Sakthi Vikatan - 26 Nov, 2013

              A tree in the Seed -02

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The great human power

Dr. T.S. Narayanaswamy

The maxim of our elders is, “Rare indeed is human birth.” The Sastras declare that of all the creations, only man with six senses is Jīva Sṛṣṭi with many inherent powers.

We earned human birth with or without our volition. Our Life dawned on earth without our knowledge whether there was or was not a primordial desire for life, a compulsion, an ordainment or circumstances. Because of one or more of them, most of us live or have an inherent desire to live.

Man’s birth and death have an element of uncertainty.  Intellect and science have no control over an event called death. Death as an event is an absolute certainty. No one can time it or prevent it. We wish death will not happen to us. It is unnatural, impractical and false belief. Believing in nonexistent eternal life, we desire to live forever.

There is no greatness in having a mere existence on earth. How we live or what for we live are more important.

When we continue living, what do we desire to do? But, what do we do in reality?  Everyone must think about it. Based on this, an understanding of a unique nature or disposition of a man (தனித்தன்மை) becomes evident.

Is development of the unique disposition remain under the authority and power of the individual? Is its formation beyond our power or under some unknown principle? Is life bound by rules or principles? Is life a nature and function of self-will (or free will = தன்னிச்சை)?

The effort to seek answers to these questions and the attendant experience are an accomplishment. If life is not under our control and functions under unknown rules or principles, do we have a way to bring it under our control? Is that path scientific? Is it the path of religion based on Sastras? Is it a self-chosen path? We should research it.

Many people, having found success in their chosen paths and lofty principles, offer disparate spiritual advice.


தர்மம் தலைகாக்கும்; 

Dharma will safeguard your head;

முயற்சி திருவினையாக்கும்;

Effort brings holy deed;

முயன்றால் முடியாதது இல்லை;

With effort nothing is impossible;

உண்மை உயர்வைத் தரும்;

Truth offers loftiness;

சத்தியமே ஜெயம்!

Truth wins.

It is easy to teach; but, it is hard to put it in practice.  (Easier said than done.)

We bear witness to and face innumerable failures in our endeavors; we ourselves may fit the description: 1) Hard workers failed to realize their aspirations and goals. 2) The tremblers: Extraordinary attempts failed to yield fruits. 3) The good and soft souls: Their straightforward outlook did not advance their carrier. 4) The stumblers: Despite their fitness and ability, they stumbled and fell through the cracks. 5) The devout miserables: Though they were devout there was no tranquility, happiness or freedom from imminence. Of the 10,000 servitors, only ten people enjoy blessings with luxurious living, respect, esteem, riches, high position, title and adoration with garlands. The rest are ‘unwept, unhonored and unsung’ as told by Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832). They never enjoyed a life of ease and disport, and disappeared without a name or fame, having worked themselves to the bone, borne hardships… Nobody has offered a scientific or philosophical explanation for these outcomes. We can consign him to the category of fate. Or we can give him a moniker, ‘Failure (= Schlimazel = Always an unlucky person).

I. Patriotism

“Breathes there the man?”

Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832)

unwept, unhonored and unsung’



From “The Lay of the Last Minstrel,” Canto VI.

REATHES there the man with soul so dead

Who never to himself hath said,

  This is my own, my native land!

Whose heart has ne’er within him burned,

As home his footsteps he hath turned


  From wandering on a foreign strand?

If such there breathe, go, mark him well;

For him no minstrel raptures swell;

High though his titles, proud his name,

Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,


Despite those titles, power, and pelf,

The wretch, concentered all in self,

Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down

To the vile dust from whence he sprung,


Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.


Is it their fault they fell into the abyss in their lives?  Is it lack of ability? Unfitness?  Lack of opportunity?  Plain misfortune?  Only when you find answers to these questions, we can find resolution to these problems. Though we may not resolve these questions, we can analyze the causes.

The sower of Thinai (millet) will reap the millet. The sower of Vinai (action, deed) will reap Vinai. Here Thinai and Vinai are rhymers. We see today millions of farmers (sowers) in a crisis. We see today millions of crooked dealers having sowed soothing words reap an easy life.  The religionists expound and point to the past-life merits and demerits (புண்ய, பாவம் = merits and sins) and offer solace to the suffering embodied souls. They do not explain the real reasons behind the disparity.

Newton says, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In today’s world, evil does not beget evil but yields all that is desirable.  The good suffer (and the bad prosper). Newton’s law is anomalous in its application to people. 

Should we formulate a new general theory, based on observance that the evil doers reap goodness; the dishonest receive coveted awards; only the liars get to eat sumptuous meals? Certainly not.  We see upright people, celebrated over ages who distinguished themselves with hard work, honesty, sagacity…

We know the history of mere men who ascend the ladder of success to great heights and fall into the bottomless hell. We know in truth-saying there are winners and losers. Is it the strength of the truth or its weakness? Or is it the results of past-life good and evil deeds.

Now many questions have come to the surface. We must find underlying basis and proof for the answers. To explain further, we should subject the Hindu religion itself to a critical evaluation (experimental path) under the aegis of the principles and tenets in Vedas and Upanishads. The elders’ experiences and recommended paths ofcourse add color to the precepts; our analytical skills and wisdom are the tools. These proposals are the guiding light for the experiment, which is the object of this series of articles.

Now many questions have come to the surface. We must find underlying basis and proof for the answers. To delve further, the Hindu religion is made the Edifice of Experiments (critical evaluation) under the aegis of the principles in Vedas and Upanishads serving as resource; our analytical skills and wisdom are the powerful tools for such a bold experiment. The elders’ experiences and recommended paths add color to the precepts.  These proposals are the guiding light for the experiment, which is the object of this series of articles.

--The tree will grow

God is ‘seeable!’

Watch closely the sprouting of the seed. The sprout grows upwards, and downwards too.  The down-growing roots anchor the plant and seek the nutrients in the soil. The up-growing branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits both unripe and ripe are of use to others. They are the next generation seeds. Man desires to grow upwards (attain liberation or Moksa) for his own selfish reasons. For living a life of eternal existence (liberation), should he not desire to accumulate self-supporting ways and means (Sakthi) to attain the lofty goal?

Thimmamma Marrimanu is a banyan tree in Anantapur, located about 25 kilometers from Kadiri, Andhra Pradesh, India. It was recorded as the largest tree specimen in the world in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989. Its canopy covers 19,107 m2 (4.721 acres.  Credit Wikipedia.

Let us look at the story of Banyan tree.

A Guru one day taught about his disciples the omnipresent god. One student posed a question, “Guru, is god seeable with our eyes?”

Guru: Why not. It is easy to see him.

Disciple: If that is true, can you show me god?

Guru: Let me show you. You go to that Banyan tree and bring me a ripe fruit. Besides, bring me a knife.

Disciple brought the fruit and the knife.

Guru: What is this?

Disciple: Banyan fruit.  The Guru asked him to cut it into two halves.

Guru: What do you see inside the fruit?  Disciple: a small seed(s). Guru asked him to cut the seed into two pieces. More cutting ensued. The guru asked him, “What do you see?”

Disciple: I see nothing. 

Guru: Look closely. A banyan tree is visible.  The disciple understood there are seeds in the tree and tree in the seed and likewise, God is all-pervasive.

--A story from Upanishad.