VAK - MOKSHA NAAVAM ( Word – The raft of liberation )
Velandy Manohar, MD.,
Distinguished Life Fellow- AM. Psychiatric Association
Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah, आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः Rig Veda 1.89.1
Om Namo Ganeshaaya Namaha, Om Namo Saraswatiye Namaha
Om Namo Bhagvate Rudraya, Om Namo Bhagvate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Anjaneyar Namaha
Namami Bhagvad pada Sankaram loka Sankaram
Om Namo Paramam Rishibhyo, Om Namo Paramam Rishibhiyaha
VAK - MOKSHA NAAVAM ( Word – The raft of liberation )
Aano bhadra krtavo yantu vishwatah
आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः Rig Veda 1.89.1
Our revealed scripture has two major instructions that apply to prayerful rituals, educational pursuits and social engagement in multi ethnic, multi-religious, inclusive, multicultural community.
- Sat Ekam Bahuda Vipraha Vadanti - The Essential Truth is One, yet the wise proclaim it variously. RK Veda (revealed scripture) 1.164.46.
- Aah No Bhadraha Krutvo Yantu Vishwataha. Actively take in noble inputs from all sides. RK Veda 1.89.1
- There are interesting parallels between the concepts espoused in Sanatana Dharma and in Christianity for instance with respect to creation and the relationship of the creator and Creation. All these revelations are expressed in Sanskrit.
- Prajapati Vai Idam Agre Aseet: In the beginning was Prajapati or the Creator.
- Tasya Vak Dwitiya Aseet: The word/sound/ cadence of sound came into existence second. This sound/word/cadence of the sound was with the Brahman.
- Vak Vai Param Brahman: Sabda Brahman -The word /sound and Nada Brahman -the cadence of the words, sound, music manifests the Supreme Being. These are derived from OM or AUM. AUM is the very essence of the Veda. It also represents all states of consciousness: wakefulness, dream sleep and dream less sleep as well as super consciousness where in the person will appear to dead to the world but is very conscious of his essential being and is focused on his yogic or meditative experience. All music, all words in Sanskrit and its offshoots in are seedlings emerging from the ground substance or creative energy of Creation represented by AUM. AUM subsumes Sabda Brahman and Nada Brahman. In St. John’s Gospel we find this truth is proclaimed likewise. “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God.” Chapter I, Verse 1.
- These Christian concepts are also crucial principles of Sanatana Dharma: Caritas in Veritate and the importance of instilling Castitas into every act that embodies this time-tested proclamation Deus Caritas Est. Most Reverend Bishop Robert Baker teaches us, “When you live the Truth in Love and live the kind of love that is not selfish but involves giving of yourself then your Caritas expresses Castitas.” Then your life devoted to giving is lived chastely. For we know that there is no Caritas without Castitas, no life can be judged to devoted to charity without chastity. Thus, the Invisible God is made transparent in us, when we live Charity in Truth. Caritas in Veritate is sanctified by Castitas, Amen Castitas [Latin] encompasses- Innocence, purity, self- forgetfulness, and Chastity.
- The Indwelling Spirit according to Hinduism illuminates our intellect and ennobles our motivations because it is a spark from the creative energy of the Transcendental Supreme Spirit. This is eloquently expressed in Latin, "“For with Thee is the fountain of light.” In Thy light shall we see the light.” (Psalms 36:9) In lumine Tuo Videbimus lumen” This is the motto of the Columbia University.
What the Holy Bible reveals and what our Rishis assert is comparable viz., God created us in His image. One of the four Great Pronouncements (Maha Vakhyas) of Sanatana Dharma is in the Chaandogya Upanishad of the Sama Veda. The Guru (Preceptor) Uddalka’s bestows this teaching to his son Svetketu, a worthy student “Tat Tvam Asi dear lad” (That Thou art in essence). That refers to Infinite, Unmanifest, indescribable Absolute- That is the inexhaustible creative Spirit. That is the supportive matrix, the source and destination of all life
OM: AUM is an alternative representation. It is the basis of all sound. It is a
universal symbol in the form of sound for God. ( Sabda Brahman ) The AUM of the Vedas became the HUM of the Tibetans, the AMIN of the Moslems, the Amen of the Egyptians, Romans, Jews and Christians.
AUM is the all-pervading sound emanating from the invisible cosmic
reverberations from the pint of Srishti of creation. It represents God in the aspect of the Creator. AUM being the primordial sound accompanying creation it is first set of syllables/sound emanating from the aspirant’s mind and mouth as he or she gives voice or meditates on a mantra.
2. WHY IS SHANTI REPEATED THREE TIMES?
No peace invocation is concluded without repeating or invoking Shanti three times. The learned Acharyas teach us that these three repetitions are uttered or meditated on by devotees to address three sets of obstacles to the focused study of or reflection on the sacred scriptures. The three sets of obstacles are as follows:
Adhi- Daivika or acts of God: harm to humanity caused by unknown factors viz., earthquakes, lightening, excessive rain, extreme cold or heat.
Adhi- Bhautika or various harmful occurrences related to known external objects viz., wild animals, poisonous reptiles, fights, loud noises conversations during pooja, noisy disruptive late comers.
Adhi- Atmika or disturbances caused from within our own selves.
These can be bodily ailments, inertia (big one), and lack of faith, inability to concentrate and surrender to God, destructive desires and self-serving motives for personal aggrandizement.
Before starting our studies and chanting of mantras we must sincerely pray that our COOPERATIVE efforts may not be obstructed by any of the above forces through God’s grace and Aishvaryam. (I refer you to the sloka "Saha na Vavatu.." which we chant before any poojan, study or ritual is initiated )
3.WHO IS BHAGWAN?
BHAGWAN IS , WAS AND WILL ALWAYS BE. The following characteristics will be discernable
- One who knows the cause of creation and destruction, the reason for birth and transmigration of the Jiva, the exact period the Jiva has to remain on the earth due to his karmas and prarabdhas.
- One who knows what Vidya is and avidya
- One who possesses the totality of Aishvaryam, Viiryam and Yashaha viz., splendor, limitless power and glory.
- One who is the originator and repository of all the Vibhutis (Ashta siddhis: superhuman attributes ) These are Anima : to make oneself as small as an atom, become invisible, Lagiman : to become small, Prapti : acquisition and conversion or transformation, Prakaamyam: is freedom of will, irresistible will, Mahima : greatness, largeness of size, reputation, Ishitvam : Superiority, greatness attribute of Maheshwara,
Vashitvam: capacity to subjugate and subordinate, Kamavasaayitha: capacity to fulfill all desires, attain all goals. These are the 8 siddhis.
- One possess knowledge as well as being unattached/unbound ( except Lord Krishna allowed His adoptive mother Yashoda to tie Him. )
- One who is beyond the zone of influence of the visitations of the three categories of miseries.( mental, physical and spiritual )
- WHAT IS PRARTHANA ?
Prarthana is an appeal framed in prose or poetry for the fulfillment of wishes associated with the four Purusharthas.eg. Dhanam,( wealth ) Dhaanyam ( grains) Putra santhanam ( progeny), long life ( dheerga Aayuh ), Swarga ( heaven), Siddhis ( mentioned above), Exemption from cycle of births and death, or alternatively to be reborn to parents who are devout, peaceful and loving, Moksha.
Bhagwan Ramanuja, the expounder of the Visishta Dwaita philosophy in sounding a note of caution states that a devotee should not resort to the technique of asking for special gifts from God. He teaches us that God knows our needs and will provide the necessary aid and protection when the time is opportune, and the devotee is worthy of His grace.
5.WHAT ARE SRUTI AND SMRITI?
The sacred scriptures of Sanatana dharma are classified into two groups. The Shrutis are revelations of God experienced and enunciated by the Great Rishis. Shrutis deal with eternal principles and hold good for all time. Smritis are propounded by mortals and focuses on the practical application of those eternal truths in the context of time and place. The Vedas are Shruti. It is the revealed word of God.
6.WHAT ARE STUTI, SLOKA AND STOTRA?
A single verse praising God in any form that the bhakta has observed and experienced is a stuti sloka. A group of such slokas is referred to as a stotra. The stotra very often represents an outpouring of the bhaktas' emotional responses elicited by his worship of God. Adi Kavi Sage Valmiki first composed Sloka. It was a spontaneous response elicited by Soka or grief. Sage Valmiki had witnessed the death of one of a pair of Krauncha birds and had cursed the Hunter. It came out as a sloka. He marveled at the beauty of this form of expression of emotion and events. The rest of course is history. The first of the classic epic poems was composed which inspires people of all nations to this day.
- WHAT IS MANTRA?
Mananat traayte iti mantra. That which uplifts the soul by constant repetition or contemplation is a mantra. Sustained repetition can protect a devotee from the miseries, trials and tribulations of the cycles of birth and death. Besides the word content there is great emphasis on the sounds and the resonance created in the mind and body while chanting the mantra. Sabda Brahman, and Nada Brahman are tow fundamental core elements of our forms of chanting and ritual prayers. Sometimes the Mantra which has no meaning at a linguistic level can have powerful effects through the resonance it creates e.g., The Ganapati mantra Om Gum !.. Japas are mantras are either sung by one self or murmured quietly or sung in a Satsang group or even written. The japa can be done without sound emanating at all from the aspirant.
Japa is very effective Lord Krishna says in Chap X, V 25 Yagnanaam japayagnyosmi.
- WHAT IS SANATANA DHARMA?
Sanatana means Eternal. Dharma defies exact translation. It is based on the root Dhr to support. It could be described as the values that sustain a civilization. Thus, Sanatana Dharma is the religion based on eternal values of Life. I have more detailed information in two different documents. 2. 01 a. an Essay for Publication and use by Devotees of Sri Satyanarayana Temple in Middletown, CT and 2.01 b. Written at the Request of Pedro Ruiz, MD Leader of the People-to-People Ambassador Program team of Psychiatrists who visited MH and Human services agencies in Viet Nam and Cambodia March - April 2008
- WHAT IS PEETA POOJA?
This refers to the ritual of offering worship to the root, the base/matrix from which everything evolves, around which everything revolves and into which everything resolves at the time of samhara/ dissolution. The moolasthanam in the temple where this pooja is performed represents the SAT (Ultimate Truth- This Bapu worshipped as God) It is the abode of the Purusha who created, pervades and is beyond the confines of the ever-expanding universe. This Person is eternal and pre-eminent. He is the first without a second - the Uttama Purusha while we mere mortals or purushas. In Tamil God is Perum aal ( the First and foremost individual [aal] ) while we are aal ( mere mortals) paying homage with reverence and surrender to the feet of the installed vigraha is Peeta pooja.
- HOMA/ HAVAN/ YAGNA:
This refers to one of the most ancient forms or categories of Hindu religious activity. This ritual is focused on making offerings to the Fire in a yagna Kund or fire enclosure. The fire is started by priests with firewood and other ingredients including ghee and camphor etc while mantras are chanted. There is a wide range of homas that can be sponsored. Some of the more common ones are Mrityunjaya and Sudarshana homas. When all the offerings made by the devotees is consumed by the fire the ashes are extracted and applied to the forehead.
Agni (the fire principle) is worshipped in the form of the tongues of fire which leap heavenward from the Kund as offerings are made. Agni is the first of the five elements that appeared at the time of Creation. The other four are Ether, Prithvi ( earth), Water and Wind.
This fire-centered ritual offers satisfaction and benefits both types of individuals viz., those who are primarily action oriented and others who are more contemplative. The Kund represents the field of existence for the person of action seeking to control the phenomenal world. The gifts represent the vaasanaas that devotees are openly and sometimes a bit proudly offering to the Fire as yagna manas. Each Kund has one or more Yagna manas. The master of the sacrifice. It is important to offer those vaasanaas associated with self-aggrandizement and narcissism to the Fire as mark of surrender to the Lord of all beings. Agni burns the contaminating vaasanaas and frees the devotee of the burden of bondage to kama and artha. The application of the ashes informs oneself and others that the sacrifice has been a transforming experience because of ritual immolation of one’s pride, anger, greed and desire.
For a contemplative person, whose organs of action (Karmendriyas are securely subordinated by the will and buddhi to the Jnanaendriyas (organs of perception and viveka shakti, the Kund represents the physical body. The Agni in the Kund is the symbol of the energy of the Almighty God. The procreative power of Maheshwara, which lead, to the development of Lord Kartikeya was delivered first to Agni. This energy purifies by burning off the encrusted avidya while consuming the offerings of the devotee placed there with reverence and adoration.
The Acharyas sitting around the Kund represent the devotee’s sense organs and the mantras remind the devotee by its sound, prosody and meaning the existence of the Supreme Self in our midst and within our beings. The stimuli coming to his sense organs are represented by ahuti/offerings offered to the fire. The augmentation of the glow and dynamism of the fire when the offerings come into contact with the fire represent the activation of the sentient/conscious self within (that by which we hear etc). Thus, Homa or yagna offers a holistic experience of the perceptions of the Divine who resides within each one of us and is unseen support of the universe.
- ABHISEKHAM :
The Hindu ritual of ritually bathing an Idol of god with milk or Panch amritam or ghee or curds or while the sacred scriptures are chanted in the praise of God is called abhisekham. Panch amritam consisting of milk, curd, honey, ghee and fruit represent the Jnanaendriyas referred to above.( Buddhi,[intellect] Chitta, sub-conscious mind] Ahankara,[ego] Manas [ mind] and Hridayam [emotions] ) These five attributes ( nectars =amritam ) nourish the Jiva. By this ritual, these Jnanaendriyas are purified and poured on to the sacred vigraha of the lord of the Jiva symbolically. While this is happening on the outside we must open our minds and hearts so that the five nectars within each of us can perform Antara –abhisekham to the embodied self. This can be done simultaneously if by God’s grace we can be focused and meditative. This will enhance our capacity to proceed from Sravana, (hearing sacred chants) Dhyana (concentrating on the mantras or japa) Manana (meditating on the One without a second) and experience Atma Nivedanam when we offer our whole being without reservation or conditions.
There is an old tradition, which states Alankara priya Vishnuhu Abhiseka priya Maheshwaraha. Alankara refers to the process of artistically enveloping the vigraha with apparel and placing decorative ornaments, jewels traditionally sanctioned weapons, flag etc associated with the God represented by the Vigraha. This process enables the devotee through the poojaris to exemplify the various attributes/ Vibhutis of Bhagwan, I listed earlier. Including Yashaha(glory), Aishvaryam(splendor) Viiryam ( indomitable courage) Mahima ( greatness). This juxtaposition of the dazzling jewels, magnificent fabrics and brilliant ornaments and the sacred iconic representation of God reminds us it is by the light, power and glory of the Self Effulgent Almighty God that everything within and without each of us is illumined and lustrous. There is sloka some of you may know that addresses this “ Na tatra Suryo bhaati, na Chandra taarakam….. "tasya bhaasa sarvam idam vibhaati “ Neither the sun, moon or other astronomical object where God exists. It goes on to say it is by Gods incandescence that everything is illumined, and everyone is enlightened. If any of you go to the Navagraha group of vigrahas you will be able to observe the Suryan riding in his chariot in the center of the grouping facing east. And in front and to the side is the smaller vigraha of Chandran facing west and the Suryah indicating the light which enables us to see the moon emanates from the sun which sustains our material selves just as the Sun and the rest of are illumined by the Supreme light of Truth Consciousness and Bliss. We feel the activation of our consciousness just before and experience the bliss soon after the curtain is drawn back, and we see the resplendent vigraha of God in front of us in magnificent regalia. The glow from that joyous moment of darshan can last for some time in the hearts of devotees.
13. ARCHANA :
The holy ritual of presenting flowers to the feet of Almighty God is Archana. These blossoms are symbols of our vaasanaas and deeply cherished desires and needs. The offering is made in a specific manner with humility and benevolence pervading your awareness and being. The fingers of the right hand are used to pick up the flowers gently. The fingers are pointing to the ground. Next the hand is turned so that the fingers which are held together to form a cone holding the flower is pointing to the sky.
In the next two movements the fingers are opened as though it is a budding blossom
Finally, the flower is placed with a spirit of submission to Gods will. The hand gestures are called mudras. The first one with fingers forming the cone is the Mukuta mudra and represents the about to open lotus bud, the next mudra symbolizing a partially open flower is called the padma kosha and finally the fingers are separated while still pointing upwards representing the fully opened blossom is called alapadma. The third verse of the Siva Panchaakshari stotram ( Nagendraharaya Trilochanaaya…)describes how Lord Shiva’s radiance warms the face of Gauri to bloom as a lotus blossom does in the presence of the rising sun. The fingers as they transition through the three mudras are indicating the sacrifice of self will, confusion and infatuation and by the concluding mudra we are signaling that we are completely open to Gods directions. The sentiments expressed to Lord Krishna by Arjuna (representing humans ) at the end of the 18th Chapter, V 73 exemplifies and encapsulates the mudras and the accompanying personal intentions and feelings during the performance of Archana .
Arjuna says “Nasto mohah smriti labdha, tvat prasadan mayyachyutha. Stith osmi gata sandehaha, karisye vacanam tava.
“By your grace my beloved Achyuta, I have regained my mental faculties that were filled with delusions and doubts. These have been annihilated and I am now of firm resolve. I will do your bidding. Jai Govinda.”
The ritualized offering of flower is accompanied by chanting of mantras, which begin with Om and end with namaha. The descriptor between these two sacred words is actually vigrahas made of letters and words that convey to the listener significant concepts and themes at many levels. These verbal vigrahas traveling from your being to Gods being in the idol can be seen as a pilgrimage our atma is making to Its natural home at the Feet of Paramatma our atma’s source and support. The use of namaha reinforces the meaning imparted by the mudras. It is the Hindu equivalent of the first sentence of the Lord’s prayer, Thy will be done. Constantly doing Archana by offering thought lotuses to the feet of God is the best yoga. Only such an individual attains bliss
The number of mantras chanted while flowers are offered can vary from 8 to 16 to 24 to 108 to 300 to 1000 and more. The term for 108 names is Ashtotra Sata Namavalli and for 1000 names it is Sahasranama. Stotra Namavalli. There are a number of Sahasranama stotra Namavalli. Both the Maha Vishnu Sahasranama and the Parama Siva Sahasranama are in the Mahabharata.. The former is chanted by Pitamah Bhishma while he lay on the bed of arrows in response to 6 questions by Dharmaputra Yuddhishtara. Pitamah Bhishma died according to some calculations on 18 Jan 3066 BC. The Parama Siva Saharsranamam was chanted by Sage Upamanya in response to a request by Lord Krishna . Sage Upamanya chose these 1000 names from ten sets of names of Maheswara recited by Lord Brahma.
The Eternal wisdom of the Bhagvad Gita and the perennial bhakti of the two Sahasranam stotra Namavalli in the Mahabharata were bestowed on mankind by Lord Krishna for our protection and salvation as the planet and humanity tethered across the threshold of Kaliyuga from Dvapara yuga . The spiritual cost to our civilization and to mother earth of this transit was very high. Mankind is left with the support of only one, the last of the four legs of Dharma. Dharma walks on four feet, Tapasya(austerity), Saucham, (purity), Daya (kindness) and Satyam (truth).
These mantras and stotras enlighten and ennoble our race. There are several ways of expressing our devotion among them are Kirtanam, Sravanam, Smaranam, Mananam, Pada Sevanam, Archanam, Vandanam, Daasyam, Saakhyam, and Atma Nivedanam. The devotee who by constant practice of doing japa and meditation uses all the God given Jnanaendriyas and Karmendriyas to glorify God, attains a state of Jeevan mukta. Such a devotee lives with God in a state of Bliss.
The first and only requirement is surrender. Lord Krishna teaches us how we achieve this state of 100 % surrender in V 65 Chapter 18. “ Manmana bhava mad bhakta, mad yaji, mam namskuru, mam evaisyasi satyam te, pratijane priyosime”
“Truly do I promise you, for you are dear to me, fix your mind on Me, be devoted to me, sacrifice to Me and bow down to Me, then will you come to Me.”
In the lyrical, moving, deeply satisfying and divinely inspired poem Siva Ananda Lahari Bhagwan Adi Sankara sings (V 41) “O destroyer of death! For the destruction of sin and for attainment of liberation, I am requested by the tongue to sing Thy praise ( kirtanam/japam), by my mind to contemplate on Thee, ( smaranam/mananam), by my head to prostrate before Thee,( sashatanganamaskaram), by my legs to circumabulate Thee ( pradakshina ), by my hands to worship Thee( poojan), by my eyes to see Thee( darshan), by my ears to listen to stories of Thy glory( sravanam). Direct me O Lord, to these endeavours, and remind me of these. May I not lose the faculty of speech, nor lose the power of any of the organs mentioned , so that I may practice my devotions to Thee without hindrance or impediments. I have authored as a humble offering a commentary on the Shiva Ananda Lahari posted to my website: Dharma - Shiva Ananda Lahari Commentary (velandymanoharmd.com)
Beyond addressing the methods of Bhakti, the Enlightened Soul of Bhagwan Adi Sankara sings to his Divine master Maheswara about the four levels of attaining God. These are in the order presented in V 28 of the Sivananda Lahari viz. Saroopyam, Saamipyam, Saalokyam, and Saayujiam. “ O Lord of Bhavani ! I attain to similarity of form with Thee by performing ritual worship to Thee, to closeness with Thee by singing Thy praise, to residence with Thee in Thy heavenly plane by associating with noble devotees of Thee, and to Oneness with Thee by contemplating on Thy form constituted of the whole of this living and nonliving world. Thus, in this very embodiment of my existence I shall attain the fulfillment of my life.
Finally, I offer this Verse from the Eternal waves of bliss that is the Sivananda Lahiri V94 “ The tongue that speaks of Lord Shiva’s stories is the real tongue: the eyes that sees Lord in everything are the real eyes: The hands that worship Him, in every action are the real hands: and he who remembers Him all the time in every place is one who attains the true end of Life.
The psychoanalyst C. Jung has written “ The Spirit is eternally renewed and pursues its goals in manifold and inconceivable ways throughout the history of mankind.
Measured against this, The names and forms (Nama – roopa) which man has endowed the spirt, means very little; these are only the changing leaves and blossoms of the Eternal tree (Sanatana dharma). It behooves us to strive to create a Beloved Community envisioned by our Martyred Revered Brother Nobelist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and the Episcopal [Anglican] Church: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/beloved-community Episcopal Church Becoming A Beloved Community The Becoming Beloved Community Vision Document and accompanying resources help us to understand and take up the long-term commitments necessary to form loving, liberating and life-giving relationships with each other. The graphic that demonstrates the continuous process that purposefully lived human life can transit beneficially is worth reviewing. It consists of four components: Telling the Truth, Proclaiming the Dream, Practicing the Way and importantly Repairing the breeches within and between., This ongoing perpetual cyclical process of forgiveness, repentance and reconciliation, growth and recovery can enhance the health and wellbeing of individual and heal deep wounds in communities all across our nation riven by prejudices about caste, gender, faith, cultural and racial identities.
The King Philosophy - Nonviolence365® - The King Center. This one Link will provide these major touch stones of Practical Wisdom:
- THE TRIPLE EVILS
The Triple Evils of POVERTY, RACISM and MILITARISM are forms of violence that exist in a vicious cycle. They are interrelated, all-inclusive, and stand as barriers to our living in the Beloved Community. When we work to remedy one evil, we affect all evils. To work against the Triple Evils, you must develop a nonviolent frame of mind as described in the “Six Principles of Nonviolence” and use the Kingian model for social action outlined in the “Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change
b. Dr. Kings Core Philosophy of Non-Violence [6 core principles
Fundamental tenets of Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence described in his first book, Stride Toward Freedom. Dr. King often said, he got his inspiration from Jesus Christ and his techniques from Mohandas K. Gandhi. These principles should be embraced as a lifestyle.
PRINCIPLE ONE: Nonviolence Is a Way of Life for Courageous People.
PRINCIPLE TWO: Nonviolence Seeks to Win Friendship and Understanding
PRINCIPLE THREE: Nonviolence Seeks to Defeat Injustice, or Evil, Not People.
PRINCIPLE FOUR: Nonviolence Holds That Unearned, Voluntary Suffering for a Just Cause Can Educate and Transform People and Societies.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Nonviolence Chooses Love Instead of Hate.
PRINCIPLE SIX: Nonviolence Believes That the Universe Is on the Side of Justice
c. The Six Steps for Nonviolent Social Change are based on Dr. King’s nonviolent campaigns and teachings that emphasize love in action. Dr. King’s philosophy of nonviolence, as reviewed in the Six Principles of Nonviolence, guide these steps for social and interpersonal change. The Sixth principle of Reconciliation can be the transformative step between people of all ages, belonging to different Castes, affiliated with Faith traditions, responding to their innate Sexual orientation or Gender identity in their journey through life, of color, race and cultural heritage by accident of birth.
Nonviolence seeks friendship and understanding with the opponent. Nonviolence does not seek to defeat the opponent. Nonviolence is directed against evil systems, forces, oppressive policies, unjust acts, but not against persons. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve the injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step close to the ‘Beloved Community.’
d. THE BELOVED COMMUNITY
For Dr. King, The Beloved Community was not a lofty utopian goal to be confused with the rapturous image of the Peaceable Kingdom, in which lions and lambs coexist in idyllic harmony. Rather, The Beloved Community was for him a realistic, achievable goal that could be attained by a critical mass of people committed to and trained in the philosophy and methods of nonviolence.
Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision, in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood. In the Beloved Community, international disputes will be resolved by peaceful conflict-resolution and reconciliation of adversaries, instead of military power. Love and trust will triumph over fear and hatred. Peace with justice will prevail over war and military conflict.
Dr. King’s Beloved Community was not devoid of interpersonal, group or international conflict. Instead, he recognized that conflict was an inevitable part of human experience. But he believed that conflicts could be resolved peacefully, and adversaries could be reconciled through a mutual, determined commitment to nonviolence. No conflict, he believed, need erupt in violence. And all conflicts in The Beloved Community should end with reconciliation of adversaries cooperating together in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.
In a 1957 speech, Birth of A New Nation, Dr. King said, “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community. The aftermath of nonviolence is redemption. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation. The aftermath of violence is emptiness and bitterness.” A year later, in his first book Stride Toward Freedom, Dr. King reiterated the importance of nonviolence in attaining The Beloved Community. In other words, our ultimate goal is integration, which is genuine inter-group and inter-personal living. Only through nonviolence can this goal be attained, for the aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of the Beloved Community.
In his 1959 Sermon on Gandhi, Dr. King elaborated on the after-effects of choosing nonviolence over violence: “The aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community, so that when the battle’s over, a new relationship comes into being between the oppressed and the oppressor.” In the same sermon, he contrasted violent versus nonviolent resistance to oppression. “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
One expression of Agape love in Dr. King’s Beloved Community is justice, not for any one oppressed group, but for all people. As Dr. King often said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” He felt that justice could not be parceled out to individuals or groups but was the birthright of every human being in the Beloved Community. I have fought too long hard against segregated public accommodations to end up segregating my moral concerns,” he said. “Justice is indivisible.”
Finally, I offer this Timeless Anushasanam from the First- Siksha Valli of the Taittriya Upanishad [I.11. 1,2,,3,4.]
Convocation Speech during Vedic Period | Achintya (wordpress.com) This from the Taittriya Upanishad from the Krishna Yajur Veda,
Taittiriya Upanishad Siksavalli - taittirīyōpaniṣat - 1. Siksavalli - Stotra Nidhi This Convocation speech is from the Siksavalli portion [first portion] it is designated as I.11.1, 2,3,4]. It ends with Sham no Mitra.
Transliterated to English script
‘Satyam Vada; Dharmam Chara; Svãdhyãyãn mâ pramadaha’
Matru Devo bhava, Pitru Devo bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava, Atithi devo bhava’
‘Yãnyanavadyãni karmãni, tãni sevitavyãni, no itarãni’
‘Yãnyasmãkam Sucharitãni tãni tvayopãsyãni, no itarãni, ye ke chãsmachchhreyãnso brãhmanãhã, teshãm tvayã’ ’sanena prashvasitavyam’
‘Esha ãdeshaha, esha upadeshaha, etad Anushasanam, evam upãsitavyam’
‘Speak the truth. Abide by your dharma. Never be idle in your studies’‘ May you be the one who regards your mother to be like a Goddess (i.e., serve her and please her as if she were a Goddess), regard your father to be like a God, regard your teacher to be like a God, your guest at any place and time of any status to be like a God ’‘O disciples! Only do those actions which are in accordance with the shastras and society. Do not perform actions that oppose this’‘ Moreover, only adopt our good conduct, nothing else. After leaving here, if you find a teacher better than us, then respect him, pay homage to him by offering him a seat’‘ This is our final command. This is the teaching. Go forth, live according to this’
I can be best prepared to work for a moment in our lives where we constitute a Beloved Community sans all the bitterness, malice and divisiveness when I adopt and abide by these tenets from the Sages as directed Esha ãdeshaha, esha upadeshaha, etad Anushasanam. I bow before them and symbolically touch their feet and offer them my obeisance as I commit to practice these three injunctions: Matru Devo bhava, Pitru Devo bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava, Atithi devo bhava’. I am adherent of Prophet Micah’s precept:
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.
These injunctions when adopted by many can result in perfect synergy between all of us and sustain transformative change if we can achieve synchronicity across our own nations and around the globe.
OM TAT SAT SRI KRISHNA ARPANAM ASTU