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||O® bh¿rbhuva¡ sva¡ tatsaviturvareñya® bhargo devasya dhºmahi dhiyo yo na¡ pracoday³t ||

(May Almighty illuminate our intellect and inspire us towards the righteous path)

Yajurveda - Rigveda 3/62/10; Samveda 1462, Yajurveda 3/35, 22/9, 30/2, 36/3

Volume - 4 Issue - 6 Nov-Dec, 2006 Date of Publication: 01.11. 2006

Annual Subscription India: Rs. 72.00 Abroad: Rs. 720.00

Serve Man as God

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he only way of getting our divine nature manifested is by helping others to do the same. If there is inequality in nature, still there must be equal chance for all ­ or if greater for some and for some less - the weaker should be given more chance than the strong. In other words, a Brahmana is not so much in need of education as a Chandala. If the son of a Brahmana needs one teacher, that of a Chandala needs ten. For greater help must be given to him whom nature has not endowed with an acute intellect from birth. It is a madman who carries coals to Newcastle. The poor, the downtrodden, the ignorant - let these be your god. This is the gist of all worship - to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Siva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Siva; and if he sees Siva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. The life of Buddha shows that even a man who has no metaphysics, belongs to no sect, and does not go to any church, or temple, and is a confessed materialist, even he can attain to the highest. .... He was the only man who was ever ready to give up his life for animals, to stop a sacrifice. He once said to a king: `If the sacrifice of a lamb helps you to go to heaven, sacrificing a man will help you better; so sacrifice me.' The king was astonished. `The good live for others alone. The wise man should sacrifice himself for others.' I can secure my own good only by doing your good. There is no other way, none whatsoever. Go from village to village; do good to humanity and to the world at large. Go to hell yourself to buy salvation for others... `When death is so certain, it is better to die for a good cause.' Throughout the history of the world, you find great men make great sacrifices and the mass of mankind enjoy the benefit. If you want to give up everything for your own salvation, it is nothing. Do you want to forgo even your own salvation for the good of the world? You are God, think of that.

-Swami Vivekananda

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Contents

01 Amrit Cintan

Serve Man as God------------------------------------------------------------------------- 03

02 03 From Chief Editor's Desk: --------------------------------------------------------- 05 Science and Spirituality

Bio-Energy: Medical Imaging to Psychic Healing---------------------------------------- 06

04 05

Do Colors Affect Body-Mind System? -------------------------------------------------- 11

Vedic Solutions to Modern Problems:

Social, Cultural and Economic Developments -II --------------------------------------- 14

06 Art of Living ­ 5

Let Creative Potentials Materialize Fully ------------------------------------------------- 19

07 08

Immortal Journey -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 21

Youth Column

Firm Determination is a Mark of Spiritual Progress ------------------------------------- 25

09 10

The Holy Task ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 27

Health Tips

Get Rid of Obesity ­ How? --------------------------------------------------------------- 32

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Companions in Solitude-11 Kinship with Myriad Manifestations of Cosmic Existence. --------------------------------- 37

My Life: Its Legacy and Message- 22

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Tapascarya Essential for the Growth of Spiritual Power ------------------------------- 41

13 Amrit V³ñº

The Holy Himalayas and the Glorious Rishi Culture - II ------------------------------- 46

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From Chief Editor's Desk

Dr. Pranav Pandya

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ith this issue, English Akhand Jyoti completes four years of its infancy. We had started it as the vehicle of our Gurudev's vision and message of collective upliftment and transformation of humanity from its ego-centered, divisive and strife-ridden consciousness of absurdity and ignorance into the realm of Cosmic Consciousness of Light, Love, Harmony, Understanding and Blissful Life ­ to all corners of the globe through the medium of English ­ which is now the universal language of humanity. We have tried our humble best to provide the readers with inspiring and practicable guidelines for their cohesive physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth. It will be our endeavor to continue improving its contents through selfevaluation and reader-feedback. We ardently request our readers to motivate more and more persons to subscribe to this magazine. The Akhand Jyoti in Hindi, the pioneering mouthpiece of Gayatri Mission's Vision, has been in circulation for nearly seven decades now. It has been instrumental in the transformation of lives of millions of parijans. Akhand Jyoti, in its Avatars in various languages, including English, is not run-of-the-mill magazine. It is a dynamo of life-transforming spiritual energy ­ inspiring and guiding human beings in the manifestation of their indwelling divinity individually and collectively through the three-fold self effort of ­ Upasana, Sadhana and Aradhana (self-upliftment through worshipful prayer, self-purification and altruistic service). Our Gurudev's Vision of future telesis of humanity is - scientifically demonstrable spirituality. The key to the fulfillment of this vision is individual transformation in each of us, so that we become living examples of Gurudev's message. Each Gayatri Pariwar parijan has to concentrate more and more on this process of self-upliftment and self-transcendence. In this connection let us recall the illuminating words of Swami Vivekanand: "Man is man so long as he is struggling to rise above nature; and this nature is both internal and external.­And if we read the nations between the lines, we shall always find ­ that the rise of a nation comes with an increase in the number of such men; and the fall begins when this pursuit after the Infinite has ceased. The mainspring of the strength of every race lies in its spirituality­" Let us listen to this clarion call of the great Swamiji and join the ranks of the torchbearers of Divine Spirit which is pushing forward to visibly manifest in human consciousness, initiating the transition of the epoch of darkness to the epoch of Light. With Prayer- filled Wishes

-Pranav Pandya

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Science and Spirituality

Bio-Energy Medical Imaging to Psychic Healing

[Bio-energy fields, aura-measurements for diagnosis of psychosomatic disorders, and energy-healing by Reiki, Pranic, Siddha-science, etc are gaining popularity among the literate world since past few years. The concerned topics have also attracted the attention of the mass media as well as scientific journals on Alternate and Complementary Medicine. However, at the popular level, the approach is largely superficial. The surveys of the healers and also of those who practice these therapies regularly as part of fitness exercises do not show consistency on scientific basis and effects of these techniques. The reactions of scientifically trained minds are often extreme in this regard -- one either regards theses `therapies' as yet another kind of faith-healing (placebo), or, one wants to decipher the underlying phenomena in the modern laboratories like the energy of particles of matter. In this article we would introduce the multidimensional aspects and cite some related scientific works to illustrate the importance, need and feasibility of a new and integrated approach to investigate into and benefit from the gigantic source of energy -- biophysical, vital and spiritual - hidden within us. ­ Editor]

kind of electrophotographic technique (known as Kirlian Photography) by Semyon and Valentia Kirlian of erstwhile USSR in the late 1930s and later. The technique attracted wide research interests from across the globe around 1970 onwards. As per Kirlian's original hypothesis, the idea was to correlate the corona discharge patterns of different parts of the human body with the healthy or diseased state of the living system. The development of advanced mathematical and computational techniques enabled the analysis of complicated waveforms recorded in the photographs. However, it was found that while the records of corona discharge patterns of an inanimate object always showed same pattern as per the physico-chemical

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he fundamental role of energy in various functions of a living body has been extensively studied by the ancient as well as modern researchers. The ancient scientists (the rishis) had grasped the existence and potential of all forms of energy in the physical and sublime domains as reflections of the Omnipresent Consciousness-Force. Being derived from understanding of non-living matter, the modern research in one form or the other deals with physical perception of energy and relies upon instrument-based observations and experimentation. Way back in the late 19th Century Nicola Tesla observed the phenomenon of corona discharge from objects under high voltage fields. This phenomenon was studied with a very special

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nature of that object, in case of living beings ­ especially humans, there was enormous variation, even in the records of the same person on the same day. In order to minimize the variability due to, say random disturbances caused by external environment, or fluctuations in the high-voltage field generated for corona discharge, more sophisticated instruments and imaging techniques were developed in the succeeding years which are in use since last one decade or so. The list includes computer-integrated CCD cameras, GDV cameras, thermal cameras, aura-imaging equipments having sensors of low and high intensity photonic emissions from biological systems, etc. As a part of an integrated approach to healthcare, several medical researchers and clinicians are using biofield mapping or socalled aura-imaging by these instruments for possible pre-diagnosis of psychosomatic diseases and disorders. Although the randomness and high variability in the shape, intensity and colors of `aura-images' still need to be tackled to calibrate and standardize the measurements ­ at least in case of certain vital organs ­ for scientific establishment of these new diagnostic techniques, the authentic casestudies in such research centers have, to a great extent, helped recognition of the existence of some `bio-fields or human-energy domains'. Affirmation of the inter-dependent nature of emotions, mental health, hormonal secretions and clinical health has been a milestone in this direction. Simultaneous research and worldwide acceptance of yoga in healthcare has further elucidated the validity of the interrelated concepts of meridian energy fields, endocrine

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system and the extrasensory energy-centers (chakras) and paved the way for scientific recognition of the spiritual healing methods. Most importantly, the aura-recordings have shown exceptionally bright, orderly and almost consistent patterns in the bio-field images of some accomplished yogis and spiritual saints. This illustrates the exceptional control of their awakened pr³ña (vital energy) over their mental and bodily functions. The extrasensory potentials of consciousness-force, or rather the sublime currents of bio-energy reflected in the forms of parapsychological powers and other supernatural faculties therefore could no longer be discarded as mythological or occult imaginations. One of the relatively more known parapsychological or spiritual abilities is -- Psychic Healing. The existence of this power in some people has been verified scientifically by a series of experiments and investigations in the western countries over the past three to four decades. It is believed that in this process the psychic healer transmits some part of his extraordinary vital energy to the patient by touch. Remarkably, the changing paradigms of modern medicine seem to be coming closer to these methods of healing. Application of ultrasonic imaging, functional positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), etc in diagnostics and use of neuroelectromagnetic currents in shock therapy, infrared and ultrasonic heating, pulsed magnetic fields combined with ion cyclotron resonance in healing of wounds deep inside the body and repair of bone non-unions, soft-tissue damages etc, are integral parts of

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modern healthcare system. Ever since these developments, Energy Medicine ­ from Electromagnetic, Thermal, and Light, to Bioelectromagnetic ­ is being seen as an answer to the challenges of worsening health scenario in the recent times. As reviewed by Dr. A. Liboff (in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 2004), research studies by Drs. Lund, Burr, Becker and others show that organisms tend to express quasi systemic electric changes when perturbed, and, conversely, will tend towards wellness either through endogenous repair currents (of bio-energy) or application of external currents (of, for example, the healer's bio-energy). Because of the limitations of the state-of-art equipments, scientists have so far been able to investigate only some physical aspects (e.g. electromagnetic fields) of one's ability of generating desired effects of psychic healing. Dr. Bernard Grad of the McGill University, Montreal has shown that the growth of barley seed increases significantly when watered by the persons having psychic healing ability. Mere touch of the water-container for a few minutes by such persons was found sufficient to make the water potent enough to treat some patients who drank it later. Similar experiments when performed by dull and sadistic persons had shown the existence of opposite and negative effects. Dr. Grad described it as an X-factor of the vital energy, which exists in each one of us, but its level varies with our psychosomatic states. In his project report (published in JASP 1965) entitled "Some Biological Effects of Laying On Hands" Dr. Grad stated that the light-waves existing in the aura around the fingers of the psychic

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healers as recorded by Dr. Kirlian on celluloid plates are nothing but the waves of X-energy. Recent investigations of Dr. Thelma Moss of the UCLA (USA) and Dr. Robert Miller, another American scientist of high repute are also focused on further analysis of the socalled `X-energy' or para-electricity and related supernormal powers. Dr. Edward Bream of Willington, Delaware (USA) had analyzed the chemistry of the water after the immersion of the fingers of a Psychic Healer in it. His results showed 97.04% hydrogen bonds in it as compared to the 100% binding in ordinary water. This along with the observations on the changes in the surface tension further supported the idea that there is an emission of electrical energy through the healers' fingers. The experiments (in the context of cloud-chambers) of Dr. Miller's team with Fisher's Transiometer models had confirmed the above implications. A research article published in Science Digest (May, 1982) presents important details on psychic energy. Dr. Elmer Green, a Biopsychologist at the Maninger Foundations, Kansas (USA) and Dr. C. Norman of the Pain & Health Rehabilitation Centre, Wisconsin (USA) have studied some parapsychological effects on human physiology. Their experiments showed a significant effect of vital energy on the Cardiac rhythms, EEG, Bodytemperature, the resistance power of the skin and the viability of the WBCs in large number of chronic patients. Over 80% of the patients suffering from different kinds of pains were totally cured and encouraging responses were observed in the other patients also. Experiences of those patients indicate that most of them felt an electric current or an energy

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spark flowing through their bodies while being touched by the healers. Life-energy also plays a key role in spiritual healing and in strengthening of the willpower. Normally, great personalities have an excessive storage of this energy. This energy exists in every human being and can be elevated by its controlled use and by dedicated spiritual practices. Indian sages of yore used to transfer parts of their vital spiritual energy (pr³ña) into the deserving devotees by the process of pr³ña-d³na and ïaktip³ta. The ancient Indian scriptures on Yoga Tantra describe these processes in detail. In modern age, Austrian doctor, Francis A. Mesmer popularized the importance of bioelectromagnetic currents of vital energy. He worked hard to make use of the bioelectricity in his body for the treatment of some physical and psychological diseases. His experiments laid the foundation of Mesmerism, which was further developed into the technique of Hypnotism by Mr. C. Uzigar. Hypnosis was initially used for creating artificial deep sleep. The French doctors, Le Fountain and Braid et al investigated some other uses of Biomagnetism and Hypnosis in Medicine. A series of advanced scientific experiments on these applications gave birth to a new branch of science called Electrobiology. The investigations of an American, Dr. Darling, and a French, Dr. Durand de Grasse, at New Orleans (USA) are amongst the most significant of the recent contributions in this area. Several international organizations like ­ The School of Nancy, The School of Charcot and The School of Mesmerism are also engaged in research on therapies based on hypnotism.

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Noted scientists, Dr. M. O. Male and Dr. J. M. Wembrel have cited a large number of evidential case-studies in support of the above therapies. Prof. Helen F. Dunbar directed the Joint Committee on Religion and Medicine of the New York Academy of Medicine (19311936). In her popular book titled "Emotions and Bodily Changes", she writes that hypnosis therapy could be effectively used in the treatment of Hysteria, Phobia, Stammering and some other Neuronic diseases. Another doctor, Dr. Win also argues in favor of the use of hypnotism in curing of various psychological disorders. Dr. Arnold Fast of the USA had successfully tried hypnotizing his patients instead of giving them anaesthesia during a large number of minor surgical operations. Many dental surgeons also followed his technique and found it more risk-free and convenient. Dr. Bernard Levinson also proved the scientific utilization of hypnotism as a substitute for anaesthesia during a large number of surgical operations at the Tara Hospital in Johanesberg (South Africa). Further, the scientific experiments of Dr. James Bride confirmed that the biolelectricity in human body is not only sufficient for various physiological functions but it could also be utilized for the development of many supernatural activities. Effective cure of depression by positive autosuggestions induced in a state of hypnotic sub-consciousness is also becoming popular among neurologists and psychiatrists. Dr. Van Otizer, Dr. J. Rafler, Dr. Schultz and Dr. Mar are among the accomplished Gynaecologists who successfully experimented on the use of hypnotism in painless deliveries. Dr. Win argues that effectiveness of hypnotism

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increases with the faith of the patient in the doctor. Dr. Rachen Bake, a bioelectricity expert from Germany has described the manifested as well as subtle vital energy (praña) as a form of fire that is abundant near the face and constitutes the `healing aura'. The investigations of the reputed scientists like Dr. Modatriuz and Count Pugilov show that the medicinal uses of pr³ña are only the glimpses of the enormous capabilities of its immense power; this energy could also be utilized for personality development, awakening of latent talents and the refinement of attitudes of the aspirants. Advancement of scientific investigations in this direction would help reestablishment and constructive use of the spiritual science of vital energy as described in ancient Indian literature. Oriental philosophy describes that this supernormal potential of pr³ñika or psychic healing is only a fraction of the various powers attainable by spiritual s³dhan³s that enhance the level of pr³ña and activate its otherwise

dormant energy-currents in the body. It is said that the persons endowed with this ability can also affect the vital energy and subtle bodies of the patients (subjects) apart from creating visible healing effects on the physical body. As concluded by Dr. Lindoff, an all inclusive (bio)electromagnetic field representation for living system would enable a more rational transformation from genome (or molecular basis of health, which is the latest paradigm of modern medical sciences) than the present endpoint, universally stated in terms of the so-called visible characteristics or the phenotypes. This representation strongly suggests the reason for the efficacy of the various electromagnetic (and hence the pr³ñic or psychic) therapies, namely, as the most direct means of restoring the body's impacted (bio)electromagnetic field to its normal healthy state. This representation would also bring us closer to the Vedic concept of subtle-body or energy-body which is regarded as the source of existence and a tool for evolution of an individual being or soul.

King Pyrrhus of Epirus was approached by his friend Cyneas and asked, "If you conquer Rome, what will you do next, sir? Purrhus replied, "Sicily is next door and will be easy to take." "And what shall we do after Sicily is taken?" "Then we will move over to Africa and sack Carthage." "And after Carthage, sir?" "The turn of Greece will come." "And what, may I ask, will the fruit of all these conquests be?" "Then," said Pyrrhus, "we can sit down and enjoy ourselves." "Can we not," said Cyneas, "enjoy ourselves now?" The poor think they will be happy when they become rich. The rich think they will be happy when they are rid of their ulcers.

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Do Colors Affect Body-Mind System?

olors mesmerize with their beauty and have a magnetic attraction. The effect they leave on the body-mind system of the viewer is deep and profound. Different colors have their unique attributes and effects. On this basis, experiments to determine their therapeutic value are being designed and tested for mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual purposes. Therapeutic use of colors is a very ancient practice and this science has developed with the time. The earliest experiments of this therapy are considered to have been conducted in India and China. Evidence of such experiments is also found in ancient Egypt and Greece. In the middle of the 19th century researches were made in Europe and America to find out the linkage between colors and healing. In those days color therapy was known as `syntonics'. Dr. Harry Riley Spitler of USA is regarded as the pioneer of this science. He found that when different colors were passed one by one before a patient's eyes they induced certain mental and physical changes in him. Such experiments gradually led to a better perception about the therapeutic value of colors and they began to be used as alternative or complementary medicine.

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Although the primary colors are only three; traditionally there have been seven main colors which also form the constituent colors of sunlight ­ violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Upanishads have related these colors to seven Chakras (subtle energy centers) in our body. A change in these colors has a corresponding effect upon the body-mind system. If the magnitude of this change exceeds a certain quantum, it produces ailments. The red color is associated with mooladhar chakra (supposed to be located between genitals and anus). It symbolizes vital force, determination and alertness. Its medicinal use is in the conditions of cough and cold, anemia and low blood pressure. It is also employed in management of stress. Red produces courage, revenge and hatred too. This color represents the fire element. Hence it generates heat and energy in the body. It excites the nervous system and thus cures the weaknesses connected with the faculties of touch, smell, taste, vision and hearing. It keeps the blood constitution robust and active and hence is beneficial for cerebro-spinal fluid and sympathetic nervous system. Red color is friendly to muscles, haemoglobin and liver too. At mental plane, red color generates oversensitiveness and is also known for anger,

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violent disposition and irritability. In certain conditions its use is prohibited as in emotional instability, anger, fever, hypertension, etc. The orange color is associated with swadhisthan chakra (located in the groin). On physical plane it is beneficial in injuries, functions of spleen, pancreas and lungs, calcium absorption, lactation during pregnancy and pulse beating. It promotes hopefulness, happiness, will power, intelligence, creativity and social sense. It cures asthma, bronchitis, cold, seizures, stone-problems, hypo and hyperthyroidism and lung related ailments. Yellow color is connected with manipura chakra (solar plexus). It is symbolic of mental activity, intellectual prowess and alertness. It purifies nervous system, brain, liver, intestine, blood and skin. It also regulates bile production. It is considered cathartic and brings joy and buoyancy. The golden yellow color strengthens the body and mind and increases learning capacity. At the same time it also increases anxiety. Since the yellow color is a combination of red and green it has the characteristics of both. It promotes optimism and hope. It is very beneficial in digestive functions as well as in skin disorders, paralysis, constipation, diabetes and depression. But its use a prohibited during burning sensation, diarrhea, fever, state of agitation and increased pulse rate. Green color is a symbol of peace and adaptability. It is related to anahat chakra (situated in heart/lungs). It keeps the body and mind calm and is beneficial during mental agitation. But its prolonged use brings boredom. Green keeps active the sympathetic nervous system, controls blood pressure and stimulates the pituitary gland. It removes

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insomnia, tiredness and irritability. It is also helpful in muscle and tissue formation. It is antiseptic, bactericidal and germicidal. Green color promotes friendship, faith and hope. It is soothing and gives emotional comfort. At the same time it also generates jealousy and superstition. As green is the color of chakra centered in the heart, it is helpful in heart ailments, hypertension, ulcer and headache. It also cures fever, acidity, metabolic malfunction, obesity, and liver and spleen problems. Its use is prohibited in conditions of tumor, cancer, etc. Blue color symbolizes peace, confidence, desire and creativity. It is also the color of Vishuddha chakra (located in the throat), considered to be related to speech and selfexpression. The blue color slows down heart rate and hence is considered beneficial in tachycardia. It helps in reducing high excitement and manic depression. Blue is known for high spiritedness, intuition, honesty, truthfulness, concentration and devotion. It is used therapeutically in problems of tumor, infection, anger, hatred, eye diseases, pineal body etc. But it is prohibited in conditions of hypertension, paralysis, muscular stiffness, etc. Indigo color is associated with Agya chakra or the third eye (located on the forehead between the eyebrows). It symbolizes intuition, extrasensory perception, etc. Violet color is a purifier and is related with Sahasrar Chakra (located on the top of the head). It affects the whole skeletal and nervous systems of the body. It is antiseptic and is a purifier at both physical and spiritual levels and synthesizes the energy of both levels. It is famous for regulating the mineral elements

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of the body. It is a representative color of the qualities of devotion, self-respect and faith. White color is a mix of all the seven colors. It purifies and refines the energy system of the body, and increases piety and spirituality. It pacifies the mind, heart and thought and orients them towards creativity. The brown color is related with earth. Golden color develops self-consciousness. It gives immunity from diseases in general and provides relief in cardiac problems. According to ayurveda, it symbolizes ojas (energy). It also regulates endocrinal glands. Black color gives a sense of safety and security. It magnifies the power of attraction in the body to a level that others are pulled automatically. Black is also regarded as the color of death. It increases both, the immunity power as well as obstacles, opposition and enmity. It activates the unconscious mind. It also generates fear, doubt and illusion.

The effect of colors is vast, deep and profound provided it is used judiciously. Color therapy has a specific science and technique of its own. One should select the color suitable for himself with the help of a competent color therapist. For this purpose a colored lamp or colored glass cover of the bulb may be used. The color of walls, doors and windows as well as bed covers, cushions, etc. should also be selected accordingly. Even the plants in the garden should be chosen for flowers of appropriate colors. This color scheme helps in meditation too. Colors have not only decorative value; they are powerful media to overcome many of our day-to-day problems. Besides enriching our life and surrounding with beauty, taste and refinement, a judicious use of colors is helpful in the development of our inner qualities and capabilities as well.

Saint Tukaram was shudra by birth. His acts of worship and composing of devotional songs were frowned upon by the contemporary high caste pundits as not only improper but a crime too. One of them Sri Rameshwar Bhatta once called Tukaram and admonished him ­ "Being a shudra you should desist from indulging in bhakti, kirtan and writing of abhangas (type of devotional songs) etc.". Tukaram being very simple hearted accepted the advice of Rameshwar Bhatta and asked, "But what about the abhangas that have already been composed?" The wicked pundit said, "Throw them down in the river". The unattached yogi Tukaram did precisely that and immersed his collection of abhangas in Indrayani river. But while he did so his heart bled and he lay before the Vitthal temple for full thirteen days without food or drink. He kept thinking, "My devotion to God is not complete. That is why He has turned away from me". The sincere call of a bleeding heart, which is illumined with the light of truth, never goes unanswered. On the thirteenth day Tukaram received instructions in his dream that bundles of his abhanga were lying by the riverside and that he should go and get them. When his devout followers learnt of his dream they marched in a procession singing paeans of praise for Lord Vitthal hailing the mercy of God and brought the bundles of Abhangas back ­ all intact.

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Vedic Solutions to Modern Problems: Social, Cultural & Economic Developments-II

ocial system The varña system devised according to aptitude and abilities of the individuals and the collective participation of people of all varñas in administrative and moral control in the Vedic society are ideal models of a sensibly democratic and civilized state. A real democracy and civilization can be achieved in human societies only if the citizens are alert, progressive, duty-bound and sensitive to the integrity and respect of self and of others. The collective existence and contribution of people of each varña to the Vedic social system can be likened to the waves of an ocean in its grandeur. Âïrama System: Ideal Means of Checking Unemployment! Another building block of the edifice of the prospering Vedic society was the Âïrama system: average span of 100 years of human life those days was divided into four phases, namely, Brahmcharya, G--ahastha, V³nprastha and Sany³sa. The respective age groups of these four Âïramas were broadly classified as -- childhood to 25 years of age, 25-50 years, 50-75 and 75+. The first phase was spent in the Gurukuls under the adept guidance of sagacious masters for cultivation and growth of moral values, training in ascetic disciplines, acquisition of knowledge, mental and intellectual development, constructive

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orientation and chiseled refinement and augmentation of talents, etc. The overall development of personality shaped in this phase used to produce noble citizens who would contribute to the flourishing growth of society in their G--ahastha Âïrama. Depending upon his/her spiritual inclinations and purity of intrinsic tendencies, one was also allowed to remain life-long "Brahmch³rº" and pursue the path of s³dhan³ and spiritual enlightenment. The G--ahastha Âïrama pertained to one's married life and worldly progress and enjoyment along with discharge of familial and social responsibilities. Both husband and wife together used to contribute to the happy nurturing of the family, and cultural and economic growth of the society. Resources for all round growth of the society and upkeep of the elderly and disabled persons were mobilized by the g--ahasthas. The charities and donations of honestly earned wealth by g-- ahasthas used to provide for sustenance of people in the other phases of life as well. Having fulfilled the duties towards the family, the grahasthas used to devote full time and efforts for the altruistic welfare of the entire human society in the V³nprastha Âï--ama after attaining the age of 50 years. For this they would even move around from one place to the other and offer voluntary services of their

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life experiences. The Sany³sa Âïrama was spent in devotion and in attaining deeper knowledge of meaning and purpose of life. In the modern scenario, the first phase seems to have been stunted by mostly bookish knowledge and media-influenced lop-sided growth of the child without necessary nurturing of inner strength and values. Despite its becoming more and more costlier, education seems to have confined itself mainly to give some degrees that would somehow give one a `license' to get a `white-collar', money-fetching job. The last two Âï--amas seem to have become obsolete. In one way or the other, people remain chained upto the last breath in the domain of the G--ahastha Âï--ama, which now mainly revolves around possessive activities focused at comforts and pleasures of `me, my spouse, my children and `my' grandchildren and may be, `my' other near relations'. This is why, in spite of enormous growth of materialistic resources and hightech luxuries, we do not find even a fraction of inner peace and glory of the Vedic Society. Modification of the nature of G--ahastha Âï--ama is therefore crucial in the present times. Incorporation of the Vedic values of "Ida® Na Ma®" could bring about basic qualitative changes in the structure of society. Ida® Na Ma® ­ it's not mine ­ reminds us that whatever we have acquired or achieved would not have been possible without the direct or indirect contribution, help and cooperation of many others in many ways. It teaches us to be thankful to them and to shoulder our share of responsibilities towards the good of the society as a whole; it also inspires us to be grateful to Mother Nature for its countless boons. Adoption of moral disciplines and altruistic

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attitude by the parents and teachers would naturally inculcate these values in the children and thus, to a significant extent, fill the lacuna in the present education system. From materialistic view point as well, it is important to note that as only a particular agegroup and hence only a fraction of the population was required (and supposed to be) engaged in earning in the Vedic social system, there never was a problem of unemployment and poverty. Moreover, the social system and the commitment of masses towards their duties was such that people did not have to worry about stocking piles of property for their old age or for their (grand)children. Also worth underlining is the fact that because of their chaste attitude and inner strength and contentment, people weren't driven by sensual passions. Population-balance, natural resource conservation, etc were therefore auto-regulated in the Vedic society and no governing body was required to impose such controls. The Vedic Culture aimed at enlightenment and beautification of all facets of life. Not only literature, art, music, handicrafts and other creative faculties, but also martial arts, farming, scientific skills, the daily chores, etc blossomed in full bloom in the Vedic Culture. This culture, known as the rishi culture is affirmed by the savants as the foremost and preeminent culture of the world (S³ Pratham³ Sank--ati Viïwav³r³) and is also referred as the Divine Culture. This culture, emanating from the spiritual science of Gayatri and Yagya, provided the means of divine ascent of mankind in the form of Ïodas Samsk³ras (sixteen sacraments), and Yoga S³dhan³. Discussion on any of these would require

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volumes. We shall be highlighting the foundational principles and easy to practice methods in separate series on these topics. Here we look into the key aspects of Economics in the Vedic society. The earliest mention of economics or wealth as artha, can be traced to Vedas[1,2]. The Vedic definition of artha incorporates not only material wealth and prosperity but also encompasses the overall well-being and progressive course of life of the people, animals, other living beings and healthy sustenance of natural resources. The Veda says ­ Create wealth for society and mankind by ensuring filial allegiance to Mother Earth (Atharva Veda 12|1|12). According to the foundational principles (dharma, artha, k³ma and mokÌa) of the Vedic (Indian) Philosophy of Life, artha was generated by righteous means and utilized for righteous purposes keeping harmony of spirit and matter. Joint Professions and Collective Living ­ Technology & Trade with a Difference: Agriculture was the principal source of living in the Vedic Age. Other major sources, as reviewed[1-3] by the scholars of ancient texts were animal husbandry, handicrafts and industries and trade. Several hymns in the Vedas highlight the importance of agriculture and enjoin that the king (leader) and the wise men should improve the quality of crops and augment the progress of agriculture. Guidelines to this effect are laid down, for example, in Rigveda (10|101|4) and Atharvaveda (3|17|1): "Sºr³ Yuójanti Kavayo .... Dhºr³ |"

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K--aÌi® Cha Sasya® Cha ManuÌy³ Upa Jºvanti | (Atharvaveda 8|10|24). Meaning: Food grains and agriculture are essential for the life of mankind. The Rigveda (10|28|8) presents an interesting description of how the first ever ploughing of a field was done on this earth, how the seeds of grains were sown -- "Dev³sa Âyan Parï¿n......, Tad Dahanti ||" As cited in the Atharvaveda (6|30|1), the first ever crop sown and harvested on our planet was barley grown on the banks of river Sarawasti (Dev³ Iama® Madhun³..,.. Kºn³ï³ Âsan Mar¿ta¡ Sud³nava¡ ||). It is amazing to see that a whole treatise on agricultural science is available in the Vedic texts. The four Vedas describe different types of soils, almost all types of grains (including pulses and water-grown crops) known to us till date; best seasons for different crops; natural eco-friendly fertilizers; methods of ploughing; irrigation, protection from birds, insects etc, cutting, sorting out the grains from the chaff, storing, etc, and varieties of instruments used in farming and harvesting. (e.g. see Vedic Index, Volume 2). There is also description of a vast variety of vegetables, fruits and flowers, herbal/plant medicines. [e.g. Pippali KìiptabheÌaji... (Atharv. 6|109|1), Khardirasya S³ram... (Rigv. 3|53|19), Tilaïcha Mei... (Yajurv. 18|12), etc]. Similar is the picture of various types of birds and wild and domestic animals including aquatic creatures, insects, etc. The earth seemed to have been gifted those days with an infinite treasure of flora and fauna. Animal husbandry and cattle based transport and rural industries are also mentioned in

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detail, such as -- dairy farms and products [e.g. Vraja® K--añudhva® ....| (Rigv. 10|101|8)], cow-dung based fuels, fertilizers, etc, wool of sheep, apiary, i.e. honey production, sugarcane juice and sugar/jaggery production, distillery, etc [e.g. Karisinih ....(Atharv. 3|14|3); Imama Urnayum (Yajur. 13|50), ]. Weaving, pottery, carpentry, carving, sculpturing, architecture, jewelry designing, fine arts and many other kinds of handicrafts, and small scale industries are listed among the creative arts and professions in the Vedic texts [e.g. Urñ³ S¿treña... (Yajur. 19|80), K³r¿raha® Tato BhiÌag ... (Rig. 9|112|3)], so much so that these are ascribed as indicative of cultural ascent [e.g. Âtamsank--ati¡ ..... Ïilp³ñi (Ait. 6|27, Gopath. 2|6|7), Ïilpo Vaiïvadeva¡ (Yajur. 29|58)]. There are descriptions with authentic references (e.g. in [1, 3]), of chariots, musical instruments, boats, ship-propelling, sailors, aircrafts and instruments (e.g. v³tayantra, tejoyantra, ojoyantra, --atuyantra in [Tait. San. 1|6|1|2]] for measuring wind-speed, light/ radiation intensity, energy, meteorological parameters etc, and also of import and export of goods. As mentioned in [2], great importance was given to global trade to create global market with the help of vajgatau ratha (fast moving vehicles) in firmament, oceans and earth (Rig. 10|17|3). This shows that technology and trading were also quite advanced in ancient India. Specific terminologies for taxes, tax collectors, landinspectors, accountant, etc, show there was a well-organized system for smooth transaction and expansion of businesses and control over them.

Equal opportunities and respect for all, feeling of togetherness and altruistic approach to wealth was prevalent in the Vedic and postvedic Indian society right uptill the medieval era. Professions and businesses (i.e. the modes of generation and distribution of `artha') were considered only as means of living and contributing to the prosperity of the entire society rather than as means of grabbing and hoarding of wealth. Knowing the agility of human mind and natural instincts of people to get drifted away from self-restraint, the Vedic Rishis had set norms to ensure that artha (wealth) and k³ma (worldly desires) be enjoyed by the masses within the protective guidelines of dharma (righteous conduct). Care was also taken to check economics from being driven by an inert matter (money) and thus becoming a dismal and confusing social science that is insensitive to the real light, beauty, joy and sensitivity of life. The following hymns from the Vedas highlight these aspects. The holy Vedas also sing paeans of praise of `wealth' ­-- e.g. "Vaya® Syam Patayo Rayºñ³m" (Rigveda 10|121|1); "Ekaïata® LakÌmyo Martyasya" (Atharvaveda 7|115|3). But "wealth" here implies "Prosperity", which in terms of economic growth meant the 4Ps: Progress, Profit, Peace and Positivity. Each of these `features' of prosperity enhances with spirituality[4]. The Vedas also prescribe the best ways to spend and earn wealth and thereby ensure the happy progress of family and the society­­ e.g. Dyumna® Vrañºta PuÌpase| (Yajurveda 4|8);

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Ïatahasta Sam³haar, Sahastrahasta Sa® Kira (Atharvaveda 3|24|5) The first one describes the importance of prudent use of wealth and savings for what is necessary for the wellbeing of the family. The second one enjoins charity for philanthropic projects: it says "earn by hundred hands and donate by thousands". An important hymn of the Samaveda (267|310) concerning artha says -- "avoid material wealth reaching the wicked". They were aware that material economics based on inert matter (e.g. gold, money, oil, land, etc) alone could prove contrary (anartha) to the very purpose of prosperity ­ joyful progress. The aim of linking artha and k³ma with dharma was, to save man from the tides of sensual passions that tend artha towards sinful acts. Dharma provided guidelines to both artha and k³ma (Rigveda 10|53|8 and Yajurveda 35|10). For example[2], for a person following dharma, avoidance of nine kinds of hydra-headed corruption, its ninety-nine sources of entry in the gross body, is mentioned in Samaveda (|179, 913). Kautilya's Arthashastra (300, B. C.) stands till date as a monument of comprehensive economic theories of production and distribution of basic necessities, management of mines, taxation, interest rate, currency, wages etc. His approach sought a balance between Vedic economics and the social and

political realities prevailing in his times. The original thinkers today, especially those advocating "swadeshi" development (of indigenous and self-reliant Indian economy), should also set similar examples. They may explore feasible modes of incorporating the Vedic approach to economics and social development today with focus on improving upon the shortcomings and future dangers of the single-tracked, consumerism and profitbased western approach and at the same time adopting its scientific merits in a constructive way.

References:

[1] Padmshri Dr. KD Dwivedi: Vedoó Meó Sam³jï³stra, Arthaï³stra aur Sik̳ï³stra. Vishwabharati Anushnadhan Parishad, Gyanpur (Bhadohi), 2002. [2] Prem Sabhlok: Vedic Metaphysics (www.sabhlokcity.com/metaphysics), 2005. [3] Dr. AK Jayaswal: Vaidika Sansk--ati Ke Vividha Ây³ma. Lalit Prakashan, New Delhi. 2000. [4] Acharya Pt. Shriram Sharma: Vedon K³ Divya Sandeïa. Yug Nirman Yojna, Mathura, 1985. + Engl. Translation: "The Divine Message of Vedas". Yug Nirman Yojna, Mathura, 1994.

"As a responsible citizen, do not ignore your duty. Do only those things that augment your dignity."

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Nov-Dec 2006

Art of Living ­ 5

Let Creative Potentials Materialize Fully

all these are multi-dimensional expressions of human creativity. No form of these expressions is inferior to or lesser than the others; it is simply a matter of priority, skill and distinction. Talent develops any of the creative potentials to a high level. It is the source of all the glories and possessions of the world. Wealth, honor, power, fame, everything flows from this fountainhead of talent. Its absence begets only endless tumbles, rejections and slights. Everyone wants to cultivate proximity to the meritorious, while the meritless is shunned by all. Those who have been able to develop their latent creative potentials are like shining stars in the human firmament. Their extraordinary achievements and glory act as beacons of inspiration for others. People longingly gaze at these luminaries, quite oblivious of the fact that many such potential stars are hidden in their own interiors too. Only, their brightness has to be brought to the fore. Then they, too, can sparkle and shower their illumination on the world. For this only the potential lying within has to be developed and awakened. But how? "I have nothing like this in me", "I do not see any distinction in me" ­ One often comes across negative refrains of this type. Such persons are advised to look within once

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Manase chetase dhiya ³k¿taya uta chittaye Matyai ïrut³ya chakïase vidhema havi̳ vaya®. - Atharvaveda 6/41/1

e worship by havi (altar offerings) for the power of reflection (mental inspirations and emotions), for consciousness and contemplation, for spiritual intellect (concentration), for inner resolves (miscellaneous stimuli), for intelligence, for powers of memory, hearing (learning), and sight (manifestation). Mental consciousness is the source of all creative potentials. In the fertile soil of mind sprout forth various kinds of creative urges. With proper nurturing and nourishment they grow to maturity and make a very impressive impact in the arena of practical life. Such persons are honored by the world as geniuses. They not only bring laurels to themselves but the whole world benefits from their invaluable contributions. It is this secret that lies behind the extra-ordinary talent of those luminaries whose amazing stories we keep reading in the annals of human civilization. Music, painting, dance, drama, architecture, sculpture, sports, management, researches ­

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again a little more minutely and deeply, and also objectively. The moment we do it, we will definitely notice something special in us, something that distinguishes us from others and makes us unique. It could be that there exists in us no philosopher or scientist, in whose anticipated uncovering we have been making futile searches and finally got tired. It is possible instead that in some remote corner of our inner space a budding sportsman, or a musician, or a singer may be dimly twinkling but whom we have always overlooked and are paying no heed even today. Remember, there is an inexhaustible store of creative energy in everyone. God is not partial. He has not deprived anyone in this whole creation of his grace. Believe it, you are unique in yourself, and this uniqueness is the creative potential which always yearns inside you for release. This yearning is the originality of our lives. Only, it has to be awakened, developed and properly channelized. To the souls who are immersed in dejection, an anecdotal story of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry will be inspiring. Those days the head of the ashram was Sri Ma (the Mother) herself. The selection of the students of the ashram's school was made by her which she did with her inner vision. It is well known that the mode of education there is quite different from the normal pattern obtaining elsewhere. Teachers live there as companions of students and nurture the latter's potentialities. In one particular batch, a student was very indisciplined and mischievous, and had made all the teachers an exasperated lot.

The matter was finally reported to Sri Ma. After hearing everything, the Mother smiled and said: "You people could not recognize the real potential of the boy. There is a painter hidden in him. We have to bring that to the surface". The teachers asked: "Mother, how should one recognize one's creative potential and develop it"? The Mother said: "Its method is very simple. There is, of course, a sea of potentialities latent in everybody, but there is also something special or exceptional among that. This very exceptional entity is the originality or unique talent of the person which subconsciously goads and stimulates him again and again. This could be music, painting, science or any other thing. To recognize it, we should try to perceive the subtle sensations arising in the inner mind." Once this potentiality has been perceived, practical steps should be taken for its nurturing. If some one, for example, has a natural flair for writing, he should not kill the emerging waves of thoughts, ideas or emotions in him. He should keep a diary with him and note them down. At the same time, he should keep alive the inclination for study and contemplation so that he remains in touch with the other currents of thoughts circulating in the world. He should also earmark a time for writing regularly so as to give effective expression to his budding talent. It is likely that this expression may not be very good in the beginning, but with time, it will improve and gain maturity. This process applies to other fields too. For the right and meaningful expression of these creative potentials, it is also necessary that the direction of creative thinking be fixed too.

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Nov-Dec 2006

Immortal Journey

WHAT AM I? What am I doing here? Where am I going? Personally, I find it impossible to accept the traditional notions about heaven and hell. Heaven and hell are real enough as states of mind - I have known people in both. But to believe in hell as an actual place where living souls are tortured eternally, you have to believe in a crueler God than I believe it possible for Him to be. I once had a vivid vision of hell. I was outraged at the thought that the God of love whom I love could create such a place. But as the demon dragged me down into it, he said, "You don't have the right idea about this place. It's only here because you need it. If you'll look around, you'll see there is no one here except the people you think ought to be here." As to heaven, I pray that we may one day attain it but perfect bliss would require utter selflessness and perfect love. It is pretty obvious that if we should get into it now, heaven would not long stay heavenly. Whatever else life - present or future - may contain, it must contain change. The one essential element in life, the element that makes life alive, is change. To be what makes life alive, is change. To be what you and I are, here or elsewhere, is to change - and hopefully to grow.

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I believe we are immortal beings. "I am immortal, I aver, For I must live as if I were." Life does not make sense if this is all the life there is. It is too unjust, and I believe in a God who is just. Even more, He is justice. He is law. He is even the law that is love. Hundreds and hundreds of persons have had experiences that have convinced them that life goes on beyond this one. Such an experience is individual and subjective; you cannot make it come real to anyone who has not had it. But if you ever have one - this I know - it will be the realest thing that ever happens to you. We are on an immortal journey, children of the Eternal, we are making a voyage in time, and we have come up to here. As to the particulars of our voyage, I suppose I believe in something like reincarnation. Reincarnation seems comparatively reasonable, though personally, I don't like the word; it turns people off. Most of the world believes in reincarnation; most of it always has. The East has always accepted the idea as the most reasonable that has ever been suggested; and though it has not been the prevailing belief in the West, thousands of famous and intelligent people from Plato and Plotinus to Edison and Einstein have believed in it.

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An amazing number of people do. General Patton -he hardly seems the type to be bowled over by mystical notions - was absolutely convinced he had been a soldier many times. Many people, like Patton, have believed that reincarnation takes place here on earth over and over. As for myself, I believe God's house has many rooms in it. I believe I have lived before. I believe I will live again. As to where and how, perhaps it will be here - I love this blue-green glowing globe - perhaps it will be beyond space and even time, an inverted world where thoughts are things and things are thoughts. But since it will have me in it, it will not be too different, because I cannot be too different and still be me. The essential will remain essentially the same. Does the thought, that you have lived many times seem strange to you? How many lives have you lived in this one? When I was ten years old, my whole life changed absolutely and altogether. My mother ran away from her marriage and took me and my sister fifteen hundred miles from everything and everyone we knew. Everybody who had been in my former life was gone, except my mother and sister. And all the circumstances and conditions changed utterly. When I was thirty-one I had a tremendous spiritual experience. After agonizing soulsearching, I came to such an illumining realization about myself, I have often told friends that I count my true birth as from that time. I went through a gate of awareness, and life on a different plane of sensitivity began. When I was thirty-five, I lost my first wife. That was the end of a life, too; a whole new set of people and experiences came into it.

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When I was fifty-five, I began yet another new life. I started to travel and speak. Since then my life experiences have altered radically again. And I have lived these different lives, although I have lived in one city since I was ten and done one work since I was seventeen. What about you? How many who were an important part of your life, say at twenty, are still an important part of your life? Or when you were ten? Or at your birth? Of those important to you when you were born - a very important moment - how many are important to you still? Very, very few, I would say. Even if you are very young, very few, probably. People accompany us on this immortal journey, some for a long time and some but briefly. Their importance in our life does not depend on how long they are with us. They can be with us for an hour - less than that, for minutes - and be transformingly important! A few years ago I made some talks in Palm Beach. On my last day there, I spoke at a nursing home. After I made my talk, a nurse came up to me and said, "There is a woman who has asked to see you. Could you come and see her? She is very near death." She led me down a long hall and into a room where a woman lay in bed. The moment I walked into that room, I knew why I had come to Palm Beach. It had not been to make the speeches I had made. It had been because this woman had drawn me there. Don't ask me how, I don't know, but I knew that woman I had never seen before in this lifetime - I don't even know her name -as well as I have ever known anybody in this life, better than people I have known for years and years. There is no

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question in my mind, that woman and I for a moment had to reestablish our relationship (don't ask me what it was, I do not know, but I know that it was there and very strong) before she could go on. And so she called me to her -and I went. People say, "I can't believe I have lived before, because I can't remember anything about those lives." But how much do you remember about this one? Very little. On this date ten years ago, where were you? I haven't the slightest idea where I was. On this date last year, where was I? I don't know. Do you know where you were? And when you were ten years old, what do you remember of that year? That was one of the most eventful years in my life. But I have to think and think for a few events to dribble faintly back into my mind. And of the time when you were five? If you can recall anything, is it not usually because someone later told you it had happened? And when we were four, three, two, one? Can we remember anything? The past has an unreality about it. A mist falls between us and the past, and the mist deepens quickly, so that the figures that move in it through our mind become but phantasms, doubtful and indistinct; which is figure and which is mist becomes harder and harder to make out. Time writes. But also it erases -almost as fast as it writes. We think of time as a rope with the events of our life tied like knots along its length. But this is not what time is like. Time is like a bunch of keepsakes we have tossed into a drawer of our mind. There they lie

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tangled together. We may pull them out for a moment, but after a while we forget just when it was we threw them in. We make our journey through time, but how strange time is. Time is important; we cannot even imagine anything happening without its taking time. But time is hard to fix or grasp. Rubbery and relative, it stretches or compresses, according to what is happening and who it is happening to and even where it is happening, conforming to all sorts of immeasurables of consciousness. People have asked me, "If we are reborn, how long a time passes between incarnations?" I have often thought, perhaps no time at all not in the sense of time as we mark it in the world of thoughts and things we spend this lifetime in. And in deep sleep, does time have any meaning to us then? If it were not for clocks and the sun, would we know that it has passed? Is it more than a bodily process? Had it not been for his long beard, would Rip van Winkle have known that he had slept for twenty years? Time is a measure of here and now. It is futile and perhaps meaningless to ask where it has gone or when it will be. People sometimes tell me they don't like the idea of reincarnation because they want to recognize their dear ones. So do I, and I think I will. I always have. How do I recognize my dear ones? My present wife did not come to me with a sign, saying, "I am your w-i-f-e." I think she knew that long before I became aware of it. But that is not the way she came. She from Louisiana, I from Delaware, came by separate, different paths, and when we

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met, were drawn, not by some vague recollection, but by deep stirrings, a feeling of oneness and love; each found the other dear - that is all. Only blood relatives come announced, and they may or may not be dear. When you were little, your mother led you toward a big woman bending down above you, and your mother said, "This is your Aunt Agatha." And you let out a scream and fled behind your mother's skirt. No, dear ones don't come wearing tags or with a certain name or look. They come being dear. And that is the way we recognize them - as someone dear, close, loved. No one has to tell us. Heart speaks to heart, and that is a language all of us understand. That is the way it always has been, that is the way it will always be, that is the only way it could be. I do not want my growth arrested anywhere. If an angel came and said to me, "Choose the happiest, most beautiful moment of your life, and I will let you stay there always," I would say to that angel, "Get thee behind me. I want to live now ­always only now. I want to be alive and to be alive is to change and to grow." We make an immortal journey. Through chance and change, by way of worlds forgotten and courses unremembered yet graven in my soul, I came here and I journey on.

This is the human condition. I have risen on innumerable mornings. I have slept through innumerable nights. I have journeyed on innumerable journeys. I have lived in familiar and unfamiliar worlds. I have had brave and beautiful companions, lovely friends. I shall have them yet again. I have been weak and strong, wise and unwise. I have come on much curious knowledge, some remembered, some forgotten. I have done many deeds, some worthy, some unworthy. What I am undertaking I am not sure -but somehow I am sure it is an enterprise worthy of my effort. Where I am going I am not sure - but I am sure it is a destination worthy of myself. Here I am at this place on this day. Tonight I shall lie down once more to sleep and tomorrow - I shall rise again and Journey on.

- James Dillet Freeman

[Excerpted from `Angels Sing In Me' ­ Published with glad permission of Unity House, Unity School, USA ­ The Publishers.

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­ Editor]

Nov-Dec 2006

Firm Determination is a Mark of Spiritual Progress

Y³vati dy³v³p--thivi varimña y³vad³pa¡ siÌyadury³vadagni¡ Tatasvamasi jy³y³n viïvaha mah³nstasmai te k³ma nama it k--ñomi. - Atharvaveda 9/2/20 O will power! You are vaster than the extent of heaven and earth, and the expanse of water, and the spread of fire. You are ever great. I bow to you. he power inherent in will or determination is basically spiritual in nature. When a person shapes his imaginations with the chisel of intellect, cuts through the tangle of their web and converts their multiplicity into singleness, when all imaginations converge into one, only then determination starts to sprout. When all the emotions of heart, the entire vital force of the being and all the mental energies are poured into it, this tender shoot grows to become stout. The entire existence, the whole personality comes to rest on it. Only in the lives of those who are able to do so, miracles of the power of determination are seen to happen. Inner determination does not develop in those whose personality is unintegrated and whose inner energy currents are flowing randomly in different directions. Such persons lack concentration, resolve and competence. For them, determination is merely a word which has no meaning. They will begin any work but are unable to stay with it for long, and abandon the task midway on some excuse or the other. If they cannot catch hold of a solid

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pretext, the lame plea of boredom or ennui is always handy to rescue them. Such persons do make resolves at the drop of a hat but simultaneously keep many options ready, whereas resolve or determination is a condition of optionlessness. Once the determination is made, its goal has got to be fulfilled. It should become synonymous with life, its whole identity and definition, the alter ego. One has to live for it and die for it; there can be no separate existence. Only in those persons in whose inner depths such complete conviction grows, there is a meaningful and full development of determination. Once we are firmly resolved and make an inner determination to achieve something, we immerse ourselves completely in the task of completing it. Come numerous obstacles, endless criticisms, or great sufferings, we do not allow our resolve to be shaken or diluted, and continue with our ceaseless striving till the resolve is fulfilled. The truth is that those who lead a spiritual life and look upon the omnipotent God as their controller and benefactor find the hindrances, too, ultimately turning into indirect aids to their efforts. These challenges, in fact, go to increase their strength and act as a spur for heightened effort. It is only in the absence of spiritual disposition that obstacles are able to disappoint and dispirit us, and our determination gradually wanes and breaks. It is necessary to identify the reasons that lead to the disintegration of the resolve because

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only by such identification can we circumvent them. The chief among these is the habit of worrying or brooding. We are wont to forget that this world is an objectification of the grand divine design and is controlled by that very Divine Will. He who overlooks this truth lacks in total devotion to God. Consequently, mind becomes stuffed with all sorts of anxieties, tensions and confusions. When this brooding tendency becomes chronic, the feeling of mental torment becomes a permanent feature, howsoever comfortably placed we may otherwise be. The inner determination of such a person is always weak. Apprehension, doubt, fear and impatience are some of the other factors that enfeeble the resolve by making a person pessimist. The world has a relative existence. Every phenomenon here has both positive and negative aspects and one can have positive or negative attitude towards any circumstances. If we become adept in optimistic thinking, our inner strengths go on increasing and so does our determination. On the contrary, if we allow ourselves to remain in the grip of pessimistic thinking only, the power of determination progressively weakens. The counsel of Master Mahashaya, a disciple of Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa, is very pertinent in this connection. Master Mahashaya was among the closest disciples of Sri Sri Thakur. His spiritual faculties had developed fully by the blessings of the guru. Once a novitiate of Belur Math wished to know from him the secret of spiritual life. In response, Master Mahashaya said: "Listen son, if you have ever to know how much spiritually evolved a person is, examine how much developed his power of determination is".

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Master Mahashaya then proceeded to outline some important guidelines for increasing this power. These are: (1) Accept your failures with grace and maturity. We become unsuccessful for want of firm determination. So, after every failure, make an intensive introspection. Instead of foisting your shortcomings on others, accept them and rectify. (2) Grow tall in the real sense. This means that you should enlarge your virtues rather than ego. Increase in will power will be a natural corollary. (3) Welcome the tests and trials God puts us to. Believe it, every suffering in life comes to improve our ability. If the sufferings are faced stoically and dealt with correctly, inner determination grows. (4) Learn the proper mode of dealing with antagonists and bad persons. As long as we are in this world, we will have to learn to deal with all kinds of persons including those who are our opponents and are malicious. Be magnanimous and tolerant in your behavior towards them too. Concern yourself only with the positive aspects of their lives; keep aloof from the negative ones. (5) Start tapa. It plays a big role in augmenting the power of determination. Regimens of fasting (upavas), tasteless food (asvad) and silence (mauna) etc lead to rapid growth in mental resolve. In this process, there is crucial importance of tender emotions. Those, whose emotions are God-oriented, their resolves never remain unfulfilled.

Nov-Dec 2006

The Holy Task

Fundamental Principles During the thirty years from 1921 to 1951, except for the unavoidable trips to prison, I spent my whole time in educational and constructive work, and I also thought a great deal about the principles on which it should be based. I was teaching, studying, reflecting and so on, but I took little or no part in the political movement as such, except in the Flag Satyagraha, Individual Satyagraha and the `1942 Movement', which were matters of inescapable duty. Apart from that, the whole thirty-year period was spent in one place. I kept in touch with events in the outside world, but my own time was given to an effort to discover how far my work could be carried on in the spirit of the Gita, of `non-action in action'. I entered on this task with such singlemindedness that it was something peculiarly my own. But I knew that `single-minded' must not mean `narrow-minded', that one must keep the whole in view. So while I was working in the Ashram, attending to village service and teaching students, I also kept myself informed about the various movements going on in the world. I studied them from the outside, but I took no part in them. I was in fact in the position of the onlooker who, it is said, sees most of the game. If any leader or thinker visited Bapu at Sevagram he would direct him to me; it was not my habit to impose my ideas on others, but there were useful exchanges of thought, and in this way, even though I remained in one place, I had good opportunities to get to know what was going on and to reflect on it. These thirty years of my life were shaped by faith in the power of meditation. I never left the place, I stuck like a calm to Paramdham Asharam and the river Dham. After the painful events in Maharashtra which followed Gandhiji's demise, Sane Guruji[1] was much perturbed and undertook a twenty-one day fast. He sent me a letter. `Vinoba,' he wrote, `won't you come to Maharashtra? You are badly needed.' I wrote back: `I have wheels in my feet, and from time to time I have a urge to travel, but not now. When the time comes, no one in the world will be able to stop me. (It's possible of course that God might stop me, He might take away my power to walk, but that is a different matter.) And until my time comes, no one in the world can make me get up and move.' That reply shows the stubborn and obstinate spirit in which I stuck to my own work. Nevertheless the touchstone of all my constructive work was whether it would contribute, however little, to self-realization. I did my best to nurture in those around me a spirit of goodwill, and to turn out good workers. Both we and the government are interested in constructive work. The government will certainly take it up, and no

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doubt there will be beneficial results. But these benefits, and a revolution in one's values, are not the same thing. They would be the same, of course, if we measure `benefits' in terms of the eternities; but if our constructive work aims at temporal, worldly benefits only, it brings no change in values. This change of values is what we mean by `peaceful revolution'. A revolution is not just any kind of change; a real revolution means a fundamental change, a change in values, and that sort of change can only take place peacefully, for it takes place in the realm of thought. This principle was the foundation of all my thinking, and my experiments were conducted on this basis. I look upon myself as a manual labourer, for I have spent thirty-two years, the best years of my life, in that kind of labour. I concentrated on those forms of work which human society cannot do without, but which in India are looked down upon as low and meanscavenging (removing human excreta), weaving, carpentry, agricultural labour and so on. Had Gandhi lived I would never have left these jobs; the world would have found me totally absorbed in some work of that kind. I am a manual labourer by choice, though by birth I am a `Brahmin', which means one who is steadfast in Brahman, the Supreme. I cannot give up that faith in Brahman, and all that I do has one basic purpose, a deeper and wider realization of the self. At the earnest request of Jamnalalji Bajaj, Bapu decided to open a branch of the Satyagraha Ashram at Wardha, and directed me to take charge of it. So with one fellow-worker and

four students I started work there on April 8, 1921. Under Bapu's Command In 1925, there was a Satyagraha campaign at Vykom in Kerala on the issue of temple entry. The Harijans were not only kept out of the temple, they were not even allowed to use the road which led to it. Satyagraha had been in progress for some time, but seemed to be having no effect. I was then at Wardha, while Bapu was at Sabarmati. He sent word for me to go to Vykom and have a look at what was going on. He gave me a double job to meet the learned, orthodox pandits and see whether anything could be done from their side, and also to make any suggestions I might have about Satyagraha itself. I had neither knowledge nor experience then, yet Bapu put his faith in me, and I also in faith plucked up the courage to go. I had many discussions with the pandits at several places, and as they preferred to speak Sanskrit I did my best to speak it also, but I did not succeed in bringing about any change of heart. As for the rest, any Satyagraha, if it is pure, is bound in the end to prove effective. I was able to make a few suggestions to those who were conducting it, and reported to Bapu what I had done. Later Bapu went there in person, and the problem was solved. Village Services From 1932 onwards, with Nalwadi [2] as our base, we began going from village to village, trying to be of service to the people. After two or three years we came to the conclusion that a solid integrated plan ought to be chalked out for the whole neighbourhood. As a result

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of this thinking, in 1934 we set up the Gram Seva Mandal (Village Service Society), drew up a scheme of village work for the whole of Wardha tebsil, and started Khadi, Harijan uplift and other activities in a few selected villages. I have no particular liking for institutions. I have lived in Ashrams such as Sabarmati, of course, and I even directed the Wardha Ashram. These Ashrams have moulded my life, and become a part of me, but I was not responsible for starting them. It was Gandhiji who started the Sabarmati Ashram and Jamnalalji who was responsible for that at Wardha. In 1959, when the Gram Seva Mandal was twenty-five years old, I wrote to the management and said that in spite of my lack of interest in institutions as such, I had so far founded three of them. These were the Vidyarthi Mandal of Baroda (in 1911-12), the Gram Seva Mandal of Nalwadi (in 1934) and the Brahmavidya Mandir at Paunar (in 1959). One was the work of my early youth, the second of the prime of my life, and the third of my old age. The first was not meant to continue indefinitely: it was active for the five or six years of our lives as students. It fully achieved its purpose. Of its members Babaji Moghe, Gopalrao Kale, Raghunath Dhotre, Madhvrao Deshpande, Dwarkanath Harkare and a few others joined me in public service and were engaged for the rest of their lives in one activity or another. Mogheji was with me even in the Brahmavidya Mandir. The second institution is the Gram Seva Mandal. The seed-idea had in fact been sown

in the Vidyarthi Mandal in 1912. This institution cannot be said to have succeeded one hundred per cent but I am well content with it, for it has done many kinds of service and produced a number of good workers. In 1957, during the bhoodan (land-gift) movement, I suggested to the Mandal that the time had come for it to base itself on bhoodan. From the very beginning it had given the first place to non-violence and village industries; it should also work now for the establishment of a party-less society in the Wardha District. To this end those who were working for bhoodan in the district should be enrolled as members, and the Mandal should thus become the centre of work for the Gramdan-Gramraj revolution. Its emphasis on productive work and self-sufficiency should be maintained, but it should also do as much extensive work as possible. In other words, one aspect should be work of a permanent, self-reliant nature, while the other aspect should have wider scope and be financed by Sampatti-dan. There is one more view of mine regarding the planning of our lives: it is not right that one individual should spend his whole life in one kind of work. When the work has taken shape, perhaps after twenty or twenty-five years, the senior workers should gradually withdraw and become Vanaprasthis [3]. I have always held this view, and there are not many senior workers in Paramdham. Like the ever-new waters of the river Dham, Paramdham itself remains ever new. I would like the Gram Seva Mandal to do the same. Serving Broken Images During our visits to the villages (from 1932 onwards) we made it a point to observe what

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was needed, and to hold regular discussions of how the needs might be met. We had no idea that we should find leprosy to be so terribly common, but it quickly compelled our attention, and the question of how to tackle it arose. We agreed that we could not ignore it, though at that time leprosy work had not been included in Gandhiji's constructive programme. With the vision of all-round service before my eyes I could not neglect this aspect of it. Our friend Manoharji Diwan was inspired to take it up, for the situation distressed him very much. He was living in our Ashram, busy with spinning, weaving, cooking, scavenging and other community work, and taking part in the village service. He came and told me of his desire to take up leprosy work, and I warmly encouraged him. But his mother, who lived with him, had no wish to see her son devoting himself to such work, and she came to me. I said `Supposing that you yourself were to become a leper, would you still ask Manoharji not to serve you?' She thought for a moment and replied: `He has my blessing.' In 1936 therefore the Kushthadham (Leprosy Centre) was opened at Dattapur with Manoharji in charge. For the first time I came into contact with leprosy patients. Two years later I went to live at Paunar, and while I was digging there I unearthed several images of Gods. They were ancient figures, perhaps thirteen or fourteen hundred years old, and after lying in the ground so long they were defaced; noses were disfigured, arms or other limbs were missing. Their faces reminded me of those of the leprosy patients, and now whenever I see the

patients I think of the images. They are all images of God. The most beautiful new statue cannot call out devotion such as I feel for these old ones from the field, and when I see the patients in Kushthadham I feel the same reverence for them, and I have the greatest respect for those who serve them. On one of my visits to Kushthadham I asked to work alongside the patients for a time, and joined those who were sowing seed in the field. It is not possible for me to put into words the joy I felt then. When the Brahmavidya Mandir was established I suggested to Manoharji that now that he had spent twenty-five years in this service he should withdraw and `just live' in the Mandir. He agreed, and came. Then twelve years later I asked him to go back to the Kushthadham, and once more he agreed. I felt that we should undertake to teach Brahmavidya to leprosy patients, that someone should live among them twenty-four hours a day and give them spiritual teaching, prayers, sayings of the Saints, the Rig Veda and Upnishads, the slokas of the Gita, the verses of the Koran, the teachings of Jesus, the Buddha, Mahavira. The teaching should include asanas (bodily exercises of Yoga), the practice of meditation, and pranayam (the control of breathing). I hoped that in this way one of them might emerge as a fine worker, and be inspired inwardly to go and work in other places. As the patients were introduced to Brahmavidya they would understand that their disease was only of the body, that their true Self was other than the body. `Let the Self lift up

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Nov-Dec 2006

Itself.' If this teaching were neglected, our service would do them no real good. Accumulating Love In 1935 I was forty years of age. I do not usually remember my birthday, but on this occasion I had many reasons for doing some intensive reflection. I was responsible for a number of institutions and individuals, and it is not surprising that someone in such a position should take stock of his resources from time to time. On that occasion, with forty years completed, I examined both the past and the present. From the standpoint of arithmetic, forty years of one insignificant person's life are as nothing in the endless vistas of time; yet from the point of view of that person, limited though it is, forty years is a period deserving of some attention. Twenty years of my life had been spent in my home, and an equal number had been spent outside. Where would the future years be spent? A man is helpless regarding the past and blind to the future; he can only leave them aside and think about the present. So, in 1935 two segments of my life had been completed, and I had made up my mind about how I wanted to spend the remainder-though in practice the whole future is in the hands of God. Broadly speaking, during my first twenty years or so I had accumulated knowledge, and during the following twenty years I had accumulated the power to observe the great

vows. The next period, I decided, should be spent in accumulating love. In this task, as I realize, I have had the help of many nobleminded people. It is my great good fortune to have been in the company of the loving and the pure in heart. With such companionship one might spend many lives and come to no harm. -Sant Vinoba Bhave

Notes:

1. 2. A well-known saintly national worker The villages mentioned in the next few paragraphs, Nalwadi, Dattapur and Paunar, all lie off the main Wardha-Nagpur road, about two miles, four miles and six miles respectively from Wardha. 3. Dwellers in the forest': in traditional Indian thought, people in the third stage of life, which follows those of the brahmachari (youth and student) and the grihasthi (married householder). The vanprasthi lives in quiet retirement, ready to serve as needed.

[Published in abridged form with glad permission of Kalindi Behan, the original compiler in Hindi (and translated into English by late Marjorie Sykes) of Vinobaji's Memoirs titled `MOVED BY LOVE' of Brahmavidya Mandir, Paunar (Wardha). ­ Editorial Team]

"Every phase of life is auspicious. So try to keep yourself happy by adjusting to prevailing circumstances. "

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Health Tips

Get Rid of Obesity

How?

ost of the causes of obesity and related problems discussed in the last issue can be eliminated or controlled by regular regimen of what one eats and what one does. Proper guidelines are available in healthcare centers and also in popular magazines on nutritious and balanced diet and practical ways to exercise and keep fit. However, one should be careful about what is really suitable for him or her and how to adopt it. Excessive dieting or starving in the name of fast without proper guidance of a nutritionists might help weight loss but might also weaken the body and lead to problems like osteoporosis, in the later age because of deficiency of calcium and other vital elements and vitamins. Moreover, this `fashionable' approach involves risk of disturbing the hormonal system too. If one is not regular in the exercises, be that yoga-³san³s, aerobics or practices taught in gymnasiums, one is most likely to regain the fat and body-weight lost after long efforts. The reason being that most of these (except yoga-³sanas, if accompanied by pr³ñ³y³mas) remedies focus only at lessening the accumulated flesh and fat at the exterior of the gross (physical) body. Modern physiotherapies and fitness techniques also use `liposuction'. In this method, the thick layer of fat in the abdominal region is `sucked' or

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M

`melted' (and hence excreted by the body with other fluids) by diathermy or some special machines. Similar effects are achieved by isallotherm treatment, deep heat treatment of steam bath, etc. But all these techniques provide only a temporary solution and the rebound effects of these are more rapid and intense. Therefore these cannot really be regarded as useful for getting rid of obesity. It has been a common observation that those suffering from obesity are prone to gaining weight much rapidly than shredding it; they should therefore look for a remedy that attacks obesity at its root; as well. Among the other causes of obesity discussed in the last issue, disorder of hormonal secretion is of maximum concern. Moreover, the disorder of hormonal secretion has deeper roots in the endocrine system and psychology. It could at times be the side effect of synthetic medicines or physiological disturbances caused by anti-contraceptive pills, steroids, or by pre-menopausal fluctuations, etc. But, more complicated are the cases of psychological aberrations and emotional complexities. For example, perturbation in secretions from the thyroid, pituitary and pineal glands generates many psychosomatic problems and also leads to uncontrollable loss of weight or, on the contrary, acute obesity. These and

Nov-Dec 2006

other endocrine glands are very sensitive to mental and emotional states. Emotional shock, suppression of loneliness in childhood or adolescence also lead to hormonal disturbances in the young age which often give rise to, among other health problems, obesity; hidden tensions are also found to be significant causes of obesity. In view of this, the healthcare approaches that focus on the emotional core and the mind-body system as a whole and do not cause any disturbance in the natural neuro-chemical, hormonal and physiological processes appear to be more suitable.

Ayurvedic scriptures advise several methods for uprooting obesity and also provide feasible ways for sustaining healthy and hearty life. These include easy-to-adopt disciplines of food, eating habits and living style and naturally effective medicines like rasayanas and decoctions prepared with the help of selected herbs/plant medicines. Yagya-therapy is prominent among the Ayurvedic methods of curing obesity. These modes of medication and healing applications cited in ancient Indian healthcare literature have also been found effective as per the findings of some modern laboratory experiments and clinical trials

A mendicant once came to the Buddha and said, "Bhagvan! I have neither intelligence nor skill nor any kind of semantic ability. So I am not even in a position to frame a proper enquiry. If however you consider me deserving, say something of your own accord, which you deem appropriate for me. The Buddha was silent for a few moments. And so was the saddhu. All the bhikshus (monks) present there kept looking at them in curiosity. Suddenly tears began to flow from the eyes of the sadhu. He prostrated himself before the Buddha and said in gratitude, "Bhagvan! How merciful are you! Today I have become blessed." And dancing and singing in joy, he departed. The disciples were nonplussed. Not a word had been uttered by the Buddha. What could possibly have happened in the life of the sadhu? Anand went to the Buddha and enquired, "Bhagvan! We all are at a loss. There was no dialogue, no question-answer. What then transpired between you two that totally satisfied the sadhu? We have been living with you for years now, but nothing of that sort ever happened". The Buddha broke his silence, "Anand! There are four types of horses. Firstly, the obstinate ones who remain completely unmoved even when lashed. The more you hit them, the more unyielding they become. The second type moves only when whipped. The third starts walking at the very sound of a whip lashing. But for the fourth type the mere sight of a whip is sufficient incentive. This sadhu was one such soul. He just needed a spur. It was communicated by my mind; it was received by his mind. The minds of you people, on the other hand, are like those obstinate horses; they remain stuck even after repeated whipping." The disciples understood. If the guru is approached with a fully receptive mind, everything can be had without asking.

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conducted at the Brahmvarchas Research Centre and the Dev Sanskriti University, Shantikunj, Hardwar. We shall cite some of the herbal/plant medicinal preparations in this regard. Medan³ïaka Decoction): Kw³tha (Fat-destroying

Ingredients: Equal quantities of (i) Ânval³ (Emblic Myrobalan; Emblica officinalis Geartn); (ii) HaraÃa (Chabulic Myrobalans; Terminalia chebula Retz); (iii) Baheó (Beleric Myrobalans, Beddanut; Terminali belrica Roxb); (iv) Giloya (Tinospora, Guduchi; Tinospora cordifolia [wild] Miers); (v) N³garmoth³ (Nutgrass; Cyperus rotundus Linn); (vi) Tejapatra (Tamala tree; Cinnamomum tamala Nees); (vii) Citraka (White leadwort; Plumbago zeylanica Linn); (viii) Vijayas³ra (essence/extract of Indian Hemp Cannabis Sativa, Linn); (ix) Haldi (Turmeric; Curcuma domestica Val); (x) seeds of CirciÚ³ or Ap³m³rga (Prickly-chaff Flower; Achyranthes aspera, Linn). Method of Preparation and Dose: Mix the above ingredients in equal proportion in dry form. Prepare a coarse powder by adequate grinding. Keep the powder in an airtight container. As an average dose for an adult, every day, fresh decoction prepared with five teaspoons (about 15gm) of this herbal powder in half-liter water should be used. Soak 15gm of the powder in half a liter of water at night. Boil it the next day morning. The flame of the burner or stove should be kept mild. It should also be stirred in between to avoid burning. Boiling should continue till the solution reduces to its one-fourth. When

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it cools down to normal (room) temperature, it should be filtered using a fine, clean piece of cloth. Half of this filtered solution, mixed with about a teaspoon of honey should be drunk empty stomach in the morning between 8 am and 10am and remaining half should be taken with one teaspoon of honey between 4 pm and 6 pm the same day. Fresh decoction should be prepared for every day. The honey should be pure; otherwise the decoction should be taken without it, as the sugar mixed, adulterated honey is not good for health. Likewise several other Ayurvedic medicines and the diet norms as recommended by the doctor should also be taken and observed for best results. In general, as it is well known in the case of obesity, fried and oily food, use of cream, cheese and lavish desserts and dry fruits should be strictly avoided. Fresh, green leafy vegetables and fibrous food should be taken instead. The morning dose of the above decoction should be taken empty stomach and nothing should be drunk at least for half-anhour after taking this dose; nothing should be eaten until an hour after this dose. The duration between eating or drinking something (other than water) and taking the second (i.e. the afternoon) dose, should be at least an hour before and after taking this dose. If this medication is continued with diet and exercise norms as given below, the positive results begin to show fast. Within a month a fat chap would see significant reduction in his fat and body-weight and would feel fit, energetic and active. The following `anti-corpulence' herbal medicine restrains the production of fat, helps decomposition of hydrocarbons and production of useful proteins and easily

Nov-Dec 2006

removable juices without disturbing the healthy metabolism. It can be taken with or without taking the decoction. This together with the decoction is usually advised for those who cannot do sufficient physical exercise or cannot be regular in it because of acute obesity or some other constraints. Sthaulyahara (Anti-Corpulence) Powder: Ingredients: Ten grams (10gms) each of the following -- (i) SaunÚha (dry ginger; Zingiber officinale Roscoe); (ii) Pºpala (Poplar leaved Fig Tree; Ficus religiosa Linn); (iii) K³lº Mirca (Black Pepper); (iv) Pippl³m¿la (root of Pºpala); (v) Ânval³ (Emblic Myrobalan; Emblica officinalis Geartn); (vi) HaraÃa (Chabulic Myrobalans; Terminalia chebula Retz); (vii) Baheó (Beleric Myrobalans, Beddanut; Terminali belrica Roxb); (viii) Cavya (Piper officinarum Cas D.C.); (ix) Citrakam¿la (root of white leadwort; Plumbago zeylanica Linn); (x) K³lº Jºri (Purple Flobane; Vernonia anthelmintica (wild)); (xi) Bakucº Bºja (seeds of Malaya Tea; Psoralea corylifolia Linn); (xii) seeds of CirciÚ³ or Ap³m³rga (Prickly-chaff Flower; Achyranthes aspera, Linn); (xiii) V³yavidang (Barbreng; Embellia ribes Burn); (xiv) Sendh³ Namaka (Minearal Salt); (xv) K³l³ Namaka (Red or Rock Salt); (xvi) S³d³ Namaka (Common Salt); (xvii) Yavakï³ra (a carbonate of potash; potasii carbonas ); (xviii) K³ntalauha Bhasm (Ayurvedically processed `ash' of a special kind of ferrous ore).

Preparation and Dose: Mix all the eighteen ingredients in pure dry form. Grind the mixture into fine powder. Keep this powder in airtight glass bottle or any other airtight glass container. The average dose of this powder to be taken twice a day is ­­ about half to one gram (half teaspoon) in the morning empty stomach and same dose in the evening at least an hour before dinner and an hour after eating anything else. It is advisable to take this dose of the anti-corpulence powder with two teaspoons of honey. However, if pure, natural honey is not available or is not affordable, it can very well be consumed with little water. The diet restrictions remain as in the case of using the decoction; that is, fried and high calorie stuffs should be avoided. An ideal diet is described below. This should be adopted as far as possible in general and is a must in case the disease (obesity) is very advanced or its cause is so intense that no other medication has been effective despite diet restraints. In any case one should drink sufficient water (minimum twelve glasses per day for an adult). Ayurveda also advises that, except for heart patients or patients having other serious problems, every adult should take water empty stomach to its full capacity every morning. At least one glassful of water should be consumed 5-10 minutes before taking meals. The amount of water drunk during and

"A conscience is a guide that cannot remain without inflicting punishment for misdeeds. However, prior to this, it does warn several times for avoiding misdeeds."

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immediately after meals should be kept to a minimum ­ say few gulps to keep the throat wet. At least one glassful or two of water should be drunk at a slow pace after about an hour after the meals. This simple practice prevents acidity and also helps reducing obesity. Pure drinking water is a rich source of energy and of many vital minerals and vitamins. It is also a necessary medium for many important biochemical reactions including those of metabolism and ionic balance. It thus helps freshening the brain as well. So consuming it in substantial amounts is generally good for healthy and hearty life. Regular adoption of this medication starts showing positive results in six to seven months' time in general. Though at a slow pace, this medicine uproots the cause of obesity forever. Most importantly, it does not have any side effects or risk of prolonged use. Ideal food for best effects of the herbal/plant medicinal decoction and powder medication described here is an appropriate combination of some of the following items as per their availability in the season: Chapattis of Barley; wheat cereals in coarse form (porridge) well cooked in steam, a little amount of rice (cooked using old grains of rice), kodo, sanva, neevar, priyangu, kulathi; Grams/pulses like chana (black gram), masur (red lentil), munga (green gram), arhar (yellow gram); vegetables (in substantial amounts, cooked in pressure cooker with no or very little oil and minimum amount of fresh spices like black pepper, ginger, green chili, turmeric and mineral salt) such as ­ patta gobhi (cabbage), padval (round gourd), torai or lauki (green gourd); gilki (green legume of the family of green gourd), chaulai (kidney-bean), palak (spinach), methi

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(fenugreek) green leafs, muli (radish) and mulipatta (green leafs of radish); deshi gajar (Indian carrot), baingan (brinjal), kachcha kela (raw banana), karela (bitter gourd), kakadi (cucumber), adarak (ginger); pudina (mint leafs); fruits like angoor (grapes), santara (orange), mausambi (sweet lime), jamun (black berry); and other supplements like cream-free and butter-less butter-milk or whey (ch³cha or maÚh³) little amount of pure natural honey. For quick results, minimizing the chances of lethargy and re-accumulation of fat and for generally fit and healthy body and mind, one should also give include long walks and/or some physical labor and balancing relaxation exercises in daily routine. Creative exercises like gardening, swimming at least once or twice a week are also good for those who do not have any health problems in doing so. As per one's circumstance, time-schedules and health, suitable yoga-³sanas and pr³ñ³y³ms should be practiced for best effects. The "Pragya Yoga" taught at Shantikunj, Hardwar is an excellent package found useful for most men and women. (Details could be found in the CDs and books available at Shantikunj, Hardwar. Contact: [email protected] or [email protected]) Yagya-therapy for obesity is among the principal remedies prescribed in the ancient Ayurvedic texts and has been found very effective in the research experiments at the Dev Sanskriti University and Brahmvarchas center of Shantikunj, Hardwar. We shall discuss it in detail along with other applications of yagyopathy in the new series of articles on Ayurvedic Therapy to be published in this magazine in 2007.

Nov-Dec 2006

Companions in Solitude ­ 11

Kinship with Myriad Manifestations of

Cosmic Existence

Gurudev Pt Sriram Sharma Acharya As per daily routine, today also I set out in the afternoon to enjoy the lovely beautiful scenes of the forest. It served many purposes. Primarily the stroll served to keep the health and physique in order. But the main motive was to meet and talk to the companions in this solitude and enquire of their well being. When the narrow vision of considering oneself as the member of only the human species began to expand, intimacy and one- ness with plants and trees, birds and animals, moths and insects began swelling up on its own. These kins do not speak in the language of man, nor do they have the social order like that of man. Yet the worlds of these non-human life forms have their own place of importance due to their special characteristics and attributes. Man has created many narrow distinctions between man and man on the basis of caste, creed, colour, region, state, nation, language etc. Similarly it is also a narrow concept of man to consider himself to be a member of human community only and other creatures to be of a different origin or to consider them as objects of serving his needs and greeds. Man is only one of the many children of Nature. Though he has many superior qualities and qualifications, the other creatures also have their own special qualities which man does not have. These qualities and specialties are also so wonderful and great as to make man feel humble. These thoughts were rising in the mind while strolling today. In the beginning the creatures and plants who are the members of this

Nov-Dec 2006

solitude seemed silly and unimportant. But now when they are observed closely and carefully they are found to be great in their own domain of consciousness. It seems that even though nature has given greater measure of intelligence to man, it has given many other gifts to these unintelligent offsprings of hers. Having received those gifts, they can, if they choose to, feel more proud than man. Here there are numerous species of birds that fly to visit far off places very early and comfortably. They cross over mountains and change their habitats with the change of climate. Does man have the ability to fly? He has succeeded in flying with aeroplanes, but can it be compared with the ability of birds to fly on the wings? Man has made a lot of cosmetics and other things to beautify himself; but has he been able to achieve the beautiful colour, shape and design of the birds and butterflies, who are as attractive as the celestial maidens? Many kinds of clothes are used by man to safeguard himself against cold. But could any man ever obtain a warm coat of hairs grown on the body itself like that of bears and sheep? Should not man whose body emits bad odour every moment through every pore feel ashamed before plants and trees whose flowers spread fragrance every moment? Does man whose body becomes weak and useless and ends up in death in a span of about 60-70 years, stand any comparison to pythons, who happily cover a life span of 400 years? Banyan trees live upto thousand years.

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The musk deer sprinting over the mountains here can easily defeat any man in race. Can a man defeat a bear in wrestling? Is there any man who is as industrious and hard working as an ant? Who can collect honey from flowers like the honeybees? Is human eye capable of seeing in darkness, like the cats? Can any man identify men and materials on the basis of smell as dogs can, or live in water like the fish or separate milk and water like the swans? Has any man the strength of an elephant? When these virtues and specialties of plants and animals are considered, the vanity of man in considering himself to be superior to all other life forms in the world is baseless. The thought that man is not everything, prevailed in mind during today's stroll. Not only that he is not superior to but he is not even the leader of all. True, he has intelligence and power. True, he has amassed a lot of means of pleasure. At the same time it is also true that he has misused this gift. The other creatures of nature are his own kith and kin. This earth is the mother of them all too. They too are entitled to grow and prosper here. But man has enslaved them all, lorded over them, destroyed their habitats and trampled upon their freedom and happiness. He has chained the animals and tortured them to work for his comforts and pleasures. He takes away the milk due for the calves and drinks it himself. He kills them mercilessly to eat their flesh. He kills birds and aquatic creatures so as to pander to his taste buds and fashions. When you think of the cruel behaviour meted out to these creatures by man for the sake of flesh, medicines, fashion, pleasure and luxury, the morality of man appears to be simply a sham. The territory where my solitary hut is situated is abundant with terrestrial, aquatic and aerial

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creatures, apart from plants and trees. While roaming about, I meet them naturally. In the beginning they used to be scared of me, but not so now. We have now developed a sense of kinship. They have accepted me as a member of their family. Now we are not afraid of each other. Day by day a sense of mutual bonding is increasing. It seems underneath the chaotic outer layer, there is a world replete with heavenly attributes like love, compassion, friendship, co-operation, generosity, beauty, peace and contentment. But man has shut himself away from it and has enclosed himself in a jail-like world of his own - the man's world. This conceited creature boasts of the achievement of material science. He speaks highly of his greatness, superiority, education and morality. But his cruelty towards fellow creatures of this earth unveils all the false claims he makes about morality, superiority, compassion, etc. Today I was so much engrossed in thoughts that I lost my way. I have been fondly watching birds and animals without keeping count. They too were looking at me approvingly. Man cannot be adjudged great among the creations of nature only because he is intellectually superior. If might is the yardstick of greatness, dacoits, demons, evil ghosts, spirits, etc. should be respected because of their superiority in might. The symbols of greatness are truth, love, justice, character, restraint, generosity, sacrifice, prudence, friendliness etc. Without these virtues, a man possessing intelligence is a much more cruel animal than the ferocious wild animals. The ferocious animals resort to attack only when hungry; but the intelligent human beast is ever on the prowl to attack, in order to satiate his greed and vanity.

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It was getting late. By the time I reached the hut, it was already dark. Till very late into the night I kept pondering. We take pride in having contributed to the betterment of human conditions. But is it not communal partiality? Is it not a narrow outlook to think this way? Only on the basis of virtues can man be considered great: else he is the most wicked among all the creatures. Why should our outlook be restricted to the problems of humanity only? Why should not we extend our kinship with other creatures and contribute towards furthering their welfare? A good part of the night passed in these thoughts. The intense pressure of thoughts disturbed the sleep. A number of dreams were seen. In every dream, the scenes of playing and conversing with varied creatures were appearing. The substance of it all was that the consciousness within was experiencing kinship with all creatures, just like we do with human beings. Today's dreams were very pleasant. It was felt that the soul was expanding in order to play a much larger role. A few days back the solitude of this place was boring; but no place appeared to be solitary now. Playful companions were everywhere. Though they do not speak like men or their traditions differ from that of man, their feelings and emotions are more authentic and nobler than man's from many angles. WAITING FOR FULFILMENT OF AIM The duration of sleep is lessened due to light food. Fruits are very rare now but vegetables serve to provide the Satwik (pure and pious) elements in food. If Satwik food is taken, four to five hours of sleep is enough for a Sadhak (devotee).

Winter nights are long. Sleep is completed quickly. Mind is rather uneasy today. When will this Sadhana (spiritual pursuit) be over? How long will it take for fulfillment of the aim? When shall I achieve success? Thoughts like these were coming up. The current of puzzling thoughts tends to disturb inner peace. In the flow of such random thoughts it was not possible to concentrate on Sadhana. Boredom overtook the mind. So I got out of the hut to get rid of this boredom and began to stroll. I simply felt to move ahead. The legs moved on. The cold was intense. But the pull to sit in the lap of Mother Ganga was too strong to care for the cold. A stone lying close to the edge of the stream was protruding into the flowing current. This was my favourite place to sit on. Wrapping the blanket around, I got there and sat over it. Judging from the position of stars it was about 2 O' clock in the night. Sitting there for a long time induced sleepiness. The gurgling music of Ganga induces concentration of mind, as a swing provides relaxation to the body. When a child is put in a swinging cradle, it soon falls asleep. The atmosphere of the place where I am put up these days is so gentle that the divine gurgling of the stream sounds like the lullaby being sung by the mother. In order to get concentration of mind, this gurgling sound of the stream was as useful as the heavenly melodious music. Mind becomes calm and relaxed. I felt sleepy and wanted to lie down. Curling up my body I lay down there on the rock using the blanket both as bed sheet and wrapper. Sleep slowly began to rock me. It seemed that the soul of the stone was speaking. Piercing the blanket, its voice reached through the ears right into the heart.

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Even in that dazed condition the mind began to hear attentively. The soul of the stone said, "Hey Sadhak, don't you feel the blissful experience of the soul that you started thinking of attaining? Is the joy of journey any less interesting than reaching the destination? Is the ticking sensation in separation less exhilarating than the feeling of joy in union? You better learn this truth. God indwells the devotee. So why should there be delay in union? It is only in order to let the devotee enjoy the pleasure of Sadhana that He has hidden Himself behind the veil and is watching whether the devotee is getting immersed in the sea of joy of devotion or not. When he gets fully immersed in this joy, God too comes and starts dancing with him. Siddhi (attainment of self-realization) is the stage at which the devotee tells God that he does not want merging in the Supreme Self, but longs for the continuation of separation; so that he gets happiness and joy of the Divine play." The soul of the stone went on telling further. It said, "Hey Sadhak, you look in front of you. How eagerly is Ganga rushing down to meet her Beloved! How pleased she is in this race! Her union with the ocean has already taken place, but she is not content with that. How can the joy in playful action and imagination be had in the union? Ganga is not content with union which is the end. She has pledged to keep on her endeavour to attain the union. So, Sadhak, why should you be impatient: Your goal is great and your path is noble. Great patience is needed for great purposes. Childish impatience won't do here. What is the use of worrying about as to when the aim is going to be achieved?" The soul of the stone was proceeding non-stop. With self-confidence, it said -"You look at me.

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I too am lying here to merge my identity with that great Being. I am performing Sadhana of merging myself into the great ocean by breaking my gross body, this huge piece of rock, into subtle colloids. With every stroke of waves a part of my body breaks away from me and by turning into colloid it flows towards the ocean. In this way I get rubbed and enjoy it moment by moment. I am trying to prolong this enjoyment of separation for the sake of the Beloved as long as possible. Had I been impatient like the stones lying in the middle of the flow, I would have been broken fast and the destination could have possibly been reached long back. But that would have deprived me of the pleasure of getting chiseled for the sake of the beloved." "So don't be impatient. Impatience generates jealousy, anger, disappointment, inconsistency, meanness and lack of faith. Has anyone having these vices ever become great or achieved the goal? The foremost attribute of a Sadhak is patience. Impatience leads to failure. The allurements of greed, fear, disappointment and anxiety confronted by the Sadhak are nothing but tests of his patience. What kind of a Sadhak are you who did not learn even this first lesson?" The soul of the stone finished its sermon. My drowsiness was broken. This admonition jerked the conscience violently. `You have set out to become a great Sadhak without studying even the first lesson! My head bowed down in shame and shyness. I was blaming myself and kept trying for long to understand the point. I looked up; the eastern horizon was putting on a purple hue, heralding the dawn. I got up and went back to the hut to attend to the daily routine. [To be continued]

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My Life: Its Legacy and Message ­ 22

Tapaïcary³ Essential for the Growth of Spiritual Power

[Autobiography of P¿jya Gurudev, continued from the previous issue] ¿ After returning from England, Aurobindo took all the measures to force the Britishers to leave India. Indian princes were organized, students were mobilized, a new party was formed but he soon realized that these stray efforts would be of no avail to confront the might of the powerful British Empire. It was not possible in those days to do something like Gandhiji's saty³grah. He, therefore, took up the work of generating spiritual power to warm up the atmosphere. He went out of the reach of the Britishers, lived in seclusion in Pondicherry and started doing special tapaïcary³ s³dhan³. People may regard it as an act of escapism but it was not so. Those having keen observation knew it very well that Aurobindo generated powerful invisible energy by his tapaïcary³. The subtle atmosphere was warmed up, giving birth to a number of great personages at a time, which was unprecedented in the history of the country. Anybody can be a political leader, but he is not necessarily a great man. Great persons are great from every point of view and they possess the capacity to visibly and invisibly move and influence the public mind. Having lost everything on account of slavery over a period of two thousand years, the country needed such helmsmen who could lead the nation out of difficulties. They were all born at one time in large numbers like whirlwinds in hot summer. Thus, in due course, Aurobindo's dream was fulfilled. In the history of spiritual sciences, tapaïcary³ and s³dhan³, have been regarded as the only means for higher attainments. This cannot be done by clinging to a luxurious, comfortable life style. It needs single-pointed concentration towards the achievement of the noble aim. At the time of writing eighteen Pur³ñas, Vyas retired to a cave near Vasodhara in Uttarakhand. Ganesh undertook to help him as his scribe on the condition that he will not interrupt and will keep totally silent. Such an important work could not have been accomplished without this uninterrupted concentration. Maharshi Raman remained engaged in tapaïcary³ and observed silence during the period of struggle for Independence. Besides, several other elevated saints in the Him³layas performed specific tapaïcary³ for this purpose. This invisible spiritual contribution cannot be seen and appreciated with material senses. Persons having spiritual insight alone know its truth. Keeping in view the principle that means have to be in accord with the importance of a particular end, specific tapaïcary³ is being performed these days to change for the better the quality of present atmosphere. Its nature and standards are, therefore, difficult. In the

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beginning, I was entrusted with the task of refining public attitudes, and stimulating enthusiasm in the masses for constructive activities. This could not have been done merely by setting up an organisation and preparing speakers, musicians, resources of publicity etc. Gurudev, who understood the reality very well, had, therefore, entrusted only one task in the beginning, that of performing twenty-four G³yatrº Mah³puraïcarañas for twenty-four years. The credit for all the accomplishments during the last thirty years goes to this initial tapaïcary³ which served as a fixed deposit capital. At that time also it was not restricted merely to performing a fixed number of Jap. Several

restrictions, disciplines and pledges were also attached to it. Jap of a fixed number of mantras can be performed by anybody who is sitting idle but accomplishment of any great task cannot be achieved merely by such symbolic worship. It has to be linked up with the strict tapaïcary³ which energizes and rejuvenates physical, astral and causal bodies and makes them strong in all respects. Accumulated sins and impurities act as great impediments in the path of spiritual progress. They can be burnt out only by putting them in the furnace of tapaïcary³. When iron-ore is taken out from the earth it is raw and crude. Similar is the

Rajendra Prasad had taken admission in the renowned Presidency College of Kolkata. He was simplicity personified. On his first day in the college, he was clad in dhoti, high-neck coat and cap. Other students were wearing English attire. They made fun of Rajendra Prasad's rustic appearance and behaved as if this `Johnny come lately' did not belong there. When the teacher came into the class and the round of introductions was made, all were in for surprise including Rajendra Prasad. Rajendra Babu was surprised because contrary to his expectation, all the students were found to be native Indians, not Anglo-Indians; the other students were surprised because the fellow whom they had been mocking at as a country bumpkin turned out to be the topper of the university that year. The students were now amazed to see this sparkling talent hidden beneath such native simplicity. They were ashamed of their behavior and never made fun of him again. The same Rajendra Prasad later rose to be the President of India. Indeed, only he is a true nationalist who has deep respect for his cultural values and dress code. He alone may be called an enlightened and cultured person

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case with other metals. They have to be put in a burning furnace to purify them and make them fit for use. Valuable medicines, bhasma etc. are prepared by Ayurvedic physicians by purifying raw materials with fire. The potter has to put his raw pots in a kiln and apply requisite heat. The same rule applies to human beings. Service, s³dhan³, religious pursuits of the --Ìis are all apparent deeds; but for acquiring power to achieve some specific goal, they have to undergo great intensive tapaïcary³ from time to time. Every great person has to undergo this austerity in his own way because, without it, divine powers cannot be invoked, received, augmented and retained. So long as there is no piety, brilliance and maturity in the personality of a man, he cannot achieve remarkable, significant and praiseworthy success. How long can a tree, which has no deep roots, stand against the vagaries of nature and flourish? The fundamental principles of tapaïcary³ are self-restraint (sanyam) and proper utilization of resources. By observing restraint of sense organs (indriya-sanyam), a man remains healthy and the store of his willpower never gets exhausted. By observing restriction in respect of spending money (artha-sanyam), a man has to lead a simple life of an average citizen and maintain himself on his self-earned, honest earnings. Best utilization of one's own time is

known as samaya-sanyam, in which a set workroutine has to be followed and body and mind are applied to specific useful pursuits. This leaves no time for indulging in evil deeds. By exercising restraint in respect of thoughts (vic³r-sanyam) the outlook of a person becomes devout, spiritual and religious and it becomes easy for him to perform s³dhan³ of Bhakti-yoga, Gyan-yoga and Karma-yoga. Self-restraint (sanyam) means saving. By exercising sanyam of these four kinds, abundant energy is saved, after meeting worldly needs. This can be utilized in serving noble purposes. Such a person leads a relaxed happy jovial life and accomplishes his personal as well as universal good. Gurudev had taught me sixty years back to follow this path which I have been following strictly ever since. The only purpose in calling me to the Him³layas from time to time was to maintain my enthusiasm and industriousness and strengthen my faith in the efficacy of tapaïcary³. By doing s³dhan³ on Bhagirath Shila in Gangotri I got the power to launch Pragy³ abhiy³n and thus help in the descent of Gy³n Gang³ (stream of knowledge) on this earth. While I was in the Âïram of Parshuram in Uttarkashi, I got the battle-axe with the help of which I could create turbulence and anger in the minds of the people against widespread perversion. According to the scriptures,

"Imbibing virtue springs from the heart whereas flattery springs from the teeth only. Imbibing virtue is unselfish whereas flattery is selfish."

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Parashuram had beheaded several tyrants a number of times. My activity was confined to annihilation of evil tendencies lodged in the human mind. Vic³r-kr³nti and Pragy³ abhiy³n are not only creative but also reformative. Both these objectives have been achieved on a large scale with great success by the power of tapaïcary³ and not by any miracle or coincidence. This is a summary of the past activities. I have now been directed by Gurudev, to whose tune I have been dancing as a puppet throughout my life, to make a big leap in this direction. Now I have to enter into a new higher level of tapaïcary³. The general public knows only that I am living in seclusion and not meeting anybody. This information is incomplete. A person whose whole being is full of diligence, industriousness, punctuality and order, cannot live a useless inactive life, as is being assumed. I am required to do comparatively far more work and I remain far busier while living in seclusion. Although I have adopted the practice of not meeting people, I have established contact with many illumined, immortal souls, whose company I have aspired to enjoy perennially, and which would not have been possible in the normal course. How can it then be said to be a life of seclusion? There has been only a change in the method of working. The type of persons who used to meet me and the subjects of the meetings have changed. Mystics always adopt such methods. They appear to be inactive, although they remain extremely busy. When a top (lattu) revolves with full speed it appears to be standing motionless. The fact that it is in motion can

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be noticed only when its speed is slowed down and it starts stumbling and falling. In those days when Einstein was busy in conducting important research he had changed his entire routine of life. He used to live all alone in a huge building where all facilities were available. All the books, literature, instruments of research, assistants and colleagues were readily available at hand, but they were kept away from him so that Einstein's concentration may not be disturbed. He used to ring a bell and get everything which he wanted through his attendant. Visitors waited for months to see him. It was only thus that it became possible for him to make his valuable contributions to humanity which amazed the entire world. The --ïis and tapasvºs also lived a similar life in seclusion in the ancient times. They were engaged in conducting researches on several planes relating to spiritual science. They used to select some quiet secluded place and got absorbed in their work with full concentration. I have also been directed to do some very important new type of tasks. The first is to activate the dormant spiritual power to neutralize the probability of a worldwide holocaust. The second is to provide necessary inspiration and strength to constructive workers (srajan ïilpºs) without which they will be unable to do their work satisfactorily. Third is to initiate and raise the structure of those righteous tendencies which will act as guidelines in building the new era. All these tasks cannot be performed all alone through the physical body which has a limited range of power to meet physical needs and can render help to a limited number of proximate

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persons. It is necessary to develop the astral and causal bodies for doing more important and extensive work. When all these three bodies become equally strong and active then alone will it be possible to accomplish the momentous deeds in accordance with the will of the `Time Spirit' (Mah³k³l). Ramakrishna Paramhansa was placed almost under similar circumstances. He was required to accomplish a task of worldwide dimensions. As per plan, he transfused his spiritual powers into Vivekananda and took upon himself the responsibility of making the task of the latter easy and successful from behind the scene. Such a stupendous task could not have been accomplished through the physical body. He, therefore, abandoned it without hesitation. He had also overspent his energies by liberally conferring boons. He voluntarily got afflicted with cancer, discharged his debt and got engaged in doing the work through Vivekananda, who did it all according to the direction of his Supreme Master? When Ramakrishna withdrew to the astral realm, his physical absence caused pain and sadness. But all that had happened was for the greatest Good. After his physical death Ramakrishna's power had increased a thousandfold and many righteous works were done not only in the country but also in the whole world. When he

was alive he could give his blessings to some disciples and transfuse his spiritual powers into Vivekananda but when he got the opportunity to act through the astral and causal bodies he could do far greater works, which can be hardly understood or quantified. The life of Jesus Christ has also been of the same type. He struggled hard throughout his life but could make only thirteen persons as his disciples. When he found that his physical body would not be able to do as much work as he wanted, he took the help of his astral body and invisibly helped in the spread of Christianity throughout the world. On such occasions great persons voluntarily choose painful death to clear their past accounts. Crucifixion of Christ, taking poison by Socrates, Shri Krishna's getting hit by an arrow, Pandavas getting frozen in the Him³layas, Gandhi's being shot, are all events which indicate that all great persons who want to enter from the physical into the astral form to accomplish still greater tasks give up their bodies in such a manner that it be regarded as a martyr's death and inspire generations to come. This has happened with me and is going to happen also in future. (To be continued)

"He who has given up artificiality, deception, and cunningness and has adopted honesty as the policy of his life, is the wisest man of the world."

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The Holy Himalayas and Glorious Rishi-Culture - II

(Translation of a discourse in Hindi on "Dev³tm³ Him³laya Eva® Ri̺-Parampar³" Delivered by Rev. Gurudev Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya ­ continued from the previous issue)

Friends!

I was telling you about the angelic contributions of the rishis that laid the foundation of human cultural ascent and civilization aimed at global welfare in harmony with Nature. Have you heard of rishi Charak? His idol is also enshrined here (at Shantikunj) in one of the rishi temples, built as mark of our gratitude and reverence. Rishi Charak had a prominent place among the vedic rishis who were sagacious scientists of Nature. He had discovered enormous number of medicinal plants and herbs in the Himalayan region. He had carried out his s³dhan³ and research in Kedarnath, Himalayas. The valley of flowers in this region near the Hemkund Sahib Gurudwara -- tºrtha of the Sikhs - was like a paradise those days. Rishi Charak loved this place and nurtured in it a wide variety of rare plants. What you see here now is only a tiny fraction of the original botanical garden. These days you may have to go much higher up to Tapovan-Nanadanvan, ahead of Gomukh, to see some of the precious Himalyan beauty and finest and rarest varieties of flowers including the real Brahmkamal, which is not found anywhere else in the world!

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In an attempt to resurrect the glory of the medicinal Indian plants/herbs and the Science of Health ­ Ayurveda, we have set up a herbal laboratory in the Brahmvarchas Research Centre, Shantikunj, Hardwar. The unique contribution of this lab is identification and verification of the phytochemical and medicinal properties of the Himalayan herbs with respect to the scriptural descriptions. It was very important to do that, as the morphology and other properties of the medicinal plants, would have changed over the long span of so many thousands of years. Following the tradition of Maharshi Charak, we have also experimented on use of fresh decoctions and dry powder preparations (with the expiry period of 6 months) of these medicines. Excellent healing effects have been observed in hundreds of patients of different types of diseases. Vedic method of yagyatherapy using these medicinal plants /herbs is also successfully applied here. Uttarkashi region in the Himalayas still has some Ârañyaks. What does Ârañyaka mean? Well these are the places where one lives, away from home, in the age group of V³naprastha Âïram1 to devote all the time and efforts to altruistic services of the society, after fulfilling the responsibilities towards one's

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family. People in the Ârañyaks, also learnt the real meaning and glorious purpose of life. In ancient times, many Ashrams of Rishis used to have both the Ârañyaks and the Gur¿kuls. The Gur¿kuls 2 were ideal schools for the children. I have tried reviving both the traditions in Shantikunj. The children's school here is like a modern model of a Gur¿kul. You may not find its parallel anywhere in the world. There are special s³dhan³-courses for personality development, refinement and constructive orientation of the talents of the youths. Moreover, the Yug Shilpi course programmes run at Shantikunj for the youths are like initial phase of renaissance, in today's context, of the training programmes at Nalanda and Takshila universities of the Buddhist era. Apart from other things the trainees are also taught light classical music to generate awareness among the masses (especially in the countryside in India) and mobilize them for moral and social upliftment through the medium of discourses and music. Dev-rishi Narada was the pioneer of this tradition. This wandering rishi of the divine realms had performed arduous tapa in the Vishnu Prayag region of The Himalayas. He had invented and disseminated the method of devotional music and inner awakening by the angelic source of Vedic Music. We organize s³dhan³ and training courses to generate parivrajaks from among the people who are in their V³nprastha Âïram and have volunteered for social service. These volunteers work for awakening the masses against archaic customs, superstitions, motivating them towards reformatory and

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constructive activities and teaching them righteous values through religious platform along with educating them. In some respects the parivrajak tradition here is somewhat similar to that of the bhikshus ­ disciples of Lord Buddha. Brahmarishi Vashishtha is among the most revered of rishis of the Vedic times. He had brought about assimilation of high ethics and ideals in politics. He was a revered religious saint, a seer and also the raj-guru3 of King Dasharath. As per the guidance of my divine mentor, I have also worked on both the fronts ­ spirituality/religion and politics. I have devoted most of my life to spirituality and religion. However, a truly religious being should also earnestly transact the duties of a good human being. I have tried to do so at my level best. I have also carried out the responsibilities of a social worker and a freedom fighter. From 1920 to 1942, I was actively associated with the non-violent freedom-movement of India. Bramarishi Vashishtha had been the mentor of Shri Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shratughna. While King Dasharatha was their biological father, Vashishtha had given birth to their majestic characters. He had molded the ideal personalities of these disciples who continue to stand as immortal symbols of perennial human values. You all, my disciples, are like my children. I also want you to follow the enlightened path of spiritual unfoldment. I am trying to teach you why and how to integrate ethics with civics, politics and other domains of personal and social life, and thus to integrate science, spirituality and religion.

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Adi Shankaracharya had pioneered renaissance of the glory of Vedic knowledge during past Buddhistic period. He mostly used to live in a cave at Jyotrimatha near Badrinath but had established four major tºrthas in the four principal directions, with the help of his capable disciples like Mandhanta. In our country, pilgrimage is regarded complete only after visiting all these four sacred tºrthas ­ namely, Dwarika, Jyotirmath, Jagannathpuri and Rameshwaram. Following his tradition and for the welfare of the masses, I have also established 2400 Gayatri Shatkipeethas, with the help of all my disciples like you, while I am mostly living here in Shantikunj and doing my tapa-s³dhan³. Our great rishis had emphasized the importance of fasting and eating simple sattwik food earned honestly by self-effort. This is because the subtle quality of what one eats has intense impact on one's subtle body ­ especially on the mind. For example, rishi Pipplad used to survive on the fruits of Pipal (holy fig tree) during the long years of his tapa near Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh region of the Hilamalyas. Those days the Himalayan forests were rich in this and several other beneficial trees; so sufficient quantity of these fruits might have been easily available. During my puraïcharaña s³dhan³ of 24 years, I have also taken only barley and buttermilk; now as well, I observe fasting and maintain strict discipline vis-à-vis my food intake. You must remember time and again that purity of food is essential for purity and calmness of the mind and intelligence.

Suta and Shaunak rishis had lived in Rishikesh, Himalayas. Their lucid discussions on different aspects of human life, religion, etc are compiled in the Puranas. The narrative question answer style of teaching through stories has made these scriptures most suitable for awakening and educating the masses. Reviving this tradition in the context of present times motivated me to write the Pragya Puranas, four volumes of which are now complete. Our rishis had adopted austerities in their own lives and also inspired others to leave the selfish tendency of accumulating possessions and donate their resources for the welfare of the lowliest and the lost. This is why the great king Harshwardhan had donated all his prosperity for the setting up of the university of Takshashila. This had happened here on the banks of holy Ganges at Har ki Paudi, Hardwar. I have brought this "sarmedha yagya" tradition to Shantikunj; Vandinaya Mataji and I had initiated it by donating all our property, jewelry, every single paisa, for the noble mission of Gayatri Pariwar. Rishi Kanad was among the greatest seersages and scientists whose illumined insight had discovered the existence and properties of atom and subatomic particles without using any material instruments. He, likewise rishis Nagarjuna and Aryabhatta, had also carried out arduous tapa in the Himalayas. Nagarjuna was a sagacious expert of Chemistry, who had discovered and invented many varieties of chemicals from natural substances ­ the list included the tonics for youthful longevity and rare compounds that could transform iron into gold. Aryabhatta had studied and discovered

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many secrets of planetary motions and their impact on the earth; he was the founder of astronomy and astrology. As most of the original scriptures detailing the great inventions and discoveries of these seers of yore are lost, there is a great need for reinvestigating the respective disciplines of knowledge following their approach in new scientific light. It has been my humble attempt to motivate some bright modern researchers in this direction. The Brahmvarchas research centre of our mission is established for the purpose of carrying out applied research in the science of spirituality and integration of natural sciences with Vedic knowledge. The Ayurvedic lab here, as I mentioned earlier, has come out with excellent herbal/plant medicinal preparations to prevent and cure several diseases and psychosomatic disorders that are increasing in the modern life at an alarming rate without any other effective therapy. A model of planetary observatory has also been designed at Shantikunj and for the first time (in the known history of the world), a comprehensive panchnag4 is compiled here. Its computation has taken into consideration the relative positions and motions of three newly discovered planets apart from the most commonly studied nine planets of our solar system. You might have read about rishi Shringi who had cursed King Parikshit for his sinful conduct against rishi Lomash! The boons and curse uttered by him were proved to be absolutely true. He had conducted the Putreshti Yagya for King Dasharatha after which Lord Ram and his three angelic brothers were born. Rishi Shringi was a distinguished expert of the

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super science of mantras. The s³dhan³ of Gayatri Mantra, which is recognized as the origin of all Vedas, the preeminent source of the powers of mantras, has been the beatifying force behind the foundation and progress of our mission. Whatever spiritual attainments and supernormal potentials you see in me are natural consequences of this s³dhan³. This s³dhan³ is guided in the anuÌÚh³na sessions here. Millions of people have been initiated in this mantra s³dhan³. Research on this mantra would help unfold the scientific basis of the marvelous effects of the mantra and acquaint the world with the gigantic treasure of knowledge and culture our Himalayan Rishis have bequeathed to us. But more importantly, we the seekers should imbibe this s³dhan³ and its teachings in our lives and accomplish something worth our divine origin and dignity. It is indeed a boon to get an opportunity to do Gayatri S³dhan³ in the holy Himalyan region. All of you are lucky to have got this chance of doing Gayatri AnuÌÚh³n at this "Gayatri-Tirtha" Shantikunj, Hardwar. As I had told you earlier, the ambience of this Himalayan region is divine; it is pervaded with the sublime spiritual vibrations generated by the dedicated s³dhan³s of the Vedic Rishis since pre-historic times. Do you know there is a Vilvakeshwar temple here in Hardwar? This was the place where Goddess Parvathi had done epochal tapasy³ for Lord Shiva. Her earlier birth as Sati, the daughter of Daksha, had also taken place in a nearby area. Daksha was a technologist of the Vedic Age; a place called "Daksh Prajapati" in Hardwar marks his interaction with Lord Shiva. The Ashram of rishi Kanva was located in slightly higher

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(on the Himalayan range) region of Kotadwar. Shankuntala was his daughter. Her son after whose name our country (India) is called "Bharat" was also born here. The four grand tirthas (char dham) ­ Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath ­ are located in this Uttarakhand Himalayan region. The Shantikunj Ashram, is situated in Hardwar towards Rishikesh, right at the center of the land where the Ashrams of the seven Supreme Rishis (Sapt-Rishis) existed. Also, as I have tried to explain to you in the two earlier discourses, the Rishi Culture, the noble deeds of the Vedic rishis, are being revived here for spiritual awakening of the world. Your sincere s³dhan³ here is bound to bring beatifying results. You must try to come here as often as possible. Vandiniya Mataji and I are like your parents. This is your home. If you can't come for s³dhan³, at least perform some samsk³ras here. We have made arrangements for conducting all the "shodas samskara" (the sixteen sacraments of human life prescribed under the Vedic System) here in an ideal way. More importantly, two new samskaras most relevant today have also been added -- these are the birthday and the wedding anniversary. Your visit here will always give you joy and light. This is the land of the rishis, their sublime presence here will always bless you. May the divine light invoked by them inspire and illuminate your lives. || OM SHANTI ||

Notes: 1. V³naprastha Âïram: The Rishi Culture broadly divides the span of human life into four phases (each of about 25 years) w.r.t. one's duties towards oneself, family and the society or the world at large. V³naprastha Âïram refers to the third phase, which begins say, around the age of 55 years in terms of the present life-style. Brahmcarya Aïrama: The first phase of life (upto the age of about 25 years). Gur¿kuls: Schools for integrated education, chiseled development of personality and character, illumination of intellect, cultivation of virtuous qualities, training in the observance of strict disciplines, inculcation of moral values and constructive orientation of the student's personality. These were nurtured and governed by the rishis themselves. The students used to be admitted in early childhood and used to spend whole of their Brahmcharya Âïram under the enlightened guardianship and guidance of the rishis. Rajguru: Revered advisor and spiritual preceptor of the king. Panchang: Hindu calendar, which also indicates the effects of different planetary arrangements on different days and times of the year.

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