‘Why Rama killed Vali?’ Valmiki Ramayana Answers…

Prof. Shashi Tiwari, General Secretary, WAVES-India 

Vālmīki-Rāmāyaṇa is a regarded as a Dharmaś́āstra which exemplifies the Vedic Values. Vālmīki lays great emphasis on Dharma or righteousness, the principle that upholds society and country. To serve mankind is the greatest virtue for a king or administrator, according to Rāmāyaṇa. Rāma is called Puruṣaṛṣ̣abha (best human being) whose inspiration was truthful moral life.Sarva-bhūta-hite rataḥ’ (always busy in the welfare of all) was his social ideal. The Rāmāyaṇa consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kāṇḍas). The fourth book, Kiṣkindhā Kāṇḍa, describes the meeting of Hanum̄an with Rāma, the destruction of the vānara king Vālī and the coronation of his younger brother Sugrīva to the throne of the kingdom of Kiṣkindhā.

Rāma was an exiled prince but was still behaving as a king because Bharata had not accepted kingship officially and moreover he was not sitting on the royal throne (Raja-siṁhāsana) of Ayodhyā.  Rāma was performing all political duties related to the welfare and protection of his subjects while he was in kingdom or in forest during exile. At the time, when Sri Rāma was preparing himself for Vanavāsa, he left all decorative ornaments and dresses to be dressed in Munivastra Valkala. Without fail he kept his Dhanuṣa, and tarakasa for the protection of state and its people, living in the city or  forest.  After accepting the appeal of Lakṣmaṇa to accompany him in the exile, Rāma ordered him immediately to bring his divine weapons, preserved by  Guru Vasiṣṭha.

One question is often raised – why did Rāma choose the weaker of the two brothers as his ally? Kabandha advised Rāma to seek the friendship of Sugrīva, who knew the geography and the topography of the world and who was in trouble like Rāma. Sugrīva will be a proper ally because he needed Rāma’s help and Rāma needed his help. Between the two placed in similar situations there will be a subtle bond of friendship. Further, Shri Rāma offered friendship to Sugrīva, and not to king Vālī, because he found him careless as a king who could not notice the evil act of Rāvaṇa taking away Sītā all the way through sky, while Sugrīva and Hanumān observed that carefully.

Later Rāma killed Vālī from behind a tree, and that too when Vālī was engaged in battle with other man. Vālī called this action of Rāma as immoral deed which is not supported by dharma (Ram. IV.17.52). Śri Rāma replied and consoled Vālī with words that contain the essence of righteousness ‘dharma’. He scolded him, ‘you don’t know the true meaning of Dharma. You know no law, no restraint’. It is important to see how Rāma tried to refute the allegations brought against him by Vālī.

 Back-To-Godhead-Bali-Maharaj-With-Lord-Rama-Laxmana

The first argument against Vālī’s accusation is: ‘this earth, with its mountains, woods, and forests are under the sway of Ikṣavākus. They take it upon themselves to protect or punish the beasts, birds and men within their empire.  Truthful and righteous Bharata sits on their throne at present. He is the soul of truth and honor. He himself has assumed the charge of protecting this land. He puts forth his strength and valour against his foes even as the shatras would have it.  He always acts in the right time and place. We and some other kings rule under him according to kingly tradition and roam the earth to bring law and order among his subjects. Who would dare to defy dharma when that noble king rules the earth? We shall consider how we shall punish them who go astray’ (Ram.IV.18.6).

It means in exile also Rāma was with delegation of royal powers. On the basis of Tilaka’s commentary we may say that though Bharata did not give such authority to Rāma at Citrakūṭa, implication may be drawn here about such authority. When Bharata was king his power spread to his relations and naturally Rāma had a share of it. After the debate it was arranged that Rāma should in law be king and that Bharata should be his regent.  The person who delegated the authority certainly could act for him or resume back the authority. Vālī may be an independent king of Kiṣkindhā, but what Rāma enunciated, was the law in Āryāvarta.

Ram’s second justification to Vālī was on moral grounds. Vālī has ravished the spouse of his younger brother called Rumā, and it is Kṣatriya dharma to punish all those who violate moral rules and commit sins. Rāma said, ‘You blinded with lust has done this crime which could not be ignored. I know of no other punishment than this for you.’

The third argument was that he has made a promise to friend Sugrīva to protect him. Rama explained, ‘Sugrīva is dear friend to me even as Lakṣmaṇa, and in consequence, he should be restored to his crown and wife. He even seeks my welfare. Further, you are the foe of Sugrīva that has won my friendship, then according to the rules of kingly polity, you are my enemy too. To help a friend in distress is also considered dharma. So view it from any point; I have given you this punishment according to dharma. We, kings, have to act according to Shāstra. Moreover, if a person, after doing sinful act, accepts and enjoys punishment given by a king, then he becomes pure and goes to Swarga’ (Ram.18.29-32).

Further, on the objection ‘why he was killed from behind’ Rāma pointed out, ‘Kings used to do hunting of animals with all tactics. They don’t view it as a fault. Similarly, it is no crime to kill you whether you attack me or not.’ Hearing these words of R̄ama, V̄alī proclaimed with deep repentance, ‘Noble Sir! You speak about dharma and beyond the shadow of a doubt. I confess that I went back upon dharma and allied myself with vice and injustice. Please extend your forgiveness and protection unto me.’

Here we may see that Rāma explained that his action is not a crime at all.  In this reference, another good reason of Rama’s action is well-known. Sītā was abducted by Rāvaṇa, a powerful king of South. This abduction was an insult which had to be avenged.  To accomplish this purpose, Rāma needed powerful allies who could help him in this great task and therefore, he was constrained to enter into negotiations with those chiefs who were desirous of kingdom but were driven away, or who wished to join Rāma in the hope of securing a kingdom in return.  Killing of Vālī was thus a means to get huge support of vānara army to fulfill objective of the welfare of the subjects.

Thus, Śri Rāma did the service of nation following the morals of Rājadharma for being a designated forthcoming king and a Kṣatriya during his exile.  We know that he was not fighting for the expansion of his kingdom; and hence he crowned noble Sugrīva on the throne of Kiṣkindhā after killing Vālī. Till today Rama is regarded as the embodiment of Dharma and a famous quote says, Rāmadivat pravartitavyam na rāvaṇādivat’ i.e., ‘one should act like Rāma and not like Rāvaṇa.

वैदिक ज्योतिष, अपने आप में एक पूर्ण विवादित प्रश्न !!

-Mr. Kanuj Bishnoi, General Secretary, Advanced Research Organisation of Micro Astrology (AROMA)

KBMr. Bishnoi did Vedic Acharya as Guru-Shishya Parampara in Jodhpur, Rajasthan. He worked towards expanding his knowledge in divine science of Vedic Astrology, formulated a five-rule theory of Vedic Astrology, conducted workshops on understanding the various important aspects in life through Vedic astrology and also on ancient Bhrigu-Nandi Nadi Samhita. Honored by many organizations as a Vedic healer & Vedic Vaastu expert. He is visiting professor of many Astrological institutions in major Indian cities and has published several articles in Jyotish magazines & journals.

वैदिक ज्योतिष जैसे गूढ़ विषय पर लाखों लोगों की अपनी-अपनी विवादित राय है कई लोगों की दृष्टि में ज्योतिष सिर्फ भ्रम फैलाने का कार्य है, कई लोगों की दृष्टि में लोगों को ठगने का माध्यम तो कई लोगों की राय में यह कोई विद्या ही नहीं है, सिर्फ भ्रामकता है, तो कई लागों की राय में यह एक परिपक्व एवं शास्त्रोक्त विद्या एवं कुछ लोगो की दृष्टि में समय व्यतीत करने का एक सशक्त माध्यम लेकिन वास्तविकता यह है कि यह एक परिपूर्ण एवं शास्त्र सम्मत विधा है और पूर्ण रूप से नक्षत्रों एव ग्रहों पर आधारित ज्ञान है, जो हजारों वर्षों से विद्यमान है।
सम्पूर्ण जगत के सजीव जीव-जन्तु, प्राणी मात्र एवं समस्त जल, थल, अग्नि, वायु एवं आकाश ये पंच तत्व भी नक्षत्रों एवं ग्रहों द्वारा संचालित होते हैं। इन नक्षत्रों एवं ग्रहों, राशियों का ज्ञान ही ज्योतिष विज्ञान है। हमारे पुरातन वेदों में इसे वेदों के नेत्र कहा गया है न सिर्फ भारतवर्ष में अपितु अन्य कई देशों में वहां के संतों एवं दार्शनिकों ने ग्रहों और नक्षत्रों का अध्ययन कर भविष्य के प्रति अपनी भविष्यवाणियां की हैं। यूनान के प्रसिद्ध भविष्यवक्ता नास्त्रोदोनोमस एवं कीरो के नाम से शायद ही कोई अनभिज्ञ होगा, उन्होंने भी ग्रहों एवं नक्षत्रों का अध्ययन कर भविष्य के प्रति लोगों को सचेत किया है। लंकापति रावण ज्योतिष विद्या का महान ज्ञाता था और ग्रहों की चाल एवं नक्षत्रों के ज्ञान से वह भली-भांति परिचित था एवं जानता कि उसका और उसके परिवार का क्या हश्र होना है। आदरणीय पराशर होरा शास्त्र, भृगु संहिता,रावण संहिता, लाल किताब, ताड़ पत्रों पर लिखा नाड़ी सूत्र इसके जीवंत उदाहरण हैं। इन सबकी सत्यता एवं वर्तमान में होने वाले मानवीय जीवन पर इनके प्रभाव को झुठलाया नहीं जा सकता है। हां, ये बात जरूर है कि वर्तमान भौतिक युग में कई पाखंडियों ने इसे धन कमाने का माध्यम बना लिया है और वो येन-केन-प्रकारेण लोगों को मूर्ख बनाने में कोई कसर नहीं छोड़ते। इस कारण लोगों का इस पर से विश्वास उठता जा रहा है यहाँ हमें जरूरत है इस प्रकार के पाखंडियों से बचने की, न कि हजारों वर्षों से चली आ रही हमारी पुरातन शास्त्रोक्त विद्या से किनारा करने की।
ज्योतिष एक सशक्त माध्यम है जीवन जीने का। एक अच्छे ज्योतिषी की अच्छी राय से हम न सिर्फ भविष्य के प्रति सचेत हो सकते हैं, बल्कि हमारे जीवन की आगामी रूपरेखा भी तय कर सकते हैं। आज वर्तमान समय में दुनिया बहुत तरक्की कर चुकी है, व्यापार, अध्ययन एवं धन कमाने के कई नये द्वार खुल चुके हैं। एक अच्छे ज्योतिष की सलाह से हम उचित एवं हमारे ग्रह-नक्षत्रों के हिसाब से अनुकूल व्यापार, विद्या या नौकरी का चयन कर सकते हैं। यहां पर नकारात्मक विचारधारा एवं ज्योतिष को संदेह की दृष्टि से देखने वाले यह कह सकते हैं कि जो होना है वही होगा, चाहे कितना ही प्रयास कर लीजिये, भाग्य से अतिरिक्त कुछ नहीं होगा। मुझे उनकी उक्त बात से नाइत्तफाकी नहीं है अपितु मैं भी इस बात का समर्थन करता हूं कि जो होना है वही होगा। भाग्य का लिखा टल नहीं सकता है, लेकिन मैं ये भी कहना चाहता हूं कि मात्र भाग्य के सहारे तो हाथ पर हाथ रख कर बैठा नहीं जा सकता है। “कर्म तो प्रधान है ही” महाभारत में श्री कृष्ण ने भी यही कहा है कि कर्म प्रधान है, इसीलिए हम अपना प्रयास, अपना कर्म करते रहे।
planets
जब हम रोग-ग्रस्त हो जाते हैं तो डाक्टर के पास जाते हैं, किसी कानूनी झमेले में फंस जाते हैं तो वकील के पास जाते हैं लेकिन मात्र ये सोच कर कि जो होना है होगा, बैठे तो नहीं रहते। एक डाक्टर भी अपने मरते हुए रोगी को जिसके बारे में वह अच्छी तरह से जानता है कि वो बच नहीं सकता, फिर भी उसकी आखिरी सांस तक वह अपना प्रयास जारी रखता है। एक वकील कमजोर से कमजोर मुकदमे में भी अपने पक्षकार को बचाने हेतु अपनी पूरी ताकत झोंक देता है। जब हम उन पर विश्वास कर सकते हैं तो एक अच्छे ज्योतिषी और ज्योतिष विद्या पर क्यों नहीं? एक अच्छा डाक्टर भी लम्बी-चौड़ी मेडिकल जांचों के बाद ही इस निश्चय पर पहुंच पाता है कि मरीज को क्या एवं किस अंग से सम्बन्धित रोग हो सकता है। लेकिन एक अच्छा ज्योतिषी मात्र आपका जन्मांग  (जन्म समय पर भचक्र में ग्रहों की स्थिति का विवरण) अर्थात जन्म-कुंडली से यह बता सकता है कि व्यक्ति को क्या तथा किस अंग से सम्बन्धित रोग कब होगा तथा वह कब तक एवं किस तरह पूर्ण रूप से ठीक होगा या नहीं होगा। यह भी एक अच्छा ज्योतिषी ही बता सकता है कि मुकदमे में आपकी जीत होगी या हार, वकील साहब सिर्फ मेहनत कर सकते हैं, मुकदमा लड़ सकते हैं, लेकिन हार-जीत का फैसला मुवक्किल की स्वंय की किस्मत पर है, जो आपको सिर्फ एक अच्छा ज्योतिषी ही आपका जन्मांग देख कर बतला सकता है।
ज्योतिष एक महान विधा तो है ही, बल्कि इसे जीवन जीने का एक प्रबल सहारा भी जानना चाइये । यह इन्सान को जीने का सहारा प्रदान करता है उसे भविष्य के प्रति सचेत करता है, उसको जीने के प्रति एक आस बंधाता है। जब हम किसी परेशानी में होते है या जीवन के बुरे समय से गुजर रहे होते हैं तो किसी ज्योतिषी की शरण में जाते हैं और ज्योतिषी हमारा जन्मांग देखकर बताता है कि इतना समय आपका खराब है, उसके बाद यह परेशानी खत्म हो जायेगी तो उसके इतना कहने और इस आस एवं उम्मीद में कि कुछ समय की बात है, यह समय भी सत्कर्म करते हुए निकल जायेगा और इसके बाद हमारा अच्छा समय आयेगा, यही आस से हमारे में जीने की और उस समस्या से रूबरू होने की शक्ति एकत्रित करने लगती है और हम चाह कर भी कोई गलत कदम या गलत फैसला नहीं लेते। अब बताईये इससे अच्छा और जीवन जीने का सहारा क्या हो सकता है? एक विद्वान ज्योतिषी की अच्छी राय से हम हमारे भविष्य की रूपरेखा बना सकते हैं।हमारे बच्चों को उनके ग्रह अनुकूल क्षेत्र में भेजकर उनका भविष्य उज्जवल बना सकते हैं। अल्प समय के लिए आयी हुई परेशानियों को टाल कर पारिवारिक विघटन से बच सकते हैं तो फिर इस विद्या या इसके जानकारों पर भरोसा क्यों नहीं कर सकते?
आज बड़े से बड़े क्षेत्र और अनेको राष्ट्रों में ग्रहों और उनसे मानव जीवन पर पडऩे वाले प्रभाव और सृष्टि के विकास में उनके योगदान पर अनवरत अध्ययन एवं अनुसंधान जारी है। अमेरिका के नासा तक में हजारों वैज्ञानिक रात-दिन खगोल शास्त्र अर्थात एस्ट्रोनोमी के अन्तर्गत ग्रहों एवं नक्षत्रों के प्रभावों का अध्ययन एवं अनुसंधान कर रहे हैं। स्वंय हमारे देश के माननीय उच्चतम न्यायालय ने अपने एक फैसले में इसे विज्ञान माना है और उसी की बदौलत आज हमारे देश में कई यूनिर्वसिटीज ने इसे अपने पाठ्यक्रमों में शामिल किया है। आज कई विश्वविद्यालयों में इसके कोर्स एवं उपाधी कार्यक्रम चल रहे हैं। अत: ज्योतिष को पूर्णतया विज्ञान सम्मत वैदिक विधा जानना चाइये । इसमें किसी प्रकार की शंका की कोई आवश्यकता नहीं है बल्कि मैं तो यहां तक कहना चाहूंगा कि प्रत्येक इंसान का प्रत्येक परिवार का जिस प्रकार पारिवारिक डाक्टर, पारिवारिक वकील, पारिवारिक कर सलाहकार होता है, उसी प्रकार एक पारिवारिक ज्योतिषी भी होना चाहिये, जिससे कि समय-समय पर हम जानकारी लेकर भविष्य के प्रति हमारा मार्ग प्रशस्त कर सकें ।
आज अधिकतर सोशल साइट्स जैसे फेसबुक, ट्विटर, व्हाट्सअप आदि पर कॉपी-पेस्ट करके अपने को बड़ा ज्योतिषी सिद्ध करने वालो की बाढ़ आई हुई है और ये पोस्ट्स जन-सामान्य तक पहुंचती है इनमे वर्णित ज्योतिष की ऊंटपटांग व्याख्या एवं उपायों से समाज को गलत सन्देश जाता है । इस कारण समाज और ज्योतिष को जो हानि पहुंच रहीं है उसका कोई हिसाब रखने वाला ही नहीं है । ये सही है कि “ज्योतिषी भी शिक्षक, चिकित्सक और वकील जैसा और सही कहूँ तो जनसामान्य के लिए इन सबसे अधिक उपयोगी है” लेकिन कोई भी चिकित्सक, वकील, टीचर यदि फर्जी डिग्री लेकर इसको अपना व्यवसाय बनाता है तो वो अपने क्लाइंट के जीवन से खिलवाड़ के साथ-साथ उस से बेईमानी तो करता ही है लेकिन व्यवसाय को भी बदनाम करवा कर उसके साथ “नकली” शब्द और जुड़वा देता है। अन्य तीनो व्यवसायों की नियमन संस्थाएं जैसे मेडिकल काउन्सिल, बार काउन्सिल, शिक्षा परिषद आदि है जो सरकार की निगरानी में चलती है एवं उनमे जालसाजी करने पर दंड का प्रावधान है। उसी प्रकार क्या ज्योतिषी को समाज में आ कर अपने उपाय बताने से पहले किसी नियमन संस्था के अंतर्गत नहीं आना चाहिए ? और यदि कोई इसमें फर्जीवाड़ा के द्वारा प्रवेश कर जनसामान्य के जीवन से खिलवाड़ करता है (जो कि इस समय नब्बे प्रतिशत से अधिक कथित ज्योतिषी कर रहे है) तो उसको क़ानून के अंतर्गत लाकर कठोर दंड का विधान क्या नहीं होना चाहिए ?
आज वैदिक ज्योतिष को अधिकतर “कथित ज्योतिषी” धार्मिकता और पाखंड से जोड़कर एवं इससे भयभीत करके अपनी दुकानदारी चला रहे है । यदि वैदिक ज्योतिष को उसका उचित सम्मान दिलवाना है और उस से जन-सामान्य अधिकाधिक लाभ प्राप्त कर सके इसके लिए अत्यन्त आवश्यक है कि ज्योतिष को व्यवसाय बनाने से पहले एक नियामक संस्था हो जो प्रमाणित करे कि ज्योतिषी नियमानुसार व्यवसाय के लिए उपयुक्त है एवं यहाँ पंजीकृत किये बिना कोई भी ज्योतिष को व्यवसाय ना बन सके इसके लिए एक नियामक संस्था के गठन हेतु सरकार से मांग की जानी चाहिए।

आदि-शङ्कराचार्य

-Dr. Shyam Deo Mishra, Assistant Professor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi
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शङ्कराचार्य ने हिमालय से लेकर कन्याकुमारी तक, तथा अटक से लेकर कटक तक सम्पूर्ण भारत में धर्म-प्रचार की मन्दाकिनी को प्रवाहित किया, जिसमें तत्कालीन पतित, पथभ्रष्ट, एवं बौद्धादि दर्शनों के कुप्रभाववश नास्तिक, एवं आध्यात्मिक रूप से निष्प्राण, जन-मानस पुनः सनातन धर्म से अनुप्राणित एवं पवित्र होकर एक सूत्र में बँध गया। जिस समय आदि-शङ्कराचार्य का जन्म हुआ, भारत में नास्तिकों के प्रभाव से अनार्य-भावों एवं तज्जन्य दुष्कर्मों के प्रगाढ अन्धकार से आच्छादित होकर सनातन धर्म का प्रकाश लुप्तप्राय हो चला था। धर्म के नाम पर नाना प्रकार के अत्याचार किए जा रहे थे। उस समय किसी व्याकुल भारतभूमि पर, वैदिक-धर्म के रक्षार्थ एवं जनता के उद्धारार्थ आदि-शङ्कराचार्य ने अवतार लिया। उन्होंने लुप्त हुए वैदिक-धर्म की रक्षा की। शङ्कराचार्य अवश्य ही भगवान् की विशेष-विभूति थे जिन्होंने अत्यन्त अल्पायु में ही भारत वर्ष से नास्तिकता की दावाग्नि को आस्तिकता रूपी वृष्टि से निर्मूल कर दिया। 
 
आचार्य शङ्कर के प्रमुख शिष्य विद्यारण्य द्वारा विरचित ‘शाङ्करदिग्विजयम्’ के अनुसार, भारत में धर्म-विप्लव से व्यथित, एवं व्याकुल देवर्षि नारद व ब्रह्मा जी जब उपाय हेतु शिवजी के पास पहुँचे तो शिवजी ने इस संकट की समाप्ति हेतु स्वयं नरदेह धारण करने की बात कहते हुए उन्हें सान्त्वना दी। तत्पश्चात् भगवान् शङ्कर ने शङ्कराचार्य के रूप में, कार्तिकेय ने कुमारिलभट्ट के रूप में, सरस्वती ने भारती के रूप में तथा इन्द्र ने राजा सुधन्वा के रूप में भारतवर्ष में जन्म लेकर अधर्म की समाप्ति की।
 
आदि-शङ्कराचार्य (शङ्करस्वामी) का जन्म 845 वि.सं. (788 ई.) में केरल प्रान्त के मालाबार पर्वतीय प्रदेश में स्थित वेदपाठी व शास्त्रपारङ्गत ब्राह्मणों से परिपूर्ण कालटी (कालडी) नामक ग्राम में नम्बूरी (नम्बूदरी) ब्राह्मण-वंश में वैशाख शुक्ल-पञ्चमी को हुआ। इनके पितामह विद्याधर (विद्याधिराज) के पाण्डित्य से प्रसन्न होकर केरल के महाराज ने इन्हें आकाशलिङ्ग के महादेव-मन्दिर के प्रधानाध्यक्ष पद से विभूषित किया। विद्याधर के पुत्र शिवगुरु भी उद्भट विद्वान् हुए। सन्तान प्राप्ति हेतु शिवगुरु ने अपनी पत्नी कामाक्षीदेवी (सुभद्रा) के साथ घोर तपस्या करके कुलदेवता पिनाकपाणि शिव से वरदान स्वरूप शङ्करस्वामी को पुत्र रूप में प्राप्त किया।
 
शैशवावस्था में ही वर्ण परिचय के समय उन्होंने दिव्य भावों का परिचय दिया था। स्वरों, व्यञ्जनों, एवं मंत्र का एक बार उच्चारण सुनकर उन्होंने उच्चारण करना एवं लिखना सीख लिया था। बचपन में ही पिता के स्वर्गवास ने संसार की असारता एवं अनिश्चितता के प्रति शङ्कर को विमुख कर दिया था। पाप-परितप्त संसार के उद्धारार्थ अवतरित शिव-अवतार शङ्कर बाल्यावस्था में ही संसार के प्रति उदासीन, विरक्त होकर स्वयं को पिञ्जर-बद्ध पक्षी के समान मानने लगे। वे कहीं भी कभी भी किसी समाधिस्थ योगी की तरह बैठकर घण्टों तल्लीन हो जाते थे। आठ वर्ष की आयु में ही शङ्कर ने ध्यानावस्थित अवस्था में ‘आत्मबोध’ नामक ग्रन्थ की रचना कर डाली। संन्यास ग्रहण करने की उनकी उत्कट अभिलाषा की पूर्ति के सामने स्नेहमयी जननी का वात्सल्य भाव आड़े आ जाता था ,जो उन्हें प्रतिक्षण व्याकुल किये जा रहा था। अन्ततोगत्वा दैवयोग से एक नाटकीय घटना-क्रम का पटाक्षेप माता द्वारा उनको संन्यास ग्रहण करने की अनुमति से हुआ।
 
आठ वर्ष की अवस्था में शङ्कर ने गौड़पाद के शिष्य आचार्य गोविन्दपाद से गुरु-दीक्षा ले कर विधिवत् संन्यासी के रूप में अपना जीवन प्रारम्भ किया। उनकी अलौकिक तेजस्विता एवं प्रतिभा से उनके गुरु भी हतप्रभ रहते थे। उनको यह भान हो गया था कि शङ्कर कोई विशेष विभूति है, जो निश्चय ही सोद्देश्य अवतरित हुआ है। उनके गुरु गोविन्दपाद ने 17-18 वर्ष की उम्र में ही शङ्कर को स्नातक की उपाधि से विभूषित करके ‘शङ्कराचार्य’ इस नाम से सम्बोधित किया। वहाँ से अपने गुरुओं की इच्छानुसार, वैदिक धर्म के प्रचारार्थ शङ्कराचार्य ने देशाटन आरम्भ किया तथा जगह-जगह बौद्धों एवं कदाचार युक्त पाखण्डी वाममार्गियों का खण्डन करने लगे। गोविन्दपाद के आश्रम में रहते हुए एक दिन शङ्कर ने गुरु की निर्विघ्न समाधि हेतु आश्रम के समीप प्रवाहित नदी के उद्दाम वेग को अपने योग-बल से स्थिर एवं नीरव कर दिया। प्रतिदिन स्नानार्थ गमनागमन में अपनी वृद्धा माता को होने वाले असह्य शारीरिक कष्ट एवं दुर्बलता को देखकर शङ्कर ने अपने योग-बल से नदी की एक धारा घर के समीप से प्रवाहित कर दी। एक गरीब ब्राह्मण प्रभाकर के मूर्ख, रोगी एवं बर्बर पुत्र को जल के सिंचन मात्र से स्वस्थ एवं विद्वान् ‘हस्तामलक’ बना दिया।
 
शङ्कराचार्य के शिष्य सनन्दन पद्मपाद, चौलदेशीय ब्राह्मण थे। शङ्कराचार्य से दीक्षा ग्रहणार्थ वह काशी आए। उस समय गङ्गा प्रबल उत्ताल तरङ्गों से प्रवाहित होती थी। जिस दिन वह दीक्षा हेतु गङ्गा के एक छोर पर पहुंचे, प्रबल उत्ताल तरङ्गों से प्रवाहित प्रचण्ड वेगवती गङ्गा को पार करना उन्हें असम्भव प्रतीत हो रहा था। दूसरे छोर पर खड़े शंकराचार्य ने उन्हें हाथ से आने का इशारा किया। उनके संकेत पर दृढनिश्चयी सनन्दन ने जैसे ही नदी में पैर रखा उन्हें कमल-पत्र की अनुभूति हुई। इस प्रकार कमल पत्र पर पद-निक्षेप करते-करते उन्होंने अनायास ही उद्दामगतिक गङ्गा को पार कर लिया।
 
गुरुओं की आज्ञानुसार शंकर सम्पूर्ण भारत वर्ष में सनातन धर्म की प्रतिष्ठा हेतु उद्यत हुए। उन्होंने महार्जुन में स्थित वाममार्गियों के प्रधान मठ में अपनी योग-माया से सबको नतमस्तक करा दिया। तथा अपने प्रधान शिष्य सुरेश्वराचार्य को वैदिक धर्म के पुनः प्रतिष्ठापनार्थ स्थापित कर दिया। उसके बाद द्रविड़ पाण्ड्य, चोल, रामेश्वरम् में जगह-जगह शास्त्रार्थ करके सनातन धर्म के सही स्वरूप को समझाते हुए अद्वैतमत की स्थापना की। उत्तर की ओर बढ़ते हुए उन्होंने काशी, कुरुक्षेत्र एवं बदरिकाश्रम तक की यात्रा की। उन्होंने सम्पूर्ण भारतवर्ष में सनातन धर्म की स्थायी प्रतिष्ठा व प्रचार हेतु चार स्थलों पर मठ स्थापित किए। अथर्ववेद के प्रचारार्थ बदरिकाश्रम में ‘जोशीमठ’ स्थापित कर अपने शिष्य सनन्दन को यहाँ अभिषिक्त किया। यजुर्वेद के प्रचारार्थ उन्होंने मध्यार्जुन प्रान्त में तुङ्गभद्रा नदी के तट पर ‘विद्या-मठ’ (वर्तमान में शृङ्गेरी मठ) की स्थापना करके अपने सुयोग्य शिष्य सुरेश्वराचार्य को वहाँ नियुक्त किया। तत्पश्चात् भगवान् के उक्त वचन ‘वेदानां सामवेदोऽस्मि’ को चरितार्थ करने हुए शङ्कराचार्य ने श्रीकृष्ण-धाम द्वारकानगरी में ‘शारदा-मठ’ की स्थापना करके वहाँ अपने शिष्य ‘विश्वरूप’ को अध्यक्ष व संचालक नियुक्त किया। ऋग्वेद के प्रचारार्थ जगन्नाथ धाम में ‘ज्योतिर्मठ’ की स्थापना की। वहाँ से चलकर मार्ग में हिरण्यगर्भ, आदित्य, गाणपत्य प्रभृति सम्प्रदायों के आचायों को परास्त करते हुए शङ्कराचार्य बौद्ध धर्म के अनुयायी राजा हिमशीतल की नगरी काञ्ची पहुँचे तथा वहाँ बौद्धाचार्यों को शास्त्रार्थ में परास्त करके सनातन धर्म की पुनः प्रतिष्ठा की। यहाँ भी उन्होंने दो वैदिक-धर्म-प्रचार केन्द्रों ‘विष्णुकाञ्ची’ व ‘शिवकाञ्ची’ की स्थापना की।
 
आत्मदर्शन द्वारा क्षुद्र आत्मा महान् आत्मा में परिणत होता है। क्षुद्र मानव ब्रह्मज्ञ होकर स्वयं ब्रह्म हो जाता है ‘ब्रह्मविद् ब्रह्म भवति’। शङ्कराचार्य ने ब्रह्मत्व लाभ का यही पथ प्रकट रूप में जगत् के सामने उपस्थित किया। सुनीति एवं सद्धर्म ही उन्नति का सर्वोत्तम मार्ग है अतः, जो अधर्म एवं कुरीतियों को हटाकर इनकी प्रतिष्ठा करते हैं, वो महापुरुष कहलाते हैं। शङ्कराचार्य ने तत्कालीन वाममार्गियों एवं बौद्ध धर्म के विकृत रूप को विस्थापित करके सनातन धर्म पुनः प्रतिष्ठित किया। इनके इतिवृत्त एवं जीवन-चरित्र का अनुशीलन हमें अपने देश के गौरवशाली इतिहास का दिग्दर्शन कराता है एवं अपनी संस्कृति व सभ्यता के रक्षार्थ सतत प्रेरणा भी देता है।

Ritualistic Significance of ‘Magha-Masa’ in Hindu Calendar

– Prof. C. L. Prabhakar, President, WAVES, Bangalore Chapter

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Prof. Prabhakar obtained Ph.D. in Vedic  Studies (thesis on’ Sukla Yajurveda’) from  Poona University, Poona in 1968. He is former Professor of Sanskrit and has published many books and articles. Honored with the award ‘Veda Vaaridhi’, currently he is director of the Nada Veda Adhyayana Kendra, Bangalore. He is active to spread Vedic heritage and culture.

Magha-Masa is important among the months in Hindu calendar. This month is an opportunity to get reduced of our sins. ‘Maaghamsyaatitimaaghah’ meaning no sins more could be acquired further. Doctors know the reducing tablet to reduce pain. So like this month to reduce our sins.

Hindu calendar is invested with twelve months. Each month is covered by 30 days. Every day has the five (pancanga) elements viz. Tithi, Vara, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karanas. Everyday is important for spiritual Practices. But there is choice and special importance. We have twelve months beginning form Caitra-Masa and going upto the Phalguna-Masa. Every month has a connections of some significance and mythology to speak the importance of the month and marking auspicious days in it. Sun would be transiting every month in to one sign (rasi) to another sign. It occurs usually on the 14th day of each month called Sankramana technically. There are twelve zodiac signs to complete one year’s time.When Sun is in Makara-Rasi, from then, for six months it is called Uttarayanam and the remaining six months are known as Dakshinayanam. These indicate the direction of the Sun astronomically moving towards north and southern directions. As a result there would be effects upon the people and nature: good, bad and different due to the movement of Sun. Manasollasa of Somadeva is a source Book for us to know about the importance of days and months, festivals and more.

Magha-Masa is the eleventh Month of each Year. This year is called by name Manmatha and the next would be Durmukha year by name. Out of the cycle of sixty years, this is the 29th/30thYear of the cycle. Each month is characterized with the Nakshatra-name. For example, if Sravana-Nakshatra is there on the full moon day then it is called Sravana-Masa. Likewise the Magha-Masa is the name derived from the Magha-Nakshatra on the Purnima. Similarly the other months go by the name of a Nakshatra. Although we have many numbers of years, we have only seven days of life. One day to take birth and another some day to exit from the body and the world. However seven are the days of life beginning from Sunday to Saturday. These days too go by the names of the planets Ravi, Candra and so on. Rahus and Ketu are the two nodes who entered the count among the planets as Chayagrahas. They follow the main planets. Moreover they do not have any orbit .They are simply ascending and descending nods of ecliptic and moon orbit

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Let us know the prominent festivities in this month. At first, on 5th day of Shukla-Paksha it is called Sri Pancami or Vasanta Pancami. This is the first festival when Goddess Sarasvati is worshipped. She is known also as Sarada Devi, Syamala Devi and Vag Devi. She is called Jnanasarasvati. On this day Sarada-puja is done. She is a Goddess who blesses good knowledge and good education (sadbuddhi and vidyanaipunya). On this day many people observe the important samskara namely Aksharabhyasam to their children with a belief that the child would be good in education, learning and prosperity.The child is introduced to writing the alphabets and salutation to Lord Siva well known as Dakshinamuty, a guru to all. On this day Goddess Sarasvati is offered Payasa as food. And the child is made to write ‘Om namahsivayasiddhamnamah’. In Devi Bhagavata details of Sarasvati Aradhanaare given. We have prayer to Sarasvatiin a length of a Veda-Sukta by name Sarasvati-Sukta that could be recited on that occasion specially.The sixth day of the month namely Shashthi is festival of Lord Subrahmanya. He is born on this day and so his puja is done. Abrahmacari (unmarried Boy) is fed and worshipped symbolically on this day to get the grace of the Murugan. The next day is Rathasaptami, when Sun turns to the northern direction fully and gallops to pick up more and more heat. On this day Suryaradhana is done with offering of payasa (naivedya). Arunaprasnapurvaka Surya-namaskaras could be done to get the grace of this deity. Arunaprasna is the first section of Taittiriya Aranyaka. It contains thirty two passages reciting which 32 namaskaras are offered to Suryadeva. Surya loves prostrations (namaskarapriyobhanuh). On the Eleventh day we get Bhishma Ekadasi when Bhishamacarya gave up his body (bhautikasarira) in the presence of Sri Krishna. He is the avatar of one of the eight Vasus. This ekadasi is virtuous and people get their desires fulfilled. This day is called ‘Bhishmaikadasi’. Bhishma had the boon from his father Santanu Maharaja to leave the body whenever he desired (svacchandamarana scope). Then we get the Purnima, the full Moon day. Every month we get Full moon days (Purnimas.) But this is one of the three special Purnimas of each year. Actually Asvija Purnima, Kartika Purnima and Magha Purnima are best. Especially on this Purnima day, there would Magha Nakshatra. On this day when bath to Siva is done, it is highly fetching and beneficial. Siva Purana extols more details on this aspect. Texts like Padmapurana, Nirnayasindhu, Krityatattva elaborate on the importance of bath at early hours of the day before sunrise. Very auspicious would it be if the bath and dip is taken in the sacred river Ganges at Kasi or elsewhere where the Ganga flows. Even other sacred rivers too remain helpful for the ritual of Maghasnana with sankalpa. In Bhagavata too the merit of taking dip in Ganga is described, It is said there that no other river but ganga waters has exclusive power to undo the sins at that time. In this month not only the Devataradhana even Pitrutarpana is also recommended to be significant as it pleases the Manes (the Pitrus). Magha-Nakshatra is the constellation of Pitri-devataa (deity of ancestors).

After Purnima, New Moon days begin. On eighth day it is called ‘Anaghashtami’. Lord Dattatreya is worshipped. Anagha Devi is revered as the goddess Lakshmi herself. She is called Anagha Lakshmi. We can get the blessings of Guru as well as Goddess with this worship. He is known as Dattaguru. We recite amantram ‘Dattagurumbhaje’ simply to get his grace. Dattatreys is the avatar of three Murtis Brahma, Siva and Vishnu who are three forces and Powers creation, annihilation and maintenance of the Universe. Therefore, Dattatreya is the preceptor who blesses all the three abilities in the upasakas. Also Natya Ganapati is worshipped on this day. He provides expertise further in the performing arts and excellences in the professional career. Ganapati is known in 32 forms and therein Natya Ganapati is special.

Actually every thirteenth day (trayodasi) of each month we get Pradosha Puja when Siva is worshipped. That day is called as Masasivaratri. The next day on the caturdasi at midnight Sivaratri actually dawns. But this month alone that day is called Mahasivaratri when Siva is worshipped strongly all the time. It has three durations (yamas) of night. People worship Lord Shiva with Mahanyasapurvaka Rudrabhishekas and other pujas. They also recite many Siva stotras. All this activity provides benefit and hope for liberation and mundane prosperity. After all one of the most important is to a get masa-punya as far as possible in the given calendar of Life to everybody including gods and others. Everybody is born but never the Brahma who is Lord Purusha Narayana who is described as ‘ajayamanobahudhavijayate’ in Purushasukta of RV. It is said here that the Lord does not take birth but causes births to take place.

Besides all these festivals and vows (vratas) etc. in this month, the Sundays are auspicious and important. They are best days for Surya Anushthanas. The forms of rites and devotion like Arunaprasnaparayanam, Arunahomam and recitation of Surya Sahasranama, Adityahrudayamand more are observed these days depending on the convenience and time-scope. This is technically called as Maghabhanuvara.

All the days of this month bath before sunrise is precious. This is called as Maghasnanavratam. That itself brings merit, unknown cleansing, peace and prosperity (punya).

Thus this Magha-Masa is a month well liked by gods and more so the Goddess Saradadevi, Subrahmanyaswamy, Bhismacarya who is Vishnu Rupa only. On Purnima, Siva Parvatis, Goddess Anagha Devi, Anjaneya, Lord Narasimha, Lord Kumaraswamy etc. can be worshipped.

We have Magha Purana where we come across the super importance of this month. So let us get the special grace of the deities to smoothen our life free from hurdles and unwanted things.

Om namahsivayasivataraya ca.’

Rediscovering Indian Culture : The Imperatives of Progress

-Mr. M.S. Srinivasan, Senior Research Associate, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, India.

Another key factor which has to be kept in mind is that culture, like any other human organism, is also capable of evolution and progress. The cultural vision of a nation can undergo expansion and enlargement, constantly enriched by new insights from the succeeding generations of seers, prophets and thinkers from within itself or from a cross-cultural fertilization. This fact applies not only to art, science, philosophy and literature but also to religion and spirituality.

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Spiritual experience and spiritual thought are also capable of progressive evolution in the form of new discoveries and revelations in the realm of the Spirit and new forms of creative self-expression and synthesis in spiritual thought. So the spiritual intuitions, revelations and discoveries of our modern seers like Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and Swami Vivekananda are also as much a part of our priceless cultural heritage as the revelations of our past seers. This is something which the orthodox exponent of Indian culture still refuses to acknowledge. He is ready to accept a new spiritual teaching if it does not cross the boundaries of the ancient teaching. He is also ready to accept innovations within these boundaries. But when the new revelations go beyond the ancient revelations and enter into unexplored vistas of the Spirit, he becomes suspicious and protests and complains. But is it wise to set such limits to the possibilities of the spiritual quest which is a quest for the Infinite? As Sri Aurobindo points out in one of his letters:

“Truly, this shocked reverence for the past is a wonderful and fearful thing! After all the Divine is infinite and the unrolling of the Truth may be an infinite process . . . not a thing in a nutshell cracked and its contents exhausted once for all by the first seer or sage, while the others must religiously crack the nutshell all over again, each tremblingly fearful not to give the lie to the ‘past’ seers and sages (Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library (SABCL), Vol. 26, On Himself, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, p.135).

Swami Vivekananda also said something similar in one of his lectures:

“Is God’s book closed? Or is it still a continuous revelation going on? The Bible, the Vedas, the Quran and all other sacred books are but so many pages, and an infinite number of pages remain yet to be unfolded.  I would leave it open for all of them. We stand in the present but open ourselves to the infinite future. We take in all that has been in the past; enjoy the light of the present and open every window of the heart for all that will come in the future. Salutations to all the prophets of the past, great ones of the present and to all that are to come in the future (Swami Vivekananda, The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Vol. 2, Adwaita, Ashrama, Mayavathi, p. 374).

The above inspiring words of Sri Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda reveal the right attitude in dealing with the past and future of Indian Culture. Spirituality is the essence of our national genius: it is the “distinctive compe­tence” of our nation and the source of our national vitality. If the vitality of Western culture lies in its creative and progressive endeavour in secular sciences and the application of science to social progress, the vitality of Indian culture and civilization lies in its creative and progressive endeavour in spiritual science, thought and practice. The future of Indian civilization and culture depends on maintaining this creative and progressive attitude to our unique national genius and harnessing its potential for the progress and development of our own nation and humanity as a whole.

Rediscovering Indian Culture : The Universal, Temporal and The Specific

-Mr. M.S. Srinivasan, Senior Research Associate, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, India.

There are two aspects of Indian culture which we have to study carefully and understand thoroughly in order to harness fully its creative potential: first is the element of universality in its essential insights which gives it a global validity, and second is the element of uniqueness of its essential temperament and genius which distinguishes it from other cultures and is therefore of special importance to India. The founders of Indian culture were not ordinary people or mere intellectual thinkers but spiritual seers, Rishis, who lived in constant communion with a universal and eternal consciousness beyond Mind and observed and knew from it the deepest truth of Man, Life and Nature. They tried to build human society on the foundations of some universal spiritual and psychological principles which govern human life in the individual and the collectivity. The values and ideals of Indian culture are based on and evolved from these deeper spiritual discoveries of our Rishis.

But the orthodox exponent of Indian culture asks us to accept this fact on the basis of a blind belief in the greatness of our ancient Rishis and wants to revive the old ideals and values as they were without any remoulding and modification. Such a static and inert approach to Indian culture can never be progressive and creative. If the insights of our ancient Rishis are to be brought back to life and made creative for the present, they have to become our own insights. We have to rediscover them through spiritual experience, vision, intuition or reasoning and make them our own. And if these insights have to become live and creative for shaping the future, we have to re-examine their applica­bility to the contemporary and emerging society.

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The insights of our ancient Rishis may have a universal and eternal relevance, but the way and the form in which they were applied or expressed in ancient Indian society have only a limited and temporary validity. The master­-builders of Indian culture may have seen the truth of things in its essence and wholeness, but the evolutionary condition or consciousness of the society in which they lived may not have been ready or prepared to receive, express and manifest the entire truth they had experienced. That the Vedic sages were well aware of this fact is clear from their description of humanity as a year-old infant. They might have revealed only that much of truth which the infant humanity of their times was able to assimilate and express. So there could be a considerable dilution of the original insights of the Rishis when these insights took a final form in society―a partial step down from the spiritual truth experienced by the seer to the truth revealed or sought to be realised in society; then there was further dilution in the mental ideal through which it was expressed in thought; and again a still further degeneration in the process of practical compromises which the ideal had to make in order to acquire a vital or material form in society. So one of the first tasks in revitalising Indian Culture is to recover the original spiritual and psychological insights behind its past ideals and forms and re-examine their relevance and applicability to the present society. The other task is to examine how best these insights can be re-applied to the progress and evolution of modern society by giving them new and greater forms of self-expression suited to the present evolutionary conditions of humanity.

The other aspect of Indian culture is its uniqueness, its special temperament and genius which distinguishes it from other cultures. The main features of this uniqueness are an inborn spirituality and passion for the Infinite,  a scientific and pragmatic turn of mind in the field of religion and psychology―or, in other words, in the field of spiritual and psychological self-exploration and self­-development,―its tendency to create the exterior from within; its primary stress on inner progress; its repeated emphasis on renunciation and sacrifice as the means for this inner progress; and finally, the great respect it has for the spiritual person who has attained inner realisation. There are many others, but these are the major features of the special temperament and genius of Indian culture.  We have to understand deeply and with clarity these different aspects of our national temperament and genius; make them the basis of our motivational strategies and try to manifest them in every area of our national life.

Rediscovering Indian Culture : The Inner Resources of A Nation

-Mr. M.S. Srinivasan, Senior Research Associate, Sri Aurobindo Institute of Research in Social Sciences, Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry, India.

The need of the hour for India today is not a nostalgic dreaming of our past greatness but to think, dream and work for building a new and greater India of the future. But the future cannot be created in a vacuum; it has to be built out of the essence of the past. The power to shape the future has to be drawn from the roots of our national vitality and the spiritual and psychological resources of our nation.

In the ultimate analysis, the long-term viability and progress or the “sustainable development” of a nation depend not so much on its material, ecological or technological resources but primarily on its spiritual and psychological resources. And the greatest of the spiritual and psychological resources of a nation are its people. In the Indian view Man is primarily a spiritual and mental being, or in other words a soul and a mind, and only instrumentally a vital and physical being or a life and a body. In a similar way the essential and enduring part of a collective being like a nation is not its economics, politics or ecology which form its outer body but its Culture, which is the expression of its Mind and Soul. So the other important source of the spiritual and psychological resources of a nation is its cultural heritage.

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But what exactly are the essential cultural resources of a nation? They are, basically, the unique temperament and genius of its mind and soul. They are not the outer forms of music, art, literature or architecture­ and so on, but the inner spirit, vision, insight and the spiritual, mental and moral attitude, ideal, temperament and the distinctive genius behind these forms that are the enduring and essential cultural resources of a nation. It is this inner spirit behind the outer forms of culture which every nation has to preserve from its past heritage and make it a foundation for its future evolution and progress. This does not mean that the exterior forms of culture have no value or significance. But a mere token preservation of the outer forms, without making any attempt to cultivate in the consciousness of the people a living understanding of the inner spirit of culture, does not have any creative value for the higher cultural life of the nation-—whatever may be its economic utility as “tourist attraction” or its entertainment value in catering to the superficial tastes of the masses. Even in tourism, if it has to become an instrument of culture and not, as it is now, a tool of commerce to fill the nation’s coffers with foreign exchange. The primary aim of cultural tourism has to be to awaken the tourist to the inner spirit of a culture and make the person aware of the fact that the exterior form has value only as an expression of this deeper spirit.

So just as the outer material and economic progress and well-being of a nation depend on a scientific preservation and harnessing of the material and biological resources of its ecological heritage, the internal evolution and progress of a nation depend on the enlightened preservation and harnessing of the spiritual and psychological resources of its human and cultural heritage.