Bases of Dharma in the Gita

– Dr. Shakuntala

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(Source of Image: http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/and-more/what-bhagavad-gita-teaches-us-top-10-lessons-we-must-remember_1849199.html)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Hanumān Approach after Overcoming the Hanumān Syndrome

Prof. Bal Ram Singh

[Editor’s noteA version of this article had appeared in MyIndMakers ( www.myind.net)]

hanuman sun

(Source of Image: https://sites.google.com/site/hanumanlivestoday/hanuman-s-birth)

People have heard many miraculous and not so miraculous things about Shri Hanumān, many times erroneously referred to as Monkey God, including by the former President of America, Barrack Obama, who kept a statuette of Hanumān as part of his lucky charm collections in his pocket.

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Whether Hanumān was a monkey or vānara, which mean people who lived with nature in forests, there are numerous stories of Hanumān which could inspire or at least provide learning lessons. As a young boy I had chosen Hanumān as my personal deva or ishtadeva to whom I used to offer sweets after my annual exam results were announced. I started wearing dhoti-kurta on the days I went to offer sweets. That skill of wearing dhoti kurta has remained with me even today. Many a time it is not as important what one believes when one performs particular action, rather the lessons one learns in performing the action. The lessons are for the life where the beliefs are for the moment.

Hanumān Background

Hanumān was son of Kesari, a vānar king of Sumerū, for which there are several claimants in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, and Anjana, a wise woman with divine background. It is known that Hanumān was born with blessings from Shiva and Pārvati, and also was helped by Vāyu devatā. All of them are well grounded in mountain, forest, and air. In other words Hanumān was influenced mostly by the nature and was connected to native people with wisdom from nature.

Hanumān State

Hanumān state of mind is that of someone who is bereft of ego and arrogance. “Hanu” means to kill and “mān” means the ego. That is why one sees and hears about Hanumān being very powerful yet always seen with folded hands and humble in service. There are stories about him getting a curse so that he would forget his power. However, given the Hanumān state of mind it will in fact be considered a boon. Certainly going by his great accomplishments and virtues, and the following even today, his traits can easily be considered as footsteps of success.

Hanumān Syndrome

Hanumān ji’s humility and determination are considered part of his real character that led him to win any mission he embarked upon. In the infinite states of consciousness, most people are focused on only limited tracks of the consciousness, and are in fact not aware of the existence (ego) of the other domains of their consciousness until they are reminded of by someone they believe and trust, such as parents, teachers, guru, etc.

Children and students are particularly vulnerable to the hidden capacity and potential unknown to them. This is the Hanumān syndrome that the whole humanity suffers from. This syndrome is treated by only wise and caring teachers or elders, who remove the syndrome with inspiration and infusion of courage through a series of steps to build confidence via knowledge and practice. This is what was done by Jāmvant, represented by as a Rikshraj and mānsputra of Brahmā, the creator of the universe. Jāmvant is not an ordinary bear, rather an individual with power and adaptability of a bear. He along with Hanumān and Paraśurām has distinction of being present in both Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata time. In other words, for Hanumān syndrome to be removed, an extraordinary teacher or guru is needed, by awakening the hidden consciousness.

Hanumān Approach

Once the Hanumān syndrome is treated, a person can achieve extraordinary feats. There is nothing that such an individual cannot do. Their approach becomes that of in improvisation rather than strategic and tactical. Since they are capable of doing anything they do not sit down to plan and process the goals. They actually begin to do what needs to be done, notwithstanding what may seem impossible to others. This is what Hanumān did when Lakśmana was hit with Shakti weapon of Meghnād. With Suśen (an Ayurvedic Vaidya) suggesting a prescription requiring Sanjīvanī from Himalayas in less than 12 hours, everyone is Ramā’s army had given up, except for the Hanumān free of his syndrome. He was the only one who could leap forward to Himalayas without any forethoughts, driven only by what needed to be done. He did not spend a semester learning the geography of Himalayas, asked for a GPS to reach there, or a long lesson on different types of plants, shrubs, and herbs.

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(Source of Image: https://ramleela.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/ramayana-viii-the-vanar-sena-to-the-rescue/)

He reached Himalayas after overcoming intentional hurdles thrown in his way represented by Kālanemī, which also means the perimeter of the time. Symbolically it means that Hanumān had to cross the limit of time to reach Himalayas and return. One there, he could not identify Sanjīvanī from many other medicinal herbs. He decided right then and there to bring the entire mountain so that Suśen can pick what was rightly needed. This is the Hanumān approach. Once awakened of one’s hidden capabilities, one does not look for everything favorable and in place to do one’s duty. In Hanumān approach, you do whatever is needed to accomplish the goal. If the world’s system does not allow one to do right things, then begin changing the world, whether it is for peace, food, health, equality, education, or the planet.

So, go ahead try the Hanumān approach, and let the world know the results! The Hanumān principle lives in all of us.

Prof. Bal Ram Singh, Director, School of Indic Studies, INADS, Dartmouth, USA

Children in Epics

Children of ancient intellectual traditions that are remembered time to time in reference to spiritually, strength, determination and firmness:-

Lava and Kusha

Kuṥa and his twin brother Lava were the children of Lord Rāma and his wife Sītā, whose story is recounted in the Hindu epic Rāmāyaṇa written by Valmīki. According to Uttara Kāṇḍa of this great epic, pregnant Sītā was banished from the kingdom of Ayodhyā by Rāma due to the gossip of general folk of kingdom. She then took refuge in the ramof the sage Valmīki located on the banks of the Tamasā river. According to Rāmāyaṇa, Sītā gave birth to both Lava and Kuṥa at the same time in the support of Valmīki’s disciples. Kuṥa was the elder of the two and is said to have whitish complexion like their mother, while Lava had blue complexion like their father. Names to both kids were given by sage Valmīki. They were educated and trained in military skills and given many natural powers under the tutelage of Valmikī. When Rāma performed the Ashvamedha Yajn᷈a, Lava and Kuṥa attended it with their fatherly sage. At that occasion, they sang the story of Rāmāyaṇa in the presence of king Rāma and his vast audience. When Lava and Kuṥa recited about Sītā’s exile, Rāma became grief-stricken and Valmīki produced Sītā. Sit̄ā called upon the earth, her mother, to receive her and as the ground opened, she vanished into it. Rāma then learnt that Lava and Kuṥa were his children.  Launandan-3

Some poetic works have depicted poetically that Lava and Kuṥa caught the horse of Yajn᷈a during the phase of Aṥvamedha Yajn᷈a, and for that they also gave a good fight to Rāma. Brave sons of Rāma, Lava and Kuṥa became rulers after their father and founded the cities Lavapurī and Kasur respectively. These children are known today for their amity, fearlessness and charm.

Abhimanyu

Abhimanyu, mentioned in the great epic Mahābhārata, was the courageous son of the great Arjuna and Subhadrā, and the nephew of Lord Kṛṣṇa. His story begins just before he was born. When Abhimanyu was in his mother’s womb, Ṥri Kṛṣṇa used to take his sister Subhadrā on excursions. Kṛṣṇa used to relate many of his adventures to the pregnant Subhadrā for her delight. Once he was narrating his experience with the technique of Cakra-vyūha, a military formation which was an effective form of defense. The army would be arranged in the form of a circular grid and would then challenge the enemy to break that grid. It seems that Subhadrā did not find this topic interesting and therefore, after some time she felt asleep. However, someone else was interested in Kṛṣṇa’s narration and he was Abhimanyu in his mother womb. He was carefully following all steps of this vyūha. When Kṛṣṇa noticed that Subhadrā was not responding and she was indeep sleep, he gave up his narration and returned to the palace. Thus, Abhimanyu could only obtain the technique of entering into the circles of the cakra-vyūha. Whatever he had heard from Kṛṣṇa, he carefully preserved in his memory.Unfortunately, he could not know the technique of breaking its circles. He grew up to be a brave, handsome adolescent young man. Many years later, during the Mahābhārata war at Kurukṣetra, the Kauravas set up a cakravyūha and challenged Pāṇḍavas to break it. Only Arjuna knew the technique of doing so, but he was fighting elsewhere at that time. To meet the challenge, Abhimanyu came forward and offered his services for the task of breaking the cakra-vyūha. Despite his incomplete knowledge of the technique, he entered the grid and overcame one circle after another, until he come to the seventh one, the breaking of which he had no knowledge. Brave and ambitious Abhimanyu fought heroically in the unequal struggle but finally met his end.

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This story highlights the importance of the childhood saṁskāras and mental growth of a child. Abhimanyu is always remembered for sharp memory, intelligence, courage and bravery.

Dr. Shashi Tiwari, President, WAVES–India & Former Prof. of Sanskrit, Maitreyi College, University of Delhi

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

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

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

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

Concept of New Year (or Calendar) in Vedic System (Part- II)

Continued from Part-I

Vikram Samvat (Chaitraadi):

After winter season, agriculture starts with spring, so spring equinox is generally a starting point of another system of calculating years. It coincided with sun’s entry in Mesha (0 degree in the zodiac) in 285 AD. Now it is on 14th April. After 25 years since his coronation, Vikramaditya (82BC -19 AD), the king of Ujjayini, started Vikrama samvat in 3044 kali or 57 BC from spring equinox when the sun entered in Mesha (at the initial point of Ashwini) in the lunar month of Chaitra Krishna paksha (Dark half). But later on, the commencement of Vikrama Samvat was postponed to 15 days and celebrated from auspicious Chaitra Shukla Paksha Pratipada, the starting day of Vasant Navaratra (9 sacred autumnal days of Goddess Durga).

In present time, it falls 15 days after Holi (on Phalgun Shukla poornima or full moon). This tithi (i.e. the 1st day of Chaitra Shukla) is known as epoch and copiously termed as Kalpadi (the 1st day of Kalpa) & Yugadi (1st day of Yuga) in Hindu scriptures and astronomical texts. In ancient astronomical texts, this tithi is referred as the first day of creation. It is also celebrated as the Matsya-Jyanti since according to Puranas, it was the day when lord Vishnu reincarnated himself as Matsya to sail the ship of Manu across the Pralay (the great flood). In north-west region of India especially in Rajasthan this tithi is also celebrated as Gana gaur or Gana gauri. Couples offer their prayers to goddess Gauri (manifestation of Durga). In Maharashtra and south India this tithi is also celebrated as Gudi Padawa. Currently, Vikram Samvat 2072, known as Keelaka, is moving on the verge of its end on 7th April 2016. The New Vikram Samvat 2073 will be started from 8th April 2016. The name of New Vikram Samvat is Saumya.

Do’s & Don’ts of this month:

  • Offer prayers to the goddess Durga.
  • According to various Grihya-Sutras, oil-massage considered as an auspicious work in this month.
  • Eat Neem leaves with Gud (the condensed form of Sugar cane).
  • Milk, Curd, Ghee & Honey must be avoided in this month.

Vikram Samvat (Kartikaadi):

There is another Vikram Samvat which is being practiced in Gujarat, starts from Kartika Shukla Pratipada and thus called as Vikram Samvat Kartikadi. It is believed that keeping the suitable conditions for trading through sea voyages in mind, King Vikramaditya himself started this calendar as well for the trading purpose in Gujarat from this month. It begins from the 1st day of Kartik Shukla Paksha, just after Deepavali. Apart from Vikram Samvat there are; Srishti (creation) samvat, Parashuram-samvat, Yudhishthir Samvat and Kali Samvat.

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Parashurama Samvat (6177 BC):

Parashuram Samvat started from the time of killing of Kartveerya or Sahasraarjun by lord Parashuram.  Incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of Parashurama took place in the Treta of descending period which started from 9,102 BC. Since he born in 9th treat during this period, thus his period starts from 9102-8×360=6,222 BC. According to Mahabharat, in 6177 BC he killed the Kaartiveerya Arjun which is the advent of Parashuram Samvat. It is called Kollam in Kerala, starting in 6,177 BC.

Yudhishtihir Samvat(3139 BC):

According to Brihat Samhita(13/3), when Saptarshi (Ursa Major) was in Magha Nakshtra (Regulus), Yudhisthir was crowned in 3139BC. Hence the Yudhishthir Samvat started from 3139BC.

Kali Samvat (3102BC):

KaliYuga Started after 36 years of lord Sri Krishna’s demise in 3102 BC on Magh Shukla Pratipada (17/18 February). Hence, 5117 years have passed since the Beginning of Kali Samvat or Era.

Shaka and Samvatsara are 2 different Scenario:

As the word Samvat has been used in previous paragraphs, one must know that Samvatsar and Shaka; these two words are being used in same meaning because of ignorance. Even Shalivahan- shaka is frequently called as ‘shaka-samvat’ which has no meaning. It can be either ‘shaka’ or ‘samvat’. The word Shaka is used in astronomical texts for calculation. In Vedas the word Shaka is used for ‘the bundled form of kush’. A kush (straw) is a thin line shaped object and a symbol of small unit in counting. By making bundle, ‘kusha(Panini 4/108) becomes stronger, and is called shaka {powerful (Panini 5/16)}. Thus total count of days (ahargana) is called shaka, and the year system starting from a point is also called ‘shaka’. Shaka is considered related to Shaka tribe or the Shaka–dvipa (continent) which surrounds or is adjacent to Jambu-dvipa as per puranas. But no Shaka in India, was started by Shaka invaders. It is only a misconception of ignorant historians. Actually it was Shalivahana, the grandson of Vikramaditya who started the ShalivahanaShaka in 78 AD after defeating the Shaka invaders. Apart from Shalivahana, there are shakas in name of Shudraka in 756 BC, Shri Harsha shaka in 456 BC, Kalchuri or Chedi shaka in 248 AD etc.

The Christian Era or Eesavee Samvat:

The Julian, now Gregorian calendar does not start with the exact points of sun’s entry in the zodiac signs. This is commonly called Christian calendar. It was started by Julius Caeser, emperor of Roman Empire in 45 BC after 10 years of Vikram Samvat. He wanted to start the year on winter solstice, but the practice was to start month from new moon day all over the world. So despite his order, the year started 7 days after winter solstice in Puash Krishna of 10th Vikram Samvat. The original intended day of start of year was called Christmas.

-Dr. Shyam Deo Mishra, Assistant Professor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi

Concept of New Year (or Calendar) in Vedic System (Part- I)

-Dr. Shyam Deo Mishra, Assistant Professor, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi

mishraDr. Mishra is National Coordinator of Jyotish at Mukta-Swadhyaya-Peetham (Institute of Distance Education),  Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi

“Time never marks its beginning with a thunderstorm”, this quotation of Thomas Mann does indicate the lack of concepts of the beginning of time in western world which often termed as Epoch, Era in historical parlance. While in Bharatvarsha, numerous eras have been in practice since Vedic period. The most ancient eras like; Brahma-Samvat, Srishti-Samvat, Kartikeya Samvat etc are purely the concept of prodigious Indian mind and no such era is being mentioned in any other civilization. Such concepts not only emphatically establish the antiquity of Aryan or Indian civilization but also indicate its height of advancement in academic, social and political perspective. As mentioned before, several Samvatsaras or eras described in Vedic and Pauranic scriptures were being practiced in India and being followed by other cultures with subtle changes according to their suitability. Before defining several Samvatsaras its concept must be understood first.

Samvatsar:

In Vedas, the word Samvatsara (short form is Samvat) is used for year. The definition of Samvatsara is ‘Samvasanti ritavah yasmin’ means ‘in which Ritu or season does reside’. Hence Samvatsara is the collection or cycle of seasons. Now the question is that why the word ‘ritavah’ used to define the meaning of Samvatsara or how Ritu does related to Samvatsar? Actually the answer is in the word itself which is derived from the root verb ‘tsara(Bhwaadi-gana, 554) that means ‘to move in hiding (Chhadma or Vakra) or curve’. We know that the Earth’s curved motion in its elliptical orbit constantly changes its direction that causes seasons or Ritus. One must understand that the primary cause of life on earth lies on her constantly changing seasons. Therefore ‘Samvatsar’, the originator of seasons, also called as ‘Prajapati’.  In the space of solar system there are 6 zones of varying energy which are called as ‘Vashatkara’. Parallel to 6 Vashatkara in space, there are 6 seasons on earth, each extending to motion of sun in 2 signs (60 degrees). The word Varsha or Sharad clearly manifests its relation with Ritu (such as ‘Varsha’ & ‘Sharad’) or season. Aitreya Brahmana (7/17)  defines the Samvatsar- It means, there are 360 Ahaani (24 hours) or 720 Ahoraatraas (days & nights) in a year (Samvatsar).

Happy Chaitra Vikram Samvat 2071 and Happy Navratri 2014 by Vikrmn CA Verma 10 Alone

Synonyms of Samvatsar are Samvat, Vatsara, Varsha, Haayan, Shaka, Sharad, San etc. Each synonym ensconces different meaning, form and usage of Samvatsara in it. Another meaning of Samvatsara is Sam+vat+sarati (Sameekrirooopena saranti yasmaat kaalaat sa Samvatsara) that means the period from which everything start from the balanced state. In other words, it is a particular point of time from which all move accordingly and simultaneously. In fact, when a king wanted to start a particular Samvatsara or Samvat he tended to release his subject from all kinds of debts. Thus new financial year, and later on, the academic sessions etc did start from the commencement of Samvatsara. Hence, all our activities, financial year, academic sessions, festivals etc tends to move along with Samvatsara. It also means ‘a series of sequential years’ that started from a phenomenon like Yudhishthir Samvat, Kali Samvat, Vikram Samvat etc.

The Cause of the beginning of Samvatsara:

There must be a social, sacral, gracious or political cause behind the commencement of any Samvatsara. Several sacrifices (Shraut & Smaart Yaag) like ‘Aagraayaneshti’, ‘Navaanneshti’ ‘Chaaturmaasya’ etc tended to start at the beginning of Samvatsar.  Whenever a king wanted to introduce a new Samvat or era he had to amortize all the debts of his subject. This uniqueness of introducing a new Samvat makes Indian civilization more sublime than rest of the world.

The time of the start of Samvatsara (or Era):

In Vedic tradition, the start of any era (Samvat or Shaka) generally coincides with particular celestial phenomena. Why? It is because our ancestors had a strong belief that there is a direct relation among time, planetary motion and mundane world. Some of those copiously mentioned phenomena which used as the commencement points of any Samvatsar are:

  1. Vernal equinox (Vasanta Sampaat) – When sun comes at equator on 23rd March (Visuva-din).
  2. Summer solstice (Dakshinayana) – When sun reaches at the farthest point in his northward motion and starts southward journey on 23rd June.
  3. Autumnal equinox (Sharat Sampaat) – When sun crosses equator on 23rd September.
  4. Winter solstice (Uttarayana) – When sun reaches at the farthest point in south and starts northward journey on 22nd December.

Based on these phenomena, there are several systems (or ways) used to manifest a year or Samvatsar. For an instance, one of the calendars starts from the Uttarayana or winter solstice. It is the beginning of divyadin (day of devas). Bhishma Pitamaha waited for 58 days after falling on the bed of arrows on 10th day of Mahabharat war in 3139 BC. As it is start of ‘divya-dina’, it is commonly called as ‘Bada-dina’. As solar year starts with this month so Krishna in Gita (10/35) said that he is Margashirsha among months. It is called ‘Agrahayana’ because it is starting month (agra) of ‘Hayana’ or year. Year or hayana has two halves or ayans: Uttarayan and dakshinayan. Since equinoctial point is moving backward in about 26,000 years (300 in about 2000 years) therefore in Bhaarateeya chronological history, almost at intervals of 2 or 3 thousand years one can find the commencement of new system of calendar.

to be continued….

Imparting Indian Culture : A Global Perspective – II

Continued from Part-I

The Inwardness of Indian Mind

How to convey this idea of Indian spirituality to the student of Indian Culture or to an audience? Perhaps through the second characteristics “inward looking” or inwardness. Inwardness means to live from within outwards both individually and collectively. Individually it means not to live in the surface physical, vital or intellectual being but in inner subliminal or spiritual mind or soul, which can intuitively see or feel or perceive the inner invisible realities behind the outer visible forms. Collectively it means to create a society based on psychologic and spiritual principles, which felicitates the inner psychological and spiritual development of the individual towards his spiritual destiny.

Every outer activity, even something mundane like economics, is the outer expression of some inner psychological needs or forces, and these psychological forces are in turn the expression of some cosmic and spiritual truth or forces. The Vedic social ideal is to make the whole collective life of man a conscious expression of these deeper and higher psychological, cosmic and spiritual forces. We may convey the idea of the spirit as the source and goal of this inwardness and spirituality as the quest for this deepest and innermost truth of the spirit in every activity of human life.

spirit

In ancient India, philosophy for the sage and seer is the intellectual expression of his spiritual experience.  For others or for the collectivity, philosophy is a means for the intellectual being of the individual and the collectivity to receive, hold or assimilate the truth of the spirit as much as they can, with whatever limitations or imperfections. Religion in ancient India is the attempt to communicate the truth of the Spirit to the instinctive and emotional being of the masses through concrete symbols, images and legends.  Through philosophy and religion, the spiritual truths discovered by sages through spiritual experience were made accessible to the intellectual and emotional being of the community or in other words, we may say light of the spirit descends into the intellect and emotions. This may lead to much dilution of the spiritual truth, but at the same there is a greater diffusion of the truth of the spirit into the masses.

Towards a Balanced Approach

However the student of Indian Culture should not be given the impression that ancient Indian Culture is a total success or something perfect or complete. It was a great attempt to create a civilization based on a spiritual vision.  But the attempt was only a partial success with some glaring failures. It was a great success in religion, philosophy and culture. But in society and politics, the attempt broke-down and went astray somewhere in the middle. In society, Indian attempt achieved only what Sri Aurobindo describes as “half-aristocratic, half-theocratic feudalism” (Sri Aurobindo, Collected Works, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, SABCL, Vol.14, Foundations of Indian Culture Pg.335) with the caste system as its last result. In politics and government the attempt to govern politics by dharma couldn’t be sustained after the epical age. As Sri Aurobindo describes this attempt to govern outer life by Dharma –

“But the difficulty of making the social life an expression of man’s true self and some highest realization of the spirit within him is immensely greater than that which attends a spiritual self-expression through the things of the mind, religion, thought, art, literature, and while in these India reached extraordinary heights and largenesses, she could not in the outward life go beyond certain very partial realisations and very imperfect tentatives,—a general spiritualising symbolism, an infiltration of the greater aspiration, a certain cast given to the communal life, the creation of institutions favourable to the spiritual idea. Politics, society, economics are the natural field of the two first and grosser parts of human aim and conduct recognised in the Indian system, interest and hedonistic desire: Dharma, the higher law, has nowhere been brought more than partially into this outer side of life, and in politics to a very minimum extent; for the effort at governing political action by ethics is usually little more than a pretence” (Sri Aurobindo, Collected Works, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry, SABCL, Vol.2 Karmayogin, Pg.210).

 The main aim of the political thought of Ramayana and Mahabharatha is to uplift politics to a higher level by harnessing it to the yoke of Dharma or in other words, dharmic elevation of the political life of the community. But in later ages Dharmic aims were subordinated to the practical and economic interests, Artha. This Indian term Dharma is a pregnant concept with a multidimensional significance. But in general we may define Dharma as the values, ideals or ways of living derived from the higher laws of life or Nature, which leads to the higher evolution of humanity in the mental, moral, aesthetic and spiritual domains of consciousness.

So while it is necessary to highlight our past achievements, the student should also be given a very unbiased and objective assessment of our past failures. In fact our emphasis should be neither on our past achievements nor our failures but on the future work to be done by India. The factors or causes behind our achievements and failures have to be brought out in such a way that it gives a clear direction to the future work to be done.

So our aim in the education of Indian culture should be not to create a narrow-minded and sentimental patriot, but someone who is imbued with the essential spirit and genius of India but at the same time with a broad global outlook which can understand and appreciate the greatness in other cultures.

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