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Sunday, January 23, 2011

He is, He is not!

A sense of enquiry is inherent in all of us and is not the prerogative of Nachiketas alone. Finding answers to philosophical questions is sometimes beyond even a mystic like Bhule Shah who responded with a disarming reply, “Bulle ki jaana main kon“ when he was asked who are you?

Whenever egg-heads get into a thoughtful or pensive mood, the question about the divine presence always crops up. Even the laymen ponderously assert that there must be a power that controls the universe.

Confronted with the metaphysical question whether God exists or not, the respondents generally tend to fall into four groups: The rationalists take the lead and confidently assert that there was no creation. This universe began with a big bang and it has always been there “If we say that God has always been, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always been“-Carl Sagan.

The pantheistic spiritualists, on the other hand, proclaim the world is unreal and the only reality is the Almighty (Brahm satyam jagan mithya ,Brahm jivo naparahShankarachrya) I am God and God is everywhere (aham brahmasmi). Matter or the universe could not have existed or evolved without a co-ordinator or God.
They also advance the theory of Karmic fate and rebirth.

Then there are those who follow the dictates of their heart and feel the need or presence of a father figure to guide and protect them in this struggle for existence.

And the modern man is not sure whether God exists or not. He is also overwhelmed by the prevalence of evil, disease and death which sometimes shake his faith in God. He is quite inclined to agree with an agnostic rationalist like the Buddha who simply said ,“I don't know“.

But a hapless individual is baffled by these conflicting opinions and seems to think that it will be better to hedge one's bets. Won't it be better to follow the sane advice of Voltaire. “even if there was no God , let us invent one.“

Ramesh Prasad Saxena
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Be a lotus in life

We all know lotus as the national flower of India. Its unsullied significance is vividly described in ancient Indian and Buddhist scriptures. Lotus has been referred with reverence in Confucius and Taoist philosophies as well.

Since centuries, the lotus state of meditation has mystically enshrined us to selfrealisation and the life beyond. The flowe r s beauty has inspired many poets and artists too. But Bhagvad Gitas verses, One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water , expresses the profundity lotus provides to our lives.
With its roots in mud, the lotus ascends above the grime towards the sunshine.
Its austerity lies in breeding in the muck only to be plucked as an auspicious offering to the deity.

In Buddhist sutras, lotus is the seat of awakening to the purity and sheen of soul that remains unaffected by desires, sinful actions and egotistic state. Although, understanding the effect of our actions on our soul may be esoteric. Improving Karma, however, is explicit.
Controlling excessive desires, altruistic service, being kind, forgiving, honest and humble are means to initiate karmic improvisation.

Such reinvention requires depth, commitment to self and endurance for the known and unknown that life can put us through. Its here that lotus can be an inspiration. Just like the lotus that surpasses the mud of the pond to reach upward, we too can liberate ourselves from material dust to overlook hatred, retribution and suffering in life to reach to our inward divinity.

Such enlightenment can be fruitful in leading a life unaffected by sinfulness and goodness of our own and others actions on us.
Bringing in such change is beyond time and age.

The sooner we touch base with the immortal lotus within, the more beneficent and mindful we shall be of our actions.

Barkha Dhar
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Krishna the life force

Krishna means the most attractive --the Self. He is the very life force in every living being.

Krishna's blue body indicates the infinity within, like the sky and ocean.
Krishna was born at midnight when all the guards had fallen asleep. The guards represent the five senses that keep you busy in the outer world and don't let you experience your Self.

Krishnathe embodiment of ananda (bliss) was born of the union of Devaki, meaning body, and Vasudeva, meaning breath.
Kansa, the ego, had imprisoned them. To protect Krishna from Kansa, Vasudeva takes him across the river Yamuna-that symbolises love.

Vasudeva carried Krishna in a basket on top of his head across river Yamuna, in floods and rain. He was about to drown but child Krishna put his leg outside the basket, and the river stopped rising. This means when difficulties come up, God's protection is always there.

Krishna grew up in Yashoda's house. Yashoda symbolises shradha (faith, devotion), which can make bliss grow in us. Then there is Radha, which means longing, that gives birth to love.
Radhe is the individual life, Shyam is the infinite life.
Radhe ­Shyam is the entire creation, filled with life.

Krishna's flute symbolises that when you are hollow and empty, you become the perfect instrument of the Divine and music happens in your life. Krishna's pose, standing with one foot firmly on the ground with the other raised, poised lightly, depicts the way to live life in perfect balance between worldly matters and spiritualism.

To be joyful and happy and realise that you are above all your roles and events, you are the untouched Self. So in Krishna, we see the birth of these qualities in our human body. You can see Krishna silent like the Buddha, or in the battlefield, or as a best friend, or as a very mischievous child.
It is a total blossoming of existence and the symbol of all possibilities.
Enlivening these Krishna qualities in your own consciousness, and letting your true nature manifest is the way to celebrate Janamashtami.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
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