As human beings we have tremendous qualities and virtues. You don’t have to look for virtues outside – you are the source of all virtues. But in the stress of day to day life, these virtues get hidden.
A seed has a membrane around it which doesn’t allow the seed to sprout, but when the membrane is soaked in water and it gets the right atmosphere, the membrane loosens and the seed sprouts. That is how the seed becomes a tree. Sadhana is a way to soak the seed; yoga is a way to manifest all the perfections that are already within you.
Virtues get covered by three things:
Mala or impurities. If there are toxins in your body, it reflects on your mind and affects your behavior. Impurities of the body and mind are called mala.
You get a lot of negative thoughts if your bowel movements are not okay. If you have constipation, the impact of it on the mind is sure negativity. Anyone who says I have constipation, know for sure that they are going to have negative thoughts sooner or later because the toxins in the body are increasing and it is going to affect the brain too. This is called mala, or the first sheath that covers your beautiful being.
Aparna: a veil of ignorance that surrounds you through identification. There is a saying in English that as you sow so shall you reap. You have sown the seeds. You have put the labels on you – I am so bad, or I am weak, or I am hopeless, or I am arrogant. Whatever label you put creates a sheath around you. Avarna is a veil which has come from many lifetimes.
Vikshepa: when you put wrong concepts about yourself in your mind, or form wrong concepts based on what you hear from others that causes disturbance in you is called vikshepa.
Your interaction with people can create mental disturbances. Just one person, whom you are friendly with, tells you some news and that news can disturb your mind. It can throw you off normal. And later, after 1 or 2 months, you come to know from your friend that what you heard is not true, but by that time it has already caused so much restlessness or agitation in your mind. So vikshepa is agitation getting created in your mind by hearsay or opinions of other people.
So these 3 things keep you shrouded and limited. Meditation and yoga can help you come out of all this, and that is when you have full enthusiasm, energy, joy and all virtues coming up.
Satsang can also help you come out of vikshepa and wrong indoctrination that gets into our head. Satsang brings positivity. Then when someone comes and tells you this guy is a hopeless guy and you say, “Ok, so what!” You don’t get affected by that. Otherwise if someone says this guy is a hopeless guy, you say, “Oh yes, he is a hopeless guy. I believed in this guy and I went to tea with him and gave him money…” and this way the mind goes on. So, satsang takes you out and gives you a positive attitude.
Once, an astrologer went to visit a king. The king showed great reverence to the astrologer, made him sit down, and honored him with gifts. The king then showed his palm and the charts to astrologer. The astrologer examined everything and then said to the king, O King! You will lose your entire family. Everybody is going to die before you. You will be the last to die.”
The king got very upset upon hearing this and put the astrologer in the jail.
When someone hears some negative prediction, they don’t like it. They obviously want to hear something nice and positive instead. And so it was for the king as well.
This news shook the entire community of astrologers. They thought, “We cannot tell the truth to the king. If we do so, he will simply put us in jail. What do we do?”
The king then called for another astrologer to appear before him. Many tried to escape this request but one senior astrologer agreed to meet the king. So, he went before the king, and the king welcomed him in the same way with gifts. The king then showed his palm to the astrologer.
The astrologer said, “Oh King! What a great fortune you are blessed with! You have a very good horoscope. Nobody in history has had such longevity of age as you are going to have. In fact, nobody in your dynasty has had such great longevity.”
The astrologer never said to the king that he was going to outlive everybody else in the royal family. Instead, he told the king that he was blessed with great longevity and that he had a great horoscope.
The king was so flattered upon hearing the news of his long life and good health. He told the astrologer, “Ask for whatever gift you want from me and I shall give.”
The astrologer said, “Please release my poor colleague who is in the jail.”
Moral of the story - skill in communication makes a huge difference. With the right communication skills, we can turn any negative situation into a positive one.
There is a couplet in Kannada which says, “It is through words that fun and laughter happen, and it is through words that enmity can also happen.” Speech creates conflict and also removes conflict.
Your speech should be so wonderful and sweet, that even Lord Shiva should simply listen and nod happily in agreement saying, “Oh yes, Oh yes”.That is how lovely your speech should be.
The nature of the mind is to waver, similar to how the nature of water is to flow. Now how do you reduce this wavering nature of the mind? It is through spiritual practices (abhyaasa) and dispassion (vairagya).
What is Dispassion?
Sometimes, when you are disturbed, you say, “I don’t want anything. Enough is enough!” This is one kind of dispassion, which you experience when you are disturbed. It is called Smashana (cemetery) Vairagya.
The second kind of dispassion is when you say with awareness, “I don’t want anything. I have had enough (contentment)! Everything in the world changes; nothing is permanent. I don’t mind if I have or don’t have something.”
This is the second type of dispassion, and is called Gyana (knowledge) Vairagya.
We need to have Gyana Vairagya and not Smashana Vairagya. The mind always moves towards pleasure. If we have knowledge and dispassion, then all the pleasures will come to us. It is also said that the pleasure that comes out of Abhyaasa (spiritual practice) is the highest.
Everyone has to experience at least one of the two types of dispassion. So it is better to say, “I have had enough,” out of awareness and contentment. That is the higher kind of dispassion!
Is Dispassion a Happening?
Dispassion is not a happening; I would say dispassion is what you invoke in yourself. When you widen your awareness, when you see everything is going to disappear and death is imminent, we are all going to die and everything is changing – when this knowledge comes, then dispassion is spontaneous.
Dispassion is the only way to make the mind stop chattering. Just realize that everything is a dream. It will all soon come to an end. The chattering of the mind is always with regard to a subject, a topic, or with a want. Worries and wants are responsible for the chattering of the mind. Drop your worries and your wants – that is what is called vairagya.
Dispassion and Contentment
Just be contented in your mind. You must keep evaluating yourself from time to time. Ask yourself, is what I am doing benefitting others? Even if something brings pain in the short run, but is beneficial to everyone in the long run, then that is the right thing to do. This is the test.
Before doing any work, you must ask yourself, “Am I only focusing on the small things or am I thinking from a larger perspective?” This is essential.
29th March 2018 was the birthday of a great saint called Mahavir, who propagated Jainism. He is one of the most adored enlightened saints of India and the 24th Tirthankara (the name given to an enlightened and realized soul in the Jain tradition).
Mahavir’s Philosophy and Teaching
Mahavira’s main principle is non-violence – ahimsa. He said that one has no right to be violent on anything in the world.
He spoke of Anekantvada, which means that there are so many possibilities. The world is full of possibilities. There is not just one way. This knowledge is really needed today. If people understand this, there will be no terrorism or fanaticism in the world.
He also spoke of Syadvada which is one of the most scientific approaches of dealing with the intellect. It says, “Perhaps there is something that I do not know.”
If someone says, “This is it, I know everything”, it is not correct. That is why he spoke of Syadvada – perhaps it could be some other way also. All is possible. That is a sign of a mature intellect; otherwise it is an immature intellect.
He would always add perhaps in every one of his expressions to indicate that there is always room for exploration. If you say, this is like this – you are making it so definite. In this world, nothing is definite, there is always a possibility.
He spoke of Swadhyaya – observing and studying of one's emotions, mind, and consciousness. Kayothsarga – rising above the body, and realize that we are not the body. Tapa – forbearance. Kshama – seeking forgiveness. ‘Knowingly or unknowingly, if I have done anything wrong through my action or inaction, I ask for your forgiveness’. This is the highest principle.
Mahavir Was a Contemporary of Buddha
I believe Buddha and Mahavir were from the same town. They knew about each other, but they never met. Someone asked them, “Why you didn’t meet?” They replied, “There is no need, as we are already connected.”
You know, in the state of enlightenment, even though the ways are different, the soul is the same. There is no distance.
There is another version in history that they met, but did not speak to each other at all. They just met and went their ways. Here too, it is said that there was no need for verbal communication.
When heart meets heart, and soul meets soul, there is no need to keep talking. When hearts meet, there is no language barrier, no words, nothing comes in between. When two people are in the head, they could be talking about the same thing, but it would appear like a fight.
Buddha spoke about emptiness, Mahavir spoke about the self. Buddha said there is no self, Mahavir said all that is, is self. Repose in the self; the nature of the soul is happiness.