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Author Topic: THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION By : Swami Chinmayananda  (Read 2534 times)

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THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION By : Swami Chinmayananda
« on: March 06, 2007, 01:43:21 AM »
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    If a philosophy of life is intellectually attractive but too high for anyone to live, it becomes a Utopian dream, and not a practical way-of-life. Our Aryan forefathers had no patience with idealism that is not rooted in realism --- that is not prac¬tical enough to iive in life. The Rishis were not more idealists and poets, trying to escape from the problems of life into some! misty haven of fancied perfections and imagined glories. They were athirst to live the highest life of harmony, peace and beauty^ of achievements and service to the world. As such the way-of-life described as "a life of intense activity undertaken in the Yagna-sprit", though it may look a bit far-fetched and beyond the reach of all, Krishna labours here to assure Arjuna that it is an easy and practical philosophy of co-operative activities which anyone with intelligence and courage can fully understand and richly live.

    In all "co-operative endeavours in the field of material wealth" (dravya yagna) the core of success lies in the inspiration of the common vision and in the intensity of individual dedication (jnana Yagna). Therefore, this mental and intellectual prepared¬ness is more important and sacred than actual physical team-work (Sreyaan dravyamayaat yagnaat Gyana Yagnaha Parantapaha). For all selfish actions, prompted by personal desires (sarva kar-maakhilam Partha) end in the wisdom of higher (Gyane parisamaapyate).
    Naturally this knowledge of the Higher (Gyanam) becomes of supreme importance to each one of us This can be known only through a teacher who is living it. By attuning ourselves to him alone we can intuitively come to realise how he feels and acts in the world of ever-changing circumstances. When a student has attained full attunement with his teacher then the teacher transfers this deep and profound vision to the student (Upadeks-yanti te gyanam gyaninaha thtwadarsinaha). This is the knowledge by comprehending which all our confusions end, and we never more re-enter the self-created hell of sorrows caused by the ego and its endless baser passions.

    It is an observable law of nature that sorrows gather a greater poignancy when they come to us and become our personal tragedies. A cosmic problem is no problem at all when compared to a world problem. But a world-problem dwindles into insigni¬ficance when it is compared with a national disaster. A world war is almost nothing compared to a disastrous earthquake in one's own country. Again, a treacherous 'flood' in one part of the country is something we overlook when there is a 'domestic-tragedy, in the family. In fact, the most poignant sorrows are our own individual personal losses and inner emotional tensions.

    In short, the more we expand our ego, in our sincere iden¬tifications with the world of things and beings the less painful is a tragedy happening to us --- consequently, more becomes our own equipoise and balance. End the ego and live the blissful life of fruitful activities in the world. When one cultivates love for the entire world, he shall feel his own oneness with the universe. He then comes to perceive the entire life clothed in the Divine Light of the Self: an enchanting ecstatic embrace of all in the One Infinite Self, the Lord (Yena bhootanyaseshena draksyasi Atmani Yatho mayi).

    At this juncture, an ordinary man of the world may come to feel deffident to come to this spiritual way-of-life only beca¬use of the very glory and beauty of this noblest state-of-living. He hesitates, doubts, desperates whether he can ever enter the portals of the Lord's palace. The Lord consoles every such pessimistic seeker and confidently declares, (iv-36) "Even if you be the most sinful among the sinful, yet, by the raft of knowledge you shall indeed, go across all sin". We are acutely conscious of our imperfections, and often we refuse to strive because we lack confidence in our own ability and strength. The Lord here encou¬rages man, "Even if you are the most sinful among all sinners" (Api cedasi papebhyaha sarvebhyaha papakrttamaha) there is yet hope for you. Wake up ! Come to live the larger Awareness Divine. When once you have woken up. all the crimes commit¬ted in your dream are automatically excused --- awake and thus rise above the ego-sense. "By the boat of knowledge you shall, indeed, go across all sins", (sarvam gyanaplavenaiva vrjinatn santarishyasi).

    But, after all one has to suffer the consequences of what one has already perpetrated in the ignorant past. The eternal justice must be satisfied. All these words in the Sastras can only be idle consolations to the sinners. If not, then the law of Karma is disobeyed --- flouted. Thus, -some intelligent students may argue. Krishna anticipates them and announces, (IV-37) ''As blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, so too Arjuna, does the fire of knowledge reduce all Karmas to ashes". The term "Karma" here is used to indicate the "Vasanas" left over by the selfish, desire-prompted action of the past. These Vasanas tickle new actions, producing joy or sorrow to the individual, according to the quality of the "Vasanas" --- good or bad.

    Bad Vasanas are called "sins", when we contrast them with good Vasanas. But even the best of Vasanas, is also a sorrow-breeding "sin" when it is compared with the Infinite Bliss, which is Nature of the Divine Self in us. "Just as wood is reduced by fire to ashes," (Yathaa indhaamsi samiddhognirbhasmasaat kurute arjuna), so are all Karmas (Vasanas) reduced to ashes by the fire-of-knowledge. Actions done in dream cannot carry over to yield a result in the waking-state. Similarly, "sins" gathered in the ego-centric state of existence cannot reach the State of Pure Self. The "dreamer" did the dream-crimes, and the "dreamer" must suffer the consequences. On waking up there is no more the "dreamer", and it   is not   the   Law of   Karma that for the sins of the "dreamer" the "waker" should suffer.

    Similarly the ego did commit sins, and the ego must suffer their consequences. But in the "Awakened", the ego ends — the Self alone IS. Hence the Lord announces that in the State of Wisdom, the "sins" of the past are all burnt up, and they can no longer provide any more dualistic experiences There is hope even for the worst of us.

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