Holi: The Feast of Multidimensional Harmony and Divine Love: The Yajna and Yoga for All

Prof. Shive K. Chaturvedi

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.

Prof. Shive K. Chaturvedi, Los Angeles, California, USA

Women Shaping the World as ‘Mothers’

Mrs. Rati Hegde

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.

“Mātrudevo Bhava”.

Mrs. Rati Hegde, columnist and author

The Fortune of Being a Senior Citizen 

Dr. C.L. Prabhakar

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.”

Rigveda 1.89.9

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!!

Raghuvamsa 1.8

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!!

Raghuvamasa 1.7

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||

Hitopadesa

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 atmana atmanam naatmanam avasadayet

atmaivahyatmano bandhuh atmaiva ripuratmanah  !!

Bhagavadgītā 6.8

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’sBungalow 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’

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

 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.

Dr. C.L Prabhakar, Professor, Sanskrit & President, WAVES, Bangalore Chapter

Management Lessons from Migration of Yadu Community to Dwārkā and Contemporary Labour Migration During COVID-19 (Part-III)

(Continued from Part-II)

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D.

Introduction

Dvāpara era of four-fold cyclical theory of Socio-political and religious change observed in the ancient Indian history, mass exodus from Mathura to Dwārkā is an exemplary case of management of human resource and disciplined crowd. The then elite section of society not only denoted but connoted Śri Kṛśṇa with the derogatory word, “Ranchod” (who flees from battle Jarāsandha, the king of Magadha wanted to take revenge from Śri Kṛśṇa for, he has killed his son-in-law, Kansa.

He had attacked Mathura seventeen times and had damaged the city, mired growth, hampered normal peace, civic life and progress. Jarāsandha was defeated by Lord Kṛśṇa in all the seventeen attacks. In his eighteenth attack, Jarāsandha made alliances with friendly forces to exterminate Yadu community. Realizing the gravity of situation, Śri Kṛśṇa acted wisely and decided to migrate majority of inhabitants from Mathura to Dwārkā.

This was the straw that broke camel’s back and forced Lord Kṛśṇa to take immediate action for survival of his clan or be prepared to suffer major losses. Lord Kṛśṇa took a bold decision and migrated Yadu community to Dwārkā. He had no time to plan the migration and was forced to migrate with almost no preparatory time. It would have taken him over a month (considering distance and resources available) a long time to reach Dwārkā but he had organized the migration with a fore thought, detailed planning and meticulous execution.

Management of people, animals and bullock carts all along 800 miles was a grand feat in those days, and has a number of lessons for us to follow, especially in times of COVID-19 crisis when labour migration became a major management issue. Migration of labor from a number of states back to their native villages was an unprecedented move that Indian government was unprepared for and actions taken by the government have lessons from ancient Indian migration organized by Lord Kṛśṇa.

Some questions arise in the present context; What forced Kṛśṇa to migrate? Why did he select Dwārkā only and not any other city? How did he organize the migration? Time taken and overcoming major turbulence due to migration? Could the contemporary migration of labour have been better organized than what was witnessed and our lessons from Lord Kṛśṇa?

Migration Lessons from Study of Contemporary Migration with the One Organized by Lord Kṛśṇa

Reasons to Migrate

Primary reason was fear of King Jarāsandha attacking Mathura in alliance with Kala Yavana (the Mlecchha king), Emperor Damghosha of Chedi, king Dantavakra of Karusa, Rukmi of Vidarbha and Avnti brothers Vind and Anuvinda. The main aim of Jarāsandha was to completely destroy Mathura and kill Kṛśṇa and Balrām. Jarāsandha had offered to Yadavas to hand over both brothers Kṛśṇa and Balrām to him failing which he would destroy Mathura. Kṛśṇa sought help of Hastināpur but they also expressed inability to help, and hence, Kṛśṇa was left with no choice. In contemporary issue of migration of labour,

the fear of death and destruction was very strong; death either by COVID-19 or by hunger; as there was complete lockdown in the country and with no job, survival was difficult. Decision was to migrate with families and children added to misery of migrants. There was no transport and hence journey was on foot, cycle or rikshaws. Time and distance from Delhi (taken as one central location) was almost 1300 kilometres (800 miles) that Kṛśṇa moved. Though Kṛśṇa, being avatar of Lord Viśṇu, could have killed Jarāsandha but spared him to be later killed by Bhīma, a devotee of Lord Viśṇu.

Selection of Dwārkā as destination

Primary reason was to move to a safe place where Jarāsandha would not be able to reach. Northern and central Bharat was within reach of Jarāsandha, the Magadh emperor, and hence were vulnerable. South was a suitable area; Gomantaka mountain and king of Raivata of Ikṣavāku Vamsa were strong obstacles for Jarāsandha as compared to northern region. Sea on the west coast was invincible by Jarāsandha and hence Kṛśṇa planned to migrate to Kaushasthali which he later named as Dwārkā (Dwār meaning gate and kā meaning mokṣa i.e. gateway to mokṣa).

In present scenario, migrating labour moved from states like Maharashtra, Gujrat, Punjab, Delhi and others to their native places in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, etc. Last census by the government was conducted in 2011 that shows an existing and known pattern of migration within India that people undertake in search of jobs. But this was an unexpected and unique reverse migration due to unprecedented pandemic that created panic among labour and

temporary social instability in India. Timely assessment of situation and planning of movement could have prevented the circumstances becoming serious and masses moving on the streets. The state governments like UP and Bihar became active and started sending buses for their respective labour that the centre and Delhi governments also started helping. The situation took political, economic and social complex web and took longer to settle.

The migration plans

Lord Kṛśṇa had to migrate over night against will of Balrām, king Agrasen and many others. They all were ready to fight Jarāsandha and even prepared to die. But that was not acceptable to Kṛśṇa. He preferred his clan to migrate and survive. The move was majority on foot and in bullock carts. Mythology also says that Lord Kṛśṇa prayed and Bhu devī moved them overnight in their sleep to Kaushalsthali to which the author has reservations as it appears more of philosophical construct about the migration. Move of ladies, children and animals would have been slow, difficult and torturous. Kṛśṇa organized their stay enroute in Gomanatak mountains and with Raivata king. To that end, he even accepted marriage of princess Revati daughter of King Raivata with Balrām.

Resource management and controlling movement of the clan with the help of friendly kings ensured safety and well-being of his people. A contemporary analysis of labour migration during pandemic suggests that this movement was sudden and possibly administration was taken aback and had no plans in place at the outset for labour migrating from west to east. It was a graduated response

from government officials and plans were implemented as per the developing situation. Trains like Shramjivi Express were pressed into service much later. The dilemma of letting them migrate or stop all movements itself was not clear. Adhoc administrative arrangements were made by various districts’ administration, Non-government Organisations, and local people between Delhi and Lucknow and beyond to Patna.

Leadership

The leadership during the migration of Yādavas was well defined; Lord Kṛśṇa was in charge and he along with his brother Balrām orchestrated entire journey. Kṛśṇa had his share of social, physical, economic threats before, during and post migration which he tackled through flexibility of thought and decisive in action. In contemporary migration of labour, there were number of leaders in the fray, each one with personal, social and national goals. Though the common aim was safety of the migrants but whether they should move or stay in respective locations itself was a major decision dilemma.

Meanwhile, the labour continued to travel, which posed leadership challenges at both state and centre level. Despite a sincere leader like Mr Narendra Modi being at the helm of affairs, the situation got out of control. The realization dawned much later when integrated and collective decisions were taken to use public transport for movement of the migrants. The democratic challenges could have been overcome if, civil administration had adapted a flexible style of collaborative leadership style. May be some political leaders could have risen to visionary and servant leadership levels, the situation would have been different.

Conclusion

The two cases of migration are far different in time zones, yuga zones, technology and almost in every other sense; some readers may even find it comparing apples with oranges, the fact still remains that people migrated and they suffered the agony of leadership crises and consequent physical, economic and psycho- socio predicaments. The datum shows that a huge number of men and women was humiliated, they became outcastes within their own nation. Empathy and physical support were

so much more needed during migration as compared to any other time in recent history. When the well to-do people in the society needed them, they enjoyed their at services but when that need was temporarily ended due to COVID-19; we did not look after them and they were forced to migrate back to their villages and towns. Once the realization dawned that these very people are the working force of India; measures were put in place to help them out. Gradually the situation eased out.

We needed a Kṛśṇa in present crisis who could have reduced their agony, if not fully overcome.

We have a charismatic leader who can impact the situation in future

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D. Group Commander, Group HQ NCC, Gorakhpur (UP)

“Tamaso Mā Jyotirgamaya”- Finding a Guru in Modern Times

– Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal and Prof. Bal Ram Singh

Knowledge is a supreme reality that is not limited to experience, education, reasoning and practice. It is an awareness, or understanding of facts that helps in awakening the intellect of a person for making one wise, and use that wisdom (बुद्धि) to pursue naturally the purpose of life through चित्त, अहंकार (अस्तित्व), and महत (the supreme mind) according to the Sankhya Darśan. The mahat concept is the gateway to understanding the brahm (ब्रह्म), the ultimate seat of the knowledge. Thus, a journey of this kind requires training, practice, guidance, and ultimately the sākśātkār (साक्षात्कार) or darśan. An important individual who effectively guides in this journey is known as ‘Guru’. Since Vedic era the word ‘Guru’ is well recognised in various texts like Muṇdaka Upaniṣad (1.2.12), Śvetāśvetara Upaniṣad and Advayatāraka Upaniṣad.

Literally, ‘Guru’ word is constructed from two Sanskrit words, gu (गु) and ru (रु), gu (गु) means dark, ignorance, superficial, confusion, etc., depending on the context, and ru (रु) means to break, to remove, to end, deeper/heavier, or enlighten. Guru-Gītā, a Hindu scripture (Guru Gītā is a spiritual text originally constructed by Sage Vyasa, and narrated again in  the Sakanda Purāṇa where the nature of the guru and the guru/disciple relationship is described in the form of a dialogue between Śiva and Pārvatī). Śiva narrated the etymological derivation of the word ‘guru’ that is based on the syllables gu (गु) and ru (रु), and their meanings in different contexts. According to Wikipedia, there are different versions of Guru-Gita ranging in verses from 100 to 400. According to a Guru-Gita following verses are directly defining the term Guru. It is interesting to note that the primary meaning of the gu (गु) as dark and ru (रु) as the remover is retained to describe the concepts of the ślokas. –

गुकारश्चान्धकारो हि रुकारस्तेज उच्यते |

अज्ञानग्रासकं ब्रह्म गुरुरेव न संशयः||33||

‘गु’ शब्द का अर्थ है अंधकार (अज्ञान) और ‘रु’ शब्द का अर्थ है प्रकाश (ज्ञान) | अज्ञान को नष्ट करने वाला जो ब्रह्मरूप प्रकाश है, वह गुरु है | इसमें कोई संशय नहीं है |

 In this translation the physical reality of dark is removed by the physical element of light, and that is then metaphorically used to indicate that the guru removes the ignorance by eating it away (grāsakam), means destroying it permanently.

गुकारश्चान्धकारस्तु रुकारस्तन्निरोधकृत् | 

अन्धकारविनाशित्वात् गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ||34||

‘गु’ कार अंधकार है और उसको दूर करनेवाल ‘रु’ कार है | अज्ञानरूपी अन्धकार को नष्ट करने के कारण ही गुरु कहलाते हैं |

Here the guru is presented as someone who does not allow the darkness to continue, in other words the guru destroys it. Implications are here that the guru is a dynamic personality who can spot, assess, and prevent the ignorance from continuing.

गुकारः प्रथमो वर्णो मायादि गुणभासकः |

रुकारोऽस्ति परं ब्रह्म मायाभ्रान्तिविमोचकम् ||36||

‘गुरु’ शब्द का प्रथम अक्षर ‘गु’ माया आदि गुणों का प्रकाशक है और दूसरा अक्षर ‘रु’ माया की भ्रान्ति से मुक्ति देनेवाला परब्रह्म है |

Here guru is projected as someone who removes confusion from the illusionary māyā. Two points worth noting are (1) gu (गु) here is presented as the promoter of illusion by highlighting its qualities or features; and (2) ru (रु) means not just a remover of the confusion from this illusion but doing this from the perspective of the parbrahm (परब्रह्म), meaning after attaining that status.

Thus, a guru is a very dynamic personality who can provide guidance to his/her disciple (शिष्य) under a variety of natural and artificial (illusionary) conditions of activities to develop wisdom and vivek in the pursuits of the ultimate goals of life.  

The attributes of guru have to be such that such a dynamism in developing the disciple is readily feasible. Some of those attributes are described under stanzas on ‘आचार्यलक्षणम्’ in Śukla Yajurveda’s Advayatāraka Upaniṣad (an ancient Sanskrit text on Yoga), as outlined below.

आचार्यो वेदसम्पन्नो विष्णुभक्तो विमत्सरः ।

योगज्ञो योगनिष्ठश्च सदा योगात्मकः शुचिः ॥14॥

A truly competent teacher is, armed with Vedic knowledge, a devotee of Viśṇu to mean that the guru has full knowledge of the causal world, free from envy/jealousy through the knowledge, devotion, and practice of yoga. This is important for a guru so that there is no envy with the disciple, providing total devotion to the guidance of the of the disciple.

गुरुभक्तिसमायुक्तः पुरुष्ज्ञो विशेषतः ।

एवं लक्षणसम्पन्नो गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ॥15॥

He should be devoted to his own guru, meaning continues to remain a śiṣya in practice, thus being able to develop the camaraderie with his own disciple, is particularly well versed with the knowledge of puruśa and prakriti, the source and expressive powers of the universe, He who possesses various types of  such virtues is designated as a guru.

गुशब्दस्त्वन्धकारः स्यात् रुशब्दस्तन्निरोधकः ।

अन्धकारनिरोधित्वात् गुरुरित्यभिधीयते ॥16॥

The syllable gu (signifies) darkness. The syllable ru (signifies) the destroyer of the darkness. By the reason of the ability to destroy darkness he is called a guru.

गुरुरेव परं ब्रह्म गुरुरेव परा गतिः ।

गुरुरेव परा विद्या गुरुरेव परायणं ॥17॥

The guru alone is the supreme absolute brahm. Guru alone is the supreme way. Guru alone is the master of parā (as opposed to only aparāvidyā. Guru alone is the supreme and last resort.

गुरुरेव परा काष्ठा गुरुरेव परं धनं ।

यस्मात्तदुपदेष्टाऽसौ तस्माद्गुरुतरो गुरुरिति ॥18॥

The guru alone is the limit of all knowledge. The guru alone is the ultimate wealth. He is the teacher of the non-dual reality. Therefore, he is the ultimate guru.

The tradition of spiritual relationship and mentoring, where teachings are transmitted from a guru to a disciple, is known as guruśiṣya paramparā. This guruśiṣya relationship has evolved in Indian tradition since Upaniṣad era where guru and śiṣya developed resonance of thoughts and then guru transmits his knowledge to the person who respectfully sits down near him with śraddhā, in the quest for knowledge. A guruśiṣya relationship are beyond age, gender, and battlefield, as the guru can be Yama to a teenage boy Naciketā, lord Kṛśṇa to warrier Arjuna, or sage Yājñavalkya to his own wife (Gārgī / Maitreyī).

The concept of guru and Guru Purṇimā is quite old, the oldest being celebrated as the birthday of Ved Vyāsa, on the day of Aṣāḍa Purṇimā. The latest revival of Guru Purṇimā festival was done by Mahatma Gandhi in honor of his spiritual guru, Rajchandra. In its true tradition a guru does not expect anything in return from a śiṣya, and performs the imparting of knowledge as a karmayoga.  

With time, people started observing guru as a mentor, counsellor, advisor, who inculcates values in his disciples by sharing knowledge and his own experiences, and who cares about the wellbeing of his disciples. A guru, however, in its true tradition will dedicate his/her life caring about disciples spiritually, and educating them in accordance with their nature. Thus, he is an inspirational source for the spiritual evolution of the disciple. The tradition of guru runs deep in India. The entire Sikhism concept is laid down based on the the teachings of Guru. Its main scripture is called Guru Granth Sahib and the words therein called Gurbaṇī.

In present society too, we have come across many such gurus. Like Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekānanda, Swami Dayānanda Saraswatī, His Holiness Dalai Lama for Buddhism, ISKCON founder A. C. Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada for Bhakti Yoga, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for Art of living, Radha Swami, Swami Rāmdev Bābā for Yoga, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for Spirituality, and many others in such tradition. Their disciples usually refer to them as Gurudev! These spiritual leaders are kind of role models and sometimes preferred by people as an alternative to established religions to know more about divinity.

In olden days, the school or pāṭhśālā ran by guru was known as gurukula, later on in modern times they are called as āśrama, although the gurukula system of education is still in practice. Both of these are residential places of learning, without requiring any fees. Guru treats disciples or followers as part of their own family. In gurukula, students received complete knowledge of Vedic scriptures, philosophical-spiritual-medicinal-political, etc. along with various art forms, whereas in āśrama followers received spiritual preaching from their guru. Ultimately these are concentrated on such education that helps in revealing the purpose of life. While pursuing teaching or preaching, guru focuses on self-discipline among learners that result in inner perfection leading to liberation in the form of mokṣa.

Guruśiṣya tradition superficially still is observed in modern educational institutions, at least in traditional ones, where students in general pay respect to their teachers on occasions of Guru Purṇimā. Sometimes these occasions are observed in United States by Hindu groups, such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad America, and American teachers really appreciate such a devotion. The devotion to teachers, no matter where they are, is always beneficial to students, as śraddhā is critical for earning knowledge.

श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानं तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: |

ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति || Bhagvadgita 4.39||

Those who are devoted and who are ready willing to control their mind and senses attain knowledge. Through such knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace.

Thus, in Indian tradition the position of Guru is more or less same as Deva, the lord. One should be devoted to his Guru just like he is devoted to his Deva.  

यस्य देवे परा भक्तिः यथा देवे तथा गुरौ । Śvetāśvetara Upaniṣad 6.23

Will this system ever return, is it the right time for its return, can this system adapt to the modern time, can it compete with modern educational system, and will it be allowed in a time when education itself has become an over $6 trillion business? Only time will tell, but one thing is clear with forced adaptation during the Corona time, that the bluff of traditional system of institutional classroom has largely been called out! With the cost of education spiraling out of control at all levels throughout the world, the educational practices adapted during the Corona lockdown may in fact have provided the needed pause for pondering.

A trillion dollar question is whether gurus are ready to take their place! Let’s hope the answer would be YES by the next Guru Purṇimā!!

Worthy Gurus are absolutely needed!

– Dr. Aparna (Dhir) Khandelwal, Assistant Professor and Prof. Bal Ram Singh, Director, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Dvāpara Management Perspective of Migrants in India during COVID-19 : The Fixes that Failed (Part-II)

(Continued from Part-I)

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D.

“Fixes that fail”; Systems View of COVID-19

This is an analysis of the labour migration crisis from system’s view though one of the archetypes known as “Fixes that fail”. 

Government of India declared Lockdown on 22nd March, 2020 that had unintended consequences of labour from various metros migrating to their home towns. These unintended outcomes were rectified by fresh measures to prevent migration but unfortunately further deteriorated into complex psycho-social dilemma and a crisis. This cycle of actions and reactions was repeated till some acceptable solution was arrived at. The situation should have been dealt with, in a more rational manner to stop migration or manage it effectively. Cause and effect and circles of causality (Figure 1 of fixes that fail) identify the problem with two feedback loops; Balancing loop B1 and Reinforcing loop R1. System’s view shows balancing B1 loop where in due to country wide lockdown due to COVID-19, the labour class working in metros e.g. Delhi, started migrating back to their home towns in UP, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and other states.

As the pandemic spread, migration numbers swell; depicted by ‘S’ in Figure 1; meaning rising migration rates which caused people to violate law and order. It forced the government to take harsh measures to prevent migration to protect people from getting infected. Steps by the Delhi government reduced the migration temporarily as shown by balancing part by ‘O’ in B1 loop. This was the first set of fixes or measures by the government that should have solved the problem. By these measures, part of migrating population was checked and stopped either within Delhi or at the borders of Delhi and UP. Since the measures put in place by the government were not strong enough, the impact multiplied and more labour started migrating as shown by ‘S1’ in R1 loop.

Multiplying effect led to people congregating at various places for buses and not finding them started hiring other means of transport or started walking along highways. Actions by the government, halted the migration temporarily but accentuated the problem with every passing day (time delay) called ‘Delay’ in Reinforcing loop R1 and it was visible on ground. Poverty and hunger added fuel to the fire. There was pandemonium across the nation and uneasy tension among Indians for inability of government to resolve the challenge could be felt. This impact is depicted by ‘S2’ in R1 loop. The entire issue is analysed with a holistic or ‘system’s view’ that says that for every problem, there are solutions that have to be assessed and applied in a holistic manner, failing which the measures fail and problem gets compounded. As problem gets compounded, further actions are initiated by the actors and situation improves only to worsen. The process continues till problem is resolved with a long time and suffering of people as penalty. In the instant case of migration, it could have been appreciated by administration and dealt with holistically before it became a social challenge. The police actions to maintain law and order became part of vicious cycle. Governments of Delhi, UP and Bihar got involved for their respective interests. State governments wanted safe return of their people from Delhi, Mumbai etc. and in the milieu, migrating people violated government rules of social distancing and lockdown, which led to Delhi government issuing next  set of orders to improve upon previous orders to stop the movement (depicted in Figure 1 by ‘S”).

These are the remedial measures adopted by the government in R1 reinforcing loop and as shown by blue stars in Figure 2 based on feedback of the unintended consequences of the first set of corrective actions taken by the government.

B1 loop could have been closed with the situation balancing out and with no side effects. However, the loop caused delay in seeking solutions or the repercussions of the corrective actions by the government were not strong enough. As a result, the situation had side effects that required immediate attention of the government. Attempts of migrants to reach home earliest led to actions by the police, imposition of curfew, violation of curfew by migrating labour and social disharmony. This was not the desired outcome by the government and hence led to additional measures till situation was resolved. A graphical representation of the situation of Fixes that fail in Figure 2 shows improvement in the situation over a long period but with a dip after every action by the government.

COVID-19 has posed a crisis the world has not witnessed since Spanish flu of 1918-1919. It is an unprecedented history in the making. Indian government response and handling of the pandemic has been one of the best in the world. In the instant situation that India is in; threat of COVID-19 is a real one and the migration is similar to the one Lord Kṛśṇa faced. Facing the calamity of an impending terrible war he was able to move a large chunk of population from Mathura to Dwarika without much upheaval.

Government under leadership of Mr. Narendra Modi deserves accolades for serving the humanity and saving millions of lives in the country from COVID-19. The government administration has effectively managed spread of the pandemic and Indian response has been appreciated the world over. However, response to deal with the migration of labour, consequent to pandemic and orders of Lockdown, requires deliberations. The measures taken by the government to fix the problems ended up creating different yet more problems instead and logical planning to deal with socio-economic issues needed to be developed. Preventing migration was the right decision but survival package in places of residence was a must in such sensitive circumstances. A planned operation to keep the labour wherever they were and looking after them would have been possibly an effective way to deal with the reverse migration.

And if the decision of the Government was to move the labour back to their villages, this too could have been planned systematically and entire movement could have been made comfortable and rejoicing journey for the poor and homeless. Any more politics on the issue is detrimental to our very existence as a nation and our economy, as our survival base depends on these humble, poor, shell shocked silent migrants.

If Lord Kṛśṇa could succeed in his times, so can we in our times.

To be continued…..

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D. Group Commander, Group HQ NCC, Gorakhpur (UP)

Dvāpara Management Perspective of Migrants in India during COVID-19 : The Situation and the Problem (Part-I)

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D.

आवयोर्युध्यतोरस्य यद्यगन्ता जरासुत|
बन्धून् वधिष्यत्यथवा नेष्यते स्वपुरं बली||47||

“If powerful Jarāsandha comes while we are busy fighting Kālayavana, Jarāsandha may kill our relatives or else take them away to his capital.”

(Śrīmad Bhāgwatam 50.47)

Lord Kṛśṇa led the migration of entire Yadu community from Mathura to Kausalsthali or Dwarka to protect his clan from Kālayavana and Jarāsandha who were ready to attack Mathura from two different directions. Jarāsandha had attacked Mathura 17 times earlier and was defeated by Lord Kṛśṇa every time. The Śrī Kṛśṇa ensured that before the mass exodus, inevitable requirements to sustain the community were arranged at Kausalsthali; Lord Kṛśṇa had ensured adequate safety and livelihood measures, besides offering prayers to Varuṇa deva (Ocean God) to release twelve yojana land for planned city and requested Lord Viśwakarmā to construct a fortified city to ensure safety and welfare of his people.

COVID-19 has brought about unique circumstances in India that have influenced Indian economy, polity, society and environment. Burgeoning population and sudden migration of masses, specially labour class has resulted into an unexpected crisis. It has deeply altered the psyche of every conscious Indian, particularly the poor. Throughout the globe, different governments are fighting the infection in their own ways with their specific internal and external methodologies. Migration figures released by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on 05 April, 2020 showed that over 1.25 million migrant workers were residing in temporary shelters in 27,661 relief camps organized by various state governments in India.

The daily newspaper, ‘The Hindu’s’  legal correspondent on 07 April, 2020 reported that a large number of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and social groups also came forward to help the victims COVID-19. Chief Justice of India was informed that State and Centre authorities provided food to over 54 lakhs and NGOS helped out over 30 lakh displaced people at different places in the country. “This reverse migration is one of the largest in the history”, says, The Wall Street Journal. People are moving from cities to rural areas due to panic created by the pandemic.

A large number of people from states like Uttar Pradesh (UP), Bihar, Madhya Pradesh (MP), Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and J&K migrate every year to metros and states with ample opportunities and prospects of employment in different sectors of economic activities. UP followed by Bihar are the biggest donor states and Maharashtra followed by Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are the largest recipient states  in the  migration pattern. Those in search of employment in any form are primarily poor people with limited skills and get jobs in power, energy, construction sectors. 2011 census of migration by NSSO states that almost 400 million population or one third of India migrated in search of jobs. Rural to urban migration figures stand 22.1% where most men get absorbed in industrial and infrastructure sectors and women in cottage/MSME/Homes. A view of the migration pattern provides enough evidences to suggest its importance in building Indian economy. South Asia Journal, 2011 reflects a vibrant state of internal Indian migration figures.

The nature of recent migration during April-May 2020 projects a new pattern for it is not part the routine regular move of people to and fro from their native places; it is a forced reverse migration due to pandemic. Centre and state governments were busy managing the COVID-19 crisis and urban and metro residents locked themselves. It appeared that that’s the end of their hope of survival and possibly that psychological stress with no clear statement and policy direction from state governments and civil administration were major reasons for instant reaction. Sudden movement was unexpected and unanticipated; it dishonored all rules and regulations of COVID-19 and added a new dimension to existing COVID-19 crisis. If the government administration had been proactive to social undercurrent and adaptive to handle human disasters; this crisis of reverse migration could have been mitigated. The exodus of migrant workers could have been prevented or at least better managed to ease their return. The need was to realize the enormity of this unfortunate crisis and its professional management. The management of the crowd involved use of police force and punishing the hungry men and women without any remorse and emotions is unexpected of a civilized democratic egalitarian society and state. The same very people who were supporting pillars of the society, became social burden just because they did not belong where they worked, and were poor.

Human history has experienced pandemic in the past as well and managed by the administration successfully. Śrī Kṛśṇa provides a vivid example of mass exodus in Dvāpara Yuga and Paliwal community in medieval period of Indian history. Ancient Indian civilization, the Harappan civilization migrated from Indus valley to Indo-Gangetic plains. These are but some of the examples to draw our lessons from. Harappan civilization flourished after migration. Unfortunately, the present political and civil administrative structure is struggling to help migrants reach their home destinations. The determination of governments and people in present circumstances will decide what lies in store for our next generation.

To be continued…..

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D. Group Commander, Group HQ NCC, Gorakhpur (UP)

COVID-19 Induced Distress and Its Management through Vedic Sciences

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D.

Stress is a universal truth that afflicts one and all. Every living being; reptiles, birds or animals; everyone goes through pangs of stress. In case of reptiles and animals, stress is for the most basic necessities for their survival. Maslow’s Physiological and Security needs of hierarchy are primary needs of all and that includes humans as well. Reptiles and animals get anxious and go into stress whenever their survival is at stake i.e. whenever their requirement of food, safety and progenies are threatened, they will either submit to more powerful or fight with the competitor. Animals including human beings are affected by emotions for their family & friends and that is one of the major causes of stress. 

Whenever under pressure individuals perform and achieve targets and objectives, it is called Eustress and when one is unable to manage himself, unable to achieve targets and feels that he cannot fight it out, he resorts to running away from the situation. Soon he gets into severe depression followed by stress called Distress.

Covid-19 is a very unique situation the world is witnessing in first half of 2020 and it may prolong for longer duration. Today, survival of humans as a race is threatened and like all other animals, man is also prone to distress. Esteem and Self-actualization are appearing distant and difficult to achieve. Respect, recognition and feeling of accomplishment is essential part of human life is finding back seat when people are contracting Covid-19 in hundreds every day. Death of loved ones has stressed them out and it is affecting all countries, races, caste, creed and colour across the planet. Governments all over are attempting to find remedies to the deadly disease. Physical social distancing, isolation, lockdown and quarantine have been found to be reasonable means to prevent spread of the disease.

Type of job, place of work, indoor or outdoor etc. does not matter, he/she needs that space and recognition in one’s life. In the situation that we all are in today during Covid-19 crisis, both boredom and anxiety are affecting all of us and getting locked into house aggravates the status.

Lockdown was ordered across India on 25th March 2020; no one is permitted to move out and all offices have been closed down. Work from home is the new norm where there are no work place friends to share intimacies. Zoom conferences are formal digital spaces where intimacies and informal discussions are not possible. There is limited space in house in urban colonies to move around, limited number of people to interact with and limited time-consuming activity to fill the time gap. There are very limited number of people in the home with whom one can interact and share feelings. Even if there is a standard family of four with aged parents in the house, inter-personal relational issues amongst the members is a reality; ghar-ghar ki kahani is the order of the day (pun intended). Consequently, it is difficult to share one’s inner feeling with relations at home. At times, it is observed that sharing and caring with spouses are formal and dutiful relations. Very limited interaction takes place with aged parents and conversations are limited. Majority time is spent on mobile, television and computers and still lot of time is available where all sessions of Time Management seem ineffective. Since 25th March 2020, Entire India is going through this phase with intermittent speeches by PM Mr. Narendra Modi and respective state CMs and other dignitaries of the government. All efforts are made to keep the population aware of the latest situation and providing all possible help for safety.

However, stress is coming up as the next issue with stay indoors regulations. All efforts by the government and other agencies, there is limited positive impact and social relational structure is affected adversely.

Euronews has reported increased cases of domestic violence and divorces in France since lockdown was imposed in the country. Tablighi Jamaat has continued its central prayers and congregations despite lockdown and orders from the government. Nefarious elements have continued to assault police and medical and health workers. People connecting up with psychiatrists and psychologists has gone up since the lockdown has been affected. Who would not go crazy in such a sensitive environment where disease and death hangs all over?

Management way of looking at Stress

Over a period of time, both boredom and anxiety are visible in society. India Electronic Media is all full of shows to help us all overcome the isolation and attempts to bring smiles on our faces. Boredom on account of limited activity and anxiety on account of increasing number of infections and deaths due to the deadly disease. The reality of impact of Covid-19 is giving no respite; whopping 2,18,386 deaths have been reported so far as on 29th April, 2020 and end is nowhere in sight. India has suffered 1007 deaths.

More and more cluster is cropping every day and more and more teams are ushered into service of mankind. This is biggest humanitarian assistance ever organized in the history. Economic slump, china hiding the facts and President Trump threatening China of dire consequences is further adding fuel to the fore of increasing stress levels amongst all sections of society. Anxiety, depression and stress are natural outcomes that are of bound to impact most of us.

Management of Covid-19 Induced Stress

Covid-19 has been studied by experts and they opine that prevention is better than cure. Means to handle the disease are in three stages: –

  • Stage 1- Prevent contracting the disease by staying at home and not coming out in public.
  • Stage 2. Isolate and quarantine at home for those infected.
  • Stage 3. Medical treatment at designated hospitals for serious cases.

Stress in all stages of treatment may show some or more of following symptoms: –

  • Boredom, anxiety, fatigued and wear out
  • Lack of involvement and loss of interest in usual enjoyable activities
  • Physical symptoms like high blood pressure, indigestion and uneasiness
  • Short temper and anger
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Fear of unknown- fear of getting infected and if infected; fear of death.

Stress is outcome of psychological, biological and personality traits. Ability to handle mounting isolation and hopeless situation will decide if one will get into depression and stress. In order to come out of stress, we have to understand the corona virus and Covid-19 disease, its symptoms and how best we all can save people by efforts of individuals, elders in the family and following instructions given by the government from time to time. Some of the common measures are: –

  • Organise the day. Start the day with morning physical exercises at home, call it one mat exercises.  Limitation of space has to be taken into account and exercise for minimum of 30 minutes daily. Thereafter divide the individual and family time plan.
  • Plan and follow time table. It may include daily office chores, house hold jobs and hobbies. Family work plan will bring in variety and motivation to overcome boredom.
  • Set Objectives. Weekly/fortnightly or monthly objectives be planned for seeking satisfaction and constructive use of time.
  • Complement each other more often, laugh more than yesterday and find reasons to stay positive.
  • Be passionate about life with simple rule- This too shall pass.

Indian Vedic Sciences and Stress Management

The fact that covid-19 is likely to affect many of us and its impact worldwide is disastrous; can be considered from the Vedic perspective as well.  Indian Vedic sciences is ocean of knowledge on stress management; only a fraction is discussed here.

Breath is basic parameter of stress; it exists in our breath and if you are able to control your own breath, stress can be identified and remedial yogic and breathing exercises can be practised to overcome the same. Fear of Covid -19 infection or death is likely to change breath pattern, it will become fast, heavy and compulsive indicating higher stress levels. Thoughts of fear and death release certain stress causing toxins in human body that can be consumed by various yogic asanas and pranayama. Chanting of Oṃ (ॐ) and Prāṇāyāma like anulom-vilom and bhrāmari will help in normalising blood pressure, mitigate toxins and give a soothing feeling.

Knowledge of Triguṇas  i.e. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas can help change own prakṛti from tāmsic to sāttvic. There is a predominant Guṇa in each one of us and the Guṇas change with the time of the day, kind of activities, and thought process.  Every time there is a thought of fear or death or isolation, they reflect one getting into Tamas or stress due to negative thoughts and belief. That will result into change in behaviour of person, severe depression and stress. One has to act immediately to come out of Tamas and enter the state of Rajas. The activity will use the toxins of the body and one starts feeling better and will now think of better days in times to come. The process will take one from Rajas to state of Sattva where ultimate relief from stress is felt. It is easier said than done but support of friends and family members can take one out of depression or the stress.

‘Stay home stay happy’ is the soul’s answer to stress management. Primarily, if we are able to consume the enzymes released in the body due to psycho-social conditions created in the Covid-19 rich environment, we shall be able to convert distress into eustress. Gainful use of time available is the call we need to take and shall be able to not only save ourselves and family members but also will be able to enjoy the time of togetherness gifted by the God Almighty.

Brig JS Rajpurohit, Ph.D. Group Commander, Group HQ NCC, Gorakhpur (UP)

श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता और वर्तमान

– Mr.Vikram Bhatia

श्रीकृष्ण द्वारा कही श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता पर हर काल में बहुत बार लिखा गया और बोला गया है, फिर भी जब भी मैं इसे पढ़ता या सुनता हूँ तो मुझे हमेशा कुछ नया समझ में आता है।

गीता की शुरुआत युद्ध की भूमि में अर्जुन के युद्ध नहीं लड़ने के कारण हुई। श्रीकृष्ण द्वारा अर्जुन को समझाने के लिए ही गीता कही गयी थी| युद्ध को धर्मयुक्त मानने से लेकर उसकी सीमा का वर्णन करते हुए श्रीकृष्ण ने कर्म, कर्मफल, सन्यास व अन्य विषयों पर भी चर्चा की। कई लोग भ्रमवश गीता को या यूं कहें की श्रीकृष्ण को ही युद्ध का कारण मानते हैं, किन्तु गीता केवल सही और गलत की बात करती है, हिंसा या अहिंसा की नहीं। जैसे कोई देश जो आतंकवाद से पीड़ित है उसके लिए युद्ध करना या युद्ध के लिए तैयार रहना एकदम सही है और जो आतंकवाद के पोषक देश हैं उनके लिए गलत।

गीता एक आम इंसान की रोज़मर्रा की ज़िन्दगी को भी दिशा देती है। पहले की तरह आज जीने के तरीके पूर्णरूप से बदल चुकें है किन्तु समस्या जो पांच हज़ार वर्ष पहले थी जब गीता कही गयी थी आज भी वही है जैसे अवसाद (डिप्रेशन), भय (फियर), कुंठा (फ़्रस्ट्रेशन), आत्मविश्वास की कमी (लैक ऑफ़ कॉन्फिडेंस) यह सारी भावनात्मक समस्याएँ जैसे की तैसे हैं।

आज सारे विश्व में भावनाओं का आवेश है हर कोई भावनात्मक दृष्टिकोण से ही सही-गलत का निर्णय कर रहा है और गीता इसके उलट बुद्धि के प्रयोग पर ही बल देती है। इसी कारण यह पूर्णरूप से मनोवैज्ञानिक (साइकोलॉजी) है।

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ||

(श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता २.४७)

यह श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता का सबसे महत्वपूर्ण श्लोक है। इसका भावार्थ यही है की संसार में हर एक घटना बहुत सारे कारणों पर निर्भर होती हैं, यह कारण कुछ एक तो स्वयं द्वारा  निर्मित होते है लेकिन अधिकतर  प्रकृति, देश अथवा विश्व के वातावरण और जनमानस के द्वारा निर्मित होते हैं, उन कारणों की पूर्णरूप से गणना करना असम्भव है किन्तु भावनावश हम अपने कर्म के निश्चित फल की कामना करते है (जो शायद ही कभी पूर्ण होती हो) और यहीं से समस्या शुरू होती है जिससे जीवन में चिन्ता, तनाव, कुंठा या अवसाद उत्पन्न होते हैं। जब कारण असंख्य और अनिश्चित हैं तो फल (जो भविष्य में है) निश्चित नहीं हो सकता इसलिए उसका विचार करना केवल अपनी ऊर्जा नष्ट करना है और कुछ नहीं। इस श्लोक में श्रीकृष्ण कहते हैं की कर्म पर तेरा अधिकार है उसके फल पर नहीं इसलिए भविष्य की कल्पनाओं में न जीयें केवल वर्तमान में जीने के बारे में विचार करें। इसका सबसे बड़ा लाभ यह है की जो वस्तु या सम्बन्ध वर्तमान में है उसके प्रति हम कृतज्ञ हो जाते हैं और उसके उपभोग से आनन्द प्राप्त करते हैं।

जीवन में धैर्य रखना वर्तमान में जीने का एक अनुपम उदाहरण है या यूँ कहें की वर्तमान में जीने से धैर्य रखने में बल मिलता है। जब आप वर्तमान में जीना सीख जाते हैं या केवल वर्तमान में जीने का हृदय से प्रयत्न करते हैं, तो आप पातें है की संसार में फैल रहे झूठे प्रलोभन और आश्वासन से आप मुक्त हो गए हैं और स्वयं का जीवन केवल स्वयं की जवाबदारी पर जीने लग जाते हैं, जिससे बिना किसी कारण ना तो किसी से प्रभावित होते हैं और ना तो कोई सहारा खोजते हैं। इन सबका लाभ यह होगा की आपका स्वयं पर विश्वास गहरा होता जाएगा।  

वर्तमान में जीना एक कला है और इस कला को पाने के लिए अभ्यास बहुत जरुरी है। प्रतिदिन निरंतर वर्तमान में जीने का चिंतन और जो वस्तु आप के पास है या जो भी वर्तमान में परिस्थिति है उसका सर्वोत्तम उपयोग करके ही आप यह कला में निपुण हो सकते हैं और अपनी मानसिकता पर विजय पाकर सकारात्मक दृष्टिकोण रख सकते हैं।

यही कारण है की सम्पूर्ण गीता के सात सौ श्लोकों में से केवल एक श्लोक में ही मनोविज्ञान की इतनी गहरी बात श्रीकृष्ण ने कही है, जो इसे मनोविज्ञान की एक महानतम रचना बनाता है। गीता एक धर्म की पुस्तक नहीं है (यहाँ धर्म अर्थात रिलिजन या पंथ से है) बल्कि सम्पूर्ण मानव-जाति के लिए रची गयी है। जिस समय पर श्रीकृष्ण ने गीता कही थी उस समय आज की तरह मानव-जाति रिलिजन या पंथ में बटीं हुई नहीं थी बल्कि सम्पूर्ण मानव-जाति के सामाजिक व्यवहार को वैदिक दृष्टि से उपयुक्त या अनुपयुक्त ठहराया जाता था।

संसार में पहले ही सब लिखा और कहा जा चुका है लाभ तो केवल उस ज्ञान का अनुसरण कर उसके मार्ग पर चलने से होगा। अत: वैदिक मीमांसा को जानने और मानने वालों का यह कर्त्तव्य है की संसार में फैले मनोविज्ञान-विषयक इस अंधकार को दूर करने के लिए श्रीमद्भगवद्गीता के ज्ञान को जन-जन तक पहुंचायें।

Mr.Vikram Bhatia, Entrepreneur, Indore

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.