Category Archives: Hinduism

Restoring the Vedas

The first commentary on the Vedas was Brahmanas Upanishads. Vedas are eternal, they are always there. In a sense, THE VEDAS are a fully assimilated universal matrix, of which the individual mental matrix is a part.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTTqkxTVKYc (Part 1) 21.06.06

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Even when not all knowledge is spelled out in the Vedas, the seeds of knowledge are there. From those seeds the knowledge has been evolving. According to Vedas the real knowledge is that which can be used to rise from mortality to immortality. Immortality is the highest attainment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMLyRfnckBU (Part 2) 21.06.06

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Immortality has something to do with the physical being. This physical being breaks its limits. When the limits are broken it opens out to the light. It becomes very wide in its consciousness that is infinite. This is Vedic immortality.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcciM-TpMwg (Part 3) 21.06.06

What is the individual in relation to cosmic? There are cycles within cycles within cycles, The topmost cycle that contains all the other cycles is the closest to immortality. When the topmost cycle within one is integrated with all the cycles that it contains than one has reached the ultimate depth of individuality.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWCELJUi_k4 (Part 4) 21.06.06 

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It is not just the immortality of the spiritual being, or the mental being that one is after. The ultimate immortality that Vedas are after, is the immortality of the whole body-mind-spirit system. The body must also be part of that immortality. This is central to the understanding of the Vedas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K02shufBWcM (Part 5) 21.06.06

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Ignorance occurs and bondage is created during the process of evolution because it is all based on trial and error. And it is upon reviewing the trial and error process and sorting it out that knowledge comes about and ignorance and bondages are dissolved. The purpose of being on earth is to immortalize this whole earth system and not to run away from it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLHEsJsvoZ4 (Part 6) 21.06.06

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The Vedic rishis  had reached this point where even body could be immortalized, but the evolutionary process does not end there. The task is the immortalization of all the body-mind-spirit systems in an integrated form. Veda talks about widening of the consciousness of the physical being. Emphasis on this idea is the newness of Sri Aurobindo’s yoga. The evolution must lead to a new kind of body that is immortal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_aUq76anB0 (Part 7) 21.06.06

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End of the lecture series.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnenWvrf2GM (Part 8) 21.06.06

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The Great Discovery of the Vedas

Introduction to the Vedas Part-1

The Sanskrit language was highly developed by the time the Vedas were composed. The Vedas were composed in poetic form, which shows a high level of expression. They are a composition of sounds and words.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJfWYlNT3VE (25:32)

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Introduction to the Vedas Part-2

There are many more dimensions of this universe beside the “physical”. The three dimensions that we are immediately concerned with are (1) the physical, (2) the intermediate, and (3) the higher. There are methods by which capacities can be developed to experience these dimensions. The Vedic rishis had made a great discovery of this method called “meditation.” According to this discovery, our intellect is capable of developing thoughts. But we do not fully know the power of thinking. Thinking has many kinds of powers, and these powers can be developed at higher and higher levels.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVtASgQusz8 (25:32)

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Introduction to the Vedas Part-3

Thoughts have different pitches like the sounds have and these different pitches have different effects. The effects are basically in terms of the removal of confusions and the creation of clear ideas and flowing images.Meditation is a process of repeating certain ideas in a slow, regulated and steady motion with complete concentration, so that ideas which are not relevant to the thought under consideration, are not allowed to enter. Then see how this thought flows like a river towards its goal. When this is done, every meditation discovers its target. Every meditation has a target—an object to be discovered. It is aiming for a clarity about something—an as-isness of some doubt, perplexity or confusion. The Vedic rishis made the discovery that we have within us a capacity called the “intellect”, and that capacity can be utilized by concentration, and it can go to the target, which is supreme light. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4F5mL7YHQ0 (29:12)

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The Vedas and the Vedic People

Complete Vedas With English Meanings

The above narration is very interesting. People who wrote the Vedas many thousands of years ago in ancient India were no different from us. But their life was very different. This was because their environment was all natural.

Their struggle was not so much against other humans as it was against their natural environment. Their life was very simple and peaceful. There was no concept of money, just the concept of simple exchange. There were only the basic necessities that they required from nature. They had plenty of time to think about the obstacles they faced and the curiosities they had. Their whole struggle was to know and understand the natural elements around them.

Some of these people had deep longing to know. These were the earliest scientists. The data they had was pure observation of their natural environment. No earlier knowledge was passed on to them.

They could use logic, but the data they had was very limited. So, they were very aware of the limitation of the intellect. They depended heavily on intuition and realizations.

When they got an intuitive solution, and it worked out perfectly, it surprised them. The source of such intuitions was unknown.

There was no religion. The names they used for this unknown source of intuitive knowledge became their simple gods! They prayed to them. They showered them with all their praises. And they tried to invoke them in many different ways. Accessing these “gods” became the sole occupation for many of them.

And the religions that followed in India has simply been an account of the continuing search for this unknown source of intuitive knowledge.

There is no other mystery.

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Rāmcharitmānas: Verses 1 – 100

Reference: Rāmcharitmānas: Introduction

This paper comments on Verses 1 – 100, from the translation of Śrī Rāmacaritamānasa. This translation is printed and published by Gita Press, Gorakhpur—273005 (INDIA) (a unit of Gobind Bhavan-Karyalaya, Kolkata).

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Verses 1-10

Tulsidas starts his epic by talking about this dualistic world that consists of both pious and wicked souls. The world is an intermixture of good and evil. All have to play their part. Blessed are those who delight with compassion at the sight of others regardless of who or what they are. 

Contact with pious souls is the root of joy and blessings; it constitutes the very fruit and fulfillment of all endeavors. The wicked burn with jealousy and they give agonizing torment during their meeting; but they are born from this same universe as are the pious souls. Knowing this, you make loving entreaties to them with joined palms that they too must not fail to do their part. This is a remarkable sentiment—you view and accept the world as it is. 

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Verses 11-20

According to Tulsidas, the story of Sri Rama teaches the deepest philosophy of the Vedas, and provides the ultimate support. He wants to bring the elevating story of Sri Rama to the common folks who are not part of the cultured class. He prays that he is up to the task.

Tulsidas is against discrimination by caste of those who are good. He sees asceticism as a path to spiritual attainments. Rama as a mantra brings one to the understanding of the essence of the Vedas. Here we see the charm of Bhakti as it uses stories and illustrations to explain difficult spiritual concepts. The names and forms are many, but the object itself can be grasped only with good intelligence.

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Verses 21-30

Tulsidas describes unqualified and qualified divinity, both of which are without beginning and without parallel. The unqualified divinity is like the fire that is latent in the wood; while the qualified divinity is like the fire that is externally visible. This divinity is one, all-pervading and imperishable. It is the truth, consciousness and bliss. It is revealed through correct knowledge (complete assimilation of mental matrix). This can be attained by chanting the name of Sri Rama with total devotion and sincerity.

Jnana yoga brings swiftest results but it is the most difficult yoga. Other yogas are less difficult but take longer in terms of results. But the easiest of all is the chanting the name ‘Rāma’. When chanting the name ‘Rama’ proceed to recount the virtues of Sri Rāma. One should be fully cognizant of one’s own merits and demerits without holding anything back, while continuing to uphold the highest ideals in one’s mind. This dispels all doubts, errors and delusions and serves as a boat for crossing the stream of mundane existence. It shatters the fear of birth and death and puts an end to hell.

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Verses 31-40

Tulsidas proceeds to tell the story of Sri Rāma as it was conceived by Siva and told to Parvati. Rāma represents the infinite universe. His virtues represent the unblemished laws of nature. The story is centered on a guileless heart and pure love. It helps one overcome the evil ways, fallacious reasoning, mischievous practices, deceit, hypocrisy and heresy prevailing in Kali Yuga. The impulses of lust, arrogance and hypocrisy positively disappear from the mind of those who hear this story. It is named Råmacaritamånasa because it is the character of Rama to be treasured in one’s mind. 

Tulsidas invokes Siva and Parvati before narrating Råmacaritamånasa. Råmacaritamånasa consists of seven books that describe spiritual enlightenment, dispassion and reason; the four ends of human existence; the reasoned exposition of Jnåna and vijnåna; the nine sentiments of poetry; Japa, austerity, Yoga and detachment from the world; and much more. It does talk about pleasure of the senses. It does not mention various occupations and entanglements of domestic life. It does not encourage infatuation, arrogance and pride. It does not deal with sophism. Those who keep bad company cannot obtain the thrill of joy that this narrative provides.

One should have piety and must enjoy the company of saints.  If not, then one would suffer from drowsiness and stupor, and not benefit from the study of Rāmacaritamānasa. He would just become critical, and suffers agony of the fiercest kind.

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Verses 41-50

Tulsidas explains how the Divine took the mortal form of Sri Rama with the purpose to kill Ravana, the demon king of Lanka. In truth, Sri Rama is no other than the Supreme Eternal who is all-pervading and ever free, who is the Ruler of all the worlds and the Lord of Måyå. The formula for grasping this Supreme Eternal is “neti neti” (neither this, nor that).

Various events in Sri  Rama’s story are associated with the seasons of the year. The story teaches that gratification lies in pursuit of spiritual freedom, and not in pursuit of sensuous pleasure. 

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Verses 51-60

Tulsidas narrates the story when a lesser divinity doubted the ultimate divinity of Sri Rama. She used charmed deception to test Rama, but Rama not only could readily see through that deception, but he could create wonderful and bewildering Maya of his own. The divinity testing Rama was totally ashamed. The lesson is that devotion must be total, or it is not devotion. There must not be any pretensions or self-deception to suppress one’s doubts. Any feelings of guilt and regret can be overcome through deep meditation.

The characters of such stories live for many thousands of years indicating that they represent natural principals and the relationships among them. For example, spearheading bold initiatives is represented by male energy, and the organization that follows is represented by female energy.

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Verses 61-70

Tulsidas narrates the story of Sati whose parents didn’t like her consort Shiva. Sati gave her life by jumping into fire in protest against her parents. The story seems to express the cry of spiritualism against materialism because Shiva represents detached wisdom (Jnana Yoga) to which materialism is opposed. Sati was reborn as Parvati. Parvati took the difficult path Jnana yoga, which was rare among the women of her time. Her parents, though anxious, cooperated with her wishes to follow such a path of austerity. The rebirth of Sati as Parvati seems to represent the resurgence of spirituality in ancient India.

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Verses 71-80

Austerities are both mental and physical. They involve concentration and constant practice for long, long time. Actions responsible for creation, sustenance and dissolution require strict discipline. Such discipline comes from completely willing practice of austerities. Such practice becomes easier when one has support. With austerities one’s body may become emaciated, but that does not cause any difficulty to the person or bother him in some way.

A person knows when he has attained the ultimate freedom through Samadhi. Doubts may be there but he mostly knows the right thing to do next. You must have faith in the words of your guru; then you can easily attain happiness or success. The universe is completely devoted to its nature. All that is natural is that way because that is the only way it can be. 

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Verses 81-90

Lust or the passion of love is so strong that when it is triggered no discrimination is left. When it takes hold of the mind the sense of discrimination is swept away even in sages and the yogis. Under the thrall of lust nobody can remain self-possessed except those protected by the ultimate absorption of Yoga. Shiva represents the highest attainment of Yoga, and it was Parvati’s aim to attain it. Parvati and Siva together present the dichotomy of the presence of Maya and the contemplation and overcoming of it.

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Verses 91-100

Tulsidas narrates the story of Shiva’s wedding with Parvati. The third eye of Shiva represents the ability to see things as they are, because when you do that, the maya (illusion) disappears and you are confronted with the actual reality. Shiva’s procession full of attendants of strange shapes and forms seems to represent the actual reality that must be confronted. Gods disappeared from Shiva’s procession, may be because they provide a pleasant outward appearance. On Parvati’s parents city everything was pleasant and perfect as you would expect in a King and Queen’s wedding.

It is maya (illusion) that makes reality bearable. As one approaches the ultimate reality through yoga it take much courage to confront it. The ultimate reality could be so unexpected and horrifying that the yogi may go into doubt even about his aspirations. The attachment to the universe hides the reality and directs blame elsewhere. The highest truth lies in the attainment of the ultimate reality. 

Tulsidas uses the the utopia of the ancient Indian culture to describe Shiva and Parvati’s wedding. This beautiful appearance of the universe is Maya. But within that Maya is the deep aspiration to see things as they are. This is the meaning of the wedding of Parvati to Shiva.

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Rāmcharitamānas

[From Wikipedia]

Ramcharitmanas (Devanagari: श्रीरामचरितमानस Rāmacaritamānasa), is an epic poem in the Awadhi language, composed by the 16th-century Indian bhakti poet Tulsidas (c. 1532–1623). (This work is also called, in popular parlance, Tulasi Ramayana.) The word Ramcharitmanas literally means “Lake of the deeds of Rama”. It is considered one of the greatest works of Hindu literature. The work has variously been acclaimed as “the living sum of Indian culture”, “the tallest tree in the magic garden of medieval Indian poetry”, “the greatest book of all devotional literature” and “the best and most trustworthy guide to the popular living faith of the Indian people”.

Tulsidas was a great scholar of Sanskrit. However, he wanted the story of Rama to be accessible to the general public, as many Apabhramsa languages had evolved from Sanskrit and at that time few people could understand Sanskrit. In order to make the story of Rama as accessible to the layman as to the scholar, Tulsidas chose to write in Awadhi. Tradition has it that Tulsidas had to face a lot of criticism from the Sanskrit scholars of Varanasi for being a bhasha (vernacular) poet. However, Tulsidas remained steadfast in his resolve to simplify the knowledge contained in the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas to the common people. Subsequently, his work was widely accepted.

Ramcharitmanas, made available the story of Rama to the common man to sing, meditate and perform on. The writing of Ramcharitmanas also heralded many a cultural tradition, most significantly that of the tradition of Ramlila, the dramatic enactment of the text. Ramcharitmanas is considered by many as a work belonging to the Saguna school of the Bhakti movement in Hindi literature.

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Comments on the Introduction by Tulsidas

Tulsidas paints a picture of the universe and its key attributes using the concrete figures from the story of Rama and the Hindu pantheon of Gods. Lord Hari represents the source of all the laws of nature. Illusion resides in how we perceive these laws and their manifestations. Such manifestation comprise of both gods and demons. The only reality comes from the intuitive understanding of these laws of nature and their source (Lord Hari).

Tulsidas is describing the gods and demons in terms of the nature existing inside and outside of human beingness. It is this nature when understood and followed can restore all abilities, even when it sounds impossible. Tulsidas prays for the understanding to arise within his bosom, so he can be one with the nature. This is Bhakti Yoga.

Devotion starts with the veneration of the Guru whose instructions about the story of Sri Rama have opened the eyes of Tulsidas to wondrous realizations. You cannot learn from a Guru unless you trust him fully and revere him. Tulsidas uses the analogy of healing with the realizations from learning. The story of Rama somehow helped to dispel all his doubts. He finally understood what a pious soul is.

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  1. Rāmcharitmānas Verses: 1 – 100
  2. Rāmcharitmānas Verses: 101 – 200
  3. . . .

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