The Power of Choice
I hope all of you have been holding up well since the last time we talked, which was last week. So, I have to say that it’s my utmost pleasure to say that by the blessings of the Almighty and my Acharya in this Vedantic tradition, Swami Sarvapriyananda, we have been able to successfully complete the Vedantasara.
All in all there were around 35 episodes, with each episode demonstrating a few texts and then Swamiji later on describing the meaning quite elaborately and profoundly. Now, I’ll be honest here that now if you do ask me to repeat all of that which was being taught there, I might fumble as the entire texts consisted of various schools of thought and memorising those technical terms might be a challenge.
But, what I can say, I guess through all of the processes I have been able to feel lighter, happier and much calmer. It’s not like the blows of the world have ceased to exist, but somewhere deep down I guess there is this spiritual prowess that prevents any downfall. As I was scrolling through the internet, I came across this post of Swamiji which belonged to the pre-pandemic era. The title read” The heart of the Bhagavad Gita”, and the lecture centred around Verse 16 of Chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita.
Swamiji explained the verse and the chapter so lucidly that it feels that we should not be demotivated or demoralised by the little highs and lows of life, we must hold on and keep going. Today, I came across a similar post by the same channel of Swamiji that mentioned “The Power of Choice”. In the lecture, Swamiji mentioned the four pillars in the life of a person as described by the Hindus — Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
He explained each of the ones in detail and later emphasised that no path is wrong in itself if one knows how to deal with it. Then he began referring to the verses from Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita where Arjuna asks Lord Krishna about his senses and how to control them including the mind, and therefore the intellect.
Swamiji mentioned that Lord Krishna said that in order to control the senses, one has to realise and establish in himself firmly that they are different entities from the soul, the self-awareness, and when we are actually able to do that, gradually will come a time when we would feel that pleasure and pain arise out of that sense and then later they dissolve into that…
Later when someone asked, Swamiji said that the power is within us, it’s our choice and that we have to make sure that we do make wiser choices, in order to progress in spiritual life. And, in order to lead such a kind of life, we have to begin by controlling the external senses and gradually that’ll make way to the inside, thereby purifying it.
During this speech, he referred to the famous eateries in Manhattan, stating that these days people’s tastes and patterns have been varying and they go to a lot of extents to fulfil those, whereby it’s just food that’s needed to sustain the body. Later, he referred to one more anecdote where he talked about a Swami in the Himalayas that would teach Vedanta to the wandering monks. One day someone visited him with a huge basket of fruits and sweets, he accepted it, and later on, threw all of it away in the river. Probably, being householders, we could get some lenience, we could begin by realising our true nature and leading ourselves and everyone through it.