Monday, November 17, 2008

The Right Life As I Understand It

In the late nineteen sixties I had a great mental crisis through which I could find no way to get out. I was in a fix as they say. I had to start my life afresh from a new place and a new environment and there was nobody to guide me. And I remember the saying. "God is the only refuge of the helpless". So I became spiritually inclined, probably as an escape machanism. It was during this time I met Prof. Nil Bir Singh Kansakar, who talked about the Sri Shivapuri Baba and his Right Life. His talk with SB ran as follows:

NBSK: Sir, What is RL?
SB: It is, in short, a life based on the Three Principles of Sheel, Samadhi and Pragya.

NBSK: So that Buddha's Teaching and yours are the same?
SB: Buddha came to realise, after his Realisation, that the path which he took for Enlightenment was difficult and a steep one which only a few can negotiate. So it could be taken only by exceptionally brilliant and strong people. People in general are therefore not not fit to go that way. He therefore preach a Middle Path, which was relatively easier and practicable, for the greatest good of the greatest number. This was similar to the RL. In this the spiritual seeker does not need to undergo extreme hardship nor renounce the world, but can reach the Goal of Enlightenment by following a life of Discipline and Meditation. Prof. NBS Kansakar was a Buddhist by birth and SB tried to tell him about RL in the Buddhist way. Nevertheless, when SB said that Man's unhappiness was entirely due to his own wrong living, away from the Three Disciplines, as propounded by him, my heart gave a faint echo of remembrance of the spiritual knowledge and practice I voluntarily underwent in my school days. But they were largely due to the General Teachings I learnt from the books I had studied then. They had implored me to "be good and do good" sort of things only. I therefore had no chance of learning the Specific Teachings which could be available from a real Guru alone. For this I was not spiritually mature at that time. Because, if I had matured, I would not have postponed my visit to Shivapuri Baba after reaching the gate of his hermitage or Ashram then!

However, being already quite conversant with the traditional lores of Hindu scriptures, I was familiar with the professor's exchange of thoughts. And it touched a chord in my heart. I said to myself that Arjun had his crisis, the phase of Bishaad Yoga, or Depression of spirit from loss of hope, courage or confidence as described in Gita, from which his friend, Krishna saved him. In any case, I felt, Shivapuri Baba was the one who could save me! Some time later, i.e, in the early 1968 AD my friend, Dr. K. N. Vaidya, kindly took me to the Samadhi of the Baba, because SB had already left the body by the end of 1962! We went to the Ashram by crossing a rivulet, Tilganga, climbed a small hillock, went through a small gate in the barbed wire fence, and finally entered the samadhi Mandir: it was a room in the centre of which was a platform with a stone image of Shiva installed on its top. the body of the Baba being buried underneath.

There was an epitaph quoting Bhartrihari in Sanskrit singing the glory of a Mendicant who slept like a king on the bare earth with his arms as a pillow., sun and moon as his lamps, Vairagya as his "wife", although bereft of all desires. 

Then in Nepali:

Here lies the Samadhi of Sri Shivapuri Baba
(Srimat Paramhamsa Govindananda Bharati)

And then in English:

Right Living

   Dedicated Humbly to 
The Lotus feet of the
Sri Shivapuri Baba


Dr. YB Shrestha

My Tiny Contribution...