Rathangapani – Life Upon the Wheel

by Aranyakananda

Just a note to avoid any confusion. This blog used to be called “Rolling with Vishnu.” Since the change in name and a possible change in appearance/layout, I wouldn’t want to lose connections I have made with regular readers.

I have long felt that “Rolling with Vishnu” was a little bit “cute” actually being a blog about a Hindu with Vaisnav leanings who is also in a wheelchair. Secondly, it suggested a certain degree of duality that I was not comfortable with. Oddly enough, upon discussing the pending change with a very regular reader and a most appreciated critic, it seems the new title, “Rathangapani” suggests even more of the same duality.

Though I am not a Gaudiya, I have always been attracted to the concept of the charioteer as a metaphor for spiritual living. The word “Rathangapani” according to Eknath Easwaran, means “He who guides the wheel of the chariot with his hands.” Being that I am in a wheelchair, this metaphor hits close to home on a gross level, and so I was at first concerned that this title would be taken wrongly. But I am not referring to my body, and I am not referring to an external God.

I remain convinced that the “charioteer” is already there tucked away in each jivan’s consciousness or maybe subconsciousness, but it is there buried for us to find, and consider our GPS as we navigate the cosmic roundabout that is the Wheel of Samsara. It is the Truth, the Self. That is the “He” who “guides the wheel.” All else is Maya, and that is about as close to duality as my little worldview that I am laying out for you here gets. We are always offered by circumstances the way of dharma, or the way of adharma in any situation. And just as in the Gita, the charioteer is the pull toward the way of dharma. I know there is a pull both ways. But Unity in Brahman is the only possible outcome. But for a while, we go round and round. And that is why this weblog is now sub-titled “Life Upon the Wheel.”

As for the two different references to wheels, that of the Cosmic Unity and that of the Jivan/chariot, you’ll just have to dwell on that. They too, may just not be the “two” that they seem to be. That is in fact the beauty of Hinduism. Though we see things in a wide variety of ways, Truth is to be found in all paths.

As for “He who guides the wheel…” as I said, I think that is a choice we make.

May it always be so.

Aum Hara Aum Hara Sadashiva
Aum Hari Aum Hari Narayana
Aum Shanti, Aum Jaya!

This entry was posted in American Hindus, avatars, Avatars of Vishnu, Bhagavad-Gita, blogging, Brahman, consciousness, disabilities, Divine Consciousness, dualism, duality, Eastern Philosophy, ego, Gita, God, Hindu Scriptures, Hindu Sects, Hindu Temples, ISKCON, Krishna, Krishna Consciousness, life, Maya, meaning of life, meditation, non-dualism, panentheism, pantheism, philosophy, pluralism and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Rathangapani – Life Upon the Wheel

  1. Dhrishti says:

    There isn’t much I’ll argue Shri Eknath on, and my comment here isn’t intended to do such. But I was researching this new title “rathangapani” and came across another WordPress blog dealing specifically with the Vishnu Sahasranama. I was pleased to see the name rendered in devanagari, because it allowed me to know precisely how to pronounce this name, with which I was before now unfamiliar.

    The definition of Rathangapani on that blog differs from Eknath’s. Instead of presenting The One as He who guides the wheel with His hand, it indicates the wheel to be His weapon.

    What does that mean to/for you?

  2. J R says:

    Reading and understanding every perspective is a part of hindu religion. So I thought I will send you the link for this book!
    The following is the link of a very compelling book which every shantana dharma practitioner should read atleast once! This book is written by Rabindranath Maharaj, son of Chandrabhan Ragbir Sharma Mahabir Maharaj who attained Samadhi doing rigorous yogic practices!


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