Asato Maa Sloka
Asato Maa Sloka – Explanation
Asato Maa Sloka – Video
Asato Maa Sloka – Activity
Tell the story – Give up atleast one bad habit from Chinna Katha (story given below). Ask the children to role play
GIVE UP ATLEAST ONE BAD HABIT – STORY
A wicked man once went to a Guru for initiation into spiritual life. The Guru asked him to give up at least one of his bad habits. He gave up uttering falsehood. That night, when he went to the Royal Palace to commit a robbery, he found on the terrace another person who said he too was a thief. They broke into the treasury and divided between themselves the diamonds found there. The other person, however, was none other than the King.
The King pretended to be a thief and said he knew where the keys of the treasury were. While the diamonds were shared, the honest thief felt pity for the King of the realm who was losing his entire stock. He asked his companion to leave one diamond behind in the safe. It was done. Next morning, it was discovered that the treasury had been looted. The Minister was sent by the King (who had acted as a thief the previous night) to assess the loss. The Minister found a diamond that had missed the eyes of the thieves. He quietly transferred it to his own pocket and reported at court that all the diamonds were gone.
The previous night the King had obtained the address of the honest thief as they were parting company with their separate bags. So he sent for him and when he stood in court before the King he confessed that all but one of the diamonds had been stolen by him and his unknown associate. The missing diamond was discovered in the pocket of the Minister and the King dismissed him for the lie. The honest thief was appointed Minister instead. He gave up his other evil habits too and pleased his Guru by his fame as a virtuous administrator.
When the robber gave up untruth, he moved to truth. As a consequence the robber’s life moved from darkness to light and he became very prosperous. As a result of this he gave up all his bad habits and transformed into a very good man. He was remembered for his good qualities for many many years. When we walk in the path of goodness, we become immortal because people remember us for eternity.
This activity can be extrapolated to other values as well. Whenever we start practicing any one good value sincerely, all other values follow and we become immortal. Examples – Mahatma Gandhiji, Albert Einstein, Abdul Kalam etc Discussion – Ask the children to give up telling lies for a month and discuss in every class how easy/difficult it is and what are the benefits.
Asato Maa Sloka – Further Reading
In Prashanthi Vahini Swami explains:
Even for being blessed by the Lord’s Grace, One must have Shanthi and await patiently. Serenity alone succeeds in bringing about the result of Sadhana. Add this lesson to the practices you are engaged in, night and day, and to the Shanthi Manthra.
“Asatho maa sadgamaya;
thamaso maa jyothirgamaya;
mrityor maa amritham gamaya,”
This is the Shanthi manthra. The meaning of this mantra is given variously by various people, some elaborately, some succulently.
- “O, Lord, when I am deriving happiness through the objects of this world, make me forget the unreal objects and show me the way to permanent happiness,” This is the first prayer.
- “O Lord, when the objects of the world attract me, remove the darkness which hides the all-pervading Atma, which every such object really is.” This is the Second prayer
- “O Lord, bless me through your Grace with Immortality or paramananda, resulting from the awareness of the Effulgence of the Atma, immanent in every object.” This is the third prayer. This is the real meaning of the Mantra.
The true Bhakta will always be dwelling in God. He has no time to know or feel his welfare or worries. Attaining the Lord is the one and only idea in his mind. It is hard to understand this nature, except by examples. A small child runs about in fear shouting, “Amma, Amma”, searching for its missing mother. The mother takes it up in her arms and places it on her lap. The child stops crying and is free from all fear. But, can the child calculate and find out the difference between its previous state and its present relief? No. Nor is it necessary to do so.
So too, he who seeks ever to serve the Lord will immerse himself in it when the glorious chance comes; in that presence, no anxiety or trouble can disturb him. Anxiety and trouble pester only until the moment of attainment; then, all attention is diverted to the Experience. The past struggle and travail are forgotten.