The two-year journey of Lord Buddha’s Dhammapada has brought a wide range of
astonishing concepts before us. Beginning with the understanding of its historical
background and the need for Buddha’s arrival, we have witnessed this journey from
the perspective of spirituality, neuroscience and psychology. This unique approach
to merge science with spirituality has made it easy for us to follow what Lord
Buddha wanted to convey through Dhammapada. With each verse, each story and
each concept explained with immense clarity, Sri Guru has truly enlivened the
2000-year old scripture for the modern world and brought us closer to our
innermost selves. And in her own words, “This union of clarity and nearness to
Self is what sparks a revolution in life..!”
Through the concept that Mind = Brain in Action (and vice-versa), we understood
the nature of the human mind and its strong association with the brain. We came to
know how the various thoughts in our mind result in the firing & wiring of the neural
networks in the brain, which in turn reflects in our actions and behaviour, and
ultimately shapes our entire personality. Furthermore, the law of coherence shed
light on the harmony that exists between the mind, brain and the heart. We also
learnt about the manner in which our Chakras and Kendras (spiritual energy centers)
correspond with the major glands in the body’s endocrine system.
With many simple yet insightful notions such as these, Sri Guru gave us a detailed
account on how much the mind bears an influence on us and more importantly,
how it can be transformed into a tool for spiritual evolution. And we feel blessed
that along with this outstanding ability to expand upon any subject matter, our Guru
knows how to summarise the path as well.
So let us take a look at the essence behind Dhammapda’s teachings:
- By understanding the nature of our thoughts, the mind where they are created and their interaction with the neural network, we are able to determine the thoughts that are righteous, useful and empowering as well as the ones which aren’t. All this aids in the transformation of our mind and consequently, the brain.
- The transformation of the brain brings about significant changes in the central nervous system (CNS).
- If we look at these changes from the perspective of spirituality & yogic sciences, the Chakras in our spine get activated. While from the viewpoint of biology, the major glands in our body’s endocrine system become healthy.
- The activation of Chakras and a healthy endocrine system indicate that we have a sufficient amount of life-energies within us, which are accumulated and stored at the Medulla Oblongata in the brain.
- Sri Guru likens our energies to our spiritual wealth. One needs a certain amount of wealth to rise up the ladder of prosperity & well-being. In the same way, when our energies reach a certain level of abundance in the Medulla, they transform and are passed onto the next stage, i.e. the heart, where they can be utilised to attain a higher state of experience.
- Here, the heart is not the biological organ with which we are born, but the spiritual heart, the Hridaya, that is full of pure energies and free from the bounds of physical dimensions. It is 40 times more subtle and powerful than the brain. Thus, when the accumulated energies reach a surplus, they create the spiritual heart that is selfless in nature and detached from the dualities governing the material world. To put in Sri Guru’s words, the Hridaya begin to dance in harmony with the cosmic music that echoes throughout the universe. This cosmic field is what we call God.
- As the experience of the cosmic field becomes greater and more powerful than the spiritual heart, a point comes when the ‘I’ starts dissolving. This is the success of this human life.
Modern science has also begun to accept what our scriptures and spiritual texts
have been propounding since ages, that each of the four entities – the brain, the
spine, the medulla and the heart have a distinct purpose in enhancing our life
- The Brain’s goal is to keep us Alive
- The Spine’s goal is to keep us Connected
- The Medulla’s goal is to keep us Energetic; and
- The Heart’s goal is to keep us Happy
The collective effort of these four is what leads to happiness, contentment and a
meaningful life. We may have a lot of energy but if we are not connected to a higher,
then that energy will neither add much value to our life, nor the universe.
Conversely, we may feel connected to a higher but if we lack the energy to manifest
it, then also our life becomes dull and void of passion. This is why Sri Guru
demonstrates the importance of Hridaya, the spiritual heart by saying,
“Being alive is just not enough, I want us all to be happily alive! And having a good-Sri Guru
heart, that is, a spiritual heart is the right way to attain that happiness. That is what
this human life is meant for.”
Becoming our own Light
At SRM, our Guru has given us the essential tools to cultivate that happiness within
and realise our true purpose as human beings. Through the virtues of Prem (Love),
Seva (Selfless Service), Sainyam (Discipline) and Sadhana (Meditation), we can
nurture our connection with a Living Master, a Sadguru. The Satsang and the right
meditation techniques received from the Master help us rejuvenate our energies and
prepare us to experience the true happiness that resides within. Theist philosophies
(Aastik Darshan) have always laid emphasis on this connection with a Guru.
However, Lord Buddha’s words ‘अप्प दीपो भव’ which mean ‘Be your own Light’ may
seem to contradict this belief. But in reality, it is not so. Sri Guru gives a beautiful
analogy to explain the deep significance of these words:
To light a lamp, that is, to awaken our dormant consciousness, we need:
- A lamp, which signifies the Physical body.
- Oil, which signifies the Energy.
- Wick, which signifies the Heart.
- An already lit match, which signifies an enlightened Sadguru.
In the guidance of a Sadguru, Sainyam prepares our physical body and mind,
Sadhana helps us master our energies, while the virtues of Prem and Seva make us
selfless and thus facilitate the evolution of Hridaya which aligns our energies with
the cosmic field. Thus, it is the strong connection with an enlightened Guru, a being
who has ignited the divine light within, that leads us to invoke the same in ourselves.
Listening to Buddha’s words is just the beginning. To actually follow His teachings
and wisdom, we must pursue the spiritual path by embracing these four
fundamental virtues of Prem, Seva, Sainyam and Sadhana in the presence of Living
Buddha. This is the essence of Dhammapada.