Right from the time when the mind starts registering and remembering things, paying obeisance to the almighty has been the first step while beginning anything new. While I am starting a new self-orchestrated routine through this newsletter, I would like to dedicate the main story to an understanding that I have been carrying with me for many years now. At one point of time, I wanted to compile this thought into a book form which has obviously not happened till date but do not want to postpone it any further. And what better topic than ‘Bhagwan Ka Naam’ even though it is a form of analysis between two incarnates of Vishnu - the protector. As it is, my mother never failed to mention - 'Well begun is half done’ and when one is seeking divine guidance right at the onset of anything then possibility of succeeding increases even more. Yes, this is plain faith and it helps those who keep it steadfast in good and in not-so-good times.
Born as a regular Indian, I grew up with epic tales Ramayana and Mahabharata along with tales from other beliefs. They entered my system through all possible mediums - reading, hearing, watching and discussing. One can call them anything but static stories, they grow with us as we mature, in the sense, that our understanding about the events and incidents mentioned in the sagas keep changing and evolving with time.
As we understand, Rama came in Treta yuga but somehow era Treta happened prior to Dwapar in which Vishnu’s incarnation as Krishna graced the earth. Lord Rama - the Maryada Purushottam is worshipped as Anukarniya(to be followed) while Krishna as Pujniya (to be idolized)simply because the complexity of life that Krishna led and his actions can at best be revered only. However, what we all consider as the gospel of life and the supreme truth, is what Krishna passed on to Arjuna in the form of Gita Upadesha.
While Krishna being pujniya and not anukarniya is accepted by most of us, yet there is one very fundamental shift in thinking which Krishna initiated through his words and through his actions. He gently showed the path which leads one to the inner self while during the period of Rama, the focus was more outwards. To elaborate the comparison further, Rama led a life in which he stuck to the pre-determined ideals and worked towards pleasing the people so much so that it led to his decision to forsake his wife at the time when she was in the family way. He accepted, he acquiesced and he conformed to whatever came his way. His focus remained outside himself, how he could comfort others, bring happiness to others and be instrumental in creating an environment of harmony and peace.
Coming to era of Krishna, through his conduct, his character and his sermons in the form of Bhagvad Gita, Krishna showed a path that leads one to inner peace and happiness. It is to bring focus on oneself than on anyone else. Instead of looking for acknowledgements, approvals and appreciation outside, one needs to just focus on one single thing - being true to the assigned duties and giving it everything that it takes to dispense those. It actually comes when one drowns completely in the act of working and dedicating oneself to the work in hand. One can view it as zooming out the unnecessary and redundant at that moment and to align one’s mind, body and soul to the task. If this is not meditation, what else is?
It is very interesting to see how in so many other ways Gita attempts to lead one to the same understanding and realization. Let every single moment get the most that it warrants, which means, living each moment to the fullest, leaving the past and future completely because no part of those times are in one’s hands anyway so why fret and fume for what has gone past or what one cannot foresee sitting in the present. Just following this one thing brings amazing level of simplicity in the thinking and executing, leaving no room whatsoever for thinking about how anybody else interprets one’s thoughts and actions.
Yet another way of looking at this philosophy is to train oneself to derive maximum satisfaction from every single moment because that is actually living life and not procrastinating it for some other time and for some other state of mind. Every moment is entitled to own us completely and in turn that same moment has the potential to reward us with perfect sense of contentment.
Once any and every moment is given its due, nothing can hold one from reaching the state of ecstasy. It is the state about which it is said -
“Khudi ko kar buland itna ki khuda tujhse aap pooche ki bata bande teri raza kya hai”(make your will so strong that even god should ask you for your consent before making any decisions about your life), because one becomes an epitome of a true Karma-yogi who cannot be overpowered by circumstances and situations because his/her focus remains on the duty in hand and one moment at a time. Let our self-check bar reach a state where we work just to satisfy that and to no external benchmark. In other words, it teaches us to remain true to our innate voice because that is the one which acts as a mirror which never lies if we keep it clean always.
So this is how at the fundamental level, the two approaches are diametrically opposite to each other. In the former case, one ties personal happiness to external factors and other beings while the latter approach focuses on one’s own happiness because it works on the premise that the satisfied person becomes a powerhouse, exuding a supreme happy state of mind.