Sakthi Vikatan  05 Aug, 2014


                                       By Sēvāratṉā Doctor T.S. Narayanaswami, Images: Aras

Sāṁkhya Yogam

Sastras state there are three causes for a multitude of human miseries, problems, sorrows, and losses and the consequent occurrence of constrictions and mental stress: Desire, Anger, and Fear. Bhagavan Krishna points out in the Bhagavadgītā’s second Chapter, Samkhya Yoga the cause and effect of the three entities and the pathways of relief from them.

Of the important six Darśanas (Doctrines), Sāṁkhya is one, Kapila Muni, its proponent.  Sāṁkhya = meter or measure. Samkhya consists of the 25 Tattvas produced by Puruṣa and Prakṛti. Tattvas are the Sāṁkhya and the pathways of pursuit are the Aṉuṣtāṉam or Yoga, according to Gita. Aṉuṣtāṉam = Aṉutāṇam = அனுட்டானம் = observance of religious austerities.   Tattva enquiry is acquisition of knowledge; observance of such is Yogam.

Desire, Anger, Fear…

Attachment to objects is commonplace. Attachment becomes desire.  When desire goes beyond its scope, it becomes greed. When greed does not find fulfilment, disappointment ensues and morphs into anger. Anger causes mental confusion, which leads to memory loss and alienation. They become fear and fright or panic.

Sacred Pipal tree has small almost invisible seeds.  The seed falls into the crack in the rocky wall of the house. Imbibing the rain water falling on the wall, the seed grows into a sapling, becoming a tree and demolishing the wall and the house.  Likewise, small desires become a seed, a sapling, a plant, a tree and demolish the edifice of life.

When the seed falls on the fertile ground, there are tangible benefits.  When it falls on a wall and grows, who gains from it?  It causes fear because the wall might collapse. To prevent such eventuality, it is not enough to cut the branches, but to cut the tree root and all and cauterize the roots in the wall with acid. We should regularize our life. We should eradicate desires completely.

When Greed rears its ugly head…

Earning wealth with honesty and hard work and living a simple life are signs of exemplary life, giving us fulfilment, mental peace… Honesty and discipline become the well-laid path. Contrarily, sometimes, in his mind desire sprouts. He desires, seeing the well-to-do, to become wealthy like them holding abundant liquid cash in the bank, owning a car and a palatial house, employing servants, and living a life of fame and name.

His mind becomes restless to get them all at once. The neighbors inflame and heighten his desire. He is despondent in his mind to obtain financial abundance and freedom.  He does not examine whether his ways of attaining the object are fair or foul.

His greed finds initial fulfilment. To all those opposing him in his path of enrichment, he shows anger, impatience and enmity. He comes to the point of safeguarding the wealth he accumulated.  Because he earned his wealth in a criminal enterprise, he suffers guilt complex.  He entertains fear.  He fears punishment for accumulating wealth by illegal means. He wonders what he could do. He loses his self-confidence and trust in others.  He suffers sorrow and a sense of loss amid plenty.

The Five Senses for self-control

No Sastras declare that one should not entertain desires. The desires should be justifiable. One should have adequate ability to fulfill his desires. He should undertake proper efforts and wait with patience for the right time to attain it.

Nothing is wrong to enjoy a comfortable living, have a good family life with wife and home, earn enough to meet the essential needs, entertain a mental strength not to gain by deception, attain higher status by one’s own endeavor, and adopt an attitude of ‘Live and let live.’

Love and virtue in place in wedded life

அன்பும் அறனும் உடைத்தாயின் இல்வாழ்க்கை
பண்பும் பயனுமது. 45 Tiruvalluvar

Of duty and reward. Tiruvalluvar Verse 45.

If Love and Virtue are present, rectitude and purpose are the markers of wedded life. (Krishnaraj)

Nothing is wrong in desiring for a lofty life of love and virtue. There is no disappointment and no fear.

God has given us five organs such as body, mouth, eyes, nose, and ears, for fulfilling bodily needs and desires. The mouth (tongue) is there to satisfy hunger and taste with the object of not injuring the body and the mind.

Tiruvalluvar says:

'ஒருமையுள் ஆமைபோல் ஐந்தடக்கம் ஆற்றின்
எழுமையும் ஏமாப்புடைத்து’ - 126

126. Control of the five senses like the tortoise will safeguard you through seven births.

Tortoise is safe when it withdraws its four legs and the head under its hard shell. Likewise, when one has the maturity to withdraw the desires of one’s senses under the hard shell of one’s mind, he could live a life of strength and sobriety.

Control the mind!

Learn to live with control of the organs. Gita teaches us after controlling the organs, dwelling on the desires of the organs in the mind is rank stupidity. 

The devotees fast and eat only one meal a day on Ṣaṣṭī and Ekādaśī. Some may not eat on those days. Some observe silence. These are good for the body and the soul. It is important to control the organs. We should not entertain thoughts of delectable foods as we fast.

Ṣaṣṭī = Religious observance on the sixth day of the bright fortnight, every month.

Ekādaśī = 11th Lunar day on the waxing and the waning moon, two Ekadasis in a month for the welfare of body, mind and soul.

Some, besides observing a vow of silence, engage in listening intently to the conversations of others.  Some others engage in written notes  and extract work out of servants and others. The day after the fast, some gorge themselves with missed delectable foods besides the food meant for the day. Some others draw the attention of others telling them frequently of their adherence to fasting. Gita tells these do not amount to control of the senses.

Having controlled the organs, those dwelling on the activities of those organs in the mind are idiots. Gita tells it is false observance. Gita further says, it is unnecessary to observe fast to please God and just observing rectitude is good enough.

God gains no benefit from our fasting and inherent suffering.  Fasting is good for our health. Our ancestors enjoined us for our benefit observance of general vows, fasting, vow of silence, vow of circumambulation in the temples… Gita’s thrust in its message is God derives no satisfaction from our hypocritical fasting.

 Gita’s teaching is, “Go ahead with fasting if it helps removal of desires, mitigation of anger, and eradication of fear.”

The tree will grow.


Krishna and Durvāsar!      

Once in Brahmaloka, there was a dispute: Who is the Naiṣtika Brahmachari? Who is the perennial abstainer from food?  Narada raised these questions.   

Brahmadeva answered, “The perennial Naiṣtika Brahmachari is Bhagavan Krishnan; Durvāsa Muni is a daily abstainer from food.” Narada and other Devas could not draw conciliation between facts and perception and said, “Krishna: a Brahmachari, sporting with thousands of Gopis? Durvāsa a quater in die eater in constant hunger, an abstainer from food? quater in die = four times a day (Latin)

Brahmadeva told Narada, “Narada, go to Dwaraka, see Krishna and ask him, ‘Who is the eternal abstainer from food?’” ‘Bhagavan will explain and answer the question with proof.’ Likewise go to Durvāsa and ask him, ‘Who is the daily abstainer from food?’  ‘Bhagavan Krishna is that one,’ Durvasa will say with proof.

Narada went to Durvāsa and asked him, “Who is the Naiṣtika Brahmachari?” The answer came from Durvasa, “Bhagavan Krishna is the One. Though surrounded by thousands of Gopis, he lives among them as Parabrahmam. Gopis love him. They are involved with him. Krishna in a state of dispassion, loves all Jīvātmas (= embodied souls = we, the people). He transcends passion, bondage and friendship. He is the Naiṣtika Brahmachari.” That moment Narada understood the philosophy of ‘Love of Krishna.’

Narada went to Dwaraka and paying homage to Krishna asked him, “Paramātmā, Paramadeva says, ’Durvasa is the eternal abstainer from food, though he eats four times a day, unable to tolerate the hunger pains.’ How could that be Durvasa is the eternal abstainer?’”

Krishna answers, “Narada, it is true. Durvasa does not eat anything for himself. Whatever he eats, he utters, ‘Kṛṣṇārppaṇam (=Dedication to Krishna)’ even when he sips water. All that (food and water) come to me. He is the eater; I am the hunger-appeased. Now tell me who the abstainer is? Is not he the real abstainer?” Bhagavan continued, “The deeds are not important; but the thoughts behind them are important. Karma is important. But, who is the enjoyer of the fruits of Karma?” Now only Narada understood the nature of Karma.