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.
* * * * *
August 7, 2009
Nama Alone can Identify the Form of God
Devotion for God is definitely superior to the dry-as-dust, infertile, pedantic knowledge of God acquired through book-study; for devotion means love of the highest, purest order. Devotion, indeed, is the end, while Karma, Jnyana, and Yoga are the three different approaches. In the Karma approach, the mind pays attention to meticulous performance of procedures, and the sadhaka becomes rigidly orthodox, with scant regard to the essence, namely, God. The advocate of Yoga has to try to control the mind and its tendencies. This produces a vacancy of mind which may be devoid of love for God.
In the approach through knowledge, the emphasis is on the consideration of the subtle distinction between the spiritual and the non-spiritual. Such consideration calls for a keenly intellectual approach which may be beyond the scope of many persons. Besides, maya, the enveloping ignorance, is so potent a force that there is no knowing when a person may unwarily be misled, and become a prey to pride, because he is most likely to be entrenched in his set of opinions and convictions. The person versed in the shastras conceives creation as the activity of maya; that is, as unsubstantial. Since the Elemental Reality is all-pervading, and since creation is part of that Reality, argues the devotee, creation is but the sportive activity of the Elemental Reality. Therefore, he sees it as an expression of its prowess, Its personality, Its irrepressible, ebullient bliss. Creation is basically identical with what it is created from. All the various forms that we see in nature are made of what we may term the Original Element or Reality, just as different earthen pots are made by a potter from the same original clay. We identify them by different names according to their sizes and shapes, such as cups, saucers, jugs and pitchers. Similarly, the same God can be given different appellations according to the forms and deeds viewed by different persons. These eventually become traditional. Whatever the names used the qualities, the forms and the deeds ascribed are the manifestations of the same God. It is the name, that raises the idea of form. The forms may eventually cease to be visible, but the name, that remains for ever. Nama thus transcends space and time. It is therefore truer than apparent forms. To recognize this Ultimate Truth is the purpose of spiritual quest.
* * * * *