In search of truth

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Apr 10 03:28:18 CDT 1997

On Wed, 9 Apr 1997, Srinivas Prasad wrote:

>   Dear Friends
>    Being NRI-Brahmin it is difficult to follow the traditions of Brahmin
>    Rituals
>    If some one is following strictly please pardon me. So the question
>    arises for NRI brahmin's Is it possible to realise Bramhan Being in this
>    mundane world For example Meeting The targets, Fighting for Promotion
>    Project Deadline, Last But Not least US$$$$$$$$$  to name few.
>    As the rule say To realise Bramhan I need to have constant Devotion
>    Detachment from wordly affairs and to get  the real knoweledge of God
>    ( Please Ref  A-dvaita & Dvaita Home page for  more Info.)
>    Is it really possible being NRI ???? or Do I have to go back to India
>    Sit some where in Rural Region and for a Big "TAPAS" ( Penance).
>    I know atleast it is not possible with me so what options do we have
>    or forget the Realization part of life. I heard  from elders that in this
>    kaliyuga  we remember "NARAYANA" when ever we get time it is enough
>    and it is superior to reading scripture, Vedas etc.....
>    In that case I don't have to go through  brahmin rituals every day just
>    remember lord "NARAYANA"'s name when ever I get time to relax.
>    From  the above analysis Detachmant is Impossible for a NRI  brahmin
>    ( Please  accept from bottom of your heart, can you live with out Honda
>     Toyota Corola & US$ ??).
>     Constant Devotion I vote 10% assuming every NRI  brahmin will
>    remember Lord Narayana when he get the time. Last one The real knoweledge
>    I am not in a Position to comment because I don't know what is the real
>    Knoweledge, I have to read the "TATVA PRAKASH" , Bramha Sutra, upanishad
>     Vedanta etc  and digest it to full extent.
>    Now that Realization Of Bramhan Is ruled Out so what else can I do ???
>    So now the question arises in each mind that AM I GOING Down in My Birth
>    cycle because I am getting Attached to my Wordly matters and I am not
>    Following the brahmin Rituals. So the above facts are about ME then what
>    happen If NRI brahmin has a Family. Let Us take an example of a Rich
>    NRI  brahmin Doctor in US. This NRI brahmin Doctor making 500 K + and going
>    back to India and seeking Tapas Is ruled out. Then Is it possible to
>    For this NRI brahmin Docotor to realize Bramhan ???, YES and NO because
>    If this NRI Treats the patient ( Low income group) and dedicate his
>    servive to Lord NARAYANA. But How many of of them Can do I am not sure..
>    Same thing is applicable to Engineers and other proffessional NRI's
>    The purpose of taking Doctor as an example was it is easy to exaplain.
>    So now is it possible for this NRI Proffessional To sit in a Air-Con
>    room and realise bramhan ????.  Now comming to Kids section Why on earth
>    I have to ask my kids to have Upanayanam are they comfortable with this
>    ritual. Even if they accept it is because of the parents Force. The kid
>    has never seen India and how can we expect the kid to know about and
>    understand the Brahmin way of life. So if this kid is liking KFC ,
>    MCDONALds I feel sorry for the NRI brahmin Parents and I don't blame the
>    Kid. So This Bramhin way of life in NRI Family will Die after Ist
>    generation. Because  we can't expect  IIend generation to follow
>    these rituals strictly.
>    Finally My 2 cents worth of summary of the above  topic is You can
>    call it as fate or any thing " IF IT IS written that one has to Realize
>    Bramhan" It will happen by itself by the grace of God.
>     Any comments How ever Severe I am ready to take
>     regards
>     prasad

Far from making any severe comments I'm in deep sympathy with the thoughts
you express because I am in the exact same situation myself.  In fact I'm
not even an NRI.  I was born in England and have lived in the West my
entire life with only an occasional trip to Gujarat.  Yet I can proudly
say I'm as dharmic or more than any Indian.

First of all, let me say it is impossible to realize Brahman in the
mundane life here or in India or even in the wilderness.  Realization
means giving up the mundane mentality.  Once that has been done, it
doesn't matter where you are.  However as you point out for people in our
situation (most people in the world) we cannot simply give everything up.
So as you say, for the time being, realization of Brahman is not possible
for us.  So what do we do?  We can live a regulated life according to our
shastras and traditions and thereby purify ourselves to a point where we
can take up Brahmajnana.

You mention the difficulty of following all the duties set for a Brahmin
and while I agree the task may seem daunting I'm here to tell you  it is
quite possible to live according to the shastras even in this day and age.
Let's look at what needs to be done:  Snana or daily bath -- I would hope
you don't need any reasons to bathe regularly!  Sandhyavandana -- This is
a set of prayers to be said morning and night (preferebly sunrise and
sunset but not neccessarily.)  This takes me about 20 minutes, not a big
outlay of time.  Puja -- is there anyone so busy they can't wave an aarti
before Bhagwan and sing a stotra for a couple of minutes?  Growing a
Shikha, wearing a yagnopavit, tilak, and rudraksha mala -- also not hard.
And finally svadhyaya or study of the shastras.  Now this can take some
time.  But if you think of the odd minutes in the day you waste, on the
bus or train, or waiting for things I'm sure you can make room for it.
Especially as we are encouraged to memorize as many texts as we can, we
can have a portable library on call whenever it is needed.  If nothing
else, you can remember the names of Bhagwan like Narayana.  There is no
excuse for not at least trying to follow your duty and those who do not
will face a very dire fate.  (Btw, the vidhis I just described are what an
unmarried boy has to do.  For a married man there are additional ones.
But if you are married, then you have a "sahadharmacharini" to assist you
so it is still not too burdensome.)

The biggest problem I've seen with the way people of my generation are
brought up is that while most Indian parents do try to give their children
a sense of culture, they sabotage their own efforts through stupidity.
For example I was recently saying katha for a man who was complaining
to me that his children didn't take any pride or interest in such
activities. This mans name is Harishankar but he calls himself Harry.  I
asked him why and he said "oh its too difficult for the white people to
pronounce."  Now think about it.  If you don't even take pride in your own
name, how can you expect your children to have any pride?  Another bad
trend I've noticed in some places is to move any utsava over to the
nearest weekend.  So when the elders say "this is our religion, practice
it." what the children hear is "do whatever you want, whenever it's
convenient."  Other parents go off the other end of the scale and
overexplain.  Unfortunately a lot of so-called Advaitins are responsible
for much of this.  Instead of proper explanations they spout a lot of
mystical mumbo-jumbo that wouldn't fool a five year old let alone their
college-educated children.  In all the cases of well brought-up children
I've seen, the parents just simply communicated their love of Dharma with
joy and a lack of fuss.  Their children have responded to that and have
managed to combine participation in American life with a commitment to
their faith.  This is my situation.  I owe everything to my parents who
are not great scholars themselves but tried to help me as much as they
could and point me in the right direction.  There is still the matter of
education.  It is still too difficult to get a good Brahmin education if
you're not in India but I'm optimistic that won't stay a problem.

So don't lose heart!  While it is difficult to live a good life that has
always been the case.  Our ancestors had to deal with invasion, and
plagues, famines, and wars but they managed to survive.  I'm sure we'll
have no problems meeting our challenges.

Jaldhar H. Vyas [jaldhar at]   And the men .-_|\ who hold
Consolidated Braincells Inc.                          /     \ -)~~~~~~~~  Perth->*.--._/  o-
"Witty quote" - Dead Guy   /\/\/\ _ _ ___ _  _ Amboy       v      McQ!

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