March 21, 2009
Greed Remains ever Unsatiated
There are two kinds of diseases that harass man. One is, utter lack of appetite. No amount of medication produces desire to eat. What use would it be to place a sumptuous meal of choice delicacies before him? He would only plead lack of appetite and decline the offer. In the other disease, the patient’s hunger is never satiated, no matter how much he eats. Exactly similar is our condition; only, we are afflicted not with one but both these diseases. There is a grand festival of spiritual exercises going on about us, worship, prayers, hymns, but we have neither love nor interest therein. We have no appetite for them. On the other hand, God has endowed us with so many material gifts, wife and children, vocation, property, that contribute to worldly happiness; but our avarice is insatiable, we want yet something more. How far, how long, is this to go on?
It may be true that we observe the moral and social codes of behaviour. But this is only under inhibitions or fear of social reproach or stigma; this cannot be called intrinsic improvement. Such good conduct may be only superficial, unless it leads to an improvement in human life as a whole. What we see in the world today is a plethora of amenities, conveniences, and gadgets, which, however, have not added an iota of contentment to human life. All this is really useless unless man’s greed is lessened and there is longing for God. Popular ‘religious’ acts such as pilgrimages, worships, singing of hymns, etc., may only remind us of spiritual life but may not purify the heart; and without such real betterment, progress towards God is unthinkable.
There is no measure to decide how much a man needs to have in this world; whereas, one who is determined to feel contented will be happy with whatever he has. Life lived with proper understanding can certainly expedite spiritual realization without necessitating renouncement of worldly life. We may not have love for God today; it will be generated in due course by persisting in devotion to saguna and nama-smarana. This repetition of nama may be insincere or even forced in the beginning, but persistence will create love for it in due course and will lead to yearning for God. It is essential to feel that ‘I am no longer my old self; I now belong to God’.
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March 20, 2009
‘I’ and ‘Mine’ – the Cause of Unhappiness
Rid yourself of all fear, in the firm belief that Rama protects all. He will surely stand by you if you deliver yourself up completely to His care; that wipes out all cause of worry. Considering Rama as the true and only giver, eschew all fear and anxiety. Never cease striving, harbour no fear, and never let Rama be out of your mind, whatever may befall. Assign all doership and ownership of your life to Rama, by surrendering yourself completely to Him in your heart of hearts; where, then, is the cause for anxiety and anguish?
Misery and sorrow spring basically from identifying one’s self with the body. So far we have been doing everything with egoism, which is the root cause of sorrow. Despite our outward claims that we have abandoned all ego, the feeling persists deep in the bottom of the heart, and that is the seed of misery. Obstinacy and insistency, are symbols of inner pride of doership, and this is the cause of unhappiness. Any feeling of unhappiness in life is a sure sign of the existence of ego. There can be no sense of contentedness so long as your effort springs out of the feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’. Selfishness is an expression of ‘I-am-the-body’ conviction, and leads to misery and ruin. Every effort made so far has only fed and strengthened the ‘I-am-the-body’ conviction, the source of pain and sorrow. One who entertains that conviction will never find happiness anywhere. It only leads to attachment to interests other than Rama or God. Never yield to this egoism which totally destroys peace of mind; for, sorrow reigns where ego resides. Elation at merit and fear of sin also arise from this sense of ego.
One who loses himself in passions and desire is in for great misery. Clinging to them destroys one’s higher interest. The flow of ‘desire’ is endless, like that of a river. Desire is mitigated by neither indulgence nor suppression. We consider ourselves to be the body, and so cannot endure pain even for a moment.
I have no control over anything or any person that I call ‘mine’; how, then, can I expect the world to conform to my will? We can perhaps gift away all things, but there still lurks the sense of doership and self-esteem, which is precisely what keeps us away from realization of God.
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March 16, 2009
How to Reduce our Attachment for Prapancha
Our present situation is like that of a person who wants to eat his cake and have it too. We aspire to the contentment which God alone has and can give; while, at the same time, we do not want to give up our clinging attachment for prapancha. Our love for either, thus, lacks constancy, whereas genuine love is single-minded, unswerving.
True, abiding happiness can be found with God alone; but it is by no means necessary to give up prapancha; what we need to give up is only our attachment for and entanglement with it. This can be done if we realize the true nature and value of prapancha. We have our own experience to convince us that prapancha, however diligently we do it, cannot bring true happiness; and yet it is almost necessary, unavoidable, to do it. What then, is the degree to which it is necessary to us? No more than the walking stick which an old man or a disabled person carries with him when going out.
In order that our present bonds of attachment to prapancha should weaken and finally be severed, and that, correspondingly, love for God should steadily increase, we should abide by the rules laid down by the shastras, exercising control over our acts, thoughts, and speech. Their observance will gradually wean us away from worldly life. If we ascribe all ownership and doership to Rama, whatever ‘profit’ or ‘loss’ ensues will automatically go over to Him, and we shall stand unaffected in prapancha.
Upright, moral behaviour is the very foundation as well in the spiritual quest as in the conduct of worldly affairs. The dictates of the shastras aim at ensuring that one controls passions. Our thoughts should be pure, and untainted by selfishness, hatred, or jealousy. Never wish ill to others. Exercise rigid control over speech. Always speak gently, sweetly. We want to employ the tongue for uttering the sacred name of the Lord; how, then, can we defile that tongue by uttering anything that hurts the heart of another, that is hurting the Lord who resides therein? Let us withdraw our interest from mundane matters and apply it to God.
What I advise you is strictly the same that the saints have been advising for ages. If you believe in it firmly and act accordingly, I assure you that Rama will make you happy.
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March 15, 2009
The Divine is Nothing but Yourself Minus Upadhi
An exposition of Brahman in words is not possible beyond a certain limit, just as a mere description of the sweetness of sugar cannot give a satisfactory, complete idea of it. However, we may comprehend the truth from a proper understanding of the “non-truth.” Similarly, one who correctly understands maya or illusion can be said to have comprehended Brahman or the Reality.
Maya, after all, is nothing but the shadow that obscures Reality and precludes a true view of it. The Reality is ever-existing, never changing or perishable; maya, on the other hand, is anything and everything that comes into existence and eventually perishes. So long as one remains steeped in maya or unreality, there is evidently no possibility of realising Brahman, which is the Truth. Under these circumstances, the impermanent, perishable, illusory maya tempts us away from God that is the unchangeable, imperishable Reality, the home and treasure of bliss. That philosophy alone is worth the name which emancipates us from the illusion, and takes us to the Reality. Since God, or Brahman, is alone true, lasting and blissful, whatever is done for its attainment is true. Realisation that we are basically a part and parcel of the infinite divinity, is true emancipation. This realisation will come only if and when a person strips himself of all upadhi.
Om, the sacred syllable, is the joining link between the Brahman, which is impalpable and the creation, which is palpable. In the spiritual quest, we gradually cast off tangible forms and intellectual concepts until we arrive at this link, Om, which is but another word for nama, since nama and Om are identical.
In the Bhagavadgeeta, Lord Krishna admonishes Arjuna: “If you really possess true knowledge you must calmly and courageously face the situation; if you don’t, do not pose as a wise man and indulge in glib talk of truth, morals and duties, do not put forward fallacious arguments and pleas, but listen to and be led by one who really knows.” In plain words, this amounts to saying, “Surrender yourself to and be led by the saints.”
Compared to the creation, man and his capacities are insignificant, and we are mere pawns in the hands of a Superior Power. So whatever pleasant or unpleasant things happen, should be contentedly accepted as the will of that Superior Power, that is, God.
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March 14, 2009
Divert Love for Prapancha towards God
Love is a natural instinct. One does not have to be tutored about loving one’s daughter or son. Where there is a liking, fondness follows. But this love is, in the ultimate analysis, also selfish. Were it not so, a person would not complain that his son is self-willed, not obedient. A person complains thus because such behaviour hurts his ego or self-interest. A freshly married youth’s father, when asked how his son treated him, replied, “I’ll tell you after about six months,” during which period he expected to find out how the son’s bride tutored him and how he reacted to it. So undependable, unpredictable, is worldly love. How can one depend on this? Therefore, in prapancha one should only think of one’s duty, irrespective of the others’ response.
Prapancha, indeed, is like a laboratory or a workshop in a school, where its purpose is merely to instruct or give practice, not to turn out a remunerative product. Prapancha should therefore be considered only as a place of instruction, not as the producer of a profitable article, namely, happiness.
If we review our experience, how much achievement can we find for which we can claim sole credit, and how much is attributable to circumstances over which we had little control? Therefore, think not much about the circumstances, only do your duty conscientiously, without letting the mind become overmuch affected by external things. Everything has to await the proper, predestined moment for fruition. It is therefore yours only to do your duty conscientiously, telling yourself that all that happens is by God’s will; thereby you will gradually acquire respect and love for God. The fondness which we feel today for prapancha should be diverted to God. Studiously learn to love selflessly everyone in the family, and this will automatically lead to walking on the spiritual path, and create love for God. There is no separate exercise needed for this purpose. That fondness for God will arise if you feel that you cannot do without Him. For this we must ever remain in His company; and to remain in nama-smarana is the easiest way, the only way, to achieve this. The brain may forget what has been read, or seen, or done; but you will never forget the divine name if you decide to hold fast to it.
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