Bhaja Govindam- Verse 30 with stories and essence

 

Verse 30

Prāṇāyāmaṁ pratyāhāraṁ nityānitya vivekavicāram,

jāpyasameta samādhividhānaṁ kurvavadhānaṁ mahadavadhānam 

The control of breath, the sense withdrawal, discriminating between the permanent and the impermanent, along with a mind that is absorbed in doing  japa, perform these with care, with great care.

Story based on Verse 30

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/the-saint-and-the-cow/

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/importance-of-prana-the-life-force/

Essence

In this verse we are told by Shankara what to do in order to withdraw our mind from this preoccupation with artha and kāma, so that the attention of the mind can be drawn to what we really have to do.

The first step is the practice of discipline and having a sense of proportion in all our activities, through self-control (control of breath and control over our sense enjoyments) and alertness. The second is the withdrawing of the mind from its external preoccupations and focusing it upon the self.

There must be a sense of proportion in everything that we do in our life. In āhara, food, and in vihāra, walking, moving around and in whatever karma we perform. When we talk, we must talk what is necessary, what is proper, what is right, what is pleasant and what is truthful. In whatever we do, we must always be alert.

Let our mind become enquiring, thinking or contemplative and not take things for granted. There are so many notions and assumptions in our life, which we have never stopped to analyse and to seek what is permanent. By practising sense control it is possible to understand what is permanent and what is impermanent, what is desirable and what is not desirable, what is conducive to our goal and what is not.

The study of Vedanta also helps us develop the ability to discriminate between the truth and the untruth, the real and the unreal.

Samādhi means the relaxation of the mind, the absorption of the mind. When the mind is devoid of the various distractions and disturbances, it becomes silent. That silence is the total relaxation of the mind, the absorption or total abidance of the mind. How is that to be achieved? By doing  japa or the repetition of a holy name in the mind. It prepares the mind and cleanses the mind, purifies the mind and makes it silent. Ultimately, that silent mind can have abidance in the self.

We should do this every day with great care and patience.

In the practice of aṣṭānga-yoga, meditation or dhyānam is only the seventh stage: yama or restraint, niyama or good conduct, āsana or correct posture, prāṇāyama or regulation of breath, pratyāhāra or withdrawal of the mind, dhāranā or fixing the mind, and then dhyānam or meditation. Only when we have completed the first 6 stages is our mind is ready for dhyānam.

Yama is having the values of life like non-violence, honesty, self-control, truthfulness, and non-possession. Niyama is santoṣa or contentment, tapaḥ or austerity, saucam or inner and outer cleanliness, svādhyaya or the study of scriptures, and Īṣvara pranidhanam or the worship of the Lord.

Āsana is control at the level of the body. Prāṇāyama is the control of the breath. Pratyāhāra is the withdrawal of the senses. Dhārana is the ability to concentrate. Then comes dhyānam, meditation. Therefore, the whole life is designed for accomplishing the goal that we are discussing.

For students

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/09/11/parable-of-the-zither-middle-path/

Children should be taught about the value of being moderate. The middle path is the best path. Everything from moderation in eating, playing, studying etc can be inculcated from a young age. This will teach them the value of food by not wasting excess food, managing time well by balancing both studies and playing.

Another important lesson is to be focussed. Never letting go the sight of the goal. Always being alert and aware of distractions when pursuing the goal.

Such students will have a well-rounded personality and be happy who will in turn grow up to be contented adults. All these values if developed from young will make their life meaningful, contented and balanced. It will be easy for such people to understand the above verse and to realise the difference between what is real and what is unreal and work towards attaining that goal by always being alert and aware.

Essence adapted from

advaitavedaanta.wordpress.com

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Parable of the Zither- Middle Path

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Moderation in everything one does

Sona was a young disciple of the Buddha. Born into an affluent family, he was diligent, astute, and cheerful.

Ever since renouncing his secular life, he was highly motivated and more assiduous in his meditation practice. As the days went by, he found himself mired in melancholy which gave way to frustration, befuddlement, and agony. Before long, he became so emaciated and haggard-looking.

Exasperated over his lack of spiritual progress, he went to the Buddha to seek guidance.

The Buddha said: “Tell me Sona, in earlier days, were you not skilled in playing the stringed music of the zither ( stringed instrument)?”

“Yes tuneful and easily playable?”

“Certainly not, O Lord.”

“And when the strings on the zither were too loose, was then your lute tuneful and easily playable?”

“Certainly not, O Lord.”

“But when, Sona, the strings of your lute were neither too taut nor too loose, and adjusted to an even pitch, did your zither have a wonderful sound, and then was it easily playable?”

“Certainly, O Lord.”

“Similarly, Sona, in the practice of the way, if energy is applied too strongly, it will lead to strain and restlessness; if energy is too lax, it will lead to lassitude. Therefore, Sona, keep your energy in balance and you will then be able to focus your attention on the spiritual cultivation.”

Learning

Practicing Middle way is the key to happiness. One must do everything in moderation exercise, diet, sleep, work and we then be able to have a balanced lifestyle brimming with joy.

 

Master’s messages- Vol 1- 3.4 – Let the will of Lord prevail

Do your duty with an attitude of surrender

surrender

True surrender is to tell “Let the Will of Lord prevail”. One’s duty is to connect oneself with the current of His grace. A prisoner in jail doesn’t own even his clothes; similarly in this world we don’t own anything, everything is given by Him. One has to give up the doership. Do one’s duty sincerely but with an attitude of surrender.

Story of the week

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/surrendering-at-the-feet-of-our-mastergurugod-sub-value-faith-devotion-value-love/

Sathya Sai Speaks Vol 1- Chapter 3

Sai Satcharita Chapter 1- Stories and Essence-Grinding of Wheat

 

Value- Truth, Right Conduct

Sub value- Looking within, Serving society

One morning in the sacred land of Shirdi; Sai Baba began to make preparations for grinding wheat. He spread a sack on the floor; and thereon set a hand-mill. He took some quantity of wheat in a winnowing fan, and then drawing up the sleeves of His Kafni (robe); and taking hold of the peg of the hand-mill, started grinding the wheat by putting a few handfuls of wheat in the upper opening of the mill and rotated it. Hemadpant (the author of Sai Satcharita) thought ‘What business Baba had with the grinding of wheat, when He possessed nothing and stored nothing, and as He lived on alms!’

Some people who had come there thought likewise, but none had the courage to ask Baba what He was doing. Immediately, this news of Baba’s grinding wheat spread into the village, and at once men and women ran to the Masjid and flocked there to see Baba’s act. Four bold women, from the crowd, forced their way up and pushing Baba aside, took forcibly the peg or handle into their hands, and, singing Baba’s Leelas, started grinding.

At first Baba was enraged, but on seeing the women’s love and devotion, He was much pleased and began to smile. While they were grinding, they began to think that Baba had no house, no property, no children, none to look after, and He lived on alms, He did not require any wheat-flour for making bread or roti, what will He do with this big quantity of flour? Perhaps as Baba is very kind, He will distribute the flour amongst us. Thinking in this way while singing, they finished the grinding and after putting the hand-mill aside, they divided the flour into four portions and began to remove them one per head.

Baba, Who was calm and quiet until now, got wild and started abusing them saying, “Ladies, have you gone mad? Whose father’s property are you looting away? Have I borrowed any wheat from you,  which  gives you the right to take the flour? Now please do this. Take the flour and throw it on the village border limits.” On hearing this, the women felt abashed and whispering amongst themselves, went away to the outskirts of the village and spread the flour as directed by Baba.

Hemadpant asked the Shirdi people – “What was this that Baba did?” They replied that the Cholera Epidemic was spreading in the village and this was Baba’s remedy against the same; it was not wheat that was ground but the Cholera itself was ground to pieces and pushed out of the village. From this time onward, the Cholera Epidemic subsided and the people of the village were happy.

Hemadpant was much pleased to know all this; but at the same time his curiosity was also aroused. He began to ask himself – What earthly connection was there between wheat flour and Cholera? What was the casual relation between the two and how to reconcile them? The incident seemed to be inexplicable.He felt he should write something  about this and sing to his heart’s content Baba’s sweet Leelas.

Reflecting and thinking about this grinding wheat Leela, Hemadpant’s heart was filled with joy and he was thus inspired to write Baba’s Life – The Satcharita.

Hindi video of the story

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2S1seDLd38

Essence

Philosophical Significance of Grinding

Sai Baba lived in Shirdi for about sixty years and during this long period, He did the business of grinding almost every day – not, however, the wheat alone; but the sins, the mental and physical afflictions and the miseries of His innumerable devotees. The two stones of His mill consisted of Karma and Bhakti, the former being the lower and the latter the upper one. The handle with which Baba worked the mill consisted of Jnana. It was the firm conviction of Baba that Knowledge or Self-realization is not possible, unless there is the prior act of grinding of all our impulses, desires, sins; and of the three gunas, viz. Sattva, Raja and Tamas; and the Ahamkara, which is so subtle and therefore so difficult to be got rid of.
Once we start working to eliminate our six inner enemies namely Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachment, Pride and jealousy along with ‘Ego’ we will begin to slowly understand the true ‘self’. This can be done through selfless actions-Karma, knowledge or understanding of the scriptures- Jnana and Namasmarana- chanting the name of the Lord- Bhakti.

Another aspect of grinding the wheat can also be interpreted as Sai with His merciful love and grace was signifying through the wheat; that His devotees are like the wheat which when in a raw state is of not much use compared to when it is ground and made into flour which can then be used to prepare the life sustaining ‘roti’. He was making His devotees understand the need to destroy the ego and become selfless and serve all humanity with love and compassion.

For children

Through the above story, children can know that SaiBaba was divine and had miraculous powers to prevent the village from a dreadful disease like cholera by just grinding the wheat and throwing at the outskirts of Shirdi. Children can learn the selfless love of Baba for His devotees and village people. And they can learn this value of showing concern for others.

Another important lesson children can learn is to start realising that their inner strength is within them and not anywhere outside. Only one needs to be aware of it and see it.

The story below will explain the above lesson beautifully.

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/lighting-the-lamp-of-wisdom/

Sai Satcharita is a treasure trove of divine experiences and messages for Sai devotees who were not able to see and interact with Baba physically.

Bow to Shri Sai and peace be to all

Bhaja Govindam- Verse 29 with stories and essence

 

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Bhaja Govindam Verse 29

 

Arthamanarthaṁ bhāvaya nityaṁ nāstitataḥ sukhaleśaḥ satyam,

putrādapi dhana bhājāṁ bhītiḥ sarvatraiṣā vihitā rītiḥ.

‘Wealth is calamitous’ thus reflect constantly. The truth is that there is not even an iota of happiness to be got from it. To the rich, there is fear even from one’s own son. This is the way with wealth everywhere.

Story based on this verse

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/the-cobbler-and-the-rich-man/

In this verse, we are again told of a very harsh or bitter fact about life concerning wealth or money.

Artha means wealth, it also includes other things like power, possessions, etc. One of the meanings of artha is wealth. Artha also denotes that which is meaningful. That which is sought by a puruṣa or person is puruṣārtha. So artha means that which is sought, or that which is desirable. Here, Shankara says, all artham is anartham, meaning undesirable or calamitous. Artha is something that is seen to bring a fulfilment to life, but what we call artha only brings about anartha or calamity in life.

money

We often hear teachers of Vedanta condemning wealth, desire, and pleasure. Why do they always talk about this? It is because there is pain and exertion involved in procuring wealth. Wealth does not come free. One has to toil for wealth.

Money brings about anxiety, greed jealousy and fear. Having procured wealth, are we free from worries and anxieties? Not really. There is the anxiety of protecting the wealth.

Money always creates greed. Howsoever much we have, we feel that we don’t have enough.

People associate pride with having money. When money comes to me, not only are we not satisfied with what we have, but we always compare ourselves with others.

People who possess wealth have a secret fear of those who do not have it. They feel that others who do not have it are seeking an opportunity to exploit them.

Money also brings suspicion. We can’t trust anybody.

Wherever money is, it divides. The wealthy fear or suspect even their own sons. If a parent makes the mistake of distributing all his or her wealth to their children, they are thrown out of the house the very soon. Therefore, everybody wants to hold on to it until death and the children wait for him to pass on. It is amazing how all the love and affection goes away when this calculation of money comes into the equation.

These verses were composed about 1200 to 1500 years ago, but they sound so modern and are so relevant even today. It just goes to show that all of this existed even then. Mankind has fundamentally not changed. Things have essentially remained the same – the same mentality, the same kinds of problems.

Why are we being told, arthamanarthaṁ bhāvaya nityaṁ, that we should always contemplate on the fact that artha is anartha?

It does not mean that we should not earn money. That is not what is meant here. Money is, of course, required in our life. It is required for basic necessities, and so on. It is, desiring for money for the sake of money which is definitely calamitous. Money for the sake of certain basic necessities of life is a requirement. We should have a healthy attitude towards money, but we should also be aware when money begins to exert its power over us and we find ourselves chasing after it. The message is that we should always remain the master of money and not let money become our master. Therefore, one must not waste or squander away precious time or energy in this fruitless pursuit.

https://advaitavedaanta.wordpress.com/category/bhaja-govindam/bhaja-govindam-verse-29/

For Students

Story based on this verse

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/rajs-lesson-on-gratitude/

The value of being thankful should be cultivated in children from young. They must be taught through example of how happiness is not based on money or the things we possess. They must know the value of money from young. Yes, money is definitely required. It is important but it is not everything. One must learn to count our blessings and be grateful for what we have. Character is very important. A person with a good character will possess good values which will enrich his life meaningfully. Hence the need to develop the qualities of gratitude and all good values from young age; so that they are more contented and peaceful when they grow up and lead a meaningful life not only for themselves but care for others in society as well.

 

 

Raj’s lesson on Gratitude

 

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Gratitude

gratitude 01

Raj belonged to a middle class family and his family couldn’t afford to buy him expensive gadgets, latest clothes and shoes which his friends in the school had. He was often mocked by his classmates for that. One day, one of his friends brought a I pad to school and was showing it off to everyone. Raj felt upset seeing this.

When he went back home after school, his parents showed him a simple jigsaw puzzle they had brought for him. Raj became very angry seeing an ordinary educational game that he started shouting and misbehaving. He felt upset that his parents never bought anything expensive or trendy which all his friends had.

He started crying and asking God why he never got what he wanted. After some time, Raj fell asleep and saw a dream.

He saw himself in an untidy old house which had just one room and no furniture. His clothes were all shabby and the house had no facilities; it was almost empty. The room in which he was present was stinking. Raj then walked out of this house and saw another house.

This house was big and magnificent. There was a small lovely garden too that he could see from the main gate of the house. He was shocked to realise that this nice house was his own!

He tried to enter the house but was stopped by a security guard. Raj tried to convince him that he lived in this house but the guard refused to let him enter. The guard said the dirty house on the other side was his. Raj was scared and confused. Then the whole scene changed and he woke up to find himself in his room, lying on his bed.

He realised it was all a dream — a dream that made him think how lucky he was, and ungrateful too! Raj quickly got up and went to his parents, but he was just too ashamed to say anything and stood with his head bowed. His parents realised Raj was remorseful at his behaviour.

His mother hugged him and said, “Son, the reason we never brought those kind of expensive clothes, shoes and other devices for you is because we didn’t want to spoil you like those boys in your school.

“If you look around you will realise that there are so many people in the world who don’t even have enough to eat each day, let alone luxuries like toys. Moreover, having costly things does not make a person more worthy than those who don’t own expensive things.

“It is your character and behaviour that determine your worth as a human being. Anyone with enough money can buy an expensive gadget but no one can buy a good personality trait, or make others like you with money.”

Raj’s eyes were filled with tears. He was ashamed of his ungrateful behaviour. He apologised to his mother and to God as well and decided to remain happy with whatever God had blessed him with.

Learning

We always tend to compare ourselves with people who have more than us. We forget to count our blessings. Happiness or contentment is not measured by how much money one has. It has so much to do with what kind of a character we possess, how we value and respect our relationships, how we look out to make a difference in some one else’s life. Money is essential but is not the measure of happiness. Sensible use of money is important. Let us learn to be thankful and grateful for what we are blessed with.

 

The cobbler and the rich man

Value- Right conduct

Sub value- Contentment, Detachment, peace of mind

There lived a happy cobbler who passed his days working and singing from morning till night; rain or shine. A rich man who passed by the cobbler daily felt sad at the sight of the poor cobbler working so hard. He wanted to help him.

One day he asked the cobbler “Hello man, I see you working hard daily and wondering how much do you earn in a year?” The cobbler replied, ”I earn enough to make both ends meet.” ”I am really sorry to hear that .You must be living in great distress,” said the rich man. “But I am used to this sort of life and I am happy,” said the cobbler.

The next day the rich man again came to visit the cobbler. He came with ten thousand rupees in a bag. He said to him, ”Look, my friend! I have brought ten thousand rupees for you. Keep this money and remove your distress. ”The cobbler was greatly surprised. At first he refused to take the money. The rich man told him that he could use the money in times of difficulties. The cobbler took the money from the rich man and thanked him.

Now a new fear troubled the cobbler. He said to himself, ”Ten thousand rupees is a lot of money. ” He could not think where to keep the money safe. He dug a hole in his hut and kept the money there. But he always thought that his money could be stolen any time. This thought kept him awake and he lost his sleep every night. He lost his smile, happiness and forgot to sing. He could not devote himself to his work. As a result, his life became more miserable. Peace and happiness vanished from his life. The cobbler gradually realized that he had money, but no peace of mind.

Learning

Money does not necessarily bring happiness. It is difficult to earn money and even more difficult to safeguard it. It brings more fear and anxiety to protect the wealth. The money which should have brought happiness brought more restlessness and fear. This does not mean that money is not good. It is good to have enough money for our needs and comfort and a little more to be of help to others.

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