Religious or Secular? Which act is Superior?

July 9, 2013 Comments Off on Religious or Secular? Which act is Superior?

The formula for doing activities, Geeta says, is dropping sanga, attachment, and keeping the mind equal and impartial towards the object-results. If this principle is adopted, then it will apply to all actions, worldly and religious alike. Karmas are the same, when viewed thus. In religious work, your own limbs, mouth, mind and intelligence are employed.
In secular activities also, the same factors alone are involved. If both involvements can be oriented the same way, can either be different from the other, or one be more sacrosanct than the other? Both activities are equally binding or contaminating, or can be equally elevating. The elevating note does not lie in the kind of activities as such, but in the manner in which they are pursued and taken in.
Where is then any superiority for religious work? How can any inferiority be adduced to worldly work? Did not Arjuna fight the battle, as he would have done any religious rite? His battle was not a mere physical activity, as he had conceived it first. It became a full-fledged vicara saadhana itself!
Think well. What Arjuna did not acquire in the 13 years of his austere forest and incognito life, he gained just by the Geeta discussion and dialogue. And what kind of activity was the Geeta discussion? How do you rate it, categorize it?
That is how Krishna has stressed in the 3rd chapter, that all actions done as an asakta, become a full yajna. And such yajna leads one to the Supreme (3.19). Even the rituals and ceremonies have to be done with the same asakti. If the asakti part is thus what makes one’s actions in any field religious or worldly, pure or holy, then can preference in one be justified? Think about it well.
In the 18th chapter, Arjuna raises the question. Are yajna, daana and tapas to be done or not? What purpose do they serve? Krishna says, when these too are done without sanga, then they conduce to purity of mind and sublimation. But the other actions too when done with asakti will lead to purity. The sanga part is what makes your actions contaminated and desecrating. So can we look at any religious exercises or routines with any special relevance? Is not transforming every action to become pure and sublime, the only factor called for?
Look at the sloka 18.6 (of Bhagavadgeeta). Krishna’s formula is to take away the idea of restricting religiousness to particular acts, and implant it in everything and all. He stresses purifying the whole of one’s life and actions. In fact, the sole emphasis of the Geeta discussion is on eliminating undue preference towards religious rituals, and extending the sense of religiosity to everything and all in life. Only then, the spiritual mission will be fulfilled. Whatever religiousness remains, let it, as a character or feature of the person, depending upon his birth, growth and habits.
So a critical evaluation of the rituals and ceremonies, as is done in the Upanishadic discussions, cannot be avoided. In fact, this alone brings the required change in the seeker. And from there alone he can take up his real seeking and saadhana. Reflect more. Do not leave. Be studious. – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[An extract from a correspondence of Poojya Swamiji published in the April 2001 issue of Vicharasethu.]
(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012



Presence Of Mind

May 28, 2013 Comments Off on Presence Of Mind

Just reflect for a while when you have failed in an attempt. Try to be more careful in the next attempt. Try to remove those factors that led you to fail previously. Fortify yourself now. Be careful and vigilant. Be active and nimble as the squirrel. Be quick and at the same time be capable and efficient. Do not commit mistakes.

Call forth all your latent energies or dormant faculties. When the house is on fire – how alert you are. How skilfully and promptly you act at that particular moment. You do not know where the power and the energy are flowing from at that time. You are fully concentrated. You contrive by skilful methods, then and there, to save your property and the lives of those dwelling in the house. You do marvellous actions and then, when the difficulty is over you say that some mysterious `power of God’ has worked through you!

Always cut the Gordian knot at once. Do not waste time. When once you have resolved on a definite line of action, carry it out dexterously, with a cool and calculating deliberation and consideration. Procrastination is the thief of time. One who procrastinates can never succeed in life, or in any of his undertakings.

The vast majority of persons, even so-called `educated’ people, have no definite aim in life. They drift here and there like a log of wood on a restless ocean. They do not know what to do. After finishing their B.A. or M.A. courses students do not know how to proceed. They do not have power of judgment to select any good vocation that is suitable to their temperament, that will bring them prosperity in life. They become lazy. They are not suitable for any kind of speculative business or any kind of activity demanding knack, pluck and skill.

In persons of this sort, those who waste their time and energy, they finish their life’s career in gloom, despair and sorrow. The energy, the intellect are there but they have no ideal, no clear-cut programme of life. Their life is a failure.

Clearly understand the purpose of life. Then chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. Live up to your ideal. You can realise the ideal right now, this very second. But if you walk with faltering steps it will take ten years. The ideal must be there and then you can develop your will. – Swami Sivanada

What can I do faced with this colossal machine?

March 15, 2013 Comments Off on What can I do faced with this colossal machine?

Then there is the fundamental question of man’s relationship to man. This relationship is society, the society which we have created through our envy, greed, hatred, brutality, competition and violence. Our chosen relationship to society, based on a life of battle, of wars, of conflict, of violence, of aggression, has gone on for thousands of years and has become our daily life, in the office, at home, in the factory, in churches. We have invented a morality out of this conflict, but it is no morality at all, it is a morality of respectability, which has no meaning whatsoever. You go to church and love your neighbor there and in the office you destroy him. When there are nationalistic differences based on ideas, opinions, prejudices, a society in which there is terrible injustice, inequality -we all know this, we are terribly aware of all this- aware of the war that is going on, of the action of the politicians and the economists trying to bring order out of disorder, we are aware of this. And we say, ‘What can we do?’ We are aware that we have chosen a way of life that leads ultimately to the field of murder. We have probably asked this, if we are at all serious, a thousand times but we say ‘I, as a human being, can’t do anything. What can I do faced with this colossal machine?’When one puts a question to oneself such as ‘What can I do?’ I think one is putting the wrong question. To that there is no answer. If you do answer it then you will form an organization, belong to something, commit yourself to a particular course of political, economic, social action; and you are back again in the same old circle in your particular organization with its presidents, secretaries, money, its own little group, against all other groups. We are caught in this. ‘What can I do?’ is a totally wrong question, you can’t do a thing when you put the question that way. But you can, when you actually see (as you see the microphone and the speaker sitting here) actually see that each one of us is responsible for the war that is going on in the Far East, and that it is not the Americans, nor the Vietnamese, nor the Communists, but you and I who are responsible, actually, desperately responsible for what is going on in the world, not only there but everywhere. We are responsible for the politicians, whom we have brought into being, responsible for the army which is trained to kill, responsible for all our actions, conscious or unconscious. – JKrishnamurti, Talks in Europe 1968, Social Responsibility

There is no fear in abstraction

March 15, 2013 Comments Off on There is no fear in abstraction

We are all afraid about something; there is no fear in abstraction, it is always in relation to something. Do you know your own fears- fear of losing your job, of not having enough food or money, or what your neighbours or the public think about you, or not being a success, of losing your position in society, of being despised or ridiculed- fear of pain and disease, of domination, of never knowing what love is or of not being loved, of losing your wife or children, of living in a world that is like death, of utter boredom, of not living up to the image others have built about you, of losing your faith-all these innumerable other fears, do you know your own particular fears? And what do you usually do about them? You run away from them, don’t you, or invent ideas and images to cover them? But to run away from fear is only to increase it. – JKrishnamurti, Freedom from the Known,41

When you do not get what you want

March 15, 2013 Comments Off on When you do not get what you want

Have you observed what happens to you when you are denied a little pleasure? When you don’t get what you want you become anxious, envious, hateful. Have you noticed when you have been denied the pleasure of drinking or smoking or sex or whatever it is-have you noticed the battles you go through? And all that is a form of fear, isn’t it? You are afraid of not getting what you want or of losing what you have. When some particular faith or ideology which you have held for years is shaken or torn away from you by logic or life, aren’t you afraid of standing alone? – JKrishnamurti, Freedom from the Known,3

Transformation Without Motivation

January 28, 2013 Comments Off on Transformation Without Motivation

How am I to transform? I see the truth—at least, I see something in it—that a change, a transformation, must begin at a level that the mind, as the conscious or the unconscious, cannot reach, because my consciousness as a whole is conditioned. So, what am I to do? I hope I am making the problem clear? If I may put it differently, Can my mind, the conscious as well as the unconscious, be free of society?—society being all the education, the culture, the norm, the values, the standards. Because if it is not free, then whatever change it tries to bring about within that conditioned state is still limited, and therefore no change at all.

So, can I look without any motive? Can my mind exist without any incentive, without any motive to change or not to change? Because any motive is the outcome of the reaction of a particular culture, is born out of a particular background. So, can my mind be free from the given culture in which I have been brought up? This is really quite an important question. Because if the mind is not free from the culture in which it has been reared, nurtured, surely the individual can never be at peace, can never have freedom. His gods and his myths, his symbols, and all his endeavors are limited, for they are still within the field of the conditioned mind. Whatever efforts he makes, or does not make, within that limited field, are really futile in the deepest sense of that word. There may be a better decoration of the prison, more light—more windows, better food—but it is still the prison of a particular culture.  – JKrishnamurti,The Book of Life – October 30

The One Who Is Alone Is Innocent

December 5, 2012 Comments Off on The One Who Is Alone Is Innocent

One of the factors of sorrow is the extraordinary loneliness of man. You may have companions, you may have gods, you may have a great deal of knowledge, you may be extraordinarily active socially, talking endless gossip about politics – and most politicians gossip anyhow – and still this loneliness remains. Therefore, man seeks to find significance in life and invents a significance, a meaning. But the loneliness still remains. So can you look at it without any comparison, just see it as it is, without trying to run away from it, without trying to cover it up, or to escape from it? Then you will see that loneliness becomes something entirely different.
We are not alone. We are the result of a thousand influences, a thousand conditionings, psychological inheritances, propaganda, culture. We are not alone, and therefore we are secondhand human beings. When one is alone, totally alone, neither belonging to any family, though one may have a family, nor belonging to any nation, to any culture, to any particular commitment, there is the sense of being an outsider – outsider to every form of thought, action, family, nation. And it is only the one who is completely alone who is innocent. It is this innocency that frees the mind from sorrow.
– JKrishnamurti, from:The Book of Life – December 5

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