Episode # 23 – Seven important steps leading to “Bhakti” or “Devotion” as explained by Vidura!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important sloka wherein Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra the important attributes which a “Panditha” should avoid. These attributes are in turn the characteristic of a “Moodaathma” or a person who deviates from the path of “Dharma”. Vidura advises King Dhirdhiraashtra that he better mends his ways towards Dharma, before his entire clan of “Kauravas” is completely destroyed. However, King Dhirdhiraashtra is still reluctant to mend his ways, but we can mend our ways by heading to Vidura’s valuable advice! Let’s continue to witness what Vidura is going to say next!

Now, Vidura continues to talk about how a “Panditha” is a person who is also an epitome of “Bhakthi” or “Devotion”. I’ve started this discussion in the previous episode itself, and we shall take it forward today. Before we see what Vidura says on this, there is an important set of 7 steps discussed in the “Brahma-Soothra” (authored by the same Sage Veda Vyaasa) that would lead us to “Bhakthi”. In the modern day, all of us think that we’re experts in exhibiting “Bhakti” towards Bhagawan. Now let us check if we are really experts in “Bhakti”. If we are correctly following the steps that I’m going to discuss now, we are really on the right track. Else, let us try to follow these steps from today! 🙂

The seven steps are “Viveka”, “Vimoka”, “Abhyaasa”, “Kriya”, “Kalyaana”, “Anavasaadha” and “Anuddharsha”! If we are able to cross these seven steps successfully, we reach the stage called “Thallabdhihi”, wherein we can really become an epitome of Bhakti. This is exactly what Vidura is saying in this context also. Let us now discuss each of the seven steps in detail:

  1. “Viveka” – It can also be referred to as “Deha-Shuddhi”. This directly means “Cleanliness of our physical body, mind and heart”. Before we commence any divine task towards Bhagawan, we should always ensure that our physical body is clean. This is why we have the habit of taking bath before doing our regular prayers, or even before we cook something to offer it to Bhagawan. This is with respect to our external body cleanliness. The more important point is the internal cleanliness of our body – “Aahaara-Shuddhi”. This means having food items that would improve our “Sathva” Guna”. “Sathva Guna” is the one that is directly related to our patience, calmness, balance of mind, etc. “Rajo Guna” directly pertains to anger and “Thamo Guna” directly pertains to laziness. Thus, we should ensure that we consume food that would enhance our “Sathva Guna”, thereby reducing our “Rajo” and “Thamo” Gunas. For this, we should have a strict control on our diet. We should somehow make up our mind to avoid those food stuffs (predominantly non-vegetarian food items) that would directly increase our “Rajo Guna” (Anger) and “Thamo Guna” (Laziness). In the modern day, of course we are so time-stressed that we’ve almost stopped cooking at home. We’re depending on restaurants, fast food outlets for our food. However, many medical experts keep writing in blogs, newspapers, magazines, etc. that we should avoid certain food items for maintaining a good health, but still we do not exercise that advice given by them! Thus, we know that our food habits are going in the wrong direction but still we aren’t able to change our habits just because the whole world is going towards it! Moreover, our physical exercise has considerably reduced these days, owing to our urban lifestyle! Thus, from this episode, one of the important messages for all of us that, we should maintain our “Aahaara Shuddhi” properly for the enhancement of “Sathva Guna”. This “Sathva Guna” is extremely important for us to strive towards the path of “Bhakti”.
  2. Vimoka” – This means, “Controlling our desires”. We need to understand that we should not keep more expectations and desires on something or someone. This is why we always say that we need to develop the important quality of “detachment” while undertaking any task. Lord Krishna also preaches this same thing through the Bhagwath Gita. If we start desiring for the end result, we would loose the “Shraddha” or “Perfection” in the process to attain that end-result. Rather, if we perform our duties with the utmost detachment, we would be able to give our 100% efforts into it. This is the second step towards “Bhakti”Detaching ourselves from worldly pleasures and surrendering the fruits of our actions to Bhagawan. We might ask back as to how is this possible in the modern day, given innumerable challenges that we go through every passing day! Here is where our “will-power” comes! Will Power or “Vairaagya” is very important for us to sustain and stick to the path of detachment. I understand and agree that practicing detachment is extremely difficult in this modern day set up. However, we should realize that if we’re getting too much attached to something or someone, we are going to be pulled into a trap – Just like a fish gets into the net-trap of a fisherman! Let us think about it and introspect!
  3. “Abhyaasam” – If we try and learn something important, it is necessary to recollect it again and again (“Punah-punaha”) so that we remember and understand the significance of it. Right from our academic education till learning of Vedas, Upanishads or Bhagawath Gita, this is applicable. “Punah-punaha Abhyaasam” is extremely important for us to appreciate the significance of a concept or a teaching. Spiritually too, we need to recollect and perform “Abhyaasam” repeatedly to store Bhagawan’s image in our hearts! Why is it that we are chanting a “manthra” or a “sloka” 108 times, 1008 times, 100008 times, etc.? It is only when we repeatedly chant a “manthra”, will the intensity and the power increase for it! Also, if we repeatedly chant a “sloka” or a “manthra” as part of our regular prayers, we are indirectly increasing our memory capacity. Thus, “Abhyaasam” is extremely important for developing “Bhakti”.

So far, we’ve discussed three out of the seven steps that would lead us to the path of “Bhakti”. We shall continue this important discussion in the next episode to witness the remaining steps. Stay tuned! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Episode # 22 – “Empty vessels make more noise??” – Vidura’s explanation!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had been discussing some important attributes of a “Moodaathma” (Unrighteous person). Eventually we also witnessed the application of these attributes in the modern day world and how people today misuse power, authority, responsibilities, etc. to resort to fulfil their own personal needs rather than the societal ones! Hence this discussion gains significance, given the innumerable modern-day societal issues that we’re undergoing every day! We concluded the previous episode by witnessing Vidura’s explanation on who is a “Moodaathma”. He has listed down several characteristics of an unrighteous person in the sloka that we had witnessed in the previous episode. Let us continue the discussion of it today.

Thus, a person who is devoid of extreme anger, extreme happiness, greed, arrogance and over-confidence is considered to be a “Panditha”. This means to say that an unrighteous person has all the above-mentioned characteristics.

Normally we would see in the modern day also that an extremely learned or a scholarly person would be an epitome of silence, balanced frame of mind and confidence. They would have innocence in their face and this is the best identification mark for a learned person! We have a proverb too in the modern day – “Empty vessels make more noise!” How true is this proverb? This is exactly what Vidura is explaining here too – Only half-learned or a “Mooda” (Fool) would boast around by saying that “I’ve done this! I’ve done that!”, etc. On the contrary, highly learned scholars like our great Maharishis of yesteryears appear as if they do not know anything at all! Yet, they are masters in Dharma and all its principles! Nowadays we see lot of people, institutions, organizaitons, etc. boasting around their “so-called” success stories and propagating them in the name of “marketing” themselves to the world! According to Vidura, such things do not add any value to anybody! Thus, a true learned person or a scholar is like a child with innocence and would never show their scholarliness outside unless it is extremely necessary.

Also we’ve witnessed in the sloka that Vidura has said – A “Panditha” should be an epitome of calmness. This directly means that he/she has complete control over “Anger” (Krodha). Whatever the situation might be, patience is very important. We’ve already seen the significance of being patient, in one of our previous episodes and we should recollect it. If there is a problem, we shouldn’t get too much carried away by it and cry non-stop! Also we should realize that on the contrary, if we taste success during our journey, we should not become too overwhelmed with it too! We can see this also in the modern-day wherein people jump up and down from earth to sky if they’re succeeding in a mission or a task! This over-exhibition of happiness is also not advisable. This is what Vidura explains by the term “Harshascha”.

The third important quality – If in the modern day if we ask someone whether he is doing his “Sandhyavandanam” or “Nithya-Anushtaana” properly every day, he would feel “shy” to say that he is performing them correctly! Why? It is because of the inert fear that what if someone would make fun of him by saying that he is “old-fashioned”!

This is a popular menace in the society nowadays. For instance, if we’ve to wear our traditional dresses like “Dhoti” or “Saree”, etc. we feel “shy” to wear it, because of the western influence! Many of us are now accustomed to wear jeans, tshirts, shirts, pants, etc. and over the period of time, we’ve forgotten our traditional dresses and their significance.

I shall just brief this point with an example: Why do we in India wear “Dhoti”? We can see this traditional form of dress being worn by men across south India. Why do we wear this? It is because of the simple reason that our climate is extremely hot and blazing, especially during summer months. Temperatures easily cross 38-40 degree Celsius. In such a situation, if we have to wear a jeans or a trouser, our private parts do not get enough air circulation and thus we end up getting some fungal infections due to the sweat and the lack of air circulation. Thus it is for this reason we wear the “Dhoti” which is nothing but a long thin cloth that can be wound around the waist. This gives lot of air circulation to the important parts of our body, thus keeping us comfortable! However in the modern day, we are so accustomed to wearing western wears, that if someone is asked to wear a “Dhoti”, he feels shy to do so! This is exactly what we should avoid! We should first realize that we should never compromise our individuality for someone else! This is very important!

However, we should feel shy only for one aspect in lifeWhenever we are going against the “Dharma” and if someone points it out to us, we need to feel shy and ashamed! We should realize that we are going wrong and someone has pointed it out to us! Thus, this is what Vidura explains by the term “Hreehi”.

The next quality – “Sthambaha” Arrogance is also a menace in today’s world! We see many instances wherein people exhibit their arrogance or over-confidence over something or somebody! This is also one thing that should be avoided as a “Panditha”.

Thus, through the above discussion we’ve enhanced our understanding on who is a “Panditha” and who is a “Moodaathma”. These attributes also serve as a foundation for “Bhakthi” and “Spiritual growth” for a person. All of us are striving to increase our “Bhakthi” or “Devotion” towards Bhagawan and thus are trying to grow “Spiritually”. In that process, we need to introspect within ourselves if we have these above-mentioned seven attributes in us. If we try to consciously imbibe them, we would automatically fall in line with “Bhakthi”. We shall have a detailed discussion on this in the next episode and then move on to the next topic. Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 21 – Who is a “Moodaathma” (Unrighteous person)??? An important discussion!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the last couple of episodes we had witnessed the important characteristics and attributes of a “Panditha” or a “Learned person”. Vidura is explaining all these characteristics to King Dhirdhiraashtra so as to try and mend his ways towards the Dharma. In due course, we witnessed that a “Panditha” is a person who meticulously follows and upholds the principles of “Dharma” or “Righteousness” in whatever action he/she does. Moreover a Panditha is a person who can successfully handle and overcome all the obstacles that arise owing to the treacherous path of “Dharma” in the right way. He is one person who doesn’t take short cuts for anything.

Such are the attributes of a “Panditha”. Now Vidura continues in his explanation to King Dhirdhiraashtra as to who is a “Moodaathma” or a “Fool” or an “Unrighteous person”. This is equally important for us too, because many a times, we keep exhibiting almost all of the characteristics of a “Moodhaathma” every passing day in our lives in this “Kali-Yuga”! Let us see what are those attributes in today’s episode!

There might still arise a doubt here amongst many readers that “Oh! Are we as bad as King Dhirdhiraashtra today? We did not try and abduct any property from any other person! Then how can we categorize ourselves into the “Moodaathma” category?” The answer is quite simple: I agree that we have the basic knowledge and understanding of “Dharma” in today’s world – Thanks to innumerable Bhaagawathas, Upanyaasakas, Gurus, Mahaathmas, etc, who have ascended in our great country and educated us on the texts of our Sanaathana Dharma.

However, abducting others’ property can not only be restricted to stealing money or gold from others. This term extends to many other aspects in today’s world too – For instance, we speak about “Nepotism” in today’s organizations, wherein we don’t recruit and select the right person for the right job and rather ending up recruiting our favorite people for the job, irrespective of that person’s qualifications. We can see this in modern day happenings as well – For instance, a Vice-Chancellor of a reputed university granting jobs of professors illegally to those who appease him with money, name and fame! Through this, we also see widespread corruption in terms of bribery, “Goondaism” (threatening or beating up or blackmailing other people for various personal benefits), etc. The list is long enough! Ultimately the background behind all these kinds of modern-day societal problems is that, for our personal benefit and “short-cut” growth, we resort to cheat and take away the property (can be anything) that is due and rightfully belonging to another person! Isn’t it “stealing” as well? Isn’t a crime as well? Let’s think about it!

Moreover, nowadays it is a trend that many people resort to linking “Spirituality” with their “Wrong-doings” and “justify” their unrighteous actions. You may ask me how! Nowadays we see innumerable politicians flocking towards temples. Is it true that they visit temples because of true devotion towards God? Many a times it is not! If we happen to visit some important temples like Tirupathi, Tirumala, etc. politicians and other “rich” people flock there to give huge kilograms of gold and silver and deposit crores of rupees to the temple! Is it true that they give it whole-heartedly? Many a times, it would be to escape from Income tax raids!

Sometimes, it would be a “mutual agreement” between this person and Lord Venkateshwara“I shall deposit 100 Kg. of gold in your temple and in return, I should win the election and get to a top administrative post, thus I should be able to garner 1000 Kg of gold with that!” Isn’t it like a “business deal” with Bhagawan? Or, many a times, we go to temples and pray to God for the downfall of another person, just because we can use another person’s downfall as an opportunity to rise up in life! Is this real spirituality? Is this real “Bhakthi” towards Bhagawan?

I might he harsh in my words, but however we need to realize that “Spirituality” is not just going to temples and worshipping Bhagawan. Spirituality is not just mere chanting of manthras. If a person follows what Bhagawan has instructed us to do, meticulously without compromising on the “Dharma”, that is real spirituality! Of course, I’m not saying that we human beings should live without making a single mistake in our lives! We would definitely make mistakes! However, the important point here is that, we need to listen to the words of advice from our elders, ancestors, etc. and realize our faults and rectify them accordingly! Thus, making mistakes is not wrong! Unwillingness to accept our mistakes and take corrective action is the biggest mistake!

So far from the above detailed explanation, we can see that I’ve explained some important characteristics of a “Moodaathma” or an “Unrighteous person” in the modern day. This is exactly what Vidura is trying to explain to King Dhirdhiraashtra. Let us see what Vidura has to say on this:

“Krodhaha harshashca darpascha hreehi sthambaha maanya maanithaa!

Yamarthaan naapakarishanthi savai panditha ucchyathe!!”

 Here, Vidura beautifully explains the characteristics or attributes that a person should avoid in his life. Let us witness each one of them as follows:

“Krodhaha” – Extreme Anger,

“Harshascha” – Extreme happiness,

“Dharpascha” – Extreme Greed,

“Hreehi” – Unwanted shyness,

“Sthambaha” – Extreme arrogance,

“Maanya-maanitha” – Thinking too much about oneself!

Thus Vidura explains that those people who are an embodiment of all the above-explained characteristics, are the biggest fools on the earth! They are completely unrighteous in their approach towards life! How relevant is this explanation to our situation today!!!

From the initial explanation, how many of these characteristics can we easily correlate? Almost all!! Hence for today, let us think and introspect within ourselves as to where do we stand! Let us realize that we need to go a long way in correcting and re-tracking ourselves towards Dharma! We shall continue the discussion on this topic further in the next episode! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 20 – Important attributes of a “Learned” person as narrated by Vidura!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had commenced a very important discussion pertaining to the characteristics of a learned person (Panditha). We have witnessed four important characteristics in the last episode and we shall continue the discussion further in today’s episode.

We shall go through the sloka once again to get better clarity:

“Aathmagnyaanam samaarambhaha tithikshaa dharma nithyathaa!

Vyamarthaanaapa karishyanthi sa vai panditha ucchyathe!!”

 Thus we saw that a “Panditha” is a person who strongly abides by his “Aathma” or “Soul”, by realizing the purpose of birth in this world. Once the purpose is realized, the person strives to channelize efforts so as to attain the purpose of his birth and while doing so, there shouldn’t be any “short-cuts”. The actions should be focused on the “Dharma” or the “Righteous path”, thus to attain the success. Moreover, a “Panditha” would be a person who exactly knows how to handle obstacles that would hinder the path of righteousness. He/she would be having that mental strength to take the obstacles head on and solve them with determination.

In this context, we should note one important point – If our aim is shallow and without any determination, we would stop working towards achieving it if we face obstacles on the way! Whereas, if our aim is of extremely high standard and with extreme determination, it is only then we would really strive for it and bash out any kind of obstacle that comes our way! For instance, if we are asked to perform a task without any compensation for it, we would perform it for a while and after that, lose interest and would leave it half-way! Whereas, if someone promises to pay us ten thousand rupees for the same job, our motivation would increase and we would focus our attention more on it!

Thus, here comes the important discussion on “Motivation” for leaders. When would motivation arise within an individual? Motivation would arise only when we see some value in what we are doing! The value could be anything – Ranging from a wholesome of money, to gifts, to attain a promotion at work or to even becoming a CEO of an organization, etc. Thus, we can correlate a straight relationship hereGreater the value that we attach to our aim or purpose in our lives, the greater would be the motivation so as to achieve that aim, and the greater would be our resilience to take on whatever obstacle that may arise during our journey!

So far we’ve looked upon the above explanation in terms of our day-to-day personal and professional setup. Now if we’ve to extend the same discussion to our spiritual growth, we can say that, greater the value that we attach to our aim or purpose in our lives to attain Bhagawan’s feet or “Moksha” or “Salvation”, the greater would be the motivation to achieve this biggest purpose of our human birth! In turn, our resilience to handle any form of obstacle that would arise during our journey!

Thus with the above explanation, Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra thus, “Oh King! You have a big misunderstanding about your purpose of being a king! The emotional blackmails of your unrighteous sons are carrying you away. Because of that, you’re unable to aim big in your life! Because of that, your actions are focused in the wrong direction and because of your unrighteous actions, you are unable to sleep properly and you are sleep-deprived! Thus, all put together, you are not following the “Dharma” and you are deviating from it!”

Vidura continues thus, “Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! You might ask me how would it all be possible for me to do all this? Let me tell you one thing: You know that Duryodhana is going on an unrighteous path. Knowing thus as a father, or as a king, what you should have done? You should have mended his ways right from his childhood. You should have ensured that he follows the Dharma. You should have educated him that half of the kingdom belongs to the Paandavas. You should have struck down the ego clash that is happening between him and Udishtra! Everything was in your hands and by your gross inaction, you had lost the opportunity to mend Duryodhana in the right track! So what if your brother Sahuni or Karna or others talk against you or resort to attack you? These people are the obstacles! Thus, rather than taking on the obstacles head on, you’ve given into the obstacles called “Putra-Vaatsalyam” (Excessive affection and attachment towards your son). Thus, oh Dhirdhiraashtra! You’ve failed to negotiate your obstacles and thus you’re in this situation! Even now it is not too late! Please understand this!”

“Nishevathe prashasthaani ninditaani nasevathe!

Anaasthikaha sraddha dhaana yetath panditha lakshanam!!”

 Thus, Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra through the above sloka that a “Panditha” is also a righteous person who exactly follows the principles of Dharma without asking any unwanted questions. As explained in the previous paragraph, a “Panditha” is a person who would strongly persist in his pursuit towards Dharma. He is a person who never gives room for ego to take over! Thus he advises King Dhirdhiraashtra to follow the “Lakshanas” (Characteristics) of a “Panditha” and not to follow the “Lakshanas” of a “Mooda(Foolish person). What are those “Lakshanas” of a “Mooda”? Vidura is going to explain further. Let’s stay tuned for the next episode to find out! 🙂

Episode # 19 – Who is a “Panditha” (Learned person)???

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had witnessed yet another important point pertaining to the various potential dangers that might arise when leaders become selfish in their approach. Vidura lays special emphasis on this point while he answers King Dhirdhiraashtra’s queries one by one. He advises King Dhirdhiraashtra to mend his ways and actions and to share the Hasthinaapura kingdom with the Paandava camp, as per the original agreement. He reminds King Dhirdhiraashtra about the various aspects of “Raaja-Dharma” and in this course of the discussion, let us see today who is a “Panditha” (Learned person) and who is not!

In this course of the discussion, Vidura is indirectly trying to highlight to King Dhirdhiraashtra that the Paandavas including Udishtra are epitomes of a “Panditha” and that, his sons including Duryodhana are far from being “Pandithas”! He thus highlights from the slokas that are going to follow from this episode onwards, some important points to follow and some important points to avoid as a person as well as a king!

All these points are going to be extremely important for our modern day life too and I request all our readers to muster more concentration and focus as you read through the following! Vidura says thus:

“Aathmagnyaanam samaarambhaha tithikshaa dharma nithyathaa!

Vyamarthaanaapa karishyanthi sa vai panditha ucchyathe!!”

 From the above sloka, Vidura lists the important qualities of a “Panditha” or a “Learned person” or an “Educated Person”.

Who is a “Panditha”? A “Panditha” basically is a person who is able to realize the purpose of his/her birth in this world correctly and tries to formulate ways and means to achieve that purpose correctly! In Sanskrit, “Pandaa” means “Brains”, or simply “Knowledge”. All of us have brains, however the trick of the trade lies in how are we going to use that brain to succeed! It is only this person who knows the trick of the trade is a “Panditha”!

In the modern day, we might have innumerable aims in our lives – To become a successful engineer, or a doctor, or a CEO of an organization, musician, dancer, etc. However, we should note that not everybody can become everything in this world! It solely depends upon the individual’s capabilities and interests, that he/she becomes whatever in life. Thus the important message from this episode is that, we should try and understand what are our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities lying ahead. Based on all these, we should channelize our efforts to attain what we are interested and passionate about. This is exactly Vidura is also talking about here. He lists out the important characteristics of a “Panditha” as follows:

  1. “Aathma-gnyaanam” – A person who is able to realize the value of his birth by appreciating the significance of his “Aathman” or “Soul”, thus working in the right way to attain the realization.
  2. “Samaarambaha” – Once the awareness of the purpose of our birth is present, our actions should be channelized in the correct way to achieve our purpose. Thus here it is very clear that it is not only the knowledge about us is important. The actions and approach towards achieving our goals are also equally important. There are four points that need to be highlighted in this context with regard to performing an action to achieve a definite goal – “Gnyaanam”, “Icchaa”, “Prayathnam” and “Kriya”. As we’ve just seen, “Gnyaanaam” means “Knowledge” or awareness of the task that needs to be done. “Icchaa” means the “interest” that we develop to involve ourselves into that particular task. “Prayathnam” is nothing but the “Executable actions” undertaken by us to achieve the completion of that task. “Kriya” is the final stage wherein we reap the benefits of our actions. Hence, we should realize that our actions and approach should justify our knowledge about our purpose in life.
  3. “Tithiksha” – Now we move on to the next point – Whenever we start to work on our aim and purpose, we might encounter innumerable obstacles during our path. Thus, we should have the patience and perseverance to tackle those obstacles and move forward in our path. This quality is called “Tithiksha”. This is also extremely important for our modern day life – We might observe every passing day that if we are trying to do something good for the society or for the country, there would always be thousand people to oppose that! The test here is that, are we holding on to our actions by not giving into all these people who act as obstacles to our path! If we are giving into their pushes and pulls, it means that we are lacking “Tithiksha”. Whatever maybe the obstacle, we need to take it head on, and come out of it. When I use the phrase “take it head on”, it doesn’t mean that we should take spot decisions for anything and everything in life. We should think for a moment, analyze the significance of the obstacle and then react. This is where the quality of “Tithiksha” is very important.
  4. “Dharma-nithyathaa” – While pursuing our actions towards achieving our aim, we should ensure that our actions are as per the “Dharma” and not through any illegal means. This is also a very important point to be emphasized here. Some of us have this intention of attaining “quick growth” – Be it both in our personal and professional life. We should understand that there could be no short cut for sustained growth! Thus, even if our aim is very good but if we resort to take wrong course of actions to achieve the aim, it would backfire at us. We see innumerable examples in the modern day – For instance, all of us aim to achieve a comfortable lifestyle with adequate money flow to support our personal as well as our family wellbeing. This is a normal wish that all of us have and it is good too! However, the way in which we are going to earn that money is all what matters! If we work with a reputed organization and get a monthly salary, or if we own a business and make money through the correct and legitimate way, there is no problem! However, just for the sake of earning money, if we resort to illegal ways like corruption, taking bribes, engaging in the business of illegal activities, etc. it is evident that we are retreating from the path of “Dharma” to earn the money that we need! Hence the quality of “Dharma-Nithyathaa” is an extremely important one for a learned person. He or she should be able to differentiate between what is “Dharma” and what is “Adharma” and take decisions accordingly!

So far we’ve seen four important characteristics of a “Panditha”. There are more points to be discussed in this context. We shall continue the discussion in the next episode. Stay tuned! 🙂

Vidura Neeti # 18 – Dangerous outcomes of leaders becoming selfish!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we witnessed a very important discussion on three essential qualities of a successful leader as explained by Vidura to King Dhirdhiraashtra – Patience, Compassion and Respect. Vidura explains that Udishtra (Dharma-Putra) is an embodiment of all the above qualities and should not be underestimated at any cost. Rather, Udishtra is to be respected for what he is, and is not right to cheat him just because he is quiet and tolerating all what is happening around him.

Vidura continues further in his explanation to King Dhirdhiraashtra thus:

“Dhuryodhane soubalecha karne dushyaasanam tathaa!

Yethaihi aishwaryamaadhaayakathamthvam bhoothimicchasi!!”

 Through the above sloka, Vidura conveys a strong message to King Dhirdhiraashtra by saying, “Oh King! Let me ask you something! You’re having a wish that you should never compromise on your luxurious living,. Isn’t it? And you intend to pass on all these luxuries to Dhuryodhana and your sons. Isn’t it? Let me tell you something important! Passing on luxuries and wealth to your son is not wrong. However, passing on others’ wealth to your sons by allegedly cheating them is extremely wrong! Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! Please realize this fault of yours!”

Thus from the above sloka Vidura pinpoints King Dhirdhiraashtra’s “selfish” attitude that only his sons should be beneficiaries of the kingdom of Hasthinaapura. This is where even in the modern day all of us get entangled into problems. When it comes to money, property or any kind of wealth including land, houses, jewellery, etc. we tend to become possessive and selfish about it. We can see every passing day that families get split, relationships get broken, disputes happening between parents and children because of ancestral property inheritance. It is at this point our ego takes over and we tend to forget that relationships would prosper only if we sacrifice or let go of certain things at certain times. The moment our ego takes over our thinking, we become selfish and subsequently land into this vicious trap! This is where King Dhirdhiraashtra too exactly has got entangled – Because of his selfish attitude that his sons and family should prosper at the cost of the Paandavas! Hence, we should take a moment to introspect within each other and try to understand the significance of this sloka in the modern day context.

Moreover, through the above sloka Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra that, if he hands over the entire kingdom to the hands of Duryodhana and co., given the fact that they are useless and selfish people, how will the kingdom prosper? All of us know the characteristics of Duryodhana and his Kaurava brothers. If the Hasthinapura kingdom is passed on to those who would utilize the kingdom for fulfilling their personal needs, the entire kingdom along with its people would be ruined!

This is also one phenomenon we are seeing in the modern day – If people in the highest level of administration of a state were focusing only in fulfilling their personal needs by resorting themselves to corruption and other means, the state would not prosper! Only that person who knows the “Raaja-Dharma” and those who would abide by the principles laid in the “Raaja-Dharma” should rule the state. It is only then the kingdom or state or country would prosper.

Stating the above facts, Vidura tries to explain and demonstrate to King Dhirdhiraashtra that he is not getting adequate sleep and is sleep-deprived because of all these thoughts clogging his mind all the time! Vidura says thus, “Oh King! You’re having the noble thought that your kingdom should be in the highest level of prosperity all the time! But however, your actions and executions are just the opposite of your thoughts! If the country should maintain its prosperity, you should hand it over to the Paandavas. However, if the country should be handed over to your hopeless sons and if you still hope that your country should maintain its prosperity, this is never going to happen!” Thus we can see here that King Dhirdhiraashtra’s “Lakshya” (Aim) is different from the way he’s adopting to attain his “Lakshya”. This is the biggest danger that a king or a leader can face.

So for today, let us introspect and examine the applicability of this important sloka in our modern-day life. Moving on from this point, Vidura is going to continue his explanation further to substantiate this important point. He is going to explain who is a “Panditha” (Learned person) and who is a dumb-headed person. Let’s wait till the next episode to find out the characteristics of these two categories of persons! Stay tuned! 🙂

Vidura Neethi # 17 – “Patience”, “Compassion” & “Respect” – Key for a successful leader!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had a detailed discussion about a very important quality called “sharing”. As Vidura commences his reply to King Dhirdhiraashtra, he is smart enough to point out that the biggest mistake that King Dhirdhiraashtra was making is his inability to “share” the kingdom with the Paandava camp as per the agreement made earlier. Vidura thus “pokes” King Dhirdhiraashtra by indirectly saying that he has failed as a righteous king by not executing this important quality. Another reason why King Dhirdhiraashtra has failed in his “Dharma” is that, he is doing something that Bhagawan Krishna feels it’s wrong! Hence he is slowly getting into the bad books of Lord Krishna, which is extremely dangerous for the near future to come!

Even as Vidura exhorts the “Dharma” in a well-structured manner, King Dhirdhiraashtra is unable to take it in the right sense. He asks Vidura back, “Oh Vidura! Whatever you’re saying doesn’t really convince me! Here, Yuddhishtra and his (Paandava) brothers are also Kshathriya princes! They never opened up and resisted my move of not splitting the kingdom. According to the “Kshathriya” Dharma, if something allegedly goes wrong, it’s their duty to raise their voice and fight for it! Why didn’t they do that? Hence, how can you squarely blame me for what is happening right now? It is only the Paandavas headed by Uddishtra to blame!! Isn’t it??”

Upon hearing this question from King Dhirdhiraashtra, Vidura again tries to make him understand the reality of the situation. He replies thus, “Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! You’ve raised a very valid question! However, please realize that Uddishtra and the Paandavas haven’t raised their voice till today because of their high respect and regards for you as a righteous king! It is also because of the extremely good qualities that are imbibed within themselves right from their birth, that has prevented them to go hammer and tongs on the issue!”

“Aanrushamsya anukroshaath dharmaath sathyaath paraakramaath!

Guruthvaavahi samprekshya bahun kleshaanstrithikshyathe!!”

This is an extremely important sloka. Vidura explains through the above sloka that Uddishtra is a person who is extremely merciful and compassionate to all the living beings in this world (“Aanrushamsya”)! He is an epitome of patience(“Trithikshu”) In other words, irrespective of whatever hurdles that would arise, he knows how to handle them successfully with his patience! Moreover, Uddishtra would not be able to tolerate even a bit when he sees someone suffering in front of him (“Anukroshaath”)! Such is the amount of Uddishtra’s compassion for other living beings. The moment he sees a suffering in front of him, he would be moved to tears within seconds! Also to add on, Uddishtra is a person who would never compromise on “Dharma” and “Sathya” (Truth). Uddishtra is a person who stands by the truth at any instance of situation.

Vidura continues.. “Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! By asking such a question, you are only  undermining the significance of the great Uddishtra! You are underestimating him! Please try to realize that only because of his good thought that the kingdom should not suffer because of this particular dispute, only because he respects you and rates you extremely high in regards and only because he is extremely compassionate towards your well-being as a righteous king, he is quiet for all these days! But what are you and your sons doing to him? Your sons have done all sorts of evil things to him, pushed him to situations wherein he had to bare uncontrollable misery! Even after undergoing all these trials and tribulations, he is still maintaining his serenity! This shows his impeccable character! Hence, Dhirdhiraashtra, please do not underestimate Uddishtra!for all the above-mentioned reasons!!!”

From this sloka, we can understand and infer the significance of three important aspects in lifePatience, compassion and respect! The life of Uddishtra (Dharma-Puthra) teaches us the essence of all of the three important characteristics. These characteristics directly can be applied to modern day leadership and management theories too – A successful leader across any domain would have these three things imbibed in him or her. First of all, patience is extremely important for a leader. Why? It is because, only if the leader has the patience, he/she would be able to analyze the given situation and understand the crux of the problem in hand! If the leader gets emotionally carried away by the situation, he/she would end up only taking decisions that would be causing revenge to others! Eventually this would lead to backlashing and the leader’s brand reputation would take a huge hit! We can see innumerable cases of leaders who have failed in their journey because of this issue!

Once a leader has the patience in him/her, compassion and respect would follow! Once the leader is capable of controlling his/her emotions, the situation can be better understood and thus, he/she can get to the real problem that the organization or his employees are facing! Thus, the true compassion in the leader grows! Once the leader exhibits compassion, respect automatically follows! Because of the compassionate attitude, the leader would be able to respect his/her employees’ situations, and in turn the employees would also appreciate and respect their leader! They would stand by their leader at any compelling situation! This is how successful leaders emerge!

Thus from today’s episode, through Vidura’s answers to King Dhirdhiraashtra we’ve laid the foundation of successful leadership by explaining three important characteristics – Patience, Compassion and Respect! We shall wait till the next episode to build further upon this strong foundation! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 16 – Why should we “share” our excessive property with the poor and the needy???

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had witnessed a very important answer from Vidura to King Dhirdhiraashtra. He had listed down five categories of people who are sleep-deprived. However, King Dhirdhiraashtra did not fall under any of those five categories. Now Vidura smartly comes to the main point and pokes King Dhirdhiraashtra with his sixth category of sleep-deprived people – He says that the sixth category of sleep-deprived people are those who had illegally “abducted” others’ property in the name of their’s!

This answer shakes King Dhirdhiraashtra off his chair as Vidura has hit the jackpot straightaway! He was right on the money! King Dhirdhiraashtra starts to feel guilty, however he doesn’t want to give up. He requests Vidura to continue further. What does Vidura speak now? Let’s witness today!

“Vipareetha tharshcha thvam bhaagadeye na sammathaha!

Archishaam prakshayaanchaiva dharmaathma dharmakovithaha!!”

Vidura explains further thus, “Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! Do you know what is your biggest mistake? You are failing to act as per the agreement that the kingdom be split into two – one part for Duryodhana and the other for Dharma-puthra (Udishtra)! Thus you’re failing in your duty as a righteous king!”

He continues further, “That person who refuses to share his clothes with others, that person who refuses to share his food with others, that person who refuses to share his house with others and denies a shelter for the needy, will compulsorily be sleep-deprived!”

This is a very important message for all of us. Here comes the significance of the quality called “sharing”. It is important for us to share our belongings with those who are in need. We might be having all the riches and property in this world and with that, we may be able to lead a luxurious lifestyle. However we should note that this luxury can give us happiness only for a few days or (in other words) for a short period of time. As time passes by, we would slowly lose interest in these luxuries and start to worry about them! You might ask me how!

First and foremost, we would start worrying what others would think about we having so much of luxuries!

Second worry would be what if thieves enter inside and loot away all our luxuries and thus we would spend more time thinking how to protect all of them!

Third worry would be, what if our own sons/daughters start fighting amongst themselves or with us, so as to own the luxuries in future, thus creating a rift within the family!

Fourth most important worry would be, what if government officials come to know about our luxuries (if unaccounted)! What if “Income Tax” officials knock doors one fine morning and freeze all of our assets!

We can witness innumerable cases in the modern day wherein people who have excessive property with them, suffer mental trauma and stress because of one or more of the above-mentioned reasons and thus fall into the sleep-deprived category! It is only because of this reason that King Dhirdhiraashtra is exactly suffering here too – He doesn’t want to let go of his “excessive” property owing to greed and his excessive affection towards his son Duryodhana. This is why we say that if we have excessive property (in the form of money, gold, ornaments, land, house(s), etc.), Vidura gives us the valuable advice to share it or donate it to those who are in need. Of course, we should possess the property for fulfilling our basic needs. I’m not trying to argue on that. But what I’m trying to emphasize here is that, if we have excess amount of property with us after our needs are fulfilled, we should have the heart to donate it to those people who are in dire need. This is the “generosity” that we need to inculcate in us. Rather, if we have that greed to keep all the property with ourselves and if that greed multiplies further to acquire more and more property, we would have to face the consequences later on!

Thus Vidura explains to King Dhirdhiraashtra “Oh Dhirdhiraashtra! In this context, I’m not asking you to even donate or be generous! Atleast, you should have the heart to give what you are supposed to give! If someone is entitled for something, as a king you need to give that to them straightaway! Failing thus, it becomes a great crime on your name! Moreover, please remember that all our actions are being recorded inside Lord Krishna’s heart then and there! If in any case, Lord Krishna has to fume because of your wrongdoing and sins, trust me, we cannot live peacefully in this world from that moment onwards!”

Saying thus, Vidura advises King Dhirdhiraashtra to act immediately and do the needful as per the duties of a righteous king. We have also learnt a very important lesson about “Sharing” things with everyone, rather being stingy to keep everything with ourselves! Let us try and reflect upon this important point for today. We shall wait till the next episode to look into Vidura’s further answers to King Dhirdhiraashtra! Stay tuned! 🙂

Episode # 15 – The sixth & most important category of “Sleep-deprived” people!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

The previous episode marked the commencement of Vidura’s answers to King Dhirdhiraashtra’s concerns of lack of ability to get a good and a peaceful sleep. Vidura begins his answer with a detailed explanation about different categories of sleep-deprived people. We had seen five such categories of people who find it difficult to get a good night sleep. We shall take this discussion forward and have a deeper insight in today’s episode.

As Vidura explains the five categories of sleep-deprived people, we might wonder if this answer is relevant to King Dhirdhiraashtra’s case! We might think that King Dhirdhiraashtra doesn’t fall under any of the above-mentioned categories and why is Vidura commencing his reply his way! All of us know that King Dhirdhiraashtra is not a thief. He is a very good and a kind-hearted person by nature. King Dhirdhiraashtra had not allowed anybody to steal away his property through any means. He hasn’t gone on to fight with people who are more powerful than him. He has also not planned for any task to be completed and lost the ways and means to achieve it. We might think that he doesn’t fall into any of these categories!

However, here comes the next sloka that exclusively “pokes” King Dhirdhiraashtra! Vidura is a very smart person here – He knows exactly how to communicate, without hurting the other person. This is an extremely important quality of a leader. I’ve repeatedly stressed on this aspect even during our Ramayana episodes and the emphasis on this point comes here as well. Thus here too, Vidura with his “art of effective communication” pokes King Dhirdhiraashtra with the fact of his life. In the following sloka he is going to narrate exactly what King Dhirdhiraashtra is undergoing currently. Let’s look into it.

“Kaschith yethair mahaa doshaihi nasprusthosi naraathipa!”

From the above verse, Vidura smartly conveys, “Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! I know that you do not fall under those five categories of people! However, here comes the important issue!”

“Kachichya paravitheshu vridhyamna pari thapyase!” 

Vidura asks here, “Oh King Dhirdhiraashtra! I just wonder if you’ve abducted another person’s property and thus feeling sleep-deprived! Is it true?” Asking thus, Vidura pauses for a moment!

Here comes the sixth category of sleep-deprived people, which we should understand – Those of them who have abducted other’s property by cheating or tricking them will also suffer from lack of proper sleep! In the first place, we should ensure that our property is safe and secure and subsequently we should ensure that we’re not craving for others’ property at any cost!

To be more practical, whatever we think is “our” property, is never ours! It is all that which Bhagawan has given to us and hence it his His property! Our only property for this lifetime is that our physical body is fit and fine! If we try and explain this fact, many of us would feel offended and might end up backlashing (The new trend that is picking up nowadays!) We might ask back, “Oh! Is it enough that our body is fit and fine? Don’t we need money for our survival?” Let me answer this question – It is only with this fit and fine body that we can make money! If we lose our health, all our money will get drained away to the hospital! In fact, more than our physical well-being, our mental well-being is of prime importance!

Nowadays, all of us talk about mental depression, going to a psychiatrist for a counseling session, etc. Previously we’ve seen people suffering from “Blood Pressure”. Nowadays we’re seeing many people suffering from “Mental pressure” and medical research suggests that this “Mental Pressure” is what leads to the “Blood pressure”! Where are we heading to, in this modern-day “stressful” lifestyle? Let’s think for a moment! Moreover, how many medicines are we consuming nowadays? It’s so alarming! It’s more alarming to witness innumerable side-effects for all these medicines that we consume! Thus, the main idea of explaining “Vidura-Neethi” is that, we should not go behind medicines to cure our mental illness. The moment we start to reflect upon each of Vidura’s answers and introspect within ourselves, we can easily find solutions to almost all of our day-to-day problems!

Thus moving on, we are now seeing that Vidura is giving a pointed reply to King Dhirdhiraashtra’s lack of sleep – He explains that King Dhirdhiraashtra has illegally abducted and stolen the property of someone else and thus is suffering from lack of sleep!

“Shrothum icchaami te dharmyam param naishreyacham vachaha!

Asmin raja rishi vamsehi tvam ekaha praagnya sammathaha!!”

 After Vidura gives his answer, he pauses for a moment. Listening to Vidura’s pointed reply, King Dhirdhiraashtra starts to feel guilty! The answer has poked King Dhirdhiraashtra at the wrong place! However he knows that he is responsible for all the mess that’s happening and doesn’t get angry on Vidura for pointing it out to him! King Dhirdhiraashtra asks back, “Oh Vidura! You are right! But I know what is the problem! I’ve called you to give me a solution to this problem, but not to explain the problem again and again to me! Hence, please give me an implementable solution to the problem!”

What is that “implementable solution” Vidura is going to explain to King Dhirdhiraashtra? Let’s wait till the next episode to find out! 🙂

Episode # 14 – Five important categories of “Sleep-deprived” people!!!

cropped-cropped-lord-krishna.jpeg

In the previous episode we had discussed a very important point pertaining to “proper sleep” for a person. During the course of the discussion, we had witnessed different stages through which a person transcends into deep sleep during night. It is said that the deepest form of sleep occurs during the “Susupti-Dasha” time period and we regain our freshness only during this period, which should last atleast for around 4-5 hours on a daily basis. Here, we should note that if we sleep lesser, our entire day becomes dull and tired. We become fatigued and frustrated and this might also be one major cause for anger to arise! However, having said thus, we need to look at another rider to this statement – It is not good for our health if we sleep more too! That is, if we end up sleeping for more than 7 hours a day, we energise our “Thaamasa Guna”, which is nothing but laziness. Too much of laziness also has complications both physically and mentally. Hence, the message from this important discussion is that, we should maintain a proper balance of our sleep time – On an average, 7 hours of sleep is recommended for normal human beings like us.

Lord Krishna mentions this in the Bhagawat Gita too.. “Yuktha aahaara vihaarasya..” which means that we should maintain proper balance in three things – Sleep, food and physical activity. This is extremely important for our healthy living.

Now with this basic understanding, let us link this important point to what Vidura is now going to ask King Dhirdhiraashtra. Vidura is going to list out important points, which directly pertain to the reasons of not getting proper sleep and who are those people in this world who would not be able to get proper sleep.

“Abiyuktham balavathaa dhurbalam heena saadhanam!

Hruthasvam kaaminam choramaavishanthih prajaagaraaha!!”

From the above sloka, Vidura points out that there are five categories of people who would be unable to get proper sleep in their life. What are those five categories? Let’s see word by word.

“Abiyuktham balavathaa”A person who is trying to take on a fight with another person who might be stronger or powerful than him or her, will never be able to get proper sleep, owing to the fear of what would happen at the end of the day!

Dhurbalam heena saadhanam”A person who has commenced an important task, but finds himself helpless in the middle, thus worrying what if he couldn’t complete the task properly – Such a person would never be able to get proper sleep due to this worry constantly hitting his mind all the time!

Hruthasvam”A person who has unfortunately lost his/her property to a theft, robbery, or whatsoever reason, will be unable to sleep at all! We could see this often happening in the modern day – Different kinds of robberies like chain snatches, housebreaking, etc. Those who had lost their property like jewellery, cash, etc. would be constantly worried as to how do we get those lost things back! Hence over a period of time, they become deprived of proper sleep!

“Kaaminam”A person who has excessive desire towards someone or something would also not be able to sleep properly! This is a very important point and can also be linked to the modern day easily – If we’ve to talk about “Kaama(Desire), it is a lengthy topic to ponder upon. However, I’m not saying that we should stop desiring for something in life! Only if we have the positive desire, we would be able to achieve what we’ve got to achieve in our lives! However, we should understand that there is a thin line of difference between “Desire” and “Greed”. If this “Desire” extends a bit too much over something, it transforms itself into “Greed”. It is only now that all problems start happening – We start craving for the things that we desire upon. We start to think of illegal ways of somehow attaining that thing for which we are greedy! If we end up achieving our goal through an illegal way, fears would start arising in our minds as to “What if someone finds out our mistake?” Guilt feelings start arising, which would directly result in the depriving of proper sleep! We can see innumerable instances today wherein people are going through this particular problem – Right from greedy politicians who loot money while in power, and then face criminal proceedings later on, to common people like us wherein we crave for innumerable things in our lives! Hence, “Kaama” should be in a controlled and a channelized manner and this would be helpful for our day-to-day lives.

“Choram”A person who is a thief, would never get sleep! This is imperative – Normally a thief’s job begins only when all of us are asleep! 🙂 Hence, in that way itself it’s clear that a thief doesn’t get good sleep! Moreover, as I’ve explained in the previous paragraph, a thief would always have a fear in his mind that what if his crime comes to light some day. Hence a thief is also sleep-deprived!

Thus we can see that these above explained five categories of people do not get adequate sleep in their daily lives. For today, let us ponder over this important sloka and reflect the essence of it in our daily lives and analyze! We shall wait till the next episode to continue this discussion further! Stay tuned! 🙂