Monday, 20 May 2013
True honesty takes into account the claims of God as well as those of man, it renders to God the things that are God’s as well as to man the things that are man’s- C. Simmons
Honesty is an attitude of accepting the reality as it is. It demands the acceptance of one’s own goodness as simultaneously God’s gift and one’s own responsibility. Honesty appreciates the value and ability of others. It accepts others for their own value and is willing to contribute to the growth and development of those with whom one lives.
Doing the right thing doesn’t come naturally to any of us. As America’s first President, George Washington said, “Few men have virtue enough to withstand the highest bidder”. Yet that is what we must do to develop the kind of character that will sustain us. Moliere commented “Men are alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds they differ. The difference in their deeds is simple: People of character do what is right regardless of the situation”. If you do the right thing and keep doing it even if it doesn’t help you move ahead with your talent in the short term, it will protect you and serve you in the long term. Character builds- and it builds you. Or as Dr. Dale Bronner, a board member of a non- profit organization EQUIP puts it,” Honesty is not something you do, honesty is who you are”.
Once a general manager wanted to test his people, about their values of life. He announced that in their seminar folder, there was a PVC pouch and in it a seed and that they need to plant it in a pot and look after it well. He would hold a competition at the next year’s seminar and the best plants would be awarded suitably. A year passed quickly. And next year in a big hall, a great scene! There were hundreds of pots and great variety of plants-all except one. In this one pot was soil but no plant! The owner of the pot was standing quietly and seemingly ashamed of himself.
The general manager called him on the stage. He asked him what happened and he told him the truth. He planted the seed, which he was given and did what was to be done- but nothing happened. The general manager declared him the winner! Everyone was shocked. “Gentlemen! The seeds I gave you were boiled seeds. You planted them and nothing happened! You acted smartly and used some other seeds. This man was honest to his work and therefore, he did not cheat me or himself”.
Sr. (Dr) Lilly Thokkanattu SJL
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Arbindo, a monk, philosopher and freedom fighter of the 20th century was from Bengal and lived his spiritual life at Pondicherry, a French territory of pre-independent India. Arbindo’s perception on Gita talks of supra-consciousness and the supramental. It is within the confines of rational mind. He is always within the reason. Even in his talks on transcendence of reason, he uses rationalistic concepts. Arbindo was a rationalist. There is a great consistency in the words of Arbindo, which is not there in the statements of supra-rationalism. We cannot find the same logical consistency in the words of many mystics. A mystic speaks in terms of contradictions and paradoxes. Mystic says one word and soon contradicts his own. Usually mystics are self contradictory but not Arbindo.
Arbindo was a great system-maker and could never be a supra-rational. Supra- rational people are always unsystematic. System is integral to logic; and which is illogical cannot follow a methodology or order. The unthinkable cannot be systematized. All the thinkers of this century who have crossed the threshold of reason are fragmentary in their statements. Wittgenstein, Husserl, Heidegger, Marlo Ponti and the rest of them, have made fragmentary statements. J Krishnamurti belongs to the same category which denies the system, order. Their statements are atomic and self contradictory. Arbindo’s case is different. The truth is, after Shankara there has been no greater system builder in India than Arbindo.
The East has no logical system. All its profound insights transcend logic and thought; they cannot be achieved through thinking. Eastern experiences go beyond the known, the knower and the knowledge itself. These all belong to the unknown and the unknowable- what we call mystery. Curiously though, Arbindo creates concepts out of things that have never been conceptualized. He creates categories and concepts and fit them into logic and reason. And he does it without inhibitions. This borders him to mystics!
Down the centuries we have believed that man has to rise and ascend to God, it is always an upward journey. Arbindo thinks the other way. He thinks that God will descend and meet man. To understand the concept, contradiction and reality we must know the difference between the religions, thinking and the theology behind the same. Two ways of thinking are found in religions, one type thinks in creation of world by God. The other type thinks there is no beginning and no end. Now, we must see the concepts in depth. Certainly evolution is unacceptable for most religions! Why is it so?
Let us analyse them all in the coming weeks… “Let us understand Krishna to understand Gita!”
Wishing you all good health and happiness,
Dr.Dwarakanath, Director, Mitran foundation- the stress management people
Friday, 17 May 2013
We all remain happy and motivated in good times. But no one can say when we may have to face bad times. In fact, life is a series of good and bad times and in a meaningful life they both have to be faced with equanimity. While it is easier to face good times with calmness, it is not so in bad times. The real test of our inner growth is in bad times only. But if we believe that bad times help us to grow internally, we can not only face them with calm, we can also win over them. I have a very glaring example of this fact, which I am narrating here. I had a friend who was a member of an important central service and we were together in the training course at Mussorie in the mid-seventies. Our friendship continued thereafter also and we remained in touch with each other.
I found him a very smart, competent and good person. He had a very co-operative wife and two bright sons. His life was going on smoothly when bad times shrouded him all of a sudden. Firstly, he contracted a nerve disease, which made him almost immobile as well as speechless. While this disease was in progress his elder son got murdered. The family was contesting this case with a lot of courage but during the course of trial, my friend also passed away. This left his wife alone with her younger son.
One can imagine the severity of the situation for the lady. I visited her one evening at her residence when she shared with me the challenge she was facing. I had always admired the courage she had shown till then, but that day she was somewhat nervous. When I was about to leave, she said that at times she feels that she is on the verge of breaking down and wants to give up the fight in the face of adverse circumstances. While a normal person would have done that much earlier, doing so after having gone so far in her fight against adversity did not appear appropriate to me. I also knew that it was only a transient phenomenon and a proper encouragement or support at that stage would give her the strength to fight her full battle. Suddenly, an idea came to my mind which I shared with her. The idea was that adversity should not be allowed to win by default and it should be given a full fight even if we don’t feel strong enough to face it. Hearing these words she seemed to have regained her will power and determination to fight the battle till the end. This was amply reflected in her body language also.
Few days later, she told me over phone about the positive impact these words had on her. I was extremely gratified to receive this response. Thereafter, I kept full track of the events which followed in the whole struggle and how boldly and wisely she fought with the negative forces of the system. The final outcome was uncertain till at last the whole nation celebrated the day when she came out as a winner. Certainly, she rose above her adversity and defeated it with her firm resolve.
It will not be correct to presume that merely my words were a source of strength to her. Many help a courageous person and the maximum help comes from Nature. Perhaps, in her case, she refused to give a walkover to her adversity and fought with it till the last. The outcome was mainly on account of that fight.
Rakesh Mittal I A S
The defeat of the Meccans in Humain marked the complete devastation of the Meccans. The price that the Muslims had to pay for this victory was heavy. The army of the enemy was lead by Malik Bin Auf. After the defeat he escaped along with the tribe with him. Mohammed ordered to march towards them and attack the tribe under the leadership of Malik Bin Auf. Malik was in a safe place well protected by force. The men of Malik was quite familiar with this kind of warfare.
The Muslims marched towards them and crossed Liyy. There was a fort belonging to Malik Bin Auf. The Muslims demolished the fort. They also demolished a building belonging to this tribe. They camped in a place nearby. Mohammed discussed with his companions regarding the future courses of action. The enemy tribe was watching the movement of the Muslims army from the top of their forts. They started aiming the Muslims and sending arrows. It was not easy for the Muslim army to attack the force which was well secured and protected. This necessitated some innovative techniques to win over the Meccans and to protect themselves from the attack of the Meccans with the arrows. The Muslims had to move to a safe place. Some Muslims lost their lives and some including the son of Abu Bekker got injured. Muslims started to attack them with cling.
A section of the Muslim army moved forward to attack all of the force. The enemy tribesmen were very closer and they started throwing at Muslims. Muslims started to retreat without waiting. Utilizing this opportunity the tribe of Haquib started to aim arms and in this process a few more Mulims lost their lives. The attempt of the Muslims to capture the forts was foiled. The only option open to Muslims was to attack and destroy those great gardens which were guarded. Those great gardens were famous in Arabia. The Muslims started to destroy the garden. Finding this the tribe leader sent a messenger to Mohammed with a message that it was open to Mohammed to take this great garden or to save them considering the blood relationship between them. Thereupon Mohammed commanded the army to stop destruction of this great garden. He declared that those who surrendered to him can except good treatment from him. Mohammed understood that they had preserved food for sufficiently long time.
Justice P K Shamsuddin
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Raja yoga means royal union; pranayama means extension of breath or life force. This rajayogic-pranayamic meditation for developing union with one’s self and the Supreme Being having a vertical dimension has four stages of relaxation, purification, surrendering, and union.
1. Relaxation. Calmness, peacefulness, and relaxation are necessary for growth and development. Nothing can grow in a climate of disturbance, tension, and stress. The best way to relax is to regulate our breathing in a setting where external and internal stimulations are controlled. Often we do not have situations of our choice where we can control the external stimulations. In such settings we can control the stimulations by not controlling them or actively accepting those stimulations that we cannot eliminate. We can maximize elimination of internal stimulations by carefully chosen postures. To begin the meditation, sit comfortably insukhasana (easy posture) or siddhasana or padmasana or on a chair with a straight back support. Direct the eyes down towards the floor. Close them letting the upper eye-lid gently sliding over the lower one. This will help quieten the brain and minimize external stimulation. Similarly gently close the lips. You must be sitting in a comfortable pose without undue stress or tension with your head and spinal cord straight. Keeping the spinal cord erect helps one to be alert. One does not want to go to sleep. Breathe in and out in a slow, continuous flow without stops and jerks. Let smooth, deep inhalation and complete exhalation go on and on throughout this exercise. Think of lungs as two good balloons getting slowly and completely inflated and deflated with air. Fresh air with plenty of oxygen carried by blood vessels into every cell comes in during inhalation; used-up air that contains carbon-dioxide exits from the lungs. Be aware of any aversive stimulus such as unwanted noise in the environment. Acknowledge such stimulus and let it be. Take a brief systematic survey of your body going slowly from one part of the body to another. Be aware of any itching, twitching, tightness, throbbing, tension, and stress. Acknowledge any uncomfortable sensation, and let it be to be worked on later. During the process of rhythmic inhalation and exhalation, be aware of the deep relaxation that is taking place. Experience waves and waves of relaxation enveloping and enwrapping, carrying and floating you in enjoyable, deep relaxation. You can also imagine to be in a beautiful, scenic view of your choice.
2. Purification. During inhalation think of every cell and fiber of your being refreshed, strengthened, and cleansed by oxygen carried by your blood streams. Likewise carbon-dioxide and other impurities in your bloodare exhaled out of your system. During this special awareness of breathing in and breathing out, the process of on-going purification taking place. We need to add mental healing and hygiene to the bodily cleansing.During inhalation everything that is desirable such as truth, justice, fairness, goodness, beauty, compassion, kindness, and awareness, or any other value is breathed in. During exhalation everything that is undesirable –lust and desire (kama), anger and hatred (krodha), greed and miserliness (lobha), delusion and attachment (moha), ego and pride (mada or ahankar), envy and jealousy (maatsarya) – are breathed out. This is a very relentless, dynamic, and life-long process.
3. Surrendering: During inhalation one breathes in cosmic consciousness, vital energy, and fullness of spirit-life. During exhalation one surrenders completely to the Supreme Being, and puts oneself at the disposal of thatDivine Spirit to be molded and shaped as a lump of clay is worked on by a potter. We are works in progress. Our complete surrendering makes sure that we do not put any obstacle in the way of our becoming and being who we need to be.
4. Union and Communion: Here the stage is set in our innermost being for the all important and climatic union of the individual consciousness with the Universal Consciousness. We are minute sparks that are parts of the One Blazing Cosmic Spark. Here the mutuality of communication is going on even as the yogic-pranayamic meditation is going on. For a person who has been through years of sadhana (asceticism), the jeevatma(individual soul) in this ecstatic union with the parmatma (Supreme Soul) is in communion beyond communication. Here only what matters is that the individual spirit wills what the Supreme Spirit wills.
Swami Snehananda Jyoti
Tuesday, 14 May 2013
Keanu Charles Reeves is a popular American-Canadian actor, who is noted for his discipline and range. Recently, Keanu Reeves has shown his generosity by giving away £50 million of his earnings from the Matrix sequels for the unsung heroes of the sci-fi blockbusters - the costume and special effects teams. When asked about this prodigious act of generosity, the actor said that he already has enough cash. "Money is the last thing I think about. I could live on what I have already made for the next few centuries," he declared. There are stories of many such individuals and organizations who believe that money and matter are not everything.
Our anxiety to be always an inch ahead of the nearest is perhaps the basic reason for our mad race to hoard the maximum, much more than what one really needs. This is exactly for which we spend those fruitful years in our life. We have to admit that we live in a pathologically dissatisfied world, always comparing ourselves with others. What others have has become the deciding unit of our needs and wants. Here is what an anonymous person wrote on this, ‘Filipinos want to be fair-complexioned like Westerners, and so buy bleaching stuff. Westerners want to own bronzed bodies like ours, and so purchase tanning lotions. Those with moles have them removed, while those who don’t strategically implant beauty spots. Some people want to shed a few pounds, while others want to gain some baby fat’. I remember the story of a man who lost a precious jewel worth a few millions. He continued sobbing and weeping until he read the news of another burglary in which his friend lost jewelry worth many more millions. Compare and accept has become the key not only in social affairs but also in family relationships. Thank God, animals don’t have this problem.
There are no two absolutely identical stars in this universe, no two trees, no two leaves or two drops even. Diversity is the very nature of the universe and absolute similarity is almost impossible here. I assure that living as oneself and being natural are the easiest to do and happiest to experience. Avoid comparing and contrasting not only because they generate negative passions like jealousy and hatred but also because it is strategically the most practical approach to a life dipped in happiness and joy.
Monday, 13 May 2013
The practice of silence is more soothing and healing than most medicines. Pascal, the great scientist, said, “After observing humankind over a long period of years, I came to the conclusion that one of man’s greatest troubles is his inability to be still”. In the silence of our hearts, God speaks and from the fullness of our hearts we speak. There are three kinds of silence. Silence from words is good, because inordinate speaking tends to evil. Silence or rest from desires and passions is still better, because it promotes quietness of spirit. But the best of all is silence from unnecessary and wandering thoughts, because that is essential to internal recollection; and because it lays a foundation for a proper reputation and for silence in other respects. Silence is at the root of our union with God and with one another.
When Thomas Alva Edison received an offer from the Western Union Company for the ticker he had invented, he was undecided what price to ask and requested for a couple of days time to think about it. During that time Edison and his wife talked it over thoroughly, and Mrs. Edison suggested that he ask for eight lakhs. Edison thought it an exorbitant figure, but at the appointed time he returned to the Office prepared to ask for that amount. “Well, now, Mr. Edison, the Official said after he had greeted him. How much do you want? Edison tried to say eight lakhs, but the words stuck in his mouth. He hesitated and stood speechless for quite some time. The official waited restlessly for a while and then impatiently said to Edison,” How about forty five lakhs?”. Clearly it was Edison who benefited from that SILENCE. The Western Union Company lost, because its representative lacked the control to listen to silence.
We tend to say what we want to say without waiting patiently and listening to the person we are dealing with. Listening in silence takes some control. Many of us simply cannot stand being quiet, waiting patiently, and tolerating the silence long enough for the results that will inevitably take place.
Sr. (Dr) Lilly Thokkanattu SJL