(Above notes were written in 2000. I wish to start a Gandhi Gita Dharm Sandesh Magazine in India and USA).
Last Note. During last 8 years (From 2001 to 2008), I have published Gita Ch-12 and 15, Magazines, 5000 copies each, and four more books. Two are in Gujarati, -‘Prarabdh and Purusharth, and Vignanna Rushio’, and two books are in English -“Will Power of Positive Mind” and this last one “Ashtang Yoga” in May, 2008).
Section: III ADDITIONAL INFORMATIVE ARTICLES.
Ashtang Yoga: 21. BEGGER OF KNOWLEDGE. (A story from Upnishad)
In the land of ancient India, there lived a great Rishi, Gautam. He was son of Aruna, a man of great wisdom and learning. Swetketu was a young son of Gautam. The learned father gave all the knowledge of Vedas, the ancient holy scripts to his son Swetketu. After learning all the Vedas Swetketu started moving around in the country from one kingdom to another to earn money, good name and fame. It was the style of those days.
Noble kings used to invite scholars of knowledge and arrange scriptural debates of religions and morality in their courts. In the discussions at the courts of different kings, Swetketu used to defeat many Brahmins who were men of average learning. They were not well read in the Vedas. Gaining many victories in this manner in different kingdoms, Swetketu became very arrogant and egoistic.
Traveling in this manner, Swetketu came to a region known as Panchal (Old Panjab, Panchaab = land of five rivers). This ancient land is associated with the name of Panchali. (It was Draupadi's second name. She was daughter of the king of Panchal). A well read and noble king Pravahan, used to rule that land in those days. He encouraged learned people in his court and kingdom. Daily he arranged conferences of Pandits, (men well read in scriptures) and gave prizes to all winners. Swetketu had heard this news.
So he came to the court of king Pravahan and gave an open challenge to all Pandits. "Is there any body who can defeat me in knowledge of Vedas'' He declared.
Hearing such arrogant words from a young boy, the king immediately recognized that this boy has great Ego of Vedic knowledge. The king inquired about the teacher who gave knowledge to Swetketu. Swetketu told that he was the son of a well-known father Gautama, who was his teacher. He was also a grand son of famous Aruna Rishi.
Learning all such great family names the king welcomed Swetketu and offered him a respectful chair in the court.
*There was going to be a debate in the open court next day. Swetketu entered the hall with a sense of ego and pride. He was looking at Pandits as if they were little cats and rats.
In opening the discussion, the king humbly said these words to Swetketu.
"Great grandson of Aruna and son of a great Rishi Gautama, respected Swetketu, I ask only five questions to you”.
Q. 1. What happens to all human being’s souls after death? Where do they go ?
Swetketu said, "I do not know."
Q. 2. Having gone to different places (Lokas), how do those same souls come back in this world again and again?
Swetketu had to admit he had no answer to this question, also.
Q. 3. Since times immemorial, many millions souls after death have gone to the same unknown land (Parlok) heaven or hell). Yet why there is no over crowding in that region? Do you know the reason for this? Swetketu replied, "No, I do not know."
Q. 4. After how many transformations (Changes) and transmutations (Aahuties), a little water (meaning semen, VIRYA in Sanskrit), assumes the form of a human embryo (Garbha)? Do you know anything about this?
''No, Sir" was the answer from Sweketu.
Q: 5. Do you know the ways and the means of following the path of (DevMarg) divine life, or that of following path of parent worship (Pitru-Marg)? It is said that ‘Father is Heaven’ (Swarga) and Mother is Land (Prithvi). In between these two paths there is a constantly moving object. Do you know the name of this object?
With great humiliation Swetketu had to admit that he had no knowledge of the spiritual field. Having understood his complete defeat, Swetketu left the court. The king asked him to join the royal lunch that day and tried to give him some gifts. But living there with the shame of a defeat, he had no mood to wait for a moment in the court. He straightaway walked out and went home.
He complained to his learned father and told that you had given me all the knowledge of the Vedas in this world. The king asked me only five questions. But I could not answer a single question of an ordinary king. It was a moment of great dishonor and shame for me".
Father learned about the five questions from Swetketu.
Then he told, "Swetkelu, my dear son, even I do not know the answers to any of these questions. Let us go to this king. I think that only the king knows the true answers.
Knowledge is no body's monopoly.Knowledge is like an endless ocean. One must try to gain knowledge from any body, who has some knowledge. A life long attitude of a student should be cultivated. This king seems to be a man of great knowledge and wisdom. Let us go to him and beg for this divine knowledge".
But the egoistic Brahmin boy Swetketu, did not agree to the proposal of his father. He told his father “You may go alone. I will not come with you”.
The great seeker of true knowledge, Gautam Rishi approached the king Pravahan. The King gave great respect and welcome to the Rishi and inquired about his mission for coming to his court.
Gautam said, "I have come to you to learn the answers of the five questions that you had asked to Swetketu, my son."
The king was in a great dilemma. He was a Kshatriya (warrior). It was against the religious and ethical tradition of those times. A Kshatriya cannot teach a Brahmin. In those days this divine knowledge of body and soul relationship (Upanishads) was known to Kshatriyas only.
The king requested Gautam Rishi, that he should ask the Devas for this knowledge. He was a mortal human being. He could give him material wealth that can help him a great deal in this worldly life.
But the curious Rishi, begged and begged only for the spiritual knowledge. Being a Brahmin, he needed only one wealth, and that was the Divine Knowledge of soul and body.
Here we see some similarity between the story of Nachiketa and this Gautam Rishi. They are not attracted by the worldly wealth. Their eagerness to get knowledge about the spirit or soul is very great. Only such students can get this divine knowledge from self-realized and knowledgeable teachers.
Looking to the real quest of learning, from this great Rishi, Pravahan, agreed to give "The Alms of the Knowledge".
The king said, "Oh great Rishi, it is going to take a long time to give you this knowledge. I am Kshatriya and you are Brahmin. For any moment during your studentship, never allow this difference to enter in your mind. Otherwise you will never learn." The rishi agreed to be a true pupil of the king. He stayed there for many years and learned the divine knowledge from a Kshatriya.
* * * * *
Gautam Rishi was the first person to get this Divine knowledge. But his arrogant son Swetketu, remained devoid of this supreme knowledge. It was in this way that the Knowledge of Soul, 'Brahman' was made known to Brahamins.
After that time it was passed over to true seekers, from great masters to genuine students, in a teacher-pupil tradition. We will conclude this short story of Swetketu and his father Gautam Rishi, with a verse from "Bhartuhari Niti Shatak." This verse beautifully shows the relationship between knowledge and humbleness.
"yada kinchid gyno aham,
dwipeve madandha samabhavam,
tada sarvagnosmi eeyi bhavad
valiptam mama manah!
yada kinchit kinchit
budh jana sakashadvagatam
tada murkhosmi eeti jwar eve
mado may vyapagatah !! Meaning: When I knew little, like a small frog in a well, my mind was living in great pride. I thought that I knew everything in the world. But gradually on various occasions, when I came in contact with wise and learned people; then I realized that I was a great fool. Then my false ego of knowledge vanished like fever coming down with a tablet of aspirin (antipyretic).
Message of the Story.
1. This short story carries a great message, about the knowledge in the Vedas. The ancient Vedic Bhramins did not know much about the spirit or soul.
2. It is in the Upanishads that we get some glimpses of the great heritage of Hinduism. The Upanishad Rishies lived family life and did not take Sanyas (Priesthood), at early age. They taught whatever they learned from their fathers to their sons and to all curious students. In this manner accumulated knowledge was preserved and passed over from generation to generation.
3. The kings were knowledge worshippers, and encouraged well-read people in their kingdoms. They used to pay respect to Brahmins, and used to give them gifts etc.
4. The class system appears to be present in those days also. But untouchability was not there. It has become a great evil in Hinduism today. This has played a great roll in deterioration of the noble ethical heritage. It is time that we all try to reorganize true religion for meeting the needs of our children in U.S.A., the land of great religious freedom.
5. Knowledge must be gained from any country or person. In this matter an attitude of respect and humbleness towards the teacher is a must. No body is born knowledgeable. With gaining of knowledge humbleness must enter our mind and not an “Ego of Knowledge”. A constant self-evaluation is a good practice, which can be cultivated by meditation.
6. Knowledge is the real Wealth of an individual. Human mind has a wonderful capacity to stock a heap of knowledge. Curiosity (Jignasa), interest, (Gyana Pipasa) and continuous effort (Purusharth) to gain knowledge, learn new things, is the only way to a higher path of living.
0m Shanti Shanti Shanti
(From Book ABC of Hinduism)
(Knowledge, Gyan or Veda, is an endless ocean. Hindu Upanishads had developed after the Vedic Era and four class system kingdom of an Aryan King Manu (2500-BC). Veda knowing Brahmins possessed a false Ego of knowledge of Vedas. This story teaches a great message to all students and Vedic rituals minded Indian Bhramin priests.
Remain a life long student is the message of this story).
Section: IIIADDITIONAL INFORMATIVE ARTICLES.
22. ONE INFINITE GOD OF UNIVERSE (Prayer-1)
A PRAYER ON UPANISHAD THEME FOR GROWING CHILDREN (1) Oh Lord! Almighty, Oh Lord Oh Thee,
ZEE = Zero. (I AM VERY SMALL Zero in universal diamentions).
SHREE = Wealth, Money. (Laxmi- in Sanskrit) I wrote this prayer in 1983 while I was recovering from a serious attack of hemiplegia. Its theme comes from a popular Gujarati poem of poet Nanalal, which I learnt during my school days. It covers the theme of all Vedas, all Upnishads and the Gita. This prayer expresses Hindu belief of One Invisible Supreme Infinite God, who is visible in HIS diversity of forms and qualities. They are called Devas (angles) and Devies in scriptures. Formless invisible God could only be realized by a path of Bhakti, practice of Karma Yoga and Self -Meditation.
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Section: III ADDITIONAL INFORMATIVE ARTICLES.
23…JESUS & MAHATMA GANDHI ARE
IMMORTAL SOULS. (Prayer-2) (Based on famous Upanishad Hymn
A girl can sing, She has Divine goals. From Hell who came, and to Heaven who went,
Every born has to Die, the Gita has said,
Only Prophets like Jesus and men like Gandhi,
True Scientists and Seers (of God) are IMMORTAL SOULS. Mrutor mam Amrutam Gamaya, is a famous mantra and prayer to God from Brahad-Aranyak Upanishad. It means “Lead me to immortality from (by) my death”. The spiritually evolved soul asks God to give him/her the death of a martyr, which will make him/her immortal.
People want to go to heaven after death, but they do not want to die for going to heaven !
“Every born has to die”, is Eternal law of God.
The above poem shows a path for living with noble goals and dying like a martyr in religious field. One should not be afraid of dying for any good and noble cause. Such a death leads to immortality. People remember such souls for centuries.
Jesus and Gandhiji died as martyrs having firm faith in God and God’s work.
The laws of mother-nature or Maker of the Universe (GOD) work in an equal manner upon all human beings, animals, plants, stars, suns, moons and all Galaxies.
Everything- perceptible with five senses is in a non-stop motion or TIME-SPACE continuum. The possession of money, property, political power etc,. creates false Egos and illusions in minds.
Such attachments and desires to get more (Lobh) Greed, makes a person to commit great sins.
Section: III ADDITIONAL INFORMATIVE ARTICLES.
24. SANKHYA DARSHAN OF KAPIL Darshan literally means Seeing with Eyes. In religious terminology it means perfect understanding or cosmic vision and experience of a seeker of God. The word Sankhya means Numbers.
There are six major Hindu Darshans.
(1) Sankhya Darshan is believed to be first Darshan. (1000 BC).
Some believe that Poorva Mimansa is the first Darshana, an old Darshan of a Rishi, Jaimini. It is a complicated philosophy based upon Vedic ways and rituals of Hindu Worship of natural elements as Gods. Jaimini declares that ‘Veda or Knowledge within us is God’.
Arjuna asks Krishna,
"How can I be happy in all respects?. Show me only one definite way to gain all kinds of success and hapiness. (Shreya)" Ch.III- V.2.
Gyana Yogan Sankhyanam, Karma Yogena Yoginam." Ch.III- V.3.
“Oh, Sinless, Previously (in 2nd chapter), I have told you, there are two paths by which a person can become happy. One path is of Knowlwdge of Sankhya (Numbers of objects and their properties) and the other path is of correct dutiful actions. (Karma Yoga = Dutiful correct Actions).
In Gita, Gyana Yoga mostly refers to Sanhky Yoga, (Chapters 2, 13, and 14 of Gita, discuss three Guna- Satas Rajas and Tamas, Prakruti and Purush).
The 2nd chapter is called Sankhya Yoga. The 5 Important Words of this Darshan must be well understood, remembered and meditated upon.
Sankhya Darshana Means :-
Study and Understanding of
Purusha and Prakruti, and Sat, Rajas and Tamas.
The name of a great Rishi Kapil is linked with this Darshan. The place where the Sage Kapil lived is not certain, but it might be on the river Ganges in Bengal. The likely period of Kapil is between 10th and 8th century B.C. The Gita refers Kapil as one of ‘God's Vibhooti’ or manifestations in the 10th chapter. We also find some reference of Kapil in Bhagavatum, a popular Hindu Puran.
This Darshan is very popular among the western scholars because it is based on sound scientific principles and maths. In Gita nearly two chapters are devoted to explain the three Gunas (qualities) of human nature described by Kapil, namely, Sat, Rajas and Tamas. (Truth, Selfishness and Ignorence). Gita was written in the 5th century B.C. Sankhya describes Purusha in the meaning of divine soul and Prakruti in the meaning Mother Nature and human nature (swabhav) also. These two words are found in many chapters of the Gita.
The word Sankhya means a number. Kapil explains this entire Universe and the activities going on in it, by three words, " Sat, Rajas and Tamas." All visible and perceivable material objects could be understood as having three qualities Goona.
Sat, means existance or presence,
Rajas means activity or actions.
Tamas means inaction or inertia.
In many verses of the Gita and talks of Indian Swamies, one hears these words very often. Purusha meaning soul is changeless. Prakruti is ever changing or Rajasic. Body, Mind, and Intellect etc are ever changing things.
Brahma Sutra or Vedanta is the name given to revised Sankhya philosophy. Vedanta is also called Utter Mimansa, the last Darshan. Vedanta means “End of Veda or Knowledge”. When knowledge ends, true faith in God (Shraddha) begins. God is beyond description by words of any language or any branch of Human Knowledge.
Kapil explains God and Human life with only two words.
‘Prakruti and Purusha’.
Prukruti means Nature. Purusha means a human being. The other meaning of word “Purusha” is a male human being or man. (Purusha = Male & Stree = Female). Kapil explains “Perfect laws of nature (Prakruti)” by three kinds of activities seen in nature. Creation, Maintanance and Destruction. Similar types of human natures (Personalities or Swabhavas), are found in human beings.
(These activities are supposed to be done by three mythological deity Gods of Hindu Purana. There are 18 Mythological Scriptures about Brahama, Vishnu, and Shiva)
Kapil never believed in One supreme formless God. Therefore Sankhya philosophy is called a Nir-Ishver-Vadi Darshana. (Athist Darshan). The great Veda Vyasa (Badarayana) had accepted many points of Kapil in his Vedanta Darshan. He also accepts presence of many natural elemental Gods and tries to merge these deities into One Supreme God.
Kapil declares “all human beings are equal and made up of 5- Tanmatras (MAHABHUTA), 5- Vishaya, 5- sense organs, 1- Mind, 1- Ego merged with three Gunas”. These make total of 17. elements.
Kapil’s ‘Mahat Tatve’ means, higher Intellect or Soul. This is not true according to other Darshanik Rishies. Soul is eternal and changeless, where as all other material things are subject to fixed and predictable changes (Vikruti). These are bound with time and place. Intellect can judge these changes. A Yoga student must study, Sankhya and Vedanta Darshans along with the Gita.
No Darshana by itself is perfect including Yoga and Sankhya. Vedanta is called nearly a perfect Darshan. But it also accepets many real as well as imaginary deity Gods which act upon the 10 organs (Indriya) in an equal manner.
Logic of Kapil.
I. Only Living creatures create living creatures. Their physical bodies are made of five basic natural elements, called Tan-matras, which come from five inert things (Jad) seen in universe. These are Akasha (Space), Tejus (Light), Vayu (Air), Aapa (Water), and Bhumi (Earth). Purusha of Kapil is the changeless soul within. It is responsible for life. This is Life-spark or Chaitanya. Human body is looked upon as a physical object made from these five Tamasic or inert objects of Nature.
II. Prakruti (Mother Nature) is also governed by fixed laws. Sun rises in East and sets in West. There is constant movement of the stars, planets and galaxies. A bean seed would produce a bean tree. Wheat would yield crop of wheat and not rice. Rice gives crop of rice and not wheat. These don't come from nothing or Zero, but grow with help of previous similar seeds only. This law of Mother Nature applies to all living creatures, including human beings. Human beings also come from previous human beings only.
Three types of activities are observed in nature. Creation (Birth), its existance or presence for some time, and its destruction (Death). Three kinds of human personalities are also observed; Creative, Preservative, and Destructive. (Three mythological Gods in Hinduism explain these activities. Brahama creates life, Vishnu maintains it and Shiva destroys life). Everybody likes to live and live forever. But body is subject to fixed changes of old age, disease and death.
III. Kapil uses these words to explain his theory of changes occuring in mother nature.