Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Is Man slave or Master of Time?-1

Time was one of the preoccupations the Upanisadic thinkers. What attracted them most was the capacity of time to awaken in man the time-transcending quality. Witness for instance this remarkable declaration of the Maitrayani Upanisad :

'Time cooks, ripens, all things, indeed, in the great Self. He who knows in what time is cooked, he is the knower of the Veda.'

And then speaking of the great Self the Upanisad adds : · That supreme Self unlimited, unborn, not to be reasoned about, unthinkable, Or cannot be thought of, He whose Self is space, at the dissolution of all He alone remains awake. Thus from that space He awakens this world which consist of thought only. By Him alone is all this meditated on and in Him it is dissolved.'

'Time cooks or ripens all things in the great Self. He who knows that in which time is ripened, knows in reality' says the Upanisad.

By a sort of dialectic the Upanisad wants to awaken in us that time-transcending quality which lives independent of things and hence independent of time. For, mark the words, It things are cooked'. 'Self is not cooked or affected by time, rather the Self cooks or conquers time.' To the extent to which we identify with the Self, and not with the body and the things on which it depends, we go beyond time. Our lower self is caught in time, the higher Self is always above its influence.

Instead of saying that time ripens all things and that time is ripened in the Self, the Upanisad would have presented the same idea in another way. It would have said that man is engaged in a race with time which is true besides that is to say, time is trying to eat him up (and the eating up is death) and man is trying to 'eat' time, by trying to be immortal. The ordinary folk try to be immortal by leaving something of theirs on earth, fame, name or children. The godly men and the mystics not only try, but succeed to become immortal even,"while living, for they live unconscious of and indifferent to, the exigencies of desire, passion, and necessity which constitute time. Life is a race with time, that is what life is."

By saying everything is cooked by time but Self cooks time, we are asked to reverse the natural process that is time's making.  Instead of being driven by time, we must drive it. In fact time is not the driving force in life, it is desire, passion, aspiration, necessity, necessity to become what we are not. These are the forces that drive us, which make us old and finally disintegrate. We are being used by these forces and rarely are we conscious that we are being used. If we can capture from them their force, take the wind off their sails, then we can 'drive' them instead of they driving us and thus reverse the whole process. How to capture the forces of desire, aspiration and of necessity?

Divinity of Atman

Swami Vivekananda explained very movingly about how the impact of India is seen and will be seen in the world.
Do you not find how everything is being revolutionised? Do you not see how it was the custom to take for granted that everything was wicked until it proved itself good? In education, in punishing criminals, in treating lunatics, in the treatment of common diseases even, that was the old law. What is the modern law? The modern law says, the body itself is healthy; it cures diseases of its own nature. Medicine can at the best but help the storing up of the best in the body. What says it of criminals? It takes for granted that however low a criminal may be, there is still the divinity within, which does not change, and we must treat criminals accordingly. All these things are now changing, and reformatories and penitentiaries are established. So with everything. Consciously or unconsciously that Indian idea of the divinity within everyone is expressing itself even in other countries. And in your books is the explanation which other nations have to accept. The treatment of one man to another will be entirely revolutionised, and these old, old ideas of pointing to the weakness of mankind will have to go. They will have received their death-blow within this century. Now people may stand up and criticise us. I have been criticised, from one end of the world to the other, as one who preaches the diabolical idea that there is no sin! Very good. The descendants of these very men will bless me as the preacher of virtue, and not of sin. I am the teacher of virtue, not of sin. I glory in being the preacher of light, and not of darkness.

....The old lines of demarcation and differentiation are vanishing rapidly. Electricity and steam - power are placing the different parts of the world in intercommunication with each other, and, as a result, …When we go out of our country, we find the same brother - man, with the same strong hand to help, with the same lips to say godspeed; and sometimes they are better than in the country in which we are born. When they come here, they find the same brotherhood, the same cheer, the same godspeed. ...Thus we find solidarity coming in spite of itself. Even in politics and sociology, problems that were only national twenty years ago can no more be solved on national grounds only. They are assuming huge proportions, gigantic shapes. They can only be solved when looked at in the broader light of international  grounds. International organisations, international combinations, international laws are the cry of the day. That shows the solidarity. In science, every day they are coming to a similar broad view of matter. You speak of matter, the whole universe as one mass, one ocean of matter, in which you and I, the sun and the moon, and everything else are but the names of different little whirlpools and nothing more. Mentally speaking, it is one universal ocean of thought in which you and I are similar little whirlpools; and as spirit it moveth not, it changeth not. It is the One Unchangeable, Unbroken, Homogeneous Atman. The cry for morality is coming also, and that is to be found in our books. The explanation of morality, the fountain of ethics, that also the world wants; and that it will get here. (CWSV, vol. III, pp. 240 – 241)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

King and his four queens

Yesterday I was with Sri Aaba Nandurdikarji. He told me a story which I am sharing with you all.

There was a king with four of his his queens. All of them were special and so King used to take care of them in a special way. The first one was his favorite and he always remained with her. 24 hours she used to be with him. He had extremely special love for her and therefore, all types of care he used to take as far as she was concerned.
The second was the most beautiful one and King used to be extremely proud of her. Her charming beauty, attracting manners always made King love her most. She was well guarded with military men and none had access to her except the King. Her beauty was so special to the King.
Third one was also dear to the King. She used to come to the whenever she felt. Or King used to go to her whenever he felt. But when both used to meet, they were extremely happy and joyful. On demand, both were available to each other.
The fourth one was extremely unfortunate. She used to stay in jungle. Though near, she was uncared. Though she loved the King, his love was not available to her and though queen, she was neglected by the King.

He ruled the kingdom well and enjoyed the life with all four queens and now it was a time to depart. Before that he felt, he should find out from them as to what extent they loved him and whether they will accompany him. And so, one by one, he approached all of them.
The first one was told, O queen, my time to depart is approaching. 'I shall leave for the eternal abode shortly. I fondled you and you were all the time with me. Will you come with me?' 'No, I shall be with you till the burial ground. Then I shall not be with you. I shall depart to my own abode. I shall not come with you.' The King was shocked to hear her dearest queen's remark.
He approached to the second one. He told the same things to her and how he guarded her beauty was also told to her. 'Will you accompany me?' 'No. As soon as you depart from here, I shall not come with you. My life is precious. I shall go with somebody else. You have to go on your own.'
On hearing both the queens replies, the King approached the third queen with a broken heart. He told her about his departure and asked 'will you come with me?' 'No, dear one! One has to go all alone. I am not going to be come with you. I have my own affairs to take care. As soon as you go, I shall mourn for some time, shall do shraddha for you, shall do some charity for you and then, I shall go in my own way.'
The king was dismayed by the replies of all three of his queen to whom he did everything. As he had not done anything to the fourth queen, he was not feeling like approaching her. But then, with all courage, he approached her and told her that he was leaving the world. He also told her that he didn't care for her and was feeling very sorry for the same. But, 'will you come with me?', he asked. 'YES, I am yours now and for eternity. You may take care of me or not, but I shall always remain with you. I love you and in whatever condition you may be, I shall always remain with you.'
The King was very happy at least one of the queen, though neglected, uncared by him was ready to go with him.

Activity : Who are these four queens? Do you know them? Do tell us.