Saturday, 25 July 2015

Save Mother Earth - Environmental Ethos In Vedic Times

Today, the natural resources of the earth are being mindlessly exploited globally far beyond need, resulting in a poor state of their regeneration and causing irreversible damage to the planet. This year's World Environment Day theme ­`Seven billion dreams. One planet. Consume with care' ­ therefore, is highly relevant.

Starting from space, a Vedic mantra, `prithivy apah tejah vayuh akashat' depicts sequential primal appearance of the five basic gross substances, called `panch mahabhuta' ­ namely, space, air, fire or energy, water and earth ­ from which all universal matter is created.

Water has enjoyed the highest social and religious status in ancient Indic culture. Prayers in all four main Vedas refer to water as nectar, honey, source of life, protector of earth and environment, cleanser of sins, generator of prosperity, and ambrosia. Sages in Yajur Veda pray thus, "O Water, thou art the reservoir of welfare and propriety, sustain us to become strong. We look up to thee to be blessed by thy kind ambrosia on this earth. O water, we approach thee to get rid of our sins." Rivers were considered divine and worshipped as goddesses and people were ordained to use their life-sustaining waters most judiciously and with greatest reverence.

Today, we have lost sight of the fact that the resources are finite. Of all of earth's water, only 0.007% is accessible for human use. Today, globally more than 1.1 billion people have inadequate availability of water.

In Vedic cosmology, Prithvi or earth symbolises material base as mother and the Dyaus, upper sky or heaven, symbolises the unmanifested immortal source as father, which together and between them, provide paryavaran, the environment.

An Atharva Veda hymn says, "Mata bhoomih putroham prithivyaah," reminding us of our responsibility not only towards our motherland but also to Planet Earth. The mantra refers to earth differently as `bhoomi' and `prithvi' implying that while my motherland is my mother, i am also a child of Planet Earth.

The Yajur Veda addresses Prithvi as a guardian, praised for being benevolent to humankind, and is prayed to for continued protection: "O Earth! Fill up your broad heart with the vital healing air, waters and flora. May the benevolent life giving air circulate for a bountiful Earth." Another prayer says, "Pleasant be you to us, O Earth, without a thorn be our habitation. May your development grant us bliss and sustenance."

In hymns of the Rig Veda, seers seek blessings of the sun and wish every part of the earth to be prosperous and mountains, waters, and rivers to be propitious. The importance of vital healing air, fresh unpolluted waters and healthy flora on earth was recognised and wished for in the hymns of the Atharva Veda.

Nature and its seasons are governed by cosmic laws of integration and balance, called `Rit' in the vedas. Keeping an eye on Rit, human activities can be directed to global sustainable development. A hymn of the Yajur Veda says, "O learned people, fully realise your conduct towards different objects of the universe." But, in today's world we are misusing scientific and technological breakthroughs to indiscreetly and greedily exploit natural resources, thereby causing imbalances that make it difficult to maintain natural harmony.

Ancient Indic philosophy always wished for everyone to be happy and free from ailments, "Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, sarve santu niraamayaah" ­ Let everyone be well and happy ­ and pleaded for an all-inclusive holistic development on the planet for harmony, "Saa no bhoomirvardhayad vardhamaanaa" as in the `Bhumi Sukta' of Atharva Veda.

Written by Kamla Nath Sharma - First Published in

Saturday, 18 July 2015

There Is No Need To Believe In God

Interaction: Osho

How can one believe in a God one cannot see?
Who is telling you to believe in God? I am against all belief. Belief is irreligious, as much as disbelief is. Belief means you don't know yet you have accepted something. It is cowardly ­you have not inquired. You are pretending; you are a hypocrite. Believers don't know and yet they pretend as if they know. And the same is true about disbelief.

In the first place there is no need to believe in God. And if you believe you will never be able to know God. Belief is always a barrier. Belief means you are carrying a prejudice, and you will not be able to see that which is. You will project your own idea.

Don't carry any idea of God, for or against. Don't carry any image of God. In fact God is absolutely irrelevant ­ be meditative! And meditation means: drop all thoughts, ideologies; all knowledge. Drop the mind itself. And then when you are in a state of no mind, something unimaginable, unbelievable, unpredictable, inexpressible is experienced. You can call it godliness, truth, nirvana, or whatever you want to call it. You are free because no word describes it; hence any word is as good as any other. God is not a person, hence God cannot be seen in that sense. God is a presence.

There is no God but godliness. It is a quality, a fragrance. You experience it, you don't see it. It is not something out there as an object; it is something in here, in your heart. It is your subjectivity, your consciousness. So there is no question of belief or seeing either.

But people are brought up in all kinds of beliefs and they go on seeing through their prejudices. So anything that fits with their prejudices enters inside; anything that does not fit with their prejudice is prevented from entering.

In fact, God is not a religious but a philosophic subject. It is for those people who go on endlessly into logic-chopping and hair-splitting.

A religious person is more interested in the very source of his being, who he is: "Who am i?" That is the most fundamental religious question ­ not God, not heaven, not hell. And if you can find the truth of your own being you will have found all the truth that is necessary to know and is worth knowing. But don't make a philosophical inquiry; otherwise you will end up with a conclusion. And all conclusions are dangerous because once you conclude you become fanatical about your conclusion, you start clinging to it. You become afraid of truth ­ because who knows? Truth may disturb your conclusion, and your conclusion is so cosy and so convenient, and it has helped to give you a certain feeling of security. Your conclusion cannot be bigger than you. Your conclusion will be as high, as deep, as you are high and deep; it will only reflect you.

God is not a conclusion arrived at by logical processes ­ by believing, by discussing, by analysing, no. When all mind processes have ceased, something suddenly wells up within you. You will feel tremendously ecstatic, blissful, at home, at ease. For the first time existence will be your home. You will not be an outsider. There will be no conflict between you and existence. You will be able to bloom into thousands of flowers. That is God ­ or better, godliness.

From `Ah, This', copyright Osho International Foundation,

Saturday, 11 July 2015

We are Part Of A Living, Breathing Cosmos

Human consciousness has become so fragmented that most people have forgotten that what you consider to be your `body' is not just a piece of the planet, but much more.

Interdependence is not just a philosophical theory. It is a reality. Your physical existence is possible only because of your body's seamless ability to respond to the entire universe. Without this, you wouldn't be able to exist for a moment.

I lived on a farm for a few years. There was a man in the locality with a hearing impairment, an object of ridicule for the villagers. I employed him to help me on the farm. He was a nice companion because I wasn't particularly interested in talking, and he couldn't talk because he could not hear. So, no problem!

In those days before tractors, life on the farm was all about bullocks and ploughs. One day, suddenly, at four o'clock in the morning, I saw him preparing the plough and asked him what he was doing. He said, `It will rain today. I am preparing to plough.' I looked up. It was an absolutely clear sky. I said, `What? Where is the rain?' He said, `No, sir, it will rain.' And it did.

I sat up for days and nights after this. Why couldn't I feel what this man could feel? I sat, holding my hand in different positions, trying to feel the moisture, the temperature, trying to read the sky. I read all kinds of books on meteorology, but was up against a wall. But gradually, with careful observation of my own body and environment, I discovered the fundamental mistake that most of us make: the fact that we view the ingredients which constitute our body, like earth, water, air and food, as commodities and not as an organic part of the life process.

If it is to rain today, some change will happen in your body. Most urban-dwellers cannot feel it, but many rural folk all over the world, sense this. This is not astrology or magic, but a surmise based on the minute observation of a completely different level of the human system and its ongoing transaction with the cosmos. Most insects, birds and animals can feel it. A tree for sure knows it.
Modern physics has established that the universe is a great dance of energy, and every subatomic particle in your body is in constant dialogue with the entire cosmos. The aim of the spiritual process is to make this scientific fact an experiential reality for you.

Yoga reminds us that the physical body is just an accumulation of food ­ or what is called annamayakosha. The food that you eat is just the produce of the earth, which, in turn, is a fragment of the universe. You are a small outcrop of this planet, claiming to be an autonomous entity! But with some inner work, a dimensional shift occurs. Suddenly, the human body becomes what it was always intended to be ­an instrument of extraordinary refinement, a barometer, an antenna capable of downloading the entire cosmos. We realise that we inhabit a living cosmos

By Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev first published in

Saturday, 4 July 2015

From Relative To Absolute Consciousness

Consciousness, meaning awareness or knowledge, has two dimensions. The consciousness in normal human beings that `I am So-and-So' is a relative, objective, physical or psychological consciousness rooted in names and forms, cause and effect. Whereas absolute consciousness or pure, objectless, divine consciousness is beyond names and forms, cause and effect and is an essential attribute of the Self, Atman or Brahmn, referred to as `chit', in the phrase sat-chit-ananda.

Self is all-pervading and omnipresent. All that exists is referred to as the `sat' aspect of sat-chit-ananda. All existence can be grouped into two main entities living and non-living, sentient and inert, seer and seen, knower and known, subject and object. The Self in its `chit' aspect is vividly expressed in all living beings, particularly human beings, due to presence of mind and intellect and is dormant in non-living objects. Hence conscious beings perceive, think, analyse, discriminate and evolve whereas inert objects do not perceive and evolve ­ or, they evolve very slowly.

Relative consciousness has its merits and demerits. The obverse side is that we can perceive each and every object and being bearing a name and form and we can relate ourselves with them. It also helps express our apparent identity as body, mind, intellect (BMI) equipment bearing a particular name and identity and lead our earthly life with personal, professional and social objectives and values. The obverse side is that BMI equipment becomes a blockade in manifestation of our essential divine consciousness.

In ordinary human beings, world or physical consciousness covers God or divine consciousness like a moss covering the surface of pond water. When a spiritual aspirant follows the process of removing world consciousness ­ clearing the moss higher consciousness comes to the fore. However, when one stops the effort, world consciousness creeps in like moss on the water's surface. Spiritual process is therefore persistent and tenacious effort to gradually cease world consciousness and transform it into spiritual consciousness. What is the root cause and way out?

Avidya or ignorance of our true Self is the root cause. Avidya sprouts into ahankara, ego, that leads to raga, attachment; dvesha, likes and dislikes and abhinivesh, clinging to worldly objects. As long as these five kleshas or obstacles persist, relative consciousness and pairs of dualities like pain and pleasure persist and our true Self cannot manifest.

The irony is that this very relative consciousness helps us in reaching absolute consciousness that is not known to us as such. When antakaram or the BMI equipment is cleansed of its dirt and dross in the form of subtle impressions and tendencies and rendered still, by spiritual practices such as selfless service, devotion and meditation, the faculty of intuition is awakened, enabling the manifestation of absolute consciousness. Intuition is possible only because of interconnectedness and essential unity of all objects and beings. Intellect leads to psychological consciousness that is indirect, mediate and relative whereas intuition leads to spiritual consciousness that is direct, immediate and absolute.

Purusharthas, the three objects of human aspirations ­ dharma, artha and kama ­ are pursued when one is in a state of relative consciousness. The fourth and final aspiration of moksha, liberation, is attained when one transcends psychological consciousness and abides in spiritual consciousness. Relative consciousness is characterised by exclusivity where one beholds oneself as Dehbuddhi or BMI equipment or residing in it (jivbuddhi). Whereas absolute consciousness is characterised by inclusivity where one beholds all existence as one mass of consciousness and bliss.

By Jayant B Dave - First Published on