Monday, 3 May 2021

Yoga to the rescue.

 History has seen several pandemics. Nearly 500 million people have perished due to pandemics in the last 12 millenniums, says a study. The modern world with all its advancements in medicine and technology is beset with another problem now.  That is the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which will affect a considerable number of people even after the wave of virus recedes. People who themselves have suffered due to the virus attack; people who have learnt about the death of their dear ones but could not attend the funeral due to the restrictions in travel; people who have exposed themselves constantly to aversive details through social media; people who have first-hand experience of the suffering, e.g. Doctors, Hospital personnel. Health care workers etc, are bound to be affected by this problem.

Apart from this direct impact of the virus there are other causes which will also impair a person’s psyche in an enormous way, such as, social isolation, unemployment, economic losses etc. The fear of virus exposure may go away from the public memory, but the terrible experience due to the above mentioned reasons will have a lasting impact. This stress and depression will lead to many other health problems. Many studies are being undertaken throughout the world to gauge the psychological impact of this pandemic. 

We can take solace from the fact that the Humanity has bounced back to normalcy from the earlier pandemic attacks. This time too that will happen though with a little bit more difficulty. The very advancements in the fields of Medicine and Technology, which have made our life cozy and with more longevity, it will also be the one to impede our recovery. Because, the recovery essentially asks for a minimalistic life style, which is antithetical to the modern life style. But the bitter pill has to be swallowed nevertheless, in order to come out of this dreadful state.

This is where organizations like Vivekananda Kendra have a role to play in the society. The resultant mental fatigue of the Covid Pandemic can be tackled by switching over to the Yoga way of life. Though this is something which organizations like ours, do regularly, now there is a dire need to do this activity with more intensity and far wider outreach. Manah prasamanah upaya yoga- ityabhi dhiyate, It is a subtle technique to tackle the problems which arise in the Mind, says Yoga Vasishta. This is the purpose of Yoga too. This science is more needed now to Humanity than at any other point of time in the History.



V.V.Balasubramanian

YB-ET

Saturday, 24 April 2021

syāt pradānaṁ tato’dhikam

 India’s role in helping the world community to wriggle itself out of the present Pandemic crisis is a sign that it is coming of age to assume its role of Jagadguru. The “Vaccine Maitri” initiative is a step towards that goal. When the panic driven world succumbed economically due to the spread of virus, very few would have expected that the solution will come from India. But the supposedly developing country had the answer to this global threat. Out of the vaccines which have been developed, the Indigenously developed Covaxin has found a lot of recipients in the world.  Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India has extended medical and other assistance to more than 150 countries in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. But apart from this Our Great land has something more to offer as a relief to the Humanity. It is the spiritual solution to the other more dangerous pandemic called Religious Fundamentalism. The world should listen to sane voice of India once the pandemic dust settles in. Swami Vivekananda said that, “Every other problem in life must be subordinated to that one principle theme(religion). That is also the law of Harmony in music. There may be a nation whose theme of life is Political Supremacy; religion and everything else must become subordinate to that one great theme of its life. But here is another nation whose great theme of life is Spirituality and renuncia
tion, whose one watchword is that this world is all Vanity and a delusion of three days”. 

The world direly needs the lesson of unselfishness now. Because there can be no Spiritual Journey possible where selfishness resides. India’s recent showing is an example of how a country, if properly guided by men of extraordinary will, can give the world a practical lesson in being unselfish. Giving more to the society than what we actually recive from it. Even when our own society is reeling under the threat of the Pandemic, India has extended its helping hand to several countries, many of which are very poor ones. The real test of an evolved society lies in the way it handles the obstacles and we have proved to the world that we are capable of guiding them.


V.V.Balasubramanian

YB-ET

Freedom of expression

 The chaos witnessed during the Republic day in our Capital were unprecedented. To our shock and dismay we saw our national flag being disrespected and brought down. This unpardonable crime has some back ground instigators and plotters who are all lined up before the law now. The act by one Disha Ravi is being probed by the police and the very same probe is being questioned by the liberals as an act which undermines the freedom of expression. But does it fall under the ambit of freedom of expression? Can we really afford to brush aside such seditious acts under the garb of freedom of expression? Supporting the farmer’s agitation is one, but aligning with known Khalistani separatists is another one.  It is an act which undermines our sovereignty. An act which lowered the dignity of our national Flag, that too on the occasion of our Republic day, cannot be pardoned so easily. It cannot be construed as an innocent act which exceeded its limit.  She has worked in tandem with a Canada based organization which aims at breaking India and spread riots on the republic day just to defame our elected Government and bring it down as a result. 

Citing her age is not justified as even juveniles can be tried under adult laws considering severity of the offences they commit. And she is not that young to take shelter under that argument either. When a girl is trapped in Love jihad, the liberals who give vocal support to the Jamats say that the girl is an adult and she is capable of making her own decisions. But when it comes to such seditious acts they take refuge under the argument that she is not matured enough to understand the consequences of her acts. This argument has two fallacies wrapped into one. One they accept that the act is such a grievous one, and that they accept she has committed a crime against the Nation. Second is the fact that she is not a juvenile. As an educated adult individual she knows very well the consequences of her actions. She calls herself a climate activist and such a person cannot be presumed to be an innocent one when it comes to the issue which is of grave concern as far as our National Security is concerned. Law cannot presume a person to be ignorant especially when they have committed a crime against the Nation. The question also arises that if she feels that she is not guilty then why did she erase all the chats? The toolkit which she edited and sent to others to mobilize force to fight against the country is an offence against our Nation. The breaking India forces are working in unison. Time for us to gather all the scattered energies to work for the Nation.


V.V.Balasubramanian

YB-ET

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Need for Bharat.

 The world at present is witnessing two extremes of attitudes, the good and the bad, from two of the oldest of nations. The bad came from China and the entire Humanity suffered because of the Covid 19 Virus, which apparently originated from the labs of Wuhan.  More than 99 million people got affected by this Virus and around 2.13 million people perished in the last eight months due to this deadly biological weapon unleashed by the Chinese. Gone are the days of conventional wars. Nowadays the wars are fought by such surreptitious means, for which the world has to be prepared. Man has proved once again that he is the worst enemy of Humanity and also for the entire environment. 

Quite contrary to this unethical warfare another oldest nation has displayed what goes to prove that all is not lost for Humanity. India has developed a vaccine for this deadly virus and apart from giving relief to its countrymen it has also given succor to its neighboring countries and other poor and under developed counties.  India has announced that it will give the Vaccine to many of its neighbors and to some at free of cost. Already shipment of vaccine has reached Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Mauritius and Seychelles, just days after India launched its own nationwide inoculation program. This is also an effort to preempt the rich countries who would attempt to hoard vaccines by striking pre-purchase deals with pharmaceutical companies, across the world. India has also sent the vaccine to Brazil and the Brazil president Jair Messias Bolsonaro has equated India’s effort to that of Lord Hanuman bringing the Sanjeevani mountain to bring Lakshmana alive in the Ramayana war. Last year also India came to the aid of Brazil and USA when they needed anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine. This move of sending the vaccine in millions to the South Asian Counties will also be a move to counter the dominance China has in this region. India has clearly sent a subtle signal to the world that it will not be creating any problems but rather will be part of the solution. This is DHARMA in action.

Swami Vivekananda's historic meditation on the Sreepada Shila in Kanyakumari

Have you ever heard of a young unknown Wandering Monk doing Dhyana to know the root cause of the downfall of a great nation from its pinnacle of spiritual glory to the depth of degradation?

Have you ever heard a young sanyasi with full of vigour and vitality, doing Dhyana in the midst of ocean, in an isolated spot, to plan for the revitalisation of the dormant Hindu Society, living like worms in the gutter water under the tyranny of British rule.

Yes! It happened at Kanyakumari, the holy Sreepadam of Bharat Mata where the three oceans meet to wash Mother’s feet uninterruptedly from time immemorial.

That young monk was Swami Vivekananda who reached Kanyakumari on 24th December 1892 after a long and strenuous journey starting from Kolkata in the year 1888.  In his long and hazardous sojourn he visited most of the holy places of North India and then came down to south after covering the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Mysore and Travancore Cochin. It was a great education for the youthful Swamiji meeting people face to face and knowing their trials and tribulations. He had occasion to live with Kings, princes, rich businessmen, intellectuals and also often with common men. He could visit many of the historical places of India and saw how many Hindu temples, libraries and cultural centres were want only destroyed by the unscrupulous and barbaric Muslim invaders. He also could gauge to what extent India’s treasuries containing precious wealth were looted by the British rulers. He could see with his own eyes how the masses of India are living in poverty and disease. Swamiji’s heart pained to see how the English educated Indians were serving the British masters, forgetting their own brothers living in most pitiable condition.

He reached Kanyakumari with a very heavy heart. He remembered his Guru Sri Ramakrishna’s words: “Naren, you have to do Mother’s work”. But Swami Vivekananda was not very clear about what his Guru had said while he was alive. Having reached Kanyakumari, as a worshipper of Shakthi, Swamiji decided to go to the temple of Goddess Kanyakumari, one of the oldest and well-known places of Devi worship in the southern part of India. He entered the temple and prostrated before the deity, with tears rolling down from his eyes and deep pain in heart. He sat and prayed to the Goddess, “How can I serve you, Oh Mother! Are you not able to see the living condition of your children under a unholy regime. Show me the way that I can be an instrument in Thy hands, for giving them freedom from the foreign yoke. Let my country and my people regain their lost glory and manliness”.

After having a face to face dialogue with Mother, who was personified in the beautiful deity, Swamiji came out of the temple. What a beautiful sight was waiting for him! A long stretch of beach of colourful sand, comprising red, black and white spread out to the far extent. Swamiji walked in the beach for some time. He saw the confluence (Sangam) of the three oceans. Also he could see from the beach, the Rock, known as Sreepada shila. He learnt from the people moving around in the beach that the Rock in the midst of the ocean has a Foot print of Goddess Parvati and local Hindus visited the Rock during the festival days. As he heard this he felt an intense urge to go to the Rock and spend some time in that isolated spot, in contemplation.

His urge was so intense that he jumped into the sea and swam to the Rock, all alone, braving the waves and sharks. He climbed over the rock and saw the foot print of Goddess Parvati. As he looked towards North, he could see the vastness and feel the greatness of our Motherland. Swamiji could visualise the undivided Hindu Rashtra extending her cultural influence by peaceful means from Iran, Afghanistan to South East Asia.

Soon the young Swamiji fell into a deep meditation. It was a meditation, not for his own mukti, but for the salvation of an age old nation and its people from the oppressive foreign domination.  Sri. P.Parameswaranji, writes in his preface to the book titled “Arise! Awake!!” Swamiji’s quest for the eternal covers millennia of India’s history at the spiritual level which of course is the true source and strength of India in all its facets of national life. Naturally, it is the saints and sages, spiritual stalwarts whose appearance at each turning point of our national life that shaped our collective identity and made it what it is. Not that India was lagging behind other nations, in material advancement and achievement, but the governing principle that influenced all such endeavours was spirituality”.

After three days and night of deep meditation, Swamiji regained his consciousness. The epoch making Dhyana transformed the young Sanyasi, from an ordinary monk to a world teacher, to a great social reformer, an organizer par - excellence, a spiritual dynamo. Yes! Saviour of Mother India and her children has arrived on the world stage. It was the beginning of the eruption of a spiritual volcano, which is going to unleash its hither to hidden powers for the next several generation. No power on the earth can stop it. It is the power of a “Shakti”, which wanted to work through Swami Vivekananda”.

On reaching the mainland, when asked by some curious people as to what was he doing for such long time, he simply replied that the world will come to know about it very soon. But at Madras while he was talking to some of his close disciples he said, “At Kanyakumari sitting at the last bit of Indian soil, I hit upon a plan”!  He further elaborated that his plan was to organise the Hindus and awaken their dormant spiritual power. During his long wandering he could see the people of Bharat are divided into various caste and groups. Nowhere he saw unity among Hindus. He saw not only a disorganised Hindu society but also one which lost its spiritual moorings. Therefore Swamiji’s epic meditation on the rock gave him the vision and mission for the life.

Swargeeya Eknathji Ranade, the spirit behind the Vivekananda Rock Memorial and Vivekananda Kendra, while describing the posture of the Statue installed on the Memorial, said, “that it is a very unique posture. I wanted it to be seen by all that the Swamiji has just got up from his meditation with full of determination to do something great. Swamiji’s face and eyes reflects “Gambeerya” (firmness), his erect body shows the power, of lightening, and his putting right foot forward indicates, the onset of a spiritual tornado.

Swamiji felt that the time tested Vedanta philosophy of oneness must be taken to the west. There was no point in teaching this philosophy to the starving millions of our country. What they need immediately is food, water, shelter, clothe to wear and medicines. Swamiji said, “Yes, I shall go to the West, where the materialism rules. I will give the West, the message of Vedanta and in turn get material help and modem science and technology for our countrymen who are in dire need of it.

On 11th September 1893, a Vedantic tidal wave hit the Parliament of Religions at Chicago, which was organised to show the supremacy of the Christianity over rest of the world. Swami Vivekananda, in his inaugural speech of 2 ½  minutes duration set fire to the vast assembly, which reverberated from one corner to another corner of the world. The speech mystified the whole audience and brought a great attitudinal change in their mindset towards Santana Dharma and particularly about India. That day onwards, the Vedanta of the Hindus took the center stage. From Chicago, the Vedantic tidal wave spread to whole of America, Britan and France. Hither to unknown Indian sub-continent turned into a spiritual lighthouse for the humanity.

After his historic triumph over the west, Swamiji returned to India in 1897 to a rousing welcome given to a sanyasi hitherto unknown in the history of our nation. Seeing the overwhelming reception given to him by the people of Madras, Swamiji, while addressing the vast gathering of young men and women told; “For the next fifty years this alone shall be our key-note-this, our great Mother India. Let all other vain gods disappear for the time from our minds. This is the only God that is awake, our own race - “everywhere his hands, everywhere his feet, everywhere his ears, he covers everything.” All other Gods are sleeping. What vain gods shall we go after and yet cannot worship the God that we see all around us, the Virat? When we have worshipped this, we shall be able to worship all the other Gods what is needed is chittashuddhi, purification of the heart. And how does that come?  First of all worship is the worship of the Virat ……. of those all around us.  Worship it …. These are all our gods - men and animals; and the first God we have to worship are our countrymen. These we have to worship, instead of being jealous of each other and fighting with each other. It is the most terrible Karma for which we are suffering and yet it does not open our eyes (CW-III 300-301).

Eknathji Ranade, therefore very aptly adopted the Motto of Vivekananda Kendra as “Serve man- Serve God”, with the twin objectives of Man-making and Nation building as envisaged by Swami Vivekananda.

There is only one way of organising the Hindu society, that is by rendering Nishkama Seva and there by slowly awakening the dormant divinity covered with impurity and selfishness.

Vande Mataram

                                   A.Balakrishnan

                      Editor