Narrator: They must be the most contented people in the world. They have no crime, no punishment, no violence, no laws, no police, judges, rulers or bosses. They believe that the gods put only good and useful things on the earth for them to use.
Narrator: Only 600 miles to the south, there’s a vast city. And here you find civilized man. Civilized man refused to adapt himself to his environment; instead, he adapted his environment to suit him. So he built cities, roads, vehicles, machinery, and he put up power lines to run his labour-saving devices. But somehow he didn’t know where to stop.
The more he improved his surroundings to make life easier, the more complicated he made it. So now his children are sentenced to 10-15 years of school, just to learn how to survive in this complex and hazardous habitat they were born into. And civilized man, who refused to adapt to his surroundings, now finds he has to adapt and re-adapt every hour of the day to his self-created environment.
For instance, if it’s Monday and 7:30 comes up, you have to dis-adapt from your domestic surroundings and re-adapt yourself to an entirely different environment. 8:00 means everybody has to look busy. 10:30 means you can stop looking busy for 15 minutes. And then you have to look busy again. And so your day is chopped into pieces, and in each segment of time you adapt to a new set circumstances. No wonder some people go off the rails a bit…
This documentary tells the story about life of Adi Shankaracharya – the founder of the non-duality (Advaita Vedanta)
Shiva Guru, Shankara’s father, asks him to treat Mrithyu [death] as a friend. Mruthyu approaches Shankara as a boy and both become friends. At the time of Shankara’s initiation, he meets another boy, Pragyana [wisdom] and makes him his other friend. These two friends, “Pragyana Sharma” and “Mrithyu” grow with Shankara and stay with him.
Whenever the friends are in action, they are associated with the shlokas “…. vishvam bhuta-bhavya-bhavat prabhum” [He who has inner vision is the Lord of the past, present, future] for Pragyana Sharama. Mrithyu is associated with “akasas-patitam-toyam …” [every drop of water from the sky merges with the sea]. The movements of the friends are very carefully orchestrated ones.
Shankara’s friend Pragyana Sharma: Pragyana moves away from Shankara when he says to the chandala in Kashi, just like others, anmayada [move away]. When Shankara realizes the truth, Pragyana comes back to him again. The encounter of Pragyana with Mandana Mishra’s parrot, is enlightening. So is his deserting of Shankara’s disciples when they become envious of Sureshwara.
Shankara’s friend Mrithyu: Shankara first meets Mrithyu at the time of death of his father Siva Guru. Mruthyu was already there when Shankara reaches home from Sringeri to meet his mother. Many times, Mrithyu is angry at Shankara, as he (Shankara) laughs at Mrithyu. When Shankara is ill, Shankara laughs again, observing the paradox of Mrithyu taking care of his body, when actually he (Mrithyu) should be destroying it.
Final embrace of Shankara and his friends: In the Himalayas, Shankara has a debate with his friend Wisdom.When they embrace, Wisdom merges into Shankara. Death who was angry because, Shankara always laughs at him is also asked by Shankara to embrace him. He does after Shankara’s persuation “in spite of the fact that I laugh at you, you still have been with me. So you are my friend. So embrace me.” He embraces Shankara and that is the last when we see of (mortal) Shankara.
This, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the cause of suffering:
It is that craving-compelling, intoxicating-which
Causes us to be born into things again and again,
Ever seeking fresh delight now here, now
There; it is, namely, the craving for
Sensual delight, the craving for
Sensual, the craving to be something and
The craving to feel nothing.
From Ramana Maharishi, the sage who stayed silent all his life and never wanted to build anything in his name. I walked from Auroville (near Pondicherry) to Tiruvannamalai (for a few days) to get to his Ashram. I don’t know why, but I just felt that I had to walk to him.
Well, this body is now dead. It will be carried to the burning ground and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But with the death, of this body am I dead? Is the body I? This body is silent and inert. But I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the “I” within me, apart from it. So I am the Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means I am the deathless Spirit.
The realization came to him in a flash. He perceived the truth directly. ‘I’ was something very real, the only real thing. Fear of death had vanished once and for all. From then on, ‘I’ continued like the fundamental sruti note that underlies and blends with all the other notes.
Arunachala is the mountain where Maharishi meditated. I cannot describe how charged up it is. It really blew me away and it pulled lots of impurities out of me in a way that gold sucks out impurities from other metals.
I have been struggling with a question for quite a long time: what did Gandhi have that other people did not?
I think that it is conviction, commitment and a deep love for truth. All of us know what is morally right and morally wrong. We know what is truth, a lie and all the gray areas where we all at sometime or the other time compromise our values. The difference between most people and him is that he tried his best (as a human) to go that extra mile to commit to purity. The purity that truth alone can bring. He paid the price to stick to it. He suffered, fasted, got beaten up and continously purified himself to stick to as close to the truth as he could. Although this seems idealistic and almost impossible for me to practice on all levels, it is something to strive for.
Dissolving the ego appears to be a very daunting task. I am beginning to be more aware of when it arises-which appears to happen all too frequently. One way that I thought of slowly turning the tide was to do an ego releasing deed with every ego promoting thought. That might be one way to keep the ego in check 🙂