September 9, 2009
Forgetting God is a Great Sin
Really, wherever you look, God exists. Those who have realized God have told us what God likes. The essence of their teaching is, “Surrender to God, giving up all desires for sense-objects.” This teaching must be accepted as a scriptural authority; with their own personal experience, and having attained the state of liberation, they have shown the way to it. He is our real kith and kin who releases us from the bondage of birth and death. Those who belong to God are not afraid of this world. Do we not surrender ourselves to sensuous objects? Then why should we hesitate to surrender ourselves to God? One can perform all miracles but it is not easy to really surrender to God!
When one begins nama-smarana, one is harassed by thoughts of sensuous desires. That shows how one is completely filled, in and out, with all sorts of desires. One must, however, resolutely continue practising nama. Does not one get upset by bad thoughts while looking after the family life? Then why should we be afraid of such thoughts if they arise during spiritual pursuit?
Once he took to nama, Prahlad never looked back; he was saved by nama only; he could liberate himself due to his faith alone. We must therefore remain in unbroken remembrance of God and strengthen this faith. Never think of past sins. You may not undo the wrong of yesterday, but do not waste the present moment. Never get dispaired.
Every sadhana is best in its own way. Be faithful to your sadhana like a chaste lady to her husband. Remember firmly that of all disciplines and religions aim at belonging to God. We work hard till death to fulfil the needs of our prapancha; then why should we not make some efforts to belong to, unite with God? Really, there is no greater sin than forgetting God. Longing for God is divine consciousness, while longing for sense objects is body-consciousness; when the latter diminishes, the mind will become steady in nama. When you reach the stage, ‘You exist, I do not’, with the help of nama-smarana, you can consider that you really belong to 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 15, 2009
A Contented Mind Signifies Divine Grace
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. * * * * *
August 4, 2009
A person may have a lot of knowledge, but wisdom comes only with experience. A book on philosophy can truly be said to have been read only if its dicta are put into practice. Philosophy that cannot be put into practice is not worth the name. Actual first-hand experience is true realization. One who surrenders himself to God and desires nothing, has the true knowledge even if he is illiterate. One who is after pedantic knowledge only pampers his personal pride. That does not mean, however, that one who is devoid of learning is free from pride; he, too, may have it, but he can be more easily cured of it. If an ignoramus is enjoined to surrender himself to a sadguru, he may obey without protest, without entertaining doubts and reservations.
There are numerous roads leading to Kashi; but if you want to go there you cannot do so without leaving home. Similarly, if you set out to attain God you cannot entertain desire of any kind except attainment of God. To eradicate or ‘divinize’ desire, one must maintain constant remembrance of God. One must keenly realize that attainment of God is the prime, the sole, aim of human life. Ponder day and night on this aim. You can belong to God if you resolve to belong to nothing else. We experience reverses if the mind surrenders to desire and seeks gratification in sense-pleasures;
It is not really so difficult to conquer desire. A pathologist takes the patient’s blood and tests to find out what disease germs have affected it. Similarly we should, by introspection, find out what entices the mind. It is evidently foolish to desire for something that we cannot be sure of obtaining. So seek to conquer desire with proper thinking reinforced by nama. Pride of doership will then automatically vanish.
The flakes of snow as they fall are soft and crumbly; but in course of time they harden and become like rock. So also desire is basically soft and crumbly; with the aid of the ‘body-am-I’ feeling, it gradually hardens and becomes entrenched, difficult to dislodge.
The aspiration for God cannot be termed desire in the usual sense as it is not harmful in effect. Desire for God is beneficial; it is what remains after repeated sublimation of mundane desire. The only way to achieve this is by keeping God as the goal of life.
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