Chinmaya Mission celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2001. As part of the celebration in February-March 2001, Acharya Conferences were held in two batches at Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Mumbai, where acharyas (full time initiates of the Mission) from all over India participated. The daily routine consisted of spiritual discourses, group meditation, discussions on the scriptures and topical topics, devotional singing etc.
For the second batch of acharyas, Pujya Guruji, Swami Tejomayananda gave discourses on the Bhiksu Gita a portion from the Bhagavatam. We have great pleasure in bringing out the same in a book form. We are sure that it will help all spiritual seekers to develop fortitude and forbearance in facing the difficult situations in life and remain steadfast in their goal.
We are grateful to Br. Samahita Chaitanya, Smt. Radhika Krishnakumar and Shri Genesh for their help in giving shape to this book.
We also profusely thank Shri R. Krishnamoorthy and M/s. Incowax Pvt. Ltd. Bangalore, who have generously contributed in bringing out this book in print.
Back of the Book
This is the story of how an ordinary man, deeply attached to wealth, through suffering and the right thinking born therefrom, develops dispassion and becomes a Man of Wisdom.
As the story progresses, Pujya Guruji Swami Tejomayananda takes us through the harsh realities of the world and uplifts out minds to the Supreme Reality. His commentary gives each of us hope that the seemingly unattainable spiritual Goal is quite close to us if only we think deeper.
Whenever dharma (righteous living) declines and adharma (unrighteousness) is on the rise, the Lord incarnates to protect the good, destroy the evil and re-establish dharma. The Lord thus manifested as Shri Krishna in the Dwapara Yuga. As part of His divine sport to re-establish dharma, He imparted spiritual knowledge to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra just before the Mahabharata war. This teaching is famous as Srimad Bhagawat Gita found in the great epic, Mahabharata.
Again as a means to re-establish dharma, Shri Krishna taught His dear friend and great devotee, Uddhava spiritual knowledge just before concluding His divine work and departing from the earth. This teaching is known as Uddhava Geeta, found in the 11th canto of Srimad Bhagavata Mahapuranam.
Shri Krishna is the very embodiment of dharma. During His time it was easy for all to seek Him, surrender and take refuge in Him. Those who lead a righteous life wondered in whom they would seek refuge thereafter (dharmah kah saranam gatah). Shri Krishna in all compassion, infused His glory, splendour and power (tejah) in the Bhagavatam. It is therefore considered the very embodiment of the Lord (vangmayi murti). We too should therefore take refuge in it by listening to it, studying, understanding and being inspired by it and above all, living by it. Shri Krishna will surely protect those who seek refuge in Him and His divine glory the Bhagavatam.
The essence of Shri Krishna's teaching to Uddhava is that whatever we see, hear, smell or experience is only relatively real. Its substratum alone is the absolute Truth/Reality. One should realize this and gain total fulfillment in life. The world seems real as long as the mind is active. In deep sleep there is no mind and no experience of the world. The entire creation is therefore a play of the mind. Hence, without remaining too involved in this worldly preoccupations, we should purify out minds, gain knowledge and become absorbed in the Truth.
Uddhava, the disciple of Bhrihaspati, was a great devotee and a highly learned person. 'Uddhava' means 'he for whom the Truth alone is his Lord and master' ('ud' = one who is above all the Truth + 'dhava' = Lord and master). Uddhava considered the Truth incarnate, Shri Krishna as the Lord, his friend, philosopher, guide and his goal of life. Being so qualified, he had no difficulty in grasping the essence of Shri Krishna's teaching. However, he knew that in future, people would find this knowledge too subtle, may not be able to appreciate its depth and beauty and find it difficult to practice and abide in it. He therefore posed several questions to Shri Krishna so that He would elaborate on the Truth and on various practical aspects of dharma. This teaching is called Uddhava Gita.
In the 22nd Chapter of the 11th canto of Bhagavatam, Shri Krishna tells Uddhava to absorb the mind in the self and remain unperturbed by the world. The world can often be wicked, cruel, insulting, obnoxious and troublesome. Even wise and great men are not spared by the world. To be able to absorb one's mind in the Self, despite outside circumstances and people, is to be truly spiritual. The infant may kick, beat, pull the hair, harass and even wet the mother. Considering the child as her own and realizing that it acts out of ignorance and innocence she continues to love and care for it. Similarly the wise man knowing that the Self in him is the Self in all, does not hate people who insult or try to harm him. He continues to serve all.
Uddhava felt that this was indeed very difficult to practice. A truly spiritual life is not easy. It is like walking on a razor's edge, as is disturbed if criticized by an unknown person living in Timbuktu. But we feel greatly perturbed by the thoughts, word and actions against us of people known to us, specially our near and dear ones. It is not easy even for spiritual seekers to be equanimous when criticized, insulted or troubled, then what to talk of worldly people! They usually become intimidated, unhappy, bitter, rebellious, revengeful or reactive. A rare few who have surrendered completely to the Lord, have realized the Truth/God and are well established in It have the forbearance to receive insults from the world with a smile and remain calm ad understanding. A man spat on saint Eknath a 108 times. Stunned at the saint's equanimity, he realized his mistake, apologized and fell at his feet. The great saint did not even consider it an insult. He in turn thanked the repentant man for giving him the opportunity to bathe 108 times in the holy Tungabhadra River! Jesus forgave those who crucified him on the Cross. Such tolerance is indeed rare. Great saints manifest noble virtues of tolerance to an amazing degree but ironically we find it difficult to practice them even in small issues! 'Tolerance is the ability to cheerfully endure all physical travails, verbal abuse, mental torture and calamities brought in by nature without adverse physical reaction (like retaliation), verbal backlash (like lamenting) or mental resistence (like worrying).
A person living in isolation may not have to face much criticism. But the majority have to face abuse and insult at some time or the other in their lives. The famous and great particularly those in public life-be they worldly people, social workers or spiritual seekers have to face a constant barrage of public opinion and insults. Some like the politicians become desensitized to it "thick skinned" as is colloqually expressed. But they too have chinks in their armour and burst into agitated reaction at times.
In the 23rd Chapter of the Bhagavatam Shri Krishna, through a story teaches Uddhava how we can develop the elevating virtue of tolerance (sahanaupaya-varnanam) and thereby gain control of the mind. The powerful story and the teaching therein is called the Bhiksu Gita (bhiksu-gitaya manovijayah)
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