Wordsmith Ashram – Nature’s gift

A month back, our Head of Operations was in his bike tour and detcted the following in our ashram – a Nature’s gift

We hope to build the fully functional ashram one day.

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We have recently got associated with an elderly  lady of pious disposition and one of her finest skills is cooking excellent vegetarian dishes. She has also expressed willining ness to live and work in the Ashram.

The road you see above has four educational institutions : ITI, Engineering College, Medical College, University.

One day and that day may not be far off and with the Grace of the Lord, we may have a set-up where we discusss transcendental philosophy,  worship and offer food to Deity and distribute.

We have so many young men and women who have little training in their education system to disntinguish between work (karma) and labour (shrama)

I wish the Supreme Manager of the Cosmic Administration will bless our project!

Vaya Con Dios

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Cheat and the Cheated: The Chit Fund Meltdown in Bengal

Cheat and the Cheated: The Chit Fund Meltdown in Bengal

My city by adoption – Calcutta has been experiencing and documenting the meltdown of a chit-fund. There is nothing new in the modus operendi . The same method, the same process and the same kind of people – charbita-charbanam – chewing the chewed.  As usual in this degraded and devolved age, nobody is asking the fundamental question:  Why we find an eternal cycle of cheats and cheated in all aspect of our life – from birth to death.

This is the most important question. If we escape this question, there will be no progress how much safeguards we put in place.

 No human being, however powerful or intelligent can give you a perfect answer to this question because every conditioned living entity has four fundamental defects – the propensity to commit mistakes, propensity to be under illusion, having limited and imperfect sense organs and propensity to cheat.

 Cheating chit-funds are just an example of the imperfect nature of a living entity.

 Let us look into this meltdown from another angle:

 

  • Suppose I go to a gambling den and put INR X (a sum of money I earned by selling my labour through body, mind and intelligence). The gambling process can potentially multiply it 10 times in say 2 minutes. The return will be INR 10X and this is nothing but multiplying labour. INR 10X return will be combination of labour of 10 such people like me. I am actually cheating 10 people of their labour through a process called gambling. This process can be a private enterprise, Government protected enterprise, run by Government or through a shady connection between the gambling den owners and Government. The whole lure of gambling comes from this attraction of cheating other people’s labour.

 

 

  • In the cheating chit-funds, the idea is essentially same. There is a more subtle cheating process in place. Instead of the verdict being decided in few minutes through the roll of a dice as in gambling, the process may take months and years and a front-ended declaration that this is not gambling. But it is. As we move up the ponzy pyramid, we find increasing concentration of cheated labour of other people culminating into the very top where this concentration becomes maximum.

 

In Vedic Culture, gambling is considered a sinful activity for common people and concession was given for kings and politicians. The seed of the War of the Mahabharata was sown in the gambling assembly of the Kurus. Lord Krishna, who was well apprised of the situation and also played a part of a mediator, declared just before the War, when He delivered the Bhagavad Gita

 dyutam chalayatam asmi [ I am also the gambling of the cheats]

 and Srila Prabhupada writes in His purport

 There are many kinds of cheaters all over the universe. Of all cheating processes, gambling stands supreme and therefore represents Krsna. As the Supreme, Krsna can be more deceitful than any mere man. If Krsna chooses to deceive a person, no one can surpass Him in His deceit. His greatness is not simply one-sided–it is all-sided. 

 There are four sinful activities for a living entity as per Vedic Literature

  1. Illicit Sex
  2. Intoxication
  3. Meat-Eating
  4. Gambling

In the devolved age where we live, these four pillars are running the economy.

The most-wonderful thing we observe that Governments and leaders of the society are completely unaware of it and making all foolish and childish plans to prevent that.

 Conclusion

 The propensity to cheat is inherent in a conditioned living entity. No legal, economic, social methods will be fully successful for all time. The leaders of the society needs to first come to a platform where they can understand the situation as it is, in reality. Rest are all cosmetic.

In Madoff Case, very rich men were cheated.

In the Bengal case, cheated were mostly from poorer classes.

This cheating propensity is independent of one’s economic position or educational qualification.

What is the solution then?

The common sense says that one needs to understand one’s own factual position. Next one has to approach a controller who can train to control this propensity.

About this propensity, its root and its control,. Lord Krishna says,

daivi hy esa guna-mayi

mama maya duratyaya

mam eva ye prapadyante

mayam etam taranti te

[This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.]

In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has innumerable energies, and all these energies are divine. Although the living entities are part of His energies and are therefore divine, due to contact with material energy, their original superior power is covered. Being thus covered by material energy, one cannot possibly overcome its influence. As previously stated, both the material and spiritual natures, being emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are eternal. The living entities belong to the eternal superior nature of the Lord, but due to contamination by the inferior nature, matter, their illusion is also eternal. The conditioned soul is therefore callednitya-baddha, or eternally conditioned. No one can trace out the history of his becoming conditioned at a certain date in material history. Consequently, his release from the clutches of material nature is very difficult, even though that material nature is an inferior energy, because material energy is ultimately conducted by the supreme will, which the living entity cannot overcome. Inferior material nature is defined herein as divine nature due to its divine connection and movement by the divine will. Being conducted by divine will, material nature, although inferior, acts so wonderfully in the construction and destruction of the cosmic manifestation. The Vedas confirm this as follows: mayam tu prakrtim vidyan mayinam tu mahesvaram. “Although maya [illusion] is false or temporary, the background of maya is the supreme magician, the Personality of Godhead, who is Mahesvara, the supreme controller.” 
Another meaning of guna is rope; it is to be understood that the conditioned soul is tightly tied by the ropes of illusion. A man bound by the hands and feet cannot free himself–he must be helped by a person who is unbound. Because the bound cannot help the bound, the rescuer must be liberated. Therefore, only Lord Krsna, or His bona fide representative the spiritual master, can release the conditioned soul. Without such superior help, one cannot be freed from the bondage of material nature. Devotional service, or Krsna consciousness, can help one gain such release. Krsna, being the Lord of illusory energy, can order this insurmountable energy to release the conditioned soul. He orders this release out of His causeless mercy on the surrendered soul and out of His paternal affection for the living entity who is originally a beloved son of the Lord. Therefore surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is the only means to get free from the clutches of the stringent material nature. 
The words mam eva are also significant. Mam means unto Krsna (Visnu) only, and not Brahma or Siva. Although Brahma and Siva are greatly elevated and are almost on the level of Visnu, it is not possible for such incarnations of rajo-guna (passion) and tamo-guna (ignorance) to release the conditioned soul from the clutches of maya. In other words, both Brahma and Siva are also under the influence of maya. Only Visnu is the master of maya; therefore He can alone give release to the conditioned soul. The Vedas confirm this in the phrase tam eva viditva or “Freedom is possible only by understanding Krsna.” Even Lord Siva affirms that liberation can be achieved only by the mercy of Visnu. Lord Siva says:

mukti-pradata sarvesam visnur eva na samsayah.

“There is no doubt that Visnu is the deliverer of liberation for everyone.”

Nature of an Ashram

The word ‘nature’ immediately asks : Whose nature or Nature of what ? Nature of stock market is risk, nature of salt is being saline, nature of sugar is sweetness. From this way of reasoning, we can always ask what is our fundamental nature ?

Low intelligent people have interpreted Nature as impersonal and self-operating like a machine. Very sophisticated machine indeed. There is also a vested self-interest for interpreting Nature as impersonal. Power equation. The moment we deny any Being / Person / His associates / His administration, the road becomes clear to put any rascal, any power-monger, any glib talker as the interpreter and hence controller of Nature.

Observe all institutional religions, all new age movements, all spiritual gurus and put this test : Are they denying the administration of a Supreme Person ? Are they talking about chance, automatic, imperson, zero, variety-less, self-operating matter or some hodge-podge of some or all of these ? If yes, see the paragraph above. This denial can come from four classes of people : stupid or very low-intelligent, knowledge kidnapped by nescience, lowest of human species, filled with demonic propensity.

Bona-fide Vedic Literature rejected this and concluded that there are two natures : Material Nature and Spiritual Nature.

Material Nature is what we can sense using our sense organs and extension of our sense organs. Spiritual Nature cannot be accessed by our material senses and needs spiritiual senses. It is something like ‘hiidden files’ in a computer. The same computer but for one without proper access and knowledge, the computer’s filesystems means those which are non-hidden, But a person who knows that this is incomplete description of the filesystem.

This Material Nature can be conceptualized as a combination of eternally changing waves or modes and these modes are manifesting in all the varieties we see. There are 3 fundamental and irreducible modes and these modes, like 3 basic colours in combination creating all the 34 million colours that we see in our computer screen  that one of senses eyes  detect. In terms of living species, these 3 modes have created 84,00000 ‘possibilities’ or ‘wave functions’ and living consiousness (soul) under superior order and arrangement wills to observe any one of these ‘wave functions’ and rest collapses and the specific one manifests as the ‘reality’. It is the consciouesness or the will (/desire) of the minute living entity (spirit soul) that chooses a possibility out of 84,00000 and sanctioned by the Supreme Spirit or God.

Spiritual Nature, being inaccessible to our material senses (including mind) cannot be correctly accessed by speculation, research or consenus. It has to be from some living entity who has developed the spritual senses. Only He can say anything definitive and conclusive. Such a person is called a bona-fide Acharya. To understand spiritual nature, there is NO other way but to approach such an acharya. There have been countless such acharays in billions of years of cosmic existence. In our time, Srila Prabhupada has been such an acharya, so was Lord Chirst, Lord Mohammad, Lord Buddha, Lord Chaityana.  

Bona-fide acharys are like the Supreme Executive in his own form, or in disguise or Officers on General Duty or highly empowered officers on special duty.  

Let us now apply these disciplic knowledge in understanding what is the nature of an Ashram.

An Ashram or rather a bona-fide and authorized Ashram remains transcendental to the modes of material nature. Although appearing to be dealing in material things (accessible to our material senses including mind) the ashram remains transcendental and in spiritual nature.

And what is the gain of being under spiritual nature ?

Once the perfectional stage of spiritual nature (zero material component) is achieved, the four fundamental problems of material nature is solved forever : birth, death, old-age and disease.  This is the most-immediate benefit of being under spiritual nature.

The material body (gross elements and mind, body and false ego that I am this dead-matter called body-machine) goes under the modes of material nature and goes through various transformations but the consciouness now attains a level where it only chooses the spiritual possibility and stops being under the grip of birth and death.

This message or rather this knowledge has been propagated by millions of acharyas all over this cosmic manifestation since eternity. The message is ONE.

Srila Prabhupada has solved another fundamental problem for us, by a simple sentence  :

How to know who is a bona-fide acharya ?

One who has heard from another bona-fide acharya.

The chain goes back, back and then we come to a person – a transcendental person from whose potency Everything has Emanated : Janmady ayasa Jata

If we follow this chain, we receive perfect knowledge.

The objective of an Ashram is to attain transcendental knowledge and try to distribute this knowledge everywhere without any adulteration. The best way to prevent adultery is to repeat what the bona-fide acharya has spoken.

It appears easy but the core of the material disease is to prevent that.

An ashram is also a place to cure us of our material disease.

Our humble obesiances to Srila Prabhupada and all the bona-fide acharyas.

Wordsmith Ashram – Vision Charter

The objectives of Wordsmith Ashram are as follows

1. To re-discover and practically demonstrate a forgotten lifestyle mode – Plain Living and High Thinking

2. To live below one’s means

3. To harvest natural energy resource – solar and harvesting water (The Ashram has a stream in its western frontier and a pond below)

4. To keep 2-3 cows and to produce milk so that 2-3 permanent inmates can have the best nutrition drink and food-stuff available

5. To plant few trees ( lemon, tamarind, chilly) to have some kind of quasi-independence of food

6. To study and produce derivative works on the greatest mystery or philosophia perennis : What is Consciousness ? To explore the following questions

  • What is the entity that keeps a dead body-matter active ?  ( when this entity leaves the body, the body behaves like dead-matter)
  • How to solve the four fundamental problems of existence : birth, death, old-age and disease ?

7. To counter and deliver our consciouness from the increasingly animalistic doctrine, dressed in the form of ‘development’ and ‘growth’ : Work like an ass, Consume like a pig, Die in ignorance and lamentation. This will be done not by concocting some ideas but following the teachings of bona-fide acharyas in the disciplic succession starting from the Supreme Lord – one of his names being Lord Krishna which means – ‘one who attracts all’.  

The Charter is not a mind concoction. The Charter is not some life-style statement. The Charter is not inspired by some self-styled upstart.   

This Charter owes its origin to my reading of the works of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada – a Vedic Acharya who had been an empowered officer in the cosmic government of the Supreme Lord with the mission of helping us to solve the four fundamental problems of existence and to take us back to the Lord. Back to the Godhead.

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada !

Wordsmith Ashram – Invocation

The Sanskrit word Ashram means – a (not) shram (labour) – a place or state of mind which is devoid of labour.

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The Assam University road ( direction of vehicles - 5 mts of walk)

Five years back, while I was trying to build www.wordsmithcommunication.com , I wished to have a place like this. A week back, in the sleepy tea-garden area of South Assam in North East India, we had purchased a small piece of land and the material ensign of the Ashram has come as a Grace of the Supreme and Primeval Wordsmith – The Supreme Lord or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Another name of the Lord is Uttamasloka – whose words deliver us from ignorance and nescience.

Vedic Civilization made a distinction between work and labour.

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View of Silchar road as viewed from site (distance to city centre 18 km)

Summarily : Work without proper knowledge is labour – srama eva hi kebalam

Wordsmith Ashram aspires to be a place of work, not of labour.

Founder and Chief Wordsmith Pritam at the site

And what is knowledge ? For this question, we invoke the most-ancient and sublime knowledge and comments from the greatest acharya of our aeon – Srila Prabhupada

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Chatla Lake - One of the largest freshwater lakes in North East - Western boundary of Wordsmith Ashram

 And what is knowledge ?

We invoke the Invocation from the most-ancient knowledge base of the world – Isopanishad Invocation and purport  from the greatest acharya of our aeon in line of the disciplic succession – Srila Prabhupada  

oṁ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaṁ
pūrṇāt pūrṇam udacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya
pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate
  
The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.
 
Purport 
  
The Complete Whole, or the Supreme Absolute Truth, is the complete Personality of Godhead. Realization of impersonal Brahman or of Paramātmā, the Supersoul, is incomplete realization of the Absolute Complete. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. Realization of impersonal Brahman is realization of His sat feature, or His aspect of eternity, and Paramātmā realization is realization of His sat and cit features, His aspects of eternity and knowledge. But realization of the Personality of Godhead is realization of all the transcendental features-sat, cit and ānanda, bliss. When one realizes the Supreme Person, he realizes these aspects of the Absolute Truth in their completeness. Vigraha means “form.” Thus the Complete Whole is not formless. If He were formless, or if He were less than His creation in any other way, He could not be complete. The Complete Whole must contain everything both within and beyond our experience; otherwise He cannot be complete.
 
The Complete Whole, the Personality of Godhead, has immense potencies, all of which are as complete as He is. Thus this phenomenal world is also complete in itself. The twenty-four elements of which this material universe is a temporary manifestation are arranged to produce everything necessary for the maintenance and subsistence of this universe. No other unit in the universe need make an extraneous effort to try to maintain the universe. The universe functions on its own time scale, which is fixed by the energy of the Complete Whole, and when that schedule is completed, this temporary manifestation will be annihilated by the complete arrangement of the Complete Whole.
 
All facilities are given to the small complete units (namely the living beings) to enable them to realize the Complete Whole. All forms of incompleteness are experienced due to incomplete knowledge of the Complete Whole. The human form of life is a complete manifestation of the consciousness of the living being, and it is obtained after evolving through 8,400,000 species of life in the cycle of birth and death. If in this human life of full consciousness the living entity does not realize his completeness in relation to the Complete Whole, he loses the chance to realize his completeness and is again put into the evolutionary cycle by the law of material nature.
 
Because we do not know that there is a complete arrangement in nature for our maintenance, we make efforts to utilize the resources of nature to create a so-called complete life of sense enjoyment. Because the living entity cannot enjoy the life of the senses without being dovetailed with the Complete Whole, the misleading life of sense enjoyment is illusion. The hand of a body is a complete unit only as long as it is attached to the complete body. When the hand is severed from the body, it may appear like a hand, but it actually has none of the potencies of a hand. Similarly, living beings are part and parcel of the Complete Whole, and if they are severed from the Complete Whole, the illusory representation of completeness cannot fully satisfy them.
 
The completeness of human life can be realized only when one engages in the service of the Complete Whole. All services in this world-whether social, political, communal, international or even interplanetary-will remain incomplete until they are dovetailed with the Complete Whole. When everything is dovetailed with the Complete Whole, the attached parts and parcels also become complete in themselves.
 
(Courtesy : http://isopanisad.org/  – Site Photographs : Mr. Pannalal (Asis) Bhattacharyya, Head-Ops, www.wordsmithcommunication.com)