Lakshman Gita, map to freedom from all limitations
(Left) Swami Swaroopanand ji, the head of Chinmaya Mission worldwide.
On August 15, 2019, as India and people of Indian origin worldwide were celebrating India’s 73rd Independence Day, Chinmaya Mission Atlanta in Norcross organized a two day Gyan Yagna on Lakshman Gita which laid “a road map to freedom from all limitations.”
Acharya Raghu ji introduced Swami Swaroopanandji, the head of Chinmaya Mission worldwide, and also Chancellor of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth Trust (University for Sanskrit and Indic Traditions) and Chairman of the Chinmaya International Residential School in Coimbatore. Initiated into Sanyasa in 1992 by Gurudev Chinmayananda, he has authored commentaries on Iko Onkar, MahaMrityunjaya Mantra, Sankat Mochan, Avatar, etc.
Other guests welcomed were Swamini Radhikananda ji, resident acharya and president of Chinmaya Govardhan, St. Augustine, Florida, and Swamini Kaivalyananda ji, who is in charge of Chinmaya Archives for Central Chinmaya Mission Trust (CCMT).
(Left) Swami Swaroopanand speaking in Atlanta on the Lakshman Gita.
Swami ji began his talk on Lakshman Gita with a short invocation Doha from Hanuman Chalisa. Then in a forceful voice, he began by noting that our scriptures are not just scriptures, but they teach us life management techniques so that we can learn to manage our problems and sorrows.
Lakshmana Gita is a dialogue between Lakshman and Nishadraja. It is part of Ramcharitramanas written by Goswami Tulsidas. On the way to exile, Rama, Sita, and Lakshman spend a night in the jungle with friend Nishadraja. When Nishadraja is distressed to see Rama and Sita sleep on dry leaves and straw, he blames Kaikeyi. Lakshman tells Nishadraja what Rama had said earlier: “No one is a source of delight or pain to another; everyone reaps the fruits of one’s own actions, brother. It may not be apparent but it is effect of one’s own choice and action.” Swami ji clarified that karma is a choice that we make in the present moment when we encounter something.
Union and separation, pleasurable and painful experiences, friends, foes, and acquaintances are all delusion, he said. Even so, birth and death, prosperity and adversity, whatever is seen, heard, or thought of with the mind are all illusions of the world—nothing exists in reality.
Life is compared to a dream, where we can be a beggar and in the next moment, a king. When we wake up neither are we beggar nor king, but we are somebody else in reality. Similarly, when we realize that this life is also a dream and we wake up from the dream, where we are identifying ourselves with body, mind, and intelligence, and realize that we are in reality the witness, then we are truly free.
When one can discriminate between real and unreal, delusion and reality, then he escapes from delusion, said Swami, and becomes devoted to the feet of Rama. To do this, he advised devotees to take responsibility for their own happiness and sorrow without blaming, and to develop discrimination and right attitude through knowledge from scriptures and sages, and to devote oneself to God.
[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for July 2019, not in the print/digital issues.]
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