|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Unit - 19
Lesson - 1908: Quality of Life
By Raja Subramaniyan
We are fully responsible for the quality of life that we lead. No one other than us is responsible for our life.
Quality of life depends on the quality of the results of our action
Quality of the results depends on the quality of our action
Quality of the action depends on the quality of the attitude
Quality of the attitude depends on the quality of the knowledge
Quality of our knowledge depends on the quality of faith.
Quality of the faith depends on the quality of our mind
Quality of the mind can be improved through improving Aura Element
Teaching 145: Quality of life depends on the dominance of Aura in our mind
Lord Krishna suggests following practices with regard to food, work, penance and austerity to make Aura Element dominant.
1. Practices with respect to food
Since food always comes from a living source, it is also classified according to the dominance of AEM. We should eat Aura dominant food, limit the Energy food and avoid Matter dominant food.
We should eat in moderation. The solid parts of the food should fill half the stomach. Water should fill a quarter. Remaining quarter should be for air, meaning it should be left empty. We should stop eating when we have enough space in our stomach, to eat a full meal again.
We should eat only when are hungry and stop eating while we are still hungry
We should develop a routine in which we eat at a fixed time of the day.
Teaching 146: Eat Aura dominant food in moderation at regular intervals
2. Practices with respect to work
We should do the duty as worship.
We should work in the chosen profession according to the prescribed rules and regulations.
We should adhere to Dharma at all times.
We should work without focusing on the benefit that we may get.
We should do our work with concentration with an aim to achieve perfection in the work.
Teaching 147: Work is worship. Try to achieve perfection in the chosen profession.
3. Practices with respect to austerity
We should voluntarily take up austerity practices for gaining control over our mind, sense organs and the action organs. For example, if we like to eat sweet, we should abstain from it for a specific period.
We should not hurt ourselves in the name of penance or austerity. These are to be practiced within limits. The objective is to gain strength and not to lose strength.
We should attempt penance or austerity practices with respect to physical, words and mind in that order.
Teaching 148: Practice austerity with respect to deeds, words and thoughts
It is easier to do physical austerity compared to doing austerity with respect to words and thoughts. Mental austerity is the most difficult to achieve. Therefore, we should begin the practice of austerity with respect to the physical level then move up to words and then finally to thought level.
Examples are given below:
Offering prayer to god regularly for a fixed duration
Doing service for elders and wise
Keep everything clean and well organized.
Keep up all the promises made
Refrain from hurting others by action
Going on a pilgrimage by walk
Always speak the truth
We should speak softly
We should speak only those words, which is good for self and others.
Avoid harsh words and do not hurt anyone through words
Not talking for a day or a fixed number of hours.
Entertain good thoughts and avoid evil thoughts
Forgiving and forgetting others mistakes
Do not curse anyone
4. Practices with respect to charity
Charity is the practice for renunciation. Sharing what we have, giving without even using it for self, giving up mentally all our possessions are steps to understand that everything is in God's hands.
Teaching 149: Giving charity and helping others increases Aura in us.
People, who are greedy, would like to own up everything. This strengthens their ego. In order to surrender the ego first we need to surrender our possessions.
Teaching 150: Aura dominant person will attain Brahman and live joyfully
Chapter 17: Three types of faith [Verses: 07 - 28]
17.7 Even food of which all partake is of three kinds, according to the three modes of material nature. The same is true of sacrifices, austerities and charity. Listen and I shall tell you of the distinctions of these.
17.8-10 Food in the mode of Aura, lead to longevity, mental strength, physical strength, health, pleasure, contentment and satisfaction. Such delicious and nourishing foods served pleasant to the eye, are sweet, juicy, fattening and tasty/palatable. Foods that are too bitter, too sour, salty, pungent, dry and hot, are liked by people in the modes of Energy. Such foods cause pain, distress, and disease. That food, which is neither over cooked or under cooked, stale or leftovers, tasteless, decomposed, unclean and prohibited food is liked by people in the mode of Matter.
17.11 Of sacrifices, that sacrifice performed wholeheartedly and with concentration according to duty and to scriptural rules, and with no expectation of reward, is of the nature of Aura.
17.12 Oh Arjuna, the sacrifice performed for some material benefit or preformed ostentatiously, out of pride, is of the nature of Energy.
17.13 And that sacrifice performed in defiance of scriptural injunctions, in which no food is distributed, no hymns are chanted and no remunerations are made to the priests, and which is faithless -- that sacrifice is of the nature of Matter.
17.14 The austerity of the body consists of worship of the god, the Brahmins, the teacher, and the wise and elders. Cleanliness, straightforwardness, chastity and nonviolence are also austerities of the body.
17.15 Austerity of speech consists of speech that is truthful, pleasant and beneficial and in avoiding speech that offends. One should also recite the Vedas regularly.
17.16 Mental quietude, gentleness, mind-control, serenity and purity of thought are the austerities of the mind.
17.17 This threefold austerity, practiced with great faith by people who are disciplined and are not desirous of material benefit, is of the nature of Aura.
17.18 Those penances and austerities, which are practiced with pretence for the sake of praise, honor, respect and reverence are said to be in the mode of Energy. Such results are uncertain and temporary.
17.19 Those penances and austerities, which are performed foolishly by means of self-torture, or to destroy or injure others, are said to be in the mode of Matter.
17.20 That charity which is given with an attitude that giving is a duty, at the proper time and place, to a worthy person, and without expectation of return, is considered to be charity in the mode of Aura.
17.21 But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for material benefit, or done reluctantly, is said to be charity in the mode of Energy.
17.22 And charity performed at an improper place and time and given to unworthy persons without respect and with contempt is charity in the mode of Matter.
17.23 From the beginning of creation, the three syllables, Om tat sat -- have been used to indicate the Brahman. They were uttered by Brahmins while chanting Vedic hymns and during sacrifices, for the satisfaction of the Supreme.
17.24 Thus people who are well read in the Vedas undertake sacrifices, charities, and penances, beginning always with Om.
17.25 People who seek liberation undertake sacrifice, penance and charity with the word tat without expecting the result.
17.26-27 The Absolute Truth is the objective of devotional sacrifice, and it is indicated by the word sat. Steadfastness in the works of sacrifice, of penance and of charity is also termed as sat. Again, any action for the sake of the Lord is indeed said to be sat, Oh Arjuna.
17.28 But sacrifices, austerities and charities performed without faith are not sat, Oh Arjuna, regardless of whatever rites are performed. They are called asat and are useless both in this life and the next.