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Monday, December 29, 2008

Radio talk: Yogic perspective of happiness and its meaning

Dear all,

Below please find the link of Sri NV Raghuramji's radio talk on "yogic perspective of Happiness and its meaning" at KZSU Stanford 90.1 FM radio show / USA on December 10, 2008.

Part 1 :

Part 2:

OR you can find the radio show in the below videos;

Part 1:


Part 2:


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -4-


/ *Finally the idea of this presentation is to show that whenever a person suffers psychological problems due to the bad actions she or he does, a simple solution can be to convince him to do right action etc। but when a person suffers from psychological problems in spite of being good and right and sensitive then the solution can not be to do good and not to do wrong. The dimension Krishna shows us in Bhagavad-Gita is to go beyond. Which is the life journey or purushartha. If doing right and not doing wrong is the social requirement and if it is one dimension of our life then spiritual dimension of life is to go beyond both in once deep inner core and equipped by this state deep within, at the action level one does good and right */



Friday, December 12, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -3-

presented at a conference NIMHANS
By Sri NV Raghuram

* Wise person is one who knows that it is temporary he sees that things are going to change and will not be the same. Therefore though he is in this world he does not get caught by this world. He has no attachment and no axe to grind. Good happens to him does not excite him overwhelmingly and the sorrow that comes does not disturb him so that he will eb crippled!*

* Now let us see how Krishna shows to Arjuna the pairs of things and going beyond to beyond!*

* What ever that is born has to die. That is the rule of the creation. We can observe the same truth every where around us. But the greatest wonder is that even though man sees all around himself death occurring he thinks he will not die. Therefore he will be paying homage and soft words for any one dies. This Krishna shows as if they are not competitive but they are complimentary. Accept the death as much as you accepted life and birth and death belong to body and things which are having coming and going qualities. Krishna says to Arjuna, ‘you are eternal and untouched by this death and birth. Like the way you have travelled through the childhood adulthood and old age in the same way you pass through this body and then through another body and so on. You can not be cut by sword or burnt by fire or killed by water. Just like you are not touched by these things, all others also are not touched by the death and birth. Krishna says, ‘therefore oh Arjuna, don’t think that you are causing death for them. You uphold dharma’. *

* In the scene of Maha Bharata war Arjuna appears to be mentally sick but he is truly not. He appears to be sick because of confusion in his mind. Bhagavad-Gita suggests that even an ordinary sane person who has practiced righteousness has also reason to get into confusion unless he gets the higher dimension. He will not find solution in ordinary realms of right and wrong! *

* Krishna says to Arjuna that action and non action are two ways of involving in any situation both of them are alright and they are complimentary. Both of them are acceptable but the third thing he says the vikarma is not good and poisonous. Karma is doing and Akarma is not doing (a+Karma). Krishna says both of them are alright but he says vikarma is bad. Vikarma is normally translated as bad action or forbidden action! Some of the translators or interpreters even present it as torturing, killing or physically or mentally abusing is bad. I was having reservations about this way of interpreting because of the fact that there was no reason for Krishna to say this to Arjuna. One reason is that Arjuna always followed right actions and never took to wrong actions even though there were opportunities. Therefore when Krishna says don’t do Vikarma it can not be bad actions or forbidden actions. Another important aspect is that Arjuna does not even want to fight the war and instead he wants to run away from the battle. If it was right then Krishna does not have to give any philosophy. Suffice it to say to Arjuna that what you are thinking is right. *

*But that is not Krishna’s intention. The philosophical background he has given, helped Arjuna to take to fight the war in a yoga way. (Yogasthaha Kurukarmani!). The transformation that happened is that the action has no more the element of Vikarma! The question we need to understand therefore is what is meant by vikarma?*

*Let us take a simple household example to understand the concept of Vikarma:*

*You are watching the news program on TV and wife is busy in the kitchen preparing food. The kid two years old comes and says, ‘dad, can you help me?’. You are not in a mood to attend to him and say, ‘don’t disturb me now. Go to your mom I am busy,’ the mom from kitchen says, ‘take care of him please, what is busy work you are doing watching the news on tv you can watch it later.’ Even then you want to find an excuse, ‘no, taking care of the kid is mother’s responsibility and I am tired working in the office. She is surprised at the answer and says, ‘ok I shall take care and you will not have dinner.’ It is like veto. You can not do any thing, with great rejection in side you say in harsh tone to the child, ‘ok, tell me what it is?’ again the order comes from kitchen, ‘take care of him properly’. You can not even say loud. *

*If you observe what went on now you will see that you have created a split personality with in you. One part says take care of him as it is needed but on the other hand another part strongly says, ‘don’t take care let wife take care of the child’. Thus when we create a duel personality with in and do any activity this is called ‘Vikarma’. Vikarma according to Krishna is bad. We can also feel the same. Any activity we do in the form of Vikarma we do not enjoy and it becomes like a big burden. Your mind takes completely the posture of fighting. Your min is filled with anger and negativity towards wife and kid. Such an activity becomes a big stress on you. Similarly when ever we do not do an activity not peacefully but with repulsion within that non activity is also Vikarma and that activity also can not give us peace and relaxation. *

*By looking at this example we can see every activity we do or every non activity we prefer, almost ninety percent of the times we are only doing vikarma and not doing karma or a karma. We get up in the morning with an idea of going to the office, but once we get up we start complaining about getting up so early. This is vikarma. We have to go in the traffic and once we are there we just don’t go easily we continuously complain about the traffic getting irritated and upset at every step. This is vikarma. This vikarma is reaction and doing by creating a split personality within. Once we know that we need to do the activities why not take a position to do it whole heartedly. That belongs to inner understanding and inner correction. Any activity where we remove the vikarma aspect it becomes karma yoga. This helps us to rise above the third position vikarma. *

*Another important dimension Krishna gives to Arjuna is the concept that the creation can be divided into three divisions called satva rajas and tamas depending on their properties and actions etc. A simple observation of the creation can give us this aspect more clearly. If you look at a tree it can be divided into three aspects the root is tamas, the trunk is rajas and the flowers and foliage is the satva. We need all the three things for the tree to be alive. Similarly if we look at the human being we also have similarly three aspects, namely the feet is the tamas the middle portion of the body is rajas and the upper portion of the body is satva. All the three are necessary and what is the health of a system whether you take a tree or a human being is the harmony between all the three aspects. *

*There is nothing like one is good and one is bad. They all are required according to their activities. That is how the activities they do are also named as satva and rajas and tamas activities. The roots are in the soil and darkness all the times, therefore darkness is also tamas and they feed on slush and putrefied food so the putrefied food is tamas, similarly feet always carry the weight of the body and walks in dirty rough terrain. Therefore the activities of that nature are called as tamas activities. On the other hand our head things and plans etc. such an activity therefore is called as satva activity. Strictly speaking these are not in separate water tight compartments but they are in degrees of subtleties. Krishna gives further that these three gunas are there in the nature but you have to go beyond these three gunas so that you can easily without any reaction switch from one guna to other guna where ever it is necessary. Therefore Krishna gives the idea of the fourth state called the gunateetha which is the actual spiritual practice. You can reach guna teetha level only by developing non attachment with all the tree gunas. Thus in t his case also Krishna suggests the state beyond, and that is the purpose of life!*

*I have mentioned here only some ideas of how the world is made up of and it has different divisions such as good and bad, right and wrong etc and the purpose of teaching of Bhagavad-Gita is to take you beyond which is the purpose of life and purushartha,*

- to be continued...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Practical Psychology and Life Journey -2-

presented at a conference NIMHANS
By Sri NV Raghuram

-Full Paper-

* Human being has the freedom which the other species do not have. Freedom does not come with only one side of the coin it has both the good and bad which means human being can improve himself and can destroy himself. That is the reason human being also has a purpose rather responsibility for living. When we say he has responsibility it does not mean in the sense of pressure or burden but like a joyful play. He is not an isolated creature but he is part of the creation and the best part of it therefore he has the responsibility of the other creatures on the earth. This in Vedanta is called as ‘purushartha’, ‘/arthate iti purushah’/. Once this purushartha is understood then one can see that the society around him is for this purushartha the nature around him is for the sake of this purushartha and the whole development we see around can be for the sake of this purushartha.
** One may raise the question in what way is it different form the concept of good and bad, right and wrong, and sin and virtue. The concept of these pairs of opposites can not take us above the level of selfishness of a human being. Once this selfishness one can use his intelligence to take care of this selfishness and say that why should I care for others, they have to take care of themselves. You can be right and yet you can damage the other by your behavior. This is when two categories of people arise. One category is of those who think let other suffer, that is not my problem and let me enjoy and take what I can get. These are not bad people and they do also not have any bad intention. There is another category of people who say that I may be right through out but how can I enjoy when so many are suffering! If this category of people were not there, there is no question of higher wisdom. Many other thinkers stopped at this level where they defined what is good and what is bad. What is right and what is wrong in the name of spirituality. If Bhagavad-Gita is addressing this issue then Arjuna to whom Krishna is giving the message would have easily asked this question that whole life he has been good and has never done any thing intentionally or unintentionally also bad. But he is suffering in the battle field with agony which he expressed. On the other hand Duryodhana who has been all through his life has been bad and even when a chance is given to him to be good or even neutral he has been by self commitment bad. That shows the freedom of a human being has the possibility to become good or to become bad. Though there were elders and people of wisdom telling him that he should do otherwise he has continued to be bad. At the war Duryodhana did not suffer with mental agony and he was happy and ready to fight war. Now Arjuna required remedy for his problems and Duryodhana did not require any thing!
** This gives us several ideas about Gita. One is that, the person who is bad is happy but person whose behavior for whole life was good, he is unhappy. The person who did wicked namely Duryodhana, did not suffer mental agony and good person namely Arjuna appears that he is suffering mental agony!** It is not due to the god deeds and good behavior he suffers but because he is sensitive and this sensitivity is a growth and being insensitive is not growth. Therefore the discussion that goes on in Bhagavad-Gita is not about good and evil but it is about life far beyond right and wrong, good and evil etc. a moralistic life is not the final purpose of life. Moral can be subjected to questioning! If the life is limited to the educating or improving oneself from evil ways of living to good ways of life, it is not sufficient and in order to go from evil to good a spiritual text is not necessary, a moral code of conduct is good. The situation of Bhagavad-Gita shows that the sufferings of life do not stop by being good. We need to go beyond both and this is the higher dimension of life.
** Bhagavad-Gita is a text which gives this higher dimension of life which is called as Purushartha. With out this Purushartha for human being, self or ‘me’ becomes more important and he will try to work for fulfilling this. *
* Life or the creation is made up of variety which can be divided into two or more than two aspects, like day and night, good and bad, right and wrong mine and not mine etc. we always go for one and reject the other. The reality of life is that every thing here is short lived. Even our experiences are also short lived. The happiness that we think an object is giving us, is short lived and soon we start experiencing sorrow too. The day will convert slowly into night before you realize. Before we enjoy some one’s birth, a case of death is waiting for us round the corner. When the Upanishad sage says that life is like a droplet of water or the soap bubble, he does not mean that the life is short lived and therefore it is unreal or unimportant! The life becomes all the more important if we know that life is short lived. There is a more powerful logic to take life seriously and indulge more seriously if the life is short lived. Like the flower is short lived where as thorns are for ever. Live flower is short lived where as the plastic flower is there for ever. Therefore the plastic flower is no match for the real flower. The purpose of a sage to say that life is short lived is to indicate that even if you are seeking happiness here it will soon change and will become sorrow. They are only helping us to understand that soon you will loose and what you really do not want will come into your hands. There is no possibility that you can choose one and not have the other! Even if you are having comfort all the time soon you get used to the life of comfort and then the same comfort can not give you any happiness and you are now looking for some thing different and if that some thing different can to be there you will be miserable.
** Due to ignorance we always try to switch from one object to the other one situation to the other. The whole material world gives us so many alternatives and constant ideas that go for this or that so that it is happy or it is eternal!*

- to be continued...