Always perform your best

give-your-best

We must try to invest our entire capability in whatever venture we accept. Be it a petty household chore, a job pertaining to our profession or a project relating to the welfare of the society where we do not expect any sort of return or favor.

Once we perform the task assigned to us with utmost care, attention and diligence, we expect to see that it is acclaimed everywhere. Above all, we ourselves would feel happy and contented from within after doing a good job.

Akhand Jyoti,
March 1954,
Pg.-84

Eight-Fold Path of the Buddha

Buddha
  1. Blessed are they who understand That Life is One. Its “forms” do come and go: But Life itself floweth on!

    RIGHT VIEW (Samyak drishti)

  2. Blessed are they who resolve That they will build the strength To lessen suffering and pain And attain to Wisdom pure!

    RIGHT RESOLVE(Samyak sankalpa)

  3. Blessed are they who speak In sympathy and gently to all, Who do away with bitter words And never speak in anger or in hate!

    RIGHT SPEECH (Samyak vak)

  4. Blessed are they who rightly act and put away all thought of gain, Who know that motive is the deed And who, renouncing power, are pure, indeed!

    RIGHT EFFORT (Samyak Prayatna)

  5. Blessed are they who earn Their daily bread in such a way That brings not hurt nor pain To living creatures on the Earth!

    RIGHT LIVELIHOOD (Samyak ajiva)

  6. Blessed are they who cast Out ill-will and pride in daily life And act obedient to the Law In sympathy and love!

    RIGHT ACTION (Samyak karmanta)

  7. Blessed are they who walk the Way, Aware by night and day that life is sacred still! They strive for Peace: and ever before them shine The noble Truths of life!

    RIGHT MINDFULNESS (Samyak smriti)

  8. Blessed are they who meditate In silent joy and see how rich, indeed, Is the life of compassion, Service, Love! Radiant as the Lamp of Light is such a life!

    RIGHT CONCENTRATION(Samyak Samadhi)

Thus taught the Blessed One, moving from town to town and village to village, teaching men and women the Way of Deliverance the Way of Peace, Compassion and Illumination.

Souce – AWGP

Change – The First Step towards Progress

Change - Firt Step towards Progress

A person, who does not fear the process of change, is called progressive. He knows that becoming static is synonymous with inactivity, dullness and sluggishness. One who does not move forward, does not welcome new ideas and new experiences, loses his energy. A progressive person has to forget the past, accept the present, and prepare himself for overcoming the obstacles. Only those who are active should be considered alive and conscious. They possess all the virtues needed for success. Those who fear change should be considered lifeless and dead.

A number of changes, like day and night, profit and loss, meeting and separation, etc, are encountered in everyday life. In spite of appearing opposites, they are all inter-related. A person’s individual and social life is a collection of such events of change. Their purpose is to make a person or community alert, courageous and brilliant. Human dignity lies in welcoming the challenge of change in order to move forward. Fearing change and accepting the status quo is cowardice. Only those people are successful who consider change to be as an opportunity for progress and accept it wholeheartedly and gladly.

At the dawn of the New Year 2010, let us resolve to meet the challenges of change with a positive attitude inspired by faith and hope.

Source – AWGP

The Psychology of Fear

Fear

When the disease of stiffness starts it badly engulfs the whole body. Joints become stiff. Sitting, walking and other bodily movements become extremely painful. Mind goes numb. Blood becomes cold. Body refuses to obey the brain. These symptoms may be caused by other ailments too but in otherwise healthy persons they appear in the face of grave fear. The sight of a lion mesmerizes the deer; it is transfixed, forgets galloping and gets killed. The same thing happens when a person is faced with unexpected crisis. He is dumbfounded, his mind stops functioning, his body become cold and limp and consequently mishappenings occur. J. Krishna Murthi in his work ” The First and Last Freedom” writes that the popular perception about fear and its causes is not what the reality is.

Fear can only be caused by the known, and not the unknown. People fear death. But death per se can not cause fear. In normal circumstances, death can not be known or perceived. How can we fear something which we have not seen or of whose pain or severity we have had no personal experience? Then what causes fear? Krishnamurthy explains that the fear actually comes from the imagined pain of permanent separation from the near and dear ones and from the cherished possessions , luxuries and life’s enjoyments. It is this perception of separation that is the real cause of fear. Suppose a child who has never heard about or seen a ghost suddenly comes across one. What will happen? It is certain that the child will not run away. Indeed the chances are that he would be glad to find a companion.

This is the fearlessness of ignorance. It is for this reason that children all over the world are found much more fearless and bold than adults in general. They have no idea of the all consuming power of fire or the dreadful nature of venomous creatures like snake or scorpion. That is why we often hear of their touching fire or catching poisonous insects and in the process suffering burns or painful stings. Pious persons, on the other hand, fear God because they are aware of the scheme of karmaphala – law of “As you sow so shall you reap”. The presence of lepers, handicapped and diseased persons in the society presents to them visible proofs of the terrible fate, which befalls wrong doers.

Hence, they ever remain conscious of avoiding such wrong or sinful acts as would beget them suffering and pain in future time or future birth. Then there is also a category of persons who are well aware of the risks involved and yet would play with dangerous situations, things or animals. Snake-charmers daily catch deadly snakes, hunters frequently go on tiger hunts. These things do not frighten them. In fact, they keep searching for their prey and are glad to find them, whereas ordinary persons would shiver at the very thought of fiddling with them. People are scared of darkness.

Lonely and forlorn places cause fright. Myriad apprehensions arise in the mind- “What danger is awaiting in the dark? What wild creature is lurking behind to pounce upon?” Heart beat increases. Legs tremble. But when one makes bold to enter with a light and looks around, nothing horrifying is seen. It is the feebleness of mind, which makes a mountain out of a molehill. It conjures up phantom fears and then inflates and embellishes these into a life-threatening calamity, which is just imminent. In reality, only some minor cause might be there, and that too so insignificant as could be dealt with easily. Millions of people live and work in the dark. In forest regions, lamp is only occasionally used. Tribal families live in small huts in dense jungles.

Farmers everywhere sleep in the fields to guard their crops at night. The very rich live in open bungalows on the city outskirts. No body is devoured by robbers and ghosts. Occasional indents do occur, but they may take place even in broad daylight and anywhere. Real situations of fear are few and far between. Mostly, people create imaginary crises in the mind and fear these self-constructed mental images. Fear is essentially a reflection of cowardice. As are the facial features, so would the mirror show. It is the inner weakness of a coward that is reflected in the world-mirror. Fear begins only when we accept that we are not capable of facing up to a crisis situation.

Those who have confidence in their capacity to negotiate difficult times and meet the problems head on, who believe that they possess necessary prudence, and strength for the purpose, and who are optimistic that their friends and even providence would help them are able to successfully banish all imaginary fears from their minds and feel unburdened. An eminent Hungarian psychologist Ferange Nadestudy has recounted one more cause of fear in his work “Fear or Freedom”. He writes that fear arises only when there is a desire to live life in a particular mould; there is a craving for a specific kind of life-style. By breaking this mould or abandoning this desire man can get temporary freedom from fear. But for this to happen it is essential to first recognize the nexus between desire and fear, to realize that a particular desire is generating this fear and the fear, in turn, is strengthening that desire.

Even after this realization, according to him, the resulting respite would be only temporary, not permanent. This is because a mould-breaking action would have only limited impact. The only difference it makes is that we would leave one life-style to enter upon a different life-style. If we break this one too, we would get attached to another life-style. All these different life-styles would in turn, produce their own respective fears. The fact is that any such effort directed towards mould-breaking would only produce a new mould, a new system, and ultimately a new fear. Finally, we arrive at the conclusion that freedom from fear is not possible through this process of making and breaking.

Enduring peace will home only when the root cause, the mind, is disciplined and purified. A mind always full of malice, intrigues and plots will know no peace. Such a person is always suspicious of others actions, of being betrayed by them or of their revenge. He lives in constant terror that he would be exposed, that people would become wary of him and would no longer fall in his trap, that their condemnation and non-cooperation would make his future bleak. Such thoughts keep haunting him. Wrong and sinful deeds invite punishments- by the society, by the law and by God. He is sure to get these punishments some day either collectively or separately. This thought constantly gnaws at his heart and terrifies him. Other punishments may be late in coming but self-punishment begins the moment one steps on to the wrong path and continually torments the mind and soul.

The British psychologist Richard Garnett writes in his book “Psychology of Fear” that physical pain is a function of nerves, a nerve reaction to some pain stimulus. But mental-emotional pain arises in a condition of man’s deep attachment to an object. In such a condition, nearness to the object is soothing and comforting. But, conversely, one begins to fear any such person or thing as can separate him from the object. Man is an aggregate of accumulated experiences that act as a bulwark against inner turmoil and disquietude. As long as these psychological and physical experiences are not disturbed they prevent any onset of psychological pain. This being so, man fears all such things as can disturb and de-harmonise those experiences.

His is thus a phobia of the unknown, a fear of those very experiences which he has accumulated to avoid pain and suffering. In the end, Garnett, too, concludes that this knowledge can at best only alleviate pain; it is not a means to secure freedom from fear. Ignorance, too, is considered a major cause of fear. Primitive man was completely in the dark about natural phenomena; the eclipses, thunder and lightning, the comets and the like. He feared them, held them in awe and resorted to numerous rites and sacrifices to propitiate these ‘deities’. Later, as he gained knowledge of these phenomena, the fear vanished. Interestingly.

Even as old fears of ghosts and supernatural things are dwindling away, their place is increasingly being taken over by new fears. It is an irony that man unnecessarily remains in fear of those whom he should not fear, but becomes quite bold and uninhibited vis-a-vis that of which he should be really fearful. Man should fear God, His karmaphala, divine retribution, sinful acts etc. But he does not. How many people do we see flinching at deceit, conspiracy, backbiting, dishonesty, lying, consuming intoxicants and other immoral acts. Instead we find people living in terror of non-existing ghosts or mortal beings like criminals and terrorists.

We should be conscious of this ignorance of ours and refuse to submit ourselves to such persons or things or situations, which are really petty and weak. Fear if we must, should be from God’s Law and our malevolent tendencies. The causes of our sorrow as well as the means of real happiness both are inherent in these. The sooner we realize this truth, the better.

Source : AWGP

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Know Thyself

know_thyself

It is but natural to enquire about the name, village, address, etc. of a person with whom one has to travel or whom one has to accompany for some time. This acquaintance gives freedom from worry and at the same time paves the way for depending on mutual help in emergencies. A total stranger looks suspicious. Ones own entity always remains with oneself. Its physical and mental aspects are so close that they remain with the self round the clock whether one is awake or asleep. Wife is called by many epithets like life partner, better half of the husband, two bodies-one consciousness, etc. but, she too remains with the husband for a few hours that too at some distance from him.

Children come near once in a while for specific purposes but they are considered ones very own and one has to share their pleasures and pains.

A person is always worried about the future of his children and, as far as possible, plans ahead for it. It is strange that our inseparable instruments of expression like the body and the mind, which are always there with us, are neglected by us. Seldom one enquires about their purpose.

The soul has embodied itself in the material plane with some purpose. Do we understand the purpose and consciously and resolutely pursue it? Whenever a bungalow or a vehicle is given to an officer, he is told that these are to be used for official purposes and not for personal work.

If any officer defaults and rents out a portion of his bungalow or uses his vehicle for private purposes, it would be considered immoral and willful infringement of the rules for personal gain and will attract suitable punishment. Human life is precious. It is a unique, artistic creation of the Creator. Such a boon is not available to any other creature on the earth. No other creature is endowed with the faculty like the human intellect, or with two hands with ten fingers that can be creatively and dexterously used? Which other creatures have the ability to stand erect and walk on two feet? Who is capable of earning their livelihood and accumulating the surplus for later use? Which other creature uses clothes and houses? Who else other than man possesses the wisdom to develop an organized family and social order? Whose senses possess such sensitivity? Who possesses the intricately fashioned living garment like the human body?

The fact that a human being has been blessed with special faculties sets him apart from other creatures. Thus it becomes evident that human life has been given to us for some specific purpose willed by God.

We must concentrate on clearly understanding this purpose and then live life in the light of our true identity as a spark of Divinity. If appropriate efforts are not made to know our true selves through the special faculties and instruments gifted to us for this search by our Creator and we squander away these divine gifts in sense-gratification, it would be a betrayal of our spiritual inheritance leading to endless suffering and pain. In order to get started on this pilgrimage of self-discovery, we will have to wake up out of the stupor of self-forgetfulness  Maya.

Here is what Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo has said about self-effort in the path of self-discovery in his marvelously inspiring words: “In all that is done in the universe, the Divine through his Shakti is behind all action but he is veiled by his Yoga Maya and works through the ego of the jiva in the lower nature. In yoga also it is the Divine who is the sadhak and the sadhana; It is his Shakti with her light, power, knowledge, consciousness, Anand, acting upon the adhara and, when it is opened to her, pouring into it with these divine forces that makes the sadhana possible. But, so long as the lower nature is active the personal effort of the sadhak remains necessary.

The personal effort required is a triple labor of aspiration, rejection and surrender- an aspiration, vigilant, constant, unceasing- the minds will, the hearts seeking, the assent of the vital being, the will to open and make plastic the physical consciousness and nature; rejection of the movements of the lower nature- rejection of the minds ideas, opinions, preferences, habits, constructions, so that the true knowledge may find free room in a silent mind,- rejection of the vital natures desires, demands, cravings, sensations, passions, selfishness, pride, arrogance, lust, greed, jealousy, envy, hostility to the Truth, so that the true power and joy may pour from above into a calm, large, strong and consecrated vital being, – rejection of the physical natures stupidity, doubt , disbelief, obscurity, obstinacy, pettiness, laziness, unwillingness to change, tamas, so that the true stability of Light, Power, Anand may establish itself in a body growing always more divine; surrender of oneself and all one is and has and every plane of the consciousness and every movement of the Divine and the Shakti. In proportion as the surrender and self consecration progress the sadhak becomes conscious of the divine shakti doing the sadhana, pouring into him more and more of herself, founding in him the freedom and perfection of the divine nature.

The more this conscious process replaces his own effort the more rapid and true becomes his progress but it cannot completely replace the necessity of personal effort until the surrender and consecration are pure and complete from top to bottom. Note that a tamasic surrender refusing to fulfill the condition and calling on God to do everything and save one all the trouble and struggle is a deception and does not lead to freedom and perfection.” (From: The Mother p.8-11) ________________________________ When American philosopher Thoreau was on his deathbed, his aunt came to meet him. She asked whether he had apologized to God for his sins and whether he had prayed for peace.

Thoreau smiled and said that he had never in his life diverted from the path of righteousness, as far as he remembered and that he had never infringed the Divine principles, hence there was no reason for him to tender an apology to God.

Source: AWGP

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Some Thoughts on Religion and Spirituality

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  • Spirituality is the science of consciousness; and religion is the art of living.

  • Spirituality is the ‘knowledge’ aspect of creation; and religion is the ‘activity’ aspect of it.

  • Spirituality is idealism; and religion is the method of imbibing it in real life.

  • Spirituality leads to self-realization; and religion shows the way to attain it.

  • The focus of spirituality is the Supreme Spirit; and that of religion is the individual soul.

  • Religion is the sadhana (ritualistic modes / methods / traditions) of uplifting the human consciousness. The ultimate aim of all the methods of sadhana is same.

  • Religion is a sky which is open to all to fly in their own way irrespective of caste, color, creed, nationality, etc.

Those, who know the essence of spirituality and follow the righteous path of religion, are sure to achieve the boons of peace and prosperity at the individual level; and contribute to social harmony at large.

– Pandit Shriram Sharma Acharya

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Buddha Quote

Buddha Quote

The mind is everything.

What you think you become.