This talk was delivered by Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha at the ‘Prakash Mehrotra Memorial Lecture’ in New Delhi.
Epic historical writings not only shed light on the times in which they were written, but also present eternally relevant examples of righteousness and good conduct to the modern reader.
In this lecture, Poojya Swamiji introduces the Rajatarangini, a chronicle of the kings of Kashmir, written by the 12th century scholar Kalhana. One particular episode that occurred during the reign of King Chandrapida is highlighted in the talk as an example of Just Governance.
The King refused to forcefully seize the land of a cobbler (who occupied the proposed site of a planned temple) and instead dealt with the cobbler in terms of equality and respect. The King’s resolve to uphold the rights of the poorest of his subjects is particularly illustrative of the strong tradition of propriety and ethical discipline that permeates the records of Indian history.
Swamiji says that modern-day judiciaries and governments would do well to emulate the example of the King in this regard. Such instances enable us to introspect on these events and live in a righteous manner in modern society.
Swamiji, through his narration also highlights the state of mind of the cobbler. The abundance, peace and contentment that adorned his mind was not dependent on external circumstances.
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Narayanashrama Tapovanam, an Ashram located in Thrissur, Kerala, embodies the unique tradition of Guru-shishya Parampara, disseminating Brahmavidya (Science of Self-knowledge) through regular classes, satsangs, and above all, through learning in the association of a realized spiritual master.
Those days, there were many rats staying in various pockets of the tiled roof. My room had a very low ceiling and I could even touch the roof tiles. At night, I would see big, big rats running around just near me.
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How many of us can take such a stand?
Bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.