Vedic Way To Victory !!
New Year Message by Swami Paramarthananda ji
First of all I wish you a happy, healthy, peaceful, and prosperous New Year.
In our tradition we are supposed to get up early in the morning and offer our prayers to the Lord is one very important and significant prayer for mornings. This is the well-known “Kara Krava Lakshmi”, “Kara Madhya Saraswati” and “Kara Moola Gauri” – Prabatha Kara Darshanam.
Look at your hands for Lakshmi resides in the tip of the hand, in the middle there is Saraswati, and at the end is “Durga” or “Gauri”. When you look at the hands don’t look at the lines remembering palmistry but pray to Durga/Lakshmi/ Saraswati. One needs to remember and invoke the grace of all these three deities.
Durga Lakshmi & Saraswathi
There are two reasons to worship Durga Lakshmi & Saraswathi:
1.They are the spouses or consorts of the three murthis (Brahma/Vishnu/ Shiva)
2.These deities represent three very important Shaktis or powers (Resources).
Durga Devi represents our health especially important as we are growing old.
Lakshmi Devi represents wealth for when health is lost you will realize the importance of wealth in the form of expensive medical bills.
Saraswati Devi represents wisdom or knowledge.
These three basic resources are required by every one of us: health, wealth, and knowledge.
When we have them we don’t know their value and take them for granted. Only when we are deprived of any one of them we discover the value of that particular resource. Therefore all the three are equally important.
When we are sick we think that health is most important. In poverty we feel that wealth is the most important. So which of the three is deprived we conclude that is most vital for living. Actually there is no pecking order and if we give weightage each would score 33.33%!
Health, wealth, and knowledge are necessary for survival, for success in our ventures, and life itself. Hence Sastras recommend that we remember these three resources every day.
- In our tradition we talk of two navaratris – one is called Vasanta (Spring) Navaratri and another is Sarada (Autumn) Navaratri.
- During navaratri we exclusively worship Durga for three days, Lakshmi for three days, and Saraswati for three days. We invoke the grace of these three shaktis then what follows? The tenth day is called “Vijayadasami” or victory.
- The Vedic way of victory is Shakti Samyam – all the three resources must be there and they must be in balance. Otherwise life will be a failure. Therefore let us start the New Year by invoking these deities and every day too.
The scriptures say that we must ask for two types of favours from each deity –
- Two types of health
- Two types of wealth
- Two types of knowledge.
What are the two types of health we must pray from Durga Devi?
- One is the physical health which is extremely important and second is the mental health. Our modern lifestyle is such that we are neglecting Durga Devi. All the magazines talk of “lifestyle diseases”. Our very lifestyle is the cause of diseases. These are due to improper lifestyle – our eating habits are wrong, sleeping habits are wrong, and working habits are wrong. They reveal that we are disrespecting Durga Devi.
- One morning prayers states: In Brahma Muhuratham one must not sleep. Sleeping in this time will deplete one’s punyam and produce pappam. For this sin one must do praichittam. Even before New Year eve people attend all night parties, drink all kinds of things, and don’t even see the New Year sunrise (lifestyle disease). Even there is an English proverb that talks about the virtues of rising early: Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy.
- When you rise early you get the blessings of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. We are violating all health habits (eating, sleeping, and working habits are wrong because we don’t enjoy our work).
- There is too much pressure and stress. Work place has become a field of war due to increased competition. I have to outperform all my competitors; there is pressure and lot of aggression. Working places resemble war zones and when we come home it is like Ashoka coming from a Kalinga war. Therefore mental stress is a major problem of modern day living.
- Continuous stress reduces the immunity of a person and that invites all kinds of diseases. A person may be chronologically 40 years but ravaged by constant stress the body ages to 60.
- A man squanders his health initially working for wealth. Then he squanders his earned wealth in search of health! And ultimately loses both.
- In Sanskrit there is a humourous verse – O doctor, my namaskarams to you for you are the elder brother of Yama dharmaraja. Why elder? Yama only takes life while the doctor takes both the life and money and say,” Operation was successful but the patient died”.
- So Durga Devi is so important and one must pray every day to HER for physical as well as mental health.
What are the two types of wealth we must pray from Lakshmi Devi?
- One is the outer wealth in the form of money, gold, shares, real estate etc and the other is contentment. In the Vedic jargon wealth is reduced to “gold and land” to signify every kind of wealth.
- Swami Dayananda says that we call it real estate for we ourselves have a doubt. Like ever silver is never silver!!! We have to invoke Lakshmi Devi for without external wealth we cannot conduct life. We respect money without which survival is not possible. Even a sanyasi requires wealth in the form of food, clothing, and shelter.
- Vedas state that we should not stop with the desire for external wealth; internal wealth is just as important – inner wealth in the form of contentment or tripti. If Tripti or contentment is not there we will face several problems. Then desire for external wealth will not be balanced for without contentment desires will escalate. Desires by themselves are harmless but unknowingly “Kama” will be converted into Lobah or Greed. Kama (desire for wealth) is one of the four purusharthas but it needs to be balanced with contentment.
- Modern lifestyle provides a conducive environment for GREED. Every manufacturer is promoting greed for his products through advertising. There is an advertisement you might have seen.
- A child is asking mom that for pongal it wants a I-pad or Laptop and not some boring toys. The media drives this acquisition and greed in society. If we are not careful we will fall under the trap of greed.
- The first consequence of greed is running after Lakshmi Devi and ignore the other two deities which disturbs the “shakti or resource balance”. Instead of “Shakti Samyam” Lakshmi will become predominant and unbalanced life will have disastrous consequences.
- Greed will pressurize the mind to become more and more aggressive, and more violent. The value of Ahimsa is thrown to the winds. I shout at everybody as they don’t keep up with me. I work with constant pressure and aggression. Greed will also force a person to compromise with dharmic values too like Indian politicians.
- First the “shakti imbalance” and the second “the loss of dharma” will obstruct success in our life especially spiritual success. Thirdly when there is greed, there is competition and cut throat philosophy.
- Some will become more and more rich while most would become poor. There will be few “haves” and many “have nots” and the widening disparity will increase the crime rate. We can never live in contentment for fear of burglary, chain snatching, or even murder. The headline “Old couple murdered” is getting regular and our children are not around.
- Greed creates a lot of stress. The world has enough for human need but world does not have enough for human greed. If humanity is in the grip of greed then the natural resources would be exploited more. We are abusing nature and it is already turning violent on us. These environmental/ecological imbalances will affect the next generations and they will not have enough even for an ordinary life.
- Greed causes problems both at the micro and macro level because of individual greed, family greed, corporate greed, national greed. In fact recession is caused from corporate greed. They are promoting more and more loans and credit cards (acquire more and greed is promoted!!!). In our parent’s generation the word loan was fraught with shame while now we wear it as a crown (bhushanam)!
- We are so caught up with external wealth that we forget the internal wealth of contentment (tripti). Veda says that whatever you earn legitimately one must be contented without comparing with neighbours or falling for New Year discount sales! Therefore we must pray to Lakshmi Devi to extend wealth to include contentment too.
- We don’t appreciate the value of contentment for we wrongly think that our level of enjoyment would come down. This is a serious misconception and delusion born out of greed.
- Our Sastra take great pains to remove this misconception: If external wealth is the source of joy then internal wealth of contentment is as much a source of joy if not greater.
- In Traittreya Upanishad this important message is given graphically. They have divided external wealth into ten levels.
- Let us imagine a man acquiring more wealth and goes from level 1 to level 2. Let us take another wise man who progresses in contentment levels from level 1 to level 2 (contentment is also divided into ten levels parallelly) .
- Traittreya Upanishad states the second person who progresses on the contentment scale has hundred times more joy than the person who finds happiness in material acquisition.
- Let’s say at level -10 a Ambani or Bill Gates and take a wise man sitting under a tree without bank balance, without laptop, without I-pad, without television, without home theatre, without home itself. He’s joy is hundred times more than the richest man on earth.
- So when you pray for Lakshmi Devi every day include external wealth and also internal wealth.
What are the two types of knowledge we must pray from Saraswati Devi?
Then there is another important deity, “Saraswati”. From Saraswati Devi we have to seek two types of knowledge.
One knowledge is material knowledge given by material sciences; science and technology being developed in thousands of laboratories all over the world. They are trying to corner the external world with better set-up; better houses, better gadgets and everything better and better. Conquering the external world and manipulating the set-up which is called Apara Vidya.
The Para Vidya is spiritual sciences represented by our scriptures which are designed to change our internal mindset.
- Material sciences are used to adjust the external set-up to suit our likes and dislikes. While spiritual knowledge is to change our mindset. This is extremely important for however advanced material sciences maybe we can never be totally in control of the external set-up.
- Go to Pondicherry and see the havoc played by the cyclones! The external set-up is uncontrollable, unpredictable, and unsustainable and we will have to face unfavourable professional situations, we will have to face unfavourable family situations, unfavourable personal situations according to our karma. We have to face unfavourable set-up either temporary or face them lifelong.
- The doctor will say, “You will have to live with it” for there are many genetic diseases for which there are no remedies. In such a situation material sciences will throw their hands in despair. When we cannot adjust the set-up it has become a choiceless situation then you will have to adjust the mind. Our mindset and perspectives must be adjusted such that it cushioned and protected from the external unfavourable situations.
- Like wearing a cooling glass in hot sun that protects the eyes but when things cannot be changed externally we must know how to adjust the mind. That is why our Sastra make a difference between spiritual ignorance and spiritual knowledge.
- An ignorant mind is like a convex lens that magnifies any external unfavourable situation. The doctor only says there should be an investigation and the mind begins to dread the worst.
- The mind is always is insecure, always in panic and exaggerates every little difficulty. Spiritual ignorance exaggerates every choiceless situation. In contrast spiritual knowledge is one that makes a person face even the most unfavourable situation with an appropriate attitude.
- Lord Krishna in the Gita presents two techniques to deal with any problem: Karma yoga and Jnana yoga.
- Material sciences teach how to adjust the world while spiritual sciences alone will tell us how to adjust the mind. Mental adjustments are necessary when we are facing choiceless situations. There are certain situations that have no remedy and at that time you need spiritual knowledge to cope with your situation. Therefore pray to Sarawati for both types of knowledge.
So on this auspicious new year let us invoke the grace of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati for two types of health, physical and mental; two types of wealth, physical and contentment; two types of knowledge, material sciences and spiritual knowledge.
Let this prayer be on behalf of ourselves, our families and the entire world.