Category Archives: Spirituality

Bhagavad Gita Verse 42, Chapter 18

Qualities of Brahmin varna (not caste, not hierarchical, not determined by birth)

A simple, modern translation and explanation of the Bhagavad Gita with shloka (verse) meaning

shamo damastapaha shaucham kshaantiraaarjameva cha |
jnyaanam vijnyaanamaastikyam brahmakarma svabhaajavam || 42 ||

Restraint of mind and sense organs, penance, purity, forgiveness, and also, knowledge, wisdom and faith, these are the natural duties of a braahman.
shamaha : mental restraint
damaha : sensual restraint
tapaha : penance
shaucham : purity
kshaantihi : forgiveness
aaarjam : straightforwardness
eva : also
cha : and
jnyaanam : knowledge
vijnyaanam : wisdom
aastikyam : faith
brahmakarma : duties of a braahman
svabhaajavam : natural
Sant Raidas was a cobbler. Sant Tukaram was a farmer. Mirabai was a princess. Sant Namdev came from a family of tailors. Swami Vivekananda was born into an aristocratic family. Sant Chokhamela came from a family that was treated as untouchable. Although all these saints came from different occupations and externally imposed castes, their mental makeup, was that of a braahman. Shri Krishna says that one who…

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The bashing of Brahmins and India’s caste-system has an agenda


Common people in the west know hardly anything about India. But one thing they all know: India has an ‘inhuman’ caste system, which is an important feature of their religion, Hinduism. Most also ‘know’ that Brahmins are the highest caste, which oppresses the lower castes, and worst off are the untouchables.

I learnt this already in primary school, but knew nothing at that time about the concentration camps of Nazi Germany only a few years earlier or about the atrocities of slavery or colonialism. Yet the Indian caste system with Brahmins as villains was part of the curriculum in Bavarian schools in the early 1960s, and it still is today: some time ago I asked three young Germans in Rishikesh what they associate with Hinduism. Their prompt reply was, “caste system”.  Surely, they also had learnt that it was most inhuman. In all likelihood, all over the world school children…

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Jishnu and Trishnu

Source : The Hindu

The Krishna Yajur Veda praises the Supreme One as Jishnu — the One who is always triumphant and cannot be vanquished. He demonstrated His invincibility in every avatara. He is yutkaara, says the Veda, meaning He is a great warrior. In the Rama avatara, He helped the sages in the forest by getting rid of the demons who disturbed them. He kicked aside Dundubhi’s skeleton with His toe. With a single arrow, He pierced seven trees. Ravana and his army of demons were no match for Him. No wonder Vedanta Desika, in his Raghuveera Gadyam, eulogises Rama as Mahaveera — the unmatched warrior.

The Supreme One is duschyavana. That means there is no escape from Him. And what a positive trait this is where those who surrender to Him are concerned! Even if they were to err after they surrender at His feet, He still holds on to them tightly and does not let go, said V.S. Karunakarachariar in a discourse. In other words, moksha for them is assured. So it is clear that Lord Narayana is duschyavana.

He is Trishnu — the fearless One. Why should He fear anyone when He controls everything? Even if all the worlds were to oppose Him, He will not forsake one who has surrendered to Him. He pours down His blessings on His devotees like a moisture laden cloud.

But what of a person who resorts to Saranagati (complete surrender to Him), but still continues to wage war against his senses, not being able to control temptations? Such a person does not have to worry. His senses may lead him astray, but he will have the last laugh, because no matter what the senses do, they cannot stop him from attaining moksha, which the Lord has guaranteed to the person who surrenders. He can, therefore, boldly mock the senses, because the senses will be the losers in this battle.