The Mother Divine
Change Font Size 

By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja

Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath: Thoughts on Virtuous Conduct:

Almost all the seers and Mahatmas have lauded these principles of virtuous conduct as laid down in the shastras. Sri Sri Vijaykrishna Goswami, a noteworthy personage, says “I am not interested even in brahmaloka if I were to be separated from shastras and virtuous conduct. We ever remain the servants of the seers and good conduct.”  (Sadgurusang, 5, page205)

In the work, ‘Phoolmala’ (Garland of Flowers), Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath, giving an example from the shastras emphasizes that these ancient works recommended first and foremost virtuous conduct, which gives birth to righteousness, and access to the Lord of Dharma, Sri Bhagavan Achyuta. The desire to search after God will not arise in one devoid of good conduct. Let alone such a high aspiration, even good health, longevity and strength may not be obtainable without virtuous conduct.

Virtuous conduct brings about longevity. The one lacking such cannot be purified even bythe Vedas themselves. We are today the victims of disease, sorrow, pain and unhappiness due to lackofvirtue.Thosedevoidofvirtuecanobtainneitherthisworldnorthenext.(SriOmkarnath Rachnavali, Section 3,‘Phoolmala’)

Sitaram’s conviction regarding virtuous conduct is indistinguishable from his firm belief in obedience to the injunctions given in the shastras. The polemics regarding the shastras is a highly complex one on account of its variegated facets and numerous directions. All the same, considering the tremendous usefulness of his beliefs in this regard wehere present the meaning of a verse from the VishnuPurana:

  1. There is no better way to please Lord Vishnu than to follow the duties according to
    Varnashrama and one’s ashram. (Sri Vishnu Purana, 3, 8, 9)
    The Ramayana, Mahabharata, Veda-Vedanta, Srimad Bhagawat and the essence of all the shastras, the Bhagavad Gita equally emphasizeVarnashrama as a principle to be observed   by society. In the present modern age, Sitaram re-iterates this conviction in Varnashrama Dharma. Varnashrama divides the society into a four-fold classification for the purpose of division of labour, by type of profession. Dharma as per ashram refers to the rules and regulations regarding mode of living in the four stages of life: discipleship of a youth (brahmacharyaashram), householdership (grihastaashram), retiring of an elderly person into the jungle (vaanaprashtaashram), and a life of renunciation as Sannyasi (sanyaashram).

  2. Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas must perform trikaal Sandhya (twilight and noon rites of Japa with achaman) and Gayatri Japa. Sitaram had a board hanging on the wall of his room, where this instruction was proclaimed for all to see.

  3. Guru is God, Guru is Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar, Guru is Parabrahma - so is said in the shastras and by sadhus. Those who serve the Guru with mind, speech and body, live in joy in this world and attain to the place at the Guru’s lotus feet in the nextworld.

  4. If one worships the mother and father as Divinity, and serves them, one will be gratified. The one who prostates before the mother and father morning and night, worships them, drinks the washings of their feet, conquers death, and, his memory, intelligence, intellect and strength increase day by day.

  5. The shastras say that woman kind is the bestower of great good fortune. A woman is to be held in high regard and esteem. She is the beautiful Lakshmi and lends her auspiciousness to the household. The world is purified by the dust off the feet of a woman who is asati.

  6. The panchamahayajn must be performed. Five entities have expectations from human beings. These are 1.Rishis or seers, 2. Deva Devi or deities, 3. Pitris or ancestors, 4. Bhootagana or creatures living on the other planes, and, 5. Atithis or Guests. These five are to be propitiated by swadhyaya or learning and studying of the Shastras; Homa or sacrificial offerings into sacredfire; tarpan or offerings(pitris), offerings toanimals, birds and other living creatures and service/food to the guests’ respectively. These five together constitute thepanchamahayajna.

  7. Swadhyaya should be followed by yoga and then yoga by swadhyaya. It is the conjunction of study with yoga that leads to the highest experiences of the spiritual realm. (Sri Sri Vishnu Purana 6/6/2)

  8. By the grace of the Guru, if an interest in the Naam has been awakened and the practice   of salutation has been adopted, there is no cause for worry. Naam itself will bring about the practice of virtuous conduct.

(Most of these points are compiled in Omkarnath Rachnavali in section 6)
Some more advice on good conduct as advised by Bhisma: The patriarch Bhishma lay upon a bed of nails after defeat in the battle at Kurukshetra.

Dharmaraj Yudhishthira, on the instructions of Sri Krishna, questioned the great grandfather Bhishma on various obscure aspects of Dharma (religion). Bhishma then elaborated upon the different aspects of good conduct.  Here we present some of these points:

  1. Rising early in the brahmamuhurta (one and half hours prior to sunrise) and contemplating upon God; then leaving the bed, perform the ablutions and then do the twilight Sandhya or meditation as instructed by the Guru. In the evening do the Sandhya again.

  2. The sagacious person never utters words that hurt the tender feelings of or bring sorrow to the listener. Arrows, ironnails etc. can be removed from the body but words, which hurt cannot be.

  3. Mocking at those deficient in body, differently abled, weak and poor, those treated with contempt by the rest of society, inferior etc., is completely unworthy and of course prohibited. Attacking or punishing someone in anger is unworthy. A student, a son and a daughter must be disciplined through timely scolding, which will serve the purpose.

  4. While sleeping, the head must lie towards the east or the south.

  5. Fire, cow and Brahmin are replete with tej, while sun, moon and stars are replete with mahatej. ‘Tej’ signifies light while mahatej signifies a vast or cosmic body of light having massive impact. These hence should not be looked at, touched or indirectly contacted, while in an unclean state (ashuchi). Remaining seated indifferent to one’s own unclean state is forbidden.

  6. In the morning, an aged family member tends to have his Pranaorlife-energy concentrated in the throat, until being greeted and saluted by the younger members, upon which the Prana returns to its place of rest. The seat for an aged person must be spread with one’s own hands. When such a person takes steps to go somewhere, the younger member must follow respectfully.

  7.  A wise individual must marry a girl of appropriate age (i.e. not underage) from a family of good reputation. Arrange for his education by qualified persons at excellent institutions. His marriage with a girl from a good family should be arranged for. In like manner, a daughter’s education, livelihood and marriage with the scion of a good family should be arranged for.

    Good conduct as laid down in Vishnu Purana:
    In the Vishnu Purana, Raja Sagar asks Urdhva Rishi to tell him of the duties which when fulfilled would grant righteousness and all the happiness in this world and the next. Urdhva Rishi replies that only the one of virtuous conduct can be victorious in this life and the   next.
    ‘Sad’ means ‘sadhu’. The conduct of the blame less sadhu is what is meant by ‘virtuous conduct’

    1. “O King! In the Brahma muhurta (one and half hour prior to sunrise) of the morning, rise and contemplate dharma. Then without any sense of contradiction seamlessly contemplate on Artha. Similarly, now contemplate on Kama. The Artha and Kama, which do not run contrary to dharma, are to be approved. Renounce such Artha and Kama which run contrary to the criteria laid down in dharma. Such actions of dharma as make for unhappiness for oneself or the society must be renounced. The reader is reminded that dharma, Artha and Kama refer to righteousness, economic purpose and desire respectively.

    2. House holders, being the refuge of all, must give away food in charity. From among persons of an under privileged or fringe section of society, animals, birds and the like, any one entity must be ‘adopted’ and given assured supply of food. The householder will also wait patiently for his guests tocome.

    3. Consuming food without first offering it to one’s guests is strictly prohibited.The host must worship and serve the guest as Vishnu without any concern for or querying about the Gotra and other familydetails.

    4. One should never envy, covet and try to acquire the wealth and property of others. One should not hurt another’s feelings at all. One should not speak sweet-sounding untruths and not elaborate the faults of others. He or she should not bear feelings of enmity towardsothers.

    5. No wise person will try to overstep, or surpass even the shadow, of revered human beings, deities, flags and self-illumined things.

    6. Sleeping till late, staying awake very late, bathing for a long time, remaining lying down or seated position for an extended period of time…all these are not approved of.

    7. The master of the senses, being rid of the causes (such as faulty diet) which give rise to the defects of his/her nature, is assured of success in righteous living, prosperity, fulfillment of worldly desires and liberation. The one who does not engage in sinful behaviour with sinful ones, speaks in sweet tones when spoken to harshly, is the friend of all beings, is authorized to receive liberation(moksha).

    8. A wise individual will always resort to the truth; it is truth, alone which wins over the hearts of all. If the telling of the truth is harmful to someone, one may hold one’s silence. If sweet words are not beneficial and appropriate, they should not be spoken. Rather, if the truth is beneficial, it ought to be expressed even if it is disliked.

    9. Through action, thought and speech, a wise person seeks to be involved only in that which proves to be of benefit to beings in this world and the next.