Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June.12

June 12, 2009
Paramartha is the True Goal of Human Life

The feeling of disunion with Brahman or the Ultimate Reality is the cause of pain, while happiness and bliss result from the realization of identity with Brahman. If we live in the conviction of this identity or unity, we shall always be in enduring bliss. The world appears manifold, but basically it is one and the same stuff. Paramartha, or the attempt to realize this fundamental unity, is uni-directional; and it is on this that we should focus our attention. To desist from mental involvement in life is paramartha. It calls for abandonment of all upadhi so that even ‘I’ or myself as a separate entity, has no existence. Prapancha, arising as it does from a feeling of duality or separateness, is bound to appear multitudinous.
Unless and until we recognize the true aim of human life, prapancha persists as our goal. As a matter of fact, man comprises not merely the body but also the mind, and therefore he must strive for both the physical and spiritual goals; but the real, ultimate goal of human life is realization of identity between all creation and the Cosmic Soul. So far as physical, worldly life is concerned, a sense of duality is essential for any sense of happiness. Consequently, in our transition from the present conviction of reality of material things to the realization of paramartha, the ‘manasa-pooja’ or mental worship pre-supposes the duality ‘God’ and ‘I’; it is with this duality that we have to begin.
Until paramartha is assimilated in our flesh and blood, it is desirable to reinforce our sadhana with appropriate reading. We have to see what we must do to keep the mind fastened to God.
Prapancha carried out with only a material outlook fails to yield the expected fruit. The remedy advocated by saints is to supplement it by nama-smarana. We are, however, deterred from it by our pride and our ‘wisdom’. Who creates this ego? Its small, almost imperceptible seed exists dormant in ourselves. It sprouts as desire for popular esteem. What the saints suggest for countering it is to be in nama-smarana, and simultaneously to suppress the urge for sensual pleasures. Reverses and obstacles in life should remind us that the aim of human life is to realize God, to take us closer to God. So, instead of getting scared by them, we should apply ourselves to nama more seriously.
* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June.11

June 12, 2009
Pleasure and Pain are but Mental Reactions

A medicine will serve its purpose only if its effect reaches the affected part; similarly, if we want to remove unhappiness, we should trace its source. Any deficiency or shortcoming of prapancha causes unhappiness. We shall discover that unhappiness is the common result, whether a person is poor or rich. One person may have enough money, but may be unhappy for being childless, while another may have children and lack money. A third one has both, but is afflicted by persistent colic. And so on and so forth, ad infinitum. In short, we can find no one free from unhappiness. No matter how many things you bring in, there does remain or come about one deficiency or another.
A little thought shows us that our remedies for unhappiness are superficial or transient; we do not realize that it is the reactions of our mind that constitute the basis of our unhappiness. A man in deep sleep, while his house is being robbed, may continue sleeping merrily. He starts feeling upset only on waking and discovering the fact. What feels sorrow and happiness, therefore, is the mind. What needs treatment in life is thus the mind. It is the mind that the saints train to face calamities and reverses, with unflinching faith in God. On the other hand, we give free rein to our senses, and only subordinate value to spirituality.
The company we keep influences the mind and its reactions. Accustomed as we are to sensual pleasures, we naturally find enjoyment in such pleasures. As we sow, so must we reap.
It often happens that adversities and shocks in life prove conducive to driving a person towards, and to impart earnestness to, spiritual effort. Progress in spiritual effort, however, depends not on external factors such as wealth or poverty, health or sickness; it depends on peace of mind, purity of heart and of conduct. Convenience in life can be an impediment as much as difficulties. When we go out for some work, delay may be caused if we stop on the way watching a shop window, whether it displays dresses or books. Prapancha is neither favourable nor otherwise for spiritual progress; it affects us only because we approach it with mental attachment. Paramartha is nothing but cultivating detachment from it.

* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June.10

June 10, 2009
Trust in God, the Sole Doer

It is not proper to feel or say, ‘better had it been if a thing had happened in such and such a manner;’ because whatever has happened has been willed by Rama and brought about by Him. The mind will certainly pick up courage in the faith that no one can go counter to His will. My very being is a matter of His will; what, then, of other things? Everyone’s fortunes, good, bad, and indifferent, are controlled and directed by Him. Do not be puffed up by pride of doership; know that every happening is due to His will. Whatever takes place in the mundane or spiritual field is because He has willed it so. Let us, then, go down before Him in utter submission.
Understand that he becomes a favourite with God, whose heart is permeated by contentment; and contentment comes to him who places complete faith in Rama. Place yourself unreservedly at His disposal. Forget ‘me and mine,’ seek contentment in Him. Treat with scant attention the shortages and shortcomings of life and the circumstances and their changeability; preserve contentment through attacks of anxiety, ego, affection, undeserved trouble, deceit, disrespect, sharp talk, and such other things. Contentment is not like an article which somebody can hand over to you; it is a gift of God, unobtainable except through unreserved faith and surrender to Rama.
How can contentment be derived by feeding and nourishing sensualities and mundane desires? It just cannot be had so long as there is upadhi and an interest in and awareness of the tangible. It is not related or perceptible to the body, and can come only by completely belonging to God. Think of the Pandavas; they had to live in banishment in the forest, deprived of the amenities of civilized life, but happy in the company of Lord Krishna. We, too, can live contentedly if we commit ourselves completely to His care.
One should never say, ‘I have done this,’ ‘I will do that,’ especially with an emphasis on ‘I’. One who says, ‘I will strive by myself and attain God,’ has no chance of success; it is just not possible. What is wanted is an ardent craving to meet God. Give up insisting on what you want or do not want. Learn to accept, cheerfully and with equanimity, what comes by God’s will; that is the easiest way to conquer desire.

* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June.9

June 9, 2009
Annihilate Desire, and Get Liberated

Most of us are unaware of the true meaning and significance of devotion and the pursuit of spirituality. Devotion may not spring from mere disgust of prapancha; what is required is disgust for sen-sate pleasures; indeed, one who is careless about duty in prapancha has slender chance of success in spirituality.
To achieve happiness is the ultimate goal for which every living being strives. Liberation is the attainment of transcendental happiness while still living in the body.
Truly, there is nothing that God, the Creator, can lack or need or be wanting. All that we need to do is to lay down our mind and heart at His feet, and be devoted to Him with unreserved faith. To worry is to expose faltering faith. To consign our body to Him unreservedly is real renunciation. It is a pity that no act of ours is free from desire or expectation. Our error lies in looking here and there for the peace and contentment which, actually, are there in ourselves. The contentment must remain suppressed, inexperienced, so long as there persists a desire for this and that. We cannot rid ourselves of avidity till the last; this is the basic trouble; and therefore, only he can be called liberated who has become devoid of desire.
No one can become a true servant of God until he gives up all desire and expectation. Whenever hope arises in the mind it should be dedicated to God. Prapancha is like a drama. Whether one acts as the prince or the pauper is of no consequence, so far as the actor’s personal life is concerned. Indeed, a well-acted pauper may be more applauded than a luke-warmly-played prince. Similarly, in this drama of life, what does it matter if one is wealthy and another poor? It isn’t life that matters but the awareness of God which one maintains. Provided only fair, moral means are used, amassing money is not at all objectionable; only, money must never be considered as a support to be rated above or even equally with dependence on God. It must never become either a substitute or an impediment to treating God as a support.
The supreme happiness to be found in devotion to God cannot be realized or appreciated so long as sensual pleasures continue to please. God is attained only when there is no desire whatsoever but Him.
* * * * *

sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June.8

June 8, 2009
Divert Craving for Sense-objects towards God

What ‘trust’ is in worldly dealings corresponds to ‘faith’ in spiritual practice. Worldly life, being by its very nature imperfect and incomplete, can never yield satisfaction, which is basically, a natural quality of perfection and completeness. Acts done without expectation of any kind will lead to purification and ultimate liberation. ‘Sacrifice’, truly speaking is utter surrender of self, and unbroken awareness of God. In the sadhaka stage body may be subjected to suffering but, once liberation is achieved, the body becomes brimful with the bliss that is God. It is, of course, far from necessary for an aspirant to live indigently. He may live in luxury if he can afford it; but if, some day, he is beset by poverty, he should not even remember the past times of affluence.
The shastras have extolled the householder’s life as blessed, and particularly congenial for spirituality. If, however, we get engrossed in the sensual pleasures which it affords and allows and ignore the duties and responsibilities, what is the gain? It be-hoves a person to engage himself in service or a business for his living, but if he forgets God to serve the employer or the business, it is certainly all to no purpose. Even, service should be performed in the remembrance of God.
Do not believe it if someone tells you that domestic life precludes attainment of God. You certainly can attain that goal; only you must take these precautions: Commit yourself and everything else to the care of God. Relate alike your pleasure and pain to Him. Be contented in whatever condition He pleases to place you in. Everything that you do should be dedicated to Him. Do nothing for which conscience may prick you.
A man is nowhere near spirituality so long as he feels prapancha to be the be-all and end-all. Even evildoers sometimes appear to be happy, but they are not so in reality. Repentance does strike such a person at some time or other and does make him unhappy.
We treat spirituality in a step-motherly fashion. What we need to do is to apply our genuine attachment to God instead of to prapancha. Learn to derive happy contentment in nama-smarana.

* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June. 7

June 7, 2009
Nama is the Highest Prayer and Sadhana

True daily prayer and sadhana must be for attaining God, the eternal, the immutable. We should, therefore, aim at delivering ourselves to Him, body, mind, and soul, to repose these completely, continuously in Him. The mind, as it is today, will not so reside in Him; while the body, being material and impermanent, cannot be associated with one who is subtle and eternal. The only thing, therefore, that we can and should do is to dedicate ourselves to repeating unremittingly the divine name, which can be uttered by the body but transcends it and, being subtle, is related to God, that subtlest of the subtle. This alone can be a real daily observance. Observing the rules laid down by the shastras, the daily reading of the scriptures, saint’s works, or puranas, chanting of hymns, etc. may be done if possible, but without insistence. Pardonable, nay, desirable, is insistence on repetition of nama.
God manifests Himself if nama is uttered with a pure heart. Quite often, the humble and the uneducated prove superior in this respect. We should persistently repeat nama; this gradually cleanses the heart. In the field of spirituality, repeating the Lord’s Name is as important as, if not even more than, breathing is for the survival of the body. Everyone should resolve to spend not even one moment without nama. The Lord is not attainable by mere stubbornness or physical self-torture or chastisement. We try to imitate only the importunities of the great devotees, but not their intense love. Anyone who repeats Rama-nama three and a half crores of times will not fail to realize divine love.
Doubts die hard; they are tough and persistent. Some doubts are self-resolved, by experience. So persist in nama- smarana. Constant repetition will gradually clarify the mind and resolve doubts. It is described in the Ramayana that during Sita’s sojourn in the Ashok-vana of Ravana, even the insensate things around, such as trees, birds, and stones, came to echo with love for nama. This love for nama is identical with love for Rama. He wins the race of life who breathes his last with Rama-nama on his lips.
We should stick to nama-smarana with the intense feeling of Dhruva ; he would not quit nama even when the Lord manifested Himself before him.

* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya pravachan – June.6

June 6, 2009
God and My ‘Self’ are not Different

The surf may appear real, but in reality it is part and parcel of the sea. So, too, untruth or ‘apparent’ truth has a garb of truth itself. The world as we sense it today is really maya or illusion as it appears against the foil of the eternal truth, Brahman. When we understand or realize maya and its working and characteristics, we realize Brahman. In pursuing sensual objects and pleasures we live in maya, gasping uneasily in the chase; but when we realize that it is all nothing but a mirage, we achieve rest and peace.
The ultimate, everlasting, unmutable, essential truth is the Divinity; everything beside it is upadhi. To keep the mind fixed steadily on the Divinity is anusandhan. An awareness of one’s ignorance is the first step in the spiritual journey, while a doubt-free realization of one’s identity with God or Brahman is its fulfillment. To feel that ‘God is the real doer of everything that takes place in the world, while we live only for duty’, is detachment. ‘What I do not get I will not desire, nor yearn for; whatever I get, accept un-grudgingly, cheerfully, with equanimity;’ to live life with this attitude, is to act naturally.
To relinquish desire for or expectation of a particular result is non-attachment. To be free of desire for gratification of any sense or passion is an indication of true knowledge. An action leading to bondage of the individual soul arises from ignorance of the Absolute Truth; conversely, anything that leads to liberation indicates true knowledge. The path of action, the path of worship, the path of nine-fold devotion, all aim at one and the same thing, namely, attainment of God; just as the main object in arranging a wedding is to bring the bride and the bridegroom together in wedlock, the rest of the ceremonies being only incidental, supporting, and, may, differ in different communities.
The importance we attach to the body should not be allowed to become an impediment in our association with a saint. The ‘body-am-I’ feeling intervenes like a mountain between our ‘Self’ and God, that is, our real ‘Self’. The aim of all sadhanas is the destruction of ego, that is, the ‘body-am-I’ feeling. Nama-smarana achieves this in the shortest time, and that is why it is the very essence of all sadhanas.

* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June 5

June 5, 2009
Non-attachment is Essential for Spiritual Progress

Just as the parent bird brings up its fledgling under the protection of its wings, the head of the family should extend loving protestion to all members of the family. Sure of such loving concern, a person would not mind his faults and shortcomings being pointed out to him.
A tonic will become actively invigorating when a patient is free from illness, fever or affection, because the natural metabolism can then work unhindered. Similarly spiritual progress gains momentum when the heart is purified. Spiritual progress demands mental effort, because it involves countering the present habits and tendencies of the mind. Therefore, spirituality is purely a personal pursuit. A sadhaka will realise the benefits comparatively early if he maintains an unbroken awareness of God within the heart, and simultaneously controls and modifies, trains, the tendencies and reactions of the mind. He must ever be cautious lest sensuous desires spy a weak moment or spot and strike. Spirituality therefore needs unremitting vigil over oneself.
Prapancha is not, basically, a rival to spirituality; the two, indeed are as related to each other as the obverse and the reverse of a coin. To conduct prapancha without attachment, and joyfully as a duty, is spirituality. What obstructs spirituality is neither material well-being, nor relatives and friends, but a sense of involvement, of passion and of belonging. Non-attachment does not necessarily mean not having a particular thing, but freedom from mental involvement or sense of belonging. To live happily in the conviction that “whatever is has been given by God and is His, not mine,” is real vairagya or true non-attachment. It is this feeling which is a precondition for spiritual advancement.
Knowledge comes by study, skill comes by practice. Today, we do not have constant remembrance of God for want of true devotion; also, devotion will only arise from constant remembrance maintained by purposeful practice. A wise man is he who brushes aside all doubts, at least for the time being, and commences to practise remembering Him. For One who disregards the senses and their desires and pleasures, there is no harm in remaining apparently in prapancha, provided one is always absorbed in Rama at heart.
* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-June.4

June 4, 2009
Pride is the Prime Obstruction in Spirituality

The shastras set out in detail the way to succeed in worldly life as well as in spirituality. We, however, treat the former as pressing, the latter as a matter of leisure and convenience. Both require guidance by a knowledgeable person. One capable of giving guidance in spirituality is called sadguru. He alone can be guided adequately who concedes his ignorance. It is personal pride, ego, that prevents us from going to God in submission while, strangely enough, even in petty worldly matters we prefer a ‘specialist’ in the particular field!
We think that the world in which we live is a real one because it is tangible, experienceable, to human senses and logic, whereas the other, spiritual world is unreal, being only inferable. Isn’t it funny that we remain addicted to worldly life discounting our repeated experience that altogether it is far from happy, is indeed, full of misery and disappointment? It is evidently duplicity, then, to plead lack of experience and experimental proof for not taking to spirituality.
‘We conduct our life in a very straightforward manner, without deceit, dishonesty, or sin; where, then, is the need to do anything by way of spiritual quest?’ This is a question posed by some. It should be understood that however pure worldly life may be, it cannot lead to the divine unless it is completely divested of ‘self’ or ego, that is, unless all doership is assigned to the Lord. The ‘body-am-I’ feeling is identical with ego, and rises from desire. He who kills, annihilates desire alone qualifies for divine knowledge.
It is most harmful to be a pseudo-saint; it is by far better to honestly remain a plain, well-behaved householder. Our contentment or otherwise depends on the nature of our outlook on life. What really counts in spiritual progress is, not worldly splendour or prosperity, but the balanced, composed outlook on the world and on life; and the sole way to achieve a steady mind is constant awareness of God.
The ‘body-am-I’ feeling make’s one behave in a very strange manner. Such a person disdains worshipping the tangible image of God as militating against his habit, and a thing out of tune with the times. He decries nama-smarana as being too simple to be effective; and he disapproves of ‘anna-daan’ as indiscriminate free feeding of the undeserving !
* * * * *

Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan- June-3

June 3, 2009
How to succeed in the spiritual quest

The easiest, quickest, surest way to achieve the spiritual goal is utter surrender to Him from Whom maya came into being. What is it that obstructs such surrender? Evidently, it is the impregnable screen in the form of ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘mine’. We go ostensibly to see a saint, and plead that my sick wife may get well; can we honestly call this a true meeting with the saint? The saints advise us to do nama-smarana for attaining God, and we try to obey. But when we see that a near and dear one cannot be saved from death, the faith in nama-smarana and in God is shaken, is lost. Does this not plainly mean that our faith is not genuine, not pure, and that it is looked upon only as a means for some worldly gain? We pray ostensibly for being absolved of sensate desires, and do not succeed, obviously because we do not sincerely wish it at all. A man stops at nothing in having his passion or vice catered to; and yet, when asked to do sadhana to attain to God, he pleads all kinds of excuses for not doing it! A man spends two decades for education which may qualify him for a mere pittance; and yet, he loses patience and faith in the prescribed sadhana because it failed to achieve the end in two years’ time. Is this not truly unjustifiable?
Composure of the mind is a sine qua non for pursuing the path of God. It calls for a clear view of the object and the means, not mere strenuous or rigorous physical discipline and chastisement, nor merely a course of repeated reading of certain books, hymns, and such other things. Even the strenuous pilgrimage to Badri Narayan and similar spots in the Himalayas may be of no avail. Far more important and effective will be constant awareness of God.
The quest for God is a study to be pursured by each one singly, personally. This neither needs nor can be aided by any external instrument or situation. It is a study involving a purification, an ennoblement of thoughts, tendencies, instincts, and desires. The less it is exposed to others’ view the more advantageous it is. Publicity in this regard is positively harmful. To live to please the world is worldliness; to live for God’s approval and acceptance is godliness.

* * * * *