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"You are your own master; you make your own future."   - Dhammapada





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Articles by Swami (Dr) Snehananda Jyoti

1 Formula of Life      2 What a world? What is life?

Formula of Life

           There are basic facts concerning your life, such as the fact that you are on this Earth for a limited time, you have been given a certain body and mind, and you have been placed in certain circumstances. From these facts, we can establish principles or a formula for a good life, which is always seek things to appreciate, meet your challenges, and enjoy the adventure.

           We are born into this world. We have to bloom and bear fruit where we are. Human beings arbitrarily have divided this earth into nations, and humans into races, castes, classes, language groups, and religions. There are many other divisions. But the reality is that we are all made in the image of God. For the relatively few who do not believe in God we can say that we are made in the best form that we can think of. The human form to me is so perfect that I cannot think of it being improved upon. Men and women physically complement one another so well.  Whether we were originally created the way we are or we evolved from less complex organisms, I can without difficulty postulate a higher power or an original organizing principle for our universe. We are all one, and we are in One; all are equal in One.  Each one of us is unique. And as such we are not here to imitate one another. Dhammapada says you are your own master; you make your own destiny. Jesus Christ said: “The kingdom of God is within you”. A great teacher like Jiddu Krishnamurti taught that the guru you need is already within you. That does not mean we need to re-invent the wheels. We can build on the successes and failures of those who have gone before us. We can learn from eminent models of humanity. They have stretched the limits of humanity. I always wonder how a man like Nelson Mandela suffered 27 years in an inhuman jail of the apartheid South Africa and became the first president of free South Africa. Since he did it I know a human being is capable of doing that. I also wonder how Gandhi could non-violently persevere so long in his struggle for India’s freedom. Humanity can certainly learn a great deal from him. As Olympic sportspersons set new records breaking the old ones, I envisage humanity bringing forth persons who will break the records of Gandhi or Mandela in the realm of the spirit. We are on this earth to become what we are capable of. Nothing less than that will do.

           The formula for life will be predicated on a certain world-view. Change in our consciousness will bring about change in the way we are, what we do and have. We have created the corrupt, greedy, immoral, hungry, and destructive world that deprives the overwhelming majority of inhabitants the necessities of life. We are our bothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We are for ourselves as well as for others. The ingredients of the formula for life are: Do to others what you like others to do to you (the Golden Rule). Treat others the same way you like to be treated. How do you like to be treated? Make an exhaustive list of the way you like to be treated. Now you know how to treat others. For instance, you like others to forgive you when you make a mistake; forgive them when they make a mistake.
  • Accept yourself and others unconditionally. God does not create anything bad. We are all created by God; we are all good. God created us unconditionally, and loves us and accept us unconditionally. No apology for the way you are. You cannot help it. If others cannot accept you for who you are, it is their problem. Do not make their problem your problem.
  •  Live in the present; live in the here and now. Yesterday is gone; tomorrow comes only in terms of today. Today was the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. Tomorrow will be amply taken care of if we live today fully.
  • Non-violence, truth force, and respect for others need to be in all human and international transactions.
  • Give to each one what is one's due and more. Do not take advantage of anyone's misfortune, hard labor, and sweat.
  •  Do not fret over failures and waste precious energy fretting. Failure is part of human living. There is no human being who has not experienced it. Failure makes success even more enjoyable. Failure can be a stepping stone to success if used wisely.
  •  Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and a good measure of compassion. Concession and compassion go hand in hand.
  • Think before you say and act.
  •  Be honest. Say what is on your mind, and mean what you say. Say only what is true. Nobody, except certain authorities for good governance or common good, has a right to certain information. It is good, though, to disclose everything to a few selected close friends.
  • Thoughts cannot be controlled. They are neither good nor bad. They come and go. They become good or bad only when one consciously chooses them. Intentions can be controlled as they are acts of the will. 
  • Fear and anxiety cripple the human spirit, drain the human energy, lead to depression, and make life worth not living.
  •  Keep your word. Do not make promises that you will not keep.
  • Human freedom and perpetual vows do not go together. Freedom relates to a dynamic state, a vow relates to a static condition. Only doing God’s will at every moment is what is required of human beings as it is essential for holiness. That means on-going discernment. Humans continuously change over life-span.  A vow that is made at one period in life may not be relevant for another period. I will not recommend, except in the case of marriage, perpetual vows that will abridge human freedom.
  • Eat nutritionally. Food is the first line of medication. Many diseases are due to poor eating habits. An old saying -  an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure – is worth remembering. First nutrition, then taste. Taste without nutrition spells disaster. Food prepared and handled without love and care is toxic; I will not recommend its consumption.
  • Take care of your body in the best possible way; for it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
  •  Keep bodily, mental, and spiritual hygiene always. Make an examination of conscience at the end of every day, and come to terms with your own self, others, and God.
  •  Have a sense of humor; laugh heartily; celebrate life; do not take life so seriously as not to be able to laugh at yourself and others.
    Some ingredients are essential; others enhance the flavor.

  • What is life?

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