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Sons of Immortality

by T.N. Dhar 'Kundan'

Even a cursory look at the life and its reality shows that while the frame is mortal, the essence hidden inside is immortal. Perhaps, that is why the Vedas enjoin upon us to be the sons of immortality, ‘Amritasya Putrah’. While the ultimate aim for us should be, as Swami Vivekananda says, to rise from animality to divinity, it seems necessary for us to take the first step and try to become humans first. For this to achieve, it is necessary for us to imbibe certain qualities. Shri Gita has prescribed more than two dozens of specific qualities for a person to be of the divine nature. About half a dozen of these are basic qualities, which make us humane and civilized. The rest are perhaps on a higher level and can be aspired subsequently.

To be virtuous is a basic human trait, and perhaps a desirable duty too. Virtue is called ‘Guna’ in Hindi/Sanskrit. Our scriptures say that virtue is respected and worshipped everywhere, ‘Gunah sarvatra poojyante.’ Therefore, it is enjoined upon us to earn virtues that will enable us justify our being human kind, ‘Tasmat gunani arjadhvam.’ It is not a debating point that we should be good human beings, good members of a society and good citizens of a nation. That makes it a paramount necessity for us to imbibe virtues and acquire qualities. Let us enumerate these qualities and identify the value that these impart to us. Our scriptures are replete with discussion on these virtues and the saints and sages, who have appeared on this planet Earth from time to time, have also thrown light on these qualities in their discourses, writings and sermons.   

In olden days when a student had completed his studies a ‘Dikshanta’ ceremony was held, which may be viewed as the modern day convocation. On this day, before the student entered the fray of active life, he was administered certain oaths to guide him in the conduct of his life’s struggle and make him tread on the path of righteousness. The first lesson given to him was ‘Satyam vada’, or to be truthful and practise truth. The second direction given to him was ‘Dharmam chara’, or to do his duty and be righteous. The third one enjoined upon him to continue learning and teaching, ‘Swadhyaya-pravachanabhyam na pramaditavyam’, or do not show laziness in self-study and transmitting your knowledge to others. This was followed by a prescription for the code of conduct. ‘Matri devo bhava, pitri devo bhava, acharya devo bhava, atithi devo bhava – Show due regard and respect to your mother, father, teacher and the guests and treat them as gods.’ These qualities if imbibed in thought, word and deed, make us humans in right sense of the term. These lead us eventually to immortality and make us ‘Sons of Immortality’.

Let us examine the qualities prescribed by Shri Gita for us to be divine. We can cull out a few qualities out of this long list, which we think are essential for us to deserve being called humans. Once we adopt these, practise these and make these part and parcel of our life-styles, we can then proceed to adopt the remaining qualities in order to go higher and higher on the spiritual ladder. The basic qualities in the first batch could be listed as Truth, Compassion, Gentleness, Fearlessness, Uprightness, Non-violence, Modesty, Steadiness, forgiveness, Fortitude, and freedom from anger, malice and pride. Coming to think of it, these qualities are inclusive, interdependent and interlinked. The quality of truth is the foundation on which the edifice of all other qualities is built.

If we are true, we will, ipso facto, be fearless, upright and steadfast. The truth will give us fortitude and modesty. These in turn will make us non-violent, and free from anger, malice and pride. All this will help us develop an attitude of compassion towards our fellow men and other creatures and we shall be humane, understanding and loving towards one and all. Love, as we know, is the corner stone of human bondage and this binds us together and brings us closer to each other. Nature has given us humans a heart, which is the centre of love, a spring of compassion and kindness and an instrument of feeling and caring. Reaching this place where we are endowed with these basic qualities is not an end in itself. It is only a station en route. Many of us reach this place and knowingly or unknowingly treat it as the destination and feel satisfied. But there are blessed ones, who know the reality that there is still a long way to go. They keep their journey on and tread upon a higher plane of spiritual quest. They start imbibing the remaining qualities in order to become imbued with divine traits. This endears them to Almighty, who assures them in these words, ‘Sa me priyah – He is dear to Me.’   

The qualities that we have to acquire on the higher plane of spiritual quest are Self Control, Renunciation, Tranquility, Vigour, Self-study, Balanced demeanor, aversion to greed and fickleness, Absence of the habit of finding fault with others and a well planned ‘Jnana’ and ‘Yoga’. Let us take the last one first. This quality brings equilibrium in our Knowledge and Actions. ‘Jnana’ is academic and theoretical science and ‘Yoga’ is its application. Once we create a balance in what we know and what we do, we rise further up in the ladder of spirituality. With all the qualities enumerated in the previous set, we are still living on the plane of ‘Gunas’ or the attributes. No doubt we are endowed with the attribute of light ‘Satva-guna’, and not those of passion and darkness, ‘Rajoguna, Tamoguna’ yet our goal has to be to rise to a plane devoid of all the three attributes. At this plane we are fully in control of our selves, we are firm and steadfast, we have no greed nor have we any habit of finding faults with others. Kabir has said about this situation in these words, ‘Bura khojana main gaya, bura mila na koi, jo man khoja aapno mujh sa bura na koi – I went in search of a bad person but could not find one. When I examined my own self I found that no one was as bad as me’. This gives a clear hint that we should engage in self-analysis and try to know the self. For this we must shun greed and fickleness, adopt a balanced attitude, enjoy with a sense of renunciation and be full of vigour and tranquility. ‘Jnana’ or knowledge enables us to experience the truth of existence or ‘Sat’. Yoga’ on the other hand enables us to merge with the universal consciousness or ‘Chit’. Having thus realized the subtle truth, we are prone to surrender before the Supreme. We become an embodiment of love and attain supreme bliss, ‘Aananda’, a position which has no antonym or opposite. That is the destination every seeker craves for and endeavours to attain. At this point the seeker says in the words of Kabir, ‘Jab main tha tab ve nahin, ab ve hain main nahin, prem gali ati sankari, ya mein do na samahin – When I was there, He was not; Now He is there I am not. This lane of love is too narrow to accommodate two at a time.’    

We are always advised to realize ourselves. We are told that our true self is not the body, mind and the intellect. Our essence is something beyond these and that is what we need to identify, seek after and realize. While this stipulation is completely true, yet we should not under-estimate the importance of these recognizable items of our existence. Our body is a vehicle, which has various senses of knowledge, deeds and perception. It is through these that we function, act and react. Our mind is a vehicle of thought. Our heart is a vehicle of feeling and compassion. Our intellect is a vehicle of discernment, discretion and discrimination. It is through these vehicles that we function and put into practice the faculties of virtues and qualities, which we are endowed with. It is because of this fact, perhaps, that there is a saying in Sanskrit, ‘Shariram-aadyam khalu dharma-sadhanam – Body is the foundation stone of executing our duties.’

It is clear from the foregoing discussion that it is in the nature of things that we should be virtuous. Every one of us has an element of all the three attributes of truth, passion and darkness. The quality of a person depends upon which of the three elements is prominent and predominant in his personality. A person with the attributes of truth and light predominant in his nature can be taken as a true human being. Once a person rises above these attributes of lower plain and is endowed with the qualities of higher plain, he can be treated as a divine person. Once he transcends all the attributes, he realises his self, his individual consciousness gets merged with the universal consciousness and he attains a stature where he is called the son of immortality or ‘Amritasya Putrah.’

T. N. Dhar Kundan's Articles

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