||Aum Sri Ramakrishna Sharanam||
|image -google images|
In our hearts... Spring started today... when we all gathered at the Shree Veeraboga Cultural Centre to witness the blooming of the timeless wisdom of the Tirukurral by the gracious and loving touch of Swami Vimokshananda. The idea for today’s blog seemed pre-ordained by a higher power. Yesterday when I had posted the reminder to our devotees about the scheduled class, brother Kiru -an ardent student of the Tirukurral- expressed his delight as should it have taken place next week he would have missed it as he was going to be out of town. Relating to his absolute delight, I unconsciously replied to his post by merely saying Anbe Shivam. When Maharaj began the class today, I was stunned to learn that we were discussing that very subject matter of love and Maharaj made several inferences to Anbe Shivam (Love is God). With such subtle commands from the universe, it will definitely be unwise to detract from that train of thought.
Last week, we all engaged in the celebration of Gita Week and Krishna Janmashtami with some very powerful and elevating ideas emanating from discussions on the Gita. In the midst of this, I still became a little emotional as I browsed through the gallery of pictures posted by Maharaj of His tour of Northern Natal. The devotees’ countenance in those areas was a confluence of both delight and distress. In the company of Maharaj they expressed bliss similar to the Gopis in the company of Krishna but their minds felt the pain of their hearts that was impaled by the imminent departure of Maharaj. This would be their last Krishna Janmashtami with Maharaj. Suddenly the pangs of separation became infectious as today while I was waiting for Maharaj, I realised there were just two classes left before Maharaj departs South Africa for His new mission.
In today’s class, we learnt that there is one common thread that binds this whole world... although it may be found in varying degrees... it nonetheless exists. This emotion or feeling is called “love” and since we understand through Vedanta that it is God alone that pervades everything, we can therefore easily allude to the statement Anbe Shivam – (Love is God).
Swami Vivekananda said: “relationships are more important than life, but it is important for those relationships to have life in them”. Tiruvalluvar eruditely points out that those who possess love in their beings truly live, the rest are merely skeletons clad in skin. Reading Swami Vivekananda, one is exposed to this idea continuously. Swamiji goes to the level of saying that making offerings or doing pooja at a shrine is but preliminary worship. Swamiji emphasised that real tangible worship comes out of serving Shiva in the hungry, in the poor and the sick.
But the question arrives... how is it that most of us cannot see Swamiji’s view on this matter. We can only conceptualise such high and noble ideals when our hearts reconfigure itself from self-centeredness to embrace the entire universe as one-and-the-same as yourself.
Today some people feel so insecure about visiting family and friends in State hospitals due to cleanliness issues. Yet we read how Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa worked in such challenging conditions to nurse the sick to good health without care for caste, creed or status in society. So it is the absence of this love and empathy that essentially makes our lives unfulfilled?
Can we expect people in society to display and exhibit such love if they have not experienced same in the home? The starting point of developing this culture of empathy is the family. Former President of India, Abdul Kalam beautifully placed before the European Union Parliament that his culture based on the Tirukurral has taught him that when there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character, when there is beauty in the character there is harmony in the home, when there is harmony in the home there is order in the nation and when there is order in the nation then there is peace in the world.
There is the profound message that comes from the sloka: Vasudevam sutam devam, Kamsa Chanura mardanam, Deviki paramnandam, Krishnam vande jagat Guru. It states that we worship Krishna who is the son of Vasudeva, the slayer of Kamsa and Chanura, the absolute bliss of Deviki, the one who came as the world teacher.
I think that it is important that we understand how the Lord came to be the son of two human beings. It is because of their sincerity in their prayers for a child equal to the qualities of the Lord. The Lord proclaimed that none is equal to Him thus in their next birth, He Himself shall take birth as their son. In that way parents should also pray sincerely and devoutly to God for children of divine qualities. Children should never be born out of lust, but must be planned and be born out of sincere prayer. Then like Sri Krishna they will be the slayer of the greatest asuras of this world being lust and greed. They will be noble and firm in character. They will be the absolute bliss of their Mothers... like the sloka said Deviki Paramandam. In the previous Tirukkural class, we leant that Mothers experience great joy when they give birth to a child... however, greater than that joy is the joy they experience when their child becomes a leader in society. Therefore is must be impressed upon every parent how important the entire process of bringing children into the world is... as well as raising and nurturing children to be men and women of immaculate character. The home thus becomes an incubator of “man-making, character-building education” as espoused by Swami Vivekananda. However in society today, children are raised in crèches; by nannys, ipads and television - devoid of the love and affection of the Mother and also the fundamental value systems that constitute a noble being.
How then can we expect that child to exhibit the love and empathy that is needed to create and sustain a society that is just, peaceful and divine? It has become imperative now in the midst of the chaos in the world that we internalise and make practical the glorious values and ideas from the scriptures and teachings of the saints so that we don’t have to suffer against something that we can do something about, something that can be rectified. Our lives and futures lie in our very own hands. God can be experienced right here and now... not post mortem... by merely sharing something that costs nothing to give --- that is love. Through this little act of empathy, an entire revolution can take place.
Anbe Shivam, Shivane Anbu. (love is god , god is love)
May we all be touched by the divine love, is my sincere prayer
With sincere love and prayers