||Aum Namo Narayanaya||
After satsang, it was indeed a blessed opportunity to travel with Swami Vimokshananda to Rudi's home. What a wonderful reception awaited us as there, where about 40-plus friends and relatives teeming with abounding joy and love, garlanded Maharaj and His entourage with their divine and humble glances. It was not unusual that the gathered devotees sat entranced by the charming words of Maharaj which have the skill to tame the restless mind and place it in the realms of God intoxication. Being sent to this realm once again, I showed much appreciation for the great heritage and culture that is bequeathed unto us. Listening to the narratives and wonderful incidents in the lives of the great Saints and Sages and also the leela’s played by the divine in rewarding devotion of the bhaktas... underpinned the rich and noble guidelines given by our scriptures in engineering a just and moral society.
As Hindus, we used to proudly proclaim that for the 12 months of the year there are 13 festivals. The aim of these activities is to ensure that we are never found wanting in respect of orienting our mind towards the divine. We find that this idea has spilled over into our organisations as well as being used as an instrument to create awareness and educate society of major ills. On this last day of November, I recall how throughout the month we were bombarded through the various media platforms about the effects of diabetes. A recent study announced that 382 million people in the world suffer from diabetes. It is a disease that results in high blood-sugar levels and is categorised into type 1 when the body does not produce insulin to reduce the levels or type 2 when there is not enough insulin produced or the cells of the body do not react to the insulin. For some afflicted with the disease, they are lucky that it is lifestyle-related and with a few adjustments to diet and habits... it can be easily controlled. Unfortunately for others, the disease has managed to map itself into their genetic blueprint and therefore have to chronically intervene to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels.
It has become necessary today to deploy many resources in creating awareness about child and women abuse (we are currently observing the 16 Days of Activism of no violence against Women and Children Campaign) and many other such ills in society simply because these adharmic tendencies have become a norm and have progressed exponentially. The city of Durban is still gripped by the repugnant abuse of a 2 year child who was laid to rest this week. These are only a few cases that make it to the public eye; yet there are thousands of unreported cases of abuse, rape and molestation that fester at the base of society. The sad statistic is the amount of Indian families that are now by case-loads at the various intervention centres that deal with abuse, family violence and molestation. You may immediately respond by asking why I am alarmed that Indians are part of the statistics. Well my discomfort purely stems from the deviation of the diaspora.... a civilisation that was once couched within the highest values and moral framework today suffers from type 1 adharmic diabetes.
The rising levels of immorality, lust, greed and diabolic tendencies has rendered the insulin of goodness and nobility useless against a mind and nervous system fraught with need to instantly gratify the senses against the inner voice of reason and discrimination. This lifestyle disease contracted through contact with western ideals and a lack of character development from an early age has led our society to the point we are at now. The golden question is: where to from here? The diagnosis being made is only creates awareness... an intervention is required to manage and resolve the situation. It seems to be a human habit or tendency to react at the very last moment when the situation is beyond a form of repair rather than being proactive and ensuring that normalcy is restored earlier.
If our own mind and intelligence is not in a position to neutralise the rising levels of adharma within us... that like the medical diabetes the insulin has to be introduced from the outside. Swami Vishwatmananda the new President of the Ramakrishna Centre of South Africa during our tea satsang two weeks ago made a very interesting statement. Maharaj said... in this age you must have 'sadhu sangh'... even we need sadhu sangh. If we take this literally then it would mean that we must be in the holy company of a monk at all times so that our mind becomes disciplined in to the dharmic path. However that cannot be the cogent analysis as it would imply that if there is no monk or Swami it would be difficult to follow the right path.
I unpacked the meaning of the word sadhu to mean good, excellent and right - all collective words used to also refer to a person who has renounced and dedicated his life to dharma. Hence for me sadhu sangh means to keep the company of right and good which does not necessarily refer to a person. It can be a scripture, a system of values, an inspirational role model etc. We must vaccinate our minds and intellect with man-making ideas and throw away all that weakens us is the clarion call from Swami Vivekananda. What we need in these trying times is strength and strength alone to crush and make these ignoble waves recede to oblivion.
The moment we accept that the state of our society is due to our neglect... and place before every impressionable mind the knowledge of his potential divinity and true nature; we would have started a rejuvenation and healing process of the mind afflicted by the disease of weakness for so long.
Swami Vivekananda always reminded us that: "strength is life; weakness is death". Strength is felicity, life eternal, immortal; weakness is constant strain and misery: weakness is death.
It is weakness, says the Vedanta, which is the cause of all misery in this world. Weakness is the one cause of suffering. We become miserable because we are weak. We lie, steal, kill and commit other crimes... because we are weak. We die because we are weak. Where there is nothing to weaken us, there is no death nor sorrow. We are miserable through delusion. Give up the delusion and the whole thing vanishes.
Like how diabetes in the worst case can be managed or in other cases be reversed with lifestyle changes, so too can the diabetes of adharma be managed and reversed. Everything lies in your hands.
May we grow and develop into a just, moral and spiritual society and world... is my sincere prayer.