Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.21

November 21, 2008
Stop Fancying, and Steady the Mind

If a villager visits the tahsil headquarters and is asked about his native place, he will give the name of his village; if he goes to the district headquarters, he will mention the name of his tahsil; similarly, in another state of the country, he will say he is a native of Maharashtra; whereas in a foreign country, he will say he hails from India. Thus, the larger one becomes, the less one minds the differences, and the more one tends to sink differences. Similarly, because God is the basic object of all religions, one who has attained God will treat all religions with deference. Till then, however, one had better follow the religion one is born in.
The various ideas man has had about happiness have failed to bring the expected results. One of these ideas was that money gives happiness; since even fabulous wealth has failed to give the desired satisfaction, the expectation has been proved wrong. Again, we see that what one person covets another detests. This shows that the thing is in itself neither pleasant nor unpleasant. A person often changes his own mind, that is, his likes and dislikes; therefore, there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. Even relationships may be more notional than real. Calamity may cause repudiation of facts and relationships. Since they are often figments of imagination, we can replace one by another, and finally get rid of both. If we must indulge our fancy, why not think of God, that He is the most generous among donors, that He is our protector, He is the one to bestow happiness on us? It is these thoughts that are truly in our interest, and will really make our worldly life happy. It is experience that verifies or disproves our fancies; when fancy ends and the mind becomes free of its flights and inclinations, we should fix them on a steady object; and God is the only steady thing in creation.
It is a hollow idea to feel that one is happy because one has a certain thing or situation. One should be contented, irrespective of any particular material thing or situation, and the mind and its inclinations should be steady in the meditation of God. This is the goal that paramartha seeks to attain.

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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan -Nov.20

November 20, 2008
Rama Alone is the Ultimate Reality

‘Who am I? Whence have I come?’ The answer is: You are the birthless, ever-existing Cosmic Spirit. Know that this Spirit has no death, is completely indestructible. When it assumes physical form, as a body, it activates that body; but it is not the doer, that is, does not have a particular object or intention in view. It passes all imagination in respect of form, attributes, etc., and is subject to neither birth, death, nor change. It is immanent in everything, but is beyond, or over and above everything that is tangible. All saints, all scriptures, unanimously declare that Rama, or God, is the Ultimate Reality. Even a tree-leaf, the slightest thing, moves only if and as He orders or wills. A thousand, million, salutes to that fundamental, Ultimate Reality. Shree Rama is my appellation for it; It surpasses all paragons of beauty and virtue, transcends all pleasure and pain. There is nothing more desirable. Transitory sense-pleasures mislead one to death and pain; when this conviction dawns on one, takes root, only then he shall be able to overcome their lure.
There is no need to make outward changes, only give your heart to Rama. His grace should not be gauged by children, wealth, and other material belongings that people desire. Never let dejection or despondency enter the mind; pin your hope and trust in Rama and Rama alone. Rama is verily the Ultimate Reality. We sought the support of Rama before our birth, but later gave it up in the flush of the feeling of ego and proprietorship. I should never forget that my sole saviour is Rama the Creator, the Protector, and the Destroyer of the cosmos. The omnipresent Rama cannot be but with me, too: He occupies the universe, there is not a single point devoid of Him. Everything is dependant on His will. Whatever happens is at His command.
Wisdom, intelligence, the feeling of identity with the body, desire, imagination, are all manifestations of maya. Maya is ancient, as old as creation. Uncountable are those that have suffered from that supreme, fundamental illusion. The main illusion is the feeling of identity with the body; it is the prime illusion, the original sin. It is extremely powerful, and the greatest obstruction standing between us and God.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.19

November 19, 2008
Ask Wisely of God

We cannot describe God in words, because He is without form, beyond attributes, nameless. He is, therefore, as one may conceive Him, as one may think of Him. He can, if it pleases Him, grant you anything you may ask for, but it will, of course, entail its complementary unpleasant consequence. So think carefully before you ask for anything.
A traveller walking along a road got tired, and squatted under a tree to rest himself. It happened to be the fabulous wish-granting tree, though he was unaware of it. He casually thought, ‘How nice it would be if I got a glass of water to drink !’ He found water by his side. After a while, he thought that he could do with something to eat. And he found food at hand. Soon after, finding himself drowsy, he felt like resting, and found a cosy bed all ready for him. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if my wife and children were here to participate in this luxury !’ he felt; and lo! there they appeared, all pleased and happy. And the thought arose in his mind, ‘With the cup of happiness so perfectly full, one would wish life to end at such a supreme moment.’ And the man dropped down, dead.
This shows that with a worldly outlook, one wish leads to another in an unending series; desire is never satiated. So ask wisely.
A king once felt keenly inclined to do something for a beggar; the latter, going to the extreme of his imagination, made bold to ask for a warm blanket! That emphasizes the importance of wisdom in asking when the donor is munificent and has unlimited means. So, ask of God the gift of His devotion, which alone can bring contentment.
God has reincarnated Himself time and again, but only to aid really staunch devotees. However, these incarnations also benefit others by inspiring devotion among them. We should surrender ourselves to Him in complete humility. God then has to shoulder all responsibility for us, and we are disburdened of all anxiety. Rama extended His kindness to Bharata, as a brother; His compassion to Vibheeshana as a refugee; and His mercy even to Ravana as an opponent; He deserted none. This Rama we can make our own by no simpler means than nama- smarana.

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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan -Nov.18

November 18, 2008
The Great Power of Faith

To be hypercritical is a sign of common human body-based approach. When a customer starts being critical and idly curious, the shopkeeper concludes that the customer is not at all a serious purchaser. This also applies to an aspirant in the spiritual quest. Arjuna fell into doubt and wordy, bookish discussion, regarding whether it would be proper to assail with arrows his seniors and teachers who confronted him on the battleground. When he saw the vision of the cosmic manifestation of the shape of things to come, he got out of the delusion, and realized the proper nature and assessment of life, and got the proper valuation of things.
Maya primarily creates the delusion of one’s own doership. ‘How, without some sense of doership, can there be any urge to action?’ we reason; and then, sometimes, we do not hesitate to do what is clearly immoral. We should remember that even ‘religious’ acts do not help one to be absolved of sin; even ‘meritorious’ acts lead to rebirth. We continue to remember that we have surrendered everything to God. When suffering from misery, we attribute it to our previous acts, or the horoscopic position of planets, or the ‘destiny’; but we forget that everything is directed, controlled, by God. Can a man say why and how he has lived till today? Is it not merely because God has willed it so? So, understand that it is God who is directing all affairs; it is He that has the last word in everything.
God made this universe, and He is immanent in everything. He is all bliss. He is in us, too. Why is it, then, that we at all experience misery? The simple answer is that we do not maintain awareness of Him, do not look for Him in everything, do not seek Him with a faithful, doubtfree mind. Faith is the very foundation of all mystical search; it is a force incomparable in its potency. What faith can achieve, action may not. Scholarship, intelligence, art, are like rat burrows in a house; faith usually trickles and gets lost through them. The learned seldom agree with each other, so their thoughts only unsettle our faith. So we should inculcate patience resulting from firm faith. The royal road is to believe that nama is God, and to remain in constant nama-smarana.

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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.17

November 17, 2008
Faith is the Only Thing God Expects from Us

What should we pray God to grant us? You have come far to Gondavale; is it only to ask for worldly pleasures and transitory material matters? Not that He may not grant them, for His resources are limitless. Our resources being limited even if vast, we give something and the resources become less to that extent; it is not so with Him. But supposing my need today is fulfilled, does it satiate my desire for all time? No, fresh needs arise almost every moment. If, on the other hand, we decide to accept whatever it pleases Him to send us, whatever condition He pleases to keep us in, it will mean the end of all desire. So, let us approach Him in all humility, and ask for complete compliance with His desire, for the desire to ask nothing of Him. It is this that will give blemishless contentment.
All that God expects from us is utter, single-pointed loyalty. We should feel the same love for God that we feel for something we like most. This calls for spotless purity and holiness. All this comes when we go in unreserved, undivided surrender. That we cannot do unless we give up even traces of ego. The moment you become egoless, God will rush to shower His grace on you. So kill your ego and then approach Him. It is our experience that a person likes us to do what he likes. God, similarly, expects only wholehearted love from us. God can be propitiated by selfless love. Love is a divine thing, and can conquer the whole world.
Charity begins at home. Treat everyone with transparent, guileless, selfless love. Our talk should drip with love. The talk, nay, even the look, should ooze love. To give love needs no money, if you have little; nor does it call for enormous sums if you are rich. Nama is love incarnate, and give and take is a characteristic of love. If we utter nama, love for God will certainly arise. Love for nama is born of nama itself. Nama is the only worthwhile gift we can offer to God, or one that God can grant us; thereby He keeps us permanently in contentment. If you ask me the secret of secrets in the spiritual quest, I would unhesitatingly say, ‘the love of nama is that secret.’

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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan – Nov.16

November 16, 2008
Divine Grace is Essential for Eradicating Conceit

To those who have come to Gondavale and are planning to return to their respective places, I would address a special word. Tradition expects a pilgrim to give up some of his defects at a holy place. Here, in Gondavale, you have been face to face with God, so I expect you to do something special. Leave a defect, conceit, here, and take God’s grace with you in return. Now, conceit is not a material thing that could be handed by one person to another. It can, in fact, only be given up if God grants His grace, not otherwise.
Once it so happened that a sadhaka was performing some sadhana for three years. Gradually, as the sadhana advanced, there also grew in him conceit about his performance. His guru, as he happened to pass by, sensed this, approached him, and asked, ‘What are you doing here?’ The sadhaka, with conceit lurking in the heart, replied, ‘I am performing this sadhana for close on three years.’ The guru, divining his bloated conceit, only said, ‘Very good; now carryon for only three days, and you will have achieved your goal.’
The sadhaka felt very happy at these encouraging words, and enthusiastically and with reinforced conceit, recommenced the sadhana, thinking lightly of mere three days. Curiously, though, he found himself unable to concentrate his mind even for three minutes. He felt pins and needles in the limbs, vague fear around him, a sensation of being thrown out of the body, and such other nondescript sensations, making concentration impossible.
Then it dawned on the sadhaka that all this while, he could go through sadhana by his guru’s grace, and that the conceit that he had himself been doing it was entirely unjustified. He then went in surrender in complete humility to his guru, who then blessed his effort.
We should therefore realize that conceit, even for a good cause is harmful; indeed, conceit for a good deed is more subtle, more difficult to eradicate. Conceit for prapancha is, if at all, preferable, for it is more obvious, and therefore more likely to be detected.
In paramartha, it is easier to achieve than to consolidate what is gained. Let us pray to God and persevere in nama- smarana; He will then Himself assist in giving us joy in it.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan – Nov.15

November 15, 2008
Worry Arises out of Doership

Does one have to go and search for joy? No. Here, one who is Himself the fountainhead of joy has played into the hands of the delusion that he is subject to misery. A certain man looked into a mirror to see his face, but could not do so. A wise man who was beside him said, “Pass the mirror to me”; he dusted its surface, and the man could then clearly see his reflection. This is precisely what the saints do. They remind us that we are ourselves the Ultimate Reality, the source of imperishable joy. The trouble is that we assume proprietorship of prapancha, and thus become subject to pleasure and pain, forgetting that the One who created also looks after its ups and downs. By what right can we claim proprietorship, doership? God, after all, manages everything according to His will and plan, while unnecessarily, futilely, we fret and fume. The best course for us is that we should leave Him to do as He pleases, and give up all worry. Once we leave everything and ourselves to His care and pleasure, we free ourselves from worry, and what remains is pure, unperturbable bliss for us.
Worry is a curious thing ! A man was worried that his son could not get a suitable job. When later, he succeeded, the man started worrying to secure a proper bride for him; then, after the wedding, the old man found that her conduct departed from expectation, which worried him. Thereafter, want of issue to the girl provided cause for worry. After the girl did deliver a son, the baby started having spasms. The trouble, which again provided a source of worry, yielded to long medical treatment. But, finally, life-long worry gave the old man apoplexy, to which he eventually succumbed !
It is clear that all worry originates in the sense of doership and proprietorship, which themselves stem from forgetting God. We take it that feeling anxious about anything is but ‘natural’; this idea itself is pernicious, and must be eradicated. It is not the idea that is chaining us down; on the contrary, it is we that hold on to it and won’t let it go. We should remember that one who makes God his sole support, has never reason to worry. He is convinced that God does everything for him, even if it is apparently calamitous.

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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.14

November 14, 2008
Carry on Prapancha as if it Belongs to God

Do you think that the world that you see about you has a controller or regulator? If you ask an atheist, ‘Who created this universe?’ he will reply, ‘Of course, the elements.’ If you further ask him, ‘And who made the elements?’ he will have to say, ‘Beyond this I don’t know.’ Whether he does or not, however, clearly there must be a maker for everything; and that Ultimate Maker a theist calls God. Old, archaeological remains show temples and monuments whose makers we are often unable to trace; whether we can or not, we can be certain that there is a maker. Similarly, there is a Maker for this universe.
Children play in a wendy house at home-making, with fake cooking, weddings, deliveries, children, and what not. And yet, when the mother calls them, say, for lunch, they run to the dining table, leaving the wendy home in whatever disarray it may then be, even, perhaps, the ‘baby supposed to be crying for milk.’ .
It is exactly like those children that we should look upon this ‘real’ worldly life; for, if God is the Maker of the universe, He is also the Saviour and the Destroyer. How then, do we have the right to feel either elated or downcast at happenings in our life?
If we hire a house and claim ownership of it, will the real owner entertain the claim? He will seek some redress or other and evict us. It is so with prapancha, too; in reality, it is all by His decree that we are so and so in such and such a family or society or circumstances. How can we claim to have things to suit our sweet will? It is therefore only fit that we should do our duty, and meekly accept what He directs, readily quitting life, too, when He pleases to call us away. If we keep this outlook we shall go through prapancha unaffected by pleasure or pain. Nor should we worry about prapancha if we take to devotion to God, prayers, and hymns. If we then become regardless of prapancha, like Shree Tukarama, we shall only be progressing on the path of paramartha; and if we do not thus become regardless about it we shall evidently be attending to it, which is only to be considered ‘normal’. So instead of keeping just moaning, let us remain cheerful, in nama-smarana; the mind will undoubtedly clarify itself and tend to devotion.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.13

November 13, 2008
The Right Way to Know God

When a person does anything, he leaves his stamp, or reflection, on it, although he also maintains his own personal individuality. So, too, God the creator is an invariable, inherent, implicit part and parcel of all creation. That is why we are asked to see Him in all creation. To achieve this calls for an intense desire and belief. Many people have just a vague feeling that there is something called God; they do not know, nor do they have a burning desire to know Him fully, to realize Him truly. It is this earnest desire that is the basic thing. Then the person looks about himself, starts searching seriously to acquaint himself with the different approaches to God. Some say that becoming a sannyasin is the shortest, quickest way; some may advise celibacy as the way; some may suggest married life as advised by the vedas; while sacrifices, Patanjala yoga, and various other sadhanas may be suggested by various others.
What should we do in this perplexing confusion of opinions and suggestions? We can accept the path trodden by those who have successfully pursued the spiritual quest. Who can be said to have succeeded in this quest? Evidently, the saints; so let us follow the path they advise.
When we are out trying to locate a certain place, we often come to crossroads. Usually, there we find boards indicating the place each road leads to. It may happen that the road leading to our desired place is without shady trees, while another of the roads is shady, attractive. Shall we prefer it to the one we need? But that is precisely what we are doing. We allow ourselves to surrender to sense-pleasures merely because they yield immediate enjoyment, though they are short-lived and may eventually lead to pain. We therefore miss the path leading to God.
Let us, then, follow the route indicated by saints, though it may look unattractive, remembering that, even so, it is the one that leads to God.

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Sri Maharaja’s Pravachan-Nov.12

November 12, 2008
Difference between Baddha and Mukta

The baddha is of the world, tied down to its pleasures and pains, whereas the mukta is free of them, and God is the only reality for him. Saints completely dissociate themselves from the body; people ask, not about their progenitors, but about the guru, the upasana. They are, for all practical purposes unaware of the body; its awareness, ego, is all merged in God. The baddha takes far more interest in the pleasures, the happenings, and condition of the body and material existence; a lessening of such interest indicates progress in the direction of absolvement; this becomes complete when God becomes the sole reality.
We are baddha today because we take ourselves to be so; we identify ourselves with this body, whereas we are, in fact, a part of the Basic Reality. Consequently, the pleasures and pains of the body persecute us, and are felt by us as real. The soul, actually, is unaffected, detached. We take the soul and body both as ‘ourselves’, although we say ‘my’ arm is aching or ‘my’ stomach is upset. Tacitly, therefore, we admit that we are not the organs or their assemblage which we call the body, and the ‘owner’ or the ‘soul’ is different from, independent, of the body.
Our mind takes joy in sensual pleasures, so we have a soft corner for them. But these pleasures being transitory, the joy, too, lasts only a short while. Discontent also arises from dependence on other persons or things. We should, therefore, never forget the true nature of our’ selves’.
This detachedness can only come from true devotion to God. An obstruction to this comes from the ‘body-am-I’ conviction, which must first be ousted from the mind. So let us ever carry the feeling that we belong to God, and that whatever happens is by God’s will; this will gradually erode the ‘body-am-I’ belief. This does not call for penance, sacrifices, and such other austerities, nor for relinquishing family life and retiring to the forest, or any such other cumbersome and strenuous performance. Abandon all doership, say you belong to God, and be happy and contented; this will gradually attenuate the ego. Just as the ‘body-am-I’ conviction consolidated itself into identity with the body, we shall recover our true identity with the Ultimate Reality by repeating that we come from God.
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