39 - शान्ता महान्तो
Inner Dimension of a Mahātmā
वसन्तवल्लोकहितं चरन्तः ।
तीर्णाः स्वयं भीमभवार्णवं जनान्
अहेतुनान्यानपि तारयन्तः ।।
vasantaval-lokahitaṃ carantaḥ |
tīrṇāḥ svayaṃ bhīma-bhavārṇavaṃ janān-
ahetunānyān-api tārayantaḥ ||
Saintly people, calm and magnanimus, live like the spring season, committed to the welfare of the world. Having crossed the dreadful sea of worldliness, they take others also across without any self-interest.
Points for Introspection:
This śloka from Vivekacūdamani describes the qualities and characteristics of the holy Mahātmās – the great noble souls.
A Mahatma is one who lives only for the benefit of others. His whole life is spent for the welfare of others. Without any self-interest or expectation, he remains dedicated to the service of others, seeing God in everybody.
In this śloka, a Mahātmā or a highly elevated soul is compared to the spring season. Spring follows winter. During winter, the expression of life in Nature becomes subdued; the earth becomes dreary and rugged. After the winter, as the spring arrives, the whole Nature wakes up with new life, new enthusiasm and inspiration. The trees, which had become bereft of leaves, become full with new tender leaves. Various kinds of flowers and fruits adorn the earth.
Whereas all these become a feast to the eyes, the moderate weather of spring season also gives mankind a relief from intense cold (winter) and heat (summer). The spring-breeze soothes the body as well as the mind. Creatures on earth including human beings become full of life and delight. Spring bestows this fullness and happiness all around naturally. That is its nature.
Like that are the holy people. They do good to others in the most natural and spontaneous way because their nature is to help and serve others. Since they have no selfish motive, their mind is desireless – free of any expectation from others. Desire is the root cause of all kinds of agitation in the mind. Because of the absence of desires, the minds of such holy Mahatmas are always calm and peaceful.
By virtue of what does a Mahātmā transcend the agitations of the mind and attain supreme peace?
He has realized the Self and has the Knowledge of the supreme Reality. He realizes that the Self or the Soul is eternal, imperishable and changeless as opposed to the body-mind-intelligence personality, which is changeful and decaying. Having had the Knowledge of the eternal Self, the Mahātmā transcends the duality of happiness and unhappiness. He remains unaffected in the midst of turbulent waves of worldliness. He remains calm and poised, whatever be the circumstances around.
This is the internal state of a Mahātmā. Being of benevolent and compassionate nature, he always tries in a spontaneous and natural manner to remove the sorrow and agitation in others. He has himself trodden the path to reach the supreme Goal, where one remains unaffected in spite of any unfavourable situation. He knows how to reach there. So he stretches out his hands and is ever ready to take the seeker to the destination of supreme bliss and felicity by bestowing the knowledge of the Self.
Whenever a Mahātmā sees somebody suffering in the grip of worldliness, he tries to rescue him by imparting wisdom. He does that on his own accord, without motive or expectation. That is why the word ahetunā (अहेतुना) has been used. He helps others to cross the worldly ocean, because he cannot but help. To help is the most natural trait of a Mahātmā.
What do we learn from this śloka? We should focus on the noble qualities of a Mahātmā and feel the purity and love for mankind he represents. We must love these qualities and try to attain these with great resolve. Our śāstras say: Whatever are the characteristics of a Knower, are the pursuits for a seeker.
While chanting these ślokas again and again, we must love the qualities of a holy Mahātmā and think: “When will I be able to imbibe these qualities?”
शान्ताः (śāntāḥ) = those whose minds are calm and quietened; महान्तः (mahāntaḥ) = those committed to the highest ideals; निवसन्ति (nivasanti) = live; सन्तः (santaḥ) = Saints, magnanimous Souls; वसन्तवत् (vasantavat) = like the spring season; लोकहितम् (lokahitaṃ) = good of the world; चरन्तः (carantaḥ) = doing; तीर्णाः (tīrṇāḥ) = those who have crossed; स्वयम् (svayam) = themselves; भीमभवार्णवम् (bhīmabhavārṇavam) = dreadful ocean of worldly life; जनान् (janān) = people; अहेतुना (ahetunā) = without any motive; अन्यान् (anyān) अपि (api) तारयन्तः (tārayantaḥ) = make others also cross.