You do not get rid of an obsessing thought by concentrating on getting rid of it. You do so by supplanting it with other thoughts.
We are wise to realize early that the way others meditate and the way they describe how they do it will sometimes be helpful, sometimes counterproductive. It will be an unfortunate detour if we stand more in awe of what others accomplish than of what we ourselves have it in our power to accomplish. We will be wise, too, to know early that we have as much potential for success at meditation as anyone else in any place or time. If we can’t manage that much positive self-assessment, it will be helpful to try to imagine what it would feel like if we could. We do better to start our journey into contemplation using the make-believe of “what would it feel like if” than not to start at all.
The serpent painfully bound with the cord, sighing a little and maintaining its composure with great difficulty, then uttered these words slowly in human voice.
There was an old lady of the name of Gautami who was remarkable for her patience and tranquility of mind. One day she found her son dead in consequence of having been bitten by a serpent. A fowler, by name Arjunaka, bound the serpent with a string, brought it before Gautami and said, “This wicked serpent has been the cause of your son’s death. O blessed lady, tell me quickly how this wretch is to be destroyed! Shall I throw it into the fire or shall I hack it into pieces? This infamous killer of a child does not deserve to live longer.” Continue reading “A fowler and a serpent”
We cannot withdraw from the work of the world without, like Arjuna, being guilty of cowardice. Besides, however eager we may be to retire from a life of action, we cannot, in reality, pass outside the region of activity. If we cease to work with our bodies, our minds still remain active, and our only hope of freedom is in learning the secret of work.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि — To work thou hast the right, but never to the fruits. Be not actuated by thirst for the results of action, nor be thou pleased in inaction. —Bhagavad Gita, Ch.2, 47.
“None verily, even for an instant, ever remain doing no action; for every one is driven helpless to action by the energies born of nature.” Therefore, unable to resist the inner force, we are bound to do that which we are doing. Each of our actions, furthermore, must inevitably produce some result. Every action is followed by a corresponding reaction, which returns to the point from which it started; hence the reaction of each action must come back to the soul itself and influence the doer. Further study also shows that the character of action and reaction must be the same.
From the principles point of view, in relating with our children or pupil, we should give advice to them by considering them faultless and their evils transitory. Only by consider them to be free of faults, we should try to free them from evils.
“Raghav,” she says to him, “it is dharma alone that will protect you, and this dharma is what you yourself protect with courage and steadfastness.”
To right-thinking people “dharma” and “satya” are interchangeable words and their goal is — as it has always been — to rise higher so as to realize Him who alone is the truth. For them there is no pursuit higher than that of practicing truth in thought, word and deed.
Kim Satyam? (What is truth?)
Bhutahitam! (Truth or truthfulness is what is spoken for the well-being of all living beings.)
Ko Dharmah? (What is Dharma?)
Abhimanto yah sistanam nija kulinam! (Dharma is that which is determined by the elders and by learned people.) Continue reading “Dharma”
The sandhya merges in the Gayatri, and the Gayatri merges in Om.
M. stood there speechless and looked on. It was as if he were standing where all the holy places met and as if Sukadeva himself were speaking the words of God, or if Sri Chaitanya were singing the name and glories of the Lord in Puri with Ramanada, Swarup, and the other devotees.
Sri Ramakrishna said: “When, hearing the name of Hari or Rāma once, you shed tears and your hair stands on end, then you may know for certain that you do not have to perform such devotions as the sandhya any more. Then only will you have a right to renounce rituals; or rather, rituals will drop away of themselves. Then it will be enough if you repeat only the name of Rāma or Hari, or even simply Om.” Continuing, he said, “The sandhya merges in the Gayatri, and the Gayatri merges in Om.”
It is when, on account of our imperfect knowledge, we identify our true Self or Atman with the limitations of mind and body, we become selfish and are ready to do the things which brings us suffering and misery.
किं कर्म किमकर्मेति कवयोऽप्यत्र मोहिताः तत्ते कर्म प्रवक्ष्यामि यज्ज्ञात्वा मोक्ष्यसेऽशुभात् — Even wise men are deluded on this point, what is action and what is inaction. I shall tell thee the philosophy of work, by knowing which thou shalt attain to absolute freedom from all imperfections. — Bhagavad Gita, Ch.4, 16.
Karma Yoga means literally “skill or dexterity in work”, and deals with all activity whether of body or mind. Recognizing that activity is an inevitable condition of life, that no human being can live without performing some kind of work , either mental or physical, it seeks through its teaching to show how this constant output of energy may be utilized to acquire the greatest spiritual enlightenment and to attain to perfection and absolute freedom.
There are five conditions necessary for the accomplishment of all mental or physical labor:
We must have a physical body, it is the storehouse of energy.
There must be present the sense of the ego as the doer or actor.