Can Spirituality be used to look ‘cool’ in modern times?

PPDr_for_web– Dr. Athavale

What is it to be ‘cool’?

The younger generation goes to great lengths in their desire to be seen as ‘cool’. In an ever-changing world, the context of what it is meant by cool would seem like a moving target. So, what is it to be cool nowadays? In a study* led by a University of Rochester Medical Centre psychologist and published by the Journal of Individual Differences in 2012, the characteristics of ‘coolness’ as per the zeitgeist (spirit of the times) of the new millennium were explored. Whilst there have been many studies associated with understanding what it takes to be considered cool, this research has been the first systematic quantitative investigation of ‘coolness’ from a trait perspective.

It was found that the traits associated with coolness today are markedly different from those that generated the concept of cool. While traditional elements of cool, such as rebelliousness and a hedonistic (self-indulgent) nature were still considered aspects of a person’s ‘cool’ image, they were not as strongly appreciated as socially desirable traits, such as friendly, competent, trendy and attractive. While it is good to see a positive shift in people’s perceptions about what is considered cool, the drivers behind anyone’s personality is complex and largely due to spiritual reasons. Therefore, if a person wants to be viewed as cool, he or she would need to make changes to this complex machinery that forms his or her personality.

‘Being cool’ and personality

The Maharshi Adhyatma Vishwavidyalay (also known as the Maharshi University of Spirituality) has conducted extensive research into understanding an individual’s personality from the spiritual perspective. It has been found that individuals’ traits are mostly decided from previous births. Unknown to most, every human-being has lived many lives on Earth. As per the science of Spirituality, a person keeps taking birth repeatedly (reincarnates) to settle his or her give-and-take account, which is the destiny or karma one is born with. According to how a person has lived in his past lives, and how he has used his wilful action in those past lives, his personality has been shaped. For example, if a person has let his anger go unchecked for lifetimes, then the impression of anger would be stronger than other impressions in the current lifetime. Personality traits such as anger, friendliness, loving nature etc. are stored as impressions in the subconscious mind continuously getting moulded/reinforced by actions and thoughts in any given lifetime. If one were to look at an average person’s past lives and their influence on his personality defects, the following would be the proportion of impact.

Past lives as a contributor to  personality defects Weightage as a percentage
Past 1000 lives 49%
Past 7 lives 49%
Current life 2%
Total 100%

Limitations of today’s education system

Perhaps the main reason why people want to be identified as cool is because of the need to be appreciated and liked by others. It is common knowledge that a person becomes likeable when the personality has more positive than negative traits. While the modern-day education and grooming system acknowledge that such positive traits need to be inculcated in students, it fails in the implementation. This is because most of the time and efforts is spent in educating students about some aspect of the sciences or the arts and not enough on shaping the personality. Also, it is not easy to change an individual’s personality as it means working on the subconscious mind which has been moulded over many lifetimes. Since the subconscious mind is subtle in nature, only subtle techniques can be used to bring about transformation. The most effective subtle technique is the practice of Spirituality.

How to make a personality that appeals to all ?

The woes of society are mainly due to the personality defects in people. Qualities bring about general well-being and have an overall positive effect on a person and his interactions. Conversely, defects bring mental anguish to the person who has them as well as the people he interacts with. Personality defects (PDs) include personality traits such as anger, greed, jealousy, hatred, fear etc. PDs are the main reason why people behave in an improper manner, why they feel stress and why the world is witnessing turmoil in recent times.


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The Personality Defect Removal (PDR) process is to eradicate personality defects and help people become happier and more stable. By reducing defects in a person’s mind, a person can better concentrate, persevere and succeed in life’s endeavours along with reducing stress. For those who seek spiritual growth, the PDR process has become the cornerstone of spiritual practice as it acts as an enabler for faster spiritual progress. More importantly, reduction in personality defects minimises the creation of any new negative destiny as it reduces incorrect actions and behaviour.

The PDR process includes the following steps :

  1. Observation: Observing oneself objectively, accepting feedback from others and thereby becoming aware of one’s mistakes through various situations and thoughts.
  2. Analysis: Analysing the root personality defect responsible for the mistake one commits and having clarity of the thought process behind one’s actions and behaviour.
  3. Auto-suggestions: Taking auto-suggestions to train the mind to behave in an ideal manner.

Personality continues to be moulded throughout the eight stages which are – infancy, early childhood, play age, school age, puberty, adolescence, young adulthood, adulthood and maturity. Thus, personality is not a static phenomenon, but a dynamic process which starts from the moment of conception and continues till a person breathes his last. PDR therefore needs to be a way of life and requires lifelong commitment.

Being spiritual is the ultimate in being cool !

The benefits of the PDR process are manifold. Through the PDR process, one proactively changes one’s own personality, value system and behaviour for the better and thus endears oneself to others.By practising Spirituality, one’s personality becomes unconditionally loving towards others and as a result, people are automatically drawn towards the spiritually evolved. By practising Spirituality, it has been observed that even a person’s facial features become more attractive. This is why from a holistic viewpoint, qualitative and sustainable ‘coolness’ for all ages can only be obtained through the practise of Spirituality.


– Dr. Athavale, Founder, Maharshi University of Spirituality


गीता में योग की व्याख्या

डॉ. श्यामदेवमिश्र

(continued from previous article)

योग की गीता में व्याख्या से मन में शंका उठती है कि प्रभु ने योग की कई परिभाषाएं दे डालीं जिससे योग के स्वरुप को समझना सामान्य जिज्ञासु के लिए कठिन हो गया है। पहले सिद्धि और असिद्धि की समता को योग कहा; फिर कर्म की कुशलता को योग कहा और आगे दु:ख के संयोग के वियोग को भी योग कहा। किन्तु विचार करने पर यह शंका निर्मूल सिद्ध होती है। प्रभु ने योग के अनेक लक्षण नहीं बताए हैं अपितु एक ही लक्षण को अनेक प्रकार से समझाया है। वास्तव में फल की आशा छोड़कर कर्त्तव्य बुद्धि से कर्म करते रहना ही कर्मयोग है। उस फल की आशा को छोड़ने के अलग-अलग विवरण हैं। फल की आशा छोड़ देने पर सिद्धि और असिद्धि में समानता हो जायेगी। फल की आशा से ही कर्म-सिद्ध होने पर सुख और असिद्ध होने पर दुःख हुआ करता है; फलाशा न रहने पर न सुख होगा न दुःख। तब सिद्धि और असिद्धि में समता हो गयी। यही योग है। इसी प्रकार समानता रखकर कर्म करते जाने से आत्मा पर कर्म का कोई प्रभाव नहीं आता इसलिए यह अर्थात् योग एक बड़ा कौशल या चतुरता भी हुई। यहाँ फलाशा के त्याग को ही ‘कौशल’ शब्द से प्रकट किया है क्योंकि फलाशा-त्याग न करने के स्थिति में फलाशा पूर्ण न होने पर दु:ख हुआ करता है। फलाशा छोड़ देने पर दु:ख का भी प्रसंग नहीं रहेगा। अत: दु:ख संयोग-वियोगरूप लक्षण में भी वही बात प्रकारांतर से कही जाएगी। कहने का तात्पर्य यह है कि एक ही विषय को भिन्न-भिन्न शब्दों से भिन्न-भिन्न अर्थों में समझाया गया है। ‘योग’ शब्द का अर्थ कर्म-योग मान लेने पर सभी लक्षणों की सङ्गति उक्त प्रकार से हो जाती है।

यहाँ एक और प्रश्न उठता है जिसका समाधान अत्यावश्यक है कि फलाशा-त्याग अर्थात् फल की आशा को छोड़ देने से क्या अभिप्राय है?

फल की आशा छोड़ने से तात्पर्य है कि फल के प्रति चिंता ही न करे। इसके दो कारण हैं –  पहला कि फल के बारे में सोचने पर कर्म दुष्प्रभावित या विकृत होगा। दूसरा केवल कर्म के प्रति मनुष्य का अधिकार है यानी केवल कर्म करना ही उसके वश में है; फल के प्रति मनुष्य का अधिकार अर्थात् वश ही नहीं है। यानी फल क्या मिलेगा? कितना मिलेगा? कब मिलेगा? इत्यादि मनुष्य के अधिकार-क्षेत्र के बाहर की बात है। अत: अधिकार-क्षेत्र से बाहर के विषय में चिन्तना करना ही व्यर्थ है। इसीलिये प्रभु ने कहा है – कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन

तब ऐसे में प्रश्न उठता है कि अनधिकार होने के कारण यदि मनुष्य फल की इच्छा का त्याग कर देवे यानी उसके बारे में सोचे ही नहीं तब फिर कर्म करने का प्रयोजन क्या रहा? और बिना प्रयोजन के मनुष्य कर्म ही क्यूँ करे?

इसका समाधान यह है कि प्रयोजन दो प्रकार का समझा जा सकता है – १. क्षणिक या ऐहिक और २. आत्यन्तिक या पारलौकिक । क्षणिक प्रयोजन वह है जिससे प्राप्त सुख की अवधि निश्चित हो; यानी जिसमें फल के उपभोग की समाप्ति अर्थात् वियोग-रूपी दु:ख भी मिलना तय है। क्षणिक प्रयोजन के ही तीन अवान्तर रूप हैं – धर्म, अर्थ और काम ये तीन पुरुषार्थ। किन्तु उत्कृष्टतम कर्म से प्राप्त ब्रह्मलोकरूपी फल के भी भोग के पश्चात् पुन: मनुष्य जीवन-मृत्यु-चक्र में फँसता है। भगवान् ने स्वयं ही कहा है – आब्रह्मभुवनाल्लोका: पुनरावर्तिनोऽर्जुन (गीता )

किन्तु आत्यन्तिक प्रयोजन वह है जिससे प्राप्त सुख का अन्त ही नहीं है अर्थात् जिसमें लेश-मात्र भी दु:ख नहीं है। यही कारण है कि इसे परमप्रयोजन या परमपुरुषार्थ मोक्ष कहा है।

अब यह मनुष्य पर है कि वह किस प्रयोजन का चयन करता है। मनुष्य, जो कि लेश-मात्र भी दुखाकाङ्क्षी नहीं है, वह ‘दुःख हो ही न’ ऐसा प्रबंध क्यों न करे? वही आत्यन्तिक-प्रयोजन अर्थात् मोक्ष है जो केवल पूर्वोक्त योग यानि कर्मयोग  से ही संभव है।


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इस प्रकार जो कर्म, मनुष्य को स्वभाव से ही बांधने वाले हैं, वे ही मुक्ति देने वाले हो जाएं – यही वस्तुत: कर्मों में कुशलता है। कर्म करने की ऐसी ही चतुरता को योग कहते हैं कि मनुष्य कर्म करता भी जाए और उसके बंधन में भी न फंसे। काजल की कोठारी में जाकर बिना कालिख लगाए निकल आना ही बड़ी भारी चतुरता है। ऐसी ही कुशलता योग से प्राप्त होती है कि कर्म करता भी जाए और उसका फल भी अपने पर आने न दे।

इस प्रकार देखा जाए तो योग: कर्मसु कौशलम् योग की परिभाषा से बढ़कर उसकी महिमा का उद्घोष है।

डॉ. श्यामदेवमिश्र, सहायकाचार्य (ज्योतिष), राष्ट्रिय-संस्कृत-संस्थान, भोपाल परिसर, भोपाल, म.प्र.


Ethics of the Gita – lessons for individuals to work according to their nature

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

Dr. Shakuntala did M.A. and Ph.D. from North-Easter-Hill-University, Shillong, Meghalaya. She has authored the following books – Enquiry into Nature of Self (2009), Essays on Philosophy of JidduKrishnamurti (2010), ‘What Ought I to Do?’ The Gita’s Perspective (2014), Rethinking Philosophy of JidduKrishnamurti (2015), and Revisiting the Upanisads (2016).

In the ethics of the Gita svabhava or one’s own nature plays a very important role. It holds that everyone, including the man of knowledge acts according to his own nature. It further says that one is compelled to act as prescribed by his nature and it is simply futile to try otherwise. Krishna tells Arjuna that it is pointless on the part of Arjuna’s to say that he would not fight for nature will certainly induce him to fight. ‘That which, through delusion, thou wishest not to do, O Son of Kunti (Arjuna), that thou shalt do even against thy will, fettered by thy own acts born of thy nature.’ (XVIII.60). Arjuna is born Kshatriya and thus there is no escape but to fight: ‘Even the man of knowledge acts in accordance with his own nature. Beings follow their mature. What can repression accomplish?’ (III.33) Gita says that the karma or action prescribed by one’s nature or svabhava is one’s duty or dharma. What one ought to do is prescribed by what one’s nature is. ‘Heroism, vigour, steadiness, resourcefulness, not fleeing even in a battle, generosity and leadership, these are the duties of a Kshatriya born of his nature.’ (XVIII.43). In fact, there is no good other than performing one’s duty as prescribed by one’s nature: ‘Having regard for thine own duty, thou shouldst not falter, there exists no greater good for a Kshatriya than a battle enjoined by duty.’ (II.31).

Now, if one indeed realizes the truth of such a situation, that one cannot escape doing what one’s nature forces one to do, one automatically becomes happy. When one acts according to one’s nature there is no conflict between what one is and what one thinks one ought to be. The ‘is’ is the ‘ought’. In other words, there is nothing one is putting up as ideal in such a situation to achieve. There is no gap between what one is and what one is trying to be- action becomes niskama, that is, action is performed without desire for becoming.


We further see that svadharma of the Gita as prescribed by one’s svabhava also dissolves the gap between individual and social duty. Arjuna by svabhava is a Kshatriya and thus is asked by Krishna to give up the thought of not-fighting and enter into the battle. But while performing his individual duty he also performs the social duty of a Kshatriya that demands from him generosity and lordly nature; demands that Arjuna does not get affected by personal preference while deciding an action that can change the fate of thousands of people. The Gita does not say that one is to perform two kinds of duties- individual and social. In the Gita in performing one’s individual duty one helps in smooth running of the society.

The Gita does not tire of saying that one cannot change the way nature behaves. Actually this has an important bearing on the whole issue of the ethics of Gita. On one hand we have seen that it helps one in performing action without desire, and on the other hand such a realization, the Gita shows, helps one in working out moral dilemmas.  According to Gita the realization that one cannot change the way nature behaves automatically brings in detachment. When one truly understands the futility of trying to change course of nature, one in a way resigns to it. This attitude, the Gita shows, helps one in solving moral dilemmas of life. In the Gita, Arjuna is shown not questioning the rightness or wrongness of the action of going to battle. But Arjuna is shown as not wanting to enter into battle having seen his friends and family as his opponent: ‘When I see my own people arrayed and eager to fight O Krishna, my limbs quail, my mouth goes dry, my body shakes and my hair stands on end.’ (I.29). The question for Arjuna is not rightness or wrongness of action of doing battle but whether he would incur evil by killing the people who are his relatives: ‘And I see evil omens, O Kesava (Krishna), nor do I foresee any good by slaying my own people in the fight.’ (I.32). Krishna is reprimanding Arjuna for his behaviour that is borne out of attachment for his loved ones: ‘Thou grievest for those whom thou should not grieve for, and yet thou speakest words about wisdom.’ (II.11). If Arjuna were detached, he would not have been affected by who is standing against him but would have performed his duty: ‘As the unlearned act from attachment to their work, so should the learned also act, O Bharata (Arjuna), but without any attachment, with the desire to maintain the world-order.’ (III.25). Again, if Arjuna were detached he would have seen the fact that the battle would not stop with him not-fighting and in fact his not-fighting would affect the fate of all those people who agreed to enter into the battle and are fighting for the Pandavas in a negative way.

*The translation of the verses are taken from The Bhagavadgita by S. Radhakrishnan, HarperCollins India, Impression 2008.