A Spiritual Perspective on Menses (Part-II)

(Continued from Part-I)

– Dr. Athavale & Dr. Nandini Samant

Why is menarche celebrated?

The onset of menstruation, also known as menarche, is one of the most significant milestones in a woman’s life. Though the physiological aspects of menstruation are common across faiths, the social aspects vary. Many faiths across the world, celebrate the menarche in their own unique way.

courtesy : Flickriver                                
courtesy : Smithsonian_photo_contest

Sanātan Dharma looks upon life as an opportunity to make all round efforts to realize God. With menarche, as ovulation begins, conception is now possible. From the perspective of Sanātan Dharma, conception is not just procreation. Conception is important because it gives a jīva an opportunity to take birth and make efforts to move towards Mokṣa. Celebration of menarche imparts a very positive perception of menstruation, and the inherent sense of responsibility towards moral conduct to the young girl.

How can women by avoiding cooking or touching food during menses benefit themselves and society?

Food and water are basic constituents that are absorbed and assimilated at the cellular level. That is why, it is very important that these two components be Sāttvik. During menses, the Raja subtle component in the woman increases. It gets transferred to the food through her touch, thus reducing its spiritual purity. This would affect the entire family adversely at the spiritual level. That is why scriptures advise menstruating women to keep away from cooking activities or touching food cooked for the family and store of water. This is similar to how we do not put salt in milk as this would alter the basic characteristic of the milk.

Subtle picture of food after being touched by a woman during menses

The true measure and analysis of what happens in the subtle (that which is beyond the comprehension of the five senses, mind and intellect) dimension can only be through the medium of the sixth sense. Refer to ‘Subtle picture of a woman during menses’ in the first part of this article. The following is a recreation of the subtle picture based on knowledge perceived by Mr. Nishad Deshmukh, a member of the spiritual research team of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay.

It is apparent from the subtle picture how and why the inherent Sattva component in the food is reduced after a menstruating woman touches it. As the food gets a covering of Raja-Tama and it gets charged with negative vibrations, divine energy (Śakti) and vital energy are unable to enter it. It is to prevent this loss of positivity in the food.

Universal aura scanner (UAS) of food and water before and after being touched by a woman during menses

In addition to the knowledge given in the scriptures and that perceived by seekers from our spiritual research team. A pilot study was conducted in the Spiritual Research Center of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay, Goa, on 5 lady subjects having menses using modern scientific equipment (UAS instrument) to study the effect of touch of a woman having menses on food and water. Refer to ‘Universal Aura Scanner study of a woman during menses’ from the first part of this article.

To begin with, we served food in a plate and water in a glass from the kitchen of the Āśram of Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay for the first subject. Care was taken to ensure that the subject did not touch the food and water. We used the UAS to note the readings of the 2 types of negative energies and positive energy in both the food and water served to her. Then we asked the first subject with menses to touch the food in the plate and the glass of water. This contact was for a period of few seconds only. After she had touched the food and water, we repeated the above-mentioned UAS readings of both the food and water served to her. We repeated this for each of the remaining 4 subjects. Each subject was separately served the same food and water from the same kitchen. We then repeated the above experiment with the same subjects 15 days later, when the subjects were in their non-menses phase. The readings are given as under-

UAS readings for food and water touched by women in their non-menses period and during their menses

Conclusions of the experiment

Regarding subtle negative energies : It is our experience of the past 10 years with the Universal Aura Scanner that it is not uncommon to find subtle negative energies in inanimate objects or animate beings. This is because of the overwhelming rise in Raja-Tama in the present times. It is apparent form the above tables that both types of subtle negative energies were completely absent in food and water before being touched by the subjects during the experiments done in their non-menses period and also during their menses. This is because the food and water came from the kitchen of a highly Sāttvik Āśram, where many Saints reside and food is cooked entirely by seekers as their spiritual practice. However, subtle negative energies were found in very high proportion in both the food and water after the subjects touched them during their menses.

Regarding positive energy : It is our experience with UAS studies, that it is not necessary that positive energy be present in inanimate objects or animate beings. However, high positive energy was found in both food and water before the subjects touched them. The reason is the same as explained in the point above. This positive energy in both food and water increased when the seekers touched them during their non-menses period. This is a reflection of the high positive energy generated in them due to their spiritual practice. The exception to this was Subject no. 3, who is deeply affected by subtle negative energies. In her case, the positive energy was found to be marginally decreased after she touched the food and water. When these same seekers touched food and water from the same Āśram during their menses, the positivity in the food and water was completely wiped out in the case of 4 subjects and greatly reduced in the case of Subject no. 2. This study using a modern scientific equipment gives us an objective insight into the extent of detrimental effect of touching food and water by a woman during her menses.

That our sages perceived this more than 5000 years ago, before the advent of any kind of scientific measuring equipment bears ample testimony to their highly enlightened status! Not only this, they devised and implemented appropriate steps at basic day-to-day life activity level to prevent the adverse effect of menses from affecting the spiritual purity of the family.

How can women by refraining from spiritual activities such as pūjā or entering a temple during menses benefit themselves and society?

त्रिरात्रं रजस्वलाशुचिर्भवति । (वसिष्ठधर्मसूत्र .)

A woman will be Ashuchi (spiritually impure) during three (days and) nights (during menstruation).

साध्वाचारा न तावत्स्याद्रजो यावत्प्रवर्तते । (अङ्गिरसस्मृति ३७)

Do not perform any spiritual activities like pūjā, visiting temple, etc. during menstruation.

Women being advised to refrain from spiritual activities during menses is perceived as discriminatory by the modern world. This is simply not so. Sanātan Dharma has prescribed this restriction from the perspective of preventing the woman from incurring harm at the spiritual level, which would affect her at the physical and mental level too. For being competent to perform spiritual activity, shaucha is required at the bodily, mind and prāṇa level. Just as strict hygiene is required to benefit from a surgical operation, so also shaucha is required to obtain benefit from spiritual activities.

Both men and women enter a state of ‘Ashaucha’at various times in their lives such as during birth or death in immediate family. Menses also bring about a state of ashaucha in a woman. How this happens at the level of various kośas is explained –

State of shaucha in women during menses

It is apparent from the above table how the woman becomes incompetent to perform spiritual activities as it is having adverse effect on her due to her ashaucha status during menses.

1.The purpose of any spiritual activity like a pūjā or Yajña is to make the prāṇa to rise upwards. This activates the Kundalini and makes it to rise. During menses, apāna vāyu is activated which moves in the downward direction to bring about excretion of menstrual tissues. So there is a conflict at prāṇa level. This causes an imbalance of dośas (namely Vāta, Pitta, Kapha) as per Ayurveda. This affects the woman at various levels.

2.Every temple has an idol in which prāṇpratiśṭha of that particular deity principle has been done. This means the deity principle has been invoked in the Idol. Hence, it is a place of high spiritual energy (Śakti). Being in a temple causes the prāṇa to rise in upward direction.

As a consequence of the above points 1 and 2,

1.A menstruating woman, in whom the apāna vāyu is activated, would be adversely affected by the upward movement of prāṇa resulting from any spiritual activity. This may not necessarily be apparent in the first instance, but repeated exposure during menses would affect the woman seriously.

2.However, as the adverse effect of spiritual activity on a menstruating woman happens at a subtle level, it may not be apparent to her. This is similar to the fact that most people are not able to perceive the adverse subtle effect of non-vegetarian food on them. Even if the adverse effect is immediately experienced, the woman may not connect the distress to the spiritual ritual or visiting a temple.

3.The Energy generated from spiritual activities is also diluted due to the influence of high Raja in the menstruating woman. The temple, the temple at home, pūjā, Yajñas etc. are sources of spiritual energy and Sattva subtle component. We as individuals and collectively as society benefit and in a way highly dependent on this source of Sattva for our day-to-day as well as overall long term well-being and success. By polluting these sources of spiritual energy and Sattva with the Raja in a menstruating woman, we are effectively destroying our basic sources of spiritual well-being.

How can we benefit from the advice of scriptures in our present lifestyle?

It has been prescribed from the perspective of the well-being of the woman as well as society at large. However, it could be difficult to follow it in the modern setup with nuclear families, especially where both spouses work outside home. We can still benefit from the advice by understanding the underlying science with an open mind. Based on this understanding, we can see what all we can do to limit the effect of the increased Raja in the woman during menses.

(1) One sound option is to focus on chanting as per our religion of birth or ‘ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय।’ as much as possible during menses, especially during activities affecting the whole family like cooking. This sattvikta increasing measure is an efficient way of reducing the effect of Raja.

(2) It is best to refrain from going to the temples or participating in rituals. We can get the daily pūjā at home done by other family members.

(3) The effect of increased Raja emitted from the woman during menses in the premises can be reduced by sprinkling gomutra with tulsi leaf on all days of the menses and after the 5th day head bath of the woman with menses. For best results, use of gomutra of desi cows, not jersey ones, is recommended.

(4) Having a head bath on the fifth day of menses and adding a few drops of gomutra to the water used for bathing as well as washing the clothes and bedding helps remove the Raja present in the body of the woman and her clothes.

(5) Just as Raja increases in a woman during menses, Raja-Tama increases in both men and women with thoughts of anger, greed, jealousy, lust, laziness, etc. However, most are not aware of this as we are not able to perceive the subtle vibrations which come with regular spiritual practice. Menses is clearly apparent, hence, there is opportunity to take precautionary measures. Chanting as a form of spiritual practice is an effective way for both men and women to minimize the ill-effects of Raja-Tama in our lives from all sources – physical, mental and spiritual. If you cannot practice the whole, practice at least as much as you can.

The Shrimad Bhagawadgītā (2.40) advises-

नेहाभिक्रमनाशोऽस्ति प्रत्यवायो न विद्यते |

स्वल्पमप्यस्य धर्मस्य त्रायते महतो भयात् ||

In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

(Acknowledgement : Menstruation Practices in Hinduism : What & Why? – A Talk by Nithin Sridhar)

 Dr. Athavale M.B.B.S., Clinical Hypnotherapist & Dr. Nandini Samant M.B.B.S., D.P.M. (Consulting Psychiatrist), Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay, Goa

A Spiritual Perspective on Menses (Part-I)

– Dr. Athavale & Dr. Nandini Samant

Introduction

Menstruation is basically a physiological phenomenon unique to women. In many parts of the world, menstruation is still related to a number of myths and taboos. For example, it is believed in Afghanistan that showering during menses causes infertility. According to a cultural belief held by some sushi chefs in Japan, women cannot be sushi chefs because of menstrual cycles. They believe that menstruation causes an ‘imbalance in taste’ and therefore sushi cannot possibly be properly prepared by a woman. Menses is thought of as a disease in Iran. Traditional beliefs in Bolivia misinform young women and girls that the disposal of their menstrual pads with other garbage could lead to sickness or cancer, according to UNICEF. Such myths and taboos about menstruation present in many societies adversely impact on women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle.

Vedas have also advised women with menses to refrain from entering holy places, cooking, etc. However, this advice is from a spiritual perspective alone and needs to be understood in that spirit. Any distortions in the implementation of the spiritual science are man-made and need to be recognized as such. However, due to a lack of understanding of the underlying spiritual science the advice of the scriptures is vastly misunderstood and hence frowned upon by society in the present times.

This resistance happens in the case of other sciences too. For example, modern medical science advises people suffering from a contagious disease like flu (Influenza), to rest and to keep to their room to prevent infecting other family members. They are asked to cover their nose with a tissue while sneezing for the same reason. When the disease spreads rampantly in society to an epidemic level, such as the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and Swine flu pandemic of 2009, infected people are forced to remain in isolation, away from society. All this is advised in the interests of the individual, family and society at large. It is not discriminatory to the person suffering from flu. We understand this because we are well aware of the science behind the restrictions. However, if an uneducated person from a tribal area traveling to a city suffered from flu and was advised to keep away from others, he could well feel ostracized. What would we think if he refused to believe the science and demanded to be shown the influenza virus! We understand that it would be in his best interests to believe those learned in that area, namely, the doctors. Similarly, Vedas are the authority in Spirituality. In this article we have explained the spiritual science underlying what the Sanatan Dharma says in the Vedas about menses and corroborated by research using modern scientific equipment. This is solely from the perspective of creating awareness in society about the spiritual aspects of menses.

Here, we will understand the basic principles of Sanatan Dharma and What happens at the subtle level during menstruation ?

Later (in upcoming article ) we will discuss the following topics –

A. Why is menarche celebrated ?

B. How can women by avoiding cooking or touching food during menses benefit themselves and society ?

C. How can women refraining from spiritual activities such as pooja or entering a temple during menses benefit themselves and society ?

D. Understand the underlying spiritual science and benefit from the advice of scriptures

Basic principles of Sanatan Dharma

To understand how Sanatan Dharma looks upon menstruation, let us get acquainted with some of its basic principles relevant to our topic.

A. Sanatan Dharma looks upon life as a continuum of births till the jīva (Embodied Soul) attains Mokṣa (Final Liberation or God-realisation). All efforts during one’s lifetime are looked upon from the perspective of ultimately moving towards Mokṣa.

B. Spiritual purity (Sattva subtle component) is looked upon as the foundation of any success or achievement. Subtle is that which is beyond the perception of the five senses, mind and intellect. Bhagawan Shrikrushna speaks of the 3 subtle basic components of the universe, namely Sattva, Raja and Tama

सत्त्वं रजस्तम इति गुणा: प्रकृतिसम्भवा: |

निबध्नन्ति महाबाहो देहे देहिनमव्ययम् ||

(Śrimad Bhagawadgīta Chapter 14, Verse 5)

Sattva is the component that represents spiritual purity, equanimity and knowledge. Raja represents action, excitement and passion, while Tama represents ignorance and inertia. Each person is made up of a proportion of these three subtle components. Depending on which subtle component is predominant in a person, he or she would be either Sattva-predominant (Sāttvik), Rājasik or Tāmasik. His or her value system, attitude and behaviour will be aligned accordingly. That is why, Sanatan Dharma advises spiritualisation of all aspects of life. Spiritualisation means making every aspect of our life such as our home and premises, bath, dress, diet, jewellery, music, dance, office work sāttvik and enriched with Divine consciousness (Chaitanya). This way our day to day efforts in life lead us to eternal bliss (God-realisation).

What happens at the subtle level during menstruation ?

According to Scriptures

The Scriptures refer to a menstruating woman as ‘Rajaswala’. This is because during menses the Raja subtle component in her is increased. The increased Raja is in anticipation of conception to nourish the baby. When fertilization of ovum and consequently conception does not take place, the excess of Raja is excreted from the body in the form of menstruation.

According to Ayurveda

As per Ayurveda, during menses the Apāna Vāyu is activated in the woman. ‘Prāṇa’ is the subtle vital energy which drives the various actions at the level of the various koṣas. There are 5 Prāṇas, each with a specific action. Activation of the Apāna Vāyu causes movement in the downward direction to facilitate the excretion of uterine tissue and also body toxins (Aām). The high Raja subtle component in the woman during menses causes an imbalance of the 5 Prāṇas.

Subtle picture of a woman during menses

The true measure and analysis of what happens in the subtle dimension can only be through the medium of the sixth sense. At the Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay (Maharshi Spiritual University), we have seekers in our spiritual research team who can actually perceive subtle vibrations emitted by an object or individual. After studying these vibrations they sketch them on paper. We call these sketches ‘Subtle pictures’. They serve as spiritual x-rays and provide clarity about the true nature of the object or individual. The readings are then confirmed or corrected by H.H. (Dr.) Athavale to get the accurate values. The following subtle picture of a woman during menses gives us an idea of what happens during menstruation in the subtle dimension.

The above subtle picture shows how there is emission of Raja-Tama subtle vibrations from a woman during menses. As a result the environment gets charged with the distressing Raja-Tama vibrations.

Universal Aura Scanner study of a woman during menses

The Universal Aura Scanner (UAS) is a scientific instrument that has been invented by Dr. Mannem Murthy, a former nuclear scientist from India. We have used this instrument extensively since 2014 and have recorded more than 10,000 readings in various experiments. It is our experience that it gives accurate readings. We have presented scientific papers based on these studies since October, 2016 in 15 National and 48 International Scientific Conferences. For more details about experiments done using UAS please refer to http://www.ssrf.org/. For more information on the instrument and its usage, please refer to http://www.vedicauraenergy.com/universal-scanner/

Please note that an average object or person can have negative energy, but it is not necessary that the positive energy be present. The negative energy readings are of 2 types and are denoted by ‘IR’ (Infrared) and ‘UV’ (Ultraviolet). IR denotes a lesser form of negative vibrations, while UV denotes a more intense form of negative vibrations. The total measured aura (TMA) is a measure of the object’s or person’s negative energy, positive energy in addition to other miscellaneous components. The TMA of an average object or person is 1 meter. When the TMA of a negativity emitting person or object (which does not have any positive energy) is high, this high TMA is a reflection of its high negativity.

We used the UAS to measure the positive and negative subtle energies and the total measured aura around a woman during menses, after chanting for 15 minutes after this reading and after her 5th and 7th day head bath. This pilot study was conducted on 1 subject only.

From the above table it is apparent that during menses high proportion of both types of negative energy with complete absence of positive energy was found in this subject.

Negativity eliminating influence of chanting

We can also see that after 15 minutes of chanting ‘ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय।’ both the types of subtle negative energies in the subject were completely wiped off. Besides, positive energy was also found in her. This shows that if a woman, though high in Raja during menses, does chanting as much as possible along with her regular activities, the negative influence of menses at the spiritual level can be reduced.

The table also shows that on the 5th day of menstruation, after the subject had taken the head bath as prescribed by Scriptures, her IR negative energy reduced by nearly 40 percent, while the more intense UV negative energy disappeared entirely and positive energy was found in her. This subtle IR negative energy further reduces or disappears in the following days with an increase in positive energy as is apparent from the last column in the table.

(continued to Part-II)

 Dr. Athavale M.B.B.S., Clinical Hypnotherapist & Dr. Nandini Samant M.B.B.S., D.P.M. (Consulting Psychiatrist), Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay

How the Indian festivals are a way of expressing love!

Dr. Nandini Samant

Come February and excitement in young boys and girls in schools and colleges starts! Innumerable flowers, chocolates, gifts and vows are exchanged on Valentine’s Day, which is on the 14th of February each year. With growth in technology and exposure to social media and the western world, the celebration of Valentine’s Day in India has spread tremendously in the past two decades.

However, is this good for our country, our Bhāratvarsha, which has such a rich and sāttvik culture? Today, the youth are unaware of the birth and death anniversaries of our great Indian patriots, freedom fighters and martyrs such as Vasudev Balwant Phadke, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Veer Savarkar and Chandrashekhar Azad, which too are in the month of February. Due to lack of education on Dharma (known as Dharmaśikṣaṇ), the youth are sometimes even ignorant about who these personalities are!

In this article, we present in short the greatness of Indian festivals and why they are superior culturally and spiritually over other non-Indian festivals and events.

Background of Valentine’s Day

So, let us understand why Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the first place. Valentine was a Catholic priest in Rome. When the Roman king passed an order banning youth from marrying during the war period since he needed their help on the battlefield, Valentine was secretly getting young men and women married. Consequently, he was imprisoned by the king for defying his order. In prison, although being a priest and a celibate, Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and even wrote love letters to her, thus betraying his religion and commitment to the church. Can one, who is not in control of his own emotions, influence society for its upliftment? How can such a person be a role model for the youth? And, why is his death anniversary being celebrated by Indians as Valentine’s Day?

Indian festivals are meant to celebrate love!

Today, if the youth are asked why they celebrate Valentine’s Day, they say ‘It is a celebration of love!’ However, is love limited and as Indians, is there a dearth of occasions to express our love? In India, every relationship is considered pure, and we have festivals to celebrate love emanating from each relationship in its purest form. For example, we have Bhaubeej and Rakshābandhan to express love between a sister and brother, Gurūpournimā to express gratitude and love unto the Guru, Gowardhan-puja to express love for cows, Nariyal Pournimā to express love for the sea, Padwa (Diwali) to express love for the spouse, Gangour and Karvāchauth to express love for the husband and so many other occasions. The list is endless. Then why do we need Valentine’s Day to express our love?

How is love viewed by Dharma?

Dharma allows man to fulfil four pursuits of life called ‘Purūṣārthas’ – Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Wealth), Kāma (Desire) and Mokṣa (Final Liberation). Even our wise Sages, who have handed over a treasure of invaluable knowledge to us in the form of Holy texts such as the Vedas, Purānas, Upanishads, Rāmāyaṇa, etc., were allowed to fullfil these four pursuits following the Code of Righteous conduct (known as Āchārdharma). Celibacy was never mandatory for them.

Dharma classifies love into two types

1. Emotional love (known as Prem) : In this, the relationship is governed by emotions and expectations; for example, husband-wife, father-son, etc.

2. Spiritual love (known as Priti) : This is unconditional love, without any expectations, where the relationship is governed by spiritual emotion (known as bhāv) ; for example, Guru-disciple, God-devotee.

In fact, we can emphatically say that no religion in the world is as expansive as our Dharma which says – ‘The whole world is mine’ and Vasudaiva kutumbakam’.

(Source of Image : Speakingtree.in)

In our country, selfless love is the basis of all relationships. Hence, there is no insecurity and thus no need to especially express it in the words such as ‘I love you’ as is done in the west, where relationships are unstable. This is why, they need days and festivals such as ‘Mother’s Day’, ‘Friendship Day’, ‘Valentine’s Day’, etc. to express their love.

Dharma also teaches us to love everything from living to non-living creation. For example, ‘Vasant Panchami’ is celebrated in this period to welcome the king of seasons ‘Vasant’ (Spring), when Nature is blossoming and the environment is charged with positivity. In this period, one benefits spiritually. In his epic poems ‘Ritusamhara’ and ‘Kumarasambhava’, Saint Kālidās has described the beauty and love that blossoms during Vasant. A well-known translator of Sanskrit classics, Mr. A. N. D. Haksar has translated works of Kālidās and described ‘Spring’ as –

In the woodland, everywhere,

the flame of the forest trees have shed

all their leaves, their branches bent

with flowers bright as blazing fire,

and the earth gleams in the spring,

like a new bride in red attire.

(Source of Image : Twenty20.com)

Hence, instead of celebrating a spiritually beneficial day like this by worshipping Deity Saraswati and Deity Lakshmi, it is a pity that our youth want to celebrate Valentine’s Day, where we forget our natural bond with nature and family, and instead want to follow the western culture. Is this not a kind of ‘Love Jihad’?

Harmful effects of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has no spiritual benefits. In fact, harmful effects such as financial loss due to unnecessary expenditure on expensive gifts and chocolates, degradation of moral values of the youth in succumbing to immoral behaviour such as premarital sex, extramarital sex, abortion, etc., creation of incorrect impressions in their minds (such as ‘physical love’ is true love).

What can we do to tackle this growing menace of Valentine’s Day?

The answer is – provide Dharmaśikṣaṇ. Children should be provided Dharmaśikṣaṇ, first at home and then in schools and colleges. Children need to be taught about the rich cultural heritage of India, its patriotic heroes, Saints and Sages, and a sense of pride for our traditions and country needs to be inculcated in them.

If by following Dharma we can lead a blissful life, enjoying material as well as spiritual benefits, then why follow practices of other cultures? Why ape the west? Why not follow the example of Śri Rāma who was faithful to His only wife Sītā, even when there was a practice of the king at that time having several queens?

Āchārdharma means the spiritualisation of every aspect of our day-to-day life; it includes expressing spiritual love unto our parents and family members by respecting, caring and nurturing them and our Sages and Gurus by practising and propagating their views.

मातृदेवोभव।पितृदेवोभव।आचार्यदेवोभव।अतिथिदेवोभव॥

Taittriya Upanishad (1.11.2) say – ‘Mātru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava, Achārya devo bhava, Atithi devo bhava’ (Meaning – The mother, father, Guru and guests are forms of God). Doesn’t this give love a different meaning which is very pure and unconditional? When this be true, why do we need days such as Valentine’s Day to express our love?

Contemplate seriously, and spread the perspective presented in this article.

Dr. Nandini Samant, Consulting Psychiatrist, Maharshi University of Spirituality, Goa

Names of Kṛṣṇa and Arjunā in Bhagavadgitā : An Appeal for Awakening (Part-II)

Continued from Part-I

Prof. C.L.Prabhakar

Kṛṣṇa calls different names suitable to the context of the message, answers guidance, clarifications, assertions and more by suitable expressions appealing and awakening the need of the situation. Arjunā’s quest and doubts are removed saying that he will not be a killer and a sinner however. He would not be a sinner by fighting and defeating his own kith and kin even though he kills them. The names thus with which Arjunā was called by Kṛṣṇa are these: Internal evidence shows that Arjunā’s character is screened and real expectations are awakened in Him. Actually he shirked to fight gripped by Klaibya and Hrudaya-daurbalya. He got into the crisis of moha and loss of smṛti in respect of bounded duty as kśatriya.

Anagha :  Pure. Sin free Arjunā is afraid that due to war fighting he would be sinner. Kṛṣṇa with this call assures he is not getting sin when he attends kśatriya dharma at that juncture.

Anasuya : Not having jealous normal.

Arjunā : White, pure clean slate ready to grasp and ready to be instructed rightful ways of action, opened for corrections.

Bharatasreshtha : Best among citizens of bharat the  native land.

Bharatasattama :  Strong enough among the citizens belonging to Bharat.

Bharatarshabhha : He belongs to Bharata clan and he thus Bharatas. He is best among such group of native men.

Bharata :   He is native of Bharat.  Here the love and commitment to the devotion of Bharat in securing the Dharma in the land. This name is used as addressal to  Arjunā by Kṛṣṇa  three times to awaken the rāṣtrabhakti in him.

Dehabhrtamvara : Best among all holding to the body and its nature and behavior.

Dhananjaya : Victor in the battles and bring good booty after the war to the masters of his support. A war is called as  dhana samsad.

Gudakesa : Victim of the influence of the senses. Loses control over senses and emotions ordinarily.

Kapidhvaja : Having Hanuman over his flag on the top of his chariot.

Kiriti : Known for victory always the kiritas, crowns of kings  are unstable when he goes to fight while his kirita remains firm, success is sure.

Kurupraveena : Best among the people of the Kuru vamśa he is best.

Kurunandana : He is the son of Pāndu of the Kuru family. He would be delight to the Kuru family. He delights the Kurus with his exploits too.

Kurusresrehtha :  He is eminent among the warriors of the Kuru dynasty.

Kurusattama : Better person among the Kuru People.

Kaunteya : Son of Kunti attached by sentiments, land and  family.

Mahabahu : Strong shouldered symbolic to signify the irresistible strength in his bahus that wields weapons. So he can fight long in the war with out fatigue but with success usually.

Maasucah : Pure . cf., Kṛṣṇa assuring  Arjunā that he would relieve him from sinning (Aham tvaam sarvapāpebhyo mokshaishyāmi 18.66) Kṛṣṇa ensures that war and success would not defile him at all. He is agree to get reward unaffected. Only once Kṛṣṇa complements thus like the calling Arjunā as Taata.

Manada : Provider of respect to the other recognizing their honour.

Paramtapa :  He severs enemies and enhances their fear and defeats them.

Pandava : Belonging to the children of Pandu raja. He takes the name of his father who ruled the land in place of his brother Dhrutarashtra.

Pārtha : He is earthly and having all ordinary human qualities known for attachment and emotions. Also means a royal person.

Purusharshabha : He is best among Purushas, the Men , the warriors.

Savyasacee : Capable of fighting in the war with both hands with equal felicity. This is unique fame to Arjunā. He reached top in that skill in war.

 Taata :  Boy  innocent and affectionate to elders. Affectionate calling only once the name is used by Kṛṣṇa. One who does well shall never fall and be a sinner.

All these names referring Arjunā and his capabilities and eminence as recognized by Kṛṣṇa go to screw up the mood and remove dispiritedness in him. All   that gripped him temporarily. It is ‘nāma mahimā’; that appeal and awakening got ignited. That quality in the individual names addressed to Arjunā reminded the commitment he had at an hour of crisis when his participation was a keynote for protecting dharma. Therefore the action depends upon the kind of addresses made to the concerned individual to wake up and give up shiredness. Lord Kṛṣṇa had done this sensitively that Arjunā realized his duty.

These names when we reflect, we realize they speak the personal and impersonal antecedents and features latent in each other. It lends scope for improvement in the respective perspectives of personalities. When Kṛṣṇa’s names are seen they are suggestive that the Lord is human and divine but committed to make the human- a human caring dharma from their ends. Actually some of the features of them look common to all. Humans are placed in different circumstances and situations in life. They are marked by their Jāti, Varṇa, Deśa, kāla and such miscellaneous occasions. Gitā containing the words of Lord Kṛṣṇa resolve and action that is warranted is activated. Need be viewed that it is a text relevant for us. There is lot of appeal to conscience and nature. Arjunā is no different from us. We are like him only always facing doubts and fears of sin and follies.

There is scope for awakening and appeal for action. We can lead a life of fulfillment in case we get chance to have a learned person to counsel us. To be modern, we may cite Vivekananda who maintained a word of awakening thus : ‘Arise, Awake , Stop not until the goal is reached’. We are the servants of Rama-Kṛṣṇa.  Here Kṛṣṇa signified by work and extra skill to accomplish the validity and establishment of dharma. We are all the children of immortality (amṛtasya putras vayam). We obtain Mukti. If the yogas 17 of the Gitā are understood and practiced, viṣāda vanishes. It is true. Viṣāda is the foundation of improvement. Birth is viṣāda (sorrow).

Gitā impresses reality and facts relevant in our own day to day circumstances. We have dialogues participated by Sanjaya and Dhṛtarāśtra to begin with. Therefore Bhagavadgitā is for Action, Vidura Niti is polity and Vishnu Sahasra Nāma Stotra is for peace and Sanat Sujatīyam is for relief and Liberation. These four portions of Mahābhārata are regarded as Gems (Ratnas) of Mahābhārata. A study of the names of Kesav-Arjunās remains a source for personality awareness and progress to move to perform destined action and stand an example to world.

Prof. C.L.Prabhakar, President, Bangalore Chapter, WAVES-India.

Names of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna in Bhagavadgitā : An Appeal for Awakening (Part-I)

Prof. C.L.Prabhakar

Bhagavadgitā is Ever Fresh. It is ocean of Guidance. It provides hope and solace for the life issues to all at all ages.  Bhagavadgitā is Mother extending grace and concern over people’s duty of paying attention to Dharma. Gitā is guide for spiritual sādhanā moves and sights. Therefore, there are several expressions praising Gitā and its eternal use. But the same is not availed for benefit for many. Keeping this in View many missions and associations came up to impress the value, validity of Gitā. It is said:

Gitā sugitā kartavya kamanyaih sastra vistaraih|

                                 Yat svayam padmanabhasya mukha padmat vinisrutam||  

(Gitā-mahatmya 4)

Gitā has to be well followed. What else is the use of other large amount of Sāśtras. This statement has come out from the mouth of Padmanābha Kṛṣṇa who is a teacher of teachers. This supports the Eternity of the value and validity of Gitā. Thus is the talk by Kṛṣṇa while Arjuna was sole recipient of the awakening set of yogas and instructions.

Pārthaya pratibodhitam  Bhagavata narayanena  svayam

                   vyasena grathitam purana munina madhyat Mahabharatam!

                        advaitamruta varshinim Bhagavatim ashtadhasaadhyaini…..

                                             … gite bhavadveshini

(Gitā Dhyana 1)

Gitā is the nectar of Advaita covering eighteen chapters disdaining the material comfort only and the incidence of rebirth.

Wholly knowledge of yogas has come out to answer the Arjuna viśāda yoga.  At chapter one, Arjuna expresses his fear of sin and so refused to fight. But Kṛṣṇa comes up with Karma, Bhakti and Jñana yogas to instill courage and clear the doubts in him. He even risked showing his Universal form when doubts and unfaith in talk lurked in the mind of Arjuna. While this famous dialogue between Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna there are addresals to Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna done by each mutually. That would be our enough effort to draw message and appeal hidden in them. At the same time awaken the sense of duty and right for execution. Kṛṣṇa says:

samvādamāvayoh jnāna  yajñena’

(Gitā 18.70)

Sanjaya said as he remembered the dialogue, he gets elated and happy. Further the dialogue is ‘adbhutaṁ’, ‘roma harshanaṁ’, ‘param guhyaṁ’ and ‘punyaṁ’. Sanjaya terms it as: one emerging out of significant dialogue of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna and adds that he felt elated very much (18.75). The same could be experience to anyone who followed the dialogue with diligence.

II

Let us enlist the names with which Arjuna called Kṛṣṇa at first. It is interesting to note that Acyuta is the constant address to open dialogue and conclude the dialogue.  In 18th chapter of the Gitā, Kṛṣṇa is Hṛṣīkeśa althrough while Arjuna is ‘Pārtha’ and Gudākeśa just to differentiate the difference between the Narāyana and Nara, the Arjuna. They mean just opposites namely Kṛṣṇa has control of senses while Arjuna is with in the grip of senses. So only the introductory stanza goes thus: saying that Narāyan imparts the teachings to Pārtha at the crisis. This is knit together by Vyāsa, the Purana Muni in the mid point of the body of Mahābharata. The teaching amounts to Advaita and it is amṛta showered on the ambiguous mind of Arjuna. The amṛta-varśa dispelled the doubts and suspicions and superstitions from the mind of Arjuna. Arjuna is made very happy forgetting his mental status touched when Kṛṣṇa showed him the viśvarupadarśana (the universal Form imbibing any and everything of the creation), the final mode of solving the lurking rather impeding confusion in the mind. It is to clear the Vimudhatva in Arjuna who is liable for change and understanding resulting in right action. Kṛṣṇa said ‘Act as you please’

‘yathecchasi tathā kuru’

(Gitā 18.63)

The decision was he was made to get rid of the cowardice, diffidence and moha. He got the light of truth and the real memory of Jāti and Kula Dharma became activated. He considered that he would not be sinner when Kṛṣṇa has done what he has to do in reality.  It is to the show of the world outside. In essence the dialogue gave rise to appeal and awakening on either side to ignite right action.  War was only solution for Kṣatriyas to resolve the Dharma. It is so because the ruling goes yato dharmah tato jayah (Mahābhārata). Success is always inclined at the reach of Dharma. Kṛṣṇa’s target was Dharma-samsthāpanā namely to establish Dharma only however.  Lord Viṣṇu descends to set right the Right.

III

The names of Kṛṣṇa with which Arjuna addressed Kṛṣṇa look very suggestive of his nature and powers. They stand to appeal to the Lord to guide him relevantly.  He is seen looking at Kṛṣṇa in many angles, forms and ultimately as friend and God. In like manner, Kṛṣṇa too looked upon Arjuna as a capable hero but disturbed momentarily at the sight of the opposite Army that contained his kith and kin too. Basically Arjuna was gripped by emotions and sentimental feelings.. That was a matter of viṣāda in him.

Now the respective names of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are taken to discussion briefly-  

The meanings of the names get understood relevant to the addressals done by each other. It is the nāma mahimāthat kindles the sense of appeal and awakening.  Besides that the personality traits, build of character and suitable action are suggested. The way name is called out supports the action warranted thereafter. Arjuna is looked upon more times as Pārtha meaning quite, materialistic and terrestrial.  He seemed to be elevated to the sense of duty at that critical juncture as a warrior best and care for the duty of a kṣatriya.  

Acyuta: this is the standard name to Kṛṣṇa at all times, meaning he never shakes nor looses courage and confidence. It is derived thus: ‘na cyutih, nasah yasya sah acyutah. In other words, all others in the creation are liable for ruin and disappearance. It is ‘cyuti’ meaning nasa. Finally Arjuna calls him Acyuta. Assenting to the appeal by Kṛṣṇa to war. He said ‘Naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtirlabdhā tvatprasādānmayācyuta’ (18.73). All the way memory and extra love sentimental bothered Arjun althrough.

Ananta : Infinite. All in all, endless.

Apratima Prabhava :  Matchless, valor and influence. Unfailing in plans and desires.

Arisudana : victor over enemies. Slays wicked enemies.

Adyah : He is erstwhile in existence before anyone. Kṛṣṇa is God who exits before anything came into the being.

Bhagavān : means possessor of all that characterizes of Bhaga. Bhaga implies ability in the features like creation, destruction etc. that belong to people and nature.

Bhutabhavanah : He thinks of the beings and attests their thinking and connectedly supportive.

Bhutesah : He is the leader of all beings irrespective the category known.

Devadeva : the leader of such Brilliant gods (the Viṣṇu). In a feeling of over joy Arjuna calls Kṛṣṇa at a stretch with several names especially when Kṛṣṇa showed his universal form (viśvarupa).  

Devavarah : well elected and best of all the brilliant people like bright righteous people, gods etc.

Devesa : the commander of   workers  to make the good to happen.

Govinda : He makes the land and people happy. He is the custodian of Knowledge and Happiness.

Hṛṣīkeśa : Who has hold on Indriyas. They never drop down. They remain standardized and never swerving in the circumstances. Indriyanigraha is a great feat but it is natural to him.

Janārdana : means Protector of people indifferent to their differences and distinctions like sun and Moon. Janārdana is everybody’s protector. So, Arjuna calls Kṛṣṇa at right situation. Kṛṣṇa was promoting war with the Kauravas and kill them. As Janārdana it is sin prompting him to do pāpakarma. It was the suggestion to Kṛṣṇa when he called him thus.

Jagannivasa : though he is elsewhere fixed, he is not away from the creation and situations. Involved in the crisis and solution of the orders.

Jagatpate : He is lord of Jagat the combination of mobile and immobile objects in creation. He is inseparable and identical with all.

Kamala Patraksha : his eyes are beautiful as beautiful as the lotus flower. Here the looks are pleasant and attractive that fear is dispelled at his sight.

Kṛṣṇa : He is the Attractor  ‘aa karshati iti Kṛṣṇah’ He pulls attention of all towards him.

Kesava : connected to creation that comes out of Water. No creation is possible without water, the divine support. The first appearance of the Lord is in waters lying in restful state.

Kesinishudana : He killed another demon by name Kesi and this demon was a special kind of rākṣasa but a bhakta. His name he took in is fame.

Madhusudana : ‘Madhu’ is a Demon by name.  The slayer of that demon is Kṛṣṇa. A queller of Evil and Negativity.

Mahabaaho : Strong shoulders meaning skilled in war and courage to face any inimical person or circumstances.

Mahatmā :  Great soul able to get elevated outlook of his own self.

Paramesvara : There are many overlords, the leader and monitor of all of them to keep the work well organized.

Purushotthama : He is Puruṣa, one with the creation but ranks always high. Looked upon by people for help and suggestion. In Puruṣa sukta of  RV Narāyana is Puruṣa.

Prabhu  : He is one controlled by himself over his own being and actions.

Sarvesah : He is monitor of any and everything in the creation.

Sahasra bāhu : His strength is number with the thousand shoulders, hands. It bespeaks his war skill and never failing in exerting physical strength. Bahu is symbolic of power and potency.

Yādava : He belongs to the Yādava community, which is known for service to society.

Yogeśvarah : The teacher and mentor of Yoga that joins the individual to make him enhanced of powers and hope.

Varsheya :  He belongs to the clan of Vrushni and it a natural identity to him as he is mānava avatara too besides divine inset in  his personality.

Vāsudeva : Son of Vāsudeva.

Viśvamurti : He is figure of all.  All forms are his own.  He is in everybody.

Viśvesvara :  He is overlord of  the Universe and every object.

Viṣṇu : He is present any and everywhere all the three times.

Yogi : Focused person a Disciplinarian.

In all these names we notice the mention of power and ability and vested capacity in Kṛṣṇa that He would be good Guide par excellence. Further the names have special intonation with reference to his talk made to arjuna and arjuna responding in dialogue.

Continued to Part II

Prof. C.L.Prabhakar, President, Bangalore Chapter, WAVES-India.  

DemoNOcracy is Here – Readers offer ways out

The article “Democracy turns into DemoNOcracy!!” authored by Prof. Bal Ram Singh published on 22nd May, 2019. The title itself of the article said a lot about Prof. Singh’s view. According to Singh the purpose of the piece was not exactly to provide road map and solutions, rather raise the consciousness of intellectuals towards the problem. Therefore, VedicWAVES blog sought response from the readers of the blog.

(Source of Image: https://mastergolflivestream.com/image/democracy-clipart-government-bill/459473.html#gal_post_480_democracy-clipart-government-bill-7.jpg )

Readers were requested to consider the following questions: 

1. Whether readers are agree with the observation. 

2. What maybe the reason? 

3. What can be done from Vedic view?

Below are the short responses received –

Prof. Girish Nath Jha, Dean, School of Sanskrit and Indic Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Agree with your observation. In fact, just yesterday I was wondering [if] someone [had] compiled all the invectives used in this election. It would be a good linguistics resource for research.

The reason why politicians are using these into quickly to hone their message in a very short time. The audience would perhaps remember these more than plain talk.

The Vedic way of sound democratic ways is not possible today. The closest that we can go would be to promote leadership with Tyāga and general wellbeing of others as the guiding principles.

Dr. Pandita Indrani Rampersad, Trinidad and Tobago

I agree for a code of ethics for politicians on the campaign trail. Leaders should show restraint in speech and conduct. I found nothing wrong with the ‘termite’ metaphor because of what a termite does – it works silently from within and before you know it, your entire house falls down like a pack of cards. It is an appropriate metaphor for campaign rhetoric.

Political speech is not in the realm of religious or academic discourse. There is the element of ‘warring opponents’ – nothing wrong with that. However, while being feisty, the campaign rhetoric should aim not to injure and hurt the personhood of the ‘other’ – stick to the issues not personalities. The subtle, artistic, bringing down of your opponent with words is to be enjoyed as the art of debating. It should not descend into ridicule and slander.

Sumit Ganguly’s analysis is from a leftist perspective and nationalism for these folks is not a welcome concept. I disagree with their consistent recourse to demonization of minorities. It’s simply not true. Minorities in India have greater privileges and protections than many other parts of the world and are used by leftist activists seeking favours in foreign countries. Uplift of the economically disadvantaged is more pressing than identity politics in India. Chandra Bhan Prasad’s comment is puerile.

Criminalization in Indian politics is a real issue. Remove goondas and corruption.

India needs a vision to manage its great diversity and the socio-economic and spiritual development of its citizens. India is the spiritual capital of the world. A return to the principles of Rām Rājya is mandatory. Let the state provide the social and economic conditions for development so that people may actualize their highest goals of spirituality. 

India has to be constantly vigilant about external cultural, economic and political forces that see it citizens as ideal consumers. India has to be constantly vigilant about the constant threat to its sovereignty, for near and far, especially its neighbours.

Dr. Raju Chidambaram, USA

Democracy is a basically good concept, perhaps the second best one can have other than a Rāmraj led by a dhārmic monarch.

The problem is the Party system that plagues all democracies. Cooperation (the Yajña spirit of Gīta) needed for progress is not possible in a party-based democracy.

How do we enforce parties to cooperate? Every two years in the US the election should be about the entire House of Representatives. Instead of choosing individuals, the people should decide “Has the House worked for the people in the last 2 years? If so, all of them return for the next 2 years. If not none of them will be allowed to run for re-election and every seat filled with a new comer”. Drastic idea, maybe, but it might force all representatives to cooperate for the good of the country in order to stay elected.

Sh. Rishi Pal Chauhan, Jiva Institute, Faridabad.

I agree with your observations. Earlier social workers used to join politics. They not only used to understand the culture of the nation but lived that in their day to day life. Their life was for nation.

In seventies people started keeping muscle man. In eighties muscle man started join politics. Now people with money power and criminal record join politics.

There should be basic qualification for a politician. He should submit his achievement about the knowledge of the culture of India and the record of social work practically achieved in his constituency He should submit his individual plan for five years. There should be review of his work after every year. He or she did not achieve as per the satisfaction of people he should get grading. There should be basic qualification of voter also.

Sh. Lallan Prasad Pandey, Former Income Tax Officer, Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Yes I agree with the observations made in the write up, given above. 

I think that people see the power politics an opportunity to make money and enjoy power as this was previous trend.

Democratic system of India has provisions and institutions for check and balance. But now a days there needs to come forward the learned and right thinking people to observe the conduct of Parliamentarians and issue public warnings of their observations. Some proper learning courses may be conducted for new members.

डा राजकुमारी त्रिखा, पूर्व अध्यापिका, संस्कृत, मैत्रेयी महाविद्यालय, दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय, दिल्ली

डॉक्टर बलराम सिंह ने बहुत सुंदर विश्लेषण करके भारतीय राजनीति की तस्वीर प्रस्तुत की है। यह सच है कि हमारे राजनेताओं ने इलेक्शन के दौरान अनेक प्रकार के आरोप-प्रत्यारोप एक दूसरे पर लगाए, जो कि हमारी संस्कृति और नैतिकता के विरुद्ध है ।

जहां तक अभिव्यक्ति की स्वतंत्रता का प्रश्न है , कुछ बोलने से पहले यह सोचना जरूरी है कि हमारी बातें नैतिकता के विरूद्ध न हों। हमें अपनी डेमोक्रेसी को डेमोनोक्रेसी बनने से रोकना होगा, जो कि गिरते हुए नैतिक स्तर के कारण लगभग असंभव सा लगता है। भ्रष्टाचार में आकंठ डूबी अधिकांश जनता और भ्रष्ट विरोधी पार्टियों से भरे हुए देश में डेमोक्रेसी फेल है। यहां तो समुचित और त्वरित दंड व्यवस्था, और सीमित राजतंत्र वाली ऐसी शासन पद्धति होनी चाहिये जैसी महाभारत में बताई गई है। वहां मंत्रिमंडल का कार्य था राज्य के हित को देखते हुए कानून, नियम बनाना और राजा का कार्य था उन कानूनों और नियमों को जनता में सख्ती से लागू करना। कानून के विरुद्ध आचरण करनेवाले को अपराधानुकूल निष्पक्ष दण्ड देना। यदि राजा अपने इस कार्य में असफल होता था, तो उसे गति सिंहासन से उतारा भी जा सकता था। यही उचित राजधर्म है।  महाभारत में इसी व्यवस्था को आदर्श शासन पद्धति कहा गया है। परंतु दुख की बात है कि भ्रष्टाचारी जनता और विरोधी पार्टियों के रहते हुए इस तरह का परिवर्तन संभव प्रतीत नहीं होता। फिर भी ईश्वर से प्रार्थना है कि वह हमारे नेताओं को सद्बुद्धि दे और भारत को नैतिक दृष्टि से भी समृद्ध राष्ट्र बनायें।

Prof. R.P. Singh, Professor, Philosophy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

In Vedas, Asuras were not demonized. Demonization started in the Purānas and Epics. Since then it has been happening in one way or another. Britishers were called as mylekshas (म्लेच्छ). There is a lack public morality and predominance of civil society over the State. It will give rise to the State to become authoritative. I appreciate the paper through and through nostalgic.

Mrs. Shagufa Afzal, Principal, Kuruom Vidyalaya, Kuruown, Uttar Pradesh

First of all Sir, the content is mind blowing and is the true scene of our prevailing so called democracy. I truly agree with it. There’s no more the taste of democracy, instead every leader now just puts each other’s name down which really gives a bad impression to everyone.

According to me the reason is selfishness of political leaders. Now what has become the point that everyone somehow or the other just wants the rule …politicians instead of serving nation, they have developed the mentality of serving their pockets. Development has become a faraway point. They just put each other’s name down to move ahead.

Lastly, according to me as in each n every competition certain education is necessary, likewise it should be made mandatory for politicians as well to be qualified because its education which can mentality and bring in good leaders to the show!!

Sh.Yogendra Bhardwaj, Research Scholar, Sanskrit, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi

Nice thought by you (Prof.Singh)

राजनीति में मतभेद होना संभव है, किन्तु मतभेद नहीं होना चाहिए। भारतीय संस्कृति में राजनीति के अंतर्गत ऐसी नीतियों के निर्धारण का मार्ग प्रशस्त होता है, जिसका अंतिम लक्ष्य “लोककल्याण” होता है।

Ms.Ami Shah, Corporate Legal Expert, Mumbai

Yes totally agree with the observation… The demon of politics is clearly visible now… The status has gone down significantly.

Today the scenario is such that they want to win at any cost. Losing is not am option as their fake reputation is at stake and for that they can go to any extent even if they gave to lose your moral values. They attack at personal levels… They attack your family and your morals. They attack at your weakest links. It has become a battle with no rules, just win at any cost.

In my opinion the best way to improve the practice of democracy is to conduct elections every five year plus conducting voting out every year… This will be an added responsibility and fear of getting removed in the minds of those who are elected. They won’t take their positions for granted. Introducing e-voting system to implement this. Apart from this education is a must to improve the practice of democracy.

Our View

The responders are unanimous in holding politicians responsible for the deterioration of the discourse of democracy to demonocracy. The reasons range from selfishness, no rules of engagements, criminalization of the politics, lack of public morality, power politics and money, party-based democracy, and expedient short term political gains

It is interesting that most of the readers feel that there should be some level of accountability and a provision to recall and/or the elected representatives for lack of progress on promises made. Education and training of politicians are needed, and perhaps principles of sacrifice for public good, following dhārmic principles need to be introduced and  encouraged. The concept of Rāmrajya needs to be invoked.

We feel intellectuals and policy makers need to look at the history of governance in India for inspiration of a system that can serve India’s diverse population without creating acrimony and divisiveness currently being practiced. It is important to be willing to storm out of a system that is becoming detrimental to the nation.

Editorial Team, Vedic WAVES

Relevance of Gandhi in Today’s World

AS

Dr. Anju Seth

Looking at the present state of affairs in India, the birthplace of Gandhi, one would probably surmise that Gandhism, whatever the term may mean, cannot have any relevance in this twenty-first century. Gandhi is rightly called the Father of the Nation because he single handedly stood up against the mighty British Empire, without any arms, and brought her independence. However, today, Gandhi is mostly forgotten and his relevance questioned even by his ardent devotees. Today Gandhi is remembered in India mostly on his birthday which is celebrated as a national holiday rather as a ritual.

Gandhiji Line Drawings (1)

(Source of Image : http://devang-home.blogspot.com/2011/08/sketches-of-mahatma-gandhi.html)

As a matter of fact, India is not following any of Gandhi’s teachings which are mostly confined to text books. In fact, since independence, the country has witnessed many violent communal riots in this multi communal country. Gandhi’s message of ‘swābalambī’, self-sufficiency with home spun ‘khādī’ cloth is not used now-a-days even as a social slogan. Statistics shows that the country is definitely not following ‘sarvodaya’, a broad Gandhian term meaning ‘universal upliftment’ or ‘progress of all’ reaching the masses. On the contrary, India today has the unique distinction of being the only country in the world which has the richest man in the world while at the same time more than 30 per cent of its population lives in dire poverty.

The above shows that today, Gandhism is a very confused ‘ism’ in India. Today many politicians in India use the term merely as a slogan and the common man make Gandhi almost out of reach of the younger groups by making Gandhi an unwilling ‘avatāra’. That may be one reason why the only photo we see of Gandhi in India is always that of an old man which brings the image of a very simple and pious man who was meek and mild like Jesus Christ. While Gandhi was not a simple man to say the least, the above does not gives the right image of Gandhi and does not bring any inspiration to the younger group, the group most relevant for Gandhi.

But Mahatma Gandhi, in this twentieth century, produced a very sophisticated approach because he implemented that very noble philosophy of ahimsā in modern politics, and he succeeded. That is a very great thing.”

And that is precisely the greatness of Gandhi and that is the message of Gandhi to the modern world. In the past century many places in the world have been drastically changed through the use of brute force, by the power of guns the Soviet Union, China, Tibet, Burma, many communist countries in Africa and South America. But eventually the power of guns will have to be changed by the will of the ordinary people. If we try to analyze the secrets of Gandhi’s success, we would probably find Faith and Action and Populism, the three most important aspects of his life. Gandhi’s extra ordinary communion with the masses of ordinary people was another of his secrets. In contrast to many of our present day leaders of this highly democratic world, Gandhi was a true leader and friend of the people. Disaku Ikeda, the Japanese Buddhist leader who takes great inspiration from Gandhi has this to say about him. “His activism is not mere action but contains many aspects of a spiritual practice that is inspired by the inner urging of the conscience”.

The phenomenal success Gandhi registered in far-away South Africa fighting for human rights and civil liberties has great significance when we find that later his teachings were adopted not only by Nelson Mandela, the South African freedom fighter, but it was also subsequently revealed that the former South African president De Klerk was greatly influenced by Gandhi’s principles. In fact, from Dalai Lama to Desmond Tutu and from Martin Luther King to Nelson Mandela, many world leaders were inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, all in their own different ways.

Gandhi left many valuable sayings for the modern man to fight for goodness in society in a non-violent way. “Good” Gandhi said “travels at a snails pace.” “Non-violence” Gandhi said “is a tree of slow growth. It grows imperceptibly but surely.” And then “Mere goodness is not of much use.” Gandhi stated. “Goodness must be joined with knowledge, courage and conviction. One must cultivate the fine discriminating quality which goes with spiritual courage and character.” The modern man can also take great wisdom from what Gandhi said the seven social sins: Politics without principles; Wealth without work; Commerce without morality; Education without character; Pleasure without conscience; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice.

It was the unique non-violent movement under his leadership that earned for India freedom from the colonial rule. In spearheading the campaign against the alien rule, Gandhiji adopted the innovative techniques of civil disobedience and social transformation, which had several exemplary features.

The Gandhian technique of mobilizing people has been successfully employed by many oppressed societies around the world under the leadership of people like Martin Luther King in the United States, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, and now Aung Saan Sun Kyi in Myanmar, which is an eloquent testimony to the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi.

In India, economic development has been mostly confined to the urban conglomerates. In the process, the rural India that comprises 700 million people has been given short shrift. Gandhiji’s philosophy of inclusive growth is fundamental to the building of a resurgent rural India. He believed in “production by the masses” rather than in mass production, a distinctive feature of the industrial revolution. It is surprising, even paradoxical, that these days Gandhian philosophy should find increasing expression through the most modern technology! Now, it is possible to establish small-scale and medium-scale factories in smaller towns and remote corners of the country, thanks to the phenomenal innovations in communication and information technologies. New technologies have brought in widespread and low-cost electronic connectivity that enables instantaneous contact between industrial units and the sellers and consumers of their products. Location and logistics are no more a limitation or constraint for industrial development.

If we say that the twenty-first century is the century of the common man, then we see that Gandhism has even more relevance in this age, and Gandhi will inspire generations of individuals fighting for goodness of the society. If today we find that Gandhism is in severe test in countries like India, it is not because there is certain inherent weakness in Gandhism, but it is because we have not seen in India strong leaders with the required courage and conviction to fight the evils in society. We may borrow Gandhi’s own words on Ahimsā, and say that Gandhism is only for the courageous people.

-Dr. Anju Seth, Associate Professor, Department of Sanskrit, Satyawati College (Day), University of Delhi, Delhi, India

स्वतंत्रता की भारतीय शैली

-प्रोफ़ेसर बलराम सिंह

Independence का वास्तविक अर्थ आत्मनिर्भरता है। In का अर्थ है inside अर्थात् आत्मा के स्तर तक पहुँचना और फिर उसी पर निर्भर होना अथवा dependent हो जाना। जब व्यक्ति आत्मश: कार्यरत होता है तो उसका आत्मबल सदैव पुष्टित होता रहता है। उसके लिए सारा जग आत्मीय बन जाता है। वह ‘अयम निज: परोवेति’ की गणना लघुचेतीय समझता है। उसके अंत:करण में चिरक़ालीन उदारता झकोरे लेने लगती है, तथा ‘वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम’ के सम्मत भाव जागृत हो जाते हैं। यहाँ तक कि उनके यहाँ ‘संताने तनय व तनया’ तक न सीमित रहकर आत्मज और आत्मजा के रूप उत्पन्न होने लगती हैं अर्थात् आत्मबीज ही अंकुरित, पल्लवित, पुष्पित. व फलित होता है। ‘अहम् ब्रह्म अस्मि’ की अनुभूति सार्थक हो जाती है। ये है independence की वास्तविक महिमा! ये एक दिन में सीमित नहीं हो सकता, ये तो कल्पों का माजरा है जनाब!!

bharat

Independence का दूसरा अर्थ है है स्वाधीनता, अर्थात् अपने को पूरी तरह से पहचान कर उसके आधीन हो जाना अथवा उसी की सत्ता के आधीन कार्यरत हो जाना। अपने को पहचानने का अभिप्राय है अपने धर्म को पहचानना, और उसी आधार पर गुण और कर्म निर्धारित करना। स्वधर्म की पहचान का तात्पर्य है अपनी प्रकृति को गहराई से समझना, बूझना, और परखना। जब व्यक्ति इस स्तर पर पहुँच जाता है तब अपनी प्रकृति को ही आधार बनाकर उसी में श्रद्धा एवं भक्ति से संलग्न होकर कर्म करता है। उसके अतिरिक्त कुछ नहीं करता। श्रीकृष्ण ने भगवद्गीता में इसका उद्धरण इस प्रकार किया है- ‘स्वधर्मे निधनम श्रेय: परधर्मों भयावह’, अर्थात् अपने धर्म के अनुसार आचरण में सबकुछ मिट जाना भी श्रेयस्कर है। यही नहीं किसी अन्य के धर्म अर्थात् प्रकृति का आचरण भयावह होता है इसलिए स्वाधीनता अत्यंत आवश्यक मानवीय दशा है जो मानव ही नहीं बल्कि पूरी समष्टि के लिए कल्याणकारी है।

Independence का तीसरा अर्थ है स्वतंत्रता अर्थात् अपना ही तंत्र होना चाहिए चाहे वो पारिवारिक हो, सामाजिक हो, आर्थिक हो, शैक्षिक हो, अथवा राजनीतिक हो। दूसरों की व्यवस्था यद्यपि उनके लिए कितनी भी उच्च एवं सराहनीय क्यों न हो किसी और के लिए तनावपूर्ण, बलाघाती, भयंकर कलह का कारण बन सकती है। अतः किसी भी देश को एक ऐसी व्यवस्था का सृजन करना चाहिए जिसके अंतर्गत हर एक व्यक्ति को सम्पूर्ण मुक्ति रहे कि वह व्यक्तिगत, पारिवारिक, तथा सामाजिक स्तरों पर अपने ही तंत्र के अनुकूल जीवन यापन कर सके। यह व्यवस्था बाह्य रूप से प्रारम्भ में अनेकता के सिद्धांत पर ही आधारित हो सकती है, अर्थात् कोई uniform civil code नहीं, कोई संविधान नहीं, कोई अधिवक्ता या न्यूनतवक़्ता नहीं, कोई AC में विराजित न्यायाधीश नहीं। मात्र धरातलीय प्रबुद्धजनो की आवश्यकता होती है जिनमे आचार विचार से आत्मबोध झलकता हो। वही सर्वभूतानाम की स्वतंत्रता सुनियोजित व  सुनिश्चित कर सकते है इसीलिए भारत ऋषियों का देश रहा है, स्वतंत्रता के लिए। आधुनिक स्वतंत्रता दिवस  को प्रेरणा का आधार मानकर स्वतंत्रता को शाश्वत बनाने के लिए संकल्पित हों, और इसी का पर्व मनायें आज and forever!! शुभम्

– Prof. Bal Ram Singh, School of Indic Studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, MA, USA

Bases of Dharma in the Gita

– Dr. Shakuntala

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The Gita, through Krishna declares a two-fold bases of dharmaSamkhya or reason and yoga or discipline – “In this world a two-fold basis (of dharma) has been declared by Me of old, blameless one: By the discipline of knowledge of the followers of reason-method and by the discipline of action of the followers of discipline method” (III.3). But before we try to understand reason with discipline of knowledge or jñana-yoga and discipline with discipline of action or karmayoga, we need to appreciate the fact that the term ‘discipline’ is used in two senses in the Gita. One of course is the basis of dharma. The other is defined by the Gita through Krishna as indifference: “discipline is defined as indifference” (II.48). We can take it that it is discipline in the latter sense, that is, in the senses of indifference that is used when the Gita is talking about discipline of knowledge and discipline of action. In other words, it appears that whether we are followers of reason or followers of discipline, discipline in the sense of indifference is a necessary feature of it.

In the Gita, Discipline (basis of religion) appears to be, on one hand, renunciation and, on the other hand, non-attachment: “For when not to objects of sense nor to actions he is attached, renouncing all purpose, then he is said to have mounted to discipline” (VI.4). That is, if we want to understand discipline, then we need to understand what renunciation and non-attachment mean in the Gita. Renunciation in the Gita comes forth as renunciation of actions of desire (XVIII.2). Further, in the Gita, he is recognized as renouncing action who does not ‘loathe or crave’ which is also termed as being free from pairs of opposite (V.3). But if this is renunciation, it appears that it is non-different from what the Gita calls as discipline of mind or buddhi-yoga. In its discussion on discipline of mind, the Gita says about longing and loathing that “one must not come under control of those two, for they are his two enemies” (III.34). But this is how renunciation is understood in the Gita. Again, it says that “Whom all desires enter in that same way he attains peace; not the man who lusts after desires” (II.70). This can be understood as meaning that who is nor driven to act by desire goes to peace. And this is the way renunciation has been defined – giving up acts of desire. Further, this renunciation is also discipline in the sense of indifference: “Content with getting what comes by chance, passed beyond the pairs (of opposites), free from jealousy, indifferent to success and failure, even acting he is not bound” (IV.22).

Discipline, however, in the Gita also means non-attachment. The actions that the Gita has asked one to perform without attachment to fruits are actions of worship, gift, austerity (XVIII.5) as well as natural born action of the individual (XVIII.48). Worship is another kind of action the Gita says one should perform (IV.23). The Gita suggests that if one performs actions without attachment to the fruit of action, one does not get bound (III.7). In fact Krishna tells of himself that he is not bound even though he keeps performing actions because he is not interested in fruits of actions: “Actions do not stain Me, (because) I have no yearning for the fruits of actions. Who comprehends Me thus is not bound by actions” (IV.14). Such actions do not bind because in truth they do not bear fruits, though performed they are barren (IV.20). In other words, it appears that according to the Gita, it is the mental attitude that binds and not mere action.

Of the two elements of discipline, if they can be termed as such, renunciation and non-attachment to fruits of action, the Gita shows its certain inclination towards the latter (V.2). The reason for this can be explained in the following way: renunciation is more an attitude than performance of action. Giving up certain action by itself cannot be called action – at least in the sense of performance. Renunciation is giving up acts of desire. But non-attachment involves performing of certain kinds of actions without attachment to fruits of action. In other words, in the latter case one gives up certain action but goes on performing the required kinds of actions. That is, non-attachment involves both giving up action as well as performance of certain sort of actions while renunciation does not imply performance of action.

Of the ‘two-fold basis’ of the world, the Gita declares reason as one of them. Reason in the Gita comes forth as understanding of the nature of the soul. When Arjuna asks Krishna regarding a way for right conduct, Krishna answer tells of the right way as suggested by reason. The way, as we find it, involves a description of soul’s nature: “He is not born, nor does he ever die; nor, having come to be, will he ever more come not to be. Unborn, eternal, everlasting, this ancient one is not slain when the body is slain” (II.20). Further, it is said that the soul in reality does not feel pleasure and pain. Whatever feeling of pleasure and pain the embodied being feels is due to its contact with matter (II.14). Thus on one hand, the Gita tells that the soul actually does not feel pleasure and pain and on the other hand, that they belong to matter. Reason, according to Gita, thus lies in understanding that pain, pleasure etc are not felt by soul but belong to matter. Likewise, the Gita also tells that according to reason, action does not belong to the soul, but to matter. Having said this, the Gita says that the one who understands reality in true nature – that the immortal does not in actuality feel or perform – in reality he does not perform action. That is, though actions take place, even after one realizes that himself is not the doer, such actions no more bear fruits, that is, they more bind (XVIII.17).

Knowledge is the means for the followers of reason. This knowledge comes forth in the Gita as knowledge that reality is one which can be understood under its ‘lower’ and ‘higher’ nature. The first, the ‘lower nature’ constitutes the universe (VII.4), while the second, the ‘higher nature’ is the soul, the support of living being (VII.5). And then there is the Lord in whom “this (universe) is strung, like heaps of pearl on a string” (VII.7). These two natures of the ultimate reality again have been explained in Gita under different headings – the Field and the Field-knower. And this knowledge of the Field and Field-knower is considered as true knowledge in the Gita (XIII. 2). In another place of the Gita we come across knowledge as knowledge of the Lord and Brahman as well as that of the Strands as the binding factor. The man of knowledge thus knows that the actual agent is matter. As such he can be assumed to be acting with the knowledge that it is not he who is acting. This is also the way how disciplined man is defined: ‘I am in effect doing nothing at all?’ – so the disciplined man should think, knowing the truth, when he sees, hears, touches, smells, eats, walks, sleeps, breathes, talks, evacuates, grasps, opens and shuts his eyes; ‘The senses (only) on the objects of sense are operating’ – holding fast to this thought (V.8-9).  Thus it can be said that the man who performs with knowledge is practising discipline of knowledge.

A study of the bases of dharma reveals the importance of mental attitude in performance of dharma in the Gita. That the Gita has attached indifference to both the ways of reason and discipline is indicative of this very feature. In fact that this is so is clear from the very beginning of Krishna-Arjuna conversation. Arjuna asks Krishna what is dharma: “My being very afflicted with the taint of weak compassion, I ask Thee, my mind bewildered as to the dharma” (II.7). But Krishna does not answer by telling what dharma is. Rather what Krishna says reveals the importance of mental attitude: “Abiding in discipline perform actions” (II.48). And this indifference is certainly of mental nature. However, though the importance lies in the mental attitude, the Gita cannot be taken as advocating mental attitude alone. What it advocates is performance of action with certain mental attitude and not mere mental attitude. And that is why the advice to Arjuna is not just to carry the attitude but to fight with the right mental attitude: “Holding pleasure and pain alike, gain and loss, victory and defeat, then gird thyself for battle” (II.38).

Dr. Shakuntala, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy,  University of Gauhati, Guwahati, Assam

 

Ram’s Dharma: Leadership Secrets of the Ultimate Warrior~Sage~Prince

michael sternfeld head shot

-Michael Sternfeld

[Excerpted from the audio-bookRam’s Dharma: Leadership Secrets of the Ultimate Warrior~Sage~Prince— published by Vedic Audio Knowledge (VAK). VAK created by  author, an independent scholar has made a tradition of preserving the essential oral tradition of the Vedic literature with dramatic productions in English. ]

Introduction

Now begins the inquiry into Dharma.  This one line, expressive of much of the potency within all Vedic knowledge, is an apt beginning in our exploration of the epic Ramayana.  The Ramayana can be seen as one grand heroic quest into all the power and subtlety of Dharma.  Dharma means more than just duty, as it is often understood in the West.  At its most comprehensive level, Dharma is the inexorable movement of evolution in the universe. All activity in the universe is orderly because of that inexorable flow of Dharma.

Alignment of Our Dharma With the Big Picture

To the degree that we align our own nature with this grand vision of Dharma, the more we align ourselves with the natural flow of all that was meant to be.  This seems to be the true quest—to move our own consciousness, our own deepening awareness–to become more and more in-tune with Dharma at every step of our evolution.  There is not one “be-all, end-all” state that captures this, because Dharma, as structured in consciousness, is a sequential process of unfolding deeper and deeper levels of order or Dharma in the fabric of our own awareness.

Hierarchies of Dharma

Dharma is structured in layers, or in hierarchies, which reveal more and more comprehensive levels of intelligence in nature.  On one level, we could experience our personal career Dharma–expressive of the work we do to earn a living.  At a deeper level, we can own our soul level Dharma–expressive of our own fundamental nature and the development of higher states of consciousness.  On a more expanded level, there can be a Dharma of a country or civilization, which may express the unique design or “chosen-ness” for a group of people to serve and enrich the world in a particular way.  The Dharma of a star is to spread life-giving light into the world, while the Dharma of the universe may reach to the fields of unfathomable infinity.

Evolution of Dharma

Every level of life has a Dharma that is woven together with all the other streams to create a majestic tapestry reflecting the never-ending flow of life from lesser states to more and more fullness of life and evolution.  From this perspective, all of our growth can be seen as an opportunity to continually deepen our understanding of our own Dharma and how it fits into the larger Dharma of the world.  As we grow and evolve, we find that those values that seemed so significant when we were younger fall away and new doorways open to greater and greater levels of service, authenticity and an expanding sphere of influence to enrich the world.

Ram’s Dharma and the Ramayana

Now this is where the power of Ram and the Ramayana enter the picture.  Ram is an embodiment of the total potential of Dharma.  All different levels and streams of Dharma seem to converge into his comprehensive personality. This power is first expressed on the human level, the level of heroic action. Like all the great heroic figures that have preceded us, we gain so much from following in his epic footsteps.  Ram’s heroic quests become our own; and his journey—imbued with near-impossible challenges as well as great victories and blessed boons–become the cherished guideposts in the journey of our own lives.

But this outer value of Ram is only a projection and expression of the deeper, absolute level of life, from which the full potential of being fully-human emerges—a divine being in human form. Ram is an extraordinary personage in that he is both an ideal man and an avatar. Human and divine. The juxtaposition of these two values stretches our comprehension to span its gulf.

Rama

Why is Ram So Special?

In the pantheon of all great epic heroes, Ram seems to hold a special status. On a human level, his entire life and story are based upon explicitly discriminating and integrating finer and finer levels of Dharma.  Our behavior can be refined at each step of this journey by integrating these deeper values into our lives. But the deepest level of Dharma reveals Ram’s full potential as an embodiment of the Absolute level of life–Ram Brahm Paramarath Rupa.

The great modern-day Vedic sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi explains this mahavakya by describing Ram as the embodiment of Brahman, the supreme Totality of life. This Totality is not just outside of us as some ruling power, but inside us as well. In this view, Ram represents the essential nature of ourselves and the whole creation, governing and sustaining it from the transcendental level.  Maharishi clarifies: “Ram is the embodiment of pure spirituality, of pure being–totality in its absolute unity. All activity in the universe is orderly because of that eternal law of life, the administration of Ram, which establishes and maintains harmony in all relationships; which harmonizes everything with every other thing in the universe.”

This quote underscores why experiencing the Ramayana yields such profound results. If Ram embodies all the diverse relationships in the universe, then the study of his story is essentially the study of our Self and our evolving relationship with creation—the full potential of Dharma. In this view, the impulses of the Ramayana are the structures of our own consciousness, our own Self, and challenge us to grow towards our own divine status as humans.

This vision may sound quite cosmic, but we must remember that this divine story unfolds on a completely human level, as Ram was born a mortal man–the son of the illustrious King Dasharata in Ayodhya.  The story begins as the wise sage Valmiki pondered the question he had often reflected upon: “Is there a perfect man among us?”.

We now begin our journey following the footsteps of Ram—along with Sita and all the characters of the Ramayana–on an epic quest to discover Ram’s Dharma on all its levels.  Our ultimate goal: to emerge with a profound ownership of that full potential of Dharma that animates the entire universe.

Audio Sample Link:  http://www.ramayanaudio.com/otherproducts.html#ramsd

Michael Sternfeld, MA, is an independent scholar and  a producer/director, USA