Saturday, September 28, 2013
Inspiring Talks, Message 4
INSPIRING TALKS OF GURUDEV SIVANANDA – MESSAGE 4
7th July, 1948
YOU HAVE ATTRACTED THE ENTIRE WORLD
The most friendly and cordial greetings extended by Siva to an old colleague, Swami Abhayananda, was a touching scene when Siva and some of the important disciples had just finished a meeting of the Ashramites and the local public on the subject of the amendment of the Hindu Code.
Siva (touching the feet of the newcomer) ‘OM Namo Narayanaya! Ayiye, Maharaj.’ Siva made the new Swami sit by his side and commenced a pleasant conversation.
Swami A: ‘Swamiji, I admire the work you have done. Everywhere people are singing your glory.’
‘It is all the grace of saints like you that has enabled me to do a little service.’
‘No, no. Maharaj! This is all the fruit of your intense Tapas and devotion to the Lord.’
‘I think we are meeting after about 15 years.’
‘Yes, you are right. Swamiji, I can never forget your inspiring song, Agad Bhum. You have created a big institution around you and attracted the whole world. You are the same easily accessible humble Swamiji of 111 Kutir of Swarg Ashram. Though many things have developed around you, I see you are the same loving Prema-murthy.’
Siva (turning to a disciple): ‘Bring some fruits. Maharaj, have this little offering. Please be gracious to honour the Ashram’s Annakshetra today.’
‘As you command me.’
Siva: ‘Swamiji, do you remember our trip to Paraso hills (Parasara hills) where we had good Kirtan?’
‘Yes, I well remember Pt. Krishna Chandra Sharma, Advocate, taking us to Gudgawa near Delhi and thence to Paraso hills. We had just attended the annual function of the Nawal Kishore Prem Sabha.’
‘Yes, we had whole night Kirtan there.’
‘Your publicity work is really marvellous. In all important journals, be it health, political, religious—your article is there.’
‘Yes, ‘My Magazine’ of India is publishing my articles for a very long time since 1929, for nearly twenty years.’
‘What! Twenty years? No author has written for so long a time and no publisher has been patient enough to publish the articles of any one individual contributor for so long. That clearly shows that you have got a very tight grip over the reading public and you have simply captured their hearts. Spiritual Lessons in the ‘My Magazine’ is like nectar drops.’
4th August, 1948
THE REFUGE OF ALL
An aspirant has come from Orissa. He has received ochre-robes from a Sanyasi of his place who, however, did not accept him as his initiated disciple—it was his policy not to initiate anyone into Sanyasa and make him his disciple.
‘Yesterday, he came and requested that he should be initiated into Sanyasa. I said: ‘No.’ Yet, he has the perseverance to come again today and request again. I had a heart-to-heart talk with him. Now, I have decided to give him Sanyas.
‘There should be some like him. I should have a heart-to-heart talk: if my heart permits me, I will give them Sanyas. God will take care of them.’
Turning to the new arrival, Siva said: ‘Yes, I will give you Sanyas on Vijaya Dasami day.’
Mystic or plain language?
25th August, 1948
Sri A....is enjoying a furlough. He caught Siva’s eye.
‘You are on leave? Yes: you should have some rest! You are heavily over-worked!’
And then added with a mischievous smile: ‘Na gurur na sishyah! What is there in service? Silent meditation in seclusion is the only way to Moksha!’
Siva does not believe in holidaying. Change of work is rest for him. Nishkamya Seva with Narayana Bhav is itself the highest form of meditation, which compels perennial adherence.
2nd September, 1948
Siva was returning from the temple. As he was passing near the Yajnashala, Sivadayalji saluted him. Siva in his characteristic way asked: ‘Everything all right?’ Sivadayalji replied: ‘Yes, Swamiji. But there was a serpent in the room. So, everything was upset last night.’
‘You are afraid of this small creature! Look within. Introspect. There are countless cobras—Kama, Krodha, Lobha, etc.—within you. They are biting you every day. Still you take pleasure in feeding them! Mind is the biggest and most venomous cobra. Vrittis are its hoods. Eradicate them.’
3rd September, 1948
A few Madrasi disciples of Siva and myself had just returned from Badrikasharam and Kedarnath. Like a fond mother, Siva enquired about our welfare, the comforts and discomforts on the way, etc. The affectionate pair of eyes noticed that some of us had been thinned out.
‘You are much reduced. It will perhaps take a month to pick up your health again.’ After thus comforting us, he asked: ‘Now, where is the next trip to? To Tirupathi?....Ohji, do not run about here and there. Tirupathi is here only.’
Yes: and I could not help thinking: Himalayan regions are worth seeing—the places where great Rishis did Tapas. Further, the walking exercise, inhaling the pure Himalayan air laden with the healing power of innumerable herbs bestows good health on the pilgrims: but some people develop this into a craze for wandering. All their life is spent in wandering. Then they begin to extol certain places and criticise others. You have now visited one or two important places; other places are also like this only. Now you should stick to this place—there is a lot of work to do!
‘OM Namo Narayanaya! Swamiji!’ Siva greeted a new arrival. But this new Swamiji will not speak!
‘Achcha! You are a Mowni Baba? Dear Swamiji, give up this sort of meaningless Mowna-Sadhana. Mita-Bhashan is Mowna. You should talk a little and talk sweetly. You are not making proper use of a good faculty and thus losing the opportunity of discussing spiritual subjects with others, and thus learning. You have also lost many opportunities of rendering service to His children. A comforting word to some, a consoling message, a good word of greeting—how much joy you can infuse into others. This is a great loss. Give up this Mowna now itself.’
Then turning to us, Siva said: ‘Some of these people do not know why they are observing Mowna. Somebody observed Mowna: and, they also started imitating. They will not talk: but they will waste hours trying to make others understand what they could have conveyed in a couple of minutes. They will not talk with their mouth, but their mind is always talking fruitlessly. Control of speech is Mowna. Mita-Bhashan is Mowna. But this Mowna is merely a whim!’ said Siva with a meaningful smile.
4th September, 1948
Swami Satchidanandaji presented to the Ashram library a copy of ‘Ananda Sagara Sthava’ of Sri Neelakantha Dikshita, an illustrious savant of the Appayya Dikshita’s family, and an author of many famous works in Sanskrit.
‘Swamiji,’ said Satchidanandaji, ‘In this work, Sri Neelakantha Dikshitar has often prayed with a melting heart full of devotion and yearning, that he should live in seclusion on the banks of the Ganges. Providence, however, decreed that he should pass away without fulfilling this desire. And, Neelakantha Dikshitar was also very fond of dealing with Siva Lilas. In this regard, I was wonderstruck to find that what he has done in Sanskrit you have done in English, the modern language. Swamiji, I am perfectly certain that Neelakantha has re-incarnated as Sivananda, to fulfil his great desire.’
Sri Lakshminarayana Sastrigal, a descendant of Appayya Dikshita, is also of the same opinion. ‘Swamiji, many people in Pattamadai and Kodahanallur also think that you are Neelakantha’s Avatar.’
Siva’s only reply was a Vedantic smile and he went on with his work. He knows how many souls’ yearnings have found their fulfilment in him.
The Hanuman Prasad distributor at the conclusion of the evening Satsang provided the occasion: Siva first remarked that it had been nicely prepared and exhorted someone in the Satsang to take a second helping, too. Sivanarayanji was taking some Prasad for some Ashramite who could not attend the Satsang.
‘For whom? For Sridhara Swamiji?’ Siva asked. And, this led him to a nice discourse. (Sridhar was Swami Chidananda’s pre-Sanyas name.)
‘You will be wonderstruck,’ he remarked, turning to a visitor. ‘Sridhara Swamiji has developed a baby-stomach. He takes very little food. He cannot digest more. In his case, it is due to ill-health. But, there are some who concentrate all their mind on food-Sadhana. All their life they will be thinking of which food is Satvic, which food Rajasic and so on. Some abhor chillies. They cannot take even mildly pungent things. Their health will be upset. They become faddists. They make their system very sensitive. Even a slight deviation from the routine spoils their health. One should not be like that. I think it is necessary that a Sanyasin should have an Asuric stomach. He should be able to eat whatever he gets without insisting on this or that kind of food. Sometimes the Bhiksha will consist only of sweets: sometimes roti and dhal: sometimes rice and sambhar full of chillies.
‘Too much of food-Sadhana creates egoism also. ‘I have given up sugar: I have given up salt: I eat only neem leaves; I eat only raw vegetables.’ This way he is filled with ideas of what he has left and what he is eating. Food is, after all, a necessary evil. The main thing is God-realisation. They forget that.
‘There are many such whims among Sadhaks. Some will wear only a kowpeen. Swami Pranavanandaji will go about naked through villages. The Avadhoota state is difficult to attain. It is not external nakedness that is needed but mental nakedness.
‘There was an Avadhuta, Swami K. He used to stand in the Ganges in winter and in the hot sands in summer. He would sleep only on grass. Once Pundit Malaviyaji took him to Mussorie. There the Swami began to demand his grass bed. And, it had to be got after much difficulty.
‘These Sadhanas have no real value. No doubt such restrictions are necessary for some time. But extremes are always to be avoided. The goal should not be lost sight of.’
8th September, 1948
No one expected: and no one noticed.
The Bhajan Hall was packed with Sadhaks and visitors: the morning Sadhana class was in progress—silent Japa and meditation had been done, Krishnanandaji had led the audience in reciting Santi Pattha and Guru Stotras, and Sridharji was talking on Sadhana. Visibility outside was yet too poor for persons moving about a little away from you to be recognised.
Quietly, Siva slipped in through a side door! And I cannot express in words what my own feelings were when I accidentally happened to see this wonder of wonders: he had taken a ‘back-bench’ seat as one of the members of the audience intently listening to Sridharji’s lecture!
The entire gathering literally sat up and rubbed their eyes when this magnificent personality stood up and roared OM at the conclusion of Sridharji’s talk. There was pin-drop silence. Siva did Kirtan, which gradually turned into a lecture-Kirtan on the lines of ‘God is truth—Govinda’.
Then....better hearken to Siva himself:
‘The srutis declare, ‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma, Neha Nanasti Kinchana—All indeed is Brahman: there is no such thing as diversity.’ This is your essential nature. In truth, you are Akhanda Paripoorna Satchidananda. It is described as Amala, Vimala, Achala, Santam, Sivam, Advaitam. Due to Avidya you do not know your essential nature. When Avidya is removed, you shine as the Akhanda.
‘Paripoorna Satchidananda. In reality you are Aparichchinna, undivided, one, the Essence. You falsely imagine that you have hands, feet, eyes, mouth. Remember this: ‘Thou art That’ (Tat Twam Asi). Tat Twam Asi—the Self is identical with Brahman. You are one with the Supreme Truth. When you are suffering from any disease, remember you are the Akhanda Paripoorna Satchidananda. Assert ‘I am not the body, I am not the mind. How powerful is this medicine—Sivoham, Satchidananda Swarupoham. Do not run to doctors. Do not take injections. This is the most potent injection—Satchidananda Swarupoham!
‘Through ignorance you identify yourself with the body. Remove ignorance through constant practice, renunciation, through this powerful assertion. In whatever condition you may be, you may have no bread to eat—even if you have no clothes to wear—assert Sivoham, Satchidananda Swarupoham and constantly dwell on your identify with Brahman.
‘Thou art That. This is the gist of Vedanta: this is the most powerful remedy for all ills. This is what the sages have taught in the Upanishads.
‘May the blessings of Sankaracharya, Lord Dattatreya and the Brahma Kumaras be upon you all.
May you all shine as Jivanmuktas in this very birth.’
Blessed indeed are those who listened to these words of wisdom fall from the lips of Siva—the Vedanta Kesari. Thrice blessed are those who have inscribed his words on the tablet of their heart.
‘Ohji, just a minute’—Siva stayed the formal opening of the Silver Jubilee Kutirs this morning.
Then, facing the gathering:
‘These Kutirs have already been opened three months ago. Sadhaks were coming in large numbers. We were in need of rooms. So, we opened these Kutirs with Kirtan. This is only the formal opening ceremony.
‘You see a silk cloth there. It merely covers a slab on which is written that these are Silver Jubilee Kutirs constructed out of the donation given by Mrs. Liliane Shamash, etc. There is nothing but that. The world is just a veil like this. Brahman is covered over by colourful Maya. When the veil is removed, you see the Reality. Therefore, remove the veil of Maya through Viveka and Vichara.
‘The world is a mere play of colours. Do not be deceived. It is all like the play of children. You simply close your fist—the child is curious to know what is within. Then you open out the fist—there is nothing inside. You have a hearty laugh. Similar is the case with the world.
‘These Kutirs are opened a second time today. There is nothing but repetition in the universe. There have been many Vyasas, many Naradas. Even now people do not know which Vasishta expounded the Vasishta Ramayana. It is all a cycle of births and deaths. It is all the play of Dwandwas. Rise above this play of Dwandwas. Tear the veil. Negate the false colours. Perceive the Reality. In Reality you are all the same Atman. Just a paint, a touch of powder, lip-stick, dupes you. Wake up and realise your essential nature which is Satchidananda.’
Siva then formally declared the Kutirs open.
Sadhu Murugadasji has arrived.
Siva recognised him at once. Murugadasji had previously come to the Ashram long ago with a plain dhoti on, without any money. Murugadasji went to Badrinath. On his return, Siva was enamoured of his sweet Kirtans—Siva’s life-breath—and requested him to stay on for some time. Now, Murugadasji had acquired great renown as an inspiring Kirtanist, and was moving about in ’planes.
Hearing this, Siva humorously remarked: ‘We, too, did not have one anna worth of potato when we came here. Now look at the Ashram.’
Such is the glory of Nivritti Marga and devotion to the lotus feet of the Lord.
Murugadasji sang a song. It was sweet. As it was in Tamil, Siva started explaining it in English. And, how? In the form of sweet music.
‘Murugadasji sang a sweet song. It was like sweet Laddu, Jilebi, Rasagulla. What did he say? He wanted you to eat the sweetest Laddu—that sweet Laddu is the Name of your Indweller. The two-lettered name of RAMA is the sweetest Laddu. Muruga, Radheshyam—all the names of God are sweet Laddus. OM is the sweetest Laddu. It is the most ancient Laddu which the sages like Yagnavalkya, Shams Tabriez and others ate. It is this Laddu alone that will make you immortal. Eat this Laddu and you will have no more births and deaths. Who will not eat this sweetest Laddu?’
To Siva all sweetness, all goodness and all auspiciousness are only in God. Worldly objects have no place in his domain.
The unopened book in Sridharji’s hand attracted Siva’s attention, as we were all coming out of the Silver Jubilee Kutirs after the opening ceremony.
‘You wanted to read something?’
‘Yes, Swamiji, I wanted to read a couple of chapters from this, on Siva’s Creed and Siva’s Philosophy.’
‘Siva’s Creed? What is Siva’s Creed? It is all Mithya, delusion, a play of sounds— mere words!’ Siva gave a hearty laugh and walked away, leaving the gathering to understand this—Siva’s Creed—to the best of their understanding!
An admirer of Arya Samaj has come; he expressed his dislike for Karma Kanda.
‘Yes. There, in the cities, you have one type of Karma. Here you have another type. It is binding there. Here is Nishkamya, free—a type of Karma which liberates you from the thraldom of Maya. This is the Sannyasi-Karma Kanda’. ‘The difference is one of outlook—but that is in fact an ocean of difference!’
‘Swamiji, I want some instructions on concentration.’
‘You also do not believe in names and forms? But, that is not easily possible for all. The mind wants something to hang on. In the initial stages, it cannot hang on nothing or an idea. At least you should have the form of OM.
‘This antagonism to names and forms is the creation of some people who have not correctly understood Dayanandaji’s teachings. Dayanandaji himself did not condemn Kirtan of God’s name. He was in a high stage of evolution, and he concerned himself only with the fundamentals of Vedic truths. He did not categorically condemn Nama-Rupa. He only omitted any mention of them. People should take him in the proper light instead of reading their own views into his sublime teachings.
‘You read my book: ‘Concentration and Meditation’. It will clear all your doubts. It contains a solution to every problem that can possibly confront an aspirant in his practice of concentration and meditation. When you have finished reading it, you will find that you have no more doubts. If you still have any, then come to me. I will explain the subject to you.’
A visitor was greatly eulogising Siva’s organisation at the Headquarters of the Divine Life Society.
‘But, Swamiji, there should be more Kutirs and rooms for visitors.’
‘Yes: I, too, would like to construct many more rooms,’ came Siva’s ready rejoinder, ‘but the money is in your pocket.’
Sri Thakur Prasad Singji has arrived—to attend the Sanyas Silver Jubilee Celebrations. He says: ‘No one else has done so much as Swamiji to awaken humanity to the purpose of Life. I would say after Sankaracharya no one else has done so much to uphold Hindu Sanatana Dharma. Swamiji’s message has spread through the world illuminating countless hearts, and turning the deluded souls straying in various directions to the right path.’
Sri Thakur Prasad and his family belong to the orthodox type. The entire family insist on having Siva’s Darshan before they take their food. He made this request to Siva. Siva was busily engaged the whole morning: and had gone to his Kutir. At once he remembered of his promise. He should not keep quiet one more minute: nor could he ignore the promise. He at once went out to Sri Thakur Prasadji’s Kutir.
There he found that Thakur Prasadji had gone out. Wonder of wonders—the Master waits there till the disciple comes back. He does not consider that a waste of his time nor that it is beneath his dignity to wait. He utilises this period also very usefully. Siva makes the children in the house sing the Lord’s name and teaches them some Kirtan Dhwanis. Then a sweet discourse to these ‘little devotees’.
Swami A....comes there and salutes Siva. Swami A. has had a bit of a quarrel with someone else. Siva found that the best opportunity to patch up the quarrel, and to advise both the parties to be peaceful.
Then Thakur Prasadji and his family had Siva’s Darshan and Siva returned to his Kutir.
Last evening the Satsang programme was extended as it was raining and the Ganga Arati was postponed. So, Siva called upon the daughters of Srimathi Liliane to deliver short lectures.
A local resident got a bit offended that his children were not given an opportunity to speak also. He was fond of criticising the Ashram activities, too. But Siva’s patience and love know no limits. He does not even adopt an attitude of indifference towards those who carp and cavil at him or the institution. He extends to them, too, his love!
Next day (today) one of the first items in the programme was lectures by those children. And, Siva presented Rs. 10 to the children as a token of his love.
The procession with the palanquin in which had been placed the pictures of Lord Krishna and Swamiji was in progress. Half the way, Krishna’s picture was in front and the party sang the Maha Mantra.
When the time to turn back arrived, we, who were carrying the palanquin, just turned the other way ourselves instead of turning the palanquin round. Automatically, Swamiji’s picture occupied the front. The Kirtan Dhwani was changed to
Guru Maharaj Guru Jai Jai
Sivananda Sat Guru Jai Jai
Siva would not allow this.
We managed to keep Siva’s picture in front: but then Siva insisted that we continue the Maha Mantra.
We were all happy: for, Siva is indeed Lord Sri Krishna.