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. * * * * *
What appeals to our sense of logic and also tallies with our experience, can be accepted as the truth, disregarding opposing thought or advice. For this we must be sure that our logical faculty is reliable and experience broad-based. In today’s world we find that thoughts and intellect can be easily swayed; to maintain them against persuasion or opposition is by no means easy. Even right-minded persons may have their opinions challenged, modified, reversed. I do not ask you to accept a statement merely because it appears in the scriptures, nor because I make it. But I put it to you, consider your own experience, and decide whether you wish for real contentment; and you will arrive at the conclusion that such real contentment is not to be found anywhere but in God, the Supreme Being. If so, determine that you will stick to this conviction, come what may. I shall narrate to you a true incident illustrating what firm determination can achieve. In a certain town there lived a man of about sixty, who employed his bright brain in deriding others, by putting disconcerting questions. Once a visiting sadhu was delivering a highly interesting address on devotion, and the audience was listening with rapt attention, when this man suddenly rose and put an utterly irrelevant question: ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘instead of talking about futile theoretical things like God and devotion, tell me about a matter of close concern; when will this country achieve political independence?’ The sadhu calmly replied, ‘We’ll talk about it later, but tell me, now you are pretty advanced in age, and there is no knowing when death may pounce on you; have you ever thought of achieving independence from the thousand and one bonds that will have to be severed, and the bodily ailments you may have to face, when death finally closes His clutches on you?’ This counter-question not only silenced him, but set him thinking. He called on the sadhu later and said, ‘I had never thought about those crucial points before; but now tell me what I ought to do.’ The sadhu said,’ Eschew talking for two years, and engage yourself in ceaseless nama-smarana.’ He followed the injuction resolutely, and when, after two years he met the sadhu again, he said with tears in his eyes, “Sir, intense nama-smarana has given me thorough contentment, and now I need nothing more”. * * * * *
A person who has minimum wants is really rich; while one who always wants this, that, and the other, is in reality poor. The spiritual seeker is never a beggar, though his possessions may be few; contentment bespeaks immeasurable riches in the true sense. We treat money as our mainstay; it is, actually, so volatile, so undependable. How can we raise a durable edifice on shaky footings?
The financially rich should always remember that one cannot be truly rich without faith in God, and that contentment of soul is true wealth, true good fortune. The more stable the contentment, the more fortunate the person. Contentment cannot be given by one person to another, it has to be cultivated by each one himself. When one eschews all anxiety, one automatically gets peace of mind, contentment, and bliss.
The splendour obtained by the possession of mere money is only apparent, like the plumpness of a diabetic. True contentment can only come from complete trust in God. It cannot exist in a royal palace, nor may it be found in every hovel. The disease of dissatisfaction is so universal that it does not even figure in the list of diseases. There has undoubtedly been a tremendous advance in the amenities of life, and yet human life continues to suffer from the pestering of mental dissatisfaction. What is the good of all this, ‘advancement’ if it cannot make man contented? Peace and steadiness of mind should be the objective of all advancement, and this can only be attained by faith in the Divine. The present way of thinking is only speculative, not based on true experience, and is sterile in imparting contentment to society and the individual.
Every person should yearn to rediscover and recover his true self. Anyone who lives without faith in God is bound to be caught in the maelstrom of pain and so-called pleasure; for, what we term “pleasure” is not genuine happiness but only a small and temporary lessening of pain. From pauper to prince, every person seeks gratification of one desire or another; that is to say, everyone is in want of one thing or another. No one stops to recall that what he has today is something that yesterday he was hankering for to complete his happiness. The only thing that guarantees contentment and genuine happiness is surrender to God and nama-smarana.
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Always keep awake the conviction that Rama is the doer of everything. It will automatically nullify grief, anxiety, fear, hope, greed, and all things that upset the mind. That they still exist is a sure sign that the basic ill persists. To eradicate the trouble resolve from this day, this very moment, to live in nama, and make up your mind that Rama is the doer. We feel gratified when someone says a good word about us; that, however, cannot be termed true contentment. Contentment really is a state of mind which is devoid of desire for anything or any situation other than what it pleases God to grant. It is a symbol of spiritual advancement.
To acquire that contentment does not call for relinquishing or renouncing worldly life. What good is that renunciation if memories of past life persist in cropping up? Worldly life cannot, in fact, be “renounced”, it has to drop off. This can easily come about by continuously repeating nama. So go about your worldly duties and activities in ceaseless nama-smarana. It will bring you true contentment, and save you from the torments of all duality like pleasure and pain. True knowledge is that which leads to self-elevation, absolution from all bondage. One who connives at this self-betterment is a truly ignorant person.
Our so-called intelligence is but the fully mature form of desire. If it works within certain restrictions it is wholesome, while if it defies limits and restrictions it is wanton and unwholesome. The end of desire is coincident with the ouster of the “body-am-I” feeling. A common person is unable to subdue all worldly interests. Their noxious effect pervades our entire being, and cannot be eradicated but by subtle means. Nama is that subtle means, and it can skilfully and completely achieve the nullification of desire.
I exhort you to resolve to live in nama. God the merciful will, I assure you, not fail to back you up in moments of discouragement. God is merciful beyond imagination; his mercy knows no bounds, and will readily overlook the defects and weaknesses of the supplicant, provided only that the supplicant is sincere. Living in nama we will gradually mitigate the attachment for the body and, consequently, for worldly life in general. We shall then see Rama in everything, everywhere.
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