Most organised religions have an element of suffering and self sacrifice built into the framework of religious rituals.
Why ?

Why do we voluntarily "suffer" in the name of religion ?
Do we desire it ?
Does God demand it ?
Is it a spiritual blackmail to make God grant our wishes ?
Is it a macho masochist desire to prove we can take whatever God / providence throws at us ?
Is it a social badge of "Done It" status ?
So do fasts, flagellations, pilgrimages and vigils make us better people ? or more religious people ? or more spiritual people ?

So is Taap similar or different to this ?

Ancient sages did TAAP to achieve their life's goals.
Popular misconception is that taap is a penance of sorts and you are burning away your sins or past karmas by doing taap.  Taap is often associated with pain - especially physical pain.  More extreme the taap, the more awed we are by it.  But is this right ?  What was taap for ?  What should it be for ?

Taap of the ancient sages was not to burn away karmas, but to PLAN for an awesome future.  Kashyap did taap to have amazing number of children that would fill the universe.  Kardam and Devhuti did taap to have God incarnated as their son.  Attri did taap to unite the various branches of Vedic philosophies.  Ravan did taap to defeat the Devas.  Dhruv did taap to sit in the lap of the divine father.

If their taap seems painful to us, its because we forget that these people were single focused and lost all touch with reality in their relentless pursuit of perfection.  These great sages were so consumed by the idea of achieving their goal that they forgot to eat or drink in normal measure.  They forgot to sleep or take care for their body.  We only see the outer signs and forget the inner goal.  


Scientists have consumed dangerous chemicals and worked with radioactive material, damaging their own bodies to advance our collective knowledge.  This too is a form of taap of Sarasvati.  How often have people at the 'top of their game' worked 80 hour weeks, forgotten to eat, drink or even be with their families for sake of career success !  This is their form of taap to get wealth and power.  How many politicians have toured the country, addressing rallies, walking amongst crushing crowds to win elections ?  This is their taap for power.  How many musicians and actors have worked punishing schedules to complete their concerts, films or plays without complaint ?  This is their taap for fame (kirti).

Taap is, was, and should always be our way to plan for something great.  Taap is our intense desire to achieve something.  Taap of the research scientists is to find the next cure for an incurable disease.  Some scientists want to find the next "habitable planet" and they spend entire lifetime pouring over data most of us would dismiss as dots on dark paper.  Some engineers want to design buildings that can withstand earthquakes.  Others want to find ways to tap into unlimited source of energy.  Their taap is no different to the taap of the sages.

Taap can be inspired by satvic, rajasi or tamasi emotions - motivated by feeling of universal brotherhood, personal desire, greed or hate and vengeance.  Emotions we have during a task colours the results we get.  This is true for taap too.  What makes a difference between us and great sages is that they have used taap to plan for something that will transform the world.  We have burned our innards out for a handful of dollar, pouds and ruppes.  Their achievements are eulogised even now.  Our bellyache is forgotten before the end of the day.

Make your taap, your inner burning desire, something worthy of you.  If you are going to burn on the inside, make sure it's for something that makes a powerful impact on the outside.  Make sure your agony results in ecstasy for all those who view your results.  Agatsy muni left his native North India to spread Vedic philosophies south of the Vindhya mountain range.  Vishvamitra's taap resulted in creation of a new heaven for king Trishanku.  Adi Shankracharya's taap revived Hinduism in India.  Columbus's taap opened the way to discovery of new continents.   Gandhiji's taap freed India from British tyranny.

Don't let your taap be wasted like that of Kashi princess Amba who sought vengeance despite having had the darshan of Parshurama and Shiva !  Don't let your taap be reviled like that of Hiranyaksha who used his abilities to drown the Earth.  Don't let your taap be wasted like that of Kumbhakaran who slept for most of his life.  Don't let your efforts and energies be cursed for all times like that of the Nazis who used their considerable organisational power and technical knowhow to pointlessly destroy countless lives across Europe and Russia.

Let your taap be for the upliftment of mankind.
Let your taap be for the greater good of all.
Let your taap be something YOU can be proud of.



© Bhagwat    [email protected]


Return to Index

Return to Bhagwat's main page

Return to ShriNathji's Haveli