When a leaf fell

When a leaf fell

A yellow leaf on a branch

Saw the few yet green

Somehow did not see

The many that were yellow.

Knowing intuitively

and fearing,

It’s time has come –

For the Great Fall.

Wondered,

Am I ready for the call?

It looked only at the green leaves

envying their vibrancy

Why did I turn yellow at all?

The fall, is now inevitable,

It recognised.

The branch was thrusting it out.

The leaf so wanted to hold on,

But, alas!

The force was only from one side -the branch.

The yellow leaf pondered quickly,

Can I trust the air?

Will it take me to a place

Where I rest and be embraced

With warmth and no fear?

And it shuddered, when it wondered,

Should I surrender to the wind?

Or, Should I resist the wind?

A question it had no answer for.

Those already fallen could not reach the branch anymore,

and relate their tale of how it felt when they fell

And those on the tree, did not even suspect the fall.

And then,

It started falling…

And the yellow leaf suddenly realized,

The only resistance it could offer is the weight of its own self that it carried..

The wind was kind,

as the leaf dried up, weight gone..

It knew instantly..

it will survive, without the tree!

Merged with the soil, it will nourish the tree..

 

© Deepti Vishwanath.  Photo courtesy- Vishwanath Tekur

When God becomes a delusion.

When God becomes a delusion.

God takes a pedestal in most lives. Yet is the most misunderstood. All misunderstandings are nothing but non understandings. So, is God understood, ununderstood or is God misunderstood, or does he remain alive in Faith alone?

Visiting any place of worship, Churches, Mosques, Temples, seeing the throngs of people, leaves a question in some minds. Is God there at all? Or is he a product of human frailties? An outcome of his delusion. And to worsen it, the imagined God now stregthens the delusions!

Was God meant to solve man delusion or was God created due to the man delusion? Why do so many people pray?

God, sadly has been the greatest crutch of the deluded.  By deluded one means, the one’s not ready to face life and its challenges. In an everyday life, they choose to close an eye to the real condition, and face the helplessness. Man has this desperate need of short term resolutions, and his easiest lean on, is God! It gives him an illusory assurance of a relief sometime.

The difference between real faith and an escapists lean on God, is huge! Faith is a result of inner maturity, of personal command and yet there is a connect with the greatest force -God. It brings peace, dynamism, independence, cheer, detachment, a consolation that even if things are not right, they do get right in the end, it brings inner strength. Whereas, an escapists use of God, is avoidance of responsibilities, of blind rituals, superstitions, of rigidity, of fear, helplessness, inability in taking important decisions, in the name of leaving it to God’s will, deep laziness, inertia, taking easy solutions, avoiding any strenuous disciplines. An easy dependence on anything in the name of God.

God is the most exploited, and in the name of God, most get exploited. For ‘real’ faith is rare. Most don’t have it.

-Deepti Vishwanath

Faith and Śraddha

Faith and Śraddha

What is required to know the śastra? Faith or śraddha? Are they the same?

No. Faith and Śraddha are different as lemon tea and milk tea. Both are teas but their essential ingredient is different. Similarly Faith and Śraddha both have a difference which is very significant in knowing the śastram.

Faith in English dictionary – “Christian Theology. the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.” “belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion.” “a system of religious belief: the Christian faith; the Jewish faith.” “belief that is not based on proof.” “confidence or trust in a person or thing.”

For the study of the śastram, śastra itself gives the qualifications of the aspiring student. The one who is endowed with the sādhana chatustayam-the group of 4 qualities will gain śastra vidya.

1. Viveka – a discerning capacity to think rationally.

2. Vairagya – Dispassion towards all engagements which bring an ephemeral pleasure.

3.  Shama-Dama-Ādi Shataka sampatti. The wealth of the subset of six qualities, sense control, mind control, endurance, an ability to withdraw the mind wilfully from its preoccupied state, equanimity and  ŚRADDHA.

4. Mumukshatvam – yearning for, a longing for absolute freedom.

There is an oft quote from the Bhagavad Gītā (Ch4, Vs39), “श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानम् ।” “The one who has śraddha gains the knowledge.” श्रद्धावान् śraddhavān – the one who has śraddha; लभते labhate- gains; ज्ञानम् jñanam- knowledge.

Śraddha in Sanskrit-Hindi dictionary – “आस्था, निष्ठा, विश्वास, भरोसा ।” “देवी सन्देशों में विश्वास, धार्मिक निष्ठा ।” “आदर, समान ।” “शान्ति, मन की स्वस्थता ।”

What is that ‘little’ difference between faith and śraddha? By the dictionary meanings they seem alike.

Faith expects you to accept without understanding or questioning. Because it is the truth. Believe in it. Śraddha expects you to understand first and for which question when necessary, but with faith, that the answer must be right, only you cannot see it so. Having that trust in the śastra and the śastra ācharya (teacher), who will painstakingly keep explaining, answering every doubt, till they are removed.

Bhagavad Gītā, in the 4th chapter,verse 34, gives the characteristic of such a śraddhavān student.

तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया । उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिनः ॥३४॥

Tadviddhi pranipaatena pariprashnena sevayaa;

Upadekshyanti te jnaanam jnaaninas tattwadarshinah.34.

“Know that by long prostration, by question and by service, the wise who have realised the Truth will instruct thee in (that) knowledge.”

Know the method of gaining the knowledge. Having approached an ācharya, offering your namaskāra (salutation), through questioning and service to the ācharya, the knower of the truth, will instruct you, for your knowledge.

Namaskāra determines your śraddha. A willingness to be taught. And to learn; what you don’t understand, address it as a question to the teacher. Who will then explain with the help of tarka-logic, and anubhava -your valid experiences, till your doubts have vanished and you also begin to see what the śastram says. It is an engaging method of learning. A conversation with an objective on both ends. The ācharya wants to convey the śastra and the shishya wants to learn the śastra. As the student  continues to dispel his ignorance, this shishya, as an expression of gratitude offers service in place of the generosity in efforts put by the teacher while explaining. Once learnt, the shishya now has a choice to be an ācharya or not. This is a live tradition and very different from ‘sermons’.

Thus, śraddha encapsulates faith. And expands beyond it. Śraddhavān alone gains the śastra vidya. Śraddha is required to know the śastra and to prevent it from becoming dogmatic.

Religions are faith based. And faith can become blind. Such religions defeat the very purpose of a religious life! Yes. Religions are meant that people can live a religious life.

But while religions preach, śastra teaches. And that is no small a difference! And that is also true for faith and śraddha.

 

Deepti Vishwanath

Faith

Faith

Faith. A double edged sword.

Hurts to have and also not to have.

In the mire of delusion, seeking the permanent;

saves and also drowns.

To prevent being a robot, faith is essential.

But faith which opposes reason, numbs you!

To feel the joy, faith is an ingredient; but the same saddens you.

The same liberates you when faith saw.

Who then has faith which is joy and liberating?

What to have faith on? Which will not hurt?

Is God then, not a necessary inclusion in the ire of delusion?

 

Deepti Vishwanath