sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Tue May 5 11:54:02 CDT 1998

John Grimes wrote:

> And to be born into a great tradition and be in the
>presence of a great one is more wonderful still. (There is a sloka for

The post reminds me of two slokas, one from VivEkachuuDaamaNi wherein
Shankara says  how blessed one is, being born in the right womb, having a
desire for liberation and being blessed by the association with a realized

        durlabham trayameviatad
        daivaanugraha hetukam|
        manushyatvam mumukshutvam
        mahaapurusha samsrayaH||

Three things are very difficult to get - The first is being born as a human
being.  There are, according to some accounts, 80 billion life forms and to
be born as human with the head above the shoulders, is one of the greatest
blessings indeed - justifying that jantuunaam narajanma durlabaH -

Then again, even after having such a rare birth, to have a burning desire
for liberation (mumukshutvam) is very rare indeed - as John Grimes
emphasizes in the post.

And the third factor is it is indeed a rare blessing to be associated with
a mahaatmaa, the one who is shotria and BrahmanishhTa.

All these three can only happen with the grace of the God.  It is a
graceful way of sayings that it is indeed due to ones own meritorious
actions in the past.

It is interesting to note that Shankara does not mention about the caste,
creed or nationality in the list.  In fact his very first sloka in the
meditation verses in VivekachuuDaamaNi emphasizes this:

        jaati niiti kula gotra duuragam
        naama ruupa guNa dosha vargitam|
        deshakaala vishayaativartayat
        brahma tatvamiti bhaavayaatmani||

One needs to contemplate on the nature of the Brahman that which is far
beyond the qualifications related to ones birth - jaati, niiti, kulam,
gotram, name, form or qualities or defects, beyond the place of birth or
time etc.

On the other hand there is beautiful sloka (I am not sure where it is from)
that  glorifies the family and country of the birth of a sage in that
Thus the birth in a family, country etc are of secondary importance for a
seeker, these factors themselves gain importance with the blessing of sage
born in that family.

        kulam pavitram jananii kRitaarthaa
        vishvambaraa punya vatiicha tena|
        apaara satchit sukha saagaresmin
        liinatare brahmani yasya cheta saH|

Kulam ( caste? ), the mother and the world itself that gave birth to such a
individual are all blessed by the one whose mind has merged into that
Brahman which is endless of ocean of bliss.

Krishna emphasizes in response to Arjuna's question of what happens to an
individual who kicks the bucket without realizing after spending his whole
life- time in the pursuit of liberation ( yogabrashTa) -

Krishna answers as (Ch. 6)

        shucheenaam shreematam gehe yogabhrashhTobhijaayate||

        athavaa yoginaameva kule bhavati dhiimataam|
        yetaddi durlabhataram loke janma yadiidRusham||

One who died without achieving the end result (yogabhrashTa), he will be
born in a right environment where he does not have to start from step one -
he will be born in cultured and rich family (richness is not necessarily
with respect to wealth but in a family endowed with auspicious qualities)
or born in a family blessed with knowledge of yoga and this kind of birth
is  very rare indeed.  Studying the biographies of Shankara and Ramana, one
can but recognize the truth in Krishna statements.

Thus it may be a blessing to be born in a right environment provided one
can make use of the blessing.

Hari Om!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

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