Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

Sources of happiness

Let us understand the human pursuit of happiness. The human heart is in search of happiness. I always ask kids tell me what makes you happy. They will give their long list. Mummy, friends, food, music, dancing, jokes, favourite TV show, reading, playing, maths!! Harry Potter books, latest toy, latest haircut, latest clothes

Ask an adult – the list is not much different – relationships figure more –

some people will say yoga, exercise, games, - tennis, cricket, football, golf, yatching

people given to academics will enjoy reading, writing, learning new things

some will say – drinking, smoking, gambling, race-horses, car races

women will say – new clothes, kitchen items, jewellry, gossiping

some will say community service… puja, satsang, good weather, thinking and exploring new concepts and ideas

The list is endless…. the different types of people are endless and what they think makes them happy is endless.

Also ask anybody when do you want happiness? Only in the afternoon? Or for an hour in the morning? No. We want happiness – ALL THE TIME…..


If we want happiness all the time, then we should examine what minimum ingredients do you need to be happy?

One of course is that the object that makes you happy. It should be available when you want. Sometimes absence of an object makes you happy – like mother-in-law – when she is absent you are happy!! Or if Dad is a very angry person, then absence of DAD can make the kids happy.

Suppose today I want to eat pizza – I feel I absolutely must eat pizza = but the ingredients for making it are not there – and the shops are closed… I am disgusted and my mood gets spoilt for the rest of the day.


So availaibility of the object when I want is very important. This is mostly dependent on the conditions externally. Sometimes the object is easily available and sometimes it is not.

The other factor is one's frame of mind.

There was this fellow from the village, who had been out of his home for a long time. He had to leave his home at a young age and go and earn in the town. He was returning home after simply ages. His mother had prepared his favourite dish – with so much love and care. When he came, naturally the whole family greeted him and made much ado about him. Then his mother came with this dish. He saw it and his mouth watered. He had not eaten this ever since he left home. He had been thinking of this dish every now and then – of how he would enjoy it when he was able to go home. He knew his mother would prepare it for him. Now it has come in front of him. It is much awaited. His mouth waters in anticipation of the ananda. It is a delicious sweet which only his mother can prepare properly … in his estimation. He picks it up. He is just about to put it in his mouth. The phone rings … he picks it up. His whole face becomes ashen as he listens to the message. His best friend just died in an accident. He is not able to eat the sweet – he turns aways and rushes into his room.

So the object may be available, yet you may not be able to enjoy, because your mood has changed. The internal frame of mind has to be right for you to enjoy the object.

In today's competitve world, there is a lot of stress and it is difficult to command a cheerful frame of mind when others also want what you want.

This husband has a new idea. He wants to break the monotony of his life. So he decides to rearrange the furniture. He is thrilled with the idea – because he can break the monotony without any charge!! When he starts to execute his idea, his better half, who is the little Queen of the House objects! She says either buy new furniture or leave it this way! He is upset… soon theie house becomes a Kurukshetra!!!

Difficulty of getting happiness always

So for you to be happy there has to be an alignment of all these factors. The object should be available and your mind should also be in the proper frame. It's not easy at all for this alignment to take place. When you mood is right, the object may not be available. And when the object is available your mood may not be right!!! Or the object is available and your mood is right and your spouse is not!!!

A common misconception – you have to fulfill every desire to be happy

There is a common misconecption that to be happy you have to fulfill your desires.

Many a time you laugh, not because you have a desire fulfilled. In fact, most of our moments of happiness are picked up when no desire is fulfilled.

I will tell you a story. It is a village episode. Some times a village episode is nice to hear. From this village a boy was getting married to a girl in another village twenty miles away. This happened in Tanjore district, Tamil Nadu. The custom here is that when the bridegroom goes to the bride's place in another village where the marriage is to take place, he is received with a lot of pomp. He is given a new set of clothes. Till then, he has to wear some clothes that look nice. The boy was wearing his shirt and dhoti all right, but
he had no
a´gavastraÆ, upper cloth. An a´gavastraÆ can look very beautiful on one's shirt. But this boy did not have one.

Generally, you get these things only after the marriage, at the
cost of the father-in-law! But he had a friend of his own age who was rich. He had many gold-laced
a´ga-vastraÆs. They are nicely folded and when they are opened they look like a hand-fan. It is very beautiful.
He asked his friend, "Give me the best one that you have. I will give it back to you after I get my new ones."
He thus borrowed a very good
a´gavastraÆ from him and wore it. His friend also wore one. The bridegroom and his friend went to the other village along with all others in the

A marriage is a very important event in any village. The whole village is out. In fact, they stop cooking for four days. When these two well dressed young men were seen in the marriage group, naturally, the ladies in the village were all curious to know who the bridegroom of their girl was. They figured out that one of these two must be the bridegroom. Everybody else was older. These were the two fellows who looked bright with nice clothes and so on. One woman came forward and asked who the bridegroom was. They won't ask the bridegroom directly. In front of him they would ask who the bridegroom was. This bridegroom is old-fashioned and therefore he is shy. He does not answer saying, "I am the bridegroom". Else they would come to a conclusion. These people are very judgmental.

So his best friend has to answer. The bridegroom, in fact, requires a best man even to button his shirt. I don't
know whether they are nervous on that day. So, his friend does the buttoning of the shirt and even the dhoti he has to tie. The best man has to answer because the bridegroom won't answer.

His friend therefore said, "This is the bridegroom but the jarry a´gavastraÆ is mine". Then another woman came and asked "Who is the bridegroom?" The friend
answered, "This is the bridegroom but
the jarry
a´gavastraÆ is mine!" The bridegroom got upset. He pulled him by his ears and told him, "Idiot, why did you say the a´gavastraÆ is yours? Let it be mine for some time. I'll give it to you later. Don't say it is your a´gavastraÆ." The friend said, "Okay".

Another woman came and asked, "Who is the bridegroom?" The best man said, "This is the bridegroom. The a´gavastraÆ really belongs to him". One more person asked the same question. He said the same thing. The bridegroom got so upset that he called him aside, and said, "You shut up. Don't talk about the a´gavastraÆ!" The best man said, "Okay." Then, another person came and asked "Who is the bridegroom?" He said, "He is the bridegroom but don't ask me anything about the a´gavastraÆ"!!!

You all laughed. How many desires did you fulfil now? It is very clear you don't require to have a desire fulfilled to laugh.


Behind the pursuit of ananda is the 'displeased 'I'

Happiness is an active pursuit of all beings … and human beings are very creative about it as we saw… they have endless likes and dislikes relating to happiness. An active pursuit means one actively goes after it. So happiness is something that we actively go after.

Yet it is very difficult to have 24 hours of happiness .. why? because the ingredients for it are not fulfilled .. either the object of happiness is not available the way I want … this includes people … because the other person may be available but not in a good mood … or my own frame of mind is not okay.


Now that we have understood some facets about the pursuit of happiness, let us look at why do we pursue happiness.

We will actively pursue something when we think it is desirable and when we feel that we do not have that desirable object. Happiness is a frame of mind that is desirable because when we are happy we do not feel any sense of limitation. At that time we escape from all our feelings of limitations and feel pleased. In fact the PLEASED "I" comes out.

The experience of sensory or other pleasures creates strong likes in us .. called as raaga. Then there is dependence on our raagas – we think that I can be happy only if the objects of these raagas are present… and I keep trying to REPEAT the expereince of pleasure from the raaga. Which means that behind the raaga is the feeling that "I cannot be happy without this" and behind that feeling is the DISPLEASED "I"…. the insecure "I", the insignificant "I" - the one who feels that "all is not well with me". So this feeling that "all is not well with me', that "I am not happy', "I am not content" is centered on "I".

Once this feeling is there… there is a natural urge to be free of it … and so I project on different objects and situations and people, that they will make me feel okay about myself… and then I go after them.


Now we should ask ourself that can happiness due to different objects, situations or people really REMOVE for good the feeling of "all is not well with me" or "I am unhappy"?

Happiness from this and that cannot remove the sense that "All is not well with me". Why? time-bound happiness, mood-bound happiness – all centered on "not-I"

Pujya Swamiji tells us this story always.

Here is a person, an absolute miser. He has a lot of money but would not go to a restaurant because he does not want to spend the money. Some people talked to him about a milk-shake called Falooda. He wanted to have this drink, but his wife did not know how to make it. He mustered enough courage and went to a restaurant and ordered this milk-shake. The drink was brought with a straw. He began to sip. As he began sipping, the level of the milk-shake in the glass started receding. He was alarmed. He said to himself, "I have paid so much money. Alas! The level is going down." Therefore he could not drink the milk-shake nor could he just watch it! What a plight!!

Every sukha is like this milk-shake sukha. As you experience it, the object is exhausted, the sense organs are tired and the mood changes. Sukha is possible only when all the three are in proper alignment.

  1. The object should be there in desirable quality and quantity,
  2. the senses should be fit and
  3. the mood should be proper. It is not humanly possible to keep all these three in alignment for a good length of time.

    It is like putting a carpet on the back of three horses and riding them at the same time!!!!


Through Happiness What you are seeking is moksha alone

Faced with these facts, we need to ask ourselves that " what do I want? is it that I am seeking the objects of happiness' or 'am I seeking to be free of the displeased I"? What is it that I love? Is it the PLEASED I that I love or is it the object of happiness that I love?

In fact the object of happiness is only a medium for me to be in touch with the PLEASED I. It is at all times the PLEASED I that I love. W Whhat is it you are seeking? Only the PLEASED self. Why are you seeking the pleased self? Because I find myself displeased with myself. So I want to find myself pleased.

In Brhad Aranyaka Up. it is said

atmanastu kaamaaya sarvam priyam bhavati

Anything that becomes dear to you .. it is not for the object's sake. It is for your own self's sake.

You seek all the time yourself alone. Even people who are given to social work. .. who try to help other people. Even there you discover your own happiness. It is not that you are helping others only. You are helping others alright, but at the same time, you discover yoruself to be happy, because if you don't help, you will be unhappy. You are mature.. more sensitive to other's pain. So you emphatize and pick up the pain of the other. And once you have picked up the other's pain, if you don't help you feel unhappy. And so you help.

In India, you will discover this to be especially true. ….


Conclusion of analysis

Therefore my kaama pursuits are ont going to be successful to keep me pleased, to help me discover the pleased person that I am. So look at this now! My artha pursuit does not really help me, give me security. Therefore "I want…. " continues. Really what I want is freedom from insecurity. Here, I want freedom from what? The unhappiness, the displeasure centered on "I".

Always centered on "I"…. The human problem is always centered on "I".

You are a self-conscious person. In that self that you are conscious of is seen unhappiness. And that, I want to get rid of. For which I make attempts. These attempts sometimes seem successful. Then I feel happy, I feel acceptable. And it goes away.


Happiness has to be centered on yourself alone

So our kaama pursuit is not really for a momentary happiness, for a coming-going happiness. The pursuit is for getting rid of the feeling of unhappiness. Or to put it positively ananda-avaapti dukha – nivritti. Getting rid of dukha centered on "I" and getting happiness centered on myself. In other words I have to see myself as the happy person , not depending on any situation. This is also called moksha. The permanent dukha nivritti is called moksha, for which you have to see yourself to be the happy person.

Thus we see that the constant pursuit of happiness indates only moksha.


Declaration of Vedas & Lord Krishna

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita declares that "I am that happiness. Everybody is after Me. I am that "I" … the happy "I". Lord Krishna says "I am your 'I'".
ÛøÛø éøÇÛøøâÒøüéøÇøâÒÇø+ ÛøÒøüðÞøø: ÕøøËøâ òøéøâíø:||4.11
People follow my tracks in all ways… they are all after me, who am their I.

Here the Vedas also come and tell us that the truth about us that by nature we are limitless – the very source of the happiness that we seek.

What is this Veda? It is a scripture – a body of knowledge.

Who is the author of the Veda? When did it start? It has been coming down to us for generations and we say it has no author – because it is KNOWLEDGE. Physics has no particular author. Yet physics is a growing science. Many heads have gone into understanding physics.

Veda also is a body of knowledge … still it is not a growing body of knowledge, because of its subject matter. It's topic is something you cannot figure out… meaning you cannot know its topic with your perception pratyaksha) and inference (anumana). It's topic is the SELF – who cannot be objectified – and yet who objectifies everything.

Now Veda declares that in fact HAPPINESS or LIMITLESSNESS is centered on You alone … amrtasya putraah.

There is a law in nature that everything likes to/ wants to get back to its own nature. For example, water's natural state is to be at room-temperature. You have gone to a hill station in the monsoon.. To Kedarnath say … and early morning the waiter brings you a hot cup of coffee. You think you will brush your teeth and come in 5 minutes. You leave it on the tray. When you come back after 5 minutes … what has happened to the hot water? …. It has come back to its own nature … which is room temperature.

 Now what is that we want all the time? We want to be happy. And we want to be happy all the time. That itself proves that happiness is our natural state.

Nobody wants sadness. Sadness is like a foreign body in the body. When a foreign particle gets into your eyes how hard your eye tries to get rid of it by watering. So too when we are sad … sadness is foreign to us … we want to get rid of it as quickly as possible … and we strive hard to get back to being happy. Which shows us that happiness is our natural state.

We will see more about this subsequently.

Om Tat Sat


Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Fundamental Human Problem – 1 Adapted from Swami Dayananda’s talks

There is an interesting Indian story that is relevant to the commencement of Vedantic studies pointing out its importance.


Once, there was a great scholar in Sanskrit. He happened to be born in a family of scholars. His father and grandfather were great scholars. He grew up among scholars. He happened to go on a pilgrimage alone. He had to cross a wide river on a boat and there was a boatman to take him across. Since he was the only passenger, he picked up a conversation with the boatman.

He asked him: "Do you know Sanskrit Grammar?"

"No. I do not."

"You do not know Sanskrit Grammar?"

"I do not. What is Grammar?" the boatman asked.

Because his father and grandfather had been boatmen, he had not thought it necessary to study in order to make a living. Nor did he know that there was a discipline of knowledge known as grammar. The scholar was both astounded and horrified. He had lived among scholars all his life and could not imagine anyone not knowing grammar. He said to the boatman, "You do not know grammar? You do not even know what grammar is? What kind of a life is that? What access do you have to all the compounds in Sanskrit? You must necessarily know grammar in order to enjoy the language. You are only living three-fourths of a life. One fourth is gone!" The boatman did not seem to mind.

The scholar continued, "Do you know at least s¡hitya, literature?"

The boatman once again answered, "I have not read any literature."

"Did you study phonetics? Did you study Kalidasa?"

Again the answer was 'No'.

The scholar then told him, "Another one fourth of your life is gone."

"Can you read and write?" he asked him.

"No, I cannot read nor write. I cannot even sign my name."

"You cannot read! You cannot write! What can you get out of life? You cannot take a book in hand and read and enjoy it. You can only enjoy what your simple senses can satisfy, nothing more. This means that yet another fourth of your life is gone."

The scholar concluded that the boatman was living only one-fourth of his life since he was alive and rowing the boat. So he told him that three-fourths of his life was gone.

The boatman became very sad now. Rowing the boat, he thought to himself, "My father told me to go to school. He advised me to be not like him. But I had always told him that if he could live his life by rowing a boat, why not me. I should have gone to school. Three fourths of my life is gone. I am living only one fourth of my life."

As the boat continued to proceed, the scholar noticed water seeping into the boat. Alarmed, he said:

"Yeh, down below, there is water under my feet."

The boatman saw water gushing in through a hole. All efforts to block the hole failed. The boat was now half-filled
with water and was sinking. It became clear to the boatman that he could not save the boat.

He looked at the scholar and asked him "Panditji, do you know swimming?"

"No,". the scholar replied. "I do not know swimming."

Then the boatman said to him, "Panditji, I am sorry. Your whole life is gone."

Without the knowledge that counts, that makes a difference between life and death, what is the use of knowing everything else? Ved¡nta is like tara¸a-vidy¡, knowledge of swimming, which helps one cross the ocean of saÆs¡ra.


Because that tarana-vidya, the swimming is a vidya that makes you cross. And !rsha vidy! is a vidya that helps you cross. Without that vidya every other vidya that you have is purely an ornament owned by a person who doesn't think that I am beautiful. A person who doesn't think that I am beautiful or acceptable.. let that person put make-up – any amount of make-up. But behind that makeup, the person is not accepting himself or herself.

Similarly a vidya that helps you accept yourself as a person, and everything else is an embellishment. So this make-up should make the beauty of the person come out. It is not for covering the ugliness of the person. If a person thinks that "I am ugly" or that "I am no good", even though one can make up, cover up the whole thing, still inside I know that "I am ugly". And for that knowledge there is no cover up at all.

I know a lot of people who have grey hair and who can't stand the grey hair. Therefore they dye their hair to cover up the grey colour. Even though they may cover up the grey colour of their hair, they cannot cover up their knowledge of the grey colour by any amount of dye.

Self-non-acceptance is common to all human beings.

This knowledge of limitations of the body-mind-sense complex, is basis of one's self-non-acceptance – the basis of one's self-condemnation. It is common to all. Every human heart has this problem. In fact this problem is the fundamental human problem.

Narada's sorrow

In the Upanishad there is a story. That Narada, who is a great man, comes to a great sage called sanatkumara and tells him;

"Sir please help me. shokasya paaram tarayatu. I am in great sorrow. Please help me, the one who is in sorrow, cross this ocean of samsara."

Then, the teacher, (Sanatkumara) asked him : "How much do you know?"

And Narada answered,

"I know the four Vedas. And I know the shadangas – that is shiksha, kalpam, vyaakaranam, jyotisham, ityadi. The shadanagas are the six limbs, the six disciplines of knowledge which are helpful understand the Veda. I know these shad-angas which are the six secondary disciplines of knowledge. All these I know."

(further) he said,

"I know physics, bhuta-vidya. I know preta-vidya. So I can contact spirits etc. I know kkshetra vidya. I know nakshatra vidya….

he goes on giving a big list of vidyas, disciplines of knowledge he had studied. And at the end of it he says.

'Hey Bhagavan, sah aham – I am the great Narada of this great knowledge. but still I am in sorrow. Please help me."

And Sanatkumara said,

"You know everything like that pandita without knowing swimming. you know everything. But you do not know one vidya, which makes the difference bwteen self-acceptance and self-non-acceptance".

The human heart is the self-conscious heart. If you are not conscious of yourself, you have no problem really. But the human heart is self-conscious – this faculty of the buddhi is given. Also the faculty to judge is given. So there is self-judgment… self-judgment based on comparison. And therefore there is self-complex.

A cow is not conscious of itself as a person, so a Indian cow does not feel that "I am an Indian cow", or "I am a poor cow", "I am a Muslim cow", or "I am a white or black cow". A cow does not think like that. Why? Because it is not conscious of itself as a person. It is conscious of the world. It is capable of perception, inference. And even though it has a self-identity as cow because of which it does not mistake a dog for a cow… still it does not have self-consciousness that leads to a self-judgment and a self-complex. … that I am not acceptable to myself, that I am small and insignificant. So this conclusion that I am small and insignificant is centered on "I".

The conclusion that I am small and insignificant makes me a wanting person.

How come the human being has this complex? If I am an entity, a self-conscious entity… no matter how much I hav accomplished, still what I don't have, or what I have not accomplished is INFINITELY LARGE . In comparison to that what I have is infinitesimally small. So I am insignificant.

Even this physical body is insignificant. Even if it lives a hundred years it is nothing. Just a flicker. In the flow of time, if you see a way-side rock, it has a millions of years of history to tell you. And so even if this body lives a hundred years it is insignificant. It is nothing. Just a flicker. This physical body is subject to time, subject to place. If it is here, it is not elsewhere. Therefore it is limited. And so a person is WANTING – wanting time-wise, wanting in space, strength-wise wanting, ability-wise wanting, skill-wise wanting, knowledge wise wanting, perceptions –wise wanting, power-wise wanting, money-wise wanting, influence-wise wanting. And so you find yourself a WANTING person.

This sense of being a wanting person was discovered even as a child. As a small baby even as you looked around, you were frightened by the vastness of the world. And you saw people… so many people. Mother was a big, giant woman. Father was another big giant person. I was a small person, a small child, standing up on these precarious legs. In fact I could not even stand at that time. later even though I could stand, I was very insecure on my legs. Naturally I require the security of my mother and father all the time. Even if the mother was not there … I would carry a piece of her sari. … Thus I start my life as a small, insignificant person.

And as I grow older, I go to school. I gather knowledge. More and more knowledge I gather. And the more knowledge I gather, the more I come to know what I don't know. If I did not know that I do not know, it would be okay. But I do come to know that I do not know … and so knowledge-wise also I understand that I am insignificant.

In terms of power also I am insignificant. In fact I am at the hands of the laws of nature and of people. all the time, the hundreds of laws of natural forces govern my life – I am at their mercy… I can only try to understand them and try to manipulate them… but I am not able to change them .. I realise that I don't really call all the shots. So I find myself a helpless person.

So as this helpless, powerless, wanting person … I am not acceptable to myself.

The basic spiritual urge to be free of this "I am wanting" sense

So this "I am wanting. I am sinsignificant" is a problem which is universal. Centered on that problem are all our other problems with world. And our whole life is dedicated to be free of this problem … through various pursuits. Our whole life is in terms of getting things which help us to accept ourselves totally.

Let us analyse the human pursuits for seeking self-acceptance. Another word for human pursuit or human goals is purushartha. They can be reduced to two main ends in the beginning. One is 'security' and the others is 'happiness or pleasure'. Security is called as arthah and pleasure is called as kamah.

Behind the pursuit of security is the conclusion that, "I am insecure". There is an unconscious conclusion at first … later it is verbalized as " I am not secure. I seek security. As it is I am not good. I am not secure. I should get some form of security."

In the society that we grow, this security is considered to be wealth. vittam. So wealth in terms of hard cash or real estate. Power is also a form of security…. because it gives you a sense of well-being. When you have power, you wield it over others and that also makes you feel secure. You feel you can get things done. So Name, influence … all these gives you a sense of security.

Then there is kaamah…. the various types of pleasure. Music does not give you a sense of security, it gives you pleasure. In that pleasure you are able to forget for some time, all your insecurities, you sense of isolation, your sense of being small. Similarly there are other types of pleasure. Eating is a pleasure. Meeting is a pleasure. So there are varieties of things that give you pleasure. yoga gives you pleasure … called yogananda. Vidya gives you pleasure called vidyananda. Vishya or objects give you pleasure called vishayananda…. all these come under kamah.

Thus as a self-conscious being, suffering from the feeling of insignificance and insecurity, you are given to artha and kamah pursuits … this is very common.

So that 'I seek security' comes from the feeling "I am insecure". In the conclusion "I am mortal, also there is the feeling of insecurity, because body is subject to death. The conclusion is about "I" alone. The conclusion is centered on "I" alone. The physical body does not say "I am mortal". This conclusion is centered on "I". The "I am insecure" is a conclusion centered on 'I" and it is this conclusion that is behind the pursuit for money.

Now, as an insecure person, when you seek security, then what you seek must at least be secure. You have concluded that INSECURE I + something = SECURITY. That means what you are seeking must be secure…. because it will become one with you and then you will be secure.

But look at the fact about money. It is something you handle. It is not you. Money is mine. mama dhanam. It is my money. So 'mine' is definitely different from "I". So the conclusion of insecurity continues. Certainly holding onto money gives me a sense of well-being. This sense of well-being I love. So what do you really love? Money or the sense of well-being. It is the sense of well-being that you get out of the money that you love.

Suppose money gives you a sense of fear then you will give up the money. Story of business man in Bombay.

So here loss of money became a gain. Why? because by itself money is not security. so let us look at 2 cases

  1. Money is secure – but I am separate from it – then I am not secure and money cannot remove the conclusion that "I am insecure". I have to hold onto that money because I am separate from it. And as soon as I stop holding onto it, the money is gone. Also when I am holding onto it, anybody else can also hold onto it … and so I have to hold onto it … and so I am insecure.
  2. Money is not secure – it can go away any time – and so also "I am insecure" will not go away.

The truth is money is limited. It is expendable and so it is time-bound.


Money is time-bound … so it is insecure. Name and fame is time-bound … that is also insecure. Ask actors and politicians. If your well-being is dependent on the approval and praise of others … then when you are criticized you are finished. Power is time-bound … it is the most insecure … even when you have power you have fear of others vying for your seat!!

So I am after artha to free myself from the feeling of insecurity … and the truth is artha cannot free me…. because artha is also time-bound and insecure. Do you want arthaor do you want to be free from the need for artha … from feeling of insecurity?

So my love is not for artha.. my love is for freedom from the need for security. I want to see myself as SECURE … so the love is for seeing myself as SECURE. In fact the need for artha is only for seeing myself as secure.

In fact what you are seeking in your life is not artha it is moksha. Moksha means what? Freedom.

The word moksha comes from Ûøü²ø} ÐøøÇøü – which means 'in the sense of freedom' . So it means ×øÒÐøYúÒøéø;úÉÇø meaning 'release from bondage'. So òø@òøøá is nothing but bondage – which is the dependence for my sense of well-being upon things.

Therefore moksha is ÕøáÛøYÕøü)ðøøËøâ – the ultimate purushartha. Why?
Because even in seeking artha you are seeking moksha alone. Because you are seeking a sense of well-being alone. So moksha is the freedom from the sense of insecurity and smallness. That freedom is the ultimate end. Even when you are seeking artha, you are seeking moksha alone.

If you don't know this, that I am seeking moksha in artha … it means you are confused.

If I keep moksha as the ultimate end, then any pursuit becomes meaningful. If that moksha is not kept as the ultimate then artha become anartham or meaningless!! Any knowledge also become anartham. In fact life becomes meaningless. We saw how Narada having all the disciplines of knowledge was still sorrowful and insecure.

So now having analysed we conclude that what I am seeking is freedom from dependence for my well-being, for my security.What I am seeking is freedom from my dependence on situations for my sense of well-being.

MOKSHA has to be centered on "I"

Since the feeling of insecurity is centered on "I", the feeling of well-being and security must also be centered on "I". Moksha is therefore centered on "I". It's purely "I". The "I am small and insignificant" feeling – that feeling must be replaced by a certain truth – by knowledge. Truth means knowledge always. It has to be truth as the object is … knowledge as the object is.

So in fact Vedanta is saying that "the sense of security is to be centered on "I". It cannot be centered on the body, because body is insecure. Body is subject to jøáø
–old age, éÞøøúÐø Ydisease, ÛøámøÛø} – death.

So moksha is not dependent on the body, much less it is on the mind. Mind itself does not feel that "I am insecure", mind is only an instrument. Like my eyes I use for seeing, my mind I use for thinking. So mind is only an instrument. Mind itself does not have the sense of insecurity. We use the mind to have any sense. and the sense is centered on "I".

This is the teaching. It is all centered on "I". The "I-sense, which is a human sense, a self-conscious "I". The conclusion "I am insecure" is centered on "I" and so the solution also must be centered on "I" alone.


So now we have discerned the human problem. Mostly the spiritual pursuits are wanting because they are without content, and without direction because the problem is not discerned.

The problem is not anywhere else, except in the "I-notion". So the correction should be where? Where there is the problem, there alone, there must be a solution.

So when I am the problem, I am the solution.

Om Tat Sat

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Purushartha – Swami Paramarthananda


The word purushartha is very much used in our scriptures. We should have a clear understanding this word. It means human goals. 'Purusha' is a human being male or female. We can translate as manushya arthah. The word 'arthah' in Sanskrit has several meanings. It has the meaning 'meaning'. What is the artha of that particular verse means what is the meaning. It also means wealth. The word arthah here in this context is goal or destination. Arthyate sarvaih manushyaih prarthyate iti arthah – that which is sought after by every human being is called arthah. What is sought after by human beings? Different goals. So any human goal is called arthah. Combining these two words purusharthah means human goals.

The word 'purushartha' itself is used in other meanings also in sastra. In certain context it means freewill. In certain other contexts it means choice. And in yet certain other contexts the word is used in the sense of effort or prayatnah, endeavour. This is another meaning. Freewill. Choice, effort etc are some other meanings or secondary meanings of the word purushartha. But the primary meaning of the word is human destination or goal. By using the word purushartha itself, we convey an important idea that these are goals sought after only by human beings. The very fact it is called purushartha or mansuhyartha indicates that they are sought after only by human beings and not animals or plants. Because of the availability of purusharthas the human beings become distinct from or different from all the other beings. In fact because of the purusharthas human beings are considered to be superior to all the other living beings.

How come human beings alone have these purusharthas? What faculty of human being makes him endowed with this unique opportunity to have purusharthas? The sastras themselves declare that no doubt that the human beings are very very similar to animals and plants in several aspects. There are lot of sadharmyams common features. But there is one uncommon feature unique feature which makes the human beings and this is presented in a beautiful sloka – ahara nidra + buddhir hi tesham adhiko viseshah vidya vihinaah pasubhihs samanah. Human beings and other beings are similar in many respects like ahara or food. All seek food. Like from birth onwards they start seeking food. Then sleep. After lot of activity taking rest or nidra is a common thing for animals and humans and plants. Of course there are several ways of nidra. So animals sleep standing. Humans also can manage to do that. They sleep while standing during travels in the bus. Some sleep sitting. Next one is bhayam - fear of the external world. Sense of insecurity, the feeling of insecurity and therefore trying to protect itself. Then the next one is propagation of one's own s0ocies through children, grand children and so on. Santataih or parampara. Etat samanyam – these four are common to humans and animals If both are same in all these respects why do we consider human beings superior. Aritu aritu manuda janmam +

Buddhir hi + Intellect, thinking faculty, judging faculty, or reasoning faculty, projecting the future faculty, far sightedness planning for future and working for the betterment of the future all these come under the buddhih. It is an extra faculty. Since buddhi alone makes a human being superior or different from animal, buddhya vihinah if we do not have intellect or do not use your intellect. There are some philosophers who advise - never use intellect. It is the cause of all problems and so their teaching is do not use the intellect. What an unfortunate advise. The sastra says that if the intellect is not used that human being is as good as or as bad as animals. So buddhi or reason power is unique. Because of the extra faculty only we are extremely self-conscious also. Capable of self-judgement Capable of comparing myself with other human beings which animals do not have. When there is dog show and there have a competition to find out which dog is well trained dog dogs are asked to do various things and they are given various medals and there may be stand also as in Olympics. When they are standing on these three? What is their feeling? I have got gold or I missed gold by one hundredth of a second. Dog's do not have either superiority complex or inferiority complex. They only put their tongue out and look here and there. They do not know what the hell or heaven is happening. Let us tell heaven also.

On the other hand you know the who has the complex. The fellow who is owning the dog has complex. So buddhi gives me a unique faculty of self judgement complex, self-development comparison with other members of the same species. Once I develop a complex certainly I think of improving myself in the future. So planning for the future becomes another natural consequence of buddhi faculty. Self consciousness, self complex self-development self judgement and therefore projection of future hoping that I will be better off. And for the improvement of the future I start planning. The plans cut into several levels of immediate goals, long term goals. First year I expect a profit of 10 lakhs and next year expand and make it 20 lakhs. So primary and secondary goals, short term and long term goals – we alone are capable of having. If you interview the dog which has got the second prize, and ask in the next dog show do you want to come first. What will be its response? It will either wag the tail or bark at. It depends. It does not have plan for next dog show. All the animals and plants have an instinctive life style. Their entire life is governed by instincts whereas human beings are governed by instincts also. It is also common to them. Human beings have instincts also. But more than that, dominantly they have got the capacity to choose their future. Because of this choice human beings entertain lot of goals and all these goals are called purusharthas.

Now the question is how many such goals are possible? If you start enumerating the goals intermediate and ultimate, short and long terms, they are countless and anantah. Even though the goals are endless, we classify all the goals into four types or categories. The numbers are many but they can be categorised into four and we call caturvidha purusharthas. Any goal you want to accomplish will come under one of these four alone. There is no fifth variety. What are those goals?

Arthah - The first one which starts very early in life is the goal of arthah. Here in this context the very word 'artha' means security. Everything you procure for the sake of your security all those things will come under arthah. Artha or security I mean sheer physical survival Right from birth one instinctive or natural urge every living being including a human being has is the urge to somehow survive. Anything that you procure for your security all those objects which contribute to your security your physical survival will come under arthah which will help you in removing the sense of insecurity. This is negative language. In positive language anything that provides for your security.

What are those things – broadly they're food, clothing shelter and health. Food - right from beginning struggle begins. Without food the security is in threat. Next you have to protect your body from environment. So all types of clothing that you have – summer clothing and winter clothing. Books and books are written for this. Multi-million fashions shows. Helmet you wear for your safety, the seat belt that you wear for your safety. The air filter – some wear in two wheeler. You do not know who the terrorist is and who is not. They tie the towel. You do not see the face. They all are meant for what? Security. You air-condition your car so that the pollution in the city will not affect your health. Anything that protects your body shields your body that is food and clothing. Again shelter. I am working for a house. There is still no house for us to call as our home. Before death one project is to own a house. To own a flat at at least in Maduvankari. Then comes health. Fighting all forms of diseases. Anything that you procure to take care of all these four to safeguard your survival. First we have to survive. Whether I'm useful to myself or society or not is another question. First is survival

Initially I want to take care of my own security. Then comes the second layer of security. It is security for my future. Because in old age I cannot work and earn. In olden days they thought that children are security for the old age. Nowadays doubt is coming whether the children will take care of me or not. I have a confidence in my son but I do not know what type of daughter in-law or son-in-law will come I do not know. Whether they will allow my children to take care of me is doubtful. So I care for my future food, future clothing, future shelter and future health. Fear of health and disease becomes more and more as I grow old.

Initial part of life food and clothing becomes important. Later part of life health becomes important. I therefore procure envisaging or visualising possible troubles. Then I am worried about unexpected accidental threats and so I have to take all forms of insurances. Medical insurance, accident insurance, car insurance life insurance. Present security and future security.

Then comes the next layer of security. Once I possess a few things or people for my security then I am worried about their sucurity. See how it grows. First I want cloth for the security of body, now I have to regularly clean the cloth for the security of cloth itself. Buy a washing machine. For what? For security of cloth. It is not for your security. Otherwise you will be dumped in it. There are washing machines for human beings also. You sit. Then their power fluctuation. It will get spoiled. So for the security of washing machine you buy voltage stabiliser. Security. Security for security and security for security of security.

Your house gives security. You are worried about the security of house and so you employ a security. A security for the security of your house. This is what we are doing. Since your security is very important for the security of house which is required for your security, you are worried about the security of security. If he falls ill he will not come. So you provide his security. Swami if he comes then only I can come to the class. So the story goes on and on. Most of the life we are busy providing for security and all these things like washing machine or securities staff, come under artha purusharthas, abhaya praptyartham for freedom from bhayam. Animals also want security. But they instinctively take care of their securities. Lord has provided for them. They have special skin. Or fast legs. You do not have problem about their clothing. Bhagavan has given them naturally. We have got to work for them.

Kama - Then comes the next goal of human being which is kama. Once security is taken care of and now there is no threat for my survival, I have enough money. I have enough money not only for food now but enough for three generations. I have got reasonably own house. I have bought myself. Then I have got clothing. Every thing is there. What else to do with my life. Once artha is taken care of I go towards kama purushartha. Kamah means all forms of comfort which you do not require for your security but which you can enjoy. If they are there it will be nice. If not also okay. If they are I will be more comfortable Luxury or comfort or all forms of entertainments. No entertainment is required for my survival. So it does not come under arthah. All entertainments are separate from of purshartha coming under kama. I want to have a gala time, I want to enjoy myself. So any form of music or dance or drama or TV. Once door darsan is there, I want cable connection also. All entertainment industry is so big now.

Once I take care of the entertainment within my surrounding I am bored. Seeing Madras itself again and again I am bored. I want to go around. A small world tour. What small! All of them come under kama purushartha. Comforts, enjoyment and entertainment. And animals also want comforts and they do instinctively go after comfort. If there is lot of sun, animals naturally go towards the shade. It is instinctive seeking of comfort. In our case due to our superior intellect he plans and entertains himself. This comes under kama purushartha. This is second goal of human life. Among most of the human beings, artha purushartha itself takes the whole life time. They cannot even pass on to kama. Daily water is a struggle. It is arthah. Water seems to be luxury because it is so difficult to get.

Dharma - Then comes the third human goal which is known as dharma purushartha. What do you mean by it? It can be defined as an invisible form of wealth generally translated as good luck or good fortune in English. That person was very lucky and he had good fortune. I was fortunate. Luck or fortune when I say, it is not something that I see, but it seems to contribute to your well being. Either in the form of providing artha or kama it seems to be an invisible form of wealth contributing to your welfare. So in Sanskrit it is called adrshtam. In Tamil adihstam. Kaun benega karodpati. Something like that. No doubt lot of knowledge is required. But to enter that there is lottery. You say sukra dasa. It is all invisible forms of wealth which contributes. This dharma can be acquired by appropriate means which we are not going to discuss. I am not discussing the means here. It can be acquired by appropriate means. Since dharma is something which is an achievable through appropriate methods dharma also becomes a human goal. It is all translated as punyam. Dharmah or punyah or adrshtam. These are all synonymous.

This dharma contributes to our wellbeing in two fold ways. 1. Dharma contributes to our well being in this very life itself by providing artha and kama. Dharma is very useful in this life. In addition to my own effort it contributes. 2. The second benefit of dharma is it also contributes to our welfare in our next life, especially in the initial stages of life. If you study any birth, our own human birth we will find that our initial few years are certainly not under our control. In fact my initial few years happen to me not after consulting with me but I find they have happened to me. What type of parents I have? I find myself with. I may think I would have been happier if only my parents were little bit different. I was not asked for choice. I find myself with certain and certain parents. Sometimes only one parent. Sometimes the child is orphan. A child is helpless with regard to parentage, with regard to environment and with regard to type of upbringing whether it is doted child or beaten child. I find even though I am a human being my initial stages of life are certainly not under my control. Then it is under whose control? It is supposed to be determined by dharma. The dharma I acquire now will not only help me in this life, but also help me in the initial few years of my next janma also. In what way? By providing good parentage, good environment, good health, good shelter good food, good values. Everything good in the next birth is also contributed by the dharma. So a child's life is heavily determined by the invisible wealth called good luck.

Not only that. Initial few years of human life is so important that it can even determine the future adult life. The psychologists are discovering this more and more. They say that many of my emotional conditions now during my adulthood are heavily determined by my childhood. My physical health, my emotional health and even my intellectual health. Therefore adult life is determined by childhood. Childhood life I am not able to determine. How my parents will bring me up, I am not able to determine. So if I want to control my childhood in next janma it can be done through dharma purushartha. Dharma directly influences my present life and it also influences my future childhood life and it indirectly affects my future adult life also. Thus dharma becomes extremely important. And there is an appropriate method of earning this dharma. Sambadicchirukkan, they say. Not only we talk of earning visible wealth called money we also talk of earning the invisible wealth called panya sampadanam. We say he has earned it. This is the third purushartha. They are otherwise called dharma artha and kama. Dharma being powerful subtle form of wealth we enumerate first. These three human goals have got many things in common. Since that being so put together they are known as preyas. It is one word which means dharma, artha and kama. Any thing that you acquire is preyas. Deliberately legitimately or plannedly whatever you acquire is preyas.

Moksha - Now the question is what is the fourth purushartha or the fourth human goal. It is called moksha otherwise called muktih or sreays. Sreyasca + Moksha can be translated as freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom is political freedom or economic freedom? It is an inner freedom. Freedom from what? Freedom from slavery with regard to preyas. Or all other accomplishments.

In what way I am a slave to preyas or anything in the world? Any object in the world or person in the world enslaves me in two ways.

1. One is an object can enslave me by its very absence in my life. When that particular thing or person is not there for me if I feel a vacuum, if I feel an emptiness, if I feel worthlessness then that object is capable of enslaving me. Because I am all the time obsessed with that. I have no money… I have no wife.. Nobody comes to marry me. Spouse binds you by his or her absence. Another person says I have no child, I have no child. Child abhavah. A thing can bind me by its absence by creating emptiness. Abhavah badhnati sunyata dvara. Enslaves me. I am not happy. I miss things. I lack things. I lack company. I lack friends and money. Any lack is one form of slavery.

2. Otherwise objects can bind me by their presence also. Swamiji my problem is not absence of spouse. Do not take it seriously. It is his or her presence. I do not know how to escape. I am seriously thinking of how to come to ashram. So too children - not absence but their presence is the problem. So things bind me by their presence also. By creating burden or strain. Absence creates vacuum and presence creates strain and tension. Some objects create problem by their absence and some objects create problems by their presence and some create problems both ways. Like money. Richness also problem and poverty also problem. Both go to ashram seeking peace of mind. One because of prosperity and another because of poverty. This slavery with regard to preyas or external goals is a bondage. Freedom from this slavery. Otherwise called self mastery. I am no more a dasah but I am a Swami. Svami is not one who wears kaavi. An external swami may also be a slave. I do not have an ashram for myself. I do not have a cottage for myself. Do you feel that - do not ask. Some people say I do not get disciples. I did so many things. They do not come and they do not stay even if they come. I miss disciples or miss name or fame. Swamitvam is an internal condition and what does it mean.

When things are absent I do not have vacuum and when things are present they are not burdensome to me. Unlike a shoe. When it is absent I can have a problem. Because it is hot weather or stones or thorns. So I bought the shoe. Now it is not fitting properly. It is now biting me. So now I am disturbed by the presence of the shoe. Similarly in life the whole thing I have, I am burdened, I do not know how to handle them. If shoe is fitting then their presence is not felt at all. So moksha is that where I am comfortable without things, preyas. I am comfortable with preyas. This inner strength, inner maturity or inner mastery is called mokshah or sreyah. The first three are secondary purusharthas and the last one alone is primary purushartha. In preyas slavery continues and in sreyas alone I am no more a slave of anything

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nidhidhyasana – adapted from Swami Dayananda

Here in this scenic setting I allow myself to relax totally – first by just relaxing into the environment. The secret of relaxation is so simple, it is simple acceptance. I am aware of the sounds, the touch, the smells. I can visualise in my mind this place – the green lawns, the woods, the pond, the geese, the ducks, the swans, the loons. I don't want anything to be different. I just let everything be itself. I relax with reference to the external world – then my mind is available for meditation.


Om Namah Shiva…..


I relax further by becoming aware of different parts of the body part by part.


I relax further by watching breath passively. The frame of mind is relaxed, accepting – so even if my mind goes away, I am relaxed – I simply bring it back.

…… In this relaxed frame of mind I appreciate that

Basically I am a simple conscious being – conscious of memories, ego, thoughts, feelings, breathing, body, the world…..

Basically I am a simple conscious being and I am comfortable with myself. If I feel this is true for me right now, I can affirm that I am comfortable being myself by saying so mentally.


Sri Raam Jai Ram …..Rama OM Rama Rama Jai Ram


Thoughts arise in the mind. Any thought arising in the mind has a form which is the object of that thought. After the thought goes and before the rise of another thought, what obtains in the mind? Silence obtains.


This silence in the mind is not separate from the conscious person, the awareful person.


Like the reflection of the sun in a clear still pond is not seperate from the sun. The still waters of the pond reflect the sun totally, accurately.


A stone thrown in – the ripples make it look like the sun is agitated – sun is moving. So too thoughts arise in the mind. When a thought occurs, that conscious person becomes the subject who recognises the form of the thought, the object. When a thought occurs thus, there seems to be a subject object relationship


Between two thoughts, there is no subject-object relationship. The silent mind is one with the conscious person. All that is there is one formless consciousness – awareness.


That formless consciousness or awareness always remains formless. It does not change just because there is a thought. While thought does not exist apart from formless consciousness, the consciousness itself never undergoes any modification


Just like the sun is undisturbed by the ripples in the still clear pond - the reflection may appear to be disturbed, also having ripples, but the sun itself has no ripples in it.


So too thought which is an apparent change in consciousness, leaves no imprint on consciousness, no ripples in consciousness. The ripples of thoughts are for the mind, not for Consciousness-I.


In a still pond, without ripples, the reflection of the sun is still, without ripples, just like the sun. ooking at the reflection, we can recognise the sun easily, as the sun is.


So too the unchanging Consciousness is recognised in a silent mind, in the silence between thoughts. That silence is an attribute of the mind, in the absence of thoughts and is a reflection of consciousness as it always is. It is easy to recognise that Consciousness is of the nature of peace in a silent mind.


And like the sun is not effected by ripples in the pond, even through the reflection is affected, in the same way consciousness which is ever of the nature of peace, silence, is not effected by the presence of thoughts.


Like the sun is not dependent on the absence of ripples in the pond, Consciousness which is ever of the nature of peace, is not dependent on the absence of thoughts.


I have a silent mind; that is experience. I am silence, peace by nature; that is knowledge. In spite of thinking, I am silence. I never changes. I is nirvikaarah, unchanging, satyam


This recognition frees me from the notion that I am subject to agitation. While thoughts are not away from me, I am always free from thoughts. Whether a thought is good or bad, sacred or profane, shallow or profound, it does not cause any change in me. That is the meaning of the sentence "Aham shantah; I am silence, I am peace.


Cid ananda roopah shivoaham shivoham..


Cid ananda roopah shivoaham shivoham..


Cid ananda roopah shivoaham shivoham..


Geetha and Values – Swami Paramarthananda


On this auspicious occasion of the eighth anniversary of Geetha Study Centre, I will say few words on the Geetha. If you happened to study Geetha, you will find that Geetha discusses many topics dealing with spirituality, like the topics of Karma Yoga, Bhakthi, Jnanam, Values, Pranayama, Japa, moderation in food etc.

As so many things are discussed in Geetha, one can get a doubt: What is the centre theme of Geetha? Here alone, we get the help from commentators like Sankaracharya. Sankaracharya, after thoroughly analysing the Geetha, establishes that Geetha is a 'Moksha Shastra'. Geetha is a Shastram which is dealing primarily with the topic of Moksha or freedom. There may be other topics like Japa, Pranayama or social harmony. But none of them is the central theme. The central theme is Moksha or freedom.

Naturally, the question comes 'Freedom from what'? That has been clearly given in the first chapter of the Geetha. We find Arjuna facing a particular problem, which we call 'Samsara'. The problem of 'Samsara' discussed in the I chapter is the problem of every human being. Moksha means freedom from this universal problem of 'Samsara'. What is the problem of Samsara? To put in brief, we can say the problem is Raga, Shoka and Moha. Raga means dependence, attachment. Shoka means grief, sorrow. Moha means conflict, confusion by Raga, we mean depending on external things or people or situations to be happy. As long as I depend upon people to be happy, my happiness is always in danger. Any time, that person may go away from me or die causing sorrow. Similarly, if I depend upon objects, as long as the objects are there with me, I am fine. The moment the objects go away, I am upset. Similar is the dependence upon situation, neighbourhood, surroundings etc. This tendency is called Raga. We find that Arjuna has dependence on Bhishma, Drona etc. We have our dependence upon various people around. And therefore everybody is suffering from the problem of Raga. Raga will necessarily cause shoka, sorrow. We find that situations are not under our control. The thing we depend upon deserts us. It may be money, it may be job, it may be people. If anything is not available, I become depressed. The problem of shoka is also universal.

Then comes the problem of Moha - conflict of what to do and what not to do, what is right and what is wrong, what is Dharma and what is Adharma. These three problems, we find in the first chapter of the Geetha. It is the problem of every human being at all times. This we call as 'Samsara'. The entire Geetha Shastram is meant to remove this fundamental problem and this 'Samsara Nivrithi', removal of the dependence, is the purpose of Geetha and that is called 'moksha'. That means I must be happy irrespective of the presence or absence of people. The presence or absence of things, conducive situation or non-conducive situation. If I can be so, I am called independent, muktha purusha. This is the topic of Geetha. So, the first point I would like to emphasize is that Geetha is a Moksha Shastra.

Then, what is the method that Krishna is prescribing to get rid of 'Samsara', i.e., to attain moksha or independence? Here, there are lot of controversies, some people say Bhakthi, some say Jnanam, some say Yoga. Krishna says in the beginning itself.

'Asocyaananvasocastvam pragnavaadaamsca bhaashase |

gatasunagataasumsca naanusocanti panditaah ||'

"A wise person does not grieve in life". This is a beautiful statement of Lord Krishna worth remembering in life. From this, it is very clear that if we want to avoid grief, we should become wise. So, becoming wise is the only method of removing grief. To put it in another language, wisdom is the only way of getting rid of grief. Through knowledge alone, one gets moksha or freedom. From this, we can derive another information. If knowledge is the means of freedom from grief, what should be the cause of grief? Ignorance, geetha says ignorance causes grief, wisdom removes grief and the whole Geetha teaching is meant to remove this ignorance through wisdom.

Krishna talks about many other disciplines like moderation in diet, speaking the truth, Japa
Parayanam, Yoga etc. But Krishna does not present any one of them as the means of liberation but as a preparation for Jnanam. Thus, Puja, Japa Parayanam, Yoga, social service and other disciplines are meant for preparation for knowledge. Generally we call them 'Yoga Shastram' and all of them make a person ready for knowledge. Then, second and final step is Jnanam which give Moksha. Brahma Vidya is the means of liberation and Yoga Shastra is the means of preparation.

Krishna talked about many preparatory disciplines. But one thing Krishna emphasizes is the refinement of mind. In the thirteenth chapter, the Lord talks about a series of virtues like humility, forbearance, steadiness, sense - control, absence of egoism, etc. Even though these virtues are preparation for knowledge, Krishna calls these virtues themselves as Jnanam, because if these virtues are there, knowledge or wisdom is not far off. On the other hand, if these virtues are absent, any amount of efforts including the study of spiritual literature will not give any benefit at all. The Lord emphasizes these virtues again in the fourteenth chapter as Satwa Guna and in the sixteenth chapter as Daivee Sampath. What is the role of virtues in Jnanam? It is like preparing the ground before sowing the seed. Guru is sowing the seed of wisdom. Our mind is like the ground. The seed is not defective. The seed can bear the fruit. But our problem is the land is barren, not cultivated, not tilled, pesticide etc. have not been used. Kama - pest, Krodha - pest, Lobha - pest etc. are there. In such a land, sowing the seeds does not give any benefit at all. Therefore, a person has to take care of his mental preparation by cultivating virtues, which Krishna calls as Jnanam or Satwaguna Daivee Sampath. What are all the virtues? Countless virtues are mentioned all over the Geetha, which makes the Geetha unique. I shall discuss two virtues which Krishna emphasizes often. They are Nishkamatvam (freedom from desire) and Nishkrodhatvam (freedom from anger). One who knows to handle the two problems of Kama and Krodha alone will be able to benefit from the study of this scriptures. How to get over Kama? Krishna gives the solution in the third chapter. Kama means desire, Raga. Attachment or desire towards material things of life, is called Kama.

Krishna says that a person can get over this problem only if he knows its source. If you know that, you can easily get rid of that. The Lord points out that there are three sources or centres which are responsible for the origination of Kama. They are sense organs, mind and intellect. How do the sense organs contribute to Kama? The sense organs are like the doors through which all the objects enter our mind. So, when I open my senses varieties of attractive forms enter my mind. Similarly varieties of attractive sounds, smells, etc. enter. And the moment they enter, I am attracted, carried away by them. Therefore, the sense organs create Kama by putting things inside the mind. The second source that Krishna mentions is the mind. Even when an attractive thing enters the mind, it does not become a powerful desire at once, it is only a seed of desire. Even though the sense organs put the seed of desire, it is not that much harmful. But the mind will not allow that feeble desire to remain there. The mind goes on repeating that "It is nice, it is nice." This mental repetition of thought also contributes to kama. The third source that contributes to Kama is the intellect. The intellect's job is false-judgement. The intellect has got a false notion, a misconception that the external things can give permanent happiness, permanent peace, permanent security. This expectation of permanent happiness, peace and security is born out of a false judgement on the part of intellect. That is why, until we possess a thing, it is attractive. After we possess, we find its value goes down. It was only a fake peace, a fake happiness that it was able to create. Without understanding the fakeness or falsity of the charm, the intellect thinks that it is real. This is the false judgement of the intellect. Because of these three, Kama develops, Krishna says.

How to conquer Kama? Krishna says that we have to take care of these three sources. How to take care of? The sense organs must be alert. We should not allow anything and everything to enter. This is called sense control. Even if some disturbing things enter the mind through the senses, still I can save myself. How? Here the second part has to be taken care of. The mind which repeats it again and again, has to be stopped in the beginning itself. This is control of the mind. Not repeating it again and again is mind-control. The third one is Bhuddhi (intellect) which has made a false judgement. The intellect has to understand very clearly that if a particular thing can give permanent happiness, all the people who possess that thing should be permanently happy. But that is not so. The idea is that a house can give shelter, but not fulfilment. Thus by proper enquiry, we should clearly understand that fullness, peace, security, happiness, etc., cannot come from those things. Therefore, I should not depend on them for peace, security, happiness. This is Viveka. Therefore, control at the level of intellect is right judgement. Thus, three disciplines are required for removing Kama. They are sense-control, mind-control and right judgement.

Regarding anger, Krishna does not say much. Krishna feels that Kama is taken care of, Krodha also is taken care of. Desire converted alone is anger. If there is an obstruction for the fulfilment of a desire, the very same desire is converted into anger. And the anger is directly proportional to the desire. Therefore, if desire is taken care of anger is taken of. Hence, Krishna does not separately deal with anger. Still, by using our common sense, we can find out some methods for getting out of anger-problem. The first step in conquering anger is clearly knowing that anger is not a good thing at all. To understand that anger is not good, we can take the example of a powerful drug. There are some powerful medicines which the doctors will use only in emergency cases and the moment you take the medicine, you get relief. Naturally, you will feel like asking the doctor to give it again and again. Then the doctor will say, "no doubt the medicine is effective but it has got some problems". What are they? No. 1: When you take the powerful drug, even though you are getting relief, the side effects are serious. Sometimes, it is worse than the disease itself. No. 2: Once you take the powerful drug and the pain goes away, your tendency will be to use it again and again. This is human weakness. No. 3: If you take the drug again and again, its effect will become lesser and lesser like sleeping pills.

Anger is also like a powerful drug. How do we say so? No. 1: Anger may work, but the side effects on the person getting anger and the person on the other side, are very harmful. The damage done is more than the benefit achieved. So, the first problem with anger is its serious side effect. No.2: Once you find that anger works, you tend to get angry repeatedly. It becomes a weakness or addiction. No.3: just as a drug loses its efficiency on you with repeated usage, anger also loses its efficiency after repeated usage. You keep shouting. Others will say that you are generally like that and will ignore you.

Hence, anger has to be handled very carefully by observing the following principles:

  1. Avoid repeated use of anger however much efficacious it may appear to be.
  2. Patiently try all other peaceful methods including warning, before using anger as a last resort. In fact, you will find anger is not required in most cases.
  3. Under any circumstance, anger as a reaction is evil. When you use anger as an action, you will be able to stop it or postpone it at will.

Thus, by leading an alert life, it is possible to deal with Kama and Krodha. Without handling: them, Jnanam will not take place. Even if it takes place, it will not be fruitful.

May the Lord bless us all to attain mental refinement and knowledge so that we will find fulfilment in this life itself. OM TAT