will also be brightened.
- worship of God: meditation towards the Self Beyond, Paramátmá.
- samsára: the material world.
- Paramátmá: Self Beyond, Supreme Atman, etc.
- shastra: sacred book, treatise of instructions and injunctions for regulating life (etc.); science in general (etc.). (See note further down)
Living in the deep forest for many years, I have experienced the all-knowing and almighty nature of Bhagaván. Even where no worldly amenities exist, all the necessary amenities are provided for the sake of Bhagaván's devotee.
Can a prince experience any deprivation in his own kingdom? Wherever he dwells in the three worlds (1), the devotee of almighty God will live blissfully. After all, how can the all-powerful allow his own devotee to become sorrowful?
We have only to gain the blessing of almighty God, and through faith and devotion, be one with Him. Then He himself will take care of us. Prayer will no longer be required.
When a child is sick, does he have to pray to his father to be taken care of? Of course not. The father himself cannot bear to see his child suffer, and will do everything possible to take care of him. Similarly, when we become one with God, then He takes care of us completely. For that there is no need to pray to Him. This is the great truth behind devotion - a truth that one must experience for oneself - that the devotee of God cannot be unhappy.
- three worlds: Sanskrit: triloka, three lokas, realms, worlds, namely the material world, the subtle (astral) plane, the causal plane (heavenly). Others may understand it differently. The main planes get subdivided too. Encyclopaedia Britannica: "The most common division of the universe is the tri-loka, or three worlds (heaven, earth, atmosphere; later, heaven, world, netherworld), each of which is divided into seven regions." (EB, "Loka")
In old age, when your body becomes frail and you no longer have the ability to earn money, family members and close friends will start neglecting you. But if you take the help of God, then there is no need to depend on others. Even if you are neglected by the whole world, you will lose nothing. There is a saying related to this:
For him on whom God's grace shines, help is available from all sides, because Bhagaván is omnipotent. The person who becomes favoured even by an ordinary king will obtain aid from all the people of that kingdom. In similar fashion, all the powers of the world will start working for the benefit of him who turns towards the omnipotent Paramátmá.
"For him who contemplates Me with unswerving (1) devotion, I myself take care of yoga and ksema (2): I will provide him what he doesn't have (yoga) and protect that which he already has obtained (ksema)." This is the omnipotent Bhagaván's promise (see Bhagavad Gita 9.22). Have faith in this and apply your mind to worshipping the Lord.
It is no big deal if one spends a little time contemplating God. The big deal is this - that the One who can bring completion to all works, the omnipotent Lord, is ready to grant the desires of his devotees.
Hence, not to turn towards God is nothing less than a great misfortune, and what more can be said?
- unswerving: not always easy for a long time, but . . .
- ksema: prosperity, ease, comfort, residing in security (and more).
To worship, chant and meditate each day is well and good, but it is also desirable to do ten to fifteen minutes of japa with your chosen mantra (2) [meditation by use of a mantra] and dhyana (3) [meditation] on the chosen form before sleeping. This quickens the spiritual progress.
Sit in darkness with eyes closed and repeat your mantra; then meditate on your chosen deity (4) mentally, still with eyes closed. You should not envision its whole body, but rather its feet or face. The gaze of the chosen deity confers blessings, so you should visualise it looking at you with love and compassion, and not with its eyes closed. Thus meditating in your heart on your chosen deity who is looking at you affectionately, you should repeat your chosen mantra. This will lead to more faith and love for the chosen deity. The strength of this faith will ultimately help you to cross the ocean of samsára.
- japa: mantra-repetitions, a practice found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and other world religions. The mantra may be mentally spoken within the reciter's mind, and likewise in group settings too. There are other ways to use mantras as well. a syllable, word or phonemes, or group of words in Sanskrit believed by practitioners to have psychological and/or spiritual powers. A mantra may or may not have a syntactic structure or literal meaning. There are other ways to use mantras as well.
- mantra: a syllable or set of syllables. A mantra may or may not have a given, literal meaning.
- dhyana: meditation, also called "sustained attention". Dhyana in Hinduism means contemplation and meditation as a means to Self-knowledge.
- chosen deity: favourite deity. Sanskrit: istha devata, cherished divinity - from istha "desired, liked, cherished, preferred" and devatá "godhead, divinity, tutelary deity" or deva "deity".
A dam is built, the land can be cultivated. [Dam: regular meditation; land = mind]
If one enjoys objects moderately, as indicated by the shastras (1), it is not very dangerous. But so as not weaken your heart and mind (2), free at least your mind of worldly objects.
If your mind has been gripped by worldly objects and your life subordinate to them, you may become miserable as well. However, if you get much independent of things, you may live in bliss.
Therefore, protect yourself from constantly thinking of worldly objects.
- shastra: shastra ("teaching," "textbook"). Most Hindu authorities consider the study of the textbooks essential to successful spiritual practice, but with exceptions. The Bhagavad-Gita (16.24) states that for day-to-day living the shastras should guide a person in determining fit and unfit conduct: those who live as they please may not find sukha (what is pleasant; delight; felicity; happiness; pleasure) and heartfelt joy. The art of dealing with shastras involves sorting their good points very carefully.
- heart and mind: antah-karana Skt. "the inner cause," "the internal organ", i.e. heart and mind. The antah-karana consists of the higher mind (called buddhi, which includes reason, comprehend, understand, a "higher grasp"), the "I" (ahamkára, Self-conscious 'I'-maker), and the mind (called manas). As for manas, it is told to be the human 'mind' that coordinates and groups together sensory impressions into groups and chunks to be stored or processed as single concepts. (see EB, 'Manas')
As the individual desires, he will act, for good or for bad. To the extent that the mind is pure, the individual will incline towards pure actions. The opposite happens to impure ones.
For a good life here and herafter, keep the mind pure. So keep the company of good people and forgo the company of the bad. Daily practice of your sádhana (1) and study of scriptures (2) are important, as is a pure diet. Keep the commandments of good conduct and non-injury, and always keep yourself within the path of virtue.
- sádhana: literally; 'a means of accomplishing something.' In yoga: means of Self-Realisation; means; exercises. The toil includes a variety of disciplines.
- scriptures: Make it a point to adhere to the rewarding ones. Mind a problem: People teach differently. [Kalama Sutta]
Attachment is absent in the enlightened person, but thrives among the ignorant. A jnani's (1) activities will be free from attachment, and will unfold according to prárabdha (2) [commenced karma]. An ignorant person's activities also will unfold according to commenced karma, but the one who acts remains bound by attachment. Attachment binds the individual in the shackles of birth and death.
Therefore, try to destroy this source of bondage and miseries called attachment. Freeing oneself of attachment towards samsára is possible only when one turns towards Paramátmá.
- jnani: 'sage,' 'a wise one' ' one who has Self-knowledge. An atma-jnani realises the Self of Unity.
- prárabdha prárabdha karma, commenced karma: the part of one's total many-lives karma which are ready to be experienced in a life, or has become active already.
After knowing God, you will find that there is nothing else worth knowing. Once you have enjoyed the taste of Bhagavatattva (1) [God-realization], your mind can never become entangled elsewhere.
The Lord has said, "My three-strand maya (2) is difficult to escape," meaning that crossing it [to the other shore] is quite difficult. "But he who comes to me for shelter will cross this difficult maya of mine." (Bhagavad Gita 7.14 paraphrased)
Therefore, don't let fear of obstacles deter you. Bhagaván will protect you in all ways, and will bring you close to Him.
- Bhagavatattva: Godliness
- maya: appearance of the world of phenomena. 'Maya' has many meanings depending on the context. In ancient Vedic literature, maya literally implies wisdom out of the ordinary. In later texts, Maya connotes a "magic show where things are not what they seem." Maya is also what hides "the true character of spiritual reality". (WP, "Maya (religion)")
One use of purushartha (1) is to elimininate negative tendencies and promote positive ones. If any bad impulses arise, seek to replace it with another. (Mod) (2)
If a bad impulse arises in the mind, keep postponing acting on it so that the negative tendency will gradually fade. If a good impulse should arise in your mind, then be ready to act on it at once if possible.
- purusartha: old aims of a human life: Righteousness; wealth; love and pleasures; and liberation of the spirit.
- Replace a lot, and with a sound plan. [Going for the virtues in Erik Erikson's life stages may amount to the same]
Hatred could be an indicator of thwarted id (zest). It may have happened a long time ago.
In whatever country you live, you can only be happy and peaceful if you follow its laws and regulations. The Lord of the whole universe is the universal ruler Paramátmá. If you act against His wishes, unrest, dissatisfaction, and sorrow will increase, at times daily.
Divine law (1) is benevolent towards everyone. To whatever extent you follow it, you will experience happiness and peace. Vedas and shastras contain teachings of the Paramátmá for the benefit of every human being. Follow them [wisely, or as wisely and well as can be], and improvements are possible. Then man can increase his power, capability, knowledge, and bliss without limit.
When you can sell diamonds, then why blacken your hands by trying to sell coal? Since you are capable of worshipping Paramátmá according to the shastra, and thereby can obtain endless bliss, then why struggle day and night to collect ephemeral sensory pleasures? Act with discrimination. Day and night will pass as usual, but if you misuse even one moment, it will be a loss to your spiritual life. Therefore, immersing yourself in Paramátmá, act according to your own dharma (4) - this is the path of complete advancement.
- Divine law: Ishvarya niyam:
(a) Ishvar(a) = the Lord; supreme soul, ruler, lord, king, queen or husband; In medieval school of Hinduism, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal god (etc.).
(b) niyama = positive duties or observances, things to adhere to and do. These do's complement don'ts, yamas. Niyamas are recommended activities and habits for healthy living and the liberated spirit. The world has many meanings depending on context.
- dharma: righteousness etc. [Dharma note]
- Shastra: precept, rules, manual, compendium, book or treatise - The Upanishads; Bhagavad Gita; the Mahabharata are shastras.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Spirit, Self Beyond, etc.
Happiness and sorrow today may stem from your past good and bad actions (Mod). Thus, act so that you do not create a groundwork for future sorrow. You will have to consume the fruits of your actions. If you do right (1), the fruit will be happiness. But if you act against right doings, you are in for suffering in the future.
If you want to make your future prárabdha (2) good, then do beneficient actions now, in step with purushartha (3) [four great aims of life]. If you engage in right action according to your position [forebears' oomph; social standing (varna) and life stage (áshrama)], you may be more peaceful and happy in the present and your future karma may become ideal too.
Good or bad situations confronting you right now could be commenced karma (prarabhda karma), and should be met with discrimination. If wine and meat are placed in front of you as the fruit of past evil karma - then you should reject it. Destroy the negative karmic influences by chanting and asceticism.
It is the established teaching that "By japa on the name of Bhagaván, sin is destroyed." (Vishnu Stotra) (4)
By [proficient] japa, sins will be destroyed. Therefore, experience your commenced appropriate karma and destroy the inappropriate through japa and tapas (5). By thus performing your daily activities with discrimination you will advance; but if you are not careful in your daily activities, then you will wallow in the mud like a dog or a pig.
- right actions are hardly just single acts, but may equally well mean things you have set in motion, and established "frames" of living you adapt to.
- prárabdha, prárabdha karma: 'started action': the part of one's total many-lives karma which are ready to be experienced in a life or has become active already.
- purushartha (or purusha-artha): ("human purpose"). Four main goals of living blend: (1) artha, or material welfare, prosperity; (2) kama, or pleasure, including going for physical comfort, emotional well-being, and intellectual delights; (3) dharma, or virtue, justice, morally all right living; (4) moksha, or liberation. Also, accomplished yogic living leads to the summum bonum of human life.
- Bhagavan names: One thousand names of Bhagaván are given in the Vishnu Stotra, which is a part of the Mahabharata. The names tell of qualites of the Lord, such as "without sorrow" (Satyaprasad 2013, 143). The teaching that all the world is from Bhagaván definitely implies all mantras do too: You may try to find the best one for you and meditate regularly and well on it.
- tapas: (from heat, warmth) austerity, penance, deep meditation. (WP, "Tapas [Indian religions]")
In this universe, the greatest thing is Paramátmá (1). They who have given up Paramátmá and are indifferent to God are the greatest renunciates (2).
Paramátmá is supreme in the field of attractions. The mind of a truly attached person is absorbed in God and cannot be diverted. Be like that. Increase your attachment to Paramátmá and become a truly attached person.
Those who have acquired great merit [punya (3)] through charity, virtue, chanting, austerities, etc. . . . all the fruits of all their actions are being bundled into a parcel addressed to themselves.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Spirit, Transcendent Self, and more.
- renunciate: another word for sannyasi, (ascetic), which may be a recluse, a nun, a monk, a muni, etc.
- punya: 'merit' as a fruit of actions or volitions that are morally good and in wise keeping with divine order.
He who has not accepted a chosen deity will remain an orphan, even if he has money and comforts. Make your main chosen deity the all-capable Bhagaván, whose very nature is bliss. Be one-pointed on Him, and then you will lack for nothing. If you hold on to the One steadfastly, you will be freed from flattering the many. Otherwise, a "stray dog" may get bread here and there, but gets kicked around otherwise.
The meaning of unswerving devotion to the chosen deity is simple: if worldly activities come up during your time of worship, you ignore them until your worship is finished.
Make liberation your primary goal and keep worldly activities secondary. Have faith in the pledge of Bhagaván [in Bhagavad Gita 9.22], then you can keep your head high both here and in the next world.
[The pledge:] "For him who thinks of me with an undivided attitude, I take care of yoga [acquiring those things which are not yet obtained] and ksema [protecting those things which are already obtained]." This is the pledge of Bhagaván. Having faith in this, you will always be happy.
Many great warriors and conquerors have come and gone. Most have been totally forgotten. This world continues like a perennial stream. While here you are intelligent only to the extent that you do your own work. Put your wholehearted effort into attaining Paramátmá (1), who is Sat Chit Ánanda (2), existence, knowledge, and bliss.
Try to fulfill this effort in any way possible. Don't get entangled, for this world will go on without you anyway. Don't pursue the mirage, and don't light your own funeral pyre.
Is it wise to leave your own house a mess while trying to clean the houses of your neighbours? First do your own work, and then you can help others. Complete that work for which you have come into this world. If you do not take care of yourself first, but foolishly waste your time trying to take care of others, you will regret it at life's end. Wisdom consists in making the best of both this world and the next. This is possible only if you consider that your primary goal in life is to obtain liberation. Make liberation primary and make all other good acts of the world secondary. Carry out praise, worship, meditation, and adoration regularly; consider them to be your primary activity. Then you can take some time from those activities and carry out worldly activities which you deem worthy. Follow this formula - otherwise you will be cheated.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Self, Self Beyond, etc.
- Sat Chit Ánanda , Sat-Chit-Ánanda, and Satchitananda stand for "existence (truth, reality); mind (consciousness); and joy".
When you have got this rare human body, don't waste it. Understand the value of this life. Otherwise you will weep in the end. Each moment of life is valuable.
As a human being you have the power to discriminate between good and bad, and you can accomplish the greatest human goals. Don't think of yourself as weak or fallen, whatever has happened in the past. Now be careful, discern what is right and what is wrong. Adopt the good and reject the bad.
If, as a human being, you fail to reach God (1), then you have sold a diamond for the price of spinach. Worship Paramátmá (2) for His sake. Paramátmá is all knowing, almighty, and the source of limitless bliss. Through upásana (3), you become able to capture these qualities. The fulfillment of this superb act is the real purpose of the human birth.
- reach God: by Atmabodhi (Self-knowledge) and more. Duality recedes along the way.
- Paramátmá: Self Beyond, Supreme Spirit
- upásana: Vedic texts speak of upásana as a meditative reverence at what is formless, such as the Absolute Self, Atman (Soul). In Vedánta the term refers to systematic meditation. (WP, "Upasana")
Cultivate your relationship with Paramátmá (1), the source of limitless power. This is the only remedy for your poverty of spirit. samsára (2) is not something to be known, it is something to be forgotten. The more you try to understand this ocean of sorrows, the deeper into sorrows you will plunge. To think that by comprehending samsára you will attain happiness and peace is like expecting to find light by delving into darkness.
This world is an ocean of sorrow. It is impossible to become happy through wordliness; to love samsára is to sow the seeds of your own unhappiness.
"Don't love this world. Just do your daily duties."
Treat this world as you would treat an enemy. When an enemy comes to your door, you welcome him more graciously than a friend, because a friend will not be concerned about etiquette, whereas an enemy will point out even the smallest breach of protocol. Therefore, an enemy should be welcomed with complete decorum. Thus, in this world you observe all formalities, but inwardly you remain aware that you are in enemy territory. Don't become too friendly toward this world, because you are in danger when samsára becomes desirable in your mind. Don't try to know so much of it that it is to your loss (Mod) (3).
- Paramátmá: Self Beyond, Supreme Spirit, etc.
- samsára: ("flow") is the world of phenomena, and connotes a flux of events and cycles of births and deaths too. The Maitrayaniya-Upanishad (6.28) says that those who are liberated (Self-realised ones) look down on the samsára as on a dizzily revolving wheel (cakra). The Yoga-Bhashya (4.11) explains that this world wheel turns due to the power of spiritual ignorance: " Ignorance is its driver" (Leggett 1990, 380). The Varáha-Upanishad (2.64) describes it as a sea of sorrow: "This mundane existence . . . is an ocean of sorrow."
- too much: How much is "too much"? When it is to our loss somehow. It is a loss if 'best' and 'better' should be replaced by mere 'good' as well. If so, many 'good's might well be seen as "enemies of 'best's". There are deep losses and other losses.
Spend your remaining time here in this world in peace; don't make yourself restless over trivialities.
Your daily bread is taken care of by the past karma that you bear in this lifetime, where you may be. If you are worried about others, ask yourself: Why are you running here and there, working for the benefit of those who kick you when you are down?
In this world, everybody will be friendly to the fortunate. "Everybody is happy to be brother-in-law to the prosperous, but no one will claim relationship to the unfortunate."
Markandeya was a man who used to rob travellers to feed and clothe his family. Once a group of rishis (2) came his way. Markandeya attacked them also. The rishis told him, "We will not run away, but before you rob us, ask your family this: 'Are you ready to share the bad karma acquired by robbing others, or do you just want the wealth?'"
Markandeya asked his family members about it. They all said they did not want the bad karma, just the money.
On hearing this, Markandeya understood, "Life is short. I cannot afford to waste it any more." Then and there he began uttering "Rama, Rama (3)," as the rishis had instructed him. He sat on a seat and became deeply engrossed in the bhajan (4) [worship] of Bhagavan (5). White ants made an anthill - a valmika - around him while he sat there. When he finally emerged from the anthill, he was called Valmiki, [one who sits in an anthill].
Resorting to unlawful means, even for the sake of others, can amount to ruin your life both in this world and the next. It is wise to perform your worldly activities honestly and spend your time peacefully singing praises to the Lord.
- Valmiki: reputed author of Ramayana and Yoga Vasistha.
- rishi: seer, or Vedic sage. In the Vedas, the word denotes an inspired poet of Vedic hymns. Tehre were many women rishis also. Post-Vedic tradition, after ca. 500 BCE, regards the rishis as "sages" or saints.
- Rama: a king in Ramayana. The name is also used as a mantra.
- bhajan: worship. (Here:) by repeating a mantra in deep meditation. The term is also used for devotional music with lead singers and sometimes dancing. A bhajan may be sung in a temple, in a home, under a tree in open, near a river bank or a place of historic significance. "Ideas from scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints and loving devotion to a deity are the typical subjects of bhajans. (WP, "Bhajan")
- Bhagavan: the Blessed Lord
After the asura (1) king Hiranyakashyapu had been defeated in a war with the devas (1), he went to the forest to acquire greater power by means of tapas (2) [special penance]. At that time, his wife was pregnant. Meanwhile, Indra (3) [the king of gods] thought that Hiranyakashyapu's son might become more powerful than his father and would grow up to create even greater trouble for the devas. He therefore decided to kill the child right after it was born. With this in mind, Indra carried off the pregnant wife of the asura.
As she was being abducted, lamenting, they ran into the sage Narada (4). He asked Indra, "Where are you taking this defenseless lady? And for what purpose?"
Indra replied, "This is the wife of the asura king Hiranyakashyapu. She is pregnant. By destroying the child who will be born to her, I am going to remove a source of future trouble for the gods. That's why I am taking her to my world."
Narada said, "A great devotee of Bhagaván (5) will be born to her, and he will be unconquerable, so release her."
Indra released her and left. Narada then took her to his ashram (6). There he told devotional stories of Bhagaván day after day. When the child was born, it was named Prahlada. He was taught by Narada in early childhood too. As a result, he was devoted to Bhagaván.
When he started going to school, he told his classmates about wisdom and meditation as well as stories of Bhagaván. The other children asked, "You are studing with us. These things are not taught here, and you live in the company of demons, so how have you come to learn the wonderful things that you are telling us about?"
Prahlada told he had learnt by listening to the stories narrated by the sage Narada while he was in the womb and from his birth. "When my mother returned from the ashram of Narada, she was in the environment of demons and forgot all those teachings completely, but I remembered everything. That is source of what I have been telling you."
The son of a demon king had learnt of Bhagaván even while in the womb, and was born a devotee. The pregnant mother's religious culture and faith in God influence the unborn child.
Prahlada was sure that God is everywhere. Wherever he looked, he saw his deity - even in water, soil, and fire. This was why fire, water, and so on could not hurt him. Whatever means were used against Prahlada became favourable to him. When Prahlada's demon father had his demons throw Prahlanda into fire, Prahlada said with a smile,
"Where is the fear of the person who chants the name of Ram? This, Ram Nam, [the name of Ram] is the medicine to remove all types of sorrow. Father, see now how the fire near my body acts like water!" It cooled instead of burned.
When you see your chosen deity everywhere, then whatever approaches comes as your chosen one [Ishta devata (7)], your friend. This is an established truth: if one's faith is firm, then whatever approaches will become like the person himself.
If one has strong faith in nonviolence, then the lion, tiger, and all harmful animals who approach will abandon their wild nature and become nonviolent. But our faith should be very strong, our trust in Paramátmá (8) should be firm.
Our actions should be based on clear thinking.
To keep the intellect pure, one should always remain aware of the purity of one's food, and with the help of Bhagaván one should try to sustain oneself with a sattvic (9) lifestyle.
- asuras and devas: In Hindu tradition, devas are gods, asuras are demons and enemies of devas, roughly said. Yet "there are asuras and asuras:" The venerated Varuna, Mithra, Indra, Rudra, Agni, Aryaman, Pusan and Parjanya are told of as being Asuras, but without being demonic . . . the Rig Veda's Asuras are all exalted Gods. Many characteristics has drifted and shifted and mingled. [see WP, "Asura"]
- tapas: (from heat, warmth) austerity, penance, deep meditation.
- Indra: a Vedic deity. In the Vedas, he is the king of Heaven and the devas.
- Narada: a Vedic sage and travelling musician and storyteller.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- áshrama (also: áshram and ashramam): a spiritual community and hermitage, a monastic community, or a place of religious retreat.
- Ishta devata: cherished and chosen divinity.
- Garbhadhana: a rite, from Garbha (womb) and dhana (attain, wealth) - attaining the wealth of the womb. (WP, "Garbhadhana")
- Paramátmá: Spirit Beyond, Soul Beyond, Transcendent God, etc.
- sattvic: the comparatively subtlest or highest of the three gunas (qualities as classified).
The demon king Hiranyakashyapu had a sister, Holika. As a result of extreme tapas she got as a boon that she could not be burned. But whoever she took with her on her lap as she went into fire would be burnt to ashes.
Hiranyakashyapu had become exhausted from attacking his pure and God-devoted son Prahlada. The demon king was unable to trouble his son - he had thrown Prahlada down from mountaintops and Prahlada merely laughed; dunked him in water, and Prahlada emerged smiling; thrown him into fire, but he was unburned. Hiranyakashyapu had done all this, but his efforts failed, for Prahlada would not abandon worshipping (1) Bhagaván (2).
Then Holika said, "Bring him, and I will burn him to ashes." She placed Prahlada on her lap and sat down. A fire blazed up in all four directions. But the power of Prahlada' s devotion was such that his aunt was reduced to ashes and Prahlada came out of the fire smiling.
- worship: there are many ways and means. It is wisdom to search out the best ones and stick to them a lot.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
God is merciful to the humble (1). Man should please the Lord by being humble, by worship or by carrying out his enjoined duties while offering their fruits to Bhagaván (2). If one cannot carry out such karma and worship, then at least one should get humble.
Out of great compassion, Bhagaván supports those who are without support in the world. The person whose attachments to samsára (3) are totally gone - such a person will be supported by Paramátmá (4).
Draupadi (5) was defenseless during her disrobing [in the court of Dhritarastha]. Nobody there would protect her. In her misery she called out to Bhagaván, who protected her. Those who are without outward support usually don't have to endure the fruits of sins. Hence, if you cannot carry out any other practice, then become humble.
When you become humble, then the world will appear no more real than a conjurer's money. There may be heaps of rupees, but when it is announced: "This is a conjurer's money," then even the most miserly, greedy person will not bother looking at it. Similarly, when you become completely humble, you will not get attached to anything in this world. When you humbly call on Bhagaván without any attachment to samsára (3), then you will get Bhagaván's mercy. And if you are lacking in humility, the mercy to the humble is still there and ready to rise and take care of you.
Due to lack of company with true ones (6), people are not able to gain from the merciful nature of God. Furthermore, whatever little people gain from good company [satsangas] (5), doesn't remain in their hearts (7).
Nowadays it has become very popular to chant the Bhagavad Gita. This is of value, but chanting alone cannot give full peace and happiness. Merely looking at food will not still one's hunger, and listening to the glory of the name of Bhagaván by itself will not give happiness and peace. But to understand Gita verses well may give happiness (Mod).
- humble: Skt. dina (din) - most humble, and distressed, wretched, helpless (and more).
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- samsára: the world.
- Paramátmá: Spirit Beyond, Soul Beyond, Transcendent God, and more.
- Draupadi's robe: Draupadi is a loved female character in the long epos Mahabharata. In a bet that was contrary to what the scriptures at the time permitted, she was won by Duryodhana in a rigged game of dice. Afterwards someone in Duryodhana's court tried to take off her robe to let her stand naked in front of the many there. Draupadi prayed to Krishna. A miracle occurred. The draped garment on her body got longer and longer as layers and layers of it were unwrapped. She was thereby saved from getting naked and dishonoured in public.
- Satsanga: The Sanskrit word means to associate with true people, or to be in the company of true people. Also: sitting with a sat guru.
- heart: Skt. antah-karana, heart and mind, the "inner organ". In Vedantic literature its parts are "I" (ahamkar), buddhi (intellect, intelligence, higher mind), manas (middle-level mind) and memory.
Remember Bhagaván (1) for your own benefit, not for Bhagaván's. The Lord never becomes pleased with anybody, nor angry. The individual remembers God only for his own welfare.
There are many methods of remembering God. One has to learn this from his Guru according to one's own aptitude.
Kabír (2) was a devotee of Rama and used to sing the name of Bhagaván Rama. Throughout his daily activities, even while carrying out his weaving, he chanted, "Ram, Ram, Ram." By taking the name of Bhagaván like this, he developed faith and "perfection in the name," Nama siddha. (3) There is an interesting incident which tells what this Nama perfection is about.
Once a leper came to Kabír's house. Kabír was not at home then. The leper explained his situation to Kabír' s wife. She felt compassion and told the leper to chant the name of Ram three times. The leper explained that he had taken the name of Ram thousands of times, but nothing had happened. The lady insisted, "Do as I say."
When he had taken the name of Ram three times, his body became totally cured. He became extremely happy and left, praising the glories of Kabír along the way.
Kabír happened to be returning on the same road and heard this person saying that anyone with a problem should go to Kabír Sahib's house. Kabír greeted this gentleman and said, "I am Kabír. From now on, if you tell anybody about your being cured, you will have problems, and you will never be well again."
After saying this, Kabír returned home and assumed a sad appearance. Kabír's devoted (5) wife asked him why he looked sad.
He said, "The thing is this - you have made Bhagaván's name very cheap. By taking Bhagaván's name just once, he could have gotten a divine body, so why did you make him utter it three times? It's possible that your asking him to repeat it thrice is because you did not have enough faith in the name of God."
Bhagaván's name has such great inherent power to destroy the effects of sins that nobody could ever commit enough sins to exhaust its redemptive capacity.
"When one remembers [Hari (6)] even with an evil mind, Bhagaván will destroy one's sins." (Cf. Pandava Gita, v. 65; Hari Ashtakam v. 1).
So continue to do good actions, carry out all enjoined duties, and keep remembering God. This way all past sins can be destroyed. But one should not continue committing sins while taking the name of Bhagaván. After all, what profit is there if one continuously withdraws whatever one deposits in the bank?
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- Kabír: a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint. When he died, both Hindus and Muslims had claimed him as theirs.
- Perfection in the Name: Nama siddha involves mastery of the name of God as one's mantra.
- mahatma: a revered person regarded with love and respect; a holy person or sage.
- devoted wife: Among Hindus Pátivrata is a woman who is faithful and devoted to her husband, and who has vowed to support him well too (etc).
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- sahib: a polite term of respect used after the name.
- Hari: a name for the supreme absolute in the Vedas, Guru Granth Sahib and other sacred texts of South Asia. In Hinduism, it is often used interchangeably with Vishnu.
Persisting worldly thoughts makes it difficult to think consistently about God. Bhagaván (1) says: "With their minds and lives entirely absorbed in me, enlightening each other and always speaking of me, they are satisfied and delighted." [Bhagavad Gita 10.9]
The sense of this is, "Attach your thoughts to Me." Do not think of samsára (2), but of Paramátmá (3). We should think of Him at all times and in all situations, not leaving any gap in the mind for anything else to creep in. The main cause for the intrusion of worries is impurity in our nourishment. (4)
With regard to the purity of food, [there is a saying] that if we if we go through life not harming others, not associating with bad persons, and not plunging the Atman in entanglements, then whatever small amount we earn will be plenty. If you make trouble for others while earning your money, that wealth will remain behind after your death, but the harm which you have given to that person will tag along with your subtle body. (5) Therefore, don't act in a manner that will force you to lug the baggage of sin when you leave.
If you associate with base people, your intellect [buddhi (6)] gets spoiled, and once your intellect is spoiled, a fall is certain.
Direct association with base objects is very precipitous. So going to the home of the wicked for the purpose of making money is forbidden.
That path which is in accord with the Vedas and shastras [scriptures] given by good people should not be violated.
If a situation arises in your daily dealings where you have to come into contact with a base person, then you should approach him just like you go to the toilet - do the job and leave. If you discipline your intellect in this way, then there is no chance to fall into association with a person of poor character. A pure mind approaches Paramátmá, but an impure mind wanders through various types of emotional states. Therefore, through pure food, we should try to purify the mind, For example, we should give much more attention to cleaning grains. If you maintain proper diet, it is easy to keep the mind in association with Paramátmá, and the mind becomes pure. With a pure mind, even in this world you will experience happiness and peace, and you will get the best path in the next world also.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord
- samsára: the revolving world.
- Paramátmá: Spirit Beyond, the Supreme Soul, etc.
- nourishment: one's nourishment or food means physical food; food fit for emotional wellbeing; and food for thought.
- subtle body: Skt. Súksma sharíra. According to Bhagavad Gita, the subtle body is composed of mind, intelligence and ego, which controls the gross physical body. (see note further down).
Having got a human body, you should not hold open the possibility that you will come back again to the womb. If you continually return to the womb there is no point to human life, and the purpose of human birth has not been served.
Individual souls can attain a human body.
The human species is the exit by which an embodied soul can escape the world of matter. But many humans start enjoying wealth, women, children, etc., and miss the opportunity for exit.
Whatever action the jivatma (1) undertakes with the help of a human body will be taken into account and there will be a result for every action. We can perform such actions as will help to escape the cycle of birth and death. Thus the wandering of the the soul will come to an end and there will be no further chance to suffer in the womb.
Shastras says that if a human worships Bhagaván (2), he goes to deva loka (3). If he worships the dead body, then he goes to the place of preta loka (4) [Bhagavad Gita 9:25 paraphrased.]
By doing japa (5) and tapas (6), one attains devatva (7), godhood. But the aim of a human being should not be to gain birth as a god, because even the most powerful among the gods, even the king of all the gods (8) displayed a lack of discrimination and desire for worldly enjoyment. And when he could not fulfill all his desires in heaven, then he came to the mortal world and troubled Ahalya (8). When this is the story of the king of the gods, then what about his subjects? Therefore, salute them [mainly] from a distance.
Further, how long an individual soul remains among gods in heaven has its limitation too. After exhausting all its punya (9) [merit], the individual soul has to come back to the mortal world. Further, even while dwelling in heaven (10), all do not share an equal degree of happiness. Each revels in luxury according to the punya [merit ] he has accumulated. When the gods see other gods enjoying more than they are, they become jealous. In the heavens too we find jealousy, ill-will, and hatred - the causes of unhappiness. We should not desire to go to such heavens at all.
Even the devas (11) desire to have a human body, which is like unshaped gold. With a good goldsmith, one can turn gold into a valuable ornament. Such an ormnament can raise the value of the gold to the highest level. Gods in heaven are more like such ornaments than they are like pure gold. Once an ornament is made, the value of that gold is fixed. The human species is like pure gold. If he finds the perfect goldsmith [great guru], a man can attain immeasurable bliss - or he can become Paramátmá (11) Himself. If this happens, the purpose of the human species is fulfilled.
- jivatma: Skt. jiva, living soul + atma(n) (soul, spirit). The individual soul.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- deva loka: from Skt. deva, "shining one," deity, god, + loka, realm, world.
- preta loka: the realm of ghosts, departed persons, deceased persons, ghosts. Pretas may be pitied. (WP, "Preta")
- japa: repeating a mantra or a divine name in meditation.
- tapas: (from heat, warmth) austerity, penance, deep meditation.
- devatva: godhead, divinity.
- Indra and Ahalya: (see note to no. 41). The king of gods. He once seduced Ahalya, the beautiful wife of sage Gautama, by putting on a likeness of the sage's form. Her story is told in many scriptures, in modern-age poetry and short stories, and in dance and drama.
- punya: merit
- heaven, heavens: Attaining heaven is not the final pursuit in Hinduism. Further, heaven is not told to be a permanent place to stay either. Svarga loka is told to be one of seven higher realms in Hindu cosmology, and a realm above the earthy one. Swarga loka means Good Kingdom, a heavenly paradise of pleasure, where most of the devatas and devas live, and decent mortals of good deeds: But Svarga is seen as a transitory place for those not yet ready to be liberated through Self-realization from living in heaven and on earth.
- Paramátmá: Spirit Beyond, Supreme Spirit.
All devotees who are enraptured with the divine are devotees of Bhagavad (1) [the Lord]. Anyone involved day and night in stealing, cheating, and other evil activities cannot become a devotee of the Lord (2) just be declaring himself to be so.
Shiva, Ganesha, Surya, Shakti, (3) etc., are the limbs of Bhagaván (4). When the devotee of Shiva says, "My Shiva is the only God," and the devotee of Surya says, "Surya is the one true God," then this is like the story of the blind people who tried to describe an elephant. One grabbed the trunk and said, "This elephant is like a pestle." Another caught hold of its ear and said, "This elephant is like a fan." As the saying goes, "The blind began to quarrel on seeing the elephant." One who knows the complete, true form (5) of an elephant will describe it neither as like a fan nor like a pestle.
In the same fashion, one who has truly understood the Godhead will never say that only Shiva is the true form of God, or that Ganesha alone is the true form of God, or that Lord Vishnu with His four arms is the true form of God. One who is aquainted with the divine reality (6) will say this: in all these various forms, one Paramátmá is manifest, and the five deities are different aspects of Him. In reality, worship of any deity is worship of Bhagaván. This is the established teaching of the shastra.
- Bhagavad: the divine, the Lord, God.
- the Lord: Vishnu is considered the Lord by Vishnu-followers.
- Shiva, Ganesa, Surya, Shakti: Three gods and the goddess. Shiva: lit. the auspicious one) is is one of the most prominent deities of Hinduism. - Ganesha's elephant head makes him easy to identify. He is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom. - Surya, the Sun, is one of the five deities considered as equivalent aspects and means to realising Brahman in the Smarta tradition. He is typically shown as a resplendent standing person holding lotus flower in both his hands, riding a chariot pulled by one or more horses - Shakti: primordial cosmic energy, feminine creative power. Her most significant facet in men and women is Kundalini.
(The Smarta tradition in Hinduism developed around the beginning of the Common Era. It reflects a synthesis of four philosophical strands: Mimamsa, Advaita, Yoga, and theism. The Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism. Five deities are treated as equals - Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Ganesha and Deví [divine woman]) -
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- true form: Skt. svarúpa, one's own form.
- divine reality: Bhagavat tattva. Built up by Bhagavat: divine, happy, blessed + tattva, essence, true and real state, truth, reality.
Some people say that once you have taken up a guru (1) you should not change to another. This is not an established teaching of the shastra (2) but rather a mental concoction. One takes a guru for one's own welfare. As long as one has not realised Bhagavat (3) one's guru can be changed.
We don't see that the devotee of a guru always studies in the same class out of fear of taking a new teacher. Just as one changes a class, so the change of a guru is natural. (4) The former guru is not insulted. Moreover, he will still be respected as a guru. But to advance in learning, one must accept discipleship to new gurus.
Sukadeva (5), son of Vyasa (6), first got knowledge from his father, then he learned from Shankara (7), and then he learned from Narada (8), Finally, he went to take discipleship from Janaka (9). Therefore to think, "I have taken up this guru, and I will not take another," is a completely worthless idea, and an obstacle to our welfare. Now, after obtaining human birth, one should be careful.
Learning the nature of spiritual practice from higher and higher gurus, and carrying out all the actions according to Veda and shastra (2), worship the Lord with bhajans (10) and puja (11). Then you will certainly cross the ocean of samsára (12).
- guru: a Sanskrit word for "teacher, guide, expert, or master" of certain knowledge or field. Higher gurus helps in the spiritual evolution of a student as spiritual guides.
- shastra: scripture.
- Bhagavat: God; the divine.
- natural: Skt. svabhavika.
- Sukadeva: (also Shukadeva, Shuka deva, and Suka). Shuka is depicted as being in pursuit of moksha (liberation). According to the Mahabharata, Shuka was sent by Vyasa to King Janaka for training. Janaka was considered to be a Jivanmukta (freed soul), and still alive too.
- Vyása: (Veda Vyasa) a deep influence of Hinduism. He is said to have sorted the Vedas, and is held to be the author of at least the first version of the Mahabharata, and many Puranas too.
- Shankara: Indian yogi and thinker. The Kanchi monastery recognises it was founded by Shankara in 509 BCE. Others give other dates. (WP, "Shankara"; see also Isaeva 1993, 83 ff.)
- Narada: a Vedic sage, travelling musician and storyteller. He appears in many main texts in Hinduism.
- Janaka: an ancient Indian king of Videha, 8th or 7th century BCE is the popular belief. He was renowned as a patron of Vedic culture and philosophy. His court was a hub for sages, such as Yajnavalkya.
- bhajan: worship, such as deep meditation. (more: note to no. 61, and (WP, "Bhajan")
- puja: a prayer ritual with reverence for a deity and its spiritual essence. Pujas vary according to the school of Hinduism
- samsára: this world of births and deaths.
This world is like a huge bin of black soot, kajjal (1). The more you associate with it, the blacker you get.
Let the objective reality remain as it is.
Take what you need from this world, but don't invest your love in samsára (2).
The objects of samsára (2) are not obstacles, but your love for them is. Worldly people are not worthy of your attachment. Increase your attachment instead to Paramátmá (3).
First learn about the requirements (4), and then try to learn about Paramátmá. If you know all about the world, but nothing of yourself, you will still remain ignorant. What is the use of learning about another while staying ignorant of oneself? Learn about yourself and poverty of your mind may disappear, and you may experience happiness and peace [Mod].
- soot: kajjal
- samsara: the material world of births and deaths.
- Paramátmá: Atman Beyond, Supreme Spirit, Transcendent Self. The human heart is the seat, is a Upanishadic teaching.
- requirement: apeksá - Interpretation: "Learn what is required for knowing the Self Beyond."
Ask, "Who am I?" Whatever you have experienced in samsára (1), all that is different from you: body, mind, intellect, breath, and so on - all these things you see as your own - [you are different from them].
It is said, "my body, my mind, my intellect, my breath." But your existence is different from them. The temple is yours; but you are not the temple (abr.) (2). Body, mind, intellect, breath, and so on - all these things belong to you, but they are not you. You are different from them. You are Sat Chit Ánanda - being, consciousness, bliss - a ray of Paramátmá (3). But due to lack of discernment, due to ignorance, you have built up such a strong association with the body-mind-intellect and so forth that you have started thinking these things to be your true form.
Even if you should lose a hand or leg [karmendriya] (4), you would still live, and should an organ of knowledge [jnanendriya] (5) such as an eye or ear be lost, then you just become blind on that eye or deaf or that ear. Yet your existence may not be not ended by the loss of an organ of action or knowledge (6). When you are suffering from a very painful disease, then you might say, "If I breathe my last, I'll be happy. [Basically, I can't stand this any more.]" You are not the life breath, the body's prana. Whatever we see and can experience, we are nonetheless separate from. Whatever you can forsake is different from you.
Paramátmá's (3) essence is purity, intelligence, and freedom, the witness and experiencer of all. When we experience that our true form is different from the world - body, senses, breath, and so on - then even while living in samsára (1) we may be freed of sorrow and grief. (Mod)
To experience who you are, have faith in the Veda (7) and shastra (8), and having accepted the aid of a true guru (9), worship according to his instruction.
- samsára: the material world.
- temple: Apropos: "A temple of bone is more than a temple of stone." (Proverb) It has more biological value too. Moreover, in the bone-temple we may get happy.
- Paramátmá: Self Beyond, Transcendent Spirit, Supreme Spirit, Highest Atman, (and more).
- karmendriya: organs of doing (karma-organs); the five organs or means of action: those of speech, hands, feet, excretion, and reproduction.
- jnanendriya: (jnana-organs): the sense organs. They include the eyes, the nose, the tongue, the skin and the ears.
- loss of organs: It depends on what organs are lost, and how many - One may survive losing one lung, but not two, for example.
- Veda: A common definition: any of four ancient collections forming the earliest body of Indian scripture, consisting of the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda, The collections codified the ideas and practices of Vedic religion and laid down the basis of classical Hinduism. They contain hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual.
- shastra: a work of sacred scripture: Vedánta scripture. Advaita Vedánta is the oldest Vedánta tradition. It traces its roots in the oldest Upanishads and relies on well interpreted Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. Adi (the first) Shankara explicated Advaita Vedánta and commented on its source texts extensively.
- true guru: Sat-guru, which is a title given solely to an enlightened yogi who guides the initiated disciple on the spiritual path towards realization of the Self.
When people undertake spiritual disciplines, but fail to heed the ritual injunctions (1) for correct practice, they may find that the results are not favourable. First we should consider the proper source for spiritual instruction (2) and not just take up something that we happen to see and find interesting. Rather, we should let the shastra (3) be our guide.
When you want an heir you don't just pick up any child where you might find him. First you get married, and then comes a suitable pregnancy and the offspring. In this way fulfil any other desire by solid arrangements, for it will produce best results [Mod].
If you want to drink Ganges water, why drink from a gutter? Why not drink directly from the river currents? If you want a child, then why not give birth to a legitimate one? If you want right knowledge, then why not take it from the highest place? [Clearest too -]
- spiritual source: a Sat-guru. We may also try to steer well among the skerries of life. Injunctions that differ among themselves, may not be easy to deal with.
- shastra: sacred scripture - such as the main Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita, to name three of the sources. Then, how to select the very best guiding points without erring a lot? And how to arrange the best points to benefit? "You probably won't know till you've tried" - or asked very experienced ones for kind advice.
Many people, barely glancing at the rules of the shastra (1) and without considering how suitable they are or are not, will take up a spiritual practice after reading or hearing how great it is from somewhere or another.
Some people, thinking that the chanting of the syllable Om (2) is a very powerful meditation, start practising chanting Om on their own. In the Bhagavad Gita, Bhagaván certainly said, "I am in the syllable Om." (3) But if you want to meditate on the true form of Bhagaván for that reason, then why not catch and keep a lion? Because the lion, after all, is not that also the true form of Bhagaván? (4)
If the repetition of the syllable Om is done twice, four times, or even twenty times daily, nothing special will happen. But if two or four thousand repetitions of Om are done daily, then worldly tendencies will become weakened within a short period. Arsenic is poison; if it is eaten in small quantities, nothing will happen that quickly, but just a little too much will be fatal. Similarly, if repetition of Om is done in large numbers, with concentration and devotion, then worldly tendencies will definitely be weakened. One's daily earnings will be reduced, one's wife and children may become sick, and some may even die.
I will tell you something from my own experience:
Five or six years ago I went to Lucknow for the Laksa Candhi sacrifice. At that time, an old lady came up to me, accompanied by a few people. They told me that the old lady was a great devotee who carried out worship, japa (5) etc. the whole day. But they also said that a few days ago her two grown sons had died. In reply to this I asked her, "Are you chanting the syllable Om?"
She said, "Mahárája! (6) That is my very support, I chant it all day."
I said, "OK, you have destroyed samsára (7) through chanting Om, now don't abandon it." You see, it will destroy what you are attached to; that is the result of chanting this syllable Om.
This is why householders are not allowed to chant Om. Looking out for their welfare, the scriptures (8) do not allow them to do it. If chanting the syllable Om were good for householders, there would be no reason for the scriptures to prohibit it for them. The syllable Om is prefixed to mantras to be favourable. But ladies are forbidden to use a mantra with the Om syllable. Where men are given mantras starting with Om, women are given mantras starting with shree.
Bhagaván Shankara (8), while giving instructions to his Párvatí(9), said that mantras with the Om syllable are like poison for a woman, and mantras without the Om syllable are auspicious for women. One should understand that Shankara was advising his own wife, but he kept her from the Om syllable. If the Om syllable were beneficial to the female gender, then why wouldn't Shankara have taught it to his own better half?
- shastra: More than twenty collections of Dharma Sutras have been identified. The most important are attributed to sages and writers Apastamba, Gautama, Vasishtha, Baudhayana, and the god Vishnu. These Dharma Sutras delineated a person's rights and duties depending on his or her social status (varna) and stage of life (ashrama) - and were the basis for the later Dharma Shastras (treatises on proper conduct, including religious duty), which expanded the sutras, put them into verse, and were intended to serve as an actual code of law for the members of the community. There are also the oldest Upanishads, the Vedanta Sutras, and Bhagavad Gita.
- Om: also written Aum, is also referred to as the Udgitha, the Pranava sound (and more). The syllable is first mentioned in the Upanishads and given various meanings there. It is often chanted either independently or before a mantra.
- "I am Om": Bhagavad Gita 10.25 etc.
- "I'm the lion": Bhagavad Gita 10.30.
- japa: meditation on a mantra.
- Mahárája: From Skt. maha, great + raja, king, majesty. "Great majesty" etc.
- samsára: the rounds of birth and death.
- the scriptures mentioned may be a bit hard to find, but Guru Dev's dictums above are not.
- Shankara (here:) One of the names of Shiva. Iconographical attributes of Shiva include a serpent around his neck, an adorning crescent moon, the river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, a third eye on his forehead, a trident as his weapon, and a drum.
- Párvatí: goddess of fertility, mother goddess, goddess of love, beauty, marriage, children, and devotion; as well as of divine strength and power. Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms a trinity of Hindu goddesses, Tridevi
The shastras (1) do not mention women who had made anyone their disciple.
Anyone can gain knowledge by performing bhajan (2) and worship (3) of Bhagaván (4), and all can gain knowledge when these practices are fulfilled. Everyone is entitled to practise devotion to Bhagaván, but not all can become gurus. Brahmins, Kshastriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras (5) [the four castes] can all become disciples, but only male Brahmins may become gurus. Women are not authorised to become gurus [regardless of caste].
King Janaka in Videha (6) was a very great wise man, but because he was a Kshatriya he never tried to become a guru. When Sukadeva (7) was sent by his father (8) to learn wisdom from Janaka, Janaka questioned him, "Why have you come?"
Sukadeva said, "My father sent me to learn from you."
King Janaka replied, "You are a Brahmin and I am a Kshatriya, so I am not authorised to teach you. How can I teach you when it would be against the shastras?"
Sukadeva said, "You are a Kshatriya; to give out of charity is your dharma. The shastras have permitted you to give out of charity; therefore you may give the knowledge of Brahman (9) to me on that basis."
After listening to this, Janaka seated Sukadeva on a higher seat than his own with top reverence, and gave him Brahma Vidya (9) as an act of charity. But Janaka did not give this instruction as a guru to a disciple. Such was the respect accorded by society's wise leaders to the ordinances of the shastras. Nowadays Kayasths (10), Vaisyas, oil sellers, and even liquor merchants put on the different coloured garb of a sadhu (11) and are eager to take on disciples. In this way both the guru and disciple will have their downfall.
- shastra: scripture.
- bhajan: worship. repeating a mantra in deep meditation may be part of it. The term 'bhajan' is used for devotional music that includes singing and dancing. "Ideas from scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints and loving devotion to a deity are the typical subjects of bhajans. (WP, "Bhajan")
- worship: has many forms. They include meditation.
- Bhagaván: the Blesses Lord.
- Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishas, and Sudras: The four castes (and allowing for exceptions): (a) the priestly (of priests, teachers (acharya) and protectors of sacred learning); (b) the warrior-administrative (traditionally, the ruling and military class. The role of kshatriyas was to protect their interests by fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime); (c) traders, business people and merchants; and (d) workers, servants.
- Janaka: According to popular belief he was the king of Videha, an Indian kingdom in Late Vedic India. Approximate date of Janaka: 8th or 7th century BCE.
- Sukadeva (also Shukadeva): the main narrator of the Bhagavata Purana, is said to have lived a spiritual, simple life, going for Self-knowledge.
- father of Sukadeva: Sukadeva's father, Vyása, is central in most Hindu traditions. He is also called Veda-Vyása, "the one who classified the Vedas," and is considered the author of the Mahabharata epos and eighteen Puranas. Still more is attributed to him.
- knowledge of Brahman: knowledge and/or experience of the Reality. Two parts (a) vedic mantras; and (b) study of the upanishads. Both are facets of brahma vidya.
- kayasth (kayastha): a non-uniform functional group of different castes (or sub-groups) of different origin. Kayasths have been keepers of public records and accounts, and administrators of the state, and more.
- sadhu: a holy man, sage, or ascetic.
A woman's body is full of pains during pregnancy and childbirth. During those periods a woman will undergo severe sufferings and pains, almost like those of death. After that, bringing up, protecting children and so on give women many discomforts, sufferings and plights.
It is natural that women enjoy love-passion and pleasure more than men. For this reason it could be very difficult for most women to get good results of meditation or stay stable in samádhi (1).
If women shall only be devoted to their husbands it could be good and favourable to them. Women's nature is to think of men. This comes to women very naturally. Therefore, being devoted to one's husband and always living in the feeling of her husband will be the best for a woman and can bring wellbeing. Remembering him devotedly and steadily while leaving her body, in her next birth she may become a boy.
- samádhi: steadied, deep meditation, a stage of meditation.
People spare no effort to get wealth and offspring, but seldom make such an effort to get an acharya (1) [spiritual master and teacher]. Just accepting someone as an able teacher will not make him one. He must have all the qualities of a acharya to be regarded as that.
The teaching I am giving here is strictly according to the Veda and shastra (2); it is not contrived in addition. I never tell anyone to accept my words. If you start accepting my personal statements, then you will be in the habit of accepting the words of the Shankaracharya (3). If an unfit person should happen to sit on this chair, you will accept his words too.
Following personal notions of others will not lead to any good, but minding the [most suitable] words of the Veda and shastra will. Therefore I say, do not get into the habit of accepting the personal views of the Shankaracharya, but listen to the Veda and shastra. The shastra is said to be what Bhagaván (4) [in olden times] instructs.
The devotees of Bhagaván must follow his [top] instructions. As long as you have not realised Bhagaván, you need to follow them. Once you have realised Bhagaván, then you will become a form of Bhagavat (5) yourself, and at that time there will be no question of preserving [all sorts of ancient] commands.
- acharya: a spiritual teacher or leader.
- shastra: scripture, consisting of shruti and smriti: Shruti is "that which is heard". It is Vedic literature.
Smriti is "that which is remembered". Smriti is derived from and based on shruti. (More on the subject: further down).
- Shankaracharya: from Shankara (Adi Shankara) + acharya, teacher. Thus "teacher of the way of (Adi) Shankara." Shankaracharya is a title of heads of mathas, monastic centres, in the Advaita Vedanta tradition. Shankaracharyas serve as teachers and may be consulted by spiritually-inclined persons.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- Bhagavat: the divine, blessed happiness -
In order to understand that, let a brahmin (1) take fuel in his hand and approach a learned guru who dwells entirely in Brahman (2). [last part of Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12]
Words may have two meanings: direct, literal ones, and implied or figurative ones. In the teaching of Mundaka Upanisad above, the direct meaning of the word tat (3) ["that" in the Sanskrit text] is Brahman with form(s) (4). The implied meaning of tat is complete Brahman (5), who is beyond Maya (6) - the attributeless, formless Paramátmá (7) who pervades all animate and inanimate forms.
Thus tat represents Paramátmá with form and with attributes, and implicitly represents the formless, attributeless Parambrahma (8) too.
Those who are interested in deeply understanding this should approach a guru. One should not approach the guru empty-handed, but bring some fruit and flowers. One should approach only a guru who has fully understood the meaning of Vedas and shastra (9).
The guru is the boat which helps us to cross the ocean of samsára (10). It is very rare to get a sat-guru (11) in this world. Vedas and shastras are full of mantras; there is no shortage of them. However, the mantras given in books are like a heap of bullets. There may be hundreds of varieties of bullets piled up, and one may also have a gun, but they will be useless unless someone can advise us which calibre to use. As a skilled hunter uses different calibre bullets to hunt a lion, an elephant, or a deer, similarly only an experienced guru knows which mantras are to be given to whom. Having observed a disciple's capacity, inclination and eligibility and so on, he determines mantras which would be beneficial for the devotee.
Nowhere in the scriptures do we find a teaching that gurus should go to their disciples. Nowhere do we find a teaching that disciples should send a car to bring their guru. Disciples should go to their guru; this is respectable. However, since gurus have come to depend on their disciples for their livelihood, guruhood' s respectability has been besmirched. Who is a raj (12) guru? [guru to the wealthy]? It is a raj goru (13) [cow-shaped animal.]
Such a guru, like a king, will have a lot of property, he will begin riding in cars, and what's more, he will begin to enjoy heavenly comforts to the extent that he will even drop his own purushartha (14). He stops thinking about the welfare of his disciples, and does not bother even if they are bound for hell.
"The atma-knower crosses sorrow (Saying)." Who knows the Self crosses the ocean of sorrow. When a disciple approaches a person who is well-versed in the scriptures and is firmly established in Brahman, he will attain knowledge of the Self (15). This is an instruction given by shruti.
If the guru cannot give atma-jnana (15) to the disciple, or if he fails to make him see Bhagaván (16), but instead continues to use his money, then definitely he will go to a terrible hell. If I accept someone as my disciple, then I work hard to help him obtain the knowledge of the Self or to have the vision of Bhagaván. In case the disciple is not capable of accomplishing this due to his own unfitness, then in order to save myself from going to hell, I do not take any financial or other services from any disciple whatever.
Once I was at the Kumbha Mela (17) in Prayaga [Allahabad]. In one of the meetings there I said, "I've been thinking - my business is new, but it is going very well."
Having heard this, some sadhus (18) commented, "We see no transactions being conducted. This is a sarcastic remark at our expense."
Thinking this, some people came to me and asked, "Maharaj, in a store there is buying and selling, but you are not involved in transactions. So what to you mean by your statement?"
I replied, "I also give and take, but my transactions are different from yours. You people all deal in money, but I deal in something more valuable."
No doubt you have seen how two wealthy persons in a dispute are ready to sacrifice their entire property to win the case, but neither will bend before the other. Whatever happens, they will not bow their head before anyone else. This very head, which they refuse to bow even at the cost of their complete destruction, they will bring and touch to the very floor before me. They have nothing more valuable than this to give me. In this way we take their most precious offering and in return give them the path that will lead to their welfare. What is meant by bowing the head can be understood only by that person who had never bowed his head before anyone. One whose head bows this way and that way, he does not know the value of bowing, and such persons value money more than this. Bowing the head represents surrendering the ego and surrendering one's own existence. It is wrong to consider money as more valuable than this. We take the ahamkara (19) of the people and give them the path that leads to their salvation. This is our transaction.
- brahmin: a member of the caste of priests and teachers.
- Brahman: Ultimate Reality.
- tat: That, meaning: Ultimate Reality and ground of all.
- Brahman with form: Rupa, form, and nama, go together, is a teaching. Gods and goddesses (forms) have and share many mantras (namas).
- Brahman without form: Imponderable.
- Maya: the word has many meanings in Indian philosophies. Maya is a name for goddess, and the name of a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of "wealth, prosperity and love."
- Paramátmá: from parama, supreme + atma(n), self, Spirit - is variously termed the Supreme, the Supreme Self, Supreme Spirit, Supreme Atman, meaning Atman beyond. Parama also means absolute, highest and blessed.
- Parabrahma: the "Highest Brahman," "Supreme Brahman" beyond all descriptions and conceptualisations. (WP, "Para Brahman")
- shastra: scripture.
- samsára: the surrounding world.
- sat-guru: true guru.
- raj: radiant; the best of its kind; king; chief; sovereign (and more).
- goru: cow-shaped animal.
- purushartha: fit goals for a fulfilling and happy life: (a) wealth, (b) pleasure (kama), (c) righteousness (dharma); and (d) liberation.
- atma-jnana: Self-knowledge, Atman-gnosis.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- Kumbha Mela: a mass fair for pilgrims.
- sadhu: a holy man, sage, or ascetic.
- ahamkara: the deep sense of I-ness.
For the atheist, there is no guru. Among believers, some people have faith in the manifest aspect of Brahman (1) and some have faith in the unmanifest aspect of Brahman. Only one who is capable of being a guru for both can be called a world-guru (2).
Among the gods with form, there are five supported by the Vedas: Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Surya [Sun] and Ganesha. (3) A world-guru is someone who can nurture knowledge of these five manifest gods, and can also teach those who instead support the unmanifest and formless. But those who teach the practice of just one god among the five are like a doctor who can only treat a few ailments.
Giving the name of Rama (4) to a son will not [automatically] confer the status of [the deity] Rama on him. If someone writes world-guru at the beginning of his name, who can stop him? But if you want to meet a true world-guru, then go to the one from whose door no devotee of any god leaves disappointed.
In modern times, the different sectarian system of religious teaching (5) have made separate hierarchies of spiritual practice devoted to Shiva, Shakti, Vishnu and so on - it is improper. Among these five gods, there is none smaller or greater than the other - every god is an aspect of the supreme Bhagaván (6).
[Guru Dev expanding a scriptural verse:] "Ganesha is Bhagaván's head, Surya is his eyes, Shiva is his atman, the goddess Adyabhagavati (7) is his shakti [prowess]. Thus, if someone does not consider these four gods to be different parts of the body of Bhagaván [Vishnu], and practises with the attitude of difference between them, then he is not worshipping Bhagaván, but butchering his limbs."
Those people of today who envy and hate others and call themselves Vaishnavas (8), or Shaivas and discredit Bhagaván Vishnu, are just conceited. A Vaishnava is one who is a devotee of Bhagaván. Naturally, anyone who worships Vishnu is a Vaishnava. But anyone who worships any deity can also be called a Vaishnava, or becomes a Vaishnava by worship of divinity. (9)
Those who wear vertical marks [on the forehead] and call themselves Vaishnava while calling others 'non-Vaishnava' are out of touch with reality. Similarly, if any spiritual practitioner of Shiva or Shakti thinks that he is not a Vaishnava, it is also his mistake. In this world there is no believer who is not a Vaishnava (10). The communalist rhetoric (11) of sectarian spokesmen isn't helpful to them or to others.
- Brahman: God.
- world-guru: Skt. jagadguru, from jagad, world and guru.
- gods: The five main gods in Smartism. The Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism, and is notable for five shrines with five deities, all treated as equal - Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Ganesha and Devi (Shakti). The Smarta tradition is aligned with Advaita Vedanta, and the term Smarta means "follower of Smriti." (WP, "Smarta tradition;" "Smriti")
- Rama: a major deity of Hinduism.
- sampradaya: a body of practice, views and attitudes - transmitted, redefined and reviewed by successive generations of followers; also called 'tradition', 'spiritual lineage' or a 'religious system'.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- Adyabhagavati: primal goddess (from Skt. Ádya, first, original + Bhagavatí, goddess. The male equivalent of Bhagavatí is Bhagaván. The term "Bhagavati" can be used instead of Devi or Ishvari - and goddess Durga. It is a honorific title for female deities too. (WP, "Bhagavati")
- Vaishnava: adherent of Vishnuism, Vaishnaism.
- divinity and the manifestations: If the Supreme is termed Vishnu, then Vishnu is Lord. Similarly with other gods and goddesses: if the Supreme is manifested with their names and shapes and functions, they are the Supreme too, in that they are regarded as the Supreme Being manifested. The old perspective embedded here is called the henotheistic principle. The German orientalist Max Müller (1823&8211;1900) tells how many Hindu scriptures praise numerous deities as if each is the one ultimate, unitary divine essence.
- "All believers are Vishnu worshippers": A delightful main axiom - given the solid premises.
- communalist rhetoric: divisive and group-related low oratory used to attack or support certain groups; an enemy of free speech by much intolerance.
The question naturally arises: when there is enough rain everywhere, why is just one man's thirst quenched?
Sukadeva (1) expounded the Bhagavata Purana (2); thousands of people heard, but among the thousands of listeners, only Parikshit (3) was liberated. Many listened to Gokarna too, but only Dhundhakari became liberated (4). The Great Liberation depends on the mind. Whatever one dwells on, the mental impression of that thought is strengthened, and the bondage or freedom of an embodied soul depends on it. Shruti and smriti (5) give the established doctrines:
Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayoh. - Shruti: Amrita Bindu Upanishad, v. 2.
Dhyana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayoh. - Yajnavalkya Smriti [?] (6)
We should continue to think and reflect on the doctrines and teachings we hear in the company of the righteous (7).
By hearing the words of the devout, one's ears will be purified. But if no further contemplation is done on those words, they will either remain there in the ear or they will go in one ear and out the other. The basic purpose of satsanga (7) is to purify the mind. Mind is the primary thing here. If the mind remains impure, the life and death cycle will continue. If instead the mind becomes pure, one attains liberation. Maharishi Yajnavalkya (8) says that dhyana (9) [sustained meditation] is the cause of either liberation or bondage. Meditation is achievable only by the mind. If the mind becomes pure it starts meditating on Bhagaván (10), and thus one attains liberation. But if the mind remains impure it gets entangled in bad tendencies, has futile worries, and starts concentrating on unnecessary things. Thus, it keeps one wandering in the circle of samsára (11).
- Sukadeva (also Shukadeva), son of Vyasa: the main narrator of the Bhagavata Purana.
- Bhágavata Purána, Srimad Bagavatam and Bhagavata, is one of Hinduism's eighteen major Puranas in Sanskrit. Puranas are a large genre of Indian literature. Sukadeva is said to have recited most of this Purana to the dying King Parakshit.
Parikshit: a king who reigned during the Middle Vedic period (12th–9th centuries BCE). He appears as a figure in later legends and traditions too. According to the Mahabharata and the Puranas, he succeeded his great-uncle Yudhishthira to the throne of Hastinapur. Years after the Kurukshetra war, and after Parikshit had been cursed to die in seven days, he spent his time listening to the Bhagavata Purana. While he lay dying, most of the Bhagavata Purana was recided to him by Vyasa's son Sukadeva. In book 12, chap. 6, the dying king said, "I have attained the supreme end of life." He said he had entered the One Self-existent Spirit. He was "firmly established in knowledge and illumination".
Then Parikshit focused his mind on the Self within, held it steadily in the Paramátman, one with Brahman. The gods rained showers of flowers, with joyous cries of "Well done!"
The Mahabharata says, however, that Sukadeva died before the Kurukshetra war. Scriptures differ.
Gokarna and Dhundakari: Dhundhakari took to living with five prostitutes. He would beat up his mother, demanding money and more. Because of it she jumped into the well and killed herself. When Dhundakari had spent all his wealth, the prostitutes first tried to strangle him to death while he lay in bed. When they did not succeed, they burnt him alive buried him in a pit, and lived in his house afterwards, and Dhundhakari became a frightening evil spirit that kept roaming around, suffering.
The pious Gokarna was far away when all this happened. When he returned to his old hamlet, he went to his own abandoned home and lay down on the verandah and slept. In the middle of the night a dreadful spirit woke him up. It was Dhundakari. He told Gokarna of all his crimes and asked for help.
Gokarna gathered the wise people of the village and asked what could be done for Dhundhakari's soul. They studied many scriptures and holy books but could find solution. But Gokarna got a piece of advice from another source: For a week Dhudhakari was to listen intently to the Bhagvata Purana stories.
The reading was attended by all. Dhudhakari hid himself in a pile of bamboos. On the last day, a luminous body in auspicious saffron colours came out of the bamboo. Dhundhakari was now cleansed of his sins and crimes and rose into the skies as liberated.
- Shruti and smriti: see satsang 76, note 1.
- Mana . . . Dhyana: Skt. Mana means measurement and thinking - that is, thought - and also mind quite often, among other things. And dhyana is Sanskrit for meditation, thought, attention (and so on). Hence: (a) "Thought is really the cause of fetters or freedom." (Own translation). (b) "Sustained attention (thought) is really the cause of fetters or freedom." (Own translation, a source not found by me). The sayings are quite similar, or they mean the same. It should help to meditate wisely - that is, towards freedom.
- satsanga: righteous company; company of good people also.
- Yajnavalkya: a great sage of old. On him: Yajnavalkya
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- samsára: the rounds of birth and death, including the material world.
One can become a mahatma (1) wherever one lives. No one becomes a mahatma by simply wearing ochre clothing or by applying some marks to the forehead. Dress and other externals will not lead to the ultimate good, whereas [a fit] faith will lead to it. The state of a mahatma is determined by the state of mind. So stay wherever you are, but change the direction of your mind. Think less about samsára (2) and think more into Paramátmá (Mod) (3).
Nowadays people think a great deal about things they should not waste their time on. One should primarily contemplate Paramátmá (4); instead, people contemplate worldly objects. That is why they are unable to experience peace and happiness. If you apply your vital breath (5) to worldly activities and enjoyment of the senses, then your lungs are like the bellows of a blacksmith. Hence take care of your vital breath and apply yourself to Paramátmá.
First generate [a suitable] faith. You already have sufficient faith in money; that is why you are able to think about it. When you have faith in Paramátmá, then you will start contemplating Him. You must realise that money and all the objects of samsára will remain here, while you have to carry out your future journey alone. Prepare for that future journey at this very moment. Increase your faith in higher goals, and increase your love for that ever-blissful Paramátmá. Show courteous interest in the things of the world, but place primary faith in the ultimate goal, which will remain with you.
Once you discover that a tantalising heap of money was actually created by a magician, the temptation to take it will wither, and you will no longer covet it. Like the magician's money, all the objects and relationships of samsára are transient. Therefore, carry out all daily affairs according to [fit] social expectations, but do not reserve a place for these things in your mind. Keep your mind free [to get into] the imperishable Paramátmá, whose very essence is bliss. Always keep Bhagaván (6) in your mind and never transgress the bounds of propriety - this is what it means to be a Mahatma.
- mahatma: a revered person; a holy person or sage.
- samsara: the world of phenomena, including the material world.
- Paramátmá: the Atman Beyond, Transcendent Self, Supreme Spirit. In so far as the Transcendent Self transcends thought, it may not be described and thought full well of by way of concepts. But through meditation one awakens in It by "sailing away" from all concepts, and also the sense of time. That is using a good, fit thought (mantra thought) to get into Atman - applying oneself to the Spirit beyond the comprehension that rests on concepts merely.
- vital breath: life force, vital force.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
If you were to expend half as much energy in purifying your mind as you expend in gathering money, your children would benefit greatly. If your mind is pure, your children can experience greater peace and happiness even with less money. However, if your mind is impure, your children will become entangled in bad habits and will fall into unhappiness and sorrow, regardless of your wealth and property. Therefore, try to cleanse your mind first, and then earn money.
Many births are required to work out the karma (1) generated during one human lifetime. That is why the jiva (2) has such a large balance of accumulated karma. If the jiva wanted to exhaust all this accumulated karma through experience, it would have to remain in the cycle of birth and death until the accumulated karma is destroyed. But jnana agni (3), the fire of knowledge, can exhaust the huge mound of accumulated karma instantly. The awakened ones call the person who has burned all accumulated karma with the help of the fire of knowledge a pandit (4).
The enlightened sages call those persons wise, whose every action is free from the desire for material pleasures and who have burnt the reactions of work in the fire of divine knowledge. - Bhagavad Gita 4.19
If someone kills another in a flash of anger, he may be hanged or get a very long prison term. Thus, even when something is done in just a few minutes, it can take many years to work off the karma of that doing. The karma of an entire life will usually take much more time. It is great is to know what can destroy accumulated karma. [see comment below]
As the blazing fire reduces fuel to ashes, Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge reduce all reactions from actions to ashes. - Bhagavad Gita 4.37
This means that just as the fire's flame burns all traces of fuel to ashes, the fire of knowledge burns up all accumulated karma. Therefore, destroy accumulated karma with the fire of knowledge and experience already started karma, his panchakarma, peacefully.
To get that knowledge which can burn up all accumulated karma is the highest goal. After gaining that knowledge, there will be nothing left to be done.
For the realised one, it is written that for any work in the mind, he should do japa [meditate] on the OM syllable:"
One who has understood intellectually the nature of the secondless Brahman and who is free from defects of intellect, should live in solitude and over a long period practise japa on Om and thus control the vagaries of the mind. - Panchadasi 4.62
There is being Self-realised while still alive and in a body, and being Self-realised after death and without such a body videha moksha (5). Someone who is liberated while living (6), may take recourse to meditation on the Self, ahamgrahopasana (7).
Supreme knowledge is direct and immediate knowing [experiencing] the unique Paramátmá (8) that pervades all creation as Satchitananda (9) and is unconstrained knowledge.
Prahlada (10) said, "My God is fully immanent in all, everywhere." He was certain of it, and he dwelled on thoughts of Bhagaván (11) day and night. Until one knows Bhagaván, how can there be devotion? To accept that God is everywhere in creation is knowledge, and to apply oneself to his service and devotion is [a matter of] devotion. To see Him appear in one place directly through devotion is vijnana (12) [wisdom], and to become absorbed in that state is supreme devotion. (13)
- karma: retribution, the sum of a person's actions in this and previous lives, deciding factors involved in his or her fate. There are three main parts: (a) the sum of karma; (b) the sum portioned out for a life, panchakarma; and (c) the rest of it.
- jiva: soul, individualised spirit.
- jnana agni: (from jnana, knowledge; and agni, fire). The fire of inner knowledge.
- pandit: someone versed in philosophy and religion; a practising scholar and priest.
- videha moksha: liberation from the body; liberation after death - Advaita Vedanta says a soul can be emancipated either after death or while living.
- jivanmukta: someone who is liberated (enlightened) while alive. A liberated human being (jivanmukta) has realised Brahman as his or her own Self.
- ahamgrahopasana: meditation on the Self, the deep-going "I am".
- Paramátmá: the Self Beyond, Supreme Spirit, Transcencental Spirit, Atman Beyond.
- Satchitananda: Sat, chit, ananda, Being, truth; mind; bliss.
- Prahlada: a son of a demon king. The child learnt about Bhagavan and became a disciple despite violent, brutal opposition from his demon father.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- vijnana: wisdom, knowledge, discernment etc.
- devotion: Skt. bhakti. There is outward-turned and inward-turned devotion, which is piousness. [Bhakti note]
The jiva (1) has been experiencing samsára (2) for many births. It is only natural, therefore, that its tendencies have become worldly. To turn its tendency toward Paramátmá (3) and away from samsára requires effort. In reality, the aim of life is to stop the mind from involvement with this world. If one engages in the spiritual practice of Bhagaván (4) and in thinking and speaking of Him, the mind will start dwelling on Him, and after some time, it will withdraw from samsára on its own.
In our daily affairs we should adopt a strategy of quickly attending to good works and things related to the divine. Should any wrong thought arise, on the other hand, we should try to postpone it to another time by, "I could do it tomorrow or the day after." (Mod) In this way, wrong action can be continuously put aside.
- jiva: soul, individualised spirit.
- samsára: the world with rounds of births and deaths in the course of time.
- Paramátmá: the Atman Beyond, Supreme Spirit, etc.
- Bhagaván practice: Singing about Him, thinking a fit mantra - and much else.
The all-pervasive, formless divine being (1) is incapable of action; it is just a witness. Only when it manifests itself in one place with the help of maya (2) can it take some action in maya's world, which is marked by three gunas (3). When we ignite wood at the proper place, we can use its flames as we see fit.
Similarly, when (through our spiritual practice) the all-pervasive divine being manifests in some site, then can He be of help to us.
Spiritual practice is a staircase by which the devotee climbs to God, and God climbs down to the devotee: only through upasana (4) does the spirit of Bhagaván (5) (which abides in all animate and inanimate things) manifest itself in one place, thus becoming able to act in accordance with the devotee's desires. Only when the formless, unmanifest pure existence manifests itself in a form with attributes can any activity unfold. Hence if you want to receive Bhagaván's blessings, then carry out spiritual practice and make him manifest, either inside or outside. Only when Bhagaván manifests in one's heart will all poverty of one's life be done away with.
- divine being: bhagavatsatta, glorious being, etc.
- maya: figuring. Also: the the power by which the universe becomes noticeable.
- gunas: light, sattva; energy, rajas; and darkness, tamas.
- upasana: steady meditation.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
You can get something only where you can find it. If you want money, you must approach the wealthy; if you want wisdom, you must go to the wise. If you want to buy pearls and diamonds, you have to go to a jeweler's shop, because you will not find them in a vegetable market no matter how hard you search. Similarly, if you want peace and happiness you must approach Paramátmá (1), who is the essence of peace and happiness. Otherwise, no matter how hard you pound your head against the ground, no matter how hard you labour in samsára (2), you will not be able to obtain peace and happiness.
However hard you may strive to gain peace and happiness by earning money and acquiring recognition, you will be handed an equal measure of sorrow and restlessness. You may think, "If I can just get this particular object I will be happy," and then when that thing is acquired, you may think, "Now I am happy." This kind of imagining is another matter. Just understand that peace and happiness are in none of the objects here.
By falling into the exuberance of samsára, you have forgotten Paramátmá, who is unlimited and full of bliss. Because you have distanced yourself from Isvara (3), you have become unhappy, and that unhappiness will leave only in His presence. You have lost yourself so much in the things of the world that you have become deluded about your very nature. You cannot answer the question, "Who am I?"
What can be said about a madman who is so insane that he has forgotten his identity and cannot recognise his own true nature [svarupa] (4)? Such a person could enter a dark cave in search of light. This is what it's like to search for peace and happiness in things of samsára.
If you want to be happy, then approach Paramátmá who is the ocean of happiness. Only by approaching Paramátmá can you obtain peace, happiness, and glory for this world and the next. As darkness surrounds a person bereft of light, so unhappiness and troubles surround a person who turns away from Paramátmá.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Spirit, the Beyond-Atman.
- samsára: the world of births and deaths.
- Ishvara: A term with a wide range of meanings. They include 'supreme soul,' Universal Absolute, and much else.
- svarupa: (Skt. sva, self + rupa, form). Own nature, own character.
If you remember the Lord, even with an impure and wicked mind, your sins will be destroyed - just as you would burn yourself if you touched a flame, whether you intended to touch it or not. To love Bhagaván (1) is difficult because the mind has been spoiled for so many lifetimes.
Sit to do bhajans (2) without fail. If the mind wants to run here and there, let it run, but don't get up and run after it. Sit to do bhajans and do not worry if your mind wanders. Continue to sit counting each round on the mala (3) with that very mind. Don't think, "My mind is too scattered," and then get up. The mind can develop concentration gradually, and you should not worry. But one thing is essential to pay attention to, and that is to continue the bhajans to Bhagaván, yet at the same time, guard against sinning (4). Do not think that because prayer to Bhagaván destroys sins that you should feel free to commit a few more. If you keep committing sins, those very sins will draw you away from your prayer to Bhagaván - this is certain.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- bhajan: worship, including the repetition of a fit mantra in deep meditation. The term is also used for devotional music with lead singers and sometimes dancing in a temple, in a home, under a tree in open, near a river bank or a place of historic significance. (WP, "Bhajan")
- mala: "garland" - string of beads, etc. a tool used to count the number of times a mantra is recited, and/or the number of breaths while meditating, etc. "Rosary" is also used to translate the Sanskrit word.
- sin: Skt. papa, sin, evil, wickedness.
There are two ways to meet with God. In whatever way He comes before you, and in whatever form He appears, just accept Him. Whether He manifests himself to you or remains formless, be strong in your faith. But for everyday purposes, you should choose one spiritual practice as a basis and follow its rules. Basing oneself in a particular practice clarifies things. If you wish to keep faith in only the formless state, the mind must become your eye. Remember, it ts necessary to adopt and follow a particular spiritual practice. Through spiritual practice and meditating, love for one's chosen deity (1) increases, and when love increases, the chosen one is seen directly.
- chosen deity: Skt. Istha devata, cherished divinity, favourite divinity.
People debate many concepts related to bhakti and jnana: some argue that devotion is superior, and some that knowledge is. Only those who don't know the true meaning of bhakti and jnana feel this way, seeing devotion and knowledge to be opposed, and are willing to fight over it.
The Bhagavad Gita says: "When I take form from formlessness." When? "When dharma (1) is on the decline and adharma (2) is on the rise.'' Why does the Lord take on a form from within the formless? "For the benefit of the good and to destroy the evil, I manifest myself and I establish dharma."
Don't take the word 'sadhu' (3) [in the Sanskrit verse] to mean those who wear ocher robes or sectarian marks on their foreheads or sacred malas (4) [rosaries]. The meaning of the word sadhu is this - sadhus are good-natured people with good hearts, who respect the limits set by Vedas and shastras (5) and who have faith in their own enjoined duties and follow them. Bhagaván's (6) avatars (7) are for the welfare of those people.
No profit can be derived from the unmanifest Bhagaván until He assumes a form . . . I accept the unmanifest, but not the unmanifest alone. The mind can only concentrate on an object of meditation, so how can one make the unmanifest an object of meditation? Concentration [dhyana (8)] on the unmanifest is not possible. If someone says that he concentrates on the formless, it is like saying that he is going to attend the wedding of the son of a childless woman.
Formlessness is beyond [such as] meditation, meditator, and object of meditation – and knowledge, knower, and object of knowledge. The principle of formlessness is merely for understanding; it is the principle of existence.
Can anyone be pleased with formless food, with unmanifest food? The unmanifest is like a seed kept locked in a box. Until you sow the seed and it gives flowers and fruits, what's the benefit of that seed? [Mod]
The formless Paramátmá (9) is all-pervasive. Only when the formless manifests in some form will it be useful to the world. Then, if Paramátmá should assume form, would He become your beast of burden, to do whatever you wish? He is extremely independent. The Veda tells, "so aksharah parama svarat," (10) that is, "He is the imperishable [Om-]sound." [Narayana Suktam v. 12] (11)
Paramátmá is supremely independent. Understand the teaching about Paramátmá's essence, and that the One who is manifest is also the unmanifest. The manifest Supreme Spirit exists for the welfare of the world. When undifferentiated, unmanifest Paramátmá manifests itself, all our doubts about it vanish.
The unqualified, unmanifest Paramátmá is all-pervasive. Paramátmá manifests itself from the invisible to the visible. Thinking that nirakara (12) [unmanifest, Universal Spirit] cannot hear or see anything, some people act as they wish, and don't understand the meaning of sin and virtue.
- dharma: conducts that are considered to be in accord with Rita, the deep order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and "essential, fit ways of living." [Dharma note]
- adharma: non-dharma. "That which is not in accord with dharma". It It may be discord, disharmony, unnaturalness and vice, to name some things that matters.
- sadhu: a good-hearted one. Also: a holy man, sage, or ascetic.
- mala: Skt. "garland" - string of beads or pearls or small wooden balls. used to count the number of times a mantra is recited, and/or the number of breaths while meditating, etc. "Rosary"
- shastra: precept, rules, manual, compendium, book or treatise" in a general sense).
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- avatar: divine incarnation, "descent". The word refers to an incarnation of a deity on the material plane.
- dhyana: meditation.
- Paramátmá: Supreme Spirit, the Atman Beyond.
- akshara: sound, the syllable Om, constant, imperishable, etc.
- Narayana Suktam is a hymn in Yajurveda. "The eternal Lord is the source of happiness in the world, the Self and the Lord of the Universe, the Eternal, the benign and undecaying Supreme Being, the Supreme Self, pervading whatever is seen or heard within and without, the immutable Om [Aum-sound] of all assumed forms. [Extracts from the hymn's v. 1-13]."
- nirakara: Universal Spirit, formless Spirit.
Whether today, or after ten years, or after ten births, we may reap the consequences of our actions, large or small. (Mod)
If an action is powerful and demonstrates great virtue or great sin, then the result of that action will come in this same birth, within a short time. Actions of ordinary virtue or sin may produce their results after a longer period. But it will seldom happen that we will escape the result of any of our actions.
The One who delivers the result of our action is all-knowing. Action is mechanical, likewise its result. He who administers the result of every action is the conscious Paramátmá, dwelling within it all, the knower of everything and all-pervasive. He keeps perfect account of every action done by every person. According to the action, He delivers the result. You can prevent the people around you from seeing your actions, but you cannot prevent Paramátmá from seeing. Not a single action can be done that can be kept from his eyes. Therefore, don't do anything that you believe is a sin. (3)
Sinful action is the cause of sorrow. Whatever we do, the result of it [may]l return to us. If you do right, the result [may] be happiness. And if you do wrong, you will [normally] suffer. If you plant the seed of an acacia tree, it will bear thorns.)
[The text is modified a little to accommodate for conditions where evil and bandits ones are on top. - T. K.]
- karma: giving-back, redressing balances on a large scale.
- action: is willed too, and not just mechanical.
- speaking of the devil: is willed too, and not just mechanical.
In those days when I was living in the solitude of the forest, I often visited a temple at Reva, on the bank of a nearby river. One morning a man from a neighbouring village came and worshipped in the temple. Afterwards he came up to me and asked: "Maharaj (1), jnanis (2) [knowers] attain liberation by the power of their knowledge. Devotees cross [this ocean of samsára] by the power of their devotion, and the destitute take the help of Bhagaván (3), who is the protector of the oppressed. So which people go to hell?"
I told him, "I'll give you the answer tomorrow morning."
The next morning, the man returned to the temple and started praying before Bhagaván, saying [in Sanskrit]:
"I am a sinner. I have committed many sins. My Atman (4) is full of sins. I am born out of sin . . ."
He went on praying in this way for quite some time. When he had finished, and was coming near me, I told a Brahmachari (5), "Throw this sinner out. Where has such a sinner come from so early in the morning? (6) No one should see his face, so remove this evil person far away from here, and quickly."
After moving a little away from me, he starting telling the Brahmachari, "I am not such a sinner as Maharaj thinks."
When I heard this, I called to him and told him, "I am not calling you a sinner; I am answering your question from yesterday. When I called you a sinner, you felt very unhappy. From this it can be understood that you do not consider yourself a sinner. But every morning you come before Bhagaván and start saying, 'I am a sinner. I have committed many sins . . .' You were speaking this way before the Lord, but in your own mind you don't consider yourself to be a sinner. This type of person, who firmly thinks one thing but says another, goes to hell. And this is the answer to your question. You should speak what you think (7), and act accordingly. Only then will you deceive no one, and you also will experience peace and happiness."
- Maharaj: (title and/or honorific:) Great Raja, Great Prince, Great King.
- jnani: knower.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- Brahmachari: student.
- sight of a sinner: To see a sinner early in the morning is said to mean bad luck . . .
- speak what you think: It counteracts much hypocrisy. Guarding one's privacy of thoughts and sound discretion may also work for a while.
It is not correct to entangle the mind much in samsára (1). You need to act with sound discrimination.
Use body, mind, and wealth properly. Take care that from now on that nothing gets spoiled.
Get proper Vedic (2) support for living all right. The time will come when you will have to leave this earth. Therefore accumulate only assets that will be useful in the next world.
It is prudent to make good, proper use of things. Good use of the mind is meditating deeply and into Bhagaván (3).
Benevolent activities and fit spiritual disciplines are proper uses of the body and mind. Creating trouble for others, theft, and so on, are misuses. Similarly, it is proper to use wealth for good activities.
"Given - enjoyed - destroyed." Wealth is used in three ways. One way is to spend it in charity, which may be sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic (4). Sattvic charity gives the best results. Another use of money is to spend it in enjoyment. Wealth that is not given in charity or enjoyed may go to waste [Mod].
Enjoyment here should not be confused with the way people are using wealth for enjoyment nowadays. An extremely luxurious life is not right.
To get satisfaction and contentment from enjoyments may not last a long time.
What is the use of the ordinary way of getting high, where you lose money and even the high wears off? The intoxication of God-realisation is lasting, even after the body is cast off.
In human life, if you are to do anything, think and understand. Act after thinking about what you gain or lose. Some people don't go to satsang (5) because they think they must swear off meat or alcohol. To let such fears deprive you of the company of the wise is madness. (6)
If you cannot get out of unfit habits, then cultivate a better quality of association. In good association lies the possibility of real gain. Your struggle should be to desire light. Therefore, turn it toward Paramátmá (6), and place secondary faith where it is fit and helpful to you. (7)
We say, first serve samsára, and after that, serve God. (8) Then this world will not be obstructive.
Serving samsára is nothing but knowing its true form. The world is a teacher [to many]: When family members insult you, then you become detached. So beware from the very outset and practice keeping your mind directed toward Bhagaván.
As long as we are capable of earning money, worldly people love us. But you will not always be strong. Understand from today what family members are going to do with you in the future. At this moment we think they love us, but when that stage comes, we will be filled with regret. Then we will say, "My son is not listening to me, my daughter-in-law is not listening to me, those for whom I have done so much are now insulting me."
Why should we do what will result in tears later? We should become careful from this moment. In samsára, nobody belongs to anybody. As long as someone wants something, they will be affectionate towards you. Before you get disillusioned with these people, turn towards God. If from this moment on you do Bhagaván's spiritual practice, then you will not be concerned about insults from your family members. The one worthy of love is Paramátmá, so love Him (9), and then you can be happy.
- samsára: the world with its rounds of births and death.
- Veda shastra: Vedic scriptures. [Some of them]
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- sattvic, rajasic, or tamasic: Three classifications and rankings of phenomena - of light and goodness (sattvic); of energy (rajasic); of dullness, lethargy or darkness (tamasic).
- satsang: good company.
- madness in its way, at least erroneous.
- Paramátmá: the Supreme Spirit, Atman Beyond, etc.
- serving: The advice can be seen in the light of the general scheme that is aiming for four main life goals where the fourth goal is working toward moksha, serving liberation, also called God-realisation.
- secondary faith: outward-directed or outward-sourced, that is, in Vedic teachings; shastra (further teachings and regulations); sadhus (holy men, kind-hearted too); and mahatmas (great souls).
- love Him: Guru Dev teaches: you have to know God to love God. Rephrased: To know God is to love God. The wise learn to meditate soundly toward it.
Hanuman (1) was an unparalleled devotee of Lord Rama (2), and he served Bhagaván (3) endlessly. His devotion was unwavering, yet he desired nothing in return. One does not have to tell a great devotee what to do; he just anticipates and spontaneously carries out the appropriate action.
Lord Rama sent Hanuman to bring news about Sita (4). Nevertheless, Hanuman burned Lanka (5) and challenged Ravana (6) to a war; he knew that Ravana had to be destroyed and that doing this would make Bhagaván happy. Bhagaván has said,
"Monkey, even if an evil-doer chants my praises reverentially, he will gain salokya moksha (7) rather than having to be reborn." (Muktika Upanishad 1.1.18-19)
In salokya moksha, there is still some delay before merging with Bhagaván, but one is freed from taking birth again in any womb. Such people do not return to samsára (8). Even wicked people who start worshipping God become virtuous, but this does not mean that worshipping God gives one license to keep on committing evil acts. How can one who worships Bhagaván remain a wicked person?
To reach Bhagaván, rely on His name (9). The Lord is ready to make you his own, but the failing is ours. Bhagaván takes care of the world with three hands, but keeps one hand empty. This is like women who bear water, stacking two pitchers on their head, holding a rope in one hand, but keeping the other free. When the child starts crying to come into the mother's lap, then the mother says, "Catch hold of my leg so I can lift you with one hand." None of her duties are interrupted. (10)
Likewise, all the activities of creation, sustenance, and destruction are taken care of by Bhagaván, and he also keeps one hand free for the sake of his devotees. But don't just presume that you will be lifted after grasping Bhagaván's feet. To serve and worship, to do his bhajan (11) - these constitute "catching Bhagaván' s feet". Through worshipping (12) Bhagaván, there is freedom from the body, and the poverty of many lives will be wiped away.
- Hanuman: a devotee of Rama in the epic poem Ramayana.
- Rama: the main character in the poem Ramayana.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord. In this case known as Rama.
- Sita: Rama's wife, abducted and held prisoner by a demon king, Ravana on the island known as Sri Lanka today.
- Lanka: today: Sri Lanka.
- Ravana: a demon king with ten heads originally.
- salokya moksha: (Salokya: being in the same sphere or world; living in the same heaven as a [any] deity, in beatitude + moksha, liberation. To live in the same realm as the Lord tells you are in that heaven where He rules. You are happy that you are in the same realm as Him. This is salokya mukti, where you may or may not yet see God (see Krishnananda 2019).
- samsára: the world of births and deaths.
- Name: There are over a thousand names of Bhagaván given in the Vishnu Stotra. They may not be much worth for meditation for that matter. However, Ram(a) is often used as a root mantra (bija mantra). One needs to single out a mantra that is generally benevolent and suits oneself too, and then use it as is found helpful. There is a tradition with rules to adhere to for how to proceed in this. "Safety first."
- water-bearing woman: The imagery means Bhagaván responds with grace to efforts we make.
- bhajan: worship; it may involve repeating a mantra in deep meditation, or singing and dancing "Ideas from scriptures, legendary epics, the teachings of saints and loving devotion to a deity are the typical subjects of bhajans. (WP, "Bhajan")
- worship: "There is worship and worship:" Poetic ranking in Manu Samhita 2.85: "Soft recitation is ten times better than the sacrifice consisting of prescribed rites – a hundred times, if the recitation is done inaudibly; and a thousand times, if it is done mentally." (in Olivelle 2005). We may add "more or less so" ourselves, considering Buddha's teaching in the Bhumija Sutta. Repeating a mantra mentally is how much and sound meditation is done.
Nowadays people everywhere seem to lack happiness and peace.
Work with determination towards equanimity. Only when we accept that external situations give happiness or sorrow - only then do they make us happy or sorrowful. The enlightened experience already started karma, prárabdha (1) cheerfully, be it good or bad, while the ignorant experience much bad karma weeping.
In reality there is no sorrow. Delusion-born sorrow can be removed. Delusions can be destroyed in two ways. (a) Direct knowledge of the underlying Reality removes its unreal aspects. (b) By firm faith in the words of the person who knows and who understands, sorrow can be removed, and much fear too.
Through [sound] discernment, nonattachment, desire for liberation, and the six treasures (2), the jnani (3) obtains samádhi (4) and thereby attains direct knowledge of the world and of Brahman (5). By that, one knows that Paramátmá (6) pervades every form. Thus, although remaining in the world, he is beyond duality. By virtue of the knowledge gained in samádhi, he never feels any agony in daily affairs, because where ignorant people see danger, the jnani sees Ishvara (7). For all who move and those who do not move, the single foundation of all the world is Paramátmá. When we realise it there will be no place for fear.
Even those who lack a spiritual practice (and are therefore incapable of direct knowledge of Paramátmá) can to a great extent have their sorrow removed - if they have faith and trust in the shastras (8) and the works taught by a true guru established in Brahman. As long as there are misconceptions in the inner instrument, even with the aid of thousands of devices, there will never be relief from sorrow. If you serve liquor to a distressed man and render him senseless, he will forget his pain for as long as he remains drunk. But when the effect of the alcohol wears off, he returns to his sorrowful state. Similarly, it isn't possible to get rid of sorrow by engaging the mind in worldly objects.
Knowing atman will destroy all sorrow forever. The same consciousness is known by different names: Paramátmá pervades all living beings in the form of atman (9); there is no difference between the two. That which is atman is also known as chaitanya jiva (10). The difference is only conditional: Consciousness linked with condition is called jiva, and that consciousness which is free of all conditions is the atman.
When paddy comes into contact with water and mud, it can sprout. As long as the husk remains, we have only paddy. But when the husk is removed, the rice will not sprout into a plant. Similarly, as long as the bondage to good and bad action is present, the chaitanya jiva will appear, and when the bondage due to actions is dissolved, the pure atman is awakened to supreme bliss.
Great ignorance can only be removed by true knowledge. Knowledge of the atman cannot be attained without the help of the guru, even if an individual struggles hard throughout his life.
Consider ten people who crossed a river together: their leader insisted on a head count to insure that all had made it across. When he only counted nine they all began weeping, thinking that one person had drowned while crossing: Then a mahatma (11) came and made them count again, and told the leader, "You are the tenth." Then their sorrow disappeared.
Courageously face commenced karma and continue to do your enjoined activities as appropriate to your caste and stage of life. As you continue to practise your own dharma, your heart and mind (12) will be purified, and only then will you gain the worthiness to attain knowledge of atman. You need not abandon your daily affairs for the sake of gaining such knowledge. Continue your daily affairs of the world, but don't entangle your mind in them. Samsára is not the cause for bondage, rather it is the attachment you have developed in the world that is the cause of bondage.
Hence, renounce attachment (13) and you can become happy: you can even enjoy imperishable happiness.
- prárabdha karma: started karma, karma that has begun already.
- Means: viveka, discernment, discrimination; vairagya, nonattachment; mumukshá, desire for liberation from the phenomenal world; and shatsampatti, "the six treasures."
The six treasures, shatsampatti, help a person resist unsound attachments - we can mobilise the six treasures. They are shama, dama, shraddha, titiksha, uparati and samadhana. In other words, (1) withdrawal of the senses and the mind; (2) control of the senses and the mind and restraining oneself from negative actions, such as stealing, lying and negative thoughts; (3) standing above things; (4) being steadfast, disciplined; (5) faith and trust in the fit guru and what he avers; (6) determination and purpose. These six are parts of jnana yoga.
- jnani: practitioner of jnana yoga (gnosis yoga). Adi Shankara stated that a jnani needs renunciation and one more thing. Let us a maintain it is a yearning for "je ne sais quoi" (something that cannot be described or named easily). The Supreme Spirit, the Atman Beyond, transcends concepts, but may be experienced. Higher yoga is for that.
- samádhi: a meditation stage; a state of deep, meditative consciousness.
- Brahman: the essential Reality in the universe; pervasive, eternal truth and bliss.
- Paramátmá: Atman Beyond, the Supreme Spirit, etc.
- Ishvara: Lord, God, Great God, Godhead, Supreme Being (in Vedánta). (Grimes 2009)
- shastras: scriptures. Among the Vedic scriptures are: The four Vedas, the Upanishads; Bhagavad Gita; canonical, epic poems like the Mahabharata and Ramayana; Puranas (a class of sacred writings of traditional lore); Brahmanas, Agamas, Darshanas, Sutras, Vedangas, Nibandhas, the Dharma Shastras (law-texts aimed at regulating society) and still more scriptures and texts.
- atman: inner self or soul - spirit. Self-knowledge (Atma jnana) is to realise that the inner self (Atman) is also the transcendent Self, the Spirit of the universe.
- chaitanya jiva: Sanskrit chaitanya means soul, Universal Soul and Spirit (and also'consciousness' or 'intelligence' etc.). Sanskrit jiva means individual self and living being.
- mahatma: (Lit. great spirit) A holy person or sage.
- "heart and mind": antah-karana, "the "inner organ". In Vedantic literature the constituents are classified as "I" (ahamkar), buddhi (intellect, intelligence, higher mind), manas (middle-level mind) and memory.
- renouncing: There are natural renouncements, and when we grow or develop. Baby toys may not not appeal so much to us when we get fourteen and take an interest in sexual matters, for example. It is similar with much else too. Thus, many sorts of detachment come through development, and does not have to be tough to all who get higher interests. TM (Transcendental Meditation) furthers fair development in some and improved life quality in some. [Benefits of TM]
Question: There are many sorts or forms of renouncement called for. Is renouncing renouncement a good form of renouncement? And is it even better to renounce the renouncement of renouncement? Compare Avadhut Gita 4.21.
Feeling happy in samsára (1) is something like feeling happy while your mother-in-law insults you. Still, there are some people who desire the undesirable, like the drunkard who has fallen into a gutter and feels comfortable staying there.
It is written:
The knower of the Self goes beyond sorrow. - Chandogya Upanishad 7.1.3
Who has a gurudev learns how to know purusha (3). The teaching is not: "The one with wealth knows purusha;" or "The one with a son knows purusha," or "The one with a wife knows purusha;" and so forth.
In this world when a man has a teacher (2), he knows: 'There is a delay for me here only until I am freed; but then I will arrive!' The finest essence here – that constitutes the self of this whole world; that is the truth; that is the self (atman). - Chandogya Upanishad 6.14.2-3. (Both in Olivelle 1998)
Hence, in order to cross this ocean of sorrow, the ocean called samsára, it is essential to gain Self-knowledge.
- samsára: the world of birth and death and birth control -
- teacher: acharya, guru. An acharya is a preceptor or instructor in religious matters. Guru Dev's title is Shankaracharya, meaning "teacher of the way of Shankara."
- purusha: In the Upanishads, the meaning of purusha evolved into an abstract essence of Spirit, without form and all-pervasive. (WP, "Purusha")
Every individual wants to be happy. Believers want peace and happiness both here and hereafter, but they cannot be got merely by wishing. Desire propels one to act; peace and happiness can be obtained only with effort. Therefore when you try to obtain peace and happiness, your efforts should be legitimate. By "legitimate" I mean that which is laid down in the [marvels of] shastras (1).
By remembering the Lord, meditating towards Him and singing about Him, the intellect will become purified and faith in Bhagaván (2) will dawn.
If you do not know God, and if you do not have faith in Him, then learn to experience Him. Experience is essential.
Solitude is a very good means for finding God [if you meditate well and not unsoundly]. Otherwise, one can cast off fit worship and not even realise that one has slipped. Good and bad actions always continue to come up according to started karma, so [wise and careful] spiritual practice must necessarily go on as well.
As long as started karma (3) remains, one has to take up some work or another. Therefore, perform actions only after discerning how proper they may be, and always while meditating much into Bhagaván. The [marvel] shastra determines the propriety of an activity. Rely on the [marvels of] vedas (4) and shastras to be your supervisor as you continue to carry out daily affairs. Keep your mind on Bhagaván. If you fail to do this, you will have drowned (x).
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- karma: the karma teachings consider amassed karma like this: total karma; karma set off for one life (including started karma); and karma that remains then.
- drowned (figuratively:) - erred, and even a lot.
This world is among other things a lodging place. Human birth makes it feasible to cross this ocean of becoming. The all-pervading Paramátmá (1) has to be made manifest through devotion in one [or more] places (2).
The omnipotent Lord cannot separate himself from us. However, being inseparable from God, we are still unhappy [out of contact].
You can get some help from a father, son, brother, sister, or husband, but complete help is impossible from them. It's absurd to feel that someone else than Paramatma will protect us.
Maintain only polite relations with those in samsára; don't get attached.
Wood has to be ignited to burn somewhere, in a particular place. Similarly, only when one makes Paramátmá manifest in a particular spot by upasana (3) will there be benefit. For Bhagaván (4) to manifest himself in a particular place is not difficult: He himself declared:
Whenever there is a falling away from the true law and an upsurge of unlawfulness, then . . . I emit myself.
I come into being age after age, to protect the virtuous and to destroy evil-doers, to establsh a firm basis for the true law. [Bhagavad Gita 4.7-4.8. (Johnson 2008)
Not only this, but he has also said:
I favour them according to the manner in which they approach me. Men . . . universally follow my path. - Bhagavad Gita 4.11. (Johnson 2008)
This means, "However one remembers me, so do I remember him." What a great assurance Bhagaván has given. It is our great misfortune if we do not want Him even now.
- Paramátmá: variously translated as Spirit Beyond, Supreme Spirit, etc.
- devotion: Fair devotion is heartfelt. It is pious. Secondly, there is devotion turned outwards, into a world of shadows or duality. Both may work, but the inward turning should be less risky and may give rise to joy as well. Adi Shankara teaches in The Crest-Jewel of Discrimination: "Piousness suggests intentness of the soul on its own nature." - "Piousness may also be called intentness on the reality of the Self." (Two tenets from the section "The Four Perfections").
- upasana: deep meditation; (meditative) worship, steady focus. Paul Deussen translates upasana as "meditation" and "worship", depending on the context. Karel Werner translates it as "meditation". (WP, "upasana")
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
One's birth is determined by one's karma (1), but Bhagaván's (2) compassion is not.
Anyone can attain God if he strives for Him with bhava (3), intense feeling. A human being can praise God, but does not have to be a Brahmin (4) for it. A bhakta (5) can belong to any of the four varnas (6), but an acharya (7) cannot. With regard to this, Sri Adi Shankaracharya (8) proclaimed:
When one is alive, his family members enquire kindly about his welfare. But when the soul departs from the body, even his wife runs away in fear of the corpse. - Bhaja Govindam, v. 6
"Worship Govinda (9), Worship Govinda, Worship Govinda, fool! Rules of grammar will not save you at the time of your death." - Bhaja Govindam, v. 1
Get extremely cautious to have worshipped Bhagaván in full measure before senility sets in. Wellbeing is not assured by mere birth in a particular caste. Wellbeing is possible only through [regular] worship of Bhagaván, and that can be done by any human being.
Having devotion towards Bhagaván is well and good. Otherwise even a Brahmin (10) can be in for hell. And a devoted worker can attain Bhagaván. From the viewpoint of the Supreme, there is no caste.
In the ultimate goal, there are no differences; they only exist in mundane life.
- karma: the fruits (consequences) of one's good and bad and other actions. Portioned out karma, prarabdha, co-determines a life, it is said.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- bhava: being, spirit, manner, devotion,
- Brahmin: (traditionally:) a member of the priestly caste.
- bhakta: Someone who practises bhakti; a person who is devoted to God. [Bhakti note]
- varna: caste, each of the four castes, more or less like social standing.
- acharya: preceptor, spiritual teacher or leader, influential mentor, great guide.
- Adi Shankara: The first (adi) Shankara. Different dates have been proposed for him. Dating according to records of Shankara's cardinal institutions at Dvaraka Pitha, the Govardhana matha and Badri and the Kanchi Peetham: 509–477 BCE. Others say otherwise. (WP, "Adi Shankara")
- Govinda: Sri Krishna as a cowherd.
- Brahmin: a member of the highest Hindu caste, originally that of the priesthood. The other three castes: Kshatriya, member of the military caste, fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime; Vaishya, merchants and farmers; Sudra, the caste of workers.
Always take the attitude of equanimity and carry out all actions while remaining in one of these four attitudes: friendliness, compassion, cheerfulness, and indifference. (1)
There are some issues regarding the misuse of wealth:
One: Spending it on wicked activities.
Two: Failing to apply one's earnings toward preparations for the future. Even if wealth is not spent on bad activities, failure to use it for good activities is still a misuse. Thus the number two misuse occurs if the money is not spent on bad activities, but at the same time it is not spent on good works, either.
The proper use of wealth is spending it only on worthy activities. One should always endeavor to make proper use of this life and its precious time, and try [wisely] to come out of the prison of birth and death. Seek to profit from caste and sect to this extent - adopt whatever good things are recommended in the [marvels of] Vedas and shastras (2). A good thing is only that which is in accordance with [the marvels of] Vedas and shastras.
If you desire wealth, then collect that wealth which can accompany you [after death]. What is the use of accumulating wealth which is temporary and has to be left behind in this world?
The desire to get wealth and stay alive will not depart even from those on their death bed. Here's an illustration.
Once a very old lady survived by selling pieces of firewood picked up from here and there. Her life was full of misery. One day while picking up firewood from the forest, she became greedy and picked up so much wood that her bundle was too heavy to lift onto her head, even though she tried many times to lift it. In the end, she gave up all hope.
Out of disgust she said, "If Death were to come somehow, then I would be free from misery."
She had barely uttered these words when Death appeared in front of her and asked: "Why have you called me?"
The old lady asked, "Who are you?"
Death said, "I am Death. You called for me, so I came."
The old lady said, "Very good, you have come, I called you to carry this bundle."
The point is, if still breathing, a person does not want to die.
Life will be meaningful if it is lived so that it prepares one for the future.
If one's life is lived in such a way that one acquires massive sin, it would be better to die than to go on like that.
While carrying out daily affairs, even if your activities cannot benefit anyone, then at least they should do no harm. Along with this you should carry out at least some amount of worship and contemplation of God. Whether the mind is concentrated or not, one should spend some time in worship and prayer. If your mind is not focused now, it will become more sharply focused in a few days, but you must keep doing it.
As you continue to chant the name of Bhagaván (3), you will start loving it. For this reason, even if you are not able to keep your mind concentrated, you should continue to chant the name of Bhagaván. Let the mind go where it will.
- attitudes: Yoga sutras 1.33: "The mind becomes purified through the practice of friendliness, compassion, cheerfulness, and indifference (the equanimity that comes from disinterestedness) towards happiness, sorrow, virtue, and vice." These four qualities are also the four cardinal virtues of classical Buddhism.
- Marvels of the Vedas and shastras: See note 1 to satsang 2 above.
- Bhagaván's name: could be the mantra to meditate deeply on and that suits you best and works best among all the other ones - a thousand names are given in the Mahabharata.
From the very beginning, the world [samsára] is already given up, and what is there is different from the real you. When the world [samsára of material and many other phenomena] is not the real you, what can you give up? Even before you can give them up, they are already given up, as they are different from you.
Because of this, thinking or talking about giving things up is false, a kind of empty boasting. What is the glory in slaying the slain? Saying, "I have given up such and such thing" is just like that. In this world [samsára] everything is already given up. Nothing can be designated as a thing fit to be given up. All things, by their own nature, you have already given up.
What can you acquire in the world of transient objects? A thing can be called fit to be acquired if it gives peace and happiness.
"This whole world is Brahman." (Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1). There is nothing other than this essential nature. If everything is essential nature - your innermost too - and there is nothing different from this, then what can really be acquired? When you have no desire to acquire or give up anything, then you may become established in your essential nature and immerse yourself in its bliss. In that lies the fulfillment of human birth.
The all-blissful, omnipotent Lord dwells in the hearts of everyone, inseparable from all. Even so, people seem to be unhappy and to lack peace and sound discrimination. The treasure house of peace and happiness, Bhagaván (1), resides within, but people search outside here and there for peace and happiness.
Bhagaván is omnipresent and is ready always to shower his grace on his devotees.
"Whoever worships me in whatever way, so do I accept it." - Bhagavad Gita 4.11.
This is the pledge of Bhagaván.
Carry out your spiritual practice with conviction in the all-pervading nature of Bhagaván and become a fit vessel for his grace. Then you will be free from unhappiness and anxieties once and for all.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
Selfishness is so predominant in the world that if human skin should become useful for some purpose, it will be removed from a dead body and only then will the corpse be sent to the funeral pyre.
As long as one has the capacity to earn, one's family members show love. But when old age comes, and the body is totally spent, then nobody in the house will even inquire about him. (x)
- old and neglected: When young, at least prepare wisely for the worst that could happen so that it won't.
All material prosperity is nothing but the unfolding of maya (1). Trying to obtain peace and happiness through engagement with maya is like trying to search in the darkness without a lamp to guide you.
You cannot kill a snake by taking a stick and pounding on the ground above its lair - and you cannot remove the anguish of the subtle body by acquiring objects for physical pleasure. Happiness and unhappiness reside in the mind. So learn how to obtain the all-blissful Bhagaván (3) by use of the mind. (Mod)
If you insult a sleeping person, he will not feel unhappy, because his awareness is deep asleep. (Mod)
Some give toys to little children to divert them. You can divert your mind with wealth, a wife, children, name and fame, etc. But after knowing Paramátmá (4), nothing else is worthy of knowing.
- maya: fraud apparitions; deceitful unreality, etc.
- subtle body: (Sanskrit: suksma saríra) According to the Bhagavad Gita, the subtle body is composed of mind, intelligence and ego, and controls the gross physical body.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord
- Paramátmá: the Spirit Beyond, the Supreme and Transcendent Spirit, etc.
As long as one is embodied, begun karma (1) must be experienced.
As for the money you deposit in the world - sometimes a bank can fail, and go under.
Whatever comes along should be experienced with discrimination. Discriminate between proper and improper action as you conduct your daily affairs.
Never let social pressure or shyness lead you to act in such a way that you will accumulate sin. By sin the path ahead is spoiled. A human being should act only with [deep] consideration. Improve your future by acting in the best way now. If you cannot oppose improper actions, remain neutral. Support only proper actions, and if you cannot revoke what is improper, then by degrees get indifferent to it.
- karma: The karma of an individual may be considered to have four main sides: (a) The total mass of karma, sanchita karma; (b) the karma portioned out for one life, prarabdha karma; (c) the karma created in this life and which cannot be remedied full well if at all, agami or kriyamana karma. That is a main teaching.
The bliss born out of the realisation of atman (1) is possible only through the control of the senses, not through the enjoyment of sense objects.
Since the five senses of sound, touch, taste, sight and smell are turned outwards, they cannot help knowledge of internal matters. Atman is that which is closest to us - it is always available and never absent from our experience. Nevertheless, we are not able to see it. How can we see the One who sees everything? The inner organ (2) may see atman, and is the means to inner knowledge. Only if the mirror is clean will the reflection be clear. If the mirror is unclean, the reflection will be obscured. A pure heart and mind (2) reflects atman; people whose hearts and minds are impure cannot see it. Therefore it is essential to purify heart and mind.
As long as one doesn't cast off vanities such as pride in one's reputation and so further, how is knowledge of the soul possible? (3)
An ignorant person thinks he is different from Paramátmá (4), and that the gross body is himself. He becomes attached to the perishable things of this world and remains to his loss, perhaps (Mod).
The appearance of that which can be seen but does not exist permanently, is convincing. Who has awakened to the knowledge of Paramátmá has woken up from ignorance. There is no need to go to the forest for it.
Spiritual practices to remove ignorance should be had from a satguru (5) and the [marvels of the] shastras (6). It is necessary to cultivate faith in guru and the [marvels of the] scriptures he vouches for.
The meaning of liberation, moksha (7) is to not return to this world. The second meaning is that one is not touched by sorrows.
One who has understood atman in its essential form will be able to cross this ocean of sorrow.
Heart and mind (2) are sullied by latent tendencies (8), therefore it is essential to eradicate these tendencies.
If itching could be cured by scratching, then we might hope to satisfy the senses.
Our own body may end on a funeral pyre. But the good and bad actions of this life follow a person to the next world. Those who have performed good actions may attain higher worlds, and those who have done bad actions may go to hell. [see Buddha's karma teachings.] (Mod).
Therefore: do good, as much as possible.
- atman: soul, individual spirit, spirit within a human.
- antah-karana: "the inner organ", heart and mind. In Vedantic literature its parts are "I" (ahamkara); buddhi (intellect, intelligence, higher mind); manas(middle-level mind); and memory.
- soul-knowledge: is got through meditating well, regardless of various flaws or defects and so on. Other terms: Self-knowledge, Atmajnana.
- Paramátmá: Spirit Beyond, Supreme Spirit, etc.
- satguru: true guru.
- shastra: scripture.
- moksha: liberation in the sense of release from the cycle of rebirths and karma matters; the transcendent state attained as a result of being released from the cycle of rebirth.
- vásaná: tendency, inclination, impression etc. The term is used in Advaita in the sense of sub-conscious or latent tendencies.
When body, mind, and wealth are properly used, they will not cause distress. Otherwise used they cause anxiety.
Wealth culminates in three ways. That which is not given in charity or used for one's own enjoyment, ends in dissipation.
Body and mind are useful when devoted to charity.
The best use of the body is to engage it in meditation into Bhagaván (1). Even one's breath should be engaged in the worship of the Lord. The primary aim of the mind also must be to continuously engage itself in Bhagaván.
Before considering charity, one should be sure that the wealth to be given has been earned through right means. If wealth is earned through sinful actions, then fruits of the sins will accompany the person [after death] and will not leave him. Thus, one should think carefully while earning wealth.
Once, by chance, I happened to meet a sadhu (3) who could tell both the good and bad actions of any person who approached him. I told him that to think about the bad actions of others when one should be engaged in deep meditation on God, is a misuse of the mind.
Everyone is entitled to remember God, regardless of caste, and everyone is allowed to become close to Him.
Class differences should be over-emphasised: try to live in such a way that you will not take birth again. Work for the main goal - and don't get much engaged in wrong or trivial activities.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord
- sadhu: a not entangled, kind, well-disposed holy person.
The Lord of this indivisible universe, the all-blissful, Satchitananda (1), Bhagaván (2), has been revealed in the Vedas (3). One can know Him. To see the divine, true form of Bhagaván, divine sight is required. The vision of Bhagaván' s true form cannot be had with this gross physical eye. Divine sight is [in] the ultimate goal.
Gross things can be seen with the physical eye. Furthermore, the same object is seen differently by different people, according to their level of understanding.
Similarly, spiritual practice also differs according to the differences in each person's eligibility. The root of all Vedas is the pranava [AUM] (4). But not all are eligible to chant this mantra. Pranava is pure Brahman. Only a sannyasi (5) is eligible to chant the pure pranava. A householder who has attachment towards his household, wife, and children, is not eligible to chant the pranava. This is because the intended results of chanting the pranava are to become the purified Brahman, devoid of maya (6), whose true form is solitary sat, chit, ananda. The japa (7) of pranava will not yield good results for a householder, but instead will lead to decline and misfortune. That is why it has been enjoined that householders should not utter the pranava by itself, but rather, they should link some mantra with pranava and chant them together. Hence, pranava should be prefixed to a mantra and then chanted. This method is authorised. Unauthorised practice will have no power to transform the heart, and all one's efforts will go to waste.
Restlessness of the mind can be reduced by carrying out one's various daily and enjoined duties and by sitting in meditation.
The mind flows towards the sense objects. It turns here and there and finds it hard to settle down. How can it move toward purity, and how can one enjoy atman (8)? If one turns towards atman can one become an enjoyer of atman deep inside. He whose mind is bent toward Bhagaván will not run off to the cinema. He who starts loving the beauty of Bhagaván will find the imperishable happiness.
Learn to focus on some manifest form of Bhagaván. Devote yourself to the pleasure of his service and his grace.
- Satchitananda: Being-mind-happiness, a term for God.
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord.
- Vedas: The oldest Upanishad are parts of the Vedas. The ancient Sanskrit texts ontain some of the central views and teachings in the Vedanta traditions.
- Om, Aum: the Almighty Brahman, Supreme Self, Ultimate Reality, Creator of all. The syllable signifies the essence of the ultimate reality, consciousness or Atman and is called the Shabda-Brahman (Brahman as sound). It is also used in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
- sannyási: a religious ascetic who has abandoned claims to a social or family standing.
- maya: what is meted out and measured (outwardly). Maya means that the world is not as it seems; that the world that one experiences exists but is not what it appears to be. (WP, "Maya (religion)")
- japa: repetitions of a syllable or set of syllables (mantra); mental mantra repetitions.
- atman: soul, individualised spirit and Self.
The ultimate goal of human life is to obtain the all-blissful, the omnipotent, the very essence of knowledge: Paramátmá (1). One who leads his life according to dharma (2) is really fortunate.
Endowed with faith, make an expert your guide so that you can benefit from all his experience. Be diligent so that all your life's activities are in harmony with achieving your ultimate goal and not becoming a hindrance.
Be alert every moment of life, lest you stray from your path. Do not forget that your daily affairs can lead to the ultimate. Daily affairs in accord with your level, stage and dharma, will hasten your progress. However, a slave to base or wicked desires will not be in accord with Paramátmá.
Keep your ultimate goal in mind. Adhere to the instructions of an experienced guru to gain it.
- Paramátmá: the Beyond-Spirit, Supreme Spirit.
- dharma: righteousness, morality, etc. [Dharma note]
By doing satsanga (1), one should get a sense of what is proper and what is not. This brings discernment into a life. So by satsangas one gets inclined toward what is fit and righteous to do, what to refrain from, such as unfit activities and sins.
By practising dharma (2) sins gets destroyed. (A teaching)
Similarly, satsanga also destroys sin.
The sorrow and anxiety that naturally scorch the human heart are cleansed and pacified by sitting in satsanga and by listening to discussions about Bhagaván. The heart and mind (3) of one who does satsanga will naturally become peaceful.
Through satsanga the human being turns towards Bhagaván (4). One who has turned towards the Lord will lack for nothing in the world, and all his sorrow and misery will be destroyed. Association with saints will prevent sin, mental agony, and poverty.
- satsanga: "truth-fellowship", fellowship with truth, with truthful persons and one's guru.
- dharmic versus adharmic: righteous, lawful (etc.), versus unrighteous, unlawful (etc.) [Dharma note]
- heart and mind: Skt. antah-karana, "the inner cause," "the internal organ", i.e. heart and mind. In Vedantic literature, the antahkarana (internal organ) has four parts, namely the "I"; the intellect; the mind; and the memory (citta).
- Bhagaván: the Blessed Lord
Bhakti is love for God, devotion. There is outward-turned and inward-turned devotion. Adi Shankara: "Devotion can be defined as the search for the reality of one's own Atman." (Prabhavananda and Isherwood 1973, 37) How to increase such love? By fit focus while sitting for a long time.
So: "First find, next love." In Advaita Vedánta, finding God well depends on Self-knowledge. Atmabodhi, Adi Shankara teaches in Crest-Jewel of Discrimination (2001): "To seek earnestly to know one's real nature – this is said to be devotion." (Prabhavananda and Isherwood 1973, 37)
The good, tender heart, hridaya, is the seat of Spirit in humans, is the teaching of several Upanishads. So we may go for preserving much heart-felt too.
A wise man may look ridiculous in the company of fools. - Thomas Fuller
Networking consists of many intertwining and also undermining contacts, concerns and influences. Many influences work together in a life; not just past actions. Besides, many sorrows and misfortunes are at least in part due to what bad people set in motion or do themselves. Many persons get swindled, robbed, looted, betrayed and undermined in this life because of the doings of others. The large society (urbanisation, being hemmed in and so on) is a factor too.
After fruits in our garden of life get stolen it may be useless to wait for it, even though it was and is rightfully ours. Likewise if we get hampered and our general conditions are being undermined a lot. So there is usually a need to protect ourselves, our family, home and other assets. To be well prepared for bad conditions, and know what to do or rig up so that droughts or hurricanes will not kill us, can help. To be on guard is sound, for there are also many criminals and much evil in this world, and the public statistics of Norway illustrate a bad fare:
The police only clear up a small proportion of reported crimes against property. The overall clear-up rate for crimes against property in 2010 was 16.6 per cent.
The clear-up rate has been low in recent years and it fell steadily until 2010, when it rose somewhat. The low clear-up rate also applies to housebreaking. The clear-up rate for aggravated theft from residential properties has been around 13 per cent in recent years. [◦Document 3:6 (2011-2012) The Office of the Auditor General's investigation into the police's work on crimes against property, submitted to the Storting on 31 January 2012]
Consider that what others do or don't also can make a difference for you, and bulwark against vices to avoid they easily happen. Proper precautions should not be foolish.
Fools may be classified
In "What are five types of fools?" the Institute in Basic Life Principles tells the Old Testament discerns between five sorts of fools: Four of them are termed: The simple, silly, scorning, and steadfast fools.
A New Testament piece of advice may be taken: "Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." (Ephesians 5:15; see also Proverbs 1:7, 3:35). It should not be termed bad or unreasonable to avoid mingling with fools or avoid being led astray. (see Proverbs 18:6-7)
Biblical fools are sorted from naive and silly (young) into hardened and depraved beings (old fools). There is a glide from being poorly instructed into being hardened and obstinate, morally depraved and "bible-alienated" too. Some cases could start with being naive and wrongly taught - and not taught - in younger years.
1. Simple fools may be taught when young, and may benefit from protection.
2. "Silly fools" (that's the same thing twice over) "despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:7; see also Proverbs 10:21).
4. The scornful and scoffing fool is marked by disdain that makes him or her fail. Psalm 1:1 describes the progression of into such foolishness, referring to a man who first walks "in the counsel of the ungodly," then stands "in the way of sinners," and finally sits "in the seat of the scornful."
5. A steadfast sort of fool is called "stupid, wicked," and may be corrupt, of vile doings, and not doing good." (see Psalm 14:1). This type of fool may draw many others into evil ways.
Each type of biblical fool has its own Hebrew word, but the types overlap. For example, a "silly fool" may also get wicked, and so on.
Dr. Philip Zimbardo details in the The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (2008) "how easy it is for ordinary people to begin to engage in evil deeds, or to be passively indifferent to the suffering of others. (p. viii). In an experiment, students who are first said to be ordinary, easily become dehumanised and willing to inflict torture out of obedience - (xii)
In the Psalms, "fool" denotes one who is morally deficient.
It may help to identify and respond to fools with wisdom and discernment and not become victimised by any of them. An all-round counsel is to avoid fools so as not to be badly influenced by them. The positive way of dealing with many fools is to go for good company and good contacts, satsangas (q.v.) in particular. In short, "One may prefer to do what is sound and fairly wise, and profit from it too."
"The righteous duty (dharma) is the foundation of the whole world and in life . . . Through duty, one wards off evil." - Mahanarayana Upanishad Anuvaka 63, v. 7, in Deussen 1980, 1:264.
There are two meanings of dharma. One relates to inward phenomena, and one to outward expressions that purport to be in accord with the inward things, and some such expressions may be all right too. but hardly all of them, for some are in conflict with one another. That point is well recognised among scholars.
Basically, the concept of dharma gives vent to an essential way of order - an order that makes life and universe possible. Dharma means "established conduct" and also "that which is established or firm, steadfast decree, statute, law, practice, custom, duty, right, justice, virtue(s), morality, ethics, religion, religious merit, good works, nature, character, quality, property, fit conduct" within the total sense of the word.
In everyday life and matters, dharma means one's calling, way through life, what is good for a person," and "fit and right way of living," "path of rightness" and "fit ways and means for you". Among the multiple meanings are "established as fit for many forebears could work well for this life also," or "the fit and selected fare in a family-formed succession (as a side to family dharma)." (See WP, "Dharma")
Indra is the foremost god in the Vedic pantheon, the king of Heaven and the Devas (gods) - the Lord of the highest Heaven (Indraloka).
Section 3.9 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad connects Indra to thunder, thunderbolt and release of waters. In section 5.1 of the Avyakta Upanishad, Indra is praised as he who embodies the qualities of all gods.
Indra is the god of lightning, thunder, storms, rains, river flows, and war. His importance wanes in Indian literature from post-Vedic times (800 BCE – 200 BCE). There he is depicted as the god who disturbs monks as they meditate because he fears self-realised human beings may become more powerful than him.
Indra's iconography shows him wielding a lightning thunderbolt known as Vajra, riding on a white elephant known as Airavata. In earlier on, he was depicted as riding a bull.
Indra is praised as the highest god in 250 hymns of the Rigveda from between 1700 and 1100 BCE. He is co-praised as the supreme in another 50 hymns, thus making him one of the most celebrated Vedic deities. The Indra hymns present a complex picture of Indra, but some aspects of Indra are often repeated. Of these, the most common theme is where he as the god with thunderbolt kills the evil serpent Vritra that held back rains. Indra is also called 'slayer of obstacles' in the Vedas.
The rainbow is called Indra's Bow. Indra is declared as the king of gods in some verses, but there is no consistent subordination of other gods to Indra. They rather team up with a boss that suits the occasions.
Indra is also widely known as Shakra (powerful one). He is is of ancient but unclear origin. The similarities between Indra of Hindu mythologies and of Thor of Nordic and Germanic mythologies are significant. Both Indra and Thor are storm gods, with powers over lightning and thunder, both carry hammer or equivalent, for the weapons return to their hand after they hurl it, both are associated with bulls in the earliest layer of respective texts, both use thunder as a battle-cry, both are heroic leaders, both protectors of mankind, both are described with legends about "milking the cloud-cows", both are benevolent giants, gods of strength, of life, of marriage and the healing gods, both are worshipped in respective texts on mountains and in forests.
Brahmanandaji's karma teachings sustain people who are not subjected to demons or surrounded by that ilk and lackeys. But where demons rule and many are subjected to them and their lies, thefts, murders and depletions, then Manu Samhita allows for less strict ways of living for the sake of surviving in times of great need. In such times, some regulations for brahmins may be temporarily put aside, the text exemplifies. [Manu Samhita]
In the Bhagavata Purana, Prahlada was brutally mistreated by his reigning demon father and his lackeys. It illustrates that much good karma should be made as soon and fast as possible so as to make evil attacks futile to get a far better position in life. Further karma teachings]
Marvels of the Veda, marvels of the shastras signify the most appropriate, selected parts - to apply wisely and well for sound living.
Knowledge recorded in religious texts may be applied so as to rise, says Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Guru Dev's emissary.
Sanskrit is made up of 49 phonemes, 49 distinct sounds. Thirteen are vowels, thirty-three are consonants and two are extra sounds. Sanskrit pronunciation can be quite complex. Mispronunciations are common.
The vowels: short a, e, i, o and u - and long a, i and u. Also, the diphtongs ai and au are considered vowels, and so are ri and l and their long forms ri and l.
Consonants with an -h added to it, are hard, and pronounced as English consonants without the -h.
Some Sanskrit words, like dharma and karma, are regarded as English words without italics. A Sanskrit word that is written by use of English letters and has not found its way to major dictionaries like the Oxford Dictionaries, is a transliteration. That is to say, close corresponding letters are used to represent the original word or its sounds. Many transliterations are written in italics here.
There are at times variant forms to use. For example, atman and atma mean the same, and ashrama and ashram do too. In the last case, the unstressed vowel -a has been dropped. It happens to many unstressed, final vowels. Another example is how the Sanskrit sh-sound is spelled in English. Some write s. Still others write sh.
Abraham Maslow has set up a pyramid of needs and higher ends. Self-realization or freedom (moksha) is the acme of it. For your good, try to steer well and better than those who get stuck in low-life levels and spend their efforts on low pursuits. Take graded lore into account and devote a lot of time to efforts said to pay well in a larger perspective. Much of this is aired through the teachings of Sanatan Dharma, or Hinduism.