Please note that this blog is still a work in progress.
Jai Sri Rama Samartha!
Please note that this blog is still a work in progress.
Scrutiny should not be Done beyond a Limit
You should try to make God your own. If you continue this effort dispassionately, you will certainly receive the grace of sadguru. If you try to practise under compulsion the sadhana advised by the sadguru and if the thoughts continue unchanged, then how can you experience the love of God? We complain that, after having worked hard for some five years and keeping away from the temptation of sense-objects, we still find no experience. Then the tempo of the sadhana slows down and faith gets diluted. We must have profound faith that whatever happens is according to the sadguru’s will and inspiration only. We forget that God alone generates love in sadhana. The whole effort will be of no avail, if we start feeling proud that from the earlier stage of doing nothing, now we are practising at least some sadhana. Some people achieve success immediately on dedicating themselves at the feet of the sadguru. But how can we allege that the sadguru is partial? One must examine where one has gone wrong. Till now we wished to take to nama but could not do so. Now that we have started the practice of nama-smarana, why should we not regard even this change as His grace?
Man must have patience in prapancha. We should have no fears if we are in continuous remembrance of God. Too critical scrutiny results into a loss. What is the fruit of entire learning? Whatever we like, we follow without scrutiny, and whatever we don’t want to do, we scrutinize it hyper-critically! Critical scrutiny should be only upto a limit. If continued beyond it, we do not understand what we talk.
In spite of the modern amenities that have helped man to travel with speed on water or in air, he is becoming more and more discontented every day. This is not true progress. Whatever be the circumstances and whatever be the times, we can remain blissful. If we look back, we shall find very little which we can claim as done by us. We should not therefore worry about the circumstances. We should do our duty and not allow our vritti to be affected. We shall achieve everything, if we establish firm faith in the doership of Rama.
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Rama’s name is a formless saviour; chant it repeatedly. Hold to it firmly and you will be free from the cycle of birth and death. Shri Shiva recited nama for overcoming the effect of the poison he swallowed. The stories of Valmiki and Ajamela also show the importance of nama. In heaven, earth or hell, nama alone is the most effective remedy. Hanuman jumped across to Lanka by holding nama firmly in his heart. This sense world is like an empty dream. Therefore, take the support of nama, the abiding truth.
Chanting of nama reduces sins to ashes. Many precious stones and other items came to surface when, in the mythological times, the oceans were churned. Nama is much more precious than those items. Even the teachings of the vedas are rectified in the process of chanting nama; it is simpler and achieves the same goal as yoga. The human mind itself is Shriram, and the soul animating the body is Atma-rama. It is the same Ultimate Reality that pervades and activates the entire universe, and therefore you should learn to recognize its manifestation among all the people; merge your own ‘self’ with this manifestation while maintaining nama on the tongue. The great Vasishtha merged with the ‘self’ and Shriram Himself became enslaved by accepting his tutorship. That is why, like a humble servant, I say that one who remembers Shriram does not have to worry about worldly affairs. Nama is a mine of truth, meditate on it. See Shriram everywhere, amongst all humans and animals. Protect the sacred cow, be compassionate to everybody, feed every visitor coming to you, discard sense pleasures by association with saints and remain in nama, unmindful of everything else.
Do not waste even a single breath, earnestly aspire for nama alone, don’t be carried away by the vagaries of the sensitive, subtle mind.
I take your leave now. But please listen to my last earnest request. I have told you today the sacred secret of Rama, nothing else is required. Follow this secret and become entitled to liberation. My sadguru has graced me with the name ‘Brahmachaitanya’. I am only a humble servant, constantly chanting nama.
Really, wherever you look, God exists. Those who have realized God have told us what God likes. The essence of their teaching is, “Surrender to God, giving up all desires for sense-objects.” This teaching must be accepted as a scriptural authority; with their own personal experience, and having attained the state of liberation, they have shown the way to it. He is our real kith and kin who releases us from the bondage of birth and death. Those who belong to God are not afraid of this world. Do we not surrender ourselves to sensuous objects? Then why should we hesitate to surrender ourselves to God? One can perform all miracles but it is not easy to really surrender to God!
When one begins nama-smarana, one is harassed by thoughts of sensuous desires. That shows how one is completely filled, in and out, with all sorts of desires. One must, however, resolutely continue practising nama. Does not one get upset by bad thoughts while looking after the family life? Then why should we be afraid of such thoughts if they arise during spiritual pursuit?
Once he took to nama, Prahlad never looked back; he was saved by nama only; he could liberate himself due to his faith alone. We must therefore remain in unbroken remembrance of God and strengthen this faith. Never think of past sins. You may not undo the wrong of yesterday, but do not waste the present moment. Never get dispaired.
Every sadhana is best in its own way. Be faithful to your sadhana like a chaste lady to her husband. Remember firmly that of all disciplines and religions aim at belonging to God. We work hard till death to fulfil the needs of our prapancha; then why should we not make some efforts to belong to, unite with God? Really, there is no greater sin than forgetting God. Longing for God is divine consciousness, while longing for sense objects is body-consciousness; when the latter diminishes, the mind will become steady in nama. When you reach the stage, ‘You exist, I do not’, with the help of nama-smarana, you can consider that you really belong to God.
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What is maya? That which exists without God is maya. Everything that is visible and perishable is maya. As long as we practise nama-smarana we are out of the snare of maya; when we forget God and nama, we fall under the influence of maya. The essence of anything is in doing it, not just listening to it or telling about it. Howsoever you describe nirguna, it will not be possible to comprehend nirguna. We should, therefore, visualize and worship saguna. One who says ‘I worship nirguna’, does not really know what nirguna is, because in nirguna there remains no one even to tell this.
One gentleman told me that he had read all books on vedanta. I said to him, ‘Then you must have achieved contentment;’ On this he replied ‘That is the only thing which I have not achieved’! Of what use then has his entire reading been? What can we then get from studying vedanta? Let us practise simple and easy devotion. Surrender yourself single mindedly and completely to God, practise nama-smarana; you will get everything. Unless you practise what you read in sacred books the reading is futile. Do not read merely for the sake of reading; it adversely affects your sadhana, and you start developing pride over your reading. Therefore, read only a little, contemplate and act on it.
If you spend even a small part of the day in the remembrance of God, the entire day will pass in the same mood of awareness of God; extending days into months, months into years, and years forming the life, your whole life will pass in the continuous remembrance of God.
You should not be fond of family life itself, but should be fond of your duties therein. It is holy to do your duties, but you should not get involved in attachment to family life. You should mentally belong only to God. If you earnestly remember God, He will definitely keep you happy and contented. To belong to God is to be happy and contented in life. Have profound faith in God and do only what He likes; that is the essence of paramartha.
No one knows when this body may fall; never say, therefore, ‘I shall practise nama when I am old;’ start right now.
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Some people have the habit of always harbouring anxiety for one reason or another, without any basis. Anxiety is a source of distraction in life. If the possession of money becomes a cause for anxiety, then is it not better to give up money? I do not mean that you should throw away money but, at the same time, do not get bound by attachment to it. What is the use of earning money with hard work, if it is to turn into a source of anxiety? Money is not the entire essence of life, nor it is the highest ideal in life. Money is necessary for livelihood; so acquire it by fair means and just sufficient for the needs. You should not allow your peace and contentment to get disturbed, whether you get a lot of money or by chance you lose it. God’s will should be seen behind both the events. Our honour or reputation does not depend only upon money but it depends mainly upon our behaviour; our honour is not lost with money. Everybody feels that one should earn money sufficient not only for the present needs but also for future, for the children. What do we find in the world? The more the wealth, the more the problems and disputes between the claimants. We are not sure of ourselves; how can we be sure of children? But no one really gives consideration to this.
There is a description in Yogavasishtha, that Ramachandra developed a sort of disgust for money. We also have similar feelings. The only difference is that Ramachandra’s disgust was over the surfeit of wealth while ours is for not having ‘enough’ money. We treat money as the means for acquiring happiness in our family life.
Let us divide our requirement for money into two parts. The first part, meant for our family life, should be acquired by honest means, do not covet for more. The second part, which we are fortunate to get in excess of our needs, really belongs to others. We should not entertain any greed for acquiring this.
A rich man spends his entire life in acquiring wealth, but in the absence of awareness of God, the wealth ultimately ruins him. However, if you acquire wealth while maintaining continuous remembrance of God, you will not get ruined but enjoy happiness due to it.
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The early hours before sunrise are very pleasant. It is very nice indeed if some are performing manas-pooja, others may be in deep sleep, while some may be day-dreaming. From dawn till bed-time at night, everyone, from a king down to a pauper, all struggle for only one thing, and it is to attain peace and contentment. In life every one has an urge to achieve contentment. Real contentment is in fact, not dependent on anything. It can be achieved only through the faith that it is Rama who is the real doer of all actions. All saints, from their own personal experience, have shown us the easiest means of achieving contentment, and that is nama-smarana. Early hours before sunrise are very helpful for good studies. Let us, therefore, start this practice of nama-smarana in these early hours. You will achieve everything if you maintain unbroken remembrance of and faith in God. I am sure that Rama will bless you if you continue this practice with fondness and intense urge.
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Nama is a Magic Lantern
A lady was once busy in the kitchen, wearing her traditional sacred saree. In the meantime, her child woke up and started crying for her to pick him. She told the child to remove his clothes and come to her. The child was in no mood to listen to her. A neighboring lady then undressed the child and it was then embraced by the mother. We also behave in a similar manner with God. Without removing the layers of impurities like desires, passions and ego, we wish to reach God. How can we do so? God is most loving and affectionate, like a mother. He is very eager to meet us, but so long as we do not take away our unholy clothes of desires, passions, ego, etc. God will not accept us.
Saints show us the path to reach God. We shall certainly attain Him, if we faithfully follow the path. You might have read that when both Arjuna and Duryodhana approached Lord Shrikrishna for help in the impending war, Shrikrishna told them, ‘one who wants me personally to be on his side will not get my army and material help.’ Duryodhana opted for the army and material help. Arjuna was really happy that he was getting what he wished for; he was sure that every other help was futile without God Himself, there is no use of thousands of bodies without soul. Philosophers tell us that God is beyond the seven seas; He is lying on Shesha, the king serpent; and it’s extremely difficult for a common man to reach him. Saints, however, have greatly obliged us. They have handed over to us the magic lantern of nama; we have only to put oil in it consisting of the company of saints. We have to take great precaution to keep this lantern burning. I repeatedly tell you the truth that if a morally behaving person remains in nama, he automatically develops love for it. Morality is the foundation of the entire structure of paramartha; the structure cannot stand without this foundation.
You must be very careful regarding three things: Regard other women as your mother; treat others’ wealth and censure both as filth not to be touched; and whatever be the circumstances, do not forsake nama; you will certainly attain love of God.
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Vritti or impulse is only a reaction to the impact of the external world on us; It may be pleasure, pain, pride, desire, avarice, etc. It is the real spiritual task to keep this vritti steady. Diversion of vritti towards God amounts to devotion. Devotion to God results in the vanishing of sensuous attraction. Devotion is quite natural. Every one wants it, because devotion means fondness, and everyone is fond of something or other. However, devotion is not possible without becoming prideless, and you cannot attain God without devotion. No one except God Himself can give His love. The devotee and God are not separate. Therefore, just as God is omnipresent, the devotee is also present everywhere. The devotee gets merged into God, and therefore, like God, sees nothing but bliss everywhere. It is the essence of the spiritual path to realize and practise the feeling, ‘I do no exist, You (God) alone exist’ or ‘I am He (God)’; and the only means to achieve this is maintaining continuous awareness of God.
There is only one way available at present to realize God, and that is to remain in His name. Just as the Ganga remains sacred in spite of a number of rivulets and currents pouring their flows into its waters, our prapancha also, howsoever dirty it may be, could stand clean and pure, if we keep constant remembrance of God. There is no alternative to nama-smarana. To renounce all that leads to forgetting God is vairagya, and to follow only such things which help in remembering God is viveka. Rama is really steelhearted in the matter of duties, but at the same time, He is equally tender-hearted towards his devotees. He abandoned Seeta for the sake of duty, while He protected Bharata due to His love for devotees.
Out of my advice to you, whatever you may practise, that alone will come to your help. All of you should practise nama-smarana; there is no other path of your welfare. If there is anything which is naturally available to you, which is devoid of any upadhi, and which does not depend on anyone, it is nama. Rama will certainly bless him who takes it with a pure mind and heart.
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Everyone can attain the experience of God by some means or other, according to one’s temperament. Maruti devoted himself to God as a servant. Dasharatha loved God as a son. Our only thought should be, ‘how shall I attain God?’ Devotion has been considered to be the highest means to attain God. If the obstinacy and love of an addicted person towards his addiction could be transferred to God, the result is spiritual uplift. When I dedicate my good and bad qualities at the feet of God, the result is total surrender or ‘arpanbhakti’. We practise devotion but it is devoid of real love; this is because our mind is scattered in all directions. Therefore, concentrate your mind first; practise a little on contemplation but with single-minded devotion.
Do not practise spiritual means while under depression, or with a tired mind. You should consider how your spiritual attitude will get the proper direction to manifest itself. All saints have told us that God is residing in Pandharpur; however, if we see only a stone there, is it not the fault of our spiritual attitude alone? Have full faith in God. In a dark night, if the lamp is taken aside a little, you lose your way. Therefore, keep your attention fixed on God and concentrate without break on nama, the spiritual means. When I sing with devotion before God, I must earnestly feel that he is listening to me; love for God does not depend on rhythm or tune. Have a firm conviction that you belong to God and earnestly long for His grace; whatever you do should be with single-minded devotion. Have no grief over whatever has happened, have no worry for tomorrow, and do not lose the present awareness of God. Practise nama-smarana with a feeling that God is personally present before you. Every utterance of nama should remind us that ‘God alone is the doer’, so that pride of doership will not stand in the way. True progress in the path of devotion is not to feel pleasure over gains or grief over losses. A person who is most narrow-minded and selfish, and who feels that the entire world is meant for his pleasure, should be considered an egoist. The more the selfishness of a man the more dependent he is on others.
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If a child falls sick the parents pray to God to spare his life; they vow that the child will be dedicated to God if it survives. This means that they will withdraw their feeling of possession or ownership over their child. How does it matter then, if the child dies today? It is only for their own happiness that the parents want the child to survive the illness.
How unwise it is to ask for avoidance of the ultimately inevitable death, instead of praying for deliverance from the entire cycle of births and deaths! If death is a certainty for everyone, why should we not aspire that it should be auspicious? Death which is not followed by rebirth is the most auspicious death. In fact, to forget one’s real ‘self’, is equivalent to death. You should not therefore lose any opportunity to attain our objective while our mind, which is constantly fluctuating, is steady.
We are tormented by conflicting desires. Therefore it is necessary to kill the desire itself by constant utterance of nama. To remain in nama is to kill desire, which amounts to transcending death. The real way to avoid death is to belong to God. There is no fear of death when one realizes God, who is the destroyer of death. A realized soul is never afraid of death. To be merely alive is no life at all. One must have some objective or purpose in life, and that objective should be to remain in constant awareness of God. It should be considered a very fortunate day when one leaves this body while chanting nama.
In fact, we daily die and are reborn. If we sleep and do not wake up again, it is certainly death. Therefore, go to bed while chanting nama, so that you will wake up in His remembrance. However, to remember nama at bed time, you must have previous practice of it during working hours. Similarly, how can one remember nama at the time of death, unless one has been in the habit of constantly chanting it? Let us therefore, start the practice of nama-smarana right from today, this moment.
When Sant Tukaram says, ‘I have seen my death with my own eyes, it implies the experience of complete destruction of desire.
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