DAKSHINA ~ a love offering
Foundation for Cosmic Religion
(Part 19, Chapters 16 through conclusion)
16 ~ Humanity’s Burden
All are in search of peace, but they are searching for it in the objects of the
senses. There is no abiding peace in sense pleasures. There is only momentary
pleasure with a lot of struggle and peacelessness in this world. It is like
jumping into the fire with the desire to enjoy coolness. How can you enjoy
coolness in fire? Most people struggle in this world to become materially
wealthy, thinking that will bring peace. All of them experience later that
along with the growth of wealth, their anxieties have also grown and peace is
In all worldly things man sees the shadow of peace
which he mistakes to be reality. How could there be permanent peace in things
that are impermanent? In the following stanzas of the Bhagavad Gita, the
blessed Lord Sri Krishna teaches to Arjuna, his disciple, the three kinds of
“Now hear from Me, O chief among Bharatas, of the three
kinds of happiness. That peace or happiness is called sattvic or
tranquil, which is born of the placidity of mind as a result of
Self-realization. It appears like poison in the beginning when you try to
discipline your mind and senses, but tastes as nectar in the end. That joy is
really sattvic which bestows divine enjoyment while practicing worship
and meditation whereby one transcends all sorrow.
“That peace or happiness is called rajasic which
is derived from the contact of senses with their objects. It appears like
nectar while enjoying and turns into poison at the end.”
Now in the following stanza, tamasic happiness
“That peace or happiness is known as tamasic
which deadens the soul both in the beginning and in the end, and which is
derived from too much sleep, indolence and carelessness.”
Among these three kinds of peace or happiness, sattvic
peace is the highest. But even this peace comes through one of the three gunas,
and therefore we are warned by the Lord not to get attached even to sattvic
peace, but with the help of that peace, we have to transcend it. In other words
we have to transcend not only the bad, but eventually both good and bad. Both
Bad is like the iron chain and good is like the golden
chain. Freedom and the peace that passeth all understanding lies in
transcending both of them. The following stanzas made this point very clear:
“Sattva, rajas and tamas—these
three nature-born qualities firmly tie the immortal soul to the mortal body, O valiant
“Of these, sattva is pure, enlightening and
flawless; but it binds due to a tranquil ego that comes through
self-identification with happiness and wisdom, O Arjuna.
“Again, now rajas is passion. It is born of the
thirst for sense enjoyments and emotional attachment. It binds the soul through
attachment to actions and their fruits, O Son of Kunti.
“And know that tamas is stupor; it deludes all
embodied beings; it is born of ignorance. It binds the soul through error,
sloth, and sleep, Arjuna.”
Thus, Lord Krishna teaches Arjuna that sattvic
peace and happiness is noble; but he warns that one should not develop the ego
through thinking, “I am pure; I am holy; I am practicing meditation; all the
rest of the world is in sin.”
This kind of thought is dangerous in spiritual life.
Therefore one should know that to transcend the three gunas is the
ultimate goal to reach the realm of freedom and the peace that passeth all
God is the abode of supreme peace. By worshipping Him
and meditating on Him, His devotees enjoy that supreme peace. It is His supreme
peace that is the goal of all sadhana or spiritual discipline. When this
peace settles in the soul forever, that is the highest state of consciousness.
That is the Kingdom of Heaven within.
This peace is attained through exclusive devotion (bhakti
yoga) to God; or through selfless service (karma yoga); or through
the knowledge of true Self (jnana yoga).
In short, when truth is realized through any spiritual
discipline, this peace is attained. The Bhagavad Gita says that without sincere
practice of spiritual disciplines, this peace cannot be attained. The following
stanzas make this point clear:
“An immoral man cannot have a steady mind. Without a
steady mind devotion to God is impossible. A faithless man can have no peace;
and how can there be happiness for a peaceless man?
“He who has controlled his senses, is devoted to
spiritual practice, and is full of faith, attains the light of knowledge;
having gained knowledge, he immediately attains supreme peace.
“One who works with a selfish motive remains bound,
being attached to the fruit of actions; whereas the karma yogi attains the
supreme peace by offering the fruit of actions to God.
“Even if a miscreant worships Me with single-minded
devotion, he could be considered a saint, for he has rightly resolved. Speedily
he becomes a righteous man and gains everlasting peace. Know it for certain,
Arjuna, that My devotee never perishes.”
Thus knowledge, selfless action and devotion are the
ways to attain transcendental peace. Again the blessed Lord taught:
“He who renounces all desires and the feeling of ‘I’
and ‘mine’ and moves free from attachment, attains peace.”
Finally, the doctrine of complete surrender is taught:
“Seek refuge in God alone with all your being, Arjuna.
Through His grace, you shall obtain supreme peace and the eternal abode of
Thus, unconditional surrender to God is the definite
way to attain the highest shanti or peace.
Shortly before retiring, Sw. Vandana
requests a meeting with her greedy, multi-millionaire client. She is incensed
for several reasons, not the least of which is him telling his employees to lie
about what job site they were working on so that he can save a buck in Workers’
Comp premiums. He has even threatened them with his line about “remember who
signs your paychecks!”
Sw. Vandana’s heart pounds when she has to
defend dharma. That there is any fear at all is concrete evidence of
insufficient dispassion. But she does it and writes an account of it to a close
friend and devotee whose sister has died. The devotee is nervous at the
prospect of giving a speech at the memorial service, similar to the fear Sw.
Vandana experiences when asked to confront her client.
How are you holding up? You sure helped me
remember real vs. unreal myself yesterday. Funny how when I remind you of
something important, I’m reminding myself, as well. God is pretty smart in how
He connects us two at just the right moment.
So, after getting your love and support, I
got ready and had my meeting. I prayed so sincerely before I left that God just
use my mind and speech in any manner He saw fit and to take out of the equation
anything motivated by my ego.
God definitely showed up and roared His
displeasure at my elderly client holding his employees’ livelihood over their
heads if they didn’t lie for him. That he had ruined his own reputation already
over the years, but he sure wasn’t going to be permitted to muck with mine (I
sign payroll reports, etc., under penalty of perjury).
I could feel the fire and intensity of our
Lord in my eyes and speech. Things were said about his physical transplanted
heart being fine (he had just returned from a checkup at Stanford), but the
heart that mattered had shrunk to the size of a shriveled pea. That the demon
Greed had him by the throat and was taking him down. That “it’s over,” that “he
wouldn’t survive.” (Don’t even have a clue what that meant, except he’d had two
warnings before) That he was soiling his soul. That the sleepless night he spent
anticipating my meeting with him today was insignificant; that I certainly
wasn’t his judge and the meeting he should toss and turn over, that he should
get ready for, was the conversation he would soon enough be having with his
Creator! My arm raised up, finger piercing the sky, punctuating my speech. The
thunder rolled. Pretty darn astonishing.
I finished there and went home.
Less than two hours later, I get a phone
call from one of the employees. My client had gone to lunch with an old friend
and upon departing the restaurant, which is situated on a hillside with
landscaped and definitely downhill paths, had fallen and cracked open his head!
Bleeding profusely, his wife and friend rushed him up to the hospital in
Turns out he split an artery in his
forehead above the right eye and had to have seven stitches. I offered my help
to his wife, and because I have keys to their home, I could gather fresh
clothing for my client. I did that, picked up a couple bottles of water for the
wife and friend and headed up town. Pondering it all, of course.
Even the employee who’d called, who was
there at the house when I went to get the clothes, walks up to me, eyes
twinkling just a bit, a twitch forming at the corners of his mouth. “Hey, Val,”
he says, “I knew you were pissed, but...?”
I laughed and said, “Yeah, well, I could,
but God would have my head on a platter if I did harm to your boss!!”
I get to the hospital and see my client
laying on a gurney in a small room. His face is a wreck. Blood is everywhere.
Of course, we haven’t spoken since I left in the morning. There are nurses
bustling, and the wife and friend. My client is conscious and talking, cracking
jokes as is his wont in a situation like this. We acknowledge each other and
there is no rancor passing between us.
Gradually (somehow :-), the friend leaves and
then the wife to clean up the bloody things in the car, and then one of the
nurses. There’s only an aide left cleaning the blood from the shoes on his
feet, engrossed in the crevices. My client’s eyes are closed and we’re all quiet.
Then he reaches out towards me, his hand obviously looking for one of mine. I
quickly step over and squeeze his firmly, warmly, not saying a thing. I can see
his eyes well up with tears. I let go and step back, still not saying anything.
Then, the reach out for a silent exchange of touch and reassurance is repeated.
The two dramas merge again; the wife returns, another
nurse to draw blood, etc. The banter begins anew. Then, within the hearing of
all, my client’s head turns towards me standing near the doorway. He says,
“Valerie, you did a good thing for me today. I woke up.” My eyes rivet on him
to see if I am hearing right. He nods. “Yes, you did a good thing.”
“Jai!” I say. (He has no idea what I
just said, of course.) “Victory to you!” I repeat.
We’ll see how long he stays out of that
awful slumber, eh? May God have blessed him with a permanent healing yesterday.
Tatastu! (So be it!)
He returned home last night and a new day
The point of all this, my dear dear friend,
is to remind you that God is with us all the time. I trembled before this
meeting, anxious to speak correctly, like you at the upcoming memorial for your
sister. I prayed sincerely and surrendered my all to God to be used for His
divine purpose, literally in whatever manner He saw fit. Did it take away all
my trembling? Not exactly.
But it did compose me enough to be able to
get all the way through my ‘act of service.’ I’m convinced that before the
final enlightenment, it is hurdling and overcoming this kind of fear... where
ego is trying to cooperate with divine plan, but hasn’t totally merged and
returned tame... that produces the kind of sacrifice that pleases God.
Oh, He loves that Fire! There’s a physical
component to it, almost a pain, certainly uncomfortable. And then mind gets
involved, so mantra kicks in, “RAM!” The heart still pounds, but there
remains a clarity now, a sense of witnessing it all. God will hold our hand
through all our efforts and even do it all, if we but ask. The real Truth, of
course, is that He does it all anyway! LOL. If I really, really got that, sigh,
there would be no more trembling.
The goal of yoga, reunion....
[The client’s ‘wake up’ did not last. Not long
afterwards, I learned he again threatened an employee with his job if he didn’t
steal a wheel and tire off a customer’s truck. The client had a vehicle of his
own he wanted to sell, it needed a wheel and so he stole what he wanted. The
employee did as asked and balanced the customer’s axle on a sawed-off tree
stump. When the customer reported a theft, everybody shook their head ‘no,’
they hadn’t seen anything and reminded the customer that his storage contract
absolved the owner from all liability due to theft, etc.
I told my client to find another bookkeeper. He had a
stroke eight months later. His wife withheld all form of life support,
including fluids, and he died four days later.]
Law of the Last Thought
In almost all of the scriptures, it is stated and
emphasized that one should remember the Holy Name of God always and, most
especially, at the time of death. The thought of God, His divine attributes, or
His transcendental Name, if remembered or uttered at the time of death, will
undoubtedly enable a soul to reach the abode of God. “He who departs from the
body thinking of Me, attains My state; there is no doubt about it.” And again,
“Arjuna, whatever one thinks at the time of death, that and that alone he
attains, being ever absorbed in its thought.”
A man who remembers God at the time of death must have
been a devotee of God throughout his life; otherwise, the remembrance of God
and His divine Name would never come to him. In some cases, due to some good karma,
one remembers the Name of God incidentally and reaches the supreme abode.
In the Bhagavatam, the story of a sinful man named
Ajamila is narrated. He was a good man of noble deeds up to his middle age;
then he fell from the path and committed many sins. He had deep attachment for
an untouchable woman and her children born of him.
When death knocked at the gate, he was so afraid and
pained by the thought of separation from his objects of attachment, that he
cried the name of his last child, which incidentally was a Name of God,
Even though it was an unintentional utterance of the
Name Divine without any thought of God, Sage Vyasa writes in the Bhagavatam
that being uttered at the time of death, it had the power to drive out the
messengers of death, and Ajamila was taken to the abode of God.
As we said earlier, however, it was the good karma
performed up to his middle age which came to his protection at the time of
death. This is a good illustration to prove the efficacy of the Name Divine and
inspire devotion in sinful hearts.
In the story of Ajamila, Yama, the god of Death, says
to his messengers that they have no jurisdiction to go to a place where the kirtan
(divine song) of the Lord is being sung, nor to touch the soul of man being
sanctified by repetition of a Holy Name. Millions of devotees in Hinduism and
all the other world religions practice the simple method of repeating the Holy
Name every day so that they might have the thought of God at the time of death.
In connection with the other utterances, “Whatever one
thinks at the time of death, that alone he attains,” some points should be made
clear. Suppose a man remembers someone whom he loved or some object for which
he had attachment. Does this mean that he will attain that object or be born
like it? No.
For instance, there are people who, due to their
attachment to smoking, manifest through their gestures at the time of death
that they want to smoke. In such cases, the man might be reborn as a worker in
a cigarette factory or on a tobacco estate or as a servant surrounded by such
an atmosphere. In other words, his aspirations in his reincarnation will be
according to his prenatal habits, the foremost of which comes as the last
thought at the time of death.
The attachments of an individual during his lifetime
take six forms—lust (kama), anger (krodha), greed (lobha), jealousy (matsarya),
infatuation (moha) and arrogance (mada). Any one of these could develop into a
very strong tendency in an individual, and it is that and that alone which he
carries with him into his next birth as a predominant tendency. All his other
faculties will also follow him, but the strong impressions of the past pull him
in their direction to do good or bad works in his next birth.
This law of the last thought being infallible, all
saints and sages admonish everyone to develop divine qualities by sublimating,
purifying, or totally uprooting these six enemies mentioned above. Lord Krishna
says in the Gita, “Having restrained all the senses of perception, fixing the
mind in the heart, fixing the life breath in the head, and remaining steadfast
in yogic concentration on God, he who leaves the body and departs reciting the
one-syllabled word, AUM, and dwells on Me in My absolute aspect, attains the
Another illustration is that of King Parikshita, who
questioned Sage Suka, “Oh revered guru, what is the foremost duty of a man who
is at the threshold of death?”
Sage Suka said, “Either through wisdom, devotion, or
the path of Dharma, one’s whole life should be so planned that at the time of
death the remembrance of God should occupy one’s mind. This is the greatest
benefit to this human life.
Man’s aim is freedom. Knowingly or unknowingly, he has
been fighting for that since his appearance on earth. In a sense everything he
has done and thought has been towards this goal. This is because his essential
nature is freedom.
Man feels his imperfection. He thinks he has fallen
from his potential Divinity. He accredits it to some unknown causes or karma.
He wants to regain this lost Kingdom of Heaven. He reads the open book of
nature and receives certain messages. He attempts to find his way towards
Man finds that his body, mind and intellect bind his
soul with lower desires. The demands of the body, like thirst, hunger, sleep
and enjoyment, he finds to be inevitable; but the thought of coming death
frightens him, as he knows he has to leave this body.
The mind and its desires and the intellect and its
questions man finds to be of utmost importance, but he then becomes afraid of
missing the goal by frittering away his time and energy without practicing the
discipline. In other words, he struggles for the way to properly channel his
time and energy to attain freedom.
Then he finds that the way to attain the goal of
perfection is yoga. Yoga is both the means and the end. As a way toward
self-perfection, it is the means; as union with God—our real Self—it is the
end. Yoga, the art of self-perfection, gives him the supreme satisfaction, for
he finds the key in it which unlocks the mysteries of life here and hereafter.
By means of yoga he tries to make his way towards God and
finds there are various planes which he has to conquer before he reaches the
goal. There is the food sheath (annamaya kosha), vital sheath (pranamaya kosha),
mind sheath (manomaya kosha), intellect sheath (vijnanamaya kosha), and bliss
sheath (anandamaya kosha). That yoga or way which brings perfection to his
gross body which contains one’s food sheath and vital sheath is called laya
yoga with its branches, kundalini yoga, and hatha yoga.
That way through which he could attain perfection in
his subtle body which contains the mind sheath and intellect sheath is found in
raja yoga, jnana yoga, and karma yoga. For the gaining of self-perfection in
his causal body or the bliss sheath, he turns to bhakti yoga with its many
branches such as nada yoga, mantra yoga, japa yoga, kirtana yoga, etc., through
which his whole emotional nature is lifted into absolute bliss in ecstatic
union with the Divine.
Man is a complex mixture of will, emotion, and
intellect. Therefore, purna yoga (‘full’ yoga) aims at the triple transformation
of these three important aspects of man. Surrender of the individual will to
the divine will and offering oneself for selfless service of humanity—this is karma
yoga. Introverting the intellect through self-inquiry and attaining wisdom
through meditation is jnana yoga. Purification and sublimation of emotions by
turning them towards God and attaining Divine Love—this is bhakti yoga or the
yoga of devotion.
In the Bhagavad Gita we find these three yogas—karma,
jnana and bhakti—seemingly the most important yogas for Self-realization.
Different only in their preparatory stage, they lead to the same goal and
ultimately fuse into one. Karma yoga leads to selflessness; jnana yoga leads to
wisdom; bhakti yoga leads to love. They are indeed inseparable in their
Lord Krishna says, “The supreme state which is reached
by the jnana yogi is attained also by the karma yogi. Therefore, he who sees jnana
yoga and karma yoga as one, so far as their result goes, really sees.”
Exclusive development of any one to the negation of the
other aspects in him could sometimes make man fanatic, and then he does not
realize the whole Truth. According to the Gita, “Yoga is equanimity,” and “Yoga
means perfection in action.” This equilibrium lies in the triple transformation
of the will, knowledge, and love for integral perfection.
Sri Aurobindo, the prophet of purna yoga, writes in his
great book On Yoga, “Will, knowledge, and love are the three divine powers in
human nature and the life of man, and they point to three paths by which the
human soul rises to the Divine. The integrality of them, the union of man with
God in all the three, must therefore by the foundation of an Integral Yoga.”
It should be clearly understood that ‘yoga’ is not a
Hindu practice. It’s a method for ‘reunion with God’ known and discussed by the
saints and sages of all paths, so no matter which ‘religion’ you belong to, if
you really practice the core values of your religion, you will be practicing
yoga—the art of perfecting oneself to serve as a humble, wise and devoted
instrument of God.
Kingdom of Heaven
The Kingdom of Heaven is the most fascinating study in
the holy Scriptures of world religions. The quest of man never stops until he
realizes God and His Kingdom. In many schools of thought, the Kingdom of Heaven
is a location beyond all spheres. That being the support of the entire
creation, it stands without support.
Those to whom God has revealed the Kingdom speak about
the glory of the Kingdom in a highly mystical way. The reason is, God and His
Kingdom cannot be compared to anything which we have seen. It is of your
consciousness, and it is the Truth. There is no doubt that what we see here on
earth is a reflection of all that is above. Hence the saying, “That which is
above, is below, and vice versa.”
There are other schools of thought that do not believe
that there is any location where the Kingdom of Heaven can be found. They take
only the esoteric meaning that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, without having
its counterpart without or above.
Even Christ Jesus has taught that the Kingdom of Heaven
is within, but he has spoken so many times of his Father’s house having many
mansions, and that he would go there and prepare a place for those who believe
in God. The teachings of Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity emphasize both
dimensions, the inner and the outer, the esoteric and the exoteric.
In other words, there is a loka or sphere where the
soul reaches after death if it is rid of all ego and desires while living. One
will only reach the Kingdom of Heaven above if one has realized the Kingdom
within. Without realizing the Kingdom within, one is not free from karma, and
as long as karma binds the soul, rebirth is inevitable.
The Kingdom of Heaven is total freedom of the soul from
the clutches of karma. That is the reason why Masters teach humanity that the
Kingdom of Heaven is within, which means one has to attain freedom from
duality, ego, and desires while living in this body.
God is dwelling in the heart of all beings as the Self.
He is the light which we call life that illumines the body, and when one
realizes Him through prayer and meditation, it is He who illumines the mind,
which is known as enlightenment.
The consequences of such enlightenment is
Self-realization. This knowledge of the Self makes the soul merge in God
within. Then the soul is separated from the body even while living in this body
just as in a dry coconut the meat is separated from the shell.
Just to show the way, the truth, and the life, such an
illumined Master maintains a silken thread of ego to hold the body and soul
together as per divine will, and then he departs to the Kingdom of Heaven
above. As per the divine law, such a soul which reaches God’s Kingdom above
shall never return again to the round of rebirth, except for the specific
purpose of guiding the world, if God so wills.
In the ancient wisdom of the Himalayas, this Kingdom of
Heaven is called mukti or moksha. Mainly they describe the five types of
liberated states of the souls. They are known as salokya, samipya, sarupya,
sarsti, and finally sayujya.
Salokya means the soul reaching the abode of God. That
abode is considered as a transcendental sphere, infinitely vast and filled with
only pure consciousness. There, nothing is made up of matter, everything is
made only of consciousness. For those who have reached that state of
consciousness, water, trees, mountains, birds, animals, or gardens may be
visible but they are all filled with absolute consciousness. There is no
desire, ego, pairs of opposites, misery, birth and death cycle, fear or
sickness. It is the immortal Kingdom.
Samipya means liberated souls feeling the nearness of
God or sitting in the presence of God. The mystics of all world religions have
spoken about this moksha. It is said that our Heavenly Father asked the
liberated soul of St. Mathilda to sing a song for Him and Matilda requested God
to dance when she sang, to which the Holy Presence agreed and there was a great
rejoicing in the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Hinduism it is taught that Sage Narada and Sage
Tumbura are the saints who always sing before God in the Kingdom of Heaven. It
is also said in some of the Puranas that God manifests there to the liberated
souls as the transcendental person of Lord Vishnu. His power of wealth and
prosperity manifests as Lakshmi, His spouse.
Sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanat Sujata, and Sanat Kumara
glorify the Lord through their hymns. The seven sages of Taparloka, the sphere
of penance, visit the Lord and receive from Him instructions to guide the
world. Such direct instructions of the Lord are known as the Veda or the
revelation. That which is revealed by the Lord alone can be called true
knowledge. It is supersensuous. The normal mind or senses cannot comprehend it.
It is to the superconscious state such a truth is audible and visible. Here the
joy of the liberated souls is enhanced a thousandfold more than those who are
just in the abode of God because of the nearness of the Holy Presence.
Sarupya means the soul is transformed into the likeness
of the Holy Presence or God, as if those souls, having spirit bodies, look like
God in their appearance. But it should be clearly known that even such souls as
these do not have the power of God. They do have divine virtues such as light,
love or any attribute of God manifest in a small measure compared to the
limitless power of the supreme Godhead.
This is another unique state of consciousness where the
soul acquires some of the highest powers of God such as creating or dissolving
planets and tossing to hell or saving from hell some souls. Those who obtain
such powers are known as the Sons of God. This is why you hear in the Bible
that Christ has the key to heaven and hell. It is a highly exalted state of
consciousness while in the human body and to sit on the right-hand side of the
Heavenly Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. In Hinduism, He is called Brahma, the
Creator, just as in Christianity He is known as the Son of God. This power
should not be mistaken for several powers which come to a sage while living in
For example, Sage Vashista was capable of feeding
millions in a trice through the help of a cow named Kamadhenu or Sage
Vishwamitra creating a new solar system etc. In other words, sarsti is a state
of mukti where God specifically confers special powers on His son to take care
of the affairs of the cosmos, angels, and human beings.
Up to now, in all of these states of consciousness,
individuality has been maintained. God allows the soul to maintain its
individuality even though it is filled with universal consciousness. Here the
individuality means to assume the same form in which he lived on earth to
appear before his devotees to shower grace and boons upon them of his own sweet
will. Out of mercy to the fallen humanity, he can even take incarnation with
the permission of the Lord to guide humanity towards the light. When such a
great Master appears on earth, he helps millions of souls to attain liberation
by speaking about the Kingdom of Heaven.
This is total mergence in the essence of God. Here
there is no individuality nor assuming any responsibility. It is merging in
bliss. Even after explanation, it remains a mystery. It is simply
incomprehensible. What type of bliss, how much, how long, and is there an
individuality to enjoy the bliss? None of these questions hold good in that
realm of experience. All that can be said is that such a soul becomes one with
within my heart
Ever offered to
Are words and
poems and Songs of Love
In honor of the
But trapped by
maya and karma-bound
I still struggle
Just a word,
just one word
You! You God of gods!
It is by Your
That I know Your
secret Word of Words
And You keep the
“me” from telling!
Oh, God! When
will this “I-ness” die
And the Word
again come to me?
Face to face, my
with Sri Hari?
Perhaps that day
(with patience won)
The Light of
Supreme and Lawful Order
To hear my vow
‘til then, I
offer the Lord of Lords
Both mantra and
And forever and
ever undying allegiance
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