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Virtues to be developed - 1, wordly wisdom, 2, courage

nabadip - Sat, 30 Apr 2005 22:26:40 +0530
Worldly wisdom

CHENNAI: : It is not enough if one is a man of learning and culture; it is equally important to be worldly wise in order to deal with others in society. Even if one is well versed in the scriptural lore it will not be possible to apply its teachings in life situations without practical wisdom. Moreover, if one is not endowed with a sociable nature and with prudence to evaluate people he will not be successful. Vedanta Desika draws attention to these complementary aspects of human character through the portrayal of Rama's qualities and His behaviour.

In his discourse, Sri Anantha Padmanabhachariar said Rama accepted the hospitality of a renowned sage like Bharadwaja and also Sabari. On the other hand, He did not partake the food offered by Guha, who also was a tribal chieftain whom He declared to be His brother. According to commentators the significance of Rama's different conduct towards Guha and Sabari was due to the fact that Sage Matanga, Sabari's preceptor, blessed her at the time of his departure from the world for her singular service to him and instructed her to await the Lord's arrival at her hermitage. It was her devotion to her Guru, which elicited Rama's grace because of which she was liberated, rare to be attained by even sages.

In His adversity after Ravana abducted Sita, Rama sought the guidance and help of others to find Her and in this task it was the ogre, Kabandha who advised Him. It would be unimaginable to expect someone of Rama's prowess, learning and wisdom to heed the advice of an ogre had it not been for the fact that He knew the worth of worldly experience.

After he was slain by Rama, Kabandha related how he had acquired a gruesome form by challenging Indra and had to await his release from His hands. He beseeched the Lord to cremate him to be rid off a curse when he would be able to indicate to Him with his super- sensuous knowledge the person who would be able to help Him in the mission of locating where Sita was kept imprisoned by Ravana. Rama and Lakshmana cremated the demon and appearing in an ethereal form Kabandha told them to seek the friendship of Sugriva and his four aides and also directed them to the Rishyamuka hill where they were residing.
nabadip - Mon, 30 May 2005 21:22:09 +0530
Courage builds positive attitude

Ajit Bishnoi , Daily Pioneer, Delhi

Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita states, "Contact with the outside world inevitably brings happiness and distress. One should be prepared to tolerate the same" (2.14). Anyone desiring or attempting a trouble-free existence is living in illusion. All of us do try to reduce the possibility of the onset of problems, but their total elimination is impossible to achieve.

This is why courage is so important. Courage is defined as an ability to control fear when facing danger, pain, opposition, etc. it can also be defined as willingness to tolerate, face, overcome and accept adversities. Will power and courage are similar qualities related to the strength of one's mind. Courage is also linked to mental resolve to stand up and face challenges as they come. It is said that one is as strong as one's mind. And finally, courage is never foolhardiness or getting into trouble willingly; courage is more like an intelligent, calculated response.

We live in the material world where three types of suffering always exist, that is, given by our own body and mind, by others and by natural forces like earthquakes, tsunamis, etc. One cannot also be in favourable surroundings always; the unexpected is bound to happen from time to time. We are also not special as we may feel. We shall get our share of difficulties, problems and misfortune. A good dose of courage is absolutely essential to survive well.

What are the ill-effects of being cowardly? Lack of courage makes us fear, worry, anxious, panicky, helpless, etc. Cowards think of all the negative aspects, whereas a courageous person is likely to be more positive in one's attitude. One who is not courageous will hardly reach his or her potential. Greatness has never been achieved without a strong dose of courage in thoughts and actions.

Who is likely to be lacking in courage? Modern living, which is much more comfortable than in the past, makes one delicate. Since today one is not always faced with imminent danger as was the case during cave living, one's response may be different, that is, taking every problem as a calamity and not as a challenge. A person with a sullied past is likely to be fearful and cowardly, whereas a person who is pure in heart and mind is more likely to be brave with nothing to fear or hide. One who is forever giving excuses is generally a coward. Strong attachments, lust, excessive greed are also contributory factors in making one cowardly. Wishing fool-proof security does not also help in being brave.

How does one go about enhancing, developing courage? The Bhagavad Gita states, "A little effort in the right direction goes a long way in overcoming fear" (2.40). What it means is that one should act rather than remain at the mental platform. Good physical health, a controlled and strong mind plus spiritual knowledge from the scriptures help greatly in enhancing and building courage. Austerities willingly undertaken also help because then we realise that we are not like a lump of sugar which will dissolve when dropped in water. Here the example of gold that shines upon being heated is cited. Reading stories of courageous people also helps and inspires. One begins to feel that if someone else can be courageous then we too can. Finally, faith in God really helps in being courageous, that is, one feels supported by God.

What are the benefits of being courageous? A courageous person is usually peaceful; he does not suffer in anticipation. On the other hand, he attempts what a cowardly person would not even consider. This way he realises his potential which in human birth is almost unlimited. A courageous person lives, whereas a coward dies a hundred death, it is said. A courageous person is more pro-active rather than being merely hopeful or a day-dreamer; he seeks ways to transcend the inevitable obstacles rather than seeking to avoid them.

In conclusion, one cannot claim to be superior, intelligent person without being courageous. Human ingenuity is conducive to being courageous; as a matter of fact, human beings are created in such a way that they can adapt to almost any situation. Finally, to do one's duty, one needs a good dose of courage. Therefore, this quality of courage needs to be inculcated and nurtured. One needs to control one's mind by superior intelligence in such a way that one must make it act only in the positive. Such control over the mind helps one to overcome fear, and once the mind is controlled the senses, too, are likely to be under check.