Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where to find happiness?

24-7-2007 11:25 a.m. IST

All creatures of God want happiness -- defined in their own terms, according to their instincts, acquired knowledge and experience.

Why? -- because we are all creation of God and desire to be with Him --- He, Who is infinite happiness incarnate --- a happiness and joy that can be felt by a pure mind of a child. That is why God is called 'Sat chit anand'. (More on this later!)

Where to find happiness?

We search for it in our close relationships of parents, spouse, friends, material belongings, etc. But more often than not, it is either a reducing happiness or just a passing phase (not lasting long enough).

For example, if I bought a car (or a house, or any such material possession), I am too excited and happy on getting it, slightly less the next day, even lesser with each passing day, till it looks outdated and a burden after some time.

Yes, when I go to a place of scenic beauty, a joy that fills up my existence does make me happy -- whenever I recall that experience.

For example, if I go to Darjeeling and watch outbreak of dawn from Tiger Peak. I enjoy the tall trees surrounding me and sun rising amidst snow capped mountains. It is as if liquid gold is pouring into a silver bowl. This happiness is definitely of a superior quality than the joy of possessing a car; also this lasts longer. (Label it 'Scenario 1')

Let us see what happens if the above example is repeated ('Scenario 2') with me having a severe headache. The liquid gold will pour into the silver bowl but I would not enjoy the experience.

Also if ('Scenario 3') I have to rush back immediately since a near and dear one is on deathbed, I still do not enjoy the liquid gold pouring into a silver bowl.

The difference between these scenario is only my state of mind!

In 'scenario 1' the mind is lost into the nature's beauty and stopped thinking of me - a person called amarendra. In other scenario (2 & 3) the mind kept remembering amarendra as the body and the person.

So the conclusion is that if my mind can stop thinking about me, I can be happy as long as the mind is in that condition.

But how to do that? Every time I see something, or do some thing, I relate it to myself and with that remember myself. Do I stop thinking about myself and become vulnerable? What happens to all the learning about survival, growth and profit? Also, am I not thinking of MY happiness during all the above discussions?

Want to know 'HOW"? Wait for the next posting on this forum!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Karma Yoga - Doing our duty

One of the four pillars of yoga, Karma yoga focuses on the adherence to duty (dharma) while remaining detached from the reward.

Quotes from the Gita:

Bhagavad Gita 3.6

कर्मेन्द्रियाणि संयम्य य आस्ते मनसा स्मरन् ।
इन्द्रियार्थान्विमूढात्मा मिथ्याचारः स उच्यते ॥३- ६॥

karmendriyani samyamya

ya aste manasa smaran

indriyarthan vimudhatma

mithyacarah sa ucyate

"One who restrains the senses of action but whose mind dwells on sense objects certainly deludes himself and is called a pretender."

Bhagavad Gita 3.8
नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः ।
शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः ॥३- ८॥

niyatam kuru karma tvam

karma jyayo hy akarmanah

sarira-yatrapi ca te

na prasiddhyed akarmanah

"Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain one’s physical body without work."

Bhagavad Gita 3.19
तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर ।
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पूरुषः ॥३- १९॥

tasmad asaktah satatam

karyam karma samacara

asakto hy acaran karma

param apnoti purushah

"Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty, for by working without attachment one attains the Supreme."

Bhagavad Gita 3.30
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा ।
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वरः ॥३- ३०॥

mayi sarvani karmani


nirasir nirmamo bhutva

yudhyasva vigata-jvarah

"Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight."

Bhagavad Gita 3.37
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भवः ।
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ॥३- ३७॥

sri-bhagavan uvaca

kama esa krodha esa


mahasano maha-papma

viddhy enam iha vairinam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world."

It is interesting to note how this detachment from results is achieved in the Arabic phrase In šaʾ Allāh (إن شاء الله) . By adding a phrase, which means - "If God wills" to our plans, we accept a dimension beyond our physical / material abilities

Monday, July 9, 2007

स्थितप्रज (sthita-prajnah) Sage of steady mind

Quote from the Bhagavad Gita

दुःखेष्वनुद्विग्नमनाः सुखेषु विगतस्पृहः
वीतरागभयक्रोधः स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते- ५६

Transliteration -

duhkhesv anudvigna-manah

sukhesu vigata-sprhah


sthita-dhir munir ucyate


duhkhesu--in the threefold miseries; anudvigna-manah--without being agitated in mind; sukhesu--in happiness; vigata-sprhah--without being too interested; vita--free from; raga--attachment; bhaya--fear; krodhah--anger; sthita-dhih--one who is steady; munih--a sage; ucyate--is called.

Translation by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada :

One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.

Commentary by Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur is here.

Translation from 19th century by KÂSHINÂTH TRIMBAK TELANG :

He whose heart is not agitated in the midst of calamities, who has no longing for pleasures, and from whom (the feelings of) affection, fear, and wrath have departed, is called a sage of steady mind.

Translation by Anand Aadhar Prabhu :

He who, whether things turn out good or bad in this, stays unaffected in whatever situation and hates nor praises, is fixed in knowing it perfectly.

Translations by Shankaracharaya and D. B. Gangolli.

He whose heart is not distressed in calamities, from whom all longing for pleasures has departed, who is free from attachment, fear and wrath, he is called a sage, a man of steady knowledge.His heart if not distressed in calamities such as may arise from disorder in the body , (adhyatmika), etc. Unlike fire, which increases as fuel is added, his longing for pleasures does not increase as more pleasures are attained. He is said to be a man of steady knowledge. He is called a sage, a Sannyasin, one who has renounced works.(3) Absence of attachment, delight and aversion.

      --- Sri Shankaracharaya

He does not hanker after happiness, nor does he get perturbed or agitated by misery or unhappiness; whether it is good or bad, he takes in his stride whatever comes his way without attachment or hatred;

       --- Sri. Gangolli D.B

Sunday, July 8, 2007

My Relationships' Universe

There are three zones in my universe of relationships with fellow humans.

Of course, there is a whole world of people I have not met, which I refer to as 'Rest of World' in the diagram. In this zone, the instinct of 'survival' would be foremost. Battles 'must' be won. The discussion below is about people I have met or interacted with.

The outermost zone is where I interact with most of the people around. The basic operating instinct in this zone is of 'humanity', considerate yet cautious. In this zone, 'I' (the ego) comes before 'You'. This is the zone where winning matters, though it is wise to choose and pick one's battles, and possessions are the norm. In this zone, we expect equal, or more returns for whatever we give.

The second zone is the circle of friends. In this zone, 'I' and 'You' are equals. Neither comes above the other. The basic operating instincts are sharing, co-opt, partnerships. In this circle, we expect to get in return in equal measure to what we give.

The third and the innermost zone is the home territory. Here, the basic operating instinct is 'love'. 'You' comes before 'I'. We do not seek to win, but to giving up of ourselves here. Surrender rather than conquer. In this zone, we only seek to give, with no expectation of any reciprocal return.