Substitute ego with compassion and equanimity - Part I
THIS IS A COLLECTED LIST OF INTERVIEWS AND TALKS BY THE SRINGERI ACHARYALS ON VARIOUS RELIGIOUS TOPICS DURING THE 1990’S. THEY WERE PUBLISHED IN “THE HINDU” NEWSPAPER.
Few persons in history have exercised as deep an influence on Indian thought and spiritual life as Adi Sankara (788 to 820 AD) did. In a short span of 32 years he left an indelible mark of his intellect and wisdom on the thought and culture of our country.
He established a living tradition at Sringeri, Karnataka, by setting up the Dakshinamnaya Sri Sringeri Sarada Peeta with Suresvara as his immediate successor. The Peeta has an unbroken guru-sishya parampara which has kept the heritage of the country's ancient wisdom and learning vibrant.
Sri Bharati Thirtha, the present pontiff who is the 36th acharya of the Sringeri Peeta, during his recently concluded visit to the city provided spiritual succor to the devotees. Excerpts from an interview to `The Hindu':
Q: Mankind lacks a sense of direction from childhood to adulthood. An honest seeker feels perturbed about the situation. How can man be made aware of the purpose of his life?
A: It is by listening and following the advice of elders who guide others from their experience and reading scriptures that man can choose the right path. For instance, a person learns that fire burns after touching it. When with this experience he cautions others, they should take his advice instead of experimenting and committing the same mistake. Even those who do not heed good advice will automatically take recourse to the right path when confronted with problems in life, but it is wise to learn and benefit from the experience of elders who have traversed the right path; the scriptures will certainly enlighten one on all important matters.
Q: In the prevailing materialistic culture how can man realize his spiritual base?
A: The fruits of science can give us bounties in the realm of the material world only. Man must at some point in his life realize that existence here is not the end and develop interest in the pursuit of that which will give him everlasting happiness by clearly understand the difference between evanescent and permanent values.
Q: To the intellectual today, religion with its overwhelming myths and dogmas does not hold appeal. How to convince him?
A: Only when man out of ego thinks that he knows everything does such superficial knowledge result. If man sheds his ego realizing that what he knows is very little and there is much to learn he will take the guidance of spiritual leaders in all humility. There is no reason to scoff that they repeat age old beliefs before making an attempt to understanding what they convey. Science can only enlighten that which is within the purview of the senses and the intellect and in matters which are beyond their grasp one has to take recourse to scriptures and the guidance of spiritual leaders only.