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RELIGION

Mother Earth

The earth is worshipped as Goddess Bhooma Devi, a Consort of Lord Narayana. It was to rescue Bhooma Devi from a demon that the Lord took the Varaha avatara.

Those with patience are compared to Bhooma Devi, R. Narayanan said in a discourse.

Would anyone reward those who injure them? Yet Mother Earth rewards those who dig her up for cultivation. We use sharp instruments to till the soil and dig pits; yet the more we work on the land, the more rich dividends it yields. Such is the nature of the earth.

When the earth is so benevolent, does it make sense for anyone to bemoan his fate and say he has no way of making a living? So long as he is able bodied, he can till the land, using his energy and strength.

A man who is able to work, but does not realise that he can reap rich rewards by making agriculture his livelihood , is one who will be mocked and made fun of by the very earth whose value he has not realised.

An unkind ruler, who does not realise his responsibilities and who is in the company of the uneducated, burdens the earth by his irresponsible actions. A responsible ruler must have three important qualities: he must not procrastinate when important decisions have to be taken; he must be educated; and he must have the courage to make the right decisions.

According to the poet Tiruvalluvar, such a responsible ruler is capable of ruling the entire universe, which was measured by Lord Narayana.

The worship of the earth is a practice current even today, as is seen in the puja offered to the earth before the commencement of any construction activity.

The earth yields to the one who works hard, but the yield depends on yet another gift from God: rain. Tiruvalluvar underscores the value of timely rain, and says the rain is selfless too.

What does the rain gain by pouring down on the scorched earth, making life possible on it?

Be it the earth or the rain, humans have a lesson to learn from them — the importance of selfless service. Tiruvalluvar compares the need for good rulers to the need for copious rain.

Keywords: R. Narayananreligious discourse

Challenge of the seeker

The continuous refrain in scriptures is that the Supreme Brahman is beyond the power of words, mind and even intellect. Yet they attempt to describe this marvellous phenomenon and rely on the utterances of the Sages of yore who had been able to glimpse and intuitively grasp this truth, pointed out Sri K. Ra-masubramania Sarma in a lecture.

That this is a turf wrapped in mystery is beautifully expressed in the Kenopanishad. It states that if one presumes that one has gained access to this infinite Brahman, one is mistaken. The Upanishad shows that awareness in this context is merely the acceptance of this infinite, vast, unfathomable and immeasurable Brahman.The sun, the moon, the galaxy of stars, etc., shine forth with all their brilliance only because of the effulgence of the Supreme Brahman. The light and heat of fire is also due to the Brahman. The entire creation is sustained because of His glory.

Meditation and austere penance can help to gain awareness of this truth, says the Prasno-panishad. The challenge for the aspirant is to recognise the presence of this all-pervading Brahman as the indwelling Self. This truth is elusive when the subtle Self lies totally embedded and hidden in the body-mind complex of the individual. One has to deeply think on this truth, reflect on its plausibility and continue to meditate on it until its unique identity is perceived as distinct from the body’s association.

The primordial sound OM is the symbol of Brahman. Meditation on this OM with feeling and concentration can become a powerful force to realise the ultimate truth. This meditation maintains the unbroken flow of one’s focus on the Supreme Being.

This is an arduous task. The aspirant has to control the mind and fix it on the goal. The senses — eyes, ears, nose, etc., are by nature outward bound, that is, they easily seek the objects of the world and get attracted to them. The effort becomes effective when a true yearning for liberation takes root in one’s consciousness. Then withdrawal of the senses from worldly objects automatically happens.

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