Individual life must benefit society
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.
Man's sojourn in the world must be marked with some purpose. Life unless it is useful to the society at large cannot be meaningful. It is not right to remain contented in life when endowed with prosperity. Only when a person who has the welfare of others at heart and helps them with an attitude of selflessness, his life becomes enriched. When we analyse the lives of great personages like Sankara, we will realize that they never lived a moment for themselves but spent all their lives in the service of humanity.
Often people do not know whether they are pursuing the right path until it is pointed out to them. It is human nature to give priority to one's interest while undertaking any task. This results only in realizing selfish ends and one loses the larger perspective of how one's enterprise can be of benefit to the society at large.
Such selfishness and narrow-minded approach to life does not lead us anywhere. On the other hand one must be broad-minded enough to put others before oneself. The idea that the entire world is one family is visualized in the scriptures to enlarge man's vision to include the entire creation in himself.
The Yoga sutra of Patanjali indicates how man's mind must react to others' happiness and sorrow. Instead of feeling jealous about others' prosperity one should feel happy. Likewise one should show concern when encountering others in distress and try to give them solace. While noticing someone drowning in a river one rushes to save him spontaneously without deliberating whether he is one's friend or enemy. Likewise our heart must automatically sympathize with the distressed.
Sri Bharathi Theertha Swami of Sringeri Math in his benedictory address said, in our relationship with others in society we should besides doing good, try to bring around those who indulge in wrong deeds by right counselling. If it is not possible one should remain indifferent and keep a distance from such people who will only be a distraction.
Good fortune and happiness in this life is due to God's grace and meant for sharing with others and not for one's edification only. Broad mindedness, concern for others and selflessness are the virtues which lives of great men teach us. Man's intellect has its limitations and he cannot know everything on his own or learn only with his experience.
So it is good to look to elders for guidance by molding one's life after them and also by following their precepts. One should not have reservation about learning from others and in the realm of learning age should not be a deterrent. History shows that an elderly person like Sureswara became Sankara's disciple who was very much younger to him.