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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
S from United States was raising the point last night also. It was that the teenagers are not able to take to religious institutions like the temples, especially where the management of the temples, say in the United States, is not being properly done and there is non-adherence to the lawful procedures laid down by the Government of the country. See, these are days of more and more of education, and more and more of civic awareness, especially in the better sections of the society. The parents are particular that the students are sent to very good schools and they are given all facilities. Any extent of book reading is allowed and encouraged. You have a number of publications, which will expose the children to all different aspects of social and community living. Everywhere you will find that the role of knowledge, reason, rationality, and a scientific temper are cultivated. Every writing is created in that manner. If you compare the old school books and the present ones, I think, there will be an ocean of difference between them, though I am not very familiar about the present text books and the other details. This being the case, it is natural that our young boys and girls are very much given to questioning, rationality, reason, and a scientific note in everything that they do.
When the mind starts becoming rational, the intelligence starts questioning. That constitutes a totally different state in the religious or traditional life. You will find that there are two important Sutras mentioned in our traditional texts. One is “athāto dharmajijnāsa”.“And now therefore an enquiry into what is dharma, what is righteous and what is proper”. What does it mean? Normally people live like animals, birds and reptiles. They never think about:
What is life?
How it has to be lived? What is the goal of life? How it can be achieved?
What are the duties of an individual individualistically?
What are the duties of an individual in relation to the family? What is the duty of the family in relation to the society?
What is the duty of the society in relation to Mother Nature, the environments, surroundings and the like?
Such an enquiry is not taken up by the human being. Mostly they are interested in eating, sleeping, having different types of attractive dress, then facilities for comfortable life, then getting married and having a conjugal life, children and the like.
This being the general nature of mankind or humanity, at one point of time, it occurs to the individual mind that “I should know, is this the right way of living or what is the right way of living”. This is called jijnāsa – jnātum ichcha, the desire to know. To know life is different from just living. Many people are married. When I ask them why they got married, they have no answer. “Swamiji, I haven’t thought about it.” So, to marry, to have children, grand children, is very usual with us. But,
Why are we marrying?
Why do we have children?
Why do we have grand children?
What are we supposed to do in the end or in the beginning? What is the fundamental note of human life?
Am I adhering to it?
Am I trying to fulfill my human mission upon this earth? What is my relationship with the earth on which I live?
All of us are living upon the earth. The mother who delivers the child and the child that is delivered of – both of them are upon the earth. As children of the earth, what is our duty towards the mother earth?
We are breathing air, and what is our responsibility towards the maintenance of pure and healthy air?
What about the water that we are taking?
Don’t we have a commitment and a dedication to preserve the structure of the water and making it as clean and healthy as possible? How can this be done?
Are there factors which depend upon the humans which will in turn govern the quality of air, water and earth?
Should we not leave to the posterity an earth that is healthy, an earth that has not been damaged? All the resources of nature are not to be depleted by the living of a few generations. They are to be preserved if you want to add a social and a community purpose to life.
All this, my dear souls, will come under this enquiry - ‘athāto dharmajijnāsa’.
Now, therefore, we enquire into what is righteousness, Dharma. Then you pursue this enquiry and there comes a stage when you are dissatisfied and you feel incomplete about that also, because any note of propriety implies a note of impropriety. So, if I am a lover of propriety, my mind will start resenting impropriety. So that resentment becomes intolerable, unbearable. So I am dissatisfied with the half acceptance of the world and creation in the form of dhārmic addiction. So, a new enquiry crops up in the mind “athāto brahmajijnāsa”. “Now, therefore, an enquiry into Brahman – the Supreme Reality”, which does not make any differentiation whatsoever. What is that Supreme Reality called Brahman, which encompasses the entire creation, and by the thought, contemplation, and reflection on which the mind will be able to transcend all differences that it has, it breeds? The mind will be able to resolve all conflicts and contradictions and have a state of stable harmony. What is that wholesome perception? What is that comprehensive point of view which does not intimidate the mind or afflict the mind by the usual customary notes of differentiation like sin and virtue, heaven and hell, life and death, this and that, poorva-janma and apara-janma and the like. So, it is possible for the human mind to rise to this level of all-fold harmony, sublimity, expansion and fulfilment.
Now, these are the two stages worth mentioning. All the religious and customary practices and traditions are only preparing the mind to take up the enquiry into dharma and the enquiry into Brahman. So, if our children are not satisfied with what they see in the religious front, they should not be discouraged. They should be complimented. My dear children, these are only like primary classes or kindergarten classes. If you don’t find any taste in them, well and good. Those people who are given to these traditions also will have to outlive these traditions and take to vichāra. To summarise the whole thing - āchāras are only meant to elevate the human mind to a level of vichāra. Vichāra means introspection, enquiry, reflection, assiduous contemplation. Āchāras are mostly body based, senses based. They are time based, place based, circumstances based. On a particular day, you go to a certain temple and worship there, offer something and come back. So, your worship depends upon the particular week, that particular place, that particular custom or practice. On the other hand, if you become a vichāra-vān, whatever you do will be in the nature of a discipline, in the nature of a pursuit, which will have constancy, which will have consistency, which will remain as a part of your mind like character, attitude, behaviour, quality and the like. I think, everyone is supposed to rise from āchāra to vichāra and if we find the vichāra tendency, in the case of the youngsters, they should be complimented, encouraged and given the right direction. That is the answer for us.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
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