Our soul will be free, if we surrender on our own and become an instrument in the hands of existence. Please understand the difference; it is very subtle and great. If a habit or philosophy or religion controls me, over powers me, I become a slave. But what will happen if, I on my own willingly surrender myself to existence, then I become the master. This is a story from the life of Greek sage, Diogenes. Diogenes is passing through a forest, walking fearlessly like a lion. Slave traders see him and are tempted by his powerful physique, because he would fetch a good sum of gold at slave market. Although the slave traders are eight in number, they are afraid to overpower and capture him, seeing powerful looking Diogenes. In fact one who wants to overpower another person is essentially a weak and fear stricken person. Only a fearful person wants to frighten and dominate others just to assuage his own fear. A really fearless person never tries to dominate others. He loves everybody’s freedom as much as he loves his own. So the traders are afraid of Diogenes, but their greed is equally strong. Prepared for a good fight, they surround him from all sides, but Diogenes confounds them in a strange way. Diogenes stands quietly and serenely in his place with no trace of fear or agitation on his face. He asks the slave traders of their intension. He then accepts to go with them without any hesitation. They try to hand cuff him but Diogenes convinces them the absurdity when he himself is willing.
Diogenes walks at their head as if a king is marching with his retinue. He looks so charismatic that wherever he goes all eyes are turned on him. Pointing to his captors, Diogenes tells the spectators, “What are you looking for? They are all my slaves. Although they are not in chains yet, they cannot run away from me. They are fond to me.” The merchants are really crestfallen. At slave market, manager announces, “Here is a great slave for sale; whosoever has enough gold can bid for him.” Diogenes first shouts at the manager, “Shut up, if you don’t know how to sell a master.” Then he says to the bidders, “Here is a master for sale, whosoever could afford a master should bid for him.” His radiance is of a person who surrendered to existence, not of a slave.
If we are forced against our will to be n instrument, if it is not our own choice, then we are certainly a slave and our individuality is killed. But Krishna does not ask Arjuna to be such a slavish instrument. Krishna wants Arjuna to understand the reality and to flow with the stream of existence. It is foolish to fight the river of life and try to swim upstream. He says to Arjuna, “Leave yourself in the hands of life, of existence, and you will be fulfilled.” If we surrender with full understanding and joy, then our individuality, instead of being crippled, attains to full flowering fruition. Then we are our own master. Then there is no better way of proclaiming our mastery than the way of surrender. Let us try and understand, if I surrender it means that I am my own master. No slave surrenders, he is just overpowered and captured. For the first time Arjuna’s individuality attains full flowering, and it happens effortlessly and naturally when he realized the reality. He surrenders, not a slave. Gandhi understood the Gita, which is the reason he was never a slave to British even when jailed. Because he surrendered, like Arjuna, to the existence. Let us understand Krishna to understand Gita.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 04-08-2017
There was a boy who found a terrapin, more commonly known as a turtle. He started to examine it but the turtle pulled in its head and closed its shell like a vice. The boy was upset and he picked up a stick to try to pry it open. The boy’s uncle saw him struggling and remarked,
“No Johnny, that’s not the way! In fact, you may kill the turtle but you’ll not get it to open up with a stick.” The uncle took the turtle in into the house and set it near the fireplace. It wasn’t but a few minutes until it began to get warm. Then the turtle pushed out its head, then stretched out its legs and began to crawl.
“Turtles are like that,” said the uncle,”and people, too. You can’t force them into anything.” Be they turtles or people, if you first warm them up with some real kindness, more than likely, they will do what you want them to do.” “A drop of honey attracts a thousand bees.” “A drop of vinegar repels all bees.”
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 19-07-2017
Not only Krishna, even Mahavira had never been ignorant and imperfect in any of his past lives. It is another thing that Mahavira came to know of it only in his last life. Krishna had always known it; he knew it eternally. Even we are not ignorant and imperfect. Each one of us is all- knowing and each one of us is whole – just we are not aware of it. It is all a matter of remembering, of being aware that we are it. The difference lies in awareness, not in being. For example, the sun is high up in the sky, but all of us here go to deep sleep. The sun will be high up there, but then we will not be aware of it. Then one of us wakes up and knows that sun is shining on him. The sun will be shedding light equally on all those who remain sleep, but they will not be aware of it. And when they awaken will they be right in saying the sun rose with their awakening? No, what would be right for them to say is that the sun was already there, but they woke up to it later. No one neither Mahavira, nor Krishna or you or me – is without light and knowledge. Each one of his whole as he is, it is all a matter of remembering it, waking up to it.
Throughout his existence, in all of his lives, Krishna has been aware that he is whole. So his question of striving for it does not arise. At particular level of his existence, say in his last life, Mahavira comes to know through his efforts and disciplines, that he is not ignorant and imperfect, but knowing and whole. And when he is awakened he also comes to know that this has always been the case, he has always been aware and whole. And what difference does it make if someone comes to know of it a few lives earlier or later? But it makes a difference for those of us who live in time; we are always concerned about time – who comes first and who comes last. But eternally no one is the first and no one is the last. In existence, time is without beginning and without end. So the question of one’s awakening to reality sooner or later does not arise. This question has relevance for those of us who has who believe in time begins and ends. If time has no beginning, then what does it matter if someone awakens two days before me? Or two lives after me?
The measurement of time in seconds, days, and years is imaginary; man has invented it. It is conceptual, utilitarian and comparative, but not a fact. Reality is eternal and immeasurable. And enlightenment and awakening or whatever we call it happens beyond time, in timelessness. It will seem strange to us when we see that the moment of Mahavira’s attainment is the same as the moment of Krishna’s. We will say it is incredible, yet it is the fact. Let us understand it this way. On a piece of paper I draw a circle with a centre. Then I draw a number of lines running from the circumference to the centre (like spokes of a wheel). Right at the circumference there is distance, a gap between any two lines. But this gap goes on shrinking as the lines proceed towards the centre. And as they reach the centre this gap disappears altogether. It is the same with the time. At the circumference of the time there is a gap between Mahavira and Krishna, between Krishna and me, between me and you, but there is no gap what so ever when we arrive at the centre. But since we all live in the time of circumference, and we have no knowledge of its centre, we find it difficult to understand that Mahavira and Krishna arrive there together, at the same place. In the same way time or history forms the circumference while the truth or divinity forms the centre. All distances belong to time and space. At the centre where eternity abides, all distances disappear.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 10-07-2017
I do not why, but this situation happens with me on the occasion of most festivals. This time it was the festival of Holi. Like many other people in our region, family members go to the place where lot of woods are placed to be lit in a particular mahurat of ‘Holika Dahan’. Our family has an additional tradition of visiting this place twice on the same day. Once in the morning to make some special offerings as a part of ‘Thandi Pooja’ or ‘Cold form Worship’ in front of wooden logs, that are just placed as a heap, and then in the evening when the heap is burned. This time we could not go in the morning, as my wife was not well. We went to the place of ‘Holika Dahan’ in the evening only, to perform both the parts of worship together. Somewhere, deep inside my mind the guilt of breaking a long established family tradition kept rolling. I kept telling to me, that it is ok, the situation is due to a genuine reason, but my other part kept pressing me to think otherwise.
I become this kind of split personality especially on the festivals. I start carrying the guilt that if I miss a ritual, God will punish me. I also have another part of me, which has been recently developed, that is a complete atheist. This part tells me to stop all this nonsense and be a sensible person and tells me to stop dramatizing things like this. Don’t know if it is the habit of repeating same things for years that brings this kind of internal conflict or these traditions do have some meaning.
I think that many of you may have experienced this kind of conflict, especially while following the religious customs. Sometimes you convince yourself, by saying that it is a matter of personal beliefs and individual feelings. Some other times, some attempts are made by some people to explain the rituals giving some strange type of logic. Anyway, the point I want to make is, if we are ready to debate the strange rituals. In the name of symbolism of remembering an ancient story, we keep doing things year after year that may not be relevant now. Burning huge amount of crucial resource of wood on the day of ‘Holi’ is beyond any explanation in current days. Similar things we do on other festivals also. In my opinion the best way of enjoying a festival is to share resources between different classes of people rather than wasting them. Today, I complete my ‘Holi’ celebrations, by sharing these feelings with you. Let us expand the word ‘HOLI’ as (H)appiness (O)f (LI)fe.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 11-03-2015
No two people can come so close to each other that the thought of “I” and “thou” cannot come in between them. It is impossible. Only two non-persons, non egos, can achieve this unity and oneness. And since God is a non-person, a devotee can be one with him the day he ceases to be a person, an ego. As long as a devotee remains a separate entity, fusion with God is impossible. God is not an entity as a devotee is. God’s being is like non-being; his presence is like an absence. This aspect of God is significant! And this needs to be understood in the correct sense.
We the devotees have always asked why God does not manifest himself. We forget that if he becomes manifest, meeting with him in the sense of fusion, unity, oneness, will be impossible. Such fusion is possible only with the un manifest. Devotees have always said to God, “Where are you hiding? Why don’t you manifest yourself? ” This is an utterly wrong question. If God really becomes manifest, then great wall will rise up between the seeker & the sought, and oneness will be simply impossible.
Because God is un-manifest, a merger with God is possible. Because he is invisible and infinite like the sky, the devotee can drown himself in his being, which is good as non-being. God is visible nowhere and also is everywhere. If he becomes visible, union will be impossible.
If there is any obstruction in the way of meeting and merging, it is from the side of devotee, not from God.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 27-10-2014
Let us understand how a Sthitaprajna compares with a devotee, a bakta. A Sthitaprajna is one who has ceased to be a devotee and become bhagwan (God). And a devotee is one who is on his way to becoming God. So while a devotee is a one who is on the path, a Sthitaprajna is one who is already arrived. In other words, devotion is the path and steadied intelligence or wisdom is the destination. One who has arrived at the goal is called Sthitaprajna, and a traveler to this goal is called devotee. There is a lot in common between a devotee and a man of settled intelligence, because there is just a distance between the two. The difference is one of journey and destination. The aspirations and expectations of a devotee turn into the achievement of the enlightened, the awakened one- and also goes beyond. And so long as a devotee does not become God himself, he will be thirsty, he will face discontentment too.
About the distance, no matter how intimate an embrace is, a subtle separation remains between lovers. This distance can disappear only when two lovers disappear as egos and merge into each other and become totally one. Either in devotee & God or between lovers, this distance will otherwise be a distance. Whether it is a distance of an inch or of million miles, even if we reduce the distance to a thousandth part of an inch, it remains a distance nonetheless. So a devotee cannot be fully satisfied even if he remains locked in God’s embrace. He can be fulfilled only when he disappears as a devotee and becomes God himself.
The problem is that unless we become one with the beloved, not physically but spiritually, at the level of love/ devotion, of being- there is no way for us to be satisfied and happy. This is the hardest thing to achieve.
This is not going to happen if two lovers remain tied to each other or a devotee is tied to the God. And the irony is, the nearer they are to each other, the greater their disillusionment and misery. When there was a distance between them they had hoped for heavenly happiness and joy that would come when they become closer to each other. But when they are really close, even closest to eachother, they feel disillusioned, almost cheated by their own hopes. This can be witnessed in this world among the lovers and also in devotees. The love of person to another or of devotee to God should be devoid of ego. Otherwise the aspirations are running in one direction and the efforts in another, and so frustration is inevitable. We who long to be one with God, nothing should come in between them, not even or to put it correctly not specifically the thought of “I” and “thou”.
Let us think into this seriously to understand the ultimate reality!
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 20-10-2014
All duality, every division between the actor and the act, between the experience and experienced, the observer and the observed, has to disappear. If we can be totally one with the moment at hand we will have learned the art of being one with every moment that is on its way. And then miracle will happen- both pleasure and pain will chasten us, enrich us, add to our beauty and grandeur. Then both happiness and misery will be our friends and they will have equal share in making us. And when our time to leave this world will come, we will thank both in tremendous gratefulness.
The truth is that it is not only light that creates us, darkness has an equal hand in our creation. Not only happiness enriches us, pain and suffering has equal share in building our richness. Not only life is a moment of rejoicing and celebration, death also is a great moment of bliss and festivity. It is possible only if we can live each moment totally, if we can squeeze out every drop of juice the moment posses. Then we will not be able to say that happiness is friendly pain is inimical. No, then we will gratefully accept that happiness and misery are like our own legs on which we walk, and that they are together available to us. Then we will realize how we have tried impossibly all our life to walk on one leg alone- the leg of happiness. We have to be whole when we speak, we have to be whole when we are silent.
Disorder begins when we choose. And the chooser is separate the world of choices is unending.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 15-09-2014
Krishna is not a witness. Of course he asks Arjuna to become a witness. Krishna is all the time aware that witnessing is only a means, a transitory phase. So he also talks of moments when even witnessing will cease to be. Krishna explains both to Arjuna- the means and the end, the path & the goal. And when he speaks about unperturbed and steady, he does not speak about means but the end, the goal itself. Most of us when we interpret Gita, we make the mistake. We think that he is talking about the means, the witness. We think if some one remains a witness in happiness and pain without experiencing it, without indulging it, he will attain to the state that is unperturbed and steady.
But when we analyse, this a wrong approach. If someone only witnesses without living it, this witnessing will become a kind of tension, disturbance, and restlessness for him. Then that person will always be in defensive, trying to protect himself from pain & happiness. To really be undisturbed, to be relaxed and peaceful, it is essential that we are not at all conscious of pain & happiness. If one is conscious it means a kind of disturbance is happening, a kind of agitation is alive and there is separation between the two- the observer and the observed. This consciousness, this separation is subtle, but it is there. So long as one continues to know that this is happiness and that is pain, he is not integrated and whole. He is not settled and steady in himself. The self has not achieved to equilibrium, peace and wisdom. It is not a Sthitaprajna.
Let us take some time in analysing this and then we will dive deeper into the ocean of wisdom.
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 08-09-2014
The witness, the observer, divides the world into subject & object, into witness & the witnessed. Therefore as long as there is a witness, duality will continue. Witnessing is the last frontier of the dual world, after which the non-dual begins. But one cannot reach the non-dual without being a witness. To be a witness means that I now give up dividing the world into many. Instead I divide it into two- the witness & the witnessed. And when I reduced the many fragments of the world to two, it will not be difficult to come to complete unity of the existence. When duality will disappear, when the observer & the observed will become one and the same, the unity in existence happens. If we succeed in becoming a witness we will soon have glimpses of one without the other, when there is neither the witness nor the witnessed, but only witnessing.
For example, if I love someone there is one who loves and another who is loved. But if love is real, then moments will come when both the lover & the loved one will disappear, and only energy of love will abide between the two, connecting them. There will be moments when lovers disappear and only love remains. These are the moments of ‘Advaita’, the non-dual, moments of unity- the one without the other.
In the same way there are moments of unity in witnessing too, when subject and object disappear and only the witnessing consciousness remains. It is like an ocean of energy bridging two formless entities- the witness & the witnessed- like two distant sea shores. The near shore is called “I” and the distant shore the “thou”, one is the observer & the other is the observed. Such moments will keep coming & going. And when this state achieves its fullness it will abide forever, and then even witnessing will disappear. Then we are settled in intelligence, steadied in wisdom. We are the whole, the awakened one.
In this next issue, let us discuss the Krishna & Arjuna as an example to understand this point. Namastey!
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 01-09-2014
Krishna appeared in the world in the year 3.227 B.C (on the eighth day of the second fortnight of the month of Sravana of the Visvavasu year) between the intermediary points of the beginning of one day into the next. His birth was extremely auspicious and marked with great predictions from the respected signs that the Jyotisha Vedic Astrology. As per the Shrimad Bhagavatam, Krishna had great features and signs. He was physically good looking, of delicate facial skin, he was tall, thin, broad wide and muscled shoulders, with large beautiful seductive and magnetic eyes. His character was obstinate, firm, he did not change his opinion and he showed himself to be indifferent to contrary opinions, as he did not let himself be influenced by anyone. He was critical with quick psychology to find the defects and errors in others for which his advice from master to masters of Yoga was profound and direct. He was an idealist, with a heart harmonized with reason. He was always ready to sacrifice everything for his family, friends. He valued with preference action to words of false negotiations. He was both loathed and loved. He had a plan that he followed with firmness without ever deviating. There was never a “tomorrow” because for him only the present existed. His mind was absolutely free.
He managed his life with precision. He was the king to a beautiful and mystic kingdom called Dwaraka, which today partly under the sea & some parts in the present state of Gujarat. Dwaraka means “The door of Freedom” in Sanskrit. Krishna lived in Dwaraka close to 100 years. He was the great leader of his subjects who acclaimed and followed him with absolute royalty, given that he was an attentive governor to the needs of his subjects. His family life was especially unrepeatable. He was loved and he loved beyond all conventionalisms. His mother adored him and her example of love was converted into a guide of devotional love for the Vedic tradition. His sense of freedom was also reflected in his life. Krishna is a name full of mystic and philosophical content. Krishna means “black”, a symbol of Eternal Plenitude. Etymologically Krish + Na means “what is taken to the earth, to happiness”. Krishna is the “Most Attractive”, he who seduces everyone to keep them away from Adharma. Krishna is called the divine flutist that plays the flute of the 7 chakras on the Yoga body of the yogis granting them Moksha of Liberation.
Krishna was a Maha Avatara, a Great Divine Complement. An Avatar penetrates energy in the world to reincarnate taking on a body that not always has to have a human appearance or conceivable to the mind and perceptible to the senses. His material body is a vehicle for the divine manifestation (reincarnation). The advent of the Avatar is the complement through the material energy taking on a body of a special nature that allows the expression of the Maha Maya Shakti, the immense power that interacts in all material plains. The ancestral books of the Puranas tell that Shri Krishna lived 125 years, leaving his body in the year 3.102 B.C during the new moon of the month of Phalguna and when the darkness disappeared in the world of man and the era of Kali opened. In Kali Yuga, mans memory is weak, life short and the confusion of Dharma creates a disjointed society, the loss of historical memory, the loss of spiritual references and the beginning of barbarianism. The great teaching of Krishna and his great power is concentrated in the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita, the All-powerful Song, contains the instructions given to his disciple Arjuna in the middle of the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where Yoga, Vedanta and the essence of the Vedas were synthesized. The Gita is actually the path which Vedic Dharma flows through. The Sadhana of the Advent has as its objective to give happiness to the Sadhaka, eliminate the sadness caused by pain in life, give potential to the capacity to do Karma Yoga, the integral Yoga of Karma, Bhakti and Gñyana Yoga united in Raja Yoga: correct action, Supreme Devotion, and Perfect Wisdom in the Sovereignty of the Mind.