By D. Chandramouli
It was indeed a special privilege, for some of us, Indian expatriates in Jakarta, to have been enlightened by the discourse delivered by Swami Suddhananda on two consecutive days in April last year.
During the speech, Swamiji dealt with various topics. In reply to a question regarding Varnashram, Swamiji explained that it is not birth-oriented. We are, first and foremost, human beings. Varnashram essentially deals with professions. The qualities of an individual decide if one is a Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya or a Sudra.
Wearing the holy thread does not automatically make one a Brahmin. A Brahmin is one who is knowledgeable and active. He has simple habits. A Kshatriya is brave and he is a warrior. He possesses leadership qualities. He is very active and works for others’ sake. A Vaisya is one who is involved in business. He, too, is active but earns for his own self. A Sudra, on the other hand, is dull but quite active for sustenance and continuance (food and pro-creation).
All the four qualities may be present in an individual but with one role being dominant. However, according to Swamiji, in the present day world, most of us are either a Vaisya or a Sudra.
Here are a few other interesting observations from Swamiji’s repertoire:
Who is the most important individual in your life? Of course, you. Without you, God does not exist. The person must exist before he or she
ventures to ask about God’s existence.
You are doing Puja to God for your prayers to be fulfilled. So long as your desires are fulfilled, you feel that God exists. If not, there is no God! Then, whom do you pray – your desires or the God?
There is no external agency to give you happiness. Happiness is within you. Objects or possessions cannot give you happiness. Happiness is “Being”.Do your part. God will do His part.
Truth is absolutely simple. If it is not so, it cannot be the truth. It is falsehood that is always complicated.
To find something, you need to know (i) What is that you want? (ii) Where would you find it? (iii) How do you find it? Apparently, the need of the hour is “educating the educated”.
For every speech or action, there is always a corresponding thought. However, every thought need not be expressed. You must choose your
potential to make the right choice. What letters you get in a scrabble game is your karma. But, how you play the game is your choice and it is very well within your control.
Ideally, the period of dhyanam should be longer than the time taken for Puja.
What is my Self? Or who am I? Existence of anything is independent of its name, and also of the acceptance or rejection of it.
You have a name, but you are not the name. When you say, “I am rich”, what you really mean is that you have riches – an outside possession.
When you say, “I am a man”, it denotes your physical characteristics. Similarly, if you say, “I am young”, it again refers to your body, which can age. “I am brown” means the color of your skin is brown. All these expressions describe what you possess. But they do not tell you who you are. Does anyone look like an Engineer? That is his or her profession.
“I’m a Hindu” is also a fallacy. No one is ever born a Hindu. A human being is born.
From this, one can deduce that “I” may have many attributes but the “I” remains the same. The “I” has no description. You are conscious. There is no difference in who we are. Divisions can happen because of Guna.
What is silence? Is it an absence of sound? No, if you say that, you just deny silence. You do not describe silence. Silence is a fact and it denies every other sound.
You have no personal space. You move but the space does not move. Similarly, thoughts move but your Awareness does not move.
No one can act God. God embraces you but you cannot embrace God. God is within and without every one of us.
Devotion to God must not be out of fear – it should be out of love. With Jnana, devotion arises.
What is fate? For disease, riches, poverty, etc., you always refer to your past actions. Any reasoning must take you backwards. Nothing suddenly happens. If you cannot explain an incident against the backdrop of the current life (like in the case of hundreds of passengers dying at the same time in an air crash), your karma in a past birth may be a pointer for your present fate.
As a thumb-rule, do not rely too much on horoscope, karma or destiny. Know yourself. Use your body, mind and intellect.
Can anyone ever attain absence of thoughts during meditation? Yes, it is indeed possible but it need not be your goal.
Just enjoy your “being”.