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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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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September 3, 2009
Full Faith and Earnest Longing for Nama
Everyone can attain the experience of God by some means or other, according to one’s temperament. Maruti devoted himself to God as a servant. Dasharatha loved God as a son. Our only thought should be, ‘how shall I attain God?’ Devotion has been considered to be the highest means to attain God. If the obstinacy and love of an addicted person towards his addiction could be transferred to God, the result is spiritual uplift. When I dedicate my good and bad qualities at the feet of God, the result is total surrender or ‘arpanbhakti’. We practise devotion but it is devoid of real love; this is because our mind is scattered in all directions. Therefore, concentrate your mind first; practise a little on contemplation but with single-minded devotion.
Do not practise spiritual means while under depression, or with a tired mind. You should consider how your spiritual attitude will get the proper direction to manifest itself. All saints have told us that God is residing in Pandharpur; however, if we see only a stone there, is it not the fault of our spiritual attitude alone? Have full faith in God. In a dark night, if the lamp is taken aside a little, you lose your way. Therefore, keep your attention fixed on God and concentrate without break on nama, the spiritual means. When I sing with devotion before God, I must earnestly feel that he is listening to me; love for God does not depend on rhythm or tune. Have a firm conviction that you belong to God and earnestly long for His grace; whatever you do should be with single-minded devotion. Have no grief over whatever has happened, have no worry for tomorrow, and do not lose the present awareness of God. Practise nama-smarana with a feeling that God is personally present before you. Every utterance of nama should remind us that ‘God alone is the doer’, so that pride of doership will not stand in the way. True progress in the path of devotion is not to feel pleasure over gains or grief over losses. A person who is most narrow-minded and selfish, and who feels that the entire world is meant for his pleasure, should be considered an egoist. The more the selfishness of a man the more dependent he is on others.
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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 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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