AMERICA 08-Apr-2014 Dr.A.Sreekumar Menon
Searching God in the temples, who can grant us what we ask for in return for our offering of worship or puja ( ritualistic worship) is wasting our time and efforts. It is a meaningless exercise. God is not someone with whom we can trade. He is not one from whom we can get his grace and get persons with whom we are ill- disposed, punished . Having the concept of personal God is mere superstition. People may spend lavishly their ill gotten wealth for performing religious ceremonies with the hope that they can wash off their sins, make Gods pleased and can make God grant them their wishes . There is no God who is a personal protector. He is not the one who acts according to our wishes and gives in return to us what we ask for when we worship him.
There is God or superior power which controls the whole universe according to the law of nature. He is the responsible for the creation, sustenance and dissolution of everything living and non-living that exists in the universe including planets and galaxies, land , oceans and so on .The complexity and order of creations are mind boggling. The cosmic expansiveness is the very proof of his existence. God is in each one of us deep with in us about whom we are not generally aware off as we are not aware of our own breath, even though it is most vital for our life .Only when there is trouble in breathing , we are aware of our breathing. God in us is in the form of certain attributes or qualities.of truth, beauty , goodness, righteousness, love , peace , non-violence. Humility, readiness to extend helping hand to the needy, tolerance and accommodation, justice , fairness, impartiality and transparency, austere living and so on .Getting rid of vices( such as Astaragas or 8 emotions and feelings such as1. Kama or thirst for libidinous impulses, 2.Krozha or aggression , 3. Lobha or miserly or covetousness ,4 Moha irrestible excessive desire , 5 Mada or pride or being snobbish 6 ,Matsarya or rivalry and quarrelsomeness 7.Ahamkara or the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ or the feeling of separateness from others or exalted estimation of one’s importance or inflated ego. or the feeling that one is all powerful, and 8 Asooya or feeling jealous) is the first step in our journey towards realization of God. Practicing virtues is the only way to experience Godliness . It is said serving the fellowmen is is serving God ., For they are his very creations . or Gods with forms which can see with our naked eyes. A famous Malayalam poet Ullor Parameswara Iyer wrote a poem , the meaning of which is as follows. ‘Is it surprising if a person who goes insearch of God, which is formless fails to find him, when he fails to see his fellowmen with visible forms (of God)?. Practicing virtues is a difficult task .Petty world pleasures prompt us to use even the most mean ways to fulfill our desires .Rituals and worship of God in the temples in true spirits are ways to discipline our bodies and minds which run after worldly pleasures like butterfly for nectar or more aptly fire flies towards fire . The perfect bliss and joy is possible only when we practice divine qualities. We are at our best when we are at the divine plane. When we attain spiritual bent of mind , we tend to be at our best.We become assets and make our life worth gold . We experience self-fulfillment and are able to bring out our creative potentialities which benefit us and the world as a whole in which we live. We are able to use our energy which we are able to release from the intake of food, which itself is an attribute of God in constructive ways. It is the ‘Viveka jnana’ or discriminative knowledge or the our understanding of what is right and what is wrong , which itself is an attribute of God which determines how we would use the energy our body can release .For all our bodily functions we need energy. For example ,for digestion and assimilation of food we take , we use energy. For breathing, beating of heart and pumping of blood to the entire body, energy is required . If we over eat or give more importance to palate than on nutritious value of food, we use more energy than is allotted for digestion. In other words we dissipate our energy. when plaques are formed in the arteries , the lumen constricts and the heart has to use extra power to pump blood or the heart has to over work .with over load, the heart may become weak leading to premature death. Moderation and intelligent choice of food which are the divine principles help utilization of the energy that is just required and checks the dissipation of energy ., with the result robust health is maintained with attended feelings of wellbeing and sense of happiness. Similarly moderation is to be applied in the case of sleep.The optimum time required for sleep is 8 to 10 hours depending upon how much we exert during day. Those who are engaged in heavy physical work need 10 hours of sleep and for those who do light work 8 hours of sleep is adequate. Children and people above 60 or 65 years need more hours of sleep, say 10 hours or more. The sleep should be deep or dreamless that is without disturbance. In other words, it should be restorative , in the sense that the person feels fresh and energetic when he wakes up . Equally important is fixed schedule for going to bed and waking up. This helps the brain to set a particular temporal rhythm or temporal pattern of sleep. Sleep is active and dynamic period when repair of damaged cells and tissues and recharging or restoration or recuperation of energy take place. After a good night’s sleep, we feel fresh and active. The brain is able to work in its full capacity after sleep. In addition to sleep at night, it is good to have afternoon nap. If that is not possible at least 15 to 20 minutes of relaxation by staying quiet and with gently closed eyes. Brain needs some rest from time to time after 3to4 hrs of continuous work. Keeping quiet for few minutes is the way to give the brain for rest and recuperation. Sleep deprivation for a long time affects all systems of the body like cardiac system, endocrine system , neural system, digestive and excretory system, immune system and so on. A person who gets inadequate sleep may develop high B.P, Diabetes ,dizziness, headache, nausea, susceptibility to diseases, proneness to infections, anxiety ,, poor vision, lack of concentration or alertness ,lose of memory power, lose of motor balance and so on.
One should keep one’s mind light rather than burdened with thoughts many times painful ones of the dead past , those pertaining to struggle with the present and worries or apprehension about the unborn future .There is an saying of ancient wisdom :’worry kills cat’ Again one should not lead the so called ‘fast life’ or running against time. A person may justify his fast life by saying that he has so much complete, unless he runs fast , he will be left behind. But it is not true .The things in the outside mechanical world move fast. speed is the very nature of outside world created by modern machines’. But we need not run along with it. We also run after that just by imitation as people run fast , seeing others run fast. we also have wrong notion that those keep themselves busy are important persons. To enjoy robust health we should carry out our daily activities at pace comfortable to us , rather than racing against time. We should have control over time. We should decide how we should spent time or on what activities rather than activities pressuring us. Everyone has only 24 hrs out of which 8 hrs should go for sleep. What differentiates successful people from unsuccessful ones is the way they utilize their time and how much they get back per unit time they spend. A man which had sufficient rest and glued to the task in hand can turn out more output of high quality. While we race against time, we overspend our energy and the utilization of our energy is less efficient. So it is not how much time we have at our disposal, but how wisely and judiciously we spend the time we have at our disposal. There is a saying that we should not swallow what we cannot chew, if we swallow what we cannot chew, it may lead to indigestion and possibly diarrhea.
All our saints starting from the ancient sages likeAgastya ,Vashistha, Viswamitra , Gouthama Buddha, Adi shankaracharya, Mahaveer ,Basaveswara,, Guru Nanak , Sri Ramakrishna paramahamsa, Vivekananda, NarayanaGuru, RamanaMaharshi and others to most recent Gurus like Swami chinmayananda, Mahesh Yogi,Mata Amritanandamayi, Sri Sathya Sai Baba and others have preached the need to cultivate virtues in our life and develop the moral/ethical /spiritual dimensions of our personality, experiencing our oneness with God and follow a life style in alignment with those values. However we find people generally pay obeisance and worship those saints or Jivanmuktas, unmindful of their teachings, although they say what they expect from their devotees is to follow their spiritual teachings and reform themselves. we find hardly any attempt to understand their teachings and try to follow in their life. Similarly, though we have valuable works like Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and Ithihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata, we chant them by rote or just like parrots and do not try to understand what values those presents to humanity for adoption. we hear story of Rama and worship Rama, as it is interesting to hear a story, but we do not understand what moral lesions we can learn from the life of Lord Sri Rama which can help us to be a better man, experience enduring happiness, create healthy society and experience divinity, which make us all powerful . A paradigm shift in our mindset set is perhaps necessary if we were to succeed in benefitting from the contributions of our Epics and Acharyas in our quest for God – the real God.