Faith Paves Way To Grace

Shraddhāvān labhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ sanyatendriyaḥ
Jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śhāntim achireṇādhigachchhati //
                                                                     Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4 Shl 39

Those whose faith is deep and who have practised controlling their mind and senses attain divine knowledge. Through such transcendental knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace.

Multiple verses were dedicated praising the virtues of ‘Shraddha’ or ‘Faith’ in Bhagavad Gita. Gita firmly states that faith is a precondition towards knowledge and with knowledge comes peace.

Although faith is the very essence of our being, we very often lay it in things which are transient in nature and expect it to work wonders. When that fails, we turn bitter, lose faith in man and in truth. The problem, however, is that we lack faith in oneself and hence we feel incomplete and look towards someone else to complete us. As someone rightly said, The most intimate relationship we will ever have in our entire lifetime is with ourselves and therefore self-faith is crucial. And self-faith is the offspring of self-knowledge.

Then, why wouldn’t we try? Perhaps, it challenges us to explore beyond our beliefs and fears into something unknown to us or maybe, we wrongly believe that like all other challenges, it would be demanding. Or seeking faith may not figure high on our list of priorities or worse, the feeling that,”It is not for me”😶.  Whatever the reason, the fact remains that all scriptures, including the Gita, were enlightening us on literally the same questions which exercise humans, even today. So, it is for every human being and if applied, produces same results to a yogi and to an ignorant one.

Of course, we cannot discern all spiritual truths straight away; some of them can only be experienced after having attained sufficient advancement on the path. If we only accept what we can presently comprehend, we will be deprived of the higher spiritual secrets. In such conditions, faith helps us to accept what we cannot perceive at present.

Sattvanurupa sarvasya sraddha bhavati bharata
Sraddha-mayo yam puruso yo yac-chraddhah sa eva sah//
                                                                        Bhagavad Gita Chapter 17 Shl 3

The faith of all humans conforms to the nature of their mind. All people possess faith, and whatever the nature of their faith, that is verily what they are.

Clearly, blind faith isn’t what we are looking for. According to Gita, our quality of faith will determine the direction of our lives. Our scriptures talk of Uddava, a friend of Krishna, his faith was reposed in Krishna with unquestioning obedience but wasn’t steady as he was confused with the conduct of Krishna. Uddava never understood Krishna’s behaviour but never questioned and he waited till Krishna announced his departure. That’s when it struck him that he is going to be alone and his friend and guru, although, unpredictable will no longer be there to guide him. Someone else’s faith, unquestioned & owned like Uddava, will never stand the stress of life.

Rather, a faith born in clear mind through understanding stays reliable. That will allow us to surrender and help us in understanding the relationship between oneself and the truth through which we came into existence. Such faith will only pave the way to grace- a direct experience of the truth.

So, it’s never too late to know oneself and moreover, many of us use this time before the New Year to set goals and I hope we could add this to the list of resolutions to be followed.

Welcome the New Year with new hopes and do have a blessed year full of peace 🙂

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Bhagavad Gita and Detachment

Brahmanyaadhaaya karmaani Sangam tyaktwaa karoti yah
Lipyate na sa paapena Padmapatram ivaambhasaa //   
                                                                          Bhagavad Gita, Chp 5, Shl 10.

He who performs actions,  offering them to Brahman, abandoning attachment is not tainted by sin, just as a lotus leaf remains unaffected by the water on it.

The word “Detachment” is a much-abused word like the word “Love”. I ain’t kidding! If you don’t believe me, turn around and ask anybody what is the first thing that comes to their mind when they hear the word ‘detachment’.

Every day we detach from things and people, it is a natural progression. Something that comes naturally to us seems difficult when applied to things or people- we love, it can be literally anything- animate or inanimate.

I-ness.pngMany believe the feeling of ‘mine-ness’ creates attachment. But if you notice from the I-ness, emerge other feelings including MINE. An example is how marriage brings a significant change to mine-ness, our loyalties slowly but certainly transfer from one’s family of origin to the new partner, don’t they? Yet nothing ever changes to the feeling of ‘I’. Rather than addressing the effects, we should learn to tackle the root.

When I first started on this, I thought it was important to free myself from the so-called loved things. But the list was endless and had no clue where to start; under the guidance of my Guru and through self-reflection, realised that I was never really attached to the endless list. I was in fact attached to the tools- senses, mind, intellect and later discovered that the attachments weren’t mine but were of my Acquired or Pseudo “I”.

However, we need the pseudo self to work our way through in the society but while that is functioning, we should stay true to our identity within. With time, it will flow naturally till then we need to keep bringing the wandering mind and focusing on NOW. Because only if you are in the field of awareness you can be ‘YOU’ and observe the interactions. And when you become an observer then you realise the actions, as well as their fruits, were never yours. It is a task in itself as we as we are never fully present in the now but there is nothing practice can’t perfect 🙂

Tasmād asaktah satatam  Karyam  karma samācara
Asakto hy ācaran karma Param āpnoti Purusah //   
                                                                         Bhagavad Gita, Chp 3, Shl 19.

Therefore, only those who act without being attached to the fruits of his action, but as a matter of performing his duty, can attain the Supreme/Peace.

Trust me, you have no clue how I felt when this whole concept sunk in. For that matter, do not take any idea which comes your way, even if it comes from holy scriptures or a Guru. We’d been gifted with an intellect and we should use it. And apply only those principles that you believe in.  According to me, this is the best way forward to spiritual maturity.

Clearly, detachment is not about being aloof or emotionless, but disassociating from our acquired self and using it when necessary than being used by it.  Take control, practice detached engagement by finding strength from the lotus. For the beautiful lotus to blossom, the plant must fight through mud and water and yet not allowing the murkiness to affect it in any way. If the plant can do it, so can we 🙂

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Image: the web

Living Rent-Free!

Last week, we visited our friends who recently became parents. I don’t have to describe their state of mind, do I? They were super exhausted, sleep deprived and trying to adjust to the new member in their family.

As soon as we were settled, we got talking, they were talking off their exhaustion of having a baby and before we knew it, two hours had gone by. During that time, most of the conversation revolved around others but the baby. We then realized that the baby was never the problem, it was their expectation from the family at these times added to their fatigue. This visit has done me some good. I now know exactly how many people I have up there who are living rent free ;). In spite of being watchful, yet there are few up there and that needs attention.

Strong emotions good or bad are dangerous. Trust me, these fixed opposites will never allow us to see those gray areas and lead us to a delusional state thinking – that our happiness is from outward things. When the people we like or dislike contribute nothing to our happiness quotient then why bother carrying them in our heads.

So, which arch enemy is living rent free in your head?