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Thread: The highest ideal for human life

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    The highest ideal for human life

    Namaste,

    In a recent facebook post, Swami U.Ve.Velukkudi Krishnan says,

    "சரணாகதனிடம் இருப்பது (முக்தியில்) இச்சை. அவன் எதிர்பார்ப்பது (இறைவனின்) இரக்கம். அவனடைவது (கண்ணனின்) இனிமை. இதுவே ஆழ்வார்களின் 4000 ஸாரம்."

    It means, "A 'sharanAgathA' or 'one who has surrendered to the Lord' desires for moksha. He expects Lord's mercy (towards this goal of his). He attains the sweetness of Sri Krishna. This is the essence of the 4000-divya-prabandha".

    Sometime back I remember a conversation wherein members opined that the highest goal for human life is 'not to desire for anything including one's own moksha and to yearn to serve others'. This seems to be the right answer for me, due to which I am questioning why our beloved Alwars said the above in the 4000-divya-prabandha.

    Is it that even when someone works for others, when old-age and sickness embrace us, we would naturally look for 'moksha' and freedom from the cycle of birth and death? A related question - is it possible to be free of any desire at all? Even people who serve others are possessed with desire for name, fame or riches. Given this, is it wrong to desire for one's moksha while serving others?

    Why do our scriptures emphasize that desiring (and working towards) moksha is the highest ideal when it should be serving others? Are there other siddhantas that recommend differently?

    Pranam.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Dear Viraja ji.,

    You have asked a wonderful question and also the quote from U.Ve.V. Krishnan swami is the entire 4000 prapandam in one single line. I am just giving my opinion here as this is very interesting aspect of "Saranagathi"

    The desire is the driver for every jiva and no one can be with out desire - its the very practical fact as well for any form of life be it micro organism or human or much more developed life like that of devas.

    When Moksha is desired, it is desired as the remedy for the samsara - its like going to USA from india will change your life to problem free and its all heaven kind of "desire". A mere promise of "heaven like" place and trouble free life motivates large number of students and professionals to make it their life ambition and aim and work hard to pursue that desire as their goal! In fact, every life form desire the "Moksha" but may be with different understanding but surely with the aim of "not going through" the spell of time and samsara in a single word.

    Once the desire drives you to the feet of Kannan, remember He is the naughty playboy and steal you completely in His fold! You take one step towards Him to get your objective of Moksha but He plays His pranks and takes 10 steps towards you to make you feel wonderful, joyful and give you the experience of bliss! Surrendering is like no more step towards Him but anchored to His lotus feet and imagine what Kannan has to do for such surrendered Jiva. He simply surrenders Himself back - this is the Anubhava of the Alwars and thus the goal of "Moksha" itself no longer have any merit as they have got the "Ultimate Price" of Moksha Dayi Himself! ( Gotten the giver of Moksha Himself as their gift)

    This is the beauty of "SaranaGati" where you get the Moksha Giver Himself rather than just Moksha! So, not desiring Moksha is a dull situation and once desired moksha, it should be sought from Kannan and then everything else will be beyond what you have desired!

    Being Desireless is impossible - even for Budda! Its a separate topic and don't want to jump there.

    Desire Moksha and surrender to the lotus feet of Little Kanna...He will give Himself!

    Hare Krshna!

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Thank you, Grames ji! Appreciate your reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by grames View Post
    The desire is the driver for every jiva and no one can be with out desire - its the very practical fact as well for any form of life be it micro organism or human or much more developed life like that of devas.
    Exactly it is the above point that bewildered me. Because someone working towards moksha will be focusing his/her time in praying/chanting, or doing raja-yoga, etc. Whereas someone 'desireless except for serving others' will invest his time in a completely different manner...

    When Moksha is desired, it is desired as the remedy for the samsara - its like going to USA from india will change your life to problem free and its all heaven kind of "desire". A mere promise of "heaven like" place and trouble free life motivates large number of students and professionals to make it their life ambition and aim and work hard to pursue that desire as their goal! In fact, every life form desire the "Moksha" but may be with different understanding but surely with the aim of "not going through" the spell of time and samsara in a single word.
    Exactly! Moksha is seen as 'just another desire'... but given an ordinary Samsari (that is, someone who does not invest much of time in serving others) has the initial goal of 'yearning for moksha', then this desire (being the noblest one that humans can have) will transform him owing to the power of the Lord that he will eventually become a 'karma-yogi' and someone who serves others without desires... Whereas even if it is someone who has the intial goal of serving others (but without any desire for moksha) will eventually be possessed with 'I the doer ahamkara' and be possessed with name/fame/glory pitfalls and he will not do his services to others without desire eventually...

    Once the desire drives you to the feet of Kannan, remember He is the naughty playboy and steal you completely in His fold! You take one step towards Him to get your objective of Moksha but He plays His pranks and takes 10 steps towards you to make you feel wonderful, joyful and give you the experience of bliss! Surrendering is like no more step towards Him but anchored to His lotus feet and imagine what Kannan has to do for such surrendered Jiva. He simply surrenders Himself back - this is the Anubhava of the Alwars and thus the goal of "Moksha" itself no longer have any merit as they have got the "Ultimate Price" of Moksha Dayi Himself! ( Gotten the giver of Moksha Himself as their gift)
    Yes, the playfulness and 'mischief' of the Lord do not have enough words to describe... the Lord very much represents the very fact that he is actually a 'chor' (thief) of one's Atma (by his moving towards the bhakta) by his playful leelas..

    This is the beauty of "SaranaGati" where you get the Moksha Giver Himself rather than just Moksha! So, not desiring Moksha is a dull situation and once desired moksha, it should be sought from Kannan and then everything else will be beyond what you have desired!
    I too feel that when someone works towards moksha, their personality will transform to the sweetest and noblest possible, owing to the Lord's mercy towards his devotee and his rendering of his uplifting guidance to them. Without Lord's mercy, someone cannot attain the sweetest of the dispositions possible!

    Being Desireless is impossible - even for Budda! Its a separate topic and don't want to jump there.

    Desire Moksha and surrender to the lotus feet of Little Kanna...He will give Himself!

    Hare Krshna!
    So moksha it is..

    Hare Krishna!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Dear Viraja Ji.,

    Your response in this message as well as one another message in another thread tempted me to write this. You must be very nice and kind and that is what i see as reasons behind sticking to this "Serving" others but with different meanings. In tamil, there is a saying that "Makkal SevaiAy Mahesan Sevai" ( Service to people is service to Lord). Its a very noble saying and very inspirational as well. We call the service minded people generally as "Good" and if we know such person is doing the service with no expectation in return, we consider them great.

    But, are you aware that meaning of this sentence is not this generic and also such seva alone does not constitute what you said as "KarmaYoga"? My mother always tells me to love everyone, do good for everyone and show the best hospitality towards any being! Once i asked her, in my limited capacity and capability, i cannot even know more than few thousands people and forget about me loving them all in first place before thinking of "Serving" them or showing hospitality etc! Also what about "Loving" a theif, murderer, rsi abuser, people cheater etc. For her it was too much of a question and she will just ignore my question and stick to her phrase that we should love everyone with out discrimination! Such thoughts are because of the good heart and love is blind is what the excuse is.

    As i was curious and wanted to know, i learnt there are other sayings that are also required to be consistent and really good. One of them is, "paathiram arinthu pichai idu" ( Know who you give biksha) but it should not be literally translated as "bhiksha" but any form of "Service". It accounts to KarmaYoga only when it is done with proper knowledge of who is the recipient and their Yogyata (Qualification) - As a parent, the kids, as Kids the parents, As a teacher, to the students, as students to the teacher and this list goes on where it guides the people whom they should/can serve! The best of service is engaging in the service of Lord! ( This is what is called "Kaingaryam" - The most noble act of service for any being)

    Not every act is a service, not every service is KarmaYoga and KarmaYoga properly done will result in Bhakthi - and its Bhakthi alone that result in the grace of Little Kannan! A Gyani does not practice Gyana Yoga to attain Siddhis but to attain the "Samadhi" or the Moksha. But, in Vaishanva schools, for Bhakthi, Gyana is requirement and Bhakthi is culmination of Karma and Gyana and with out proper information, there is no way to "experience" the Lord and admitting our inability to practice Karma or Gyana, our acharyas has recommended the most simple and easy path of "SaranaGati" where everyone is qualified to surrender! When Krshna Gives Himself, its not just a "Moksha" and so not sure what is your ending sentence means - Krshna is a much much worthier gift/achievement than "Moksha" itself! But desire that Moksha is the motivation to get engaged in to the process...

    Serving Krshna is like watering the root of the plant - When root is served, every part of the tree gains the water and like that, Serving Krshna brings every benefit every being deserve! ( This is the real Seva - Kaingaryam).

    Hare Krshna!

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Dear Grames ji,

    Please find my thoughts below:

    Quote Originally Posted by grames View Post
    Your response in this message as well as one another message in another thread tempted me to write this. You must be very nice and kind and that is what i see as reasons behind sticking to this "Serving" others but with different meanings. In tamil, there is a saying that "Makkal SevaiAy Mahesan Sevai" ( Service to people is service to Lord). Its a very noble saying and very inspirational as well. We call the service minded people generally as "Good" and if we know such person is doing the service with no expectation in return, we consider them great.
    Well, as I said in the OP, this thought of 'serving others selflessly' isn't mine. I just borrowed the thought from another forum - perhaps the other member who originally raised the question is into seva, I do not know... but your praises truly belong to him.

    After I posted my reply to you yesterday, I was thinking about this 'seva vs. devotion for moksha' question that was still puzzling me. And honestly, I think that if there is anyone born with that kind of disposition, (of serving others selflessly being the only motto for life), that would be a mere .1% of the population in the world. For the remaining 99.9%, we are all given to desires of some form being the root cause of our existence. So if those gifted .1% can focus on upliftment of others, we - the 99.9% do need bhakti-marga to make ourselves better people! And thus, aiming for 'moksha' or better yet, (as you say), to yearn for getting one with the lord, IS the best possible alternative for us, that would both direct our desires to the right goal as well as gradually move us towards 'serving Mahesha' ultimately!

    But, are you aware that meaning of this sentence is not this generic and also such seva alone does not constitute what you said as "KarmaYoga"? My mother always tells me to love everyone, do good for everyone and show the best hospitality towards any being! Once i asked her, in my limited capacity and capability, i cannot even know more than few thousands people and forget about me loving them all in first place before thinking of "Serving" them or showing hospitality etc! Also what about "Loving" a theif, murderer, rsi abuser, people cheater etc. For her it was too much of a question and she will just ignore my question and stick to her phrase that we should love everyone with out discrimination! Such thoughts are because of the good heart and love is blind is what the excuse is.
    Your mother is very kind. Yes, I now understand what is Karma-yoga - to serve others but be wise about the same. Thank you for making this clarification. Perhaps 'loving everyone' means not taking aggressive action against anyone (unless the situation asks for it) but be a mere 'observer' - a witness... I wonder how Bhagwan would love all created beings then - because our scriptures say that moksha is for everyone, and this means every abuser out there gets reviewed by lord beneficially at some point of time!

    As i was curious and wanted to know, i learnt there are other sayings that are also required to be consistent and really good. One of them is, "paathiram arinthu pichai idu" ( Know who you give biksha) but it should not be literally translated as "bhiksha" but any form of "Service". It accounts to KarmaYoga only when it is done with proper knowledge of who is the recipient and their Yogyata (Qualification) - As a parent, the kids, as Kids the parents, As a teacher, to the students, as students to the teacher and this list goes on where it guides the people whom they should/can serve! The best of service is engaging in the service of Lord! ( This is what is called "Kaingaryam" - The most noble act of service for any being)
    Perfect! Perhaps the best karma-yoga possible is to do service "Kaingaryam" to the Lord (and his devotees) without expecting anything from him!

    Not every act is a service, not every service is KarmaYoga and KarmaYoga properly done will result in Bhakthi - and its Bhakthi alone that result in the grace of Little Kannan! A Gyani does not practice Gyana Yoga to attain Siddhis but to attain the "Samadhi" or the Moksha. But, in Vaishanva schools, for Bhakthi, Gyana is requirement and Bhakthi is culmination of Karma and Gyana and with out proper information, there is no way to "experience" the Lord and admitting our inability to practice Karma or Gyana, our acharyas has recommended the most simple and easy path of "SaranaGati" where everyone is qualified to surrender! When Krshna Gives Himself, its not just a "Moksha" and so not sure what is your ending sentence means - Krshna is a much much worthier gift/achievement than "Moksha" itself! But desire that Moksha is the motivation to get engaged in to the process...
    Sorry, Grames ji, my small brain misunderstood your original reply. It did not occur to me you were saying 'the best aim or ideal for human life is to aim to get the lord himself', I thought you were saying moksha is the best ideal. Now I stand clarified. Thank you.

    Your above paragraph clarifies about the role of bhakti and gyana and how they both together play a role in acquiring true bhakti that will help us in procuring the lord's love.. But please tell me, how can one do 'Sharanagathi'? I mean, what are the actions performed by someone who does 'Sharanagathi'? Is it akin to welcoming whatever happens to us and our beloved (kith and kin) and rendering Kainkaryam to Lord without fail?

    Serving Krshna is like watering the root of the plant - When root is served, every part of the tree gains the water and like that, Serving Krshna brings every benefit every being deserve! ( This is the real Seva - Kaingaryam).

    Hare Krshna!
    I agree to the above very much!

    Hare Krishna!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Dear Viraja Ji.,

    Here is the fantastic dialogue - i am sharing the link as i do not want to copy paste -

    I recommend to take a print out of this page - Read it as many times as you want and can - Because, i do learn one new thing every time i read this dialogue about saranagati

    Here is the link
    Saranagati Dialogue

    Hare Krshna!

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Thank you for the great link, Grames ji!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Namaste Grames ji,

    I went through the link once. Although there were many points I couldn't understand too much, the read had been still very useful and interesting. I definitely know much more about Saranagati now than before.

    However, Saranagati seems to be quite far-fetched for me at this point. I'm not sure if this is the proper bhakti-yoga, but I practice ahimsa and my devotional practice consists of recitation of stotras and mantras for about 45 min each day. Other than that, I celebrate all SriVaishnava festivals and functions.

    But being still an ordinary person, I am afraid I am prone to (lots of) anger, and even a little-bit of 'Asooyai' (jealousy) taints my personality. Owing to this, I am afraid of doing Saranagati because then I have to be very, very careful not to do any 'apachara' or mistake to anybody, especially if they are Lord's (and mother Mahalakshmi's) other devotees...

    Maybe 'Saranagati' is not written for me in this life... although I am filled with gratitude to the Lord for rendering us this kind of 'upaaya' (or means) for reaching upto him and mother Mahalakshmi.

    Thank you,

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Dear Viraja ji.,

    Namaste! Interesting post and it reminds me of Sri Ve. Krishnan swami's advice. Moksha is actually "Far fetched" (Yetta Kani) but attainable and that is the promise of our beloved Kannan! (mam ekam saranam vraja)

    You stated the perfect qualification and eligibility to take up the process as this is for us, the fallen and incapable on our own efforts! If at all, we were sure that we can do all by ourselves, we will choose Bhakthi Yoga or Jnana Yoga etc. but at least we are honest and humble about our great inability and weakness and that is the path of "SaranaGati"!

    So, its the best qualification to know what we are not...and with confidence you can know the fact that, saranaGati is for people like us who are weak, meek, ordinary, with no iota of knowledge, complete ignorance, with anger, jealousy etc. and by the grace of the Acharyas like Shri Ramanuja, Lord has made it possible for even fallen souls like us a chance to redeem!

    Perfection here is, taking up the path and not how well you travel it! ( You will be alright and do best once you take the first step). Fear Not!

    Hare Krshna!

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    Re: The highest ideal for human life

    Namaste,

    The Highest Ideal of Human Life is being Human...which is easier said than done.

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