Friday, February 19, 2016

Bramharshi Dadheechi and Harish Nanjappa

Bramharshi Dadheechi was sitting in penance for a very long time. It was not a penance for atoning any sin he had voluntarily or involuntarily made. It was indeed a self-imposed penance, a tapas for the welfare of mankind. It was not a tapas like the ones usually indulged by devotees of the Lord seeking something for themselves; it was a rigorous tapas without any wants or needs for oneself. The only cause for the tapas was a desire to do something for the welfare of all. In short, for "Lokakalyana", universal welfare.

Bramharshi Dadheechi suddenly realized that a delegation of the Devas led by their leader Devendra was standing before him. He broke his tapas and opened his eyes. Devendra and the key members of his cabinet were standing before with folded hands. Devaguru Bruhaspati was also present with them. What is the purpose of this delegation coming here and standing before me, wondered Dadheechi. Instead of asking them, he used his own mystic powers to understand the purpose of their visit. The various developments that had taken place during the period he was in tapas unfolded before him........

*****

Devendra was presiding over the "Devasabha" and accepting the respects of all the members present in the court. Devaguru Bruhaspati was the lone absentee in the court. Devendra felt his absence and became a little upset that his Guru was not present in the court. A delegation of Rishis arrived to see Devendra. As Guru was not present in the court, alternate arrangements were made to receive the delegation. The Rishis had come with a question that could be answered only by Devendra. Devendra accepted their request and assumed the stance to answer the question. Just then Bruhaspati entered the court with a greeting to Devendra. Bruhaspati felt that Devendra was ignoring him while Devendra was preoccupied in answering the question of the Rishis. Bruhaspati disappeared from the court and went away elsewhere.

Devendra later realized that Bruhaspati was not available to him for consultations and advice on day to day affairs. He could not keep the post vacant indefinitely. His efforts to trace the Guru went futile. On the advice of Brahma, he appointed Vishwaroopacharya in Bruhaspati's place. Things were fine for sometime. In due course of time, Bruhaspati wanted to return to his original place as well as Devendra desired to bring him back. After all, appointment of Vishwaroopacharya was only a stop gap arrangement. Vishwaroopacharya's mother belonged to the Demon's group. Hence the representatives of the demons were permitted to freely come and visit Vishwaroopa. This was not to Devendra's liking. Devendra requested Vishwaroopa to stop this practice but he did not agree. An argument ensued and Devendra killed Vishwaroopa.

Vishwaroopa's father Thwashtru Brahma was enraged at his son's killing by Devendra. He used his mystic powers and created a Demon "Vrutrasura". Vrutrasura conquered Devendra's place and captured him. Devendra managed to convince Vrutrasura to occupy Indra's throne and keep him as his friend. Vrutrasura accepted the offer. After a considerable period of time, Devendra and his team felt that the time is ripe to kill Vrutrasura and recapture their rightful places. There was one problem. Devendra does not have a weapon strong enough to kill Vrutrasura. The delegation before Dadheechi is for the purpose of acquiring such a weapon.......   
*****

Dadheechi smiled and asked Devendra what was the purpose of the visit. Devendra hesitatingly replied. "Bramharshi, You can only save us in the present situation. We have no weapon strong enough to kill Vrutrasura. Long periods of tapas has converted your bones into Vajra and they have become diamond-like. If you permit us to take your backbone, we can create "Vajraayudha" from it that can be used to finish Vrutrasura and enable us to get back our kingdom. We seek this favor from you". Dadheechi understood the import of the request. It meant that he had to embrace his death and surrender his body. He can no longer live and donate his body. A weapon will be created from his organ that can be used to kill the demon and help the devas.

"Do you want the backbone after my death or when I am alive?" asked the Rishi. "There is no use of the bone after your death Sir. It will become useless after your death. We need it when you are alive. You can release your soul from the body after we take the backbone", said Devendra. Dadheechi agreed and held his prana till the needful was done. He donated his backbone when he was alive. He is no more but his ultimate sacrifice of donating the organ of his body when still alive is remembered for ever. He is remembered with utmost reverence even today.  

*****
Harish Nanjappa was a 23 year old young marketing executive with many dreams about his future. His family had high hopes on the boy and looked forward to exciting times about him. He was going on his new Bajaj Pulsar on Bangalore-Tumkur Road on 16th February 2016. A sugar bags laden heavy truck overtook him and touched Harish while doing so. Harish was thrown below the tires of the truck. The tires ran over the middle of his body and it was cut into two pieces. The legs were thrown to a distance of a few feet from the head and torso. It was a ghastly sight and people feared to go near him. Many used their mobile phones to capture the video of his plight. Surprisingly, he was still alive despite his body being subjected to such unbearable pain and suffering. 

What Harish did in such a situation is beyond comprehension of ordinary mortals. Instead of crying over his plight, he begged the passersby to take him to the hospital. He knew that he would not survive, but his plea was for donating his organs to someone in need of it. He knew that he was finished but wanted to make good use of his body parts. The awareness he showed and the presence of mind baffled even the most experienced doctors. He died within few minutes after arrival at the hospital. But his wish was indeed fulfilled. His eyes were donated to an eye hospital. 
***** 

Bramharshi Dadheechi had renounced everything and his life was dedicated for welfare of others. Harish was a very young boy with dreams of a bright future. Dadheechi died to donate organs of his body. Harish had the presence of mind to donate his body parts when confronted with death in a most ghastly and tragic accident. 

It is very painful to write the concluding lines of this post. In fact, there is no need to conclude it. It is probably understood by anybody who reads this.....

Sunday, February 14, 2016

He shall carry his own burden

Ramu and Krishna were more friends than cousins. Born as the sons of the two brothers in the same year, they were naturally together most of the times. They lived in the small beautiful town, situate on the banks of the river with fine and clear water flow, with the old dilapidated fort in the background. They went to school together, playing all the way through the mile long distance. Evenings were again spent together playing in the river bed and the trees lined on either banks of the river. What started in the morning walk to the school continued till evening when both were constrained to go to their respective houses, separated by a street.

Those were the days when there was no concept of pre-school education and private schools charging hefty donations. The faithful government schools were the only ones available, except in big cities that had some private schools. A child admitted to the first standard would go on till middle school or high school, depending on his family's value for education. There was a nominal fee to be paid each year and many households found it difficult to pay even that. There used to be only one book for study each year till fourth standard. The only subject to be studied till then was one's mother tongue. Note books were not used till middle school. Slates and chalk was the source for writing practice.

There were no note books but there was homework. The extent of homework was confined to the area on both sides of the slate. Writing down on both sides of the slate was not a big order, but keeping the writing safe till it was shown to the teacher was indeed tough. The regular homework occupied sometime for the students as the writing had to be legible and neat. There could be a beating on the knuckles from the wooden frame of the slate, if the writing was not neat. Of course, no parent would fight the teacher for such blows on their wards. Students generally used the clay slate, though tin slates were available. Tin slates were unbreakable and light, but clay slates were good for writing with chalk pieces.

Krishna had the practice of finishing the homework on the way back from the school. He would take a look on the road ahead and write a word on the slate before taking another look. Thus his homework would be finished by the time he reached home. Ramu was not used to this practice and did his homework only after reaching home, but before proceeding to the evening play on the banks of the river. On a particular day when Krishna called out to Ramu for the evening play, Ramu had not yet finished his homework and needed time to finish it. Krishna became impatient, snatched Ramu's slate and finished the homework and urged Ramu to accompany him for the evening outing. Ramu followed him and they had a good evening games round. They returned after sunset.

Ramu's father had students coming to his house in the evening for tuitions. When Ramu entered the house, all the students were already sitting with their books and slates. Ramu hurriedly joined them and sat down. Krishna was curious to know the reaction of his uncle when he saw Ramu's slate. He stayed near the door expectantly. His uncle checked all the slates and asked for Ramu's now. Ramu was hesitant to show. "Where is your slate, Ramu", his father asked for the second time. Ramu did not respond. His father raised his hand and immediately Ramu handed over the slate. His father recognized that the handwriting was not that of Ramu. "Who wrote this?", his father asked in a stern voice. Ramu looked at the door. His father saw Krishna standing there and beckoned him to come inside the house. Krishna was afraid, but followed instructions.

"Did you write in Ramu's slate?", his father asked. Krishna acknowledged by the shake of the head. A blow landed on his back before anyone realized what was happening. Krishna and Ramu were both in tears. Ramu's mother intervened before another blow could land on Krishna. Both Ramu and Krishna were taken into the kitchen by her. Tuition for others continued and concluded shortly.

"You have beaten Krishna today. His father has never beaten him in his life. If he comes to know of this, he will come to beat you", Ramu's mother told her husband. He had cooled down by this time. He called Krishna and Ramu to sit near him. "Why did you write in Ramu's slate?" asked Ramu's father. "I wanted to help him finish his homework fast", answered Krishna. "Do you think what you did is right?", the uncle asked Krishna. Krishna was in no position to reply. "What is the result of your action, do you understand? You have done your lessons twice whereas Ramu has not done it even once. You may get an extra mark in the examination, but Ramu could fail", he said. 

"What you did is not help. Instead of helping, it will put Ramu into more difficulty. He becomes lazy. Your idea of help is all wrong. You are welcome to help anyone. But help in studies does not mean doing their studies. Helping should be by way of making them do their studies on their own, but not doing their work. Each one should do his own studies, reading and writing. Each one should carry his own burden in life. There are no short cuts. You cannot walk someone's distance. You are too young to understand now, but both of you should remember this. This will help you in your future life", his uncle concluded. Ramu's mother had some sweets ready by this time. The blow Krishna received was somewhat softened now.

Krishna went home but never mentioned this to his parents. He was not prepared for receiving another blow from his father or watch a fight between his father and uncle. Decades later, he still remembers the lesson. Each one shall carry his own burden. There are no short cuts in life.
*****

There are many complaints about malpractices in various examinations. Many students believe that they are helping their fellow students when they allow them to copy from their answer books in the examination hall. They think that suggesting answers by gestures and symbols is a form of help extended to their friends. They believe it is a form of help when they log in proxy for their classmates using their user-ID and Passwords for doing their assignments. 

The lesson given by Ramu's father to young Krishna is even more relevant today. Each one should carry his own burden. There are no short cuts in life. Such help does more harm indeed. Yes, we should remember that "He shall carry his own burden".

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Three Crops and Three Arrows

A farmer is continuously engaged in raising crops in his fields. He has raised many crops in the past. He has planted a crop in his fields right now. He is also preparing to sow crops in the future. Therefore, at any point in time, he has yields of three types of crops. Those already harvested, that which is ready for harvesting and those that are to be planted and harvested in the coming days.

What is the position of the harvested returns for his efforts? His house has a granary that contains the harvested grains of the crops raised in the past. There is also a standing crop ripe and ready for harvesting in the fields in the current season. He is also preparing for sowing more crops in the future.

What about an Archer? He has a quiver on his back which is full of arrows. He has an arrow that is placed on the bow and ready to be released. There is an arrow that was just released but has not yet reached the destination. The arrow that has been released from the bow and in motion now cannot be called back. It is beyond his control now. It will do its duty and reach its destination. Like the farmer mentioned above, he has three arrows at any time. The arrow which is released from the bow, the one that is ready for releasing and those in the quiver awaiting their turn.

*****  

The examples of the farmer and the archer are extensively used to explain the "Karma" theory. They (Karma) are primarily classified into three categories; Sanchita, Agami and Prarabdha. We often hear people say that they are living out their "Prarabdha". What does it mean?

Even as per accepted laws of Physics, every action has an equal reaction. Whether one desires or not, actions produce their results. There cannot be an action without a reaction or result. For any living being, actions are a continuous process. Even not doing anything and keeping idle is also an action and produce its own reaction. It is the action of inaction! Planting and watering a fruit bearing tree sapling will lead to its growth and will ultimately yield fruits. Planting a noxious weed would also result in returns of a number of noxious seeds. This is in accordance with the means and ends relationship. One who plants a noxious weed cannot ever hope to get a fruit in return. Similarly, planting and watering a fruit bearing sapling cannot result in giving back noxious weeds.

Actions produce the corresponding results irrespective of whether they were done knowing their nature or one is not aware of them. Drinking poison kills the person who knows its harmful effect and drank it for committing suicide. Drinking poison also kills a person who consumes it without knowing that it is poison. Fire burns the hands of an elder person who is aware of its burning nature. It also burns the hands of a child which touches it being attracted by the color of the flames, but not aware of its burning nature. Karmic actions bring their results in a similar manner. 

Sanchita Karma are accumulated karma of past lives. They represent  desires, aptitudes, tendencies and capabilities carried over from past lives. They are naturally cumulative result of many past actions. Banks have "Sanchita Deposit Schemes" where deposits are made in installments and their returns are given with interest on a future due date. Agami Karma are those that represent expected future karma. Prarabdha Karma are those which are ripe for reaping and cannot be avoided. One has to live them out and face their effects without fail. 

The crop ready for harvesting now and the arrow released from the bow and in motion are symbols of Prarabdha. One has no control over them now, even though their origin was due to one's own actions. The grain bags in the granary and arrows in the quiver represent the Sanchita karma. The crops to be sown in future and the arrow in the bow right now are symbols of Agami karma.

One has to remember that all Prarabdha is not necessarily bad. There are many "Sukha Prarabdha Karmas" as well. They are the results of the past good actions and bring good results.
*****

How to escape the effect of these Karmas? Some say that they cannot be avoided and their fruits have to be lived through. Some say that the protection of a "Sadguru" helps in reducing their effects. Believing in the Lord and doing one's duty dispassionately helps in reducing the impact of the various bad karmas. Probably the best strategy would be not to enter into bad karmas willingly. Do not plant noxious weeds. There won't be any noxious harvests!

What about those who do not believe in the theory of Karma? What about those who do not believe in the existence of the "Sadguru" or the "Lord"? They are the gifted ones as they need not worry about Karma at all. They too cannot escape the effects of their actions, but they need not spend any time on worrying about it.