(A humble submission)
At the Beginning-less Beginning of Time, there was ‘The One and Only One’ immersed deep in thoughtless contemplation. Then a thought arose – why keep these suffering souls in suspended animation? Release them, HE ordered and worlds of objects and living beings emerged out of HIM and re- started their ‘Karma’, picking up from where they had left at ‘Mahapralaya’. This ‘One and Only One’ is the Creator; all powerful, immortal, bigger than the biggest, tinier than the tiniest, and above all HE resides in the heart of all beings imparting the power to perform actions, good or bad, and distributing fruits of their actions.
THAT is imperishable Brahman, God. HE is life, speech and mind. HE is inconceivable, beyond human perceptions. HE is known by several names, though conceptually names cannot describe HIS infinite attributes. However, THAT may be defined as one from whom world emerges, by whom world is sustained and into whom world folds back at the end of time cycle. THAT is big, infinite, and none is bigger or even equal to HIM. THAT creates and also enters into HIS creations – HE is everywhere. God resides in the heart of all living beings as ‘annu-tiniest of the tiny’ in order to note down all thoughts of the mind and dispense justice in accordance with HIS Law of Karma. HE is the controller and governor of all that is.
FIVE GREAT ELEMENTS. The world, as we see and experience, was made out of nothing. It is a creation from God’s thought (Sat Sankalp). First came out space and then, through a divine process, came air, fire, water and earth, in that order. Further, through Cosmic intent, plan and energies, the five great elements converted into gross and subtle matter and took various forms, colours and character, charged with the ‘spirit’ emanating from God’s presence everywhere. The five great elements, in infinite combinations, are the building blocks of the world, the beautiful flora and fauna that we see all around us. The subtle and gross matter work side by side to exhibit their miraculous workings- such as a live hair or nail or flower becomes gross on expiry. Mother Nature (Maya) has its own time cycles, in perfect harmony, for various objects and beings.
THREE GREAT PLAYERS. The world, nay the cosmos, is a stage set by the Lord to play HIS infinite, eternal, cosmic drama of life (Leela). In this, the three players are- God (Bhagavan), Man (Jeeva) and world (Maya). The three have been, are, and will be; cannot get destroyed by itself or by one another. This is the Truth. Each has its part to play, but Bhagavan, the supreme power, rules over the other two. While Jeeva is Divine Shakti (Potency), Maya is Gross Shakti (potency) of Bhagavan. The Lord has several Shaktis, yet jeeva and maya are important. Between Jeeva and Maya there is a difference. While Maya is personal power of Bhagavan, Jeeva due to its ignorance has been a captive of Maya, despite the fact that Jeeva is divine and Maya is gross. The Supreme Power, of course, has infinite potencies/ powers through which He may cause an event to happen or cause an event to not happen or cause an unimaginable event to happen. HIS ways are mysterious. In this great drama, Jeeva is Bhogta (experiencer) while Maya acts as Bhoga (objects to be enjoyed) and Bhagavan (prerak) controls and directs the show. Jeeva, forgetting his divine identity, is constantly searching happiness in objects and beings provided by Maya and is attracted towards it. In the process, his ‘Karmic’ account is unending and he is caught up in cycles of birth and death in numerous creatures. Maya has a strong hold over Jeeva through the three Gunas (Thought textures of Tamas, Rajas and Sattva). Maya, being a personal power of Bhagavan, will release a Jeeva only when Bhagavan orders- till then the Jeeva remains in bondage.
KARMA. By the Law of Karma, which is meticulous in its application, every action, even a thought of intent in the mind, produces a reaction in the form of Punya (good) or Paapa (bad). These thought imprints are noted by Bhagavan constantly and HE dispenses fruits of actions accordingly. Good actions lead a soul to Swarga (Heaven) and bad actions to Narka (Hell). With a balanced account of good and bad actions soul returns to mother earth, again and again, in any of 84 lac types of bodies, though not always in human form. However, some actions are free from Karma. All thoughts and actions performed in a spirit of service and sacrifice, in complete surrender, directed towards pleasing the Lord are beneficial. The Lord says, “Fix your Mind upon Me and perform action, giving up your ego, and I will wash away all your sins” or words to that effect. The main thing is, “Where the Mind is?” With a Mind immersed in thoughts of God only, free from all desires and attachments, and acting in the service of the Lord, human being is capable of freeing himself from the clutches of Maya. Human birth is unique and precious, in this regard.
THREE GUNAS. The three Gunas namely Tamas, Rajas and Sattva are thought textures that define the personality and character of an individual. All three are present in various proportions in all beings and proportion also varies from time to time; sometime tamas is on the rise and so on. Infinite mixes cause peculiarities and distinctive characteristics in individual behaviour. Gunas also determine intent in actions such as charity, worship, kindness, eating habits, murder, etc. God notes only the intent in the Mind, not the physical execution of an action. Tamas exhibits as inertia, ignorance, self-centredness, hatred, obstinacy, etc. In Rajas there is intense activity, ambition, competition, desires, acquisitions and so on. Sattva is purity, serenity, contemplation, spiritual endeavour, love for God, kindness and such higher value character. All three bind to Maya. In order to free from bondage, one through self effort has to rise upward from Tamas to Rajas to Sattva. An advanced Yogi (one on spiritual path) overcomes the three Gunas and works still harder in order to get rid of Maya. Maya will go only upon Bhagavad Prapti (God-realisation) and this happens only by Bhagavan’s Kripa (Grace). Maya’s hold through three Gunas is very strong, indeed.
HAPPINESS. Absolute, real happiness is that which is eternal and unlimited. Happiness that we experience through the world of objects and beings is limited, temporary, diminishing and vanishing and is followed by sorrow. It is like honey in the beginning but is poison in the end. Real happiness is obtained only on God-realisation when there is ‘Sukh Prapti’. Such happiness is trillions of times more in magnitude, is forever and there is no sorrow (Dukh) attached to it. An iota of such happiness we sometime experience in deep sleep state. It is rather strange that all beings at all times through all their efforts are constantly seeking happiness, peace, tranquillity and yet they don’t get it. Stranger still is the fact that no two individuals are alike and yet one commonality is that one and all are seeking happiness through all their actions and efforts. The reason is that their search is in the wrong arena. World of objects and beings (Sansar) does not have Divine Happiness which, in reality, each one is seeking. Divine Happiness lies within Divinity. Terrestrial happiness is enchanting and, therefore, very few opt for spiritual happiness. It has to be realized that absolute happiness ‘Ananda’ (Divine Bliss) is not in the world.
TWO PATHS. There is one Mind and it can either get attached to worldly pursuits or think about spiritual matters such as, “Who am I?”, “What do I really want?”, “What is the purpose of my birth?”, “What is death?”, “Who created the universe?”, and so on. The worldly path is full of desires for acquisitions. Fulfilment of desires leads to further desires in an unending spiral and bondage – This ends up in revolving in births and deaths as various creatures of the planet. This is the easy path. The search for Reality or Truth is a difficult journey on a path that requires giving up all desires, all attachments and focus only upon the ’One and Only’ God. Spiritual effort (Sadhana) is merely preparation to clean-up the mind, polluted with desires and Karmic account. Only when the pot of the Mind is fully clean would the enlightened GURU pour into it Divine eyes, mind and intellect through which God may be seen. The choice to choose the path is one’s own; whether to remain in bondage or get liberated from suffering, ignorance and Maya. MIND is the cause of bondage and liberation. Mind under control of Maya is attracted towards the world of Maya and hence the spiritual journey is extremely difficult. The world, including body, mind and intellect, is controlled by Maya that is gross whereas the soul is divine. Hence, area of operation of the body and mind is in the world but the soul really wants to connect with his Lord. Again, there is a choice to be made: whether to please the mind and senses or to work towards obtaining ‘Ananda’.
MIND. This is a unique and intricate instrument available to mankind that works non-stop, day and night, and drags the senses helter-skelter in search and fulfilment of never ending desires. Mind is Maya’s principal general who pulls the individual towards world’s attractions and obstructs thoughts towards the Divine. Thousands of thought waves pass through the mind each day. A single thought may become very powerful so as to make an individual a ‘Saint’ or a ‘Criminal’. Control of the mind, therefore, is absolutely essential for spiritual progress. But it is most powerful and difficult to control, being a part of Maya, a personal shakti of Bhagavan. However, it can be controlled through intense effort and renunciation. Absolute control is obtained when Maya goes, upon God-realization. It is said, “Conquer the Mind and you conquer the world”. An alert intellect can control the mind by constantly filtering thoughts and not allowing disrupting thoughts to take root and form a strong desire. A difficult task, indeed!
PURPOSE OF HUMAN BIRTH. Birth in a Human Body is unique and rare. It is the only assemblage among all life forms capable of obtaining God-realization, absolute happiness- Ananda, freedom from cycles of birth and death, permanent residence in the abode of Bhagavan, and enjoying personal relationship with God. This life should not be frittered away. God wants His children to return home and in HIS kindness gives them a chariot to do so. The human body is the chariot, senses of perception and action are the horses, powerful & wild. These horses are controlled by rope that is MIND. The mind is controlled by INTELLECT, the charioteer. Jeeva Atma (Soul) sits as a passenger. If the intellect is not alert and mind is let loose, then horses will run helter-skelter and carriage with passenger (Soul) will not reach home. Thus MIND plays a key role in our spiritual journey- controlled by a powerful intellect the goal can be achieved. The precious gift of birth in a human body is thus given to a soul to achieve the goal of knowing himself (Self-realization). An excerpt from writings of Parmahansa Yogananda states: “Many people may doubt that finding God is the purpose of life; but everyone can accept the idea that the purpose of life is to find happiness. I say that God is Happiness. He is Bliss. He is Love. He is Joy that will never go away from your soul. So why shouldn’t you try to acquire that Happiness? No one else can give it to you. You must continuously cultivate it yourself.” Another name of Bhagavan is Ananda- Sat, Chit, Ananda. On obtaining Him, individual soul gets Ananda and divine knowledge and lots more from HIM. Purpose of life is clear- SEEK GOD. Seers say, “Wake up, man, achieve your goal in this birth alone or you may not get a human body in a trillion years”. Another excerpt from Parmahansa Yogananda:
“Man has come on earth solely to learn to know God; he is here for no other reason. This is the true message of the Lord. To all those who seek and love Him, He tells of that great Life where there is no pain, no old age, no war, no death — only eternal assurance. In that Life nothing is destroyed. There is only ineffable happiness that will never grow stale — a happiness always new.
So that is why it is worthwhile to seek God. All those who sincerely seek Him will surely find Him. Those who want to love the Lord and yearn to enter His kingdom, and who sincerely wish in their hearts to know Him, will find Him. You must have an ever-increasing desire for Him, day and night. He will acknowledge your love by fulfilling His promise to you throughout eternity, and you shall know joy and happiness unending. All is light, all is joy, all is peace, all is love. He is all.”
DESIRES. These are stumbling blocks between me (Soul) and God. It is said, ”Man minus desires equals God”. It does not mean man becomes God- no way. It only means that upon dropping or reducing unwanted desires one acquires noble and God-like qualities. Desires are like bacteria; they multiply. Whether fulfilled or otherwise they have bad effects. If a desire gets fulfilled it leads to greed and further wants. If a desire gets blocked, anger erupts followed by revenge, envy, jealousy and even violence. Fulfilment entangles, non-fulfilment produces frustration, tension, instable mind and self-destructive tendencies. Both are bad. But any desire for God’s love or desires and actions directed towards God- realization or spiritual activities are beneficial, up-lifting and joy-giving. Desire-less actions without motives bring Happiness and Contentment and Nature also helps in this regard. Not only that, such desires and actions produce no ‘Karma’ and from that stand point Mind is getting cleaned-up to receive God’s Grace.
THE GOOD LIFE. Life is a long journey (0-100). This journey is full of challenges, opportunities, success and failure, physical disorders, mental incapacities, fame and dishonour, poverty, stinking wealth, war and peace, displacements and what have you. List is unending. It is surprising how man survives in plethora of adverse conditions? But things happen when they have to happen, like birth and death, beyond our control. Good days are followed by unpleasant experiences. There is constant change. But, in all this, one must not get extraordinarily elated in success nor break-down in distress. I do believe bad times make us stronger and it is part of our ‘Karma’. Money, of course, is required for survival and good living, which includes bringing-up a healthy and smart family, and is an assurance against bad times/ old age. But, I think, too much wealth is ‘calamitous’, as it brings in its wake ill-health, sleepless nights and tremendous sorrow. So, one should not run after wealth, fame and power. Let these come in a natural way. In this, the MIND should focus on the work at hand and action towards perfection. Rewards are bound to follow through hard work combined by faith and love for God. However, if focus is on reward/ money then outcome would be flawed. Unfortunately, today, world is running feverishly after money, fame and power and results are apparent- stress, early deaths, drugs, violence, rape, murder, crime, climate change, famine, displacements of millions by war,……………To enjoy a good life one need not join the ‘rat race’. Simple living, following a healthy routine in harmony with Nature, exercise, maintenance of good health without medicines, sun bathing at sunrise, right diet, timely and good sleep, hard and honest work to earn adequate for decent living, avoidance of anger/ hatred/conflict/ such negative thoughts through MIND MANAGEMENT, are some of the gate-ways to a good enjoyable life. Why worry when God is with us, within our heart, always and wherever we go? HE is our master and Lord and He Knows what is best for us. “In thy arms I rest, whither Thou taketh, You knoweth best”.
Disclaimer: Views are my personal.