Source : The Hindu
The subtleties and practical features inhering in the dharma codified in the sastras is best revealed with clarity when the Lord upholds it during His incarnations, said Sri Kesava Dikshitar in a discourse.
Rama is hailed as the very embodiment of Satya and Dharma, deemed to be the highest worth in this world. Rama is proud to state He always speaks the truth and only the truth. There is no room for any second word in His life; and no way for slackness in upholding dharma. He tells Kausalya that there is nothing higher than dharma in this world and that truth is rooted in dharma. It is important that He should honour Dasaratha’s word to Kaikeyi as it is consonant with dharma.
Valmiki emphasises Rama’s commitment to truth and dharma when Lakshmana faces a stiff battle with Indrajit. Lakshmana finally succeeds in killing him only after he sends an arrow with the prayer that if it is unquestionable and absolutely certain that Rama stands for Truth and Dharma, this arrow should kill Indrajit.
Krishna avatar is replete with unique instances that showcase His Visesha dharma as the impartial distributor of the fruits of individual karma. Krishna tells Arjuna that the war he faces is a fight for the cause of dharma, and an opportunity for him to uphold his Kshatriya dharma. Arjuna need not hesitate to kill his preceptors Bhishma, Drona and others. They may be virtuous and upright, but they have swerved from dharma by siding with Duryodhana who is steeped in adharma and will have to face the consequences. The same Lord is the very essence of compassion when He goes in person to offer solace to Bhishma at the time of his death. He graces Bhishma with the knowledge to explain dharma to posterity and He, along with the Pandavas, listens to the exposition. He finally grants Bhishma salvation.
Source : The Hindu
The esoteric teaching about the true nature of the jivatma and its eternal relationship with the Lord as that of servant and master is skilfully interwoven in the Ramayana. The jivatma who realises the significance of this bond is inspired with the yearning to serve the Lord who is the embodiment of all auspicious qualities that the human mind can recognise — perfection, compassion, prowess, goodness, etc, and even much more beyond all these. Lakshmana, Vibhishana and Bharata, for instance, seek Rama’s feet knowing that their true worth is fully realised only when involved in selfless service to the Lord, pointed out Sri V. Karunakarachariar in a discourse.
Each of them desires this cherished reward of acceptance by the Lord to serve Him in their respective subservient roles. The spirit of service inherent in Lakshmana is revealed when he literally clasps Rama’s feet and seeks permission to serve Him and Sita during their stay in the forest. He promises that by doing so there will be no taint to the dharma He upholds. His desire to serve Rama will be fulfilled and He will also benefit by his service. The way shown by Vibhishana is also somewhat similar.
He is frank about his position. “Ravana treated me as a vile slave and put me to shame before all. His sharp words pierced my heart through and through. So, I have cast behind me wife and child, wealth and luxury, and sought refuge with Rama.”
Vibhishana teaches the way by which the hurdles that prevent one’s efforts from seeking refuge with the Lord have to be overcome. Bharata, in his state of total renunciation, is the very embodiment of nobility and is steadfast in his service to the Lord in thought, word and deed. The privilege to serve the Lord has to be diligently earned by each one through selfless love, devotion and admiration for Him.
Source : Faith - The Hindu
Attaining oneness with Brahman is the ultimate goal of human existence and scriptures discuss the difficulties in this spiritual path. First of all, they say, Brahman is beyond their grasp, and they openly accept their inability to define this ineffable presence which nevertheless abides without any reservations in all aspects of creation. That is why it is said that trying to reach Brahman through sastras is difficult and confusing, while the path of love to Krishna can lead to the same realisation, pointed out Srimati Prema Pandurang in a discourse.
Gopi is a bhava not bound by any personality or gender. It is a concept of pure and selfless love for Krishna where karma, jnana and bhakti blend seamlessly. What greater fortune for them than being lured towards salvation by the child in Brindavan who comes to steal their hearts in the guise of stealing butter? Their very way of life that is centered on Krishna is constituted of that “yagna, dhana and tapas” — strictures laid down in the scriptures for all beings, which the Gita states are the only means by which the atma can be purified.
Though engaged in their household duties and commitments, their hearts and minds are one with Krishna. Worldly attachments and pulls are set aside when they rush to experience the call of the flute. In the realm of bhakti, all differences between individual bhaktas are dissolved and only friendliness prevails. All are conscious of the Supreme Lord and His munificence and compassion alone. There is a desire to celebrate His glory rather than be bogged down with the sense of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ that are difficult hurdles in the spiritual path. The love of the Gopis towards Krishna and their experience of Krishna are seen to be synonymous with the state of “Brahmanubhavam,” the highest state of realisation that all aspire for.
Source : http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/seeing-him-in-all-beings/article18619096.ece
Great learning brings great humility, for it exposes the extent of one’s ignorance. That is why Lord Krishna extols the vision of a true bhakta who is endowed with the knowledge of the infinite greatness of the Lord and of His all-pervading presence that inheres in the entire creation, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse.
There are as many kinds of devotion as there are individuals. The average devotee is generally compassionate and affectionate to all beings, but feels a sense of differentiation between friends, enemies and so on.
The beginner in the path of devotion worships the Lord in the form of a deity or some form, but fails to accept His presence in other beings. But a true bhakta sees the Lord in all beings and also sees all beings in His Self. This vision is the culmination of jnana and bhakti and a bhakta never slips from this awareness.
It is said that once Saint Eknath, when retuning from Kashi Yatra, was moved to see a donkey almost dying of thirst on the way.
Without any hesitation, he opened a vial of Ganga water and poured it into the parched mouth of the donkey. He saw only the Lord in the soulful eyes and not the donkey.
In the case of Saint Namadev, he once chased a dog that had taken away the bread given to him by his wife, only to offer it the sugar and ghee as well which it had left behind. The dog became the Lord in front of him.
When Lord Shiva is said to have come in the form of a chandala to grace the yagna of Somasi Mara Nayanar, the Adiyar unhesitatingly offered the same hospitality he would offer others.
The Lord wants to show that in the eyes of a true bhakta, where Truth alone is revealed, there is no need for Him to come disguised.
Source : http://www.gitadaily.com/see-temptation-as-an-attack-not-as-a-defeat-or-even-as-a-precursor-to-defeat/
Suppose soldiers guarding the national border against a hostile neighbour find bullets whizzing past them. Naturally, they will see the bullets as signs of attack and start counter-attacking.
When we start practicing spiritual life, we enter into a war against the forces of illusion, which attack primarily with the bullets of temptation. So, the rising of temptation inside us is an attack. Unfortunately, if we don’t understand the dynamics of the inner war, we see it as a defeat. We think, “I am so fallen as to have this desire. Its presence shows that I can’t follow spiritual standards. Now that the desire has come, let me just give in to it.” By so doing, we become like soldiers who lay down their arms at the sight of the first bullets.
But such capitulation is utterly unnecessary. The Bhagavad-gita (05.23) urges us to anticipate the lifelong presence of desire and anger. Rather than deeming their presence as a spiritual disqualification, it exhorts us to tolerate them by yoga practice.
Just as gallant soldiers determinedly return hostile fire, we can become spiritually gallant when temptation attacks and return fire by striving to intensify our bhakti practice, thus becoming absorbed in Krishna. Such absorption provides higher satisfaction, thereby increasing our resistance to the pleasure with which temptation allures and attacks.
Moreover, bhakti-yoga grants satisfaction not just through absorption but also through connection. That is, we can taste spiritual satisfaction not just at the end of the war when we are fully absorbed in Krishna but also in the thick of the war when we strive to connect with him through remembrance and service.
If temptation spurs us to increase our focus on Krishna, then it becomes not the precursor of defeat, but the prompter to victory.