Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Idol worship - Idolaatry

ponnai maRaiththathu ponnaNi pUdaNaM
ponnin maRainthathu ponnaNi pUdaNaM
thannai maRaiththathu thankaraNangaLAM
thannin maRainthathu thanakaraNa.ngaLE
2289 Thought Process for Self-Realization
Think of gold jewelery,
Thought of gold metal is not;
Think of gold metal
Thought of jewelery is not;
Think of sense organs, Self is not;
Think of Self, sense organs are not.
. 22
maraththai maRaiththathu mAmatha yAnai
maraththin maRainthathu mAmatha yAnai
paraththai maRaiththathu pArmuthal bhUthaM
paraththin maRainthathu pArmuthal bhUthamE 
2290 Sublimation of Thought
Think of wood
Image of toy-elephant recedes;
Think of toy-elephant
Image of wood recedes;
Think of elements five
Thought of Param recedes
Think of Param,
Thought of elements recedes.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Purpose of Religion(HinduDharma: Religion In General) 

Religion is the means of realizing dharma, artha, kama and moksa. These four are called purusarthas.
In Tamil, dharma is called "aram"; artha is known as "porul'; and kama and moksa are called "inbam, " and vidu respectively. "Artha" occurs in the term "purusarthas", but it is itself one of the purusarthas? What a man wants for himself in his life- the aims of a man's life- are the purusarthas. What does a man want to have? He wants to live happily without lacking for anything. There are two types of happiness: the first is ephemeral; and the second is everlasting and not subject to diminution. Kama or in barn is ephemeral happiness and denotes worldly pleasure, worldly desires. Moksa or vidu is everlasting happiness, not transient pleasure. It is because people are ignorant about such happiness, how elevated and enduring it is, that they hanker after the trivial and momentary joys of kama.
Our true quest must be for the fourth artha, that is vidu or moksa. The majority of people today yearn for the third artha that is kama. When you eat you are happy. When you are appointed a judge of the high court you feel elated. You are delighted when presented with a welcome address by some institution, aren't you? Such types of happiness are not enduring. The means by which such happiness is earned is porul. Porul may be corn, money, and house. It is this porul that is the way to happiness. But the pleasure gained from material possessions is momentary and you keep constantly hungering for more.
Moksa is the state of supreme bliss and there is no quest beyond it. We keep going from place to place and suffer hardships of all kinds. Our destination is our home. A prisoner goes to his vidu or his home after he is released. But the word vidu also means release or liberation. Since we are now imprisoned in our body, we commit the grave mistake of believing that we are the body. The body is in fact our goal. Our real home is the bliss called moksa. We must find release from the goal that is our body and dwell in our true home. God has sentenced us to goal (that is he has imprisoned us in our body) for our sins. If we practice virtue he will condone our sins and release us from the prison of our body before the expiry of the sentence. We must desist from committing sinful acts so that our term of imprisonment is not extended and endeavor to free ourselves and arrive in our true home, our true home that is the Lord. This home is bliss that passeth understanding, bliss that is not bound by the limitations of time, space and matter.
Lastly, I speak of the first purusartha, dharma. Dharma denotes beneficent action, good or virtuous deeds. The word has come to mean giving, charity. "Give me dharmam. Do dharmam, mother, " cries the beggarWe speak of "dana-dharma" [as a portmanteau word]. The commandments relating to charity are called "ara-kattalai"in Tamil. Looked at in this way, giving away our artha or porul will be seen to be dharma. But how do we, in the first place, acquire the goods to be given away in charity? The charity practiced in our former birth- by giving away our artha- it is that brings us rewards in this birth. The very purpose of owning material goods is the practice of dharma. Just as material possessions are a means of pleasure, so is dharma a means of material possessions. It is not charity alone that yields rewards in the form of material goods; all dharma will bring their own material rewards.
If we practice dharma without expecting any reward in the belief that Isvara gives us what he wills- and in a spirit of dedication, the impurities tainting our being will be removed and we will obtain the bliss that is exalted. The pursuit of dharma that brings in its wake material rewards will itself become the means of attaining the ParamporulThus we see that dharma, while being an instrument for making material gain and through it of pleasure, becomes the means of liberation also if it is practiced unselfishly. Through it we acquire material goods and are helped to keep up the practice of dharma. This means that artha itself becomes a basis of dharma. It is kama or desire alone that neither fulfils itself nor becomes an instrument of fulfilling some other purpose. It is like the water poured on burning sands. Worse, it is an instrument that destroys everything dharmic thoughts, material possessions, liberation it-self.
All the same it is difficult, to start with, to be without any desire altogether. Religion serves to rein in desire little by little and take a man, step by step, from petty ephemeral pleasure to the ultimate bliss. First we are taught the meaning and implications of dharma and how to practice it, then we are instructed in the right manner in which material goods are to be acquired so as to practice this dharma; and, thirdly, we are taught the proper manner in which desires may be satisfied. It is a process of gaining maturity and wisdom to forsake petty pleasure for the ultimate bliss of moksa.
Moksa is release from all attachments. It is a state in which the Self remains ever in untrammeled freedom and blessedness. The chief purpose of religion is to teach us how this supreme state may be attained.
We know for certain that ordinary people do not achieve eternal happiness. The purpose of any religion is to lead them towards such happiness. Everlasting blessedness is obtained only by forsaking the quest for petty pleasures. The dictates of dharma help us to abandon the pursuit of sensual enjoyments and endeavor for eternal bliss. They are also essential to create a social order that has the same high purpose, the liberation of all. Religion, with its goal of liberation, lays down the tenets of dharma. That is why the great understand the word dharma itself to mean religion.
About "Hindu Dharma"
"Hindu Dharma" is a book which contains English translation of certain invaluable and engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at various times during the years 1884 to 1994). 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Arya Samaj and Hinduism

There is NOT ONE SINGLE mantra in entire Vedas that prohibit Yajna for women.

Rigveda 1.146.3: The Yajamaan (performer of Yajna) and his wife are two cows and the fire of Yajna is the calf.
Rigveda 1.72.5: Scholars perform Yajna with their wives and achieve bliss.
Rigveda 2.6.5: If mother and sister perform Yajna together, that brings bliss.
Rigveda 7.1.6: The young woman approaches the fire with Havi
Atharvaveda 3.28.6: O wife, you have entered the world of Yajna.
Atharvaveda 3.30.6: All the members of family should perform Yajna.
Atharvaveda 14.2.18: O woman, you should perform Yajna in Grihastha Ashram.
Atharvaveda 14.2.25: O woman, perform Yajna with bliss.
Further, there is NOT ONE SINGLE mantra in entire Vedas that prohibit Yajna for women.
Please note that Yajna here does not mean merely Agnihotra or Havan, but all kinds of noble deeds. Vedas simply do not differentiate on basis of gender or birth for conduct of any noble deed.
And when women can do Yajna, what stops her from reciting Vedic Mantras!
The restriction of women from Vedas or Yajna is an innovation of medieval age whose only contribution to our society has been disaster and slavery. It is a matter of shame that many revered representatives of Hinduism still justify such perverted beliefs. But thanks to legends like Swami Dayanand Saraswati who gave right interpretations of Vedas, we hear Gayatri Mantra sung by women even in temples!
Feb 20, 2013 | by Dr. Satyapal Singh, The Police Commissioner, Mumbai
Shrikrishna is the only greatest personality whose character encompasses together all these diverse ideals. Dear readers, devotees of Krishna, let us take a pledge today, let us make a resolution that we will not allow even advertently any blemish to defame the noble life of that spotless, innocent, virtuous and realized soul. Let us follow the footsteps of the ideals of great people. Following are the words of Krishna
yad yad acarati shresthasthat devetaro janah
sa yat pramam kurute lokas tadanuvartate
Radha and Gopis
Some poets from rhetoric school and bhakticult accepted Lord Shrikrishna as a God, worshiped him, adorned him as blind devotees and followers on one hand, and on the other the Western scholars and their self esteemed, the so called Indian scholars, following their footsteps merely depicted him in various ways with low level intentions and sensual impulses. Shrikrishna to them was one who played in the group of Gopis under the sacred name Rasalila, as one stealing the garments of the women, the one engaged and indulging in youthful activities with the damsel by name Radha, making uncourteous hideous gestures with dwarfed maiden Kubja.
The rhetoric school poets wanted to hide their sensual impulses and writings from the indignation of common people in the society. The blind and self titled devotees wanted to escape themselves from the scornful attitude of common man towards them, their selfish and voluptuous behavior or actions and their luxurious and lavish life style made under the pretext of divine justification and conformation. The Western scholars and others belonging to different religions than that of Hindus, and not to speak of other pseudo scholars wanted to devaluate and bring down the supreme Indian culture and Indian religion – a sort of burning example for all. Thus they mutilated the very noble character of Lord Krishna into an ignoble and scandalous one.
In the whole of Mahabharata, there is no mention even of the name Radha. We first get glimpses of her, in Gita Govinda of Jayadeva, ……..
Bankimchandra Chattopadyaya, the author of “Anand math” who carried out research on Mahabharata continuously for about 36 years and also composed thereafter the biography of Shrikrishna, states that according to Mahabharata Shrikrishna had only one wife namely Rukhmini – neither two nor four and of course not at all 16000. According to Mahabharata immediately after getting married both Rukhmini and Shrikrishna went to Badrikashrama and led a pious life there for 12 years. They used to sleep on ground, ate only roots, tubers and fruits and observed strict celibacy. Thereafter Rukhmini gave birth to the first child named Pradhumna. (Reference: Mahabharata, Book 10 (Sauptika Parva), Chapter 12, Verses 29 & 30 – Editor) It is sheerly disgusting to stigmatize this noble character shown indulging in love-affairs with and in romance with Radha and Gopis. 
Extract from the article Vedic Theism -
God – the Supreme Spirit is the most subtle topic of philosophy. Faith in Supreme Power seems almost universal and encompassing the human life from time immemorial. But unfortunately the concept of God has been blurred by the fog of numerous wrong, perverse and sectarian notions. Consequently, today we come across a variety of pictures, images and descriptions of God, which are highly conflicting with each other and finally lead people towards sectarian narrow-mindedness, bigotry, dogmas, superstitions, prejudice, skepticism, atheism, frictions, wars, terrorism, dense materialism and a host of similar other vicious and inhuman traits. That is why we also find among us many persons lost in some sort of spiritual confusion and many of them have already turned into either atheists or skeptics.
Just to harbour a faith in any so-called theistic notion is obviously an easy task. Sometimes it may be merely an intelligent recognition. But the most difficult venture is to divinize one’s whole being according to the right principles of spiritual science. A true spiritual person should desperately seek to know the ultimate truth of life and set out for the realization of the Supreme as the ultimate destination of his life. The true theistic attitude of a person needs to get fully manifested through his way of life. There could be no doubt about the omni-presence of God, but the question is that whether we are conscious of His presence or not. Unless we have a reasoned faith in His presence, unless we are sincere in our endeavor and unless our convictions are intense and grounded in truth, we cannot say that our theism is genuine and rewarding. The true theism confers on us joy, happiness, satisfaction, fearlessness and other divine powers; a perfect sense to the spiritual dimension of our being. Moreover, it also provides us sustenance, strength, solace and comfort in the moments of great distresses, failures and disappointment, which occur almost to everybody when one struggles to resolve the tangles plaguing one in the course of one’s daily life.
Generally it is believed that to define is to limit, and God being the most mysterious entity it is beyond the human capacity to define Him or fully express Him in any human language. Even the most consistent intelligent speculation or hypothesis may not be in a position to guarantee the realization of God. God can be realized only with the help of True knowledge, True actions and True meditation – the practice of Yoga with total surrender. Hence mere logical propositions or linguistic symbols could not be of much help in this matter. But this does not mean that the existence of God is to be regarded merely based on any sort of speculation. The speculations leading one towards theism should essentially be based on some definite observations, thoughts, logic and wisdom.
In Vedic philosophy, liberation from the worldly or material bondage and realization of the all pervading Divine spirit has been regarded as the ultimate goal of the human efforts. The Vedas proclaim that God is such a reality which can be apprehended and realized in the depth of our inner being. The Vedic wisdom demands that the Reason and Spirituality are to be well coordinated and well integrated. A true religion or philosophy of life must necessarily address these two fundamental aspects: (i) Worldly prosperity aiming for happy today, and (ii) Spiritual progress aiming for the happier tomorrow. Nevertheless, for the second purpose one has to transcend this vast visible and invisible world, this grand and wonderful manifestation of the matter, and reach to the Universal Spirit under whose will and wisdom the creation is made.
The Vedas teach us that the primordial root of all true knowledge, and the objects made known by the true knowledge is the Supreme God. Maharshi Dayananda Saraswati (1824-1883), the founder of the Arya Samaj has rendered a great service to humanity by restating the Vedic concept of God in the nineteenth century. He tried to emphasize that God has a personality but His personality is not physical or human, it is spiritual and divine. He is a spirit of spirit, the Spirit Supreme. Dayananda endeavored to present an image of God which is not only consistent with the philosophy of the Vedas and the spiritual vision of the Vedic seers, but it is also based on analytical reasoning. The hymns of the Vedas unequivocally express the conception of one Supreme Being. The Vedas being the Divine Revelation and the oldest record available with the mankind have universal appeal for the people of all countries and all times. On account of their universal character, the Vedic concept of God also must be secular and acceptable and adoptable as a sure guideline for the all thinking people of the world.
God being the Transcendental Reality, the Innermost and Cosmic Being, any discussion related to Him deserves paramount importance. In Satyarth-Prakash (Light of Truth), the world famous book authored by Dayananda, the concept of Vedic theism has been beautifully described in the most sensible way. Its seventh, eighth and ninth chapters embody a systematic and comprehensive discussion on three highly philosophical topics: God, Creation and Emancipation. The significance of true theism has been explained there in a very straight forward fashion. A careful reading of these three chapters of the Satyarth-Prakash make one fully convinced of the fact that the Vedic concept of God is not a casual creed, rather it is highly comprehensive in its application to human life; and is much subtler and deeper spiritual as well as scientific content than the sects and cults ordinarily known as monotheism and polytheism.

On Clinging

Once there lived a village of creatures along the bottom of a great crystal river. The current of the river swept silently over them all - young and old, rich and poor, good and evil, the current going its own way, knowing only its own crystal self.
Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks at the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current was what each had learned from birth.

But one creature said at last, "I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom."
The other creatures laughed and said, `Fool! Let go, and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom.'
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks. Yet, in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised , but hurt no more. And the creatures down stream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, `See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies. See the Messiah, come to save us all!'
And the one carried in the current said, `I am no more messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.' But they cried the more:. `Savior!' all the while clinging to the rocks, and when they looked again he was gone, and they were left alone, making legends of the Saviour."

Life is a do-it-yourself job

We generally ascribe our failures to Fate;
the sanskrit aphorism:   yadbhaavam tat bhavati (as one conceives, so things happen) contradicts
this assumption, reminds us that we are responsible for the consequences of our actions, and advises us to remember that
Life is a do-it-yourself job:We build our lives in a distracted way,
reacting rather than acting,
willing to put up with
less than what is best.for us in the long-term.
At important points
we do not give the job our best effort.
Then with a shock
we look at the situation we have created
and find that
we are now living in the house we ourselves have built.
If we had realized earlier,
we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter
Who builds your house.
Each day you hammer a nail,
place a board, or erect a wall.
Build wisely.
It is the only life you will ever build.
Even if you live it for only one day more,
that day deserves to be lived graciously
and with dignity.

The plaque on the wall says,
"Life is a do-it-yourself project"
Who could say it more clearly?
Your life today is the result
of your attitudes and choices in the past.
Your life tomorrow will be the result
of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

If you find the job difficult, help is always available:
from the Wisdom of the past contained in the scriptures or
the experienced, wise and competent teachers who are willing
to advise and guide. Life's path is like the razor's edge, dark
and difficult to tread - as explained in Kathopanishad:
kshurasya dhaaraa nishitaa duratyayaa
durgam pathastat kavayo vadanti

and therefore:
praapya varaan nibodhata
get the know-how from competent सगेस.

There is an another, easier path to liberation from the sufferings of failures: the ego's surrender to Krishna
and resting in his hands as his flute. He himself has advised: मामेकं शरणम व्रज maamekam sharaNam vraja .
This theme is lucidly brought out in the song "kuzhaloothi":

குழலூதி மனம் எல்லாம்
கொள்ளை கொண்ட பின்னும்
குறை ஏதும் எனக்கேதடி?
kuzhaloothi manamellam
koLLai konda pinnum
kuRaiyethum enakkEthadi

I am safely resting in His hands
It is He who blew the first breath of life into me and
it is He who will determine the last breath of my life.
I should rest my self in His hands as His flute
and let Him play the sweet song of my life.

Tired of this stressful life and senseless pursuits?
Come; let us surrender to our dear Lord Krishna!
Let us place our ego as the flute in His hands.
Our every action will then becomes a note
in the music that He will gladly play through us.
Then, where will there be place in our mind
for regrets about failures, or for unfulfilled
wants and wishes that ceaselessly haunt us?

We can blissfully chant thenceforth
in harmony with His divine music:
குறை ஏதும் எனக்கேதடி
I am wanting in nothing;
I am full; I am full; I am full.
OM! Poornamadah Poornamidam!

The sound of Krishna's flute is the divine call to ecstasy;
it is His call advising us: "Give up attachments and follow Me."
Happy are those who can harken to this call and
commence living in eternal Bliss:
yasya brahmani ramate cittam
nandati nandati nandatyeva
He whose awareness rests constantly in Brahman-Conciousness,
his mind is ever in the supreme Blissful state.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When Philosophy Lost Its Way -

Excerpts from  NY Times: Opinionator | When Philosophy Lost Its Way 

The act of purification accompanying the creation of the modern research university was not just about differentiating realms of knowledge. It was also about divorcing knowledge from virtue. Though it seems foreign to us now, before purification the philosopher (and natural philosopher) was assumed to be morally superior to other sorts of people. The 18th-century thinker Joseph Priestley wrote “a Philosopher ought to be something greater and better than another man.” Philosophy, understood as the love of wisdom, was seen as a vocation, like the priesthood. It required significant moral virtues (foremost among these were integrity and selflessness), and the pursuit of wisdom in turn further inculcated those virtues. The study of philosophy elevated those who pursued it. Knowing and being good were intimately linked. It was widely understood that the point of philosophy was to become good rather than simply to collect or produce knowledge.
The scientist’s privileged role was to provide the morally neutral knowledge needed to achieve our goals, whether good or evil. This put an end to any notion that there was something uplifting about knowledge. The purification made it no longer sensible to speak of nature, including human nature, in terms of purposes and functions. By the late 19th century, Kierkegaard and Nietzsche had proved the failure of philosophy to establish any shared standard for choosing one way of life over another. This is how Alasdair MacIntyre explained philosophy’s contemporary position of insignificance in society and marginality in the academy. There was a brief window when philosophy could have replaced religion as the glue of society; but the moment passed. People stopped listening as philosophers focused on debates among themselves.
Once knowledge and goodness were divorced, scientists could be regarded as experts, but there are no morals or lessons to be drawn from their work. Science derives its authority from impersonal structures and methods, not the superior character of the scientist. The individual scientist is no different from the average Joe; he or she has, as Shapin has written, “no special authority to pronounce on what ought to be done.” For many, science became a paycheck, and the scientist became a “de-moralized” tool enlisted in the service of power, bureaucracy and commerce.
Here, too, philosophy has aped the sciences by fostering a culture that might be called “the genius contest.” Philosophic activity devolved into a contest to prove just how clever one can be in creating or destroying arguments. Today, a hyperactive productivist churn of scholarship keeps philosophers chained to their computers. Like the sciences, philosophy has largely become a technical enterprise, the only difference being that we manipulate words rather than genes or chemicals. Lost is the once common-sense notion that philosophers are seeking the good life — that we ought to be (in spite of our failings) model citizens and human beings. Having become specialists, we have lost sight of the whole. The point of philosophy now is to be smart, not good. It has been the heart of our undoing.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

As you deeply think so it shall happen

yat bhaavam tat bhavati  यत्भावं  तत्  भवति 
In her personal journal as well as in her short stories, Katherine Mansfield showed a special interest in exploring the psychological underpinnings of much human conduct.  

   "Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently,
    but life itself would come to be different.
    Life would undergo a change of appearance because
    we ourselves had undergone a change of attitude."

   "If you wish to live, you must first attend your own funeral."

In this observation, Mansfield recommends that -- no matter what our current age -- we imagine our own death.  The basic idea is to think about who will show up at our funeral, and what will be said about us in the eulogies.  It's an old idea, but a good one, and most recently suggested by Stephen R. Covey in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" (1989).  His Second Habit is called "Begin with the End in Mind