September 8, 2009
Read Little, Contemplate and Act on it
What is maya? That which exists without God is maya. Everything that is visible and perishable is maya. As long as we practise nama-smarana we are out of the snare of maya; when we forget God and nama, we fall under the influence of maya. The essence of anything is in doing it, not just listening to it or telling about it. Howsoever you describe nirguna, it will not be possible to comprehend nirguna. We should, therefore, visualize and worship saguna. One who says ‘I worship nirguna’, does not really know what nirguna is, because in nirguna there remains no one even to tell this.
One gentleman told me that he had read all books on vedanta. I said to him, ‘Then you must have achieved contentment;’ On this he replied ‘That is the only thing which I have not achieved’! Of what use then has his entire reading been? What can we then get from studying vedanta? Let us practise simple and easy devotion. Surrender yourself single mindedly and completely to God, practise nama-smarana; you will get everything. Unless you practise what you read in sacred books the reading is futile. Do not read merely for the sake of reading; it adversely affects your sadhana, and you start developing pride over your reading. Therefore, read only a little, contemplate and act on it.
If you spend even a small part of the day in the remembrance of God, the entire day will pass in the same mood of awareness of God; extending days into months, months into years, and years forming the life, your whole life will pass in the continuous remembrance of God.
You should not be fond of family life itself, but should be fond of your duties therein. It is holy to do your duties, but you should not get involved in attachment to family life. You should mentally belong only to God. If you earnestly remember God, He will definitely keep you happy and contented. To belong to God is to be happy and contented in life. Have profound faith in God and do only what He likes; that is the essence of paramartha.
No one knows when this body may fall; never say, therefore, ‘I shall practise nama when I am old;’ start right now.
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September 6, 2009
The Faith that Rama is Doer Gives Contentment
The early hours before sunrise are very pleasant. It is very nice indeed if some are performing manas-pooja, others may be in deep sleep, while some may be day-dreaming. From dawn till bed-time at night, everyone, from a king down to a pauper, all struggle for only one thing, and it is to attain peace and contentment. In life every one has an urge to achieve contentment. Real contentment is in fact, not dependent on anything. It can be achieved only through the faith that it is Rama who is the real doer of all actions. All saints, from their own personal experience, have shown us the easiest means of achieving contentment, and that is nama-smarana. Early hours before sunrise are very helpful for good studies. Let us, therefore, start this practice of nama-smarana in these early hours. You will achieve everything if you maintain unbroken remembrance of and faith in God. I am sure that Rama will bless you if you continue this practice with fondness and intense urge.
It is a common complaint that while chanting nama other thoughts crowd the mind. When you are walking on the road, you do not have control over who should come across your path. It is for you to pay attention to them or ignore them. Similarly, while chanting nama you should ignore other thoughts and not get carried away by them and waste time. You cannot forget a thing by merely repeating ‘I must forget it, I must forget it’. Pay more attention to nama so that other thoughts will automatically fade away.
If you have missed your way, you have to retrace your steps and walk back until you spot where the right road begins and then proceed on this road. This is the practice or abhyas and you have to continue this until you achieve your goal. Brahmanand, performed true penance. He was a man of great learning, but he dedicated all his talents and erudition at the feet of Rama. He adopted this path, realizing that doing nothing else except this will bring him spiritual welfare. Therefore, let us follow the path trodden by the great, without entertaining the least doubt. In that alone lies our spiritual welfare.
Remain ever in nama and have firm faith that Rama is the doer.
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August 31, 2009
“I Inhabit the Home where Contentment Reigns”
Whenever I meet a person what I particularly observe is, how far he is happy. Perhaps you, too, do the same, only the criteria differ. Your test is his wealth, learning public esteem, and suchlike. People prefer the rich, I prefer the poor; people honour the learned and the scholar, while my preference is for the simple unlettered. My preference is poles asunder from the worldly man’s. That is why I enjoy contentment which other people lack. I searched deep to find wherein contentment can reside, and found it only in God. So I like to live in the house which is replete with contentment. Being contentment in and out, I find it difficult to live with one who calls himself mine but is discontented. All that I expect of you is that you should live in contentment, as I do.
To this day, I have meticulously observed one vow: I never hurt anyone’s heart or feelings. This I could do because I have never lapsed into forgetting nama. After all, I am a destitute by worldly standards : I have neither scholarship, nor art, nor wealth. And yet people seem to want me, find support in me; and this is solely because I love everyone selflessly, guilelessly, whole-heartedly.
I know fully well the way of the world, and therefore, I have never worried about what people say or feel about me; I have only taken pains to see what I should say to each person in his own interest. That you people come repeatedly to hear me speak may be due to one of three reasons. First, I may not have been clear and precise enough; second, you may not have understood me correctly; and third, you may be forgetting what I say.
I expect you to talk with me with the same open-heartedness that you would have with a member of your family. In any case, I always say to a person what I feel will be wholesome for him. I feel sure that he will profit if he follows my advice; by ‘profit’, however, I do not mean an apparent improvement in his worldly life, but something conducive to contentedness in the circumstances as they exist.
It is my mission in life to create in the listener’s mind a relish for nama. Whoever comes to meet me, I ensure that he will take to nama sooner or later.
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August 30, 2009
Lasting Contentment is Nowhere but in Rama
Everyone devotedly engrosses himself with worldly matters, but nobody ever obtains contentment. He experiences a mixture of happiness and unhappiness. One sometimes feels disgusted with worldly matters, but we cannot shake them off. Handling coins tarnishes the hands, but that is not the fault of money. So, excessive regard for money leads to worry and misery. Too much regard for worldly esteem has a similar effect. One should follow the course of the world and behave as occasion demands, but all the while maintain calm contentedness at heart. In practical life, do as you would be done by. We must preserve our respective relationship with everyone. Be practical in your behaviour, but take care that you hurt nobody’s feelings.
Choose your associates carefully, without being carried away by mere honeyed talk. Avoid associating with smooth-tongued persons who, however, harbour evil intents at heart. To everyone give the respect he deserves; keep young ones contented, humble yourself before elders. Be noble of heart and submissive, agreeable, in behaviour. Talk not insultingly to anyone, but rather, agreeably to all. Beware of indolence, for it may well render merit ineffective.
Dependence is undoubtedly rankling, but remember everyone has it in one form or another. However, be not under obligation for sheer indolence. On the other hand, do not overrate and overtax your physical capacity. Do not worry unnecessarily about what has been or what will be; act as may be appropriate to circumstances, without being a victim of indolence.
In financial matters, accept what you earn today, and try to earn more in future. You can’t get anything for nothing, so work hard in your job. Save something from your earning, instead of spending all. If you are in debt, pay it back, in instalments if necessary, and beware of contracting fresh debts. Be loyal to your employer, obedient in his service.
Be cautious in worldly transactions, and direct your effort properly. Follow the path of truth. Act with care so that nobody is put to loss on your account, even unwittingly. Remember in your heart of hearts that you belong to God. Lasting contentment is to be had in Rama, nowhere else. Therefore be in contentment with circumstances as you find them, with nama as your constant companion. Never expect that you can achieve self-interest without proper effort.
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August 27, 2009
Contentment, a Quality of Mind, not Body
Contentment can only come to one who sees that Rama, or God pervades everything. On the other hand, God can only be found in a home where contentment rules. He will experience true contentment who will genuinely try and live for a year with a firm faith that everything in this world is the result of Rama’s will.
Contentedness is an attribute of the mind, not a quality of the body. I yearn to find a man who is so contented in his heart that he has nothing to say about his worldly life and matters. Such a person will be acclaimed by the whole world.
Contentment is not a thing that can be made over by one person to another. It calls for faith of the highest order. The Kauravas in the midst of the luxuries of the palace did not have the contentedness enjoyed by the Pandavas in their hermit’s life in the forest. The conclusion is that we should accept the condition of life in which God chooses to place us.
A divine gift must be pleasant, sweet, from all angles. Wealth, obviously, is not a divine gift because it entails worry and a thirst for, more. The only really divine gift is contentment. There is no telling how much money will suffice a particular man, whereas, if one has the frame of mind to be contented, whatever is there, is enough. There is more pleasure in giving than in receiving. Besides, the more one receives, the more is the whetting of greed. Giving, on the other hand, has an end; for, when one gives away one’s all, complete contentedness is the result. Today we are completely enveloped in upadhi; if we shed one upadhi! after another, our true nature, namely, oneness with the Cosmic Spirit, will become apparent, with its characteristic attribute of undisturbed contentment.
Every action of a man is done with some aim in view. About the actual result, however, he will be virtually indifferent if he has the conviction ‘Thy will be done’. We have much theoretical knowledge about the philosophy of life, but lack the wisdom an actual occasion calls for. The one good point about the present times is that simple constant awareness of God achieves what more difficult sadhanas can achieve.
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August 25, 2009
The Purpose of Human Life is to Attain God
A dream appears an undoubtable reality while it lasts. So, too, this illusory world seems an unquestionable fact so long as God is not realized. Actually, that which stands the test of time, that is, what is eternal, can alone be called the truth. We can go towards that truth even if we only realize that we have missed the way. We cannot experience true contentment because our mind clamours for sensory interest; and where contentment is not realized we can conclude that we are following the wrong path. The large black ant sticks so tenaciously to a lump of sugar, that even if pulled off, it will not let go of the piece, no matter if it snaps at the head and neck. Equally tenaciously do we stick to sensual pleasures and aspirations. Those who learn from experience and sagacious thought give up all hankering for satisfaction of the senses; and it is such people who realize the futility of the pleasures of the senses.
What is the basic cause of our discontent? It can be traced to the desire to have something, be something, different from what is today. A thing can never be found in a place where it is not, no matter how assiduously you search for it. Real contentment rests only with God.
The fact is that our mind is completely preoccupied with circumstances, and cannot, therefore, remain steady at all, and that is what upsets its contentment. Dissatisfaction with the existing leads him to doing something, which invariably lands him into trouble. It is best, therefore, to learn to be happy in what is, rather than hanker after what is not.
Man generally becomes contented when he succeeds in accomplishing the mission undertaken. That one does not find contentment dearly indicates that one’s objective has been misunderstood, mistaken. That our strenuous effort does not yield satisfaction evidently shows that the objective of sense pleasures is wrong, that true contentment is to be found in God, that to attain Him will alone yield contentment. The mind, therefore, should be firmly fastened to Him; it should think of Him; the sadhaka should keep in nama-smarana, talk only of His noble qualities and deeds. Let no other thought enter the mind. The desire to unite with God is the objective of human life.
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August 24, 2009
Joy and Contentment Always Accompany Saints
Saints sometimes feign ignorance although in reality they are omniscient. Saints, indeed, are difficult to make out from their external appearance or behaviour. They can be known only by one who is completely dedicated to God or one who lives in the prescribed sadhana. A saint can be recognized by one who has completely vacated his mind of all earthly desires and interests, and who has become totally blind to defects in others. A saint is like the flower of the green champaka; its haunting scent spreads far and wide, but the flower remains hidden in the green foliage of the parent bush. Similarly, felicity and contentment are unmistakably found where there is a saint, but he defies discovery because he lives outwardly like a common man.
We prattle glibly about philosophical matters while the saint silently lives philosophy. Saints stay unmoved even in trying circumstances. They are free of all doubt about God, while our minds are constantly shrouded in doubt. It is therefore that they live in changeless contentment while we grope in discontent. To remove this doubt we must alter our mental frame.
True companionship with a saint is only realized when we learn to like what he likes. The pride of doership is the basic cause of the limitations that the individual soul experiences; to get free of that pride is the real way to belong to the sadguru.
A sadhaka is an aspirant; he is likely sometimes to be right, sometimes to go wrong; whereas a siddha is always right. The mortification of the senses is only a means, not the end; the real aim is to have a constant awareness of God.
Persons habituated to, interested in physical action, should first give up that interest by practicing to sit inactive in meditation, and acquire constant awareness of God. Failure in acquiring this awareness should not discourage or dissuade a person, but rather prompt him to fresh effort. In academic examinations, a failure naturally urges another attempt, but we often give up the spiritual quest if we do not succeed the first time. This is obviously unreasonable. God is truly like a father to us, just, but uncompromising; the saints, however, are like the mother, ever ready to condone, to pardon waywardness. The saints educate us by telling us about God. It behoves us to listen to them, to follow their advice.
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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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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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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. * * * * *
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