Thursday, October 31, 2013

1 November

Self-Realisation
There is no other duty for man except meditation on the Self. Dismissing all else, one should establish oneself in the Self. There remains nothing to be done or attained when the Self is experienced. For, that Brahman the immortal is before, behind, to the right and to the left and stretched forth above and below.
Brahman is all this. The real alone is an enduring being, and this real is experienced through meditation coupled with knowledge. Whatever a man of purified mind makes clear in his mind, and whatever desires he desires, that he gets and that he fulfils. One should therefore have pure and perfect resolves.
The Supreme Self is experienced in the fourth state of consciousness. It is neither this nor that ­- it has no quality in particular, and yet it is everything. It is peaceful, blessed and non­dual. It is the cessation of all phenomena. It is the Atman that should be known and realised. That is the purpose of life. The liberated sage experiences that he is everything - ­ the tree, the mountain, the sun. He is the food and the eater of the food. He is the knower, the knowledge and the known, in one. He is the whole universe in himself.
Bliss is the ultimate nature of reality -­ from bliss all this comes forth. All the bliss of the world is only a shadow of Self­-bliss. The Self is the source of all bliss ­- it is everything -­ all knowledge and all bliss. All this is based on consciousness and is guided by consciousness. Consciousness is Brahman. I am Brahman. That thou art. This Self is Brahman. Only the infinite is bliss. There, one sees nothing else, hears nothing else, understands nothing else. That is the infinite fullness.
The Self is an ocean without a shore and a surface. It is merely existence, consciousness and bliss. When there is duality one can speak to the other, but when everything is but one's own Self, then who can speak to whom? Who can see whom?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atman is pure consciousness -­ it is the unchanging witness. It is realised within your heart as existence, knowledge, bliss absolute. Realise this Atman within the temple of your own heart and enjoy immortal bliss.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

31 October

Atman

The Atman (Self) is most ancient, hard to perceive and abides secretly in the innermost cave of the heart or intellect. This Atman or supreme soul fills all with his radiance. This Atman is incorporeal, pure, invulnerable. He is untouched by evil. The Atman is the supreme seer and thinker, immanent and transcendental. This Atman is the immortal spirit, the common, unifying entity present in all. You live, because the supreme Atman is. You understand, because the Atman is intelligence. You enjoy, because the Atman is bliss.
Atman is the reality itself - it is of the nature of pure consciousness. It is undifferentiated, pure awareness and pure experience. Atman is secondless; it alone is; all else which appears to be is not. Atman is the one which appears divided; the changeless as full of change; the timeless as temporal; the infinite as extended and fragmented in space.
Atman is one. It is the root, the reality itself. Atman is pure consciousness, calm and infinite like the waveless ocean. That Atman which is impersonal, changeless, like unto space, by nature purity itself - verily, verily, that am I. The one who is the eternal, the Atman, exists. He is all in all. This Atman is so mysterious that it cannot easily be grasped. This Atman can easily be grasped when the science of the Self (brahmavidya) is taught by a guru who has attained Self-realisation.
This Atman is subtler than the subtlest and so is not attained by arguments. Like butter hidden in milk, this mysterious Atman is hidden in every being. Realise this Atman by the churning of meditation. The Atman is unborn, ageless, immortal, deathless and fearless. He who knows this Atman becomes Brahman, the fearless.
Atman is Brahman - absolute, infinite, the supreme being. It is existence absolute, knowledge absolute, bliss absolute. It is self-delight and self-knowledge. It is bodiless, formless and without gunas, all-pervading, all-full, imperishable. It has neither beginning nor end. It exists in past, present and future. It is self-existent, the source for body, mind, senses, prana, the vedas and the universe itself. No one can deny it; it is the inner Self of all beings.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

30 October

Brahman

Whatever has a beginning or an end is unreal. That which exists in the past, the present and the future is real. Only Brahman exists in these three periods of time. Hence Brahman alone is real. The reality underlying all names and forms, the primal one from which everything originates is Brahman, the Absolute. Brahman is the soul of all joy, all bliss. Brahman transcends phenomena. Production and destruction are only phenomena, the jugglery of the mind or maya (illusion).
Brahman is infinite, eternal, immortal. Infinity is one ­- only that which is unchanging, indivisible, non­-dual, beginningless, endless, timeless, spaceless, causeless, can be infinite. There can be no parts, no differences, no distinctions in Brahman.
Brahman is self-­luminous, self­-existent, self-­contained, self-­established, self­-revealed. Brahman illumines itself by itself; by its nature it is ever illumined. Individual souls and the world are unreal -­ nothing save Brahman is eternal.
Immortality, knowledge, bliss purity, independence, perfection, etc., constitute the very nature of Brahman. He resides in your heart. He witnesses the activity of the buddhi (intellect). Word, speech, mouth, may not approach Brahman. Mind also cannot go there. Supreme Brahman is impersonal, formless, all­-pervading and subtle -­ but He can be reached through meditation, through the eye of intuition, by one who has purified himself and who is endowed with the four means of salvation.
God cannot be seen with the physical eyes -­ but He reveals himself to His devotees. He is one though called by countless names. Realise the reality of the one existence, the one life that throbs in all atoms, in all beings -­ the one power that creates, sustains and dissolves this universe.
When the heart of the devotee is united in the Lord, no difference between them remains.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Before saturating the mind with thoughts of Brahman you will have to assimilate divine ideas first.
Remember this triplet always:
     Assimilation  ­-  Saturation  -­  Realisation.

Monday, October 28, 2013

29 October

Brahman And Maya

Like the pot and clay, waves and the sea, ornaments of silver and gold, the universe is non-different from Brahman. The cause does not lose its being by appearing as the effect. The world is not an illusion, but it is non­-different from Brahman. Like heat is inseparable from fire and identical with it, so the universe which is of the nature of Brahman is identical with it.
The world is dependent on Brahman and independently the world is nothing. The play of cit (consciousness) alone shines as this universe. The universe was, is and always will be. There is no beginning or end to creation.
Behind the impermanent material world there is the invisible source of all things, pure, unchanging spirit or Atman. In the presence of God, maya (illusion) creates the world, even as in the presence of the superior officer, the subordinates do their work. Just as a carpenter cannot work without the instruments, and the instruments themselves also cannot do any work without the carpenter, so also, Isvara (God) cannot create the world without maya, nor can maya create the world without Isvara.
This world is an overflow of the love of God. This is the view of a bhakta (devotee). This world is an overflow of the bliss of Brahman. This is the view of a vedantin or sage. Love and bliss are one; God and Brahman are one. This world is nothing but the expression of God's love for Himself. This world is an expression or manifestation of God. It is the outcome of the spontaneous play of love and joy. God expands Himself and manifests as the world.
Atmic sankalpa (the will of the self) makes this universe shine and constitutes it. Every object is surcharged with divine significance. Everything in this world has got a spiritual message to convey. Learn from everything. All is Brahman. When this truth is intellectually recognised and intuitively realised, then all feelings of differences end forever.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

28 October

Am I The 'I'?

You say, "This is my body" ­- this indicates that you are different from the body and the body is your instrument. You are holding it just as you hold a walking stick in your hand.
In sleep you exist independent of the walking stick in your hand (body). In dreams you operate through the astral body without having any concern for the fleshy body. Through ignorance you have identified yourself with the physical body and mistaken it for the real 'I' which is ever­-pure, all­-pervading, self­-existent, self­-luminous and self­-contained, which has neither beginning nor end, which is changeless, beyond time, space and causation, and which exists in the past the present and the future.
Prana (vital force) is not 'I'. It is the effect of rajas (energy). It is inert. It cannot welcome a man while you are asleep, though it is flowing. It increases and decreases. You say, "My prana" -­ this shows you are different from prana. It is your instrument only. You can control the breath by pranayama. The controller is different from the controlled (prana). Prana is not 'I'.
Mind also is not 'I'. It gropes in darkness. It borrows light from a higher power. It gets puzzled and confused. During shock and fear it becomes insentient. It is the effect of satva. It is your instrument. You say, "my mind" ­- therefore mind is different from 'I'. It is full of changing ideas. It has a beginning and an end. You can control the mind and the thoughts - ­ the controller is different from the controlled (mind). It is as much your property, and outside of you, as your limbs etc., or dress, chair, etc.  In sleep there is no mind, yet you wake up with a feeling of continuity of consciousness. There is no mind in delirium or coma, yet 'I' remains. Mind is a bundle of thoughts and all thoughts are centred around the false egoistic little 'I'. The root thought of all these thoughts is the 'I' that is full of vanities.
Talking of myself, I always speak of 'I'. The sheaths in which I am happy, old, black, a sanyasi (monk), etc., are incidents in the continuity of the 'I'. They are ever changing and varying but the 'I' remains the same -­ unchanging amid the changing.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

27 October

Body Is Not 'I'
This is a world of diversity. Intellects are different; faces are different; sounds are different; religions are different; faiths are different. Colours are different; faculties are different tastes and temperaments are different. But one thing is common to all ­ every one of us wants nitya sukha (eternal happiness), infinite knowledge, immortality, independence and freedom. These things can be attained by knowledge of the Self alone.
Everybody wants happiness that is not mixed with sorrow and pain, but he does not know where he can get this supreme bliss. The best means to acquire this knowledge is by the enquiry, "Who am I?". This has the potentiality of producing the quiescence of mind which will enable it to wade through this ocean of samsara (cycle of birth and death). It demands a sharp, subtle, pure intellect, bold understanding and gigantic will. The commonplace 'I' that everyone is glibly talking about and relishing acutely every moment of his life, from the babbling baby to the garrulous old man, must be clearly understood.
The physical body is not the 'I', it is the product of food ­ it lives on food and dies without food. It is a bundle of skin, flesh, fat, bones, marrow, blood and a lot of other filthy things. It does not exist before birth or after death. It lasts for a short intervening period. It is transient. It undergoes changes such as childhood, youth and old age. It has six changes ­ existence, birth, growth, modification, decay and death. It is not of one homogeneous essence; it is manifold, insentient, inert. It is an object of perception, like a chair or a table. You continue to live even when hands and legs have gone.
How can the body be the self-existent, eternally pure Atman, the knower, the silent witness of the changes that take place in the body and in all things, the inner ruler of all?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You have learned that body and mind are not 'I'.
You have learned that prana is not 'I'.
The world is unreal, this thou hast understood.
Thou hast understood that Brahman alone is real.
Now meditate on the formula 'I am Brahman' -
Lose thyself, unite with him.
Rest there peacefully, joyfully. 
This is the proper place, the abode of the pure.

Inspiring Talks, Message 8

INSPIRING TALKS OF GURUDEV SIVANANDA – MESSAGE 8

18th September, 1948
PRECEPT THROUGH PRACTICE
Today’s subject for the Forest University class was ‘Practical Sadhana’. Sridharji delivered an inspiring discourse on the subject of ‘Conscience’ with his characteristic eloquence, soul-force, and sparkling wisdom. Inter alia, he had told us that a fully developed conscience which had been guarded against perversion, misuse, disuse, abuse, etc., is the surest guide which an aspirant to Self-realisation could have, as it represents in the court-hall of mind, its (conscience’s) absent royal master (the chosen ideal of the aspirant, viz., Self-realisation through Nivritti Marga), in an ambassadorial capacity, raising his voice of protest whenever anything is said, thought of or done contrary to the interests of his Master.
After Siva’s inspiring Kirtan which invariably concludes the class for the day, we dispersed.
Outside the Bhajan Hall, someone of the gathering raised the topic of wars, and the possibility of a war in which India might be involved—the discussion leading to the topic of conscription, etc.   Siva, innocent of politics, exclaimed:
‘Then all the young men will be recruited to the Army?’
Sridharji then explained the implications of conscription in detail.
Siva (with a mixed expression of pity and contempt): ‘It is a great pity. Every young man will become military-minded: and the conduct of such young men, even after the war will be tinged with brutality, arrogance and materialistic ambitions and passions. India’s spiritual heritage will be jeopardised. No, no: India should stick to her spirituality.’
Siva’s conscience or background of thought is established in divine life: and all ideas and ideals are evaluated on this touchstone.
Incidentally, in Sridharji, too, this virtue is highly developed. In fact, I have not seen any other ‘Sadhaka’ who can approach a ‘Siddha’ in the matter of possessing the keenest intellect, coupled with a fully developed vigilant conscience: and in allowing the very experiences of his soul, the strength of conviction gained through careful exercise of the withdrawn-limbs of his mind on the field of introspection, intense Antaranga Sadhana and Tapasya, express themselves through his highly inspiring and impressive discourses.
DIRECT REALISATION OF BRAHMAN
‘True, Swamiji, I have heard that said before. I have read this in the scriptures, too. But I want to have the direct experience. I must actually realise Brahman. Otherwise, how am I to know that what the Upanishads declare is truth?’ replied Sri Satya Sandan, a young Yogi-enthusiast who wished to know the direct road to Moksha. Siva had told him ‘The direct path is Jnana Yoga. Practise it. Read the scriptures. Realise Aham Brahmasmi.’ I have myself never heard Siva reply in this manner to anyone: he usually adopts the step-by-step method, and preaches Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and the Yoga of Synthesis. There is something behind this I thought: and looked up.
‘You will have to sit quiet and meditate. Go on meditating on the true import of the Mahavakya till you actually realise the Truth.’
‘But, Swamiji, I want to guard myself against falling into the snares of hallucinations—and this Aham Brahmasmi assertion might also be a hallucination.’
‘That is the trouble. What the great seers and sages have said cannot be false. But, why does man not realise the Truth easily? The scriptures say that there are three kinds of obstructions to the perception of this Truth. First is Mala (impurities), second is Vikshepa (oscillation of the mind), and the third is Avarana (veil of ignorance). Introspect and find out which of these you have got. If you find you have Mala—Kama, Krodha, Lobha,—you will have to eradicate it through the practice of Karma Yoga, or the Yoga of Selfless Service. If you have only got Vikshepa, you have to practise Upasana to steady the mind. If you have only Avarana, you will have to practise Nididhyasana or constant dwelling on the import of the Mahavakyas, till the Truth flashes within you.’
‘Swamiji, I am not interested in all these. I only want direct realisation of Brahman.’
‘That is like a clerk wanting to become a Commissioner. He has to work hard, get quick promotions, pass stage after stage, examination after examination: and then only can he aspire to become a Commissioner. Can a Matriculate at once become an I.C.S. officer? He has to graduate in the University: then he has to work hard and get through the I.C.S. examination: only then can he become an I.C.S. officer.
‘Similarly, you have first to acquire the Sadhana Chatushtaya Sampath….’
‘What is that, Swamiji?’
‘You have not even heard of that! Viveka or discrimination between the Real and the unreal; Vairagya or dispassion towards worldly objects; then Shad Sampath—Sama, Dama, Titiksha, Uparathi and Sraddha and Samadana—and Mumukshutwa or a burning desire for liberation. Then you should approach someone and learn the Truth from him. That is what Lord Krishna has also said in the Gita: ‘Tad Viddhi Pranipatena Pariprasnena Sevaya Upadekshyanti te Jnanam Jnaninah Tatwadarshinah.’
‘Yes, Swamiji, I have read this.’
‘No use merely reading it: you should put into practice what you know. You do not want to develop divine virtues, but you want direct realisation of Brahman at once.’....silence.... ‘This is all no good. Oji! Please approach some good Mahatma, live with him, serve him and learn. Do not try to become Swayam Siddha Mahatma, Swayamprakashananda!’
‘May I stay with you, Swamiji?’
‘As you like. But here all the aspirants are persons who have a clear grasp of the task before them. So, they engage themselves in the practice of the Yoga of Synthesis. They combine nicely work, worship, study, Yoga, etc. If you can also fall in line with them, you can stay. Or, seek some good Mahatma; serve him and learn to meditate.’
20th September, 1948
SAMBHAR IN THE HIMALAYAS
Sri Sankaranarayana has returned to the Ashram from a visit to several places of seclusion, away from Rishikesh. Siva asked him, with maternal affection:
‘Are there any shops on the way?’
‘Swamiji, the Sadhu whom we met gave us some roties to take with us: and when we went we had taken some fruits, etc., from here itself.’
‘And there?’
‘There, Swamiji? We had a sumptuous meal.’
‘What food?’
‘Sambhar, rice, roti, ghee—a pucca Madrassi dinner, Swamiji.’
Everyone present expressed mild surprise.
‘There is a cow also, Swamiji. So, we got good milk.’
‘That is the secret. Wherever you go, there you will find Sambhar, iddaly and coffee. The body of even a Jnani needs certain things. You cannot run away from them. The secret of renunciation is renunciation of attachment. Prakriti has her play: so long as her instruments—the body and mind—are there. The Jnani dissociates himself from the Koshas, identifies himself with the Akarta and Abhokta Atman.
‘That is also the secret of Karma Yoga. We also work here. But we have found out the secret process by which we are able to convert work into worship.’
A spell of silence—the calm before the storm.
WHY RENOUNCE?
‘If we had known this trick before, we need not even have come here.’
Everyone looks at the others: general bewilderment: what a strange thing to say.
THE SOLUTION
Siva at once realised the cause of the consternation.
‘But, if we had not come here, away from the bondage of family and relations, properties and possessions, etc., we could not have found out the secret.’
We all felt a bit relieved.
‘Renunciation is absolutely necessary. Once you recognise Maya and her mischief and pierce through the veil—find out the inner antidote to Maya’s poisons—then you are able to live under all circumstances, unaffected.’
GOD vs. BHAKTAS
A batch of visitors has arrived.
Siva was asking several Ashramites to attend to the several affairs connected with their lodging, etc.
Someone said that the Sadhak who had the key of a particular room was meditating in his room.
‘What meditation is this? You must first fulfil your duties and then meditate. He should have kept the keys outside and then shut himself up. Look how many people are inconvenienced. How can God be pleased by meditation when you keep His devotees waiting outside?’
SERVE HUMANITY
Sri Rajagopala Iyer, who has come from South India, was narrating to Siva the activities of Sri Ram Ram Ram, an old school-mate of Siva who is now a retired surgeon: a widely-travelled man with a number of foreign degrees and a lot of money.    
‘Swamiji, nowadays he has more or less retired.’
‘What is there in retirement now? He has established some hospital or clinic for the sake of the suffering humanity?’
‘No, Swamiji: he has done a lot of service while he was in the Army.’
‘But, none of a permanent value. He must now do something which will make his name immortal. He has earned a lot. He must now invest a portion of that money in charity. The idea of doing something substantially good to humanity never strikes many people.
‘Please ask him on my behalf to construct a ward in the local hospital in his name and provide for a few beds also. This will be a great blessing to humanity.
‘He can himself serve there so long as he wishes: even after his life-time the ward will ever proclaim his name and philanthropy. What is the use of money unless every pie is directed to some good cause?’
Then the talk turned to his personal affairs.
‘He spends a lot of money. But he himself leads a very simple life.’
‘H’m? That is marvellous and unique—that he has kept up Indian simplicity even after his European tours and luxurious life,’ complimented Siva.
‘He has a cook, Swamiji. But in those parts, the cooks hardly stay on, Swamiji.’
Siva’s nature at once sprang forth.
‘He should pay the cook well—and he should give the cook the same food as he takes, if not even better. Then no cook will ever leave him. It all depends upon the treatment; you must make the servants feel they are members of the family.’
That is exactly what Siva has been doing all his life—in Malaya and in the Himalaya.
21st September, 1948
ALL RELIGIONS ARE ONE
Sri Rajagopala Iyer was talking to Siva about the proselytising missions. Siva summed up:
‘What is in this? A Christian comes, gives you a Bible and converts you into Christianity: a Mohamadan gives you a copy of the Quran and changes you into a Mohamadan: a Hindu has his Gita for the same purpose.’
What a fund of wisdom.
‘Truth is one: all the scriptures expound this Truth though in different words. What purpose can ever be served by these proselytisers? They only change man’s external cloak, a few of his habits. Can they ever go near the Atman, the Eternal Sakshi? Only dull-witted people engage themselves in such missions. Wise men will only seek to strengthen the individual’s faith in his own religion.’
THE IDEAL ASHRAM
Two gentlemen from Bihar prostrate to Siva. They have come in search of a young man who had suddenly disappeared from his home. They had been to Hardwar, Rishikesh. And, at both places they had been directed to Sivananda Ashram. They represented their ‘case’ to Siva.
‘No, Maharaj, he has not come here.’
‘Swamiji, we have searched for him in Brindavan, Mathura, Banaras, etc. We do not know what to do.’
‘Maharaj, it is possible to find out a missing boy by searching like this: go home and pray for him. He will knock about here and there and ultimately come back to the house.’
A letter was on Siva’s table from Sri T.A. Rama Row of Madras enquiring about another boy who had also disappeared like this.
When a boy leaves home with a spiritual aspiration at heart, his mind naturally seeks solace. Whether the Vairagya is real or momentary, he needs peace, solace and proper guidance. It seems, from the number of letters, enquiries and interviews that Siva has to answer, that the youth of India has found out that Siva’s abode alone can give them all that they need.
SAVED BY MERE SIGHT
Siva was returning from his walk up to the Mandir, in the evening. As he came near the Yajnashala, one of the small children belonging to the family of Sri Panna Lalji, who were playing on the roof of the Yajnashala rooms, slipped off the terrace and fell right into one of the empty packing cases placed near the wall of the Yajnashala. Siva called out to the parents of the child. They ran down and found that the child had almost swooned. Siva reached the spot and gazed at the child for a moment. The parents took the child into their hands and called it by its name. Lo, the child cried for a couple of minutes, and jumped out of their hands to run about again.
22nd September, 1948
THE ASSURANCE
Sri T.R. Bhagat of New Delhi, an apparently genuine Sadhak has written to Siva asking several questions on Sadhana. Siva clears all his doubts without leaving one loose-end, adds his own precious advice, ending up with:
‘I have accepted you as my beloved disciple. I shall serve you nicely. Be true, earnest and diligent in your Sadhan.’
The cream, the essence—meditation on which alone is sufficient to bestow Moksha on a Sadhaka.
‘Be true’: what a precious piece of instruction. How few are really true in their Sadhana, and do not practise Yoga merely for the sake of exhibition.
‘Earnest’: Yoga is not for the Sadhaka who takes to it half-heartedly.
‘Diligent’: the third most important preliminary qualification. Not only earnestness, but diligent application is also wanted.
With all this exacting instruction is mixed the most encouraging assurance:
‘I have accepted you as my beloved disciple.’
‘Beloved’: what more does one want?—and….
‘I shall serve you nicely’: that is unique—Guru serving his disciples. A sage, a Brahma-Nishta, a living God, at your service and waiting for you to turn to him.
THE INNER RULER
The clock struck five. It was drizzling—after a heavy downpour.
‘Wake up: get out of bed: quick, run,’ said someone from within.
I rose. What is this hallucination? I peeped out of the room half-heartedly—I had slight head-ache, too, due to biliousness. It was still drizzling.
‘No, there won’t be the morning class today,’ I thought. The aching head sought the pillow.
‘Do not let the mind have its own way. Run out of the room. If you find there is no class, go to the temple and meditate.’ Irresistible command.
I rubbed my eyes. Peeped out again: is it Siva?
Yes: it is Siva, my Redeemer—no, not from outside, but from within.
I ran up.
Twice Siva glanced at me—perhaps to make sure that I had obeyed.
TOO OLD AT TWENTY-FIVE
Sri Aravamudan did not attend. Siva met him on his way back to his Kutir.
‘Why did you not come?’
‘I was a bit lazy this morning, Swamiji.’
‘Very well: if you are lazy enough at 25 not to be able to check it and come up to the Bhajan Hall—at 50 you will want a palanquin and four coolies to transport you.’
I was convinced that it was Siva who had awakened me in the morning.
VEDANTIN?
Siva was talking about the glory of Kirtan and Bhakti. Swami X came in his view.
‘But, you are a Vedantin? Are you not?’
Swami X was silent.
‘Ohji, so long as the necessity for food exists, Vedantic indifference should not be assumed. When that need stops, then one can say ‘I am Brahman’ and leave off every other Sadhana.
‘But some Vedantins deceive themselves and others, and say—this is body-Dharma and go on eating.
‘What a pity: when they get angry, they will say it is Mano-Dharma. When they lose their temper and belabour someone, they will say it is Hand-Dharma—it is Indra who did it, not I, the Akarta Atman.’
‘Vedantic realisation,’ Siva continued, ‘should come by itself when the heart is purified through the practice of Karma Yoga and steadied through devotion.’
NON-COMMUNALIST
The food bell is given.
‘Vishnuji,’ called Siva. ‘Take Sri John D’Cruz with you and see that he is accommodated in the Panghat. Is he also taking his food in the dining hall?’
‘Yes, Swamiji.’
‘That is right. In this Ashram there should be no communal feeling: no caste or creed distinctions. Christian, Mohamadan, Parsee—all should move amicably together, eat together, pray together, without any distinction whatsoever.’
SONGS FROM STRANGE QUARTERS
The evening Satsang had just commenced.
I had just finished reciting the Gita Dynana Slokas. I heard a sweet humming of a melodious tune. I held my breath and listened. Yes, it is Siva. My thoughts flew back to Lord Krishna’s days when the love-mad Gopis would sit enraptured in their houses enjoying the exclusive privilege of receiving Lord Krishna’s Murali-Dhwanis. Vishnuji, sitting by my side, was eager to know what had happened to me: I continued reading the Gita.
SIVA’S ECSTATIC KIRTAN
Satsang was almost over. Siva sang the following Kirtan for a full half-hour. Repeating several lines over and over again....each repetition ringing with more and more intense ecstatic fervour....the notes emanating from Siva piercing into the very hearts of the devotees assembled—I cannot explain what it was.
Ananda Thene                                     Brahmananda Thene

Thene Thene                                       Thene Thene

Thene Thene                                       Thene Madhuve

Thene Thene                                       Thene Honey-ye

Celestial Honey-ye                              Divya Madhuve

Ananda Thene                                    Brahmananda Thene

Adwaita Thene                                    Anubhava Thene

Chinmaya Thene                                Chinmatra Thene

Chinmaya Thene                                Chidghana Thene

Nirakara Thene                                   Nirvishesha Thene

Sankara Anubhava Thene                  Dattanubhava Thene

Sivoham Thene                                   Soham Thene

Soham Soham Thene                         Sivoham Thene

Sivoham Thene                                   Swaroopoham Thene

Ananda Thene                                     Brahmananda Thene

OBEISANCE TO HONEY
All of us were in an entirely different plane for quite a long time after this music.
In the office, in bed—everywhere I could hear Siva’s ecstatic music. Why this ‘Thene’ song today—‘Thene’ in Tamil means ‘honey’? I mused.
The solution was not long in being arrived at. Instead of sugar, Siva should have used honey today—as an anti-diabetic measure. And, Siva lives in Sahaja Samadhi: he sees Brahman in all and all in Brahman. Every object, every person, every word inspires from within only thoughts of Brahman and Brahmic Bliss. Wherever he is, in the bathroom, the water-closet, on the banks of the Ganges, in the office, in the temple, on the road—this one consciousness alone is his constant companion.
Oh, honey! Prostrations unto thee! I am grateful to you, for through your grace we all enjoyed Siva’s ecstatic Kirtan today. Glory to thee.

Friday, October 25, 2013

26 October

Ignorance

The mind is a creation of avidya! (ignorance) and it is the effect of avidya. The mind is filled with delusion - this is why it tempts you and makes you go astray. If you can destroy the cause of the mind by getting knowledge of the Supreme Self, the mind is nowhere; it dwindles into an airy nothing.
The whole experience of duality, made up of perceiver and perceived, is pure imagination. There is no ignorance apart from the mind. On the destruction of the mind, all is destroyed. The mind's activity is the cause of all appearance. On account of illusion you think that the outside objects are separate from you and real.
As long as there is mind there are all these distinctions - big and small, high and low, superior and inferior, good and bad, etc. ­- but the highest truth is that there is no relativity. If you can transcend the mind by constant and profound meditation on Atman you will be able to attain a state beyond the pairs of opposites wherein lies supreme peace and highest knowledge.
The first thought is the 'I-­thought'. As this 'I-thought' is the base of all other thoughts, egoism is the seed for the mind. The idea of 'I' brings in its train the idea of time, space and other potencies. With these environments, the name 'jiva' (soul) accrues to it. And contemporaneously with it there arise buddhi (intellect), memory and manas (mind) which is the seed of the tree of desire.
You cannot realise God if you have the slightest trace of egoism, or attachment to name and form, or the least tinge of worldly desire in the mind. Try to minimise egoism little by little. Root it out by self­-sacrifice, by karma yoga, by self­-surrender, or by vedantic self­-enquiry. Whenever egoism asserts itself, raise the question within yourself: "What is the source of this little 'I'?" Again and again ask this question and, as you remove layer after layer, the onion dwindles to nothing. Analyse the little 'I' and it becomes a non­-entity.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The ego is the Lord for whose entertainment the dance is performed and the objects of the senses are his companions. The intellect is the dancing girl and the senses are the persons who play on the instruments which accompany the dance. The saksi (witnessing soul) is the lamp which illumines the scene. Just as the lamp, without moving from its place, furnishes light to all parts -­ so too, the saksi from its unchangeable position illumines everything situated inside or outside.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

25 October

World Is The Body Of God

The universe is a mirror in which is reflected the being and beauty of God. God's universe is ruled by his eternal laws. In the East, the law of cause and effect is called the law of karma. In the New Testament it is expressed in the words: "Whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." What is written is written and no man can change the eternal plan. That which is decreed by God's will occurs on this earth. There is system, method, order, regularity everywhere in this universe because the universe is, ultimately governed by God.
This world is the body of the Lord. This world, though it really is not, appears to be. Know that it is nothing but a reflection. When you know the rope, the snake­-knowledge disappears. Even so, the world does not really exist and yet appears to be existing through ignorance. It disappears with the knowledge of the Atman on which the illusion of the world is superimposed. In Brahman or the Absolute, this world shines falsely, owing to ignorance. It is not true, even as dreams under the influence of sleep. It is because of illusory superimposition on the part of the individual that the empirical names and forms appear to be real. When, by the power of meditation, the effect (world) is negated as unreal, the cause (Brahman) also ceases to be a cause. The certitude or conviction that the universe is not the supreme Brahman is itself avidya (ignorance). Hence the certitude that, "The universe is Brahman alone", is emancipation.
The world is a spirit manifested in space and time. When you look at the Absolute, through the senses, it appears as the universe. The puryastaka (body) is composed of the eight -­ that is mind, egoism, intellect and the five objects of the senses (sound, sight etc.). All these, composed of the five elements, are appearances only. So also is time through right discrimination. In this mortal world, everything perishes, but the ideas and the ideals do not perish. Ideas are more enduring than objects, which are perishable, but Atman, the immortal soul endures forever. Just as the universe appears dark to the blind, and shining to those who have eyes to see, so it appears blissful to the sages and painful to the ignorant.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

24 October

Maya

There is no duality in reality. All modification is illusory; multiplicity is an illusion.
Maya (the illusory power of the Lord) projects multiplicity. Maya creates division ­- division between the individual soul and the supreme soul.
Maya is a tremendous, delusive power of God. Maya is the material stuff of this world. Maya is the source of the physical universe. This world of names and forms is a false show kept up by the jugglery of maya. Just as a stick burning at one end, when waved round quickly, produces an illusion of a circle of fire, so is it with the multiplicity of the world. Maya deludes us. Maya creates havoc in the mind. The things that we perceive all round us are only mind in form or substance. The world is a product of the mind. The whole World is an expansion of the mind. The entire universe arises and exists in the mind. Nothing of the world is outside the mind. Earth, mountains and rivers ­- all are fragments of the mind, appearing as it were, to exist outside. The world does not exist by itself. It is not seen without the aid of the mind. It disappears when the mind ceases to function, as in deep sleep.
It is imagination alone that assumes the forms of time, space and motion. Space and time have no independent status apart from Brahman or the self, which is pure awareness. There is no space without time, and there is no time without space. Space and time go together. Space and time are interdependent. They are both unreal. Time and space are mental projections, as unreal as dreams. However real they may seem to be, they are not ultimately real. Timeless, spaceless Brahman is the only reality.
Brahman alone is. It is Brahman alone that shines as the world of variegated objects, like water differentiated by the waves into many kinds of foam, bubbles, etc. Brahman appears as the world when cognised through the mind and the senses.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Maya conceals the truth and presents an error ­ it veils the reality and shows the world. Mistaking the body for Atman or the Self is called maya. Maya screens the knowledge of Atman and therefore man mistakes one for the other. This is the cause of bondage ­- we have the erroneous consciousness that we are objective beings, that our actions are objective expressions projected in time and space.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

23 October

Words Of Wisdom
One's individual ego, preconceived notions, pet ideas, prejudices and selfish interests should be given up. All these stand in the way of spiritual progress. Lord's grace begins to work only when you learn to discipline yourself, subordinate your selfishness and surrender fully to Him.
Why dost thou try to find thy God in deities and temples when thou has kept thy visible gods standing outside, hungry and naked? Regarding Him as manifest everywhere thou shouldst serve all creatures with intense bhava if thou wishest to attain the highest perfection. Indeed, thy love towards the Lord should engender love for the whole universe -­ for thou must see Him in all.
Kindle the light of love in thy heart for love is the immediate way to the kingdom of God, the vast domain of perennial peace and joy. Where there is love there is peace. Where there is peace there is love. Life and death are the two scenes in the drama of life. All is passing; all is sorrow; all is pain; all is unreal.
This world is merely a play of colours and sounds. Hence, O man, seek the permanent, the all­-blissful, the real, which is ever­-shining in the chambers of thy heart, which is self-luminous, infinite, unchanging and eternal. Moksa (liberation) means nothing but the destruction of the impurities of the mind. The mind becomes pure when all desires and fears are annihilated. Lead the divine life. Light the lamp of divine life everywhere.
Thy aim should be to maintain an unshakeable sweetness of disposition, to be pure and gentle and to be happy in all circumstances. To be always conscious of the divine, always to feel the divine presence, to live always in the awareness of the supreme being in the chambers of your heart and everywhere around you is verily to live a life of fullness and divine perfection, even whilst on earth.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This body is a lamp. The heart is the wick. The oil is your love for the Lord. You can build a temple in your heart by the absence of anger, by the practice of humility, compassion, forgiveness, faith, devotion, meditation, prayer and recitation of the Lord's name.

Monday, October 21, 2013

22 October

The Sadhana That Hardens

(A letter was on Siva's table: a great European yogi had written to Siva requesting him to invite him to India. This was needed to obtain a passport.)
What a big show of themselves do these so-called saints make. Flying from this country to that country: everywhere they go, parties, receptions and farewell parties, again. It is not?
Some of them should be received with a unique honour. Instead of flags and festoons adorning the reception entrance, people should hang old shoes and broomsticks.
We should not wait for the thing to happen actually. We should train ourselves. I have done so. I have beaten myself with shoes severely. This I used to do especially on birthdays -­ just after returning to my kutir after the meetings where people will praise me, glorify me, deify me, I will go into my kutir and beat myself nicely with a pair of shoes: "What are you? You wretched flesh-­blood-­excreta made body? Do you want garlands? Can you not wear torn clothes? Do you think that you are great? Do you want to be prostrated to? Now, take these garlands."
Suka Deva was tested by Janaka like this. He was a great jnani. When he went to Janaka for instruction, he was made to wait outside the palace uncared for, without food, without shelter and without any honour. Then he was attended upon by the ladies of the court and the Maharanis. In these ways Janaka tested Suka Deva's tranquility of mind. Suka was above all these things. He had preserved his equanimity all through. Such should be a sadhaka.
I have heard this said of St. Francis of Assisi also. He used to call his body 'Mr. Ass'. What a tremendous vairagya they all had.
Even this occasional shoe­-beating is not enough for me. I should give this body a dose of this hardening-medicine at least once a week.