(A Quarterly International Peer-reviewed Refereed e-Journal
Devoted to English Language and Literature)
Lal Shitala Sharan Singh
The main problem before us is— how to live? We are all— living beings, and we are quite ignorant about life. Why? The main characteristic of life is consciousness. But we do not know wherefrom it comes and after death where it goes. Therefore, everyone is required to think of himself— what he is? Naturally, when all material things expire, we reach to the point where the ātman (soul) exists— ātman in the combined form of truth, intelligence or consciousness and bliss (lfPpnkuUn). And feeling this reality one must identify himself as ātman. To feel oneself as ātman is indeed the way of spiritualism.
A large number of human beings need not to perceive ātman and adopt a way of spiritualism, thinking it as obstruction in the field of elemental life. In their opinions, ancient Indians followed the way of spiritualism, and as a result of it, their minds became fully engrossed with other worldliness, and they neglected sordid affairs of this world. Such a notion might have had some justification at the early stages of Indological studies but later discoveries have shown how untenable it is. We need not imply instances to prove that ancient India reached to the peak of material excellence; whereas the Indian culture is familiar for its fully meta-physical culture. Now the question is— how it became possible for the men of high spiritual thinking? But there is no wonder, however, for one who is spiritually strong, material achievements are too easy for him to gain, vice versa— one who has only materialistic vision, it is impossible for him to achieve the spiritual highness. Only for this reason the spiritual culture is superior to the elemental one.
So far as Indian culture is concerned, even being spiritual, it propounded the formula of bhukti (material enjoyment) and mukti (renunciation), which is strongly recommended by the Vedas (Agrawala, 160-162). In a verse of Pṛthivῑ-sūkta of Atharvaveda, it is prayed to cause the devotee to attain heaven along with setting him in glory and wealth:
संविदाना दिवा कवे श्रियां मा धेहि भूत्याम्। (Atharva. 12-1-63) .
[Samvidana diva kave shriyam ma dhehi bhootyam. (Atharva. 12-1-63)]
The Yajurveda exhorts one to wish to know the fact that the Supreme Spirit is pervasive through this movable and immovable world and, therefore, to enjoy the pleasures through renunciation without attachment with wealth, as the wealth is of none, one has to think within:
ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत्।
तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम्॥ (Yaju., 40.1)
[Ishavasyamidam sarvam yatkincha jagatyam jagat./ Ten tyakten bhunjitha ma gridhah kasyasvidhanam. (Yaju., 40.1)]
The next passage instructs one to wish to live for hundred years (i.e. to gain full life), performing deeds. Apart from this, there is no other way for him. Such a deed would not engross with him:
कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेत् शतं समाः।
एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे।। (Yaju., 40.2)
[Kurvanneveh karmani jijivishet shatam samah./ Evam tvayi nanyathetoasti na karma lipyate nare. (Yaju., 40.2)]
Performing deeds in accordance with one’s assigned duty has been considered as a must. As per the same theory, Lord Kṛiṣṇa instructed Arjuna to fight (The Gῑtā, 2.37b). The Gῑtā holds that action is better than inaction for even maintenance of one’s own physical body is impossible without action (The Gῑtā, 3.8). But, the action must be for the sake of yajña (i.e. welfare of the world); and such action too, would be free from attachment or desire of the fruit, as the attachment is the cause of bondage (The Gῑtā, 3.9). Therefore, it is propounded to perform deeds renouncing attachment, being ever-tempered in success and failure, as evenness of temper is called yoga (The Gῑtā, 2.48).
The teaching of the Vedas as well as that of the Gῑtā (Ṥrῑmadbhagavadgῑtā) must be followed in life, for it makes the life easy and useful for the universal welfare. An astray young man must be given a proper way of life by education, and the education must be competent in giving spiritual vision.
V.S. Agrawala, “Bhukti-Mukti Ideal in the Purāṇas.” Purāṇa, 1.2, Feb., 1960
उत्तिष्ठ कौन्तेय युद्धाय कृतनिश्चयः। (The Gῑtā, 2.37)
[Uttishtha kaunteya yuddhay kritinishchayah]
नियतं कुरु कर्म त्वं कर्म ज्यायो ह्यकर्मणः।/ शरीरयात्रापि च ते न प्रसिद्ध्येदकर्मणः।। (The Gῑtā, 3.8)
[Niytam kuru karma tvam karma jayayo hyakarmanah./ Shareeryatrapi cha te na prasiddhyedkarmanah]
यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः। तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसंगः समाचर।। (The Gῑtā, 3.9)
[Yagyaarthaatkarmanonyatra lokoayam karmabandhanah./ Tadartham karm kauntey muktasangah samachar.]
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ (The Gῑtā, 2.47)
[Mā karmaphalahēturbhūrmā tē saṅgō̕stvakarmaṇi.]
योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय। सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते।। (The Gῑtā, 2.48)
[Yōgasthaḥ kuru karmāṇi saṅgaṁ tyaktvā dhanañjaya. Sid'dhyasid'dhyōḥ samō bhūtvā samatvaṁ yōga ucyatē.]
About the Author:
Lal Shitala Sharan Singh, born on April 09, 1946, is working as Director, Ṥrῑ Pratap Bahadur Singh Smāraka Paurāņika Saṁsthāna, Hargaon, near Jamo Block, Amethi, U.P. He has been engaged in conducting Vaidika Caraṇapῑṭha (Veda-Vedānta-Vidyāpῑṭha) under the auspices of the Saṁsthāna. He has authored a number of articles and research-papers in the fields of Vedic Literature, Sanskrit Literature, Hindi Literature, Philosophy and Cultural Studies. He can be contacted at 7565969223.