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First Necessity: To Realize Self

A beautiful pair of cranes was sitting on a tree in the silence of noon. The sun was hot, but the tree gave the couple cool comfort. The birds were happy; kissing and talking to each other, probably, about their young one who had recently left their cozy shelter and flown in the freedom of vast sky and dense forest. 'Must he be all right, free from danger, and successful in getting his mate!' the birds must be talking.

A sage was living nearby hut, watching the pair with great satisfaction and joy. His heart had become broad and pure enough through meditation and contemplation to become one with the joys and sorrows of every creature. His name was Valmiki, who later composed/wrote the greatest Indian Epic - The Ramayana.

But his joy, and joy of the courting pair, was short-lived, for there came a sharp and speedy arrow piercing the breast of one of the birds. 'Kri, kri' cried the bird and fell down on the ground. The other one, restless and in great anguish, circled around her mate.

Tears of disbelief, dejection, and anger swelled in the eyes of the noble sage, and spontaneously with it the first stanza of the poetry was born:

maa nishaad pratishtham tvam agam shaashwati samaa
yat-kronch-mithunaadekam avadhi kaam-mohitam

This roughly means 'O hunter, you have killed the innocent bird who was enjoying the sweetest moment in his life. You had no right to attack the weak and who had no enmity with you. Peace will ever elude you henceforth, o cruel one, for time eternal.'

And indeed the peace has left us all since then!

Modern context

We continue to behave like that hunter, trying to seek and 'encash' our privileges by exploiting the weak and innocent. All the religious teachings, be in scriptures or mythologies, try to impress upon the humanity to desist from such cruel act of injuring others physically or by words or deeds. The profit or utility factor in such acts is in fact miniscule or unimportant, but the ego gets swelled and satisfied by such authoritarian behaviour. Science in essence also seeks selflessness and generosity, compassion and kindness, but scientific and cultural refinement has not yet become universal and widespread phenomenon. To add to the pathos, the weak and the exploited also do not make efforts to hold their heads high with dignity and self respect, and, as if, are hypnotized to remain satisfied in the slavish mode.

Once a devotee asked the Holy Mother Ma Saradadevi: "What is the aim in life?"
And the Mother replied: "To realize God and to be absorbed uninterruptedly in His consciousness is the aim."

The same point is also elaborated in Narayana Upanishad, verse 5, which says:

Yat kinchit jagat sarvam cha shruyate api drishyate
Vaa tat sarvam antah bahih cha vyapya Narayanah sthitah

Translated in English it means: Whatever is seen in this universe, that all is filled with Narayana, both inside and outside.

This mantra talks of presence of God (divinity) all around. But it is inexplicable how easily we individuals forget or exclude the Lord from our list! In fact, individual is the beginning and end of the universe; the person is not in the universe, but universe is within the person. Therefore, it becomes mandatory on the part of every individual first to think of the presence of God within his/her heart, and, if I may go one step further, to experience the truth of this fact for himself or herself so that the same God may become visible to him/her in other beings as well. The mantra is the key to bring back the elusive peace all around.

In other words, every person, by necessity, has to realize his/her true divine strength. At present we tend to stop at the level of physical and intellectual power residing in us, but forget to bring forth the true divine strength of immense magnitude that would manifest within us when we shall go one step ahead and realize God in us.

What would be the benefit, in particular to the rich and privileged? Do they really need to realize God within, when their god is money, power, wealth, and the privileges these material gains bring to them?

The answer is, the God is the illumination behind the intellect as well other forms of strength. He makes the power pure, compassionate, and loving. It is the source of all goodness, kindness and holiness. The powerful who is but cruel and vindictive, the powerful who is but proud and deceitful, the powerful who is but greedy and lustful, such powerful persons would give up animal passions and would thus benefit as well by attempts to realize God within. In other words, the hunter within them would die.

And of course, for the weak He comes as the inner strength, self-respect, and dignity. The poor comes out of the trap of slavish mentality, helplessness, and hopelessness. For him reliance on God becomes the unending source of power and strength. Poverty and want do not come in their way of expressing divinity within them when the poor and underprivileged seek Him.

Thus, sadhana or spiritual practice, in any form, is the first necessity to realize the divine in our heart never goes waste. It makes the mind clean, pious, sharp, and conducive to accept reason and rationality. Where physical science fails or ends, there spiritual science of Upanishads takes over, if I may say so. But the best results are obtained when we simultaneously make the best use of physical and spiritual scientific attitudes.
God here in this write up means 'our own true Self' and not any anthropomorphic existence outside us, as in heaven etc.
C S Shah

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