Lessons from Ishavasyopanishad

All asuras like atmahatya. It means not only suicide, but also denying the existence of God who is also known as Atma. Suicide is sinful because the person attempting it is trying to leave the world before the prescribed end of his tenure on earth. It is like trying to leave office before the schedule office hours. You will be penalised and your salary will be cut. 

Swamiji narrated an incident in Kashi in this regard. One morning many years ago he had taken a dip in the Ganga and was going up the ghat steps when a woman prostrated before him. Then she went round her husband and prostrated before him too. Swamiji thought she was a dutiful, pious woman. Suddenly she jumped into the river and was swept away. Police arrived, inquiries were made. It later came to light that the woman had a quarrel with family members and wanted to teach them a lesson. So she committed suicide. This is cowardice, not sacrifice, Swamiji said. 

Whenever we face problems in life, we must surrender completely to the Lord. He will come to our help faster than thought, because he is faster than thought. He actually does not come, He is ever present inside us. But that knowledge never resides in us because of our inadequate knowledge and penance.

Water calms the mind. That is why rishis of yore spent their lives on riverbanks, meditating and teaching. According to one theory, countries with vast stretches of desert have more terrorists than other countries because of the missing water element.

Mahatma Gandhi had said that even if one has not studied shastras fully, studying Ishavasyopanishat is enough to lead a full life.

The happiness that we derive out of worship is the real fruit of the worship. Everything else is a sideshow. 

One devotee came to Puthige Swamiji with a peculiar complaint. The devotee said that whatever he wished turned true. So he was scared that something bad may happen if he ever harboured a negative thought about any individual. Swamiji’s solution: think only positively. Assume everything in the world is God’s creation. Automatically our possessiveness goes away. “Our” wife and “our” children are not ours. They belong only to God and stay with us for the period ordained. If our wife or son/daughter dies, we should face the situation calmly. Attachment is the root of all sins and sorrow. Not listening to the words of elders is the first sign of ahankara. 

Seeing the Lord everywhere is a sign of a great soul. Acharya Madhwa, as a boy, saw the Lord in every object in the house and prostrated before it. Knowledge that creation, sustenance and destruction is a continuous progress helps us avoid sorrow.

Before embarking on a journey we should know where we should go and how to go there. You don’t take a road just because it is smooth. In the same way we should not take up some mindless meditation where the goal is not to know the Lord and reach Him. We might arrive at a dead-end.

Ishavasyopanishat advises us to reach the Lord through ‘matarishva’, i.e., Sri Mukhyaprana. “Hiranmayena patrena’ shloka not only describes the golden-hued Lord who is resplendent in the brilliant orb of the gold-like sun but also says that the Lord can be known and realised through Goddess Lakshmi who is of golden hue.

Courtesy: Excerpts from Puthige Swamiji’s Ishavasyopanishat lessons by Shri Venkatesh Bhat

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