vedanta sandesh - oct 2009
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DESCRIPTIONOct 2009 issue of 'Vedanta Sandesh', the english monthly e-magazine of Vedanta Mission. Read enlightening articles on Vedanta and Hinduism.
Pdu!311:Year 13 Issue 4
In This Issue
1. Vedanta Section: Atma Bodha - Shloka-11
2. Letter Section: Handling Sorrow
3. Traditions Section: Diwali
4. Story Section: Chandrashekhara
5. VM Programs: Mission / Ashram Progs
From Poojya Guruji
Vedanta SandeshSpreading Love & Light
Monthly eMagazine of Vedanta MissionSharing the message of Vedanta and Sanatan Dharma
Oct 2009On the Net since 1995
Started by:Poojya Guruji Sri Swami Atmanandaji
Editor:Swamini Samatananda Saraswati
Published from:Vedanta Ashram
E/2948-50, Sudama NagarIndore-452 009, India
Every situation presents to us the possibility of responding to it in twoways. We can either have Sreya or Preya as our motivation. If we re-spond to a situation with Sreya as our drive, then irrespective of thekind of situation or its consequence, we shall tread the path of righ-teousness and be blessed; while if we choose the Preya option thenthis opens the door for our entanglement with the world outside, andpersonal problems in the form of stress, anxieties, weakness and fears.Kathopanishad declares that a person treading the Sreyas Marg shallsoon become a good & virtuous person, who is recipient of God's bless-ings and finally all this leads to enlightenment, while a person opting forPreya Marg falls down & down.
Sreya can be roughly translated as Righteous & Wise, which incorpo-rates the well-being of all. Whether there is personal inconvenience tous or not, it is immaterial. All those who live & work for the well-being oftheir kith & kins, or for the whole country & world do go through variouspersonal inconveniences, but they still opt for this option, simply be-cause it is right & good for all. While the people driven more by theirpersonal conveniences, success or pleaures tread the path of Preya.These people are self-centered, insensitive and even violent to otherswho either come in their way or are unconnected to them. They arevery short-sighted people and do not see any harmony and connectiv-ity in the things & beings of the world. They live in a very small world, ofI and mine. They may go to temples or Guru's but there also they aremore bothered about their personal problems or successes, rather thandiscovering the eternal impersonal truths of life. These people live in acocoon, and not only live a lonely, stressed & painful life, but they aloneare responsible for all volence & pain in the society at large. So thescriptures invoke us to recognize both these options in every situationand always choose the nobler & righteous Sreya path. Sreya alone istrue Dharma. The capacity to serve others affirms your well-being andfullness.
Love & om,
Swami Atmananda Saraswati
Atma Bodha - Shloka 11
Nanopadhivashadeva :This fact has often been discussed that the
Supreme Brahman itself has manifested as this bigcolourful world of animals, plants, human beings andin the huge variety of objects too. Yet inspite of thismanifestation, the fact remains that basicallyParmatma is formless. Although he adorns the en-tire creation but yet he remains untouched. The na-ture of this adornment is acually that which is worthkowing and this message when driven home withright understanding and conviction, it becomes thedoor to liberation. Just as water appears as waves,bubbles and foam yet a discriminative person canwell see that all these forms are basically water andinspite of water appearing in such variable formsyet essentially it remains unaffected. There may be
huge waves, there may be little ones, bubbles willcome and go, a wise person wheather he stays atthe shores or goes for a swim in the seas, for him itis a grand play of water. Likewise in this world toowe see millions of living beings and inert objects. Allthese are nothing but a blissful expression of theone non-dual power of pure existence, effulging inits own light. One non-dual substratum adorns theentire variety of creation. Hence here the Acharyasays Nanopadhivashadeva .i.e. adorning the vari-ous forms Parmatma basically being one without asecond as though appears to be many. As it is fur-ther explained in this sloka that Parmatma beingthe substratum and the ignorant human beingunware of his own real nature as Brahman, he su-perimposes the attributes and differences of the
Vedanta Sandesh - Oct 2009
So far in the last couple of slokas the subject matter of discussion has been that basically Parmatmais the only factor of Truth and everything else is an imaginary superimposition on it. Not only this but it remains untouched and unmaligned even as it adorns the seemingly endless variety of names and forms.Infact the main idea reflected in these slokas has been to help the student of Vedanta see the illusionarynature of all forms that are experienced, and discover the transcendental factor which exists beyond alllimitations of time, space and objects. Most importantly this essential factor being my very own Self. Thispoint is discussed further, strengthening the thought under discussion, that Brahman as though appears tobe disguised by the differences of various castes and roles etc and yet remains absolutely detached.
Differences are Superficial
Nanopadhivashadeva JativarnasramadayahAtmanyaropitastoye rasavarnadibhedavat
Nanopadhivashateva: On account of the diverse limiting adjuncts, Jativarnashramadayah: thedistinctions of caste, name, stage of life and the like; Atmani Aaropita : are merely superimposedon the Self; Stoye: Just like, on water; Rasa-varnadi bhedavat:: the differences of taste, colourand the like are superimposed.
Like the differences of taste, colour and the like are superimposed on water (on account ofvarious external factors), so also the distinctions of caste, name, stage of life and the like aremerely those superimposed on the Self, on account of the diverse limiting adjuncts or conditionings.
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body, mind, intellect, caste, creed, sex, varna andashrama on Brahman.Jativarnashramadayah:
Society is charecterised by different realmsof caste, intrinsic aptitudes as his varna i.e. Brah-man, kshatriya etc and his roles as per his ashramalike Brahmacharya, grihastha etc. We see all hu-man beings playing their social, family andproffessional roles through these distinctions but thetruth that one has to see and undertsand is that theseare attires that one adorns to fulfill our responsibili-ties and offer our services to God, to our families,our proffessions and society. Infact the concept ofVarna and ashram is a blessing of an indepth studyof the great Rishis of yore, who came to see thetruth that basically every human being is blessedby an intrinsic aptitude in a particular field of perfor-mance and hence classified these aptitudes in fourvarnas. It is a tested fact that anywhere and at any-time in the world the human race is classified underthese four intrinsic aptitudes. So at the level of bodilyexistence the role of the Varna system blesses aperson to dedicate himself selflessly and give hisbest, hence contributing to the world as his servicesto God. and bringing about harmony in Gods cre-ation. So also when one performs his actions asper his ashrama i.e. being a householder or a stu-dent or a renunciate one plays his role at his ownlevel paving the path of his evolution and at the sametime lives in mutual harmony supporting the other.So all in all these classifications are undoubtedly ablessing for all mankind, but one has to see thatthese are attributes only belonging to the humanbeing adorning the body, mind and intellect. Basi-cally the real nature of each one of us is beyondthese attributes and forms. Brahman has no casteor varna. This is the kind of discrimination one hasto do, which one fails to and imposes theconditionings and limitations of these forms and at-tributes on the Real Self. And the price one pays isconstant condemnation of the Self as being small,
conditioned, limited, struggling between happinessand sorrow. And as long as the jiva continues to beveiled by this ignorance he continues to suffer. Thisis what is said in the next part of the sloka.Atmanyaropitastoye:
All the limitations and conditionings are su-perimposed on the Atma the real Self. Brahman ismisunderstood to be born, undergoing death andchange and hence we see ourself as constantsufferers. When due to ignorance we superimposea snake on a rope, then all kinds of fears are inevi-table. To end this suffering the only path of libera-tion is to see the Atma as Atma and Anatma asanatma, i.e. that which the atma is not. This dis-crimination ultimately is the state of liberation whichhelps to establish a healthy relationship of the Selfwith the objective world, giving us the taste of free-dom here and now. As we see in our Scriptures greatpeople like King Janaka were born and lived as aKshatriya, but because of the insight of the knowl-edge of the self they played their roles as a kshatriyaand yet remained untouched by their activities. Thelord himself incarnated in various names and formsand played a variety of roles to establish Dharmaand yet revelled in the supreme glory of Brahman.Infact this is the true message of Gods incarnation,the formless adorning a form and yet being un-touched. In this sloka this principle has been ex-plained with the example of water.Rasavarnadibhedavat:
Water essentially has no colour shape ortaste. But when different tastes, colour are addedto water, it as though becomes sweet, salty or bit-ter. It also appears to have a particular shape whenput in a glass or a cup etc. th