The Mandate of Heaven

God created the world, blending matter and consciousness, virtue and vice; the sane and saintly take virtue from vice like the swan which takes milk from water.

– Rama Charita Manas

Most  people in this world are like untrained soldiers fighting in the dark. They are swinging their swords indiscriminately without knowing whether they are killing foes or friends, whether they are fighting their way to victory or defeat. Everyone is pursuing victory and success but very few

are aware of how to achieve it.

Their path to success is darkened by ignorance. Therefore, they often encounter failure, frustration, stress and anxiety instead of success, joy, peace and freedom. Moreover, most are unclear about what constitutes success. Why do they need it? In their narrow view, they confine success to material wealth. Everyone is busy acquiring wealth at the cost of his physical, mental and spiritual wellness. To cap it all, many even compromise with their ethics and morality and put a price tag on their value system. One thing at the cost of another is the symptom of an imbalanced life and it fails to bring about lasting joy, satisfaction, sense of worth and well-

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being. It is an ignorant path to success. God does not want us to live this great life in this way.

The mandate of heaven refers to a divine scheme of life, a life of all-round success and well-being. Success acquires a new dimension in this context. True success in life means a life of physical, mental and spiritual well-being, a healthy and happy life with purpose, peace, passion and material possessions. This is called an enlightened or spiritual approach to success. In this approach, man moves from the center to the circumference, from divinity to materialism, or from potential to possession. This approach can be explained as:


Potential + Purpose = Possessions

1.    Know Thy Potential: As science claims, “an atom is universe in miniature.” The Bible says, “Man is made in the image of God.” “Whatever is in macrocosm, is in microcosm” is an oft-quoted spiritual proverb in India.

There are two ultimate realties in the universe: energy or spirit and matter or nature. They share a hand-in-glove relationship and form the fabric of creation. The former is immortal, immutable, imperishable and sentient and the latter is mortal, mutable, perishable and insentient.

One is the creator and the other is the creation. As a spider creates its web from its living self or the body,

God projects the material cosmos from the vast ocean of infinite energy and hides Himself behind it.

The carpenter and the wood are both required to create a wooden table. In the same way, energy and matter complement each other in the creation of the universe.

God wanted His children to enjoy the movie of life played on the vast screen of the universe. The tragedy in human life sets in when the all-powerful soul identifies with the

The Mandate of Heaven


body and forgets its true divine nature; it subscribes to all its constraints and limitations like electricity to the bulb. Human body is brittle and can have limitations, but the soul, the enlivening and illuminating power, is omniscient and omnipotent. Man’s complete reliance on the body and material sources of power and success leave him powerless against the forces of nature both within and without and man is tossed to and fro helplessly, as long as he remains oblivious of his divine status. The divine prince becomes a pauper in this world, suffers and stumbles through the journey of life.

The mandate of heaven recommends us first to “know thyself,” that is, know our true status and demonstrate how to tune in to the inherent divinity for seeking all-conquering strength and all-accomplishing wisdom. The practice of meditation optimizes our inner resourcefulness and energy to combat with any unpleasant situation. In its absence, man’s whole life is wasted in wallowing in self-pity or arousing the sympathy of others. Forgetting his inner strength, he looks for a stronger shoulder to lean upon.

2.    Find Thy Purpose: Those who practice silence, self-introspection, or meditation regularly have greater self-awareness, the first and foremost life skill, than those who never practice self-analysis. Such persons are jostled out of their semi-robotic existence now and then when they receive shocks and blows and are forced into some thinking. Although people often mistake self-awareness for self-realization, there is a huge difference between them.

Self-awareness refers to the knowledge of our “lower self,” our mind, its functions and complexities, attitudes and inclinations and psycho-physiological strengths

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and weaknesses. However, self-realization refers to knowledge of our “higher self,” the soul, its potential and possibilities. Those who work towards self-realization have a heightened sense of self-awareness that helps them find a purpose or a job suitable to their talent, taste and temperament. It is only awareness about our place and purpose in the cosmic scheme that brings us sense of worth, satisfaction and true fulfillment.

3.    Enjoy Possessions: Man lacks nothing in life when he realizes his true divine status and finds a purpose in the “big picture of life.” When one serves society with God-given talent, honors and accolades, material affluence and all sorts of abundances follow like shadows.

Those who turn this scheme topsy-turvy follow “the delusion of the devil” instead of “the mandate of heaven” and their life becomes a roller-coaster ride and they are pushed up and down, to and fro in their quest for success and satisfaction. The life of such people becomes more a saga of sorrow than a song of success and celebration.

Human life is a beautiful, blank canvas and man is the painter with unrestrained liberty. It’s up to him whether he splashes the canvas with colors of love and joy or smears it with murky shades of sorrow, failure, frustration and dejection.