Upanishad Ganga – Episode 12 | The Ultimate Human Goal – Moksha

Points to Ponder from this episode:
• Giving wealth is easy. Giving (up) ego is difficult.
Giving up grosser things in life is comparatively easier. Try giving up subtler things…things that you are mentally attached to. Try giving up your favourite food, or favourite TV serial, or any of your favourite things? It’s difficult. More difficult is giving up our ego. What does ‘giving up our ego’ mean?

When we give away wealth (both physically & mentally), we will not be bothered what happens to it after we give it away. So, giving away ego means, we will not be affected by others’ behavior to us and it does not hurt our ego, for our ego is gone…it is no longer ours! Once you don’t own something, you become fearless…you don’t have the fear of anyone robbing you or your losing the thing in any way. The moment you become fearless, you become happy.

But it is not so easy. We identify ourselves with our ego and we mistake ourselves to be our ego. Giving up ego would be giving up our own identity, which might look scary. But the wise ones say, when the salt-doll jumps into the ocean, it loses its identity of being the small limited salt-doll only to become one with the vast ocean…to become the ocean itself!

When we give up our small limited ego, we become the One Supreme Self that manifests itself in different forms. Giving up our individuality – our ego – is not easy, but it is worth striving for!

• What you think you are, you are not. What appears as you, you are not. Try to identify yourself…your Self.

In the daily course of our life, even if we be on a spiritual path, we mostly identify ourselves with our Body, Mind, Intellect, Ego, etc. When the body is sick, it appears that ‘we’ are sick. When the Mind is disturbed, we think ‘we’ are disturbed. When the Intellect is enjoying contemplation, we think ‘we’ are enjoying. And when the Ego is satisfied or hurt, we feel that ‘we’ are happy or sad. When we say, we have a Body, Mind, Intellect and Ego, then We are the Subject and BMIE are our objects. If the objects are disturbed, the Subject is not disturbed. When my watch is broken, I myself am not broken. When feel disturbed when our BMIE are disturbed only because as those points we identify ourselves to be the BMI or E.

This we have to keep in mind and remind ourselves at all such junctures that We are not BMIE, rather, We are the Awareness, the Subject, that becomes Aware of all the changes happenings in the world outside – here ‘outside’ would also include the world of objects and the BMIE. We have to keep trying to identify our true Self, our true Identity.

Mind can always find reasons to convince you.
Even when Kotikarna did a good deed of returning back the ring, Kartyayani doubted his deed. This doubting condition is the nature of the Mind. It will assume the things from what it sees and then slowly and steadily convince us that the assumption is correct. One has to be very alert about one’s own Mind.

Mind you, Mind your own Mind!

• Kotikarna, after taking up Sanyasa, says, “My earlier body had a big house. This body has the whole world as its house. Then I was trying to win the world. Now, I’m trying to win over myself.”

Om Aniketaaya Namah: Salutations to the One who has no abode
This is an attribute among the 108 in Chinmaya Ashtottaram.
After living in a house/place for some time, there comes a sense of attachment to the house/place…a sense of comfort, a sense of belongingness, when we feel ‘this is where I belong’, ‘this is where my family lives’, ‘this is where I have to come back after I go out’. The longer we stay out of our home, the desire or longing to come back becomes stronger. But for the Realised Masters, who have left their homes, rather, who have accepted the whole world as their home, for them, wherever they are present, that itself becomes their home. These Masters are not attached to any particular abode, they don’t feel a sense of belonging to any particular place, their level of happiness is not fluctuated even when they are out of their comfort zones; it is them, they alone are Ones who are truly free.
We try to win in different situations in our lives…win competitions, win jobs, earn fame…everything is to win the world outside. But what are the things that we can win outside? Can we win everything? Alexander tried conquering the world. The British Empire became vast, but couldn’t last. We cannot win everything in the world outside. But if we are able to win our Self, it is as good as we have won the world. Because, once we have won our Self, we lose our own identity, our ego. And then the outside world cannot win over us.

Swami Swaroopananda says in his small booklet ‘Managing the Manager’, ‘who’s the manager?’…the manager is our Mind who manages our lives. One of the definitions of Management is ‘the art of getting things done through other people’. However, only a manager who has learnt the art of managing himself – his anger, his thoughts, his emotions, his feelings – only he can be successful always.

The most important thing is – winning over ourselves!

• Moksha is Param Purushartha, it is your right. Liberation from all bondages is our right.

‘Freedom is our birth right’, cried Lokmanya Tilak. Driving away alien forces and breaking the bondages they enslave on us is a difficult task. But more difficult is the bondages that we get ourselves into. Liberating ourselves from all bondages and attachments is Moksha, the Total Freedom, our Ultimate Goal. This does not mean leaving everything and retiring into the forests or Himalayan caves. De-attaching ourselves from everything ‘mentally’ is what sets us free. We may enjoy everything in life keeping in mind that ‘Even This Will Pass Away’. As long as it is there, we may enjoy it. But the moment something is gone, we should not be shattered, depressed or dejected. If we realize, not intellectually accept but realize, that everything in this world is subject to change, we will not get attached to it.
While living amidst all comforts one can be liberated if he is able to mentally detach from all his possessions and relations.

• You, by nature, are flawless. That is why you try to bring in perfection in all your work. Because Perfection itself is your nature. By nature you are that Pure Self. You, by nature, are Limitless. That is why you try to scale up the high mountains, wish to fly, break all barriers and go as far as possible and explore the universe…it’s all because, that’s your true nature – Limitless!

How true! Why do we (humans) feel the need to know more, experience more, explore more, discover more….why? Why does every human feel the need to break all limitations? Because, freedom is his true nature, it is the nature of his Self. The Self is Limitless, All Pure & Perfect. It is for that reason that we look for perfection always, we wish to break all records by creating another record, and then again break it. Man saw the birds and wanted to fly. He didn’t want to feel himself inferior even to birds or fishes. He wanted to outbeat them all, and he did. All because of his true nature which is unknown to him but he can’t help but act only according to his real nature – Pure, Perfect and Limitless.

• What is it that is more valuable than everything else?
Every person in this world is only to eke out happiness out of this world. Whatever be their ways, whatever be their profession, every action is aimed towards happiness. It can be happiness to the Body, to the Mind, to the Intellect or to the Ego, but happiness it is that one seeks. And this happiness that we seek outside, the Rishis say, is our true nature, it’s there inside us, or rather, Happiness is Us. One can become happy at all points of time when one gets Liberated from all bondages, when he is totally free. That is Moksha. And what indeed, can be more valuable than this?

Upanishad Ganga – Episode 4 | UNIVERSAL WELFARE

Points to Ponder from this episode:
Aham Nirvikalpo Nirakaara Roopah
Vibhur Vyapya Sarvatra Sarvendriyanaam
Sada Me Samatvam Na Mukthir Na Bandhah
Chidananda Rupah Shivoham Shivoham

 The episode begins and ends with the above lines (6th verse from Nirvanashtakam) which means – I am formless and devoid of all dualities I exist everywhere and pervade all senses. Always I am the same, I am neither free nor bonded I am pure knowledge and supreme bliss, I am Shiva, I am all auspiciousness, I am Shiva.

The above lines explain the Highest philosophical Truths of Vedanta which cannot be apprehended at mere reading of it. Yet, it was mentioned at the beginning and at the end of the episode, probably so that we would think over those lines.

 The episode shows the story of Ashtavakra, a very young sage, who goes to the court of King Janaka to re-educate the scholars of his court and eradicate a wrong tradition that was prevailing at that time, of killing scholars who would get defeated in debates. There, knowledge was not used for Universal Welfare.
The explanation of dialogues exchanged between Ashtavakra and Acharya Bandi during their debate can run into pages, for they convey the very subtle Truths of Indian Philosophy. In this note, we will try to discuss a few points among them.

 What is ‘Vidya’?
Vidya literally means ‘Knowledge’. In Vedanta, Vidya is classified into two – Paravidya and Aparavidya. Paravidya is that Knowledge of the Self and Aparavidya is the Knowledge of anything else. In this context, the knowledge that is quoted refers to Paravidya. Ashtavakra says, Vidya is that which removes Duality. One may ask, what is this Duality? The world we see comprises of different objects and beings. You and I are not one and the same, we are different. No two things seem to be the same. Even twins are different; they look different and even think different. Then how can Indian philosophy make such a statement that sounds so absurd?

When an ordinary man sees a gold bangle and a gold chain, he may look at it as two different ornaments. But a goldsmith will see it as gold. A goldsmith, having more knowledge in the subject, looks at the essence – the substance – Gold.

If we ask a scientist, what is this world; he might say that it is nothing but Energy in different forms. He sees the essence as Energy. In the same way, spiritual seers realized that the world is nothing but different form of the same Essence; different manifestations of the same Energy, the same Power. It is this power that we commonly refer to as God. So, when everything we see around is an expression of the same Power, how can we say that you and I are different? How can we say that there is Duality?

The Knowledge that makes us Realise this Truth is called Vidya (Paravidya).

 Which are the two ways of Realising Brahman (Brahman means God and not Brahmin or Lord Brahma)?

One way is – neti neti – Negating everything else. Let’s look at an anecdote to understand this method. A devotee comes to a Realized Master to ask some doubts and the Master puts this question to him.

Guru: Who are you?
Devotee: I’m Shri ____ (so and so)
Guru: Did I ask your name? My question is – Who are you?
Devotee: I’m the son of Shri _____
Guru: Did I ask your father’s name? My question is – Who are you?
The devotee tries to answer by using Nationality, gender, relations, etc but still couldn’t give the correct answer.
Guru: You are trying to explain yourself using different references. But those references are not you. Then who are you?
Devotee: I’m the mind.
Guru: When you are disturbed, what is happening inside you? You are getting disturbing thoughts in your mind. So, that means you have a mind and you have thoughts but you are not the mind or thoughts. When I say I’ve a buffalo, can I be the buffalo? When I say, I have a mind or intellect; can I be the mind or intellect? So, you are not your name, not the body, not the mind, not the intellect. (This is the method of negating). So who are you?
Devotee: I’m the Soul that resides in the body.
Guru: Where is God?
Devotee: God is everywhere.
Guru: In that case, is God there inside your body?
Devotee: Yes
Guru: Is God in your blood vessels, bones, internal organs, brain, heart?
Devotee: Yes
Guru: So, God is there inside your skin?
Devotee: Yes
Guru: So, God should be there in every cell of yours.
Devotee: Yes
Guru: Is God there in the gap between every cell?
Devotee: Yes
Guru: You mean to say that God is there in every cell of yours, God is there in the gaps between cells; so tell me where are you in this body?
Devotee: (wondering)
Guru: Tell me, where are you in this body?
Devotee: (still wondering)
Guru: In our discussion we have analysed that there is God everywhere in your body. If God is everywhere in your body, then there is no space for you to exist. Hence, you, meaning – what you think is ‘you’, don’t exist. Therefore, you and God are one and the same; or in other words; only God exists.

The first method of enquiry was negating all those things that are not you and then realizing Brahman. The enquirer adopting the first method will go on negating everything saying, “I’m not the name, I’m not the body, I’m not the mind, I’m not the intellect,…etc and whatever is finally left, is me.” And that which is finally left will be the essence of the whole creation. Hence, what I perceive of myself as a weak individual is nothing but the insurmountable power that is responsible for this creation”. Then why didn’t I realize it earlier? Because of my ignorance (Avidya).

The second method of realizing Brahman is also the path of Enquiry but instead of negating, one starts enquiring about the nature of the Self. He starts enquiring – If God is the essence of the whole world, what is the nature of God? What are the properties by which we can identify or see God? God cannot be a changing entity; it has to be the Unchanging factor. What is the Unchanging factor in me, in you and in the world we see?

Such goes the enquiry and the seeker can realize Brahman. However, this method might be more suitable for highly evolved persons in spiritual path. For normal people like you and I, the first method can prove easier.

 Knowledge is Power. And one needs to be wise enough to use it. There are many people who are knowledgeable, yet all of them need not be good. Ashtavakra wanted to make Acharya Bandi and the other scholars realize this fact so that he could put an end to a false practice where Knowledge was not used for general welfare. Ashtavakra says, “Shaastra maanav ka vikas karta hai and Shastra maanav ka vinash. Shaastra ko shastra na banaiye.” Meaning: Shaashtra (Scriptures) helps man to progress / evolve. Shashtra (Weapons) lead to man’s destruction. Please don’t use Scriptures (Knowledge) as your weapon. He adds, “By violence, no one has ever won over anyone.” (Using Power one can conquer lands, but not hearts)

• The reason for fights and wars is the notion of Duality. Paravidya removes the veil of ignorance and helps a person realize the Non-Dual nature of the Self.
• Knowledge is Power and power if misused will only lead to destruction. Misuse of power is due to incomplete knowledge (lack of Paravidya).
• How can one realize Brahman? There are two ways – negating everything and realizing Brahman; or enquiring more on the nature of Brahman and realizing the Self.
• The sloka of Nirvanashtakam answers the question ‘Who am I?’. We should keep enquiring about this question until we gain that knowledge. It is for that purpose we have got this human birth. Without realizing our true nature, human birth is a waste.

Upanishad Ganga – Episode 3 | KNOWLEDGE TRANSFORMS!

Points to Ponder from this episode:

uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet
atmaiva hy atmano bandhur atmaiva ripur atmanah

The episode begins with the above lines (5th verse from 6th chapter of Bhagavad Gita) which means – ‘Lift yourself by yourself; and having lifted yourself, do not allow yourself to be dragged down. For this, Self alone is your friend and indeed this Self alone is your enemy.’

One of the most powerful lines from the Gita where Krishna tells Arjuna how to get up from where you have fallen. The very same message was given by Narada muni to Ratnakar when the latter returns dejected after having realized that even his wife and father are not ready to share the sin he has been incurring. Ratnakar is totally shattered and feels lonely in this world. At this juncture, Narada reminds him that ‘You alone are your friend and you alone are your enemy. (uddhared atmanatmanam – Lift yourself by yourself) Change your destiny using your Purushartha (Free-Will)’.

Purushartha – a very concept explained in Vedanta. Prarabdha (Destiny) is something that we face due to our actions of the past, based on the Scientific Law of Cause & Effect (Every Effect has a Cause). Destiny cannot be avoided. But how we face it, is our Free-Will (Purushartha). During the monsoon, rains cannot be avoided. But to remain inside the house or to get wet or to carry an umbrella is our Own Choice – our Free Will. The Upanishads cry out that Man does possess a Free Will using which he had be the Master of his Destiny. Ratnakar did just that. He did not get depressed and commit suicide. The words of Narada rang inside in his mind – uddhared atmanatmanam – Lift yourself by yourself! There is no one else who can help you out as much as you can.

Many a times, we have our family and friends who support and motivate us during difficult times. But sometimes, there is nobody. In such dire situations, this message uddhared atmanatmanam can be our savior; and not just a savior but it can take us to those heights that we might have never dreamt of!

Ratnakar argues with Narada that what he is doing is not sin. He gives a very logical argument backing his statement. One of the reasons why Ratnakar was so powerful was probably because he was so convinced with his logic and justification. He said, “Was it not sin that he (Ratnakar) did when he killed enemy soldiers? Was it not sin when he protected evil kings? Was not his acts of cruelty he performed as a soldier earlier in his life not sinful? So, how can you (Narada) say that this act of looting that I’m doing is sinful? Who decides what sin is and what is not?”

We can hear these dialogues in today’s world too. When we do a corrupt act of bribing a Govt officer or breaking some law, we justify ourselves by saying that ‘Who is not corrupt these days? The whole system is corrupt. If we need to live in this corrupt system, we are forced to be corrupt.’

Narada gives his wonderful reply in just one line, “Whatever you say for your justification, your act of sin is not going to be nullified by highlighting other acts of sin.”

Again, the law of Cause and Effect will decide one’s destiny depending on his actions and one cannot escape from it. At the same time, one can escape from incurring a sin by Choosing not to indulge in it using his Purushartha (Free-Will).

Another important factor covered in this episode is about Fear – one of the basic emotions of man. Why do we fear? What do we fear? Have we ever tried facing it?

Ratnakar was very brave and strong. He thought that he wasn’t scared of anybody, not even death. But Narada’s piercing questions, makes him think. Narada says, “Fear comes only when there is Duality.” We can see this clearly that we are fearless when we are in the company of our near and dear ones. We sense a feeling of oneness with them and hence are not scared about them. An Indian army officer is not scared when he is amongst his comrades (Feeling of Oneness or Non-Duality). But the moment he realizes that he has gone into the enemy’s territory (Feeling of Duality), fear grips him.

All great saints and sages were fearless because they saw everyone as the Lord Himself. They didn’t see duality in forms; they saw the Substance – the Essence in each and every one.


The episode ends with the below lines from Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 9, verse 30)

Api chet suduracharo bhajate mam-ananyabhak
Sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag-vyavasito hi sah

Meaning: (Krishna says) In case even a very wicked person worships Me (the Lord), with undivided devotion, he should be regarded as good and noble, for, he has rightly resolved.

Lift yourself by yourself; and having lifted yourself, do not allow yourself to be dragged down. For this, Self alone is your friend and indeed this Self alone is your enemy. Change your destiny using your Purushartha (Free-Will).

That is how Ratnakar Transformed to Valmiki. He Chose to change. He meditated upon the name of Lord Rama and Self-Knowledge donned upon him. And we all know how true the verse 30 or chapter 9 is…no one remember Ratnakar as an evil dacoit, but everyone remembers Valmiki as the one who composed the most beautiful poem – Ramayan!

Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda said, “Every person is a potential genius. Beneath every sinner is a sage but waiting for redemption and recovery. This self-development and self-discovery is accomplished through the technique called Meditation.”

असीम संभावनाओं का नाम ही मनुष्य है। “Man is the very personification of infinite possibilities.” Let us all remember this and take our steps towards our evolution. In Swami Chinmayananda’s words – Born Human, Grow Divine.

Upanishad Ganga – Episode 2 | THINK!

Points to Ponder from this episode:

 Why do children rebel? Why do people break laws? Isn’t it because they are seeking happiness but the existing circumstances do not give them happiness? But the question is, even after rebelling, Are They Happy? If we ask the question, ‘What is it that we want from life?’, different people might give different answers like ‘wealth, power, position, fame, etc.’. But we all seek these different things only with the thought that it will give us happiness. In short, whatever we do, we do it to be happy. Even when we kiss a child, it is not because we want to make the child happy, but because we gain happiness when we do that.

In this process of gaining happiness, we run behind so many things throughout our lives, thinking that all those things are going to give us happiness. If we look back at all those objects that gave us happiness at one point of time, we can see that the happiness we got from them was momentary. It disappeared after a while.

A batsman hit a ball high in the air and a fielder caught it. The bowler jumped with joy. But moments later he realized that the fielder’s leg had crossed the boundary line. All the joy was washed away. At one stage in our life, a big balloon had given us a lot of happiness. When we grew up, it was a racing car. Then it was a cycle, then a bike. Then probably a girlfriend or a boyfriend, then a partner of our dreams, then a beautiful child, then a job promotion…Were not all these joys momentary? Can we say that once we achieved our ambition, we were happy forever?

So, what is the ultimate formula for happiness? What is it that once we achieve It, It will give us permanent happiness? The scriptures say, the outside objects of the world can give us only momentary happiness. But once we take a ‘U-turn’ and turn within, we start walking a path that will ensure nothing else but permanent happiness. What is this ‘U-turn’? It is nothing but, trying to understand the ‘Subject’, the entity in us who is the experience of happiness. If happiness is in the objects, then the same object should give happiness to every person. Let us take an example of alcohol. If a drinker thinks that alcohol gives happiness to everyone, then it should give happiness to everyone at any point of time. Can this be true? Of course, not! Then why is it that certain people experience happiness when they consume alcohol? From where does this happiness arise? Let’s try to analyse this. ‘Sid comes alcohol.’ Here we have the ‘Subject’ (Sid) and the ‘Object’ (alcohol). In this very paragraph we analysed that happiness is not in alcohol (the Objects). If that is the case, the resulting happiness when alcohol is consumed has come from no one other than the Subject (because there are only two factors in this case – the subject and the object. If object cannot carry happiness, then it has to be the subject). So, it was Sid who was the source of happiness. That means, he was carrying happiness with him all the time but could not realize it until he consumed alcohol. Due to his ignorance, he thought that he gained happiness after consuming alcohol and that alcohol contains happiness.

Now, we have evaluated that happiness is in the Subject, i.e. it is in Us. If it is in us, then how to experience it always without depending on an object or an occasion to bring it out? How!

 Who decides our destiny?
Gandhari curses Krishna saying that Krishna could have prevented the Kurukshetra war and so many people would not have died. The answer to this question was given in the form of a question at the end of the episode – Who decides our destiny?

If what Gandhari said is true, then we should say that God decides our destiny. If that is so, then we all are helpless victims of what God decides. If that is correct, then why should we get punished for the negative actions performed by us, because it is ultimately God’s wish…HE is the one who wrote our destiny and HE is the one who got it done through us? If God does negative acts performed through us and gives us the punishment too, then God cannot be ever-loving, all-compassionate, ever-forgiving One. This is contradictory to what we all believe. We believe that God is compassionate towards all beings. He is not a cruel Father who can do such unjust things. Hence, we can conclude our assumption was wrong.

So, who then, decides our destiny – God or We ourselves?

 Why did Krishna give the knowledge of the Self only to Arjuna?
Very good question. This episode gives the answer too. Because, it was only Arjuna who had a doubt…who had a question. Rest everyone was so deeply involved in war that they could not think of anything else. But Arjuna thought that how he could gain happiness by killing his own kith and kin who are on the other side?

The teacher clears the doubt only of that student who has a doubt. For others, where is the doubt that the teacher can clear? Since Arjuna questioned, he got the answer.

In the movie Matrix, there’s a dialogue where Trinity tells Neo, “It is the question that drives us. It is the question that brought you here.” Questions come from the root word – Quest. If we are on a Quest, then we have Questions. And then it is sure that we would get the answers too!

The answer to all the above questions is – study of our scriptures, the Upanishads. The Upanishads are not religious texts, but Subjective Sciences which deals with our own Self. It answers questions like – What is the cause of our sorrow? Is it possible to be happy all the time? Who is responsible for our happiness?

 To conclude, let us quickly look at the dialogues between the Son and the Father towards the end of the episode.

Father: (after seeing the drama that enacted Upanishadic philosophy) Your work is far greater than mine.
Son: No, Father. There is a lot of difference between both of us. I’m just repeating the words of Truth. You are Living the Truth.

Upanishad Ganga – Episode 1

Points to Ponder from this episode:
You must know yourself (Your Self) before knowing anything else – This statement was reiterated twice in the episode. Why is it stressed upon so much?
One of the many reasons is…does it make any sense when one goes out to discover everything else in this world, but is unable to realize who he really is? Is he the body, is he the mind, is he the intellect, or is he beyond all that? If HE is beyond all that, i.e. if HE is not the body, mind or intellect, then why does HE get affected by factors affecting HIS body, HIS mind and HIS intellect?

Son: Why should we learn the Upanishads? They are irrelevant in today’s times.
Father: Do you know the relevance of what you are doing…you tell me? If you come to know your own relevance, then you let me know:

A very powerful question raised by the father. The son even though having studied Sanskrit (and probably a bit of the scriptures) does not know Why and How it is useful in today’s times. Since he cannot find any logical reason to this question, he comes to a conclusion that it is useless.
The father, a wise man well-versed with the scriptures, instead of shouting at him put across a couple of questions for him to think.
Do you know the relevance of what you are doing…you tell me? This question is not just for the son, but for all of us. Have we ever thought of the relevance of the things that we are doing in our lives? How are we leading our lives? Where are we heading to, if we continue to live a life like this? What are the relevance / importance of the things that we do daily? How of them are unimportant and how much time do we waste on them thus wasting our lives?
If you come to know your own relevance, then you let me know: Are our lives relevant/significant/important? Are we just another one or The One? Have we discovered The purpose of our lives? Have we discovered our relevance in the society? Think!

Changing clothes will not bring a change in the Atma (Soul) of the character – This is what Narendra, the son, tells his star cast of the theatre group when he wishes to do Shakespeare’s play in traditional Indian theme & dress. His friends argue that it will change the whole character if the outfit is changed.
The Script writer has put many messages in this dialogue of Narendra. If we take the literal meaning as ‘dress’, then we can analyse something like this: In the course of time, the way of living, dressing, eating, everything has changed. But that has not changed the Atma of Indians. Even though we might dress in the western way, the heart is still Indian.
There’s another meaning to dress and that is ‘our body’. Birth and death are changing bodies like changing clothes. The Self (the Soul) remains unaffected by whichever birth or body it takes. Changing bodies cannot bring a change in the Soul. The Soul in a dog is the same as the Soul in man.


Swami Chinmayananda once said, “In the West, genius men are accidents. But in the East, we knew how to manufacture genius people.”

Every great country has their own fields in which they show their greatness to the world. For India, it has been Spirituality that has earned her the top position since the beginning. The whole world has turned towards India for spirituality. Many countries of the west, after having prospered materially, found that the material success could not give happiness to its people. All the money, comforts and luxuries could not bring in family harmony, a good value system in the society or an ideal way of life to be led. They could not find answers questions like ‘What is the purpose of my life’, ‘Who am I?’, ‘Why is man unhappy?’, ‘Who created the Universe?’ etc. At such a point, when a major part of their lives passed, those people turned towards India for attaining that peace, serenity and answers to their questions.

India has never been a materially successful nation because our ancestors knew that material success is not something which can give them everlasting happiness. The ancient Rishis, the subjective scientists, in their laboratories of the caves of the Himalayas, discovered that to attain maximum happiness for maximum number of times, one needs to understand oneself before trying to understand the world. From the depths of their realizations, they proclaimed to the world that science of the Self (subjective science) can give guaranteed happiness in all walks of life. They wrote their realizations which form the Vedas. Vedas is a sum total of material sciences and subjective science (Self-Knowledge). In the last part of the Vedas, there comes Upanishads, which carry the most important aspect of the knowledge treasure. The Upanishads are written in story form which carries a deep essence within it. The story form gives it a sugar coating so that the moral goes inside smoothly.

The Vedas and Upanishads, as we all know, are written in Sanskrit. Long long ago, this knowledge was available to one and all because Sanskrit was commonly used everywhere in India. But after a lot of foreign invasions and a change in the educational system brought about by the British, the use of Sanskrit language declined thus taking people far away from this great knowledge – Knowledge about our Self!

Today, majority of us don’t even know what the Upanishads contain and how it is useful for the common man. The challenge that it is in Sanskrit adds to the difficulty. However, great saints like Swami Chinmayananda, wrote commentaries on these Upanishads in the language of the modern man – English; so that we can have easy access to it. And now, to make it freely accessible, Chinmaya Mission has brought about the stories which carry the essence of the Upanishads in the form of a tele-serial called Upanishad Ganga which is being telecasted since March 11th 2012, on DD National Channel (DD-1) every Sunday from 10 – 10:30 am (IST). That’s not all. To those who reside outside India and do not have access to Indian TV channels, it can be streamed online at the same time on the link http://zengatv.com/home.zenga

The language used is Hindi so that majority can understand. It’s old, yet new. It’s meant for you. This is not just a catchy caption but is the Truth. This serial is a golden opportunity for all of us to get a peep into the Upanishads free of cost, without any effort, relaxing on our easy chairs every Sunday morning. Let us make use of this golden opportunity to try and understand how India could produce so many great scientists, mathematicians, thinkers, spiritual masters, artists throughout history. Let us try to find out, why is India truly great.

In the following posts in this series, we shall see the essence of every episode in a nut-shell so that we can fall back on them whenever required.