H.G. Matsyavatar Das

Monday, 18 July 2011

Against violence, towards animals as well. By Matsyavatara das (Marco Ferrini)

In every religious tradition, the commandment “Do not kill” represents the main teaching. In the Veda such principle is spread out with the concept of ahimsa, “do not damage the others”, which is the core of the sadhaka, the scholar who attains a spiritual discipline, religious life. “No Violence” is a law carved in the heart of every human being, even before one starts studying the Sacred Scriptures. The act of killing repels everyone and hurts one’s sensitivity, therefore it is clear that this principle, as stated in the Sacred Scriptures, is referred not only to the killing of human beings.

Glories to You My Lord with all Your living creatures!". St Francis of Assisi

The world of living beings is a whole organism. The general life of this organism is not God, but it is only a partial aspect of His manifestations, the same as our planet is a part of the solar system which itself is a part of another greater system and so on”. Lev Tolstoj

There will be a time when man will not have to kill for food and even the killing of one single animal will be considered as harmful and immoral”. Leonardo da Vinci

Along the long path of evolution with the purpose of perfection, humanity has not yet become aware of the need for compassion, towards animals too.

The list below outlines the lack of sensitivity that still affects the majority of human species, according to the statistics of 2009 regarding butchering of animals in the world reported by the National Geographic in the issue of May 2011.

1.7 million camels

24 million Indian buffalos

293 million cows

398 million goats

518 million sheep

633 million turkeys

1.1 billion rabbits

1.3 billion pigs

2.3 billion ducks

52 billion chickens

The magazine editors point out that the above statistics do not include fish!

In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna offers a perspective that can help each sensitive person to avoid becoming an accomplice, neither in active or passive way, of the horror of slaughtering the great number of poor animals. The fundamental ethical principle is to act for the good of every being and it is stated by Krishna in a straight forward way, by explaining how this principle can be fulfilled on earth, in this world, by showing benevolence and compassion towards all creatures.

“The devotee of Mine who is non-envious, who bears benevolence towards all living entities, free from false ego, equal in distress and happiness, forgiving, always content by performing devotional service with unflinching determination, who relies his mind and spiritual intelligence upon Me is very dear to Me.

One who do not cause disturbance to others, who is never disturbed by anybody and who is freed from mundane pleasures, anger, fear and anxiety such a person is very dear to Me.

The devotee of Mine who is pure, detached, expert, free from worry, or agitation and unconcerned with any mundane endeavor, such a person is very dear to Me”.

Bhagavad-gita XII.13-16.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

How to transform a rebellious mind into a Wonderful Mind (2/2). By Matsyavatara das (Marco Ferrini)

The act of offering the Supreme all that we possess is defined by Shri Caitanya as the highest form of renunciation: yukta vairagya. The bad weed of ego is uprooted by the constant and humble practice of sadhana bhakti in a spirit of loving service. Authentic humbleness comes from the awareness of our nature, which means to be God’s servants; it’s the humbleness of the part which stands in relationship with the whole, with the Creator, with the creatures and with the creation. Humbleness grows by learning to respect and to value the good qualities of every being, no matter which body it temporarily wears. Having such an attitude, thanks to divine mercy, the mistakes and the offences which hinder spiritual realization cease, and our journey towards the supreme Destination, param gatih, goes on rapidly. Freedom, justice, serenity, wisdom, happiness and love. The more we care about spiritual teachings, the more we stick to them and bring them inside our everyday life, the more our inner voice awakens and grows stronger. This inner voice is our inborn wisdom concerning discernment, and in the Krishna-bhakti tradition, in the Gaudiya-Vaishnavism, it is called tattva-viveka, discerning awareness. If we start to distinguish the inexistent, tempting as well as deceitful voices of the false self - which indeed has no ontological existence - from the truthful voice of the real self - immortal reality, and if we deliberately and irrevocably choose to let us guide by the latter, the real self will clear us the way to freedom, to salvation, to joy and Love. Only then the bright memory of our authentic nature - the spiritual one, which is undivided from the Whole - starts to reveal itself in all its splendour and divine truth. At this point the ravings of the false ego don’t thwart anymore the right vision and even the last doubts, together with the whims of the once rebellious mind, cease. As a rebellious mind is the real obstacle to spiritual realization, once it is subdued and turned into a docile instrument controlled by the soul, we can promptly experience an ineffable ecstatic bliss. The psychological experience of hell precedes the ascent to Heaven, almost unavoidably going through the intermediate stage of the purgatory. The first, concrete step on this path is to surrender to God, formally carried out through the initiation rite (Hari-nama diksha). Besides, life blessed by initiation is a divine gift that allows us to turn our mind into a pure diamond - requires clearness, honesty, courage and steadiness. Indeed, when we have sufficiently practised and strengthened in our personality these basic qualities, Divine Mercy descends upon us and everything becomes enlightened; the once overshadowed mind assumes golden dazzling colours, the soul is released from the slavery of matter and hovers in Heaven… Only then spiritual evolution proceeds rapidly and turns into a concrete reality, even in the tridimensional world.

Friday, 1 July 2011

How to transform a rebellious mind into a Wonderful Mind (1/2). By Matsyavatara das (Marco Ferrini)

From time immemorial it seems that inside us two “persons” have been dwelling together. There is an everlasting battle going on in order to gain supremacy over our personality between the superior self and the ordinary self. For a human being subject to the conditionings the most painful dilemmas are caused by the exhausting tension between these two poles, which produce different solutions depending on different motivations. These tensions continue until the ordinary self - which is a product of the arbitrary choices of our psyche - is harmoniously reintegrated in the energetic field of the superior self, the soul. The doubts which are sometimes alluded by the mind are connected to the ever changing and mutable world of transience, and it is normal that this phenomenon becomes more intense when we approach choices of vital importance. When we deal with such choices, the ordinary self protests, but one shouldn't be frightened. For a long time the ordinary self, the false ego, had the command over an individual, obscuring one's real self; unpunished, ego has dominated one's personality one life after another, turning it into a slave of mere illusory dreams of happiness, of delirious ambitions and of the fear of death. Trying to dethrone this tyrant, we are winning back our freedom: obviously it becomes rebellious. The ordinary self, also called “false ego”, is suspicious, presumptuous, proud, self-centred, unsatisfied and irritable. It is like a sly and ravenous beast, always looking for a prey in the form of prestige and illusory pleasures. The superior self is the real self, the hidden spiritual being, the atman, whose clear and wise voice we seldom have heard and listened to. False ego is the Destroyer, the principle of separation. It is the antagonist of Love. Ego gives us the illusion of reaching happiness, but if we are connected to it, we can experience only fleeting pleasure.
Ego gives us the illusion to possess love, but when this feeling gets in touch with the ego, it turns into an unwholesome attachment. Divine immortal love belongs to the soul; selfish and conditioned attachments belong to false ego, to the ordinary self. The first and most important work an aspiring spiritualist has to carry out is to free oneself from the false ego’s prison (ahamkara), no matter which tradition or religious path he chooses to follow. To free oneself from ahamkara doesn’t mean that one loses his own identity; on the contrary, one’s real identity can rise again only when the false identifications and the masks of our personality have been cast down (sarvo upadhir vinir muktam). Until we cling to false ego and delight ourselves in it, we won’t be able to get acquainted neither with God nor with ourselves. The path of inner transformation requires efforts and responsibility, but it is also grandiose, magnificent and fascinating. It leads us to see ourselves, the others and everything in the world with the eyes of the superior self, to perceive ourselves as God’s creatures who are acting thanks to His grace and mercy, in harmony with the Whole. Buddhism describes ego as the cause of pain and of every evil; and it opposes to it a radical renunciation to the mundane things. The Middle Eastern Traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, oppose to it renunciation, prayer and fasting. In the works of Vedanta and Samkhya ego is considered to be the main cause of avidya, of one’s turning away from God, of Fall and degradation, of the loss of one’s spiritual identity. It is the biggest obstacle to self-realization and to happiness; it is the power opposing the soul and God. It is the main cause of envy and of the Fall for angels and for human beings: from Lucifer to Macbeth, both in ancient and in modern events. Due to the ego Lucifer becomes Satan (“the Antagonist”, in Hebrew) and Lord Macbeth becomes a murderer, a degraded and horrible person. To him the destroying ego manifests itself as his wife, Lady Macbeth, who awakens and fosters his negative tendencies. The principle of Eva and Adam is inside each of us, and so are inside us both the angel and the demon. If we choose to foster the demon, he will win. If we foster the angel and his bright spiritual nature, the angel will win. In each of us there are Vritra and Indra, Lucifer and Michael. Our fate depends on our choices, on our decision to favour the one rather than the other. Together with pride and arrogance, false ego is the main distinctive feature of the asura. Humbleness is the opposite attitude and, partly, it is even its antidote. In a famous metaphor through which Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives teachings to his main disciple, Shrila Rupa Goswami, the devotion of the aspiring spiritualist is compared to a delicate little plant, bhakti lata bija, surrounded by the ego’s infesting plants which tend to choke her. If we wish evolution and happiness, we should take care with all our forces of the delicate little bhakti plant, protecting her by practising spiritual discipline (sadhana) constantly (abhyasa) and with emotional detachment from the material phenomena (vairagya), strengthening the pure wish of serving God and offering everything to Him.