(These are excerpts from the speech delivered by Arvind K.Pandey at Jagat Taran Girls Degree College, Allahabad, on January 12, 2014 in a programme organised by Kritisankalpa Society to celebrate birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Other notable speakers who expressed their views on this occasion included Swami Nikhilatmananda, President, Ramakrsihna Mission, Allahabad; Justice Rajesh Tandon, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Uttarakhand; Justice. Palok Basu (Retd.), Allahabad High Court; Dr. Milan Mukherjee; Devendra Tiwari and Senior Advocate Ashok Mehta.)
Today we find that youths are at the receiving end of so many challenging issues.The transition phase has introduced them to complex living patterns, which has left them high and dry. They not only remain the most exploited lot but also remain frustrated and depressed. That’s because pressure to perform is at its peak in materialistic times. They are unable to choose right means of survival. Worse, imposition of outdated patterns of living by the silver hairs has made youths a sorry figure. Against this backdrop, the values shared by Swami Vivekananda seem to be last ray of hope as they infuse within the being supreme confidence and positive feelings.
Swami Vivekananda truly recognized the potential of youths. He always believed that “strong, vigorous, believing young men, sincere to the backbone” can change the face of globe. “A hundred such and the world becomes revolutionized.” However, when we look at the state of affairs prevalent in their lives, it leaves any thinking soul quite worried and sad. Very recently, police entered inside the campus of Allahabad University and students got beaten black and blue with laathis as if they were hardcore criminals and not innocent students. If you hear about the experiences of these youths, you would be in great pain to hear about their exploitation. Acharya Manu rightly states that silver hairs alone do not constitute wisdom but in Kaliyuga the white hairs have become confirmed sign of knowledge! No wonder they are always in conflict with younger generation. They are more often than not involved in quashing the innovative spirit of youths, leading to dissipation of enthusiasm from the lives of youths.
Swami Vivekananda believed that each soul is a “potentially divine soul” but misguided silver hairs with their outdated notions have turned these younger souls, bubbling with optimism, into a potentially destructive soul. Swami Vivekananda possessed a revolutionary spirit who had dared to ask uncomfortable questions from older lot. He rightly believed that “each generation should be inspired afresh” and “men should not be taught to imitate a personal ideal, however great”. One of the fatal errors committed by older generation is that it tries to impose its views all in name of sharing experience.
Some of the well-made flicks like Three Idiots, Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Paan Singh Tomar, to name a few, capture well the conflicts generated by old minds in the lives of youths. It’s evident that optimism and energy found in youths deeply impresses any conscious thinker of Vivekananda’s stature interested in creating new order of things.” My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions.” It’s another thing that in a nation which prefers argumentative tradition-something highly praised by Amartya Sen-the youths get tamed on one pretext or another.
The lives of youths seem to have got trapped in ills of modernity. Or, why else are we seeing advertisements related with prevention of AIDS on National Youth Day? Isn’t this sad reminder of the fact that there has been erosion of values among the youths? Or is this indicative of fact that things have gone out of control since what was once upon a time treated as immoral has gained some sort of acceptance in Indian society? Whatever it is, it indicates crisis of values. We also need to accept that priorities of youths have changed and their role models have also changed. Their role models are the ones which do not inspire them to be do good and be good. They are the ones which encourage them to earn name and fame within short span of time. So what’s the role of a spiritual powerhouse amid this new set of perceptions?
Even if we take into account new changes that have hit the lives of youths, there is still much space left for spirituality. That’s because materialism cannot give them real peace of mind. It cannot quench the thirst which exists inside our soul. No wonder youths have been hit hard by giant dragon called depression. Let’s also not forget that India is land of discovering inner peace. It’s not the land to multiply external source of happiness. And so likes of Swami Vivekananda would always be influencing our lives. They are the ones who keep us above from the realm of negativism. Youths are depressed because external world has limited means of satiating one’s desires, wherein seekers are more than suppliers! On the other hand, the inner world is infinite in nature and the competition to own this inner world is less. So people in race of inner peace have greater chances to remain happy than the majority which is in the race to conquer external world.
Swami Vivekananda’s views will always remain relevant among youths since they enable the youths to rectify their approach towards life. They rejuvenate our dull spirit, by making us shift attention from the external world to inner world and in the process this great truth gets revealed: “The aim of life is to realize God…He alone is real and everything else is false…Religion is realization.” And once you attain realization you come to feel every moment that” all power is within you, you can do anything and everything.”
P.S.: This post also appeared in Northern India Patrika On January 18, 2014.
( The article first appeared in The Speaking Tree Column, Jammu Plus, The Times Of India)
The world is not the right place for people endorsing out-of the-box thoughts. The world recognizes only stereotyped emotions. It’s not a pessimistic assertion but it’s a result of head on encounter with realism. It’s the essence which keeps natural earthly phenomenon in organized state. It’s the way which has happened in the past. Socrates told truth, and was offered poison! Galileo’s ideas which supported heliocentric world system were considered violation of Catholic Church teachings that the Earth was the center of the universe. That ensured a house arrest for Galileo for rest part of his life. India has also seen episodes wherein the exceptional souls faced the same disastrous consequences.
Meera challenged the monarchy by loving Krishna. She was put on trial by the near and dear ones. The ever-present God’s hand came to her rescue. Prahlad refused to gave way to his father’s belief that he was Supreme, and instead placed his faith in the Vishnu’s mystical power. That brought him against the powerful administration run by his father but as we all know Lord’s Vishnu incarnation as Narasimha came to establish as to who exactly controlled the universe.
It would not be wrong to suggest that “the way of this world is, to praise dead saints, and persecute living ones.” The moment one tries to rope in better ideas, a rush of mass of negativism tries to annihilate it. There may be some fortunate souls whom lady luck allowed to have fertile ground for execution of their dreams but for a greater lot the story has been to move from one conventional norm to another. For average souls, the world is okay. For them it had been an easy task to imbibe all contradictions and evils in name of “practical adjustment” but that’s not the case with people having heightened sensitiveness. Their own ethics prevents them from picking up anything and treating as its own. The so-called practical souls since they stand for nothing other than having deep faith in loose irrational principles are often hailed as pragmatist. “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” So they emerge as successful. They are the champions of pragmatism. They are the ones who are the real heroes for people trapped in livelihood struggles.
However, life is deadly ash. That’s why Lord Shiva’s whole body is smeared with deadly ash. Once you have a real interaction, absolute deadly realization, the ability to make fraudulent dealings gets wiped out totally. Your spirit refuses to participate in worldly affairs, not imbibing everything in name of changes of time. It becomes selective in conscious way. It’s like attaining the “Sthitpragya” state – the state of absolute equanimity attained as result of identification with highest consciousness in a perfect way. Lord Krishna has referred to it in Srimad Bhagvad Geeta:
Prajahati yada kaman sarvan partha mano-gatan
atmany evatmana tustah sthita-prajnas tadocyate
-Lord Krishna said, O Arjuna when gives up all desires for sense gratification produced within the mind and becoming satisfied by the realization of the self in the pure state of the soul; then it is said one is properly situated in perfect knowledge.
True, once that state is attained, the person with such a state of mind refuses to sway with happenings of the world. Nothing seems to change externally but the inner being of such a person undergoes revolutionary transformation. That might make him a failure from worldly materialistic evaluation but in kingdom of souls he is the king of souls like the God principle. He refuses to endorse the worldly orientations and instead walks all alone on path built of out-of-the-box thoughts.
Like always, the worldly temptations manifest for such a soul to distract him. No wonder, Swami Vivekananda treats the path of realization akin to walking on the razor’s edge. The seeker until realization dawns upon him should need to remain highly vigilant, maintaining high level of “viveka shakti”- the sense of making wise choices. In Bhagavad Geeta, Lord Krishna warns the seekers that they should not give way to superficial attainments by worshiping lesser Gods, and thus should not pay much attention to Vedic verses aimed at appeasing him.
Yavan artha udapane sarvatah samplutodake
tavan sarvesu vedesu brahmansya vijanatah (Chapt.2; Verse 46)
- All that is served in well of water is better served by a vast lake; similarly, all the purpose in all Vedic scriptures are realized to he who knows the ultimate truth.
So let’s learn to travel alone even as the route passes through worldly happenings, under the shadow of out-of-the-box thoughts with a conscious and alert mind.
I curiously awaited the screening of the movie “Ship of Theseus“, which had managed to elicit great remarks from leading directors of Indian cinema landscape. The film festival in Allahabad, organised by Dainik Jagran, provided me an opportunity to watch this movie. In eyes of Shekhar Kapoor, the movie marked the arrival of “a brilliant new filmmaker” while Shyam Benegal could not resist himself from stating that it’s a “rare film that engages your mind, emotions and senses in equal measure providing the viewer a cinematic experience that is both hugely entertaining and stimulating”. The movie was inspired from the dilemma whether or not the object remains same if its components undergo total replacement. In this movie the promising young director, Anand Gandhi, has interconnected three different short stories, each dealing with a different issue, but underlying theme remains the same. The first one dealt with visually impaired photographer, who lost her intuitive ability to capture striking images after a successful cornea transplant operation. The second story depicted an ailing monk, questioning life and death via his ongoing fight for rights of animals meant for conducting experiments during preparation of medicines. The third and the final story highlighted corrupt practices prevalent in medical world, wherein a stockbroker tries to place in dock persons involved in organ trade racket.
I am not the sort of person to go entirely by the rave reviews by big names from the world of cinema. In fact, even the sentiments of well-known directors fail to impress me. “Seeing is believing” has always been the principle which defined my approach, especially while anticipating the worth of a movie. And thus, contrary to the general consensus, I found the acting of Aida El-Kashef ( Aliya in movie as visually impaired photographer) and Farza Khan (Aliya’s live-in-boyfriend in the movie) absolutely horrible. The exhibition of emotions was synthetic and loud. Great movies do not begin that way. The agony that should have hit her, in the aftermath of loss of her intuitive abilities, never got reflected in her mannerism. The saving grace came in the form of crispy thought provoking dialogues: “Does reality exist when no one is looking?” It’s the deep concerns which the characters portray compensates the poor acting.
The movie gained substance with the arrival of crazy monk Maitreya (Neeraj Kabi). Not only humour element got elevated but even the thematic shortcomings got balanced due to superb acting skills demonstrated by Neeraj Kabi and Vinay Shukla ( Carvaka in the movie). This part of the movie successfully conveyed that contradictions rules the lives and a perfect life is healthy assimilation of contradictions. A person should not be too rigid while pursuing noble cause since it comes in the way of fulfillment of goals. It might also limit one’s ability to make better choices. The rigidity displayed by Maitreya is in the eyes of Carvaka- the lawyer who believed in learning arguments of both the sides- was not very different than fundamentalism exhibited by a suicide bomber! This lawyer, follower of Pastafarianism, induces great deal of pragmatism when he tries to create a fitting place for the contradictions. Anyway, Maitreya does impress us all when he places reasons above crude sentimentality!
Well, it’s crude sentimentality which always makes its presence felt in Indian movies. It’s not always the case that movies devoid of melodramatic elements manage to evoke mass attention. The average Indian cinema lover’s connection with melodrama is so intense that a director’s take on critical issue without this element is akin to self-goal in football! Anand Gandhi, at least, need to be credited for the fact that he manages to tell the story for Indians without being in awe of sentimentality! The last scene of the story showing the monk’s decision to live the life fully proves one thing quite well that healthy compromises for an elevated cause is not a bad thing. Well, the monk didn’t talk of Krishna’s Bhagvad Geeta but I feel the realization of monk is on par with view of Lord Krishna who in Bhagvad Gita stated that “every profession is world is tainted by some flaw”. So the summum bonum is: Healthy compromise should not prick the conscience!
The stockbroker’s case in the movie is pretty interesting but I need to differ from the reviews which have appeared in mainstream media and elsewhere that humour element in this part delight us. That’s not true. The humour appears as some sort of forced entry into a well structured plot. It also baffles me that reviewers have ignored some greater aspects related with this part of the movie wherein an young stockbroker trails the missing recipient of the stolen kidney! The reviewers failed to remember the heated conversation between stockbroker and his maternal grandmother, who happens to be progressive thinker, confined to ideological orientations spread in progressive literature churned out by the leftist. The impression she generates, and which irritates this guy working for American companies, is that one can pursue a noble cause only when one is in tune with such literature. The young stockbroker hits hard at her this “fallacious notion” when he tries to ensure justice for the poor labourer. The another myth which gets shattered ( and I really found it pretty interesting) is that fight for greater cause leads to its perfect attainment. Ask a real life hero and you would realize that he/she often feels cheated. The people for whom he/she comes to fight often leave their saviour in the lurch. The stockbroker wanted justice in real terms for this unfortunate labourer whose kidney got stolen for a rich foreigner ( the recipient). The labourer retracts from his promises after his petty interests get fulfilled. The protagonist has to remain contend with limited achievement.
In real life also we find that similar dilemma occurs. For instance, the moment one tries to make the purpose of education an extension of values, one has to face stiff resistance for all quarters of society, which feels that only purpose of education is to earn huge money, no matter if it means adoption of unethical means. The film does not end with a specific message but it does symbolically shows via the passage through the cave that life is full of immense possibilities, which allows nurturing of different perspectives. Hope we come to choose the one which best serves the cause of not only humanity but also our own personal causes close to heart!
It really fills my heart with bliss that this part of the world originally hailed as Aryavrata, now known as Bharat (India), has always produced evolved souls, having the capacity to delve deep into the world of mysticism in effortless manner- a reason why this part of the land is viewed with great wonder by people living in the other part of the hemisphere. I often meet yogis/saints, witnessing many such mysterious phenomenon related with world of Yoga, but this feeling saddens me that, back in past, when great saints and spiritually advanced yogis, roamed on this land quite frequently, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be the part of that era! It’s interesting to note that these great souls played different roles as per need of the society. Some roamed in jungles, some lived in caves, some lived as householder, and some became part of mainstream affairs, even as they retained their ascetic robes, to shape the destiny of Bharat-the land of divine principles.
True, many fake Gurus, have turned religion into a most lucrative affair, but it remains ultimate truth that India is intrinsically wedded to yogic principles. This land, in absence of spiritual values, would not be able to survive. May be currents of time sometimes lead to clash of values, but this nation has the capacity to absorb contradictions and conflicts in easygoing way. Like myself, others too, would have not believed the glory of Indian spiritual world, had saints like Swami Vivekananda not appeared in the modern phase of civilization. His presence was certain sign of the fact that supreme consciousness was still in operation. Swami Vivekananda removed my doubt that great yogis were mainly confined to storybooks; that great tales of yogic feats were exaggerated description of imaginative minds. However, after reading life-sketch of, Sri Aurobindo, I became truly confirmed that people in league with extraordinary psychic powers, were not only part of ancient India but they were very much part of modern India as well.
However, today I wish to remain confined to world of Swami Vivekananda, since on this very day, 12 January, 1863, this Avatara of Lord Shiva, manifested on earthly plane. He was an extraordinary person in his lifetime but one who had normal childhood. He involved in naughty pranks like any other child of that age. However, the thing that separated him from others was that he frequently got absorbed in higher form of consciousness. As he grew up and took admission in college life, he was the one who loved to read various philosophies, roped in by great teachers in past. In other words, he remained hooked to intellectual plane alone! That was not the final destination of a great mind like him placed on route to realization. The Updesha Vakyas (Directive Statements) found in Upanishads were yet to culminate into Anubhuti Vakyas or Anubhava Vakyas ( realized truths).
A great truth of the world of spirituality is that a willing seeker or a qualified seeker soon comes to find a Guru (The Master). The same thing happened with Swami Vivekananda, when he met with Sri Ramakrishna. Naturally, that turned out to be life-defining moment for Swami Vivekananda. He soon emerged as a realized soul. In fact, he was always a realized soul and able Guru like Sri Ramakrishna merely ensured that ignorance inside him which made him see himself as ordinary mortal get vanished for forever. It’s interesting to note that in pre-Independence era, we had host of great spiritual souls, who ensured that India’s journey in future as independent nation takes place amid certain special values. The Western world, and we Indians too, remember him mainly because of his great speech at Parliament of the World’s Religions, delivered on 11 September 1893, in Chicago. Not many are aware of the fact that it wasn’t a smooth journey and there was lack of funds to sponsor this visit, and surprisingly, he was not allowed to participate in the conference because of lack of endorsement from a well known organisation. It was only after the intervention of Professor John Henry Wright of Harvard University he got the chance to participate in this conference. Wright was so taken aback that he had to say: “To ask for your credentials is like asking the sun to state its right to shine in the heavens.”
Anyway, a soul of his stature, does not appear on earth for attainment of petty goals. He arrived to make supreme consciousness part of this land, which appears to be heart of the universe. If it stops functioning, the other civilizations are bound to collapse one after another. Although if one has a close look at the life of Swami Vivekananda, one would notice that he suffered life-long at the hands of mediocre minds but today when he is now no more in physical form, his own words have come true that real significance of his achievements would manifest after many years of his death. I must say that now when India is struggling hard to keep its ancient identity- the land of spirituality- intact, the words of Swami Vivekananda offer great solace, great strength. In other words, his thoughts and thoughts of other great minds are keeping at bay values antithetical to its spiritual essence. These great souls have now become active at subtle level, considering the way we have begun to realize that their thoughts alone could brighten our lives marred by ills of materialism.
It’s upon us that we either follow their way and emerge as an evolved being or ignore their wisdom to emerge as “dirty picture” of crass values. “All the powers in universe are already ours. It is we who have put our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.” (Swami Vivekananda). Isn’t it the right thing to live life in light of these great values? Is there any merit in dying like a retarded lamb when you could have always roared like a lion? Let’s attempt for such huge transformation from this very moment.
(Today we are celebrating the birthday of Shri Radhaji. I am posting this article, an ode to female power, to mark the occasion. The article has been previously published in Northern India Patrika, 2001; Soham, bilingual International magazine, 2005; British edition of Indowaves)
Radha holds a special place in the hearts of Radha-Krishna devotees. Krishna without Radha can never be meditated upon, and that explains why Janmashtmi is incomplete without Radhashtmi’s celebrations in full fervour. On this day devotees plunge into a state of euphoria in Vraja where it is celebrated with grandeur. Radharani, daughter of Brishabhanu and Kalawati, was born in Barsaane fifteen days after Krishna’s birth in Mathura. Radha being ‘hladinishakti’ (the power of bliss) of Shri Krishna always remains in unison with him. Radhashtmi, her appearance day, is viewed by the devotees as a day that leads an aspirant on to the path of bhakti and bliss—a step closer towards absolute merging of the lover in the beloved. Radha’s grace alone provide as supreme Bhakti (devotion) and it is she who makes a seeker’s union with Krishna a reality.
According to Padma Purana, Gopis (cow-herd girls) were Rishis of Dandakarnya who had expressed their desire to be in intimate service of Lord Rama. Lord Rama had then told them to wait till his next incarnation as Krishna takes place in Dvapar age. Upanishads, too, appeared in the form of Gopis to participate in Leelas (divine gestures) of Krishna. Gopis who embraced the lotus feet of Lord Krishna have been classified into several categories due to difference in attitude and service. Some are sadhna –oriented i.e. they have attained Gopi bhava because of austerities performed in their earlier births whereas some are in service of Krishna from beginning (Nitya-priya). It is said that a jeeva( worldly soul) attains Gopi bhava through intense tapas. Radha, Chandraravali Visakha, Lalita, Shyama and Padma were prominent Gopis. Shri Radharani is of Mahabhava Swaroopa and, therefore, she stands apart from others as the Chief Gopika.
Raadhika possesses infinite qualities prominent among them being twenty five, which includes chief among Krishna-priyas, soft-spoken, clever, and adept in classical form of music, Rasaswaroopa kind-hearted, owner of pious smile and unusual depth within. Her actions are borne out of desire to serve and please Govinda.
Surdas gives a loving detail of the first meeting of Radha and Krishna. One day Shri Krishna while engaged in the Bal Leela (childhood gesture) happens to reach the bank of Yamuna. He is surprised, as well as delighted, to find there a new face which was glowing with supreme beauty. Krishna, left dumb struck by such a beauty could not resist himself from asking her name, “I have never seen you before in Brija.Who are you?” he asked. “Why should I come to ever come to Brija, I have too many friends to play with at my place. I have come to know that Nanda’s son is a big trouble-maker who excels in the art of stealing,” she shot back. Krishna, determined to get her company said, “What do you possess that I am going to steal from you and which you fear to lose? Come let’s play together. We would form an excellent pair.” Poor Radha she didn’t realize that what she was going to lose—heart the most valuable possession of any woman.
The conjugal relationship between Radha and Krishna is pinnacle of Madhurya Bhava (the bliss oriented state). At this point it is necessary to mention that Parmatma (Supreme Self) is one-without-a-second! Therefore no leela (divine act) is possible in this state. In the madhurya bhava, Nirguna Parabrahman is supposed to have a form with which a bhakta can establish a relationship. Gradually moving through five principle bhavas a stage comes when a bhakta cares little for worldly obligations and principles. This is the peak point popularly known as “Kanta Bhava’in Vaishnava literature. Something that separates Rasa leela from ordinary leelas is whereas the former takes place at yoga maya level, the latter is performed at Mahamaya level (highest plane of consciousness). Surdas considers total surrendering and forgetfulness of body consciousness essential for maturity of Madhurya Bhava. Bhagvan Ramakrishna said, “I have spent a few days in Radha Bhava. On those occasions I use to dress like woman. It is indeed impossible to sing the glory of Radha who is embodiment of refined virtue and supreme love.”
Gross mundane realities prevent us from having a glimpse of Rasa leela of Radha and Krishna but bhaktas like Surdas are always absorbed in their Madhurya. Explaining the reason of deep love between Radha and Krishna Surdas cites chidhod fancies. He feels a bond of friendship formed in the childhood contains in it the seeds of deep love, which under favourable circumstances get converted into life-long commitment. Gaudiya cult provides an absolutely a different explanation. Here love already exists in their hearts and its growth is not dependant on outside influences. Similarly Radha conceived by Chandidas is too sensitive whose heart aches on hearing the name of Madhava.
Perhaps differences in their outlook are the result of bhava that captivated their hearts, which is in each case unique. So Radha of Surdas has egocentric tendencies. She not only humiliates Krishna but even rebukes him on trivial issues. So what if in isolation she weeps for Krishna, her heart always aching for intimate moments. It is this duality in her behavior and paradoxical approach that keeps Krishna guessing whenever He meets her. On the other hand, Vidyapati’s Radha too has ego but it subsides when she faces Krishna. Radha perceived by Chandidas is completely devoid of ego. She neither reacts nor retaliates but remains absorbed in His thoughts.
Vaishnavaas have carved unique image of Radha, which has no parallel. It is so because Vaishnavas don’t consider Bhakti to be bhava, Bahakti is ‘Rasa’ to them. Though Radha does not figure in clearly in Bhagavat Purana, she is the prime character of Brahma Vaivarta and Padma Purana. Jaideva’s appearance on the scene in 12th century makes Radharani comes into limelight. It is believed that these two Puranas and Geeta Govinda of Jayadeva established her as paragon of love and virtue. But it was Nimbakacharya who first revealed philosophical aspects of Shri Radha’s various dimensions. Lord has two powers namely Kriyashakti (power to perform) and Gyanaskati (power to seek knowledge). Satyabhama (Bhudevi) represents the former while the Rukamani(Sridevi) stands for the latter. In Radha, these two powers get unified and she thus becomes Parashakti (supreme power) of the Lod. In this form these two powers attain a non –dual relationship with the Lord but in their individual state retain their particular relationship. Thus, exists a distinction when one fails to identify with Sri Radha. Sri Nimabakacharya provides a much elevated status to Radha. She becomes Bhakti or Brahman Vidya (Knowledge of self) which liberates jeeva from bondage of Maya. In other words, she becomes a Supreme Master.
Shri Krishna, who always remains one with her, is called “Atma Rama”. Krishna states in Padma Purana: ‘Know Radhika to be best of teachers of the Highest Knowledge—Knowledge of Brahman.’ Let us pray that she appears on the earth again and again. If Radha arrives how can Krishna remain far behind? May we get devotion for her so that our hearts get purified to receive her grace. And, thus, we become one of the participants of ever happening grand ‘Rasa leela of Radha and Krishna ’.
Some Popular Bhajans Associated With Her:
The messages of Krishna offer great solace to us in present times marred by confusion and disorder of worst types. I know it’s one of the easiest tasks to read the great words. It’s proper reflection and subsequent action plans that really matters in the long run. However, such shortcomings on part of human beings do not make these words lose relevance. Even a casual approach on our part while dealing with these pearls of wisdom proves to be a meaningful gesture.
A beginning is something that really matters. It’s better to be part of the journey than remain always trapped in a statue mode. In most cases, the beginning is often in the form of casual interactions with words spoken by enlightened souls. Have you noticed that when we are journeying we often read great messages posted on walls of railway stations? You are in great hurry but even then these words manage to catch your attention. From that very moment a reflection takes place birth inside your mind which if given conscious direction on part of us could lead to miraculous transformation.
So on this occasion when the world is celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna, let’s try to reconnect with Him for one more time via his messages. In lighter vein, Lord Krishna is representative of Absolute Self that’s above birth and death, and still we celebrate his birth with great fanfare. But is it that easy to keep the great charmer Krishna away from one’s life whose very name means the one who has power to attract us-the attractive one?
In the end, I wish to quote the words of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh to make us aware of the worth of messages spread in The Bhagavad Gita. According to Sri Aurobindo Ghosh one should always remember Krishna’s teaching because it ensures “perfection of action. It makes man great. It gives him the utter strength, the utter bliss which is the goal of life in the world.
na tyajyam karyam eva tat
yajno danam tapas caiva
-Bhagavad Gita 18.5
“Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up; they must be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.”
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah
- Bhagavad Gita 7.3
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”
gatir bharta prabhuh saksi
nivasah saranam suhrt
prabhavah pralayah sthanam
nidhanam bijam avyayam
- Bhagavad Gita 9.18
“I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.”
ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
- Bhagavad Gita 9.22
“But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form—to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.”
tvam aksharam paramam veditavyam
tvam asya vishvasya param nidhanam
tvam avyayah sasvata-dharma-gopta
sanatanas tvam purusho mato me
- Bhagavad Gita 11.18
“You are the supreme primal objective. You are the ultimate resting place of this entire universe. You are inexhaustible, and You are the oldest. You are the maintainer of the eternal religion, the Personality of Godhead. This is my opinion.”
yam hi na vyathayanty ete
so ’mrtatvaya kalpate
-Bhagavad Gita 2.15
“O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation.”
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
- Bhagavad Gita 7.14
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”
tam eva saranam gaccha
tat-prasadat param shantim
sthanam prapsyasi sasvatam
- Bhagavad Gita 18.62
“O scion of Bharata, surrender unto Him utterly. By His grace you will attain transcendental peace and the supreme and eternal abode.”
The Hindu scriptures have dealt with the rebirth phenomenon much earlier than any other modern civilization. The Vedas, Upanishads, and, above all, Bhagavad-gita, especially its chapter 2 & 6, have dissected this complex issue in a scientific and clinical manner. Assuring Arjuna not to worry about the fate of his body Krishna says ,” For the soul there is never birth nor death .Nor, having once been does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”(Bhagavad-gita 2.20)
Our psuedo -secularists and worshipers of scientific superstitions might make these declarations butt of ridicule but leading thinkers in past have come to held the insights of Indian sages in high esteem. For instance,Emerson states that ‘ The soul comes from without into the human body,as into a temporary abode,and it goes out of it anew…it passes into other habitations,for the soul is immortal.’ Even Socrates is not afraid to conclude that ‘I am confident that these truly is such a thing as living again,that the living spring from the dead,and that the souls of the dead are in existence.’
Tolstoy who believes that fate of man is to morph into God categorically states that ‘ As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life,so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life …and then return after death.’ One hopes we learn to respect and honour our cultural legacy in an intelligent fashion rather than criticizing it to be in tune with with modernity !
January is associated with this nation in a youthful way. On January 4, 1924 famous Hindi poet Gopal Das Neeraj was born. A wonderful Hindi poet who wrote in simple style soul stirring verses, which made him darling of the masses. On January 4, 1994 India’s one of the most talented music composers R D Burman left this planet earth to merge in supreme consciousness for forever.
Apart from these two great souls, I also wish to talk about Swami Vivekananda whose birth anniversary falls on January 12. That’s because there is a striking similarity between R D Burman and Swami Vivekananda. These both exceptional souls cared a lot for youths. Their vision and creative outburst were primarily aimed at changing the perceptions of Indian youths.
Swami Vivekananda used spirituality as medium to shape the lives of youth, to carve for them a balanced approach to deal with the complexities of life. He was a spiritual dynamo who surcharged the lives of youths with spiritual waves by introducing them to Vedantic concepts which until now were confined to the pages of scriptures.
R D Burman, on the other hands, explored Indian film music from newer angles. An original composer in the truest sense whose consciousness kept looking for unheard beats and sounds. He mixed the various shades of Indian music with the Western shades to prepare an amalgam that became hot favourite compositions for not only youths of his times but even youths of coming generations. Just visit any music shop you would definitely come to listen one of his compositions in a remixed form. In nutshell, these both gigantic souls turned out to a be big source of inspiration for youth world.
Even Gopal Das Neeraj’s poetry is full of symbols that are fresh, inspirational and unique from many angles. One of the reasons why his poetry struck a chord with the readers is that his verses came straight from the heart, which though used sensuality as a tool were aimed at creating a better space within an individual. Fortunately, he managed to makes his presence felt in Indian movie world which allowed him to unleash his creative energy for a wider circle of admirers.
Neeraj was also lucky in finding the company of greats like S D Burman ( father of R D Burman), Roshan and Shankar Jaikishan who prepared immortal tunes for verses flowing out of his pen. In nutshell, his simple verses which combined metaphysical elements and intimacy existing between man and woman in a lyrical form became part and parcel of ordinary masses.
Excerpts From Messages Of Swami Vivekananda Meant For Youths:
1.Rouse yourselves, therefore, or life is short. There are greater works to be done than aspiring to become lawyers and picking quarrels and such things. A far greater work is this sacrifice of yourselves for the benefit of your race, for the welfare of humanity.
2.Man is like an infinite spring, coiled up in a small box, and that spring is trying to unfold itself; and all the social phenomena that we see are the result of this trying to unfold.
3. Give up that awful disease that is creeping into our national blood , that idea of ridiculing everything, that loss of seriousness. Give that up. Be strong and have Shraddha (faith), and everything else is bound to follow.
4. Inspiration is not filtered out to the world through one channel, however great. Each generation should be inspired afresh.
5. Make your nerves strong. What we want is muscles of iron and nerves of steel. We have wept long enough. No more weeping, but stand on your feet and be men.
Neeraj’s Great Inspirational Poem Dedicated To Youths And People Having Lost All Hopes:
This Hindi poem written by Hindi poet Neeraj has the capacity to instill confidence even in the most depressed souls. It’s must read for any youth who feels life’s game is now over. The youths are the one prone to losing all hopes all of a sudden. The moment examinations results are declared the sad news of bright and young souls committing suicide gets reported from across the nation. Career related disappointments or failure in love have also become frequent in our times.
The youths who are quick to fall in love are often unable to bear the jolts they receive in such mercurial relationships. Anyway, even a casual glance at this poem is enough to make any youth regain hopes in sustaining human life instead of extinguishing it in one go!!
छिप-छिप अश्रु बहाने वालो
मोती व्यर्थ लुटाने वालो
कुछ सपनों के मर जाने से
जीवन नहीं मरा करता है।
सपना क्या है, नयन सेज पर
सोया हुआ आंख का पानी
और टूटना है उसका ज्यों
जागे कच्ची नींद जवानी
गीली उमर बनाने वालो
डूबे बिना नहाने वालो
कुछ पानी के बह जाने से
सावन नहीं मरा करता है।
माला बिखर गयी तो क्या है
खुद ही हल हो गयी समस्या
आंसू गर नीलाम हुए तो
समझो पूरी हुई तपस्या
रुठे दिवस मनाने वालो
फटी कमीज सिलाने वालो
कुछ दीयों के बुझ जाने से
आंगन नहीं मरा करता है।
खोता कुछ भी नहीं यहां पर
केवल जिल्द बदलती पोथी
जैसे रात उतार चांदनी
पहने सुबह धूप की धोती
वस्त्र बदलकर आने वालो
चाल बदलकर जाने वालो
चंद खिलौनों के खोने से
बचपन नहीं मरा करता है।
कितनी बार गगरियाँ फूटीं
शिकन न आई पनघट पर
कितनी बार कश्तियाँ डूबीं
चहल-पहल वो ही है तट पर
तम की उमर बढ़ाने वालो! लौ की आयु घटाने वालो!
लाख करे पतझर कोशिश, पर उपवन नहीं मरा करता है।
लूट लिया माली ने उपवन
लुटी न लेकिन गंध फूल की
तूफ़ानों तक ने छेड़ा, पर
खिड़की बन्द न हुई धूल की
नफ़रत गले लगाने वालो! सब पर धूल उड़ाने वालो!
कुछ मुखड़ों की नाराजी से दर्पण नहीं मरा करता है॥
To those who shed tears in hiding
Shedding tears in hiding,
Throwing away your gems,
Your life does not come to an end,
When unfulfilled remain some dreams.
What’s a dream? Water
Of sleeping eyes on lashes.
It breaks loose like
Rising from sleep of naive youths.
Passing your life in tears, taking your baths not drowning,
If some water flows out, monsoons do not come to an end.
So what if the garland’s beads got loose?
The problems get solved themselves.
When tears get to an auction,
Know that that your travails are over.
Passing your days in sorrows, getting your torn shirts stitched,
If some lamps die out, the terraces do not die out.
Nothing is lost here.
Only the book changes its covers.
Like the night shedding off moonlight,
Wears in the morning a skirt of sunlight.
Wearing different clothes, walking in different gaits,
If some toys are lost, childhood is not lost.
Water vessels broke a million times
But no sorrows prevail at shores
Boats drowned a million times
But same festivities go on at shores
Lengthening your happiness, shortening your grief,
If fall comes a million times, spring still does not die
Translation Source: EduAsharm4
R D Burman’s Lesser Heard Compositions Which Are Still Hot-Favourite Among The Youths:
Movie: Palay Khan( 1986) ; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi; Singers: Lata and Suresh Wadekar
Movie: Samundar (1986); Lyrics: Anand Bakshi ; Singers: Kishore and Lata
Movie: Duniya ( 1984) ; Singer: Kishore
Movie :Yeh Wada Raha ( 1982) ; Singers: Kishore and Asha
Movie: Jeeva ( 1986) ; Lyrics: Gulzar ; Singers: Amit Kumar and Asha Bhosle
Quotes of Vivekananda Have Been Borrowed From “Great Sayings” Published By The Ramakrishna Mission Institute Of Culture, Calcutta.
“Thoughts Of Power” Published By Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta.