Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Vedic View of God - 9/07/2017

In the Bhagavad Gĩtā, in one particular ślokā, the Lord talks about four types of devotees:
"chatur-vidha bhajante mam, janah sukritino ’rjuna
arto jijnasur artharthijnani cha bharatarsabha"
There are four types of devotees, and they are: ārta bhaktaḥ, arthārthĩ bhaktaḥ, jijñāsu bhaktaḥ and ānĩ bhaktaḥ.  
Arta bhaktaḥ is one who is a devotee in distress facing varieties of problems. And he wants to worship GOD for freedom from his problems. He is a distressed bhaktā wanting to get freedom from his stress and distress. Whereas, arthārthĩ bhaktaḥ is one who does not have any particular problem now; but, he is engaged in various ventures, and in all of them he desperately wants success. May be an admission in a American university! So, varieties of things a person desires. Whatever he desires is called arthaḥ. arthaḥ means, wealth also. So, arthārthĩ is one who wants success in his seeking. Both ārta & arthārthĩ bhaktās want to worship GOD either to get things or get rid of things. In fact throughout our life, we are only busy either getting things or getting rid of things.
            And this bhaktās are so obsessed with his personal needs, he will worship GOD in any manner, suggested by anyone, at any place! If one person introduces a temple somewhere in a unique corner, he will go there and he will go to any temple any church any mosque or any place and offer any form of worship. His aim is: I want to somehow get what I want. I don't mind any type of pũjā.  They don't want to know 'who this blessed GOD.  But, they are not interested in knowing who this GOD is. How many GODs are there, whether GOD is a male or female or formless, all those details they are not interested. They go by pure faith. They do the pujas hoping their problems will be solved.  
            Thus, we have got many worshipers of GOD who are not interested in the knowledge of GOD or enquiry in to the nature of GOD. And Lord Krishna says, 'among these ārta and arthārthĩ bhaktās, some of them - in due course, (some of them, not all of them) may get sufficient puyam so that from ārta bhakti and arthārthĩ bhakti they become the third variety, a rare variety, called jijñāsu bhaktā. First, they want to know, 'is there a GOD at all?' Right from that, there is a problem; because, modern science - which is most powerful now - is rejecting the very existence of GOD. I should know what is GOD. I should know what is the nature of GOD. This desire comes. 'atatho brahma jijnasa?' (Brahma sũtra 1).
            And initially, it is a casual desire. It is not very serious. But, after some time, this desire becomes a burning desire. And he reads all kinds of books in his desire to know about God.  He finds that all those books are full of mystic experiences and mystic visions of GOD appearing, giving darśanam and disappearing; and miraculous events happening! God usually is full of mysticism, full of miracles, full of extra-ordinary experiences. But, all of them have got one common statement. They all say, 'you require a guru for guidance'.  And he begins guru shopping.
            Dayananda Swamiji calls it 'guru shopping'. Going from mall to mall, he looks for guru. And he has got his own concept of guru; and ultimately, he may identify someone or the other as the guru. According to his parameters, he fits in. Preferably, a person whose looks are extraordinary! Because, if a person is dealing with a mysterious GOD and mysterious visions, the person also should preferably look mysterious and extra-ordinary. But suppose, because of his extra-ordinary punyam, he gets a guru - looking ordinary or extra-ordinary - whatever the look may be, suppose he gets a guru who belongs to the vedic tradition. vaidika paramparāgata guruḥ, which guru paramparā we are worshiping on vyāsa pũjā day.
Nārāyanam aṇṇaamm padmabhuvam vasistham saktim ca tat putra parasaram ca vyasam suktam gaudapadam mahantam govinda yogaindra mathasya sisyam.
Sri Sankaracharya mathasya padmapadam ca hastamalakam ca sisyam tam totakam vartika karam anyan asmad gurun santatam anto’smi
So, if he finds traditional guru, coming in vaidika paramparā, he is very, very fortunate. Imagine this disciple approaches such a guru. And his expectations are based on all the GOD realisation books he had read. Therefore he thinks, the guru will teach him varieties of meditations, through which he can have mysterious experiences; mysterious visions he can get. Thus, he goes with an expectation of learning varieties of meditations. But a traditional guru, he never, never talks about meditation. Shisya is waiting; waiting with expectation. The guru's first statement is, 'GOD is the topic of this scriptures. Therefore, if you have to know GOD, first you should expose yourself to the teaching of the scriptures'. Thus, a traditional guru always introduces scriptural teaching; never meditation.
            All the scriptures are full of guru-śiṣyā dialogue; and in all of them, śiṣyā approaches the guru and surrenders. And the guru says, 'let us start learning'. Arjunā in the Gita surrenders to Krishna and says - "śisyaste’hm sadhi mam tvam prapanam - - 'please teach me'. Kaivalya upaniṣad that we are studying begins - "adhĩ̃hi bhagavan brahmavidyāṃ variṣṭhāṃ sadā sadbhiḥ sevyamanam nigudham  - 'may you teach'. Thus, traditional guru talks only about exposing oneself to the scriptural knowledge: "śrotavyah manavyah nidhidhyasitavyah" [bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣat] - 'may you expose yourself to the teaching' and try to assimilate the Lord, as revealed by the scriptures.
            Thus, all the scriptural words are those that the guru systematically taught the disciple. So, the fundamental difference between a traditional guru, belonging to vedic paramparā, and any other guru, who does not belong to the paramparā is: tradition starts with teaching; others start with meditation. This is one of the fundamental differences.  
Once the teaching starts, all the scriptures reveal GOD in a particular form, which is unique to the prasthānatrayam. Whether it is the upaniṣad or it is the bhagavad gĩtā or it is brahma sũtram - which are the fundamental scriptures - a jijñāsu bhaktā, should be exposed to the contents of this teaching. Iśāvāsya upaniṣad says:  
Isavasyam ida sarvam yatkincha jagatvyam jagat
Tena tyaktena bhunjitha ma grdhah kasyasviddhanam
The 'vision of GOD' requires the conversion of our attitude towards this universe. The vision of god involves conversion of our attitude towards the very world we are experiencing. Or, in short, everything that we are experiencing. What is the conversion of the attitude? The upaniṣad says, before the scriptural study, we are looking at everything as world or universe. You have got jagat bhāvanā or prapañca bhāvanā. (bhāvanā means what? Attitude). What should you do? You have to replace the prapañca bhāvanā, displace the prapañca bhāvanā with ĩśvara bhāvanā. That means what? Everything that I am experiencing is none other than ĩśvarā and ĩśvarā only!
Purusa evaeda sarvam yadbhutam yacca bhavyam utamrtatvasyesanah [puruṣa sũktam] sarvam viṣṇumayam jagat.
In the viṣu sahasranāma, the first word of bhagavān is, viśvam. viśvam means, what? The whole universe. Therefore, in the vision of the veda, that we are looking at the world as a world is a mistake; but, we have to learn to look at the very universe as ĩśvaraḥ. Therefore, ĩśvara darśanam is not seeing a 'separate' ĩśvarā, who is other than the individual and world. ārta and arthārthĩ bhaktās think: ĩśvarā is a third entity other than jĩva and jagat. There is an extra-cosmic ĩśvarā, which extra-cosmic ĩśvarā I have to see, through mysterious experience. This is the approach of ārta arthārthĩ bhaktā.  
But, the vedic approach is, ĨŚVARA DARŚANAM IS SEEING THE WORLD AS ĨŚVARĀ. It is not a separate ĩśvara darśanam; but, learning to see the world itself as ĩśvarā. Therefore, when I systematically study the scriptures for a length of time, my idea of 'world' is replaced - whatever I experience is ĩśvarā. So, jĩva - jagat - ĩśvarā this is the triangle that I imagine. But, veda says, 'there is no jĩva - jagat - ĩśvarā triangle. Triangular format is wrong format'. And veda presents a new format, which is the preliminary binary format. It is individual and GOD alone. .
            So, vedic ĩśvara darśanam is, changing my perspective and trying to look at the whole universe with reverence. That is why in viṣṇu sahasranāma, even though we do pũjā to the deity, one of the dhyāna ślokās - which is the most popular one - is,
bhuḥ pādau yasya nābhrviyadasuranilascandra sũ̃ryau ca netre
karnavasah siro dyaurmukhamapi dahano yasya vasteyamabdhih
bhuḥ pādau - the earth is the feet of the Lord, chandra sũ̃ryau ca netre
- chandra and sũrya are the eyes of the Lord. Yasa nabhih viyat  - the entire ākāśa is the nāābhi of the Lord, karnau asuh - all the 10 directions are the ears of the Lord. So, you can never talk a secret; everywhere GOD's ears are there! Thus, description of ĩśvarā is, as viśvarũpa ĩśvarā.
 Iśvarā is world. world is ĩśvarā! So, drop you obsession with a separate ĩśvarā, other than the world. Once you think of a separate ĩśvarā - other than the world, you will get in to mysticism, you will get in to miracles. veda does not want us to get obsessed with mysticism and miracles and extraordinary visions.
What is the pursuit of GOD? Gradually learning to respect everything that I experience. Every man, every animal, every women, every insect, everything is none other than GOD. In dakṣniṇāmũrti stotram we read -
Bhuur-Ambhaamsy-Analo-[A]nilo-[A]mbaram-Aharnaatho Himaamshu Pumaan
Ity[i]-Aabhaati Cara-Acara-[A]atmakam-Idam Yasya-Eva Muurty[i]-Assttakam
Naanyat Kin.cana Vidyate Vimrshataam Yasmaat-Parasmaad-Vibhoh …..
The pañca bhũtās are the five limbs of the Lord; the Sun and all the stars are limbs of the Lord; all planets are limbs of the Lord. Every living being is the limb of the Lord. Yasya eva murthy astakam - the Lord is called aṣṭa mũrti ĩśvarā. Thus, developing a reverential attitude towards the universe is ĩśvara darśanam. The eyes are the same; but, the attitude behind the mind will have to be transformed. Even in the daily puja, which many people do mechanically, the same idea is conveyed. During every upachara, the mantra is chanted mechanically.  
Iam prithivyatmane gandha dhapayami, ham akastmane pushaih pujayami,  yam vayvatmane dhupamvyvatmane aghrapayami, ram agnyatmane dipam darshayami, vam amrtamane amrtam mahanaivedayami, sam sarvatmane sarvopacarapujam samarpayami.
Iam prithivyatmane gandha dhapayami - even though he applies chandanam on the idol or photo, he says, prithivyatmane - 'oh Lord, you are in the form of prithivi. You are the earth. ham akastmane pushaih pujayami - thus ākāśa is also you; vāyu is also you. Thus, ĩśvara darśanam according to veda is attitudinal transformation. Miracles we need need not go into, we need not debate. Miracles are there, okay. Not there, okay. But, we are not interested in miracles. Spiritual progress requires changing our attitude towards the universe. There is no other ĩśvara darśanam that veda prescribes, other than attitudinal transformation.  
This ĩśvara darśanam should lead to internal sanyāsa. Iśāvāsya upaniṣad says - "tena tyaktena bhunjitha ma grdhah kasya svid dhanam. So, may you renounce the notion that you are seeing the world. May you replace it with the attitude that you are experiencing GOD. When? All the time. Not with eyes closed. With all the sense organs open, declare, 'I am experiencing ĩśvarā all the time'. The entire human life is the rarest opportunity to appreciate the viśvarũpa ĩśvarā, all the time.
            Sandhyāvandana mantrās declare, "a satyena rajasa vartamano nivesayan amrtam martyam cha - 'the sun GOD is coming, let me worship'. Every paurṇamĩ is sacred for me; because, moon GOD is available as pũrṇa candraḥ. pũrṇa ĩśvaraḥ is always available.
            And once I appreciate 'everything belongs to ĩśvarā and means the totality', I have to renounce two important things. One is mamakāra, the idea that I am the owner of certain things. Since everything is ĩśvarā, everything belongs to ĩśvarā.  As I progress in my study, I begin to renounce the idea of ownership and controllership. I should remember, I use everything given by GOD for a few decades. I am only the user. I am never the owner. bhagavān is the owner. He has given only for lease. Lease rent we pay is puṇyam; because, manuṣya janma is due to puṇyam. That is why, only you can listen to the talk. Therefore, because of puṇyam, bhagavān has leased us the human body, in which, I get an opportunity for enjoying viśvarũpa ĩśvarā all the time. In the evening many people go to the beach; but, there also, they eat popcorn and miss the wonderful ocean, the sky, the stars! The whole creation is wonderful. Our own body is an extra-ordinary body. Instead of appreciating the viśvarũpa ĩśvarā, I get obsessed with a few things and develop mamakāra, ownership. And thinking that I can control everything, I worry about the future. But, I should remember, 'I can contribute little to the future as a puny little individual; what is going to happen in the future is decided by ĩśvarā alone'. Thus, once I renounce the idea of ownership and controllership and do whatever I can do in life, then future worry is also not there. Because, everything is ĩśvarā. Future events are also ĩśvarā.
nāsthā dharme na vasu-nicaye naiva kāmopabhoge, yad bhāvyaṁ tad bhavatu bhagavan pūrva-karmānurūpam, etat prārthyaṁ mama bahu mataṁ janma-janmāntare ’pi, tvat-pādāmbhoruha-yuga-gatā niścalā bhaktir astu,  [mukundamālā stotram] 'Oh Lord, whatever should happen in the creation according to the law of karma, let it all happen. I am ready; because, all events are nothing but the movements of the Lord alone'. That is why it is called naṭarāja nṛtyam, the cosmic dance. The whole movement of the universe, the rhythmic movement of the atom, rhythmic movement of the solar system, they are all looked upon as the dance of ĩśvarā. Therefore, I don't have to close my eyes for ĩśvara darśanam. I don't require miracles for ĩśvara darśanam. I only should change my bhāvanā, based on the scriptural teaching. Then, ownership is replaced by usership; controllership is replaced by contributorship. Life becomes an enjoyment. Then, the concept of mokṣa also will be different.
            Now, we don't look upon this creation as GOD. We look upon this as world. Therefore, we have a negative attitude. Hence, our concept of mokṣa is, running away from the world. 'Somehow I should die; never to come back here again'. That means, we hate the world; which is, totally against the vedic vision. We think, 'we have a world to be hated and we have a GOD somewhere to be loved'. We have to hate the world and run away from the world; 7th chapter to the 12th chapter. He says, 'I have got one higher nature and one lower nature, called parāprakṛti & aparāprakṛti. My own (my own means, bhagavān's) higher nature is CONSCIOUSNESS principle.
            parāprakṛti is chaitanyam. And, I have got a lower nature, which is called aparāprakṛti, which is matter'. And, we have to love the GOD who is somewhere else! In vaikuṇṭha or kailāsa, Vedas never accepts that. There is no hateable world and lovable GOD, as an opposite entity. The world you hate is none other than GOD. So, stop hating the world; start revering the world. Mokṣa is freedom from this ignorance.
            What ignorance? The world is to be renounced and I have to run to GOD! Run away from the World and run towards GOD - this concept of escapist. Dropping this ignorance and learning to appreciate the universe in its totality and variety, is binary format, jijñāsu bhaktā's attitude number one. What is binary format? Don't say, individual, world and GOD. Forget it. Replace it by individual and GOD alone. There is no such thing called world. "tena tyaktena bhunjitha - renounce the idea that, 'what I have is a hateable world'. Everything is lovable ĩśvarā only! Advesta sarvabhutanam maitrah karuna eva cha [gĩtā12-13] Then, if the jijñāsu bhaktā survives, ... because, those who are obsessed with mysticism and miracles they will not like this. Foolish they are as they renounce the vedic teaching and go in search of mystic guru.
            But, if the śiṣya is able to survive, then the guru gives further teaching, which is more profound, which I will summarise today, being gurupũrṇimā day.  Bhagavān gives in the gĩtā a very beautiful teaching - from the 7th chapter to the 12th chapter. He says, 'I have got one higher nature and one lower nature, called parāprakṛti & aparāprakṛti. My own [my own means, bhagavān's] higher nature is CONSCIOUSNESS principle. parāprakṛti is chaitanyam. And, I have got a lower nature, which is called aparāprakṛti, which is matter'.
            Thus, GOD consists of CONSCIOUSNESS PRINCIPLE and MATTER PRINCIPLE. Brahman andMāyā. parāprakṛti and aparāprakṛti. Everything that you experience is matter. Therefore, it comes under the inferior nature of GOD or aparāprakṛti. Why inferior? Because, it is mixed with pleasure and pain. It is a mixture of opposites. Still, it is also what? It is also ĩśvarā only. What ĩśvarā? aparāprakṛti ĩśvarā. And, there is a higher nature - parāprakṛti. That is brahman. And, how to see that parāprakṛti brahman? Lord kṛṣṇā says –
bhūmir-āpo ’nalo vāyu kha mano buddhir eva cha
ahankāra itīya
me bhinnā prakitir ahadhā (7.4)
apareyam itas tvanyā prakiti viddhi me parām
mahā-bāho yayeda dhāryate jagat (7.5)
The parāprakṛti, the higher nature, the CONSCIOUSNESS - is never an object of experience. It is available in the form of the very 'YOU', the experiencer of everything. Thus, the ultimate teaching is, The whole material universe, including the body and mind, is aparāprakṛti, the māyā part of ĩśvarā; and 'I', the consciousness principle, which is not an object of experience, that 'I', the sākṣi caitanyam is, parāprakṛti. Everything is GOD.  So, everything is to be revered. And whatever I experience is the lower GOD; it is material & changing. Whereas, 'I', the experiencer, is the higher GOD. This is the jñānĩ's binary format. '
            I' am brahman, the parāprakṛti. What I experience in front is māyā, the aparāprakṛti. Both the 'observer' and 'observed' put together is the 'total' ĩśvarā. 'I' the experiencer am GOD. Experienced world / matter is also GOD. The experiencer 'I' is CONSCIOUSNESS GOD. Experienced is MATTER GOD. So, everything requires only one attitude: Reverence & reverence.
            The whole life is a life of worship and reverence. Thus, the traditional vedic paramparā does not involve mysticism, does not involve miracles. Those who are interested let them go. But, our approach is what? I am GOD and whatever I experience is also GOD. sarvam viṣṇumayam jagat. sarvam śivamayam jagat. Finally, sarvam devĩmayam jagat.

This teaching between Guru and Shisya is through the wonderful guru paramparā. Whoever comes to this paramparā is fortunate and it is that paramparā we worship today. With these words I conclude my talk. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

The relevance of God (24/2/2017)

In our tradition we have a very vast scriptural literature. The primary scriptures being the vedās; and based on the vedās, we have got several secondary streams of literature. And we believe that the vedās have been given by the Lord Himself, for the benefit of the humanity. In the vedā itself it is said, [śvetāśvataropaniṣad] -
yo brahmāṇaṃ vidadhāti pūrvaṃ yo vai vedāṃśca prahiṇoti tasmai
taṃ ha devaṃ ātmabuddhiprakāśaṃ mumukṣurvai śaraṇamahaṃ prapadye

            After creating the universe, the Lord gave the vedās to brahmā; and from brahmā, the Vedic teaching tradition has been coming down. This Vedic literature offers to help the humanity in leading a smooth and successful life. This scriptural guidance is available free of cost. The only required condition is, we should have trust in the efficacy and the validity and the utility of the vedās. If we have got that basic śraddhā, and we are willing to take the guidelines, it is available. Whoever is willing to follow the vedā, is called a vaidikaḥ.
            In modern times, they are called as Hindus. Hindu is a modern name; but, our real name is vaidikaḥ - the one who accepts vedā as the guide in one’s life. When we look at these vast scriptures, the vedā prescribes a life-style for us. And that life-style is a God-centred life, meaning, our life is going-around or centred-around God only. It is indicated by the pradakṣiṇa & namaskāra we do at the end of a pūjā. Pradakṣiṇam is a process in which God is kept in the centre and we go around God; indicating that, 'my life will be centred around God only'.
For this purpose, the scriptures bring God in to almost every activity of human life. It is not a one-day-a-week affair; but, throughout the day, throughout the life, we are not supposed to take our vision or mind away from the Lord. Therefore, in Hindu culture, God is involved in every activity of life. The day starts with remembrance of God.
brāhme muhūrte utthāya cintayet ātmano hutam namaskṛtya gurum viṣṇum mātaram pitaram ca
            Therefore, the day starts with the four-fold namaskāra of guru, viṣṇu, mātā, and pitā (Mātā pita guru daivam). Not only the day just begins with God, in every activity God is involved. Before eating we are supposed to remember God and offer to God; and then only eat. During snānam also we are supposed to visualise God to be in our heart and our snānam is an abhiṣekam done to the Lord. Not only the daily chores are connected with God, all other aspects of Hindu life - whether it is dance or whether it is music or whether it is art or whether it is architecture – they are all centred on God.
            Thus, scriptures give us instructions to maintain this God-centric lifestyle. The scriptures are not merely the prescriptions for God-centred life; but, there is a teaching to support this lifestyle. Why this God-centred life is prescribed?
            Therefore, not only we lead a God-centred life, we also knew the purpose behind leading such a life. But, unfortunately, over the period, gradually the backup teaching was lost, nobody is studying the scriptures. And without the backup teaching, when we are only mechanically going through that lifestyle, it becomes an empty shell - often appearing 'a meaningless ritual'.
            Rituals are not meaningless; the problem is that, one has not learnt the purpose and principle behind it. Though, this God-centred tradition had been maintained, but not the backup teaching. It is a well-developed backup teaching. Even though it is a very, very vast subject, today I would like to share a few salient features of the backup teaching to support the God-centered lifestyle.
            The first and foremost lesson of this backup teaching is - What is the very definition of God? We are just mechanically using the word 'God'. What is the definition of God?' The scriptures give a provisional definition. That provisional definition is, that God is the 'creator of the world' - sṛṣṭi kartā.  
But, when we are really ready to think well, the scriptures refine that definition. The refinement is required; because, vedā really does not believe in a 'creation' at all. The reason being, nothing can be created or destroyed. According to the modern scientific principle of 'law of conservation of matter and energy' matter can never be created, matter can never be destroyed, which means, everything is always there. As it is said, when a candle burns, nothing is lost. One form of matter is getting converted into another form! There is only transformation taking place; nothing is created nothing is destroyed. Therefore, we cannot talk about the 'creation of a world'. Even modern science does not accept the creation of this world. Before the world emerges, it was already existent in potential form. What is potentially there in an un-manifest form, alone comes to manifestation.
            This manifestation or emergence or evolution of this universe we are calling 'creation'. But, it is only abhivyaktiḥ, not sṛṣṭiḥ. Abhivyaktiḥ means, the manifestation of the entire universe – which was there in potential form - which we call as the 'seed' of the universe. Vedā defines God as the very seed of this entire universe, whose existence you can never question; because, without the seed, you cannot have a universe. Just as, without a seed, a tree cannot come. Without the seed, the universe cannot appear. This 'seed', which existed before the emergence of the universe, is called īśvaraḥ.
bījasyāntarivāńkuro jagadidaṃ prāńnirvikalpaṃ punaḥ māyākalpita deśakālakalanā vaicitrya citrīkṛtam  ... [dakṣiṇāmūrti stotraṃ]
And in bhagavad gītā, kṛṣṇā says, bījaṃ māṃ sarvabhūtānāṃ viddhi pārtha sanātanam [7.10]
- Arjunā!, may you understand me, the Lord, to be the very cause or the seed of the entire universe.
            From that 'seed' - which is called God - alone, the entire universe, consisting of all the galaxies (in modern language) and planets and all living beings, everything emerges. Then, the scriptures point out that, you can divide the entire universe broadly into two categories. One is, the emergence of the inert material universe - called acetana tattvam; and the second is, emergence of the living being - which is called the cetana tattvam. Not only the universe consists of the inert material part, the universe consists of the sentient living beings also, called cetanatattvam. Thus, cetana-acetana rūpa prapañcaḥ, which is vyakta prapañcaḥ (vyaktaḥ means manifest universe), consisting of cetana- acetana aṃśa dvayam, evolved out of that one 'seed', called God.
            Then, the scriptures point out, if the universe is a mixture of these two, (cetana and acetana), both cetana and acetana, must have also existed in the seed, in potential form. Because, what is not in the potential form cannot emerge. From the coconut seed only coconut tree emerges, not mango tree; because, it is not there. Mango tree emerges out of mango seed. So, whatever emerges out, must be already existing in the 'seed'. If the universe is a mixture of cetana and acetana tattvam, then, God the 'seed' - also must be a composite entity, consisting of cetana-acetana  dvayam.  Therefore, both - life as well as matter - must be there in the beginning.
            Thus, according to Vedic scriptures, God is a composite entity, consisting of cetana acetana aṃśa dvayam. Different names are given in the scriptures. In the bhagavad gītā, kṛṣṇā names them as puruṣa and prakṛti. puruṣa referring to the sentient component and prakṛti referring to the insentient component.
prakṛtiṃ puruṣaṃ caiva viddhyanādī ubhāvapi
vikārāṃśca guṇāṃścaiva viddhi prakṛtisambhavān [gītā 13.19]
kāryakāraṇakartṛtve hetuḥ prakṛtirucyate
puruṣaḥ sukhaduḥkhānāṃ bhoktṛtve heturucyate [gītā 13.20]

            Puruṣa evolves in the form of living beings. Prakṛti evolves in the form of the inert principle. This puruṣa- prakṛti mixture is called īśvaraḥ. Otherwise called, brahman-māyā; māyā sahitam brahman is īśvara. Symbolically, it is represented as ardhanārīśvaraḥ. Ardhanārīśvara represents puruṣa-prakṛti tattvam. Not separately, but together.
            So, the first lesson of the backup teaching is – our lives should be God-centric. And that God, which is the centre of our life, is none other than the 'seed' of the universe, which is cetana-acetana tattva dvayam. This is lesson number one.
            The next lesson that these scriptures give - now that we know 'God is the seed' or 'cause'; and the world - the prapañca, is the 'product', the kāryam. Or, God is kāraṇam; world is kāryam. God is avyaktam; world is vyaktam. So, kāraṇa īśvaraḥ and kārya prapañca. kāraṇa īśvaraḥ – meaning God, the cause. kārya prapañca means – world, the product.
            Then, the scriptures point out, when you study the cause and effect, we can recognise certain features belonging to both. 'Causal features' and 'effectual features', these are very important to know in the backup teaching.
            To understand the features of the cause and effect, our scriptures generally take certain examples. In chāndogya upaniṣad, several examples are given in ṣaṣṭho'dhyāyaḥ (sixth chapter)
yathā somyaikena mṛtpiṇḍena sarvaṃ mṛnmayaṃ vijñātaṃ syād vācārambhaṇaṃ vikāro
nāmadheyaṃ mṛttiketyeva satyam
yathā somyaikena lohamaṇinā sarvaṃ lohamayaṃ vijñātaṃ syād vācārambhaṇaṃ vikāro
nāmadheyaṃ lohamityeva satyam ...

            The example is to, understand. Let us imagine a piece of gold out of which the goldsmith brings out varieties of ornaments. In fact, goldsmith does not 'create' ornaments, according to our revised understanding. He does not 'create' ornaments, he has shaped the gold into varieties of ornaments.
            Now, if you study the features of gold and ornaments, we can note four features n the 'cause' and four features in the 'effect'.  
What are the four features of the cause? Gold is one lump - ekaḥ. Gold is the content or the substance behind all the ornaments. Therefore, gold is the essence or sāraḥ (ekaḥ and sāraḥ). And, gold is nityaḥ. Before the emergence of ornament, gold 'was'. After emergence of the ornament, gold 'is'. So, even after the emergence of ornaments gold is. Even after melting of ornaments, gold 'will be'. Therefore, kāraṇam trikāle api tiṣṭhati (trikālam means, past, present and future). Finally, gold is independently existent by itself, even without the support of ornaments. Therefore, it is called satyam (satyam means, independently existent).
            Thus, kāraṇam is eka sāra nitya satyam. We will take the first letter of each one. E-eka, S-sāra, N-nitya, S-satyam. 'ESNS'. Kāraṇam is ESNS. Remember, kāraṇam is the essence.
            What about ornaments? They are diagonally opposite. Aneka (aneka means countless products). And asāra, ornaments do not have substantiality of their own. Ornaments do not have any weight of their own, weight of ornaments really belong to gold only. Therefore, ornament is pith less, it is non-substantial, asāraḥ. Then, the ornament is anityaḥ. And finally, asatyaḥ (asatyaḥ meaning - It does not have its own original existence. It has only borrowed existence).
            Our scriptures say, you have to extrapolate this to God and the world also. God being the kāraṇam God has to be ekam. That is why, in modern science also, before the big bang happened, even before the manifestation of time & space itself, the condition, they name it singularity. 'Single', means, ekam only.
            Not only that. God is the sāra - the only substantial entity. Then, what is the third one? God alone is nityam. What about the world? It is anityam. Finally, God alone is satyam. The only reality that is existing independently. Whereas, the world is anekaḥ, asāraḥ, anityaḥ and asatyaḥ. This is a very important corollary, derived from the second lesson.
            So, why are these things told? Since the world by its very nature is aneka, asāra, anitya, asatyam, it has got certain advantages or plus points, and also certain negative points. An intelligent person, who is living in this world and making a life in this world, must be aware of these plus points and negative points.
            The world is full of variety, in śabda sparśa rūpa rasa gandha. Each sense organ has got its own area and in each one, there are infinite varieties. Therefore, the world has got beauty, world has got variety, world has got novelty (they are all the glories of this universe and wonderful, so enjoy them thoroughly). But, even though the world has got all these things, it is anityam, asatyam and asāram. Asāram means, it is empty or hollow. Superficially, it is attractive; but, it is empty on enquiry. Not only it is hollow, it is also fleeting and temporary. Therefore, nothing in life is stable. Everything is beautiful but nothing is stable. Whether it is material object or the people or our own relationships or our own body, everything is kṣaṇa bhańguraṃ - unstable, perishable. Therefore, we can never rely upon anything in the world for our security.
            One of the fundamental human problems is, we are all born with a sense of insecurity. Our scriptures call this, the problem of saṃsāra. Among many definitions of saṃsāra, one of the definitions is, the sense of insecurity
            Right from birth as a baby we felt insecure clinging on to the mother's sari and that clinging continues later to varieties of objects etc. All the human struggles are, according to our scriptures, driven by the sense of insecurity. It is because of the sense of insecurity and to get out of this problem of insecurity, we are holding on to things, without knowing that those very things are insecure. I acquire things to solve the problem of insecurity; and later, I am worried about their security. Therefore, world can never give security.
            Freedom from this problem is called mokṣaḥ. If you want to solve this insecurity problem, we should never hold on to the anitya vastu. We should have 'nitya anitya vastu vivekaḥ'. What is that nitya vastu? kāraṇa īśvaraḥ alone is śāśvatam. Therefore, every human being, if he/she has to resolve this fundamental problem, he/she should not seek the worldly things but, has to seek God, and God alone. Until then, there will be continuous problem of insecurity. Either one is affected by fear or affected by grief, as Arjunā does in the first chapter of the gītā.
sīdanti mama gātrāṇi mukham ca pariśuṣyati vepathuḥ ca śarīre me roma-harṣaḥ ca jāyate
gāṇḍīvaṃ sraṃsate hastāttvakcaiva paridahyate na ca śaknomyavasthātuṃ bhramatīva ca me
manaḥ ...

            Even the very thought of losing his near & dear ones, even the imaginary loss, Arjunā is unable to withstand. "When I cannot withstand even the imaginary loss, how am I going to withstand the actual loss?" Therefore, if we are far-sighted ones, we cannot use the world for security. If the world cannot give security, it cannot give peace of mind also. How can an insecure person enjoy peace? If there is no peace and security, where is the question of happiness? All the sense pleasures that people are after, are not for solving the problem, but only for forgetting the fundamental problem that is constantly disturbing. We are only trying to forget the problems, by pursuing sense pleasures. .
            Therefore, scriptures guide us. If you want to solve the fundamental problem, then seek God for security.  Spirituality begins when I have recognised the problem of insecurity and when I turn towards God.
            Then, the scriptures go to the next lesson. How to find God? Where to find God? Because, world cannot help me. It is beautiful like the example of cardboard chair. A cardboard chair has been beautifully made and well decorated with varieties of papers, various colours, stickers, etc.  You can use it for everything except for sitting over that. Similarly, according to the scriptures, the entire world is like a cardboard chair. Emotionally leaning on anything in the creation, is like sitting on a card board chair. So, our scriptures say, 'leaning on the world for emotional health is a risky affair. Learn to find God and lean on God and God alone’.
ananyāścintayanto māṃ ye janāḥ paryupāsate teṣāṃ nityābhiyuktānāṃ yogakṣemaṃ vahāmyaham
            How to find God and find security? That is the final part of the teaching. Scriptures present it in two stages. The first stage is, preparation of the mind to find God. Because, God is the principle, which is the ultimate seed and cause; and which being the extremely subtle principle, beyond even time and space.
            Because, before singularity (the word 'before' itself is meaningless) time and space existed. It must be an extremely subtle principle. So, we have to prepare the mind. And therefore the initial stage is, make use of the world for preparing the mind,
            Therefore, never use the world for peace, security and happiness because world simply cannot give these. World is not useless, use it as a field of service - by serving the world in different areas, by contributing to the world. That is elaborately discussed in the scriptures in the form of pañca mahā yajñaḥ. Contribute to your family, to the society, to the culture, to the animals, to the plants - all these are wonderful infrastructure required for the spiritual sādhana. Therefore, use the world for, preparing the mind.
            Once the mind is prepared, seek God by taking the help of a guru. And with the help of the guru and scriptural teaching, you will find God.
            Where to find God? The scriptures ask - where to find the kāraṇam? Where have you got the gold in all the ornaments? Wherever the ornaments are, there itself the gold ‘is’. Behind the temporary ornaments, the permanent gold is hidden. Similarly, behind the temporary universe, the infinite nitya īśvara is hidden.
ańguṣṭhamātraḥ puruṣo madhya ātmani tiṣṭhati
īśānaṃ bhūtabhavyasya na tato vijugupsate
etadvai tat [kaṭhopaniṣad mantrā 2.1.12]

In this very world itself, in every object, in every living being, which means, in the very 'me', in the perishable part of 'me', behind the perishable part of 'me', the imperishable God is available.  
            May you seek that God, find that god and discover security in that very eternal truth in 'you'. Thereafter, life becomes not a struggle for security; but, an expression of the security, that 'I already have found in God'.
            Thus, first part of life is to serve the world for preparing the mind. After finding God, life is to serve the world, to declare the glory of the Lord. First, the preparation; next is declaration. First step is preparation by serving. Next step is service again, declaring the glory of the Lord. I do not need anything for my peace security and happiness as I have found them within me myself.
ādi śańkarācāryā - among the many ślokās he wrote, there is a very beautiful work called śivāparādha kṣamāpaṇa stotram, a beautiful set of ślokās. There he says, 'I did not know that you alone are the ultimate security. Therefore, I was running after various things of the world. In boyhood stage, I was interested in toys. In youth, I was interested in friends. In old age, I am worried about something else. In each stage, I just spent my life in search of one thing or other. I did not seek you'.
            'kṣantavyo me aparādhaḥ śiva śiva śiva bho śrī-mahādeva śambho'. I did not recognise your presence and value. Therefore, after getting many battering life experiences, now only I know, 'I cannot rely on any blessed thing, except God'.
kiṃ vā anena dhanena vājikaribhiḥ prāptena rājyena kiṃ kiṃ vā putra-kalatra-mitra-paśubhir
dehena gehena kim
jñātvaitat kṣaṇa-bhańguraṃ sapadi re tyājyaṃ mano dūrataḥ svātmārthaṃ guruvākyato bhaja mana śrīpārvatīvallabham

            kiṃ vā anena dhanena - what is the use of money? Money cannot avoid old age; money cannot help me escape from diseases or death. Therefore, dhanena vājikaribhiḥ prāptena rājyena kiṃ - kingdom you get, what is the use? kiṃ vā putra kalatra mitra paśubhir - What is the use of kalatra (spouse), mitra (friend), paśubhih (cattle, pet)
            jñātva etat kṣaṇa bhańguraṃ - Already they are in the process of dying. Indications are already there. tyājyaṃ mano dūrataḥ - stop depending on all these perishable things, hey manaḥ (mind). Śańkarācāryā is advising his own mind. Hey manaḥ, dūrataḥ tyājyaṃ - drop all the dependences on the world. Emotional dependence on the world is called, attachment. Give up all the attachments. Serve them; but, never get attached to them. jñātva etat kṣaṇa bhańguraṃ sapadi re - God can take away anything at any time. Therefore, from world dependence, may you switch over to God dependence.  vātmārthaṃ guruvākyataḥ - with the help of guru's teaching, bhaja mana śrīpārvatī vallabham - may you seek pārvatī parameśvara
            Māyā sahitam brahma - īśvara, who is everywhere, may you seek. And once you seek that Lord, ultimately you will find, that God is ekaḥ sāraḥ nityaḥ and satyaḥ. God is there in my very heart. In fact, it is nothing but my real and higher nature. When I claim that God as my real nature, that is called 'aham brahma asmi'. That God - discovered as 'self' - is the real 'I'. Therefore, God dependence becomes self-dependence. Life's mission is accomplished. Thereafter, the whole life is a joy. All the upaniṣads talk about the joy of that person who has found security in himself. Life becomes a līlā for him.
aṇoraṇīyān aham eva tadvad mahān ahaṃ viśvam ahaṃ vicitram
purātano'haṃ puruṣo'ham īśaḥ hiraṇmayo'haṃ śivarūpam asmi [kaivalyopaniṣad 20]

‘I am’ that self, which is the real nature behind the entire universe. Thus, life itself will become successful and meaningful; because, we would have solved our fundamental problem of saṃsāra.  But, all these are possible only if we take the guidance of the scriptures and lead a life which is God-centric.
And in Hinduism, we have got so many rituals and functions and they are meant to regularly remind us, 'do not get lost in worldly pursuit and forget the real goal of discovering security in that ultimate God which is myself '. And, śivarātri pūjā is also only to remind us of this truth.
            Our life has to be God-centric. Our mission has to be discovery of that God in ourselves. With these words, I will conclude my talk.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The power of prayer – 2017

First of all, i wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous, productive new year 2017!
I will start my talk with a story narrated by Swāmĩ Chinmayānanda. The story goes like this. There was a unique kingdom which had a unique rule. And that rule was, anyone can become the King of that kingdom and rule that, assisted by Ministers - informed capable ministers - and officers, any person can discharge his duties and also enjoy all the powers and privileges of a King. He can rule the kingdom for five years. The catch was that, after enjoying power for five years, he will be banished from the kingdom and sent to a huge forest in the neighbourhood. A forest, on reaching which, he can never escape; because it was so vast. He cannot go to the other side nor can he come back to the kingdom also; because, in between there was a very wide and deep river, with all kinds of crocodiles and sharks.
That meant, he will have to live in the wild forest, infested with wild animals. That meant, only death will be his lot. Now, the citizens alone had to decide whether to become the King or not. When one looked only at the enjoyments, one felt like becoming the King. But, when one thought about the later situation, one did not feel like. So, many did not desire to become the King. But, some people became King and decided to enjoy thoroughly. They enjoyed all the advantages during those years. But, what happened was, as the fifth year approached, they were mentally in the forest only. As the final days came closer and closer, they became tense; became worried; and on the last day, they pleaded with the ministers - 'can you extend it for one more day?’. Or, 'why do you send me to the forest? Why cannot you give me a small place in some corner of the Kingdom?' - they used to plead and scream. But, the ministers were very strict with the rule. On the last day, even as the King screamed, the boatmen took the King across the river to the forest. This went on for long.
Then came an intelligent King. He also ruled the Kingdom very well, thoroughly enjoying all the benefits of a King. But they found this King was a unique and different one; because, when the fifth year came, unlike all other Kings, this King was thoroughly enjoying. He did not seem to worry about the terrible forest. They were all surprised. They did not know the secret. And came the last day. Generally, on the last day, the King will plead with the ministers. But this King did not do any such thing. In fact, he was thanking all the ministers and saying 'good bye'. When he came out, the boatmen came to drag him, as with others. But, this King said, 'do not touch me. I am coming by myself. Why should you drag me?' The boatmen also was surprised! The King got into the boat and continued to be very, very cheerful. The boatmen could not resist their curiosity and so asked, 'how come you are so cheerful?' The King answered, 'I knew that anyway after five years I will be sent away to the forest. But, when I was the King, I had all the powers. So, during those five years - while I enjoyed the kingdom and its powers - I made a small Kingdom carved out of the huge forest. I used those five years to make another Kingdom, where everything has been set. Buildings are there. Even people who wanted to migrate to that Kingdom I have sent. Its Constitution also has been framed. Ministers are there. Officials are there. And this new Kingdom will have a new King. Do you know who it is? It is myself! Because I have made the Kingdom, who else will be the King? Therefore, I am entering this new Kingdom. And I am going to be coronated tomorrow. All my new ministers will now be waiting to welcome me!"
Therefore, what is intelligence? Intelligence is, while enjoying the present Kingdom preparing for the future. Every human being is like a King of that Kingdom. Human being is given a Kingdom, called yauvana sāmrājayam. The kingdom of youth. During which time, we have got all the powers. All the privileges. All independence. We have got physical strength. Fitness. All faculties are at our disposal. We can thoroughly enjoy. We can do whatever we want to. But, we can rule the yauvana sāmrājayam only for some time. Not five years; maybe 20 or 30. But, after a few years of this youth, every human being will be banished. Banished means, what? We will lose the Kingdom, called youth. And, we will be banished into the huge forest. The forest is called vārdhakya vanam. vārdhakyam means, what? Old age. vanam means, a forest - in which we will lose all our powers. Our privileges. Our faculties. Everything will be lost. And there will be all kinds of wild animals - in the form of degenerative diseases. We do not know which wild animal will attack from which direction; and, whether we will survive the attack or not!   
Since everyone will have the yauvana sāmrājayam followed by vārdhakya vanam we have all got a choice. We can be like the unintelligent Kings of our Kingdom, thoroughly enjoy the youth forgetting the vārdhakya vanam. As the time for vārdhakya vanam comes, we are dreaded by the prospects of old age. So, we can enter the forest with a fearful mind; or, we can be like the intelligent king of the story. We are so intelligent that we thoroughly enjoy the youth and at the same time we prepare for the vārdhakya vanam, by converting that also into a Kingdom, so that, instead of being fearful of it, we can be cheerful! So, fearful entry in to vārdhakya vanam or cheerful entry into vārdhakya vanam depends upon our own preparation only.
‘What should be the preparation?' “And when should the preparations start? Remember, it took the King 5 years to build the Kingdom. Therefore, for us the preparation should start when? When we are young!
yāvatsvstamidaṁ śarīramarujaṁ yāvajjarā dūrato yāvaccēndriyaśaktirapratihatā yāvatkṣayō nāyuṣaḥ | ātmaśrēyasi tāvadēva viduṣā kāryaḥ prayatnō mahān saṁdiptē bhavanē tu kūpakhananaṁ pratyudhyamaḥ kīdr̥ṣaḥ || 75 || [bhartṛhareḥ vairāgya-śatakam]
As long as this body is healthy and free of infirmity, as long as senility is distant, as long as the faculties have not lost their vigor, as long as life is not enfeebled, till then should the wise ones make great efforts to reach the supreme goal of life. For what is the use of digging a well when the house is on fire? When the house is on fire suppose you are trying to dig a well in Chennai - during 2017, rain failure year, how foolish it is! Even when you build a house, you have the fire extinguisher. Similarly, the preparation must start young. The question is what is the preparation? The answer is given by all our scriptures. And, Lord kṛṣṇā in the bhagavad gĩtā tells in an important ślokā of the second chapter [gĩtā 2.27]
 jātasya hi dhruvō mr̥tyurdhruvaṁ janma mr̥tasya ca | tasmādaparihāryē:'rthē na tvaṁ śōcitumarhasi || 2-27||
Kṛṣṇā uses a very important word - APARIHĀRYAḤ ARTHAH. ̣ aparihāryaḥ arthaḥ means, helpless situation. Every living being, in general; and, every human being, in particular, will confront certain situations in life - which are unavoidable and irremediable. Such unavoidable and irremediable situations are called aparihāryaḥ arthaḥ. Choice less situations or helpless situations. We do not say all situations are helpless situations. bhagavān has given us lot of powers. We have a freewill. We have got resources. We can try to avoid unpleasant situations by taking precautions. And we do have remedies also for many unpleasant situations. We do not say all situations are aparihāryam; but, there will be some situations which are aparihāryam, choice less. Every human being will have to confront those situations, even when one is young. But, the thing is, during young age, may be helpless situations are less. And as one grows older and older, most of the situations or many situations will become helpless. It can even be a simple task like getting up! As I said, even sitting down and getting up may become a project. Many things which we took for granted can become almost impossible tasks. Therefore, if I should confront helpless situations later, I should strengthen myself mentally for going through such situations, with a mind which can enjoy calmness, cheerfulness and confidence. CCC mind. A mind which can go through the situations without despair, without dejection, without disillusionment, without depression DDDD. (So many Ds!) I cannot do anything to the situation. Why? The situation itself is choice less. Therefore, without all these problems if I have to go through such situations and survive, I can do something to the mind only.
The only intelligent thing that I can do is, mind-empowering. Mind-charging exercises I should do. By those I make the mind strong enough to go through such situations and maintain CCC - calmness, cheerfulness and confidence. According to our scriptures, our minds are like rechargeable batteries. So, we can charge the mind and confront situations. And, as we go through situations, the charge gets discharged. Since it is like a re-chargeable battery, again what do you do? Re-charge like our cell phones! When you cannot change the situation, we have to charge the mind.
mātrāsparśāstu kauntēya śītōṣṇasukhaduḥkhadāḥ | āgamāpāyinō:'nityāstāṁstitikṣasva bhārata || 2-14||
titikṣasva means, toughen your mind so that aparihārye'rthe na tvaṃ śocitum arhasi. titikṣasva na śocitum arhasi - go through them without despair. Without dejection. Okay, how do you charge the mind? You know how to charge the electrical gadgets or batteries, by fixing them to the power house, connecting them to the power source.  Similarly, when the mind gets disturbed, announcement comes. What is that? 'Connect to the power house; otherwise, you will be out of power!' Now, the question is, what is the power house? And kṛṣṇā Himself answers - with regard to the charging of the mind, there is only one power house. And that power house is, that which has created the entire universe; the omniscient, omnipotent power; the cause of the universe - bhagavān alone is the only power house. Without connecting to that, you can never make the mind CCC. All our scriptures define bhagavān in several words. But, two words are significant. In fact, we can use those two words to charge the mind. One word is 'anantaḥ'. ̣' anantaḥ means, the infinite one. The limitless one. Another word is 'bhagavān'. bhagavān means - "bhagaḥ asya asti iti bhagavān" - that one which has got six resources in infinite measure.  These are  aiśvaryasya samagrasya vĩryasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ jñāna-vairāgyayoścaiva ṣaṇṇāṃ bhaga itĩraṇā" - (viṣṇu purāṇa 6.5.47).
aiśvaryammeans, mastery. Mastery over the situation. Not being over powered by any situation. That is called over lordship or aiśvaryam. Then, vĩryam means, the courage to say that, 'I am capable' and 'I am ready to go through any choice less situation'. If I should have the courage to say that, I should get that courage from the infinite vĩryam. Infinite vĩryam is where? In bhagavān. So, vĩryasya. These two are important for us - aiśvaryam and vĩryam. Never being over powered by situation is aiśvaryam. vĩryam means, that inner courage that i can confront any situation. I can face my old age without fear and tension. Then, the other four are, yaśaḥ is fame. śriyaḥ is wealth. jñānam is knowledge. vairāgyam is detachment.
For us, two of them are relevant. aiśvaryam and vĩryam. That bhagavān becomes the power house, by connecting with which, I draw energy. That process of connecting the mind to bhagavān is called bhakti or called prārthanā or prayer. And kṛṣṇā prescribes prayer as the method of regular charging of the battery every day; so that, at the end I can say, 'I am capable and ready to face any situation!'
So, make the mind an ever ready battery, by regularly charging it in the morning, by connecting the mind to the power house. The prayer can be any form. kāyika prayer is physical pũjā. vācika prayer is verbal pũjā - like recitation etc. mānasa prayer is mental prayer. Among them, Lord kṛṣṇā says, the best prayer is - "yajñānāṃjapayajño'smi". [gĩtā 10.25]. japa means, what? mantra āvṛttiḥ. And, what is the best mantrā for charging the mind? The best mantrā is, "oṃ namo bhagavate anantāya". Bhagavān and anantaḥ. bhagavān means, the source of infinite aiśvaryam and vĩryam. anantaḥ means, the infinite source of infinite power. If we chant any mantrā, especially this mantrā, any number of times, we are connecting the mind with the power house. While chanting, the sańkalpa is very important. What is the sańkalpa? 'I want the mind to face helpless situations'. And therefore, the sańkalpa is not for external changes. It is not for getting something or getting rid of something. That is not my aim. My aim is, empowering the mind; charging the mind. To confront what situation? aparihārya artha - helpless situations. The helpless situation may be a minor situation like a traffic jam at the end of this program. And, you feel irritated, start to chant: 'oṃ namo bhagavate anantāya'. 'oṃ namo bhagavate anantāya'. Let me be calm and quiet. I am trapped in a jam; until that person removes the wrongly parked car, for it is a helpless situation. Screaming cannot solve the problem; because, that person has gone for a tea. Thus, from minor traffic jam, it can be anything. An incurable disease; or, it may be being bed-ridden in old age. We do not know what can happen. There is no predictability. Life is unpredictable and often uncontrollable. Helpless situations galore. If I have to face them and maintain CCC, the only way is, I have to strengthen the mind. Thus, 'oṃ namo bhagavate anantāya' I chant. And, at the end of that japa, I repeat the sańkalpa, my aim. It is called sańkalpaḥ; because, I have got faith in GOD. The whole thing is, faith-based. I have got faith in GOD. I have connected my mind with GOD through the japa, 108 times, 1008 times etc. That means, at the end of the japa, I have charged my mind. Now, I tell myself, 'because of the charged mind, I am now strong. I am capable and I am ready for any blessed situation'. This is called sańkalpa śakti. From the sańkalpa śakti of ĩśvarā, I borrow sańkalpa śakti to my own mind. And I tell, 'I am ready for that'. And when I do this auto suggestion at the end of this japa, you will find that I get an energised personality! I can go out and face any situation. And, the amount of energy that I draw is directly proportional to the degree of śraddhā or faith I have.
mantrē tīrthē dvijē daivē daivajñē bhēṣajē gurau yādr̥śī bhāvanā yatra siddirbhavati tādr̥śī II - samayōcitapadyamālikā Meaning of the subhAShita: 
Mantras, piligrimages, brahmanas (knower of Brahman), deities, seekers/knowers of God, doctors, teachers - their usefulness (to us) will be proportional to the faith we put in them. Even when I take a medicine from a doctor, the benefit I get is directly proportional to my śraddhā in the doctor. Suppose, in the beginning itself I say, 'he is useless' then even the best doctors in the world cannot cure me. There are so many systems. But, we must have trust in one doctor or the other. They have also found that if we have got faith in the doctor, even a dummy medicine - a medicine which is not a medicine, cures! That is called placebo effect.
Thus, even real medicine would not work if we do not have śraddhā. But, dummy medicine will work if we have got śraddhā! Mind has got the unique faculty of utilising the śraddhā.
Lord kṛṣṇā says, aśraddadhānāḥ puruṣā dharmasyāsya parantapa | aprāpya māṁ nivartantē mr̥tyusaṁsāravartmani || 9-3||
Have śraddhā in the power house. Have śraddhā in the prayer and start. You will find, you are able to face even difficult situations with minimum scars. We will be able to maintain a calm, cheerful, confident and courageous mind. In life situations if we practice this when we are young, we are ready for our old age. So, this is the remedy given by Lord kṛṣṇā. This is called japa or bhakti. bhakti-based strengthening of the mind. But, our scriptures point out that, ĩśvarā should not be purely based on śraddhā only. Initially you start your life with ĩśvara śraddhā, for strengthening the mind. But later, you should come to ĩśvara jñānam; because, faith-based ĩśvarā is always weak. It can be shaken by any one, by challenging. Especially, nowadays, the modern science is asking all our children, 'to have the spirit of enquiry. The spirit of questioning. Do not believe anything. Accept something only after getting the evidence'.
‘What is the evidence for the existence of GOD?' - becomes a very big question. The modern scientist questions and says, 'there is no evidence for the existence of GOD'. And, all the other religions stop with śraddhā. But, our scriptures say, 'never stop with śraddhā. From ĩśvara śraddhā, we have to go to ĩśvara jñānam'.
We have got a portion in our scripture, which is dedicated to ĩśvara jñānam. The first portion of our scriptures, veda pũrva bhāga, focuses on ĩśvara śraddhā or parokṣa jñānam. Whereas, the veda anta bhāga or the upaniṣad concentrates on ĩśvara jñānam. Everyone will have to come to jñānam one day or the other. Until then, may you lead your life based on śraddhā.  
I will just summarise the approach of vedānta. It solves this problem regarding the evidence for the existence of GOD, not in a direct manner; but, in an indirect manner, by giving an equation. The central teaching of vedāntā or upaniṣad is a profound equation, called mahā vākyam. What is that profound, mind boggling equation? It says, bhagavān - whom one has been worshiping all the time with bhakti - that bhagavān is equal to bhaktaḥ. bhagavān = bhaktaḥ.
There is one sentences, 'soham' =saḥ aham. saḥ means, what? bhagavān. aham means, what? bhaktaḥ. soham mantrā means, BHAGAVĀN EVA BHAKTAH.̣ BHAKTAḤEVA BHAGAVĀN. That is the profound equation. In fact, they chant this mantrā every day before the pũjā, with an intention that we have to discover this equation later.
dēhō dēvālaya: prōkta: sajīva: kēvala: śiva:| tyajēdajñāna-nirmālyaṁ sō:'haṁbhāvēna pūjayēt||
Therefore, vedānta talks about the equation, bhagavān = bhakta. There is no difference between bhagavān, the creator of the universe and bhaktā, the observer of the universe, the experiencer of the universe. In English, this is called, creator-observer equation.
adṛṣṭo draṣṭāśrutaḥ śrotāmato mantāvijñato vijñātā I nānyo 'to 'sti draṣṭā nānyo 'to 'sti śrotā nānyo 'to 'sti mantā nānyo 'to 'sti vijñātā I - [bṛhadāraṇyaka] .४॥ sa ya ēṣō:'ṇimaitadātmyamida sarvaṁ tatsatya sa ātmā tattvamasi śvētakētō iti bhūya ēva mā bhagavānvijñāpayatviti tathā sōmyēti hōvāca || 6.9.4||
Chandogya And, vedāntā says, 'you have to enquire into this equation; and through long enquiry you have to understand this equation'. If a person is willing to take all the pains - long śravaṇam, mananam, nididhyāsanam - it is a very big project. For this only, in the olden days, they took sanyāsā itself. They renounced everything. They dedicated the entire life, dropping everything, for the pursuit of assimilating this profound equation. Once this profound equation is understood, then three problems are simultaneously solved.
One is, we all have different misconceptions regarding GOD. In fact, most of the understanding of most of the people is misunderstanding of GOD! And, for this misunderstood GOD, they want evidence! Therefore, they fail miserably. So, the first thing is, all misconceptions regarding GOD will go away.
The second advantage of this equation is, all misconceptions regarding bhakta, myself, that is self-misconceptions also will go; because, according to vedāntā, we do not know ourselves. We have taken us for granted! Like, for several years, the humanity thought, the Sun is going around the Earth, based on our experience. Experience-based conclusion is what? Sun is going around the earth. Then, what is the fact? Sun is not going around; but, the Earth is going around the Sun. Similarly, we have experience-based wrong conclusion regarding GOD. Experience-based wrong conclusion regarding ourselves. When this equation is understood, self-misconceptions also will go away. So, benefits number one & two – God-realisation & Self-realisation.
Then, all the misconceptions regarding evidence for the existence of GOD also will go away. Once you have understood the equation bhagavān is equal to bhakta, the existence of bhakta becomes the evidence for the existence of the lord. So, existence of the bhakta becomes the evidence for the existence of GOD! And bhakta is who? I am the blessed bhakta. So, my existence itself is the evidence for the existence of GOD.
Suppose I ask the next question, 'what is the evidence to prove that I am existent?' Even the greatest rationalist will not ask this question. Dayānanda Swāmĩjĩ jocularly gives this conversation. Swāmĩjĩ asked someone, 'do you exist?' This person replied - 'I will consult my wife and tell you'. Then Swāmĩjĩ said, 'I am not asking for donation. I am only asking, 'do you exist', and you say, 'I want to consult'. Better you do not consult her; because, she may say that, 'my husband is as good as non-existing; because, he is so useless. So, nobody questions the evidence for self-existence. Self-existence is self-evident. Thus, connecting with our Equation, GOD'S EXISTENCE IS SELF-EVIDENT.
asa’ nnē’ va sa’ bhavati | asa’ dbrahmēti’ vēda’ cēt | asti brahmēti cēdvēda | santamēnaṁ tatō viduriti | - [taittirĩya ānandavallĩ 6.1]
Whoever negates GOD is negating himself only! Thus, from ĩśvara śraddhā I come to ĩśvara jñānam. And coming to ĩśvara jñānam is realising, that power house is not somewhere, that powerhouse is myself! I myself have infinite power to confront any situation. Therefore, daily morning I start with invoking my own greater power and tell that, 'I have got all resources to confront anything, including my old age and death'. Until you discover the power in you, may you have śraddhā in GOD. But, ultimate thing is what? Either from GOD or from yourself, either through śraddhā or through jñānam, may you draw power to the mind and make the mind powerful.
Every morning charge the battery - either through ĩśvara śraddhā or ĩśvara jñānam; either from outside or from yourself. From where you draw it does not matter; but, draw the strength and start the day by saying, 'I am capable; and I am ready for any choice less situation that may come. And in spite of all those situations, I will be CCC. I will be calm, cheerful and confident'.
Let us all start this New Year with a deep faith and connection with the Lord.  Let’s affirm: 'I am now ready for 2017. And any situation comes, I will confront. And I will be like the intelligent King! I am the master in youth also; I am the master in old age also!' This self-mastery is the aim of human being. With these words, I conclude my talk.