Monthly Archives: August 2017

Seek God not just in the privacy of the heart but also the activity of the world

Happy Janmashtami 2017 🙂

Source :

Some people think that to seek God, we must renounce the world, go to a secluded place in a forest and meditate on him in the privacy of the heart.

That can be one way of seeking God, but that is not the way recommended by the Bhagavad-gita. The Gita’s recommendation of engaged devotion arises from its inclusive conception of God. He exists not just beyond the world as a transcendental all-attractive lover, but also in the world as an immanent overseer. And he can be accessed in both manifestations. The Gita (18.46) conveys his relationship with the world – he is its source and he pervades it – as the prelude for exhorting us to worship him through our work. Our talents come from him (07.08) and are meant to be used for serving him practically, thereby contributing to the world.

Yes, we need phases of withdrawal from the world for exclusively focusing on Krishna to spiritualize our consciousness and infuse it with a service attitude. Such service attitude is not just a sentimental notion that whatever we are doing, we are doing it for Krishna. It has to be a conscientious and consistent redirection of our head and heart towards him, driven by the conviction that he alone can fulfil our deepest longings for peace, love and joy. Having renewed ourselves through such withdrawal, we need to engage in the world for his service according to our social position and personal disposition. The Gita itself comprises such an intellectual retreat that empowers Arjuna to engage wholeheartedly in the ensuing war for establishing dharma.

When we learn to seek God both in the privacy of our heart and the activity of the world, our entire life becomes enriched with the supremely fulfilling divine presence.


Effect of past karma

Source : The Hindu

The Kapilopadesa explains in detail the full sweep of the sway of samsara. The greatest wonder is that though the jivatma is endowed with the senses, mind, intellect and an inherent sense of good and evil, he is unable to transcend the cycle of births.

Sastras say that each one’s experiences of joy and sorrow are the result of past deeds good and bad and that heaven and hell are in this world, said Sri Kesava Dikshitar in a discourse.

The degree of experiences caused by old age, sickness, death, etc, varies in people but is unavoidable for all who are born in this world. Human nature is such that no one desires the fruits of bad deeds and all want only the fruits of good deeds.

But they do bad deeds easily and are not keen to do good deeds.

Yet all wish to live comfortably without sorrows and are quick to wonder why they experience sorrows and tend to think it is not what they deserve.

The Lord, who is not bound by any karma, empathises with human sorrow, in the Aranya Kanda when, as Ram, He cries out in despair on losing Sita: “I think there can be none in this world who is a greater sinner than me; that is why I am facing this kind of sorrow and grief that overpowers my mind and intellect easily. I am sure that in my past births I must have followed my desires and not abided by the rules of sastras. The effect of that is now being felt by me now. Sorrow after sorrow follows me.”

Ram does not highlight His commitment to dharma and truth, nor His devoted worship of Lord Ranganatha. This is to enable the jivatma understand and accept that his suffering is the result of past karma and that he should learn to seek to rid himself of this bondage.

He needs no help

Source : The Hindu

The Krishna Yajur Veda describes the Supreme One as animishah. That means He is vigilant in protecting His devotees, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. Did not Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram keep watch over Ramanuja and guide him to safety when his life was in danger?

The Veda also says that He conquers without any help. He does not need help to destroy the army of sins that each one of us has. Lord Krishna’s words “maam Ekam” should be recalled here. He does not expect or need anyone’s help in vanquishing our sins. No wonder the Veda calls upon us to seek His help.

“Yudho naraha”, the Veda calls out, meaning “Oh you men who are engaged in battle.” What is the battle we are engaged in? We hanker after material possessions and are never satisfied with what we have. To fulfil our desires, we resort to wrongful means. That results in a constant battle with our conscience which tells us we are wrong. Therefore, we are all people who are always engaged in battle.

We also have to battle with our indriyas. In his Tiruvaimozhi, Nammazhvar presents a verbal picture of our battle with the senses. A commentary compares Nammazhvar’s cries to those of Sita when She was a prisoner in Lanka. So whose help should we mortals seek? We should seek the help of the One whom the Vedic mantra refers to as “ishuhastena,” that is the One armed with an arrow. Who else can this be but Ram?

Ram also fits the description of One who makes us cry to Him for help and then saves us. When Sugreeva and Vali fought, He did not save Sugreeva at once. His excuse was that since both looked alike, He did not want to hit Sugreeva by mistake. It was not as if Ram could not have killed Vali immediately. He wanted Sugreeva to express his helplessness and beseech Him for help.

Purpose of penance

Source : The Hindu

It is to be understood that the scriptures and the Puranas attribute the highest status to both Siva and Vishnu and that both are merely two sides of the same coin, pointed out Sri B. Sundarkumar in a discourse. If the Bhagavata Purana highlights the greatness of Vishnu, the Siva and the Skanda Puranas describe Siva or Muruga as the highest deity. The killing of demons such as the Gajasura by Siva or Ravana by Rama is symbolic of the Lord’s ways of establishing the victory of virtue over vice, and instilling faith in upholding dharma and righteous living.

The asuras are shown as capable of severe and austere penance and through such effort win boons from Brahma and other celestial beings. But because they lack maturity of mind and are given to evil tendencies, they opt for ephemeral ends instead of seeking what is of permanent value. Their penance fuels restlessness of spirit that yields to the pulls of desires. Gajasura does austere penance and secures longevity, strength, and valour from Brahma. He then indulges in atrocities. When these become too much for the world to bear, Siva intervenes and kills him.

Any evil tendency in one is a manifestation of asuric quality. When one’s pursuit in life is directed at the enjoyment of the objects of senses, he reflects asuric tendencies. It only sadly reflects the failure in a majority of human beings to nurture the mind and cleanse it of impurities, so that it is allowed to mature and mellow.

Much can be learnt from the world of Nature which provides examples of the natural process of maturing as in the blooming of a flower from a bud or the ripening of a fruit.

Penance has to be done with the aim of attainment of calm and contentment of mind. The purpose is to realise the true value and importance of seeking salvation.

Ram’s compassion

Source : The Hindu

Valmiki hails Ram with the epithet Sarva Bhuta Hite Rataha for His exceptional care and concern to the welfare and well being of the entire creation. It is a tribute to the sterling quality of compassion that Ram embodies, pointed out Srimati Jaya Srinivasan in a discourse.

Ravan senses danger when he hears that Ram has crossed the ocean and reached Lanka with the Vanara army. It is unbelievable, he tells himself, yet it has come to pass that the entire Vanara army has built a bridge and crossed over to his kingdom. In his own interest, he decides to send two rakshasa spies, Suka and Charana, to assess the enemy’s strength. They enter the enemy camp disguised as monkeys and Vibhishana recognises them. When they are taken to Ram, they are sure that it is going to be death for them; but they are amazed and surprised by the benevolence of Ram and in the way He allays their fears.

Ram smilingly makes the following enquiries to both of them: “Have you seen the entire army of ours? Have you made enough enquiries about all of us? Have you done what your rakshasa king has commanded you to do? Then you may go back.” He even tells that Vibhishana will give them whatever details they may require. He tells them that though they have been caught they will not be killed because spies without defence should not be killed. He asks them to get back to Lanka and convey His warning message to Ravana that very soon He will unleash His anger against him in battle. Ram Himself proclaims that His protection is assured to all beings unconditionally and He vows to uphold this promise at all times. Only the Supreme Lord can make such a promise and also uphold it with extraordinary confidence. In it is subsumed the Lord’s omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence, unique and unparalleled.