Sunday 30 July 2017


2017 0730 31  Bhagavad Gita 13.7: Accomodation [ क्षान्ति kshanti] the Greatest Virtue

Here is an uncommon definition and explanation for क्षान्ति kshanti, in BG Ch13 Sloka7, by Pujyashri Swami Dayananda Saraswati Swamiji, from one of his Satsang Talks at Coimbatore, worth studying deeply and assimilating.

Pujyashri Swami Dayananda Saraswati [1930-2015]

अमानित्वं अदंभित्वं अहिंसा क्षान्ति आर्जवं  |
आचार्य उपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यं  आत्म विनिग्रहः  ||   BG 13.7*

Amaanitvam adambhitvam ahimsaa kshaanti aarjavam |
aachaarya upaasanam shaucham sthairyam aatma vinigrahaha || 

The Attitude of Kshānti [क्षान्ति] by Pujyashri Swami Dayananda Saraswati Swamiji [taken from the 8th Anniversary Souvenir of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam 1994].

Kshānti is generally translated as forbearance or forgiveness.  Such a definition, however, connotes arrogance. Who are you to forgive someone else? Forgiveness implies a “holier than thou” attitude which only stems from pride.  And so, to forgive someone is not what is meant by kshānti. A more meaningful translation is letting people live as they do, and letting situations be as they are without wanting them to be different.  

The value of kshānti is accommodation – a very beautiful human embellishment which takes a certain inner richness.  Unless you are big enough inside, it is not possible to accommodate another person or a situation.  In the list of values to be cultivated, I would say that kshānti is the most important attitude for the seeker who really wants to understand Vedanta. One must enjoy a relative degree of accommodation in order to discover the ātmā, the self, which accommodates the entire world.  

Ātmā accommodates ignorance, it accommodates error, it accommodates jealousy, it accommodates passion, it accommodates anger, it accommodates the world with all its limitations.  The self accommodates all the pairs of opposites. Thus, to know the ātmā, my mind should enjoy the capacity to accommodate.  To the extent that one has the capacity to accommodate, to that extent one is objective. 

Accommodation is an inner disposition which has nothing to do with suffering or enduring the wrongdoing of other people.  One does not accommodate a person’s wrongdoing.  One simply chooses not to internalize whatever the person has said or done and instead allows the person to be as he or she is.   

A person’s behavior cannot be different from what that person is.  And each person is exactly as he or she is because of his or her background. You may ask what is the difference between accommodation and compassion, sympathy?  Compassion is a trait born of accommodation.  Daya, compassion, does not happen immediately.  What happens first is accommodation which allows you to understand another person and let him or her be as he or she is. 

If you want to help a person, you can do so only by first accommodating him.  It is something like being a good doctor.  When the patient comes to see the doctor, the doctor cannot complain that every day people come to him complaining about one thing or another. 

Patients go to see a doctor because they have problems. A doctor can deal with a patient only when he first has accommodation.  First he accepts the person with his illness, and then afterwards, he does what he must.   This is true in life too: people are people.  You take them as they are.  In fact, your freedom lies only in this.  The more you allow people to be what they are, the more you are free inside.  

Many of our problems like anger, jealously, and so on arise due to lack of accommodation. We do experience accommodation with reference to certain things in the world.  You do not want to change the stars or the mountains or the trees.  You let them as they are.  You accommodate them.  The same is possible with human beings.  They all come from different backgrounds which condition their behavior.  You cannot expect them to behave as you want. If I consult those people whom I want to change, they say that I have to change.  

We try to change each other and tensions develop because each one wants to control the other.  This controlling behavior is due to a sense of insecurity. Kshānti frees you from reactions and allows you to act.  Action is possible only when there is kshānti.  Reaction is intolerance or incapacity to accept a fact.  A situation is a fact, but it is only a fact when I perceive it without a reaction.  

When I react, I do not see the fact.  If I allow the fact to sink into me without the interference of reaction, then I will be able to act.  But if I react to a situation, due to a lack of accommodation, I will not be able to respond appropriately.  A reaction is the incapacity to accept a fact.  

Only if you understand people and let people be as they are can you help them.  In other words, you have to be free.  I allow people to be what they are, situations to be what they are and try to improve them if I find them unpleasant.  To do this, I act, not react.  From mistakes we can learn but not from reaction.   

Thus kshānti is an amazing virtue.  It just accommodates everything.  It has no designs or manipulations.  All these things have no place in one’s heart if one can accommodate. Accommodation does not involve an “I am holier than thou” attitude. It is a simple acceptance of facts as they are and doing what one can.   That is healthy living, intelligent living.  And therefore, kshānti is not a value, but an attitude.  

Sunday 23 July 2017


2017 0923 30  Bhagavad Gita 13.7: Top 9 Virtues for Wisdom [ ज्ञानं ]

Bhagavad Gita

[Twenty virtues are listed as Jnanam, in the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13 verses 7 to 11. We consider here the first nine virtues from verse 13.7]

अमानित्वं अदंभित्वं अहिंसा क्षान्ति आर्जवं  |
आचार्य उपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यं  आत्म विनिग्रहः ||   BG 13.7

Amaanitvam adambhitvam ahimsaa kshaantir aarjavam |
aachaarya upaasanam shaucham sthairyam aatmavinigrahaha || BG 13.7 
Humility or absence of pride, unpretentiousness, non-injury, forgiveness, straightforwardness, service of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, self control.

अमानित्वं  amaanitvam : humility or absence of pride
अदंभित्वं  adambhitvam : unpretentiousness or absence of hypocrisy
अहिंसा  ahimsaa : non-injury
क्षान्ति  kshaantihi : forgiveness
आर्जवं  aarjavam : straightforwardness
आचार्य उपासनं  aachaarya upaasanam : service of the teacher
शौचं  shaucham : purity
स्थैर्यं   sthairyam : steadfastness
आत्म विनिग्रहः  aatma vinigrahah : self control

1] अमानित्वं  amaanitvam: “Maana” means overestimation of one’s own self-worth. This self-worth can be derived from health, wealth, power, beauty, control, position, any of these characteristics. When pride or “abhimaan” derived from these characteristics makes us crave extra attention or put down someone else, it is to be avoided. “Amaanitvam” is an absence of pride about any of the above-mentioned characteristics.

2] अदंभित्वं  adambhitvam: “Dambha” means pretentiousness or falsehood. In the case of abhimaana, we had some characteristic in us that made us puff up with pride. In dambha, we derive a false sense of pride where there is no positive trait to speak of whatsoever. It is completely hollow pride. It is easy to see through people who have dambha. So then, “adambhitvam” is utter absence of pretentiousness.
अहिंसा  ahimsaa:  “Himsaa” means injury in a very broad sense of the word. There are five afflictions that are mentioned in the Yoga school of philosophy: ignorance, arrogance, desire, hatred and fear of death. Whenever we cause any of these afflictions or kleshas in any other person, we are injuring that person. When we do not cause any of these afflications, we demonstrate ahimsaa or non-injury.

4] क्षान्ति  kshaanti:  “Kshaanti” is an attitude of forgiveness that comes out of extreme titkshaa which is forbearance and tolerance. If we do not have this quality, we will get angry, flare up and lose our equanimity at every little jab or insult that anyone throws at us. Forbearance is a means to achieve equanimity as well.

5] आर्जवं aarjavam: “Aarjavam” refers to straightforwardness, an absence of crookedness in dealing with the world. This quality is reflected in us when our thoughts are aligned with our actions. Even children can see through someone who says one thing and does something else.

6] आचार्य उपासनं  aachaarya upaasanam: “Aacharya” refers to someone who collects the essence of the scriptures, like a honeybee collects nectar from flowers. Giving respect to such a learned master is called “aacharya upaasanam”. By doing so, we acknowledge that we do not know everything, and that we are ready to follow the path laid out by the teacher. 

7] शौचं  shaucham: “Shaucham” is purity of the body and the mind. The ritual of pooja is emphasized in Indian children because in that short period of time, we learn to maintain a high degree of external purity. If we reflect on this as we get older, that notion of external purity slowly seeps into our mind, and encourages us to develop purity in thought as well.

8] स्थैर्यं sthairyam: “Sthairyam” is the strength to remain firm in one’s convictions, to remain steadfast in what we do. If we decide to meditate for ten minutes daily but cannot even do so for a couple of days, we will not be able to tackle much more challenging aspects of our material and spiritual journeys.

9] आत्म विनिग्रहः  aatma vinigrahah:  “Aatma vinigrahah” is our ability to control our mind from its natural tendency to run after sense objects. The sense organs, which are under the control of the mind, have a natural tendency to go outwards. Through self control, we learn to turn them inward. 

Swami Guruparananda in Tamil[Click Here]

Study Guide on Virtues to Wisdom BG 13.7-13.11: [Click Here]

Twenty Virtues for Essential Wisdom: Satya Sai Baba: [Click Here]


Sunday 16 July 2017


2017 079 29  Bhagavad Gita 17.16: Penance of Mind [मानसं तपः Manasam Tapah] 

मनःप्रसादः सौम्यत्वं मौनं आत्मविनिग्रहः   |
भाव संशुद्धिः इति एतत्तपः  मानसं उच्यते  ||         BG 17.16

manahprasadah saumyatvam maunam atma-vinigrahah
bhava-samsuddhi ity etat tapah manasam ucyate             

Cheerfulness of mind, placidity or gentleness, calmness and contemplation, mastery over mind, purity of thought—these together constitute penance of mind.

1] मनःप्रसादः manahprasadah: Cheerfulness of mind: Manah-prasadah is mental cheerfulness. A discipline, which helps you acquire and maintain mental cheerfulness, is called manasa tapas. 

It involves a prayerful attitude, and an acceptance of yourself and of the situation in which you find yourself. This includes acceptance of the past, and of the world as we find it. Futuristic conjectures are also resolved in an attitude of surrender and simple appreciation.

When you get up in the morning, acknowledge that it is nice being alive. It is one more day for celebration. Anything that you do is a celebration. ‘I am alive today. It is nice being alive. It is nice doing what I do.’ That is what the attitude is. This is manah-prasadah. 

2] सौम्यत्वं saumyatvam: Saumyatvam: When manaprasada is there, there is an external expression evident on the face, and that is what they call saumyatva. It reveals a cheerfulness in the mind. From the mouth, eyes, eyebrows, words, the whole demeanour of the person, you infer that he is pleased.

The tapas here is, when you are displeased, you bring back a pleased condition of mind, which will bring about a smile. This is not a behavioural modification, but a change that comes about by a process of thinking. 

3] मौनं maunam:  Calmness and Contemplation:  Mauna is restraint in speaking. Even though it is a discipline of the organ of speech, and might be included in the discussion of vak tapas, here it is considered as a mental discipline. Why? Speaking properly, and sometimes not speaking, is possible only when you have mauna inside.

The effect of the absence of a necessity to talk is externally expressed as mauna. Generally there is always a pressure to talk. We build it up. The absence of such a pressure to talk to another person is what is called mauna.

This silence at the level of speech is because of the mind being silent. It is a tapas because it can be accomplished only by discipline. There is an attempt involved, by proper thinking, to bring about mauna.

4] आत्मविनिग्रहः atma-vinigrahah:  Mastery over Mind:   Atma vinigraha is mastery over the ways of the mind, in general. There is no ambiguity about the meaning of the word atma here. Since the topic is mental tapas, it can only mean mind. Mauna is a particular aspect of this tapas with reference to speech. But atma vinigraha is mastery with reference to everything.

By proper discipline, one gains a certain mastery over the ways of thinking and is not carried away by a thought process. Whatever is necessary in following this discipline is called tapas.

All your emotions have to be put in order, and whatever you do to accomplish that comes under atma vinigraha. Anything you do for the sake of mental health is a sadhana. It is not outside yoga. 

5] भाव संशुद्धिः bhava-samsuddhi: Purity of Thought:  Bhava-samsuddhi is clean intentions when you are dealing with people. Whether your motives are understood by others or not, they are clean. The motive is at the level of the mind, not action. If the motive is not clean, we analyse why this is so, and thereby, get rid of the particular type of thinking that allowed such a motive to come. All these together constitute manasam tapas.  

Sunday 9 July 2017


2017 0709 28  Bhagavad Gita 17.16: Cheerfulness of Mind [मनःप्रसादः]

Swami Dayananda Saraswati [1930-2015]
[I was going through Pujyashri Dayananda Saraswathi Swamiji's Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course BG Ch 17 Sloka 16 and was deeply impressed by his explanation of "manah-prasadah" [मनःप्रसादः] which I wanted to share with you all.]

Manah-prasadah is mental cheerfulness. The word, ‘mental’ is used deliberately here because, sometimes you can put on an appearance of cheerfulness, but not be mentally cheerful at all.

A discipline, which helps you acquire and maintain mental cheerfulness, is tapas. It involves a prayerful attitude, and an acceptance of yourself and of the situation in which you find yourself

This includes acceptance of the past, and of the world as we find it. Futuristic conjectures are also resolved in an attitude of surrender and simple appreciation.

I do not need to prove myself to anybody.  These are all simple things. But then, these things count a lot, because, it is the simple things that bring about cheerfulness. It involves living one day at a time. 

Today I am alive, and what is to be done this day, I just do. The future can take care of itself. If I can manage today, tomorrow I have only one day to manage. This is the truth about life. Your whole life, all you have to manage is one day. 

If yesterday, you made a mistake; that is fine. You are wiser for it. If you are worried about it today, not only yesterday but today also is wasted in worrying. With reference to what is to be done, a certain surrender allows you to live happily.  

The future will take care of itself. I may plan for the future, but I do what I can do today. That is all. Today's plan is like this, and tomorrow's plan may be the same, or I may revise it. This ‘one day at a time’ never goes away. These are the attitudes that bring about surrender. 

Then there is a law that ‘What will be, will be—bhavatavyam bhavatyeva!’ This is an important shock absorber. What is to happen will happen; I do what I can. That is the truth about living.

What is to happen to you, your own prarabdha and that of others, are all intertwined. This is how things happen. If you have understood and assimilated even what has happened so far, you have an attitude that is ready for surprises. That is mental cheerfulness, manah-prasadah.  A number of things are involved in this.

Whenever concern or anxiety arises, you resolve it by bringing back the proper attitude. Just remind yourself that it is nice being yourself. Say to yourself, ‘It is nice being myself.’ In whichever area you have to change, make efforts to change. If necessary, take help, even the help of God, in the form of prayer. I do not have to prove myself to anybody. If another person thinks ill of me, it is his problem. I just accept myself as I am

[What follows is adapted from  "Sadaka Sanjivini" commentary on Bhagavad Gita by Swami Ramsukhdas which also will be found to be very relevant.] 

Cheerfulness of the mind is called "manah-prasadah" [मनःप्रसादः]. Cheerfulness which is caused by contact with persons and things is not permanent. Cheerfulness which is revealed by staying away from evils remains permanent. And this leads to serenity of mind

1] One who is free from attachments and aversions to persons and circumstances;
2] One who is not partial nor selfish nor proud;
3] One who if full of divine traits such as compassion, forgiveness, generosity, etc;
4] One who always feels for the welfare of all beings; and
5] One who is temperate in food, sleep and recreations according to ordinance of scriptures, such a striver attains cheerfulness of mind and serenity speedily.

Sunday 2 July 2017


2017 0702 27  ThirukkuraL: Ch.22:  Duty to Society  [ஒப்புரவு அறிதல்]

The purpose of one’s hard-earned money is
to be deployed to help the deserving.                                            
T 212

The wealth of the wise one who loves, and is loved by, the world,
is like a public pond brimming with water.                                      T 215

What harm can come out of beneficence? Such harm
deserves to be bought even by selling oneself.                             T 220

தாள் ஆற்றித் தந்த பொருள் எல்லாம் தக்கார்க்கு 
வேளாண்மை செய்தற் பொருட்டு.                                                             T 212 

 ஊருணி நீர் நிறைந்தற்றே உலகு அவாம் 
பேர் அறிவாளன் திரு.                                                                                     T 215

ஒப்புரவினால் வரும் கேடு எனின் அஃது ஒருவன் 
விற்றுக் கோள் தக்கது உடைத்து.                                                               T 220

ThiurukkuraL  Ch.22  Duty to Society: Full Text: [Click Here]