Saturday, September 27, 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 102 (of Vol 2) Dt 28 April 2008

DEIVATHIN KURAL # 102 (of Vol 2) Dt 28 April 2008

Forty Samskaras or Good Actions.

The way to Heaven or Atma Gnanam.

1. In this world happiness and sorrow come as a mixed bag. Some have more happy circumstances and some have more of problems and difficulties. One comes across some rare individuals, who remain cheerful even in adverse circumstances. We see many who are all the time complaining about some thing or the other, even when they have more reasons to be happy with their life and luck! They have some crib or deficiency, real or imagined!

2. All the living beings want and wish to be happy always. To be eternally happy, one should either be in Heaven or attain to ‘Atma Gnana’. Atma or our real self is happiness personified. Upanishad says that, ‘this Atma is known to be happiness itself’, “…anandam brhma iti vyajananat…”. Once this fact is understood, one can never be unhappy. This is not the happiness experienced by sense organs or the mind. Beyond sensory perceptions and visualizations by the mind, it is the peak of certainty that, ‘I am not this mind, or this body, or ego or pride.’

3. Heaven is the place where one enjoys happiness by the mind and sensory perception for ever, sometimes always! Dance, music, company of celestial beings, goes on continuously there. It is the place of Kalpaka Vruksham and Kamadenu. Endless celebrations and pleasureful experiences are the order of the day there, every day! But there is a limit for all that, to the visitor. He cannot be there forever. Depending on the quantum of his good actions here, he can have varying time duration of stay in Heaven. Once your accumulated merit points have been catered for, you go back to squire one, to Bhu Lokam. That is if you have no demerit points. If you have accumulated them also, then you go to Narakam or Hell, to experience suitable punishments for your sins. If you have done a lot of Punyam, then you may become a Deva or celestial being by replacing someone there. So the permanent happiness of heaven too is only a relative term i.e., temporarily permanent.

4. (KTSV adds. :- Then there is also the concept that, Heaven and Hell are nowhere else, but here on earth. So, you do find poverty amidst plenty, cheerfulness and generousness amidst the poor and greed amongst the well to do rich.)

5. When the happiness is through the senses, it has to be from outside oneself. So what is out there in the world may not be retained with us all the time. So, some times it is gained or obtained and some time it is lost or not obtained. There have been occasions when Indra as the supreme Head of all celestials, has lost Kamadenu, the Cow of Beneficence, Kalpaka Vruksham the Tree of Largesse, Irravada the Mighty real white elephant and even his consort, Indrani, at some time or the other. So the happiness even in the Heavens is dependent on outside materials and that can never be eternal or permanent. The permanent happiness is only for that person, who has his mind fixed or riveted on the core of his being, without any consideration of out or in, up or down, right or left, beyond all differentiation! In this ocean of undiluted happiness of ‘Atmananda’, all that happiness that Indra as the Head of all Celestials is capable of, is only a drop, says Adi Sankara in Manisha Panchakam:- “…yat soukyambudi lesa lesata ime chakradayo nirvruta…”.

6. The Indriyas and Manas should be pulled out of the holding sheath, like grass is pulled out while removing the weeds. Then just be without a care in the world, says the Upanishad. For that, a lot of guts and courage is required. ‘This body is not me, I am not concerned with its thrills and sorrows.’ To say that is easy. But to be so, requires tremendous amount of will power, while still living in the mortal coil. This can never happen without clarity of the heart and mind. That clarity accrues through selfless service only. For that purpose only are all the Karma Anushtanas levied. The forty Samskaras have been evolved so as to, cleanse the individual mind through Veda Mantras and involve him in the connected activities. So, these are the leading initial steps towards ‘Jeevan Mukti’.

7. While doing these Karma Anushtanas, the aim of the aspirant should be to attain the ‘Chitta Suddhi’ or clarity of the mind that, ‘I am not the doer. The only Karta is God Himself. I am not this body, or ego or ahankara. I am as much part of this nature as all the countless life forms’. Thus through a constant and continuous analysis of, ‘Who am I? What is permanent and what is not?’ one should personally experience the answers to these questions, coming from within! Till the answers are experienced, the Karma Anushtanas must continue. If at all they come to a stand still, it should just happen so, without any intention on our part. If some one continues to do these Karmas till his death but fails to arrive at ‘Atma Vichara and Sannyasa’, such a person goes to Brhma Loka and attains to ‘Adwaita Mukti’, at the time of Maha Pralaya, says Adi Sankara. (You will see more of this idea in the subsequent talks on ‘Brhmacharyam’.) Instead, if one does these Karmas for the sake of accumulating merit points only, he can hope to attain to Devalokam or Heaven. This is not permanent. But is preferable to going astray. Attaining to Heaven or Kailasa or Vaikuntam is also through these Samskaras only.

8. If Heaven has only unadulterated happiness and this world is a mix of happiness and sadness, there has to be a place which is pure agony! That is Hell or Naraka. The sinner who has done a lot of ‘Papam’ in one life, goes to Hell and then after a period takes life again. Unlike the belief of other religions, neither Heaven nor Hell is for ever, as per the belief of the Hindu. Happiness and sorrow are like the two ends of a spectrum. If happiness and sadness can be compared to the range of temperature scale, the boiling point is Narak and the freezing point is Heaven and in the middle is the Earth. Between the two ends the gradations are many. Only that, there is no coldness at the boiling point and there is no heat at the freezing point! The higher worlds are a type. Indra’s Devalokam, Brhma’s Satyalokam, Vishnu’s Vaikuntam, Parameswara’s Kailasam. Upanishads puts them all together in one bracket as Brhmalokam. Puranas talk of each one separately. Down below also are many gradations of Atala, Sutala, and so on ending in Paataala. In between is the mixed world of this earth where, happiness and sadness, heat and cold are all there in varying degrees and combinations!

9. But, as per our Sastras, this Bhulokam is the best in comparison with all the celestial and nether worlds. From here one can go anywhere and this is the only place where one can exercise one’s options. If you go to Hell and find that the conditions are intolerable, you cannot run away from there in a trice. Dharma Raja would have clearly delineated the period of your stay. You have to suffer it till all your accumulated sins have been accounted for. If you go to Heaven and tell yourself that it is pleasant and think of extending your stay, no. The moment your merit points have been exhausted, pronto you will find yourself back on Earth! Only on Earth we have some freedom. We can do Punya or Paapa. You can use your hands for service and devotional activities or use it for huirting others or grabbing. By your tongue and mouth, we can do chanting and sing prayer songs or use it for cursing others. Each sensory organ can be put to ennobling or demeaning activities! The power is given to you and the choice is with you. God has given you both.

10. This freedom is not available in other worlds. If you were born as an animal, you cannot do punyam or paapam. Only human beings can do that. This is the ‘Karma Bhumi’. Other places are for us to reap the effects of our actions here. ‘To do’ is possible only here. That too only to the human being, since he has the capacity to think and differentiate between good and evil. All other life forms go by instinct. Man’s actions motivated by his Guna or character qualities, can enable him to progress or go astray. This freedom of choice is neither available in the other worlds nor available to other life forms! For those actions too there are restrictions on the place and timing. Some timings are forbidden and some places are taboo. Especially in Barathvarsha that is India , good Vaidik Karmas have to be done. At the right clean time and the right clean place, the right clean actions have to be done. We will go on to see, how?
(To be continued)


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