Category Archives: Essay

From darkness to light

In a foul mood I went banging doors and slamming things. Yes, I do such absurd things or sometimes just yell. It takes the stress away. And I get back to normal, Nowadays I just yell ‘Krishnaaaa’ and then calm down. But today I didn’t do any yelling. I was too stressed to do even that. No, nothing very critical. Just that water supply in our building sometimes plays errant. No water and I get tensed up. I start imagining all sorts of troubles eventually leading to my bad karma and my ‘sufferings’.

Yes, I tend to be melodramatic.

Today I didn’t yell. Nor did I blame my karma. Today my position was of a warrior who has accepted defeat even before the war has begun.

I went about folding clothes, arranging cupboards when I looked around and saw the lighted ‘diyas’ at the altar.

I love the sight of diya (mind you the oil diyas not the wax candles). I love the flames playing around in a dark room. Somehow it lifts my mood up, makes me calm and makes me believe that there is hope.

I am immediately reminded of the line, Tamosama jyotirgamay’ lead me from darkness to light. It also means coming out of ignorance to knowledge.  Always darkness is linked to ignorance. Lying down at night when sleep eludes, even the simplest problem looks gargantuan.  The same problem in the day time is minuscule.

I remember a similar prayer sung in school, ‘Lead kindly light amid encircling gloom’. The essence is the same, leading from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light. I have not had chance to study other religions but I am sure others too speak of the same truth. After all what is religion… its a means to advance to knowledge and erase the ignorance from our hearts.

Lord Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita Chapter 10 Text 11 says:

tesam evanukampartham
aham ajnana-jam tamah
nasayamy atma-bhava-stho
jnana-dipena bhasvata
Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.
In this shloka too darkness has been compared to ignorance.
We may think we are elevated, that we are ‘gyanis’ the knower of all truths but the fact is that we know very little. And that little itself is enough to make us puffed up with pride. But those who are humble enough to keep on serving the Lord come what may;  He himself lights the lamp of knowledge in his heart.
Such a simple formula.
So do I have the endurance to carry on against all odds? The illnesses, the material discomforts, the sudden doubts of faith? That time can only tell. Till then I will look on to the lamps in the altar and bring courage to the heart.
Tamso maa jyotirgamaya….Lead kindly light…..

 

 

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Karma Yoga

Below is an essay on the Third chapter of the Bhagvad Gita.

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Arjuna is confused about which path to take. With the aid of previous conversations with the Lord, he now knows that the ultimate goal of life is Krishna consciousness but then why should he fight?

Bhagvan then tells about conditioned soul, why they were sent to this material world, what was their prescribed duty, how in time; in influence of the material world he forgot his duty and how he was pushed farther from Krishna consciousness.

Soul is always active and conditioned soul also has the material propensity. So the Lord sent them to this world to enjoy this materiality but in turn they were required to perform yajnas to satisfy the various demi gods. (and in turnVisnu) By being on this path they would gradually control their senses, mind,  intelligence and return to the path of self-realization.

However man by his forgetfulness forgot his true aim and worked only for self/sense gratification. He took everything from the Lord but in turn returned nothing. His love for Krisna changed to lust and that was the beginning of his degradation.

An ignorant works for sense gratification, A learned for Krisna. A Krisna conscious  person need not perform the prescribed duties (of performing yajnas but still does so, so that others can follow him. It’s known that common people always follow great men.

The ignorant in the beginning while doing the daily work should simultaneously engage themselves in yajnas. Slowly their intelligence  makes them detached from material nature and they gradually lead to Krisna consciousness.

Once they are on this path, their love for Krisna is rekindled and slowly they are freed from the results of their past sinful activities.

Thus Krisna says ‘Work as if you are working for ME, surrender tome, chant my name always, be detached and do not worry about results.When you strive on this path; your mind is strengthened, lust does not touch you and then you will be free from the bonds of Karma.

And so Arjuna should fight. As a Kshatriya his job is to fight for dharma, to protect the distressed and because HE says so, he should fight and not bother about the result.

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