The Five Principles of Right Living


I shall fully explain to you the Self-knowledge together with Self-realization after knowing that nothing more remains to be known in this world (B.G. 7:02).

Sri Gita Mata of Sharda Ma Seva Sangh in Kullu outlines the right way of living and action as follows:

1.     The aim of life is to see God.
2.     The purpose of life is to abide by the truth.
3.     The religion of life is to serve all humanity.
4.     The ideal of life is to give up all vasana.
5.     The gist of life is to love all.

These succinct truths are shared as guides as man(The term “Man” and associated pronouns denote all human beings regardless of gender, color, and age.)  scrambles to balance a hectic life of work, family, and social obligations. There is no time to reflect over the fine points of dharma or sva-dharma. In adopting these five principles in our daily living we lead a life free from stress and enjoy an easeful relationship with all. Peace of mind is the supreme wealth of man and the five principles restore it.

1.     The aim of life is to see God.
All the Vedas in unison speak of the one and the same goal of life. The little boy Nachiketa, in Katha Upanisad, pesters the Lord of Death, Yama, to tell him the supreme goal of life. Yama tries to entice Nachiketa into accepting wealth, kingdoms, heaven, beautiful maidens, and long life instead.  However, the little boy remains resolute in wanting to know That which would impart permanent bliss and freedom:
“I tell you briefly of that goal which all the Vedas with one voice propound, which all the austerities speak of, and wishing for which people practice Brahmacarya: it is this, viz Om.” (Katha Up. I.ii.15)
Om is Brahman. The simple reason for human birth is to realize the non-dual Supreme Reality or Self (atman) called by various names. God may be worshipped as formless (nirguna) or in His infinite forms as visualized by the worshipper. However, they all lead to One. Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita proclaims that no matter how He is remembered all worship reaches Him:
“Whoever desires to worship whatever deity (using whatever name, form, and method) with faith, I make their faith steady in that very deity.” (B.G. 7:21)
God or Self-Realization is the ultimate goal of human birth. In this Kali Yuga, it is easier to see God than in Satya Yuga where thousands of years of sadhana were required. In this age, merely taking the name of God, any name of Param Pita Parmeshwar, suffices to enlighten man.

2.     The purpose of life is to follow the truth.
The Ultimate Truth is none other than God or Self. The Upanisads, similarly, speak of Brahman as the ultimate truth. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad calls God the Truth of truth:
“As a spider moves along the thread, and as from a fire tiny sparks fly in all directions, so from this Self emanate all organs, all worlds, all gods, and all beings. Its secret name is ‘the Truth of truth.’ The prana (vital force) is truth, and It (Self) is the Truth of that.” (Br. Up. II.i.20)
Similarly, the Chandogya Upanisad speaks of Brahman as the eternal truth:
“Absorbed in the Self, the sage is freed from identity with the body and lives in blissful consciousness. The Self is the immortal, the fearless: the Self is Brahman. This Brahman is eternal truth.” (Chandogya Up. VIII.iii.4)
The simple fact is that there is no joy in the finite. Man is dissatisfied with the small pleasures eked out of sense objects. The infinite is the source of all joy and the ultimate Truth.
“That which indeed is the Infinite, that is joy. There is no joy in the finite. The infinite alone is joy. But Infinite indeed has to be sought after.” (Chandogya Up. VII.23.1)
Furthermore, negation of this eternal truth is disquieting for man.
“Anyone who utters a falsehood dries up root and all…(Prasna Up. VI.1)
The Prasna Upanisad warns that actively disaffirming existence of God or Self is a form of violence towards oneself. Negating the presence of God (whether with form or formless) produces disquiet and discord at the root of our inner core.

3.     The Religion of life is to serve all humanity.
Swami Vivekananda calls renunciation and service as the twin ideals of India. He asks that we intensify her in those channels and the rest will take care of itself. (Complete Works Vol. V p. 228)
What is the best way to serve all? The essential condition is to give up personal desires associated with any work.
 “…So work, says Vedanta, putting God in everything, and knowing Him to be everything. Work incessantly, holding life as something deified as God Himself… God is in everything, where else shall we go to find Him? He is already in every work, in every thought, in every feeling.” (Works, vol. II p. 150)
We realize that when man serves others free from personal desires, he serves God purifying his own mind.

4.     The ideal of life is to give up all vasana.
The ultimate moral ideal of the Upanisads is complete self-abnegation, the utter renunciation of all selfish and personal desires. Swami Vivekananda speaks of the importance of renunciation:
“The essential thing is renunciation. Without renunciation none can pour out his whole heart in working for others. The man of renunciation sees all with an equal eye and devotes himself to the service of all.” (Works, vol.v. p. 382)
To one in such a state of inner purity, there is no longer thought of ‘me’ and ‘mine.’ Isa Upanisad provides this blunt perspective on attachment since all belongs to God which man claims as his own in ignorance:
“Om. (Know that) all this—whatsoever moves on the earth—is enveloped by God. Therefore, find your enjoyment in renunciation: do not covet what belongs to others.” (Isa Up. 1)
Sri Krishna advises Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita that peace is possible only when all desires are given up.
“One who abandons all desires and becomes free from longing and the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘my’ attains peace. O Arjuna, this is the Braahmee or superconscious state. Attaining this, one is no longer deluded. Gaining this state, even at the end of one’s life, a person attains oneness with the Supreme.” (B.G. 2:71, 72)
Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa sums up the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita in one word: tyaga, tyaga, tyaga. The only way to know God is to give up all vasana. Man makes the mistake of collecting pebbles in lieu of infinite treasure of bliss. When all selfish desires are abandoned, man becomes fit for Self-realization.

5.     The gist of life is to love all.
“Love is the struggle of a human soul to find its complement, its stable equilibrium, and its infinite rest.” Swami Vivekananda
In the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, Rishi Yajnavalkya when departing for sannyasa wishes to make a settlement of his estate between his two wives, Maitreyi and Katyayani. Maitreyi wants to know if the entire earth filled with wealth were hers; would she become immortal by that? The prompt reply by the Sage is “No.” There is no hope of immortality through wealth. Maitreyi, a serious spiritual aspirant, begs her husband to instruct her.
“He said: Not indeed for the love of a husband is the husband dear. But, for the love of the self is the husband dear. Not indeed for the love of wife is wife dear. But, for the love of the self is wife dear. …Not indeed for the love of all is all dear. But, for the love of the self is all dear.” (Br. Up. II, iv, 5)
Clearly, our love for others is really a love for Self. This Self or non-dual Reality is the One consciousness pervading all. In ignorance, man sees himself as a distinct being from others. However, there is no real separation. True love is to know the Self, to know the Atman, that indivisible consciousness present in all. Isa Upanisad vouches that love springs due to an absence of hatred in a realized man who perceives Self in all and all in Self:
“He who sees all being in the Self itself, and the Self in all beings, feels no hatred by virtue of that (realization).” (Isa Up. 6)
Hence, it becomes evident that love for all translates directly into love for God.

In essence, all the five principles expounded by Sri Gita Mata converge and bring us to the same goal. Her teaching is quite simple. To strive to know God is the sole mission of human birth and for leading a successful contented life. It is not required to follow all the five principles together at the same time. As guided by individual inclination, it suffices to take one principle and follow it earnestly; the other four principles follow automatically in its wake.

 Even water, which has a natural tendency to flow downwards, is drawn up to the sky by the sun's rays. In the same way, God's grace lifts up the mind which has got a tendency to run after sense objects. Sharda Maa

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