Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
There are a number of simple rites the performance of which will free
from inner impurities. From generation to generation our forefathers
performed them and earned happiness and contentment. We must
follow in their footsteps. We do not have to go in search of any new way
of life, any new doctrine or belief.
We can learn from the great men of our past who have left us lessons not
only in Atmic matters but in the conduct of family and social life. For
instance, kinship and friendship in their time were based on high
principles. When there was a marriage or obsequial ceremony all friends
and relatives came forward to help. It was cultured behaviour at its
and it was not based on any empty outward show. People then were truly
and sincerely interested in helping the needy and the poor. At weddings
they gave a little cash to the bride's parents, five or ten rupees, and
burden of those who conducted the marriage was lightened.
When everybody pays a little to the needy, the donor does not feel the
pinch but the donee has a tidy sum with which to celebrate a marriage or
perform an obsequial ceremony. Among relatives in the past there was
not much gap between the rich and the poor. And the rich man helped
his poor relatives. All this is part of dharma. The man who helps
himself more than the man who is helped.
Now things have changed. The well-to-do do not help their poor
Annadana(gift of food) was part of the noble tradition of the past. How
it today? At present too the well-to-do feed people, but with this
difference that those fed are also well-to-do like them. When they give
parties, banquets, etc, a great deal of money and material is spent in
manner. Where is the room for dharma or mental purity in all this? A
party is given not with any noble intention but to promote one's selfish
interests. The man who gives it thinks that he is practicing deception
the invitees. But the invitees, however, knew that the host has no true
feelings of affection for them. The host and the guest thus deceive one
another. Altogether parties and toasts are nothing but part of modern
of deception and have nothing to do with the cleansing of mind.
If you help a poor man with food or material, you and he are equally
happy: there is affection on both sides. In parties, on the contrary,
is even ill-will. Hatred and resentment are caused in the hearts of
by the parties given by the haves [for the haves]. Among relatives
there should be no distinction between the rich and the poor.
You must not think that only the affluent can help the poor and earn
merit. If you are not well off you may serve others by helping them
physically. All of you in a locality may join together to dig a pond.
contributes to inner purity. How do you deserve the grace of Isvara? By
constantly serving others, by being compassionate to all creatures. Your
mind, your consciousness, will also become clear. In this pure
consciousness of yours, in this pure citta, you will see the image of
Lord. Do you see any image in turbid water? We have made our minds
muddy with impurities. We must make them limpid by being devoted to
the Lord and by serving mankind. Then Isvara will be within our grasp.