Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.31

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.
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.30

December 30, 2008
The Essence of all Prayers

Get up early from bed, and think of God; freshen up, and sit down and perform manasa-pooja, mental worship, with the prescribed sixteen items. As part of it, offer an anointing with sandalwood paste, flowers, and food, and partake of the remnant of the food as His gift. Lastly, pray thus.
“Rama, I approach You in the utmost humility. Whatever I call mine, I surrender to you. Now please see that my mind relinquishes all attachment, all sense of possession. Let me have no more desire, except for copious love for nama-smarana. Grant me enduring contentment. You alone can do so. Let Your grace enable me to observe the moral code of conduct. I now live only for You. I dedicate my body, my all to You. Do as You like with me, and keep me contented therewith. May I never forget You. Let me not think of asking for anything but a burning passion for Your name. I approach You humbly and pray that I may never be unaware of Your presence. I desire not for proficiency in literature, nor science, nor the arts, nor even divine knowledge. Have pity on me and save me from being consumed by the passions. Treat me as You please, but I will never budge from Your feet; O Rama, I give up all pride and thought of doership, divest me of all idea of ownership; all that I call mine is no longer mine, it is given over to You. Now so please, may You be the only thought in my mind. If You forsake me, where else shall I go? To whom shall I look for support? The “body-am-I” feeling is persecuting me, deliver me from its throes. I have so far given myself up to sense-pleasures, and fallen in their snares. O Rama, You are all powerful, so grant me what I plead for: complete contentment. Pray be constantly in my heart, for I live for You alone; I lay my mind and body at Your disposal. In Your mercy, grant that I forget myself in contemplating You.”
Pray to Rama thus, and He will immediately hasten to meet you. Have single-minded faith in nama. With firm faith, go ahead with nama-smarana, even if today the mind feels unwilling to do it.

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Sri Brahmachaitanya Pravachan-Dec.29

December 29, 2008
Abandon Your Ego to Transgress Pleasure and Pain

If we try to propitiate God with worldly betterment in view, it can by no means be termed devotion to God; it constitutes devotion to worldly matters. Ego, that is, the “body-am-I” feeling, invariably gives rise to desire, or expectation, related to worldly matters. Serving God with the ego intact, amounts to smugness or hypocrisy. A person quit family life to become a ‘bairagi,’ and established a hermitage; if the interest in the hermitage again ties him down, what is the good of quitting the home? If we make ornaments for an idol so that we may enjoy the enhanced beauty of the idol, is it not an instance of how ego may spoil an outwardly good act? It is the presence or absence of egoism that determines whether an action is spiritually harmful or beneficial. In brief, ego must be ousted.
The saints ascribe all doership to God. Indeed, we cannot assume doership at all. If we claim doership, can we guarantee success in all our actions? Assuming doership in the circumstances, man invites pleasure and pain. We should assign doership to God, to whom it really belongs. We shall thereby rid ourselves of both pleasure and pain. The vedas say, “all this belongs to God”; the saints say, “All this belongs to Rama and He is the doer of everything.” Both amount to the same thing. True upasana is to foster the conviction that Rama is the real doer, not I. I am but a tool, a puppet in His hands. Say repeatedly that God alone is mine.
Attachment for worldly things will definitely be attenuated, if not completely annihilated, by association with a saint. So always try to live in the company of the saintly. Association and close study are two things which always influence thought and action. I carry a stick in hand, and the only toying I can have with it, is to twirl it in the hand or strike somebody or something with it. I carry a rosary, and I cannot think of hitting with it, I may only pray with it. In our dress, behaviour, talk, we are influenced by the company we keep. We should therefore make it a point to live in the company of the good, the saintly.

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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.28

December 28, 2008

Add Nama to Vedic Rituals

Those who study and master the vedas are certainly laudable for their erudition and for their assistance in preserving this precious treasure for the world. The vedas have shown great reverence for the Gayatri mantra. It should be borne in mind, however, that, to be fruitful, the sacredness of the mantra should be matched by unimpeachable vairagya, and by utmost purity in thought and behaviour. These are very difficult to find in the present degenerate times. The sages of the hoary past lived in the forest, far from the crowd and its life of strife. They subsisted on a simple diet consisting of roots, bulbs, and such other natural things. They exercised austere control over the senses and over passions like wild desires, anger, and covetousness. They never uttered an untruth. Leading such simple, undefiled lives, they were fit persons to pursue the cult of the sacred and potent Gayatri mantra. With the strength of such austere penance to back them, their blessings and their wrath were equally potent.
Times have, however, radically changed. We can no longer lead a life which is in the least like that of these past sages. Circumstances do not permit performance of vedic rites with adherence to their rules; nor have the people at large faith in them. Therefore, if they are undertaken at all, they should be supplemented by earnest nama-smarana. Self-control being virtually absent these days, the saints advocate recourse to nama, so that the common man may, even in the present conditions, succeed in attaining God.
Constant, determined nama-smarana, will eventually produce love for God, for, association produces love. A trader, for instance, always has thoughts of trading activities, and will even have dreams concerning them. We come to feel attachment for the house we have long lived in. A resident of a large city like Bombay becomes so used to its bustle, noise, crowd, even its filth, that he feels uneasy if he has to live a comparatively placid life of the countryside. If we teach our heart to feel the presence of Rama, we shall always be aware of His presence. Reinforce this conviction by telling yourself repeatedly: “I am not different, distinct from Rama; He resides in my heart.”
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.27

December 27, 2008
Find the Way to Create Love for God

The devotees and other people around a saint are often seen to be as morally depraved as the common run of people. This need not surprise us. If we visit a hospital, we are only likely to come across patients, not healthy people. Similarly, most people come to a saint to get relief from some worldly difficulty or other. What likelihood is there of getting such help from a saint in worldly matters who has renounced worldly life? It would evidently be advisable to consult a practical man than to refer to a saint. It is quite another matter, though, that chanting of nama, even if resorted to for relief in sickness, will not go unrewarded spiritually.
The saints deserve the world’s gratitude for having discovered the root-cause of misery, and pin-pointed it to be the desire, to have or not to have a particular thing or situation. It is this desire that deprives us of steady satisfaction. There are only a few who aspire for God, and most of them want Him, not for His own sake but as a strong support for their worldly affairs. One who really wants God for His own sake will undoubtedly find permanent satisfaction, irrespective of age, education, intelligence, or wealth. All that is needed is earnest desire, yearning.
Paramartha is by no means a matter of conjecture. We feel it is beyond our capacity because we only talk about it, and never act. For our inaction we can always advance excuses galore. Even Arjuna, the great warrior, started giving excuses when Lord Krishna asked him to stand and fight the opponents on the battlefield; this made the Lord feel sorry. Ego, the “body-am-I” delusion, leads one to citing excuses to by-pass even the Lord’s behests. If a man’s daughter falls ill in a distant place, he will rush to that place, out of anxiety; but he advances all kinds of excuses if asked to go to Varanashi on pilgrimage. It is a great sin to give excuses.
A rich man may, under his guru’s orders, give away all he possesses, but he will be unable to forget that act. He does not realise that the one who advises the gift is the real donor. Today, prapancha claims all our attention, our love; we must divert it and apply it solely to God.

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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.26

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.
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan -Dec.25

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.
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Shri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.24

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?

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Sri Brahmachaitanya Pravachan-Dec.23

December 23, 2008
Nama is More Comprehensive than Form

If I put to you the question, ‘What is joy?’, you may point to a contented child and say, ‘Look, here it is.’ You may go farther and similarly point to playful kittens, young gamboling calves, flower-laden vines, gleeful men and women, and say, ‘Here we find joy.’ But these answers are all beside my question, which was, ‘Show me joy.’ not ‘examples of joyful things.’ Obviously, the feeling called joy or happiness must be the same, although the expression may be varied. Every man we see is different in every way; looks, nature, culture, and so many other things; and yet we classify all of them under the single category, ‘man’. Although it is difficult to define the word, there is something common in the myriad forms and make-up of the individual specimens which instinctively makes us realize all as belonging to the class ‘man’. Nama is therefore more comprehensive than the mere ‘form’.
Happy things perish in course of time, but the quality called ‘happiness’ continues to survive. Forms may pass away, but ‘nama’ continues. Uncountable men and women have been born and dead, but ‘human-ness’ continues. ‘Nama’ therefore abides for all time, even after the ‘form’ perishes. ‘Nama’ binds the various ‘forms’ together, and is thus more comprehensive; again, a single ‘nama’ applies to various ‘forms’. It is beyond the cognizable, the perceptible, and is thus subtle; it is beyond the scope of birth and death, growth and reduction, and the limitations of time, space, and causation.
Nama is, therefore, eternal; it was there in the past, is in existence today, and will continue for all time. It is, in fact, the symbol of the Ultimate Reality. Myriads of forms are born from that Reality, that is, from nama, and Ultimately merge into it. Nothing is, or can be, closer to that Reality than nama. God, therefore, exists by the side of a person who chants nama. One should chant it so fervently that one gets completely absorbed in it, and even forgets that he is chanting it.
What I say is understood by everybody according to his own capacity, his own grasp, and his readiness to understand; but it is never wasted.

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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Dec.22

December 22, 2008
Come What May, Never Forsake Nama

The sky will always be overhead, however far and fast you run in fear of it. So, too, whereever you go, the body, the mind, and the destined suffering of pleasure and pain are inescapable. Therefore, put up with whatever falls to your lot. Of course, so long as you feel that you should better have tried; by all means do so, but leave the success or otherwise to God. Leave all doership to Him. To ask God ‘how long must I serve You?’ amounts to deficiency in devotion. Similarly, asking for a limit for nama-smarana means deficiency in faith. Do we ever ask for a limit on the pleasures of the senses?
Today we hold one end of the rope, while God is at the far end. We should gradually haul ourselves up to Him with the help of nama. Association with the good is achieved to the extent to which we hold nama in the heart. Never let it go, whatever the circumstance in prapancha.
A vacant mind always runs after sense-pleasures. So always keep it engaged; and in doing every thing – sitting, rising, chanting a mantra, reading, gossiping, jesting – see that it is related ultimately to God; that is, never let God be out of your mind; this is what is called anusandhana. Everything we do must have reference to God. Nama is the link connecting the mind with God. So always keep the mind riveted to nama. Remember that Rama is omnipresent and omniscient, and therefore a witness to everything; this will preclude the performance of undesirable actions.
We make it a habit to cite an excuse for what we do or miss doing. Quite often, we are ‘busy’. But our’ spare’ time is devoted to idle gossip, or to slandering others, or playing one game or another, and so on, rather than doing nama-smarana. Let us cure ourselves of that habit. The mind is inclined to wandering or listlessness, avoiding concentration and steady effort. It will have to be coerced into chanting nama. Nama is powerful enough to eradicate the ‘body-am-I’ delusion and establish itself firmly in the mind. We should habituate it to nama-smarana during waking hours; then it will percolate into the sleeping hours and dreams, and finally, if assiduously practised, it will stand in the mind at the moment of death.

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