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उपरमः कः? स्वधर्मानुष्टानमेव
What is uparama or uparati? It is strict observance of one’s own dharma. (Duty)
रमा - is enjoying or revelling and उप means upon. So uparama means mental equipoise, the state of the mind that has stopped revelling upon the world of objects and emotions. In Shama and Dama the mind and sense organs are restrained but they are still amidst the world of objects. In Uparama they are automatically withdrawn from the objects. The best example to illustrate this is given in Gita. Just as the tortoise withdraws its head and limbs into the shell when in danger, a perfect man withdraws the mind and senses unto himself. A yogi practices this skill by several disciplines.
Shri Shankara defines uparama as observance of one’s own duties. All of us have certain duties in life. A student’s duty is to go to school and study well. The parents’ duty is bringing up the children well. An employed man has to be loyal to his company and all of us have to be patriots of the nation. If we do our duty Willy nilly without loving it, or out of fear of persecution, we are cheating ourselves. Then the mind becomes restless. Work does not become perfect. But if the duty is done with love, the mind becomes steady, single pointed, and brings joy to everyone. The highest form of uparama is when one remains in his ultimate and true nature (svadharma - स्वधर्म) which is the existence-consciousness-bliss (सत् चित् आनन्द)
तितिक्षा का? शीतोष्णसुखदुःखादिसहिष्णुत्वम्
सहनम् सर्वदुखानाम् अप्रतिकारपूर्वकम् चिन्ताविलापरहितम् सा तितिक्षा Viveka Chudamani - 24
Shankara says Titiksha is to bear all misfortunes without whining and moaning, without any form of resistance. This is an important inner strength for the sadhaka. Life is a continuous stream of experiences at the physical level (heat, cold); emotional level (joy, sorrow); and intellectual level (praise, censure) that may give us a feeling of top of the world or a bottomless pit. It either gives us a great elevated mood or gloomy depressed mood. In such cases, since we are not able to take the things in its stride, we blame outside agencies like the stars, society, and people. A man who is trained in Titiksha accepts good and bad situations in a cheerful manner, finds out what went wrong and corrects it without blaming others. He thanks God for giving him training. Swami Paramarthananda compares it to a good set of shock absorbers on the vehicle. Titiksha is training of the midbrain activities like control over various regulatory systems like hunger, thirst, temperature, sleep etc. He says; “this too shall pass”.
चञ्चलं हि मनः कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद्दृढम् । तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम् ॥६:३४॥
श्रद्धा कीद्रशी? गुरुवेदान्तवाक्यादिषु विश्वासः श्रद्धा
What is Shraddha? It is faith in the teachings of Guru and Vedanta.
Shraddha is the trust in the Guru and scriptures. It is not a blind faith which leads us to fanaticism. Faith needs an open-minded non critical approach giving the benefit of doubt to the Guru and Scriptures. It is freedom from intellectual arrogance.
Faith is required for us in all fields of life. I need faith in the transportation of my journey. I need faith in my family, my school and my teachers. I need faith that I will get up next morning from my bed. A doubting Thomas will never flourish. But these faiths are always relative to something that pre-exists. But faith in God, scriptures and Guru is not like that. It is unconditional faith. There are no relative factors. I just believe the injunctions of Vedas and Guru because of my conviction. I will not question them. But the scriptures themselves demand us to question their tenets and contemplate on them. So the faith in scriptures does not lead us to fanaticism. Belief or मान्यता is not based on intellectual enquiry. It is a blind belief and can make us fanatic and superstitious.
As Tagore says faith is the bird that sings in joy when the dawn is still dark. The bird has not seen the sun, but it has faith that the sun will rise. As swami Chinmayanada once said. “I believe my dad as my father because my mother said so”. I do not question her since I have faith in her. There is a real life incident. A doctor was examining a patient in a nursing home. The patient who was terminally ill wailed, “Doctor what lies to me after my death?’. The doctor said, “Really I do not know, but I have faith in God and therefore I pray to him.” By that time, the doctor’s dog that had come to the hospital that day for the first time arrived at the door of the patient’s room. He knew his master was inside. He scratched the door and pushed himself in. Then the doctor told to the patient, “Did you notice how my Brownie entered this room just because I am here?” He does not know what was inside. He has faith in me. So he dared to come in. That is how I am. I have faith in God and do all my work so as to please Him.
Contact Dr. Bapat at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any comments or questions.
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