July 31, 2009
Dedication to God can Alone Lead to Happiness
We must have clear idea of our goal in life. It is God we want to attain, and that through the human body and through prapancha.
Sage Vasishtha advised Rama to be outwardly a man of the world but, inwardly, completely detached, disinterested. So we, too, should ever keep aware that we are a piece of the ever-blissful Cosmic Soul, though outwardly garbed as the human body. Just as we have to live with our feet on the earth, similarly no one can live without prapancha of one sort or another; but one who goes through it with the conviction that Rama is the doer is the detached one, whereas the one who assumes doership himself is a prapanchika, suffering from its pleasures and pains. Prapancha is bound to be imperfect, yielding pain as well as pleasure; Rama alone is perfect, and purely blissful. So always hold Him as the goal of life, adopting unbroken nama-smarana as the simple, universal means of attaining Him.
How hard do we toil to make prapancha happy and perfect, though everyone knows that it can never be so. Paramartha, on the other hand, is a ‘cash-down’ effort; you get an increasing degree of mental peace and contentment with the effort you put in. If we devote ourselves to prapancha throughout life, what else will stand uppermost in the mind when the moment of final departure comes? So, do not hanker after it. All worldly things and the pleasure they give are bound to end one day or the other, so study to be mentally detached from them. We can cultivate this outlook by thought and practice. Neither be elated with worldly gain, nor depressed with worldly loss. Leave the body to face its predestined pleasures and pains, bear both with mental equanimity. An easy, effective way to acquire this outlook is to submit totally to Rama; our prapancha, and indeed all creation, is owned by Him. Give to Him what is His, be content to be an instrument of His, absolving yourself of all proprietorship.
To ascribe all ownership and doership to Rama amounts to dedicating everything to Him. Ego, attachment, and passions, impart misery to prapancha; drive these out, and life becomes all bliss. Say to Rama, “Whatever you give is welcome to me,” and contentment is yours for ever.
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July 30, 2009
Saints Act with Faith in Doership of Rama
Where the ego is fostered and rules all actions, misery is bound to come sooner or later; this is the universal law. So I advise you that you should give up all idea of ‘me’ and ‘mine’, and dedicate yourself in subordination to God. And this should be genuine; if it is only a sham, pride will soon rise, and cause destruction. So, steady your thoughts, and generate deep love for nama. Saints go about in life with the conviction and constant awareness that God is the real doer. The true sadhaka should always be on guard in this respect. A hypocrite may deceive the world, but God cannot be so deceived if trust in Him is only faked. So, no matter how you may have behaved in the past, be careful henceforth. Treat another’s wife as your mother; slander not others; look not at others to spot defects, but rather turn the searchlight on yourself. Foster virtue in yourself, and oust defects. This can be achieved if you practise to feel that God is ever about you. Do not delude yourself into believing that prapancha is a source of happiness; that it never is; but it is certainly a matter where we are to do it as a duty. In your heart of hearts, adhere to Rama. Adopt a practice or sadhana whereby you will move closer and closer to Him. If, on the other hand, you treat prapancha as the goal, you are heading for great disappointment and grief. One who looks on prapancha as his sheet–anchor for happiness, can never attain true contentment. So you, people of devotion and wisdom, listen carefully to what I have to say. Misguided thinking may be treated as the forerunner of evil company; but adhering to Raghupati will dispel all obstacles. So fortify your mind with consciousness of Rama. Just as it is futile to try to soften a wicked heart to mercy, so is the effort to eke out happiness from a feeling of hope of happiness from prapancha; it signifies a pampered ego. Live outwardly like an ordinary worldly-minded person; quit not the home and the family; only, avoid getting attached, mentally, emotionally, or in any other way, to any person or thing. Never be dejected or depressed, always be contented at heart, and look on nama with genuine love and faith. * * * * *
July 29, 2009
” I Can’t Bear to See Anybody in Sorrow”
That many persons should come here, that they should be well fed, and that all should chant nama – these three things I passionately like. If anyone does these things, he can rest assured that he will never know want. I undertake to manage the prapancha of him who ever bears me in his heart. Of course, I do not like that anyone should neglect his prapancha; indeed, I want that it should be done carefully, as a sacred duty. He who never regrets what is wanting, nor stints giving to others what he has in surplus, virtually gives his all to me. I never polluted my hand by holding it out in supplication before anyone. I would not like to be offered money in charity. Even if a lakh of rupees were so offered I would spurn it, and prefer to earn a very modest living by my own toil. I like to dress in the minimum clothing, even just a loin cloth, to live in a Maruti temple, to live on alms, and to engage in unceasing nama-smarana. Are there any among you who are prepared to lead such a life with me? If I have obstinately stuck to and insisted on anything, it is nama. I have always sympathised with the poor; I don’t mind poverty, but I passionately disapprove of cringing. I have never felt ashamed to beg in a selfless way on behalf of others. I cannot bear to see anyone in sorrow or pain. I have nothing but love for anybody; indeed, I am only love and nothing but love, and that, too, a mother’s love. I really do nothing, and things shape as they are destined to; and yet people seem to come to me for help; that they find support and solace in me is how I behave with them. As a parting message I would only repeat what I said in the beginning and what I have always been saying: never abandon nama, whatever be the circumstances. My prayer to Rama is that He showers His blessings on all of you. I know how much you all toil for me. He alone can and will requite you for it. May you all live happily; this is my blessing to you. I can confidently say from my experience that Rama provides enough for anyone who freely surrenders to Him all he has. * * * * *
July 28, 2009
“I Fully Protect One who Chants Nama”
To seek to unravel mysteries is a natural tendency in man. And yet there are to this day many things even in the palpable world that defy the human intellect. It is no wonder, then, that many things in the impalpable, spiritual field have defied human intelligence, logic, and investigation. What makes me talk, enables me to talk, where and how I get my mind, and such other things continue to be an enigma. Such things can be understood only by one who has conquered the ‘body-am-I’ feeling. I can be truly understood only by those who are so absorbed in nama as to forget their own physical existence.
You come to me principally to ensure improvement in the state of your prapancha. It should be obvious that the more you levigate a piece of coal the more black paste you get. Similarly the harder you toil for prapancha the more miserable it becomes, because it is so in its very nature. This is excusable only for one who is ignorant; but what about us who daily experience the truth of this all around us? When experience shows that we have no control over what happens to us or is in store for us, where is the wisdom in wishing that a thing should shape in a certain way? Evidently the best thing to do is to carry out our duty and leave the rest to the dispensation of Rama.
I seek to come to you but you block my way. All you have to do to clear my way is to be in unremitting nama-smarana. I never despair about anybody, for, one who has come to human life is bound sooner or later to yearn for Rama and eventually to attain absolution.
What I have been exhorting my people day and night is that, come what may, never cease uttering nama. One who calls himself mine must have love for nama. In life, never funk nor flinch, never forsake courage, and never abandon nama. I never advise anything that will militate against practical considerations. One who remains in nama, him I protect in all ways : I am always with him, though he may not know in what form. Do nama-smarana while you retain consciousness; I undertake to do it for you while you sleep or are unconscious.
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July 27, 2009
Beg, if You Must, Only of Rama
Every action in life, even our very living, should be for Rama. Rama should, in fact, be for us like the mother to a child, like the father to a grown up, like the loving husband to a woman, a considerate employer to a servant, a trusted confidant to a friend. Come one, come all, to Gondavale and learn to feel it. Saguna bhakti alone can teach the common man and woman to realize the omnipresence of God, and how to live constantly in Him. We should try and see His hand, His will, in everything that happens in the world. In fact, having done our duty according to the best of our lights, whatever ensues should be welcomed as His will. One who has this conviction, this faith, will be unperturbed, undaunted by pleasant and unpleasant happenings in life. Realizing that Rama is the real doer of everything, ascribe all doership to Him and completely annul your ego. What can Rama lack? He is the Lord of everything; what can you ask for and He be unable to give? So beg, if you must, only of Him; He may or may not grant it, as He deems fit. Whatever He chooses to give in His wisdom, accept without demur and with a contented heart. Never ask anybody else anything, for, thereby we belittle our ideal, our God, our devotion. Of course, if somebody voluntarily offers anything, we should not refuse to accept it. Throughout my life I adopted no sadhana other than nama. Nama is what my own sadguru gave me, and I give nama to anybody who comes to me. And I assure you that you will not fail to attain God if you dedicate your tongue to nama. Employ your tongue in continually, saying ‘Rama,’ ‘Rama’. I can vouch from personal experience that the soul’s salvation rests in nama; so let every man and woman keep uttering it. Back every effort with the foundation support of devotion to the Almighty. Chant nama ceaselessly to keep you ever mindful that whatever you do has God for its goal. These times are really degenerate when the majority in society, even the respectable ones, give themselves up to sensuous, even lewd pleasures, and throw all scruples to the wind to obtain them. However, those who live in nama can rest assured of survival. So cease running after social applause and so-called respectability and live in love of the Lord. Ascribe all doership to Him and live in quiet and peace. * * * * *
July 26, 2009
The Four Aspects of Sadhana
The shastras describe four aspects of sadhana. The first is, discrimination between the eternal and the terminable. One should be apathetic toward the terminable, and solicitous about the eternal, that is, God. Next, one should empty the mind of all desire for enjoyment of sensuous pleasures of the world or even of heaven. The mind has a vagrant nature and seeks one worldly pleasure after another; it should be forcibly restrained and applied to God. We should bear with patience even undeserved trouble, trust in the word of the sadguru, keep calm contentment towards both pleasant and unpleasant happenings in life; this is the third aspect of sadhana. Lastly, there should be an intense yearning for God. If a seeker is equipped with this fourfold approach, then and then alone can he realize the Ultimate Truth. What is required is complete detachment from all expectation, complete apathy, passionless, non-expectant outlook on existence. Avarice for money, lust and temptation of any kind, should be foreign to the mind.
To lead worldly life with efficiency and success is not the goal of human life; this is, after all, what animals, too, may achieve. The true goal is to realize God, the Ultimate Reality. All the toilsome labours of life can only be called truly fructified if man succeeds in realizing God. In the present times no means are so practicable and effective as nama-smarana. Nama, indeed, is all-powerful, and one who has it at heart, while he may not always succeed materially, will ever find himself backed by God. Success and failure in worldly life have only passing value and effect; what really matters is the extent and continuity of awareness of God.
The pleasure and pain that comes to one’s lot are, in the ultimate analysis, apportioned to us by Rama; we, however, realize this only at the end, after having gone through and been affected by the vicissitudes of life. Let us bear this in mind right from the start; this can be achieved by nama-smarana.
It is the way of life that, even as we are heaving a sigh of relief at a pleasing occurrence, the moment of despair is in the formation. A wise man should therefore keep his mind engrossed in nama-smarana and equably accept the thick with the thin. Remember that Rama never fails to back one who keeps himself engrossed in nama-smarana.
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July 25, 2009
Never Relinquish the Divine Name
Will-power can be so strong that it can even physically attract the desired thing. In the same way, the Lord is definitely accessible to one who really strongly yearns for Him. One may acquire an abundance of material things, but they will all fail to give lasting satisfaction because they are all imperfect, impermanent. As against these, the Lord Himself being the pinnacle of perfection, when He is attained, all mundane desires wane and eventually perish, leaving only pure contentment and bliss. So always aspire to attain Him. To chant nama ceaselessly is equivalent to saying repeatedly,” I want You; it is You that I yearn for.” If we leave everything in life to Rama, we shall find that He gives us far more than what can be normally expected or even imagined. We should go about in life in the faith that our body, our life, are all under the direction and control of Rama; if our conviction to that effect is unshakable, we shall never feel want.
One particular feature of nama-smarana should be noted. Even if it is done with a mundane objective, which may even be achieved, it gradually attenuates desire and finally the mind becomes entirely free from it. Therefore, take to nama-smarana, no matter with what object. Of course, if the objective itself is to become desireless, the purpose will be achieved much sooner. Nama-smarana is not only the means, it is also the object. We should have the conviction that nama is Ultimate Reality itself.
When we undertake any act, we constantly bear the desired result in mind; similarly, when we chant nama we should always be aware of the objective, namely, realising God. To keep so aware without break constitutes anusandhan.
As a matter of fact, we are part and parcel of God, the Ultimate Reality. We are deluded into believing that sensory pleasure is the objective, the end and aim of human life. The saints remind us that sense-pleasures are not the true goal, but the realisation of our true nature is the goal of our life. Repeatedly chanting nama is constantly to remind ourselves of this fact.
So, repeatedly chant nama, pray to God from the bottom of your heart, and God will absolve you of all past sins of commission and omission; for this I give you my word.
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July 24, 2009
Implicit Surrender to the Sadguru
Everyone is toiling hard to make a living; but do we come across anyone who can say, “I am getting enough and to my satisfaction?” The plain answer is, “No.” So I ask you, if you toil so hard for a futile objective, why should you hesitate to work hard for attaining God, who is the home, the repository of pure bliss? At least give a fair trial to the path indicated by the saints. Make up your mind once and for all about the sadguru to be followed, and then stick to the sadhana he advises. To expect to see the sadguru necessarily in a corporeal body is not correct. In fact, the sadguru should be considered as nothing short of God Himself, and the sadhana prescribed by him should be pursued with implicit faith. This will positively lead to God. Nama-smarana is the only sadhana that any true sadguru will prescribe, and this we should practise with assiduity and perseverance. To him who honestly follows the sadguru’s behest, the stages of advancement come naturally. A true seeker should implicitly surrender himself to the sadguru, ascribe all doership to him, and be contented and happy in whatever happens. To feel a burning, intense yearning for God is a matter of great good fortune. A sadguru is highly pleased to come across such a genuine seeker, as was the sage Vasishtha when King Ramachandra approached him, seeking divine knowledge. The saints all stuck steadfastly to their own sadguru, adhered to the prescribed sadhana, and saw God in a particular form of divine manifestation; so we, too, should perseveringly stick to nama-smarana. A father sports with the son while he is in a playful mood, and relinquishes him to the mother as soon as the child becomes petulant , whereas the mother coddles and pacifies him when he is out of mood. Saints are like the mother; God Himself behaves like the father. Remove water from a block of ice, and nothing remains; so are saints nothing but love for God. Association with saints is the royal road to attaining the Ultimate Reality without the trouble of sadhana. True association with the saint or sadguru, can be only by acting on his instruction, and the true effect of it is that the devotee’s heart is fully purified. * * * * *
July 23, 2009
First Faith, then Action, and Lastly Experience
One who has firm faith that the sadguru is backing him, one who implicitly obeys him and ensures his never-failing support, will never find himself in want. One has to walk back to take a start for a long jump; the set-back which a disciple may occasionally find in his life is like that walking back for a start. A father teaching his son to swim occasionally withdraws his support, but the son is confident that his father will never let him sink and get drowned. One should keep the same unshakable faith in the sadguru.
When a man falls ill, he pays the doctor and yet places trust in him, takes the prescribed medicine though he is ignorant about its properties and effects. The obvious reason is that we earnestly wish to live on, and to be well, and trust the doctor to arrange it. Similarly, we shall only place trust in nama and sadguru if we earnestly aspire to meet God. We should adopt the same procedure as in worldly life, namely, first trust, then act, and then expect the result to justify the trust.
We reserve a berth in a railway sleeper coach and travel sleeping, with full trust in the driver and the train, although we know full well that neither is infallible. Why, then, should we hesitate to put at least an equal amount of trust in God? Is He not even as trustworthy? No one expects you to begin with blind trust, but a certain minimum degree of faith is certainly indispensable for paramartha.
Begin with unquestioning faith in a saint and his teaching. To possess such implicit faith is indeed given to a fortunate few, and their progress is really fast. If we are not among those few, let us at least be honest to ourselves, and fix our objective of life and the path with faith and determination.
Pray to the Lord, “Give me full contentment in the situation you choose to place me in. Rid me of my ego. Let me never forget your presence, never desire to ask anything of you; give me love for nama and unswerving faith in You.”
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July 22, 2009
The Sadgurn Leads us to Ultimate, Eternal Bliss
A boy stood on the parapet of a well, ready to jump in to recover his ball which had fallen in. A person who was standing by tried to dissuade him, warning him that he may sink in the deep water and be drowned. The boy’s father happened to be passing by and did his best to reason with the lad. Finding him stubbornly bent on jumping, the father gave a smart slap and drove him home. Would you here blame the father as unkind to his son?
Precisely similar is what happens between the disciple and his sadguru. The disciple, in his ignorance, goes on asking for fulfillment of mundane desires. The sadguru reasons with him to dissuade him. If the disciple still insists stubbornly, the sadguru uses more stringent deterrents such as obstacles and calamities, and tries his best to save him despite his protests. We profess to be educated, grown up, wise, and yet are eager for fulfillment of mundane desires. The sadguru may advise the disciple, in his own interest, not to marry, while the latter asks imploringly and persistently when he will find a wife; he may finally go to the length of saying that the guru is an ignoramus. This is because we see and seek happiness only in the sense perceptions. The sadguru, on the other hand, knowing as he does where true happiness lies, tries to dissuade us from following our fanciful notion of happiness. It is therefore in our own interest to listen to his advice. We shall attain true happiness by implicit obedience to his behests. What he does in advising us is to extricate our mind from wherever it may have got stuck with false fancies.
When it is said that God protects the devotee, it does not mean that He destroys the calamities; rather, He so fortifies the devotee’s mind that he can meet them calmly and courageously, with a contented mind. He ensures that the devotee is ever mindful of God. It is such devotees that eventually attain sainthood.
To feel respect for a learned man one must oneself be learned to some extent; to recognize a saint one must oneself possess at least some saintliness. The main essential quality is devotion. The external appearance and behaviour may differ according to the place and times, but love for God is an unvarying quality common to all saints.
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