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Hinduism means Freedom

Today as I was going through a book written by Sukumar Azhikode, I came across these mantras of Upanishads which amazed me. The Mantras and the meaning is given below.

सत्यं वद । धर्मं चर |
सत्यान्न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
धर्मान्न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
कुशलान्न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
भूत्यै न प्रमदितव्यम् ।
स्वाध्यायप्रवचनाभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम्। देवपितृ कार्याभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम्।
मातृ देवो भव । पितृ देवो भव । आचार्य देवो भव। अतिथि देवो भव ।
यान्यनवद्यानि कर्माणि तानि सेवितव्यानि । नो इतराणि ।
यान्यस्माकं सुचरितानि तानि तवयोपास्यानि ! नो इतराणि !!

-तैतरीयोपनिषद

Speak the truth. Practise Dharma.
Do not swerve from the truth.
Do not swerve from dharma.
Do not neglect personal welfare.
Do not neglect prosperity.
Do not neglect the study of the Vedas.
Do not neglect your duties to the gods and the Manes
Treat your mother and father as God.
Treat your teacher and guest as God.
Whatever deeds are faultless, these are to be performed-not others.
Whatever good works have been performed by us, those should be performed by you-not others

 

Many of the Upanishad Shanthi Mantras transcend beyond religious barriers.

 

ॐ सहनाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु । मा विद्विषावहै ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

OM! May that Brahman protect us both;
May that Brahman nourish us both;
May we work in harmony with great vigor;
May our study be illuminating and fruitful;
May we not hate each other.

 

The last line struck some chords with me. “Whatever Good works have been performed by us, those should only be performed by you, not others”. Here the reader is cautioned against following anything blind. The Rishi of Upanishad exhorts the reader not to follow any badness, even if it is there in what the reader considers sacred. That is gem of a thought. You can see similar open minded thoughts in other Hindu scriptures also.

In Bhagavad Gita too, Sri Krishna, after explaining the Highest Knowledge of Atma Vidya, says to Arjuna ” “Do whatever is proper according to your opinion.”. The exact shloka is reproduced below.

इति ते ज्ञानमाख्यातं गुह्याद्गुह्यतरं मया विमृश्यैतदशेषेण यथेछसि तथा कुरु || (18:63)

I have explained to you the most secret knowledge, Rationally analyse these thoughts and do what you wish to do.

Similarly Sri Krishna does not, unlike other Gods of Abrahamic religion, curse or threaten “Non Believers” to hell , but rather he says.

ये अपि अन्यदेवताभक्ताः यजन्ते श्रद्धया अन्वितः 
ते अपि माम् एव कौन्तेय यजन्ति अविधिपूर्वकम् (9:2

Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding.

When compared to the Abrahamic God who sees enemies in his non-believers, Sri Krishna says 

समोऽहं सर्वभूतेषु न मे द्वेष्योऽस्ति न प्रियः । (9:29)

I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone.

Sri Krishna also says, you can worship anyone or anything. I grant you what you have prayed for.

यो यो यां यां तनुं भक्तः श्रद्धायार्चितुमिच्छति ।
तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विदधाम्यहम् ॥ २१ ॥

Whatsoever form any devotee desires to worship with faith – that (same) faith of his I make (firm and) unflinching.  (B.G 7.21)

The Vedas are foundations of Sanathana Dharam (Hinduism). We can also see such open mindedness in Vedas too as in the following mantras.

 एकं सत् विप्राः बहुधा वदन्ति ॥

Truth is one, learned men express it differently.

आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः ||

Let noble thoughts come to us from every sides.

Infact Rigveda concludes with a message of Unity, Read the following Manthra.

सं-समिद युवसे वर्षन्नग्ने विश्वान्यर्य आ | 
इळस पदेसमिध्यसे स नो वसून्या भर || 
सं गछध्वं सं वदध्वं सं वो मनांसि जानताम | 
देवा भागं यथा पूर्वे संजानाना उपासते || 
समानो मन्त्रः समितिः समानी समानं मनः सह चित्तमेषाम | 
समानं मन्त्रमभि मण्त्रये वः समानेन वोहविषा जुहोमि || 
समानी व आकूतिः समाना हर्दयानि वः | 
समानमस्तु वोमनो यथा वः सुसहासति ||

Come together , speak together: let your minds be all of one accord,
As ancient Gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share.
The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be their thought united.
A common purpose do I lay before you, and worship with your general oblation.
One and the same be your resolve, and be your minds of one accord.
United be the thoughts of all that all may happily agree.

You can see such liberal thoughts in almost all the Hindu scriptures – be it Mahabharata or Ramayana- Purana or even the later Bhakti era works by Tulsi Das.

It is really wonderful that this message of tolerance did not remain struck in these scriptures. Most of the Hindus may not be learned about these mantras and scriptures, but they are quite aware of these verses

 

आकाशात् पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम् । सर्वदेवनमस्कारः केशवं प्रतिगच्छति ॥ 

Rain from the skies reach the ocean ultimately, worship to any God reach One.

 

 स्वस्तिप्रजाभ्यः परिपालयन्तां न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशाः ।

गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यं लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनो भवन्तु. ||

May the well-being of all people be protected by the powerful and mighty leaders be with law and justice. May good success be with all cows (divinity) and scholars. May all (samastah) the worlds (lokha) become (bhavantu) happy (sukhino).

 

While we read, study and Practice Hinduism, we must keep in mind at least the above gentle messages by our Rishis. Be open to Good thoughts, It can come from anywhere. Reject badness, even if it comes from what we consider sacred.

 

 


Andhra Government promotes Christian culture officially ?

Imagine the hue and cry if Narendra Modi talks the H word- the whole nation will debate his majoritarian communalism. If BJP promotes Sanskrit or Yoga, it is also communalism.  But accidentally I saw a website maintained by Andhra Pradesh Government which is named christianminorities.ap.nic.in.  We have minority ministry for centre and state, but never knew in Andhra Pradesh there is a special status for Christians. Contents of the site would prove the status enjoyed by Christian minority in Andhra.

Embedded image permalink

The following welcome note can be read in the website itself.

The Andhra Pradesh State Christian (Minorities) Finance Corporation has been formed in November 2008. The main objective of the corporation is to assist the Christians community for their socio-economic development in collaboration with Banks and other Development Agencies. The Source of funding for the corporate is from Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Three conclusions can be reached easily from above note

  1. Congress Government under YSR started it in 2008. In April 2009 assembly elections were held. This corporation was set up to woo Christian vote bank.
  2. Main objective of the corporation is to assist the Christian community.  Not even minority community, Christian community need a special assistance?
  3. The funding of this corporate is by Government of Andhra Pradesh. Public money for blatantly communal corporation?

As we move on we can read about the schemes by this corporation, they are

  • Christian Mass Marriages
  • Pre Matric Scholarships (Government of AP)
  • Post Matric Scholarships (Government of AP)
  • Tuition Fee Reimbursement (Government of AP)
  • Pre Matric Scholarships (Government of India)
  • Post Matric Scholarships (Government of India)
  • Merit-Cum-Means Scholarships (Government of India)
  • Training, Employment and Placement
  • Free Coaching for Competitive Examinations
  • Subsidy for Bank Linked Income Generation Schemes
  • Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem ( Stopped due to High Court Stay Order)
  • Financial Assistance for Construction/ Renovation/ Repairs to Churches (Stopped due to High Court Stay Order)
  • Financial Assistance to Christian Hospitals, School Buildings, Orphanages, Old Age Homes, Community Halls-cum-Youth and Resource Centers; and for Youth Awareness Programmes and promotion of Christian Culture.

Those in un- bolded letters are quite common to see in most of the states. But I am yet to see Christian only scholarships in any other states. But the “schemes” above in bolded letters needs quite elaboration.

Till 2009, Andhra Goyt used to give subsidy to Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem. In July 2009, The HC stayed the state funding of subsidy. It seems that the court has vacated the stay, but the website says it has been stopped.

It is worth noting that the Andhra Government has a financial assistance scheme, which is perhaps still continuing, to promote Christian culture. Why should any Government which vow on secularism promote Christian culture with state funds? Does not it tantamount to saying that Christianity is state religion of Andhra? What if BJP says it would promote Hindu culture?

There is another scheme to felicitate eminent Christians in Andhra? A Secular Government felicitating eminent personalities of a particular religion only? Following is the notification of that scheme

A P State Christian (Minorities) Finance Corporation, Minorities Welfare Department, Government of AP solicits nominations from Heads of Churches, Christian Institutions, Community Leaders etc., for felicitating eminent Christians who have excelled in different fields of life and rendered exemplary services for the last 10 years in secular areas like 1) Social Work (2) Education (3) Literature (4) Medicine (5) Fine Arts/Theatre at the time of Christmas High Tea Programme hosted by the Government of AP through General Administration Department during December 2013. Those selected will be felicitated with a cash award of Rs.10,000/- along with a plaque in recognition of their services.

 

The majority-minority concept in India itself is a flawed one. Minority protection presupposes a strong, proselyting and united majority. But in India Hindus are not a united majority, instead they are divided into groups and subgroups. Here the majority community is a collection of thousands of minority groups who are less in number than Muslims and Christians.  Hinduism is not a proselyting religion which propagate that other religions are false.

The above schemes are perfect examples of how blatantly communal and discriminatory schemes which are unconstitutional are introduced in the name of secularism. Secularism nowadays, is even a defence to rape for some eminent journalist accused of rape.  It is quite sad to see Congress party, which is vocal on “secularism” is engaging in raping the constitution of India.

 

 

 


Traits of successful people

Mahabharatha deals with histories and stories of many types of people. It is said that message of the Vedas are explained through these Itihasas and Puranas. Mahabharatha, being an epic written by Veda Vyasa himself, contains numerous gems of vedic wisdom. Vedic message are not otherwordly, in the normal sense of the term. Vedic messages exhort people to do their Karma and live for 100 years. This blog is about traits of successful people as discussed in the epic.

In Shanthi Parva and Anushasanika Parva, we can see hundreds of questions by Yudhishtira and Bhishma answering each of them in detail- many of them is about duties and responsibilities of a Govt(ruler). Here you can read one such question which concerns all of us- how to be successful in life. Mere listing of qualities one person should have in order to become successful may be a boring read for some, and hence it is presented as a dialogue between Sri Krishna and Ugrasena. They are talking about Narada Maharshi and the secrets of his successful persona and popularity.

A man can be called successful if  he is dear to all. He gladdens all. What are the qualities of such successful people, that was the query of Yudhishtira to Bhishma. Bhishma narrated a dialogue between Ugrasena and Sri Krishna on Narada. I will first put the verses and translation here for you to read..

  1 [य]      परियः सर्वस्य लॊकस्य सर्वसत्त्वाभिनन्दिता      गुणैः सर्वैर उपेतश च कॊ नव अस्ति भुवि मानवः  2 [भी]      अत्र ते वर्तयिष्यामि पृच्छतॊ भरतर्षभ      उग्रसेनस्य संवादं नारदे केशवस्य च  3 [उग्रसेन]      पश्य संकल्पते लॊकॊ नारदस्य परकीर्तने      मन्ये स गुणसंपन्नॊ बरूहि तन मम पृच्छतः  4 [वासुदेव]      कुकुराधिप यान मन्ये शृणु तान मे विवक्षतः      नारदस्य गुणान साधून संक्षेपेण नराधिप  5 न चारित्रनिमित्तॊ ऽसयाहंकारॊ देहपातनः      अभिन्न शरुतचारित्रस तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः  6 तपस्वी नारदॊ बाधं वाचि नास्य वयतिक्रमः      कामद वा यदि वा लॊभात तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः  7 अध्यात्मविधितत्त्वज्ञः कषान्तः शक्तॊ जितेन्द्रियः      ऋजुश च सत्यवादी च तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः  8 तेजसा यशसा बुद्ध्या नयेन विनयेन च      जन्मना तपसा वृद्धस तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः  9 सुखशीलः सुसंभॊगः सुभॊज्यः सवादरः शुचिः      सुवाक्यश चाप्य अनीर्ष्यश च तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः  10 कल्यानं कुरुते बाधं पापम अस्मिन न विद्यते     न परीयते परान अर्थैस तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 11 वेदश्रुतिभिर आख्यानैर अर्थान अभिजिगीसते     तितिक्षुर अनवज्ञश च तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 12 समत्वाद धि परियॊ नास्ति नाप्रियश च कथं चन     मनॊ ऽनुकूल वादी च तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 13 बहुश्रुतश चैत्रकथः पण्डितॊ ऽनलसॊ ऽशथः     अदीनॊ ऽकरॊधनॊ ऽलुब्धस तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 14 नार्थे न धर्मे कामे वा भूतपूर्वॊ ऽसय विग्रहः     दॊषाश चास्य समुच्छिन्नास तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 15 दृध भक्तिर अनिन्द्यात्मा शरुतवान अनृशंसवान     वीतसंमॊह दॊषश च तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 16 असक्तः सर्वसङ्गेषु सक्तात्मेव च लक्ष्यते     अदीर्घसंशयॊ वाग्मी तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 17 समाधिर नास्य मानार्थे नात्मानं सतौति कर्हि चित     अनीर्ष्युर दृध संभासस तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 18 लॊकस्य विविधं वृत्तं परकृतेश चाप्य अकुत्सयन     संसर्गविद्या कुशलस तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 19 नासूयत्य आगमं कं चित सवं तपॊ नॊपजीवति     अवन्ध्य कालॊ वश्यात्मा तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 20 कृतश्रमः कृतप्रज्ञॊ न च तृप्तः समाधितः     नियमस्थॊ ऽपरमत्तश च तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 21 सापत्रपश च युक्तश च सुनेयः शरेयसे परैः     अभेत्ता परगुह्यानां तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 22 न हृष्यत्य अर्थलाभेषु नालाभेषु वयथत्य अपि     सथिरबुद्धिर असक्तात्मा तस्मात सर्वत्र पूजितः 23 तं सर्वगुण संपन्नं दक्षं शुचिम अकातरम     कालज्ञं च नयज्ञं च कः परियं न करिष्यति

 O king! Narada is as learned in the scriptures as he is good and pious in his conduct. And yet, on account of his conduct, he never cherishes pride that makes one’s blood so hot. It is for this reason that he is worshipped everywhere. Discontent, wrath, levity, and fear, these do not exist in Narada. He is free from procrastination, and possessed of courage. For this he is worshipped everywhere. Narada deserves the respectful worship of all. He never falls back from his words through desire or cupidity. For this he is worshipped everywhere. He is fully conversant with the principles that lead to the knowledge of the soul, disposed to peace, possessed of great energy, and a master of his senses. He is free from guile, and truthful in speech. For this he is worshipped with respect everywhere. He is distinguished by energy, by fame, by intelligence, by knowledge, by humility, by birth, by penances, and by years. For these he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He is of good behaviour. He dresses and houses himself well. He eats pure food. He loves all. He is pure in body and mind. He is sweet-speeched. He is free from envy and malice. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He is certainly always employed in doing good to all people. No sin dwells in him. He never rejoices at other people’s misfortunes. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He always seeks to conquer all earthly desires by listening to Vedic recitations and attending to the Puranas. He is a great renouncer and he never disregards any one. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He casts an equal eye on all; and, therefore, he has no one whom he loves and none whom he hates. He always speaks what is agreeable to the hearer. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He is possessed of great learning in the scriptures. His conversation is varied and delightful. His knowledge and wisdom are great. He is free from cupidity. He is free also from deception. He is large-hearted. He has, conquered wrath and cupidity. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He has never quarrelled with any one for any subject connected with profit or pleasure. All faults have been torn away by him. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. His devotion (to Brahma) is firm. His soul is blameless. He is well-versed in the Srutis. He is free from cruelty. He is beyond the influence of delusion or faults. For this he is worshipped everywhere with respect. He is unattached to all such things as are objects of attachment (for others). For all that he seems to be attached to all things.  He is never long subject to the influence of any doubt. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He has no yearning for objects connected with profit and pleasure. He never glorifies his own self. He is free from malice. He is mild in speech. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He observes the hearts, different from one another, of all men, without blaming any of them. He is well-versed in all matters connected with the origin of things. He never disregards or shows hatred for any kind of science. He lives according to his own standard of morality. He never suffers his time to pass away fruitlessly. His soul is under his control For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He has toiled in subjects that deserve the application of toil. He has earned knowledge and wisdom. He is never satiated with yoga. He is always attentive and ready for exertion. He is ever heedful. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He has never to feel shame for any deficiency of his. He is very attentive. He is always engaged by others in accomplishing what is for their good. He never divulges the secrets of others. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. He never yields to transports of joy on occasions of making even valuable acquisitions. He is never pained at losses. His understanding is firm and stable. His soul is unattached to all things. For this he is everywhere worshipped with respect. Who, indeed, is there that will not love him who is thus possessed of every merit and accomplishment, who is clever in all things, who is pure in body and mind, who is entirely auspicious, who is well-versed with the course of time and its opportuneness for particular acts, and who is well-acquainted with all agreeable things?'”

I have often wondered why we or why we are taught to look down as scriptures as something which is other wordly. The subjects discussed through out Mahabharatha and other scriptures are purely about this world we are living in. Here by expounding the character of Narada, Veda Vyasa through Bhishma tells the Arjunas of the present world that we need to imbibe such qualities which he has attributed to Narada. Let us discuss the qualities one by one..

Knowledge Vs Character 

We could see many Duryodhanas and Ravanas around us even these days. Learned are not always possessed of good character. Duryodhana studied in the same Gurukul where Yudhishtira and others did, but his character was as bad as any ignorant fool. So was Ravana, he was more learned than Sri Rama- but was a tyrant. Knowledge is not related to ones character. But if a man possess both character and knowledge, he becomes successful and well accepted by the public

— to be continued.


Encounter with Almighty God

Believe me lest I shall put you in hell,

Said the Almighty God to me, a silly man.

I laughed at his antics, mocked him as well.

Will not- said I, do whatever you can.

I shall not believe in you, I said to him.

He seemed to listen me, I spoke to him.

The hell fire is ready for you, he thundered.

I told him we have fire in our Kitchen too.

My mother is always there where she cooked.

We feel like heaven when we eat it too.

Our mother is the God, who lives for me,

She never threatens us with hell or fire.

Our Good father works hard for all of us

He brought us toys when we were tots

He made us join school where we were taught,

About everything we should know for life.

My father is my God, so is my Teacher.

They never threatened us with hell or fire.

I saw an orphan kid, she was crying,

Not because she did not see the Almighty God,

She wanted a mother, father and teacher

Who will make her life worth living

One fine day she got her parents back

She rejoiced like she got heaven.

But do not worry God, I shall believe in you.

But I prefer you a fourth place, do not mind.

I see yourself in my teacher and parents.

I opt for hell after life :  for heaven on earth.

God smiled and then laughed I was taken aback,

I was testing you, he said with smile on his lips.

Your parents are your God, I am in them.

Your teachers are Gods, I am what they teach.

Your friends are God, they help you in stress.

You are my own, how will I send you to hell.

Believe me not, but live a life for them,

Fear not hell, heaven is ready for you on earth.