September 5, 2009
Nama is a Magic Lantern
A lady was once busy in the kitchen, wearing her traditional sacred saree. In the meantime, her child woke up and started crying for her to pick him. She told the child to remove his clothes and come to her. The child was in no mood to listen to her. A neighboring lady then undressed the child and it was then embraced by the mother. We also behave in a similar manner with God. Without removing the layers of impurities like desires, passions and ego, we wish to reach God. How can we do so? God is most loving and affectionate, like a mother. He is very eager to meet us, but so long as we do not take away our unholy clothes of desires, passions, ego, etc. God will not accept us.
Saints show us the path to reach God. We shall certainly attain Him, if we faithfully follow the path. You might have read that when both Arjuna and Duryodhana approached Lord Shrikrishna for help in the impending war, Shrikrishna told them, ‘one who wants me personally to be on his side will not get my army and material help.’ Duryodhana opted for the army and material help. Arjuna was really happy that he was getting what he wished for; he was sure that every other help was futile without God Himself, there is no use of thousands of bodies without soul. Philosophers tell us that God is beyond the seven seas; He is lying on Shesha, the king serpent; and it’s extremely difficult for a common man to reach him. Saints, however, have greatly obliged us. They have handed over to us the magic lantern of nama; we have only to put oil in it consisting of the company of saints. We have to take great precaution to keep this lantern burning. I repeatedly tell you the truth that if a morally behaving person remains in nama, he automatically develops love for it. Morality is the foundation of the entire structure of paramartha; the structure cannot stand without this foundation.
You must be very careful regarding three things: Regard other women as your mother; treat others’ wealth and censure both as filth not to be touched; and whatever be the circumstances, do not forsake nama; you will certainly attain love of God.
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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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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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