By Devakinanda Pasupuleti, MD
Ashtottaram 33) OṀ BODHABHŨMYAI NAMAH:
Ashtottaram 33: OṀ (AUM) –BO-DHA-BHOO-MYAI—NA-MA-HA
ॐ बोधभूम्यै नमः
(Bodha: Teaching knowledge, wisdom, the enlightenment of knowledge, values, knowledge, and understanding)
Bodha is that which is conducive to well-being. There are different ways one can educate others: conduct, social, philosophical, spiritual, and political, etc. It is very common in India that teachers, parents, relatives, friends, and sometimes even neighbors teach children good conduct, manners, and behavior if they happen to see the child behaving rudely, inappropriately, or disrespectfully. Elders don’t have the attitude of ‘why should I care, it is not my child’. In society, each and everyone plays a role in a child’s upbringing. They do not have the fear of lawsuits like westerners do. They all chip in, advising the child not to speak vulgarly and teaching the child how to behave properly and respectfully.
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Swamis are the preceptors who teach Self-knowledge and remove one’s ignorance about his/her true nature of Bliss. Gautama Buddha has experienced enlightenment under a Bodhi tree and is hence called Bodhisattva. His teachings are available as fables and tales to humanity to lead them on their journey on the righteous path. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekānanda contributed to the world in general and to India in many ways through their bodhanās (teachings).
Swami Vivekānanda restored the national self-respect of Indians by re-educating them about their past glory, advising them against blindly imitating the west, but also exhorting them to learn the best from it, in which we have been deficient. He effectively pointed out that religion in the sense of spiritual evolution- is the soul of India and that all development or reformation should be done only through that.
Lord Shri Krishna gave Gīta bodha to Arjuna on the battle field-which we know as the Bhagavad Gīta, a household book in every Hindu’s home. Vishnu Śharma, who was an Indian scholar and author of a collection of fables to teach political nēti (conduct, rules, and regulations to be a king) to the princes of a King and these bodhās are well known to Indian children as Panchatantras.
These tales and fables about conduct are very useful at this time for everyone around the world. We have Swami’s like Shri Ramaṇa Maharshi, Shri Vidyāraṇya Swami, Shri Dayananda Saraswati, and many more who spent their lives teaching us the code of conduct, spiritual knowledge, and self-knowledge to pave our lives on the righteous path.
The motherland which has teachers that teach us the right path and values is ‘Bodha Bhūmi’.