December 31, 2008
Nama is Everlasting, Endless
We celebrate the completion of japa. That is, truly speaking, inappropriate, because nama is everlasting, and therefore endless. It transgresses the limitations of time and space. In fact, its greatness is unfathomable. Nama is what the Lord holds dearest to His bosom, and nothing will please Him better than nama-smarana. He is inseparable from nama. God, nama, and the devotee is a trinity which is the real symbolic Triple Confluence. Where there is God, there will be found His devotee and nama; and a true devotee is invariably to be found where there is God and nama.
Having completed the proposed japa, what will you ask of Rama? Beg Him something that will put an end to all future asking. If you ask for a mundane matter, He will smile in derision, saying to Himself,” What a trifle to ask from a donor like Me!” So pray Him for unshakable contentment, and love for Nama. Pray further,” Lowly as I am” please accept me as Yours. I will henceforth live only to sing Your Name.”
All should apply the mind only to the acquisition of God. Prapancha should be treated only as a means for paramartha. There should be no involvement, no attachment, no upadhi. The best means to become free of upadhi is to devote oneself to nama, which is itself free of upadhi. Ceaseless repetition of nama will consolidate faith, and that will create firm love for nama. Have no doubt whatever that God will Himself come and meet you if your faith is unwavering and if you repeat nama ceaselessly. Blend prapancha and paramartha together. Entertain no doubts regarding paramartha. From this very day, treat God as lovingly as your son. Chant nama with the utmost fervour and with continuity, aiming at ensuring that even the last breath will contain nama. One who chants nama thus will never be aware of bodily pleasure and pain, and will always enjoy beatitude.
Just as surely as a cow follows her newly born calf wherever it is taken, do saints follow a person steeped in nama. A patient in a hospital gives his body over to the doctor, for such treatment as may be considered fit. We should surrender ourselves to a saint with equal unreservedness, saying ‘good bye’ to all sense of doership.
* * * * *
December 26, 2008
Chant Nama Earnestly, to Subdue the Mind
Many people in this world have gifted away money, or sacrificed themselves in other ways, but they did not become truly selfless for the simple reason that they did it in the consciousness of doership. We cannot become truly selfless unless and until we have our mind in complete subjection. Yoga, sacrifices, and other religious performances are designed precisely for the purpose of subduing the mind; but can we carry them out in the present circumstances? The times are certainly not favourable. In the present age replete with distractions and temptations, there is nothing that can subdue the mind with the ease and surety of nama, because it is the only form in which God’s incarnation is perceptible in the present times. So let everyone take to nama for subduing the mind.
Of the passions that destabilize the mind, the most prominent is pride or ego. No other passion surpasses it in its deadliness. Our utmost effort should be directed against it. All incarnations of God have been for the sole purpose of annihilating ego. A glaring instance is that of Hiranyakashyapu, the demoniac king; even when confronted by the lion-headed incarnation of God, he did not think of folding his hands in obeisance, but his hand went for the sword to attack Him; so dominant was his ego. In order to free ourselves from the strong hold of this ego, we should resort to nama-smarana, with a determination, and utmost effort to abstain from doership in it and in all other activities.
The second dire enemy that destabilises the peace of mind is anger; it, too, is deadly in its effect. It has laid low many a sage with severe penance to their credit. To control this anger, we should make an all-out effort, after having identified the nature of the irritants. A sensible, practical way is to observe the moral restrictions laid down by the religion. If we pay attention to the object behind these restrictions, it will be possible to control anger with its lieutenants, the other passions such as desire, covetousness, temptation, etc. If, alongside, we direct ourselves to God in a spirit of humility, the mind will automatically behave as you want it to. If you keep God always in the foreground, be sure that He will help you subdue and control your mind.
* * * * *
December 25, 2008
Essence of any Sadhana is Remembrance of God
Two carts left a village on official duty. One carried cash, the other building materials. Both were bound for the district headquarters, so they journeyed together. On reaching the destination at the end of the day, the drought animals were unyoked and all equally fed with same hay. Similarly, to God the learned and the ignorant are equal. The one with a head crammed with intelligent thoughts or beautiful ideas or a plethora of information is no nearer or dearer to God than the one with an empty head. Both have enough pride to take them to ruin. Learning for its own sake is evidently to be roundly decried; instead of making it becoming the goal of life it should be a means to attainment of God. The so-called learned often spend the whole life in just hairsplitting argument, whereas a plain man may merrily pass through life with nama on his lips and attain God. The learned man tries to first find out the attributes and properties of God, how we stand in relation to Him, whether He is aware of nama as we utter it, when nama came into existence, how it should be chanted, and so on and so forth. They carry this scrutiny to the end of their lives, which leaves no time for practising nama, and enjoying the pleasure of it. It would therefore be wise for a learned man to carryon his investigations into God and nama concurrently with chanting the latter; the doubts will get automatically resolved in course of time.
If a person is egoistic, God will mete out proper atonement for a sin committed by him; but He looks with kindly forgiveness on one whose ego is not dominant. If we commit a mistake unknowingly, and approach God in a spirit of repentful surrender, He will surely forgive us. If we dedicate all our past actions to Him with genuine remorse, He undertakes to guide us in the future.
Many, indeed, are the approaches to God; however, they involve much trouble for the body and the mind. Nama, on the other hand, is simple to chant, provided it is done with unswerving faith. Constant remembrance of God is the very core of all sadhanas; and it is the prominent aspect of nama. It is so powerful that all doubts are gradually overcome by persisting in chanting it.
* * * * *
December 24, 2008
Unflinching Faith is essential to Realize God
One has learnt nothing from association with a saintly person if one has not imbibed implicit obedience to him. Such implicit obedience will not obviate destiny, but it will take a more convenient, bearable form. This destiny, this prarabdha, is truly irresistible; it affects one’s action and even way of thinking, to bring about what is in store. If we take care to be on guard and implicitly obey the suggestions and behests of the saintly person we follow, the effects of prarabdha will certainly be moderated. Prarabdha may generate ungodly thoughts in the mind, but it is in our hands whether to put them into action; indeed, it is this faculty of discrimination that distinguishes the human being from other animals. This faculty is best trained by implicit obedience to a saintly person.
One may first approach and adore God for some worldly objective. This adoration and love will gradually grow into selfless love for God, and the importance of worldly things fades out. So, never relinquish God when once you have approached Him. That is achieved by nama-smarana; and that is why time and again I exhort you to take to chanting nama. How unremittingly we toil for prapancha, and with what disappointing return! It is far otherwise in paramartha ; the more you do it, the more you are requited in the quantum of contentment.
Whether one follows the path of knowledge or the path of devotion, the goal is the same, namely, to discover the true ‘I’. Today it is the delusive ‘I’ that dominates the mind. This domination has to be overthrown. When this delusive ‘I’ is routed, the true ‘I’ does not have to be sought, for it is already there, latent, in every heart. To remove the delusive ‘I’, it is essential to become a true servant, a slave, to God. God cannot be attained without singleminded dedication; such dedication eventually becomes real devotion. Nama-smarana is the means to produce a sense of love and dedication; it is the mother of devotion. My repeated exhortation is, chant nama repeatedly, with faith and pleasure in the heart.
Whatever Sadhana you adopt, you have to pass through the gate of nama-smarana; why, then, procrastinate? Why not begin right away?
* * * * *