Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.23

August 23, 2009
Reading : Need and Limits

The ‘educated’ man reads the scriptures, puranas, and saints’ writings with great relish, and also narrates them enthusiastically to others. And yet he does not endear himself to God, because he merely talks about them, never acts up to them. Saints’ works should be read as carefully as letters from near and dear ones, treasuring every word, and with a view to carrying out what is expressed in them; for the author writes in order that propositions expressed therein should be practiced. If it is a translation or a commentary, the writer will, knowingly or unknowingly, construe the original text according to his own view or interpretation; so the reader should always keep the original text in sight; to read the original text oneself is always the best. The text is like the mother’s milk, while a translation is like the feed from a wet nurse.
With many, reading becomes a passion; much of it is not only futile but confusing. Indiscriminate reading particularly of newspapers is futile. Only he should read who clearly understands and digests what he reads. Others should read only with moderation.
What one reads should be absorbed thoroughly by contemplation. Reading is only profitable if accompanied by practice; the true meaning then becomes clear, and the sadhaka makes real progress. The reading of the basic philosophical books like the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgeeta, and such others, understanding their purport, is essential for a clear notion of the logical basis of our upasana. The Bhagavadgeeta, indeed, can be considered the basis, the mother of treatises on philosophy. It correlates and coordinates worldly life and spiritual life, performance of duty and renunciation. We should bear this in mind when studying it. Philosophy is of no use unless put into practice. Anything that is accepted or proved as wholesome must be acted upon in practical life.
Suppose we are walking by the highway to go to a certain place. We meet a knowledgeable person who points out a foot path or a cart-track which is a much shorter route. We take that path and reach the destination much sooner. Similarly, if on the spiritual path we are obstructed or halted by an unknown defect, or by a recalcitrant mind, a book like the Bhagavadgeeta often offers a useful corrective. We thereby become aware of the defect; and this is the first step in the process of reformation.
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.22

August 22, 2009
Contentment is the True Gift of God

Righteous-minded persons often ask themselves, “I behave very properly, never slander anyone; and yet I have many kinds of difficulties in life, whereas many persons whose behaviour is far from proper have all amenities and happiness. How is this justified?” That one who loathes nama seems to live in enjoyment, while another, an adherent of it, has to face misery and difficulties – how can this come from God who is celebrated for just dispensation? If we probe deep into the matter, we discover that though those people apparently enjoy many sources of ‘pleasure’, they are far from happy at heart, far from having true peace of mind. Suppose a man stands at a road junction; he sees one road in excellent condition, but not leading to his destination, while the other is in a very unattractive state but is the one leading to the desired place; which one should he choose?
The Bhagavadgeeta speaks of two types of sadhakas: the advanced, and the ordinary. Those whose desires are moderate and well-controlled, belong to the ‘advanced’ class. The others, like most of us, who still have plenty of desires and lack control over the senses, but, at the same time, desire to attain to God, belong to karma-marga. The first type of people follow a path of a subtle, superior type; the path for us, the common people, is more obvious, but easy in all ways. The former achieve the destination quickly, the others scale the height slowly, laboriously, step by step. So the ordinary man should cater to his desires in a proper way and remain contented with what he gets, remembering that since everything in the world is the result of God’s will, what he gets is also His will.
If you ask, say, a dozen people the cause of their being discontented in life, they will cite diverse reasons. The obvious conclusion is that there is no single worldly thing that will bring universal satisfaction. Contentment is, indeed, an unusual thing that cannot be learnt from prapancha, for, there is always something that everyone, whether he is a prince or a pauper, feels he lacks, and that to his mind, causes discontentment. Contentment is, indeed, a truly divine gift, and it is earned by keeping constantly in remembrance of God.

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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.21

August 21, 2009
Happiness Lies within Us

Happiness rises from within ourselves; it cannot come from the world around. Attempts to extract it from outside of ourselves is therefore doomed to failure. The world is what you make of it; it depends on how you look on it. The electric lights in the house are operated by switches. If the source of electricity develops a fault, no manipulation of the switches will operate the lights unless and until the fault at the source is set right. Similarly, it is no use seeking happiness from things and persons unless you yourself adopt a cheerful, generous attitude to the world. The water of the oceans is brinish in taste all over. So, too, the people in the world are similar all over. Therefore, our happiness is a mathematical function of our own attitude, not of other persons or things.
The sole way, therefore, is to adapt our attitude to the world. God has gifted man with the unique faculty of discrimination. Making full use of this faculty, we should adopt good things and disregard unwholesome things and thoughts. It may not be easy for many to do whatever is good. The royal road to happiness, therefore, is to use the faculty of discrimination and accordingly, do things, as far as possible, which are wholesome, and avoid those that are otherwise, and to think of God all the while. To expect happiness from other persons or worldly things is fundamentally unreasonable. On the one hand, we do not toe the line with the world because it is sinuous and unpredictable; nor, on the other, do we determinedly walk in the way of God; how, then, can we expect happiness? So look for it within yourself, and not where it lies not.
The Lord, recounting His various manifestations in the world, cites the mind as one of them. Therefore we cannot reorient the mind without the assistance of God. So attach yourself fast to God, and rest contented. Keep the mind ceaselessly fixed on God, and contentment will automatically follow. Worldly opulence and grandeur never bring true contentment, because everyone lacks one thing or another and that he feels, is something that is necessary to complete his happiness. Remember that God gives enough to everyone to fill his needs; and it is for us to feel contentment with whatever comes.
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.20

August 20, 2009
A Slave to Sensual Pleasures

The body is the abode of all unhappiness, and a body in pain or illness is the climax of suffering. Body and pain are, indeed, inseparable, as are sugar and its whiteness. Even an able-bodied person cannot forget pain as a possibility. Just as the body has a shadow, equally unavoidable is the presence or possibility of illness. Even divine incarnations like Rama and Krishna had ultimately to discard the body. One cannot guarantee the well-being of one’s own body; and yet people lament over the death of a person. The threat of illness always makes one uneasy. The body has to bear pain itself; there is no proxy, nor can one take over another’s pain as proxy.
Whatever one has done so far has been in the interest of prapancha, that is, the body and matters related to it, or, in other words, sensual interests. Worldly authority of one kind or another, children, wealth, worldly action, popular acclaim – these are but different forms of sensual selfishness, and they invariably lead to sorrow. Every effort made so far has aimed at one earthly gain or another, imagining that it would bring one type of pleasure or another, but they are all illusory.
We should always remember that people are selfish by nature; not only they are basically not grateful for favours done, but quite likely to snarl if, on an occasion, we do not oblige them. Attachment to prapancha is no less perilous than clasping fire to the bosom. Naturally, therefore, all the trouble we have taken so far has failed to produce the happiness we strove for. However deep we probe into worldly activities, we shall never discover the pure, lasting happiness that we look for. Failure, sorrow, can be the only outcome.
Therefore we never come across nor hear of a person who has achieved lasting bliss through any worldly means. It is common experience that one has to adopt a servile attitude to one from whom we expect something; and one who becomes servile to sensual pleasures naturally loses true happiness. We get the fruit of the plant that we assiduously water and manure. Worldly life and sensuous pleasures are what we strive for; how can this yield contentment? A bitter fruit will not taste sweet however much you roll it in sugar; so, too, sensuous pleasures can never yield lasting happiness.
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug. 19.

August 19, 2009
Do You Feel a Desperate Need for God?

A certain man started on a journey, well-equipped with the things he expected to need. Being a habitual betel leaf and tobacco chewer, he carried those accessories, too. After a while the train started, he took out the tobacco kit and proceeded to making ready the chew when, to his chagrin, he discovered that the lime box had been left out. He repeatedly searched his baggage but failed to find it. His longing for the chew whetted, he was almost beside himself; when he heard the sound of anything dropping on the floor, he thought it was the lime box. When anyone made as if to speak, he imagined that it was to ask if he wanted lime. How desperate one feels when one desires a certain thing with real longing!
Do we want God with the same degree of desperation? There are a hundred things about which we know the minutest detail – the wife and children and other things animate and inanimate; have we ever felt equally keen about the gods we worship every day? In this state of affairs, how can we expect love for God to arise in ourselves?
If we are really keen for the love of God, we must give up our great regard for worldly things and affairs. Not that we should disregard them and neglect practical needs and duties, but the keen attraction that we feel today for sensual pleasures and conveniences should be applied instead to God. There should arise a burning need for God, who should be a sine qua non for living.
Constant or frequent association leads to love, and love leads to yearning. This is a matter of common experience. For instance, we meet a congenial co-passenger in a journey; we sit with him, talk with him, perhaps share the meal with him. When his station arrives and he prepares to get off the train, we feel sorry to have to part, we express regret for briefness of the companionship. Far much more love will ensue if we keep constant company of nama. So maintain constant repetition of nama, and entrench yourself in the conviction that you are nobody, that it is God who is the doer in all happenings. Even what happens through you is prompted by Rama. He will surely rush to your succour if you earnestly call on Him to do so.

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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.18

August 18, 2009
Surrender to Rama as the Sole Support

That life in the world needs thinking of God as the basis, is amply evident. If one only looks to one’s own experience, one will have to agree that all the grandeur and prosperity of today can only be attributed to Rama’s grace. We should therefore always remember that everything that happens is by His direction and will, that we should feel neither pride nor regret of doership of anything. If a feeling of pride does crop up, recollect Rama, and He will see that, that feeling is overcome. Pride of doership rears its head in times of ‘success’ or pleasing happenings, while, in times of undesired happenings, ‘fate’ comes in handy for blame. So take care that the feeling of pride is completely destroyed. The Lord cannot be propitiated so long as there is the smallest vestige of pride of doership. So think of Rama at all times, in all actions.
He is ever happy who attributes all doership to Rama; while one who takes doership on himself is paving the way to misery sooner or later. So let us ascribe everything to Rama and enjoy contentedness. Surrender utterly to Him, and thus freed, go through life with a light heart. Ask Him for nothing but love for nama-smarana.
Rest contented in the conviction that whatever happens is by God’s will. Be not disgusted with unpleasant happenings, nor elated with pleasant ones. This will gradually wear out the desire for or against anything, and efface all feeling of self-importance. So, I exhort you, put implicit faith in Rama. In utmost humility, vow to be happy in whatever circumstances He places you. He is ever eager ,to help us, but we, in self- pride, think it below dignity to ask His help. He can most certainly grant anything you can possibly ask for; but I would caution you to ask for nothing that may go against your ultimate good.
Ramadasa Swami acquired the appellation ‘Samartha’ because he became an unreservedly devoted servant of Rama. One who ceases looking up to worldly esteem and dedicates himself to the service of Rama will easily rule over the world. Old persons should dedicate themselves to upasana, while younger people should make it a point never to miss doing their duty, and keep constant awareness of God; this is the surest, the sole means of becoming contented.
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Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.17

August 17, 2009
Firm Faith is a Powerful Force

If we keep firm faith in God while doing our duty conscientiously, we need never have any occasion for pain, sorrow, or regret. This firm faith has helped so many people and seen them through trying circumstances.
The greatest advantage of saguna-bhakti is that the approach being through love, our emotions experience an upsurge when we bow at the feet of Rama. At such moments we should earnestly pray to Him, saying, “O Rama, I now have no ally, no support, but You; so now call me Yours. Doubtless I am the home of drawbacks and defects, but pray do not discard me on that count, for, unworthy as I may be, I approach You with utter surrender.”
We must possess the patience, the tolerance, that can only come from firm faith in God. Such a person will ever be trusted by the whole world. People will even set God aside and adore such a person. Worldly life led in firm faith in God is bound to be replete with happiness. Grieve not about what happened yesterday, nor worry about what may come tomorrow; live joyfully, unconcernedly, in the present, doing your duty; whenever you can withdraw your mind from the humdrum of life do so, and devote yourself to nama-smarana, eschewing idle talk.
For one who is immersed in love for God no advice or precept is necessary. Nowhere in the puranas is a mention of Lord Krishna having delivered to the gopis any philosophical discourse. There was never a need, for the gopis were steeped in the love of the Lord. Such love can be obtained only by nama-smarana. So, I say, live in nama and enjoy contentment and bliss in life. Take my word for it, God will shower His grace on you.
The activities we indulge in pursuit of worldly pleasures only yield mixed happiness and pain. Progeny, wealth, prosperity of various kinds, respect in the world, acquisition of material knowledge – these and such other things can never yield unalloyed, permanent bliss and contentment. The twin-sided coin of pleasure and pain will be our invariable lot. One who lives in ceaseless nama-smarana, one who is unaware of anything else, is ever supported by God. He alone can be called a true theist who is entrenched in the firm conviction that God is the real doer.

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Shree Brahmachaithanya Pravachan – Aug.16

August 16, 2009

Nama Alone Can Lead to True Contentment

Man commits an error or sin, and implores God for pardon. It is evidently futile to expect such pardon if the sin is persisted in. Pardon is almost taken for granted; if the significance of the word pardon is properly understood the word would not be used so lightly. It is plainly an attempt to cheat God, who, however, sees everything, including our innermost thoughts. God is so great, indeed, that He cannot be encompassed by our logical argument nor our puny intellect. He can only be propitiated by utter submission; and I would exhort you to adopt such submission. Contentment is entirely independent of external circumstances. Reading the scriptures, committing book after book to memory, listening to learned discourses, none of these can give contentment unless put into practice. Nama is a necessary complement. So, completely surrender yourself to God, and repeat His name with love and persistence. A moneyless pilgrim of Pandharpur was trudging wearily on the way to that place when a motor car drew up. Seated inside was an obviously rich man, with liveried servants. The party, it seemed, was also bound to the same place. The poor pilgrim thought to himself, ‘Here I am, devout and sincere, making my way with difficulty, while this man, grown rich with his dishonest dealings, rides in a luxurious car! How unjust of you, O Lord!’ Just then the car door opened, and out came the ‘rich’ man, supporting himself with great difficulty, leaning on two of his servants because he was lame. Then it occurred to the poor pilgrim that it was better by far to be poor and to have two sound legs to trudge on, rather than be rich and lame and drive in a car. Generally we fancy that a man who has something that we lack must be happier than ourselves. This is evidently a fallacious fancy, for the other man may be having a handicap unimagined by us. And if the other man thinks that he is happy with his possession, he may well be under a delusion, like a drunken fellow. To be contented with the prevailing situation is the only way to loosen the grip of the attractions of the world. Let us therefore accept whatever situation it pleases God to keep us in; this will definitely hold the upsurge of both pleasure and pain in check. * * * * *


Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug.15.

August 15, 2009

A Contented Mind Signifies Divine Grace

Our body is made of the five primal elements. We should realize which of these is my true self, the true ‘I’. It is clear that ‘I’ is not, unlike these elements, perishable. The real ‘I’ comes from the eternal Cosmic Soul, and therefore this ‘I’ tries to return to the original Reality, to recover the eternal existence, together with its unfailing state of happiness. When we feel devoid of this happiness, we can conclude that there is something wrong somewhere. God created man with a seed of His own potential in him, in order to perfect an imperfect and unhappy world. This could be done if We know what detracts from the innate happiness. When we know that a certain road is infested by highwaymen, we travel with a certain preparedness. One who is a true devotee is undaunted by obstacles; he does not mind trouble, for he works for God. An actor may play the part of a king in a drama, but cannot, in his heart of hearts, forget that he is a hireling. Similarly, we should play our part in the world with full awareness of our true position. We, however, fall a prey to the illusion that material things are lasting, and, getting ensnared into attachment for them, attach unjustified importance to self-pride. Also, we imagine that happiness lies in something that we do not possess, and therefore pine for what is not. We crave for evanescent sensual pleasures, and are pained when we discover their shallowness. He is truly wise who realizes the intrinsic value of things. Pundits and scholars talk about paramartha in bombastic terms and scare the common man into feeling that paramartha is a thing beyond his reach. This feeling is obviously fallacious. Paramartha is, indeed, essential, even indispensable, for every human being. It encompasses all branches of knowledge, just as the many rooms in a house are covered by a single roof. The shastras prescribe rules to be observed, the object being to discipline the mind and body. Add nama to this, and forge a link which puts you directly in touch with God. Remember that man is born, not for perishable worldly objectives but for nothing less than the attainment of the Eternal Reality, and its attribute of pure, permanent bliss, and lasting and unperturbable contentment. To live in nama- smarana is the easiest way to realize that condition. * * * * *


Sri Brahmachaithanya Pravachan-Aug..14

August 14, 2009
Eternal Bliss Resides Only in God

Every human being is struggling for happiness; there is no exception to this. Why is it, then, that nobody achieves it? The simple reason is that the search is being conducted where happiness cannot exist. It exists only in God. One must first ardently yearn for Him, and that yearning only comes from nama-smarana. We should rivet the mind to the attainment of God, leaving the body to float on the current of destiny. As destiny directs, the body and the course of worldly affairs may meet with happiness or unhappiness; they may have a smooth course, or meet with troubled waters and appear about to sink. The mind will be unshaken in its state of happiness and peace, if it is fixed on God.
I know you people are righteous-minded, and practise nama-smarana, and I feel sorry that you do not succeed in having genuine, firm love for nama. Everyone should introspect to discover what is it that precludes such love? Can you ascribe it to circumstances?
It appears that man sets store more by material means and things that are supposed to conduce to happiness rather than by happiness itself. Material things being perishable, the pleasure they yield is also short­lived. True happiness should be independent of things and cause. So we should pray God for permanent happiness, not for material things.
A railway station was famous for excellent fruits. A passenger alighted to buy some, and started haggling about the price. No thinking man will continue to haggle beyond the halting time of the train. Similarly, we may run after material things but not let the more valuable, permanent, spiritual gains be missed. Resolve to maintain anusandhana at all costs. To do this is to go counter to the way of the common world. It is an art to do prapancha efficiently and yet maintain anusandhana. The true devotee is an adept in this art; therefore he lives immersed in God, and finds true joy in the world. Let us, too, leave the bodily pleasures and pains to destiny, and try to do nama-smarana with persistence and sincerity. This will bring a balanced mind, with the help of which one may easily wade through the mire of worldly life and still be unscathed.

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