Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I once asked my Guru Swami Chinmayanandaji which one of the slokas of the Bhagavad Geeta is the best. He looked at me keenly and said, “you go to a medical shop and ask the shop assistant which of his medicines is the best”. I was surprised.I said “But Swamiji, how can he answer that question? Each medicine is for a different disease, for a different intensity, for a different person. How can any one say which is the best?” “My dear, you yourself have answered your question. Different people have different problems, at different times, and of different intensity. The same sloka may be appealing at one time and may not be so appealing at a different time. And people with similar problems may find solace and solution in different slokas. So you have to decide for yourself which is most appealing to you and which gives you an answer to a particular problem of yours,” explained Swamiji.
He was absolutely right. I learnt it with experience. Different slokas were appealing at different times and gave me solutions differently. But they do give. You find answers to all your doubts, all your problems, all your questions. Only thing is, you have to know how to look, how to apply it to your question. You will find all the answers.
But this article of mine is not about that. I am an avid reader of Geeta, I read different commentaries, and I try to apply its teachings in life. Geeta explains how a man can fall mentally and intellectually, to the depths of no return and ruin himself totally and completely, by just taking one wrong step. Of course it also gives the solution, how to rise yourself and correct your path. But it is a different and torturous path, One has to be very tenacious in walking that path. Isn’t it better that we yield ourselves not to take that one small wrong step once? A little boy was playing with a ball on the terrace and the ball slipped out of his hand. It first took one step downward, then rolled on to the 4th step, picked up speed, and rolled on and on, not stopping or looking back even once until it reached the very bottom of the cellar! And to retrieve it, the little boy has to go all the way down and slowly and painfully has to climb up again.
When Bhagiratha requested mother Ganga to come on to the earth, she thought that after all it is only one step from the heavens on to the head of Lord Siva. But what happened? After that one step, she had to jump on to the Himalayas, then roll down to the plains, then flow to the ocean and she did not, could not stop herself from reaching the depths of the nether regions (Paatala). This is how a fall happens when you take one step wrongly.
Let us see what Bhagavad Geeta says about the fall of man. We have two beautiful slokas in the 2nd chapter Geeta, slokas 62 and 63.
Dhyayato vishayan pumsah sangasteshupa jaataye /
Sangaat sanjaayate kaamah kaamat krodhobhijaayate // ( II-62)
Knodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smruti vibhramah /
Smrutibhramsat buddhi naashah buddhi naasaat pranasyati // (II-63)
The basic meaning of the slokas is:
“When a man thinks of objects, ‘attachment’ for them arises; from attachment ‘desire’ is born; from desire arises ‘anger’; from anger comes ‘delusion’; from delusion ‘loss of memory’; from loss of memory the ‘destruction of discrimination’; from destruction of discrimination, man ‘perishes’.
Man is basically God with a body, mind and intellect. But by his own fault he falls from his Godhood and perishes. How? These two noble slokas of the Geeta explain how it happens. It also explains how, many of the seekers of the Truth, after long periods of practice, come to wreck themselves upon the rocks of failure and disappointment, by taking one small wrong step, innocently, unknowingly.
This is called the ladder of fall. I call it, falling in the mouth of a snake – on the board of “Snakes and Ladders”. It is always one small step, innocently getting indulged, just thinking of the worldly objects. Of course, after all, worldly objects have an attraction of their own. Our five faculties of perception are meant to carry the stimuli from the outer world to the mind. Don’t ever mistake or blame the five sense organs. They are only the windows through which the stimuli get carried to the mind. Mind is the culprit. Always. But once we know how we have fallen, we shall know how to get back to our pristine glory and inward perfection. That is the “Rise of man”.
The source of all evil starts from our wrong thinking, or false imaginations. Thought is creative, to make us or mar us. It can either be rightly used for constructive activities, but also can be misused which will totally destroy us. We look at so many objects (objects include people also) but most of them get away totally unnoticed. Yet some may attract us and we start thinking about them (dhyana). This is the first wrong step. If at this stage it self, we control the mind, divert it, we are fine. But if we don’t control the mind and constantly think of a sense object, the thought gets thickened and an attachment towards that object is created (sangah). And when more and more thoughts flow towards that object, the thoughts crystallize to form a desire to possess and enjoy that object (kaamah). This is the third step. The desires don’t stop even if we possess that object. There will be other attractions and other desires, more and more. There is also another possibility. You may not always be in a possession to possess and enjoy that object of your desire. There will be obstacles in your path. So your thoughts are directed towards that obstacle and get crystallized. This results in anger towards the obstacle which is standing between you and the object of your desire (krodha).
An intellect clouded with anger experiences delusion (sammohah). A man blind with anger starts seeing things in his enemy which are not really there at all. This is called delusion. And this deluded intellect looses its ability to discriminate as it looses all its past memories (smruti vibhramah). Even if that person happens to be a very close friend, the deluded person, in his anger, forgets all his past sweet memories. He forgets himself. Only his anger towards that person persists. Such a deluded fool may even fight with his own teachers or parents – haven’t we seen such incidents happen? He forgets his sense of proportion and relationship with things and beings around him. Such a deluded intellect forges its dignity and culture, and looses its discriminative capacity (Buddhi naasah). Such a man with a deluded intellect must but perish(pranasyati).
On the other hand, an intelligent man must use his intellect, buddhi to discriminate and differentiate the good from the evil, and form a standard in oneself and warn the mind as often as possible against its lustful sensuousness and animalism. Such constant warnings help an individual to rise from a fall and gradually he rises from an animalistic man to a proper human being and soon makes him a god-man.
Keep a goal and always work towards achieving it. It diverts the mind from unnecessary wanderings in the objective world and getting attracted by it. You don’t have to set up very high goals and struggle in life to achieve them. Always set up a small goal and strive to reach it. Then another, one step higher. You have to always see that the mind doesn’t get diverted. Keep it with you and engage it in reaching your goal. May all of you be successful in achieving your goals.

A.Vijaya Murthy (jijji)


Mallimadugula Lalithamba Bangarayya Trust (MLBT) started by the Mallimadugula family in Visakhapatnam is celebrating its Silver Jubilee Year. The celebrations were inaugurated on January 2nd of this year – the Founders’ day (Sri M.Jagannadha Rao (Atmaram)’s birthday. There were several programs during the year, especially for the school children. This school was started by the Trust and is now a high school, running with the help of Gayatri Vidya Parishad. The valedictory function is being celebrated on 26th of December when a souvenir is also being released in which many of the Trustees and other eminent personalities have written articles. On that day three well known freedom fighters are also being honored. We will bring out a report after the function is over.

A.Vijaya Murthy (jijji)

Changlum Road in Thimphu. The main thoroughfare

Overall view of the Thimphu Dzong - fortress. Now the secretariat

Performance by the Khuju Luyang troupe. The dance is Joenpa Legso - welcome song and dance

Building of Bhutan Development Corp Ltd. Our pretty guides Deki Deki and Tashi are on the left and right ends

Shangrila-La or Bhutan

The first thing that strikes a visitor to Bhutan is the happy coexistance of an ancient culture with the trappings of today's life styles and technology. The recently democratised kingdom seems to be going through this change seamlessly and without any resistance from any kind of "moral police", as we are unfortunately witnessing in India.

On landing at Paro, the only airport in Bhutan, one sees the majestic, though small, airport terminal built like any other Bhutanese structure with its ancient and traditional architecture of sloping roofs and vibrant colours. Then you walk into a very modern and well equipped interior manned by polite, helpful and quietly efficient personnel. This kind of happy mixture is to be found everywhere. That the latest has not yet arrived in Bhutan was proved when our flight had to circle over the Paro airport for some time looking in vain for a break in the cloud cover and then get diverted to Kolkata because of poor visibilty and lack of ILS facility at the only airport Bhutan has. As it is located at an altitude of 2,280 metres bad visibility is not an infrequent event.

Bhutan, as we all refer it to, is not the actual name of the country. The British, the Tibetians et al gave it several names. One interesting explanation given, may be true or may be not, was that some Tibetians called it "bhuuu taan" meaning (it was at the) end of Tibet! Other names tossed around are: Lhomen Jong - Southern land of the Herbal(Tibetians use this name), Homen Khazi - the Country of Four Doors, Boo-taan - High Land and Bho-tay - People from High Land. Its actual name is Druk Yul, meaning the Country of the Dragon. The story goes that in the XV or XVI century one Drukpakagyud lama started a school in this land. One day he heard a mighty noisy thunder. Then he named his school the Thunder Dragon School and the country the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

The language of the country is Dzongkha, that is, the language spoken in the Dzong or the fortress. It is common in the western part of the country. Over a period of time this sophisticated court language became the national language spoken by the general public. There are some 13 different dialects in this small country of over 683,000 people, mostly Mahayana Buddhists, spread over 38,394 sq kms in 20 administrative districts. Dzongkha is written in the u-chen script, which is the Tibetan script. It is derived from the Devanagari script in the VII century by theTibetan monk Thonmi Sambhota.

The capital city, Thimphu, which translates as Sinking Hill, is a pleasant two hour drive on the road built by India's Border Roads Organisation. One feature on the road that is not a common sight is the confluence of the rivers Paro chu and Wang chu at the Chuzom check-post on the road from Paro to Thimphu. It can be clearly seen from the road. The roads in the towns are clean, dust free, pothole free and hawker free. Everybody follows the road rules and there is no policeman to be seen on any road or road junction. Crime is rare and it is absolutely safe for women to venture out alone at any time of the day or night. The fact that crimes against women are non existent has much to do with the freedom with which boys and girls move and interact and the fact that weddings are simple affairs with no demands for dowry of any kind. At 2,220 metres, Thimphu has a very salubrious climate, not too hot, not too cold.

The majority of the people dress in traditional clothes, though jeans, suits and such western clothes are also worn. Men wear shoes, stockings (mostly black) and the Gho, a long and loose garment that is tucked up to knee length, just up to where the stockings end. It is tied in place with a cloth belt called Kera. It is loose and spacious above the waist, spacious enough to carry groceries and even a small baby. The men's shirt is called the Tego. The women wear an in-shirt called the Wonju and an ankle length wrap-around skirt called the Kira which is tied around the waist with the Tego. The collar and sleeves of the Wonju are folded over the Kira, making the ensemble very attractive. They all clip-clop around in heels.

This is Bhutan, a real Shangri-La, isolated from the bad influences of the world and leading a fairly pristine existence. Yet they have taken the good things that modern civilization has to offer, making it one of the better places in our world.

D V R Rao (Nani)


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