Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Austerity of Speech and Socrates Test of Three

Austerity means being in a state of self-control or a state of denial.In sanskrit, it can be translated as Tapas or following a steady practice with the aim of spiritual or higher gains.In Chapter 17 of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna explains various types of austrities that elevate ones consciousness from the material or worldly platform to that of spiritual.The verse 15 below, especially talks about the austerity of speech.
“anudvega-karam vakyam
 satyam priya-hitam ca yat
 svadhyayabhyasanam caiva
 van-mayam tapa ucyate
Translation: Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature(Bg 17.15)”.
I think, this is a very important verse that is useful not only for spiritual but also for day to day basis. It is the general tendency of people to gossip about something or someone, either at work place or
meeting up with friends.Gossip - is the root cause of so many misunderstandings,tensions,friction between people and friends. The whole atmosphere and the relationships are spoilt just by this.Ever wonder why people gossip ?. I think one reason is that people who feel low or bad about themselves get a temporary relief by talking bad about others or trying to expose or show something negative in others.And, there are so many other reasons like, people gossip to get some attention, popularity, envy, to make them feel part of a group etc. It is said that if you find a fault in someone, it is because you have that same fault within you – hundreds of times more than what you are trying to show in another person. Of course, this is not same as constructive criticism by some well wishers, parents or seniors. Thus, control of tongue or urge to speak nonsense is the most important aspect of Austerity of speech.
In ancient Greece,Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom. One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of  your students?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test called, the Test of Three."
"Test of Three?"
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
No," the man said, "actually I just heard about It."
"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued. "You may still pass though, because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good nor even Useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.So next time, you meet someone and they want to say something to you, You know what to ask?.Is it true, useful and something good ?.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Which Exit to take and Whom to depend on ?.

An Empty Freeway

Long Time ago, when I was still new to Melbourne, I went to Tullamarine Airport to drop my friend.I don't know the route but, he was guiding me and reached Airport without much problem.He gave me ample instructions of going back with details like, which exit to take etc.But, you know when you are new, everything looks same and you get jumbled up with the names of the road.Becuase, I was smart (I thought so), I was not carrying anything like a Navigator or a Melway.And, it was a pre Smartphone era.So before starting from the Airport, I called one of my friend to ask for directions.It was a Saturday morning and he had a big night the day before.So, he picked up the phone and said, OK call me after 5 minutes when you are on the road. So I started off and after five mins, I called him and it went to his voice mail. Frantically, I tried again and again with no luck. Here, I am on the Freeway trying to figure out, which exit to take and avoid the Tollway and don’t know which exit to take. Somehow, I took one of the exits, the Bell street and managed to reach
home safely without paying Toll charges. After couple of hours, I got a call back from my friend and the first thing he asked me was, where are you.Apparently, he got a dream that I was driving on Hume Highway, on way to Sydney and looking for an exit. We both had a good laugh and he is still a good friend.The takeaway from this incident is that, in life you have to be careful about depending on people in making crucial decisions and choices.This is a simple incident but, in life we do come across many situations like this.For example, I know an elderly person, one of my relatives.He is scared of death and never wants to be alone.So, always wants to be
surrounded by some of the family members like his wife, children etc. But, really when the time comes, even though one is surrounded by all the people whom we love, who can save us from the imminent death.? When the time comes,no one can save others.
In Srimad Bhagavatam it is said,
atma-sainyesv asatsv api
tesam pramatto nidhanam
pasyann api na pasyat
Translation: "Persons devoid of atma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children and wife, etc. Although sufficiently experienced, still, they do not see their inevitable destruction."
Deha - Body, apatrya - children, Kalatra - wife. Sukadeva Gosvami is telling Pariksit Maharaja that "These things will not give you protection."(Bhagavatam 2.1.4)

Further on, in the next verse he advises,
tasmad bharata sarvatma
bhagavan isvaro harih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca
smartavyas cecchatabhayam
Translation: O descendant of King Bharata, one who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the savior from all miseries.   (Bhagavatam 2.1.5)

Friday, 9 October 2015

The three gates leading to Hell

tri-vidham narakasyedam
dvāram nāśanam ātmanah
kāmah krodhas tathā lobhas
tasmād etat trayam tyajet
There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.(Bhagavad Gita 16.21)
Lust, Anger and greed as explained by Lord Krishna are the three gates that leads one who is affected by these qualities to hell. These qualities should be given up by a man of discrimination because, they cause the degradation of the soul. Generally, the demons are described as having these qualities and a person who becomes prey to these himself  becomes demoniac. And, of all the three a lust is considered as the most deadliest and insatiable and difficult to control. It is said that nothing in the three worlds can ever satisfy a lusty person. Lust is said to be more deadly than a snake poison because, a snake bite can be cured by administering a right antidote but, there is no remedy for lust.
Thus, when one tries to satisfy lust, there are some serious implications. One who is lusty can never be satisfied permanently. And, when one get temporary enjoyment and happiness by the action, they in-turn make him more lusty and more greedy, because he wants that happiness more and more. When someone is unable to satisfy lust, anger develops and greed arises. That is , whatever he is not able to enjoy, even other also should not be able to enjoy.
This is what happened in the case of Ravana, who was so lusty that he was not happy, even after having enjoyed beautiful woman, and having hundreds of wives, the moment he heard about Mother Sita and incited by Shurpanaka, he immediately wanted to enjoy her.Disguised as a saint, he kidnapped her by force. In the process he lost everything, including his brother, his son and all his army of demons. Finally, he lost his life killed by mighty arrows of Lord Rama.The problem of Ravana is that he wanted to enjoy Sita, separately from Lord Rama.
Generally, Lust is used to denote a strong desire for sex, but it can also mean lot of things like being lusty for power. Basically, any strong or dirty desire that is abnormal and cannot be satisfied. The only way to control lust is by purifying ones consciousness by practice of spirituality, by developing right conduct, regulating ones life and habits, developing vairagya or detachment. By experiencing a higher, spiritual taste one gradually able to gives up the lower modes and tastes.
Once a colleague of mine told me that, he was cleaning up his bedroom, ward robe and took out nearly 25 t shirts and shirts. Some of them he wore only once or twice and others he never wore them at all. Then, I asked him why did you buy so many, when you don't or cant wear them?.This is OK, I thought especially when I remembered the wife of former dictator  president and military rules of Philippines,served as a First Lady  she had about a collection of 3000 shoes which were destroyed by termites and floods after lying in storage for 26 years.

Nothing in this world can satisfy a lusty person.