Be courageous, develop kshama and move forward in life: Analogy from Ramayana
Bangalore, SSSIHL-BRN (Summer Course )
Vibhishana provides the classic example. It was through kshama that he acquired the courage to defy Ravana and cross over to the side of Rama. He arrived in Rama’s camp chanting ‘Rama, Rama, Rama’. Seeing Vibhishana in the distance, Rama immediately raised His hand as a gesture of grace and protection. However, the people around Rama said, “Lord, that person is a rakshasa, a demon. He is the brother of your enemy. You must therefore not grant him protection.” Meanwhile, Vibhishana kept on telling Rama, “I am Yours, I am Yours.” Rama then said, “The moment a person tells Me ‘I am Yours,’ that person shall receive My protection, come what may.” Such was Rama’s determination; you too must have similar determination in every spiritual endeavour of yours. One day during the Lanka War, there appeared a young man on the battlefield. Vibhishana drew the attention of Rama to this warrior saying, “Rama, this person is mighty, powerful, and valorous. He is stronger than most, and You must slay him without fail.” In response, Rama despatched an arrow felling the Rakshasa warrior; the young man was dead. Vibhishana then went near the dead body and began weeping profusely. Rama gently lifted Vibhishana and said, “What is all this? Why are you crying over this man?” Vibhishana replied, “This is Neeludu my only son. I urged You then to kill him since he was with the enemies but now, my emotion as a father is overwhelming me. I am unable to bear the sight of the death of my dear son right before my eyes. So, please grant me the power of patience and forbearance so that I can rise above such tragedies.” Notice how unique is Vibhishana’s prayer. He said to Rama, “Kshama is my sathya and dharma; it is also Rama for me! Kshama is my God and I cannot ever afford to forget it.” This episode reveals how even great men suffer pain if they lose their grip over kshama. On the other hand, with kshama, there are no limits to what can be achieved.
Foster good thoughts and develop kshama00:01:23
Embodiments of Love! Drive away bad thoughts and make room for good and noble ones. Through sacred thoughts, foster kshama. This will give you multiple capabilities, enabling you to transform your life into an ideal one. Study of books alone will not enhance your capability; they will merely provide you with superficial or bookish knowledge. This obviously is not enough. Real capability and strength come by tapping the Inner Power latent in you. All that is outside is artificial. Real truth and power are both inside, in your heart. It is the heart that must be strengthened, but, unaware of this fact, people become furiously active in the external world, only to get lost there. There are many types of food catering to the needs of the gross body but what about food for the heart? That food can be obtained only when you turn your head toward God. You must understand the subtle linkages here – food, head, and God.
Move forward developing Kshama; Hassein, hussein analogy00:01:41
Students! In matters spiritual, make sure that you get a firm grip on whatever it is that you are seeking. No matter what the obstacles or troubles, do not ever be afraid. Your steps must always be forward and never backward. But that is not what one finds amongst students of today. During the Mohurrum festival, people dance chanting two words, Hassein and Hussein, taking first one step forward and then one step backward. In the process, they end up being where they are! Similarly, you keep saying Sairam, Sairam, Sairam, but remain spiritually stagnant. When will you start moving ahead? Go forward, trampling over difficulties. To reach great heights, you must have courage. And how does one become courageous? When the heart is full of Kshama, the spirit of courage will automatically makes its appearance.
World is facing problems due to lack of Kshama00:01:11
Develop Kshama. The absence of kshama is responsible for most of the problems the world over, and the decline in the innate humanness of man. Where virtues and values are concerned, man is able to achieve hardly anything. When blades of grass stand all by themselves, they become a ready meal for cattle but when stranded and plaited into a rope, even a mad elephant can be tied down – that is the power of unity. Therefore, you should always be united. Unity promotes patience and strengthens it. What is the type of unity that Swami wants from you? Unity in matters relating to God and good activities. Such unity will develop purity, and once purity is attained, divinity becomes accessible.
Worship God with full faith00:01:40
Therefore, when you worship God, make sure you repose total faith in Him. Without faith, what is the use of worship? Faith alone will take you beyond worries. Life is full of worries. They seem to come in an endless procession. What is it that does not cause anxiety? Birth is a worry, and so is existence itself; Family life is a worry, death is a worry, Childhood is a worry, old age is the same, Living is a worry, working is a worry, Pain causes worry, pleasure too causes worry, Worry, worry, all the time! You are plagued by multiple worries all the time. In this world, troubles will come for sure but one must learn to rise above worry; this is possible only with kshama. Welcome troubles with a smile saying, “Come my friend, you are the bearer of joy!” Truly speaking, it is not friends but enemies who give one bliss. Do you know how? Enemies put you on your guard and help you to develop kshama. When one is filled with kshama, one cannot help being blissful. That is why Swami is stressing so much the acquisition of this incomparable virtue. Develop Kshama. Then you can achieve anything in life
Develop kshama with love00:01:00
Students! In everyone of your spiritual endeavour, you must make the resolution, “This I MUST achieve; this virtue I SHALL acquire.” This is the way to prema and Kshama. If you proceed in this manner with unshakeable faith and idealism, then without any doubt, your life will be fully redeemed. All your actions and feelings must be dripping with Kshama, prema, and Daya (compassion). Love knows no hatred and is totally free from desires. Thus God is said to be Love personified. Kshama will grow if you have unshakeable faith in God. Once you have learnt to be infinitely patient, Love will walk in almost immediately. Prema combined with Kshama is the surest way to fulfillment.
Develop kshama from a young age; With analogies00:03:31
Students! The stage of life you presently are in is most important. This is when you can easily overcome all sorts of obstacles and tide over all difficulties. If you miss this chance to cultivate patience, when do you think you are going to do it? Is it after becoming old? Habits must be formed when one is young. You cannot acquire the habit of thinking about God in your old age. When the messengers of death are at your doorstep, When your relatives have given up hope And are preparing for your last journey, When your wife and children Are lamenting about your imminent departure, Is it possible to acquire in that last moment, The habit of chanting God’s Name? Impossible! Such a thing cannot be done. Good habits must be cultivated in the stage of life you are in now. This is when you should start stockpiling patience, and accumulate a lot of it! This is the stage when kshama becomes the principal weapon of your life. If bad thoughts arise in you, resist and say: “These thoughts are coming because I am deficient in kshama. Let me counter the deficiency.” Bad thoughts cannot penetrate one who possesses kshama. If the doors are slammed shut, can anyone enter? For aspirants in the spiritual path, kshama is indispensable. In life, your capacity for forbearance would be constantly put to test, and you must therefore be very careful. In the class, you are expected to be ever ready for surprise tests. You cannot excuse yourself saying that you have not prepared and are not ready. The teacher will not accept that plea because you are always expected to be ready. You know what photographers do before snapping a group photo. Just before clicking they say, “Ready.” The Divine Cameraman, however, does not follow this practice. With Him, you have to be ever in readiness for no one can say when He will click the shutter. If you are not ready, the picture will not be good. So, in life you must always be ready for tests; achieving this preparedness is true sadhana (spiritual discipline). Do not imagine that sadhana is a drill performed according to a set time-table. Time is not beholden to you and will therefore not oblige you. Time will not follow you; rather, you must follow Time.
Kshama is life00:00:17
Kshama is life itself and the very breath of life. Life bereft of kshama, is meaningless and one who lives so is no better than a corpse. Therefore, acquire and protect kshama at all costs.
Absence of Kshama leads to doubts00:01:00
When the heart is devoid of kshama, it becomes vulnerable to doubts. Man today does not even know what to doubt and what not to doubt! Caught in the whirlpool of doubts, modern man sometimes sinks to depths much lower than that of animals. In fact, at times he makes animals look better! Animals behave within certain bounds, and the dictates of season and reason. Man, on the other hand, knows no such bounds; for him, there is neither reason nor season. Absence of kshama is responsible for all this. Cultivation of kshama must therefore be an important priority. No doubt you will face many difficulties on the path but they should not deter you. Knock them aside and bravely march on, taking courage from the fact that once you have kshama there is nothing that you cannot achieve.
Absence of Kshama leads to jealousy00:01:41
Jealousy is the greatest enemy of man, and it takes root when kshama is absent. If you possess the virtue of kshama, then none of these enemies can come anywhere near you. If the hearts of today’s students are polluted, it is because of the absence of kshama. This is a quality that has to be painstakingly cultivated by self-effort and cannot be acquired as a gift from others; nor can it be obtained from books or even a teacher. It is only your own tenacity and firm determination that will help you cultivate this virtue. You must be resolute and ready to face any difficulty in the quest of your goal. Life is a challenge; meet it! In fact, it is a series of challenges and not just one or two. Face them squarely, resist the obstacles, and firmly march forward. Such determination alone would take you to your goal.
Lack of kshama leads to jealousy; Analogies of Ravana, Asuya and Anasuya00:04:43
Anasuya who had three sons. They were no ordinary sons for they were none other than Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara. Swami has already told you that in the individual, Maheshwara represents a Pure Heart, Vishnu represents a Pure Mind, and Brahma represents Pure Speech. Thus, if a person’s nature is snasuya, then that person will have a pure heart and a pure mind; moreover, the speech of the person will be pure and sweet. If anasuya has three sons, so has asuya; the three off-springs are: hatred, pomp, and anger. Why is there such a huge difference between the two sisters? Because one is courageous while the other is not. Anasuya is courageous; it is her courage that enables her to face all difficulties; and it is also her courage that is the fountainhead of kshama. One must always be courageous, for this is the only way to acquire kshama. Remember how mighty Ravana was? He possessed enormous physical strength, worldly intelligence, and various related capabilities in an abundant measure. In spite of all this, because of the total absence of kshama, his heart became polluted with envy and hatred. Now, love has the extraordinary capacity to draw near even those who are far to start with. Hatred, on the other hand, drives away even those who are near. Ravana had no love. He lacked kshama but was rich in asuya; as a result, he eventually had to pay a very heavy price. Is it possible to have kshama if one’s looks are bad, if one lends one’s ear to foul words, and if one’s actions are rooted in evil? No! Man today is seeing what he ought not to, hearing what he should not, and doing what is most undesirable. How can there be peace in such a polluted heart? Ravana’s heart was completely polluted which is why Hanuman, that great devotee of Rama, advised Ravana thus: O Ravana, I shall teach you a lesson! Lanka is no longer yours, O evil one! Listen carefully and waste not this opportunity. Ignoring the intellect, And becoming a slave to evil tendencies, You have got yourself into the clutches of death! Sita is the Mother of all beings; She is your mother too. By abducting her, You have committed a terrible sin. One arrow of Rama, Will remove all your ten heads! O sinner! I destroyed your minions holding Sita a prisoner, And in retaliation you have set fire to my tail. Now watch while I make Lanka burn, Before putting off the fire in my tail. Hanuman said, “Ravana, your discrimination has been totally warped by jealousy.”. Hatred and jealousy are the main reasons.
Doubts crop up because of impatience00:02:40
Students! Often you are seized with doubts. You wonder, “We are happy here because we are close to Bhagavan and are able to have great devotion for Him. But the moment we leave from here, our devotion and love both diminish. Why?” This happens because one is deficient in kshama. Doubts arise frequently in an impatient person. Such a person has no tolerance, and intolerance is a fertile breeding ground for doubts. An impatient person is drowned in doubts about God. Devotees with great faith too are sometimes gripped by doubts. Why? Because of lack of kshama. It is therefore important to continuously assess the state of your patience and your capacity for forbearance. You must constantly ask yourself, “Is my kshama getting strong or weak?” You must then say, “Patience is my very life breath, and I cannot afford to let it slacken.” Kshama is no ordinary thing. It is the consolidation of sathya, dharma, ahimsa, and all such values that the Vedas extol. It is the ultimate in happiness and also an incomparable treasure. It is the most valuable asset and property that one can acquire. When people abandon kshama, politics becomes degraded, criticisms and accusations are exchanged freely, and there can even be turmoil. This is what happens when forbearance gets eclipsed. The moment kshama makes its exit, asuya (jealousy or envy) makes its entry.
We develop forbearance during difficult times00:00:40
Some people may wonder, “If I develop kshama as Swami says and my life gets packed with troubles, how then will I survive?” Well, it all depends on what is meant by survival. kshama is the true breath of life. It is the greatest ornament that one can acquire. It is kshama that enables you to develop equanimity, and go beyond duality. Going beyond duality is the real purpose of life, and this cannot be done without kshama. You must therefore be happy when troubles descend on you because that is when kshama truly blossoms.
Difficulties lead way to develop Kshama; Pandavas analogy00:02:27
This virtue is best cultivated under adverse circumstances, and one must therefore gladly welcome troubles instead of regarding them as unwelcome. Difficulties help one to nurse and build the capacity for patience, as the example of the Pandavas clearly shows. When they were in power and authority, the Pandavas were somewhat deficient in kshama but once they went into exile and had to face numerous hardships, kshama automatically began to develop in them. Thus, times of distress offer the ideal opportunity for the development of patience and forbearance. In fact, pain and kshama go together, because kshama grows best in an environment of sorrow and misery. However, because of mental weakness as well as ignorance, we invariably shun painful experiences and distress. You should not be weak; be brave and welcome troubles. Let them come, more the merrier. It is only with such a courageous attitude that you would be able to bring out the kshama hidden within you. Can you get promoted to a higher class without passing an examination? It is only when you secure the prescribed marks and pass the examination that you are declared eligible to advance to the next higher class. While preparing for the examination you have to face stress and many difficulties but how sweet is the promotion! So, welcome troubles as tests that prepare you for higher things.
Kshama is the very breath of life00:02:00
Kshama is thus the very breath of life. Can there be smoke without fire? Can a car move without a driver? Can a traffic light flash without a bulb? How then can there be Creation without a Creator? Everything must have a basis. For spiritual progress and advancement, kshama is the real basis or foundation. When kshama disappears, disturbance sets in and there is a decline. Great countries have lost their glory, prestige, and reputation for this reason. Patience is therefore a vital virtue that must be assiduously cultivated, if one is to successfully face troubles and tribulations.
World is facing troubles due to lack of forgiveness00:04:00
At one stroke, Kshama subsumes Sathya, Dharma, and the entire Vedas. It is the greatest among tapas (penance). It is the grandest and the noblest among virtues. It is all encompassing. The Mahabharatha and the Srimad Bhagavatham both contain many episodes that illustrate the disaster that befalls when kshama is lost. Jealousy is the first bad quality that makes its entry when Kshama makes its exit. The Mahabharatha gives a graphic portrayal of how life that is otherwise smooth, can be totally shattered by jealousy. The Golden island Lanka was like the very heavens but Ravana’s jealousy reduced it to ruins. Whereas kshama can give complete protection, its absence can plunge one into distress and disaster. Impatience breeds selfishness and promotes jealousy, which together spur infighting and divisive tendencies of various kinds. The troubles the country is currently passing through are largely due to the absence of this noble quality of kshama. Impatience has ruined even very great spiritual aspirants. Likewise, kings have been reduced to beggars. Absence of kshama can make yogulu (yogis) into rogulu (sick persons). Without kshama, mankind becomes degraded and starts declining, but if it has this quality then it can progress by leaps and bounds.
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