Sunday, 29 July 2012

Swamiji on the Rocks

||Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||

Aum Namo Narayanaya

Still within the month of Guru Poornima, I bow with reverence to our Gurus, who had the foresight to introduce many festivals and observances at strategic intervals. I was glazed with a feel-good sensation as I saw the deluge of good wishes infiltrate the vast spectrum of media on Friday, the occasion of Maha Luxmi Pooja. As Hindus, we are never found wanting of an occasion to spread love, cheer and share a wonderful meal. The spectacular arrangement of ornaments, and intricately designed costumes always add to the pageantry of divinity.

Mother Luxmi
The Divine Mother Luxmi who bestows upon the world prosperity - is most loved especially in this materially proliferated age. Millions of people take special attention to observe this prayer in order to receive the grace of the Mother at this time where opulence is the flavour of the day, and "keeping up with the Jones's" easily outshines Kurukshetra in terms of a mighty battle. Hence, being in the good books of Ma Luxmi really helps. I recall from my school days the lyrics of a very popular song: Oh Lord wont you buy me a Mercedes Benz; My friends all drive Porsches but I will make amends.  

Many will think that Swami Vivekananda was crazy, when He was given an open cheque book by Sri Ramakrishna. Swamiji's family was placed in dire poverty after the death of His father. In seeking help, He was asked by His Master to pray to the Divine Mother for all His wants, and She will bless Him. These utterances from the Master's mouth were guaranteed, considering the divine relationship He shared with the Mother of the Universe. However, on all 3 occasions, Swamiji asked for divine love.

The word Luxmi is derived from the Sanskrit word Laksaya meaning goal or aim. In the most literal sense, humankind has associated the Divine Mother solely with material wealth.  All our goals associated with the manifest world can be classified as short term goals (good education, career, family, etc). Then there is the ultimate goal of this birth or existence - which is God realisation. Essentially, we can then safely conclude that Swamiji had a higher mission in life.

Empirical evidence leads arguments of how the high-octane-lifestyles demand a 'single scotch on the rocks' as a daily relaxant from the stress, problems and challenges in maintaining this standard or even exceeding it. Feeling despondent, depressed and overwhelmed with frustration at the world? We should instead ask for a 'single Swamiji on the rocks'. 

When meditating on the rock at Kanya Kumari for 3 days and nights Swamiji had the following revelations: We are so many Sannyasins wandering about, and teaching people metaphysics, it is all madness. Did not our Guru Deva say that an empty stomach is no good for religion? We as a nation have lost our individuality and that is the cause of all mischief in India.

How these words strike with brutal force endowed with the capacity to irritate the strongest rhythm of selfishness! Take some time alone and examine that if man's victories were not pyrrhic, coming at the cost of real peace and happiness, how blessed you are to have food, shelter, clothes, the means to earn a living through an able body, and the love and attention of loved ones.  Side by side in the same country, we have the tragic contrast of starvation, homelessness, malnutrition, neglect and abandonment.

Swami Vireswarananda writes in His article on Swamiji's teachings that wealth in society is like blood in the body. The blood must circulate all through the body; if it does not then that part of the body withers and may even become gangrenous, jeopardising the life of the person. Similarly, if wealth does not circulate in any part of society, or the body politic, that part withers and ultimately causes the death of the society.

These words drench with relevance when studies show how crime escalates daily and those living in massive bungalows with loads of money live in huge fortresses devoid of peace, in fear of being harmed.  Swamiji's prescient words declaring that "prosperity is not possible until the masses are raised" gives credence to this mess that we find ourselves in.

Immensely engrossed and intoxicated with the dazzlingly lure of opulence, we have started to jog on the spot blinded of the ultimate and long term goal of ananda and enlightenment through self-realisation.  We have made the means to the end - the end itself. Swamiji in one of His talks to His countrymen had this to say: He asked them to get rid of their tamas or inertia, which they in their ignorance were mistaking for sattva or serenity. The two, He said, were as the poles asunder, like pitch darkness and dazzling light, which are similar in their blinding effect. The way to reach sattva was through rajas or activity. He exhorted all to have burning faith in themselves and struggle for the emancipation of the masses; to give them back their lost individuality.

Realising that the abject poverty and ignorance of the people is mainly responsible for the degeneration of society, we like Swamiji must work and do some service to humanity if we want to build a peaceful and prosperous country.

Vivekananda Rock at KanyaKumari
The rock at Kanya Kumari shall ever remain the symbol of great austerities, inner contemplation and the power of resolve.  Standing still against the tides of the Triveni Sangam, it shall ever broadcast hope to humanity that, man is none other than the supreme divinity under the tiny material cover and human life is nothing but a continuous struggle to express that divinity within. Every now and then, substitute a 'single scotch on the rocks' for a 'single Swamiji on the rocks' for that beautiful sobering effect. We will then move from jogging on the spot to completing this journey.

May Mother Luxmi bestow Her grace upon us always, empowering us with all our needs to completed the journey of the long term goal, is my sincere prayer.

Sarva Mangala Mangalaye, Shive Sarvada Sadhike, 

Sharanye Triambikay Gauri, Narayani Namostute

Jaya Narayani Namostute, Jaya Narayani Namostute, Jaya Narayani Namostute

Jay Maha Mayai Ki Jay!!!

Also wishing all brothers and sisters a beautiful Raksha Bandhan on Thursday and readers a blessed start to Gita Week on Friday.

With love and prayers always


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