Monday, April 30, 2018

Welcome to the Buddha Purnima issue of e-Sanai

by Sri Sandip Dasgupta

Dear fellow seekers,

Welcome to the Buddha Purnima edition of our electronic magazine. In this issue, I will try to highlight a few teachings of our Master and attempt to comment on those.

On Feb 23, 1988, Sri Sri Babathakur said the following at Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi:

o   I am neither a Sadhu, nor an a-Sadhu.

·            According to him a Sadhu is a person who has lost all desires – and an a-Sadhu is a person who has desires. But if one is immersed in the Science of Oneness, there can be no desires (desires happen only when there is more than one person/thing). Since our Master is completely identified with the Supreme One Absolute, he doesn’t need to lose any desires. He is thus never an a-Sadhu – therefore he doesn’t need to become a Sadhu.

o   I don’t engage in the criticism or discussion of others.

o   I rule over my mind by telling the mind that:

·            I will not fulfill your wants and needs

·            I will not be obedient like a pet dog and sit at the mind’s door

o   Jealousy and hatred happen only when there is more than One. 

In my limited understanding, I feel that the above tip which Sri Sri Babathakur had given us for controlling our minds, is an excellent tool for use in everyday life. In our experiences, we see that our mind controls our behavior and everyday activities. We forget that our mind is a reflection of our Supreme One, and that we constantly feed our mind with new objects, ideas and desires.  This has a multiplicative effect, and we keep moving more and more away from our real Self.  On the other hand, if we follow the tip given by our Master – we will (re)gain control of our mind and get closer to our real Self.

On the same day, Sri Sri Babathakur narrated a very interesting story of a mother who had lost her only son at a very young age in an accident. This boy was very brilliant in his studies and had always topped his exams upto the M.Sc. level. The mother had become very distressed and violent. She was brought to Sri Sri Babathakur by a devotee.  The lady’s first question to our Master was “Why did you take away my son?”

Our Master politely explained to her that she was only playing the role of a mother in this divine drama. With great compassion, our Master explained to her that her son was keeping quite well in the bosom of the Real Saccidananda moyee Ma. He further explained that her son was being hurt by her sorrow (she had not eaten for 4-5 days, not taken a bath, not slept for several days) – and that she should desist from this kind of behavior.

He further encouraged her to resume her normal life, so that her son’s worries and sorrows could decrease. He further asked her to become a mother of other sons – not just the one who was no longer with her. He asked her to start feeding her son’s friends and find him within them. By this, he urged her to become the Real Ma – Jagat Janani, and emerge from her current role of being the Mayarupi Ma

What a beautiful application of the Science of Oneness! Can we all begin to reflect on the Science of Oneness that has been showered on to us by our Master, and apply it at every stage of our life? 

Joy Babathakur!  Joy Babathakur!  Joy Babathakur!

Satsamga - Part 1

by Sri P.C. Lahiri

Satsamga, as commonly understood, means the company of a saint/worshiper of God/an ascetic/holy person.  In such company, people generally look forward to hearing Godly talks& stories, singing the glory of God, receiving boons, celebrating religious festivals, learning from ancient scriptures and so on - as per their personal religious faith, belief and understanding. This faith, belief and understanding varies from person to person.  Such differences in understanding are fueled & nurtured by the innumerable gurus with their own organizations, preaching their own philosophy, theory, thesis/doctrine - in the name of a past God-incarnate, a well-recognized past saint, or religious scriptures. Thus in the name of God, what has got nurtured are blind belief, rivalries, divisions, hate and chaos, instead of proper education, unification, love and peace.  Recently two so-called saints in India, following their own separate paths and boasting millions of followers with hundreds of ashrams all over the country and abroad, were convicted of rape of their own disciples after protracted criminal proceedings in which they tried to use their clout in any which way to delay the legal process and save themselves.  Such incidents have happened and continue to happen in the educated and developed world as well, with only the face and qualification of the protagonist changing from a religious guru to a high profile wealthy and powerful celebrity.

So, what and where is the root cause?  In India, many believe that it is because of a lack of education and poverty. Is it correct?  Educated and well established persons in India are also followers of such make-believe gurus.  The poor people donate whatever they can to their guru which shows that they are not just seeking wealth.  What is the cause in the western world where lack of education and poverty cannot be cited as the reasons?  In the western world, the main reason is greed and in India the main reason is blind faith.  In both cases there are other minor contributing factors as well; however in both the cases, the root cause is lack of right education.  Education in the material world is generally geared for the creation of name, fame and wealth. This education is very aptly described by the Master (Prajnanpurush Sri Sri Babathakur) as the building of a multi storied structure without proper foundation.  From another angle, He says¾ it is like gathering more and more information without inner formation. Right use of the gathered information is possible by an individual when he has inner formation, otherwise not. Along with this, there is something called religious-education in India given by the above mentioned gurus which is sectoral, very narrow and tends to drive one towards blind faith.  How do we build absolute faith, the opposite of blind faith?  Through Satsamga.  What is Satsamga?  That which gives us right education. Let us see what the Master has to say.
Sat means existence - an existence that is eternal.  So, the immediate meaning that comes out of the word Sat-samga is the company of the eternal Existence. How is that possible? By the company of that One who is unified and identified with Sat, the eternal Existence. How do I get to know that he/she is unified and identified with the eternal Existence? Also how can I find him/her? You can’t find him/her, nor can you know his/her Supreme State armed with your untrained mind-intellect-ego.  So?  Master says you can do something which is very much within your control.  Create utmost longing/desire for the Supreme One. You can desire so many things during your life which even if they get fulfilled, don’t fulfill you for all time. Fulfillment of one desire leads to the creation of two other desires. So, why not have that one desire which will fulfill all desires for all time. With that one utmost desire the Supreme One will appear of Its own accord before you in one form or the other, gradually reveal His/Her identity, and finally build that absolute faith in you.  Armed with that weapon of absolute faith, you will be able to cut asunder all contradictions and many-ness to ultimately discover one and all (including the personified Supreme One) as verily your own Self.  Master has described the sword in one of the hands of Goddess Kali as jnan asi (the sword of knowledge) which destroys all ignorance.  Absolute faith developed through Satsamga is like this jnan asi which will destroy all our ignorance or ajnan.  Master has brought all kinds of ignorance prevalent in this universe under one phrase, the sense of duality/many-ness.  One of the hallmark of a Real Master is the spontaneous ability to simplify, present and solve the most intricate and complicated issues in the world in such a way that a common man can also understand.  It is a different matter if one does not try to understand/accept them for one’s own reasons.  I have seen so many common men as well as men of repute, knowledge and standing saying that it is so difficult to understand Master.  Without a basic understanding it is not possible to accept.  If acceptance happens without understanding, it is either due to some compulsion or just blind faith. True blind faith (this phrase may sound odd) without understanding is a very rare phenomenon.  I have heard from the Master the story of Ananda, disciple of Adi Shankaracharya, who was a blind follower of his Guru and the Guru openly showed His love for him. Ananda used to do all the cooking, cleaning, washing etc. for the Guru. Other disciples, who were studying very hard to really understand and imbibe the advait (non-dual) philosophy of Guru, felt very jealous. One day they could not contain themselves and asked the Guru why Ananda could get so much of His love despite having scant knowledge of His teachings. Guru said you are right and immediately called for Ananda who was washing Guru’s clothes sitting on the other side of the river to avoid disturbance in Guru’s class. Ananda immediately responded to Guru’s call. He was told openly about the complaint of all his fellow Guru-brothers and was ordered to speak about his understanding of Guru’s philosophy.  Ananda spontaneously spoke non-stop for a few hours. It turned out that his understanding was way beyond that of all others. He was so honest that when questioned later on by fellow disciples he openly declared that he did not know what he spoke, it just happened. He was a totally surrendered soul and Sadguru had taken charge. We heard Swami Vivekananda say something exactly like this regarding His Chicago speech but some argue that Swamiji was highly erudite and so could do it.  There may be very few such exceptions and these exceptions prove the law that we first need an intellectual understanding to move further with any idea.

Right education is that which completes one’s education cycle once and for all. We are taught that there is no end to learning. One keeps learning throughout one’s life; so say the intellectuals, peers, elders and all educational institutions of the world. True spiritual Masters who have discovered God, universe and humanity within their own Self as One Absolute Being say that there is an end to learning when witnessing starts.  The pinnacle of learning is the unification and identification with the Witness Self within all of us.  Why should one lead the life of a struggling agent or an ever learning agent as perpetrated by the mundane education and preached by the so-called religious gurus all over the world who just want to rule over others?  The learning that one gets from the True Masters is the technique to rule over our own lower self (not others). This training ultimately leads to the supreme experience of perfect unity within and without. I shall continue with this topic of satsamga in the next piece.

Jai Guru Jai Maa.

Control, Control........And More Control

by Smt. Susmita Devi

At the beginning of a physical life, even at the baby stage, mind starts out by building up desires - from rather innocent ones like food preference, to truly mischievous ones about getting, getting and ever more getting of whatever comes to mind. Later during the remainder of one’s physical life, a  load of desires, spoken out or not, is felt.  Although some desires may never exceed the generally acceptable levels due to an individual’s upbringing, some remain hidden in the recesses of mind and pop up when least expected.

Nevertheless for some, the level of desire remains quite reasonable, but for others there are no limits to the amount of untamed desires. That is why wise persons like Rishis and Sages have put up some written or verbal guidelines for acceptable and unacceptable desires.  The echelon of desires is intimately connected to the society one lives in - with one’s behavior pattern and one’s power of generating income comes the inevitable growth of a multitude of desires. There are, however some ‘golden rules’, which ought to be followed, which says that any excess should be avoided. One might, for example, require a certain amount of food to survive and adequate clothes to cover the body… the question arises only when there is excess of desires or things in one’s life.

The frame of mind may change in deliberations of what may be considered basic necessities like adequate shelter and food, not to talk of medical help - depending on the social status of the individual. If such restrictions are not abided by, which unfortunately today is prevalent in a number of materially poor countries, the struggle to fulfil mere basic needs is prevents one from deliberately entertaining loftier thoughts and longings. That, which may be considered superfluous by some, however, appears as basic necessities to others depending on the society one moves in.

The superfluous desires like jewellery - even imitation – does not pertain to survival.  However for societal or religious acceptance, as expressions of one’s beliefs, such ‘must haves’ are quite often yielded to in order ‘fit in’ the social circle. With India being a tradition-bound society, such outward decorations are an integral part of social life, be it cheap imitation or genuine gems, gold and silver.  Yet another area, where moderation may be called for is foodstuff. It plays a great role in one’s social status to which, even rather poor people, struggle to live-up to as a measure of sociability and/or devotion.
Turning from the outward expressions of well-being through money to the inward non-expressed ones, quite a struggle is possible within the various layers of society. The Basic tenets of wanting to ‘show off’, through whatever means –physical/menial work or inherited or intellectual endeavors – are all based on yielding to the ego-sense generated by mind. That is one of the multiple reasons why ‘desires’ have to be curbed. By consciously curbing ‘unreasonable’ desires, one achieves a high level of self-control, which again leads to both physical and spiritual equanimity. 
At the saintly feet of Sadguru, Sri Sri Babathakur, His followers have – over and again – heard Him point out the fallacies of ever increasing material desires along with the excellent advices not to hanker for what it is not possible for oneself to acquire in a sober manner (i.e. without cheating, without abusing anyone, and without a mind full of jealousy). It is not always easy to follow the above rules, but as any Hindu knows, there is a considerable Karmic price to be paid, if envy and jealousy are let loose in one’s mind and especially if one acts upon them. History and sayings of saints have given many, many examples of the truth of the above statement (eventually straightforwardly graspable through epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata). 
Every human being - and even some animals of a higher order - must go through proportional struggles to control mind-work and instincts so as to uproot the negative part of one’s daily life called envy and/or jealousy/ pride in order to curb desires. 
To conclude, the interconnection between enjoyment and desire is rooted in mindwork, and that interconnection is quite obvious. The endeavor of keeping both under control is of utmost importance for anyone attempting to lead a sober/spiritual life and by and by, adhere to the loftier parts of mindwork and negate the rather superficial – and degenerating – thoughts and action.

The Ubiquitous Wheel Has Spiritual Significance

by Sri Ajit Halder

If we hear the word “wheel” spoken by someone, then pictures of various types of vehicles fitted with wheels immediately start flashing before our mind’s eye.  The rotating, circularly shaped wheel – ‘Chakra’ in Sanskrit, - has made the most significant impact in our daily life by facilitating travel to and from one’s home, workplace, superstore, place of worship, homes of relatives and friends, and holiday resort.  All modes of transportation such as the horse-drawn cart, bicycle, scooter, car, public bus, truck, tram and train need wheels to roll on from one place to another.  Even an aeroplane – a vehicle which flies in the air - has to rely on wheels to speed along the runway of a departure airport and to pick up enough thrust for take-off, as well as upon arrival at its destination, touchdown and progressively reduce its speed as it crawls towards the terminal building.  It is now abundantly clear that Chakrayaan (wheeled vehicle) has brought mobility to our daily life, contributing a new spirit of exploration that has inspired and revolutionized the life-style of humankind.   Moreover, the word ‘Chakra’ may also refer to a metal disk, circular in shape, like a medallion, a broach or an illustration (like the Ashoka Chakra).   A chakra may refer to a "circle" and "cycle”.  More on these will be covered in latter sections.

Besides empowering humans to cope with the cares and the demands of their daily life, the Chakra also has its spiritual connotation. We mention for example, the Buddhist Dharma Chakra.  Practicing religion with the aid of this chakra and other chakras ensures advancement in one’s spiritual life.  It is interesting to note that the wheel's motion is a metaphor for making rapid spiritual progress in the human mind.  So the Chakra is an important concept for achieving spirituality in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and other faiths.  A selection of chakras mentioned in the narratives of historical accounts and religious mythology will be described in succeeding paragraphs.
The Dharma Chakra

The pride of place of course belongs to the Buddhist Dharma Chakra - also known as the wheel of divine law and of fortune.  Lord Buddha is the one who turned the wheel of the dharma, and the eight spokes of the Dharma Chakra refer to the eight Noble Paths aenunciated by the Buddha.  The Noble Eightfold Path set out by the Buddha is considered to be at the heart of the practice of Buddhism.

The name of each noble path begins with the front word ‘sammaa’ in Pali (from sammyag in Sanskrit, meaning ‘right’ or ‘correct’), followed by the word naming the respective path (also in Pali).  The paths are: sammaaditthi (Right View or Understanding); sammaakammanto (Right Action); sammaasankappo (Right Intention); sammaavaaca (Right Speech); sammaaajivo (Right Livelihood); sammaavayamo (Right Effort); sammaasati (Right Mindfulness); and sammaasamaadhi (Right Concentration or Meditation). 

We note that Right view refers to the right knowledge of suffering, and the knowledge of the way leading to the cessation of suffering.  In order not to create more suffering, we need to rely on paying attention (Mindfulness) to what our Intentions are with our actions.  All these observations stress the importance of the Dharma Chakra to the followers of Buddhism.

The Dharma Chakra in Buddhist Art 

The wheel was a common symbol in early Buddhist art. The Dharma Chakra symbolized not only Buddha's teachings, but Buddha himself.  On the top of pillars built by Emperor Ashoka, four carved lions and four wheels face the four directions to proclaim the spread of Buddhist Dharma throughout India.  Today, the Dharma Chakra appears in the art of every Buddhist culture. On images of the Buddha, the wheel appears on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet.   Additionally, the wheel represents the endless cycle of samsara or rebirth, which can only be escaped by means of the Buddha's teachings and achieving Nirvana, the extinction of the flame of desires.

The Tibetan Prayer Wheel

Two thousand years ago, the famed Buddhist master Naagaarjuna determined that setting the Buddha's printed words in motion activated the same blessings as reciting them with the human voice. The concept of the prayer wheel was the result of his noble thinking and is a physical manifestation of the phrase "turning the wheel of Dharma".  Prayer wheels contain the words of the Buddha - teachings of wisdom and compassion, printed on rolls of paper that are glued together and wrapped by hand.  Traditionally, the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hummeaning the jewel is in the rose petals, is written in Devnagari script on the outside, while the tightly wound scroll on the inside can have a variety of Tibetan prayers.  As a result, each single revolution of the Tibetan wheel generates the merit of reciting an immense volume of prayers.

Bhava Chakra

The word Bhava means being in the realm of worldly existence.  In Buddhism it denotes the continuity of being, reincarnating to a new life and being subject to Jivan Chakra, the wheel of life. The Bhava Chakra is seen painted on the outside walls of nearly every Tibetan Buddhist temple in Tibet and India, to instruct non-monastic audience about the Buddhist teachings.  This Chakra consists of three inner circles.  Symbolically, the three circles, moving from the centre outward, show the three imperfections of the human mind: ignorance, attachment, and aversion.  These shortcomings may give rise to karma (actions) with harmful results.

The Sudarshan Chakra

In Hindu mythology, the Sudarshan Chakra is mentioned as a spinning, wheel-shaped weapon literally meaning "chakra with auspicious vision”.  Lord Vishnu is depicted as holding this chakra on the right rear hand. He is seen brandishing the Sudarshan Chakra as a weapon to destroy an enemy, or conquer evil, ignorance, desires and passions. In the Rigveda, the Chakra was Vishnu's symbol as Kaala Chakra, the wheel of Time.

RathaYatra of Puri

Ratha Yatra or Chariot Festival is a Hindu festival held at Puri (in the state of Odisha) and celebrated on the Ashadha Shukla Paksha Dwitiya (second day in the bright fortnight of Ashadha month).  As part of the festival, the deities of Jagannatha, his elder brother Balabhadra, and younger sister Subhadra are taken out on three richly decorated rathas resembling temple structures supported on wheels.  The huge, colourfully-decorated raths, are drawn by multitude of devotees on the grand avenue in a procession to reach their aunt's temple, the Gundicha Temple.

Lord Jagannatha's rath has sixteen chakras, each seven feet in diameter.  The Lord is identified with Pitambara Krishna, who is attired in golden yellow robes.  Hence distinguishing yellow stripes decorate the canopy of the ratha, ‘Nandighosha’.  The ratha of Lord Balarama, called the ‘Taaladhwaja’, is the one with the Taala or Palm Tree on its flag.  It has fourteen chakras, each seven feet in diameter, and is covered with red and blue cloth.  The ratha of Subhadra is known as ‘Dwarpadalana’, literally meaning "trampler of pride".  It is fitted with twelve chakras, each seven feet in diameter. This ratha is decked with a covering of red and black cloth – black being traditionally associated with Shakti, i.e. female power.

We see chakras on the ground all around us but there is a chakra at a great height attached to the pinnacle of the Jagannatha Temple in Puri known as the Neela Chakra, the Blue wheel. This chakra atop the huge temple of Lord Jagannath has an immensely holy connection with the lord of the world, Jagannatha.  

Ratha Chakras of Konark Sun Temple

The Sanskrit word ‘ark’ means the sun and the place name Konark ends in ‘ark’. The temple at Konark, about thirty-five kilometres from Puri in the state of Odisha, is dedicated to the Hindu sun god, Surya.  So it is proper to call this temple, the ‘Konark Sun Temple’.  The temple has the appearance of a high chariot and has twenty-four elaborately carved stone chakras.  Each chakra is nearly twelve feet in diameter, and the ratha is shown as being pulled by a set of seven stone horses. The temple is a classic illustration of the Odisha style of Hindu temple architecture.

Chakravyuha-trapped Abhimanyu

The word ‘vyuha’ denotes any military strategy of grouping army personnel.  The word ‘chakra’ in the context of ‘vyuha’ refers to the pattern of arranging troops in a complicated, circularly-shaped intricate formation, known as Chakra vyuha.  In the battle of Kurukhetra described in the epic Mahabharata, Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, was tricked by the Kaurava army chiefs to enter the labyrinth trap, i.e. the Chakra Vyuha.  Abhimanyu knew how to enter the vyuha, but he did not know the escape route to free himself and was killed by the enemy force.  This is yet another mention of Chakra in the Hindu mythology. 

Kundalini Chakras

In Indian tradition, the physical body of a human (sthulasarira) exists also in psychological and emotional state called the "subtle body" (suksmasarira).  The subtle body consists of nodes of psychic energy, called chakras - altogether seven in number, arranged in a column along the spinal cord of the human body from its base to the top of the head. 

Kundalini is a yogic exercise that refers to the awakening of spiritual energy and its rising upwards from the chakra at the base of the spine (known as Muladhara Chakra) going to the crown of one’s head (known as Sahasrara Chakra).  In yogic practice, the Chakraasana is a strong back-bending yoga asana with m beneanyficial effects.  It is so called because the body forms the shape of a circular chakra when in this posture.

Chakra in Gallantry Awards

As has been mentioned earlier in the text, the term chakra also refers to circularly shaped medallions as used in the Gallantry awards instituted by the Government of India.  The most notable awards for valour or courageous action are:  ParamVir Chakra, MahaVir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and Ashoka Chakra. 

Ashoka Chakra on the National Flag of India

The Ashoka Chakra, a depiction of Lord Budddha’s Dharma Chakra with 24 spokes, is most prominently displayed on the Lion Capital of Emperor Ashoka. The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra today is at the centre of the national Flag of India.  It signifies the wheel of the law of dharma or virtue, which ought to be the controlling principle of all those working to serve the people of India.  Again, the wheel denotes motion.  India must move on and go forward, and so the wheel represents the dynamism of a peaceful change that is taking place in today’s India.

Gandhiji’s Charkhaa 

The charkhaa is a hand-driven spinning wheel, especially used to spin cotton wool into threads and then used to weave cloth in a hand-operated loom. Gandhiji emphasized the use of  charkhaaas as an effective way to remove the poverty of villagers.  The villagers could earn a living by using a charkha to produce cotton yarn that could be employed to weave hand-made khaddar cloth.  This venture would surely contribute to boost the nation’s economy by saving foreign exchange that was being spent in importing machine-manufactured clothes from Britain.  During the freedom struggle, the Charkhaa conveyed the spirit of nationalism to the Indian masses and became the symbol of Swadeshi movement.

Mahatma Gandhi gave charkhaaa a new meaning and novel interpretation by describing it as "the ever-moving wheel of divine love”.  To the Mahatma, hand-spinning was like a sacrament, a medium for spiritual uplift, a means of self-help and self-reliance, and a symbol of the dignity of labour and human values. 


In this article, the two words “Chakra” and "Wheel" have been used interchangeably.  The underlying form of a chakra is a circle which is a shape that is complete and perfect in itself.  Various chakras have been described in this piece, and it is stressed that religious practice performed with the aid of chakras should help the devotee progress towards a perfect, spiritual life. 

Metaphorically speaking, chakras - like the steering wheels used in boats, ships and cars for steering purposes - steer our minds, hearts and destiny towards divine thoughts and religious activities for achieving moksha, salvation or redemption from worldly sufferings.

And lastly, a quote in Sanskrit:

‘ChakravatParibartyanteDuhkhaanica Sukhaanica’!

In English, the saying asserts that sorrowful events and pleasant happenings take place iteratively in Chakras (i.e. cycles) - and by implication, all humans experience those occurrences in their worldly life.  We close this discussion with the assurance given to all readers that at the end of all these infallibilities, our minds will ultimately be filled with joy and happiness every time we encounter sorrow in our lives.