Sanskrit Times – Episode 4

Hi Readers,

Hope you’re doing well, wherever you’re in the world. Today I am going to share a couple of verses from one of the great works of an 8th century Indian Philosopher Sri Adi Shankaracharya – Bhaja Govindam. It is a song/poetry that reminds the sage’s followers to reflect on the Truth (so as to be free from illusions of the mind). It starts like this:

bhaja govindaṃ bhaja govindaṃ
govindaṃ bhaja mūḍhamate |
samprāpte sannihite kāle
nahi nahi rakśhati ḍukriṅkaraṇe

Sing the name of Govinda*, Repeat the name of Govinda,
Serve Govinda, oh deluded mind!
At the time of your death,
Rules of grammar will not save you.

bāla stāvat krīḍāsaktaḥ
taruṇa stāvat taruṇīsaktaḥ |
vṛddha stāvat-chintāmagnaḥ
parame brahmaṇi koapi na lagnaḥ
bhaja govindaṃ bhaja govindaṃ
govindaṃ bhaja mūḍhamate

Childhood flickers by in play;
in youth, one is attached to sense pleasures;
in old age, one is burdened with worry and anxiety.
Life slips by without one ever paying heed to the attainment
of Self-Knowledge, knowing Brahman**
Oh deluded mind, sing the name of Govinda,
Repeat the name of Govinda, serve Govinda.

*Govinda literally means cowherd. Historically, it refers to the God Personality – Krishna. (Replacing this name with Jesus or Buddha – wouldn’t alter the intention of the author).

**Brahman is the Ultimate Reality, commonly referred as “Self”. Advaita Vedanta (Non-duality) philosophy says our Soul is the Self – but this knowledge is hidden because of our identification with body, and mind (which are bound to pleasure and pain). Self-realization is possible through the practices of Yoga.

I hope you find this post useful. Thank you so much for reading.

A gentle introduction to Yoga

The term Yoga, though popular, remains superficially understood by most of us. Despite having grown up in India, I always had thought Yoga is a form of physical exercise. If you think of Yoga the same way, this post is right for you.

The short story is that – Yoga means Union.
– Is it the union of the body, the mind and/or the soul?
– Is it the union of God’s Consciousness with the Human Consciousness?
– Is it the union of the soul and the Holy Spirit?

I leave it to you to decide. Depending on your personal identity – this may vary.
Let’s now look into different ways of attaining such a remarkable union.

1.Yoga as Action/Service (Karma Yoga)
– Action here implies nurturing the righteous (Dharma) way of living.
– You might want to read one of my earlier posts (jump to point 3 in the post).
– For example, Mahatma Gandhi is a Karma Yogi. (NB: The scripture Bhagavad Gita played a crucial role in Gandhi’s life.)

By dedicating all your works to Me, you will be freed from the bondage of good and bad results. With your mind attached to Me through renunciation, you will be liberated and will reach Me.

Bhagavad Gita

2. Yoga as ‘Asana
– This is the Yoga as we all know of. It is a set of body postures that involve gentle twisting, balancing poses accompanied by conscious breathing.
– This also includes Meditation.

3.Yoga as Devotion (Bhakti Yoga)
– This involves Prayers, Singing the Gods’ names with deepest yearning for the divine connection and so on.
– This is also called as the path of Love.

If one offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or even water, I delightfully partake of that article offered with love by My devotee in pure consciousness.

Bhagavad Gita

4.Yoga as ‘Inner’ Wisdom (Gnana Yoga)
– Understanding the deepest mysteries of the human mind consciousness itself is a form of Yoga. You might translate this into Intellectual form of Yoga. As an example, Socrates is a Gnana Yogi.

An unexamined life is not worth living.

One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing.

I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.

Socrates

Having laid out these techniques, I’d also like to state that there is no one particular path for all beings. Probably, that is why we have different options, no? It’s been said that for a sincere aspirant, the path shall be laid before him/her. However, it is also evident that none of these paths are completely distinct from the rest.

It doesn’t matter if one is an atheist or a monotheist or a polytheist, these techniques remain valid to live a righteous living.

I hope this post was useful to you. Thank you for reading.

What do you think is your path, as of now? 🙂

The Fearful Mind – Episode 2

Have you ever wondered why fear arises in the mind? I know it is not easy to contemplate the roots of unpleasant emotions as it requires a lot of Practice, a Courageous and Compassionate Heart.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to look at my fears deeply and thanks to that, I am able to understand certain aspects of myself.

I will try to write in this series of posts (episode 1 is here) what I have observed so far. Let’s dive in.

#2 Fear as a sign of unhealthy attachment

I know it is very easy to get attached to things/persons that bring happiness in our lives. However, when this attachment gets so intensified to an extent that we constantly fear losing what we possess. I know it is a relatable feeling what I’m talking of. When we long for something, we remain restless and when we get to experience what we longed for, we begin to be afraid of losing it. Poor us!

In Truth, Happiness is our true nature and it is a pure ‘internal’ thing and does not depend on our life circumstances. This realization will already liberate us from suffering of three kinds – Longing, Anxiety, and Lamentation.

#2 Exercise:

a) Appreciate what you have in your life ‘right now’, by expressing gratitude, for example.

b) Accept that we will have to leave everything we possess at certain point in ‘time’ – okay, maybe it is sad but the bright side is that – this acceptance will help us live our lives more present and joyous.

What else can you suggest someone to let go of their attachments? Let me know in the comments.

Have a blessed day! 🙂

Three Kinds of Action (Yoga)

I’m glad you’re here to share the VoidSpace with me today!

The word Action has a huge significance in Indian/Eastern philosophy. In fact, one of the ways to interpret the word Yoga is to think of Action. We also are very much familiar with the term Karma (Fruits of Action) and its significance in our everyday life.

Let me expand the three kinds of Action as I have understood:


1. Action:

  • Performing duties to fulfill the expectations posed into us by the society, friends and family.
  • The mind is mostly restless with ever-growing material needs/desires.
  • There is a strong attachment to the outcomes of the actions.
  • There is a conflict between the Heart and the Mind.
  • External world is given a higher priority than one’s own inner being.
  • There is pleasure and pain, success and failure, happiness and depression, health and disease. i.e., there is duality.

2. Non-Action:

  • To simply put, this implies non-utilization or under-utilization of resources (The mind, the senses and the body) to live in Harmony.
  • This involves serious laziness.
  • This is ignorance of extreme kind.
  • This leads to disease, and death.

3. Actionless Action (Righteousness = Dharma):

  • This involves doing actions only for the sake of bringing more and more Peace, Harmony and Health into our lives and other sentient beings.
  • This involves renunciation of the desired or non-desired results of the action.
  • There is no space for panic attacks, depression, or ego-based pride.
  • The thinking mind is in its true “Home” – the Heart. There is no conflict between each other.
  • There is no one external to be pleased and nothing to chase.
  • It is, therefore, possible to perform the action using a ‘single-pointed’ mind and pure dedication (the success probability is higher + inner contentment is guaranteed).
  • Most importantly, pleasure and pain are alike to the doer as she is in touch with her inner being.

Feeling confused?

Jesus Christ says “And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:“. Here, the lilies of the field perform Actionless Action.

Krishna says “Those who see action in inaction and inaction in action are truly wise amongst humans. Although performing all kinds of actions, they are yogis and masters of all their actions.

Still not clear? Let’s talk in comments! 🙂

Who is the Seer?

Photo clicked by me – At home

Who’s seeing the distance mountain?
The windows of my living room?
My unblinking eyes?
My complex brain that processes the visual information?
Or my soul – the subtle but significant ‘Me’?
Or is it the Soul of the Universe through my little soul?

If it is the Soul that sees the distance mountain,
Neither do I need a soul,
Nor a pair of tiny eyes,
Nor a complex brain, nor a body made of flesh and bones,
Nor the windows of my living room – to see the distance mountain
As the Soul of the Universe is Aware of Itself.

Now who am I? Am I the seer? Or Am I the seen? Or both?

Soul of the Universe = Holy Spirit = Brahman = Self = Allah = God = Absolute

The Fearful Mind – Episode 1

Have you ever wondered why fear arises in the mind? I know it is not easy to contemplate the roots of the unpleasant emotions as it requires a lot of Practice with a Courageous and Compassionate Heart.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to look at my fears deeply and thanks to that, I am able to understand certain aspects of myself.

I will try to write in this series of posts what I have observed so far. Let’s dive in.

#1 Fear as a resistance to the Life

Life is prone to change. Everything in and around us change every one millionth picosecond, whether we are aware of it or not. Thanks to this phenomenon called “Impermanence” that we can always change our choices – to Love more, to Forgive more, to be more Compassionate to ourselves and other beings.

However, when we get too attached with the objects of life, we might feel a lot of anxieties arising as we hear the terms like “Change, Impermanence” etc., So, the first reason why we might be fearful is that we feel a lot of resistance to the Fluid Nature of Life.

#1 Exercise:

  • Take a relaxed deep breath. Look around. Look at your own body. Look at the flowers in your garden. Look at the flow of river. Look at the clouds in the sky. Do not come to any sort of conclusion just yet but get yourself immersed in all of these objects around you. Pretend to be a tree, a mountain, a cloud for a little while. Take another relaxed deep breath.
  • Write down your experiences with this exercise and ask yourself if it is reasonable to be afraid of “changes” in life.

If you feel inspired, please let me (and other readers) know your response in the comment section.

I love you, have a great day!


Peace

Peace is my highest deed

If it requests my acceptance, I do it faithfully,

If it invites me to understand deeper, I do it immediately,

If it advises me to do my work and renounce the results, I do it happily,

If it asks me to surrender to the given situation, wow, I do it lovingly,

If it sometimes tells me to give up, sure, why not? – I do it mindfully

Because

With Peace in my Heart, I am truly ‘Home’ and

Home is where I have everything that I truly desire.

On The Self

May the politicians meditate on the Self that
They shall work beyond the welfare of their own countries

May the citizens meditate on the Self that
They shall love their neighbors as much as they love themselves

May the lovers meditate on the Self that
They shall become immortal lovers of this Planet

May we all meditate on the Self that
We shall begin to eat in a non-violent way

May the Nihilists meditate on the Self that
They shall realize how Beautiful is to be in Existence

May the Fearful meditate on the Self that
They shall embrace all their fears with Love and Compassion

May the Faithless meditate on the Self that
They shall give birth to the Unshakable Faith in themselves

May I meditate on the Self that
I shall see the Truth beyond all Illusions of Mankind

May you meditate on the Self that
You shall see more than what I see.

Om/Amen/Amin


Meditate = Being Aware with undivided yet loving and kind attention
Self = That which exists everywhere, all the time (Synonymous to Love/God/Truth)

Response to Life

Impermanence is the inherit nature of Life on the Earth.
Impermanence is not necessarily a bad thing – If we look deeply,
Impermanence is a gift by which we have the continuous opportunity to evolve.
However, we like to wish for things to remain the same as they are.
Be it happiness or sadness, we attach (or averse) to it – ignoring the Reality of Life.

Well, the Law of the Life seems to be different –
If we wish to be in Harmony with the Life, we would need to change our attitude.
Not all our Life situations are that we can control – Peace, Joy, and Harmony are
Based only on how we respond to the situations presented to us.

Fear is a response.
Hate is a response.
Anger is a response.
Kindness is a response.
Forgiveness is a response.
Compassion is a response.
Unconditional Love is a response.

Yes, we do have Free Will – We can always consciously choose our response to any given situation. Having said this, I do agree it is not possible to choose Love over Fear all the times – but, I’d like to invite you to contemplate on the different responses that you’ve chosen over the years, and the corresponding quality of your life during those moments.

Thank you!