Our Role in World Peace

Respected readers,

Greetings!  There are two parts to this article.  The first part talks about moving our attention towards love and highlighting it.  The second part talks about what measures we could take to actively promote love in our daily lives.

PART ONE – HIGHLIGHTING LOVE
We live in a world torn with violence.   In spite of multiple peace talks between the world leaders, peace and harmony is still a myth.  What is it that each one of us could do as world citizens to promote world peace and create a world of love!

I was reading the following from Bhagawatham (one of the 18 Hindu literary works which talks about the life of Lord Krishna and other incarnations of God) where Kamsa (demon king) sends his messenger Akrura to Brindavan, the home town of Lord Krishna and his brother Balarama, to invite them to Mathura (Kamsa’s  hometown).  Kamsa’s intention was to invite the brothers to Mathura and kill them both in a wrestling match.  Akrura was good-hearted but being a citizen in Kamsa’s kingdom, he had no choice but to obey Kamsa.  Hence, reluctantly he went to Brindavan to the invite Krishna and Balarama.  Let us read the following quote that illustrates how Krishna and Balarama greeted Akrura, who was coming as a Kamsa’s secret messenger of death.

“Akrura rushed towards them (Krishna and Balarama) and fell at their feet.  He wanted to announce to them his name and where he came from; but his eyes were full of tears, his throat was choked and he could not speak, overcome as he was with so much emotion.

Krishna lifted him up and embraced him even as Akrura had imagined.  Balarama then embraced him.  Both the brothers took his hands in theirs and led him to the inner chambers.  They gave him water to wash his feet and hands and then offered Madhuparka, a concoction of honey, curds and ghee which was the time-honored way to greet honored guests.  After they had made him rested, they made him partake of rice cooked in milk and other delicious food.  After they had eaten, Balarama went and brought garlands of sweet-smelling flowers and he gave Akrura tambula which was fragrant with camphor powder.  He smeared sandal-paste on the arms and chest of Akrura…  The Lord of lords was treating him like an honored guest; as a great man, and Akrura knew he did not deserve the honor which they lavished on him.  But he was at the same time thrilled.”

– Extracted from Srimad Bhagavatam by Kamala Subramaniam

Now, one may argue that Lord Krishna was a divine personality and all powerful and hence, he had no fear of Akrura or Kamsa.  Is it possible only for Lord Krishna and Balarama to treat such messengers of death with love sans fear because they are divine personalities?  Or, is it possible for ordinary humans like us also to treat such messengers of death with utmost love sans fear or hatred?  Is it possible for us also to cultivate such love and friendship devoid of fear in our interaction with our fellow beings.  I strongly believe so and I humbly place my thought process in this article.

What is God or Divinity?  Some say, God is power, God is love, God is all knowing etc.  OK. Not knowing what or who God is, let me accept what the scriptures say of God, that is, one who is all knowing, all powerful, all compassionate, all forgiving, all loving etc.  Hence, we can think of Lord Krishna as an embodiment of all this.  Now, when Akrura approached Krishna to invite him to Kamsa’s kingdom and Krishna being all knowing, why did Krishna not kill Akrura as soon as he spotted him; very much like these secret drones which are finished upon entering a foreign territory.  Why did Krishna resort to manifesting his kindness and compassion and not power when dealing with Akrura?  I don’t  know.  But, when I read how loving and kind Lord Krishna was towards Akrura, it triggered a chain of thoughts within me as to how each one of us could resort to using love instead of power in our daily lives, even with so called enemies who come forward with the intention of hurting us!

Each one of us has both the storehouse of power and the storehouse of love within us.  In any given situation, it is our choice whether we want to manifest our storehouse of power or our storehouse of love when dealing with others.  Manifesting power leads to reaction and vengeance whereas manifesting love leads to positive transformation of all the parties involved.  Now, how to make it a habit to avoid the temptation to manifest power and foster the habit to manifest LOVE in our daily lives.  I am not sure I have the answer.  But, I have tried certain religious/meditation/spiritual practices in the past and then adopted one of the meditation practices to help me in this process of self transformation towards becoming a love-filled being.  In my humble opinion, it is a worthwhile exercise for each one of us to find out what system works best for us to connect ourselves  with the source of love within and become love-filled, loving, love-able beings.

 

Alright.  Coming to the practical aspect of how to manifest love, here are some tips I have learnt from different sources and have tried in my life.  It helped me in rebuilding myself and hence, I am sharing with all, for whatever it is worth.
1. Start with yourself first.
2. Believe in the source of goodness within yourself.
3. Magnify that goodness within you by noble and selfless thoughts and deeds.  Many years back, when I deliberately started thinking selfless thoughts, it felt artificial.  After a while, it becomes a cultivated, willful habit.  Then later, it becomes your nature.
4. Believe in the goodness in others; whenever possible, serve them to magnify their innate goodness.
5. Collaborate with others in multiplying the goodness.   When we start connecting our goodness with the goodness in people around us, we start forming a GOODNESS club.
7. Never compare whether your goodness is superior to other’s goodness or not.  It does not help in anyway.  Understand that the goodness club you are forming with others is one of joy and fulfillment and not for personal ego-bolstering.  You are doing it, because you believe in Goodness and you believe in promoting Goodness and making this world a better place.
8. Just like a profitable, growing company attracts competent employees, the GOODNESS club will also start attracting more and more GOOD souls.
7.When the GOODNESS club crosses a particular threshold and becomes massive, just like a black hole attracts everything into itself, the GOODNESS club will also start attracting all kinds of souls (good, bad, ugly) into its fold and help those souls imbibe GOODNESS and become transformed.
8. Finally, when all the souls in the world have joined the GOODNESS club, we can safely say that the GOODNESS club has evolved into a GOODNESS world, a GOD world, a LOVE WORLD!

When we ourselves become loving and lovable, this world would become a LOVE WORLD, where purity, love, and selfless become the name of the game to live and succeed in this world and bring about a paradigm shift in this world – a change where if our children or grandchildren were to stumble upon words like violence, intolerance, hatred etc., they would have no clue as to what those words meant.  Even if they were to look up in Google to finds its meaning, they would end up getting a message on their screen like:  “UNKNOWN TERM(S); WORD(S) NOT FOUND IN THE DICTIONARY, ENCYCLOPEDIA OR ANY KNOWN BODY OF KNOWLEDGE.”

Sounds Utopian?  Not really!  If an entrepreneur could dream of a Disney World and successfully launch it and make billions, it is equally possible for us all to jointly dream and launch the LOVE WORLD; let us believe in it and be willing to adopt LOVE as our way of life.  There is a good news to it.  The world of LOVE already exists.  It does not need money or time to build it.  All we need to do is just walk into that LOVE WORLD and populate it; no matter how tempting the modern world of competition, jealousy, hatred may appear, let us remain for ever in the world of love and base all our thoughts, words and deeds on love alone.   and manifest love relentlessly.

This may sound like a dream but I would rather dream of leaving behind a LOVE WORLD for my progeny!  Thank you co-creators of the LOVE WORLD!

Most respectfully,
Balaji Krishnan Gopalan
Heartfulness Meditation trainer
http://www.heartfulness.org; info@heartfulness.org

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Experiencing Pure Love

We all like to be loved.  We either love consciously or unconsciously.  Sometimes we crave for love to be returned.  Sometimes, if we are unfortunate, we go through periods of love followed by denial.  So, we all have experienced love in different forms and shades.  Now, let us see what Lord Krishna has to say about different forms of love in Bhagavatam.

  1. “The first type of love is where one loves and expects love in return.  Such type of people are selfish and are bent on their own comfort and happiness.  They have no affection in their hearts, no source of happiness and neither is there Dharma in their behavior.  It is useful to love and to be loved and that is just for their own good.  There is nothing unselfish or noble about such beings.
  2. The second type of love is where those who love do so even though there is no love given in return.  Their love is like that of parents for their children.  Such people are very compassionate.  They will be very kind and they will make good friends.  
  3. There is yet another type of love which can be divided into four types:  a) Atmaramas:  those who are self-contained whose only joy is to revel in the realization of the Brahman…  b) Aptakamas: Those whose every desire has been satisfied; whose hearts do not hanker after anything…   c) Ungrateful:  Those  who are ungrateful do not have it in them to give anything but only take from others.  d) Gurudrohi:  Those who betrayed the affection which elders have for him and who behaves disrespectfully towards them.”
Extracted from Srimad Bhagavatam by Kamala Subramaniam, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

In modern life, we all have witnessed lower forms of love like selfishness, ingratitude etc and they are not worth elaborating upon.  Hence, let us brood a little about higher expressions of love.  We think, it is natural for great saints and sadhus to be able to love all without any expectations.  Is it possible for an average humans like myself to develop unconditional love at least to some extent?

I had the good fortune of being introduced to Heartfulness meditation (www.heartfulness.org) in 1994 and I started practicing meditation under the guidance of the Heartfulness Meditation teacher, Master Chariji (1927 – 2014), and who is now being succeeded by Master Kamleshji.  I was blessed to experience different states of pure love during the meditation sessions conducted by the spiritual masters (like Atmaramas type of love mentioned above).  I hope and pray that I get to attend more such Heartfulness meditation sessions in the future and experience higher and higher forms of love, and in turn, share that love with one and all, unconditionally.

The Sweet Heart of Prahalada!

I was reading the Bhagavatam and I came across the description of the sweet nature of Prahalada, the son of a demon king Hiranyakashipu.  Hiranyakashipu was a demon king who asked everyone to worship him.  But his son Prahalada, refused to do so and was bent upon worshiping Lord Narayana.  Even though Prahalada was born in the lineage of asuras or demons, he adored the Lord intensely and possessed so many noble qualities.  Quote from the Bhagavatam follows regarding Prahlada’s noble qualities:

“Once the gurus had gone out and Prahlada was left alone with his playmates.  They were all very fond of their gentle sweet companion, who was being ill-treated by his father (Hiranhakshipu, the asura king).  Even their gurus were ill-using the prince Prahlada and the children loved him all the more for it.  Prahlada began to talk to his companions!  Unsullied as yet by hatred and its kindred qualities, which invade the mind only when one grows older, the young boys (the boys of the demon race) were attracted by the talk of Prahlada.  He said, ‘Listen to me, all of you.  We are all blessed with these bodies and these wonderful minds.  It will be a crime if we waste them.  They are given to us for a purpose.  The mind should be set on the Lord.  The body should be used only for the worship of the Lord.  Abandon the asuric (demonish) qualities which are your heritage and replace them with good one like loving everyone:  hating no one: having nothing but compassion towards all living beings.  God will be easily pleased and you will reach him effortlessly this way.  Think on him.  Sing His praise and we will reach Him easily.”

– Extracted from Srimad Bhagavatam by Kamala Subramaniam, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

Now, how to love everyone?  How to have compassion towards all?  How to replace the aggressive competitive spirit with collaborative spirit?  It all has to do with the quality of the heart a human being possesses.  Now, Prahalada was a great devotee and He possessed a noble heart from birth.  Now, how can ordinary mortals like me develop such noble qualities of the heart, or at least attempt to developing such a heart over a period of time and start feeling that the heart is becoming nobler day by day?  I can say with conviction born of out of my own experience that, if I can work on my own heart (by removing impurities and planting noble sentiments) with the help of a capable guru, this transformation of heart is possible, even for a most ordinary human like myself.

Long story short, I started practicing Heartfulness meditation (www.heartfulness.org) in 1994.  I have been immensely helped to overcome several lower tendencies of the mind and heart by practicing Heartfulness meditation  under the guidance of the spiritual teacher Master Chariji (who passed away in Dec 2014 and is now being succeeded by Master Kamleshji).  Now, I am able to live in enormous peace and contentment and am able to (a much greater extent than when I started) love my fellow beings without expectations!  Thanks to the Heartfulness meditation Masters for bringing about this transformation of my heart (which is transforming every moment under their loving guidance)!

A Timely Act of Kindness!

It happened during Dec 2015.  I was on my way from Flushing, New York to the Heartfulness Meditation Center in Monroe, New Jersey.  I boarded the Subway 7 train from Flushing station and got off at the Times Square station.  I then transferred to the R train and got off at the 34 Street station (for transiting to Penn Station).  I climbed up the stairs to take the walkway towards NJ Transit trains.  Suddenly, I realized that forgotten my laptop bag in the R train itself;  when I came downstairs back to the platform, the R train had already departed.  Not knowing what to do, I went to the ticket counter and informed the ticketing clerk about what had happened.  He informed me that, he cannot do anything right away, and that, I need to wait until the R train reached its final destination and only then, he would be able to call the driver and ask him to check all the compartments for my bag.  Hoping against hope, I waited near the counter.

Clock was ticking and I was perplexed.  Twenty minutes passed.  Out of nowhere, I saw three ladies approaching the counter where I was waiting.  From their appearance, I concluded that one must be the mother and the other two, her daughters.  One of the daughters showed my laptop bag to me and asked, “Is this yours?”  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I had no words to say.  I kept exclaiming, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You…”  I had no words to describe my feelings at that moment.  I kept on thanking them profusely.  They were composed and did not react.

They narrated what had happened.  They saw me forgetting the bag on the train and getting down at the 34 Street (Penn Station).  Then, after the train departed, and reached the next station, they took the bag, got off at that station, got onto the R train going in the opposite direction and got off at the 34 Street (Penn Station).  They then climbed up the stairs and approached the ticketing counter and found me and handed over the bag to me!

After narrating the incident, they smiled courteously.  They were equally happy and relieved to handover my laptop.   I kept thanking them profusely.  They smiled gently and said, “It’s ok!” and then went on their way!  What wonderful caring hearts!  They went beyond the call of their duty and responsibility and proved by their timely act of kindness that we all in our own humble way can actively play our part by caring for others unconditionally and making this world a haven(heaven) for all!