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Hinduism

Time to Reclaim and Reconstruct Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple

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Time to Reclaim and Reconstruct Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple

– Dr Subramanian Swamy

New Delhi: Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, making it the holiest of Shiva temples.

It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in several Islamic invasions of India. It was last demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who then carried out an un-Islamic act of constructing a mosque on the site where the demolished temple was situated.

The current existing Kashi Vishwanath temple has been built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780, and not on the original site where a functioning mosque today stands. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the first Sikh Maharaja, had donated 1 ton gold for the new temple’s dome.

In 1983, the management of this temple was taken over by the government of Uttar Pradesh. It is still under government management.

During the religious occasion of Shivratri, The “Kashi Naresh” (King of Kashi) is designated chief officiating priest. The original Gyanvapi Kashi Visvanath temple is mentioned in the ancient Puranas including in the Kashi Khanda (section) of Skanda [Subramanya/Kartikeya] Purana.

Time to Reclaim and Reconstruct Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The original Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath temple was destroyed by the army despatched by Mohammed Ghori in 1194 AD, when it had defeated the Raja of Kannauj. In 1192 AD, Ghori had been crowned as Emperor in Delhi after defeating Prithviraj Chauhan.

The temple was rebuilt by a Gujarati merchant during the reign of Delhi’s Sultan (1211-1266AD). It was demolished again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447-1458) or Sikandar Lodhi (1489-1517).

Raja Man Singh of Jaipur thereafter built the temple during Mughal Emperor Akbar’s rule, but some Hindus boycotted it. Raja Todar Mal further renovated the temple with Akbar’s funding at its original site in 1585.

In 1669 AD, the Gyanvapi Temple was again destroyed because of a firman issued by Emperor Aurangzeb and to ensure it was not rebuilt, as it was on earlier occasions, he got constructed the present “Gyanvapi” Mosque in its place thereby, in, according to Syed Shahabuddin, violation of Islamic law as stated in the Hadith, which states it is haram to build on usurped sites [such as of religious sites of other faiths].

The remains of the erstwhile temple were used for mosque construction which can be seen in the foundation of the mosque, the columns, and a chamber at the rear part of the mosque visible as part of the temple.

Time to Reclaim and Reconstruct Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple

In 1742, the Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar made a plan to demolish the mosque and reconstruct the temple again at the site. However, his plan did not materialise, partially because of intervention by the Nawab of Awadh, who had been given the control of the territory.

Around 1750, the then Maharaja of Jaipur commissioned a survey of the land around the site, with the objective of purchasing land to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath temple. However, his plan to rebuild the temple did not materialise.

In 1780, Malhar Rao’s daughter-in-law, Ahilyabai Holkar constructed the present temple adjacent to the mosque as a temporary measure. That is what is seen when Hindus go for darshan to Varanasi.

FAITH OF HINDUS

As per the Shiva Purana, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of Preservation) had an argument about who was supreme. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga, to determine who was mightier. Vishnu took the form of Varaha and sought out the bottom while Brahma took the form of a swan to fly to the pillar’s top.

The jyotirlinga shrines, thus, are places where Shiva appeared as fiery column of light. There are 64 forms of Shiva, not to be confused with Jyotirlingas. Thus Jyotirlinga being a matter of faith, it cannot be questioned just as the belief that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Israel or Prophet Mohammed ascending upward to Heaven on a horseback from a rock where Al Aqsa Mosque is situated. There is no scientific proof of the beliefs, but they are a matter of faith.

Time to Reclaim and Reconstruct Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Faith is enshrined in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution and enjoys immutability, being a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution. With Article 25 of the Constitution enshrining it as a fundamental right to pray and worship at a spot of special significance for Hindu religion, therefore irrespective years have passed away, Hindus have a right to regain the Gyanvapi site and rebuild a temple on the spot.

Thus, the question that arises today is whether it is possible through Constitutional methods, to retrieve the Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple site where the mosque stands, and to re-construct the said temple again to its full glory, and also facilitate the Muslim citizens of India to build their mosque elsewhere in Varanasi. That is the key question that I, after having successfully intervened in the Ayodhya Ram Temple case in the Supreme Court, now have resolved to take up the Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple re-construction case after recovering the original Linga thrown into a temple near the site.

The Government has the constitutional mandate to acquire the entire Gyanvapi site under Article 300A. The Supreme Court in M. Siddique vs Mahant Suresh Das [AIR 2018 SC 5134 at para 61] had held: “…We have already noticed that the Constitution Bench In Ismail Farooqui vs Union of India [(1994) 6 SCC 360] held that acquisition is a sovereign or prerogative power of the State to acquire property and all religious places, namely, church, mosque, temple etc. are liable to be acquired in exercise of right of eminent domain of the State.”

Gyanvapi Mosque, sketched as Temple of Vishveshvur in 1834 by James Prinsep

Gyanvapi Mosque, sketched as Temple of Vishveshvur in 1834 by James Prinsep

Under the concept of “eminent domain”, the State has under Article 300A of the Constitution the mandate to take over any land with some exceptions. The Central Government is however obligated to compensate the appropriate party with reasonable compensation.

That is, Article 25(1) speaks of the fundamental right to worship which has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of [(1994) 6 SCC 360, in paragraphs 77, 78 and 82] that makes it evident that a place of worship of any religion which place has a particular significance for that religion, is an essential or integral part of Fundamental Right. Thus, Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple is indisputably such a place of significance which cannot be appropriated.

The Constitution Bench also observed that acquisition of place of religious worship like church, mosque etc., per se does not violate rights under Articles 25 and 26. The Court, however, has noticed one fetter on such acquisition. The Constitution Bench held that if a particular place is of such significance for that religion that worship at such place is an essential religious practice and the extinction of such place may breach their right of Article 25, the acquisition of such place is not permissible.” [op.cit., judgment cited above; emphasis supplied]

In the case of Gyanvapi temple, this Fundamental Right of Hindus is for praying at a site where faith tells them the Jyotirlingam is situated.

Plan of the Ancient Temple of Vishveshvur, by James Prinsep[7]

Plan of the Ancient Temple of Vishveshvur, by James Prinsep

This faith is obviously an essential part of the Hindu religion and such right is superior to and prevails over the ordinary right to property claimed, for example, by the Sunni Wakf Board.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court foresaw this in Farooqui vs Union of India on the religious character of mosque [(1994) 6 SCC 360 at para 139], which also holds that a mosque is ordinarily not an essential part of the practice of the religion of Islam because namaz (prayer) by Muslims can be offered anywhere, e.g., even in an open maidan or on a road/highway.

The Constitutional Bench of five judges thus held, by majority, that Muslims do not have a fundamental right to recite namaz at any mosque unless a particular mosque has special significance for Islamic religion as does for example, the Al Aqsa mosque.

WHAT NEXT?

There is a serious Constitutional issue arising from enactment of the Place of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991 (hereinafter “Act of 1991”) which Act does not permit if held constitutional, for the Courts to restore any religious institution including the Gyanvapi Mosque to be demolished if it stood on August 15, 1947.

The Act of 1991 is thus retrospective in nature by declaring the 15th day of August 1947 as the date to determine the religious character of a place of worship.

Section 4 (1) of the Act declares that religious character of a place of worship existing on the 15th day of August, 1947 shall continue to be the same as it existed on that day. The logical sequitur of this is that in effect, the religious character of the place of worship existing as at 15 August 1947 is frozen and cannot be altered. This naturally bars by law passed by Parliament in July 1991, to restore the Gyanvapi Temple after removing the existing mosque.

Time to Reclaim and Reconstruct Gyanvapi Kashi Vishwanath Temple

However, the said Act of 1991 is in my legal understanding, unconstitutional. Therefore I have filed a Writ Petition on this issue in the Supreme Court, and would seek either striking down the Act as unconstitutional, or seek the Court to declare Kashi Vishwanath Temple as another exception to the Act. In the Act, Ram Janmabhoomi was declared as the only exception. The ball is back in the Supreme Court. With the blessing of Lord Shiva, I expect to win the case. After this, one temple of special significance for Hindus then remains for restoration: Mathura’s Krishna Janmabhoomi Temple.

Dr Subramanian Swamy is an MP nominated by the President for his eminence as an economist. He is a former Union Cabinet Minister for Commerce and Law & Justice.

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Hinduism

Significance of Bilva Leaf – Why is it dear to Lord shiva?

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Significance of Bilva Leaf - Why is it dear to Lord shiva?

– Arun Gopinath 

Hindus believe that the knowledge of medicinal plants is older than history itself, that it was gifted hundreds of thousands of years ago to the Vedic by Lord Brahma, the divine creator.

Thus when the Rishis of the Ayurveda sought to heal human suffering, they were able to draw on knowledge that had already been evolving for millennia in the forests of India. One tree about which they had a very deep knowledge was the Bilva tree. The science of Ayurveda values the Bilva highly for the medicinal properties contained in its root, fruit and leaves. According to Swami Sivananda, it is a healing tree which cures all diseases caused by vata (wind) and gives strength to the body.

More commonly known as the Bel Tree in India as well as other warm countries, this is a sacred tree having sacrificial importance and the first thing we can notice about the leaves is that they are generally trifoliate. This trifoliate leaf is symbolic of Trikaal or the Hindu Trinity of Devas known as Brahma Vishnu and Mahesh. The other names of this tree are Wood apple and its botanical name is Aegle marmilos.

The Bilva leaf or Patra as it is known, represents the Trinetra or three eyes of Lord Shiva, the main aspects like Trishakti (volition, action and knowledge), the three Shiva lingams and the three syllables of AUM or Omkar and are most favorite of Lord Shiva.

There are also five formed Bilva leaves known as PanchaDal patra found on some Bilva trees and these too are held as sacred for the worship of Lord Shiva. Bilva tree grows to a height of 8 meters with thorns. The leaves are alternate, ovate, trifoliate and aromatic. The tender leaves and shoots are consumed as salad greens. The flowers bloom in the month of May and will have a sweet fragrance.

It appears from all the Hindu texts and scriptures that the Bilva tree itself has been held very sacred and auspicious and is considered very holy since time immemorial thats its significance is mentioned in Mahapuranas in various forms of mantras. The Shiva Purana mentions a particular narration of how the usage of Bilva due to its scientific as well as medicinal properties is of great adavantage to Mankind.

Significance of Bilva Leaf - Why is it dear to Lord shiva?

The 22nd Chapter of maha ShivaPurana narrates ” The trifoliate Bilva Patra is so sacred to Lord Shiva & is therefore a symbol of the Lord. Adored by all the Gods, its importance is difficult for anyone to comprehend. The sacred tree can only be known to a limited extent. Sacred sites of this Earth can only find their place at the root of this auspicious tree. Those who meditate upon Lord Mahadeva in His form of linga at the root of Bilva obtain Moksha & become purified souls by attaining Shiva. Such are the marvels of this sacred Bilva.”

The famous Shri Bilvashtakam (v. 6–7) Mentions :

Lakshmyaascha stana utpannam Mahaadeva sadaa priyam,
Bilva vriksham prayachchhaami eka bilvam Shivaarpanam.
Darshanam bilva vrikshasya sparshanam paapanaashanam,
Aghorapaapasamhaaram eka bilvam shivarpanam.

Translation :
Born from the heart of Goddess Lakshmi, the Bilva tree is ever dear to Mahadeva. So I ask this tree to offer one Bilva leaf to Lord Shiva. Even if (one) has darshan ( view) of the Bilva tree, and touches it, surely frees one from sin. The most terrible karma is destroyed when a Bilva leaf is offered to Lord Shiva.

It is also believed that Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, also lives in the bel tree. Those who perform the puja of Shiva and Parvati devoutly, using the leaves, will be endowed with spiritual powers.

Scientific Advantages

According to Hindu scriptures, the Bilva is Triguna which is connected to the three Gunas or components of natural characteristics of the tree. In Hindu philosophy, the three Gunas are Sattva, Rajas & Tamas with Sattva being the pure most while Tamas normally is to do with darkness & ignorance.

The Sattvic component is believed to be more centered within the bilva patra and therefore the high capacity to absorb and emit Sattvic frequencies. This has various effects on the environment as well as on anyone merelt touching the leaf. One of them is the reduction of Rajasic-Tamasic atoms present in the atmosphere & more importantly within the human body.

A Sattvic leaf like bilva patra when brought in proximity of a person suffering from negative energies such as distress and anxiety is believed to medically reduce these energies within the human body. People with negative outlook towards life and their environment normally do not realize they have negative energies building up within their body and are at a risk of subconsciously harpering destructive thoughts also.

Whenever such people come into contact with a Sattvic atmosphere, what they fail to realize is their negative energies try to fight the positivity of a Sattva predominant environment. This struggle can build up at various levels and can vary from the human mind thinking negatively and can result sudden bursts of anger to destruction of things around them.

Medicinal uses

The roots, skin, fruits and the leaves of the Bilva tree are used for medicinal purpose. Bilva has astringent, edema lessening, anti-diarrhea, laxative and appetizer properties hence, can be used to cure both internal and external diseases.

The sacred tree has many medicinal usages and is advantageous in curing many human ailments such as :

  • Bleeding gums.
  • Bel fruit clears diarrhea, dysentry, phlegm, high blood pressure, morning sickness in pregnancy, stress.
  • Asthma can be controlled when a mixture of dry bel leaf powder & honey is consumed daily
  • Jaundice can be cured by consuming the extracted juice of the bilva leaves
  • Anemia can be cured by drinking the powder of the bel fruit mixed with milk
  • Bel fruit keeps the skin rejuvenated when pasted into a face pack; also cures joint aches

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Concept of Time and Creation (‘Brahma Srishti’) in Padma Purana

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Concept of Time and Creation (‘Brahma Srishti’) in Padma Purana

Pulastya Maha Muni affirmed to Bhishma that Brahma was Narayana Himself and that in reality he was Eternal. But in a formal sense it was stated that Brahma was ‘created’ and in that normally recognised manner Brahma had hundred years of age; apparently, the concept of Time would have to have a basis and that was why Brahma’s age was determined notionally as of hundred Brahma Years; in other words, ‘Para’or the first half was over and his present age has entered the ‘Paraartha’, the second half (viz. Fifty first year).This was how, the concept of Time emerged.

Every fifteen ‘Nimeshas’ constitute one ‘Kaashtha’; thirty Kashthas one one ‘Kala’; thirty Kalas make one ‘Muhurtha’; thirty Muhurtas make one day/night, thirty day/nights make on ‘Maasa’; (half Maasa makes one ‘Paksha’), six Maasas make one ‘Ayana’ and two Ayanas-Dakshinayana and Uttarayana- make one ‘Year’. Dakshinayana is a night for Devas and Uttarayana their day. One hundred human years make one day-night of Devas.

Twelve thousand Deva Years make four Yugas viz, Satya Yuga, Treta Yuja, Dwapara Yuga and Kali Yuga and these four Yugas make one Maha Yuga which is Brahma’s one day! Satya Yuga comprises 4800 DevaYears including ‘Sandhya mana’ of 400 years and ‘Sandhyamsha maana of additional 400 years; Treta Yuga comprises 3600 Deva Years including 600 years of ‘Sandhya/ Sandhyamsha mana’each; Dwapara Yuga of 2400 years including 200 years of ‘Sandhya/ Sandhyamsha mana’each and Kali Yuga of 1000 years including 100 years each of Sandhya / Sandhyamsha manas.Deva Years are 360 times more than human years. For instance, the duration of Kali Yuga in human year terms is 432,000 years; Dwapara’s is 864000; Treta Yuga’s is12, 96,000 and of Satya Yuga is 17, 28,000 years; all the Yugas totalling 432, 00, 00,000 (432 million) make one Chaturyuga and that constitutes one Brahma Day!

Concept of Time and Creation (‘Brahma Srishti’) in Padma Purana

In one day of Brahma there are fourteen Manvantaras and each Manvantara has 8, 51,000 of Deva Years. There are two kalpas on one day-night of Brahma.At the end of the previous Kalpa, Brahma felt fresh from the previous night and found that Prithvi was submerged in water while Bhagavan Varaha Deva entered into water and Prithvi prayed to him; in response, Varahadeva emanated a ‘Ghur Ghur’ sound which was like the reverberation of Sama Veda, lifted up Prithvi from Rasala loka by the might of his horns, Devas rained fragrant flowers from the sky, Rishis went into rapturous tributes to Vishnu’s incarnated Varaha Rupa; and Brahma implored the latter to allow him recommence Srishti with his blessings as also to preserve and administer the Creation that he would so generate even as the Lord gracefully replied to say: ‘Tathastu!’ (So be it!).

Brahma’s first Srishti being Maha Tatva, the creation of Tanmatras was known as Bhuta Sarga or the Second Srishti; Vaikarika or Satvika Ahankara was the third Srishti of Indriyas or Aindriya Sarga; the Fourth Srishti is the Mukyha Sarga related to Mountains, Forests and other Sthaavara Srishti; the fifth Srishti relates to Pashu-Pakshi (Animals and Birds); the seventh Srishti was called Deva sarga or Urthva faced and was of Devas; and Seventh Srishti was of Manava Sarga; the Eighth was of Anugraha Sarga which could be of Satvika or Tamasic nature and finally the Ninth Srishti called the Kaumara Sarga which could be of Prakrita or Vaikrita Marg.

Depending on the carry forward of one’s own balance of ‘Papa-Punya’of the previous time-frame preceding the Pralaya, placement of lives was commenced by Brahma in the New Age. Arising out of his ‘Manasika Samkalpa’ (Mind born Proposal), Brahma created various species including Devas, Asuras, Pitaras and human beings. From his thighs, the evil Asuras emerged and as per his free will various birds were created.

Concept of Time and Creation (‘Brahma Srishti’) in Padma Purana

From his stomach surfaced cows, his shoulders the wolves; his face created horses, elephants, asses, nilgais, deer, camels, etc.each species multiplying several others. Brahma’s body hairs created fruits, roots and foodgrains. From his right extreme face, Brahma created, Gayatri Chhandah, Rig Veda, Tivritstoma, Rathantara, Agnihoshtha yagna; from South-faced he created Yajur Veda, Tristhub Chandas, Panchadasha stoma, Brihatsaama, etc; Sama Veda, Jagati Chhanda, Saptadashastoma, ‘Vairupa’ etc; from the Western face; Brahma created Ekavimshatstoma, Atharva Veda, Aptoryama, Anushthup chhanda, and Vairaja from the Uttaravarti Mukha. Miscellaneous ‘Pranis’ were created from any of the limbs of Brahma. To sum up thus at the beginning of the Kalpa, Prajapati Brahma created Devas, Asuras, Pitaras and human beings as also of Yakshas, Pishachas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Siddhas, Kinnaras, Raakshasaas, Lions, Birds, Animals and Reptiles.

Focussing attention on human beings now, Bhishma asked the highlights of Varnashrama Vidhi and Pulastya Muni explained that Brahma created Brahmanas from the face, Kshatriyas from ‘Vakshasthali’ (chest), Vaishyas from thighs; and Shudras from the feet.These four Varnas are the important constituents of ‘Yagnas’; Devas are satisfied wirh their respective portions of ‘Havis’ (oblations) to Agni and being pleased with the Yagnas, Devas bestow good rains and good crops which leads to material prosperity.

The hearts and hands of every body tend to be clean and social customs and virtuous living would go hand in hand. Prajapati decided the duties of the Four Varnas, depending on the professions that human beings tended to follow like Brahmanas performing Yagnas, Vratas, Temple Tasks, and enabling various religious deeds of Virtue in favour of the members of three other Varnas etc.; Kshatriyas discharging the responsibilities of Kingship, Administration, Security against external enemies, collection of taxes and maintenance of Internal Law and Order; Vaishyas performing business, farming, trading and all matters involving finance, provision of materials to others by allowing reasonable profits for the services given etc. and Shudras supporting the members of the Three Varnas in the discharge of duties being undertaken by them.

Brahma materialised the above various kinds of Creations by applying his mental faculties but was not quite satisfied as the next generations so created were not adequate to fill in the universe; therefore he created Sages like Bhrigu, Pulaha, Kratu, Angira, Marichi, Daksha, Atri and Vasishtha, in addition to the four ‘Manasa Putras’ viz. Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat Kumaras. As not all these sons were interested in family lives, Brahma created Rudra from his forehead and decided that half of the body be a woman; thus Eleven Rudras got materialised along with as many Rudranis who had a variety of Rupas ranging from ‘Sowmya’ (composure), ‘Krura’(unkindness), ‘Shanta’ (peacefulness), ‘Shyama’ (darkness), ‘Gaura’ (wheatish) and such other colours.

Further on, Brahma created Swayambhu Manu and the latter’s wife Shatarupa; the Manu couple gave birth to sons Priyavrata and Uttanapada and daughters Prasuti (married to Daksha) and Akruti (married to Ruchi Prajapati). To Prasuti and Daksha were born twenty four daughters, thirteen of whom were Shraddha, Lakshmi, Dhruti, Pushti, Tushti, Megha, Kriya, Buddhi, Lajja, Vapu, Shanti, Sidhi, and Kirthi (all these thirteen were married to Dharma); eleven more daughters were Khyati, Sati, Sambhuti, Smriti, Preeti, Kshama, Sannati, Anasuya, Urja, Swaha and Swadha; they were wedded respectively to Bhrigu, Shiva, Marichi, Angira, Pusasthya, Kratu, Atri, Vasishtha, Agni and Pitras.

The sons of Daksha’s daughters were Kamak by Shraddha, Darpa to Lakshmi, Niyam to Dhriti, Santhosh to Tushti, Lobha to Pushti, Shruta to Megha; Danda, Vinay and Naya to Kriya, Bodha to Buddhi, Vinay to Lajja, Vyavasayak to Vapu, Kshema to Shanti, Sukha to Siddhi, and Yash to Kirti.These were all the sons of Dharma. Kaam and Nandi gave birth to Harsha, the grand son of Dharma. Bhrigu and Khyati gave birth to Devi Lakshmi who was Lord Narayana’s wife. Bhagavan Rudra accepted Sati as his wife (Daksha’s daughter) but Devi Sati sacrificed her life pursuant to Daksha’s Yagna to which Rudra was uninvited but Sati insisted in attending it; she felt highly insulted by her father Daksha who also offended Rudra Deva and Rudra eventually destroyed Daksha Yagna. — with Srilan Srisukumaran.

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Hinduism

Karma Yoga – Yog Through Selfless Actions

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Karma Yoga - Yog Through Selfless Actions

 Karma Yoga is Meditation in Action:

“Karma” means action and “yoga” means loving unity of our mind with God. To perform karma and also practice yoga means to remain engaged in activity in the world while remaining in a state of devotional unity with God. This is true spiritual action.

Your bhakti yoga meditation practice will combine all these aspects and it will include:

  1. Daily sitting meditation
  1. Daily dynamic meditation woven seamlessly into the fabric of your life’s activities

Before we look at guidelines for these, let’s explore how process is described in the Hindu scriptures.

Karma Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita:

One of the most important scriptures of Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita, was revealed under unusual circumstances: moments before a war and in the middle of a battlefield. It is comprised of a 700-verse dialogue between Lord Krishna, supreme God, and Arjuna, his loving disciple.

The all-in-one solution of the Bhagavad Gita for eliminating karma is Lord Krishna’s advice to practice akarma or actions that have no karmic consequence.

If we could perfect akarma in daily activity, the consequences of our actions would automatically be neutralized — even though we are engaged in action.

This means that from the point of view of karmic debt, no consequences would be added to our “account”. The only key to this is we must maintain an unbroken and continuous devotion to God.

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga philosophy in the Bhagavad Gita is summed up in one statement of Lord Krishna:

“Remember Me and fight.”

But is it really possible to simultaneously do devotional remembrance and be engaged in activity? Can the mind function in two places at the same time? This is definitely impossible, but for karma yoga to be done properly, both have to happen simultaneously.

For example, if you are at work and absorbed in a project, and remember God occasionally, how are both these actions accounted for as karmas?

The time you spent in devotional remembrance will be considered devotional action, and the time you spent engrossed in working will be considered normal action. This is not karma yoga.

Plus, a common misconception describes karma yoga as “performing action without being attached to the results”. Although this sounds noble, is it psychologically possible for any human being to do this?

The fact is because we are constantly trying to find authentic happiness, we will always anticipate the outcome of our actions in advance of doing them.

The practical form of the Gita’s karma yoga…

In the Gita, Krishna was both supreme God and Arjuna’s spiritual guide. Krishna advised Arjuna to surrender to Him and to simply follow His instructions. By transferring his motivation for action to a divine personality, Arjuna would not be responsible for the outcome of the actions he was instructed to perform.

For example, a police officer is issued a revolver, which he is instructed to use in the line of duty by his superiors. It could happen that he kills someone in the pursuit of law and order. In the eyes of the justice system, this will not be considered a crime. He did not use his own mental motivation to decide to kill someone — he simply followed the guidelines given to him by his superiors.

In Arjuna’s situation, in spite of engaging in war, all his actions were counted as devotion, because his heart, mind and body were fully dedicated to the will of Krishna.

This again highlights one of the most important points of karma yoga: The mind is the performer of action, not the physical body.

It is our personal motive that has to be carefully redirected for karmic consequences to change or be neutralized.

Karma Yoga

A Closer Look at the Spiritual Theory

If a practitioner is surrendered to a true divine Guru, and performs actions entrusted to him by his Guru, that activity is considered not only karma yoga, but also bhakti or spiritual action. It will be free of a karmic consequence. That practitioner is not directly attached to the results of that activity because his motive is to follow the instructions of his Guru.

Arjuna accepted Lord Krishn as his Guru at the very beginning of the Gita when he declared he was Lord Krishna’s disciple. He preserved the understanding during the entire Mahabharata War that he was doing service for his Guru.

In this way, just by holding this intention, his devotion remained unbroken and his actions were considered karma yoga. Thus, service to a true Guru is called karma yoga or devotion.

Practically speaking, a Guru will give instructions on how a practitioner can keep his mind engrossed in a state of continuous devotional remembrance. Simply by following these instructions, a disciple is automatically practicing karma yoga.

Those devotional guidelines take the form of (1) karma sanyas and (2) karma yoga.

Karma Sanyas – Quiet Time for Meditation

And old method of dyeing fabric in India was to place a cloth in a dye bath and then allow it to dry in the sun.

After drying, the intensity of the color faded. Again the cloth was placed in a dye bath, again it was placed in the sun, and again the color faded, but the second time more of the color remained.

After entering the dye bath multiple times, the color eventually became intense and fixed.

Similarly, to establish devotion in our hearts and minds, it is important to have a structured daily practice of sitting meditation.

Karma Sanyas

The main elements of a daily devotional practice include:

  1. Heart-centered prayer
  2. Kirtan or chanting meditation combined with active visualization
  3. Aarti-the offering of light – a brief ceremony that reaffirms the spirit of our devotional dedication

Karma Yoga – Dynamic Devotion

For the attainment of divine love, the Vedas state that there is only one rule and one prohibition that apply to bhakti yoga meditation. The rule is: “Always remember Radha Krishna.” The prohibition is, “Never forget Radha Krishna.”

This means that after our sitting meditation, our meditation should continue — while eating, sleeping, walking, working, talking, resting, and so on.

Wherever you are, all the time, whatever you are doing, remember your divine beloved and don’t forget Him! This simultaneous devotion and action is karma yoga. This state of devotional consciousness is cultivated over time with practice.

For example, in the old days street musicians with hand organs kept small monkeys. A monkey by nature is extremely active. How to make a monkey’s nature conform to sitting still, and that, too, in a confined space?

gita krishna radha

The musician’s technique was to first restrain the monkey with a 100-foot rope. If the monkey tried to go outside of this range, he was stopped. He thought, “Okay, I’ll jump around in a 100-foot area.”

When he was tied with a 50-foot rope he thought, “I went 100 feet yesterday, today I’m restricted to this much.” So he jumped around in a 50-foot area.

When the monkey was finally limited to only 1 foot of rope, he sat quietly, “Why should I drive myself crazy? I’ll just sit here.”

The human mind has this same monkey-like nature. It roams far and wide. Our goal is not to tame it’s active nature, but to train it to roam in a particular area. This is done by gently tying it with the devotional rope of love.

In sitting meditation we cultivate a feeling a devotional relationship with God. In active meditation we can continue this in three ways:

  • Embed your intention — Every person has a mission that guides his life’s activities. For example, very few people like to work, but they do it because their mission is to support themselves or their family. While they are at work, although this motive is hidden deep in their mind, it still guides their decisions and actions.Similarly, when we firmly understand the purpose of our life is God-realization, this intention deeply embeds itself in the mind. If cultivated properly, this subconscious devotional intention remains in all our activities, even when we are sleeping.
  • Feel divine presence — in sitting meditation we visualize and feel our relationship to God’s personal form. In activity, take hourly breaks for 30 seconds or a minute and with open eyes sense the presence of your worshipped form of God or Radha Krishna. Simply feel you are not alone. Imagine them near or far, sitting, standing or in any position, in any mood of love.
  • Share your awareness — After visualizing God’s presence, either feel He is watching you or that you are showing Him what you are doing.
  • Avoid wrong association — your associations and environment will affect your feeling of divine connection. Be mindful and avoid those situations that divert your devotional intention.

There is no restriction of time, place and activity for this remembrance. It can be done anywhere, at any time. You do not need to sit in a particular position or have closed eyes. This very simple practice will recall the blissful feelings of your seated meditation and help to stabilize your devotional experience.

 

 

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