Saturday, September 21, 2013

Inspiring Talks, Message 3

6th June, 1948
‘Neither want, nor give up—that must be the attitude of a Vedantin. He should not say: I have given up salt: I have given up sugar: no, not even: I have given up the world. He should be supremely indifferent. He should rest in his own Swaroopa and realise the unity of Existence. He should see Brahman alone in everything and everywhere,’ said Siva, when Swami…., a Bala Jnani, quietly placed a packet of sweetmeats (the offering of a visitor) on Siva’s table and walked away. In such cases, the conveyor gets the first (and the lion’s) share of the offerings: the young disciple, full of Vairagya was reluctant to put himself in that position. 
Sri B.K. Desaiji slowly peeped in. 
‘OM Namo Narayanaya!’ greeted Siva. Then turning to Sri Padmanabhan, he said: ‘O Padmanabhaswami!  Give him a copy of ‘Necessity for Sanyas’....(everyone looked at the two with a look of query)....‘Yes. He is a candidate for Guru Poornima!’....(Siva threw up a glance at Sri Desai)....‘You will have to shave your moustache now! But do not be sorry for that: I will replace it with the Wisdom-moustache. You will be supremely happy.’  
7th June, 1948
‘Your face indicates something: sleep or Samadhi, or both?’ Everyone present laughed at this remark from Siva’s lips. K...., a student of Raja Yoga, was walking out of the office in a dazed condition. 
How often do we mistake Tamas for Satwa! How often, again, do we admire and fall at the feet of the indolent, mistaking them for saints of pure Satwa! 
8th June, 1948
‘M. wants Sanyas!’ Siva remarked as he was reading a letter from a disciple who had gone on a pilgrimage of Uttarakhand. 
There was silence and no further talk. Siva left the office. 
The following poem Siva brought in the afternoon, as a surprise commentary on his morning Sutra: 
   Comfortable Sanyas will not help you.
   Sanyas is sterner stuff.
   It demands endurance, renunciation and dispassion.
   You have not abandoned Pansupari,
   Smoking, tea, love for crop and newspaper reading,
   Mixing with householders freely.
   You are saturated with worldly ambitions.
   People should see something of Sanyas in you.
   Some kind of Sanyasa aroma should waft from you.
   Otherwise, what is the use of your Sanyasa?
   Is it for respect or receiving Namaskar?
   Then, you are deceiving yourself and others, too.
   Shave the mind first by destroying Vasanas and Raga Dwesha.
   Give colouring to your heart, first.
   This is real Sanyas.’  
Here is a pundit: good learning and old age. 
‘What is divine life, Swamiji?’ 
‘To observe Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya. To do Japa, meditation, Kirtan. To study Gita, Upanishads. To serve all. To love all. That is divine life.’ 
‘How to control the wandering mind?’ 
‘By Vairagya and Abhyasa.’ 
‘How to develop Vairagya?’ 
‘I think you are not well acquainted with Hindi, Swamiji. Shall I talk in English?’ 
After the pundit had abruptly left, Siva said: 
‘Vain discussion. He will never do anything in his life. They have studied some books. They ask some stock questions of everyone they meet. They will go on asking. If we also go on replying, a discussion will arise—heated debate, hot words. Then you are a fool—you know nothing! It is a waste of time talking to them. Do they not know the simple thing—Japa, Kirtan, Swadhyaya, God’s grace, etc.? They will never practise. Nor will they approach anyone with Bhav.’ 
Sri Harichandani had been in the Ashram for three or four days. He would daily come, bow to Siva and take his seat in the office. Patiently he waited. This morning he found Siva alone and free in the office. He prostrated. 
‘Swamiji! I have a small doubt: I have heard of a powerful Mantra of Devi, Shodashakshari. It is reputed to fulfil one’s desires quickly. May I have Upadesha of that Mantra from your holiness?’
‘Please do not run after these Mantras. It is very much safer to go on with the Gayatri. It is the best of all Mantras. It will give you Moksha. Please go on repeating it.’ 
‘Yes, Swamiji. I have been repeating the Gayatri 1008 times for the last three months. But I want success in life. Will I get it from Gayatri?’ 
‘Do not expect to have this or that good fortune from Japa. Do it with Nishkamya Bhava. You will get everything. You expect to get a money-order every day.’ 
Sri H. was surprised to receive this answer. 
‘How long have you to study for getting a matriculation certificate?’ 
‘Ten years, Swamiji.’ 
‘How much longer should you practise Japa for getting the Lord’s Infinite grace? Go on repeating the Gayatri all your life. Do not expect anything out of it. You will get everything!’
What a contrast with yesterday’s conversation. 
Siva knows our heart. His response depends on our Bhav. 
9th June, 1948
‘This is like sitting in the Indra Sabha, Swamiji. I am very happy to be in it. Kirtan, sweetly sung by several inmates and visitors, with Harishji playing on the violin, that devotee of Sri Vishnu Digambar singing inspiring Bhajans, Narayanaswamiji reading Gita and Upanishads, Sri Shamash’s children very melodiously singing the Lord’s name, and also English songs, all crowned by your holiness’s soul-elevating Kirtans—they make me forget where I am. This is in sharp contrast to several other Ashrams where they prohibit singing or playing on musical instruments, where only dry philosophy is taught. They make one feel a college atmosphere! I am indeed blessed to have visited this Ashram....What is that light, Swamiji?’ 
‘That is the office where several Sadhaks are busy working.’ 
‘It is wonderful’ 
‘I love synthesis of work, devotion and knowledge—everything should be nicely combined.  
Some Vedantins in their ignorance condemn Kirtan. They class personal gods in the Paroksha category. Direct realisation of the Impersonal Absolute they term Aparoksha. They greatly extol the latter and thoughtlessly condemn the former. Truth is neither Dwaita nor Adwaita. It is beyond both. Greatest Adwaitins like Sankaracharya and Madhusudana Saraswati have devoutly sung the glories of the Lord. What a great devotion they had. They had understood Vedanta in its true perspective. There is no life in either institutions or individuals if the Lord’s names are not sung. Even Suka who always lived in Truth recited the Lord’s name. It is high time the present day Vedantins and sanyasins realised this.’ 
The above is the gist of a very interesting conversation that took place between Siva and Deputy Collector and a Headmaster who were both on a visit to the Ashram. 
‘You have only developed a little love for Kirtan. Otherwise, you like to read and meditate only. You cannot enjoy meditation if the impurities in the mind are not completely washed off and your ego subdued. This time it is all right. Next time you come, you must do a lot of work. Then, by comparison, you will know the glory of selfless service,’ said Siva to a young Kundalini Yoga practitioner, who had come to the office to take leave of Siva after a short stay in the Ashram. 
A Sadhu from Rishikesh called on Siva and narrated to him at length a dispute between the Mahant of an Ashram and a rich Bhakta who had also built an Ashram near the former’s. The quarrel arose over a piece of land. The attitude of the rich man clearly proved his jealousy at the Sadhu’s popularity among the devotees. 
‘Money, fame and lust are all great tests. A Sanyasin or a householder devotee might imagine himself great and saintly: when these tests come, he will succumb to them like a lamb at the hands of a leopard. Saintliness consists in constant vigilance and jumping over the hurdles of money, fame and lust, when they are set up by Maya. Great South Indian saints were put through strange tests. Maya tried to lead a saint astray: on whatever he set his foot, it would be turned into a diamond. Apsaras girls were sent to attend on him. But the saint was unmoved. Only then could he reach the divine.’ Said Siva to us when the Sadhu had gone. 
11th June, 1948
‘They derive a lot of inspiration from the cymbals and tymbals. Especially in public performances these musical instruments are a great help. Concentration of mind is also induced.’ Siva said as people were beginning to collect near the office for the Kirtan by Swami Mukund Hari of Bhatinda. 
‘The type of Kirtan that we do is good for meditative people. Without the harmonium or other musical instruments, go on singing the Kirtan and this induces meditation. Samadhi will easily supervene. There are no distractions. 
‘One must be trained in both. For personal Sadhana and for select meditation groups, the Kirtan without instruments must be used: and for mass gatherings the harmonium, etc., will be helpful.’ 
12th June, 1948 
It is within the memory of many Sadhus living in Rishikesh now that Siva used to walk a few miles from his secluded hut to the Annakshetra for his Bhiksha in the hot midday sun. The Sadhus generally do not have the ‘Darshan’ of a great functionary than the cooks in the Kshetras. Even the Manager’s clerk is rarely approached by the Sadhus. 
By dint of selfless service over a long period, however, Siva’s fame had taken wings. His glory is sung everywhere. Siva’s humility and easy accessibility have now become proverbial. 
To Siva’s abode of Bliss wends his way the Secretary of the Kali Kamliwala Kshettar—Sri Rai Bahadur Sridutt Sharmaji. Siva greets him with a hearty laugh and respectful Pranam. 
The characteristic hospitality: fruits, milk, etc. 
‘Swamiji, I have a request to make.’ 
‘I am always at your service!’ 
‘Kindly accept the honorary Advisership of the Kshetra. We all of us feel that the Kshetra and the Rishikesh Sadhus generally will all be greatly benefited by your sage advice. You are the only Sanyasin who can advise us.’ 
Siva sank into a silence. 
The Rai Bahadur pleaded, insistently. 
‘Yes, Maharaj, I shall certainly serve you all as an adviser.’ 
After the Rai Bahadur left, Siva told us: ‘At first I did not want to accept the job. But, then I thought this might be an opportunity offered by the Lord for me to serve the Sadhus. I will not forsake any opportunity of doing service. So, I accepted. He was also greatly pleased.’ 
14th June, 1948
Sri R.R. Tiwari, M.A., LL.B., of Gwalior introduced to Siva his friend, a retired Colonel, who had held the post of a Minister of a State: an old man who confronted Siva with the question: ‘How to lead the divine life?’ 
‘Practise meditation. Do Japa. Get up at 4 a.m. All these I have given in my Twenty Instructions.’ Siva handed a copy of the leaflet to the Colonel.  
‘All these I know, Swamiji.’ 
‘That is all. The rest lies in practise.’ 
‘I have been practising in my own way. But I have not actually experienced the Anand that is said to flow from such practices.’ 
‘You must be regular in your practices. And, go on doing till you reach your goal— even if it takes several births.’ 
‘Ah, that is it! I have not been regular at all, Swamiji. I shall try now.’ 
‘You must devote your entire time now to Sadhana, as you are retired now.’ 
‘Unfortunately, Swamiji, I am still leading the old way of life. I retired on a pension which was my full pay.’ 
‘That is extraordinary. It is all due to God’s grace. You must do a lot of charity. You must reduce your expenses. So long you have supported a small family. Now you must expand and treat all poor people as members of your family.’ 
‘That, too, I have not done so far, because my expenses have remained the same. But in a way I am doing charity also. I am paying a number of servants.’ 
‘No, no: that is not charity. How much money have you given to the lepers on the roadside?  
Every man is generous to himself. You must lead a life of seclusion and spend at least half your pension, if not the full amount, in charity. Then you will experience the bliss that comes out of Lord’s grace.’ 
15th June, 1948 
Sri R.R. Tiwari is a Jnana Yogi. He repeats OM and has adopted Nirguna Upasana. 
He asked Siva to suggest the royal road to Bliss. 
‘Control the mind. Eradicate the Vasanas inside. Become a Jivanmukta.’ 
‘Swamiji, please tell me how to eradicate the Vasanas.’ 
‘Meditate constantly on the Satchidananda Atman. Raise the Brahmakara Vritti. Through intense practice you will be able to beyond even this. The complete elimination of all mental modifications is the goal according to Patanjali Maharshi also. This is the road to Jivanmukti. By this practice you will soon attain Manonasa.’ 
‘What will be our condition after Manonasa, Swamiji?’ 
‘The whole world is a mere creation of your mind. With Manonasa this illusion also vanishes.  
You are able to realise your own Satchidananda Swaroopa. You will become a Jivanmukta if you are established in Brahmic consciousness.’ 
‘Swamiji, I have a doubt. If the Jivanmukta has had Manonasa, then how does he work in the world?’ 
‘Some Vedantins hold the theory that there are two things—Samadhi Jnani and Vyavahara 
Jnani. When the Jnani is in Samadhi, he has absolutely no dualistic consciousness. However, when he comes down from this state and undertakes Lokasamgraha, he has Vyavahara Jnana. He is conscious of the unity in diversity.’ 
‘Swamiji, if the mind is completely annihilated, how can Vrittis arise in it again?’ 
‘In a Jivanmukta, there is Sarupa Manonasa. The Rajasic and Tamasic elements in it are destroyed. Pure Satva alone exists. This lasts so long as Prarabdha lasts. Prarabdha has its play on his body. Heat and cold, diseases, etc., affect the body. But, as his Antahkarana is devoid of Rajas and Tamas and only pure Satva is left, he is conscious of Atman in this. The Dwandwas do not affect his inner blissful state. In Videhamukti when the body falls as a result of the exhaustion of the Prarabdha, there is Aroopa Manonasa. The Jnani rests forever in the non-dual state till the body is decomposed. This is the supreme state. Attain this by vigilance and vigorous practice. Jai Ho! Tiwariji!’ 
Yesterday afternoon Siva had asked me to write a letter to one Capt. G.S.K. Iyer of Tiruvidamarudur who had just organised a branch of the Divine Life Society. At that time, Siva had told me that this Capt. was Siva’s school-mate. He told us several reminiscences, too. What a loving memory of old companions. 
This evening I was typing that letter. Siva was talking to several visitors. While I was yet halfway through the letter, he suddenly turned to me and said: ‘This G.S.K. Iyer was previously in Benaras.’ 
I was literally taken aback. What a coincidence! Dumb-founded, I listened. 
‘He was a very pushing man. He has had a very eventful life and has acquired many titles and much fame—naturally, a lot of money, too. Write a nice letter to him.’ 
I shyly admitted to Siva that I was just typing the letter. 
A mere ‘hum’ and a mischievous smile which said, so to say: ‘See, how I knew what you are doing.’ – ‘Do not let your head reel in pride. It is I who am working through it. I know just exactly what you are doing and when! Beware!’ 
Oh Siva, may thy lotus feet crown my head.