Sunday, February 26, 2012

Is this World an Illusion?

That day a friend of mine was talking philosophically & telling me that all this world is illusion, it does not exist in reality. Whatever we are seeing is just mere magic etc. etc. I kept listening to him. Then I just asked him to close his eyes & open it only when this magical, illusory world disappears. But when he opened his eyes, world was still there only. Where this world shall go? It was there only, it is there only, there is no magic that this world shall disappear.

Then what is that my friend was talking? Why he was calling this world as Maya (माया or māyā) or illusion? What is the philosophical meaning of his saying this world an illusion? Was he wrong in his saying that this world is unreal? In philosophy, the meaning of Maya is "that is not" but which appears to be real. In Hinduism, this world in which we live is called unreal not because of that it does not exist, but because it is unstable, impermanent, unreliable, ever changing and illusory. It is unreal because it is transient & changing every second. Just check the things around you, these are changing every second. So this changing world, which is not permanent is called Maya or illusion & not real.

In Hindu philosophy, Universal Spirit (Brahman) or God is the only truth which never changes & always remains the same but this world is changing every moment so that is the reason it is called untrue. Since Maya causes the material world to be seen, it cannot be untrue also. Hence, Maya is described as indescribable.

Purpose of Maya: In reality the purpose of Maya is to produce the duality in this world. Maya performs this role at the behest of the Supreme Lord only. God is not bound by Maya, just as magicians are not illusioned and deluded by their own magic. She has two principle functions - one is to veil the Universal Spirit (Brahman) and obscure and conceal it from our consciousness. The other is to present and promulgate the material world and the veil of duality instead of the Universal Spirit (Brahman).

Lord Krishna in Bhagwat Gita details about the 'Maya' in it's various chapters.

"mama yonir mahad brahma
tasmin garbham dadhamy aham
sambhavah sarva-bhutanam
tato bhavati bharata" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Fourteen verse 3)

"Sri Krishna said: O Arjuna, My womb is the great Nature (Prakriti or MAYA) which is the source of birth of all living entities, and it is in that I place the germ (embryo of life). Thus it makes possible the births of all living beings."

"sarva-yonisu kaunteya
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Fourteen verse 4)

"Sri Krishna said: O Arjuna, It should be understood that all species of life, are made possible by birth in this material nature (Prakriti or MAYA), and that I am the seed-giving father."

"prakrityaiva cha karmani
kriyamanani sarvasah
yah pasyati tathatmanam
akartaram sa pasyati" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Thirteen verse 30)

"Sri Krishna said: O Arjuna, One who can see that all activities are performed by the nature (Maya) alone and sees that the self does nothing, actually sees." (The Self is the silent witness).

Ramakrishna on Maya

Ramakrishna acknowledged the power of Maya in life. He was all love and reverence for maya, perceiving in it a mysterious and majestic expression of Divinity. To him Maya was God.

In the guru Ramakrishna's experience, Maya was divine. Ramakrishna "did not, like a Vedantic scholar, repudiate the world as maya, but gave it a spiritual status, seeing in it the manifestation of Chit and Ananda." Ramakrishna had a "vision of the divine Maya, the inscrutable Power of God, by which the universe is created and sustained."

According to Ramakrishna, Maya projects and withdraws the world.
Further, "Maya . . . is the Mother of the Universe, identical with the Brahman of Vedanta and with the Atman of Yoga.

Ramakrishna discovered that maya operates in the relative world in two ways and he termed these "avidyamaya" and "vidyamaya.' Avidyamaya sustains lower planes, but vidyamaya is enlightening, including qualities like kindness. Vidyamaya elevates a man to a better consciousness. With the help of vidyamaya he then gets free of maya, if only for a while. The two aspects of maya are two forces of creation.

Ramakrishna said further: "When I think of the Supreme Being as inactive - neither creating nor preserving nor destroying - I call Him Brahman or Purusha . . . When I think of Him as active - creating, preserving, and destroying - I call Him Sakti or Maya or Prakriti, the Personal God.

To Ramakrishna maya itself was God - everything was God - [maya] was one of the faces of [the Godhead].

As per Ramakrishna: Maya can not be distinguished from the supreme [Godhead]

As per Ramakrishna: The mighty weaver (Maya) is none other than the Divine Mother.

As per Ramakrishna: Maya releases from bondage.

"I tell you the truth: there is nothing wrong in your being in the world." - Ramakrishna

Vivekananda on Maya

This universe is maya - Vivekananda

Maya is used incorrectly to denote illusion or delusion. - Vivekananda

Sunday, February 19, 2012

God is 'HERE' Not 'THERE'

Our mind always wanders outside in the world in search of God. We generally think that God is someone faraway sitting in a distant heaven. Our search for God is always in the outside world but it is not a practical approach to find God. In fact God is present everywhere i.e. He is omnipresent & is present in all places, all the times. He is there within ourself, within our house, within all the places around us & also in our place of worship. So it is not necessary to go to some outside place to find God but we can worship & get His Blessings within ourself & our home only.

Below is a little tale -- about looking for the God nearby ourself only. This little tale is by India's great saint from Bengal, Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa.

"ONCE, a bird sat on the mast of a ship. When the ship sailed through the mouth of the Ganges into the 'black waters' of the ocean, the bird failed to notice the fact that it has come away from the land. When it finally became aware of the ocean, it left the mast and flew north in search of land. But it found no limit to the water in the sea and so returned back on the ship. After resting a while it flew south. There too it found no limit to the water in the sea. Panting for breath the bird returned to the mast of the ship. Again, after resting a while, it flew east and then west. Finding no limit to the water in any direction in the sea, at last it settled down on the mast of the ship only."

Same is the case with our search for God. God we seek is very near to us. Still we wander about Him from place to place outside in the world. As long as a man feels that God is 'there', outside in the world, he is ignorant. But he attains knowledge when he feels that God is 'here' nearby himself only.

Below verse of Bhagwat Gita explains His omnipresent nature:

sarvatah pani-padam tat
sarvato ’ksi-siro-mukham
sarvatah shrutimal loke
sarvam avrtya tishthati (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Thirteen verse 14)

"Sri Krishna said: O Arjuna, Everywhere are His (God's) hands and feet, His eyes, heads and faces, and He has ears everywhere. In this way the Super Soul exists, pervading everything in this world."

"In the Bhagwat Gita Chapter Fifteen verse 15 Lord Krishna says:

"sarvasya chaham hridi sannivisto"

God is seated in everyone’s heart.

In the Bhagwat Gita Chapter Eighteen verse 61 Lord Krishna says:

"ishvarah sarva-bhutanam
hrd-dese ’rjuna tishthati"

The Supreme God resides in the hearts of all beings.

So let's look inwards & find the God in our hearts who is the source of all Joy, Peace & Bliss. Be sure that "God Loves You", only thing is that you need to turn toward HIM.

So just have faith in God & get the mercy of God nearby yourself only. God's merciful hand shall extend to you, wherever you are if you show devotion to God. When His grace shall happen then God shall give you, whatever, you are lacking in life & also shall protect your life & belongings. Then you shall always be protected in life by God. Such type of Special mercy of God shall only happen on you when you shall engage your mind in thinking of God, become God's devotee, offer obeisance's to God and shall always worship Him within your heart & nearby yourself. Being completely absorbed in God so, surely you shall become eligible for God's Special mercy.

Jai Sri Krishna.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Imitate Good People & Good Things

We all have been taught from the school times that we should imitate good people & good things in this world. We should not do the company of bad people & should not imitate bad works of other people. We should only imitate good people & good works of other people in this world. Here below is a story by Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa, the great Indian saint, which tells us that if we imitate good things today then it shall become an inspiration for us to lead a good life tomorrow.

"In ancient times in India, once a Thief with a purpose to steal, entered the palace of a king in the dead of night and overheard the king saying to the queen, "I shall give my daughter in marriage to one of those sadhus (holy men) who are dwelling on the bank of the river," The thief thought within himself & planned: "Well, here is way to have good luck for me. I will go and sit among the sadhus (holy men) tomorrow in the disguise of a sadhu, and perhaps I may succeed in getting the king's daughter. "The next day he went & sat among the sadhus. When the king's court men came soliciting the sadhus to marry the king's daughter, none of them gave their consent to marry the king's daughter. At last they came to the thief in the guise of a sadhu, and made the same proposal to him. The thief kept quiet & did not say "No" to them. King's court men went back and told the king that there was a young sadhu who might be influenced to marry the princess and that there was no other sadhu who would consent. Then the king himself came to the sadhu by the bank of the river and earnestly entreated him to honor him by accepting his daughter in marriage.

By this time the heart of the thief had changed at the king's visit. He thought within himself: "I have only assumed the garb of a sadhu (holy man), and see!! the king himself comes to me to ask for the hand of his daughter. Who can say what better things may not be in store for me if I become a real sadhu!" These thoughts so strongly influenced him that, instead of marrying under false pretences, he began to mend his ways from that very day and exerted himself to become a true sadhu. He did not marry at all, and ultimately became one of the most pious holy man of his day. Imitating of a good thing sometimes leads to unexpected good results."

In Bhagwat Gita Lord Krishna says that one can atone for his / her sins in many ways like penance, charity etc. but there is no way more swift, fast for atonement to sins than Devotional service to God / Lord Krishna. In this regard Bhagwat Puran & Bhagwat Gita, both explain about this assurance in detail that Devotion to Lord Krishna is the supreme purifier for all the sins that a person commits in life time.

'Api chet su-duracharo
bhajate maam ananya-bhak
sadhurev sa mantavya
samyag vyvasito hi sah' (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter IX verse 30)

"Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: Even if the vilest sinner worships Me with full devotion, he should be considered a noble soul or saint; as he has taken the right step by worshipping me."

Through above verse 30, God is telling Arjuna that even if the most sinful of person worships Him with full devotion, then He considers him to be a saint only as he has rightly resolved in his life. So many times we too think that we have done many sins in life & how God shall accept us, but here God makes it very clear that once a person become devoted to Him, He does not considers that person a sinner, rather God considers that person to be a Saint as he has taken the right decision in his life to become devoted to God. Let's all be devotees of God.

'kshipram bhavti dharmatma
shasvac-chantim nigachati
kauntey pratijanihi
na me bhaktah pranashyati' (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter IX verse 31)

"Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: He speedily becomes virtuous and secures lasting peace. O son of Kunti, know it for certain that My devotee never falls."

Through above verse 31, God is telling Arjuna that such a sinful person after becoming His devotee becomes a person of good virtues and always remains in peace & such a peace is not temporary but is ever lasting. God is assuring the son of Kunti (another name of Arjuna, his disciple) that his devotee never falls again in life as He always protect him. So let's all worship the God always so that He can protect us always.

"samo ’ham sarva-bhutesu
na me dvesyo ’sti na priyah
ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya
mayi te tesu chapy aham" (Bhagwat Gita: Chapter Nine verse 29)

"Sri Krishna says to Arjuna: I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him."

Like the Sun does away with all the fog, similarly Devotion to God does away with all the sins. A man full of sin, is for certain not as much purified by penance as by the devotion to Lord Krishna. In this world there is only this path that is really appropriate & the one that is followed by the well-behaved, fearless and auspicious, saintly people; that is in surrendering oneself to Lord Krishna. So let's all be devotees of Lord Krishna.

Jai Sri Krishna.