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murti puja

bharatiya samskriti inspire transcending limitations inherent in conceptualizations of nama-rupam, discerning essence beyond appearance.

murti puja is one of the ways that help integrate physical and mental planes, connecting upasaka to the non-physical causative energy that is behind the diverse physical and mental object-conceptions. veda, purana, itihasa– carrying deeper meaning beyond physical, yogik mudra, mantra, also serve similar purpose.

Concepts beyond physical are represented in physical form of murti. Recognizing the concepts creates a channel connecting the physical and mental planes, paving way towards realization, brahma jnana. It is like in a scientific formula that conveys meaning and truth transcending physicality of symbols used, the true meaning is understood when the meaning of symbols are correctly recognized, going beyond their common understanding as alphabets.

These practices of bharatiya samskriti help liberate people, make them contented, self-sufficient and in bliss, ananda.

Idols in mind

Self-sufficiency and liberation of common people deprive those holding positions of temporal power the authority and privileges they expropriate. Crooked minds that seek control over others for self-aggrandizing purpose endeavour to prevent liberation and self-sufficiency among people by decreeing non-physical conceptualization of objects ‘heretical’. They destroy physical objects used for the purpose, sever the connection between physical and mental plane, claim themselves to be messenger/mediator-church for an almighty entity ‘god’, install idols of God/Allah, Ummah in minds of followers, shackling them to these artificial idol-concepts in segregated physical and mental prison cells. Fabricated myths and rituals enforce mind-control over people.

Idols in mind are the foundation upon which western hegemonic empire is built.
In some western systems, idols installed in mind are ‘Almighty God’, its ‘Messenger/Son’, ‘Ummah’ and ‘Church’.
In some others, it is ‘Class war’, ‘Politburo’ and ‘Egalitarian State’.
In another, it is ‘Free Market Development’, mounted on pedestal of premise that ‘Consuming’/’aggrandizing’ is essential nature and purpose of life.
In some other, it is ‘Rational logic’; while in another, it is ‘Physical perception/ Experimental validation’.
In some other system, it is ‘Race’, while in another, it is ‘Nation’.
In another system, where people give up rights to decision-making every five years to opportunists, it is called ‘Democratic Government’.
In some other system, it is ‘separation of religion from governance’, while in another, it is ‘Equality’.
Other such idols in mind are ‘Rule of Law’, ‘Judiciary’, ‘Criminal Justice System’, ‘Education system’, ‘Patriotism’, ‘Charity’, and so on.

Idols in mind are venerated or ridiculed depending on dogma fed.

These idols- Church, Ummah, God, Allah, Government, Judiciary, State, UN, Police, Law and Order, Charity, Science, Democracy, and so on, are given infallible aura, are exalted and venerated, while the so-called ‘common man’ is considered common fodder for aggrandizers to feed on.

Indoctrination from childhood is the path by which such hegemony is established in minds of people.

Minds stunted by indoctrination are calibrated to react violently to perceived slight to idols in mind. In a recent incident in state of Kerala, the hand of a college professor, a christian, was severed by muslim adherents, because, while setting question paper, he gave the name ‘Mohammed’ to a mentally unsound character in a passage where that person hallucinates having conversation with ‘god’.

Disconnect

These impositions fixate people on physicality of objects, preventing recognition of connection between physical and mental planes.

The ensuing disconnect between the mental and physical plane manifest in disparity between theory and practice. Claiming to spread ‘love’, ‘peace’, ‘brotherhood’ and ‘equality’, they practice genocide, slavery, aggrandization and divisiveness. Ideals are accepted as separate from and often incongruent with ‘what is practical’. The dissonance between physical and mental plane prevent recognition of duplicity in action and words.

The disconnect between mental plane and physical further prevent comprehending of unifying connections that pervade life and entire creation, leading to compartmentalizing of everything, divided, separated from others, labeled and pigeonholed.
Labels then replace reality in their minds.

The compartmentalization is applied to time as well. Past, Present and Future are discretized and insulated. People fixated on physical body consider life as beginning from birth and ending in death. That outlook corresponding to growth of physical body is accepted as representing ‘progress of life on earth’ as well; also called ‘evolution of life’.
Past is considered represented by childhood- largely characterized by ignorance and helplessness. Other living beings, deemed to be in ‘less evolved stages of life’, are considered representing that ‘less evolved past’ and diminished.
The ‘growth of individual’, involving discarding of previous notions, is practiced in ‘breaking away from past’, discounting value of animals and plants and other life forms, considering humans as ‘most mature, evolved form of life’. Other life forms are considered deserving to be controlled or used as deemed fit by these ‘evolved human beings’. Everything related to past are condemned ‘primitive’, at best of value only as museum curios. The fixation with material objects in physical plane parallely manifest in the segregated mental plane as fixation with such misconceptions.

Connect

bharatiya parampara, by contrast, view life as resembling the continuous alternation of day and night. Consciousness awakes in the morning, directs the body during day, wanes in night, remains dormant in sleep and re-awakes in morning. That sequence is considered represented in the creation of world, its sustenance, eventual dissolution and re-creation. Recognizing atman as basis of living beings; and physical bodies as incidental- rather than defining of life, the perennial sequence of birth and death are comprehended as required to actualize karma. The connect between the mental plane and physical plane enable realizing integrality with entire creation and its causative energy.

Breaking Idols

Minds and lives discretized by misconceptions enable entrenched control by those holding power and serve to aggrandize such influence further.

Breaking idols installed in mind, is first step.

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Food

Finding food to eat is the responsibility of a person. Nature is abundant in edible, nutritiuos food items. Sometimes it may require efforts to cultivate and process it. A person who reasonably exerts himself can satisfy his/her needs sufficiently.

bharatiya samaj sustained on the activities of people belonging to four varna based on their natural inclination. Inherent talent towards handling, producing and processing materials was termed vyshsya varna, and people who showed inclination towards it were considered vyshya. They produced and provided food and other materials for the entire society. In turn, people inclined to act to uphold righteousness administered society justly, people inclined towards spiritual pursuit spread wisdom they realized during the course of their pursuits and people inclined towards emulating others helped the other three.

The society thus catered to the taste and ability of each individual, providing avenues for individual growth, while simultaneously also provided the supportive environment required for sustenance of the person. Like in a living body where head identifies the source of food, legs takes it to the location, hand brings the food to mouth that delivers it to stomach that digests it and gives energy to the whole body. Each constituent performed the task it was most suited to perform and contributed to balanced sustenance of society.

When this balance is disturbed, for example, if mouth starts eating solely to indulge its sense of taste, if food is taken by hand excessively and ingested, the stomach would be thrown out of gear. If that happens and stomach shuts down, the body parts will be starved of energy. Then each body part will start seeking source of energy individually. Since they do not have the capacity to process food items to produce energy, instant energy sources will be sought out.

In the case of society, when the constituent part that should discern the truth and guide society indulges in selfish aggrandizing acts, misleads society, and ventures to consume voraciously, directing the administering part to indiscriminately appropriate resources, more than necessary and more than what can be processed, the processing power of society is left in disarray. This then leads to search for instant source of energy.

This was what happened in western societies. The aggrandizing behaviour of western empires developed the taste for selfish indulgence among those people who should have been providing correct guidance to society. The society that was disturbed as a result sought sources of instant energy. Instead of taking the trouble to grow food painstakingly over a long period and then processing it, they started eating ready source of energy- meat. They started eating other living beings and justified it, stating that they have a ‘god-given-mandate’ to indulge in such behaviour. Later they extended that ‘mandate’ to justify robbing, enslaving and killing other peoples, labelling them ‘heathen’, ‘pagan’, ‘indian’, ‘kaffir’, ‘negro’, ‘barbarian’, etc.

varnashrama

The case in Bharat was different. Here the people followed varnashrama dharma correctly. The role of head, to give guidance to the body, including identifying of appropriate food sources and tasting food to ensure it is fit to eat, without overindulging in sensual pleasure, was correctly followed.
The brahmana subsisted by begging alms, living frugally, pursuing the purpose of his life for which he was naturally endowed- realization of atman. The kshatriya, under the guidance of brahmana administered society justly, preventing excessive exploitation of resources. The vyshya produced and processed food items and other materials as necessary for society and sudra helped all three in achieveing the goal of sustaining society.

varna of each individual was based on his/her inherent qualities rather than the varna of parent, as evident from the fact that veda, mahabharata and bhagavad gita were compiled by Vyasa, the son of a fisherwoman, Satyavati, and Parashara, whose mother was also sudra. Ratnakara, a jungle robber, abandoned that occupation, sought realization, became Maharshi Valmiki, and compiled Ramayana. varna is also not static, a person who primarily seeks brahma jnana, a brahmana, may occasionally show kama, the primary moivator of sudra varna, like Parashara did in company of Satyavati.

gau

Bharat attained material prosperity based on vyshya activity, producing food and other materials of use. gau, Cow, was the source of milk, which was used to make curd, butter, ghee, etc., which formed integral part of diet. Milk was also used for medicinal purpose. Cow dung came in use for various purposes, including as cooking fuel and building material. Bullocks were used for agriculture. Artifacts found in Saraswati river valley sites, dating back to 5000 years and beyond, indicate prominence of cow in society. Cows were thus integral part of vyshya household, and by extension, that of the society as well, for society sustained on what vyshya produced.

Congruent with the dharmik inspirations that underlie bharatiya samskriti, cows were not treated as ‘animals to exploit’, but were cherished, and as milk givers, were given due respect, as a mother.

Killing such a being and eating was out of question. For three reasons- one, society produced enough food stuff, through occupations suited to the natural inclination of individuals, to meet all its needs. Two, killing cow would cut off source of milk and other necessary items. Three, and most important, killing a being required sufficient cause. Satisfying palate is not sufficient cause in a society that value dharma.

Cows are also peaceful, harmless beings, lovable. purana narrate many instances where cows play important part in society. Episodes of Kamadhenu and Nandini are well known. Sri Krishna is also known as Gopala- one who takes care of cow, which was his occupation during his growing up years.

In the veda, the word gau also means illuminating rays of wisdom, and is revered and sought by brahmana.

In both its meaning therefore gau is respect worthy. Those who consume, instead of nurture, gau, eitherway, are imbeciles wreaking destruction on themselves and society.

Disruption

Bharat thus maintained the necessary balance in society and prospered, repelling attacks from foreign aggrandizers such as Alexander. However, Ashoka, who grabbed power killing siblings, had insatiable appetite for territory and self-aggrandizement. Having usurped large land area killing millions of people, he imposed upon society a socio-political version Buddhism making rock edicts that were self-promoting than spiritually uplifting, glorifying himself as “devanam piya“- “beloved of devas”. He never relinquished the throne like Sri Buddha did, had many wives, and the youngest of them, Tishyaraksha, whom he married in his old age, he later killed.

Buddhism identifies incorrect craving, kama, as cause of suffering and abandoning it as way to enlightenment. kama is the main feature of sudra varna. Buddhism that prescribes eightfold path to develop good kama and reduce bad ones had applicability in the case of sudra, but offered little to the other three, for which main factors were dharma, artha and moksha. This lack, particularly, regarding upholding of dharma, fighting for it if necessary,- the main feature of kshatriya dharma, made application of Buddhism across the board, on all society, inappropriate; in fact, as it turned out, quite harmful, since it disrupted societal balance.

The society, that had a few years back successfully repelled the rampaging Alexander’s army, in the following years saw ingress of Shaka, Huna, Kushana, Turks, Mongols and Pashtuns into those areas where ‘Buddhism’ flourished, such as present day Pakistan and northern parts of India. These people came with their own way of life, different from bharatiya samskriti, and the resultant dilution of dharmik values imbalanced the society further and paved way for islamic invaders and later european colonizers, to establish primacy over the land.

Present

A society where varnashrama dharma is violated, where people who have no inclination to realize atman engage in guiding and influencing society for selfish benefit, people who have no inclination to uphold righteousness engage in administering society for selfish gain, people who have no inclination to handle materials engage in producing materials for selfish profit, and where the rest emulate unworthy people, it becomes like a dysfunctional body, where the mouth seeks to indulge in taste alone, where hands grab more than it requires, where stomach seeks fast digesting food that instantly provide energy without need for much efforts to digest it, and leg seeks to rest indolently.

In such a situation, the head, grown insensitive to other body parts, may start biting at them. The greedy, grabbing hands may injure other body parts. The stomach may start consuming itself and prolonged indolence would incapacitate legs.

Such a being, out of its mind, with limbs out of control, stomach cancerous, and fast approaching self-destruction, is dangerous to other beings.
When that being is powerful- grown powerful on ravenous consumption of others, like western society is at present, the danger to rest of the beings and Nature is so much more.

Regaining Balance

In the purana, whenever asura quality went out of control, necessary correction was made by checking it and balance was restored, taking guidance from the dharmik wisdom transmitted by bharatiya parampara.

Sometimes it may seem that dementia and cancer afflicting a body have reached advanced stage, is pervasive, and that it is near impossible to retrieve the situation. In those times Sri Krishna’s advice is relevant- actualise karma in dharmik way, without attaching to results, unaffected by success or failure.

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि संगं त्यक्त्वा धनंजय ।
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ॥
भगवद् गीता 2.47-48


There is a perceptible rise in public awareness regarding spiritual matters. The rise in communication mediums, primarily internet, have contributed to that.
Concurrently, communication mediums, notably Television, Magazines, even Newspapers have also contributed to spread of manipulated information to serve commercial interests.

Nevertheless, the urge to seek and realize truths of life is on the rise among the people all over the world. While this causes many people to examine their belief systems and seek deeper truths and meaning in their life, many others are also prompted to go beyond their conditioned belief systems and seek truths in other sources. Such endeavours are resulting in increase in adherents towards diverse belief systems and practices such as yoga, Nature reverence, gnosticism, pre-christian native indigenous belief systems of Americas, Europe, etc.

Such rise in consciousness influences the wider public in like manner. Sustained rise in such explorations may provide a counter to the consumerist consciousness that prevails human society today.

Such rise and fall of higher consciousness among public may also be cyclic in nature. Somewhat similar to the change of seasons.

Like the rains providing nourishment to growth in Nature, rise of spiritual consciousness nourishes spiritual growth.

Similar to the rain water that runs off, and is lost if not harvested and stored, the spiritual realizations that occur during the times of rise in spiritual consciousness need to be stored in clean protected manner for subsequent use in times of lesser abundance.

As in the case of natural springs that provide water throughout the year, some places, kshetra, are perennial sources of spiritual inspiration and often become centres of pilgrimage.
Just as the capacity of a spring to supprt large populations is limited, depending on its size, and may need to be augmented by rainwater harvesting, the spiritual inspiration provided by such kshetra need to be supplanted by preservng spiritual realizations experienced during times of abundance for later use.

Just as in water harvesting it is important to ensure that the containers used are clean, and protected from pollutants, similarly, it is important to ensure that the mediums used for preservation and dissemination of spiritual truths are clean themselves and protected from ingress of pollutants.

The vedas have been such containers of adhyatmika jnana filled by numerous unknown rishis millenniums ago, that has stood the test of time providing pure spiritual wisdom to thirsty seekers and inspiring them towards realization. The precise manner in which the vedas were formed and transmitted ensured that their spiritual wisdom were preserved and remained unpolluted. puranas, shastras and other texts of bharatiya samskriti also served similar purpose. One common feature to all these texts is that it is the message of the texts that is of paramount importance over the period of occurence, location or even the author himself. So much so that, in the case of the most important of all texts- vedas, the rishis who originally realized the vedas remain unknown.

The puranas stress on the underlying dharmika, adhyatmika jnana transcending limitations of time, locality and authorship. Even the personalities portrayed in the puranas are superceded by the principles and values that they uphold. Thus it is righteousness- dharma, that governs actions of Sri Rama in Ramayana. Mahabharata, through gita, encourage transcending of personal identities and advocate action for actualisation of karma without concerning about results.

This independence from limitations of personalities, authorship, location and period helps preserve adhyatmika jnana in bharatiya samskriti perennial and pure, like water stored in sterile containers protected from contaminants even though handed over through generations.

This aspect is absent in many other cultures, that have suffered as a result, where either the water-
(a) was not stored well in times of plentitude- spiritual wisdom was not handed down to subsequent generations in intact manner that could sustain for long,
or
(b) was contaminated by personal touch- personality/ies dominated/superceded the message,
or
(c) fixated in locality and thus became inaccessible- limited to geographical area,
or
(d) was exposed to the elements at one time that made it stale- got associated with a period of time, enmeshed in the customs of that time, and thus became dated.
or
(e) was wasted by the careless- destroyed/distorted by materialistic aggrandizers.

In times of spiritual plentitude the received wisdom need to be retained and preserved well to tide over the inevitable times of scarcity as well as to give direction to future generations.

The unknown rishis of yore have shown the way, creating the vedas and developing a samskriti that acts as a container to protect and preserve the spiritual wisdom received through generations, quenching the spiritual thirst of millions through millenniums.

Preserving of this samskriti, its adhyatmika content, and augmenting its harvested wisdom during times of availability without contaminating, are the responsibility of contemporary inheritors of bharatiya samskriti.


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