Delusions of Grandeur

by Aranyakananda

Recently I read an article or a purport to the Gita maybe, that said that the spiritually rajasic man is one who wears his japa bead string as a necklace with bright shiny jewels attached to it to draw attention to it. I think it goes without saying that spiritual rajas was classified in this context as a negative. For clarity’s sake, this spiritual path was the means to which Heaven or Moksha was the end. It got a little muddy because this end was placed in comparison to a life of karma yoga, selfless service. Muddy, because any Hindu knows that karma yoga is one of the paths to moksha. And even Krishna told Arjuna to fight to “win Heaven.”

Convoluted arguments aside, I took heed, as I almost never take my string from around my neck as it was a gift from a dear friend. And I have attached to it a silver Aum pendant, a gift from my wife. But it is far from a mere piece of jewelry for me, or any other true aspirant I am sure. I don’t go around town with it on the outside of my shirt. It is a functional piece of devotional paraphernalia, and it is a symbolic constant in my life. It is personal.

On a vaguely related topic: Have you ever noticed that many humans love to read the police and legal section of the newspaper? They do. They also love to read the obits page, and I don’t know what that says. I like to think it demonstrates a universal respect for the deceased, known or unknown. But back to the police and legal section. Why do humans have such a propensity to want to know who’s been arrested, fined, booked or sentenced? I won’t get into it, because I’d like to hear some theories from my readers on the subject. What I will say is that it is more than, as I suggested, “vaguely related” to the japa necklace thing.

Jai Harihara Aum.

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4 Responses to Delusions of Grandeur

  1. Dhrishti says:

    I, personally, have two japamalas. One I carry with me in its own protective garment, which also hold a mini murti of my ishtadevata. The other is the one I “use” more often and it actually resides within my home mandir near the murtis there. I do wear that one, but only during puja and really only during the first part of puja – I allow it to “soak” in the vibrations coming from my chest/throat while chanting and then remove it at the end of puja which is when I chant a few rounds of mantra.

    Related to your post, I’ll admit that I’ve always viewed the “external wearing” of one’s mala as gaudy and hokey.

    Beyond all this, I’m struggling a little to connect this to karma yoga – I guess I understand how this behavior could detract from one’s attempt at karma yoga. Is that what you meant?

    • treadmarkz says:

      Interesting. I should clarify that I do in fact take it off daily while doing japa. Sometimes like you I hang it on my mandir on some auspicious item of my choice. But otherwise I always wear it.Sounds like we are opposites.

    • treadmarkz says:

      As for karma yoga, I guess I was just showing how karma yoga can be rajasic and that is okay. (shrug).

  2. jnana shiva says:

    When a sadhu or sadguru accepts their life of service, one of the yogas that will find them is that of how to wear the outwardly identifying emblems of their changed status without it being, as you say, spiritual rajas. I am a Western convert to Sanatana Dharma, and identify as a solitary renunciant, similar to a wandering sadhu, only I wander through the culture of materialism and pursuit of status of Kali Yuga. It is important for me to not lose focus on my quite different values of simplicity, service, bramacharya, and daily spiritual practices, as well as the renunciation of all that would interfere with this chosen life. I have renounced all but the most basic of social interaction, and the pursuit of a career. The only outward emblem of my status as a renunciant is my lotus seed mala, one of a few malas which I use for saying mantra japa. Whenever I am out in public wearing my mala, which is a little strange and eye-catching, I am practicing the yoga of keeping my experience as one of service, rather than handing my experience to my ego. I have improved at this considerably over time. I would say that this is very related to Karma Yoga because I am practicing not being attached to the fruits of my actions, e.g. feeling special and advanced, or etc.

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