By R. J. Stewart

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This knowledge of the Supreme is attained after years of austerity, meditation, study, and selfless service to the Supreme, resulting in total self-purification. It is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual exertion. In the Vedas, a rishi is strictly defined as one to whom the Vedic hymns were originally revealed. They are the ones who have mantra drashta or the ability to “see” the mantras. Other sages can never be called rishis, maharishis, or brahmarishis, whatever their merits. Since the order was created by Lord Brahma, it is impossible for Hindu priests and scholars, or contemporary saints, to anoint rishis, maharishis, or brahmarishis, although many persons use such epithets for themselves or for their gurus.

In fact, any society remains vibrant and creative only when it hosts thinkers who examine the misunderstandings and delusions of people from time to time and effectively administer corrective measures. We cannot blame any society for its wrongs. But it is inexcusable indeed if its thinking members do not take stock of the situation and strive to remedy them. The word dharma does not have an English equivalent, although righteousness can be an approximate word to convey what dharma stands for. Dharma denotes the power or process of sustaining human life in all situations, in fortune and misfortune, favor and disfavor, prosperity and adversity.

GANASHTAKAM Bharat Mata Awake O Mother! The time has come to assert your rights! To open the veil of ages, To disclose your eyes, Filled with the wisdom of the ages, Your children are crying to Thee, Why are you silent? Queen of Beauty! Queen of Wisdom! Queen of the World! Uplift us who have fallen so low As to put artha before dharma, Who have renounced moksha And embraced kama. Help us, O mother! Deliver us from the greed that seems to bind us, Allow us to raise our heads once again And proclaim to the world, This is our land!

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