Krishna and Arjuna-On the imperishable soul

 

Value- Truth

Sub value- Wisdom

The first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita discusses about Arjuna the great warrior who is leading the Pandava army to fight against Kauravas including his step brothers, uncles and other relatives, teachers, guru and other respected elders, kings, allies with whom he had close relationships. In his own army as well are his own brothers, cousins, uncles and other kings. Lord Krishna is his friend and 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 centre 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 rulership 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 threw aside his arrows and his bow in the midst of the battlefield.  He sat down on the seat of the chariot, and his heart was overcome with sorrow.

Krishna tells Arjuna that in time of such danger, it is not fitting for him to throw down his weapons.  This will be seen as cowardice and will bring disgrace and so he urges him to stand up and fight.  Still, Arjuna cannot reconcile himself to bloodstained hands even if he is victorious in battle.  His grief is so great that he falls into a deep silence

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.

 

Buddha and the angry man

 

Value- Peace

Sub value- Patience

One day Buddha was walking through a village. A very angry and rude young man came up and began insulting him. “You have no right teaching others,” he shouted. “You are as stupid as everyone else. You are nothing but a fake.”

Buddha was not upset by these insults. Instead he asked the young man “Tell me, if you buy a gift for someone, and that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?”

The man was surprised to be asked such a strange question and answered, “It would belong to me, because I bought the gift.”

The Buddha smiled and said, “That is correct. And it is exactly the same with your anger.

If you become angry with me and I do not get insulted, then the anger falls back on you.

Learning

One must learn to control our anger. Our words and actions can affect others. Think before you speak. Also develop patience and tolerance towards someone who behaves angrily.

Source- buddhajourney.net

 

 

Pain and Pleasure

Value- Truth

Sub value- Perseverance, faith

prahalad

Hiranyakashipu was the king of the Daityas. He was a wicked king and often harassed the devas, and godly people. He declared himself to be the God of the whole universe and proclaimed that there was no other God but himself, and strictly enjoined that the Omnipotent Vishnu should have no worship offered to Him anywhere; and that all the worship should henceforth be given to himself only.

Hiranyakashipu had a son called Prahlâda. Now, it so happened, that this Prahlada from his infancy was devoted to God. He showed indications of this as a child; and the king of the Daityas, fearing that the evil he wanted to drive away from the world would crop up in his own family, made over his son to two teachers called Shanda and Amarka, who were very stern disciplinarians, with strict injunctions that Prahlada was never to hear even the name of Vishnu mentioned. The teachers took the prince to their home, and there he was put to study with the other children of his age. But the little Prahlada, instead of learning from his books, devoted all the time in teaching the other boys how to worship Vishnu. When the teachers found it out, they were frightened, for the fear of the mighty king Hiranyakashipu was upon them, and they tried their best to dissuade the child from such teachings. But Prahlada could no more stop his teaching and worshipping Vishnu than he could stop breathing. To clear themselves, the teachers told the terrible fact to the king, that his son was not only worshipping Vishnu himself, but also spoiling all the other children by teaching them to worship Vishnu.

The monarch became very much enraged when he heard this and called the boy to his presence. He tried by gentle persuasions to dissuade Prahlada from the worship of Vishnu and taught him that he, the king, was the only God to worship. But it was to no purpose. The child declared, again and again, that the Omnipresent Vishnu, Lord of the universe, was the only Being to be worshipped — for even he, the king, held his throne only so long as it pleased Vishnu. The rage of the king knew no bounds, and he ordered the boy to be immediately killed. So the Daityas struck him with pointed weapons; but Prahlad’s mind was so intent upon Vishnu that he felt no pain from them.

When his father, the king, saw that it was so, he became frightened but, roused to the worst passions of a Daitya, contrived various diabolical means to kill the boy. He ordered him to be trampled under foot by an elephant. The enraged elephant could not crush the body any more than he could have crushed a block of iron. So this measure also was to no purpose. Then the king ordered the boy to be thrown over a precipice, and this order too was duly carried out; but, as Vishnu resided in the heart of Prahlada, he came down upon the earth as gently as a flower drops upon the grass. Poison, fire, starvation, throwing into a well, enchantments, and other measures were then tried on the child one after another, but to no purpose. Nothing could hurt him in whose heart dwelt Vishnu.

At last, the king ordered the boy to be tied with mighty serpents called up from the nether worlds, and then cast to the bottom of the ocean, where huge mountains were to be piled high upon him, so that in course of time, if not immediately, he might die; and he ordered him to be left in this plight. Even though treated in this manner, the boy continued to pray to his beloved Vishnu: “Salutation to Thee, Lord of the universe. Thou beautiful Vishnu!” Thus thinking and meditating on Vishnu, he began to feel that Vishnu was near him, nay, that He was in his own soul, until he began to feel that he was Vishnu, and that he was everything and everywhere.

As soon as he realised this, all the snake bonds snapped asunder; the mountains were pulverised, the ocean upheaved, and he was gently lifted up above the waves, and safely carried to the shore. As Prahlada stood there, he forgot that he was a Daitya and had a mortal body: he felt he was the universe and all the powers of the universe emanated from him; there was nothing in nature that could injure him; he himself was the ruler of nature. Time passed thus, in one unbroken ecstasy of bliss, until gradually Prahlada began to remember that he had a body and that he was Prahlada. As soon as he became once more conscious of the body, he saw that God was within and without; and everything appeared to him as Vishnu.

When the king Hiranyakashipu found to his horror that all mortal means of getting rid of the boy who was perfectly devoted to his enemy, the God Vishnu, were powerless, he was at a loss to know what to do. The king had the boy again brought before him, and tried to persuade him once more to listen to  his advice, through gentle means. But Prahlada made the same reply. Thinking, however, that these childish whims of the boy would be rectified with age and further training, he put him again under the charge of the teachers, Shanda and Amarka, asking them to teach him the duties of the king. But those teachings did not appeal to Prahlada, and he spent his time in instructing his schoolmates in the path of devotion to the Lord Vishnu.

When his father came to hear about it, he again became furious with rage, and calling the boy to him, threatened to kill him, and abused Vishnu in the worst language. But Prahlada still insisted that Vishnu was the Lord of the universe, the Beginningless, the Endless, the Omnipotent and the Omnipresent, and as such, he alone was to be worshipped. The king roared with anger and said: “Thou evil one, if thy Vishnu is God omnipresent, why doth he not reside in that pillar yonder?” Prahlada humbly submitted that He did do so. “If so,” cried the king, “let him defend thee; I will kill thee with this sword.” Thus saying the king rushed at him with sword in hand, and dealt a terrible blow at the pillar. Instantly thundering voice was heard, and lo and behold, there issued forth from the pillar Vishnu in His awful Narsimha form — half-lion, half-man! Panic-stricken, the Daityas ran away in all directions; but Hiranyakashipu fought with him long and desperately, till he was finally overpowered and killed.

narasinha

Then the gods descended from heaven and offered hymns to Vishnu, and Prahlada also fell at His feet and broke forth into exquisite hymns of praise and devotion. And he heard the Voice of God saying, “Ask, Prahlada ask for anything thou desires”; thou art My favourite child; therefore ask for anything thou may wish.” And Prahlada choked with feelings replied, “Lord, I have seen Thee. What else can I want? Do thou not tempt me with earthly or heavenly boons.” Again the Voice said: “Yet ask something, my son.” And then Prahlada replied, “That intense love, O Lord, which the ignorant bear to worldly things, may I have the same love for Thee; may I have the same intensity of love for Thee, but only for love’s sake!”

Then the Lord said, “Prahlada, though My intense devotees never desire for anything, here or hereafter, yet by My command, do thou enjoy the blessings of this world to the end of the present cycle, and perform works of religious merit, with thy heart fixed on Me. And thus in time, after the dissolution of thy body, thou shalt attain Me.” Thus blessing Prahlada, the Lord Vishnu disappeared. Then the gods headed by Brahma installed Prahlada on the throne of the Daityas and returned to their respective spheres.

Learning

Prahlada demonstrated to mankind that during tough times–and even otherwise–we should resort to the chanting of the divine name just the way we cover ourselves with a blanket when it becomes extremely cold. The painful circumstances we are subjected to are like the purifying fire. A slab of gold when passed through a furnace becomes malleable and worthy of being molded into precious ornaments. Our essence is like pure gold and when we pass through painful situations, we are purified and become worthy of being molded into worthy instruments that can be adorned by the Divine.

Story- http://www.ramakrishnavivekananda.info/vivekananda/volume_4/lectures_and_discourses/the_story_of_prahlada.htm

Essence- Sathya Sai Speaks Chapter 2, Vol 1

The wallet

old-man-train

Value- Truth

Sub value-Illusion

Once an old man was travelling by train on a pilgrimage to Brindavan. At night, whilst he was asleep, his wallet fell from his pocket. A co-passenger found it the next morning and enquired as to whom the wallet belonged. The old man said it was his. A picture of Sri Krishna inside the wallet was proof that the wallet really belonged to him.

krishna

The old man then began to relate the story of the wallet. He soon had a group of eager listeners around him. Lifting up the purse for all to see, the old man said: This purse has a long history behind it. My father gave it to me years ago when I was a mere schoolboy. I kept my little pocket money in it and also a photograph of my parents.

Years passed. I grew up and began studying at university. Like every youth, I became conscious of my appearance. I replaced my parents’ photograph with that of my own and I would look at it often. I had become my own admirer.

Then came marriage. Self-admiration gave way to the consciousness of a family. Out went my own picture and I replaced it with that of my wife’s. During the day I would open the wallet many times and gaze at the picture. All tiredness vanished and I would resume my work with enthusiasm.

Then came the birth of my first child. What a joy I experienced when I became a father! I would eagerly rush home after work to play with my little baby. Needless to say, my wife’s picture had already made way for the child’s.

The old man paused. Wiping his tearful eyes, he looked around and said in a sad voice: Friends, my parents passed away long ago. My wife too died five years ago. My son- my only son- is now married. He is too busy with his career and his family. He has no time for me. I now stand on the brink of death. I do not know what awaits me in future. Everything I loved, everything I considered my own, has left me.

A picture of Lord Krishna now occupies the place in my wallet. I know He will never leave me. I wish now that I had kept HIS picture with me right from the beginning! He alone is true; all others are just passing shadows.

Learning

Earthly ties are transitory. Today they seem to be the be-all and end-all of life, and tomorrow they vanish. Our real tie is with God. God is one’s very own. It is the eternal relationship. He is ever looking after us. Call on the Lord who pervades the entire universe. He will shower His blessings upon you. Our wealth will remain on earth; our cattle will remain in the stables, our spouse will come till the entrance door, our relatives and friends will come till the cremation ground, our body will accompany us till the funeral pyre, but on the way beyond this life only our Karmas will accompany us; hence we must strive to do good.

Courtesy-http://www.hinduism.co.za/stories-.htm

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