SUMMARY: Bhaja Govindam Class 14 - 16/04/23
Chinmaya UK Study Class, Śaṅkarācārya, Swami Chinmayananda (Sw. C.)
bālastāvatkrīḍāsaktaḥ taruṇastāvattaruṇīsaktaḥ |
vṛddhastāvaccintāsaktaḥ parame brahmaṇi ko'pi na saktaḥ || 7 ||
So long as one is in one’s boyhood, one is attached to play;
so long as one is in youth, one is attached to one’s own young woman (passion);
so long as one is in old age, one is attached to anxiety (pang);
(Yet) no one (hardly anyone), is (ever seen) attached to the Supreme Brahman!
Verse 7: Autobiography of the 99% cont...
OMG!! Who's there...can you please stooo....
It's Śaṅkarācārya.... now don't ask Śaṅkara who, ...this is a wake-up call to be alert to the unconscious way of living....
Life is short. The pilgrimage is long.
You spent childhood attached to play: dolls, balls, Nintendo's, collecting trinkets and cards - treasure to a child mind....
Your youth went on mindless, lustful passion, on men/women, earning, dressing, yearning to impress...then some children came, so you work harder to feed, dress, take care of their games, education....until...old age comes with worry, habits, regret.
If you continue like this, there really will only be pangs of worry - from memories of the life you lived, the fear of your health, of death, of how your loved ones will be will and so on and on...
Unless we become aware...this is how we (the 99%) unwittingly spend our lives., until...knock knock...and you answer the call, or at least enquire into life's desires...and bhaja govindam - seek the higher!
Where is the time to think of the Higher?
Śaṅkarācārya, you don't understand - we got weddings to plan, kids to feed, bills to pay, tv to watch, family to take care of etc. We can seek later!!
Waiting for the right time to think about higher things is like waiting for the waves of the ocean to stop before going for a swim. You have come to swim...that's the purpose, but the time must be right!
Lol...that will never happen. The nature of the ocean is waviness(!), just like the nature of life is ups and downs and goings on that never cease.
The time to seak is NOW, amidst it all.
So, what to do, Śaṅkarācārya? Sigh, what to do??!!
Intelligently i.e. think for yourself (not blindly follow), and examine this life. Reflect, think!!
Then, automatically, we'll want to give up the extreme sense of attachment to the world.
NOTE it is not being said here to give up the world - but the extreme sense of attachment to it that comes with thinking our happiness lies somewhere in the external world.
When we stop running after every passing fancy; new toy, new crush, new way of getting them to be who we want them to be, new job, new clothes, new position etc etc...because we think they will finally make us happy - when we realise there's nothing in this world that can give us the permanent sense of fulfilment and happiness that all of us (without exception) are seeking, then the extreme attachment falls aside, and we are free to play our chosen/given roles.
[Remember, every person, situation, and object is a self-addressed envelope diligently delivered today from our past action....so in that way, it seems given, but it was really chosen.]
The key now, in this present moment, is to be present to what is in front of us and choose consciously how to respond. I.e., live in the present, awake and alive to the moment. Not from our habits of the past.
Ask - is this taking us higher - the path of the good, or is it pleasant in the moment but later will cause sorrow, regret, remorse?
Hold on, it's really hard to do that, and WHY drop the attachment to the world? What else is there?
Extrovertedness is natural to all living creatures - our sense organs are created to go outwards, and so we generally live at the sense level and feel that our sense of fulfilment is only in sense-indulgent.
Think about this for a moment; over the thousands of years of evolution, it has been extremely helpful for our senses to be turned outward for survival. We can see danger coming or hear noises that can signal danger...but today, the dangers are different because they are psychological dangers rather than purely physical.
Most of us reading this have our basic needs met; we are not scavenging for food or living in forests where we need to be on the lookout for wild animals who prey on us. We need not physically run from any tiger or snake; there is no need to sniff out poisonous food from sweet-smelling ones.
Today, we perceive our neighbour as dangerous or the 'other side' (those who may have a different viewpoint) as dangerous. We have lost the ability to trust our fellow humans.
And this is all being overtly polarised and exaggerated, and fakified (yes, it's a new fake word!) on social media.
The very real dangers now are in our houses - the phones, laptops, Alexas, that know more about us than we know. We are becoming addicted (the technology is made to be addictive - because our minds release tiny bits of dopamine or adrenaline every time we scroll and see something we like/don't like- and our likes/dislikes are all noted to make a digital profile that is being sold things to - be it fake news, fake boobs, fake fries....we are hooked to consume by those who want to sell us mindless garbage - we get aggressive because of this unfulfilling sugar-coated stuff that we are consuming (and this is what is allowing crazy men to become leaders of our world, the reason we pay celebrities millions and teachers and nurses stand in bread-lines, the reason why the Earths a mess and we are dreaming of Mars)
We are becoming addicted to noise, to artificial worlds, to overconsumption, to greed - all of the things that when we ask ourselves, in the vast array of human qualities, what are the worst: Greed, lust, aggression. Exactly what's being sold to us!
We digress...back to the text...
But it's really hard to control these things - what can we do???
Extrovertedness is natural to all creatures BUT, says Sw. C., inexcusable in humans.
Other creatures live as commissioned by their instincts; humans have the freedom to rationally judge our own inclinations, temperaments and tendencies, rejecting them when they are found to be foolish and dangerous. That's the reason humans are considered the crown of creation.
Therefore, humans have the capacity, when we use our intellectual and intuitive faculties, to raise ourselves to the highest perfection.
When we do this, life can have a goal, a mission or at least a purpose. "Without a purpose, the people perish", says the bible.
When we have a goal or direction of some sought, whether it's moksha (liberation) or dharma (righteousness (which almost seems like a bad word in these times)), artha /kama (pursued in a dharmic way), then our energies are concentrated in that direction and not dissipated and wasted into meaningless, wasteful, lustful, gossipy activities. It gives us time and energy to seek the higher.
From the time we are born to the time when the body's capacities start to wane, humans are rarely idle - we are ever active (even the most tamasic lazy amongst us, when desire is strong, activity occurs)
Playpens, playfields, love-arbours and romance worlds, hospital beds and infirmaries are the usual fields of our attachments and industrious activities.
AND all the time, life constantly ebbs away. Unceasingly. Tick, tock, tick tock...
It is difficult, but the fact that you find yourself reading this kind of teaching means it is not impossible. Kathaka Rishi says "only the rare ones, who desiring to realise the Highest, withdraws themselves from the preoccupations of the senses and seek the Changeless and the Immutable.”
To be attached to the Lord/higher ideals is to learn to withdraw from the usual fields of pain-ridden sorrow—the ephemeral gains and the shocking losses. Even for just 30mins-one hour a day, if we can dedicate ourselves to something higher, some sadhana to master our puppy-dog/monkey minds, it'll soon permeate into more of our life. If we can commit to one habit that makes us aware of our minds throughout the day, eg, to never lie or never gossip, or never hurt another being (including ourselves - the thoughts/habit patterns in our own heads are sometimes crueller than anything anyone outside can say)
To turn to the Higher is to attach ourselves to the Universal Life Force, and by this attachment, any sincere seeker can bring about an efficient detachment from the ever-changing realms of objects.
Remember, we are just specks of being, whizzing around this tiny blue dot, in the middle of our universe, in a corner of the multiverse...just think of the Infinite, Incredible, Awesome Reality which is this Life! WAKE UP and enjoy this ride!!
Śaṅkaraaaaaacāryaaaaa jiiiiiiiiiii...I know this; it's very nice and all...but, ahem, you know, what about my husband/wife, my kids....my family...
...and this is the topic of our next class...!