49. The First Half Of The Gita: A Retrospect
Friends, we have come halfway
through the Gita. It will be worthwhile to recapitulate before
we proceed further. In the First Chapter, it is stated that the
Gita is for overcoming delusions and inducing us to follow
swadharma. In the Second Chapter, the basic principles of
life are stated and the concepts of karmayoga and
sthitaprajna are spelt out. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 explain the
concepts of karma, vikarma and akarma.
Karma means the actions done for the performance of
swadharma. Vikarma means inner mental action that
needs to be done to aid such performance. When karma and
vikarma fuse together, mind is completely purified,
passions and cravings die out, distinctions vanish, and then the
state of akarma is reached. This state is of two kinds.
In one, hectic activity goes on unceasingly but still the doer
feels inwardly that he is doing nothing. In the other, one is
outwardly inactive but is still acting ceaselessly. The state of
akarma attains fruition in both the ways. Although these
two ways appear different, they are completely identical. These
ways are called karmayoga and sannyasa
respectively. Although they are known by different terms, they
have the same essence. The state of akarma is the
ultimate goal, which is also called moksha. Thus, in the
first five Chapters of the Gita, the philosophy of life has been
fully spelt out.
- To attain the state of akarma,
there are various types of vikarma. There are several
means for the purification of the mind. Important among them
have been described from the Sixth Chapter onwards. The Sixth
Chapter tells about the yoga of meditation to have one-pointedness
of mind and about the supplementary means of abhyasa and
vairagya. The Seventh Chapter is about the great and
noble means of bhakti. You may go to the Lord either with
love or with the quest for knowledge or with passion for the
well-being of all, or even with desire for personal gains; the
important thing is to enter into the presence of the Lord. I
call it prapattiyoga or the yoga that asks us to
surrender to God. The Eighth Chapter puts forward satatyayoga
(the yoga of uninterrupted pursuit). You will not
find these terms in other commentaries; I have coined these
terms myself as I have found them useful for understanding the
Gita. Satatyayoga means continuing the sadhana—the
spiritual quest—till death. One should never leave the chosen
path; one should go on advancing along that path without a break.
If one vacillates, there is absolutely no hope that he will ever
reach the goal. One should never despair or get tired and
complain, "How long am I to go on doing sadhana?"
Sadhana should continue till it attains fruition.
- After explaining this
satatyayoga, the Lord tells in the Ninth Chapter something
very simple, yet capable of transforming life totally. That
is rajayoga. This Chapter asks us to dedicate all the
actions to the Lord as and when they take place. All the means
enjoined by the scriptures, all the karma and vikarma—everything
gets dissolved in rajayoga, the yoga of surrender.
Nothing else is needed. Surrender of everything to the Lord is
an all-encompassing and powerful idea. It appears simple and
easy, but still it turns out to be exceedingly difficult. This
sadhana is easy because anybody, from an illiterate
villager to a great scholar, can practice it where ever he is,
without much effort. But although easy, it requires
extraordinary moral and spiritual merit.
म्हणुनी विठ्ठलीं आवडी
The most trivial things bring tears to
our eyes, but the Lord's
Name does not move us to tears. What is to be done then? This
sadhana, as the saints say, is easy in one sense, but difficult
in another; it has become all the more difficult in the modern times.
('It is only when good deeds are done in many births that the mind is
drawn towards the Lord.')
- Today, the film of materialism has obscured our view. We begin by doubting God's
existence. Nobody finds Him anywhere. Life is full of lust,
passions and distortions and iniquities. The greatest among the
philosophers of our time cannot think of anything higher than
providing two square meals daily to all. They are not to be
blamed for it; it is a fact that many do not get even that. How
to provide food to all is the biggest problem today, and the
best brains are busy in tackling it. Sayanacharya has defined
hungry people are Rudra1 incarnate.
A number of ideologies, isms and programmes have arisen to solve
the problem of hunger. We have no time to look beyond this
problem and think of anything else. The most strenuous efforts
are being made to find out how people could have a couple of
morsels in peace without clashing with each other. In such a
strange social order, it is no wonder that the simple idea of
dedication to the Lord appears exceedingly difficult. What is
the remedy? We shall see in the Tenth Chapter how to master the
yoga of dedication to the Lord, how to make it easy to
50. An Easy Way To Learn To See God
- The Tenth Chapter suggests the
same methods that are employed in teaching the children to
enable us to see the Lord everywhere. The children are taught
the alphabet in two ways. One method is to teach the letters
first by writing them in big size. When the children are
conversant with them, they are acquainted with the letters in
smaller sizes. The other method is to teach simple letters first
and the complicated 'joint’2 letters
thereafter. In the same way, we should first learn to see God in
bigger and more conspicuous things. The Lord manifest in oceans
or high mountains can be grasped at once. When we come to
experience His presence therein, we shall realise subsequently
that He is present even in a drop of water or a speck of dust.
There is no difference between the capital
'A' and the small 'a'.
This is one way. The other way is to see Him first in His
simpler manifestations, and then move on to His complicated
manifestations. One can quickly comprehend His manifestation in
a pure form. For example, one can easily discern God in Rama.
Rama is like a simple letter. But what about Ravana? Ravana is
like a 'joint’
letter. In Ravana, His manifestation is difficult to discern
because there is a mixture of good and evil in the person of
penance and energy are indeed great, but they are mixed with
cruelty. So, to begin with, learn to behold God manifest in Rama,
who is full of love and compassion. It will take time to discern
divinity in Ravana. But one has to reach that stage. One should
first learn to discern God in a good person, but ultimately one
should be able to discern Him in an evil person too. The Lord
who is in an ocean is present in a drop of water too. The Lord
who is in Rama is present in Ravana too. What is present in the
gross is present in the subtle; what is present in the simple is
present in the complex. Our vision should be informed with this
- This vast creation is like the Lord's
Book. When our eyes are covered with thick veils, we think that
the Book is closed. Everywhere in this Book, the name of the
Lord is written in beautiful letters. But we fail to read that.
A major obstacle is that a man does not recognise the Lord in
the ordinary and simple forms which are near him and His distant
and dazzling manifestations are too difficult to grasp. If you
tell him to see God in the mother, he will say,
God so simple?"
But if the Lord appears before you with His dazzling splendour,
will you be able to stand the sight? Kunti3 wished
to see the sun-god face to face, but when he approached her, she
could not stand the scorching heat. We cannot bear the Lord with
all His power and glory. But we do not accept Him in milder and
gentler forms. We cannot digest sweets made from milk and do not
relish ordinary milk! These are the symptoms of our
wretchedness and doom. Such a sick mind is a great obstacle that
prevents us from seeing Him. We must discard this state of mind.
51. God In Human Form
- The first and the foremost form of
the Lord for us is our mother. The Veda says,
('Let your mother be your God.') Who but the mother does the new-born baby see first? The Lord
Himself stands there as the embodiment of tenderness. We can
move on from the worship of the mother to the worship of Mother
India and still further to the worship of Mother Earth. But in
the beginning the mother is the highest form in which the Lord
appears before the child. It is quite possible to attain
moksha through the worship of the mother. Worship of the
mother means worship of the Lord as love incarnate; the mother
is just the medium. The Lord endows her with His affection and
impels her to toil for her child. The poor mother does not
understand why she feels so much love and affection for the
child. Does she do everything for the child with the calculation
that it might be of use to her in her old age? Not at all. She
undergoes labour pains while giving birth to the child. That
pain makes her passionately attached to her child. That pain
makes her love the child. She just cannot help loving it. The
mother is the embodiment of boundless service. To worship her is
the highest form of the worship of the Lord. It is as 'Mother'
that we should address the Lord. Is there a word nobler and more
exalted than this? Mother is the most prominent and the
simplest manifestation of the Lord that we come across. Learn to
see God in her; and then in the father and in the guru.
The guru imparts knowledge to us, makes of us human
beings in the true sense. How indebted are we to him! Thus, we
should start with seeing God in the conspicuous forms of the
mother, the father, the guru and the saints, in this
order. Where else can we see Him if not there?
- Likewise, how nice would it be if
we could see Him in children! Dhruva, Prahlad, Nachiketa, Sanak,
Sanandan, Sanatkumar—all these were children, but Vyasa and
other authors of the Puranas (the ancient mythological tales)
are so fond of them that they are never tired of talking about
them, of extolling them with love and admiration. Even as
children Shuka, Shankaracharya, Jnanadeva were free from desires
and attachment. Nowhere else did the Lord manifest Himself in a
purer form. Jesus was greatly fond of children. Once his
disciples asked him, “You talk so much about the Kingdom of God. Who can enter it?"
Jesus lifted up in his arms a child standing nearby and said,
"Only those who are like this child."
What Jesus said is indeed true. Saint Ramdas was once playing
with children. Someone asked him with surprise,
"What has happened to you today?" Ramdas said,
वयें पोर ते
थोर होऊन गेले
As the age advances, innocence gets eroded. One becomes clever and presumptuous. Then one hardly thinks
of the Lord. The minds of children are pure and unsullied. We teach
a child, "Do not tell lies." He asks, "What is a lie?"
Then we explain that the statement must correspond to the facts. The
child is nonplussed. How can one make a statement that does not
correspond to the facts? It is like telling that a rectangle must
be called a rectangle and not a circle. The child is surprised at
this teaching. Children are the purest manifestations of God. Adults
teach them all wrong.
वयें थोर ते
चोर होऊन ठेले
('Children have attained greatness, while those advanced in age have proved to be scoundrels.')
In short, if we cannot see the Lord in
the mother, the father, the guru, the saints and the
children, we will not be able to see Him in any other form, as these
are His best manifestations. One must first learn to recognise Him
in His gentler manifestations, wherein divinity is inscribed in bold
capital letters—where it is the most conspicuous.
52. God In Creation
We must first learn to see Him in
pure and gentle forms among human beings. Likewise we should
also see Him first in His grand and beautiful forms in nature.
- Look at the divine glow that
precedes sunrise on the horizon at the dawn. The Vedic sages
looked upon it as a goddess and danced in ecstasy while singing
her hymns: "O Usha! You are the messenger of the Lord. You are bathed in dew
drops. You are the banner of immortality."
So captivating and magnificent their descriptions are! The
Vedic sage says, "If I do not
comprehend Him even after seeing you, the divine messenger, what
else can convince me of His presence?"
Such is the splendour of Usha at the horizon. But we have no
eyes for her.
- Likewise, look at the sun. To see
him is to see the Lord. He keeps on painting an endless variety
of pictures on the canvas of the sky. Artists labour hard for
months in trying to catch the beauty of the sunrise on the
canvas. But, rise early in the morning and just have a look at
art on the horizon. With what can we compare that divine art,
that infinite beauty? But who bothers to look at that? The
Lord is there with all His splendour; but man, the wretched
creature, pulls the sheets a little closer and continues to
snore. The sun says, "You lazy man! I
shall not let you sleep any more,"
and it wakes him up with his warm rays.
आत्मा जगतस्तस्थुषश्च’—the sun is the
soul of all that moves and all that is still. It is the support
of everything animate and inanimate. The sages have called it ‘Mitra’
(the friend). ‘मित्रो
जनान् यातयति ब्रुवाणो मित्रो दाधार पृथिवीमुत द्याम्’—'This
friend calls out people and makes them work. He sustains the
heaven and the earth.'
The sun is indeed the support of life. See God in him.
- And the holy river Ganga! When I
was at Kashi (Benares), I used to go and sit alone on her banks
in the silent hours of the night. How lovely and pleasing the
Ganga is as she flows by! That serene and majestic expanse and
the countless stars in the sky reflected therein would make me
silent. This holy river has descended from the matted locks of
Lord Shiva, that is, from the Himalayan forests. Many kings cast
off their kingdoms, considering them no better than a bauble,
and performed austerities and penance on its banks for Self-realisation.
The sight of that holy river would give me an experience of
sheer peace. How can I describe that peace? Words fail in
describing it. I would then realise why a Hindu wishes that if
he cannot take a bath in the Ganga during his life-time, at
least his remains should be immersed in her after death. You may
ridicule such sentiments; that does not matter. I find such
sentiments sacred and worth cherishing. It is a custom to put a
couple of drops of the Ganga-water in the mouth of a dying man.
Those drops symbolize God’s grace. The Ganga is a form of the
Lord. In the form of the Ganga, it is His compassion that is
flowing. Like a mother, Mother Ganga cleans us all over, washes
off all the impurities of our body and mind. If you do not find
the Lord in the Ganga, where else could you find Him? The sun,
the rivers, the majestic roaring ocean, all these are forms of the Lord.
- And the winds! Whence they come
and where they go, nobody knows. They are the messengers of the
Lord. In India, winds blow from the unmoving Himalayas in the
north as well as from the serene ocean in the south. These holy
winds touch us and awaken us. They whisper melodies in our ears.
But who cares to hear their message? If the jailor withholds an
ordinary letter addressed to you, you feel dejected. Poor
wretch! What is there so precious in that letter? The winds
are bringing the Lord's loving messages every moment. Listen to them.
- The Veda has prescribed fire-worship. Fire (Agni) too is a form of God. How bright and
glowing it is! When you rub two wooden sticks against each
other, it reveals itself. Who knows where it was hidden till
then? It is so warm and luminous! The very first hymn in the Rig Veda, in fact, is about fire-worship—
पुरोहितं यज्ञस्य देवमृत्विजम् । होतारं रत्नधामम् ।।’
Look at the fire, with whose worship
the Veda begins. The flames of fire remind me of the quest of the
human soul to reach up to the Lord. The flames may be from a kitchen
stove or they may belong to the forest fire—they are always striving
to go upwards. They are always agitated and restless. Scientists may
say that their fluttering is due to ether or air-pressure. But I see
in it the quest of the luminous flames to reach the Supreme Spirit,
to reach the sun-god who is the ocean of luminosity. It is a quest
of the part to merge into the whole. The endless quest of the flames
starts with their creation and ceases only on their extinction. That
the sun is too distant never bothers them; all they know is to make
the best possible effort. It appears that the bright and glowing
heat of vairagya has assumed the form of the fire. The flame
of vairagya also does not remain still wherever it is. That
is why the Veda began with the word ‘अग्निमीळे’.
53. God In The Animals
- And the cattle that serve us! How
full of love, tenderness and affection the cow is! In the
evening it rushes to its calves running through hills and
forests. The Vedic sages are reminded of heavy-uddered cows
rushing to their calves to feed them when they see rivers
gushing through hilly ranges. The sage says to a river, "O
Goddess, like cows, you bring milk-like holy and sweet water.
Just as cows cannot stay back in the forest, you too cannot stay
back in the hills. You rush to meet your thirsty children.”— ‘वाश्रा
इव धेनवः स्यंदमानाः’
('The waters rushed to the sea like the lowing cows eager to meet
their calves’.) The Lord is there at your door in the form of the
- And the horse! How noble, how
faithful, how loyal it is! How dearly the Arabs love their
horses! Do you know the story of the Arab who was compelled by
financial difficulties to sell his horse? He went to the stable
with the bagful of money received as its price. But the moment
he glanced at the serene and loving eyes of the horse, he threw
away the money and said, "Come what may. Let
me die of hunger if I must. But I will not sell the horse. God
will help me."
How the horse snorts when we pat its back! How lovely its mane
is! Indeed, the horse has many qualities. What is there in a
bicycle? Look after a horse well, curry it regularly, and it
will be ready to die for you; it will become your friend. A
friend of mine was learning to ride, but the horse would not let
him mount it. When he complained about it, I told him,
try to ride the horse, but do you ever care for it? When
someone else looks after the horse and you want to ride it, how
will it work? Curry it first, give it food and water, and then
The friend did accordingly. He came to me after a few days and
the horse does not throw me off."
The horse too is a form of the Lord. Will the Lord throw off His
devotee? That horse yielded to my friend's
devotion. A horse does see whether the rider is a devotee or
not. Lord Krishna used to curry and feed the horses Himself.
Unlike a bicycle, a horse jumps over ditches and ascends the
hills. The graceful and loving horse is verily a form of God.
- In my childhood, I was at Baroda.
There I used to hear a lion's
resonant roar in the morning. That majestic sound would move my
heart. It used to reverberate in the depth of my heart like the
sound in the sanctum sanctorum of a temple. How gallant and
benign the lion looks! It has a regal gait and elegance. Its
beautiful mane appears like a royal insignia. That lion in
Baroda was caged. It would roam inside that cage. There was not
a trace of cruelty in its eyes; they were rather full of pity.
It appeared absorbed within itself, totally unconcerned with the
world. One feels that such a lion must indeed be a manifestation
of the Lord. In my childhood, I had read the story of Androcles
and the lion. How fascinating it is! The famished lion
earlier kindness and, instead of devouring him, began to lick
his feet lovingly. What does this mean? This means that Androcles had seen the Lord in the lion. Lord Shiva is always
accompanied by a lion. The lion is a manifestation of the Lord.
- And is the tiger less fascinating? Divine brilliance shines through it. It is not impossible to
befriend it. Panini, the great grammarian, was teaching his
students in the forest when a tiger came there. The students got
frightened and shouted, 'vyaghra, vyaghra' (Tiger,
Tiger)! But Panini calmly began explaining to them the
etymology of the word 'vyaghra'
is one having an acute sense of smell. The students had got
frightened, but to Panini, 'vyaghra’
was just an innocent and interesting word. The tiger ate him up.
But so what? Panini must have smelt sweet to the tiger, so it
ate him up with relish. What is striking is that Panini did not
run away. He was a devotee of God in the form of words. For him,
God was in everything, even in that tiger. That is why he is
reverentially referred to as 'Lord Panini'
in the commentaries, and his contribution is acknowledged with
deep gratitude :
लोकस्य ज्ञानाञ्जनशलाकया ।
Panini had reached such a stage. He had realized that a tiger too was a manifestation of the Lord.
चक्षु्रुन्मीलितं येन तस्यै पाणिनये नमः||’
(‘We bow to Panini who opened the eyes of the people, blind with ignorance, by putting the collyrium of knowledge in them.’)
Jnanadeva has said,
‘घरा येवो पां
स्वर्ग । कां वरिपडो व्याघ्र
परी आत्मबुध्दीसी भंग । कदा नोहे’||
(‘Let heaven descend to his house, or a tiger attack him, he remains anchored in the Self.’)
- This is true of the snake too.
People are very much afraid of it. But look, how scrupulously
clean and beautiful it is! In its stern regard for cleanliness,
it is comparable to an orthodox Brahmin. Dirty
Brahmins are, however, in abundance; but has anybody ever
seen a dirty snake? A snake is like a hermit living in
solitude. It looks like a pure, bright and charming garland. Why
should one be afraid of it? In fact, our ancestors have
prescribed snake-worship.4 You
may call it an idiotic superstitious practice in Hinduism, but
anyway it is there. In my childhood, on the Nagpanchami
day, I would draw a snake with sandalwood paste for my mother to
worship. I would tell her, "Nice pictures of snakes are available in the market."But she would say,
"They are no good. What is drawn by my child is the best for me." What does snake-worship mean?
Is it craziness? Let us think over it. In the month of
Shravana (in the rainy season), the snake comes as a guest
to our house, as its habitat is swamped by water. What can the
poor creature do then? This sage-like, solitude-loving creature
wants to give you the least possible trouble and therefore coils
itself taking minimum space. But we go after its blood. Does it behove us to kill a guest in difficulty? It is said of Saint
Francis that he would call the snakes in the forest and they
would come and play and crawl all over his body. Do not
disbelieve this. Love does have such a power. The snakes are
believed to be poisonous. But is man less so? A snake bites
very rarely; it never bites without provocation. Nine out of ten
snakes, at any rate, are non-poisonous. They protect your fields
by killing pests that would otherwise destroy the crops. Such a
helpful, clean and shining snake, the lover of solitude, is a
form of the Lord. Snakes are associated with all our gods in
some way or the other. Lord Ganapati wears a snake round His
waist, Lord Shiva has it round His neck and Lord Vishnu reclines
on the bed of a cobra. Try to understand the secret of it. All
this means that the Lord has manifested Himself in the snake
too. Get acquainted with Him in that form.
- How many such examples should I
give? I am just illustrating a point. The essence of the
Ramayana lies in such fascinating ideas. In the Ramayana, there
is depiction of love between father and son, between mother and
son, between brother and brother, between husband and wife etc.
But the Ramayana is dear to me not because of that, but because
of Rama’s friendship with the vanaras5 (monkeys).
Now it is said that the vanaras were in reality people
belonging to the Naga tribe. It is the job of the historians to
dig up the past and make such discoveries. I do not intend to
join issue with them. But why should it be impossible for Rama
to befriend the monkeys? Rama's
greatness and the charm of His personality lie precisely in this
friendship. Similar is the relationship between Krishna and His
herd of cows. Worship of Krishna is based on that relationship.
In every picture of Krishna we find Him surrounded by cows.
He is adored as Gopalkrishna (Krishna the cowherd.) Krishna
without the company of cows and Rama without the company of
vanaras are simply inconceivable. Rama saw God in the
vanaras and struck a relationship of love and affection with
them. This is the key to the Ramayana. Without it you would miss
the charm in it. You would find the depiction of relationship
between parents and children elsewhere too, but the beautiful
relationship between nara and vanara—men and
monkeys—is found only in the Ramayana. The Ramayana made us
realize that there is God in the monkeys too. The sages admired
the monkeys fondly. Those monkeys would travel from Ramtek to
the Krishna river,6 skipping
from tree to tree, without ever touching the ground. Such dense
forests and the monkeys playing therein with gay abandon would
move the sages to write poetry. In an Upanishad, Brahman
(God) is described as having monkey-like eyes. A monkey's
eyes are very restless; they are always watching everything
eyes ought to be like them. God cannot sit still with closed
eyes; we may. If God sits still, what will happen to the world?
In the monkey's
eyes the sages see the eyes of the Brahman watching all
of us solicitously. Learn to see God in a monkey.
- And what about the peacock!
Peacocks are rare in Maharashtra, but Gujarat has them in
plenty. I am habituated to walking ten to twelve miles daily.
While in Gujarat, I used to see a lot of peacocks during my
walks. When the clouds gather in the sky and the rain looks
imminent, the peacock gives a call. To hear that cry emerging
from the depths of its heart is a stirring experience. Our whole
science of music is based on the note of that cry—the shadja
रौति). Shadja is the
basic note of the Indian system of music. The peacock, with its
eyes raised towards the rain-heavy clouds, gives a deep-throated
cry and spreads its plummage the moment the clouds begin to
thunder. It certainly is a bewitching sight. The beauty and
elegance of that plummage is enough to humble man’s pride.
Kings may bedeck themselves with all the fineries, but they
cannot excel a peacock. Its plummage with innumerable shades of
colours is indeed a piece of marvellous artistry. Enjoy its
beauty and also see God therein. The whole creation is bedecked
in such a fascinating way. The Lord is there all around; but we,
the wretched creatures, fail to behold him. Tukaram has said, ‘देव
आहे सुकाळ देंशी, अभाग्यासी दुर्भिक्ष
The Lord is everywhere, but to the
wretched He is elusive. For the saints there is prosperity
everywhere, while for us there is famine.
- How can one forget the cuckoo? Whom does it call? In the summer, rivers and streams dry up,
but tender green leaves sprout on trees. Does it ask, 'Who
brought about this marvel? Where is its creator?'
How intense and sweet is its voice! A religious observance
named kokilavrata has been prescribed in Hinduism. Women
observing this vrata take food only after hearing the cuckoo's
note. This observance teaches us to see the Lord in the cuckoo.
The cuckoo seems to be chanting the Upanishads in its melodious
voice. One hears its voice, but it remains hidden. The poet
Wordsworth was so enchanted by the cuckoo that he would wander
in the forest in search of it. The great poet of England is mad
after a cuckoo; but in India, even ordinary housewives do not
take food without hearing its voice. This kokilavrata has
put ordinary Indian women at par with the great poet. To hear
the cuckoo’s sweet singing is the height of joy. The Lord has
manifested Himself in the form of the cuckoo also.
- A cuckoo is worthy of admiration;
is a crow less so? I like it very much. Its voice may be
shrill, still it has its own sweetness. How nice a crow looks
when it arrives fluttering its wings! Little children are
particularly attracted to it. A child does not like to take his
food within the four walls of the house. You have to take him
into the open yard and make him eat by turning his attention
towards crows and sparrows. Is this attraction of a child for a
crow a sign of craziness? No. Rather, it is a sign of wisdom. A
child instantly identifies itself with the Lord manifested in
the crow. A mother may otherwise try in many ways to persuade
him to eat; the child remains stubborn. But he gets absorbed in
observing the crow fluttering its wings, and eats unmindfully
what the mother puts into his mouth. Aesop's
fables are based on the child's
curiosity about nature. Aesop saw the Lord everywhere. If I
prepare a list of the books I like, Aesop's
Fables would be on the top of that list. Aesop's
world does not have human beings only; it also has foxes, dogs,
hares, wolves, crows, tortoises etc. The whole creation speaks
to Aesop. He has a divine vision. The Ramayana too is based on
that vision. Tulsidas, while describing Rama’s childhood, has
narrated a little incident. Rama, playing in the courtyard,
tries to catch a crow nearby, but in vain. Then Rama hits upon
an idea. He takes a piece of sweet in his hands and lures the
crow. Tulsidas has written lines after lines describing such an
ordinary incident. Why? Because the crow too is a form of the
Lord. God that is in Rama is there in that crow too. The
acquaintance between Rama and the crow is one between two
manifestations of the Supreme Self.
54. Seeing God In Villains Too
- To sum up, God is everywhere in
the universe. As holy rivers, high mountains, serene oceans,
tender-hearted cows, noble horses, majestic lions, sweet-voiced
cuckoos, beautiful peacocks, clean and solitude-loving snakes,
crows flapping their wings, the upward-rising flames, the still
stars—He is pervading the whole creation in different forms. We
should train our eyes to see Him everywhere, first in simple
forms and then in the complex ones. We should first learn simple
letters and then the complex 'joint’ letters.
Until we learn the 'joint’ letters,
there is no progress in reading. Unless we are able to see God
manifest in crooked forms, our progress will be hampered. At
every step, we shall come across the 'joint’
letters. We shall come across crooked and evil forms every now
and then. In the end, we must learn to see God in the villains
too. God in Rama is readily acceptable, but we must also
comprehend divinity in Ravana. God in Prahlad is readily
acceptable, but we must also comprehend divinity in
The Veda has said, ‘नमो
नमः स्तेनानां पतये नमो नमः....नमः पुंजिष्ठेभ्यो.....नमो
निषादेभ्यः..... ब्रह्म दाशा ब्रह्म दासा, ब्रह्मैवेमे कितवाः’
‘Salutation to the robber chieftain, salutations to the cruel
and the violent. The robbers, the cruel, the swindlers, all are
Brahman. Salutations to them all.’
What does this mean? This means that
after mastering the small letters, we should master the capital
letters; after mastering the simple, we should master the complex.
Carlyle has written a book on hero-worship. Therein he has called
Napoleon a hero. God in him is not in a pure form, there is a
mixture; but we must discern Him there too. That is why Tulsidas has
called Ravana 'Rama’s
devotee in opposition.’ Ravana too is a devotee, albeit of a
different type. Fire burns and causes swelling in the burnt part of
the body, but the swelling subsides after fomentation, that is,
after using a different form of the same element. The same element
thus does different things while it is in different forms. Rama and
Ravana are manifestations of one and the only God, although
appearances are different.
Gross and subtle, simple and complex,
small letters and capital letters—learn everything and realise in
the end that there is no place where the Lord is not present. He is
present in every atom. He pervades the whole universe. The Lord who
cares equally for all, who is full of knowledge and wisdom, love,
compassion, power, beauty and holiness, is everywhere all around us.
- The fearful form of the Lord, out to annihilate the whole world.
- In Nagari script, alphabets are joined to form joint alphabets.
Their form may change in the process. Therefore, they are more difficult to learn.
- The mother of Pandavas and the aunt of Lord Krishna.
- The snakes are worshipped on Nagpanchami, the fifth day in the month of Shravana.
- Please refer footnote, Chapter 4.7
- Ramtek, a place in central India is over 800 kms. from the river Krishna in south-western India. All this area was covered with
dense forest in the time of the Ramayana.
- Hiranyakashipu, the demon king, was the father of Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. He tried to kill his own son for worshipping
his arch-enemy, but failed in every attempt. Lord Vishnu finally killed him, assuming the form of Narasimha (the lion-man).