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How to check our vanity and understand the score of our knowledge?

The Sanskrit language hides the most incredible wisdom that is not a mere treasure, but an endless mine of absolutely bottomless ocean of Knowledge. The year 570 saw the end of the secular life provided by Roman culture. The invading "barbarians" contributed to the downfall of Rome. A period of end of original Christian movement and starting of the medieval church.

Byzantium had done its terrible work, everything began going wrong in 570. Before that time, under Justinian, the Avars (northern barbarians) and Persians (the Eastern empire) had been kept at bay. But in 570 it all started going wrong.

In 570, the Persians began a series of conquests. They started with Yemen "Arabia Felix" and two years later attacked Byzantine lands directly. This helped fulfill the prophecies about Jerusalem being trodden underfoot for 1260 years.

In 570, Mohammed was born in the Arabian peninsula. He would go on to found Islam that became a cover to conquer most of the eastern territories earlier dominated by Persia, Greece and Romans.
In that same year India had hundreds of great kingdoms that were prosperous, educated and there was a great culture of learning, high spirituality and continual growth of knowledge and in that year BhartriHari was born in Ujjaini, a great grammarian, philosopher and a poet of high order.

He wrote great books on Linguistics & Philosophy. Of noble birth, Bhartrihari was attached for a time to the court of the Maitraka king of Valabhi; modern Vala, Gujarat, where his taste for sensuous living and material possessions was formed. Following the example of Indian sages, he believed he had to renounce the world for a higher life. Seven times he attempted monastic living, but his attraction to women caused him to fail each time.

Though intellectually he presumably understood the transitory nature of worldly pleasures and felt a call to Yoga and ascetic living, he was unable to control his desires. After a long self-struggle, Bhartrihari became a yogi and lived a life of dispassion in a cave in the vicinity of Ujjain until his death. Three of his works among dozens of others were prominent, Shataka [Century], Shringaara Shataka, Niti Shataka [Ethics & Political science] and Vairagya Shataka [ Dispaassion and retiring from material life].

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Purchase The Satakas; Or, Wise Sayings of Bhartrihari

Who exactly is a wise person and the benefits of company of higher souls?

He wrote :
यदा किञ्चिज्ज्ञोऽहं द्विप इव मदान्ध: समभवम्
तदा सर्वज्ञोऽस्मीत्यभवदवलिप्तं मम मन:।

यदा किञ्चित्किञ्चिद्बुधजनसकाशादवगतं
तदा मूर्खोऽस्मीति ज्वर इव मदो मे व्यपगत:॥

When I used to have very little knowledge or rather I was just a beginner I used to get blinded by immense pride like a drunken Elephant. मदान्ध literally means to blind by Mada literally like a drink or Ahankara or false pride. Then my mind was proud, arrogant, always thinking that I am so knowledgeable and omniscient.

Gradually I realized, in steps, bit by bit, by being in the association of wise men, my false pride waned like the body fever, as I came to learn that I was a great FOOL in fact.

Most of us in modern or ancient world, have always this great convincing idea that we indeed are wise and full of knowledge and knowledge is overflowing. But possession of very small body of knowledge makes us proud of our little knowledge and thus we judge, enforce our view and impose our bit of knowing upon others. It is like we start over rating our selves and thus think what I know is the absolute truth and whatever I believe or follow is the great knowledge when in reality our position is that of a drunken elephant who is मदान्ध blinded with pride अल्पविद्य:.

The ego takes us on different turns and paths and while over rating ourselves and living in our dark well of "world" we keep missing the real vast wide of awareness and knowledge. That ego annihilates upon the realization of real knowledge that we keep piling gradually. Once we are aware of our narrow views, our tiny bit of knowledge and false arrogance we come to realize that we are humble, meek and literally deflated and at that point we learn to value education and real Vidya or wisdom which is like reaching to the shores of a grand ocean of knowledge when we thought our cup of knowledge was so meaningless.
विद्या ददाति विनयम् literally signifies EDUCATION is what makes us meek and humble and any noise we make without that is one of a kind that will not be even a drop in the ocean of wisdom that exists.

In Neeti shathaka BharthriHari wrote something very deep like:
कुसुमस्तबकस्येव द्वयी वृत्तिर्मनस्विन:।
मूर्ध्नि वा सर्वलोकस्य विशीर्येत वनेऽथवा॥

There are self respecting, learned and higher souls who only have two states of mind; that of a bunch of fragrant flowers, either have to be on top of the entire living world or they should wither away.
It literally translates as that wise persons will not fit in every place, they would create something really great in this world and the world will know them or they would rather go away like flying flowers, unnoticed by anyone. Indeed most of the wise persons just wither away like flowers in a storm as they dont consider this world to be appropriate for them as the world mostly does not respect the real wise but favors shallow and empty heads.

In this verse the great Poet BharthriHari ji talks of how important it is to be in Sat Sangati or in the company of wise persons around us.
जाड्यं धियो हरति सिञ्चति वाचि सत्यं
मानोन्नतिं दिशति पापमपाकरोति।

चेत: प्रसादयति दिक्षु तनोति कीर्तिं
सत्संगति: कथय किं न करोति पुंसाम्।।

The dullness of intellect one accrues due to bad and lowly company is undone in the virtue of good company. A man who spoke lies suddenly starts speaking truth after his association in Sat Sang or wise company. The noble company of wise people removes the stuck intellect, invokes truth in the discourse, enhances the great virtues and casts off sinful conduct, it clarifies the mind and the fame spreads all around, tell me what the company of higher souls does not provide to the man?

To end this brief, I will quote great epic of MahaBharata where this verse defines who is a wise person exactly?
क्षिप्रं विजानाति चिरं शृणोति विज्ञाय चार्थं भजते न कामात्।
नासंपृष्टो व्यपयुंक्ते परार्थ तत् प्रज्ञानं प्रथमं पण्डितस्य॥

He who comprehends rather quickly and hears very patiently. he who understands things at hand wisely and acts according to the need of the hour and not according to his personal will or desire; he who does not meddle with others business unless asked to. This is the prime quality of a wise and knowledgeable person.

Wise souls speak loudly but in silence rather whispering. So pay attention to silence rather than noisy loud mouths.

By Dr Naila Shirazi


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