The caste system
the Lord shows no partiality
action versus inaction
Although purity of mind is the primary thing, for the protection of society and the individual in the realm of the divine, the caste (varna) organization is also very important. It can never be blown off by ridicule, criticism, or condemnation, for welfare is essential for all. Therefore, rulers and scholars must give up feelings of anger and hatred, calmly delve into the pros and cons, and bring the organization into some good order. That is the thing to do. It is not proper for wise people and intelligent scholars to support the meaningless criticisms of the envious and ignorant. Those who deny caste are themselves forming a caste; those who deny religion are themselves forming a new religion. Even those who know much become prejudiced against castes and talk as if they are as ignorant as the rest. That is the wonder!
Every object has certain limits; if it exceeds the limits or breaks through ...
“Alas! Is he to suffer at last this tragic fate? Is this to be the reward for all the good in store for him? Can the consequence of years of good living suddenly turn into this calamitous end? It is laid down that those who die drowning, those who are killed by fall from trees, and those who die of snake bite have a bad afterlife. Those are considered inauspicious deaths; those who die that way become ghosts and have to suffer so, it is said. Why should this child end up like that? O, the horror of it. O, the injustice of the whole thing!” lamented Yudhishtira, biting his lips to suppress his sorrow.
A boon, not a curse
The brahmins hastened to console him. “Maharaja,” they interceded, “There is no reason to give way to grief. Such a great man will never meet with such a tragedy. No. In the horoscope of this child, studying the positions of the planets, we can clearly notice two happy conjunctions, which indicate the conjunction of Indra (vajra-yoga) and the conjunction of de...
The student seeking spiritual knowledge (vidya) must possess kindness, compassion, and love toward all living beings. Kindness to all beings should be the student’s very nature. If it is absent, the student becomes a boor.
More than anything else, spiritual knowledge means the quality of compassion toward living beings. If a person bears ill will against any being, his education has no meaning. The advice given in the Gita, with no ill-will toward all or any being adweshta sarva bhuthanam, conveys the same message. In the same manner, on and off, the Gita warns that any insult or injury or even neglect directed against any living being is an act that insults, injures, or neglects the Divine (Sarva jiva thiraskaram Kesavam prathigachchati). Love and compassion must not be limited to mankind. They must enfold every living being.
Vidya vinaya sampanne brahmani gavi hasthiniShuni chaiva shvapakecha, punditah samadharshinah.
The learned person who has acquired humility through spiritual ...
The pranks of Krishna the toddler
“Master! I’m eager to hear about the boyish pranks, games, and adventures of Krishna, as the cowherd lad (Gopala), and His comrades of the Vraja community in the groves and wilds during his eleven years in Brindavan - after reaching there from the Mathura Prison, where He chose to be born.” Suka was very happy. He smiled and said, “It’s not possible for me to describe to you all the pranks (leelas) of that divine Gopala, each of which fills the mind with sweetness. The Vraja cowherd boys who shared that joy were really blessed. The Lord doesn’t pay any attention to external distinctions - an individual’s name, nationality, caste, profession, attitude, etc. Whatever the attitude with which a person approaches Him, He will welcome him, draw him near, fulfil his wishes, and confer happiness. That was Gopala’s nature.
“Ever since His father, Vasudeva, left Him in Nanda’s home, Krishna granted great joy to Nanda, and grateful shou...
Eekshather na asabdam
The Vedas assert that Brahman is the primal cause of the cosmos (jagath). They do not posit any non-conscious (a-chetana) entity as the cause. The voice of God (the Veda) does not support the view of the non-conscious as being the origin of creation. On the other hand, the Being (Sat) is asserted to have resolved upon becoming, to have entertained a decision (sankalpa). Resolution, decision, design - these are acts of consciousness; nonconscious entities are incapable of such exercises of will. Brahman, which is all-conscious, has therefore to be accepted as the Primal Cause.
The Vedas declare creation to be the result of God’s will
The non-conscious is called the source of primordial matter (pradhana). The Vedas do not speak about it. This is what this aphorism reveals very clearly. Primordial matter is the designation by which the “name-formflux”, namely the cosmos, is denoted by some schools of thought. Other schools refer to it as “atom composed” or ...
“Meanwhile, the seventh pregnancy came! And surprisingly, it was aborted in the seventh month! Should they inform Kamsa? If yes, how? They couldn’t find the answer. When Kamsa learned about this, he suspected that the sister was capable of some stratagem to deceive him, so he put her and her husband in a closely guarded prison.” The sage Suka started telling about the most glorious event, which revealed the reality of Krishna incarnation.
Krishna is born to Devaki in prison
“Devaki and Vasudeva, who spent their days in prison, were indistinguishable from mad people. They sat with unkempt hair, lean and lanky through want of appetite and the wherewithal to feed their bodies. They had no mind to eat or sleep. They were slowly consumed by grief over the children they had lost. When their prison life entered its second year, Devaki conceived for the eighth time! It was wondrous! What a transformation it brought about! The faces of Devaki and Vasudeva, which had drooped and dried up...
People are engaged in various forms of cultivation, but the most important of these is cultivation of spiritual experiences. All cultivation is based on spiritual cultivation. It is the king of cultures. The king makes laws, but he is above and beyond them. So too, all rules and laws, all distinctions of right and wrong, of sin and virtue, of joy and sorrow affect only the individual soul (jivi) that attaches importance to the inexperienced mind (manas) and intellect (buddhi) and not to the Atma. So, cultivation of the Atmic experience, which is pure, convincing, and self-transcending, is essential for all. It is also easy, for the Atma is as the mother of all, and hearkening to the Atma is like the child hearkening to the mother. Everyone is competent to have that experience; in fact, it is everyone’s right to have it. That is why the Atmic discipline is being treated by me as so important.
The primary qualifications
The Atma is also known as Brahman, so learning the Atmic knowledge...
The human being is like a seed. Just as the seed sprouts into a sapling and grows continuously into a tree, the human has to grow and attain fulfilment. This requires mastering two fields of knowledge. Knowledge of the world, that is to say, knowledge concerning the manifested universe. And knowledge of the other world. The first confers means the for living (jivana-upadhi); the second confers the goal of life (jivana-paramavadhi).
The means for living are the things that can satisfy one’s day-to-day needs. One has to acquire them and store them, or acquire the capacity to get them when required. The knowledge of the goal of life involves inquiry into problems like: “For what end should one live?” “Who is the Creator of all that we become aware of?” “What exactly am I, this distinct individual I?” This enquiry ultimately reveals the goal. The scriptures of all religions and the many moral codes derived from them are concerned with problems that transcend the limits of thi...
The envy of Ravana
Within a short time, Dasaratha’s fame illumined all quarters, like the rays of the rising sun. He had the intrepidity and skill of ten charioteers rolled into one, so the name Dasa-ratha (the ten-chariot hero) was found appropriate. No one could stand up against the onrush of his mighty chariot! Every contemporary ruler, mortally afraid of his prowess, paid homage to his throne. The world extolled him as a hero without equal, a paragon of virtue, a statesman of highest stature.
Ravana, the demon (rakshasa) King of Lanka, heard of Dasaratha and his fame. He was so envious that he determined on a sure plan to destroy him, by means fair or foul. Ravana sought for an excuse to provoke Dasaratha into a fight; one day, he sent word through a messenger that unless tribute was paid to him, he would have to meet Ravana on the battlefield and demonstrate his superior might in war. This call was against international morality, but what morality did a demon respect?
Parikshith is informed of his impending death by snakebite
The messenger from the hermitage replied, “O, Emperor, our preceptor has a son. Though he is of tender years, the splendour of his spiritual attainment is overwhelming. He reveres his father as his God and has his service and the upkeep of his renown as his chief aim in life. His name is Sringi. You came to the hermitage. Propelled by some inscrutable impulse, you placed a dead snake around the neck of Sringi’s father, who is also my preceptor.
A few children saw it and ran to inform Sringi, who was engaged in games with his comrades. He didn’t believe it at first and continued with his game. But the children repeated the news often and insistently and jeered at him for merrily playing on when his father had been insulted so grossly. Even his playmates laughed at his callousness.
So, he ran to the cottage as fast as he could and found that their report was true.
“When he turned back, he saw you moving off from the place...