Sri Maharaja’s Pravachan-Nov 11.

November 11, 2008
The Royal Road of Devotion to God

Knowing God is alone true knowledge; what commonly goes by the name is merely verbosity, pseudo-knowledge, which cannot lead one to knowing about the Prime Mover. Devotion alone takes one to true knowledge. A devotee is one who is never apart from God. Non-attachment to worldly pleasures and objects cannot be secured by merely regimenting or chastising the body; it is automatically inculcated by willing acceptance of the situation in which God chooses to keep us. If He chooses to keep us in pleasant circumstances, we should take care to see that we do not contract an attachment. Vairagya does not require us to quit prapancha. Saints did not forsake their prapancha; in fact, they pursued it with an unerring sense of duty, a shade better than us, but without attachment to it in the heart. Indeed, vairagya can be said to be truly imbibed only by the unattached. It need not be advertised by smearing the body with ashes, but may be known by the degree of contentment at God’s dispensation. To respect, to accept, a situation without entertaining any expectation, but with humble contentment, is abiding by divine will, or becoming a devotee. Nama-smarana facilitates this attitude; so put your faith in it and practise it assiduously.
The nama which the guru has imparted should be practised, and in fact, the guru should be seen as identical with it. Thereby the disciple comes to see the guru in everything, everywhere; even in a bad place no less than in a nice hall. Then, as everything looks like the guru, there remains nothing that is bad, detestable.
Nama-smarana is not only a means, but also the object. Believe in nothing that contradicts this, for it is the only truth. Believe firmly, unshakably, in it. If you have this belief, God is not far to seek; He is ever by you.
Paramartha is not at all difficult if you transfer to it the attraction and the attachment that you have today for prapancha. To go to the guru in utter surrender is the same as surrendering your ego; the former is not possible without the latter. So long as I identify myself with the body, so long only one suffers the pangs of pain and misery. Ego is destroyed by nama-smarana, so keep yourself constantly absorbed in it.

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Sri Maharaja’s Pravachan-Nov.10.

November 10, 2008

With Rama beside us; Why Misery or Worry?

I cannot control what I call ‘mine’. Experience shows clearly that I cannot guarantee anything about my own self, my own body; and yet I grieve over separation from someone else when he dies. A thoughtful person should ponder logically over the issue; what can we, mere mortals, do when Rama decides to do a certain thing in a certain way? We should therefore control our grief with consideration, and keep ourselves and others contented with the situation one finds. ‘To dedicate everything to Rama’ should be genuine, not merely a verbose swagger. The sign of genuineness of dedication is acceptance of whatever comes, without wail or demur, worry or yearning.
Everyone, if he recalls his experience, will have to admit that God grants His protection everywhere, always. So place full faith in Rama. Rama is not propitiated by mere acts of physical strain, such as fasting, but by devotion. Proximity is achieved by living a devout worshipper’s life. In such proximity, how can one at all feel worry or misery? How can darkness exist after sunrise? So, listen to my advice: Rama will remove from your minds and take upon himself all the burden of anxiety, and give you peace of mind.
Pray to God thus: “O Lord, bodily pain distracts attention from You; now, I place my body at Your service and disposal; please see to it that Your name is never out of my mind.” God is very compassionate, and will not fail to do what is in your interest. Take courage in the faith that I am with you and will back you up in the hour of need. Remember God with steadfastness; thereby He will shower mercy on you. Rama, the champion of the meek, is aware of everything. Do whatever is demanded by the occasion, never forgetting God the while. Do nama-smarana free of all worry: God will bless you and grant you contentment.
Recollection of the happy or sad times of the past, and worry about the events anticipated, these are major contributors to misery. Thus, selfishness, that is the feeling of ‘I and mine,’ is the basic cause of anxiety. It is our sense of attachment that leads to pleasure, pain, worry, and grief. It is the nature of this duality to make the mind fickle. To treat the world and ourselves as permanent is the root cause of grief and pain.
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Sri Maharaja’s Pravachan-Nov.9

November 9, 2008
Hurting Somebody’s Heart is Violence

We find that variety is a trait of all creation, including man and animals. God, however, singly animates all of them. Animals which are inimical to each other yet survive side by side. Man and tiger inhabit the earth, each fearing the other and therefore desisting from wantonly attacking each other. To do something contrary to the legitimate interest of another amounts to himsa, or a breach of reverence to a creature of God; but, to resist or cast off something that militates against attainment of God should be considered ahimsa, that is, no such breach, and is hence not prohibited. To hurt another’s mind for self-aggrandizement is himsa, a sin. Quite frequently we find ourselves unable to execute our own desire; it is therefore unfair to expect others to conform to what we have in mind.
It is a common practice with our women to observe a vow or rule during the four sacred months of the rainy season. Some of them serve no purpose beyond practice of curbing the mind. I suggest observing the vow not to hurt anyone’s mind or feelings; do it for the four sacred months, then extend it to a year, and finally to your whole life. This will teach you control over what you utter and how you behave with others. Theoretically we admit that God is present in everything at all times, but forget all about it in actual practice; how can this be justified? The only remedy is to dedicate yourself to nama, the symbolical reminder of God. To regiment speech so as not to hurt anyone, is penance for the tongue.
By all means do everything that is proper in practice. Things do get done according to His plan; where our efforts conduce to it, we get the satisfaction that we have lent a hand. To expect that all that I desire should come about, amounts to expecting that His plans should be modified to suit my wishes. This is evidently not possible, and therefore I stand devoid of beatitude.
I therefore say, “Have firm faith in Rama. If I have done what duty demanded, and have never forsaken moral principles, come what may, I shall not fret but face it with courage, and the conviction that I have not failed in my duty; a person with this attitude in life can alone be happy and contented.”

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Sri Maharaja’s Pravachan-Nov.8

November 8, 2008
Nama Ends all Worry

That there is misery in life and in the world cannot be denied. Of the total misery, only about a quarter arises due to wars, famines, burglaries, penury, and other external factors. The other three quarters arise from ourselves, our responses. We are made up of three main constituents: the body, the mind, and God the activator. Of these, God, being the home and source of bliss, simply cannot cause misery and pain. It is the nature of the body to wane and eventually to wear out; it follows this course, and the process and its side-effects should be accepted as natural, inevitable. Being merely material, it is incapable of producing pleasure or pain. The third constituent, the mind, naturally clings to one thing or another and contracts its properties and qualities. A devout person’s mind is steadfastly fixed on God, and therefore cannot be touched by any ‘non-blissful’ feeling. On the other hand, a worldly person’s mind is glued to worldly things, and thus he often experiences the feeling of disappointment, despair, defeat, and misery, on the whole.
A feeling of ‘non-identity’ with God is inevitably accompanied by one of complete identity with the body, like the obverse and reverse of a coin. The body is insignificantly small, very short-lived; our conviction that this body is all I am, leads to a feeling of duality; this, in turn, leads to an ever-haunting, consuming fear. Man, who is equipped with the faculty of enjoying lasting divine bliss, thus surrenders himself to misery born of worry, the child of fear. God created the universe out of His idea, which includes the outline of the whole series of occurrences. This plan unfolds itself as the wheel of time turns and the different incidents take shape. Every incident, therefore, has God as the prompter, the architect. We get confused when we lose sight of His plan, His doership; and fear is the consequence.
It is a fact that God is my protector, because the entire creation is His doing, and born of Himself. We shall be able to see, to experience, this fact for ourselves when our heart becomes permeated by nama. Nama is identical with God, and it therefore dissolves all care for the mundane, including this frail, transient body. So leave the reins of everything concerning the body in the able hands of God, and lead a life free of all care and worry.
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Sri MaharaJ’s Pravachan-Nov.7

November 7, 2008
Pursue Sadhana Selflessly and Cautiously

He is a liberated soul who is never but with God. He who feels that he is entirely God’s is no longer ‘tied’. To forget oneself in the conviction that He alone exists, is liberation. He who lives in the body and yet is unconditioned by it, stands liberated. One who believes that all doership rests with Rama is a liberated one. We become tied, or affected by the body, when we assume ownership of this thing and that; no sooner we cast off this cloak of ‘ownership’ we stand liberated. When the mind stays unmoved, unaffected, and contented under all circumstances, we stand liberated. We assume doership of many things, good and bad, and presume that we are ‘sinners’, and reproach ourselves. We should tell ourselves that we belong to God and none else, and should conduct ourselves in the world as an actor does in a play.
Actually, we are enveloped by maya or delusion. This maya is to God like a shadow to a man; it is and it is not; if we deliver ourselves up to God, we discover that maya has no independent existence. To realize the true nature of maya is spiritual discrimination, viveka; while vairagya consists in living contented with God’s dispensation.
Sadhana performed in the spirit of a dilettante will not be of much avail. It must be pursued as a serious undertaking, with full faith in both the means and the goal. It should be undertaken for no mundane purpose. There are always people who manage to corrupt your thinking, intentionally or otherwise; a sadhaka must always be on guard against the possibility, and studiously avoid doing a similar corruption, or misleading the thoughts and convictions of others.
Those who never feel that they have faults and drawbacks to cure belong to the lowest order; those who are aware of their faults but do not seriously care to cure themselves, form the higher category; while the best are those that are aware of their faults and pine to cure them; these last a true sadhaka should emulate.
They are not few who progress half-way along the spiritual path; those who persist to the end are rare, indeed; they need to execute sadhana supported by appropriate reading or guidance.
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Sri Maharaja’s Pravachan-Nov.6

November 6, 2008

Sri Maharaj’s Samadhi Mandir
Gondavale.

Divine Grace

Nothing, indeed, counts but divine grace. A girl marries and goes to live in her husband’s family. There, she may get on excellently with everybody except her husband; in that case, she will fail to receive the expected happiness and contentment. Compare her with another who enjoys her husband’s affection in full measure but not that of the others in the family; such a girl will be able to face the situation cheerfully, in the confidence and contentment of her husband’s support. So, too, say in an illness, money, medical help, nursing, everything is at call; and yet, but for His grace, nothing can cure the illness or alleviate the suffering. On the other hand, where He wills it, neither want of money nor of medication will prevent cure. Experience shows that divine grace is required for success in anything; and this grace can only be acquired by constant nama-smarana, no matter how meritorious or sinful the person has been in the past.
Actually, divine grace is all-pervading, ever-present. So it protects us, too; but we realize it only when we firmly believe in it; it is only another aspect of becoming one with God. The calf knows no other source of milk but the mother-cow; we should similarly look on God as our sheet-anchor, ask for nothing but His name. He cannot then hold His grace back. We should not expect the grace in the form of acquiescence to our desire; true grace is a feeling of contentedness with whatever it pleases Him to grant.
If we go to a mountain and shout, we get an echo of the same shout; similarly, if we pray earnestly to God, we get the echo in the form of His grace. Even the nama we utter is a form of His grace. We should always say and believe that we are under the shelter of His grace. The grace is always acting, only we have to ensure that it is not overshadowed by doubt; for doubt often nullifies a lot of achievement. A decision never to quit nama will set all doubt at rest. Those who have real faith in nama will always chant it selflessly, desirelessly.
Nama is the only sadhana that can be practised in any times, any circumstances, any state of the mind or body. To pursue prapancha is generally taken as self-interest; real self-interest, however, is to belong to God.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Oct 5

November 5, 2008

Sri Maharaj’s Samadhi Mandir,
Gondavale.

We Must Feel God is Our Mainstay

God is the sole, Ultimate Reality. Where we go astray is in taking prapancha for reality. Just as oiling the hand is necessary before dressing a jackfruit, oiling in the form of love for God is essential before doing prapancha, undertaking any earthly job. Shree Samartha begins his Dasabodha, giving paramount importance to spiritualism, saying that, with it other things may follow. The first wrong step we take is to arrogate doership to ourselves instead of ascribing it to God, to whom it really belongs. We bow to Him at the commencement of the wedding ceremony but forget or overlook Him in pursuing prapancha. The temptation of sense-pleasures can do no harm if we do not surrender ourselves to it.
If we do, after all, have to take somebody’s help, why ask somebody who is as much handicapped, limited in authority and resources, as ourselves? So we must seek the aid of God the omnipotent. If we pray to Him for the grant of sense-pleasures, which are basically trifling and transitory, would it not be short-sighted? You know that Duryodhana and Arjuna both approached Lord Krishna for assistance in the impending war. Of the choice offered, Arjuna characteristically chose the lone Lord, while Duryodhana, again characteristically, opted for His vast army. If we ask for some worldly favour, are we not following Duryodhana?
Generally man is oblivious of the ultimate objective, and is guided by considerations of the world’s esteem. One can become truly dedicated to God only when one has abandoned hope or expectations about all other things. We do not yearn for God, but we are careful about what the world will think of us; at the same time we complain that others scandalize us! What I say is, let alone the opinion of people; consider what Rama will have to say about you.
The elemental Reality is something imperceptible to the senses; what do we stand to lose if we say everything belongs to it? We do not realize the contentment that this ‘hypothesis’ will bring us. God is like the mythological tree that grants every desire; we are always weighed down by anxiety because we can think of nothing else. If we always ask for bliss, He will surely grant it.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.4

November 4, 2008
The Saguna Form of God

A certain gentleman I met said, “I agree that Hinduism is the best of religions. What I fail to see is, how can that God, the attributeless, formless, Ultimate Reality, be considered approachable through numberless forms, each with its own upasana?” Later, a certain person came to meet him. Different persons referred to him by various names. Somebody said, ‘Dada is not at home’; somebody said, ‘Damodar has gone out’; while somebody else said ,’The master will return at such and such an hour’. The concept of the absolute form of God in so many tangible forms is comparable to this. Once one conceives Him in a tangible form, all the laws applicable to material things apply to that tangible entity.
One who denies the tangible forms in favour of an absolute, formless, entity, has simply failed to grasp the real essence of the matter. The vedas, the upanishads, the Brahmasutras, and the Bhashyas all talk about the formless, attributeless, absolute Reality; the saints, as it were, filled details in the outline and painted it; they gave different habitations and names, that the natural devotional tendencies of men may find suitable objects; this, in a nutshell, is saguna bhakti. Such bhakti or devotion is a sine qua non for attainment of salvation.
Upasana literally means ‘being very close to’, acquiring the special qualities of feeling extreme regard and love for, the particular form that one worships. Saint Tulsidas so deeply venerated and loved his ideal, Rama, as to become identified with Him. Rama never said ‘the world is for me’; on the contrary, He lived for the world. This is true paramartha. Extreme faithfulness to His wife, and extreme veracity in speech and action, are prominent traits of His character. Other manifestations, too, have their traits, but Rama’s life stands out as an ideal for man to follow.
To yearn for God is the essence and aim of life. This yearning God Himself can not create. Only saints can generate it; that is why association with the saints is indispensable. Our natural bent of mind is for sense-pleasures; the saints gradually dissuade us from there and direct it towards God. The day our mind turns to God is truly the most auspicious day in our life.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan-Nov.3

November 3, 2008
Think of God when Temptations Arise in Mind

If we do not seek amelioration of our lot, the thought of God will certainly arise in the mind, and restore the feeling of bliss; thereby sorrow and pain will become definitely less poignant. It is this blunting of pleasure and pain that is the aim of anusandhana. Ignore whatever bars the way to God. Never put God out of sight and thought, even if you are reduced to beggary. They keep a watchman to guard a mansion, and remain alert against burglars; similarly we should be on guard lest we forget God. Whenever thoughts of sense-pleasures appear in the mind, we should plug the breach with remembrance of God. We have a saying that the thought uppermost in the mind at the moment of death determines the next birth. Now, how can one remember at the final parting what one has never thought of in the whole lifetime? Therefore, keep in constant remembrance of God. Consider nama as the medicament; if you constantly sip it drop by drop, you are bound to attain to God. If nama- smarana continues to the end, it is equivalent to yoga, and thus the person who so does it is a yogi, ‘united’ to the one Ultimate Reality.
A single spark can grow into a conflagration and gut a whole warehouse of cotton; nama, like that spark, is capable of consuming a host of sins. The trouble, in our case, is that we do not bring to it the requisite feeling, earnestness, faith. To enhance the faith and intensity of love is upasana. Singing hymns and prayers may be tainted with the ‘body-am-I’ feeling, but nama is not open to that risk. The fear of death should be combated by a constant repetition of nama.
Truly speaking, one should have a real, irresistible yearning for nama. True contentment, peace, and bliss can only be attained by chanting nama without break, never remaining without God, and His remembrance. That human life alone can be called useful which is devoted to nama, and too the propagation of nama among others. One may execute prapancha with full efficiency but without forgetting God. One should forget one’s own existence and remember God. Pride should be ousted by humility toward every being. Remember that constant awareness of God achieves nothing less than any sadhana, in the present degenerate times.
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Sri Maharaj’s Pravachan- Nov.2

November 2, 2008
We Should Have Attachment for God Alone

We should never run down any religion. Rites and procedures are prescribed by every religion, because they are essential.
We go for a dip in the local stream, saying that we are going to the Ganga for a bath. Where is the sense in bathing in the river Ganga unless we purge the mind of all evil, unholy, polluted thoughts? The restrictions prescribed by the shastras aim at preventing the restrictive effect of all actions. For instance, the practice of offering of some money before the idol in a temple is a tacit prayer that the offerer’s mind be purged of covetousness.
No man can stay perfectly still, inactive. If one were sentenced to cessation of all movement, it would be the severest of punishments. If one must do something or other, why not better do what is proper? Anything done with pride of doership causes binding, militates against liberation. What, after all, does our religion ask us to do, but that everyone should discharge his duty conscientiously? What, again, does this duty seek to achieve? Briefly but essentially, God.
What will really conduce to a happy mankind? That everyone should perform his duty, with full faith in God. The so-called progress and industrial advancement has basically brought more sense pleasures within the means of more people. This has only made man more dependent on more things. And dependence never makes for happiness. The present-day education is really not knowledge, but ignorance masquerading as learning. Real education must either bring true contentment or assure adequate income. Present education does neither. Even a scholar has to apply and beg for a job.
Fresh air, good water, proper shelter and clothing, adequate food, are the basic necessities of life. Adequate effort for these must be made. Of other things, some are a matter of personal choice, some others give social prestige. A person who can afford them may acquire and ‘enjoy’ them. One should not feel dependent on them or mentally attached to them. Truly happy is he who has neither friend nor foe. One who depends on nothing, nobody, and who is hindered by nothing, is a truly liberated person.

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