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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Buddha Gave up His Throne

In reading the Bhagavad-Gita, many of you in Western countries may have felt astonished at the second chapter, wherein Shri Krishna calls Arjuna a hypocrite and a coward because of his refusal to fight or offer resistance on account of his adversaries being his friends and relatives, making the plea that non-resistance was the highs ideal of love. This is a great lesson for us all to learn, that in all matters the two extremes are alike; the extreme positive and the extreme negative are always similar; when the vibrations of light are too slow we don not see them, nor do we see them when they are too rapid. So with sound; when very low in pitch we do not hear it, when very high we do not hear it either. Of like nature is the difference between resistance and no-resistance. One man does not resist because he is weak, lazy, and cannot, not because he will not; the other man knows that he can strike an irresistible blow if he likes; yet he not only does not strike, but blesses his enemies. The one who from weakness resist not commits a sin, and as such cannot receive any benefit from the non-resistance; while the other would commit a sin by offering resistance.

Buddha gave up his throne and renounced his position; that was true renunciation. But there cannot be any question of renunciation in the case of a beggar who has nothing to renounce. So we must always be careful about what we really mean when we speak of this non-resistance and ideal love. We must first take care to understand whether we have the power of resistance or not. Then, having the power, if we renounce it and do not resist, we are doing a grand act of love; but if we cannot resist, and yet, at the same time, try to deceive ourselves into the belief that we are actuated by motives of the highs love, we are doing the exact opposite. Arjuna became a coward at the sight of the mighty array against him; his “love” made him forgets his duty towards his country and king. That is why Shri Krishna told him that he was a hypocrite: thou talkest like a wise man, but thy actions betray thee to be a coward; therefore stand up and fight!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Resist Not Evil

To exemplify: All great teachers have taught “Resist not evil”, that non – resistance is the maximum moral ideal. We all know that if a certain number of us attempted to put that maxim fully into practice, the whole social fabric would fall to pieces; the wicked would take possession of our properties and our lives, and would do whatever they liked with us. Even if for only on day such non – resistance were practiced, it would lead to disaster. Yet, spontaneously, in our heart of hearts we feel the truth of the teaching, “Resist not evil “. This seems to us be the highest ideal; yet to teach this doctrine only would be equivalent to condemning a vast portion of mankind. Not only so, it would be making men feel that they were always doing wrong, and cause in them scruples of conscience in all their actions; it would weaken them, and that constant self-disapproval would breed more vice than any other weakness would.

To the man who has begun to hate himself the gate to deterioration has already opened; and the same is true of a nation. Our first duty is not to hate ourselves; because to advance we must have faith in ourselves first and then in God. He who has no faith in himself can never have faith in God. Therefore the only substitute remaining to us is to recognize that duty and morality vary under different circumstances; not that the man who resists evil is doing what is always and in itself wrong, but that in the different circumstances in which he is placed it may become even his duty to resist evil.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Three Forces of Men

In every man there are these three forces. Sometimes tames succeed. We become lazy, we cannot move, we are motionless, bound down by certain ideas or by sheer dullness. At other times activity prevails, and at still other times that calm harmonizing of both. Again, in different men, one of these forces is generally prevalent. The characteristic of one man is inactivity, dullness, and indolence; that of another, activity, power we find the sweetness, calmness, and gentleness which are due to the balancing of both are due to the balancing of both action and inaction. So in animals, plants, and men-we find the more or less typical manifestation of all these different forces.

Karma-yoga and its factors

Karma-yoga has specially to deal with these three factors. By teaching what they are and how to occupy them, it helps us to do our work better. Human society is a ranking organization. We all know about duty, but at the same time we find that in different countries the significance of morality varies greatly. What is considered as moral in any country, for oyster is painstaking perfectly immoral. For instance, in one country cousins may marry; in another, it is thought to be very immoral in one , men may marry their sisters-in – law in another, it is regarded as immoral in one country people may marry only once in another, many times and so forth. Similarly, in all other departments of morality we find the standard varies greatly yet we have the idea that there must be a universal standard of morality.

So it is with sense of duty. The idea of duty varies much among different nations. In one country if a man does not certain things, people will say he has acted wrongly, while if he does those very things in another country, people will say that he did not act rightly – and yet we know that there must be some universal idea of duty in the same way, one class of society thinks that certain things are among its duty, while another class thinks quite the opposite and would be horror-struck if it had to do those things. Two ways are left open to us – the way of the ignorant who think that there is only one way to truth and that all the rest are wrong, and the way of the wise who admit that, according to our mental constitution or the different planes of existence in which we are , duty and morality may vary . The important thing is to know that there are gradations of duty of morality that the duty of one state of life, in one set of circumstances, will not and cannot be that of another. 

Karma and its Effect on Character

Leave the fruits lonely. Way care for results: If you wish to help a man, never think what that man’s approach should be towards you. If you want to do a great or a good work, do not trouble to think what the result will be.

There arises a tricky question in this ideal of work. Intense activity is compulsory: we must always work. We cannot live a minute without work. What then becomes of rest? Here is one side of the life-struggle—work, in which we are whirled rapidly round. And here is the other, that of calm, retiring renunciation; everything is peaceful around, there is very little of noise and show, only nature with her animals and flowers and mountains. Neither of them is a perfect picture. A man used to isolation, if brought in contact with the surging whirlpool of the world, will be compressed by it: just as the fish that lives in the deep sea water, as soon as it is brought to the surface, breaks into pieces, deprived of the weight of water on it that had kept it together. C and a man who has been used to the turmoil and thrush of life live at ease if he comes to a quiet place? He suffers and conceivably may lose his mind. The ideal man is he who in the midst of the greatest silence and solitude finds the in tensest activity, and in the midst of the in tensest activity finds the peace and solitude of the desert. He has learnt the secret of restraint, he has controlled himself. He goes through the streets of a big city with all its traffic, and his mind is as calm as if he were in a cave where not a sound could reach him; and he is intensely working all the time. That is the ideal of Karma-Yoga; and if you have attained to that, you have really learn the secret of work.

But we have to begin from the commencement, to take up the works as they come to use and slowly make ourselves more magnanimous every day. We must do the works and find out the motive power that prompts us; and, almost without exception, in the first that our motives are always selfish; but gradually this selfishness will melt by doggedness, till at last will come the time when we shall be able to do really unselfish work, we may all hope that someday or other, as we fight back through the paths of life, there will come a time when we shall become perfectly unselfish; and the moment we attain to that, all powers will be concentrated, and the Knowledge which is ours will be manifest. ACCORDING to Sankhya philosophy, nature is composed of three forces called, in Sanskrit, Sativa, Rajas and Tames. These as discernible in the physical world are what we may call equilibrium, activity, and inertness. Tames is typified as darkness or inactivity; Tames is typified as darkness or inactivity; rajas is activity, expressed as attraction or repulsion; and sativa is the equilibrium of the two.