What is compassion, how do we get it?

Being Human : Going Beyond Sattva, Rajas, & Tamas

As part of my giving back to the Ashram I have been listening to talks of Swami Anand Krishna and transcribing them into the written form, I would like to share with you, my readers, the wisdom of Swami Anand Krishna, a Guru.  Below is an excerpt of his teachings transcribed by myself with some extra definitions to ease the understanding. The bulleted text in italic is the additions I have added, the rest are his words, his teachings with the exception of my take at the end.  

Some people are living but their hearts are dead, without love, without compassion we are as good as dead there is no difference at all between us and the wild beast.  How to get that Compassion?  How to develop that compassion?  When you are born you are born without compassion, you do not know compassion, anytime there is a little problem you just feel a little bit hungry and you start crying, you do not realize your mother who has just gone to sleep, as babies without compassion, there is not a single child who knows what is compassion, there is not a single child who knows compassion. 

Compassion is something to be developed, if you believe in God or you believe in the forces of nature, whatever.  That is why the moment you are born we are born as human beings we are fitted with Neo cortex, no animals have got that Neo cortex, if you see the atomy of the brain Neo cortex is like an external disk that has been fitted there very quickly fitted all of our organs are one unit, kidney one unit, liver is one unite, heart one unit, but our brain there is the left right hemisphere, the right hemisphere, the stem of the brain.  Neo cortex is an addiction disk fitted there, a lot of people don’t use the Neo cortex.   

What is the function of the Neo cortex?  Neo Cortex is to develop Viveka, no word for viveka in english, the nearest to it is the faculty of discretion, to decide.  What is that to decide?  Neo cortex has its own program, if don’t use it you don’t use it. 

  • Viveka is a Sanskrit term that can be translated as “right understanding,” “discrimination” or “discrimination knowledge.” It is one of the four attributes of a spiritual disciple. It is the ability to differentiate between the real and unreal, eternal and temporary, Self and non-Self, pleasure and bliss. It is a spiritual practice of realizing the Truth and the Soul. (www.yogapedia.com/definition/5616/viveka)

Viveka is a bridge to the supreme, to the Devine.  If you don’t develop Viveka, pending work, pending account, come back again, develope Viveka, more work.


Because we can live with the rest of the brain, Neo Cortex is not important  if you are hungry you eat, if you want to have sex you have sex, in the name of freedom, just like any animal we can live without Neo-cortex.

You can work, you can make money without Viveka, no problem at all. 

What is this Viveka?  Why are we given Viveka?  Why are given this Neo cortex?  What is the basic programming of the Neo Cortex?

Session 2

The basic programming of Neo cortex is to digest all information, to process it and to divide it into two categories:

Priya and Shreya, we have been discussing this. 

Priya and Shreya if your interested more on this subject I have a book in the form of a story in english called Master of Creator and Creation.  What is Priya and shreya?  It is everything that pleases your senses, what ever is pleasing, pleasant to my senses that is priya, that is Priya, it may not good it may not be right but as long as my senses are fulfilled, that is priya, wrong, not also, Priya also is required but Shreva is one step further, what is right, not what is pleasant, but what is right and this is a huge question what is right for me and what I feel like doing.  I always give this analogy from google, I am feeling good today,  If you just want priya google can do the job.  If you just want to feel good you don’t need shreya; shreya is what Neo cortex has been fitted for. What is right for me to do?  This development of Neo cortex thousand of years ago they stared it, a child, when he is going to school, before he goes to school, he is given a lesson in how to develop this Neo cortex. 

There is a ritual, it not a ritual, its a passage entering into school age from infancy from  very early childhood going into schooling there is a passage, a ritual, a right of passage – it is called Upanayana; a kind of initiation and he is asked to chant

Om Bhuur-Bhuvah Svah

Tat-Savitur-Varennyam |

Bhargo Devasya Dhiimahi

Dhiyo Yo Nah Pracodayaat

what is right, oh Lord, not even Lord, even Lord is not even used in Oh Bram … oh source of light; illuminate my intellect so I that can do what is right for me to do and what is not right for me to do, there is no prayer like that given to a child 4-5 years of age in any document anywhere in the world, so sometime when Balinese and Hindu’s tell me Gita is very difficult to understand, how will you understand Gayatri if you don’t understand Gita.  This is the basic thing in the Hindu philosophy of life. 

Session 3

The word for Religion I just discovered, thanks to David Fralaey, he reminds me of an very important point, very close to religion the word used in Bhagavad Gita “Shradha” faith & trust.  Dharma is not religion, unfortunately the word Dharma is often translated as religion.  Shradha is religion and Krishna says there are three kinds of Shradha.

  • Śraddhā is a Sanskrit term loosely translated as “faith”. It is important in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist literature and teachings. It can be associated with faith, trust, confidence, and loyalty. The teacher Ammachi describes it as the “constant alertness arising from Love”, and when choosing a single word to translate it into English, has used “awareness”. Other writers have also described the concept with emphasis on the intersection of faith and mindfulness, and it has been translated in this vein with words such as “diligence”. (wikipedia)

Sattva, Rajas, & Tamas, quoting Bhagavad Gita.

Sattva, the commendable, the desirable where you consider others, you do not consider your own joy, your own benefit but you consider the benefit of all, this is the first category,

You pray to God for something, I light a candle for you God give me a son, give me a job, that is straight, that is the second type of religion (Rajas), very generic, oh Lord I pray to you make sure I am in heaven, carry me to heaven and sometime, the third (Tamas) time we consider God as Lord, the supreme Devine force as the bell boy in the hotel, anytime we call him he has to be there to fulfill our needs, our requirements, our wants, its like room service we reduce God to that.

A Hindu who believe in dharma, he is very close to Sattva but he is not also Sattva he is beyond all these three, when you use the Mala (mediation beads), you hold it like this, these are the three characteristics of religion Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.  Tamas is the most undesirable one, Rajas is okay okay so so, Sutras is the most desirable one, believe Bhagavad Gita again, you carry this you hold this like this and this is your ego, this index finger (middle) is your ego and your thumb represents Lord, God, Goddess, supreme force.  Whenever we want to point fingers at somebody remember it is your EGO when you point at somebody three fingers are pointing at yourself. 

  • In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviours that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’.  In Buddhism dharma means “cosmic law and order”,  but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for “phenomena“. (wikipedia)

It is an Echo, three fingers are echoing to yourself, you say I am good, your telling yourself I am good, I am good, I am good, three times you tell yourself I am bad, I am bad, I am bad, three times or you can abuse anybody but slap yourself three times, you want to commit suicide you will commit suicide three times, not once otherwise don’t commit suicide because you cannot commit suicide three times in a row.

This EGO has to be put like like this (pointer finger touching thumb in a circle), our arrogance, everything and then I give you the simple one, you start from here (at knot) and do your mantra, whatever mantra you are chanting and the right way to hold it is put it beside your heart.




Below is my understanding, my take on these teachings.

My basic understanding of this message is that Compassion is something we develop by moving beyond our EGO, transcending the mind.  It a learned behaviour, we are not born with compassion,  we have to develop this very important part of our being.  Compassion is developed in our Neo-Cortex, the home of discretion and ability to come to the right understanding, to do the right thing keeping everyone in mind, not just ourselves. Information is uploaded into the Neo Cortex and regurgitated with two options, to please your senses or make the right decision for you as a whole.  This, I believe, is where intuition becomes our guide, making those tough decisions not because it pleases our senses but because we know in our gut that it is the right decision to make, we may not know why, we may not even like it and sometimes it doesn’t make any sense, it usually goes against society’s expectations of who we thing we should be, what we think we should do, but its that gnawing feeling inside of you that tells you what is the right thing to do.

We move through various stages as we climb to Sattva – blame, expectation, and finally trust & confidence.  Sattva is the commendable, the desirable, where you consider others, you do not consider your own joy, your own benefit but you consider the benefit of all

Which brings us to faith, to trust, to confidence and loyalty to ourselves; to awareness –   Dharma – living within the order of the universe, the right way of living, it is seeing and believing that the tapestry of this life, this world, is intrinsicly woven moments together to bring each and every situation, circumstance, experience into our lives.  It is trusting the cosmic law and order.  It looks like phenomena (synchronicity, coincidence) but we trust in the orchestration, the manifestation of each and every moment.  We trust, we believe.

It is our enormous task of stepping out of the EGO and realizing that each time we want to blame, we want to put expectations onto others, we are attached, we want, we criticize, we judge, we ridicule we are in our damn EGO again, and our mission in this life time is to step out, transcend the mind, go beyond, to keep practicing using a mala (mediation beads) along with chanting to keep reminding ourselves that the EGO mind is just the EGO mind, and thoughts are just thoughts, and in practice we continue and arduous task of stepping beyond this seemingly ever present beast, the EGO.


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