Scriptural Quotes that Promote Personal & Spiritual Growth
(Compilation from Gems of Wisdom with some additions by N. R. Srinivasan, Nov. 2017)
I have been focused on theoretical framework for transforming/modifying Hindu American worship/religious practice for the most educated Hindus of the world who have the means and the background to lead the world of the future in the light of some of the comments received from learned people. Two specific comments related to this thinking are as follows:
"You are quite right to bring these researches to the attention of the Hindu community. The implications are huge. Not mentioned below are some other trends in the data, in addition to the decline in the number of people identifying with mainstream Christianity: an increase of interest among Christians and Jews in the mystical, or meditative, aspects of their traditions that were long hidden away*; an increase in people who seek spiritual wisdom from a variety of sources; an increase in people who call themselves “Spiritual But Not Religious.” In my talks, and in “American Veda,” I make the case that this is a direct result of access to Sanatana Dharma through gurus, swamis, yogacharyas, etc. We are becoming what I call a nation of yogis. People acquired the notion of regular sadhana and practical methods to add direct experience to their spiritual lives.
[*How about Hindus? Dharma is the true name of the Vedic spiritual tradition. Hinduism is not the true name. In the Shastras, the Sacred Scriptures, the term "Hindu" never appears. Hinduism is the name given by the invading occupiers of India. By giving it this name, the Dharma taught in the Vedas is devalued to the ethnic and cultural condition of a country and the perspective of the Sanatana of Eternal Wisdom for all humanity is withdrawn. We live true to the name and our practice is not different from Christians and Jews! ]
There is no doubt much for Hindus in America to contemplate in all this. Like Christians and Jews, future generations of Hindus may not go to temples just because their ancestors did, except for rites of passage and holidays (like Christians who show up only on Easter and Christmas). They will want to know WHY rituals are done before doing them, and will want teachings and practices that directly enrich their lives and elicit the spiritual experience that rishis pointed to. At least that is what I surmise in my own research and conversations.
--Phil Goldberg, Author of American Veda
"Our general apathy towards our religion and divisiveness based on multitude of personal deities keeps Hinduism at a distant third place. And the only reason we occupy that third position is because of sheer population of India. Our lack of systematic conversion process limits our numbers or even tends to decrease it. Therefore, we must find a way to advertise our unifying message and work towards that goal. This will be possible if we make one temple in USA our focus point and provide a singular all-inclusive message to all seekers of our faith. If Nashville Temple becomes that center of our faith; that will be most fortunate”.
--Jagannath Society of America
One of the learned participant remarked that he is caught up with the dilemma of preserving the ancient traditions and practices, and providing spiritual guidance to our children. He also says that we need to learn a lot from people like Srila Prabhupada, Sri Chidananda, Jaggi Vasudev, Chinmaya mission leaders who have found areas of our religious practice and customized it to appeal to educated Hindus suitably blending Agama and Tantra concepts with Yoga and Kundalinee power as Chitta sakti. It is a good idea to collect these modifications, analyze them and find the practices that are of universal value that promote personal growth and spiritual growth, feels our spiritual thinker.
This made me to research on our Aagama and Tantric religious practices currently in vogue in India as well as here, and the material I forwarded, most of which I have shared with you was also able to convince my curious learned participant to start his search engine to evolve a worship pattern to promote universal value that promote personal growth and spiritual growth with group consultation.
For this thought and difficult exercise I was influenced by the gems of wisdom I could lay my hands on from Vedas and Upanishads which I had sent you in the past as a separate discourse with meaning and purport of those mantras. In your busy life you might not have had time to focus on these rare collection. On an analysis I find these gems contain two distinct groups—mantras of wisdom for practical life to prepare a spiritual base and second set of mantras for pure meditation when ready. Some of these meditation mantras are also colorfully and powerfully employed in our temple worship to lead us in Bhakti Marga. But without preparation of our base these advanced mantras without knowing their purport remain like the parrot chanting of slokas and dramatic and loud singing of Bhajans. Swami Chidananda alive to worldly wisdom has been focusing on some of these mantras that I have been forwarding when received. I would like to share my collection of “Scriptural Wisdom Thoughts that Promote Personal Growth and Spiritual Growth”, descriptive mantras for practical wisdom, detailed below with you and also look forward to your additions and added explanations and views. I have also added two or three hymns from other scriptures also which are often quoted as wisdom from Vedas. I believe that the Upanishads, ancient account of mystical revelations have been the inspiration to humanity for all times behind all systems of Hindu religion and remain the primary source of spiritual guidance for millions of believers today. Your kind attention is also drawn to following discourses of mine posted on the blog and earlier circulated to you elaborating on “Devo Ekah” and our need to spiritually focus on Brahman alone to enjoy perennial joy of Liberation and living with im forevcer.H
Him forever freed from worldly pleasures and pain:
We can find universal value that promote personal growth and spiritual growth if we understand the purport of following scriptural Mantras/hymns, constantly practice them in life and propagate them to others also. We should have sustainable material growth to focus on Spiritual growth and Vedanta is not averse to that. That is why it talks about Pravritti followed by Nivritti on which I had talked to you before. These selected mantras and hymns described below help us to develop a sustainable material growth based on Dharma and also give strength to focus on spiritual growth:
This verse of Mahopanishad is engraved in the entrance hall of the Parliament of India.
Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (Sanskrit: वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम. from “vasudha”, the earth; “iva”, is; and “kutumbakam”, family) is a Sanskrit phrase that means that the whole world is one single family.The concept originates in the Vedic scripture Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, Verse 72):
अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसां उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकं |
ayam bandhurayam neti ganana laghuchetasam udaracharitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam
Only small men discriminate saying: One is a relative; the other is a stranger. For those who live magnanimously the entire world constitutes but a family.
This concept is also mentioned in another text, Hitopadesha: “Udāracharitānām tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, meaning, “‘This is my own relative and that is a stranger’ – is the reasoning of the narrow-minded; for the noble hearts, however, the entire earth is but one family”, and is considered an integral part of the Hindu Philosophy.
The statement is not just about peace and harmony among the societies in the world, but also about a truth that somehow the whole world has to live by some rules like a family, set by an unknowable source. Just by contemplating this idea and by at least trying to live by it and practice it in our lives, we could make this world a better place.
Indhram vardhanto apturah krinvanto vishwam aryam Apaghnanto aravnah -- Rigveda (Mandala 9, Sutra 63, Mantra 5)
Meaning: Increase your energies, make the whole world noble and destroy the evil one.
Yastu vijnaanavaan bhavati samanskah sadaasuchih | sat tu tadpdamaapnoti yasmaat bhooyo na jaayate || (Kat. Up.)
He who is endowed with discriminating intellect and has his mind purified by various disciplines and who remains always pure attains that highest goal from where he will not be born. He will be blessed with eternal peace and happiness.
Ritam cha satyam cha abheeddatta tapaso adhyajaayata--Rigveda 10/190/1-3
The Right and the Truth were generated from the all-illuminating Supreme, by His Resolve.
As a corollary one who focuses on Dharma (Ritam) and Truth (Sathyam) attains the status of Brahman. (Upanishads often say ritam sathyam all means Brahman). True following of Dharma by firm Resolve (Tapas) gets one the status of Brahman.
Wisdom of Vedas says "Let us stay united, speak united and act united promoting peace and harmony. The Vedas teach equality among the people in society. No one is superior or no one is inferior. We find Samaanatha in the Vedas:
Te ajyesthaa akanisthaasa udbhido amadhyamaaso mahasaa vivavridhuh | sujaataaso janushaa prishnimataro divo marya aa no achaa jigatana || (Rig: 5-59-6)
Among these men there are no superiors or no inferiors, no middle ones either. They become great from small beginnings. They make progress in different ways by dint of their merits. By birth they are all highborn because they are all children of Mother-Earth. O you men of the Lord Refulgent! Be available to us in a loveable manner or grow into praise-worthy souls in fair ways.
Ajyesthaaso akanislliaasa ete sam bhraataro vaavridhuh saubhagaaya|yuva pita swapaa rudra eshaam sudhughaa prishnih sudinaa marudbhayah || (Rig: 5-60-5)
These men are without superiors and without inferiors. They are mutually brothers. They march onwards for prosperity. The eternally youthful, the soul protecting, grief alleviating God is their father. The richly feeding Mother-Earth produces happy days to these mortals.
Sam samidyuvase vrishannagne visvaanyaarya aa | Ilaspade samidhyase sa no vasoonyaa bhara – Rig: 10-191-1
Oh Almighty and Adorable God! In the whole universe Thou dost the work of harmonizing and uniting, and most fully reveal thyself in the world. We therefore, beseech Thee to bestow upon us in every way all the means that will enable us to live in peace and harmony.
The following Atharveda mantras also give a candid proof about Equality: –
Sahridayam saamanasyam avidvisham krinomi vah I Anyo anyam abhi haryata vatsam jaatamivaaghnyaa || (Atharva: 3-30-1)
Oh Men! I ordain for your concord of heart, unanimity of mind and freedom from hatred in dealings with each other. Love one another in every way even as the inviolable her new-born calf.
Samaanee prapaa sahavoanna bhagaha samaane yoktre saha vo yunajmi | samyanchognim saparyataaraa naabhimivaabhitah | (Atharva: 3-30-6)
O you men! May your water reservoirs be common; may the shares of food be enjoyed jointly. I unite you all under the yoke of common code of conduct with one another. Worship the Lord of Luster congregationally, just as the spokes touch the hub from all sides.
Sadhreecheenaanvah sammanasaskrinomyekasnushteentsamvananena sarvaan I Devaa ivaamritam rakshamaanaah saayam praatah soumanaso vo astu || (Atharva: 3-30-7)
I enjoin on all of you to be mutually helping one another, to be united in your mind and to have one goal in life. You should, like the wise of all ages, ever cherish the idea of the liberation of your souls from the trammels of the world and to this end may peace of mind increase among you evening and morning.Samaano mantrah samithih samaanee samanam vratam sahachithameshaam|
samaanena vo havishaa juhomi samaanam cheto abhisamvishadhvam || (Atharva: 6-64-2)
May your thoughts and hymns be common; may your assembly be common; may your austere vow, spiritual resolve be common; may all your minds be alike and be united. I provide you with common food, drink and needs of life. All of you strive for a common objective.Sam vah prichyantaam tanvah sam manaamsi samuvrataa I
Sam voyam brahmanaspatirbhagah sam vo ajeegamat || (Atharva 6-74-1)
Let your bodies (or learning and other attainments) and minds work together in harmony for the achievement of the common ideal. It is for this that the Majestic God, the Protector of the universe, has brought you together in life.Sam jnapanam vo manasotho samjnapanam hridah |
Atho bhagasya yachchraantam tena samjnpayaami vah || (Atharva 6-74-2)
Let your heads (minds) work in calm and precision and let your hearts join them in contented co-operation. In addition to this for the trouble you have taken to realize the majesty of God, I invigorate you (that you proceed on and reach your goal.)
Sangacchadhvam sam vadadhvam; Samaano mantrah samitih; Samaano vaa aakootih:
[These mantras say that a person not only should take care of himself but also look after the welfare of the society he lives in].
Sangacchadhvam sam vadadhvam sam vo manaamsi jaanataam/ devaa bhaagam yathaa purve sanjanaana upaasate // ( Rigveda X-191-20)
Come together! Speak together! Let our minds be all of one accord like the divines that sat together in the past in harmony to worship.
[All people should live with one mind without enmity and this can be achieved only by the divine grace says the mantra]
Samaano mantra: samiti: samaani samaanam mana: saha chittamesam /
samaanam mantramabhi mantraye va: samaanena vo havisha juhomi //( Rigveda X-191-3)
Let our speech be one; united be our voices! May our minds be in union with the thoughts of the wise people! Sharing a common purpose; we worship as one.
[Vedanta Religion is universal. It did not promote walled religions. Bhagavad Gita later said these religion need bridges to connect to the Supreme. All rivers seek refuge in the vast Ocean. All religions seek universal Lord Brahman only who is ever expanding and indescribable to accommodate all]
Samaani vaa aakootih samaana hridayaani vah / Samaanam astu vo mano yathaa vah susahaasati // ( Rigveda X-191-4)
United be your purpose, harmonious be your feelings, collected be your mind, in the same way as all the various aspects of the universe exist in togetherness, wholeness.
[We should act in a manner with no ill-will towards others, causing no harm and causing no pain. Let us learn from the nature as to how to live in peace and exist together in harmony that pleases the Lord says the mantra]
….. dvandvam vai veeryyam yadaa vai dvau samarabhete atha tadveeryyambhavati dvandvam vai mithunam prajananam-mithuna mevaitatprajananam kriyate //
A pair is strength. When two copulate, then there is strength. A pair is a copulation. A copulation, a procreation is thus produced. (Satapata Brahmana 1:1:1)
Sadhrīmā yanti pari bibhratīḥ payo viśvapsnyāya pra bharanta bhojanam | samāno adhvā pravatāmanuṣyade yastākṛṇoḥ prathamaṃ sāsyukthyaḥ ||
All who can walk are equally entitled to the use of paths and roads. (Rig Veda 2, 13, 2)
Sraddhāṃ devā yajamānā vāyughopā upāsate | śraddhāṃ hṛdayyayākūtyā śraddhayā vindate vasu || (Rigveda10-121-3)
Guarded by Vāyu, Gods and men who sacrifice draw near to Faith. Man winnneth Faith by yearnings of the heart, and opulence by Faith.
Sraddhāṃ prātai havāmahe śraddhāṃ madhyandinaṃ pari | śraddhāṃ sūryasya nimruchi śraddhe śraddhāpayeha naḥ || (Rigveda 10-121-4)
Faith in the early morning, Faith at noonday will we invocate, Faith at the setting of the Sun. O Faith, endow us with belief.
Rigveda indicates that Truth is one - "Ekam sat vipraah bahudha vadanti agnim yamam matarisvanam ahuh" (I-164-46).Truth is one, but the learned refer to it in different names like Agni, Yama, Maatarisvan. But the concept that there is a single Parabrahman and that all Gods are Its forms, is more clearly visible towards the Vedanta (Upanishads).
Ekam santam bahudhaa kalpayanti- (Rigveda I-114-5)--What is one is also many.
Prithivee dahramana dhritam-- Atharva veda 12/1/17
The world is sustained by Dharma.
Aatmavat Sarvabhooteshu-The same Self abides in all. One should feel the happiness and distress of others as his own (Manusmriti)
Those who see all creatures in themselves and find themselves in all creatures (aatmavat sarvabhooteshu) identify themselves with the entire creation. Then there is no room left for any hatred.
Sadhukaaree sadhurbhavati; Paapakaaree paapo bhavati; Punyah punyena karmanaa bhavati; paapah paapena || athah khalu kaamamayam eva ayam purusha iti ||(Chhandogya)
One becomes good by doing the good. One becomes evil by doing evil. By Punya karmas (meritorious deeds) one becomes a man of Punya. He who does sinful deeds becomes a sinner. Some say that this Self or Jeeva is replete with desires.
Uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varān nibodhata kṣurasya dhārā niśitā duratyayā durgaṃ pathastat kavayo vadanti ( Ka.Up.3.14)
Meaning: Be awake and be active; approach the learned and get enlightened.
The wise say that the path is very difficult to tread, like the sharp edge of a razor.
The wise say that the path is very difficult to tread, like the sharp edge of a razor.
‘Be awake and be active’ means that one should first discipline his inner faculties and then strive for getting the necessary instructions.
Om Sahanaa vaavatu | Sahanau bhnaktu | Sahaveeryam karavaavahai|Tejasvi naavadheetam-astu | Maa vidvishaamahai |Om Santih! Santih ! Santih ||
May the Supreme Spirit protect us! May it cause us to enjoy! May we strive together! May our studies be thorough and faithful! May we never quarrel with each other! May there be Peace! Peace! Peace!
Though this mantra is chanted both by the teacher and taught before the commencement of the study of Upanishad this mantra conveys a strong message to all of us:
May the Supreme Lord of Love protect us! May that Lord nourish us! May that Lord build strength! May we realize that Lord of Love in us! May we be inspired to live in love with all! May we be motivated to live in peace with all! [Hinduism considers these are part and parcel of Manava dharma]
Sreyascha preyascha manushyametah tau sampareetya vivinakti dheerah | Sreyau hi dheero abhipreyaso vrineete preyo mando yogakshemaad vrineeta || Ka. Up. 2-2 ||
Do you need perennial joy or passing happiness? Here is a choice that one has to make always. While a person with knowledgeable recognizes this, the ignorant does not. Person of knowledge welcomes what leads to perennial joy though to start with it is painful along the long and winding path. The ignorant is goaded by the human instincts of sensual pleasure that is only momentary pleasure. An intelligent person chooses the perennial joy to instant happiness for the purpose of Yogakshema. Yoga is development of body and Kshema is its protection.
Yastvavijnaanavaan bhavati ayukteana manasaa sada | Tasyendriyaanyavasyaani dushtaasva iva saaratheh |Yastu vijnaannavaan bhavati yuktena manasaa sada | Sodhwanah paaram-aapnoti tadvishnoh paramam padam|| Ka.Up. 3—5, 6, 8)
When a person lacks discrimination with his mind uncontrolled the sense organs become uncontrollable just like wild horses for the charioteer. Those who have discrimination, with a still mind and pure heart attain Self-realization. They reach the end of the road which is verily that abode of Vishnu.
Yacchedvangmanasee praajnyah tadyacchej-jnaana aatmani |Jnaanamaatmani mahati niyachchet tadyachchechaanta aatmani | Uttishthata Jaagrata praapya varaannibodhata || (Ka.Upa. –3—14. 15)
A wise man must integrate his speech with his mind. That mind must integrate with his intellect which is in his Self. He must integrate that intellect with the great Self and that Self must be integrated with the Supreme Self. Arise! Awake! Seek the guidance of an illumined Guru and realize the Self.
Kāmamaya evāyaṃ puruṣha iti |sa yathākāmo bhavati tatkratur bhavati | yatkratur bhavati tat karma kurute | yat karma kurute tad abhisaṃpadyate ||
You are what your deep, driving desire is! As your desire is, so is your will! As your will is, so is your deed! As your deed is, so is your destiny (Br. UP. 4.4.5)
Abaleeyaan baleeyaamsam asamsate dharmena… Yo vai sa dharmah satyam vai tat tasmaat satyam vadantamaahuh dharmam vadateeti dharmam vaa vadantam satyam vadateet-yetadvai tadubhayam bhavati // (Br.Up. 1-4-14)
One who is weak hopes to defeat a strong through righteousness. That which is Dharma is verily Truth (satya). Therefore, they say about a person speaking Truth, “He speaks what is Dharma” or about a person speaking Dharma, “He speaks what is Truth” for this alone is both.
Tatkarma kritvaa vinivartya bhooyah tattvasya tattvena sametya yogam | ekena dvaabhyam thribhirashtabhirvaa kaalena chaivaagunaischa sookshmaih || aarabhya karmani gunaanvitaani bhaavaamscha sarvaan viniyojayedyah |teshamabhave kritakarmanasah karmakshaye yaati sa tattvato anyah || (Svet. Up. 6—3, 4)
Those who act without personal gains and lead a well-disciplined life discover in course of time the Divine principle that all Atmans (Selfs) are the same and work in the devout service of the Lord. With devotion to the Lord and to the teacher all results of such karmas will work out the destruction of karmas and they work only in the service of the Lord. They are then free from the law of Karma and reach the Supreme Abode.
Sathyameva Jayate naanrutam sathyena panthaa vitato devayaanah | Yenaakramanti rishayo hyaaptakaamaah yatra tatsatyasya paramam nidhaanam || (Mu. Up. 3-1-6)
Truth alone wins and not falsehood. The path spread out in the form of Archiradi called Devayana is attained by Truth, by means of which the seers of the Truth, divested of desires ascend to a place where the Supreme Principle attainable through truth exists. Truth is victorious, Truth is the way; Truth is the goal of life reached by the sages who are free from self-will.
Devayaanah means Divine existence. Divine existence here means the freedom from all bondages of worldly life. The path to this goal is spread out by Satyam. This implies that the efforts to attain divine existence are done through the physical faculties of beings, as mentioned above. The ultimate abode of Satyam is undoubtedly Ātmā, since Satyam originates when SAT (Ātmā) supports ASAT. So, what the verse means is that those who have given up all Kāmas make use of their body for doing sādhana to get established in the ultimate principle of Ātmā.
Satyam is evidently that which has SAT; therefore it will always survive. That is why “Satyameva jayate – Truth alone will triumph”. The phenomenal world is also Satyam. It never gets destroyed; it gets only transformed. It only merges into and emerges from Ātmā periodically (see the verses 1.1.7 and 2.1.1, together with the references thereunder, above; see also Gīta 2.12).
Bhadram karnebhih srunuyaamidevaa bhadram pasyemaakshabhiryajatraah | sthirairangais-tushtuvaamsas-tanoobhih vyasema devaahitam yadaayuh || (Mundaka Shanti Mantra)
May we hear what is good for all! May we behold the auspicious with our eyes! Praising the Gods with study limbs and bodies, may we live the full-span of our lives as obtained by the Gods and serve the Lord of Love all our life! May we be used to spread that peace on earth!
The illumined sage is lost in the Self. The illumined sage is integrated in the Self.
We have in the Taittiriya Upanishad a valedictory exhortation from the sage (Rishi) to his students (sishyas) in the Gurukala on successful completion of Vedic studies. This reveals to us something about the system of education prevalent in Vedic period that produced the cultured and respected subjects in society amongst the ancient inhabitants of India. The teacher in this mantra instructs the pupils thus:
“Vedam anoochya-aachaaryo-ante-vaasinam-anusaasti | Satyam vada | Dharmam chara | Svaadhyaayaan maa pramadah | Aachaaryaaya priyam dhanam-aahritya prajaatantum maa vyavac-chetseeh | Satyaan na pramaditavyam | Dharmaan na pramaditavyam | Kusalaan na pramadi-tavyam | Bhootyai na pramaditavyam | Svaadhyaaya pravachanaabhyaam na pramaditavyam || Deva pitri kaaryaabhyaam na Pramaditavyam | Maatru devo bhava | Pitru devo bhava | Aachaarya devo bhava | Atithi devo bhava ||
Yaanyan-avadyaani karmaani | Taani sevitavyaani | Noe itaraani | Yaany-asmaakagam sucharitaani | Taani tvayoepaasyaani | Noe itaraani || Ye ke chaasmac-chreyaamsoe braahmanaah | Teshaam tvayaasane na prasvasitavyam Sraddhayaa deyam | Asraddhayaa deyam | Sriyaa deyam | Hriyaa deyam || Bhiyaa deyam | samvidaa deyam || bAtha yadi te karmavichikitsaa vaa vrittivichikistaa vaa syaat | Ye tatra braahmanaas- sam-marsinah | Yuktaa aayuktaah | Alookshaa dharmakaamaah syuh | Yathaa te tatra varteran Tathaa tatra vartethah Athaabhyaa-khyaateshu | Ye tatra braahmanaah sam-marsinah | Yuktaa Aayuktaah | Alookshaa dharma-kaamaah syuh | Yathaa te teshu varteran | Tathaa teshu vartethah ||
Esha aadesah | Esha upadesah | Eshaa vedopanishat | Etad-anusaasanam | Evam upaasitavyam | Eva-muchaitad-upaasyam ||” (Taitariya Upanishad I-XI-1 Sikshaavalli)
“Speak what is true. Do your duties. Continue, without neglect, the daily study of the Vedas*. Now that you have come to the end of your stay with your teacher, marry and bring forth progeny. Do not swerve from Truth and Dharma, and contribute something useful to the social economy. Achieve greatness, and do not fail to refresh your memory in respect of what you have learnt. Remember the gods and your ancestors. Honor your Mother. Look upon her as God. Honor your Father. Look upon him as God. Honor your Teacher. Look upon him as God. Honor your Guest. Look upon him as if God came to receive your attention. May you ever exercise your understanding and, distinguishing the good from the blame-worthy! Avoid the latter and always do what is good. Follow all that was good in your teacher’s life, not any other. You will meet with better men than even the teachers with whom you have lived. Show them due respect.
Give gifts with faith, not casually but with joy, with humility, with fear and with wisdom.
If your mind is troubled with any doubt as to what is right or wrong, follow the example of gentle and pious elders living in your neighborhood in regard to those matters. These are the codes of conduct. These are the teachings”.
Om vang me manasi pratishthita mano me vachi | pratisthitamaviravirma edhi vedasya ma anisthah srutam | me ma prahasih anenadhitenahoratra nsandadhamritam |vadishyaami satyam vadisyami tanmamatatu | tadvaktaramavatu avatu mamavatu |vaktaram-avatu vaktaram | aum santih santih santih harih om ||
May my word be one with my thought and my thought be one with my word! O Merciful Lord! Let me realize you in my consciousness! May I realize the truth of the scriptures and translate it into my daily life! May I proclaim the truth of the scriptures! May I speak the truth! May I protect me! And may I protect my teacher!
Swastir Maanushebyah | Oordhwam jigaatu beshajam | sannoh-astu dwipade sam chatushpade! Om Santih! Santih! Santih! (Purushasookta)
May the entire society prosper! Let the Flora sprout! May there be welfare for all humans (dwipade) and all animals! May serenity prevail!
[This mantra calls for the welfare measures to be taken for all humans, animals and plant kingdom on earth which should be everyone’s concern as Manava dharma]
Dyauh Saantih antariksham saantih prithvee saantih aapah saantih oshadhyah saantih vanaspatayah saantih viswedevaah saantih brhma saantih sarvam saantih saantireva saantih saa maa saantiredhi || (Veda)
There is peace in the heavenly region; there is peace in the atmosphere; peace reigns on the earth; there is coolness in the water; the medicinal herbs are healing; the plants give tranquility; there is harmony in the celestial objects and perfection in eternal knowledge; everything in the universe is peaceful; peace pervades everywhere; May that peace come to me!
[Thus good Lord established the Universe with all round peace. In turn it is our Dharma to preserve that peace all around]
We may recall here Hindu practice of the 'palika' ceremony. In the olden days, the families of the groom and the bride would actually plant a row of trees "pali" from which this function was called "Palikarana" is derived. The act was symbolic of showering the couple to be with best wishes for a bountiful and happy married life. This can be achieved by caring for flora and fauna and calmness all around. In modern days the custom of germinating seeds is observed in ceremonies like chaula (mundane), Upanayana and Marriage. Five earthen pots are filled with earth soil –these are meant for five deities, Brahma, Indra, Yama, Varuna, and Soma. The one for Brahma is kept in the center while the other four are kept at the four points of the compass (the pots for Indra, Yama, Varuna and Soma being kept in east, south, west and north respectively). Seeds of rice, black gram, green gram, sesame and mustard are soaked in milk and sown in the five different pots by five Suhaasinis. On the fourth day of the marriage when the seeds have germinated the pots are immersed in a sacred river or pond. This custom, called Panchapaalika, is meant for the protection and prosperity of the family or the individuals for whom the function is performed. At the end of the function, an 'aarthi' ceremony is performed.
[The wisdom thought here is to create in the minds of newly wedded couple awareness of Nature and its protection for peace and prosperity. If the surroundings are peaceful people would also live peaceful and prosperous]
Dharma eva hato hanti Dharmo rakshati rakshitah: Rakshitam Dharma Rakshati | Mahabharat(Mahabharaata)"That which destroys Dharma is destroyed by Dharma. Dharma protects that which protects Dharma: Dharma protects if it is protected".
Dharma is the true name of the Vedic spiritual tradition.
Hinduism is not the true name. In the Shastras, the Sacred Scriptures, the term "Hindu" never appears. Hinduism is the name given by the invading occupiers of India. By giving it this name, the Dharma taught in the Vedas is devalued to the ethnic and cultural condition of a country and the perspective of the Sanatana of Eternal Wisdom for all humanity is withdrawn.
Dharma is eternal, this is why the Dharma of the Vedas is known as Sanatana. If we think of Dharma as a religion, Dharma is not a religion. If we think of Dharma as law, Dharma is not law. If we think of Dharma as tradition, Dharma is not tradition. Dharma is a concept, it is a knowledge that does not have symmetrical value in any other tradition, religious idea or moral principle.
To explain it, we associate Dharma to many ideas and we translate it into many different forms: Dharma is a multi-skilled term and has many different meanings including: Divine Law, Self- Law, the Path of Rectitude, Religion, Ethics, Duty, Responsibility, Virtue, Justice, Kindness and Truth. But Dharma is Dharma.
Swami Akhandananda says, Spiritual life is not possible with an empty stomach (Annato praanam) so real ‘religion’ in a country of chronic hunger is feeding the poor; then comes education and medical service.
Constant remembrance of God and unlimited reliance upon Him under all circumstances is Sadhana.
Is it easy to realize the self? Incarnations (Avatars) of God are God Himself, yet they themselves have to struggle so much, not to speak of others.
The divine soul is sleeping in everyone. It is to be roused. Everyone is always trying to express that Self.
When the Self is realized, you will feel its presence everywhere. This is Siddhi. The goal is to reach this state. Everybody must get back this realization, because it is our real nature.
— Swami Akhandananda – a direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.
[Annam na nindyayaat; Annam na parichaksheeta; Annam bahu kurveeta--Do not abuse food; Do not discards food; Make food in plenty—Taittareeya Upanishad]
“Ahimsa Parmo Dharmah” but it is also limited by Dharma
"Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah" is a Sanskrit phrase is from Mahabharata that was popularized by Mahatma Gandhi and is often repeated by many leaders today to demonstrate the universality of Ahimsa.
Loosely translated, Ahimsa means Non-violence, paramo means topmost, ultimate, or supreme, and dharma means duty. Thus, the entire phrase means that non-violence is the topmost duty to the extent that it supersedes all other duties. This universal sense leads to an unconditional and unilateral abandonment of violent resistance, under any and all circumstances (as in the philosophy of Buddhists and Jains).
Sanatana Dharma does not impose total non-violence on its followers except in the case of ascetics. Ahimsa is a general dharma that is superseded with himsa (violence) in order to protect dharma.
"Ahimsa paramo dharmah" is not mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita as is frequently cited. However, the word Ahimsa is mentioned four times in the Gita. The Gita begins with Arjuna telling Krishna that he is despondent and unwilling to fight the war. Had the Lord said 'Ahimsa paramo dharmah' then the war would have ended before it began because he would have effectively been stating that there is no need to fight because the greater dharma is non-violence!
"Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah" can only be practiced by Sannyasins who tread the path of Nivritti Marga. It cannot be strictly practiced by householders. If someone enters the house and molests a lady, a householder cannot keep quiet. Similarly, in a war, a soldier cannot put down his weapons. In either case, practicing ahimsa would be adharma, not dharma. Similarly, a king must protect his subjects even if it requires violence to punish criminals or going to war with neighboring kingdoms if they attack.
--Krishna Maheshwari, Hindupedia
Peaceful atmosphere to spiritually focus:
We need to sustain by nature and also need a calm and peaceful atmosphere to spiritually focus and concentrate. Upanishadic thoughts are from Aranyakas and are called Forest Books. Our scriptures are therefore very concerned about flora and fauna, eco balance and protection. There are many mantras and hymns chanted in Hindu worships and rituals. ere are few: Here are few:
Kaale varshatu par-jan-yaha Prithavee sasya-saalinee ||
May the rains fall at the right time! May the crop-bearing land be fertile!
Maadhveer nah santvoshadheeh (MNU) --Let the herbs be sweet and beneficial to us!
Oeshadhayah saantih | vanaspatayah saantih || May the herbs and plants grow peacefully!
Sumitraa na aapa oshadhayah santu (MNU)--May the water and herbs be friendly to us!
oshadhivanaspatayah swaahaa | (MNU)--An oblation mantra seeking for all-round peace in water, herbs and trees .
Tvamagne ---Tvam vanebhyas-tvam oshadheebhyas-tvam nrinaam nripate jaayase suchih |
O Agni! Thou art born from the forests. Thou art born from herbs. Thou art born ever pure from the Sun.
The purport of the stanza is stated to be prayer to the Supreme Being for averting devastation deifying Nature. Agni here refers to Supreme Being alone. We cannot destroy forests and plant kingdom which are divine whose benefit he has bestowed on us by his sacrifice and benevolence.
Yaabhir-aadityas-tapati rasmibhih taabhih parjanyo varshati parjanyena oshadhi –vanaspatayah prajaayanta oshadhi -vanaspathibhir-annam bhavati annena praanaah…….. pranair manoh manasascha vijnaanam vijnaanaat anando brahma yonih ||
Those rays by which the sun gives heat, the same rays transform water into rain-cloud which shows rain. By the rain-cloud herbs and trees come into existence. From herbs and trees food is produced. By the use of food the breaths and senses are nourished……. The vital breath and the senses of creatures are from food, that reflection functions with the vital breaths and senses, that unbroken direct realization comes from reflection and that Bliss comes from unbroken direct realization of Truth. Thus having attained Bliss one merges with the Supreme which is the Source of the Universe—from MNU.
It therefore implies serving with divine respect plants and herbs the very source of our food, one walks into the realm of Eternal Bliss of the Supreme Being.
CONCLUDUNG PRAYER TO THE SUPREME
Om tad Brahma | Om tad Vaayuh | Om tadaatmaa | Om tat satyam | Om tat sarvam | Om tat puroer-namah ||
Om is that Brahman. Om is that Air (Vaayu). Om is that Aatman (Self). Om is all that. Om is that primeval cause that existed before creation; so obeisance unto that Pranava (Om).
[Extracted from my earlier discourse http://nrsrini.blogspot.com/2017/06/gems-of-wisdom-and-knowledge-from-vedas.html and added additional, hymns and mantras from Hindu scriptures to prepare this discourse material]