ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय। (Om asato maa sad-gamaya)

On the occassion of Diwali, the festival of Light, my 200th post is about

“the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair”.

Diya_21oct14

 

असतो मा सद्गमय ।            (Om asato maa sad-gamaya)
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।            ( Tamaso maa jyotir gamaya)
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।              ( Mrityor maa amritam gamaya)
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥    ( Om shaantih, shaantih, shaantih )

We recited this mantra in school during prayer time. Each day of school life began with this sholka (mantra). Then it was just recitation with full of energy, without knowing the meaning. We were told not to murmur. There were teachers who regulary observed us. Anyways, due to the compulsory recitation, i remember it by heart.

These days i am getting interested in philoshopical articles and material. Today i found this sholka (mantra) in my collection.

Simple questions are: What does this mean and why we need this?

This is a Sanskrit Mantra from Upanishad.

Meaning (which is available on net):
1: Om, Lead us from Unreality (of Transitory Existence) to the Reality (of the Eternal Self),
2: Lead us from the Darkness (of Ignorance) to the Light (of Spiritual Knowledge),
3: Lead us from the Fear of Death to the Knowledge of Immortality.
4: Om Peace, Peace, Peace be there in material, physical and spiritual existences

There is no permanent heaven or hell in Hinduism. After services in the afterlife, the jiva (soul) enters the karma and rebirth system, reborn as an animal, a human or a divinity. This reincarnation continues until mokṣa, the final release, is gained.

The Bhagavad Gita states;

Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from childhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change. (2:12–13)

And

Worn-out garments are shed by the body; Worn-out bodies are shed by the dweller within the body. New bodies are donned by the dweller, like garments. (2:22)

To be trapped in sansar  (the cycle of birth and death) is a result of ignorance of the true nature of our existence. It is ignorance (avidya) of one’s true self that leads to ego-consciousness, grounding one in desire and a perpetual chain of reincarnation. When, after spiritual practice (sādhanā), a person realizes that the true “self” is the immortal soul rather than the body or the ego all desires for the pleasures of the world will vanish since they will seem insipid compared to spiritual ānanda.

When all desire has vanished the person will not be born again.

All these mantras are about pursuing “true knowledge” and to get MOKSHA. I am not a very rigid religious person. When i read something very difficult to understand, i try to relate it with our daily lives or surroundings. Instead of going into deep philosophy i feel its relevance in human life.

One might think “is it as simple as that”? For me the answer is ‘YES’.

Our society consists of people with different attitude and mind set, some are never satisfied but some are always satisfied.  Some always want the things what others are having. They compete with others all the time. Such people are never happy. They do not get a good night sleep, or peace of mind and they somehow create fuss around themselves because of their greed. Try to avoid being such a person.

My Philosophy: Let us learn how to keep ourselves happy and contented.

 

If you are interested in philosophical details, a nice post is available  ‘The power of Asato Ma’

And on reincarnation, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation

The photo of diya is from wikimedia

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