Meditations on Swadharma

The Dharma of Self is called Swadharma. It is our duty to first understand what our Swadharma is and then perform that Dharma to the best of our capabilities. However, there are some variations of Dharma that stands against Swadharma.

Swadharma

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Kinds of Kukarma

Vidharma is that Dharma that affects your Swadharma. For instance, let us say your Swadharma is to protect the citizens of the country as a Police Officer. If you always ask for a fee in order to do your Swadharma of questioning a person or filing an FIR, that corruption is called Vidharma. There are so many instances of Vidharma in our society that it is almost a fever of sorts. From the highest position of society to the lowest, Vidharma is to be expected in delivery of goods and services. It is present not just in Government Service, but also in most forms of business and even in domestic family life.

Paradharma is the act of making someone else do your Swadharma. Management Principles say Delegation is a good thing. But, it should be the right kind of delegation. Our core Swadharma can never be delegated to anyone else. It may be part of our Swadharma to perform our Sadhana. Say we are a singer or a musician. We cannot let another person do our practice sessions for us. We have to do them ourselves. If you become really famous and popular, you may get an assistant to maybe string your guitar or carry your drumsticks. Someone may choose your personal microphone as well. But, when it comes to practice and performance, it is upto you in order to perform your duty.

Dharmabhasam is that Dharma that does not agree with your respective Ashrama. Consider someone in Grihasta Ashrama who chooses not to work and perform economic activity in the name of religion and Dharma. Such a person is not engaging in the Dharma that is required of him. Or consider for instance, someone who needs to engage in his Vanaprasta Ashram still hankering behind Profits. That is a clear case of Dharmabhasam. Different phases of our life require different Dharma from us, depending on the stage of our life and stage of our personal evolution. Actions based on this wisdom is necessary in our lives.

Dharma, Earnings and Satisfaction

A being with absolutely no wealth should not find work just to sustain his body. He should learn to get satisfied by what money comes by chance. This statement of the Shastras do not agree with present day thought. But, take a deeper look. A lot of us take up whatever work that comes our way just to earn that salary. The result is a population of unsatisfied people who are not satisfied with the work that they do. Some people may find their Swadharma early in life. Some have to wait to identify their Swadharma. Such waiting is totally justified in the long term. Finding a Karma just to satisfy our most immediate need of money may not result in right consequences all the time.

The man who is content and satisfied with what he gets, and refuses to act out of desire is always fixed in Meditation of the everlasting Lord. “Stay Hungry.” “Desire More.” These are the subtle messages that are thrown out to us through popular media. There seems to be a culture of always wanting to raise our earning and styles forever today. Again, this culture and tendency hits our satisfaction levels very clearly. Nature has a way of providing what each being and living form needs. As a species, we are now disconnected from our natural selves which does not always act out of desire. Satisfaction is not a wrong thing to possess. Try acting satisfied for a change. See what comes from life then.

The souls who are satisfied by what comes with chance are like feet that are protected with shoes. Even though the planet is covered with stones and thorns, a good pair of shoes can keep our feet safe and happy. The world is filled with solutions to our most pressing problems. An attitude of letting the solutions reach us rather than us working too hard to create solutions can change a lot of things for ourselves.

Waking State, Dreaming State and Deep Sleep

There are essentially three states in us – the waking state, dreaming state and deep sleep. These are three manifestations of consciousness within us. By understanding the working of consciousness through these three states, we start to appreciate a lot about ourselves and the way we have been created in this universe.

states of consciousness

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19 Mouths and 7 Limbs

Our Individual Self is considered to have 19 mouths and 7 limbs in a poetic expressive manner. The 19 mouths are our 5 sense organs (Eyes, Ears, Taste, Touch, Smell), 5 action organs (Hands, Legs, Excretory Organ, Mouth, Reproductory Organ), 5 Vital Breath (Pana, Apana,  Udana, Samana, Vyana), Mind Intellect, Ego and Chitta. All of our experiences happens through these 19 means. There is no experiencing outside of these means.

The Seven Limbs of the Self are Effluent Region (Head), Sun (Eyes), Air (Vital Breath), Space (Middle Part of the Body), Water (Kidney), Earth (Feet) and Fire (Mouth). These “Limbs” also help us in experiencing the world that is around us. The Mandukya Upanishad claims it is these 19 mouths and 7 limbs that help us understand who we are and what is around us. To someone who does not understand the principle behind these concepts, such ideas may look far fetched.

Waking State

In the waking state, we use our 19 mouths very effectively. We sense the world around us using the sense organs and we act in that world using our action organs. Our most material life happens in this state. We recognise our possessions and relationships in this state of the consciousness. All our ambitions and aspirations for material wealth and positions stem from this state. This is the most familiar conscious state in our experience. All of science and progress are concentrated on the waking state. Also, we are most familiar with  the waking state. We can predict and control what we experience in the waking state. Any sense of power and influence over ourselves or over others happen in this state.

Our field of experience in the waking state is limited to our sense organs only. We chase behind objects of enjoyment, which results from satisfaction of sense organs in this state. Compared to the totality of experiences available in the universe, the sensory experiences that we enjoy is quite limited in many aspects. Yet, we are not able to move beyond the triviality of these senses.

Dreaming State

During the waking state, we collect a lot of information through our sense organs, action organs and mind faculty. These information collected during the waking state starts working in the subtle plane of dream state. Unlike the waking state, we have very little control of what we may experience in the dream state. There are practices like Lucid Dreaming where people bring control over their dreams. Yet, total control over what we could experience in our dreams is rare.

In the Dream state, we exercise our inner most mental pictures. Our subtle body captures a lot of information about us from the waking state and works itself out during the dream state. We do not dream totally unrelated things or in languages that we do not understand at all. There is often a lot of familiarity in the settings and environment in which we dream, as it is a subtle extension of our waking state.

We do not experience total bliss and peace in our dreaming state as well. We are not completely at rest when we dream. There is often movement of the body and reaction to stimuli in our dreams. People talk during sleep and even sleepwalk during the dreaming state.

Deep Sleep State

The deepest state of consciousness is the state of deep sleep. It is a completely joyful experience. We move beyond the gross objects of waking state and mental images of the dreaming state in deep sleep. Entire consciousness crystallises into one mass of awareness. Deep Sleep is considered as the pathway to true knowledge. Meditation is an attempt to recreate the deep sleep state in the waking state – when we detach ourselves from the gross objects and mental imagery of dreaming state.

Deep Sleep is a state of immense possibility. It is the closest state to ultimate bliss. In deep sleep, we experience our truest bliss. All forms of life enjoy true sleep, no matter how many times we have gone to sleep. Imagine listening to the same song everyday for 4 hours on loop. We may start losing taste for that track with time. Same is the case with food as well. The same food over and over again for a long period of time is not enjoyable. But, from birth to death, living forms never get tired of Deep Sleep.

A closer identification of our states of consciousness opens up a lot of possibility in understanding ourselves.

The Journey beyond Mind

The tragedies of our dreams disappear as soon as we wake up. However, when we are in the dreaming state, it feels like the sadness that exists will continue forever. Waking up provides a complete solution to all pleasures and pain in dreaming. Similarly, all pleasures and pain in one level of consciousness stop affecting us when we move to the next level of consciousness. The question here is what are we sleeping to? Even in our conscious states, we are dreaming at one level or other. There is an awakening that is required to rise over our little pleasures and pain that binds us.

jounrey of mind

(Image Credit: Nick Kenrick)

Control over the Mind

Meditation helps us control over mind. The constant chatter of the mind starts to reduce with power of meditation. The movement of the world outside does not affect us much with meditation. Most of us are controlled by the external world. Victory of our Sports Teams and Political Parties makes us happy whereas fall in stock prices and small dents in our cars disturb us.

The seeker who has attained control over her/ his mind will not be affected by factors that bother a being who lives in a lower level. Qualities such as desperation, depression and excitement over worldly issues do not exist for such a seeker. It may seem dull to a normal person or boring to an extent. However, such a state of living is a blessed way of living. We experience a more subtle level of life and are open to higher sustainable qualities.

The concept of creation is a mind phenomenon. The world around us really exists in our mind. Try  this experiment.  Look at a picture everyday for 10 minutes for 20 days. Even though it is the same picture, the images that appear in our mind are different each day. Our mind focuses on a different aspect of the picture on each instant. Our levels of focus will also be different each day. Each image that we see on these 20 days are created in our mind. The physical image only acts as a framework or a placeholder of sorts.

Look at our anger. When triggers of anger or discomfort arise around us, we participate in the pull of such triggers by becoming angry. Our physical bodies react by quick breathing and loud talking. There are emotional effects in us as well. In a few minutes, we are released from the maddening effects of anger. Anger wears off similar to the wearing off of a drug. We become normal again. In hindsight, this process of anger was a mind process. We chose to participate in the mind’s invitation of anger. Our control over consciousness was transferred momentarily to the mind and the damage to self is already done.

We create a world out of our conceptions and then get bound by that world. This is the play of the mind. As long as we are arrested by the mind, the ups and downs of the mind keep affecting us. When we move beyond the tackles of the mind, we reach our true state. At this state, we become one with nature itself. We are no longer living by the script of mind. There is nothing to accomplish or no one to please. We realise we are no different from the trees or birds. We realise we are same as the rivers, oceans and the clouds. We move beyond the concept of birth and death itself. Birth and death itself become phenomena in the play of nature.

Vedic Principles behind Wealth

Vedic teachers have pointed that desire for wealth is a blessing only when the individual has been educated to entertain noble qualities of head and heart, and the enduring values of the spirit. There is a lot of work that needs to be done on the Self before we can deserve wealth. Otherwise, we may not know how to view wealth in the right way. Unfortunately, we do not learn what these values are in our formative years. Instead, we see how wealth is seen as a power tool that increases the division between the haves and have nots.

rupee

(Image Credit: Miran Rijavec)

Qualities to Deserve Wealth

Wealth can be deserved by a person only when she/ he has full discrimination, good health, spirit of tolerance and great will of service. Discrimination is the true capacity to distinguish right from wrong. It is the power to understand good and evil. Discrimination is the ability to read people and circumstances in line with the scriptures. A lot of problems in the world is due to the poor discriminating skills among the rich and powerful. Look at Wars, Poverty, Corruption, Government Scams and such that is so common today. At the roots of most of these evils lies the lack of Viveka or Discrimination.

In the Kali Yuga, the man with wealth is considered wiser than the one with a pure intellect. A man with true wealth and intelligence may however realise the weakness of wealth induced illusion of wisdom. With such great powers, supreme tolerance is very relevant. Tolerance is not just allowing any unacceptable qualities and ideas pass through unchecked, but higher sense of wisdom in itself. For instance, tolerance towards disrespect to a being weaker than you are is not good. Or tolerance towards letting someone sleep hungry is again weak. However, tolerance towards listening to both sides of a religious debate is good. We can again see how tolerance has an element of discrimination in it.

A wealthy person without a spirit of service is a very unfortunate phenomenon. Wealth brings in a lot of possibilities. The unwillingness to exercise such possibilities through selfless service is to disrespect your wealth. Wealth can answer problems in health, education, hunger, child care and so many such challenges across the world. However, when we think only about our selfish needs and our own people alone, sense of service does not kick in.

Wealth in Wrong Hands

Wealth in the hands of unprepared intellects and uncultured hearts is not only suicidal to themselves, but also a threat to the very stability of society. Extravagance and exhibitionism starts with unprepared intellects. With arrival of money, if our first instincts are to buy material objects and comforts, we may defeat the very purpose of prosperity. Material goods of very high scale results in division within the minds of people. Feelings of envy and pride may arise within hearts of men with wealth. This does not always proceed in the right direction. Competition and Race also ensues with wealth in wrong hands.

Wise beings claim that there is enough resources in this planet for everyone to live comfortably and happily. Yet, why do global hunger and poverty rise? Why do the gap between the haves and have nots widen? These are very relevant questions to pose to the society. Is there a fundamental problem in the way we perceive money? Are we too personal and narrow visioned that we cannot see beyond our immediate selves and immediate family? Do we disconnect from the needs and the reality of the planet?

Means to an End

Wealth can be justified only by the mission it fulfills. It is seen more as a means to an end rather than the end itself. For instance, beings who work towards uplifting the society by building universities, reviving libraries, providing nutrition to children around the world, raising vegetables without pesticides and so on can justify the need for money. Such money has higher Karmic value than the kind of money that is used to buy your fourth house.

It is good to understand “Dharmic Economics” as well in addition to the Materialistic Economics that we are all familiar with.

Transformation through Bhakti

The Atman does not have any connection with the body. But, due to ignorance we get connected with the things that see around us. This connection binds us in a cycle of Samsara of birth, death, birth, death and again birth. Till the time we connect with things that we see around us, we are connected to the gross. This is like connecting to our dreams. The dreams are not real and they will disappear with waking up. We need to awaken ourselves from the dream that we are living into pure awareness in order to attain peace.

krishna

(Image Credit: Vrindavan Lila)

Awakening through Grace

In order to break the cycle of Samsara, one pointed devotion to Lord Vasudeva will help. So says Srimad Bhagavatam. The Lord is spread everywhere in the Universe. The Lord is Guru to entire Creation. We are born into the Lord and we die into the Lord. We are the Lord ourselves. But, we take time to realise this completely. Most of us take several lifetimes to reach this realisation. This is the greatest challenge of life – the Lord Realisation.

This devotion will lead us to detachment from the ephemeral and the arising of jnana within us. It is clearly visible that devotees are really a happy lot. The worldly difficulties do not bother them much when compared to others. There is an innate wisdom in people with devotion. Death, Loss, Fear and such qualities, which can derail people from their peace cannot touch true devotees. They have learned to rise above these facts.

Bhagavatam says the being who listens to stories of Lord Vasudeva and his Wisdom will soon melt in the Bhakti of the Lord. Such attention and interest in the Lord cleanses the mind. The cleansing further encourages the devotee to dive deeper into the Lord’s wisdom. Old habits and patterns dissolves off. Devotees get interested in higher ideals and truth. Selfless Service and simplicity takes a center stage in their lives. Where there are devotees of the Lord, there will be stories of the Lord that is spoken of.

Immunity of Devotees

The devotees who get totally immersed in Bhakti do not affected by Hunger, Thirst, Sadness or Desires. But, such devotees are very rare. Such a one pointed attention is the result of years of practice. Beings stuck in the effects of bad karmas of lifetimes get so immersed in the cycle of Kama, Krodha and Lobha (Desire, Anger and Greed) that they do not even develop interest in the stories of Lord. They are too distracted and drawn to the world that attention to the act of listening becomes too difficult.

The beginning of Bhakti sometimes starts with Vedic facts and truths. A seeker with an intellectual bend of mind needs something substantial to hold on to. There will be a lot of studying and discussions in such as case. They may pick a Mantra and through the Mantra start to visualise the Lord in a Physical Form. But, the concept of Lord does not have a form. The form is rather a representation used to fix the mind from being distracted.

With complete attention on Lord, we start to lose interest in the World and even the Vedas. An initial look at the Vedas may develop an interest in the rituals and yajnas prescribed the texts. These rituals are means to reach the Swarga Loka (Heaven). However, devotion is much more than reaching the pleasures of Heaven. It is a complete realisation of the Universe and Creation. A deeper look at the Vedas might however light up the route to this realisation itself, which is beyond the sense gratification of the Heavenly world.

Do not be Scared of Death

What will happen to a seeker travelling in the path of Self Realisation, in case death interrupts her/ him before reaching the goal? It is quite possible that our practices and learning will not complete in say 150 years. But, we do not live for 150 years. It takes a lot of good karma to start our practices in childhood. Often the induction of spirituality happens quite late in life. We do not have the luxury of time. This is one of the tragedies in the route of Self Realisation – the sheer lack of time.

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(Image Credit: Sara Biljana Gaon)

It is also possible that life circumstances may distract us from our vision of the Self Realisation goal. We may come across criticism of the Scriptures or Religion itself. We may get convinced that all this effort is rather a waste of time. In such case, what happens to all our efforts so far? Do “God get angry with us”?

Everlasting Path of Yoga

The being travelling in the path of Yoga has no destruction in this world or the next. Even small investments done in this path is valid towards the realisation of our final life goals. Karmas are always adding up. Good Karma will not go unyielded. There may not be immediate results which becomes visible soon after actions are performed. Yet, there will be union with the absolute for actions performed with the right intention. This union is Yoga.  

Life has no end. The perishing of our physical bodies with death does not end life as it is. A close understanding of the laws of life and system of universe shows that our individual lives in our delicate bodies is rather a blip in the endless stream of infinity called life itself. Yet, this simple blip is so powerful and potent that its significance cannot be ignored. Life presents us numerous such blips as several births, some in human form, to realise ourselves – to wake up from the constant distractions that the world provides us and look at life itself. This life has not changed from the beginning.

Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Prophet Mohammed and all our Masters had access to this pure life form. Even we are living in this life form. It is all around us. But, we do not know how to look at this life. In fact, all of us are looking at this life. But, we have to remove the cloth covering our eyes to really perceive it. Our conditioning and thought pattern gathered over lifetimes manifest itself as a veil of ignorance over our eyes. A Master can easily see this cloth that we wear over our eyes and take this blind off us.  

Movement of Time

The Present is a child of Past. Our present day knowledge and intentions shape our Future. It is common experience that a change in our attitudes and perceptions can change our future. This forms the basis of Law of Attraction. Think good thoughts and see those thoughts materialising as our experience. An attraction for quest of truth and subtlety of life will reveal the secrets of life. An attraction for money, power and lust fuels greed and dissatisfaction in us. Look at the beings who have manifested the maximum power and money among us. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are working to raise the frequency of the world by sharing knowledge, insights and wealth with us. Probably they have worked out the good karmas of their past lives and are working their good karmas right now. Yogis may appear among us as rich and powerful people as well.

Even if Sadhana breaks or death interrupts, life does not get destroyed. We continue our work from where we left and carry on with our tasks. This law is so simple and direct. Some of us are so attracted to truth and wisdom from a very young age itself. Some of us come in touch with Yogis and Gurus as part of our family culture in our formative years. This is due to our associations with lofty beings in our previous lifetimes. It may so happen that we only sow our seeds of spirituality this birth. But, we will come across our Gurus in the future.

May we carry on with our work this life. We will have our grand party soon. 🙂

Dharma of Speaking in an Assembly

Tirukkural talks in depth about the value of speaking and the manner of speaking in a King’s court. In the present world, we may not always walk into a King’s court. But, we do come across many instances of Assemblies. These Assemblies may look like Offices, Clubs, Gatherings, Classrooms and such. Such gatherings have a Dharma of their own and a quality of people who attend. The first step of any person who walks into a crowd is to realise the behaviour of that crowd. Is it a knowledgeable crowd or one who is not interested in knowledge at all? Before uttering the first word, gauge the level of the crowd.

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Clarity of Speech

The Being who realises the value of words should speak only after thinking very well. Completely realise who is in the crowd first. Speak with good clarity of words and purity of grammar. One of the most important dharma of education is to instill the practice of expressing oneself clearly. Jnanis never speak words without meaning. They do engage in small talk. But, small talk is never extended just for the sake of mouthing words. We experience small talk to such an extent today that it is painful to bear the sheer waste of time and energy.

Respect the Assembly

The one who speaks without knowing the court does not understand the dharma of speaking. They do not have any insights whatsoever. People who speak without understanding the Assembly will face insult. The court does not gain anything as well. Such people are ignorant about the world as well. It is unfortunate that we come across people who enter the highest of Assemblies like Political Parliaments who fail to respect such Assemblies. In the olden times, no one would have dared to speak a wrong word in front of the King.

In front of knowledgeable beings, show your insights. However, Tirukkural says it is best to act unintelligent in front of people who lack insights themselves. Some beings are just not fit to receive any true knowledge. We can see teachers and preachers trying to speak to people who are too violent or worldly about detachment and such principles. But, such words of quality falls like grain on rocks. Such grains will not sprout. It is sad, but true.

When faced with jnanis, it is best not to speak before they speak. Do not speak between their words as well. It takes a lot of good karma to reach a jnani first of all. When we come across the good fortune where the jnani communicates with us, respect that and relish that with silence.

Recognising a Jnani

Only a jnani can recognise another jnani. The words of a being who realises the truth will be appreciated only a jnani. Talking to an Assembly of jnanis and those who aspires to reach jnana is like watering a plant that is growing on its own. There is a lot of good that can come out of that exercise. But. talking to a crowd of fools about high values is like watering a rocky barren land. You may only waste that water without reaping those benefits. The discrimination to recognise a jnani and a fool is vital for those who wishes to grow.

It is best to speak only to those who share your values or are much above you. Else, shame and insult will be the only result.

True Power that Arises from Love

Love has an everlasting quality to itself. True Love is immortal. It does not know Age, Time or Gender. True Love does not want to possess anything. It does not control anything. Love is a natural flow of Nature. We still remember Jesus Christ, Buddha and Rama. But, we do not remember the “Powerful” Cruel Kings from those times. The Love that these Masters poured into the world was filled with so much potence. This Love will last till humanity lasts on this planet.

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Love that Raises Man

Love that raises people is a very special kind of love. It does not hold any conditions. Beings on the receiving end of such love become fulfilled and powerful enough to raise others that come in contact with them. Material benefits from delivery of love is not considered at all. No material benefits can match the natural return of such love. But, love that we see in movies and novels come from a possessive place. We want to own the one that we love. Also, no one else should love the person that we love. Love that goes out to everyone is seen as almost perverted. One man can love only love one woman and vice versa. A man cannot say Love to another man, as that will be seen in a wrong light. Love between adults is considered in a sexual way. This is a very unfortunate state of affairs that the world has come to today.

Consider the Love that you may have for Sunrise. We do not want to own the Sunrise in any way. We do not wish to take the Sun home with us. Maybe we may take a photograph and frame it in our living room. But, the framed photograph has no quality as the real magic that takes place in the sky. Sunrise is fresh everytime. We never feel we have seen all kinds of sunrise that ever existed. A human who chooses to watch the Sunrise every single day has a particular quality about her/ him. Hundred years of watching the Sunrise daily still evokes more promise of freshness. That is the quality of Love. It is eternally fresh. We never get bored of Love. It is beyond the senses and intellect.

The Corrupted Power

Imagine a tyrant leader. Such a leader does not hold back in resorting to cruelty in order to exercise his power. History is full of such Kings and Nobles who ruled over people using an iron hand. Fear is the key ingredient of their rule. Such fear based rule cannot last forever. There will always be someone who is more powerful and more influential that may come to defeat such a King. Also, if the influence of the fearful King reduces due to economic or military reasons, people may choose to revolt and even execute that leader. Mostly history itself is rewritten to erase the memory of such a leader from long term memory.

Look at Mughal History and consider the memory of Akbar and Aurangzeb. Even though Aurangzeb had more power and better army, India remembers Akbar more fondly. India remembers Ashoka with a lot of respect after his actions post the Kalinga war. Today even Mahatma Gandhi has risen to the status of a truly inspiring leader all over the world due to his vision of love and nonviolence. A world that carries the after effects of terrorism and subjugation looks forward to the message of love and compassion from rich cultures such as India.  

Love that comes from Wisdom and Learning of Scriptures have a deeper quality to it. This love is beyond conditions and restrictions. There is Space in this love to grow and discover the Self. Love of this quality does not distinguish between good and bad. All of Nature recognises such Love. Look at Dogs and Cats at our homes. Look at trees and the ocean. Look at birds. This quality of love is very visible in them. There is great allowing to be yourself.

What is the quality of your love?

Mind: The Biggest Enemy

Our Biggest Enemy is the Mind. It is the closest entity that we have to ourselves, even though Mind does not carry a shape or quality that can be perceived by our senses. The mind constantly watches us from birth till the end. It keeps distracting us and confusing us from reaching our life goals and binds us to the Samsara of Life and Death for lifetimes together. The right understanding and vision can help break the spell of Mind and allow us to emerge successfully from Maya – the illusion created by Mind. Devotion is the greatest means in Kali Yuga to finally emerge successfully from the Mind Prison.

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(Image Credit: Craig Sunter)

Spell of the Gunas

Mind is constantly keeping score of our Gunas – Sat, Rajas and Tamas. Even Satguna can be detrimental to our progress, although we consider Goodness to be a very great ideal to look up to. Our Gunas are our ticket to coming lifetimes. It does not break the cycle of rebirths, life and death. A lot of Vedic Karmas and Sattvic Gunas may yield us a birth among the Devas or highly evolved human beings. But, it is still not liberation. On the other hand, a life spent in Rajasic and Tamasic qualities may push us to Animal births or among unfortunate humans, where life can be a huge struggle.

The lightest of realisation which helps us know where we are and what we are may help us raise from life challenges. The truth that leads us to the realisation and the experience that awakens us to evolution may be so simple and easy. But, the grace that allows us to step into such a seeing may take time to really reach us. Devotion is the most potent route to reach that goal in the present Kali Yuga.

Constant Chase

The behaviour of Mind is one of constant chasing. In the waking state, the mind chases after material possessions and positions. In the dream state, we chase after subtler objects. When we wake up from our sleep, we realise the subtle objects that we chased after in our dreams were not real. Shastras say that our waking state is also not that different from sleep. All that is required is to awaken from this “waking sleep”. It is quite possible that we have been sleeping through lifetimes of centuries. Once we awaken ourselves, we are no longer slaves of Mind, but Masters of our thoughts and actions.

11 Vehicles of Mind

There are 11 vehicles that Mind travels through. These are the 11 core routes that mind catches us with. Awakened beings realise the value of these 11 routes and maintain high alert with respect to what travels through these vehicles.

  1. Intellect or Consciousness
  2. Smell
  3. Sight
  4. Taste
  5. Touch
  6. Sound (2 to 6 through Jnana Indriyas – Sense Organs)
  7. Excretory Organs
  8. Sexual Organs
  9. Feet
  10. Hands
  11. Spoken Word (7 to 11 through Karma Indriyas – Action Organs)

Omnipresence of Atman

We realise that Air is present everywhere on this planet. It is outside of us in the atmosphere and inside of us as well in our lungs and our blood. This Air makes inanimate bodies come to life. In fact, the Atman (The Self) is much more subtler than Air itself that causes life to be. Atman does not participate in life by listening to our minds or enhancing our desires. Atman exists as the root of everything without favouring or pushing anyone.

Till beings realise Atman within us and melt in its silence, they reincarnate as many times as required in human form and otherwise. The biggest hindrance to Atman Realisation is the Mind that creates feeling of “I” and “Mine”. It creates the distinction that something needs to be done and something else should not be done. It is this that creates greed and want. It is Mind that creates competition within us.  

Warning Signs of a Weak King

Valmiki Ramayana mentions Red Flags of a King or a Leader. There are a lot of warning signs for a King that he must be cognizant about. These particular Red Flags are mentioned by Shoorpanakha to Ravana in Aranya Kanda Chapter 33 of Valmiki Ramayana. It is interesting that even negative characters in the Epic comes forward with a lot of wisdom. We could assume it is Valmiki that is talking through Shoorpanakha to readers like us about values and qualities that we must maintain. The colourfulness of characters and storyline takes a back seat in Indian Wisdom, once the Principles that readers need to understand assume importance.

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(Image Credit: Daniel Guerrero)

Mountain Under the Ocean

There are Kings who bring in a lot of material progress. But the Leader who cannot bring his people under control and help his nation will be doomed. For instance, there are lands that are naturally endowed with a lot of natural resources or situated in key trade routes. Such lands may attract wealth automatically. There need not be a lot of strategy from the King to bring progress. But, if the King himself is not recognised by the people in that country, there is something wrong with such a Leader.

It is necessary that great Kings and Leaders are acknowledged by the people of that country. The King who does not command respect and awe is like a mountain under the sea. Even though the mountain is tall and great, no one even knows about its existence. History is full of Kings who have inherited great nations from their forefathers and failed to maintain the glory. The example of Mughal Leaders after Aurangzeb who lost out completely to the Western forces in spite of their great lineage will not be forgotten soon.

The Indulgent One

There is no one who could order a King. The ultimate Autonomy bestowed on such an individual may backfire, especially in the case of people with a weak character. One of the greatest challenges of a great leader is indulgence. With a never ending flow of alcohol, drugs, women and expensive toys, a playful King needs to be super aware and careful.

A leader who cannot keep away from his stable of supercars and access to finest cocaine will not see the dangers that stare him in the face. Often people from within the kingdom may start a revolt or move to remove the leader. Even in today’s political and business regimes, we can see the downfall of indulgent leaders. The glamour of leadership and exciting celebrations are not everlasting entities. People are always watching and observing those in power. One careless move may result in very wrong results.

The Lazy and Irresponsible One

The Leader who does not perform his duties at the right time will be destroyed. In our society, hard work is regarded well. But the timing of efforts is a result of wisdom. The King who is able to identify the right time of execution is a wise one. However, lack of wisdom will yield bad consequences as well. The King who does not care about his finances, spies, justice and influence is bound to fail. The health of finances and justice of a kingdom is the result of a lot of consultations with ministers and wise people. They are team efforts which comes from serious study and experience. A King who is not ready to put in the efforts to understand this closely may perish with time.

Behaviour and Attitude Traits

A childish leader who cannot stay still and stay grounded is bound to fail. There is a quality of maturity that is expected from every leader. It is true that all leaders may not have all the answers all the time. But, the willingness to be patient and optimistic about the answers that may arise is important. A leader who rises above his childish qualities of anger, demands and impatience will find glory.

We can see that great leaders are evolved beings in many respects. They are able to be detached and responsible at the same time. They have come beyond the challenges of human issues and face situations with courage and intelligence. From a affairs of a simple family to the leadership of developed nations, Kingly qualities of Leaders speak a lot about them.