There are a lot of misconceptions about these two words—dharma and religion. They are used very carelessly and therefore can, and do, invoke wrong meanings and even dangerous ideas. A misinterpretation of these words can completely change perceptions. On deep thinking one realises very clearly that any religion is not about God really, it is an institutionalised set of beliefs only meant for human beings to practice. For what? Exactly, this is the question. If these beliefs are meant for the betterment of all human beings, then they should necessarily be the same universally! But we sadly notice that there is something in the very nature of man-made religion that is divisive. A religion excludes all that it is not, while dharma includes every form of life. Noted scholar Badrinath Chaturvedi in his book Dharma, India and the World Order, writes, “All social disorders originate primarily in the minds of men… The real problem is that of conveying a fundamental concept of one culture to another.” And in doing that some loss of meaning always occurs due to differences in languages and cultural beliefs.
The range of ideas that this word dharma represents is not conveyed accurately by any word in English. There is an absence of any intelligible term in English that could in essence cover the entire range of ideas in all the subtle nuances in the gambit of this word Dharma. Any Sanskrit dictionary gives meanings running into pages. Marco Pallis, a scholar on Buddhism, states in his essay on ‘A Buddhist Spectrum’, “The word ‘dharma’ which the Indian traditions have rendered familiar has no really adequate counterpart in the terminologies of the European languages.” This is a huge drawback we face in trying to convey to the Western world the range of nuances this word evokes in the Hindu mind. There is stree dharma, pati dharma, Rajya dharma, putra dharma, Sachiv dharma, Purohit dharma, and oh, the list seems endless. Roughly translated as whatever is the best possible noble duty for the benefit of all that one should indulge in, open to interpretations and modifications according to time, place, person and situations. Notice the pliability and the freedom of choice given to man, the openness of mind and the magnanimity of acceptance. This is dharma. It is not a set of unchangeable, hard and fast set of rules. One can’t paint all with the same brush.
The religions of the world stick to their self-created ideologies, condemning those held by any other belief systems, and try deception, seduction, allurements and even violence to impose their beliefs on others. Some even profess to have a religious sanction for doing so. The concept of dharma is universal and never mandated. It is not given out by somebody as compulsory dictates or prohibitory orders. There is no programming. You live according to your own understood set of values, without imposing the same on anyone. In dharma a high value is placed on respecting the dignity and free will of the human intellect.
Yes, dharmic actions and adharmic actions are based on disciplines and values imposed on oneself. There are boundaries to keep unruly acts in check. Of course, these follow a universal matrix of values where the cardinal rule is: ‘I do not want to get hurt, nor do I want to hurt others.’ There is no indoctrination in dharma, it follows the simple logic of whatever is beneficial to mankind universally. It is open to independent interpretation according to the needs of the hour and the given situation. Unless there is a universal ease of application how can it be open to interpretation? Dharma doesn’t come loaded with software. It doesn’t have any Windows. Almost all religions rest on non-confirmed, non-verifiable beliefs. So, what is the ongoing shooting match about? A fight for that which may or may not be true!
Dharma gives freedom to all, to believe in or discard with impunity what his or her intellect judges as wrong or right, without imposing it on others. It is not a preset glove of values, one size fits all. Whether it is one God or twenty, whether it is a form or formless, man, woman, child, animal, half-man and half-animal, river, hill, plant or tree, stone or wood, dharma should encompass and embrace all ideas of divinity universally. Prayer in any language, by anyone, done in any place, to any form one considers as holy, is acceptable to the universal idea of dharma.
Dharma of anything is its essence or its essential quality without which that thing loses all meaning, in fact ceases to exist as itself. For example, any white translucent cubical crystals could be anything else but not sugar if they do not taste sweet. So, sweetness is the dharma of sugar. Similarly, the essential life force that pervades the entire world of cognitive life in the whole universe is the dharma of all existence, and it is to that divine factor that makes life possible, that we owe obeisance. It may take any form of our man-made fancy, but is in effect that sacred power, that supreme intelligence because of which existence exists, call him Ishwar or Allah, Buddha or Mahaveer, it is the true dharma of all beings.
Prarthna Saran is president, Chinmaya Mission, Delhi.
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Acting Without Action
Behind every action, there is always a motivation to get a specific result. As we do every action with an eye on the end result, a specific goal, the expectation of the result affects the process of our action. Put it another way, the means of achieving the end often becomes bigger than the end itself. But when we do some actions as an expression of joy, not bothered about the result, we don’t get lost in the means. When we do some actions expecting joy out of them, it makes the action inferior. For example, when you want to spread happiness, but are keen on finding out whether the other person has become happy or not, you get entangled in a vicious circle and lose your happiness in the process.
The concern about the outcome of your action is what pulls you down and dampens your enthusiasm. Suppose you want to take up a project, but you start it by worrying whether it will happen or not, then your whole enthusiasm for the project gets dampened. When you are aware of your potential, just jump into the action you want to do without bothering about the result.
When you are in doubt, any activity you do will bring more doubts. When you have a choice, the grass on the other side will look greener and this will prevent you from enjoying what you have in your hand. It will not allow you to focus on what is right now. So when you are bothered by a choice, relax. The choice is never between good and bad; it’s always between bad and worse or good or better. There is no choice between a plate of rice and a plate of sand. The choice is between whether you should have rice or roti. Never mind, today you have rice and tomorrow roti. Choices bring conflict and there is freedom in ‘choicelessness’.
How can you be centred when there is conflict? In Chinese, there is a saying that when you are in doubt, take a pillow and go to bed. In Narada Bhakti Sutras, Narada says, “Karmanyapi Sanyasyati”. Take a break, not just from activity, but also from the fruit of the activity. You can take a break from the fruit of the action when you let go of the result and become totally centred in the action itself. It will bring deep rest from doubts and conflicts in the mind. One who is not concerned about the outcome is centred in the action itself and reposes in the Self and goes beyond the dualities, beyond conflicts.
This doesn’t mean that you should stop acting. Though one who is wise, who has attained knowledge, divine love, is beyond all actions yet he continues to engage himself in action. You can transcend only what you have gone through. You can only let go only what you have. So to let go of the fruit of the action, you need to have the fruit and to have the fruit, you need to act! This is so beautiful. If you have never acted, then how can you drop neither the action nor the fruit of action? So be active.
Keep doing your work, and drop the fruit of action. All the fruit of action is there as the motivation for you to start acting. Shri Krishna used the fruit of action to motivate Arjuna to fight. He told Arjuna that if you die in battle, you will attain heaven and if you win, you will rule the world. Jesus also did the same.
When you are bogged down with laziness, you need motivation to do something and the expected fruit of action acts as the motivating factor. But once you start acting, let go off the expected result. Just focus on the work at hand. This is the way of the wise!
HOW TO EMPLOY SPIRITUALITY AND TECHNOLOGY IN LIFE
For a blissful life, it is important that we connect to the inner-net and not just the Internet.
We live in a time where ‘google’ happens to be within the first 100 words a child learns, a time where we do not need to extend our hand to make a friend; just our finger is enough. A whole universe of information is available at our fingertips. An entire network of people, known and the unknown, all seem to be connected, there for each other, yet not really there. Families separated by thousands of miles can talk to each other; see each other with the help of technology. Children from remote villages get a glimpse of the world outside through technology. The field of medicine and medical diagnosis greatly relies on the accuracy of the technology that it uses.
As creators and users of technology, we have been greatly empowered. Yet this power often comes at the cost of becoming entirely dependent on this very technology. Our enthusiasm to explore and to know is often limited to internet searches. We do not go out and explore nature and lose the human touch. There is nothing that can replace the experience of touching snow or feeling the coolness of the flowing river-the majesty of the Himalayas or the tranquillity of the Ganges.
While it is much easier to know more about anything by connecting to the world-wide-web, the enthusiasm to discover and learn firsthand is vanishing and only the virtual experience remains. This by no means is the real thing. Technology should not be the cause for this. Instead, we should discover ways in which technology can help to facilitate our spirit of enquiry. What is the middle path in the use of technology and how do we find it?
It is a fine line of balance; to know how much to depend on information and when to rely on intuition. It is a skill; to deepen our knowledge with information yet broaden our vision with real experience. This skill and balance are essential to avoid the risk of overexposure and fatigue, to keep the creativity flowing and the enthusiasm rising. This is where spirituality helps.
Spirituality is not a dogmatic rule. It is dynamic action, continuously accommodating and adapting to changes in circumstances and the environment. It makes you ever accept change. This ability to adapt is essential in a technological environment where the need to upgrade and update oneself is imperative to staying ahead.
In the race to keep up with technology, we should not forget the mind that created it. We are used to charging our phones and laptops. What can we do to re-charge ourselves? For the human mind to be more effective, it needs to be charged through meditation.
Meditation brings centeredness. It is a subtler technology for mind management. It calms the agitated mind. It connects us to our source and brings us back home to ourselves. It is important that we connect to the inner-net and not just the internet. A mother knows intuitively what her child needs even before it begins to speak. She is a master of the language of the heart. This ability to connect with life around us is innate and needs to be nurtured. Spirituality is the key to this cosmic connection.
When we know that we are the source, that we are ever connected to the supreme intelligence, we can move ahead with a sense of belongingness and responsibility for the transformation we bring about with the technologies that are available to us. The same finger that can unleash a nuclear bomb can also spread peace. Walking this line of balance with effortless grace is the skill that meditation brings in us so naturally. Living the values of caring and sharing, of seeking the highest truth and ultimate joy, of giving love and wisdom, are the signs of an individual blossoming to his or her full potential through spirituality and technology should be an aid in this journey to make life a celebration.
The writer is the sister of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, meditation teacher, and director of Women and Child Welfare programmes of the Art of Living.
In the race to keep up with technology, we should not forget the mind that created it. We are used to charging our phones and laptops. What can we do to re-charge ourselves? For the human mind to be more effective, it needs to be charged through meditation.
EASY AND SIMPLE STEPS FOR A HEALTHIER WAY OF LIFE
Each of us has the power to stay healthy. The choices we make today impact our physical, mental, and spiritual health tomorrow, whether months or years from now. Our choices also impact our family. What we choose today regarding the care of our body, mind, and spirit will determine what our future health will be. If we would realise that everything we do is building a foundation for our own lives and those of our family and children, we might think and act differently.
Medical research is pointing to two ways we can be proactive in increasing our wellness. One is meditation and the other is a vegetarian diet.
Meditation can increase our health and well-being physically, mentally, and spiritually. It keeps our body and mind calm and reduces our chances of contracting stress-related illnesses.
Research by medical practitioners and doctors is proving that meditation benefits the body and mind. It has been humorously said that we can counter the effects of ill, pill, and bill by being still. We can reduce the risks of getting ill, needing pills, and paying medical bills by being still. Being still refers to sitting in meditation. This increased interest and popularity of meditation has grown as scientific studies verify what has been known in the East for centuries: Through meditation, we still the body and mind and increase our well-being. It keeps us healthy, minimises the risk of getting a disease, and speeds up our recovery if we do get ill.
Here are simple steps to staying healthy:
STEP 1: MEDITATION
Be still. We know that our parents had the solution for us when we were children. When we were rambunctious and naughty, they had five words for us: “Sit down and be still.” These words are a precursor for a healthy lifestyle. Being still is another word for meditation.
When we meditate, we slow our heart rate and breathing to a point where we are calm. When we are agitated and upset, the body produces fight or flight hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which may be useful when in danger to help us defend ourselves or run, but not useful when the simple problems of life upset us. We do not need cortisol and adrenaline to kick in when our spouse or children leave the toothpaste cap off or someone cuts us off on the highway. We have been so conditioned to become upset about things that are not life-threatening that we produce stress hormones that react to our body in a way that can break down our organs and bodily systems.
Meditation helps us sit in a calm, relaxed state so that we can ward off the effects of daily life challenges. When we remain calm, our body is not producing hormones that can lead to stress-related ailments such as heart attack, stroke, hypertension, headaches, digestive and skin problems. When we meditate we also keep our mind calm. We not only suffer physical illness from stress, but we create emotional and mental difficulties when we are not calm. This can lead to emotional and relationship problems or other stress-related mental disorders. Through meditation, we can keep a calm and peaceful mind to help us lead happier lives.
Meditation also helps us develop concentration, which we need for school or our jobs. When we are stressed out, our performance level is not as high as we need it to be. When we concentrate we can get better grades, which reduce our stress as students. Our stress as employees or professionals is reduced because we can perform better at work.
How can we prove the spiritual benefits of being still and meditating? This is one area where meditation fits the scientific model. It is based on experimentation leading to proof. Those who have tried the experiment have discovered that meditation leads to wellness not only of the body and mind but of the soul.
In meditation, we close our eyes, gaze within, and still our mind of thoughts. When the reflecting pool of our mind is still, we see what lies within us. We see Light within, hear celestial Music, and can soar to regions of Light. Through meditation, we thus achieve physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
STEP 2: VEGETARIAN DIET
Another key to a healthy lifestyle is living on a vegetarian diet. Doctors have proven that a plant-based diet reduces the risk of many diseases such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, digestive disorders, and even some cancers, among other illnesses. By cutting out meat, and even fish, fowl, and eggs we can reduce the risk of many ailments.
Vegetarianism also has benefits to our state of mind and our spiritual well-being. Think of the state of the animals when slaughtered. Hormones of fear and stress run through them at the time of their captivity and slaughter. It has been said that we are what we eat. All that was a part of the animal becomes part of us when we eat it. This means we are ingesting their fear and panic hormones, which can contribute to our own state of fear and anxiety when it becomes a part of our body.
We also are taking into our body anything the animal ate. For example, antibiotics fed to the animal become part of us, and if we have too much it can cause bacteria to become antibiotic-resistant. If animals are fed hormones to make them grow faster, they too become a part of us which can lead to problems because now those hormones are in our body. We also are taking into our body any diseases that the animal may have contracted.
There are moral benefits to a vegetarian diet. Most cultures believe in the law that “thou shalt not kill.” There is recognition in many cultures that even animals have a soul in them. Thus, when we take the life of a creature, we are taking the life of a being who has a soul in it. Those who ascribe to a spiritual way of life and meditate have even witnessed that the same Light of the Divine in us also shines in all other human beings and all creatures. Thus, a thread of divine connection knits all life together. All are created by one creative power, and as such we are all one family. When we recognise this, we begin to love all and treat all as one family. Just as we would not want to harm our family members, similarly, we would not want to take the life of any creature as we recognise they are our younger brothers and sisters in the one Creator.
Today, there are numerous delicious and nutritious vegetarian, plant-based foods we can eat. Besides a growing number of vegetarian restaurants, most restaurants now offer a wider variety of vegetarian dishes. Mainstream supermarkets have many vegetarian options for customers. Even places where it was hard to get vegetarian foods, such as school cafeterias, hospitals, cruise ships, conferences, and venues for professional gatherings, offer vegetarian choices.
A growing number of companies now produce foods that look and have the texture of meat-type products but are made of plant-based foods for those who still want the look and feel of food with which they used to eat before becoming vegetarian. There are vegetarian options that appeal to people of all ages to encourage them to eat healthier while still enjoying the delicious taste of food.
It is now easier than ever to be vegetarian and the benefits are enormous. One can try the experiment of incorporating meditation and a vegetarian diet into one’s life. Then, you can see for yourself the benefits you will experience. If you can track the changes these two choices make and find that you are healthier, physically, mentally, and spiritually, you will have proven for yourself the benefits of meditation and a vegetarian diet. May each of you make choices to experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle for your body, mind, and soul.
The author is the head of the Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission.
Sanatana Dharma: Eternal occupation of the living entity
The Sanskrit word Sanatana means “eternal” and the word Dharma means “occupation.” Therefore the term “Sanatana Dharma” can be taken to mean our eternal occupation. The Supreme Lord and His transcendental abode are both Sanatana, eternal, as are the living entities, and the combined association of the Supreme Lord and the living entities in the Sanatana abode (the spiritual world) is the perfection of human life.
Krishna is very kind to the living entities because they are His sons. Krishna declares in the Bhagavad Gita that, “I am the father of all.” There are many different types of living entities according to their different karma, and Krishna declares He is the father of them all. Therefore, time and time again, the Lord descends to this material world to reclaim all of these fallen, conditioned souls to call them back to the Sanatana, eternal, sky so that the Sanatana living entities may regain their original eternal positions in association with the Lord. Thus Krishna comes in different incarnations, or He sends His confidential servants as sons or acharyas to reclaim the conditioned souls.
Therefore Sanatana Dharma does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord. Sanatana Dharma refers, as stated previously, to the eternal occupation of the living entity.
The English word “religion” is a little different from Sanatana Dharma. Religion conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another, but Sanatana Dharma refers to that activity that cannot be changed. For instance, liquidity cannot be taken from the water, nor can heat be taken from fire. Similarly, the eternal function of the eternal living entity cannot be taken from the living entity. Sanatana Dharma is eternally integral to the living entity. When we speak of Sanatana Dharma, then, we must take it for granted that it has no beginning or end.
That which has neither beginning nor end cannot be sectarian, for it cannot be limited by any boundaries. Yet those belonging to some sectarian faith will wrongly consider that Sanatana Dharma is also sectarian, but if we go deeper into the matter and consider it in the light of modern science, we can see that Sanatana Dharma is the business of all people of the world–nay, of all the living entities of the universe. Non-Sanatana religious faith may have some beginning in the annals of human history, but there is no beginning to the history of Sanatana Dharma because it remains eternally with the living entities.
The Bhagavad Gita states that the living entity has neither birth nor death, he is eternal and indestructible, and he continues to live after the destruction of his temporary material body.
To understand the concept of Sanatana Dharma, we must first try to understand the concept of religion from the Sanskrit root meaning of the word. Dharma refers to that which constantly exists with the particular object. We conclude that there is heat and light along with the fire; without heat and light, there is no meaning to the word fire. Similarly, we must discover the essential part of the living being, that part which is his constant companion. That constant companion is his eternal quality, and that eternal quality is his eternal religion.
When Sanatana Gosvami asked Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu about the constitutional position of the living being He replied that it is the rendering of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we look at what is happening around us in the world we can easily see every living being is constantly engaged in rendering service to another living being. We can see that one friend serves another friend, the mother serves the son, the wife serves the husband, the husband serves the wife and so on. If we go on searching in this spirit, it will be seen that there is no exception in the society of living beings to the activity of service. The politician presents his manifesto for the public to convince them of his service capacity. The voters, therefore, give the politician their valuable votes, thinking that he will render valuable service to society. The shopkeeper serves the customer, and the artisan serves the capitalist. The capitalist serves the family, and the family serves the state. In this way, we can see that no living being is exempt from rendering service to other living beings, and therefore we can safely conclude that service is the constant companion of the living being and that the rendering of service is the eternal religion of the living being.
Factually we are related to the Supreme Lord in service. The Supreme Lord is the supreme enjoyer, and we living entities are His servitors. We are created for His enjoyment, and if we participate in that eternal enjoyment with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we become happy. We cannot become happy otherwise. It is not possible to be happy independently, just as no one part of the body can be happy without cooperating with the stomach. It is not possible for the living entity to be happy without rendering transcendental loving service unto the Supreme Lord. Therefore, to summarise, the Sanatana Dharma of every living entity is the rendering of service. No matter what religion one professes to belong to, this eternal occupation of rendering service remains with the living entity. To perfect one’s life, one simply requires the redirection of this service. Instead of serving in the material world, he can serve Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This process, transforming one’s service from persons and objects in the material world to the service of Krishna in the spiritual world, is the art of Krishna consciousness and as we progress in this newsletter we will discover how we can easily transform seemingly material activities into liberating transcendental activities, by performing them for the pleasure of Krishna.
Gauranga Sundar Das is Iskconinc Communication Director and SM IT Head.
THE UNIQUE YUG PURUSH SWAMI CHINMAYANANDA
Swami Chinmayananda Ji was not just one of the greatest saints of the 20th century, but a towering spiritual giant, a social reformer, a missionary, a freedom fighter, and a Vedantic teacher of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Geeta par excellence. He brought about an unprecedented awakening, a renaissance in Hinduism. The Upanishads were a hidden treasure for most of the Hindus till they were simplified and unravelled to the educated English speaking elite of the world. He appeared on the scene when India was still ruled by the British, and the colonial impact of mental slavery was so strong on Indian minds, that almost all Indians wanted to ape the west as they were made to believe that they were uncultured uncivilised people and anything and everything British was worth graduating to.
Born in a highly placed aristocratic family, with a post-graduation degree in English and Law, he first joined The National Herald as a brilliant young journalist in Lucknow. Possessed with an extremely sharp mind and a questioning intellect, he rebelled against all unexplained, seemingly illogical traditions and ritualistic practices of Hinduism. His fiery young mind was restless and refused to practise seemingly meaningless pujas, japas, and havans etc. He found a certain intellectual honesty in atheistic thought. In his own words to me, he once said, “I used to write regularly against Hinduism. Some of the most vitriolic attacks on Hinduism have been made by me.” So, as a journalist, he reached Shivanand Ashram in Rishikesh and even told Swami Shivanandaji that he had come to do an expose on the ashrams and Swamis, and “how they keep up the bluff among the masses.” Swamiji invited him to stay at the ashram, watch all the activities closely so that he can uncover the “inside story”. So, while working on the ‘inside story’ for his paper, the ‘outsider ‘ became a true ‘ insider’. The ordinary journalist, Bal Krishna Menon, slowly evolved into the world revered saint Swami Chinmayananda. He taught tirelessly for decades even while his body had to have oxygen support, he worked for a renaissance in Hinduism. He opened the eyes of Hindus to Hinduism. He infused new meaning in Hindu thought, that was sustainable, logical, and easily comprehensible. Thus, acceptable to modern man, helping him to rise, evolve, and then help others to lift themselves out of centuries of inferiority, and slavish thought. He helped so many people to pull themselves out of the dense darkness of ignorance into the life endowing light of our scriptures.
His contribution to the world of modern spiritual thought is profound yet highly practical. His advice was always in sync with the Geeta teachings. “Roll up your sleeves and work hard in the world…. the lord loves the smell of sweat.”
This unique sanyasi taught by example, working and teaching tirelessly till the last. A few months before his Maha Samadhi (leaving his body) he was very sick in Bombay. The doctors advised him not to speak at all and get admitted to the best Bombay hospital. Gurudev was ready to conduct a camp of 600 youngsters in a remote village in Sidhabari, a small hamlet of Himachal, where there was barely any medical aid. When the doctors warned him that the trip to Himachal could prove to be fatal, he shot back, “ Why? Does no one die in Bombay?” Nothing happened to him in Sidhabari, where he took two talks a day on the Geeta. After the talk, he used to be wheelchaired off the stage with oxygen clamped on him. After about a month, he gave up his body in the USA, in one of their specialised hospitals under the care of a renowned heart surgeon. Even with his last breath, he taught: The body will fall when and where it has to!
Prarthna Saran is the President of Delhi Chinmaya Mission.
How to be fearless in Covid times
We can defocus from the turmoil of our surroundings through meditation and connect with our soul which is a part of God, the source of all love and joy.
These are stressful and confusing times for many of us. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in people. Daily life is disrupted completely for everyone across the globe. People are feeling uncertain about what could happen in the coming weeks. Feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and fear are very common today. People are worried about their own health and the health of their loved ones. How can we deal with all our fears under the current circumstances? Let’s first understand:
Why do we have fear?
Fear arises from doubt and the unknown. When we have doubts about how something is going to turn out, it opens the door to fear. When we doubt ourselves, we fear making a wrong decision or making a mistake. When we doubt whether an outcome will turn out right, we fear the consequences. If we doubt the existence of controlling power, we live in fear of chance occurrences and accidents.
We fear being weak. The young boy or girl on the school playground fears the bully. Each day as he or she walks home from school, the weak child lives in fear of being physically attacked by the bigger children. At work, the employee fears the employer. The employer holds the future of our salary and job in his or her hands. We may feel weak and powerless to speak up for injustices on the job because those who hold the power may retaliate and punish us for doing so.
We are more afraid of our thoughts of what is out there than of what is actually out there. Those who fear death, in actuality, fear the unknown. The fear is always trying to eat us up in one manner or another. People fear the unknown because it may be unpleasant or painful. Since they do not know what to expect, anxiety and fear build within them.
How can we achieve fearlessness?
Our soul, which is totally conscious, is a part of God and, therefore, is without fear. Since God is all-consciousness, and the soul is one with the Lord, it is God in a microcosm. God is without fear, and the soul is also without fear. It is only when we are out of touch with our soul that we begin to be afraid. The soul is truth; the soul is totally conscious. Being in connection with absolute truth means there is no fear. Thus, there is no fear in the soul.
The soul’s quality of wisdom gives it access to the knowledge of all that is. There is nothing potentially unknown to the soul. It knows what is and what is to be. What has it to fear? Those who have been in touch with their soul-the saints, mystics, prophets, and enlightened beings-have experienced it.
In medicine, to desensitise someone is to give one small dose of the substance to which one is allergic. By learning to tolerate small doses, the body builds resistance and can handle larger doses of the irritating substance. If we begin to practice fearlessness in small situations, we can grow in our ability to handle greater and greater challenges. To practice fearlessness, we must come in contact with our empowered soul.
How can we experience our empowered soul and fearlessness?
We need to learn that our empowered soul is the one who is really facing our challenges. If we connect with our empowered soul, we will overcome all fears and gain a lasting sense of peace and security. Our empowered soul, being one with God, is there for us. It is there to help us through the challenges of life. We just need to sit in silence and experience our empowered soul.
Meditation is the process by which we take our attention away from the world outside and focus it on ourselves. In doing so, we defocus from the turmoil of our surroundings and connect with our soul which is a part of God, the source of all love and joy.
What can we do in the current times?
We cannot put an end to life’s challenges. We have no control over the outer universe. We cannot say for certain that we will not lose our job, our home, our wealth, or a loved one. What we can do is face these challenges with a sense of fearlessness so that we are not incapacitated by fear and despair. What we can do is take a break from reading, watching or listening to news stories, including social media and spend time in meditation and experiencing our empowered soul.
Once we become aware of our spiritual nature and experience our soul, we will find that our lives will be filled with love, joy, fearlessness, acceptance, and trust.
The author is the Head of the Sawan Kirpal Ruhani Mission.
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