Quiver – Clean and Firm Mind | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Amal achal mann trona samaana
Sam jam niyama sileemukh naana
Kavach abhed bipra gur pooja
Ehi sam bijaya upaaya na dooja

Amal – clean; without any impurities. Achal – firm; unshaking. Mann – mind. Trona – Quiver. Samaana – is like. A clear/pure and firm mind is like the quiver.

In his visit to Chicago, USA, Swami Vivekananda was once walking on a bridge when he saw a group of young boys trying to shoot egg shells floating in the river below. They fired their air gun many times but were unable to shoot the shells even for a single time. Vivekananda stood there watching with keen interest. The boys asked him whether he would like to try a shot. Vivekananda took the air gun, focused on the egg shells for some time and fired twelve times. Each time the bullet hit the target. The boys were stunned. They asked him with all wonder, “Sir, who taught you to shoot?” Vivekananda’s reply was something like this – “I’ve never handled a gun in my life. Your teacher taught you to shoot. My teacher taught me to concentrate.” What a powerful line!

A quiver is where an archer keeps his arrows ready. If the quiver is not tied firmly to his back, the archer, however efficient he may be, might not be able to take out at the right time when he is in a battle. All his knowledge and training can go unfruitful if he neglects the quiver. And the quiver has to be clean so that there’s no trouble in taking the arrows on time. In the case of Vivekananda, his mind was clean and firm. The power of Self-knowledge, study of the scriptures and Sadhana had made his mind pure. All the words he has spoken reflect the firmness of his mind. With such a mind, he could achieve almost anything he wanted to do.

Everybody has got desires, be it selfish or selfless. Not all of them get fulfilled. But if we look at the life of great people, we can see that they could achieve such herculean tasks which nobody could even dream of. Like the case of Swami Chinmayananda. One man’s wish to serve the society, to spread the knowledge of the scriptures to the common man in the common man’s language, resulted in a global organization with more than 300 centres all over the world, more than 80 schools and colleges, hospitals, rural development centres, International Research Centre, much more and still growing. It was nothing but one man’s wish. But that wish came from a pure and firm mind. Hence it brought out such an unimaginable result.

Purity of mind is not just possible for saints and sages. J.R.D.Tata is an inspiring example in quote in this context. He was a visionary leader who didn’t think of merely making money. A businessman he was, no doubt, but he had a greater vision for the country. He wanted his country to grow and not just himself or his business organization. That purity, that clarity in thought brought about the growth of one of the biggest business empires in India.

They say it is a competitive world today. There is cut-throat competition. The one who is able to beat the rest, wins the race. But J.R.D.Tata’s attitude towards competition was quite different. In 1930, the Aga Khan Trophy was offered for the first Indian to fly solo from India to England or vice versa. J.R.D. competed, taking off from Karachi to London. When he landed at Aboukir Bay in Egypt, he found that Aspy Engineer, the other contender, flying from London to Karachi, was stranded in the desert airfield for want of a spark plug! J.R.D. sportingly parted with his spare one and they continued their journey in opposite directions. Aspy beat him by a couple of hours. “I am glad he won,” said J.R.D., “because it helped him get into the Royal Indian Air Force.” Later Aspy was to be the second Indian to be the chief of the Indian Air Force. And in 1932, India’s first airline, the Tata Airlines, was inaugurated.

Such clean are the minds of successful individuals in any field, be it spirituality or materialism, purity and firmness are must. Most of our desires usually come out from an unclean and wavering mind. But the lives of such successful people show how purity mind and vision helped them in achieving success. When we aim at success, we generally work on all other factors like gaining knowledge, skill, power, etc. But a thought of cleansing our mind seldom comes to us probably because we do not consider it as a factor determining success. And Tulsidas ji aptly compares it with the example of a quiver which might be ignored by an archer who thinks that skill and knowledge can earn him victory in a battle.

Firm Bow – Self-Knowledge | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda


Bara
is the avadhi word for Sanskrit word ‘Para’. Bigyaan (Vigyaan) means Knowledge. Bara bigyaan means ‘Paravidya’ Self-Knowledge. Kodanda means Bow (bow of bow and arrow). Kathin kodanda means ‘firm bow of Rama’

In Mundakopanishad (2.2.3), Bow refers to Pranava (Om / The Self). Vishnu Sahasra Nama verse #92 is Om Dhanurdharaaya Namah; Meaning: The wielder of the bow.

What’s so significant about the bow? Bow is signifies Self-Knowledge. Self-Knowleldge is the only weapon that can kill the ultimate enemy ‘Ignorance’. But why is Self-Knowledge considered the most important? To understand this, we need to discuss about ignorance.

If we try to analyse the cause of all negative actions, emotions, desires, etc, we can see that all of the rise from ignorance. All our actions are prompted by two aspects of the mind: Dukha Nivritti (removal of sorrows) and Sukha Prapti (achieving happiness). That means all our actions are aimed at achieving maximum happiness. Some feel power gives happiness, some feel wealth, some feel its pleasure, some feel its fame. Whatever is one’s thought accordingly one performs the actions to enjoy happiness. Be it a nation attacking another, be it a man who likes drinking, be it siblings fighting over property matters, be it a celebrity striving for fame, all are running a race in which they feel that if they achieve their goal, then they can be happy. No doubt they can be, but the question is – For how long? Will they be satisfied after they achieve their goal? Will the objects they run after give them happiness at all moments of time? If happiness resided in the objects, it should give happiness to everyone.

Any intelligent person will say that all the above statements are not true. Objects cannot give permanent happiness. If happiness is in an object, say Music, then will music give happiness to a person when he has lost a dear one? Is it necessary that the same music will give happiness to another person? So, music, or any object, cannot give happiness to everyone nor can it give happiness to the same person at all points of time. Hence, the Rishis concluded that Happiness does not reside in the objects. If that is so, then how can we find permanent happiness when we are looking for that in the wrong place?

It was on such questions the Rishis enquired and realised that Happiness is in the Subject, it’s in Us. We discover this happiness when we come in contact with something that we like and it disappears when we lose contact with it. But it is sure that Happiness resides within us. In fact, Happiness is nothing but our True nature – Bliss! We become sad when we view the world from our body (B), mind (M) or Intellect (I) thinking that we are the BMI.

In the discussions between the teacher and the student of the Upanishads, this Self-Knowledge is revealed. That is why we are advised to study the Upanishads. Once a person is Self-Realised, he lives in the world but is never of the world. The ever-changing world no longer affects his level of Happiness. He has come to a point where he is beyond the BMI. Just like how gravity pulls everything that is within its purview but cannot touch anything that has gone beyond its reach.

There were others who carried the bow, but there was none like Rama. That’s why Rama is given the name – Dhanurdhara Rama: the wielder of the Bow of Self-Knowledge.

Immense Strength – Intellect | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda

Intellect is Immense Strength

‘Strength is Life. Weakness is Death’ – Swami Vivekananda

The strong always has victory over the weak. This is the law of nature. We can see this rule in the jungle, in countries at war, corporate world, sports, and everywhere in the world. The weak always perish. We need to make ourselves very strong inorder to ensure that nobody can win over us.

Some people try to show off their strength by overpowering the weak. That is not real strength; in fact that is portraying one’s inferiority complex as a superiority complex. One should equip oneself with strength so that no one dares to attack him. This strength definitely does not mean physical strength because if it were so, then an elephant won’t have been tamed and ruled by man. Mental strength is required for withstanding a difficult situation or taking courageous decisions (Souraj and Dhiraj). Strength in this context means Intellectual Strength. Unless one is intellectually strong, he cannot excel. Had Rama possessed only Courage without the knowledge of using weapons or strategizing the war, could he have defeated the mighty Ravana? In our life, we should equip ourself with all the knowledge that we can gather. Knowledge is food for Intellect. One needs to keep himself updated of the current happenings around him. A businessman should know the market trends, market needs, tastes of the consumers, etc so that he can be a successful businessman. If we look at the CEOs of top companies, we can see that they will be very good in Sales, Finance, Taxation, Law, Administration and in every other field pertaining to their business. They might not have learnt all these in their college education but they would study those subjects so that nobody can cheat them.

One of the greatest intellectual economists India has ever produced is Chanakya. His work, ‘Arthashastra’, is being taught in Management schools even today. He clearly explain how intellectual and shrewd a ruler should be. Shrewdness is not cunningness. Lord Rama possessed all noble qualities like Compassion, Humility, Restpect & Love for others, yet even the Devas in Heaven would not dare to fight against him. Ravana was advised by his own people – Vibheeshana, Kumbhakarna (both brothers), Maarech (uncle), Mandodari (wife), etc to let Sita go and that getting into a battle with Rama would only lead to Self-destruction. Thus, Rama’s strength was shown in his personality even though he displayed soft characters outside.

Intellect is the faculty of man which has made him the crown of all creation. The way he uses this faculty determines his evolution into Divinity or fall into Animalism.

The Axe of Charity | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda

Charity is the Axe

We cannot cut a tree with arrows or a sword. Only an axe can cut something as thick and mighty as a tree. The mightiest enemy to fight and win is our own ego. There’s no way to kill the ego by arrows or using the sword. Heavy blows with an axe are required to cut it.

Everyone knows what charity is. Today, even corporate have to (they might not want to, but still they have to) spend a percentage of their revenue as CSR (Corporate Social Resposibility) for some social cause. The world agrees that helping the needy is one’s social responsibility. But how can this kill the ego? And why should one kill his ego? To find answers to both these questions, let’s discuss on what is ‘ego’?

Every living organism has got its ego. Ego means ‘knowing who I am’. When an elephant knows that it is an elephant, that is its ego. A crow knows that it’s a crow and not an eagle, it’s the crow’s ego. This ‘ego’ is not bad. The ego that we are talking about here is a feeling of superiority (or even inferiority) complex – a misapprehension that we are greater than what we actually are.

Once when Swami Vivekananda was in the West, a wealthy man went to see him. He was a renowned personality and everybody greeted him with honour and respect. He was expecting a similar treatment from Vivekananda but Vivekananda didn’t even look at him. The next day, he went and gave Vivekananda a big donation. Vivekananda simply accepted the donation without speaking a word. The man lost his temper. Never ever in the past had anyone treated him in such a way. He said, “I’m giving you a big donation. At least, have the courtesy to say Thank You.” Vivekananda immediately replied, “You should be thanking me that I’m accepting your donation.”

When a person does charity, he is the one who gets the merit of his kind deed. But he should be thankful to the person who accepts it without whom he couldn’t have done the noble act. In Hindu weddings, the father of the bride does ‘Kanyadaanam’ (donating the daughter) to the groom and bows in front of him, signifying that ‘The father gives donates his daughter (prosperity) to the groom’s family. May he (the father) not have the ego that he is the giver’. In return, the groom bows down to the girl’s father in gratitude for what the father has donated. Thus, both, the receiver and the giver, bow down to each other without taking any pride in their action. Hence, Kanyadaanam is said to be a Mahadaanam (Great Donation) in Hindu scriptures.

Charity is not a physical act of donation to poor people. Rather, it is a mental attitude with which one gives. Without having this right mental attitude, the physical charity can lead to increase his pride and ego. How can a person develop qualities like humility, love, forgiveness, compassion, etc when his heart is full of pride? When there is pride in a person, the most important person to him becomes the person himself and there is no room for others’ concern.

With the right mental attitude, if one does charity (donating anything that he has in excess – be it time, money or knowledge); he can cut his ego thus taking quicker steps for his inner evolution.

The Sword of Contentment | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda

Contentment is the sword

Arrows and missiles can kill enemies far away. But, for the enemies very close to us we need something like a sword. And what are those enemies that are so close to us and attack us anytime? Anger, jealously, frustration, greed, etc are the enemies not outside, but within us. The sword to kill these enemies is Contentment. How can contentment kill these negative emotions? Let’s try to analyse this.

What is the cause of anger? Something that we desired did not happen. Cause of jealousy – We don’t have something that the other person has. Cause of frustration – Unable to satisfy the desire. Cause of greed – A feeling that what we have is not enough. In all of them, we can see that we are expecting something more than what we already have. Hence, we can say, when there’s a discontentment with what we have, such negative emotions arise. So, if there’s no discontentment, there should not be any negative emotions. Let’s check if this is true with a common example in the lives of working people.

Suppose a fresh graduate is desperately looking out for a job. He’s willing to work for any salary because his family is going through a big financial crunch. He attends many interviews but does not get a job. He’s now frustrated and angry. Finally, he gets a job in a good company with a decent pay. He is now happy, contented. But after his first job appraisal, he comes to know that his salary is not raised. He thinks, “For all the slogging and hardwork I did for the company, this is what I get? The guy who joined with me an year ago, got a salary hike three months back.” He is now angry, frustrated and jealous. However, he continues to work for another year and luckily for him, in the next appraisal, he gets a good pay-raise even more than what he expected. He’s once again happy, contented. The next day he comes to know that some other colleague of his got more percentage salary-hike than him. He spares no time in losing his contentment. Once again, the negative emotions overpower him.

We might feel that this is natural and this is the way how everyone is nowadays. We feel we have to keep changing jobs when we see better offers in the market. If a job with a better pay-package should give us happiness, then it should be able to give us happiness throughout our life. But it does not happen that way. Every job that we change is able to give us contentment only for a short period after which we start grumbling once again. So, is it the fault of every other company in the market or is it something else?

If we have a look at people in the past, who used to work in a particular company throughout their life, we might feel that they were not career-oriented. They had no dynamism or drive in their life. Their life was so boring. They stuck themselves in a company throughout their life. But, we cannot ignore the fact that they were a lot happier in their career and life than we are. In short, they were very contented in their lives because of which they were happier in their lives.

What is the basic reason we look for a job change? It is nothing but discontentment in the present one. It’s not just our job, but in our lives too, we are not contented because of which there’s no end to our wants. Luxuries start becoming our necessities. In the earlier days, food, clothing and shelter were considered as basic needs of a man. But now, we have a list of other things that have come in. A colour TV is not enough; we need the best TV that we see in the newspapers Ad, even though we know that a better TV is going to come in the market within the next couple of months. If number of desires fulfilled or more sophisticated and luxurious life gives more happiness, then there should not be so many cases of suicides and divorces in countries like USA, UK, Australia, Netherlands, etc.

One may argue that there would be nobody without desires. True. Desires are there in each and every one of us. But what is the quality of the desires we entertain? Desire to get a good education for our children, desire to provide quality life for our family, desire to do something for the society, etc. are very good and important too. However, we need to keep a check on ourselves whether our desires are positive desires for the well-being of others or it is greed? Are we losing our level of happiness while chasing comforts and luxuries? Are we forgetting to count all the blessings God has showered upon us, and instead grieving over one particular thing that we are missing in our life? Ultimately, who is responsible for the happiness in our lives – We or the Rest of the world?

The Shield of Dispassion | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda

(Vairagya) Dispassion is the shield

We can easily see our enemies outside. But it’s difficult to notice the ones inside. As we grow, we learn to shield the enemies outside but fail in tackling the enemies inside. And the first and foremost enemy inside us is Lust or Passion. Lust is generally considered as a desire for the opposite sex. Well, that desire is only one of the kinds of lust. Lust or Passion is a strong desire to obsess something. It can be for food, clothes, T.V. programme or any particular habit. The thirst becomes so strong that to satisfy the desire, a person will be ready to compromise on anything. He will compromise on his faculty of discrimination just to gratify the craving. And how many such desires do we entertain every day?

Passionate cravings drain away our energies and we land ourselves in miseries. Many a times, once the lust is fulfilled, we regret it later. Sometimes, we don’t even realize how passion makes us a weakling and we go on indulging in it. One runs behind passions for happiness. No doubt we experience happiness while the passion is fulfilled, but it’s only momentary happiness that we are able to eke out of it. In the long run, it harms us because we have already become a victim to the passion. A sensible businessman would consider this as a bad deal because here he’s earning quick profits but he’s sure that he’s heading for a big loss. One is unable to realize the problem with lust when he lacks farsightedness. He gets stuck up with momentary joys and mistakes that it will give him happiness forever.

The word ‘passion’ is often mistaken for ambition. Ambition is expressing our capabilities and potentialities. Desire is something which we may not even require in our life. Not being passionate does not mean one should not have any goal in life. Of course one should have an ideal in his life and work towards achieving it. However, it is not necessary that desires be entertained and fulfilled in the process.

But how can we escape desires? They come so unwarned. And we all are not Self-Realised Masters to break away from all such perils. Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda used to say just two words to escape desires – GROW UP! That’s the only way to get away from desires. As a child, we all must have cried for toys, balloons, etc. But as we grow up, we easily give up those desires as they no longer attract us. Passion for things will continue to haunt us as long as we are not ready to grow up. Nature takes care of our physical growth, but we need to take care of our spiritual growth. Some think spirituality is a colourless life. It is not. It has an altogether different colour scheme which cannot be perceived until that path is walked.

Vairagya (Dispassion) is the growth. When lust comes, the remedy is Dispassion. One of the best prescriptions of Dispassion is Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhaja Govindam. It’s a must study for all those who wish to master themselves.

The Charioteer: Devotion to God | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Ees bhajanu saarathi sujaana
Birati charm santosh kripaana
Daan parasu budhi sakti prachanda
Bar bigyaana kathina kodanda

Devotion to God is the charioteer

A Ferrari without a good driver can be a curse more than a blessing.

When Arjuna & Duryodhana went to Lord Krishna before the war to seek his help, Krishna said that he can’t be partial to either side. So, one of them can have all the army and weapons of Krishna and the other one can have Krishna himself but Krishna will not fight in the war. Duryodhana chose Krishna’s army and Arjuna happily agreed to have Krishna by his side. As the war was about to begin, Arjuna, despite being the finest warrior of Pandavas, went into a dilemma and was psychologically broken down when he saw that he had to kill his kith and kin on the other side if he has to win the war. He even decided to run away from the battlefield. It was then Lord Krishna gave him the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita after which Arjuna realized his true nature and got up to fight the war.

Arjuna was the unsurpassed student of Drona. In fact, when the Pandavas were in exile, Arjuna had defeated the entire Kaurava army all alone. Even after doing so, even he possessed the ability to do it again and that too with an entire army on his side, if such a mighty warrior can breakdown at the time of war, what to say about ordinary individuals like us? But Arjuna had wisely chosen Krishna as his charioteer due to which he was saved from the situation. Arjuna knew that all the army of Krishna and his weapons couldn’t match Krishna. Here, we need to remember that Arjuna did not look at Krishna as God. He looked at Krishna only as his friend. At that time, he didn’t even know that Krishna was the Lord Himself. Still he had full faith on Krishna because as a friend Krishna was always there for him and his family to help in their state of distress.

On the other hand, Karna had Shalya as his charioteer. Shalya was a very good charioteer but his mouth was very bad. Throughout the war, he kept demotivating Karna. He wouldn’t shut his mouth even for a moment. And look at the fate of Karna. He was as equally skilled as Arjuna. He even had Brahmastra which he had kept to kill Arjuna. But still he failed.
When people start achieving success in their lives, pride slowly starts coming in. They start feeling that whatever they have achieved is due to their effort alone, and now they are superior to others. They forget that it is due to the Lord’s grace that they have achieved this. They fail to remember who gave them the strength, the intelligence, the opportunity to excel. The success of such people is short-lived. Whereas, if we make Lord the charioteer, allow Him to take charge of our life, then we don’t have to worry. We just have to keep doing our duties and He will take care of the rest. He will then direct the course our life like He did in the case of Arjuna.

Always keeping this thought in mind is ees bhajan. With an attitude of total surrender to the Lord, if a person starts living his life, then how the Lord will start working through him is beyond our imagination. When Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda came down from the Himalayas and started giving talks on the scriptures, he had only four listeners on the first day. But he was not sad when he saw that only four have come to attend his talk. He always believed it was the Lord’s work that he was doing and let Lord work as He wishes to. And in his working life of 41 years, Chinmaya Mission became a world-wide organization with millions of followers, over 250 centres, 70 schools, publications, hospitals, societies for helping the backward people from rural areas, etc. Even at adverse situations, Swamiji would say, “If this is Narayana’s will, let it happen that way.” It was his attitude which helped him head such a big organization without any stress or mental strain. In fact, his childlike behavior and cheerful nature cannot be seen even in CEO’s of today’s MNC’s. It was possible for Swamiji because he considered himself as an instrument in the Lord’s hands and never took any reward to his credit.

Let us be a flute in His hands and let Him sing His tune through us.

WE ARE TOOLS IN THE HANDS DIVINE.
– a poem by Vanaja Ravi Nair, 2005

The pen in hand
With which I write,
Is helpless, bound,
To do its work.
For, I made it my tool
To scribble this down!

The words those flow
Through this pen, of course,
Not mine, at all,
And I can’t help
But, to pen this down,
For it is HE
Who Makes me write.

This pen might have
Been still, where it laid,
Until a writer’s hand
Came to its aid!
This pen is bound
To do its work,
The Writer’s Idea
Not its own!

We too, are tools,
In the Hands Divine;
HE makes us do,
All our work,
Whether day or night
With all our might!
Who helps us think?
Who give us health?
Who helps us work?
Who guides us right?
Or else, we lay
Unable to move today
Like any pen
Untouched by men!

The Third Rope: Equanimity of Mind | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Souraj dhiraj tehi rath chaaka,
Satyaseel dhruda dhwaja pataka
Bal bibek dam parahit khore
Chama krupa samata raju jore

Equanimity of mind is the third rope of the chariot

Only an equanimous mind is capable of taking good decisions, for, it is not prejudiced. When the mind is excited, we tend to make hasty decisions, which we later regret. There’s a saying, ‘Never make a promise when you are happy and never take a decision when you are sad’. A happy or sorrow mind cannot have a longer vision. One needs to calm down his mind to take good decisions.

Lord Rama is the best example of Samata. It is said that when Rama was told that he would be crowned as the king the next day, he had a smile on his face. The very next day, when Kaikeyi told him to go to the forest, he had the same smile on his face.

Sugreeva and Rama had a deal that Rama would kill Bali and Sugreeva would help him find Sita. But when Bali was killed and Sugreeva got back his kingdom, he was so happy that he forgot his promise to Rama to help find Sita. Yet, Rama did not lose his poise.

Even at this instance when Rama is giving the success formula to Vibheeshana, we can imagine how equanimous his mind must be to face Ravana. Even though he doesn’t have any armour, chariot or much weapons to fight, his mind is not disturbed at any point. His mind was always equanimous in all situations.

In the life of Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda, we can see many instances where he displayed this quality. Once, a group of religious fanatics came to him. Their faces were red with anger when they heard Swamiji say that – Heaven & Hell are not geographical locations but exist only in our minds. One of them walked towards Swamiji and held him by his collar and asked, “So, you are saying there is no Heaven & Hell?” Before he could continue, Swamiji laughed and said, “There open are the gates of Hell for you”. The man realized his mistake and immediately released his hand. Swamiji said, “There open are the gates of Heaven for you.” The group returned back without saying anything. He was another perfect example of Samata.

Buddha also had this quality. One day a man came and started abusing Buddha because his brother had become Buddha’s follower. Buddha calmly sat looking at the man. After some time, the man stopped. So, Buddha asked, “Have you finished talking?” He said, “No” and continued abusing. Again after some time, the man stopped. Buddha asked, “Have you finished talking?” The man said angrily, “Yes. What do you have to say?” Buddha replied, “If I gift you something and you don’t take it, with whom does the gift stay?” The man said, “With you.” Buddha smilingly replied, “Dear Sir, I do not accept your gift.” That was his level of equanimity.

We need to tame our mind inorder to achieve our purpose of life. Hence, equanimity of mind is compared to the rope that controls. The means to tame our mind as prescribed in the scriptures are regular Satsang (Company of the good which helps us entertain positive thoughts), regular Japa (Chanting the name of the Lord thus maintaining one line of thought) and regular Meditation (Contemplating on the form of the Lord thus attaining single-pointed focus). This will help mind gain back its balance quickly even if it loses its poise at any instance.

A good leader should have these three qualities – Forgiveness, Compassion and Equanimity of Mind; the ropes with which he can manage himself as well as others.

The Second Rope: Compassion | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Souraj dhiraj tehi rath chaaka,
Satyaseel dhruda dhwaja pataka
Bal bibek dam parahit khore
Chama krupa samata raju jore

Compassion is the second rope of the chariot

When Vivekananda travelled all over India, he was saddened to see the plight of majority of the Indian population. He had seen so much sorrow that he couldn’t stop thinking how the people could be uplifted. He had no other thought in mind. It was his compassion towards his countrymen that made him work, the great work of Awakening Indians to India. He could have sat in some Himalayan cave and meditated over the knowledge what he gained from his Master and through his own contemplation. But his compassion for others, didn’t allow him to do so.

Once, when Swami Chinmayananda saw river Ganga flowing down to the plains, he thought – how cheerfully the Ganga flows down to the plains for serving the humanity! It is then he got a thought that he should come down from the Himalayas and share the knowledge he learnt from his master, Swami Tapovan Maharaj, with the common man who’s devoid of the knowledge of the scriptures and lives a mechanical and pathetic material life. For him, there was no need to come down from the lap of the majestic Himalayas and work tirelessly for 41 years. Yet, he did it, for the sake of the common man. That is compassion.

Compassion is the quality of a very strong person. Weak ones cannot think about others. They can only think about themselves or at the most their own family members. Only the brave ones can think and work for the welfare of others, expecting nothing, gaining nothing…working only for others’ good.

In Lakshmanopadesha (Upadesha – advice, to Lakshman) of Adhyatma Ramayana, Lord Rama patiently advises to the angry Lakshmana who’s fuming with hatred for their own father because of whom Rama had to leave to the forest. Rama is compassionate towards Lakshmana because Rama knows that Lakshmana is angry only because of his ignorance. And ignorance is not a crime. Most of us get annoyed when we see people performing wrong actions. It’s because we see them doing bad things but we do not realize ‘Why are they acting in such a way?’ Is it not due to their ignorance?

Great men are able to forgive because they are compassionate towards everyone. They are fully convinced that the Self that shines in them is the same as the Self that shines in others. In reality, every person is good. People behave in a wrong way only out of ignorance. The root cause of every incorrect action is ignorance.

Compassion comes out of understanding…understanding why a person acts so. Our minds get disturbed by someone else’s actions only because we are unable to understand them, or rather, find out a logical reason why they are doing this. At such instances, if we put across this question to ourselves that ‘What is the reason for his conduct’ and keep thinking over it, we will arrive at a conclusion where we find that the other person acted out of his ignorance. Had he possessed the right knowledge, he would definitely have behaved well. All the negative traits we come across – ego, rudeness, jealousy, greed, pride, etc; are born out of ignorance only.

Ignorance is the root cause of all misery. Understanding it, is first step of the cure. Once we understand, then compassion comes automatically. If we are able to be compassionate towards others, then we can accommodate more people in our life.

The First Rope: Forgiveness | Vibheeshana Gita

– Understandings from Swami Swaroopanandaji’s talk for Youth Empowerment Programme – 6th batch

Souraj dhiraj tehi rath chaaka,
Satyaseel dhruda dhwaja pataka
Bal bibek dam parahit khore
Chama krupa samata raju jore

Forgiveness is the first rope of the chariot

In Avadhi, kshama is said as chama.

In the rope, lies the control. Without a strong rope, the powerful horses cannot be controlled.

A child may not be able to forgive his parents for any bad behavior towards him, but no matter how bad a child behaves, the parents forgive the child. Why is this so? The child has come through the parents due to which the parents feel he’s a part of them. They know that the child is acting out of ignorance. And ignorance needs help, not punishment; for, ignorance is not a crime. They know that if they will not help their child, who will? Parents, due to their maturity, love & affection towards the child can easily forgive and forget the whole issue. A child cannot do so because he still has to grow intellectually and emotionally to understand the whole thing.

If we bite our own tongue accidentally, will we punish our teeth? We know that any punishment towards our teeth is a punishment towards ourselves. When we forget how we all are connected, we find it difficult to forgive. It also becomes a part of our prestige and ego that we should win over the other person.

Even in spiritual organizations, we can see people fighting against each other. But the leaders usually forgive them because they know that all are working for the same cause. The difference in opinion is because of their difference in nature. Punishing any of them would mean, punishing the organization. When a person is able to think like that, he becomes a leader with a broader vision. He can forgive anybody who might behave in a disrespectful way or do something wrong to him because he’s not concerned with his prestige but with the well-being of the organization, for achieving the objective.

What happens when we do not forgive? Forgiveness does not happen most of the times because our ego is hurt. When the ego is hurt, all it wants to do is to take revenge. As a result, every moment is spent by the mind in thinking of how to take revenge and quench the thirst of the ego. When this happens, all our energies are spent in a negative direction. We also lose a lot of energy and body metabolism is also affected in a bad way resulting in hypertension, stress, anger, etc. Finally, if we are able to avenge our hurt, we end up in hurting someone else. In the process, we might have satisfied our ego, but the loss would be much more. We start building more enemies with whom we are always at war. It becomes difficult to work with them anymore. In many cases, people leave noble causes because of internal clashes. How sad! Just because someone is unable to forgive, a great cause is being affected.

What happens when we forgive? The matter ends there. As simple as that. No hurt feelings, no revenge, no negative body metabolism, no stress, no hurting someone, etc. Everything gets back to normal pretty faster and life is absolutely fine once again.

It’s easy to speak about forgiveness. But how to cultivate it; is the question. We will discuss on that later.