April 30, 2009
Saints Dwell where Nama is chanted
God is certainly far away so long as we look up to the world with expectation; He cannot be reached while we are addicted to worldly matters and pleasures. Loving worldly life will lead to certain ruin. We are so completely identified with worldly matters that we find it virtually impossible to disentangle ourselves. Worldly pleasures and pain, respect and disrespect, all arise from selfishness, egoism, which makes us forgetful of God. Pleasure and sorrow, good fortune and bad, are the flows and ebbs of worldly life. We cannot dislodge maya unless we realise our true self. Now gird up your loins and resolve to overcome maya. Whatever we see outside is but a reflection of our own mind. Remember that the realization of the Supreme Being can alone give perfect contentment.
We find that sorrow arises from the very thing wherein we seek pleasure. Man can attain his real goal if he follows the correct path. To the person from whom we have some expectation, we naturally have to become subservient. The body is made of pancha mahabhootas, the five primary elements, and is therefore perishable. Do not be attached to the cognizable world, because it is impermanent; contentment can only come by God’s grace.
Not circumstances but the attitude of our mind is the cause of our bondage. You cannot be a complete devotee of Rama without categorically abandoning worldly pleasures. A mind which is devoid of interest in sensuous objects will alone attain bliss. It is in your interest to strive for ultimate good. He is a brahma-jnyani who is always in deep, loving contemplation of nama. Freedom from attachment to woman and wealth is the true mark of a saint. None can equal him who sees God in all creation and loves Him in His myriad forms. He is jeevanmukta, liberated while yet in the body, who gives food free to all who come, who chants nama, and who has realized Rama in his heart. One who aspires to be a ‘Ramadasa’, a servant of Rama, should completely abandon all expectation from the world.
A tranquil, unruffled mind is the mark of a saint. Saints are to be found where there is continuous chanting of nama. There can be no better fortune than to surrender oneself unreservedly to a saint. Practise nama to secure the company of saints.
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April 27, 2009
Things to be Avoided by One who Practises Nama
Our thoughts should be free from selfishness, for it produces and pampers pride and vanity. A selfish person never can be happy. Observe the moral code. Look on another’s wife as your mother. Householders who never think of other women except as a mother are virtually brahmacharis Covet not another’s wealth, look on it with disgust. You have no idea how deeply harmful such covetousness is. Slandering others is the third major point which should be scrupulously avoided, because in discussing others’ faults we concentrate our attention on them and thereby inculcate them in ourselves, and thus assist in our own fall. Take these major precautions, and love for nama is bound to arise. Never fail in doing your duty towards your parents, other elders, children, etc., without attachment to anything that you do. Duty is an act done without egoism or attachment, and without expecting any return. Never neglect your duty, observe the moral code meticulously, and carry on your worldly life in the remembrance of God; then your ordinary life itself will constitute a spiritual exercise, and love for God will arise in your mind; you may take this as a solemn promise from me.
Worldly life is like salt. How much of it do we add to the dough for bread? Only a pinch, for taste. If we reverse the proportion, how will the bread taste? But that is like what we do, treating worldly life as the main goal and spiritual duties as merely secondary. When a man realises true contentment, he treats family life like a game or diversion, caring nought whether he succeeds or fails, and quite willing to call a halt to the play at any time.
Worldly life demands and offers numerous things, but they never suffice, because obtaining one thing itself contains the seed of the requirement of another. Not so with God; when once we obtain Him, it is the end of the search. Suppose we go to a big store which stocks many things, except the one we need: then the store may be very big but not to our purpose. Similarly, if one possesses many faculties but God is not there, all the rest is of no avail. Instead of trying to drag God down for assistance in worldly pleasures and purposes, we should spiritualize our worldly life; it is in this that true ability lies.
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April 26, 2009
Saints Made the Supreme Being Perceptible
Total dedication is the supreme form of devotion. While worshipping, say to yourself, “Lord, I am Your humble servant”; this will generate in you love for Him. Dedicate yourself to Him and then worship Him; there is nothing in this to be ashamed of. We slave for people, passions, and circumstances; only what remains thereafter we offer to God; this is far from total dedication. You can achieve this total dedication by mental worship, manasa-pooja, in which everything is done mentally. Offer to Him whatever you yourself like. Love is not generated by physical toil, unless this is accompanied by the utmost sincerity of heart. Do not worship only outwardly, with the mind engrossed in worldly matters, for this is feigning, which is harmful. Sagunopasana helps most in developing love for God. Do this at a fixed hour and in a fixed place. The deity we worship, albeit mentally, is saguna too, and will thus expect pooja at that hour and place. The effulgence of the idol we worship will wax in proportion to our ardency. If an idol has been worshipped by a very devout, righteous man, it will radiate a peculiar effulgence, will be useful to many others, and will last long.
Sagunopasana will alone impart to us knowledge of the creation. Real devotion must remove all anxiety from the mind, while the body passes through the cycle of prarabdha. The lustre which a true devotee radiates is really of a special kind, and is unequalled by that imparted by learning or wealth. He alone can achieve something worthwhile in this world who is backed by sincere upasana.
A certain woman would sit with closed eyes, and she would see the vision of the goddess she worshipped, who would give her guidance about many matters. Later the woman stopped meditating on the goddess, and lost her special vision and guidance. Therefore, we should not stop our upasana whereby certain supernatural powers support and guide us.
The saints have given a tangible form to the intangible Ultimate Reality, and thereby they have conferred a great boon on us. It creates in us an awareness that it is God who is the giver, the supporter, and that He will certainly look to our ultimate welfare.
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April 23, 2009
Books Written by Saints are their Testament
Saints do not write books out of fondness for writing; on the contrary they do so with great reluctance. Their knowledge is intuitive, and comes directly from the Lord. Do you think Samartha Ramdas and Eknath wrote their books after repeated reading and study of the Jnyaneshwari? It is inevitable, of course, that they express some thoughts already set forth by predecessors. The saints’ works are their testament. Which father would bother to write a testament if he were sure that his sons would behave properly? It is only written by one who is not sure in that respect. Similarly, saints have written not because they liked to do it, but purely out of compassion for the well-being of suffering fallen souls like us. Such books are closely connected with our life; they set forth philosophical principles which are directly applicable in everyday life.
Shri Samartha Ramadas has in his Dasabodha raised doubts and queries on our behalf and answered them, too. A person who does not think of his lasting welfare is an obvious fool, but one who tenders gratuitous advice is doubly guilty. Saints accept even this blame and try to preach spiritualism, and it is in our interest to attend to it.
When reading a spiritual book we should carefully look for the sadhana advocated for attaining the goal. If we carefully select the most suitable sadhana we can be sure of success. We should read only books pertaining to spirituality, which we want to be proficient in. If we want to study mathematics but read only fiction, how can that lead us to success? To attain spiritual ideals, therefore, we should study only the saints’ works, and ponder and meditate on them.
With the mind firmly fixed on God, we should let the body and its affairs drift on the current of fate; they may sometimes be in a pleasant state, sometimes otherwise; floating on a straight course for a time, nearly sinking at another. However, under any circumstances, our mind should be peaceful and blissful. We should learn to look objectively at ourselves; this we can do if we surrender ourselves mentally to God and physically to prarabdha or destiny. The feeling of pain of the body should be treated with indifference, and not allowed to affect the mind to any depth. Pursuit of nama helps us achieve this.
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April 22, 2009
Association with Saints, Best Means to Attain God
To be born a human being, to meet a saint, and to recognise and associate with him: these are the rarest things on earth. That is why living with a saint is incomparable good fortune. It may, in fact, be termed the king of sadhanas. Saints eradicate all desire in a man; and then there remains nothing to be acquired.
The body of a person performing religious rituals very meticulously, automatically acquires a characteristic radiance or aura; such you may not find with a saint, but his body is invariably a fit temple for divine knowledge. The ways and means of acquiring pleasures of the senses may be better known to us worldly-minded persons, but the blissfulness that is beyond the capacity of the body and that transcends time and space can only be obtained by remembering God and thereby being oblivious of the physical body. That is divine bliss; and only a saint can guide us in realizing it. One may go to a saint with the object of fulfilling some mundane desire, but the saint will manage to send him back divested of all wishes; in fact, one who achieves this for every person that approaches him is a true saint —nay, he is God Incarnate. We should long to meet such a one. Saints make us cognizant of the Ultimate Reality. The true achievement of human life lies in following a saint’s behest in word, deed, and spirit.
All persons sitting in a railway train reach the terminal station, irrespective of the class they travel by, and even those without a proper ticket. Similarly all persons living in the company of a saint reach the terminus, namely, the Ultimate Reality. The wicked, the sinful, the unrighteous, the unworthy, and the despicable, who may be said to correspond to the ticketless; these, too, will achieve liberation. The only proviso is that they do not leave the train en route, that is, they hold on to the saint’s company. Therein, indeed, lies the greatness and the glory of a saint.
In man’s quest for liberation, association with saints is of paramount importance. This association can be obtained in three ways: physical association, association with the mantra conferred by the saint, and association with his lofty thoughts and teaching. All these kinds of association exert an influence that takes place almost unawares, but is quite positive.
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