In the age of prevailing conflicts, confusions, emptiness, and meaninglessness, many leaders of all kinds and creeds-intellectuals, social scientists, physical scientists, theologians, and politicians have suddenly started preaching about the urgent need of harmony and love within this variegated world. The irony is that these words and concepts remain evasive and elusive to most of us. In the absence of real active participation (with mind, speech, and action) in the feast of harmony and love, the entire endeavor of leaders of all colors and creeds appears to be nothing more than a sonorous verbiage-an utter nominalism. Do we have an opportunity for such a feast of inviting harmony and unalloyed love? Yes we do! And that is what the Holi is all about.
The historical origin of Holi is still shrouded in mystery; however, many good indications place it in very remote times, all the way back when Bhagavan Krishna spent his miraculous and divine playful boyhood in Vrindavan, Braj-Bhoomi, India (more than 5000 years ago). Its current traditions and practices appear to have evolved from harmonizing of many dharmic, adhyatmic, social, and folk traditions.
The Holi celebration begins with a bonfire. The bonfire is started by collecting, from every house in the village, the accumulated trash, garbage, and waste. This clean-up act is the reminder of the necessity of cleaning all the physical, as well as mental, spaces where lots of polluting elements have grown out of our material nature, such as uncontrolled sensual desires, anger, delusion, hatred, violence, lust, and greed. People gather around the bonfire and make offerings that might include roasting ears of new, still green barley crops which are still in the fields (this act is a kind of Vedic Yagna), and sing and dance around the fire, with songs, including the chants written in local vernacular. After all, this is New Year’s Day; a day to welcome the most colorful, joyful spring season-the king of all seasons. This is the Holika-Dahan.
In the Braj-Bhoomi, Holi playing is a battle of divine love. Young wives of the village are ready to attack the best men of the village with their sticks. It is time for colors; the wet and dry, all kinds. Everyone has been transfigured; no one is recognizable; the whole Braj-Bhoomi appears to be in great social turmoil, chaos, craziness, and good humor–yet everyone is in a state of great joy. The erotic mood is in full swing, yet within the expanded bounds of ethical and moral norms. People are impersonating Shri Radha and Krishna; the roles have been reversed; the genders gone astray. This continues for a day or two, and then purification and restructuring starts by washing, cleaning up, and donning new clothes.
This is a new beginning. Everyone greets one another with a new promise of cooperation, support, and love for the rest of the year. Radha-Krishna Bhajans (devotional songs) go on with joyful celebrations, with intense divine passion and love (Bhakti Yoga), after all, the Holi of Krishna is no mere intellectual exercise; no mere theory of love, no mere academic play: rather it is Divine Lila that each one of us must actively participate in and play our respective sva-dharmic roles with great passion and joy.
The richness, variety, and beauty of Holi Colors are the metaphors for the colors and the moods of five basic elements of Prakriti (material Nature), the changing world, seasons, and mind-an aspect of Divine Shakti Maya. The new beginning, the adhyatmic renewal for a better future for all must start by smearing out and covering up all worldly, social and physical and mental distinctions and categories. The Holi celebration tends to transcend all the established differences and diversity of varna, caste, color, sex, age, wealth, power, and attitudes. The social destruction and renewal, world pollution and purification, smearing out the diversity to re-enact harmony and unity occur, not only on intellectual planes but it is played out physically and mentally by each and everyone with great joy. After all, it is Holi of Radha- Krishna-the feast of multidimensional harmony and divine love.
अंतर्राष्ट्रीय नारी दिवस इस बार सीता जयंती के आस-पास होने से स्वाभाविक विचार आया कि क्या होता यदि सीता नारीवादी होतीं? यदि होतीं, तो किस तरह का नारीवाद प्रतिपादित करतीं? क्या आज का नारीवादी समूह (फेमिनिस्ट ग्रुप) उन्हें स्वीकार करता? ऐसा माना जाता है कि संसार में ऐसी कोई विचारधारा नहीं, जो महाभारत काव्य में न मिले, और उसी तरह विश्व में ऐसा कोई चरित्र नहीं, जो रामायण अथवा रामचरित मानस में न मिले। इस प्रकार नारियों के अनेक रूप रामायण के घटनाक्रमों में दृष्टिगोचर होते हैं। इनमें कैकेयी, कैकसी, कौशल्या, मंथरा, ताड़का, तारा, मंदोदरी, रुमा, सूरसा, सिंहिका, शबरी, सीता, शूर्पणखा, स्वयंप्रभा, सुलक्षणा, मांडवी, उर्मिला, श्रुतकीर्ति, अहिल्या, अनुसूइया, लंकिनी, इत्यादि उल्लेखनीय नारियाँ रही हैं। वैसे तो इन सभी नारियों के साहस, स्वातन्त्र्य, सामर्थ्य एवं समर्पण की अपनी अद्भुत कहानियां हैं, नारीवाद के प्रसंग का यथोचित प्रतिपादन सीता और शूर्पणखा चरित्र से प्राप्त हो सकता है।
हम देखते हैं कि सीता और शूर्पणखा ये दोनों क्रान्तिकारी महिलाएँ थीं। शूर्पणखा ने उस त्रेता काल में अपने मन से विवाह किया था। हालांकि, रावण ने उसे स्वीकार नहीं किया था। लेकिन, उसके बावजूद वह सेना की एक कमांडर, हुआ करती थी, और पूरा दंडकारण्य उसके अधीन था। इसलिए उसने राम को, जब वे वहाँ पहुँचे, तो ललकारा। तो ऐसी वैसी महिला नहीं थी शूर्पणखा। वह बलिष्ठ थी और अपने क्रान्तिकारी विचारों के आधार पर ही उसने कार्य किए। उसने अपने महाबली भाई रावण से एक समझौते के अंतर्गत उस क्षेत्र का कार्यभार संभाला था, वह सबला थी, अबला नहीं। वह कूटनीति में निपुण थी, रणनीतिज्ञ थी। रूप, रंग, तेवर बदलने के गुण थे, उसके अंदर। खर, दूषण जैसे सेना नायक उसके आदेश का पालन करते थे। और वह यह सब अपने क्रान्तिकारी विचारों के कारण थी। वह स्वच्छंद, मनचली थी। उसके राम या लक्षमण के ऊपर आसक्ति केवल स्वच्छंदता ही नहीं, बल्कि रणनीति को भी दर्शाती है। राम रावण युद्ध की मुख्य पात्र वही थी।
सीता भी कम नहीं थीं, लेकिन व्यतिरेक है। सीता को प्रायः एक अनुसेवी, आज्ञाकारी, समर्पित महिला के रूप में दिखाया जाता रहा है, परन्तु सीता जन्म से ही एक क्रांतिकारी स्वभाव की व्यक्ति थीं। दो घटनाओं से यह पता लगता है – एक कि, राजा जनक ने कहा था कि, ये धनुष शिवजी का है, कोई उसको उठाएगा नहीं। और क्या किया सीताजी ने? पहले धनुष को उठा दिया। अपने पिता की अवज्ञा करके उठा दिया। ये तो दूसरी बात है कि धनुष बहुत भारी था, उठाईं कैसे। लेकिन उन्होंने कहा कि, शिव का धनुष है, तो मैं क्यों नहीं उठाऊँ, मैं साफ करूँगी, मैं उठाऊँगी। और दूसरा, जब राम और लक्ष्मण जब वन जाने लगे, तो कैसे उर्मिला नहीं गईं, कैसे सुमित्रा ने इस बात के लिए लक्ष्मण को मनाया, लेकिन सीता को कोई नहीं मना पाया। बहुत सारे सन्दर्भ कहे गए हैं, जिसमें सीता को प्रकृति के बारे में बहुत ज्ञान था, लेकिन दर्शन की भी वह बहुत बड़ी ज्ञाता थीं, और उन्होंने दर्शन के आधार पर राम से वाद-विवाद करके ये सिद्ध किया कि, नारी का स्थान पति से परे नहीं हो सकता है, खासकर अगर पति विपत्ति में हो तो। इसलिए वह भी एक ऐसी नारी थीं, जिन्होंने क्रान्तिकारी विचारों का आचरण करके अपने जीवन के आदर्शों का पालन किया।
सीता के विद्रोही विचारों की और भी झलक मिलती है, जब उन्होंने अपने देवर लक्षमण की खींची रेखा को भी भिक्षा देने हेतु पार किया, और लंका से हनुमान जी के साथ अकेले आने से इंकार कर दिया था। लेकिन इन विद्रोही कार्यों में भी उनके कर्तव्य पालन की ही छवि दिखती है। लक्षमण रेखा भी पार कर उन्होंने रघुकुल को किसी भिक्षुक को खाली हाथ लौटने के कलंक से बचाने, तथा पापी रावण को दंड दिलवाये बिना हनुमान जी के साथ लंका से वापस आने से इंकार किया था।
अंत में सीता जी अयोध्या आने के पश्चात् निष्कासन की बात आती है, जिस पर लोग (विशेषतः महिलाएं) बहुत सारी आपत्तियाँ जाहिर करते हैं। वह घटना भी एक सन्दर्भ में ही समझी जा सकती है। भारत की परम्पराओं में खासकर के उस समय की परम्परा में जब राजा सिंहासन पर बैठता था, उसका राज्याभिषेक होता था, तो रानी का भी राज्याभिषेक होता था। सिर्फ राजा का राज्याभिषेक नहीं होता था, इसलिए यह नहीं कहा जा सकता है कि, रानी राजा से किसी तरह से कम हो सकती है। तो राम कौन होते हैं उनको निकालने वाले? अगर उनका भी राज्याभिषेक हुआ, तो ऐसा नहीं हो सकता है।
दूसरी बात यह है कि, उस समय राजतंत्र नहीं हुआ करता था, बल्कि प्रजातंत्र हुआ करता था। प्रजा का जो मूल रूप है, वह आज वाला प्रजातंत्र नहीं है, जिसको लोग कभी-कभी प्रजातंत्र कह देते हैं। प्रजा की एक सबसे बड़ी विशेषता है कि, प्रजा जो है वह आत्मनिर्भर होती है। वह किसी सरकार की नौकरी के चक्कर में नहीं होती, किसी सरकार से उसको कुछ नहीं चाहिए। जब वह आत्मनिर्भर होगी, तो जैसे अभी कुछ लोग गाँव से जुड़े होंगे, तो धोबी, नाई, कारपेंटर, कुम्हार, ये सारे लोग अभी भी नौकरी नहीं करते हैं, और ये अपने जीवन को स्वयं पालते हैं। उस समय राम के राज्य में किसी को नौकरी नहीं करनी पड़ती थी। सब लोग अपनी, जो भी उनके सृजनात्मक भाव थे, विचार थे, कुशलता थी, उन्हीं के आधार पर जीते थे। इसलिए वे पूरी तरह से स्वतंत्र थे, और राम इस बात को मानते थे कि, अगर स्वतंत्र व्यक्ति कुछ कहता है, तो उसे हमको मानना पड़ेगा।
राम की अपनी बात नहीं थी, बल्कि वो इस प्रणाली या व्यवस्था के लिए पूरी तरह से कटिबद्ध थे। सीता जी भी कटिबद्ध थीं, क्योंकि दोनों का राज्याभिषेक हुआ था। धोबी आता है, तो धोबी प्रजा में आता है, और जो भी कहते हैं, जो भी ऐसी बातें होती हैं, सीता जी स्वयं इसका निर्णय लेकर वह जाती हैं जंगल में। अब लोग बोलेंगे कि, कैसे ये निर्णय लेकर जाएँगी जंगल में?
आज के युग में अगर आधुनिकता देखनी है, तो अगर मियाँ बीवी में कोई बातचीत हो जाती है, तो पहले तो माताजी के यहाँ फोन जाता है, मायके में, भाई को बुलाओ, बाप को बुलाओ इनको समझाएँ, नहीं तो पुलिस को बुलाओ। लोग कहेंगे कि, उस समय पुलिस नहीं थी, गुरु तो थे, गुरु के यहाँ जा सकतीं थीं। लेकिन वह गईं कहाँ? जंगल में। उनका बाप झोपड़ी में रहने वाला तो था नहीं। मान लीजिए नहीं बुलातीं, तो राजा था उनका बाप, मायके चली जातीं। लेकिन क्यों नहीं गईं? इससे लगता है कि उनका निर्णय उनका था। अगर उनको निकाला जाता तो ऐसा वो नहीं कर सकतीं थीं। अगर उनका निर्णय उनका था, तो उनके व्यवहार को देखना पड़ेगा। उन्होंने राम के प्रति नकारात्मक एक भी शब्द न तो कभी खुद कहा, न अपने बच्चों से कहने दिया? और अन्त में उनकी मुलाकात राम से होती है, तब राम की बात का विद्रोही भाव से उल्लंघन करते हुए धरती में समाती हैं, ये कह के समाती हैं कि, आगे कभी भी मेरा जन्म होगा, तो मैं आपको ही पति-रूप में पाना चाहती हूँ। आजकल के ज़माने में जहाँ डिवोर्स बहुत बढ़ता जा रहा है, ऐसी नारी जो इतनी यातनाओं के बाद भी अपने कुल की परम्पराओं के आधार पर अपने जीवन को कठोरता से भोगते हुए, अपने बच्चों का पालन करते हुए, मान मर्यादा से रहते हुए और इस संसार से जाती है, वह नारी रामराज्य लाने में, रामराज्य प्रकट करने में सहायक सिद्ध हो सकती है।
‘रघुकुल रीति सदा चलि आई, प्राण जाइ पर वचन न जाई।‘
जैसी कुलरीति को सीता ने पूरी तरह संजोकर अपने आचरण में, अपने चरित्र में प्रकट किया। इस प्रकार सीता का वैदेही नहीं, बल्कि ये विद्रोही भाव ही रामायण की जड़, आधार, एवं सम्पूरण है, और रामायण को सीतायण कहना अतिशयोक्ति नहीं होगी। हालाँकि इस बात के लिए सीता की सम्मति संभवतः नहीं होगी।
आज की महिलाएँ, आज की बहू, बेटियाँ, बहनें, माताएँ व् पत्नियां अगर क्रान्तिकारी नारीवादी बनना चाहती हैं, तो उनके सन्मुख दो सशक्त भारतीय विकल्प मौजूद हैं, एक सू-नारीवाद (सू -फेमिनिज्म), जिसमे शूर्पणखा वाला क्रान्तिकारी, बलिष्ठ, स्वच्छंद, और बराबरी का भाव-विचार व आचरण हैं, तथा दूसरा सी-नारीवाद (सी-फेमिनिज्म), जिसमें सीता वाला विद्रोही, कर्तव्यनिष्ठ, परम्परावादी, व धार्मिक भाव-विचार व आचरण हैं।
– Prof. Bal Ram Singh, Director, Institute of Advanced Sciences, Dartmouth, MA, USA and Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Advanced Study, JNU, Delhi, India
One of the most beautiful roles that a woman can play in her life is that of a Mother. It is said that “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. What is it about motherhood that is so appealing? Is it just about carrying a life within one, nourishing it for 9 months within and then bringing forth life into the world? Or is it about shaping a personality and then giving the civilization a mature individual who can shape other lives in this world? Or is it about prayers and sacrifices which a woman undertakes to give her child the best in this world? In a way, I guess we all feel that motherhood is a little of all this and more.
In the Mārkandeya Purana, we read about the story of Rānī Madalasa, who was the wife of Rājā Ritdhwaja. When she was carrying her first three children and while bringing them up she sang to them verses which illumined the children about the true nature of their Atman. On growing up, the children went on to do Tapasyā and became realized souls. The Rājā worried about the future of his Prajā and he requested Madalasa to give thought to them too. When she became pregnant with the fourth child, Madalasa sang songs of valour so that he would imbibe the qualities of a great warrior and enable him to protect his kingdom and make it prosperous. She also taught him to look at other women as his mother, to care for his subjects and become established in Dharma and Viveka Buddhi. This boy, Alarka, grew up to be a righteous king and a mighty warrior.
In the Māhābhārata, we come across the story of Yayati and his wives Devyani and Sharmishtha. Sharmishtha sacrificed every pleasure known to her as a youngster, to satisfy her father’s Guru Shukracharya’s daughter, Devyani. Her son was Puru who was the youngest son of Rājā Yayati. When Yayati wanted to continue with enjoying the pleasures of life despite his nearing old age, he was told that if any of his sons would exchange his youth for his father’s old age, Yayati could enjoy many more years of youth. It was only Sharmishtha’s son Puru who intrinsically understood the futile search to satisfy physical and materialistic pleasures of life. He offered to take his father’s old age in return for his youth. After many years Yayati came to the realisation that physical pleasures could never be completely satiated and that the search for uniting the Atman with the Brahmn was the only search worth aiming for. He gave back his youth and the entire kingdom to Puru and blessed him. Puru went on to rule justly for thousands of years.
In the Māhābhārata, we also come across the story of a mother who fell asleep. This normal action of hers caused the loss of her very valiant son’s life. Yes, I’m referring to Subhadra and Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu learnt about entering the Chakravyuha because he as an unborn baby, paid attention to his uncle Sri Krishna telling Subhadra about the interesting formation of the Chakravyuha. But when Subhadra fell asleep, Sri Krishna did not continue with the secret of coming out of the Chakravyuha because of which Abhimanyu never learnt about it. In the war, he managed to break through the formation and cause great havoc but was not able to come out of it alive. This story is generally used to warn mothers that whenever Mothers are not alert, it spells disaster to their progeny.
Our scriptures also talk about a child who learnt all about the Mantras, the Vedas and other texts while in the womb itself, so well that he could correct his father when he made a mistake. The father was Kahoda and the child was Ashtavakra. Ashtavakra learnt all the Vedas in the womb of his mother Sujata who was the daughter of Rishi Uddalaka. Sujata used to be seated near the place where her father Uddalaka taught everyday and her son learnt the scriptures before he was born. Though he got a curse from his father Kahoda for correcting him, Ashtavakra forgave him because he was a realized soul.
The best example of learning about devotion to Bhagawan comes from the story of Bhakta Prahlada. His mother Kayadhu stayed at the Ashrama of Narada Muni during her pregnancy and she kept listening to the various leelas of MahaVishnu from him. As her devotion to MahaVishnu grew, so did Prahalada’s. In fact his devotion was so unshakable that even when repeatedly threatened with death by his father, Bhakta Prahlada remained rooted in his faith in Bhagawan.
One may have a doubt in one’s mind that the above tales are of those mothers who do not feature in modern history, so maybe they are just tales and not completely believable. The truth is that even in reasonably modern history we see the repeat of these tales in our lives. Meerabai, the great devotee of Sri Krishna was introduced to Him by her mother. Chhattrapati Shivaji Maharaj became an epitome of bravery and warrior of Dharma because of his mother Jijabai. Adi Shankaracharya was born a realized soul because of the penance of his mother Aryaamba. It is said that Rahul Dev Barman, the famous music director of Hindi films, could understand ‘sur-taal’ even as an infant and hence he was given the nickname Pancham.
Indeed, a mother has in her, the capacity to shape the world through her offspring. It is one of the most elevated roles of a human life because mothers can bring forth a race of humane, wise and caring people if they set their minds to it. The only condition is that they have to align themselves to the positive vibrations that surround us and mold their thoughts to merge with that of a higher self. Human beings feel complete only when they are emotionally and spiritually satisfied. Mothers can play an important role in this by not just caring for the physical self while pregnant and while bringing up their child, but also fill their entire being with good thoughts and devotion to the Supreme One.
Becoming a Mother is important but more important is becoming a channel for good, kind and wise souls to enter our earth.
‘sataminnu sarado anti devahyatra nascakra jarasam tanunam
putraso yatra pitaro bhavanti mano madhyareerishatayurgantoh‘
“Oh you Gods! A lovely hundred years (Śarad seasons) stand before us with in the given span of lifetime. Kindly, do not trouble our mortal physical frame, until we reach to a certain age. The next generation can take charge and get ready to bear the responsibilities of becoming fathers in turn.”
Ramayana expressed a truth that death is natural to all beings while life and living is change. But if a being lives long breathing (svāsan) healthily then we consider him to be fortunate. In other words, if prāṇa-śakti is live, healthy, it is a blessing and the person would be able to witness many things for long time upon this Earth. Therefore, to grow into the stage of senior citizen for any being born on Earth is Fortunate. Here when Valmiki employed the word ‘Svāsa’ he seems to imply health, active life in the granted span of time. Svāsa is the prāṇa and when it is intact activity could be done with such vigour and enthusiasm. Further we have a prayer to Rudra ‘Prathamo Daivyo Bhishak’ (SYV 16 Ch). He needs to bless us long life followed by assurances of health and detachments of unwanted strings of responsibilities. This would help for all to subsist that period of life to go for gains like: friends, health, wealth, and above all sustained memory. In Camaka prasanga of Yajurveda, we have many articles of life programs enlisted. All of them are lending support for hope and optimistic aspirations for necessary comfort. Thereby our faculties and activity shall not be passive. In principle, we have asked for 35 optimistic desires and conditions to go safe with us until the end of being a senior citizen. There are hundreds of positive desires to stay and be fruitful to us in life. For example, one can see developments in various dimensions of life like, family, profession, contacts, religious and spiritual events and distinctions. Such long life leads to growth into being a ‘Śatāyuṣī’ (of hundred years). Right from the age eighty and more years of age, the person is styled as Śatāyuṣī and there are many āśirvāda mantras Veda and other scriptures to confirm health and peace in the life thereafter for the persons in. Prayer is unfailing measure of attainments being proved a Boon and Bonus.
As we are born and brought up as the child of the creator Prajāpati, Atharvaveda, lends a scope by confirming a blessings thus: to reach the old age. Kalidasa too has given the scheme of life:
Saisave abhysata vidyanam Yauvane vishayeshinam!
vardhake muni vruttinam yogenante tanu tyajam!!
Which means from boyhood to 25 years, earn knowledge as much as possible. Learn arts and sciences as much as possible further. Growing young (25 to 50 years of age) one would enjoy the pleasures, acquisitions and stabilization for richness and sharing, etc. It is stage to gather wealth and properties and discharge responsibilities in many fronts. While at advanced age from fifty years and more; one has to live like a saint and finally with the practice of discipline of Yoga one to prepare to leave the body at the conclusion of living. Moreover, in old age practice the activities gravitating towards those activities of sages and saints and at end yoking the mind with the Absolute. Later evict the soul from body to attain Emancipation.
The motto of life need be, as Kalidasa continues to advise: whatever riches or wealth amassed, gift away at senior age. For a balanced safety, ‘talk judiciously’, eat fewer amounts of food for health. Thus, prepare for peaceful existence and exit.
Tyaagaya smbhrutarthanm Satyaya mita bhashinam!
yasase vijigeeshunam prajayai gruhamedhinam!!
Taittiriya Upanishad too exhorts the same in its section on Vedic Convocation (vedamanucyacaryo antevasinamanusasti…). In this manner, on the one hand, we can also follow the instructions provided by our great thinkers and on the other gain indications and measures done profusely from our scriptures for an aspirant course of life at old age.
Moreover, the set of four aims marked for people namely Dharma, Artha , Kāma and Mokṣa constitute as their pastimes. An urge is cultivated to make them fulfilled greatly. Also four āśramas (stages of life) are suggested to individuals keeping reverence to worldly life, past times and workable activities, which are – Bhrahmacarya, Gruhastha, Vānaprastha and sanyāsa. Vānaprastha considers as the high time to go up to Śatāyuṣī. It is a stage to elevate mind and adopt the spiritual practices like Yoga, worship, dhyāna, jāpa, prāṇāyāma and more for peace and complacency. When a person turn older, they have to attend personal upliftment which they could not attend during their age of storm. At advanced age it is necessary to turn to Vedanta and mingle with the divine interest. Yajurveda Chapter 18 opens with the mantra that one has to look for the divya vajas that uplifts the life. Divya vajas are the things that would be of utility, personal, impersonal and universal. This is the most crucial time as the parents are in at the edge of old age which is full of experiences of life and eager to enlighten their next generation.
Every day is precious, a gain and a bonus after certain senior age for everybody. Personal ego need at least be reduced and in its place the divine importance is to be installed. So, to live the age of any senior for long with health and peace one needs ‘śānti karmas’ religiously. They begin from Ṣaṣṭhi purti (60 years) of age and go up to Śatāyuṣī. Every decade, after sixty years all need śānti ceremonies. This involves invoking the blessings of elders, gods and the departed ancestors in the lineage on installment basis. Religious observances (tapas of convenient order) add to the effort of seniority.
The flow of time (Kāla) is like river which never turns back. The clock for a senior person is very important and so one has to be mindful. There is a suggestion that one has to do dharma –
Ajara amaravat prajnah vidyam artham ca sadhayet|
gruhita iva keseshu mrutyuna dharma macaretḥ||
The verse suggests in the course of life, vidyā and Artha need be earned as though mṛtyu is grasping hairs.
Āchārya Śankara says in one of his stotras advises- ‘please reduce the ego and pride everyday little by little to reach zero level (aharahar va garvam parityajyatam). When ego is removed scope for benefits would be at gain. Here, Śankara hints that it is in our hands to send away ego and negativity from us. Śṛi Kṛśṇa gave the importance to a fact that one should uplift by himself as self is all in all and never self be demeaned.
uddharet atmanaatmanam naatmanam avasadayet
atmaivahyatmano bandhuh atmaiva ripuratmanah !!
One has to help oneself to uplift. Never one should demean his own self. Self is the friend to self, but self is enemy to one’s own self. Kṛśṇa means here self-reliance is the formula of happiness and more so when people reach senior age. Relations usually neglect the requests.
Self is noble and personal too. Seniors are at the verge of evening walk of life, meaning exit remains closer. Realizing that, they should monitor their time with care and commitment. They must take assistance only when they should. Kṛśṇa said in the Bhagavadgītā that one should uplift oneself. Such instruction is a mark of wisdom to the people, more so at senior stage since children and relations grow busy in their own way.
When seniors practice Vedāntic way of life, realizing its worth in reality, then they would be near peace and in peace too. This piece will help happy ending, the conclusion of life on earth. For any senior individual, death without any hazels and life with no dependence is desirous.
These two are possible when we turn spiritual and revering the divine. This fortune is obtainable by Yoga, which includes dhyāna and accessories to them. Also, one should adopt the inclination of mind to vote for the sense of vairāgya. The awareness of the body, house and township, etc. need not be bothered at invariably. Truly speaking our body is a Traveller’s’ Bungalow taken for lease for a period. But while enjoying ‘be neutral and uncommitted’ like the lotus leaf in a pond (Padmapatra iva ambhasa). For this way of adopted living the mind is to be disciplined and that is possible through the instructions by a guru and practice of them regularly.
The constant prayer is:’ whatever advancement in age and wealth possessed should be prosperous and helpful owing to the effort which is the form of Yajña. One always need to remember the Upaniśadic truth:
‘mrutyorma amrutam gamaya’
move from material problems to ultimate pathway of spirituality and the immortality
When God’s grace subsists life of a senior is a FORTUNE and a true BONUS. It is so because Earth, the bhuloka, is the most beautiful loka of lokas. We have attestations given to us in the works of great sages, authors like Kalidasa, Bana and several others in the world Literature. Added to that there would be scope to wash off follies and sins in order to get higher planes of happiness and Nirvāṇa.
In a nutshell, to live a full period of Senior citizen as granted by the providence is a boon. It should be appropriately employed for personal and universal welfare by controlling emotions. Mind can be managed pleasant by studying relevant scriptures. He would have the scope to experience Bhoga, Bhāgya, Saubhāgya and Mokṣa.
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.
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?
A woman will be Ashuchi (spiritually impure) during three (days and) nights (during menstruation).
साध्वाचारा न तावत्स्याद्रजो यावत्प्रवर्तते । (अङ्गिरसस्मृति३७)
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)
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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 kśatriyadharma 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.
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 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.
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’
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.
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’
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-samsthāpanānamely to establish Dharma only however. Lord Viṣṇu descends to set right the Right.
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
The meanings of the names get understood relevant to the addressals done by each other. It is the ‘nāma mahimā’ that 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.