October 21, 2008
We Ascribe Unknown Conditions to Destiny
The difference between man and other animals is that man has the capacity to fix the goal for himself, despite external circumstances. Both have to go through the destined pleasure and pain; only, a man who has God to back him can alter their timing. The law of destiny applies equally to the individual and to the world.
It will not be possible unconcernedly to leave the body to bear its destined pleasure or pain unless you quit the idea that whatever you earn is the proper reward of your own effort. If, however, you assign to God everything you possess, the action will go on as normal, without giving rise to a sense of doership.
There are things for which we can point out the cause; and there are many whose cause we are unable to trace. In the latter case we ascribe them to ‘destiny.’ ‘Destiny,’ then, may be defined as matters for which we cannot ascribe a plausible cause. Even saints have to bear the effects of destiny, but they care nought for them because they are able to face both pleasure and pain equably. If an illness comes, one should not neglect to take proper medicine but bear the pain cheerfully. A person having some divine or occult power, should not use his power to cure or to evade anybody’s illness. It may give some celebrity to the person who performs such acts, but it is not in the interest of the person making use of such powers, nor of the one who avails himself of it. Suppose a person comes across a high value currency note lying in the street; that is destiny; but it is his volition whether or not to pick it up and pocket it; destiny does not dictate this. So, it is in our hands to regulate the mental response. Even God has the same law to face when He assumes a tangible form.
Improvement even in the congenital nature of a person is possible if he strives for it. For spiritual progress purity of heart is necessary. Just as farmland has to be cultivated before sowing, all pollution of the heart must be cleared before God can enter and reside in it. Once it is so purified, it is comparatively easy to maintain constant awareness of God. So aim at doing this, and let other things conduce to it. For this everyone should chant nama and live happily, without worrying.
* * * * *
October 17, 2008
Single-Minded Love Gives Rise to Devotion
True devotion can only exist for God. One who has it will be distinguished by a divine attitude to the whole creation, just as a person who regularly goes to a gymnasium can be distinguished by well-formed muscles. If we are interested in scholarship, we should associate with the learned; so, too, if we are interested in devotion and pure, permanent bliss, we must associate with God Who is the object of pure devotion and the repository of sheer bliss.
To see the whole creation as a manifestation of God is the culmination of devotion. This calls for single-minded love of God; indeed, single-minded love is termed devotion. And what is single-mindedness but the conviction that God is the sole support? God has Himself said in the Bhagavadgeeta, that devotion is the only means to attain Him. Just as nama-smarana is impossible if God is forgotten, devotion or single-minded love is impossible if pride of individuality is retained.
Suppose a young man gets married today. He was a celibate yesterday, and becomes a householder today. Despite the change in social status, his other individual functions, such as eating, breathing, etc., continue unaffected. Similarly, even if we change our allegiance over to God, our other activities of life continue unaffected.
Every occurrence in life should be narrated to Him as to a confidant. In order to maintain the feeling that God is present always and everywhere, inform Him of every movement you make, every action you undertake. Such love will enable you to realize Him, and gradually annihilate desire of certain fruit for an action. The ‘body-am-I’ conviction grew upon us by our sense of identity with the body; in a similar way, the ‘I-am-He’ conviction will come as we think, keep aware more and more of Him. For this, it is necessary to think of Him as similar to us in general form and attributes, that is, saguna. Just as we have to walk along the road in order to reach our home, we have to go through saguna upasana in order to realize the true, attributeless God. Saguna upasana is, in other words, to attribute all doership to Him; this is true devotion. Say to God, ‘I shall be happy to accept whatever it pleases you to give’ and when about to do anything, ask yourself,’ Will God approve of this?’
* * * * *
October 15, 2008
Humility is the Gateway to God
Nama-smarana should be completely without pride, in utter submission to God. One has to be specially cautious in this regard, because it is most likely that a seeker may well develop a self-righteous pride of sadhana, rendering sadhana fruitless. When going to a saint, we should completely vacate the mind of all thoughts except that of God and love for Him. On the other hand, we carry with us loving ideas about prapancha, and self-righteous pride; the saint’s guidance then becomes blurred and illegible, like over-writing.
We think of ways to obtain a thing only after first feeling that we want it. Similarly, we should first feel the need for God. Then we look for ways to attain Him. This calls for mental effort; for instance, the effort to suppress anger calls for more courage and control on the mind than giving vent to it. But the resultant bliss makes it all worthwhile. We should be very cautious in our behaviour and talk, to avoid the undesirable.
Utter surrender needs neither money nor learning; we only need to give up pride. God can be easily attained by one with a spirit of humility. One who thinks nothing of oneself, even if his real worth is high, will find it easier to attain God. What is wanted is a determined mind. We should have open dealings, open-hearted talk, and think or do nothing that we would be ashamed for God to see. Our whole behaviour should tend to generate increasing desire to seek God, to yearn for Him. For this to come about, we should always keep the mind immersed in nama. We may be worldly to all appearances, though in the heart of hearts we should belong to God. This attitude to life will help very much in spiritual pursuit.
A person enticed by pleasures and convenience of the body is evidently oblivious of God. But one who vigilantly maintains constant awareness of the presence of God has no regard for worldly greatness. Hankering after money and popular applause leads one away from God. We must not fall into their snare. In worldly life we cannot help coming in contact with them. One who yearns for the love of God should realize their strength and weakness and employ them with proper regard to them, so as to escape their pitfalls. You can attain Rama only by surrendering to Him completely.
* * * * *