Monday, August 5, 2013

BODY OF FIVE ELEMENTS Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD 8/5/2013 We call this body Paanchabhowtikam, meaning made of five elements of nature, earth, water, air, fire and space, hence impermanent. This body is called Stoola Sareera, the gross body. Then we have the senses and mind, intellect that belong to the Sukshma Sareera, the subtle body that is semi permanent that lasts till Moksha. Within this is the causal body, the Karana Sareera that is permanent and the God principle within us. We often compare the gross body that is impermanent to the Atman that is the causal body and permanent. On spiritual scrutiny it reveals to us the impermanent body of five elements comes from the permanent, changeless Atman. Since body is also the creation of Atman its source, we should pay the same respect, reverence and gratitude to the body that is visible as much as the Atman that is invisible. All clouds emanate from Ocean, all amber comes from the fire, all pots come from clay and all ornaments come from the gold. Thus the original, primordial unchanging principle and the changing forms and names called the deha or the creation and the world is not separate from its source the Brahman. For a sadhaka in his early stages of spiritual journey, one separates the permanent and impermanent. He calls the body as perishable and follows the suggestion to focus on the imperishable Atman within. But the same sadhaka after advancing in spiritual quest realizes that permanent Atman (consciousness) is all pervading and is present in all that is changing and the changeless. He sees the unchanging in changing and the changing in the unchanging. This is a more mature state of a spiritual aspirant. This is an integrated view of the universe (Samyak Darshan or Viswaroopa Darshan). This is an irreversible attitudinal shift that sees life and activity even in inanimate things and the permanence and inactivity (Atmic principle) in the animate things. Edi kaadu pujjarham. Sarvam Brahmam. Sarvam Brahmamayam Jagat. There is nothing other than Brahmam. Our thoughts emanate Brahmam, Our words emanate from Brahmam, Our acts are from Brahmam. We wake up in Brahmam. We smile in Brahmam. We cry in brahmam. Everything there is, is Brahmam. Seeing separation is Pravruthi (of the mind). Seeing the oneness is Nivruthi (integrated vision of atman). Diversity in Unity is Pravruthi and unity in diversity is Nivruthi. Thus if we feel that this is the body of five element and perishable, impermanent entity, it becomes less important and negative aspect of our existence. To the contrary, if we take this body as the temple of Divinity (Deho Devalayo Prokto), then this body picks up its true importance of adoration and admiration and care. This all in our attitude. Spirituality in essence is an attitude of Oneness and Unity. It is an integrated attitude of universe. This is Samyak Darshan or Viswaroopa Darshan.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

ACTING : REACTING Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD 8/3/2013 Reaction is an animal tendency that we inherited through our phylogenetic evolution from animals. It’s purpose is survival. This happens at sub-conscious level, with knowledge of the past memories. Action proactively is a human character. This happens at the level of intellect or higher. Wise people act and the unwise react. In reaction past baggage of memories play a big part. In action Atmic reflection plays a significant role, through mind (buddhi). Here are two example for us in Bhagavatam, Kamsa and Parikshit. Both are destined to die. Kamsa is destined to die in 10 years (through the 8th pregnancy of Devaki) and Parikshit in 7 days by snake bite. Kamsa reacted, lived in fear, killed several innocent children in the process and ultimately could not escape the destiny and died in fear. On the other hand, King Parikshit, who was cursed to die in 7 days, acted calmly, did not curse the curser in retaliation (though he had the capacity to curse), made no excuses, apologized for his error in judgment, intensely looked for productive way to spend those 7 days. He was grateful for the advance warning, listened to Bhagavata for 7 days narrated by sage Suka, and attained Moksha. In one of the Yaksha prasnas, Dharmaja was asked is, “What is the most amazing thing in the world?”. Dharmaja said that while death is always following every human from birth, most humans act as if they are going to live forever. Death is a shadow of life. This awareness of the presence of this shadow, puts our priorities of life in order. Thus we have a choice to be the Kamsa or the Parikshit. A choice to be reactive or proactive, to be in fear reactively or be at peace like King Parikshit and be proactive.. Parikshit welcomed the inevitable and made sure he spent every minute of his remaining days in search of realization and attained Moksha. This is a lesson for most of us, who have forgotten the impermanence of the body and permanence of the soul. We spend and waste time in external worldly pursuits that enhances our inadequacies and fears. Instead we should understand the impermanence of this body and feel the urgency to make the most out of this life and do activity (sadhana) to make us realize our true nature and reach the destination called Moksha, like King Parikshit.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

RADHA TATVAM Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD 7/31/2013 Radha is present in all of creation. It is through this Radha tatva that Divinity is recognized, as air is recognized by the coolness when it touches us. It is also most misinterpreted and misunderstood by most. Divinity is Omni present (all pervading), Omniscience (all knowing) and Omnipotent (all powerful). Divinity is nirakaara (formless), nirguna (attribute less) svaroopa. This is called Sat (Truth). Truth is something that does not change with time and space. However everything our senses can perceive change with time and space. Does that mean that the changing world is not Divinity? It is also said in Upanishads “Sarvam Kaliidam Brahmam” meaning that all that is Brahmam. This means that the changing as well as unchanging is Brahmam. There is an unchanging principle in the changing and a changing principle in the unchanging. How can it be? You may ask. Just lie the seed is in the plant and plant is in the seed. Tree (diversity) is the expression of seed and seed is the unity principle of the tree. Seed is the Sat and tree is the Chit. Divinity is described as Sat + Chit + Ananda Swaroopa. Thus Chit is the expression of Sat. This relationship between Sat and Chit manifests Ananda. This completes the cycle of Satchitananda that is Divinity. Radha (love) is the emotion of creation. It is the cement that connects all of creation. This cement is love. Intense love for God is Bhakthi. Radha represents this love, bhakthi. It is the magnetic force in Krishna. Krishna is defined as “Karshatethi Krishnah” the one that attracts is Krishna. This attractive force in Krishna is Radha. Radha is the magnetic and Krishna is the electric force. Radha is the kinetic energy while Krishna is the potential energy. Radhakrishna is the ardhanareesvara swaroopam. Radha is the naari and Krisna is esvara. Flow of Divinity is Dhaara. Flow is the Chit of Divinity. This is the expression of Divinity like the plant from seed. Sarvam Vishnumayam jagat and sarvam radhamayam jagat. Sarvam premamayam jagat. This dhaaara when reversed becomes Raadha. In Love there is merging and union. In love there is expansion. Radha is ultimate expansion into Kishna. All the gopikas represent this love principle or bhakthi principle. Raasa Leeela is the full expansion love that fully encircles Divinity that is in all. One Krishna for each Gopika and yet One central Krishna. This explains the Poornamitham sloka in action. Putting it mathematically “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and periphery (circumference) is nowhere”. Radha tatva is manifestation prema tatva in each one of us.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

GIVING IS GROWING AND HOARDING IS DYING Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD 7/18/2013 Life is a dynamic process and flow. If water stagnates, it becomes a cesspool of bacteria and a reservoir of disease. The same water when it keeps flowing maintains its clarity and purity in spite of impurities coming and joining it. Every cell in the body gets nourishment from the body and works for the common good of the body. When it become selfish and grows at the cost of other cells it called a cancer cell. Similarly we should earn money but at the same time let the money flow out for common good of the society. It is said: “NA DAANENA PAAPENA IHAM DARIDRAM” (POVERTY IN THIS LIFE is the result OF NON-GIVING IN PAST LIVES) Thus each one of us in our own way and to our capacity let our wealth flow out for common good. This makes us healthy and real wealthy. The real wealth of person is not determined by his bank balance, but by his giving for common good. This is the only element of fame that one leaves behind as legacy. Some of us are spontaneous givers. These are the satwic givers. Some of us give for recognition, name and fame. These are the Rajasic givers. Some of us give reluctantly after being coerced because of obligation. These are the tamasic givers. Some of us give our time and effort. Some of us give our knowledge. Some of them give all three kinds of resources. The highest giver is the giver of knowledge (jnana data). The next is the selfless giver of time and energy (karma yogi). Next comes the giver of monetary and other resources, the satwic, rajasic and tamasic in that order. No matter where one start in giving, over time, it becomes a habit and discipline. Soon it becomes our character. No matter where one starts in giving, it gradually transforms us into greater state of true giving. What is important is to start giving and sharing. It is said: “THYAGAINENA AMRUTATVA MANASU” (ONLY THROUGH SACRIFICE AND GIVING, WE EXAPNAD INTO UNLIMITEDNESS) By giving we expand from the limitedness of “me and mine” to “we and ours”. Thus common good becomes our good. There is joy in giving and sharing. Our welfare lies in the welfare of others. Common good is our good. Let us keep this in mind in all our endeavors.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

PREMA – LOVE Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD 7/16/2013 Love is the emotion of creation. All of creation is created because of love (God loved see himself in creation). It sustains in love and merges in love. Love is the cement of creation. Love is the element that binds all in creation. In love there is merger and union. In love there is expansion beyond the limited self and ultimately into oneness in creation. The effect of love can be seen day to day with mothers and their children. When the child hurts from a pin prick, the mother feels the pain and rushes to attend to the child, leaving everything else. This is because the mother’s body expanded to include the child’s body in it. Similarly when two long term friends who did not meet for 30 years suddenly meet in the airport, they forget all surroundings and become one with each other. This is a joyful feeling. This joy of the friends and the pain of the mother is the result of love, though not fully expansive in the true sense. Thus love is of two kinds, the restrictive, constrictive love called mamatha, mamatva or mamakaara and the expansive love, Divine love or Bhakthi. Narada Bhakthi Sutras define Bhakthi as “intense love for God”. This is the only expansive love that when practiced makes our life loving and transforms us into embodiments of love. Once this expansive love dawns in us, we develop Ekatma Bhava and we experience the world of unity and oneness. All other forms of love are a restricted spark of this expansive love. When the restrictive love fully blossoms away from the shackles of restriction, it blossoms into true love. Let us ponder on the differences between these two forms of love. Restrictive love is what Arjuna had during Kurukshetra war that blinded him of his dharma with mamatva. Krishna expounded on the principle of expansive love of creation and creator through Bhakthi Yoga and advised him of total surrender of limitedness (Ahamkara) at the altar of un-limitedness (Divinity). In other words all of Gita is a flow, journey from limited love (mamatva) to unlimited love (Mama Dharma – Atma Dharma) through sacrifice of limitedness (Sarva Dharman Parityajya). Restrictive love is possessive love and desire for self (ego), to satisfy needs of self (ego). This is what we call love, the misunderstood love. True love is expansion. It wishes the welfare and happiness of the lover or object of love. It gives, not takes. It does not demand, it abundantly gives. This kind of love is seen in Gopikas of Brindavan towards Krishna. Here is an episode in Bhagavata. When Krishna pretended to having head-ache and asked Narada to give the dust from his feet to ameliorate his head-ache, Narada refused saying it is a sin for him to do that. However when same thing was said to Gopikas, they danced till they got tired, collected the dust from their feet to help the head-ache of Krishna. They said even if we go to hell in the process of giving dust from feet to lord, they would feel better if Krishna ‘s head ache is ameliorated. Their only thought is welfare of their beloved even if they acquire papa in the process. Fundamental principle of expansive love or true love is it seeks the welfare of the beloved, the object of love. There are no demands of anything in return. It loves for loves sake. It is love without duty. It is said: DUTY WITHOUT LOVE IS DEPLORABLE DUTY WITH LOVE IS DESIRABLE LOVE WITHOUT DUTY IS DIVINE It is the love without duty that is the true expansive love or Divine love. This is what we should be cultivating. Be good for goodness sake. Be loving for love’s sake. Give. Give. Give. In giving Love blossoms. Here are two worldly examples of such love in my own life, if I may share to make the point. However the restrictive love we all naturally possess can be expanded to expansive love (Divine Love) even in our human relationships, when we treat each other as embodiments of divinity itself. Thus worldly restrictive love can be transformed into Divine expansive love. My father is very fond of my mother. She loves fish and non-vegetarian dishes. My father is a strict vegetarian, cannot even eat eggs. He cannot eat in the same plate that others used for non-vegetarian dishes leave alone fish. Since my mother loves fish, he used to go to the fish market in Ongole on foot, enquires the fish vendors about good fish, buys them and brings them home for my mother. This is an expression of his expansion love towards my mother, by catering and attending to her happiness and needs. Here is another example of such expansion love from Kalyani (my spouse) towards me. Though she wears a hearing aid, she still cannot hear and decipher all the conversation fully in a group. Since I enjoy and committed to study group at Sathya Sai Center, every Sunday, she spontaneously gets ready and enthusiastically comes and gives me company to Sathya Sai Center. Though she does not enjoy as much as I do (because of her hearing problem), she does it to make me happy as a saha dharma charini. This is true with several other community events and programs that she religiously accompanies me to make me happy. This she does as an act of love to give me the pleasure of her company. These are some examples of this selfless expansive love that elevate human relationships into divine relationships. This fostered the oneness and unity in our relationship which both of us cherish. In true love oneness and unity prevails. One (true lovers) thinks as one, speak as one and act as one. You feel the unity in diversity in action. In order to reach this stage, lot of nurturing and cultivation is necessary. We need to transform the restrictive love, fondness, adoration, appreciation into ever expanding love. It begins with each of one of us, it all begins with us. World and the worldly relationships are a medium through which we can directly experience the Divine expansive love, if we so nourish and cultivate it to attain the Divine joy and happiness leading to bliss.

Monday, July 15, 2013

OBSTACLES IN THE JOURNEY HOME Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD 7/15/2013 Journey home is journey to OM through OM. Journey home is the realization that all of creation is one. Oneness and unity is the underlying truth of diversity. Diversity is the manifestation of Unity. Unity to diversity and diversity to unity is the eternal cycle of creation. The world of diversity is in its eternal journey to Unity, which is the home of diversity. There are some obstacles in the path of reaching home (Unity). Those are 1. Karmic baggage 2, Arishadvargas 3. Particularly the ego . How do we overcome, get rid of these problems in the path is the following discussion. 1. KARMIC BAGGAGE (samskaras or tendencies). This is burnt through nishkama karma and jnana. As we burn past baggage with new knowledge and nishkama karma, we should avoid creating new baggage. Pending desire is the karmic baggage and these create vasanas or samskaras. There are two ways to burn the karmic baggage. A. EXHAUSTING: One with exhausting the current desires by experiencing them and in the process, not creating new desires. This is called the process of exhaustion. B. CEILING ON DESIRES: The second is ceiling on desires and surrendering all desires at the feet of Divinity. 2. ARISHADVARGAS: The problems with arishad vargas (kama- desire, krodha-anger, lobha-miserliness, moha-delusion, mada-ego, matsarya-joulosy) could be decreased by one of the three processes. A. AWARENESS: By bringing in awareness of these impurities. In the presence of awareness, the arishadvargas dissipate. They only survive in unawareness. When any of the six enemies start appearing in our psyche, if we bring awareness of their presence, they dissipate. This awareness is Atmic vision. Kama cannot survive when Rama is there and vice versa. B. POSITIVES: Flushing with Positive values like Sathya , Dharma, Shanthi, Prema, Ahimsa and Thyaga shall purge negatives of arishad vargas like flushing the toilet with good water. When good comes in the bad cannot stay in. 3. EGO (AHANKARA): This is the final frontier in self realization. While ego is part of arishdvargas, it is mentioned again separately because of its enduring quality. We need to understand the purpose of creation of ego by Divinity. Nothing is created without any purpose. When the world of duality is created from Unity, the one has to appear as many. Hence a boundary is created around each human to create a Ghatakasa (Bounded consciousness- contained Atman) from Chidakasa (unbound consciousness- Paramatman). PURPOSE OF EGO: The purpose is that each of these humans identify its uniqueness and perform the Divinity’s leela (Stage show as an actor). This platform is given to work out our own salvation through self realization as humans were given some of the creative powers and free will of the creator. With this creativity and limited free will they were given the choice to follow Dharma and further evolve and merge into their source Divinity (Satchidananda Sagara) or move away through Adharma and go through repeated cycles of birth and death (Re-incarnation). Certain amount of ego is necessary for functioning in human form. When it exceeds certain limits it deludes us and becomes an obstacle. When we use the word ego in spiritual language, it only means excessive ego that is disruptive of spiritual progress. Here are some ways to sublimating our egos. A. AWARENWSS: Ego grows in unawareness and dissipates in awareness as mentioned above. Bringing constant integrated awareness (CIA) of our true nature, the ATMAN, the ego and other arishadvargas disappear. B. SURRENDER: By attributing the body, mind complex to Divinity itself as surrender, the ego of separateness vanishes. C. FLUSH WITH ONENESS: When we flush our mind with attitude of Unity and oneness the separateness of ego dissipates. Positivity of oneness removes the negativity of separateness. Ego is the final hurdle in full expansion of self towards self realization. It is the final frontier. In removing this ego, several events and people in our lives are helpful. Rather than being angry towards them for the insults or otherwise hurled at us, we should be thankful for them for helping our spiritual advancement by curtailing our ego. Those that praise us enhance our ego and it is only the ones that criticize us and belittle us that will limit our ego. Be thankful to those, who has the freedom to tell you the way it is or the children, particularly teenagers who do not mince words, your adversaries, all adverse events and enemies all contribute for your spiritual growth. Be thankful for them. Ultimately Guru and prarbda contribute for ego breaking. Sani Graham (Saturn) that everybody fears is the best helper in ego breaking. Welcome it as friend and thank him for your spiritual expansion. When we read the biographies of sages and saints, we find they all invariably have to go through this ego breaking process to become Paramhamsas. Thus adversity and adversaries contribute more to our spiritual maturity than favorable events and our well wishers and be thankful for them. Thus all of them become our friends. We become friend of all. This develop ekatma bhava in us. This is our destination and goal.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

ADVERSARIES OF HINDUISM AND HINDU CULTURE Dr. Raghavendra S. Prasad, MD July 3, 2013 Indian civilization is the only living ancient civilization that is still existing on earth. While the Babylonian, the Nile Vally, Chinese, Roman, Geek civilizations flourished and died, the Indian civilization is still alive and well, flourishing in India. What are the elements of Hinduism and its culture that sustained it from the vigors of time, from the onslaughts of Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and others. There are several Hindus that believe the enemies of Hinduism and Bharatiya culture is other foreign religions like Islam and Christianity. It is a fact of history that Muslim invaders destroyed the Hindu temples and looted wealth of India. There is some damage done to the body of Hinduism by the evangelism and conversions promoted by Christianity through incentives. However greater is the damage caused to the body of Hinduism by Hindus through disunity, through ignorance of the tenants of Hinduism and its culture by Hindus themselves. Thus the enemy is not outside, but within us. There are five strengths to Hinduism that sustained it, protected it, in spite of numerous attempts by competing foreign religions and cultures to destroy it. These unique qualities are its sustaining life blood namely: 1. INCLUSIVITY: It’s inclusiveness to respect all other religions is its very character and strength. It believes in the principle that all religions are like the rivers that merge into the same ocean of Divinity. It is not mere tolerance, but genuine respect. 2. DIRECT EXPERIENCE: It’s emphasis on direct experience of all seekers. It is an experience based religion, not a book based or a prophet based religion. It believes each seeker to be a Moses and get their own ten commandments through direct experience. 3. COMMON HUMANITY: It seeks welfare of all of humanity as “vasudhika kutumbam”. It prays for happiness of all the beings in the world. It believes in universal brotherhood. 4. DYNAMISM: It is a continuously evolving religion and continues to take good from all sources. Hence it is ever new and adjusts to times and places. 5. POSITIVITY: Positivity is its hallmark. It never talks in negative language and does not use fear tactics. Negativity is foreign to Sanatana Dharma. Many well intended staunch Hindu leaders are useing alarm tactics and negative statements with an intent to protect Hinduism from these outer enemies of Hinduism. Sometimes blinded by the constant negative thinking, these well intended individuals and organizations, do unintended damage to their own religion by going against the basic unique tenants that protected Hinduism all these centuries. They go against the grain of inclusivity, positivity and expansive love. Hatred and narrowness, exclusivity and constriction is against the very nature of Hinduism. Hinduism without these five qualities invites self destruction. Any damage in numbers caused by conversions is because of the man made impurities that crept into Hinduism like caste system by birth and our forgetting the common humanity of Hinduism. Let us review the things we as Hindus need to do to rejuvenate and strengthen Hinduism by promoting its strengths. 1. Promoting unity among Hindus. 2. Propagate knowledge about Hinduism among Hindus. 3. Promote positivity, inclusivity, common humanity and direct experience. 4. Bring awareness on the mis-understandings about caste system and work for a casteless society. 5. Promote self confidence and self esteem of Hindus by making them aware of the glory and uniqueness of Hinduism. It’s inclusivity is its exclusivity. 6. Promotion of leadership and values through education to youth. These are the things that every committed Hindu has to understand and promote. Each of us should be a participant in this yajna of rejuvenation of Hinduism. When Hinduism flourishes, the universal brotherhood of mankind and common humanity is restored in the world. Let us protect and promote Hinduism by the above six steps. What is good for Hinduism is good for the world. It is one religion that promotes Oneness and Unity in society.