Thought for the day



January 2003                                                                                                                           BACK



Life with Passion


              When passion rules life, life’s temporal passage wears thin. One hears the common exclamation: “How time flies, I hardly realised it.” One is so immersed in what one is doing, that the burden of passing days is not felt. When such a blessing makes its visitation on a person, he can hardly wait to get up in the morning, for the heart aches to live the passion. In fact geniuses declare that man is a mere possibility, he does not exist; he is a latent force, if not blessed and driven by a passion – like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark. But when the spark does fly, it is brilliant; and shows.

               After all, what is passion? It is the becoming of a person. Are we not, the commoners amongst us, for most of our lives, marking time? Most of our being is at rest, unlived. In passion, the body and the spirit seek expression outside of self. The Passion is all that is other from self. The more extreme and the more expressed that passion is, the more unbearable does life seem without it. It reminds us that if passion dies or is denied, we are partly dead and that soon, come what may, we will be wholly so.

               History of Great people show that the memories of struggle to achieve success in reaching the goal gives more happiness than the success itself.  

              And surely there is some place where your specialties can shine. Somewhere that difference can be expressed. It’s up to you to find it, and you can.


                                          -  Dr. Sheilu Sreenivasan






April 2003

Fate & Free Will*



         Often, we blame fate for our failures. Are our lives governed by fate? Can free will shape our lives? Which is stronger, fate or free will? Both are karma or action – fate is the result of past karma, and present karma is free will. So, the two are one. Fate is hidden. So it is called adrishta or unseen; its intensity is unknown.

Just as we created our own fate by exercising our free will in the past, it is within our power to overcome it by exercising our free will in the present. The attainability or otherwise of a particular thing is not an absolute characteristic of the thing itself but is relative and proportionate to our qualification, capability and capacity to attain it at that time. By increasing the intensity of our present karma we can override the intensity of our past karma.

           This is illustrated with the following analogy: Just as we do not know the length of a nail that lies inside a piece of wood that we had earlier driven into the wood, we do not know the extent of our fate created by our earlier karma. But  with  sufficient  effort we can  take  the  nail  out of the wood. The intensity and number of attempts to pull it out must be greater than that of the strokes that drove the nail into the wood. Because we cannot see  the  length of the nail inside the wood, we do not know how much effort will be required to pull it out. Since fate is adrishta, before a venture, we will not know the quantum of effort required to succeed. So we must ignore fate and continue to exercise our free will till our objective is reached.

            One is born with the vasanas accumulated from past lives. Retribution for a past act is unavoidable, but vasanas can be managed by exercising our free will correctly.

Scriptures and teachings of sages tell us which vasanas are bad and which vasanas are good. But with determination it is possible to overpower all vasanas and, in time, we will cease to be swayed by bad as well as good vasanas. At that point, when both fate and vasanas disappear, we become free, free from the results of our actions. This freedom is moksha or liberation.


- Sri Chandra  Shekhara

Bharati Mahaswami

* Always I used  to wonder that if the fate is already determined based on the past karma then where is the scope for initiative to do better in this birth. The above message deals with relationship between Fate & Freewill or initiative.

- ED





July 2003



Cyclic Existence


         Paticca – samuppada of Buddhism  deals with the cause of rebirth and suffering with a view to ridding life of all ills. It is also called the law of cause & effect.

                “With the base of ignorance, reaction arises; with the base of reaction, consciousness arises; with the base of consciousness, mind and body arise; with the base of mind and body, the  six  senses  arise; with the base of six senses, contact arises; with the base of contact, sensation arises; with the base of sensation, craving and aversion arise; with the base of craving and aversion, attachment arises; with the base of attachment, the process of becoming arises; with the base of the process of becoming, birth arises; with the base of birth, ageing and death arise, together with sorrow, lamentation, physical and mental sufferings and tribulations. Thus arises this entire mass of suffering”. Ignorance of the reality of suffering, its cause, its end, and the path to its end, is the chief cause that sets the wheel of life in motion.

  Buddha discovered that between the object and the reaction stands a missing link: sensation. We react not to the exterior reality but to the sensations within us. Whenever any of six sensory organs comes in contact with ‘their’ objects, we “cognize” them, then our ‘perception’ evaluates the object on the basis of stored information and passes a value judgement. Based on this value judgement, pleasant or unpleasant sensations arise in the body. If the sensations are pleasant, we crave for them; if they are unpleasant, we develop an aversion to them.

                    So, three kinds of reactions are generated: The first is like a line drawn on water, which is temporary. The second reaction is like the lines drawn on sand, which are semi-permanent. The third reaction is like the lines drawn on a rock, which are enduring. They leave a lasting impression on the conscious mind. By observing our sensations objectively, we can control these reactions. 

              Change occurs every moment within us, manifesting itself in the play of sensations. It is at this level that impermanence must be experienced. Observation of constantly changing sensations permits the realisation of one’s own ephemeral nature. We realise the futility of attachment to something that is so transitory. Thus the direct experience of impermanence  gives  rise  to  a  certain  detachment.  In  this way one gradually frees the mind of suffering.







October 2003

The Technology of Yoga


            All Yoga techniques require faith, discipline and concentration. The objective of  all  Yoga  techniques  is  to  make  a  change  in  man's  values, attitudes and behavior. When proper discipline is applied it leads to a higher state of consciousness.

          Karma yoga is a realization of the higher consciousness through selfless action and service. In our materialistic society where men and women lead an active life, the path of Karma yoga is one of the best paths for self-evolution.

          Lord Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita says, "Your right is to work only, but never to the fruits thereof”. This can happen when the individual forgets himself and looses himself in work, overcoming the sense of 'I' and completely surrendering to the higher reality God.

          Jnana  Yoga  is gaining realisation of the universe and ourself through enlightened knowledge. This is based on enquiry and philosophical speculation. The individual is advised to constantly dissociate himself from all limitation.

          Bhakti Yoga  is  a  system  of  union  and  this  is realised through love and devotion  and  is  used  by  person  of  emotional nature. It has no intellectual demands.  

           Mantra Yoga is the path of sound and vibration  which effects consciousness. Chanting of certain syllable has wonderful power to subdue many forces of nature.  

         Japa Yoga - means  union  of  the self with supreme being through repetition of name of God and the rotation of consciousness. 

          In Tantra Yoga lower energy is harnessed to awaken the higher consciousness. The Tantrik must be in the highest state of physical development with his body under complete control. 

          Hathyoga is the path of mental mastery through physical development. It consists of the following disciplines 1. Asana   (physical postures) 2. Pranayama  (Breath control) 3. Mudra (body gestures) 4. Bandha (energy locks) 5. Satkarma (six purifying techniques).  

            Classical Yoga of Patanjali popularly called Rajayoga  is  the  most  systematic  method   of   attaining  the  highest       state  of  meditation and was   propounded    by   Maharshi Patanjali.    Rajayoga advocates, a technique with eight limbs, appealing to the mind, body and intellect of the aspirant. The eight limbs of Rajayoga are Yamas (abstinences), Niyamas (observances), Asanas  (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (abstrictions),  Dharana  (Concentration),  Dhyana (meditation)  and  Samadhi  (Super conscious state).


                        - - Salim Jumma

Yoga and Total Health, June 2003