Sunday, July 30, 2017

FREEDOM

Perhaps the word freedom is the most misunderstood and misinterpreted.

Humanity in general thinks that being able to do whatever comes to mind as and when one likes is freedom. But, this implies that we are submitting ourselves into slavery of our mind.

We need not go into the nature of mind here as we already know that it is compared to a monkey or wind, which in general mean that it is frivolous, mischievous, recalcitrant and thoughtless!

Swami Vivekananda says that it is by fighting against nature that all human progress was possible rather than submitting to nature. All human progress at individual or social level constitutes fighting the nature internally or externally. As the humanity progresses, we see that this fight is becoming more and more internal since we do not seem to have much left externally to conquer!

The western idea of freedom is ‘impulse release’ i.e., to do whatever comes to one’s mind. But any thinking man would soon realize that it is only slavery to the whims of one’s mind, and that can never be freedom. Being able to control one’s mind and take it in a particular direction is freedom. And when we say, ‘controlling one’s mind’, immediately we realize, that it is a great price to pay. Generally, either we can’t control or won’t control or virtually hate to control our minds! But freedom is exactly opposite of that and being able to have perfect control over one’s mind is ‘real freedom’.

Buddha says that a man who controlled his own mind is greater than a man who conquered a thousand kingdoms in a thousand campaigns.

Swamiji says that a mind that is under our own control will become a blessing to us and a mind not under our control would be a curse to us.

Let me say a few words more about misunderstanding freedom.

A child wants to eat chocolates. He declares that it is freedom to have the ability to eat as many chocolates as he likes as and when he wants. But when his parents say no to that, he will be upset. The attitude of most of us, the elders, is not very different. The child is actually under the control of his nature under the force of which he is carried away. He cannot stop and think for one moment that eating so many chocolates may be bad for him. Nature has such control over him. Same is the case with all human beings. We are enslaved by nature all the time and we remain blissfully ignorant under the impression that that is freedom to drudge for the nature.

But man has higher potentialities. He is not simply meant to be an animal. He takes up an ideal which no animal does, falters and makes many mistakes which no animal does and attains perfection and ‘freedom’ which no animal can even dream of. He can break the shackles of nature and know his own nature which is divine and free.

Yours
Natarajan Amirapu.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Mind and its control

Sivananda wrote: Could you please explain in much more detail about this quote of Swami Ashokananda given below:

"Training of mind to regular habits is more urgent in spiritual life than indulgence in superfine emotions. - Swami Ashokananda."

Dear Sivananda,

Your quesion is nice. Thanks to Uddhav Maharaj we have this beautiful discussion.

Whenever we think of controlling mind, we think we have to do some thing very complex, deep and somewhat confusing! Especially for those who have read a little about mind control, the problem becomes all the more complex!

Monday, April 23, 2012

What is success?

Anybody would tell you that Success is a relative term. But there must be some reality behind everything and even though we feel it is only relative there must be something that is real behind a success and that is why we are so attracted to it.

 Lets explain what is success in simple words. When we want something and when we get it we call it a success. We succeeded in our tenth class, we succeeded in getting a job, writing a book, becoming the prime minister, becoming a monk. Then, there are long term successes like a successful career, successful householder life etc.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Universal acceptance is Religion

Sriram asks:

Dear Nataraj anna,

          I encountered an incident yesterday. I went to a temple today. After prayer, I took prasad there and came to room. I offered prasad to one of my room mate. He is a christian. He declined prasad saying he should not take it. Infact, he was of opinion that prasad offered to deities is unholy. I think even muslims wont accept prasad. I got angry initially when he declined it but i did not express it.I kept silent. I saw him taking some hindus to church but he wont come to temple. Suppose I will offer all the food in the world at the feet of altar. Then will they stop from taking that food? I got bad opinion about them and thought that I should not take what they give me on their religious festivals. What should be my attitude towards them? Please advice.

Amirapu Natarajan answers:

Dear Sriram, 

Love breeds love and hatred breeds more hatred.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Principle or Personality?

Sriram asked:

Swami Vivekananda Said “Buddhism cannot sustain without Lord Buddha”. Similarly is the case with Christianity. But my doubt is, why cant we think of them also as truths being explained like in Vedas with the help of characters. Probably, in Buddhism, in every book everywhere it might be like Buddha told so and so etc. Even if the character Buddha is not there, they can be imagined as truths. I could not understand swamiji’s view here? Does Swamiji mean they don’t teach absolute truths? This is just my doubt.

Amirapu Natarajan answers:

They taught the same absolute truths. There is no doubt about it.

At one point of time, Swami Vivekananda asked his brother disciples not to preach the name of Sri Ramakrishna at all but the principle he taught. He himself was perhaps confident enough that he would be able to convert half the world to follow Sri Ramakrishna if ever he would preach the personality of Sri Ramakrishna. But instead, he was only preaching the principle behind the great man.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A discussion on Buddha and Buddhism

Sriram asks:

Anna,

I present a few doubts which one of my colleagues raised.

1) Is it Buddha who argued that in Vedic rituals/yagas animals should not be killed? Do Vedas/Upanishads also preach killing animals as an offering to god? Swamiji also quoted that Vedas/Upanishads were highest truths and they cannot be attributed to any person. They can defend themselves according to Swami Vivekananda.

2) I remember reading somewhere in the works of Swami Vivekananda that what Buddha preached is revolutionary Hinduism. Did he do so just to oppose suppression of lower castes by upper castes, may be mostly Brahmins, at that time?

3) Did Buddhism fail since its ideals like sannyasa were too high to be taken up by the common man?

Amirapu Natarajan answers:

During that time the sacrifice of animals touched an all-time high, almost verging on madness. So it was necessary to control it and that was what Buddha did. In the karma-kanda of Vedas animal sacrifice is prescribed. All the early religions around the world prescribed animal sacrifice. There is nothing wrong with it.

Use of Stones and Astrology

Anonymous Comment on the post "Is our future pre-determined": "Do you have any comment regarding the use of stones that astrologers prescribe to modify future?"

Natarajan Amirapu answers: Everything happens because we manifest our divine energy. Everything in this world helps us to achieve that. Astrology, palmistry and all allied things are designed to infill self-confidence in us. Their use is nothing more than that. The stones give us a sense of confidence which enables us to face life better. For a man of great self-confidence there is no need for them. At the same time we don't say they are completely useless. It all depends on one's faith.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A rich man and a priest

A rich man who once asked his priest, "Why does everybody call me stingy when everyone knows that when I die I will leave everything I have to this temple?"

The priest said:

There once was a pig and a cow. The pig was unpopular and the cow was loved by all in the village. This puzzled the pig.

The pig said to the cow, "People speak warmly of your good nature and your helpful attitude”. They think, “You are very generous because each day you give them milk, butter and cheese”.

“But how about me?”

“I give them everything I have”.

“I give them the famous sausages, bacon and ham i.e. my entire body”.

“Yet no one likes me”.” Why is that?"

The priest continued:" Do you know what the cow answered?
The Cow said, "Perhaps it's because I give while I am still living."

SELF-CONFIDENCE AND OVER-CONFIDENCE

Vamsi asks:

What is the difference between self-confidence and over-confidence?

Natarajan Amirapu answers:

(Considering the general reference people make to these terms, we are trying the differentiate them so that we may learn something.)

Let us first discuss over-confidence. Usually, we refer to it in the event of a failure. When someone fails at something, we say it is because of his/her over-confidence. We say, “He failed because of his over-confidence! He should have been careful!” This over-confidence is related to our ego. A man’s ego is indeed great. A man of over-confidence is always talking about himself and always complaining about things around. Either he talks about how great he is or how much he suffering because of the circumstances or the conditions around him. Either way, he gets carried away from what he should actually be doing in order to succeed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Be not afraid of anything

A message from Natarajan Amirapu to Sriram.

Natarajan Amirapu:

Dear Sriram,

Take the word fear out of your life completely. From this moment be not afraid of anything. Never even for fun say that you are afraid of anything. Life is full of conditions and people who are bent upon creating fear in you. But our ideal is too big to waste even a second thinking that we are weak and afraid.

Remember what swamiji said: "This is the one great truth India has to teach to the world, because it is nowhere else. This is spirituality, the science of the soul. What makes a man stand up and work? Strength. Strength is goodness, weakness is sin. If there is one word that you find coming out like a bomb from the Upanishads, bursting like a bomb-shell upon masses of ignorance, it is the word fearlessness. And the only religion that ought to be taught is the religion of fearlessness. Either in this world or in the world of religion, it is true that fear is the sure cause of degradation and sin. It is fear that brings misery, fear that brings death, fear that breeds evil. And what causes fear? Ignorance of our own nature. Each of us is heir-apparent to the Emperor of emperors; we are of the substance of God Himself. Nay, according to the Advaita, we are God Himself though we have forgotten our own nature in thinking of ourselves as little men."


Always tell yourself you can do everything and anything. Never fear.You are the son of Swami Vivekananda and you have nothing to fear.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Is our future pre-determined

Discussion between Vamsi and Natarajan Amirapu.

Vamsi asks:

We Hindus believe that our future is already written. Can we change our future? If we can, how far we can change it?

Natarajan Amirapu answers:


The answer is yes and no. The statement saying that our future is already written is quite misunderstood. Swami Vivekananda explained that very clearly.

It all starts with the Karma Theory (karma siddhAnta). The theory says that all the works which you do, through body, speech and mind will leave an impression which will be stored. It will be like a bank balance.

Thiruvananthapuram temple riches

Discussion between Vamsi, Natarajan Amirapu, and Sridhar.

Vamsi asks:

What would you suggest about the ownership of Thiruvananthapuram temple riches? I can see that India is getting a lot of money. In the form of Hidden treasures, more share in sea water and more... Are we capable enough to handle this money?

Natarajan Amirapu answers:

India was the richest country in the world for a long, long time. Under the British rule, we reached a stage where we were almost bankrupt and had to pledge gold to stay afloat during the early 1990s. From that stage we have now reached a stage where we are in the top ten richest nations of the world.

GURU AND GOD

Discussion between Vamsi and Natarajan Amirapu.

Vamsi asks:

Swami Dayatmananda asked us a question and himself answered it as well. It is as follows

Question: Whom do we have to listen if our guru and God come to us and tell two contradictory things?

Answer: We have to listen to guru because we come to know about God from our guru!

I heard the same answer from Sri Chaganti Koteswara Rao Garu also.

Please explain this for me.

Natarajan Amirapu:


I agree with what swamiji said.

Sri Ramakrishna says that Satchidananda Parabrahman himself manifests as our Guru. That is why so much of respect is given to Guru. If we carefully think about it, we will find that the Guru resembles God in all his characteristics. God is Sat-chit-ananda. Knowledge-existence and bliss. The guru, by virtue of his pure character symbolizes all those and he talks of nothing but them and instills the same characters in us as well. That will make us go towards God. Swami Vivekananda says, “It is great men who lay down their lives to build the road on which millions of ordinary people cross this samsara.”(I changed the actual wording)(This does not apply to our day to day lecturers of our colleges, who teach for a salary!)

Nice Conversation between swamiji and disciple on religious magazine udbodhan

The Bengali fortnightly magazine, Udbodhan, was just started by Swami Trigunatita under the direction of Swamiji for spreading the religious views of Shri Ramakrishna among the general public. After the first number came out the disciple came to the Math at Nilambar Babu's garden one day. Swamiji started the following conversation with him about the Udbodhan.

Swamiji: (Humorously caricaturing the name of the magazine) Have you seen the Udbandhana?

Disciple:
Yes, sir; it is a good number.

SERVICE AND NATION BUILDING

An extract of the lecture delivered by Amirapu Natarajan at Computer Sciences Corporation India Pvt Ltd, Building 7, Raheja Mindspace IT Park, Madhapur, Hyderabad 500 081 on 21 June, 2011.

Before starting the discussion on Nation building we should know why we should think about the welfare of others and why should we try to help others at all.

Teachings of Swami Vivekananda from first Std. to tenth Std.

Govt. of Andhra Pradesh has ordered to SCERT to include the life and teachings of Swami Vivekananda in their syllabus for the students for the forthcoming year. (Govt. G.O. No.16 dated 26.2.2011.)

As per the order the SECRT has introduced the teachings of Swamiji from 1st Std. to 10th Std.

Advaitism and Vedanta

Advaitism and Vedanta

Discussion between Sriram and Natarajan Amirapu

Sriram:


What is the difference between advaitism and Vedanta? To me both concepts appear same.

Natarajan Amirapu:

The word Vedanta encompasses Advaita in its fold.

Vedanta means Veda+Anta which indicates the end of Vedanta. That is the essence or the conclusion of Vedas.

PM's Tribute to Swami Ranganathananda

I deem it a great privilege and a great honour to be present on this occasion when we have gathered to celebrate the life and works of one of the greatest souls of our time, a truly learned and wise man, one who attained the ultimate in the knowledge of the self, a realized soul, a being who radiated bliss – Swami Ranganathananda.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Go abroad to broaden your vision

Conversation between Santosh and Natarajan Amirapu.

Santosh:

Dear Nataraj anna,

Could you please explain the meaning of the below paragraph.

"Only I want that numbers of our young men should pay a visit to Japan and China every year. Especially to the Japanese, India is still the dreamland of everything high and good. And you, what are you? … talking twaddle all your lives, vain talkers, what are you? Come, see these people, and then go and hide your faces in shame. A race of dotards, you lose your caste if you come out! Sitting down these hundreds of years with an ever-increasing load of crystallized superstition on your heads, for hundreds of years spending all your energy upon discussing the touchableness or untouchableness of this food or that, with all humanity crushed out of you by the continuous social tyranny of ages – what are you? And what are you doing now? … promenading the sea-shores with books in your hands – repeating undigested stray bits of European brainwork, and the whole soul bent upon getting a thirty rupee clerkship, or at best becoming a lawyer – the height of young India’s ambition – and every student with a whole brood of hungry children cackling at his heels and asking for bread! Is there not water enough in the sea to drown you, books, gowns, university diplomas, and all?"

Thanking you.

Natrajan Amirapu:

Japanese and Chinese see India as the birthplace of Lord Buddha and consider it very holy. They assume that all Indians are imbibed with the qualities of the purity, the rationality and the steadfastness of Buddha. Whereas, we are far from that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Go to the root of the problem!

Go to the root of the problem!

Conversation between Sriram and Natarajan Amirapu

Sriram:

jairam ramesh commented that IITs, IIMs are good only because of students not because of lecturers. He said IIT and IIM students are world class but not lecturers. No real research is being done in these institutes. He also rightly said that a governmental research organization never attracts young talent which is totally true. I also experienced the quality of professors there. Most of them teach outdated content (content of 1950s) which is no where used in industry.

Now a days UPSC is also posing a question to candidates with IIT background in civil services interviews “Whether IITs are good for conducting JEE only or research”.

Natarajan Amirapu:


I read the news yesterday and also the comments accompanying the report in Economic times. Yes, he was right to an extent. But, where is the problem? If we want to help, we have to go to the root.