Kallu Ram and Guru Nanak

Value- Truth

Sub value- Awakening, Realisation

A poor man named Kallu Ram invited Guru Nanak to dine at his house. Guru Nanak accepted the invitation.

A day was fixed, Guru Nanak went to the house of the poor man. The door was closed. Guru Nanak knocked at the door, but it was sometime before the door was opened. The poor man came out and said, “Revered Sir, I did not open the door in time. Pardon me.” Guru Nanak asked, “My dear brother, what were you doing?” The poor man answered; “Guruji! I was driving nails into the wall”. Guru Nanak said; “Driving nails into the wall? Follow me.” The poor man replied; “I will obey thy commands. I will follow thee.”

The poor man left all his possessions and followed Guru Nanak. He practised the spiritual instructions of the Guru and became Guru Nanak’s beloved disciple.

Learning

The sweet merciful voice of the Guru comes to us and asks; what are we doing? Driving nails into the wall? Still hopelessly sunk in the quagmire of samsara? Still wasting the life in eating, drinking, smoking, playing cards and merry making? Still forgetful of the purpose of life and glory of Atma and Self realisation? Let us pray to the Lord to guide us; to send us a merciful Master who will lead us from ignorance to wisdom and light.

Courtesy: Philosophical Stories- Swami Sivananda

King Rantideva

 

Value- Right Conduct

Sub value- Charity

King Rantideva was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu and saw the Lord in everyone. He worshipped Lord Vishnu by helping and caring  for all the people of his kingdom with great love. He was always ready to provide whatever was needed by his people and never showed any difference in his generosity between the poor and the rich. King Rantideva distributed his wealth that he had in plenty to the poor and the needy as he was never greedy for wealth, He showed pleasure in serving his people and thought it was a way to spread the blessings of Lord Vishnu.

rantideva

People lived happily and prosperously in his country. Then one day the unseasonal rains and winds destroyed many crops, caused death of animals in his country which lead to scarcity of food. The common man ran to seek help from their kind hearted king. Without a second thought, Rantideva distributed his wealth and treasure to his people and prayed  to Lord Vishnu to bless him with strength to protect them.

However, the condition became more worse as days passed due to continuous failure of the crops resulting in famine throughout the region. People starved without food and water and were homeless. This was a horrible disaster faced by the king who himself did not have any food. Whenever he and his family had little food, they would first distribute them to the people who came with hungry.

As time passed, the drought got more severe and the king was left with nothing for his starving poor people. He felt very miserable but had a strong faith on Lord Vishnu and prayed him with devotion. Though there never came a good time for his country and the famine continued.

Rantideva starved for days long yet meditated and prayed to Lord Vishnu. He became very weak with lack of food and was hardly able to move. On one fine day, unexpectedly the king and his family were offered food by a stranger. As they saw the food Rantideva and his family were delighted ; just as they were about to partake the food, a poor hungry Brahmin came seeking for food. The king received him respectfully and offered a part of his food.; the Brahmin ate happily, greatly pleased with  the king’s  generosity. As soon as he left, they were about to eat  but then there came a hungry beggar to their doorstep. Rantideva graciously  offered the hungry beggar too some part of the food and  the beggar left satisfied. No sooner than the beggar departed,  there came a man with his dogs to seek food and told about starving for many days now. The king offered them with the remaining food. The man  and his dogs ate  all the food and Rantideva was left only with water to drink.

The king was about to drink the water to appease the hunger , when a Chandala came by , his throat was  parched with thirst and he requested the king to offer him some water. The king without any hesitation gave him the water and prayed to the Lord to give him strength to feel the pain of others rather than wealth and power.

As the man drank the water, his eye sparkled brightly and was full of energy that made the king fulfilled and refreshed. Lo and behold!! there appeared Lord Vishnu and all his attendants. Vishnu conveyed to the king that he was very pleased with his devotion and love to his people. He told that all his sufferings will end and he will be rendered with all wealth and riches only if he continued to worship him. Instead, Rantideva told that he had no desire to worldly pleasures but rather he was completely absorbed in Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu blessed his devotee Rantideva who attained moksha and became one of the great yogis involved in meditation.

Learning

Service to man is service to God. Serving the needy and giving charity to the one who needs the most pleases the Lord. Love all, serve all. One should be blessed to get an opportunity to help others by seeing the Lord in all. One who selflessly serves and helps other attains all the best in his/her life.

Story adapted from Apnisanskriti.com

 

A dear devotee

kashi

Value- Love

Sub value- Yearning for the Lord

One day in the sacred shrine of lord Viswanath at Kasi, all the devotees and temple priests were immersed in singing hymns and reciting chants. All of a sudden, they heard a metallic sound. When they turned their heads in that direction they saw a shining gold plate on the floor of the shrine. It must have fallen through an open space in the center of the hall from the sky leading to the sanctum sanctorum. All of them gathered around in wonder, as the chief temple priest went close to examine it. He found the following words inscribed on it,”This belongs to my dear devotee” and read the inscription loudly. Soon   the temple priests vied with one another to snatch the plate with the feeling, “Who could be a greater devotee than myself. I spend my time, talent and strength only to offer worship to the Lord Viswanath of Kasi.” But the plate changed into an earthen one the moment they touched it one after another.

News spread like wild fire about the golden plate. Several scholars, singers, poets and preachers came and tried their luck but in vain. Days, weeks and months rolled on but the plate remained there without a claimant.

One day, a stranger came to the temple. As he  stood at the entrance,  tears gathered in his eyes when he saw beggars, blind, dumb and lame piteously pleading for alms. He felt ashamed of his inability to relieve them of their hunger and agony. He wanted to pray to the Lord and so stepped into the temple. He saw people gathered round and discussing something. He tried to squeeze himself into the crowd to find out why they were standing there.

He saw a golden plate in the center of that enclosure. He inquired and was told about the episode of the golden plate. He was rather surprised and sad at the attitude of the people and the priests. Instead of praying to the Lord of the Universe and trying to earn His grace, they were eager to possess the golden plate. Observing his nonchalant attitude, the high priest requested him to try his hand. The stranger replied: “Oh Revered one! I do not care for either gold or silver, what I long for is God’s Grace.” The priest’s esteem for that man increased. So he once again requested him, “At least to satisfy us, please try your hand.” The stranger touched the plate without a trace of attachment. Lo! It shone forth with redoubled effulgence.

All the priests gathered round and queried: “Sir, where do you come from? What are your qualifications? What are the branches of learning you have mastered? How many years did you do penance?” The stranger replied calmly: “I don’t belong to any place. I just manage to earn my bread by hard labor. The only sadhana I do is Namasmaran [repeating the name of the Lord]. This has perhaps rendered my heart pure and filled it with love and compassion. It has enabled me to control my mind and the senses. I have not read any book or mastered any science. The only art I know of is chanting the Name Divine. The only act I do is to be kind to the poor.”

Learning

The only qualification to become dear to the Lord is to acquire a compassionate heart and sense control. These two can be acquired through Namasmaran (chanting the name of the Lord) with full faith, love and devotion.

Adapted from Chinnakatha by Sri Sathya Sai baba

Krishna and Arjuna-On the imperishable soul

 

Value- Truth

Sub value- Wisdom

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita is about  Arjuna the great warrior who is leading the Pandava army to fight against Kauravas  which included his cousins brothers, uncles and other relatives, teachers, guru and other respected elders, kings, allies with whom he had close relationships. His  own army  includes  his own brothers, cousins, uncles and other kings. Lord Krishna is his friend , charioteer who is giving guidance and is the support of Arjuna. The war is about to commence in the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

krishna arjuna 01

Arjuna asks Lord Krishna to drive his chariot into the center of the battlefield so he can see whom he is facing in battle.  As he recognizes so many familiar faces, his feelings get the best of him, his whole body reacts and he is overcome with sorrow.

He loses his will to fight, saying even if they wish to kill him, he does not wish to kill them. He sees no point in the battle – if it is gaining ruler ship of the earth, it is not worth it and if it is to gain glory in heaven – it is also not worth killing his own kinsman.  Arjuna becomes confused, discouraged and lays down his weapons saying he will not fight.

krishna arjuna 02

Having spoken thus, Arjuna throws aside his arrows and his bow in the midst of the battlefield.  He sits down on the seat of the chariot benumbed  and despondent and on the verge of  psychological breakdown.

Krishna tells Arjuna that in times of such danger, it is not befitting for him to throw down his weapons.  This will be seen as cowardice and will bring disgrace  to him and his lineage,  thereby urging him to stand up and fight.  Unable to  reconcile himself to bloodstain on his  hands even if he is victorious in battle;  Arjuna falls into a  state of benumbed  mental collapse or utter delusion.

It is at this point that Lord Krishna delivers his first teaching on life and death and outlines the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita and the central themes of its teachings.  He teaches what true wisdom is, the nature of the Atman, the futility of grieving over the inevitable, the difference between knowledge and experience,  the importance of following one’s dharma and the philosophy of Karma Yoga.  Krishna teaches Arjuna to use his discrimination and tries to guide him out of his spiritual confusion, which Arjuna mistakenly takes for compassion.

Even though Arjuna’s words seem wise, the truly wise mourn neither for the living or the dead.  True wisdom is able to discern between the real and unreal. Life is continuous – there is never a time when anyone ceases to exist.  Human beings live through a cycle of birth into the body, they age, die and then take new bodies.  True wisdom is not deceived by the appearances of the cycle.  Human life in this world of duality is made up of the opposites: pain and pleasure, heat and cold which are impermanent and Lord Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is that he must endure these. Whatever is unreal can never come into existence and whatever is real cannot cease to be.  The Imperishable pervades everything and everyone.  The real Self is embodied in these bodies but does not die when the body dies.  Lord Krishna compares the changing of bodies to the changing of clothes.  The wise are not deceived by the illusion of death.

For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.

Learning

For most of us, the battlefield is not a physical war, but symbolic of the challenges of living one’s life.  We are, in a way, on a battlefield, where we are faced with our positive ambitions and desires, duties and obligations to self, family and society and poised against us, are negative characteristics and temptations. We are overwhelmed by the array of problems standing against us.  We get confused, paralyzed when we have to make decisions, weighing our own interests, those of others whom we love, our duties, possible outcomes, possible consequences of our actions or the actions of others with whom we have struggles. Then we look out for help and if we have the grace like Arjuna, an enlightened Master comes to guide us and help us understand the difference between real and unreal.

Courtesy- http://bhagavadgitamodernlife.blogspot.sg/p/chapter-2-yoga-of-knowledge.html

 

 

Krishna and Karna- Is life fair or unfair?

Jambavan and Hanuman

 

Value- Truth

Sub value- Recognise your true self, inner strength

In the story of Ramayana, we know that Sita Devi was kidnapped by Ravana when Lord Rama went in search of the golden deer. Lord Rama and his brother Lakshmana set off in search of Sita Devi when they met Hanuman who took them to his monkey king Sugriva.

After Rama helped Sugriva to eliminate Vali and made him the king of Kishkinda, Sugriva promised to help Rama to search Sita by sending his monkey army. They came to know through Sampati, the brother of the bird Jatayu that Ravana had kidnapped Sita and taken her to Lanka. So the Vanara team got into a discussion to see how to reach Lanka and save Sita devi.

Angada the crown prince of Kishkinda says, “I am still small and cannot cross this distance”. Hanuman wasn’t sure of his capability and sat quietly. This is when Jambavan the bear and the wise old one of the army reveals to Hanuman secret about his strength.

As a young monkey, Hanuman could easily fly, even to reach out to the Sun. He is the son of Vayu (Lord of Wind) History says that Hanuman learnt all the Vedas directly from Sun God. He was well learned and powerful even as a child.

hanuman baby

But he was also very naughty and proud of his strength. To put a stop to his mischievous behaviour, he was cursed to forget all his strengths. But, there was a reprieve. He could realise his strength again when others remind him of that and praises him. Jambavan, knew this and reveals Hanuman’s strengths and capabilities.

hanuman and jambavan

Thus realising his strengths, he sets out to cross the ocean single-handed, overcomes all the obstacles and later plays a key role in the war with Ravana. At many crucial points during the war Hanuman helps Rama and His army to win Ravana.

Learning

Lord Hanuman symbolically stands for pure devotion, complete surrender without any trace of ego. As a monkey he represents the lower self of man which thinks and behaves that he is just that body with limitations. But when he is reminded of who he is and what his strengths are; he gets connected to the higher and then serves and works for the higher after which he merges with that higher. All of us have that inner core strength and potential which when revealed to us can lead us to success both in the material as well as the spiritual world.

Lord Rama- Learning from the avatar

Value-Truth

Sub value- Right conduct

rama 1

Lord Rama is the 7th avatar of Lord Vishnu. God manifests in the human form when righteousness declines. He comes in an any form; mostly in human with the limitations of human and leads a righteous life to teach mankind how to face diversities of life undergoing all those himself and leading by example.

Lord Rama was not born like a common people, on contrary, he had appeared before his Mother Kaushalya in the form of four armed Lord Vishnu. At her request, he took the form of a normal human baby.

As a young lad he went to the Gurukula of Vashishta to gain knowledge. He led the life of an ideal son, brother and student. He respected and always obeyed his parents and guru. He took the blessings of various rishis and visited their ashrams. These were the rishis who were praying Lord Vishnu to come to the earth and when he did come; he didn’t show his miraculous powers, rather he learnt from them and respected them.

He was example of a perfect son who took his father’s permission to go to Mythila to attend the swayamvara of Sita. He left for the exile with his wife to keep the word of his father. In the forest he along with Sita and Lakshmana had to undergo so many hardships but still he did not say a word against his father or Kaikeyi. He chased the golden deer as Sita longed for it and he was in despair when Sita was kidnapped by Ravana. He did everything possible including befriending the monkeys to killing of Ravana to get Sita back.

Though as Lord Vishnu he had the Mahashakti (all the supreme powers) he didnt use them to solve his problems. He faced the situation and handled them in the appropriate manner. But he displayed his divine nature of right conduct through his duty for his parents and guru, to destroy the evil and protect the good, bless and liberate his devotees like Shabari, his equal love for animals who in turn reciprocated in helping him in his mission.

Learning

Lord takes human form to uplift the righteous and he does so by being a human and going through the same ups and downs of life like any other human but by leading a righteous life which will set an example for mankind to follow. He has Mahashakti but chooses to exhibit only some of it to uplift the mankind.

 

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: