January 2005


Purpose of Life

                      Life is a mixture of joys and miseries. One has the tendency to remember the difficulties or miseries for  long, forgetting the joys the life has bestowed. The enlightened say that one should use this life to liberate from the cycle of birth and death. How many have been liberated? Why the population is still growing? Possibly we have not followed the right path.

            Nature has been kind enough that the ordinary person does not know what he or she was in the previous birth or what he or she will be in future to worry or excited about. In each life one starts a new chapter. It has an option to live like a noble man leading a spiritual life in harmony with nature or live like an animal and be materialistic.  In simple terms, what is your duty to surrounding Nature and Society of which you are part and from which you breathe air, drink water and eat food for your existence.

            Have a vision of what you wish to do with yourself and the world around you. Keeping the mind occupied with a goal in whatever you undertake, make best use of life and leave the World better than you found it. In brief ideal life should be based on simple living, value addition, spiritual thinking and serving the needy and society.

April  2005

A Life That Matters

Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises or sunsets, no minutes, hours, or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.  Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.

It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear. So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.  It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.  It won’t matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.  Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; Not what you got, but what you gave.  What will matter is not your success, but your significance.  What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence, but your character.  What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.

What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.  What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.

It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.  We make a living by what we earn but we make a life by what we give!!!


July  2005

The Pope and the Sannyasin

Two great religious leaders of the world have left us. Pope John Paul II, Head of the World Catholic Church and H.H. Swami Ranganathanandaji, President of the Sree Ramakrishna Mutt and Mission. Hinduism is non-monolithic and has no sole supreme head comparable to Pope. Incidentally, that points towards a crucially radical difference between the two world religions. The Pope is the head of a theocratic state with subjects loyal to him transnationally. The clout is, that the Pope wields on account of his religion, a political authority which he wields in a manner which has no parallel in contemporary history.

Leave alone International media, even the National media was reluctant and shy, if not apologetic, in giving proper coverage to Swami Ranganathanandaji’s Mahasamadhi and also projecting the great personality and priceless contribution which was only his legitimate due. Pope’s media coverage started long before his passing away and continued long after his successor was elected. The entire world’s, attention was on Vatican for weeks together.

There is no need to get either excited about the one or worried about the other. Hinduism is a peaceful religion, poorly or not at all organized, wielding no political clout, ruling no country or reigning over any transnational empire, true to its understanding of religion and spirituality. Swami Vivekananda had said that the impact of Hinduism is like that of a flower blossoming at the touch of the morning dew and spreading its fragrance unseen and unheard but bringing to blossom the fairest of flowers. This is in sharp contrast with the Roman Catholic Church backed by the Roman Empire whose military might enabled it to spread in the far off corners. In Hinduism, spirituality has a meaning and a value which is too subtle to be promoted by political and military power unlike Christianity which promoted it over theological empire followed by worldwide colonization. Vatican has inherited much of the tradition and also the regalia of Roman empire, whereas Hindu spiritual movements continue to deliver their message in a quite unostentatious way by personal touch and living models.

Swami Ranganathanandaji embodied the very spirit of Hinduism as exemplified by the great lives of Sree Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda.  Swami Ranganathananda was known as the spiritual ambassador of India all over the world.  Once he wrote, “The Bhagavad Gita is not a text to be worshipped in the pooja room but a manual to be followed in the battlefield of life”.

Abridged from Yuva Bharati, June 2005                     


October 2005

India, the Sole Karmabhumi

Bharath alone is the Karmabhumi, a land of spiritual awakening, where evolved souls incarnate to work their final emancipation, in the process guiding others thirsting for liberation.

While the NRIs have to be appreciated for their tremendous effort in constructing temples abroad, any attempt to claim Kshetratvam or Sthalatvam for these foreign  locals is far-fetched. In India, all temples are built on locations of some celestial events. Most are centuries old, and the murtis are svayambhus, indicative of divine will. There are divine powers in such locales, which help a spiritual aspirant in his progress.

Of course, God is universal and can be invoked at any place and time in murtis consecrated according to religious rites; but to accord the status of sthalam or kshetram certain prerequisites have to be fulfilled. What has taken cycles of chaturyugas to establish cannot be abridged in an ephemeral time frame of a few years and can neither be geographically relocated by frail human efforts, however noble the intention.

Sri Ramananda Sarasvati Swamiji, has said thus: The Hindu nation, whatever its temporal position, is the spiritual leader of the world. This is clear from the fact that its God is neither kama (worldly happiness) nor Artha (lucre) nor earthly Swarajya (state of political supremacy) but the supreme Self, the Sat-chit-ananda — reality in all.

This is the only land in world history which won its freedom not by blood-shed, but by spiritual might symbolised in the person on Mahatma Gandhi. This, at once, gives legitimacy to its claim as a Karmabhumi.

Tattvaloka, May 2005                                                                   M.C. Deviprasad