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Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: A new and fresh perspective

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If we can look at things in a new way. Let me give an example—this is about applying the Upanishad to one’s daily life. Well, I may chant the Upanishad daily, and I may chant the Gayatri mantra daily. But the fact is that I don’t understand what I’m chanting. I don’t understand what I read. I just chant—just mumble because unfortunately, I don’t know the meaning of the words that I am chanting.

Take the case of the Gayatri mantra that comes from the Rig Veda, one of the oldest Vedas. What is the prayer? What is the wish that is expressed in the Gayatri? The last part of the Gayatri mantra gives the reason why the Gayatri is chanted. Dhiyo yo naha prachodyat means, “Stimulate my intelligence, O Supreme Being.”

Now, do I really stimulate my intelligence? If I have to stimulate my intelligence, will I stick to all pre-conceived ideas and prejudices and not open my mind to the fresh truth that comes in? Like the fresh breeze that blows during a beautiful spring, with the perfume of the flowers wafting in from the open window? First, I refuse to open my window and then I refuse to smell. I would rather smell the artificial perfume that I have sprayed myself with.

You know, the human body has evolved now up to the level of Homo sapiens. The brain has evolved, it can think, and it can even go to the moon.


So, the Upanishadic teachings open and stimulate your intelligence. Be alive; look around. Look at the sky, look at the moon, look at the planets, and look at the stars on a beautiful, clear night sky. Look at the rivers as they flow. You know, this is why the rishis lived in those beautiful forests—deep in the woods with the snow-clad mountains overlooking them. Their minds moved with great veneration and ascended high levels of being because they were not conditioned either by their thinking or polluted in the body by environmental hazards of today.

We can do it even now—clean up the air, sit quietly and think with a clear mind. Not fall into a semi-hypnotic trance that usually results in a bout of snoring. That is called Sushupti. It’s not Samadhi, deep sleep. It is to be able to keep our minds open to receive, to forget the images that trouble us. To break through the conditioning imposed upon us by our past and by our environment. You know, the human body has evolved now up to the level of Homo sapiens. The brain has evolved, it can think, and it can even go to the moon.

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