Thursday, 25 August 2016

Bhagavad Gita 2.16

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सत: |
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्वदर्शिभि: || 2.16||
nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sata
ubhayorapi d
iho nta stvanayos tattva-darśhibhi
(Excerpts from Universal message of Bhgavad Gita by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Math.)
Asat and sat , these words were used. The word asat means the unreal. So the sloka says, na asato vidyte bhavo , ‘the unreal never is’ ; similarly , nabhavo vidyate satah  ‘the word “non-existent” cannot be applied to what is real’. The sat is the real; it can never be the non-existent.
Our thinkers , when they studied the world, found two aspects of the world: one is changeable aspect and another an unchangeable aspect. Everything in this world is changeable; every second it is changing. Change is the characteristic of this external and much of the internal world. And anything that changes, moment to moment, Vedanta calls it unreal. That is how we use the word unreal; it exists, but it is unreal. It appears, but it is unreal. The nature of this manifested universe, a universe which one experiences with five senses, is that, it is constantly changing, and therefore unreal. Whatever changes is unreal. Then where is the reality? Vedanta says, yes, there is changeless reality beyond the sensory level, you come to the world of reality, which is unchanging, infinite, eternal.
But man feels there is a unity where all this change is really centered. Just like all the changes of pictures in a film, making for the unity of the film. That is due to the curtain behind the film. That makes the unity. Similarly, we search for the unity behind the multiplicity in the universe. The first truth is change, and we see that whatever changes is unreal.
Then what is real? That which exists in the past, present and future, that is called real. Is there such a real? Yes says Vedanta, and that search is the search of philosophy everywhere in the world.
So we use the word sat for that infinite imperishable reality; asat for this perishable universe. The belief that this sensory world alone is true, is called materialism and that materialism is a strong philosophy today. An astro-physict , Millikan, has said “ to me a philosophy of materialism is the height of un-intelligence”. Matter is just a symbol. Nobody has seen matter. We are seeing , from the Indian point of view, one infinite reality, which appears as matter in the world outside, and as the Self within us. There is one reality in this world, and we call it Brahman or Atman, of the nature of pure consciousness.
So, Sri Krishna says here, ubhayorapi diho nta stvanayos tattva-darśhibhiḥ. This anta , ‘this conclusion’ , nirnaya, has been arrived by whom? Tattvadarsibhih by those who have realized the tattvam.  Tattvam also is a scientifically precise word of Sanskrit. Tasya bhavah tattvam – the nature of a particular thing is called tattvam . Not what it appears to be. Just like the earth is flat, is not tattvam but matam, opinion. Our senses tell us the earth is flat., but what is tattvam. It is round, the earth is globe. That is tattvam. Those who know the tattvam of things, by scientific investigation, they have come to this conclusion; that this sat, reality, is always, is. and what is asat, that which doesn’t exist , has no reality. So the sages , who have discriminated and investigated this subject, have come to this conclusion -- There is one reality in this world, and we call it Brahman or Atman, of the nature of pure consciousness. This is tattva; not what appears, not what is pleasing; these are called beliefs and dogmas. Have plenty of them, but tattvam is different.
What is tattvam of a thing? Suppose I have an opinion. I can hold on to an opinion; but , it must be based on truth. It must be a true opinion. Then only it gets the status of a tattvam. Otherwise, it is called matam. The word opinion in English is called matam in Sanskrit. Tad-asmakam matam , ‘it is our opinion’ or ‘it is my religion’. It is not the truth, I have not investigated it. But when you investigate and find it to be true, then that opinion becomes true opinion. It can stand challenge. So ordinarily, our religions in the world are always a plural. They are matams. What pleases me, what attracts me, what is relevant to my needs, that is called matam. I choose to be a Vaishnava, a Saiva, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, all these constitutes matam. That is one aspect of it. The second aspect is: if you scientifically investigate, what is all this matam? Is there a truth behind all this? That discovery will lead you to tattvam of religion. When  tattvam is discovered, there will be no conflict in religions. Scientific truths do not conflict; only dogmas conflict. We know that all these are forms of the same single reality. There will be no conflict thereafter. Harmony and peace alone can come. And respect for each other: your opinion I respect, you also respect my opinion. You take some food, I respect it. I take some food, you respect that also. Don’t say that my food alone is food, your food is poison. That is what we have done in the name of religion, mistaking it to be tattvam . Tattvam is quite different. Any food you may take – that is matam . but see that you take so many calories, so much of nourishment needed for health; that is tattvam.
So, you can see in religion as well as in food the distinction between matam and tatvam . only when you investigate, you will come to this truth. In our country today, when more people begin to question, why so many religion? What is the truth about all of them? Every religion says I am true; yes you are true. But you can’t take a copyright of all truth. Others also say they are true. When such questions come, very impartial objective investigation is needed, and that is what our ancient and modern sages did, and raised matam to the level of tattvam. And tattvam is one. Tattvam can never be plural. Matam can be plural. So, matams are but different expressions of that one tattvam. That is how our Indian sages discovered that wonderful unity behind the diversity of religions, established harmony and peace, with so little of intolerance in the name of religion on the soil of India.
But that tattvam is spoken in differently in language and style by different people. What are these? Some call It Brahman , some call It Paramatma, the supreme Self, and some call It Bhagwan, the all-loving God.
In this way, this investigation of matam and tattvam has done immense good to the country. And today, we have to  inaugurate that kind of investigation, to find harmony behind these diverse manifestations.

(Excerpts from Universal message of Bhgavad Gita by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Math.)

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Random thoughts on Janmashtami

Random thoughts on Janmashtami (Sri  Krishna’s Birthday)

I think , its not simply not enough to be simply ritualistic on such as these occasions. What we do on such day’s, mostly, do some Pooja, go to temples, offer prasads, fire agarnbathi’s, break coconuts, eat and be satisfied that , we have pleased the Lord and Lord will shower His blessings on us. By evening we forget , and do what we were doing all the while as usual. There wont be any change in the life style or thinking etc., Same mundane things, worries, jealousies, hatred, etc., Nothing is changed and will be changed.

We  should take this opportunitiy of Krishn’a Birthday(Janmashtami) to reflect on what he has said , esp.  what we call “Bhagavad Gita” .  I find it very Unfortunate and a bit amusing, to hear Bhagavad Gita, rendered by late Ghantasala, ONLY on someone Death. Is it really meant only for the ‘Dead” or for the people who are in mourning?

Actually , Bhagavad Gita is a Comprehensive philosophy of life and work.

Here I share some of the words Swami Ranganathananda, of Ramakrishna Math, spoke on Bhagavad Gita.

 The Bhagavad Gita was and is read as a pious act and for a little peace of Mind. We never realized that - this is a book of intense practicality, that this is the greatest book of practical Vedanta, capable of helping in to create a Society of fully developed human beings. We never understood the practical application of Gita teachings. If we had done so, we would not have had the thousand years of foreign invasions, Internal caste conflicts, feaudal oppressions and mass poverty. We never took Gita seriously. But, now, we have to.

The Gita is philosophy that will train people’s mind and hearts to build a new welfare society, based on human dignitiy, freedom and equality. But the tragedy is, we have, converted it into a mere Book of Piety.

The Gita is compared to the Milk taken out of cow, meaning Vedas, by Sri Krishna, the Milkman. What is the Milk for? It is not meant for Worship, but it is meant to be drank for nourishment. Then alone can one get strength. But all these hundreds of years, we took that glass of Milk, worshipped it with flowers and saluted it, but never drank it. That is why, we are feeble, physically, mentally and socially. Start drinking this Milk and assimilate it. That will help us to develop character, strength, work efficiency and spirit of service and to forge a new national destiny.


Saturday, 13 August 2016


Now if we examine our life, our relationship with another, we shall see that it is a process of isolation. We are really not concerned with another; though we talk a great deal about it, actually we are not concerned. We are related to someone only so long as that relationship gratifies us, so long as it gives us a refuge, so long as it satisfies us. But the moment there is a disturbance in the relationship which produces discomfort in ourselves, we discard that relationship. In other words, there is relationship only so long as we are gratified. This may sound harsh, but if you really examine your life very closely you will see it is a fact; and to avoid a fact is to live in ignorance, which can never produce right relationship. If we look into our lives and observe relationship, we see it is a process of building resistance against another, a wall over which we look and observe the other; but we always retain the wall and remain behind it, whether it be a psychological wall, a material wall, an economic wall or a national wall.
 So long as we live in isolation, behind a wall, there is no relationship with another; and we live enclosed because it is much more gratifying, we think it is much more secure. The world is so disruptive, there is so much sorrow, so much pain, war, destruction, misery, that we want to escape and live within the walls of security of our own psychological being. So, relationship with most of us is actually a process of isolation, and obviously such relationship builds a society which is also isolating. That is exactly what is happening throughout the world: you remain in your isolation and stretch your hand over the wall, calling it nationalism, brotherhood or what you will, but actually sovereign governments, armies, continue. Still clinging to your own limitations, you think you can create world unity, world peace - which is impossible. So long as you have a frontier, whether national, economic, religious or social, it is an obvious fact that there cannot be peace in the world.
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
From 'The First And Last Freedom', ch. 14

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

How different species differ in intelligence

How Different Species differ from each other in their Intelligence

When I saw the above photo of the Birds and its nest for its babies, My mind/thoughts went into a spiral. How come only this bird species are capable of building such beautiful nests and others not. Different birds build nests of different sizes and shapes, specific to their breeds.

That's the beauty of Nature. Only, that specific breed of birds can build such a nest. No other bird builds this type of nest. How? No one teaches it. May be the technique of building such a nest exists, in the consciousness of those birds, only and  Its passed on through successive generations, only through these birds, but not to others.

This led me into thinking.

It is said that the flow of “Consciousness” is the essence of all sentient and non sentient beings whatever their body is. Then, when the flow of consciousness is same in all beings, how different beings , have different levels of Intelligence. How those birds differ from each species and with other animals, including Humans?  This is What, my take,  after doing some research and thinking,  on this subject.

All beings, be it birds, animals, etc., have brains, but not as evolved as Humans. I think, that’s where , the secret of different levels of Intelligence, lies , in different beings.

In different studies, pertaining to Brain, it was found that --- It is not the size of the Brain, that determines the Intelligence of a species/animal etc., But , it is the -- Ratio of the Brain size to the entire Body weight of the a species. For example: Humans have a Ratio of 1 : 50. Most other Mammals have a Ratio of 1 to 180.
For , Birds , it is 1 to 220.

And , Intelligence, also has to do with the different components of the Brain. Humans have the largest ‘Cerebral Cortex” of all Mammals, relative to the size of their Brains. This area , homes for the Cerebral Hemispheres, which, are responsible for Higher functions like, Memory, Communication, thinking etc.,
Birds, Fish, Reptiles, etc., have smaller Cerebral Cortex, relative to the size of their Brains. This explains the low level of Intelligence, in these species.

Studies show that , ‘the Cortex’ is the seat of Higher Brain functions, the bit of the brain we see with, hear with. In particular, one of the main functions is – association/cognition  – bringing sensory information together with information on Internal states and motivation to enable flexible and context dependent decisions to be taken, rather than simple reflexive action in response to Isolated stimuli. Most of the Birds and animals act with simple reflexive action to external stimuli, because of smaller Cerebral Cortices in them.

From the above, it can be summarized, that the level of Intelligence in different beings/species , is directly proportional to the Cerebral Cortex to the brain and in turn , to the size of the brain to the Body weight of the species.

Also, it can be assumed that the ‘Cerebral Cortex’ is the recipient of the ‘Consciousness’ in all beings. This explains, the different levels of Intelligence in different beings, even though the flow of consciousness is same in all beings, based on the relative sizes of Cerebral cortex, in the brain of different beings.

I think, this can be explained with a simple analogy --- comparing  Electricity to Consciousness and Cerebral cortex/Brain to Wattage in bulbs. More wattage more bright light, even though the flow of electricity is same to all Bulbs.  More of the Cerebral Cortex/Brain more Intelligence.

As Humans, Where we differ from Other is not in Consciousness itself, but in the picture we paint in our individual thinking minds and to which we choose to become attached. This is our sense of separation - the beliefs about ourselves which are the source of our limitations.