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Author Topic: THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION By : Swami Chinmayananda  (Read 2310 times)

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Offline JR

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THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION By : Swami Chinmayananda
« on: February 24, 2007, 12:52:01 AM »
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  • Glory of Self - Restraint

    To live obedient -to the lower instincts of the mind is the privilege of the animal, not the glory of man. In the case of animals, their entire life is ordered by their natural instincts and impulses. They are protected from over-indulgence by Nature herself. In the case of man, because he has been given a rational intellect, he is expected to discriminate and live a beautiful life which is the glory of his higher evolution. Nature has given freedom to man — and if he knows not how to make use of it, he is capable of completely damning himself and his community with his licentious excesses.

    In fact, as an animal stands on its four legs, its head, heart, belly and 'things beneath it', are all in one horizontal line —— of equal importance, perhaps. But man has learnt now to stand on his legs. Now in his vertical, erect position, the arrangement is, head at the highest and sex at the lowest point of his physiological form. Therefore, he is expected to live as his head guides him and according to his intellectual ideals. Next comes his heart, the seat of his emotions. Then alone is the stomach —— and last is sex. But today our youth seems to stand on its head; with sex as the summum bonum of life! Our elders seem to live with their heads and hearts pushed deep down into their bellies, so that for the "belly's sake", any ideal is thrown to the winds: corruption in commerce and in politics, in high offices and in petty stations —— all are expressions of this attitude -— the Kabandha attitude —— the headless-trunk attitude!!

    A young man who really wants to gain himself a mastery over his own lower passions and baser urges must learn the art of living and striving in self-control. One who has no control over himself has no great future —— no mastery over others around him —— nor over the world spread out before him.
    Therefore, in this scientific treatise on the process of man-making. Krishna reveab to Arjuna, why man fails in life. He pronounces the way of self-disco very : ( 111-34 ) "Likes and dislikes of the senses for their sense-objects is natural. Let none allow himself to be swayed by them they are his two enemies on his way to success."

    In this world, each one of us has our own likes and dislikes. What I like, you may dislike, and what you and I like, someone else may dislike. Liking is a feeling of attraction one feels towards an object or an arrangement of objects when it or they are conducive to the person concerned. Thus, a teetotaler may like fruit-juice, but a drunkard prefers alcohol. We 'like' things which are satisfying —— meaning, things which are in line with our Vasanas; and things which are contrary to our Vasanas we 'hate'. Thus, the attraction-aversion tempo in us is determined by our Vasana-quality.

    Since every one has his Vasanas, "it is natural for man to feel likes and dislikes towards sense-objects" (indriyasyendriya-syarthe .ragadweshou vyavasthithow). After having thus made a naked statement of this fact of life, Krishna warns us, "let none come under their sway" (thayorna vashamaagacheth). Likes and dislikes are the attitudes of the mind. So let us rise above them and escape being seduced by them.
    None of us can avoid them  all of a sudden.   They are the expressions  of the  types of  Vasanas  in us.   But let us at least avoid  exploding  ourselves into  expression under the  pressure of | our attractions (raaga) and repulsions (dvesha). ^

    Why so? Is it not more honest to live expressing our likes and dislikes openly? No. Krishna warns u« against it: "They both are his foes" (thou hysya paripandhinou). On the way to redeem our personality from its Vasanas-bondages, these urges of likes and dislikes, being themselves the grosser expression of the subtle Vasanas in us, are the two looters who will rob the seeker of all his so-far earned perfections. If at all they are to express, let there be no spirit of selfish ego in it — let the Vasanas explode out without leaving any deeper tendencies in our mental make-up for us to act upon in future.

    But supposing our Vasanas are low, should we not imitate another who has better Vasanas? Krishna with subtle vision in¬sists, (111-35) "One's own duty, though devoid of merit, is preferable to the duty of another even when well-performed. Better is death in one's own duty : the duty of another is fraught with fear."

    This may sound as statement of trite conservatism, expressing the Rishis' anxiety to preserve the traditions of the past. It reads as though the society then was "superstitious and wanted to pre¬serve the class-privileges and caste-identity. A man born as a Kshatriya should fight and not imitate a Brahmin and try to live a life of meditation. Such a reading of the text is possible. But on deeper reflection, the verse reveals a wealth of psychological implications.

    Each one is born with Vasanas, and so born into certain other circumstances and environments. Arjuna was born a prince with a dynamic spirit of activity, springing from his Rajo-guna. If he chooses now to assume a Brahmin's duty of quiet and peaceful life of universal love, simple living, deep study and long meditations, Arjuna will be creating new Vasanas in himself without exhausting his old ones. These old Vasanas will wait for an opportunity to explode into expression. Krishna advises here that an intelligent man must selflessly live out his Vasanas with which he is born, rather than imitate the Vasanas of the world around him.

    Your own Dharma (swadharma) consists of your deeper urges and tendencies ordered by your Vasanas. while your cha¬racter is (swabhava) the way you express yourself as an individual in the community.
    The surface (swabhava) must truly reflect the depth (swa¬dharma). By so living without ego and ego-centric desires, the Vasanas get exhausted and the individual becomes more and more fit for higher meditations, and for the final experience of larger and fuller Consciousness Do your duty in Yagna-spirit, what¬ever it may be — recognizing always the dignity in labour.

    (Courtesy :- Geeta Office, Powai)
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