The world is suffering from a severe psychological crisis, due to negative elements, sorrow and sufferings around us. This is aggravated by the ongoing COVID pandemic. Who is there to guide the world in the proper way?
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), WB is organizing an online Lecture Series "Sorrow-Depression-Joy", based on what the sages of ancient India and other eminent personalities have told about overcoming this problem. They were truth realizers and this problem was foreseen by them. That is why they set the goal of life as complete removal of miseries, hence achieving bliss. The Honourable Vice-Chancellor of MAKAUT Prof. (Dr.) Saikat Maitra has been the key inspiration behind organizing online Lecture Series on topics of this kind, especially in this pandemic situation. The audience was mostly young students of MAKAUT, its affiliated colleges and other institutions. The teachers and other staff of MAKAUT were also present. The eminent speaker in the first lecture of the ongoing series on the 1st of May 2021 was Swami Divyananda Maharaj of Ramakrishna Mission.
At the outset, the Hon'ble Vice-Chancellor of the University Prof. (Dr.) Saikat Maitra pointed out that in this difficult situation self-analysis is required for each of us. In that way we have to gain confidence and be steady. Actually today each of us must be a 'HERO', where:
Prof. Maitra reiterated that we must be brave to face the situation.
Swami Divyananda Maharaj thanked Prof. Maitra for selecting such a topic for discussion, as it is very much appropriate for the present moment. If we lament that why there is so much 'darkness' around us times without number, that will be fruitless. We have to light the lamp ourselves. Lord Buddha on the last day of his life uttered his famous saying, "Atma dipa bhava", that is "Be your own light". That light can only be lit up only through proper development of humanity.
Swamiji mentioned that in today's situation of crisis, everyday we are getting sad news. But one must realize that sorrow and depression give us the opportunity to turn around and help others, for the benefit of society at large. Swami Vivekananda has spoken of 'Atmashakti' or the power within one's own self. Actually God resides within our own self. Each and every religion acknowledges this basic fact. We have to arouse that self to overcome grief.
However, in order to achieve bliss, one must pay attention to maintaining physical fitness. As our ancient seers have pointed out 'sariram adyam khalu dharma sadhanam'. So, we must try to be healthy, get vaccine for COVID and boost up our immunity.
The Vedas have referred to 'Sacchidananda', which is a compounded Sanskrit word consisting of "sat", "chit" and "ananda", all three considered as inseparable from the nature of ultimate reality. Sat means true being, Chit (चित्) means "consciousness", Ananda (आनन्द) means "happiness, joy, bliss". Sacchidananda is therefore a culmination of "Truth, Consciousness and Bliss", which can be considered same as God. This bliss is the inner self of every individual. If we can know that self, we shall achieve peace and happiness. Then only we shall be able to realize that every human body is mortal, but it has an immortal self within it. The Indian sages, monks, seers, poets-- all have that pursuit for the inner self. We may refer to Rabindranath Tagore's famous line 'Simar majhe asim tumi'.
This pursuit, however, will only be successful, if we can work for humanity at large, selflessly. Then only we can be impartial and render equal treatment to everyone. If we do not serve the poor and instead think only for our near and dear ones, then we are no different from animals. It does not always require huge amounts of money. We can give advice during any crisis, help the distressed and sick in their way to hospital and so on. This will expand the horizon of our thinking.
We have to prove by our actions that we are educated. Swami Vivekananda has rightly pointed out, "Expansion is life, contraction is death". Even during this pandemic period, the young generation can develop skills and learn language, musical instruments and music through online courses. Certainly these will help them in career building in near future. They can also protect the environment by planting and caring for trees. Everybody must realize that he/she is a resourceful person and can help others overcome their problems. Happiness will surely be achieved in return.
In the very interesting question-answer session, a participant asked: "What to do if desired result is not achieved from hard work? Swami Dibyanandaji pointed out that we have the right to perform your prescribed duty, but not entitled to the fruits of action. Swamiji gave the example of farmers, who do not give up farming, in the event of droughts. Therefore, one must not be frustrated, if desired results are not achieved immediately.
Another interesting question was, how to stay fearless? Swamiji pointed out that one has to face the reality and overcome fear. Fear arises when we visualize it from a distance. We have to enter in the field and overcome it. Arjuna was also afraid to fight against his kith and kins and that is why Krishna advised him in Bhagvadgita to face the situation. Side by side to overcome the fear of death, the most serious of all fears, one must not see photographs of burning ghats, clashes etc in the media.
Another question on how to overcome negative emotion, Swamiji pointed out that one must practice meditation and pranayam.
The respected Registrar of MAKAUT, Dr. Partha Pratim Lahiri thanked Swamiji for his illuminating and inspiring lecture.
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