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Re: Intellectual over Power and Money..

From: Mohan Sagar (msagar_at_uswest.net)
Date: Wed Aug 09 2000 - 06:01:37 PDT

Dear Sri Ramanan:

Last week I had the great fortune of joining bhAgavathas from
around the country on a visit to Atlanta to be in the company of
HH Sri Tridandi Jeear Swamy.  One of the many insightful topics
that he addressed during the three days that we were there
touched on the issue of the materialism of this country and how
he we all have become slaves to it.  The talk was in Telugu
(since it took place in the home of a Telugu family), and
centered itself around specific incidents within the aranya
khAndam of Srimad Ramayanam.   With the blessings of HH, Sri
Muralikrishna of Cupertino California is currently working on
translating and summarizing this talk in English.  I would like
to request that Sri Murali to post this article in this forum
when he completes it, as any attempt at a translation on my part
is falling short of bringing about the beauty and insight of HH's
words.

However, in an effort to shed further light on your interesting
question, I would like to share a few thoughts that came to me
after listening to HH's lucid discourse:

If the intent of asking this question is to seek out some
solution that leads to leaving our jobs and worldly
responsibilities and just serving the Lord incessantly, then I am
afraid that there really is no way to do so.  The sAstras
themselves have clearly outlined that each and every one of us,
based on our station in life, have specific duties to perform for
the good of the world.  And, although such duties have somehow
been diluted away from their connections to a specific varna or
jAti, we must recognize that secular obligations are still very
much a part of the human condition.  So, the question really
becomes as you expressed it, how do we fulfill these employment
related obligations without becoming slaves to money and power?

Of course, the obvious answer seems to be that we have to see
even these work obligations as a form of service to the Lord and
offer the fruits of these actions to Him.  This is no easy task,
given that each and every one of us seems to suffer from two
great weaknesses.
HH's says that in Srimad Ramanyanam, these great human failings
are represented by two ferocious demons that Sri Rama kills at
the beginning and ending of the aranya khAndam, Viradha and
Kabhandha.

Viradha is a demon that Sri Rama kills after he makes lustful
advances towards Sita.  The demon represents a sense of spiteful
egotism, a feeling that each and every one of us have that seeks
personal gain because we cannot see someone else in a better
position than we are.  It is this same quality that makes us look
down on someone else if we have something that they do not.  In
the US, the term used for this wicked state of mind in called
"keeping up with the Jones' "  Mr. and Mrs. X just bought a new
top of the line SUV, so I should also have one.  The Y family
just bought a 3000 square foot home, so our family should have a
3100 square foot home.  This goes on and on to the point where we
think to ourselves, "Why should I help out Q with the data that
he needs, he will just use against me so that he can move up to
the next rung in the ladder.  I will just give him some of the
data so that his boss will get frustrated with him, and I'll rush
in to save the day. Q fails and I move up.  Ah, what a plan!!"
This unhealthy sense of fierce competition to have what others
do, combined with the sense that in sharing one experiences loss,
is one of the key reasons why we lock ourselves into the
corporate mindset.

The conscious recognition and desire to kill this demon can only
be known by maintaining our thoughts on the knowledge that our
successes and the successes of others are due only to Perumal and
ThayAr's katAksham.  Consequently, success is like prasadam that
should be
used for the upliftment of others as well as ourselves.  This
altruistic and cooperative spirit can best be understood by
like-minded people, so we should seek them out and share in the
joy of the Divine Couple's grace.


The second great demon that plagues our minds is exemplified by
the terrifying demon kabhandha.  As we know, this demon is
described as being a huge creature with a mouth but no head and
one gigantic stomach that resulted from its continuous gorging.
Sri Rama kills this demon in an effort to appease the great sage
Sarabhana (there is a meaning to this, as well, and Sri Murali
can provide us with these insights in his posting).  The demon
kabhandaha represents the quality that seeks out needless
possessions.   In American parlance, it is what leads us to buy
things we don't need with money we don't have.  After awhile, we
too just start "gorging" for "gorging's sake," not really knowing
why we need a new tv every year, or a new stereo every six
months, or a top of the line computer at home just to check
e-mail.  It is this failing that makes us slaves to the job,
because to buy things, we need to earn money.  But, sadly, the
more we earn the more we buy until we reach a point where we are
just bonded labor to our jobs, unable to leave because our bills
are so high, and unhappy because we can see no end to in sight.
When asked why we do this, we come up with the apologetic excuse
that we want our children to have a better life.  But, is it
really healthy for our children to be pampered in this way?

We need, as Sri Rama did, to kill this demon and bury it.  Only
then can we have the wisdom to seek out spiritual pursuits.  To
do so is difficult, because it appears to me that kabhanda and
viradha walk hand-in-hand at times.  But, the desire for the
Lord's feet -- what to speak of a desire for peace of mind --
should be the weapon we can use to curtail this demon so that we
can know when enough is enough such that we can balance our jobs
with our families and more loftier ideals that lead to His Lotus
Feet.

This is an extremely brief and rough summary of what was
undoubtedly an eloquent and moving discourse by HH.  All errors
are due to my own ignorance.

I hope this helps.

Ramanuja Dasan
Mohan Raghavan

----- Original Message -----
From: Ramanan Rajagopalan <sriethiraja@ureach.com>
To: <bhakti-list@egroups.com>; <sgopan@computer.net>
Sent: Monday, August 07, 2000 7:32 AM
Subject: Intellectual over Power and Money..


> Dear SriVaishnavas:
>
> Pranams!
> Last weekend, I was involved in discussion with few of my
> friends of same age group(we are in twenties) about the role of
> Intellectual over power and money. Our main aim was to find a
> way to lead a very simple life, without being affected by
> mundane world. We were stressing on a point wherein most of the
> Devotees of God are either in someway subordinate to power and
> money in order to lead their life in this world. For example,
> each one of us is specialized in some area or the other,but
> work for worldly causes in various companies. We make our lives
> complex by doing that,rather than visualizing it in simple
> manner. We were not able to arrive at a definite conclusion of
> how to lead a simple life,as our ancestors led in earlier days,
> with the only objective of having a thought that what ever we
> do is for the same of Lord Sriman Narayana,and nothing is for
> us.
>
> Can anyone stree more on this point of how to lead a very
> simple life without being affected my mundane world, and
> reaching the flower feet of the Sipreme Being.
>
> Can we be the subordinate to power and money?
>
>
> Thank you very much for your precious time,
>
> I am very young,may be my question be foolish,if so please
> ignore it.
>
> Adiyen,
> Sri Ramanuja Dasan,
> Ramanan Rajagopalan
>
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           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
To Post a message, send it to:   bhakti-list@eGroups.com
Visit http://www.ramanuja.org/sv/bhakti/ for more information