नामुत्र हि सहायार्थं पिता माता च तिष्ठतः । न पुत्रदारं न ज्ञातिर्धर्मस्तिष्ठति केवलः ॥ २३९ ॥
nāmutra hi sahāyārthaṃ pitā mātā ca tiṣṭhataḥ | na putradāraṃ na jñātirdharmastiṣṭhati kevalaḥ || 239 ||
The Manu Smriti tells us: namutra hi sahayartham pita mata ca tisthatah. na putradarah na jnatih dharmas tisthati kevalah. “When you depart from this world, your father will not come with you, your mother will not come with you, your brother will not come, your sister will not come, your husband will not come, your wife will not come, your children will not come, your money will not come, and even your body will not come with you.”
Then what will come with you? The verse mentions that your spiritual merit alone accompanies you.
Everything else remains here – life goes on, the assets that we accumulate pass on to the next generation, or wither away. How many of us can recall (or even know) the names of our great-great grandparents, and their parents? Even our names will be forgotten within 2-3 generations, and that is the truth.
How we live everyday counts – not towards any credit that we can cash out on when we depart, but towards our growth now.
Raja Yoga, or अष्टाङ्ग (Ashtanga Yoga), is an 8-fold path followed as a discipline in Yoga. Ashta is eight, and anga means limbs.
The eight limbs of yoga are: yama, niyama, āsana, prānāyāma, pratyāharā, dhāranā, dhyāna, and samādhi.
Yama and niyama are codes of ethical behaviour and restraint. Yama is ethical behaviour, and niyama is the self-discipline that follows our ethical behaviour. For example, to practice ahimsā, or non-violence (yama), one has to practice santoshā, or contentment. The desire to harm usually comes from discontent, doesn’t it? Without going into too much detail at present, let me just say that as good conduct and restraint are the foundations of any moral society, the practice of yamas and niyamas gives a foundation to the journey of yoga.
Āsanā is the third limb of yoga, one that is the ‘most popular’ and has off late become the face of yoga practice. While āsanās are important, over-reliance on postures without understanding (or working towards) the larger goal merely reduces this powerful practice to a sequence of twists and stretches.
Life is all about choices. From the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to bigger decisions such as the career we choose, to where we live, even our life partners. It is said that we humans are the only beings on the planet who can make a conscious choice – who can think, evaluate a situation and then arrive at a decision. But how many of us truly make conscious choices?
You are browsing Zomato to look for options for dinner tonight. As you scroll through, images of succulent burgers and cheese-filled ‘delicious’ pizzas waltz by. An occasional healthy bowl of salad drops in, but you quickly pass it, since today is a ‘cheat-day’. A burger it is!
These seemingly innocent options may just give you an introduction to Preya and Shreya.
The Kaṭhopaniṣad (Katha Upanishad) says that the human body is like a chariot drawn by five horses, which represent the five senses of sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch. We run behind what appeals to these senses, for short-term gratification. This is preya. Attractive, delicious, much like that juicy burger that you got tempted to order. Shreya, on the other hand, is not as appealing, but is good for you – gives you long-term benefits (like the salad you passed by).
Eknath Easwaran describes preya as ‘the passing pleasure that seems pleasing to the senses but soon fades into it’s opposite, is what we choose when we indulge in injurious physical habits or retaliate against others. Shreya, the good that leads to lasting welfare for the whole, is what we choose by cultivating healthy habits…by putting the happiness of those around us first.’
Krishna Janmashtami, also known simply as Janmashtamior Gokulashtami, is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.It is observed according to Hindu luni-solar calendar, on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) in Shraavana of the lunar Hindu Calendar and Krishna Paksha in Bhadrapad of the lunisolar Hindu Calendar, which overlaps with August and September of the Gregorian calendar.
School children dressed as Hindu Lord Krishna take part in a function held ahead of “Janamashtmi” celebrations in the southern Indian city of Chennai, August 8, 2012. Janamashtmi is the birth anniversary of Lord Krishna which will be celebrated on August 10. REUTERS/Babu (INDIA – Tags: RELIGION SOCIETY ANNIVERSARY)
It is an important festival particularly to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism.Dance-drama enactments of the life of Krishna according to the Bhagavata Purana(such as Rasa lila or Krishna Lila), devotional singing through the midnight when Krishna was born, fasting (upavasa), a night vigil (ratri jagaran), and a festival (mahotsava) on the following day are a part of the Janmashtami celebrations. It is celebrated particularly in Mathura and Vrindavan, along with major Vaishnava and non-sectarian communities found in Manipur, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and all other states of India.
Krishna Janmashtami is followed by the festival Nandotsav, which celebrates the occasion when Nanda Baba distributed gifts to the community in honour of the birth.
The International Yoga Day is celebrated worldwide on 21st June.
I will be posting a series of asanas to help get you started! The first of the series is Dhyana – also called meditation. An integral part of the Ashtanga Yoga ( 8 steps) of Patanjali, Dhyana brings a calmness to the mind, and helps one look inward, seeking the Atman, or Self. Try this for at least 10 minutes each day to begin with.
Preferable before sunrise, but if you can’t wake so early, anytime on an empty stomach is fine.
PANCHAGNI VIDYA, the Theory of the Five Fires, is central to the understanding of the laws of the Universe.
The CHHANDOGYA UPANISHAD lays down a unique template which maps out each activity in the Universe through the prism of chants. The term CHHANDOGYA is etymologically derived from CHHANDA (poetic metre). Even as it presents a five-to-seven fold chant structure, through which all human and natural phenomena are seen, the CHHANDOGYA, at another level, goes deep into the metaphysical dimension of the empirical world.
The doctrine of PANCHAGNI through the story of Svetaketu, the highly learned and educated son of Sage Uddalaka, who, in the course of his travels, turns up at the court of king Pravahana Jaivali. Having welcomed the learned young man, the King poses some questions to Svetaketu to comprehend how much the young man has learned.
His first question, “Do you know where mortals go to after death ?” perplexes Svetaketu, who is at a loss for words. The second question, “Do you know from where people come when they are reborn ?” confuses Svetaketu. The third and fourth question, “Are you aware of the two paths through which the soul ascends ?” and “What is the reason this world is able to contain so many people yet not overflow ?” further stumps the young scholar.
The last question, “Are you aware of the Five oblations that are offered, and how the fifth as water / liquid becomes a human ?” leaves Svetaketu at his wit’s end. He realises that there are fundamental principles of which he is unaware. So he turns to his father, but he too has no insight into such matters. His father turns to the King for answers.
The King initiates Sage Uddalaka into the principal of the Five Fires, in which the COSMOS / SKY is in itself metaphorically seen as a great altar, into which the fuel of the burning sun is offered, from which rises the moon. The Upanishad lays down this as the first Fire stating that all existence follows this cycle of fire. The next altar is of CLOUDS, where the fuel is the air from which arises rain.
The third altar is EARTH, where the fuel is time, from which arises food. The fourth altar is MAN, where the fuel is food, from which arises semen (seed). The fifth and last altar is WOMAN, to who the seed is offered as oblation, and from whence arises the foetus.
The CHHANDOGYA views Creation at all levels as a sort of YAJNA (sacrifice), where every activity is interconnected. The birth of a child is not just a simple outcome between man and woman. The CHHANDOGYA states that the child is conceived from every cell of the universe, and this prompts us to look beyond the obvious, to delve deep into the
fundamentals of whatever we see, hear or touch.
TAT TVAM ASI is the grand chant of the CHHANDOGYA, the MAHAVAKYA that each of us COMES FROM and ARE that Self, the ATMAN, nothing less. ———
When people are able to connect to the Divine and to benefit from Divine Grace in their endeavours, the mind gets perplexed as to what it should ask for.
In the Bhagawad Gita, Lord Krishna says that devotees worship him for different reasons-some people only want worldly possessions, power or relief from illness. There are others who want to understand the mystery of the Cosmos. And finally there are those who remember the Divine out of sheer affection. Lord Krishna states further that He loves all devotees and fulfils their wishes in different ways, but the ones who pray to Him just for the sake of love are closest to His heart.
In the Ramayana, when Kevat ferried Lord Rama across the Ganga, He offered Kevat a precious ring in return for his service. But Kevat was enlightened and knew that there was something far more precious that Lord Rama could bestow upon him. So he prayed that in return for his service, he may be freed from the cycle of birth and death and be granted eternal devotion. An overwhelmed Lord Rama accepted Kevat’s request.
According to Sri Aurobindo, the only way to this realisation is through self-unification and evolution. Sri Aurobindo saw the self as consisting of the physical or body, the vital or emotions, the mental or reason and cognition and the psychic or the dynamic representation of Atman.
Often the voices of the physical, vital and reason are so dominant that they bind us in a false identity and we often express ourselves through this falsehood. The psychic voice is a very faint one, but when we neglect it, it gives us a sense of unease. We should let our physic see all our parts, movements, thoughts, emotions, desires and will and then accept only that which takes us close to the Divine.