Istovrity - A Review
IstabhritiExcerpts from the Book "An Integral Philosophy of Life" by ShriPrafulla Kumar Das, Prati-Ritwik, SATSANGIstabhriti (Devout oblations to the Ideal)
Istabhriti is a Token of Gratitude
Along with the daily observance of Jajan and Jaajan we should observe Istabhriti everyday with due regard. For our life, we are simultaneously indebted to God, human society and all nature. Our existence depends on the service and cooperation of all. The most important fact is that at the back of our creation there lies the self- dedication of God. It is through the grace of the Supreme Father that we have been endowed with life if we are conscious of this truthwe cannot but be infinitely grateful. An active manifestation of this gratitude is the observance, nurture, protection and fulfillment of the Ideal. The Ideal is verily the source of all life that exists in the universe. So to maintain and fulfill him means to nurture the source of universal life. By this we invigorate the very basis of our life. In the domain of our life the contribution of the wide world is infinite. But at the rot of the evolution and stable stay of this world-environment there exist the most gracious Supreme Father. And the Ideal is none but the embodied manifestation of Him. So before thinking of maintaining and nurturing ourselves, our family and our environment we should give priority to maintaining andnurturing Ideal. Because everything flows from Him. So before taking any food everyday we shall have to properly offer oblations to the Ideal with all regard and adherence.
Istabhriti Awakens Our Latent Powers
Through this positive effort the Ideal becomes first and foremost in our life. An inseparable part of this Istabhriti is offering of eatables etc., to brothers in faith and society and other creatures in general, and through this, mutuality, co-operation and integration sproutautomatically. That is why serving the Ideal and the environment constitute an essential feature of the observance of Dharma. If this habit grows in man, then his efficiency is sure to increase. Because this urge of service normally kindles and quickens his latent powers. Man starts sinking under the pressure of his own burden if he continues to be obsessed by selfishness. But if he becomes actively interested in the Ideal and his fellow-beings, an existential zeal goes on providing him newer and newer intelligence and ability to execute onerous responsibilities. Gradually he becomes a great man.
Istabhriti and Attachment to Ideal
It is indisputable and irrefutable psychological fact that the more we think, speak and do for a man, the greater love do we develop for him. Thought and speech contribute to enhancement of attachment, no doubt. But active work becomes most effective in augmenting our love. The more we do for a man with an emotional urge, the more does he possess our mind, brain-cells and nervous-system. In other words he becomes our own to that extent. The more we love a man, the more do we imbibe his attributes consciously and unconsciously. So, the best effect of observing Istabhriti is that through it our love for the Ideal intensifies. And the more the Ideal-centric devotion and love grow, the more does a man have his character transformed.The most precious thing in the world is genuine adherence to the Ideal. What could be a more wholesome thing than that which helps us in awakening this adherence? So we should serve the Ideal with our body, mind and resources. But we shall have to serve and maintain him without any selfish expectation. If we observe Istabhriti with a selfish expectation, our mind will remain centered in the expectation and it will not be directed towards the Ideal. So it will not be free from the whirlpool of passionate cravings. And it is an indisputable fact that release from passionate obsession constitutes the very foundation of fulfillment leading toutmost becoming.
Transformation of our Worldly Activity
If the urge of Istabhriti possesses a man's brain, then whatever work he may be engaged in for earning his livelihood, the memory of the Ideal continues to persist in his consciousness in and through all that he does. Because the duty of maintaining the Ideal assumes primary importance to him and everything else becomes secondary. The urge of fulfilling the Ideal becomes the prime incentive of all his activities. Thus his mundane work for earning bread becomes transmuted to a holy act of acquiring materials for worshipping the Ideal. In this way his active worldly life serves to promote his spiritual life. Activities do not dissociate him from the Ideal rather they forge a communion with him in all concrete reality. And his all attention is constantly directed towards the objective of performing every work in an honest, efficient prompt and flawless manner. It becomes impossible for him to have recourse to any dishonestmeans. Because what can be more unholy than the offering that is made to the Ideal out of ill- gotten wealth? How can we offer any impious oblation to the Lord? If a man is guided by these considerations he automatically becomes honest and good. Good means that which nourishes existence. Then man is actuated by an urge to make all his acquisitive efforts nurturing to the existence of the environment. When the sense of Dharma permeates every bit of his active life, it spontaneously brings an inundation of life and growth in the world. His very breath exhales and emits a wave of wellbeing.
Five Principal Daily Sacrifices
This is what is called making our life full of sacrifice. Sacrifice means service that leads to the growth of people. We are being enlivened and nourished physically, mentally, vitally and spiritually by various factors emanating from our past and present global environment. So we should daily serve and nourish this global environment. From this standpoint the scriptures have enjoined the duty of observing five principal sacrifices (sacrifice for the seers, sacrifice for the gods, sacrifice for the forefathers, sacrifice for the human race and sacrifice for all creatures) in our daily life. This signifies that we ought to do our duty to the whole world which sustains us in so many ways. We shall receive but we shall not give—such a one-sidedaffair does not operate successfully in the world order for long. It wears away the very foundation of our existence. So everyday we shall have to go on nurturing all that nurtures our existence. This is the law of life. So we shall have to pay greater attention to doing our duty than to having our demands fulfilled. Without worrying about what we have not got, we should concentrate our attention on reckoning how much we have got from the world. if this thoughtpossesses us, then we cannot but be bent low in gratitude. Then alone we can realize what we should do for the Creator and His entire creation. Then there remains not other alternative than to take up the responsibility of maintaining, nurturing and protecting all according to our capacity in an unconditional, unselfish and non- egoistic manner. Contentment, self-complacence and self-expansion normally flow from such an active serviceable tenor. Then we can realize—"We are for all and everyone is for others". In this wayour entire life becomes dedicated to God. Self-centric greed and cravings are eliminated only when we are possessed by a zeal for concentric, active self-dedication. Peace, satisfaction and attainment sprout from it automatically. When we actively identify ourselves with the interest of the Ideal and the environment, our real interest becomes fulfilled in all respects in accordance with the law of nature. But these does not exist an irritating consciousness that arises out of an inordinate, restless and unsatisfied greed and expectation. This loving unexpectant concentric fulfilling effort raises a man above the level of his passionate desires.Then a divine harmony dawns in the domain of our life. An active engagement in service makes our life meaningful in all—specially in expansion, becoming and existential enjoyment. The deepest essence of observance of five principal sacrifices or Istabhriti lies herein. It is needless to say that Istabhriti is a form of the five principal sacrifices adapted to the needs of the modern age. And the abandonment of these five principal sacrifices is mainly responsiblefor the prevalence of poverty and pauperism in the national life today.
Elimination of Pauperism
Poverty is great problem of man. The society and the state are leaving no stone unturned to solve this problem. But there is no doubt about the fact that there is a deep relation betweenpoverty and the character of man. If we analyze deeply, then we shall find that generally indolence, ingratitude, self-centeredness, lack of self-confidence and honour-sensitivenes etc. are the concomitant factors of poverty. If these defects are not rectified, removal of poverty becomes almost impossible. If these defects are not properly dealt with i.e. if they are not adjusted, then no amount of scope or opportunity can make a man successful in life. Andrectification of these defects cannot be effected by external agencies alone. He should feel an urge within himself to do so. Of course, some induction can be provided from outside for rousing that urge. But if a man does not save himself, at least, if is not willing and does not exert himself, very little can be done from outside. An idle man may be made to work by intimidation and chastisement. But if he has no will or urge behind it, how much energy can he employ in what he does? The other defects mentioned above can hardly tackled from outside. So such a man can be saved if active adherence to the Ideal may be instilled into him. One of the principal means to activate and intensify adherence to the Ideal is the observance of Istabhriti in daily life. That keeps the initiation considerably alive. Of course, Jajan and Jaajan should accompany it. A man who is busy and obsessed with self-centric propensities does not understand the importance of anything except narrow and sordid self- interest.If the attention of the person who is idle due to lack of gratitude and fulfilling urge, who has got his self-diffidence hardened by indulging in the habit of indolence, who has no sense of dignity of labour and is constantly afraid of losing his prestige, in fact,who is a captive of a hell of his own making, can be turned towards the Ideal and the environment and if he engages himself in a determined manner to serve the Ideal and the environment in his day to day life, then his stupefied and sluggish being rebounds with a valorous urge. He finds a new zest and joy in life. The joy flowing from unselfish doing, giving and dedicating possesses him. He can discover the hidden source whence streams out the enlivening zeal of life. Ten he feels a deep driving desire within himself to vigorously advance towards the attainment of a concentric larger life by overcoming all weakness and opposition. What is most needed is to be attachedto a living centre representing the very essence and manifestation of love out of an urge for fulfilling whom he will roll on like a flood over the world being equipped with all possible resources of service. If he has a maddening determination to please the Ideal, he cannot but serve the environment. Because he knows that his Ideal is interested in all. So he does not think in terms of excluding or ignoring anyone. Moreover, if he has to serve the Ideal and theenvironment, he must develop his earning capacity. The basis of this acquisitive effort is also service calculated to fulfill the need of the environment. From this urge his inventive talent, intelligence, working capacity and other latent powers will unfold normally. He will turn out to be a new man, a lovely man. Here we can see what a tremendous influence Istabhriti exerts in doing away with pauperism. In this context it is to be specially remembered that mere mechanical and formal observance of Istabhriti will not suffice. Active effort to fulfill each and every wish ofthe Ideal is also an inseparable part of Istabhriti.Moreover, the amount of Istabhriti should be progressively increased. This yearning will gradually go on unlocking our efficiency.
Change of Outlook
It will not do to forget that all the materials of life that we enjoy owe their origin to God or man who is himself the best creation of God. we may obtain things by our labour, but God has created the possibility of having our needs fulfilled through the application of industry. So there is no end to the responsibilities and duties that we have towards God and his creation.One of those duties is observance of Istabhriti. Through this we can establish a conscious link with the creator and His creation. That link is an active link involving the cultivation of love and the deepest sentiments of our being. As we go on sustaining this tie we gradually realize that we with all we have are His representatives whose main duty is to serve God and the world. That is not all. In fact, we belong to the whole universe and the whole universe belongs to us. The `I'became the All, the All is `I' and bliss. When I can discover myself in themselves in me, there emerges the culmination of becoming and bliss. So it is full of bliss.That is why in the Gita we find the percept of partaking of remnants of sacrifice. First of all we are to offer Istabhriti and then we can have food and drink. If we take food without doing this, that is as good as enjoying the fruits of theft and sin. Because thereby the supreme source is actually ignored, excluded, and forgotten. We shall have to do away with thisoblivious narrow, isolated move and invoke a conscious, expansive, well-attuned go of life. We shall have to be attached to the mainstream of a larger life that embraces both the Ideal andthe environment. And that sort of life does have a material origination through the medium of Istabhriti.Istabhriti and the Emergence of a Capacityto Overcome DangersThe devout observance of Istabhriti generates such a potent existential strength and intelligence in the psycho-physiologica l system of a man that he can easily get rid of dangers, accidents, and calamities with the aid of the same. A man who is constantly engaged in materializing the wishes of the Ideal normally acquires the knack, volitional urge and mental strength to subdue all that is hostile to his existence. So he does not perish even in the midstof devastations. While others are swept away like so many straws in the face of disasters, he stands unmoved like a tower with an unsullied glory. Due to the emergence of a concentric, adjusted, fine responsive faculty, he often gets premonitions of imminent dangers and thus avoids and averts then skillfully. This is no miraculous phenomenon. This is just a scientific reality. Danger-averting inspiration and resourcefulness are likely to be the constantcompanion of him who is always active, alert and ardent in furthering the cause of universal well-being.
Quite a lot of points may be discussed in connection with Istabhriti. Anyway we intend to conclude this chapter without going into sundry details. What we aim at emphasizing is that the meaningfulness of everything we acquire in life lies in employing the same in the service of the Ideal. Otherwise we do not have mastery over our acquisition. We become subjected to attachment, bondage, encumbrance and perversion by what we gather and pile up andultimately ruin ourselves thereby. In that state we lose active communion with the Supreme source and eventually miss the dynamic flow and glow of an ever-evolving go of life. We startwithering away like a narrow and shallow sheet of stagnant water. But whatever we dedicate to his service unexpectantly goes on growing owing to the unfailing operation of the invariablelaw of Nature. That alone emancipates us from the shackles of selfishness and delusion. That alone serves to make us great and expansive transforming us to be the vehicle of the infinite.His infinite power finds a free play and flow in and through us. But there does not grow any egoism or attachment about our achievements."You do not own anything for your narrow self even when you are in full possession of everything. So, you are always pure".We sincerely pray to God so that everything we possess may be used for the Ideal and the existential service of self and the environment and may thus make ourselves pure, enlightened and liberated. Let us ceaselessly advance towards the attainment of bliss.
Received from Internet resources