December 20, 2008
Hold the Mind Steadily Fixed to Nama
The mundane body will follow the path dictated by prarabdha, so give not your mind to it, let your mind not be affected by it. Prarabdha, after all, is the fruition of our own action performed in this or past lives. Being so, nobody can rectify or modify it. The Pandavas were friends and devotees of the Lord, and yet their banishment to the distressful life of the forest could not be avoided. Sudama, a beloved boyhood friend of Lord Krishna had to live a life of penury. Therefore, one should leave the body to face prarabdha, and cheerfully accept whatever happens. Just like misery and difficulty, an agreeable situation may follow, if it is in the destiny; so take both on par, fixing the mind on nama and God. Let the body be led by prarabdha; you will not feel the vicissitudes if you persistently remember God, and leave the result to His dispensation. Even sages, saints, and incarnations of God, could not escape their respective prarabdha. Since vicissitudes of life depend entirely on prarabdha, we should not base our contentment on them, but the remembrance of Rama will help keep mental equanimity.
There can be no better action than keeping nama always on the lips. The mind will become peaceful and lucid if we sincerely believe that nama is the Ultimate Truth. Be alert in doing your duty and unremitting in chanting nama. Guard the love for nama as closely as a miser watches every penny, for it is our real surety, our true saviour. Keep nama ever on the lips, even while outwardly you are busy with worldly tasks. Thus united with Rama, never entertain even the shadow of regret. You have so far staked everything for desire; now make nama your stock in trade. Remember that only he who has tremendous past merit to his credit will feel love for nama. On the other hand, one who loathes nama will not fare well. Chant nama without expecting a return of any kind, and you will assuredly attain the Cosmic Soul, the true God.
Any sadhana other than nama, will only be so much toil. The body is, of course, mortal, but nama I have given you is ever abiding. Keep steady love for it. Let no extraneous thoughts intrude on nama-smarana. Be always fully contented; that is the essence of paramartha.
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December 17, 2008
‘Body-am-I’ Delusion, the Root-cause of all Misery
Paramartha is a subject not easily understood, and yet it is of vital importance to everyone. It is best comprehended by trying to see what ‘I’ am not, rather than to see what ‘I’ am. If we are walking along a foot-track which is not for our destination, then we may miss all the landmarks. If in solving an example, we make a mistake at any point, the answer will evidently be wide off the mark. Similarly, if one fails to comprehend correctly the basic qualities and failings of human nature, paramartha, which is based on them, will also not be fruitful. The first of these features is the universal desire to be continuously happy, or at least to have a promise of happiness. Death or extinction nobody wants; we all desire to live forever. God is eternal, and ever blissful; and since He is in the make-up of us all, we too desire to be likewise. But we miss the right way from the very start, and consequently everything goes amiss. If a tree in our yard is uprooted in a storm, we say’ our tree has fallen;’ but if a person dies, we say ‘he is dead, not as a matter of fact, ‘his body’ is dead. The fundamental error, therefore, is that we consider ourselves identical with the body, not with the spirit or soul. We love the body more than the soul, and cater to the needs and pleasures of the body with the utmost care. Nay; instead of controlling and regulating them, we allow ourselves to be completely mastered and led by them, at times even disregarding the better judgement of the conscience. We thus go on piling one mistake on another, thus completely misusing the special assets of human birth.
If we want to fell a tree, we first cut off the branches, and then attack the trunk. To observe the moral code of conduct corresponds to cutting the branches of the tree of passions. The second attack is devotion to the saguna form of God. If this devotion is intense, a man forgets himself at least momentarily, and has the feeling that he belongs to God. True constant awareness of God comes by nama alone; nama will thereby mitigate the ‘body-am-I’ delusion and also attachment to material things; the person will then see God in everything.
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December 14, 2008
Let God Alone be in Mind During Nama-smarana
In truth, all that God expects of us is pure love coming from the bottom of the heart. Our problem is that we do not possess true love for God at all. We are unable to call Him with ardency. How can the call reach His ears at all? It is association that generates love. We have love for the body because we have had one body or another in a series of lives. If we maintain constant association with nama, we shall evidently feel similar attachment for it too, with consequent reduction in our attachment for the body and for sense-pleasures. What tremendous sacrifices we undertake for the wife and children! Why then should we hesitate to forsake the flimsy desires for sense-pleasures, for the abiding happiness that we get by associating with God?
The passions are not basically worthless. They have been implanted in us by God Himself, so they must be having a useful purpose in life. They are, indeed, necessary on occasions in life; only, they must be under our control and command, instead of our yielding to them submissively.
While we are engaged in nama-smarana, we must vacate the mind of all thoughts, ideas, fancies, memories, etc. and fill it completely with God and God alone. In worldly affairs we cannot altogether avoid their intrusion on the constant awareness of God. But we should not allow them to make a home in the mind. They will then not be harmful.
All the saints unanimously advise us to maintain constant awareness of God, and assure us that thereby we shall come to comprehend the Ultimate Reality. We must ensure that God is never out of mind, even if it means some overlooking of worldly matters. This awareness of God one person may maintain by engaging in worship, another by singing hymn:, and prayers, some by nama-smarana, another by mental worship, and yet another by engaging himself in some art. So let us resolve to maintain constant awareness as our goal, and do other things as only subordinate to it.
Remember that paramartha is nothing but ceaseless nama-smarana and a constant awareness of God. This can be achieved by repeating nama as often as possible.
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December 12, 2008
Nama Achieves what Yoga Does
A householder should, as a rule, never say ‘no’ to anyone who comes to beg; he should and give him something, if not all of what he asks for. Never turn away one who begs for food. In regard to requests for money, use discretion; if his request appears unjustified, give him only part of it. Remember that even the job we do for livelihood is a kind of begging, so never use bad language to a beggar. It is not at all degrading for genuine vairagya to beg for necessities; but the begging should not be for a selfish end. The mystical grandeur of true vairagya never remains veiled. Paramartha is unsound without genuine vairagya.
To recognize the true nature of the palpable universe is the first step in the acquisition of knowledge; it is ignorance to treat the unsubstantial as real. A worldly man is unable to judge the spiritual status or attainments of a person, so the common man should not vilify anyone. Some idea of a man’s spiritual status can be had on observing the state of his mind at the moment of death.
A person who is ordinary in the eyes of the world may attain a high status spiritually by faith in and practice of nama. This can, of course, be judged only by one who is himself absorbed in nama. Nama is, indeed, extremely powerful; it is a pity, though, that no one is prepared to give it a proper trial. There is no doubt that nama can achieve nothing less than what yoga can. A passion for nama is a sure sign of the grace of Rama. This passion is generated by constant chanting of nama.
It is found that people leading a worldly life are extremely selfish. They are not prepared to forgo even a part of their selfishness and ego, and yet they expect spiritual achievement. How is this possible when selflessness is the very foundation of spiritualism? We go to a saint or sadguru to learn to forgo this tendency for selfishness. No one expects you to relinquish worldly life altogether, nor would anyone be ready to do so. Selfishness is curtailed if desire is reduced; desire is subjugated if we dedicate ourselves to God; dedication comes from constant awareness of Him; and this is achieved by chanting nama; and that is why I exhort you ceaselessly to repeat nama.
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