THE SHAKTI ASPECT OF HINDU ‘RITUALS’

A Yogi’s perspective.

This is a guest post by Sri Guru Rohit Arya. It has been taken from his Facebook post (click to go to original post) and shared here with his permission. 

One of the regular observations made of Hinduism is that it has ‘too many rituals.’ In school, our history books assure us that one of the virtues of reformers was that they did not like ‘meaningless rituals.’ Well the ‘historians’ who write such muck are fools. Even the word Ritual is a package that contains so many processes operating at so many different levels. Homam, Yagya, Puja, Japam, Sankirtanam, Antiyeshti, Namakaranam, Prayaschitam, they are all saddled with the inadequacy of the word ‘ritual’. Samskaras seem a better all purpose word, – “putting together, making perfect, getting ready, to prepare”, or “a sacred or sanctifying ceremony” – and “puja vidhi” for all processes connected with worship and working with Shakti seems more appropriate.

Before we get into this business of puja vidhi something vital about Shakti and spirituality needs to be understood. It is something that the average English educated Hindu of today does not comprehend, but unless it is grasped we can’t move forward. So here goes.

Spirituality and Shakti cannot be found on the physical plane. By its very nature, its intrinsic setting, it belongs to a higher vibration or a different dimension. It is an intense and refined energy which cannot be found in the denseness of embodiment. All such processes are, at their core, systems and methods to access Shakti which can transform people. We reach UP-wards to access this Force, and then, after a while, it ignites within you and then things go much better. {Within does not mean the physical body} This does not mean the need to keep drawing Shakti stops, very far from it. The more Shakti you have the more you can mainline. But this concept is vital to grasp. If you cannot get on board with this, then indeed you are better off writing lies in books about ‘meaningless rituals’. In his extraordinary new book on the Vedic Yagna, titled Ardor, Roberto Callaso has spelt it out – “If one wants to talk about anything religious, some kind of relation has to be established with the invisible. There has to be a recognition of powers situated over and beyond social order. Social order itself must seek to establish some relations with that invisible.

People who have no experience or even basic comprehension of Shakti nevertheless feel they can comment on it.

The great, even incredible, thing about how samskaras and pujas were constructed and transmitted in Yogic culture is that even if the person doing the ritual has no to very little idea what is going on, as long as it is being done Correctly the Shakti flows. This really takes some getting used to.

All pujas and homams and so on, they are all methodologies to build up Shakti in double quick time and then release it into the surroundings. I was impelled to write this after reading that dishonest hit job on Gurus by some Kang lady in her book. At one point Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev explains to her that the Saptarishi puja in Kashi is amazing … “when the priests performed the ritual I was amazed… the stacks and stacks of energy they built, these Brahmin guys who only live for money” He is absolutely right but the author could not comprehend what an opportunity she was given by Fate and she let it go, instead of learning something valuable, because there is “disturbing amount of ritual” at Isha Foundation. This is how people miss the Avasaram, the karmic moment of possibility, the chance to evolve.

It is so in any good temple and with any good samskara. I have so many personal experiences of just that. Chidambaram temple is unique in that it does six abhiskhekams a day instead of the normal one or two – 4 in the morning till 10 at night with just 3 hours off in the middle of day.

And Chidambaram is an incredible Kshetram, the supreme Kshetram, because of that. The priests change each day, but the wallop of Shakti that flows never dips below a certain level of potency because of the manner in which the puja is performed. Flawless execution carries the day even if knowledge and Shakti are limited. When you stand there and see the Ratna Sabhapati Ruby Nataraja lit up with camphor flames at 11 am you have seen one of the great spiritual events on the planet.

Every temple has a different Shakti setting and impact. I have seen pujas at all the Aru Padai Veedu of Muruga. The abhshekam with bhasmam that they do at Tirrutanni releases a particular sort of Shakti. The white chandan Alamkaram they do to Skanda at the shore temple in Thiruchendur is one of surpassing beauty and power. But above all you have not lived unless you have attended the Uccha puja at Palani. They create a wall of fire and sound and the whole area is flooded with Akasha tattva. I have made a famous video on this for those interested, it is on YouTube . It is akin to a nuclear blast homam, done as a puja, but Palani is really supernatural in its impact.

I recall walking into the Surya Shivan temple, Shiva as Surya in murti form, at evening Deeparadhana and it was like being kicked by an elephant.

My great limitation in this life is my lack of interest in developing the accuracy needed to transmit such processes. I practice and teach a yogic process which makes me a living havan kunda so the shakti of any process is instantly accessed. I can walk into almost any puja and figure out what is going on at the Shakti level. But when you need to teach and transmit these things great skill is needed to do it accurately. I have the Shakti and the knowledge, but not the temperament to accquire the skills needed. It is actually a safeguard for this embodiment. In previous rounds I had developed scary levels of abilities in these matters and proceed to misuse them for stupid things – read sex and money and fame. So the Gurus have made sure I don’t go there again. I have such memories… things and procedures I have never read, heard or seen yet intense and immense details of weird ingredients and peculiar actions… well, well, we all do stupid things in our spiritual infancy….

Even the simple act of lighting an oil or ghee lamp is a powerful intervention of Shakti. It is a play of tattvas. The lamp is prithvi or earth, metal or clay or whatever though nowadays people use glass too which is fused silica so we can stretch the point and consider it earth. The oil or ghee is Jala tattva, air is anyways present and then we have to bring our conscious volition, our will, our sankalpa into play by igniting the Angi tattva. When you do that, no matter how dense your consciousness, a large amount of Akasha tattva releases into the surroundings.

When you have Shakti, it becomes a different thing altogether. My disciples think is is a big deal that the flames of homams respond to my hands and follow me. I have seen Yogis where they rise up and wash over the entire body so I don’t get any swelled head over such a minor thing. But every day first action on awakening, light the diya. I never miss that.

In one sense one should ultimately go beyond processes but to disparage and disdain them and call them meaningless is to succumb to the Asura Prakriti. Our puja vidhis were created by great rishis and unless you have surpassed them please shut the hell up and show some humility while at it.

The pictures I use. The Homam was an extraordinary Dhanwantri one at the temple of the same name in Coimbatore a few years back. I am being deliberately mischievous in showing Yogi Adityanath but look at the flames and look at the Murti of Gorakshanath. It should shake you if you have the slightest sensitivity.

The fiery photo is an example of the ‘disturbing amount of ritual’ in Isha. I bless everybody they all experience similar ‘disturbance’ in their life. The last pic is Yours Truly, Sri Guru Rohit Arya, working purely with shakti to energize a small murti. I DO NOT recommend this method. Why I act so I have already explained.

Pujas work. They are not meaningless, but power packed methodologies to evolve you. 
Sarvam Shivamayam!

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Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount – Beatitudes-1 & 2 – A Hindu/Sanatana Dharma perspective (2)

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In the first post on “The Sermon on the Mount” the context and the setting was discussed. It was also speculated and postulated that recent evidence seems to suggest that Jesus must have been inspired by Hindu and Buddhist philosophies – the pre-eminent religions of the time.

In this the second post on the “Sermon on the Mount” the first beatitude is taken up.

The first 9 lines of the sermon are known as the “Beatitudes”  because each sentence begins with “Blessed” derived from the Latin root “Beatus” meaning “Blessed

In talking about the beatitudes, it was highlighted (in the first post) how these are the exact opposites of the “Ten Commandants” revealed/given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the old testament in the “Book of Exodus”

St. Gregory of Nyssa says: “Beatitude is a possession of all things held to be good, from which nothing is absent that a good desire may want. Perhaps the meaning of beatitude may become clearer to us if it is compared with its opposite. Now the opposite of beatitude is misery. Misery means afflicted unwillingly with painful sufferings…

Beatitudes-1 and 2: As mentioned in the first post, the first two and the last two beatitudes are so closely related in their meaning that it may be a good idea to club the first and the second and the last and the penultimate beatitudes making it 7 beatitudes in all

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven {Matthew 5:3}
  2. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. {Matthew 5:4}

What does he mean when he says “Blessed are the poor in spirit…”? Does it mean that those who choose to tread this path must by its very nature live like beggars and wear rags? This is often the interpretation that is made even by those considered experts making the “poverty is a virtue” an industry by itself. Surely, a seer of Jesus stature would not be saying something as inane and banal as this. And, where is this “Kingdom of Heaven“? – is it up in the clouds where one will be ushered in by St. Peter, the gatekeeper of the pearly gates of heaven ?

Let us examine the second question first – “Where is this “Kingdom of Heaven?” To get an answer to this question, one only needs to look within the same sermon to when Jesus talks about “how one should pray to our father in heaven” He did not approve of any show and pomp in prayer. In fact he considered these people hypocrites. Look at the verses below:

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are:] for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may
be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward {Matthew 6:5} .  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly {Matthew 6:6}.

Now where is this closet that he refers to? Is it a cupboard or a small room, or a secret hiding place where you shut yourself up and pray? No, what he is referring to is the “Heart” which is the spiritual center in the human being. The spiritual consciousness dwells in the heart, the brain is but the repository of intellectual consciousness. That is why the Head is “Rational” and the Heart “Emotional” 

All progress in the spiritual realm happens when there is at first a descent from the ego-center of the brain into the spiritual center of the heart followed by an ascent again into the higher echelons of the spiritual sphere.

That the heart is the spiritual center of the “Atman” is well established in Hindu/Sanatana Dharma.

In the Katha Upanishad {1-2-20} Yama, the lord of death tells Nachiketa:
अणोरणीयान्महतो महीयानात्मास्य जन्तोर्निहितो गुहायां । (1)
The “Self” or the “Atman” is tinier than the tiniest and subtler than the subtlest; greater than the greatest; larger than the largest… This “Self” is hidden/lodged in a “Cave” (Guhaayam) of the being – “The Heart”

The Svetaswatara Upanishad also clearly points to the heart being the seat of the “inner self

Svetashwara upanishad
Swami Tyagisananda (2)

The Prasna Upanishad is even more direct when it says: “This atman that dwells in the heart…

Prasna-upanishad
Swami Sharvananda (3)

In his book “All about Soul” Madhava (4) points to several other references including the one in “Yogachudamani Upanishad” which says “In the great Chakra of twelve petals… the soul whirls round and round.” a clear reference to the “Anahata Chakra of 12 petals corresponding to the level of the heart.

Therefore when Jesus says “when thou prayest, enter into thy closet…” he is referring to the “closet of the Heart” i.e. a descent from the ego-centered brain to the emotional center in the Heart and the “Kingdom of Heaven…” is the realization of the divinity of the “Self” within.

And what does it mean to be “poor in spirit?” The operative phrase is “…in spirit” – It is an inner renunciation of the attachment to all things “material” and “ephemeral” You can have all the possessions in the world but so long as you are not “attached” you are spiritually free. King Janaka of Mithila was one such Raja Yogi who remained unattached and calm despite the pressures of running a kingdom and possessing wealth. Krishna was another who remained untouched despite being in the midst of wealth and political intrigue.

As long as a person remains attached to any possession – material, mental, or emotional that dominates his/her consciousness he/she remains “poor in spirit” To be poor in spirit is to possess the humility to know that all these possessions are but ephemeral, temporary, and fleeting.

Sankara also in his Vivekachudamani says “The first step to liberation is the extreme aversion to all perishable things…” and it is this poverty that Jesus is referring to

vivekachudamani
Swami Madhavananda (5)

And who are the mourners? They are those that yearn for the realization of the divinity within – that “Kingdom of Heaven” within. It is these who find comfort in the the realization of the divinity within…


  1. https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/katha-upanishad-shankara-bhashya/d/doc145197.html
  2. Svetaswataropanisad by Swami Tyagisananda; Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras; 1949
  3. Prasna Upanishad by Swami Sharvananda; Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Madras; 1922
  4. All About Soul. Madhava. First Edition. Pai and Company. Master Printers. Kochi. 
  5. Vivekachudamani of Sri Sankaracharya by Swami Madhavananda; The Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati. Almora Himalayas; 1921.

 

 

The four Vedas – Saama Veda

The word “Saama” is derived from the Sanskrit root “साम” which means to “appease”, “soothe”, “calm”, comfort”, “conciliate”. The word

Saama-veda-murthy
Saama Veda Murthy

Saama” therefore means “that which soothes and relaxes the mind and promises peace.

The Saama Veda contains “Riks” i.e. verses/shlokas from the Rig Veda set to music. In chanting the Rig Veda one would chant the mantras with the udaatta (upward swara) and the anudhaatta (downward swara). In chanting the Saama Veda the same “Rik” would be “sung” with an elongated swara.

The Saama Veda / Saama Gaana is considered to be the source of the Sapta (seven) Swaras (notes) of Indian Classical Music. In Yajnas, one designated priest called the “Udgaata” who chants the Saama Veda to propitiate the Gods and ensure their grace.

The musical rendition and the elongated notes when chanted in sequence and with the proper diction has a calming influence on the mind and is extremely conducive to the spiritual evolution of the self – It is because of this virtue of the Saama Veda, that Shri Krishna declared in the Bhagavad Gita “Amongst the Vedas, I am Saama Veda“.

In the Lalitha Sahasranaama Stotra, which literally means the “1,000 names of the divine mother” one of the names given to her is “Saama-Gaana-Priya” – “She who is pleased/propitiated by the recitation of Saama Veda

Watch the YouTube video below showing the brain activity of a 26 year old man, while listening to Saama Veda chanting with his eyes closed [Red indicates brain activation and Blue indicates deactivation] – it is interesting to note how, even with eyes closed, the Visual Cortex lights up


References:

  1. Brain activity video: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbDdmTlTwoCUx2p7nScbUCw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX11bBpuKlU)
  2. Deivathin Kural Volume-2; Vanathi Publications; 2016 edition/Reprint
  3. The Vedas – Sri Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan; 2014.
  4. Sama Veda Murthy: http://www.reocities.com/venkatharihara/Vedas.html

Disclaimer: Copyright with regard to images / videos rests with the owner/creator and are not being used for any commercial purpose.

Akrura’s hymn to Krishna (10)

This will be the last post in this series on Krishna. This post draws from Chapter-40; Skandha-10 of the Bhagavata in which Akrura (who is actually an envoy of Kamsa) realizes Krishna’s true nature and then composes a hymn extempore, revealing to the world the true nature of Krishna. These verses clearly show that Krishna is that indwelling atman, spirit, soul within each individual – that which pervades and invades every sentient and insentient being in the Universe.

Below is a free translation of a few select verses (the operative word is “FREE”)

  1. You are that primordial being, the Purusha from whom everything has evolved and into whom everything subsides
  2. The elements – earth, water, fire, sky, air, and space are but parts of your being
  3. You are pure and transcendent, not bound by even Prakriti and therefore unattainable through the intellect but easily grasped when the seeker submits to your will.
  4. Those who have developed the highest spiritual insight realize “YOU” as “YOURSELF” as that one Lord and Universal being
  5. Those who need the help of symbols worship you as that indweller in either the body, nature, or Devas
  6. Those who see everything as manifestations of  your supreme Maya serve YOU through the SERVICE of fellow beings
  7. Those devoted to the rituals of the Vedas see you in the fire of their yagnas
  8. Those who attain you through a Quantum leap in Jnana (knowledge) drop everything and adore you as the all pervading Supreme
  9. Just as all rivers fed by rain wander into the ocean, so also do all paths lead to YOU and YOU alone.
  10. Each one has come from you and remain strung together like the beads of a necklace – separate yet interdependent; interdependent yet held together by you
  11. Salutations to you, who are all of this but still remain a witness to this play, unattached and pristine
  12. Salutations to you who are Pure Consciousness beyond the grasp of Time, Karma, and Nature, infinite and inscrutable
  13. Protect me for I have surrendered myself to thee…

Cluster of 12 blossoms – द्वादशमञ्जरिका (12) – Sankara highlights the inscrutable power of maya (illusion)

The word maya often used in Sanatana Dharma is translated as “Illusion” in the English language – this is an incomplete translation. As with most words in Sanskrit, a word used in a particular context can have one import/meaning in that context and another completely or subtly different import/meaning in a different context. The word “Illusion” for Maya best describes Buddhism and its concept of “Maya-Vaada” (the doctrine of illusion) which is the foundational basis of Buddhism – the theory of “shunya” or “negation” or “voiding” (emptying) of all that is material and worldly, and the entering of a state of calmness – in this limited sense, Buddhism could be called an atheistic-agnostic sect.

The Maya of Sanatana Dharma can be better described as a “veiling-power” or the inscrutable power of the divinity inside each individual – where each person is “potentially divine” (Swami Vivekananda) but he/she is separated from his/her own reality by a veil of illusion which needs to be removed for the divinity to shine forth.

There is a story in the Srimad Bhagavata which illustrates the power of Maya. Once Sage Narada and Sri Krishna went out for a walk in Dwarka. Narada kept asking Krishna about the power of Maya. Krishna was initially reluctant but Narada being Narada, was adamant. By this time they  had wandered a long way from the palace. Krishna sat down under a tree and then spoke to Narada “Friend, I will tell you what Maya is, but I am very thirsty, could you first get me a glass of water from that little hut there across the fields?” “Right Away” said Narada and set out across the fields. It was a hot summer day and soon he was exhausted and thirsty himself -he decided that he would ask for two glasses of water instead of one.

He reached the edge of the village and knocked on the door of the first house. The door opened and there stood before him the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. Something happened to Narada that had never happened to him before and instead of asking for water he blurted out “Will you marry me?” The couple settled down to a life of conjugal and connubial bliss. They soon had children who were enrolled into the nearest Gurukula (school). Narada worked hard to provide for the family. His days were busy in tilling the land he owned, working at the shop he had set up, and spending the evening with his wife. Soon he became the richest merchant of that village. His children came back from Gurukula, got married and had children. Narada now had grandchildren with whom he and his wife played everyday. He became the patriarch of his family and the headman of the village. One day while sitting in the courtyard of his house he turned to his wife and said “Isn’t this the greatest thing on earth? Watching your grandchildren play?”

Then one day it rained, and rained, and then rained and the river became flooded – it burst across the embankments and washed everything in its wake, away… Narada watched horrified as his wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren, his shop, cattle, the crops and everything he held dear was washed away in the blink of an eye. He screamed “Krishna! Krishna! Krishna!…”

Krishna gently shook Narada awake, smiled and asked him “Have you had your experience of Maya?” Narada saw that he was lying next to Krishna under the same tree and everything that he had experienced was a dream…

In these two shlokas discussed here, Sankara asks us to ponder on how ephemeral and volatile this life is – he says “That which you call your own, that which you take pride in, that for which you give up your today in the fond hope of a better tomorrow, can disappear in the blink of an eye…”

The shlokas, transliteration, and translation below:

वयसि गते कः कामविकारः
शुष्के नीरे कः कासारः ।
क्षीणे वित्ते कः परिवारः
ज्ञाते तत्त्वे कः संसारः ॥
Vayasi Gathe Kaha-Kaama-vikaaraha
Shuske Neere Kaha-Kasaraha
Ksheene Vitthe Kaha-Parivaraha
Nyathe Tattve Kaha-Samsaraha

मा कुरु धनजनयौवनगर्वं
हरति निमेषात्कालः सर्वम् ।
मायामयमिदमखिलं हित्वा var बुध्वा
ब्रह्मपदं त्वं प्रविश विदित्वा ॥
Maa Kuru Dhana-Jana-Yauvana-Garvam
Harathi-Ni-Meshath-Kala-sarvam
Maya-mayam-idham-Akhilam Hithva
Brahma-padam Tvam Pravisha Vidithva

वयसि (Age) गते (Fled) कः काम (Desire, Passion) विकारः (Malady, Excitement, Contortion)
शुष्के (Dried-up, Shrivelled) नीरे (Water) कः कासारः (Pond, Pool)
क्षीणे (Lost, Emaciated, decayed) वित्ते (Wealth, Gained, Acquired) कः परिवारः (Family, Relatives)
ज्ञाते (Known, Ascertained, Understood) तत्त्वे (Philosophy, Truth) कः संसारः (World)॥

मा कुरु धन (Wealth) जन (People, Friends) यौवन (Youth, Beauty) गर्वं (Pride, Arrogance)
हरति (Flees, Gone) निमेषा (In a second, Blink) त्कालः (Time, Moment) सर्वम् (Entire, All)
मायामयमिदमखिलं  हित्वा (Illusory everything in this world)
ब्रह्मपदं (Brahman, Truth, That path of self-realization) त्वं प्रविश (Engaged in, Entered into, Begun) विदित्वा (Known, Learned, Knowledge, Information)

When your youth is gone, what use is this wealth, you have acquired? Why this ceaseless desire even now? Of what use is a dried-up, parched pond? Where are your relatives now that your wealth is gone? Where is this World when the supreme truth is realized in the heart of your being?

Boast not of your wealth, your friends, your beauty and youth. Remember, all of this will be gone in the blink of an eye. Can’t you see how illusory they are – with you today, with someone yesterday, and with someone else tomorrow. Give up this illusion and enter into the divine nature of your own self and understand the timeless truth of your true nature

Cluster of 12 blossoms – द्वादशमञ्जरिका (11) – Sankara gives us the code to happiness & peace

In this, the 10th shloka Sankara gives us the code to happiness and peace. This shloka also has a unique Construction – the last word of the previous line becomes the first word of the succeeding line forming a sequential chain of words that runs like this: 1-2; 2-3; 3-4; 4-5. This constructional elegance would be impossible in the English language and dare I say in any other language. This stanza is testimony not just to Sankara’s mastery of Sanskrit but also an example of the dexterity and beauty of the Sanskrit language.

There is an old story in the Srimad Bhagavata called “The Churning of the Ocean of Milk – Samudra Manthan” – a story that has been the subject of much derision and ridicule by even Hindus without understanding the deep allegorical significance of the story. This story is particularly relevant to this shloka:

This story is set at a time when the Asuras (the dark forces) are in the ascendancy and the Devas (forces of good) are on the decline. The Devas and Asuras both dwell within each one of us as the good/noble versus bad/evil tendencies. Vishnu the Atman/Soul tells the Devas that if they want to get the upper hand then they must churn the “ocean of milk” which refers to our mind/brain in order to get the Amrita (Nectar) of immortality i.e. self-realization/realization of the supreme truth. Vishnu the atman, advises the Devas that initially they have no choice but to have the Asuras also as their allies in the churning and then slowly get rid of them later. The Atman (Vishnu) further advises them to use Mandara mountain as the churning rod and Vasuki the serpent as the rope that would help in turning the rod of Mandara. Mandara here (in my opinion) is a reference to Spinal Cord-Brain where it is believed all spiritual activity/growth occurs – where the 7 notional Chakras or seats of higher consciousness are located. Vasuki again in my opinion represents the nerve plexus‘ that “snake” around the spinal cord and direct the outward action and inner perceptions of our sense organs and their associated centers of perception – and these can be brought under control through the practice of pranayama (special breathing techniques), pratyahara (withdrawal), and meditation. He finally tells them to repose faith in him – the atman/soul and that he would guide them through the entire process provided they didn’t give up and pushed on towards their ultimate goal.

The Asuras and the Devas begin the churning process – initially wild and dangerous animals float to the surface, a reference here to the emergence of our vilest and basest thoughts embedded deep in our psyche. After a brief pleasant period (which is also typical of the meditational process), there emerges the vicious poison Halahala or Kalakuta that threatens to choke and destroy the Devas and Asuras – again an allegorical reference to the great himalayan wall one must surmount to get to the other side. The Devas and Asuras turn to Shiva (the willpower) he who had burnt all desires and applied the ash on his body as Samba-Siva. Shiva swallows the poison a reference to the assertion of the human will essential to sustain progress. After this emerge several pleasant things – a reference here to Siddhis or powers which also need to be rejected before finally emerges Amrita (Nectar). Vishnu, the atman through the veiling power of his maya in the form of Mohini leads the Asuras away and the Devas finally realize the true nature of their own selves – the nectar of their own divinity…

Now to the shloka, transliteration, translation, and purport:

सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्सङ्गत्वं
निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् ।
निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं
निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः ॥
Satsangatve Nis-sangatvam
Nis-sangatve Nir-mohatvam
Nirmohatve-Nishchalatvam
Nishchalatve Jeevan-muktihi

सत्सङ्गत्वे (Associating with that which is good) निस्सङ्गत्वं (leads to dissociation with that which is bad). निस्सङ्गत्वे (Dissociation, Detachment) निर्मोहत्वम् (Clarity, Free from delusion). निर्मोहत्वे (Clarity) निश्चलतत्त्वं (Steady, Firm, Immovable) निश्चलतत्त्वे (Firm, Immovable) जीवन्मुक्तिः (Freedom, Realization)

When you associate with that which is good; you dissociate yourself from that which is bad/harmful to you. This dissociation/detachment leads you to clarity and frees you from delusion. Clarity breeds a steady, firm immovable resolve that opens the door to Freedom and peace, right here in this very life...”

Cluster of 12 blossoms – द्वादशमञ्जरिका (10) – Sankara asks us to ponder on our true nature

In this the 9th shloka, Sankara asks us to ponder on the Question of who we are and what our true purpose in life is and why we are so possessive in our relationships…

There is an old Buddhist story that is relevant to this shloka – “How to catch a monkey.”

Once upon a time, there lived a monkey who had made a large tree in a forest his home. As with all monkeys, he was extremely naughty and playful – He took great pleasure in teasing a hermit who sat under this tree. As soon as the hermit closed his eyes to meditate, he would throw a twig or an unripe fruit on his head, effectively breaking his concentration. This went on for several months. The hermit tried reasoning with the monkey but in vain. Finally, he decided to teach the monkey a lesson and set him on the right path.

He got an earthen pot with a long slender neck and filled the bottom of this pot with nuts, fruits, and other delicacies. He then placed the pot under the same tree that night and retired to his hermitage. As the sweet fragrance of the goodies reached the monkey’s nostrils he slithered down the tree and sneaked up to the pot, He then thrust his arm into the pot and grabbed a fistfull of the nuts. He now tried to pull his hand out but his fist would not make it through the slender neck of the pot. Now, all he had to do was to let go of the nuts and he would be free, but he wouldn’t or couldn’t. He struggled the whole night – the more he struggled and the more he panicked the worse it became.

Early the next day the hermit came up to the struggling monkey and knocked him on his head twice and told him in a stern voice – “Drop the nuts” The monkey did and the very next moment he could pull his hand free. He looked at the hermit and hung his head in shame. The hermit then told him “Look at yourself, see how your own mind plays tricks on you. Instead of wasting time making fun of others, go and ponder over who you truly are, where did you come from and why do you behave the way you do” The monkey walked away a completely changed individual.

caught-in-a-self-doubt-trap

Source 

In this shloka Sankara asks us to ponder and meditate deeply on the following questions:

Do you know who your wife truly is?
Do you know who your child truly is?
Do YOU know who YOU are?
Do YOU know where YOU came from? 

So many of us are caught up in our own expectations of how we want our spouses to behave with us, our parents and how our children should behave and what they should do with their lives. We are so possessive that we refuse to let go. This is true of parents, husbands, wives, friends, and children – neither do we grow, nor do we let the others grow…Like the monkey we hang on to expectations, perceived insults, and petty misunderstandings…

When we let go, we are truly free and so are they…

Sankara says, mull on these questions my brethren and you shall probably arrive at some clarity. In Sanatana Dharma, marriage and the relationship between husband and wife is a sacrament and not a paper contract. In its true meaning, it is the coming together of the Yin and Yang; the Shiva and Shakthi principles , where the one is incomplete without the other and the two complete each other – in the process helping each other to attain to their true nature. The underlying principle is that each is an unique individual who has to progress towards his/her spiritual goal while helping each other in the process. This is true of children too. To paraphrase Khalil Gibran (the Lebanese mystic/poet) – Children come through us to fulfill their own individual/unique missions and we should not aspire to make them into duplicates of ourselves or try to achieve through them what we could not on our own – What Khalil Gibran said a few decades ago and is often quoted; is in fact the very bedrock on which Sanatana Dharma rests for over 7,000 years…

Now to the shloka, its transliteration, and translation:

का ते कान्ता कस्ते पुत्रः
संसारोऽयमतीव विचित्रः ।
कस्य त्वं कः कुत आयात-
स्तत्त्वं चिन्तय तदिह भ्रातः
Ka-the Kantha Kasthe Putraha
Samsaro-ayam-athiva Vichitraha
Kasya-tvam-kaha Kutha Aayatha
Tathvam  Chinthaya Tadiha  Brathaha

का ते (Who Your) कान्ता (Spouse, Beloved) कस्ते (Who your) पुत्रः (Son)
संसारोऽयमतीव (This world verily) विचित्रः (Strange)
कस्य त्वं (Who are you?) कः कुत (You from where, Whence) आयात (Came)
स्तत्त्वं (True state, First principle, Essential nature) चिन्तय (Ponder, Worry) तदिह (That, Referring to…) भ्रातः (Brethren)

Who is your spouse; who your son/child? Oh! This samsara (mortal world) is indeed very strange. Well, Who are you? Where did you come from? What is your true state? These things, please ponder upon my brethren