Sunday, March 23, 2008

Swamy Ramsukhdas- Rishi Extraordinary

Swamy Ramsukhdas- The great Gita Exponent

In my mid thirties, I started my exciting spiritual journey through a copy of Bhagavdad Gita published by ‘Gita Press’,(in Tamil, called Tattva Vivechani) which cost me Rs 50 in 2000. The original was written by Poojya Jayadayal Goendka.

The commentary was so beautiful, I continued to read it one sloka a day, memorizing it and contemplating on that sloka’s purport. This is called ‘Parayana’ in Sanskrit. I did two full rounds with this commentary (which means 700 slokas read in two rounds) and it took me almost six years. Even though I had two other commentaries of Gita by Swamy Chidbhavananda and Srila Prabhupada, I used ‘Tattva Vivechani exclusively.

It was in 2006 that I chanced upon another commentary of Bhagavad Gita in a book fair at the Gita Press book stall. It was called ‘Sadhak Sanjeevani’ by Swamy Ramsukhdas. This was in two big volumes. For my third round of parayana, I started using this.

Swamy Ramsukhdas surprised me with his handling of each sloka. Slowly it was dawning on my not so quick mind that I was studying the words of one of the greatest saints of this century. The commentary was extraordinary and so was the Tamil translation.

As I entered the second chapter, the explanations simply amazed me. Swamiji’s words hit me with such force, I was awe-struck and was eagerly awaiting the next sloka. Now I am in the sixth Adhyaya (chapter) called Dhyana Yoga (or Atma Samyama Yoga) and enjoying each step.

What I am realizing now is that Swamy is no ordinary word to word commentator with linguistic or literary brilliance. He was a realized master who lived the Gita and he was giving his own experiences in words. For example his explanation on ‘kriya, karma and karma yoga’ is unique and to be found nowhere.

About a year back I wanted to meet him and surrender to him . I enquired at ‘Gita Press’ at Gorakhpur through phone. What they told me was shattering! Swamiji had attained Samadhi in Rishikesh in 2004. I asked if they had a photo of him. The answer was another surprise. Poojya Ramsukhdas ji never allowed himself to be photographed in his life span of 103 years !

Gita Press , I heard always was operating under the sage advices of Poojya Swamiji. Gita Press is, in my opinion, a sterling example of how dedicated work by a few Hindus can effect a change in the whole society. They have always produced great books, neatly printed and given to the public at subsidised prices. They print in many languages of India, and have established branches all over India. As Hindus, we should make it a habit to patronize this holy institution.

Our Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) has seen many great saints and masters in its glorious history. Swamy Ramsukhdas ji is undoubtedly among them. Together with his spiritual depth, he knew the problems faced by Bharat. He was a very vocal advocate of Hindu unity.

He condemned abortions and contraception terming them acts against nature. He experienced agonizing pains on hearing cow slaughter. Swamiji reminded his countrymen that here is the only race sworn to protect the cows, and in our very midst, cows are feasted by people of other religions !

Swamy was so concerned about the dwindling Hindu population. He has warned that if Dharma should stand in the world, Hindus must maintain a significant population.

Swamiji continues to be the inspiration behind my spiritual activities on the ground and on the net. I request my brethren all over the world to study the word of a great , great Rishi of our times.

Jai Bharat, Jai Sanatana Dharma !


Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What do Kriya, Karma and Karma Yoga mean ?

Kriya, Karma and Karmayoga

When one thinks of the words of Kriya, Karma and Karma Yoga one immediately thinks of Bhagavad Gita only. Nowhere does one find Karma Yoga so thoroughly analysed and explained as in the Gita. Any student of Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) will want to know the real meaning of these terms.

Before proceeding we need to know about the Prakruti or nature. Prakruti is defined as the combination of Kriya and Jata (or matter). These both have a beginning and an end. For example, the changes that happen in our bodies are kriyas . The material body is the matter.

What is Karma ? Karma happens when there is an ‘ownership’ to a Kriya. In a person’s life many kriyas are continuously happening. But, the moment that person feels that they are his deeds, ‘Karma’ is born. Here the ‘person’ is the ‘Chetana- the Self’ who is the very source who illumines the body (which is made up of Kriya and matter).

River Ganga flows on her own and irrigates the land wherever she goes. This flow is a ‘Kriya’. Whether she destroys are irrigates, there is no Papa (sin) or Punya attached to its flow.

A person’s body grows from childhood to Youth and untimately to old age. This process is a ‘Kriya’. But when he thinks that ‘he’ is getting old and changing, that moment a ‘Karma’ is born. Karma is the marriage of the Self and the Kriya. To put it simply, the ‘I’ feeling in a ‘Kriya’ leads to a Karma. This is called the eternal bondage of the Self and Nature.

The Ahankara or ‘I- feeling’ is the source of all bondage. Because of this bondage , man forgot the real immense power inside him and came to identify himself with his body (and mind and intellect) which are a part of the nature. 'yagnyArthat karmano(a)nyatra loko(a)yam karma bandhana:' ( Gita 3-9)

In this context, how shall we define Yoga ? Well, yoga is that process that strives to release the self from its bondage to the nature.

When this process is focused on the actions going on in this world and helps man to get a release from these actions, it is called as karma Yoga. Karma is bondage. Yoga is release. Karma is centred on this world. Yoga is centred on 'Self' or God.

Krishna says that man can never be without doing Karma (Gita 3-5). Even when he thinks he is idle and still. His body is changing per second, his mind is rushing into every possible direction. His intellect is also continuously analysing every thought. The wise distances these kriyas as that of the nature. He has realized that his real 'Self' is untouched by these kriyas.

But , is there a message in all this for a common man ? There is. Only as long as the 'I' feeling remains in oneself, he will be bound to the world. The way to release from this is simple. First, he has divert all his karmas towards the welfare of the world at large. This is the first step. Here, the 'I' feeling is blunted. This leads to real Karmayoga. Karmayoga in turn destroys the bondage of the Self -' yagnyAcharata: karma samagram pravileeyate' (Gita 4-23). And finally the man realizes his eternal relation with ParamAtman.

Karma yoga is one of the four Royal paths of realization as expounded in the Gita. Karma Yoga is a speciality of Sanatana Dharma and every modern Management exponent finds in it the ideal tool for defining work and result.

Karma Yoga affirms emphatically that man has no right over the fruits of his actions. It is only in working that he has the right. This is being confirmed by almost every management guru now. Stephen R Covey, (of 7 habits of highly successful prople) writes this : " There is nothing such as success and failure, There are only results".

Krishna goes further saying that the 'I' feeling and the resultant expectation of the outcome of karma is what binds man to the world more and more. The only way out , therefore, is doing your duty regardless of the outcome. Even better, do it for others' sake. Still better, dedicate the whole work in the feet of the Lord.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Why communism is incompatible with Sanatana Dharma ?

Why communism is incompatible with Hinduism ?
As a small boy, when I started reading newspapers, I was struck by the force and hatred of the communist leaders when they wrote about Sanatana Dharma (read Hinduism) and its practices. During college years, when I stopped to listen the road corner meetings, I started to realize that this is a definite pattern. The young person I was, I was trying to figure out why these speakers, almost all of them Hindus, were spewing such venom on my Dharma.

Not till I wrote my blog post on Truth , I realized the truth behind communism and their hatred. Now, let me share my perception of the 'How' and 'why' of their hatred.

The distilled wisdom of the Upanishads, Shastras and the Gita is that, this world, as we see it, is transient and really has no existence. I am now repeating some of what I wrote in my earlier blog for clarity. (between the lines )
In Bhagavad Gita , Sri Krishna says, (2nd chapter ,16th sloka)

nAsato vidyate bhAvo , nAbhAvo vidyate sata: |
ubhayorapi drushtontas tvanayos tattvadarshibhi: ||

"That which is untrue has no existence. The truth has no non existence. The conclusion about these two has been visualized by the knowers of truth."

Now, view the statement about truth vis a vis the above sloka. It says That the untruth has no existence! The material objects belong to the prakruti or nature. The nature is an ever changing entity. The human body and it five sheaths is also a part of nature and it is subject to birth and death.

In fact the changes in the body is so fast and persistent that it changes by the second, nay even millisecond so much so that the body you saw before closing your eyes is not the same when you opened your eyes. If you observe closely, you will realize that the body was not there when one was not born nor it will remain when one dies. The body travels from non existence to non existence. And ,the untruth has no existence. What else can one call the body and its extension , the nature ,except as an untruth ? All the theisms calling the body and this world real are untrue!

Now , let us analyze the fundamentals of the communist doctrine. Communism is founded on the premise that ALL HUMANS are created EQUAL and it is one man's wickedness which is suppressing others. Communism also declares that the material world is true and pooh poohs all claims on the soul.

You would now know what the Sanatana Dharmic concept on the above is. According to my Dharma, every creation is unique. There is no similarity or EQUALITY either. Each organism, whether a worm, or a bird, or a man, is born according to eternal laws of karma based fully on the previous embodied birth of its self or soul or spirit.

I think this conclusion in our scriptures of 'NO EQUALITY " is bothering the comrades and they , for this very reason, are making fun of our scriptures and our saints. This statement is the one that shakes their very foundation. But these ignoramuses are forgetting the fact that communism is just an economic concept with no real grasp over life, creation or the creator. They simply focussed on material which is a transient entity which travels from non existence to non existence.

And these men based their doctrine on such a shallow concept (not even a philosophy). It made man an automaton and taught that a scientist is equal to a sweeper and the Wrestler is equal to the frail. And, horror of horrors, it justified emptying one pocket to fill another.

They could not explain why different children born to the same mother were unlike each other and did not fare equally in life. For them the material, the eternal untruth, was the truth. This is the reason why communism was chased out of Europe. According to even a modest estimate, nearly 4 million people lost their lives directly during communist rule in Europe and Russia. China is till limping with communism because they compromised on 90 % of their values !

Sanatana Dharma really does not need these foolish concepts since we had an advanced society based on Dharma and referenced by the Shastras.

But why Communism is soft on Christianity ?

On the other hand, one also wonders why the communists are soft on Christianity and even bends over backwards to accommodate it. The reason is Christianity of today shares some of Communist ideals. They both deny the supremacy of the soul over body, and believe existence is supreme. After all, Communism is the brainchild of Christians only !

In the north east states of India, where Christianity was allowed unlimited access to evangelize an innocent tribe population, it was the communists who were the beneficiaries by capturing the assembly seats. The collusion continues to this day. When Ramakrishna Math wanted to start schools in those states, they found that all the existing schools taught only upto 5 th standard to deliberately keep the population undereducated. Such is the typical Communist- Christian fears on Knowledge! If the knowledge empowered the converts, then these colluders will have nowhere to go!

Kerala is also a classic example where the communists and Christians are made for each other.

Now, you realize why the senile communist comrades hit out at all Hindu groups and Saints ? The growth of Sanatana Dharma is their death. Once the knowledge of the indestructibility and Eternality of the embodied Self reaches the common man, he will know that the purpose of life is Self realization and not self denial and self oblivion. At that point, the rout of the communism will be complete. The average communist will rue another precious birth wasted by his useless doctrine. (Gita study group)