Friday, January 31, 2014
Good and Evil
The universe contains two dynamic forces. They are good and evil. Good and evil are twin forces, born of the same father. They are called dvandvas or the pairs of opposites. They have no independent existence. Evil exists to glorify good. This is its only raison d'être. Evil is negative good!
Evil is a destructive force. Good is a constructive force. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this universe. Evil has no independent existence apart from good. Wherever there is good, there is evil. You cannot expect absolute good in this relative world.
You can find absolute good in Brahman alone. From the viewpoint of the basic reality which lies at the back of evil and good, evil and good dwindle into an airy nothing. Evil and good are only mental creations. Transcend good and evil and reach the abode of supreme peace and immortality.
For a jnani, who has knowledge of the self, there is neither good nor bad. The 'why' of evil can only be understood when you get atma jnana (self-knowledge). Do not rack your brain now. This is a transcendental mystery which only Brahman knows. Finite intellect that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot find out a solution to this problem of evil. When you are fully established in your self, then evil and good both vanish altogether.
Transmute evil into good by changing your mental attitude, or angle of vision. Out of evil good often cometh. Destruction is necessary for regeneration, for renovation and for reconstruction.
Tamas (inertia) is evil. Satva (purity) is good. So convert tamas into satva. Then evil is transmuted into good. Selfishness is evil and selflessness is good. Lust is evil, brahmacharya (celibacy) is good. Greed is evil. Generosity, integrity, disinterestedness all these are good. Pride is evil and humility is good.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Right and Wrong
'Right' and 'wrong' are relative terms. They vary according to time, special circumstances, varna (caste), and ashrama (stage of life). Morality is a changing and relative term. The passionate man who molests his wife frequently to gratify his own passion is more immoral than man who visits the house of a woman of ill-fame once in six months. The man who dwells constantly on immoral thoughts is the most immoral man of all.
Do you clearly note the subtle difference? To kill an enemy is right for a king, but a brahmana (priest) or a sanyasin (monk) should not kill anybody, even to protect himself in times of danger. He should practise strict forbearance and forgiveness. To speak an untruth to save the life of a mahatma (holy one), or one's guru who has been unjustly charged by an unjust officer of state, is right. In this particular case untruth has become truth. To speak a truth which brings harm to many is untruth only. To kill a robber who murders wayfarers is ahimsa only. Himsa (violence) becomes ahimsa (non-violence) under certain circumstances.
Even great sages are bewildered sometimes in finding out what is right and what is wrong. That is why Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "What is action and what is inaction? Even the wise are herein perplexed. Therefore I will declare to thee the action by knowing which thou shalt be liberated from evil. It is needful to discriminate action, to discriminate unlawful action and to discriminate inaction. Mysterious is the path of action. He who seeth inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is wise among men. He is harmonious even while performing all actions." (Chapter IV, Verse 16-18).
Rishi Kanada, author of Vaishesika Philosophy, says in the opening verse: "That which brings supreme bliss and exaltation is right. That which elevates and brings you nearer to God, is right. That which brings you down and takes you away from God, is wrong. That which is done in strict accordance with the injunctions of the scriptures is right. That which is done against the injunctions of the scriptures is wrong. To work in accordance with divine will is right. To work in opposition to the divine will is wrong." This is one way of defining right and wrong.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Dharma or righteousness is the gateway to God-vision. Righteousness is a means of climbing the difficult steps of the spiritual path. Dharma presupposes the knowledge of the truth. Divine life is dharma.
A perfectly moral and ethical life is dharma. Dharma is that which leads to the bliss of nirvana (the immortal being). Dharma is the way in which you have to divert your spiritual life to the supreme spiritual end.
Dharma controls the pulse of a nation and of the world. Dharma is what sustains a being in his evolution. Dharma or righteousness is religion in the highest sense of the term.
Dharma is the eternal law on which the universe rests, and by which the universe is governed. Welfare of mankind ultimately rests upon dharma. Righteousness is the highest wealth. It is the rule of life. In righteousness everything is established or rooted.
The main feature of dharma lies in refraining from doing unto others what one would not do unto oneself. Compassion, liberality, truthfulness, purity, self-restraint and tolerance are the ingredients of dharma. Tread the path of dharma and you will get happiness along with freedom. You can secure the real joy and glory of life.
That which helps you in your spiritual evolution is right. That which obstructs and hinders your spiritual evolution is wrong. That which leads to unity of Self is right. That which leads to separation is wrong. To do good to others, to serve and to help others, to give joy to others, is right. To give pain to others, to injure others, is wrong.
Do not do any act which injures another and makes you feel ashamed to do it. Do as you would be done by. Do unto others as you wish others to do unto you. This is the secret of dharma. This is the secret essence of karma yoga. This will lead you to the attainment of eternal bliss.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
The Law of Being
Dharma (righteousness) is what a man ought to be. It is the law that man must follow for his own spiritual evolution. Sanatana Dharma - is the law of being and it is the religion of humanity. It is not a special privilege of the Hindu only.
Righteousness opens the way for God-realisation. The treasure of dharma is accumulated by plain living and high thinking.
Truth, austerity, knowledge, sacrifice and consecration are the pillars on which dharma rests. These are the great, eternal laws that uphold the earth.
There are ten attributes of dharma. They are: patience or courage, forgiveness, self-restraint, non-stealing, purity, control of the senses, thoughtfulness, knowledge, truthfulness and angerlessness.
Dharma assumes the shape of the moral law that differentiates between good and evil, that impels right action and not wrong action. The rightness or wrongness depends only on what will help or hinder a man's spiritual progress. Human existence has four values. They are: dharma - the ethical value of life; artha - the material value; kama - the vital value; moksha - the infinite value.
No one can lead a life of adharma (unrighteousness) and be happy. This is because happiness is the nature of the Atman, and dharma too is an expression of the law of the self.
That which elevates you is virtue (dharma) and that which pulls you down is vice (adharma) or sin. That which makes you worldly is sin. That which helps you to attain Godhead is virtue. That which hurls you into the dark abyss of ignorance is sin and that which leads you to illumination is virtue.
That which causes intoxication is sin and that which purifies the heart is virtue. That which gives you peace, joy, satisfaction, exhilaration, expansion of the heart is virtue and that which brings restlessness, dissatisfaction, depression and contraction is vice.
Monday, January 27, 2014
There are three ways to destroy jealousy. One is by thinking - "The whole world, with all its enjoyments, wealth and luxury is illusory. What do I possibly gain by being jealous of another?" When anyone thinks seriously about this, several times a day, the vritti (thought or feeling) of jealousy slowly dies. This vritti of jealousy is deep-rooted. It is the root of all miseries.
The second way is to have the feeling of universal brotherhood. You are not jealous of your intimate friend or loving brother - because you have become one with them, and so you feel that all that belongs to them is yours. Do this with everybody. Love everybody as your own brother or friend. Then you will have no jealousy.
The third way to destroy jealousy is a developed stage. Just repeat the formula, "I am the all" - "I am the all-in-all". Think that there is nothing but Atman, your own Self, everywhere. Jealousy will slowly vanish. You will experience infinite joy.
Man sees his own reflection in all people but foolishly imagines that they are different from him and he fights with them. He fights on account of feelings of jealousy and hatred.
Spiritual discernment is what is most needed. Where there is duality, by virtue of ignorance, one sees all things as distinct from the Self, the Atman. When everything is seen as the Self, then there is not even an atom other than Self. Duality is the root of misery. Realise non-dual consciousness and you will attain bliss everlasting.
Your attitude to the universe should be the same as your attitude to yourself. Man is a member of a great fraternity. Woman is the counterpart of man. Without self-control the new world order can have no lasting strength of character. He who is pure and self-controlled is always peaceful. His life is always successful.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
When you become angry, leave the place immediately. Take a long walk; stay away for a half hour. Repeat the sacred mantra OM SHANTI one hundred and eight times. You will find that your anger subsides. Another way is to count from one to thirty - your anger will subside. When anger tries to show itself, observe silence. Never utter a harsh word. Try to nip it off before it emerges from the subconscious mind.
You will have to be alert. It tries to come out so suddenly. But, before anger manifests in the mind, there is agitation in the mind. If you strive to subdue anger, then hatred subsides - but even then there may be slight impatience lingering there. Eschew this slight disturbance also. For a man who is leading a divine life, this is a serious drawback. Irritability is a weakness of the mind. Remove it by practising tolerance, mercy and love. Calmness is a direct means to the realisation of Brahman.
Keep the mind always in balance, in tune. Close the eyes. Dive deep into the divine source. Feel God's presence. Repeat His name and remember Him at all times. You will gain immense spiritual strength. Meditate early in the morning, before you mix with people. Then rise above the thousand and one things which might irritate you in your daily life. Then only you will live in harmony and concord. Then only you will turn out wonderful work.
- - -
Man wastes much energy by becoming angry, very often over little things. The whole nervous system is shattered and agitated. If this anger is controlled, by brahmacharya (purity), forbearance, love and vichara (enquiry), a man can move the whole world. Anger manifests so suddenly that it is difficult to check it. The impulses it generates are so powerful that he is swayed by them. Control anger. Control the mind.
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda
6th January, 1949
A devotee came into the office to have Darshan of ‘Swamiji’. Siva greeted her with OM and folded palms, made her sit on the bench near-by and started enquiring about her health, the Yatra, etc. When Siva resumed his work, the lady quietly walked out, feeling a bit uneasy to sit in the office, idly, where others were busy with their work.
Near the dispensary, she asked Sri Swami Chidanandaji: ‘Where is Swamiji? When can I see him?’
Chidanandaji was amused, as he had noticed that the lady came straight from the office where Siva was at the time.
‘Swamiji is in the office. Why, you are coming from there only. Have you not seen him?’
‘He, with a coat and spectacles, sitting there? Is he Swamiji? I thought he was the Manager of the Ashram!’
With tears in her eyes, she ran back and fell at Siva’s feet. The tears wash away the defective vision which sought to recognise saintliness only in externalities and to disregard the inner divinity clothed in an overcoat: and she beheld before her now the pure Satchidananda who, for the sake of sport, has clothed himself with the Koshas.
‘Satyanandaji Maharaj, nowadays you are not attending the morning class. Gradually you are becoming an Alasyanand, I think. You see: I come from my Kutir which is the farthest from the Bhajan Hall. But, you are not able to walk half the distance even!
‘It does not matter. You have already acquired an immortal fame through your brilliant lectures, thrilling songs, and plays. Have you copied that article? It is a masterly production. You have a tremendous brain. Though you look like a small boy, yet you have very well developed your intellectual faculties. Try to grow fat and fat. Then you will have an impressive physique. What is this? You have no moustache also. At least put on a false moustache. Then with all this pompous dress you will look like a Maharajah. You have now established a first-rate office for yourself. You look more like a Marwari business man, sitting at your desk. Very good: that is also necessary.’
A wonderful speech! Blowing hot and cold! S’s expression was worth watching, as it reacted to all that Siva was saying—one moment praising and the next moment pointing out a defect. That is the subtle way in which Siva trains his disciples. Instruction mixed with a lot of glorification, is highly palatable. The sugar-coating slowly melts away by constantly dwelling on what he said: and in a calm mood flashes the flowery sword. But then the edges are smoothened by this time, though it lodges itself deep inside the heart. We learn, but without the bitterness that naturally accompanies ‘learning’ in the world.
A Sadhaka had a grievance. He came into the office with a complaint against another inmate who had insulted him. Siva counselled forbearance. Later, it was pointed out to Siva by someone else that the offending party had a sharp tongue in truth.
‘Everybody has a sharp tongue. After all, we are all human beings only. But the beauty lies in controlling it. Before an offending word is uttered, you should introspect and check it. And, even if occasionally you happen to use the wrong expression, you should learn the art of smoothening the matter out at once. You should apologise to the man whom you had offended, talk to him sweetly, ask his pardon and pacify him. Gradually your very nature will be changed.’
7th January, 1949
The room occupied by Sri Shamash had been vacated: and several chairs and tables had been put to other use. Aramudanji was sitting on a small chair brought from the vacated room. Siva was walking on the terrace opposite the D.J. Hall. Seeing A., he remarked:
‘There is a peculiar joy in using other people’s property, isn’t it? It is part of human nature. Even if we have good chairs, we will discard them and use others just because they belong to other people. Mysterious is the mind.’
Such objective analysis of human nature, without letting the emotional aspect of our own personality or any personal equation coming into the picture at all, serves to enlighten us, and saves us from the inevitable fault-finding nature apparently involved in it.
‘Padmanabhanji! Bring me one rupee worth of small coins. Write the amount as charity. Whenever I go out, I should have some small coins in my pocket. I see poor people on the road, but I have nothing to give them. I used in Malaya always to keep a lot of small change in my pocket and distribute them to the poor. That gives me a great joy and peace. Bring the coins at once.’
‘What is this?’ asked Siva handling a half-anna coin.
‘Half-anna? I have never seen this. (This coin has been in use for a considerable time now.) I do not have any occasion, because I do not handle money. It is a peculiar shaped coin. Is it enough if I give a poor man only half-anna? What will he get for it?’
It was difficult to convince Siva that half-anna was also money.
8th January, 1949
‘Swamiji, I found these two rupees near the Brahmanandashram,’ Sri Menon handed Siva the coins.
‘You should have found out the owner. How can we appropriate the money to ourselves just because it lay on the road. Someone else will miss it.’
‘No, Swamiji: it was lying on the road. If I had not taken it, it might even have been lost in the sand. Here, Swamiji, the two rupees would be put to very good use; and in absentia the donor will receive the Lord’s blessings.’
‘Ohji, this is how Maya deceives man. You see: I have just written a story about a man who was told by his Guru to shun Kamini, Kanchana and Kirti, but who was later very gradually dragged into the very pit of temptations.’
Siva turned to another Sanyasin (not belonging to the Ashram) who was sitting near him.
‘Supposing you found five thousand rupees on the roadside. What will you do? Will you give them to me, for this divine work? Or….(rocking with laughter)…. will you merely think, ‘I will give two thousands to Swamiji and utilise the rest myself. After all, I have my own needs. God has given this moment only for this purpose?’
This is much like saying that it was only because the amount was insignificant that the Sadhaka had the good sense of putting it to good use: otherwise, he might not be able to resist the temptation of evil. The mind will offer its own excuses: and will lead him astray.
Another strange coincidence which I could not fail to notice is this. Siva had just yesterday expressed his holy wish to have some small change always in his pocket for the purpose of ‘charity on the roadside’. Ere a rupee is exhausted there is this charity from the roadside! Strange are the ways of the divine and His messengers.
Siva has received a letter from the Kali Kamliwala Kshetra requesting his help in the matter of holding Kathas and Satsang under the auspices of the Kshetra. Siva had already deputed three Ashramites to deliver lectures on four days in the month. Swami X is in the Ashram today on account of the Birthdate celebration. Siva very tactfully (it will be impossible for anyone to narrate how this is done: you will have to see it for yourself, how an unwilling horse walks into harness without compulsion and of its own accord) persuaded the Swami to take part in the Kshetra’s programme. Part of the conversation I shall narrate here:
‘You deliver such thrilling lectures, Swamiji. How are you able to do so if you are not holding frequent Kathas and discourses? How do you remember all the stories and points? Many people lose touch with this faculty and it is dullened.’
‘I do not deliver any lectures and Kathas. But, I teach students if they come to me,’ replied the Swami.
‘But, yet, your discourses are like those of learned pundits who have made lecturing their profession.’
‘Swamiji,’ confessed the Swami: ‘but for your grace I would not have been able to deliver even one lecture in my life. It is only because you forced me in the first instance to deliver lectures that today I am able to hold an audience. Otherwise, I would have remained dumb, Swamiji. Your grace it is that has made me eloquent.’
Topic drifted: and the Swami told Siva:
‘Swamiji, in his discourse that Acharya gave, a strange meaning to the Upanishadic Utterance,
Na Ayam Atma Pravachanene Labhyah
Na Medhaya, Na Bahuna Shrutena
He says that this decries the utility of Sravan, Manan and Hididhyasan. He interprets ‘Pravachana’ to affect Sravan: ‘Medhaya’ to affect Manan: and ‘Bahuna Shrutena’ to affect Nididhyasan. And, he has made out a queer meaning of this to the effect that the Atman is not to be attained by Sravan, Manan and Nididhyasan, but by the grace of the Lord alone. He says that this is the view of Visishtadwaita.’
Another student of Vedanta present in the office pointed out to Siva that the Dwaita Vadins have found a hidden ‘a’ in the quotation from Chandogya Upanishad where the Mahavakhya occurs. Atmaatattwamasi they have construed to mean ‘Atma Atatwamasi’, i.e., Thou art NOT That!’
Siva was greatly amused and he said:
‘You see, the Acharyas are not at fault. Ramanujacharya was great: and he has stressed the doctrine of grace and devotion, as he found that the vast majority of the people were not suited to direct Adwaitic initiation. These are all several rungs in the ladder. Dwaita, Visishtadwaita and then Adwaita. People should not indulge in these misinterpretations and ‘Khandana’. Philosophers and seers should always synthesise: and their followers should understand the spirit of the Acharya’s teachings and desist from condemning followers of other schools.’
At 11 a.m. Siva was told that at 12 the foundation for a new Kutir (to be built by Sri Gajanan Sharma of Janjgir) was to be laid. Already Siva had made two rounds of the hillock: once in the morning for the class and again his usual trip to the cave. And, food was waiting; it was getting late. Yet, such is Siva’s readiness to oblige, Siva walked up all the way to bless the foundation-stone-laying ceremony.
9th January, 1949
Govindasmawiji’s heart ached to see Siva clad in an overcoat worn out with age! It was once upon a time a good woollen coat. It had served its master well. Now, it looks like a gunny-bag. Suns and moons adorn its face, revealing the inner garments here and there. Yet, it was proud of the love that Siva bore towards it: and on Siva’s back it laughed—perhaps at a newer coat lying unused.
‘Swamiji, this coat is torn all over the back. It looks ugly also. Please wear the other new coat.’
Siva looked up and smiled.
‘Achcha? It is torn? Very well: but it keeps the warmth all right.’
People are prone to imitate a saint when he enjoys certain creature comforts: they misunderstand the saint’s behaviour when they see that ‘he also wears good, nice clothes: he also takes sweetmeats.’ But they hardly understand the inner difference, the vital difference that there is between the saint’s attitude towards these and their own. The saint cares not if Prarabdha brings him silk gowns or dirty rags. He greets both with a happy smile. The dull-witted aspirant rejoices in fashionable dress and new clothes, and thinks that he is right in doing so—does not the saint wear these. He would preach to others that equanimity is the secret and that the costly wearing apparel does not taint him. But, ask him to wear a torn coat or a dirty dhoti: the old Abhiman will raise its head from within.
That is the difference. It is very subtle. It is like the deep chasm that separates the mountain-peaks very close to each other. From a distance the gulf appears to be very slight: and you think you can walk over it. When you approach it, you discover that the very sight of it makes your head reel. That is why Lord Krishna warned Sadhakas to obey His words and not to imitate His actions.
11th January, 1949
Today is Vaikuntha Ekadashi, a highly auspicious day.
Early in the morning, as we entered his room, we found Ramanandaji had passed away. He had been suffering from asthma for the past some weeks: but the end was sudden and unexpected. He had carried on his work till the very last day.
When Siva was told of it, he merely nodded his head. A little later, when we took out the body for giving it a bath, Siva saw the calm face. ‘He does not even show any signs of death. Don’t be hasty: first give some artificial respiration, administer a couple of injections: make sure that he is not merely in a swoon.’
Sadhaks rushed here and there. Two people rubbed R’s feet with liniment turpentine; two administered artificial respiration; Chidanandaji was giving injections. Siva himself sat beside the body and rubbed the chest with ‘Hare Rama’ Kirtan.
When Padmanabhan, who was giving the artificial respiration, let go the hand, R’s hand fell down on the ground just touching Siva’s foot.
After some time, it was declared that life was long ago extinct from the body. ‘All right, now say ‘Krishna Bhagavan ki Jai’ ’ said Siva and permitted us to carry on with the last rites. Siva himself poured the first vesselful of Ganges-water on the body, with Panchakshari Kirtan.
Everyone talked about Ramanandaji: how very quietly he passed away: on such an auspicious day: without causing any inconvenience to anyone: in harness, working up to the last breath: etc., etc. Siva gave a quick reply:
‘Why! His entire life was most exemplary. He was a pucca Vedantin. He never had any connection with his Purvashram family after he came here. He never hankered after any comforts of good food. He never interfered with anyone else’s affairs. He had led a perfect life. He had convened three Divine Life Conferences in Rangoon, and one Religions’ Conference. He has rendered great service to humanity. What more do you want?’
Someone then remarked: ‘Swamiji, he has always been saying that he would prefer to die at Swamiji’s feet and that he would never leave the Ashram, whatever be the physical inconvenience.’
May his soul rest in peace.
12th January, 1949
During the morning class, Siva taught us some very good sitting-pose exercises.
Asans and Pranayama have the body as their basis. Siva is never content to let them remain so. He would insist on the practitioner bringing his mind also into play. Thus, he prescribes certain Bhavanas, e.g., the Bhavana that the seminal energy is being converted into Ojas Shakti during the practice of Sirasasan and Sarvangasan. And, he insists that the Sadhaka should go on repeating some Mantra mentally all the time.
This morning he started with Uddiyana and Agnisara while sitting comfortably on Sukhasana.
‘Mentally, repeat TAT while drawing the abdomen in: and repeat SAT while resuming the normal position. This applies to Uddiyina and Agnisara Kriya.’
Then, the Yoga Mudra with a corresponding backward bend of the spine: first touching the floor with the nose and then in a swing bending the spine in the opposite direction resting on hands placed just behind the body. The same Mantra is repeated in the two processes.
Similarly, lateral twisting of the spine. First, a slight twist towards the left side, enough to enable you to place both palms on the floor to your left: then the same thing on the right side. The Mantra is to be repeated here also.
Then Bhastrika in the same posture.
‘You would have sat comfortably in Sukhasana and within a few minutes you would have revitalised the entire system. The little attention you pay to the body and the mind will be amply rewarded in physical and mental health.’
OM TAT SAT DRILL
OM we uttered while still sitting in Sukhasana.
Siva then taught us the following drill:
We assumed the arms-bent-forward position with clenched fists.
TAT: throw the hands forward in a line with the shoulder.
SAT: resume the clenched fist position.
TAT: throw the hands sideways in a line with the shoulder.
SAT: resume the clenched fist position.
TAT: raise the hands, straight, above the head.
SAT: resume the clenched fist position.
Thus, without taking the trouble of changing position or taking off your coat, you will be able to perform a very useful exercise.
Man is generally compassionate towards himself. He is then nearer the quadrupeds. A little wider-visioned man extends his compassion to his family. He has not yet crossed the border. Another man gradually envelops the village, district and nation with his compassion.
Selflessness to a degree is manifest in him; he is really a MAN. A saint’s compassion extends to humanity at large. A divine personality is compassionate towards all living beings—yet, within this world. What shall we call one whose compassion flows to planes other than this?
Such indeed is Siva.
After the morning class was over, he suddenly confronted us with a suggestion. ‘From now, the first of every month will be observed here as ALL SOULS’ DAY. We should offer special prayers for the peace of all departed souls. In this modernised materialistic world, Dharma has long ago been lost. Many religions have come into being in India itself that condemn ancestor-worship, Sraddhas and Tarpana. The departed souls are in great grief. They naturally look to us to help them. We must do this.’
Someone pointed out that a Spiritualist who had recently visited the Ashram had contacted several departed souls who declared that they were eternally grateful to Siva for his Kirtans and prayers for their peace. They said that they had received great benefit through his mercy.
Another incident has already been chronicled: Sri Gauri Prasadji’s granddaughter who rejoiced at Siva’s Kirtan.
‘The programme will be,’ Siva continued: ‘in the morning we should arrange for consecrated food-offerings to the departed souls. There will be a special Edkadasha Rudra Abhishekam at the temple. We can have poor-feeding and Sadhu Bhojan also. In the evening there will be a special Ganga Puja when lights will be floated on the waters of the Ganges in the name of the departed souls. There should be special illumination in the temple.
‘More expenses....’ someone thought. The thought was at once read by Siva. ‘Ohji, don’t worry about the funds. They will come. When the Pitrus (manes) are pleased, they will goad their descendants to contribute to the Society. When old people hear of this arrangement, they will allot some portion of their properties to the Society in their Will. Our motive should be pure. We should always endeavour to serve all with selfless love. God will look after us.’
‘Swamiji, you are perfectly right,’ said an aged inmate. ‘We started the worship in the temple. Since then the Ashram has attained to rare heights of prosperity. Who would have expected the growth of the Ashram so rapidly? How many Kutirs, how many typewriters, how many books—it is no joke. Surely, all these are indications that the Devas are highly pleased: the Lord is highly pleased with the worship here.’
‘I told you: Lord Siva has run away from Kailas at the ceaseless chanting of Rudram and Chamakam here: and has taken his permanent abode in the Vishwanath Mandir.’
‘But, Swamiji,’ slowly put another aged devotee: ‘you are an Adwaitin. Why should you encourage these Karmas? Where are the departed souls: and how are we to please them?’
‘That is the mistake we commit. Do not mix up Absolute Truth with relative activities. So long as the body is there, so long as you think of the body, adorn it, feed it and look after it, you are in the relative plane only. You can by all means study and try to understand Vedanta: but you should not attempt to bring it into Vyavahara. When you have converted this body into a worn-out leather bag to be used or discarded at will, then you can discard all these Karmas also. Till then, you have to believe and carry on all these actions.’
The Golden Medium
Some people are over-credulous. This is bad, as they are easily cheated by others. You must fully understand man. You must know his nature, his qualities and his antecedents. You must know his behaviour. Test him on several occasions and only place your confidence in him when you are fully satisfied.
He may be a deep man who puts on a false appearance and who turns out to be quite the reverse. Watch him closely, move with him closely and hear about him from several other people. Man cannot hide his nature for long. You will see that his face registers all his inner feelings and thoughts.
Too much suspicion is also bad. It is the opposite of over-credulousness. Mind always moves in extremes. The husband suspects the wife and the wife suspects the husband. There is always trouble in the house.
If the proprietor suspects his servants, then how can business go on? It cannot. The world runs on perfect faith. Business too runs on faith. If people are too suspicious there is always friction and rupture. Do not be over-credulous or over-suspicious. Keep the golden medium always.
Another undesirable quality is intolerance, or petty-mindedness. All the restlessness and fighting in this world takes its origin from intolerance. An Englishman is intolerant towards an Irishman or a German. A Hindu is intolerant to a Mohammedan and vice versa. Arya Samajist is intolerant towards a Sanatanist and vice versa. All this is due to perfect ignorance.
How can a man, who sees the one Atman in all, be intolerant? All these small differences are purely mental creations. Expand. Embrace all. Include all. Love all. Serve all. Behold the Lord in all.
See God in every face. Feel his indwelling presence in all. Be liberal and catholic in your views. Destroy the barriers that separate man from man. Drink the eternal atmic bliss. Become perfectly tolerant. Forget and forgive.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Destroy the Roots of Suffering
Determination and self-reliance are very necessary for success in Self-realisation. In the Mundaka Upanishad you will find: "This Atman cannot be obtained by one who is destitute of strength, or without earnestness, or by penance without mark. But if a wise man strives after it by those means, then his Self enters into Brahman."
Fearlessness is an important qualification for the aspirant. You should be prepared to renounce your life at any moment. Without renunciation of the little sensual life, the eternal spiritual life cannot be attained. Every difficulty that comes in the spiritual path is an opportunity to grow stronger and to develop will-power.
When you have once decided to take up the spiritual path, stick to it at any cost, nay, at the risk of your life. Thou art the immortal Self. Be bold. Stand up. Gird up your loins. Realise the truth. Proclaim it everywhere.
Wrong thinking is the root cause of human suffering. Cultivate right thinking and right action. Think always: "I am the immortal Self". This is right thinking. Work unselfishly for the poor, but work only in terms of unity, with atma bhava (seeing the one Self in all). This is right acting.
There is no such thing as sin. Sin is only a mistake. Sin is a mental creation. The baby soul must commit some mistakes during the process of evolution. Mistakes are your best teachers. Think always: "I am pure Atman". Then the idea of sin will be blown in the air.
Do not say, "Oh it is karma, my karma. It is my karma (fate) that has brought me to this". No. Exert. Do tapas (penance). Concentrate. Meditate. Purify. Do not be a fatalist. Do not yield to inertia. Do not bleat like a lamb. Roar "OM OM OM" like a lion.
Adhere to the daily spiritual routine. Apply yourself with zeal and enthusiasm to sadhana (spiritual practice). Become a naistic brahmachari (lifelong celibate). Be steady and systematic in your yoga abhyasa (practice of yoga).
Shine in your native, pristine glory. Become a jivanmukta (liberated sage). You are the children of immortality and light. "TAT TWAM ASI" - Thou Art That, my dear children.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Aids to Success
Develop equal-vision. Live in the true spirit of the Bhagavad Gita: "Sages look equally on a brahmana (holy one) adorned with learning and humility, a cow, an elephant, a dog and even an outcast." Where is superiority and inferiority when you behold the Self everywhere? Change your angle of vision and rest in peace.
The heart must be beautiful. Face the storm and triumph over it. Do not shrink from the battle of life, but fight it and come out victorious. Face abuse, insult, dishonour, disgrace, malice with a smile on your face. Be calm and serene. Take up all events in life as though you are a silent witness, never being perturbed at all.
Depression is an evil quality. People have plenty of money, and yet they are always depressed. They put on a morose, peevish appearance. They are always gloomy. This is a dangerous epidemic disease. The gloomy man spreads gloom and depression everywhere. He cannot apply himself to any kind of work. He is idle and lethargic.
Depression will deplete all energy. Think of the virtue of cheerfulness. Have a mental picture of joy and the habit of cheerfulness will develop around this mental picture. Smile and laugh. Give a smile to everybody you meet on the road. That man who always keeps a cheerful countenance radiates joy to others.
Some are not able to decide anything definite in certain important matters. They have not got independent power of judgement. They simply prolong the matter. They do not come to a definite positive decision. A man who has indecision will never succeed. He will be full of doubts and fears.
Procrastination is the friend of indecision. The opportunity will slip away. It will be too late to gather honey when the winter comes! You must think over the matter for some time. Then come to a definite decision. At once you must apply your will and try to put the matter into execution. Then only you will succeed.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Recipe for Success
Carelessness and forgetfulness are two evil qualities that stand in the way of success for a man. A careless man cannot do any action in a proper manner. These qualities are born of tamas (inertia). Application and tenacity are unknown to a man of carelessness. His superiors soon get displeased with a man who is careless and forgetful. There is a lack of attention in him.
Develop a strong desire to remove these two defects and to develop carefulness and a good memory. This is important. Then the will and the subconscious mind will do the work for you. Tie the key in your handkerchief as soon as you lock the door. Keep your money in the inside pocket. Keep your spectacles in the side-pocket. Always count the packages whenever you go out. Keep accounts regularly. Daily make a small note of items you have to attend to.
Many people are always diffident. They have no self-confidence. They have energy, capacity and faculties but they have no confidence in their own powers and faculties, in their ability to attain success. This is a kind of weakness that brings failures in all attempts.
A man appears on the platform to deliver a lecture. He is a capable man and he is well learned, but he is diffident. He foolishly thinks that he cannot produce an impressive speech. The moment this negative thought occupies his mind, he becomes nervous - he stutters and stammers. This failure is only due to his lack of self-confidence.
You may have little capacity and yet you must have full confidence that you will succeed in your attempt. There are people who have very little material and little capacity, and yet they thrill the audience. This is due to their confidence. "I will succeed", they say, or, "I am fully confident of my success".
Never leave room for the negative quality of diffidence to enter your mind. Know what your real worth is. A man of confidence is always successful in all his attempts.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Don't Be Weak
Shyness is a great hindrance in life. It is a form of timidity or low fear. Almost all boys have got this weakness - and yet this is a feminine quality. Shyness manifests when one is in the wrong path. Every woman knows that the goal of life is God-realisation, and yet she engages herself in sexual matters. This wrong action makes her shy when she appears before any man.
A shy boy or man cannot express his thoughts boldly. He cannot look directly into the eyes of another man. He cannot freely approach any stranger. A shy man does not get on well in business or in the office.
Modesty is not shyness. It is decency or chastity. This comes from politeness and polish of character. Those who are shy should try to talk with others boldly. They should look directly at the face of others. Shyness is a great weakness. It should be eradicated quickly by cultivating courage.
Timidity is another weakness, due to faintheartedness. It is a form of fear, akin to shyness. A timid man has a chicken-heart. He is unfit for any public activity and for any kind of adventurous work.
A timid man cannot become successful in life, he cannot deal boldly with his customers in business. A timid man is afraid of losing his life. He is much attached to his wife, children and property. He is afraid of public opinion.
A timid man cannot talk even a few words with force and emphasis. So eradicate timidity. Eradicate it by developing courage. For timidity is a curse - and it weakens a man.
Pessimism is a temper of mind that looks too much on the dark side of things. It is the doctrine in which the whole world is bad rather than good. This is very depressing. Vedantins are wonderful optimists. Though they say that the world is unreal and they talk on dispassion, this is to create a distaste for the worthless life of this world, and to create a taste for the immortal, blissful life in Brahman.
The opposite of pessimism is optimism, which always looks on the bright side.
Monday, January 20, 2014
Many people develop worries by falsely imagining that they are inferior to others. The idea of inferiority or superiority brings trouble and worries. Ideas of superiority and inferiority are mental creations only they are illusory.
Differences are unreal. Never think that you are inferior to anybody. Never think that you are superior to anybody. You will begin to treat others with contempt when you think that you are superior to them. Remove these ideas from your mind. They are the cause of useless worry.
By constant meditation and concentration, you will have to divert the mind from worry. If you have contentment then worry can be easily destroyed. Get rid of all sorts of mental weaknesses, superstitions, false and wrong imaginings; fear and other wrong samskaras (mental impressions).
When desires arise in the mind, try not to fulfil them. Gradually, by constant practice, desires can be reduced. Then, if you stop all the desires, you can also destroy worry. In this way you will conserve your energy.
Now come imaginary phobias and fears of all sorts. Energy leaks out in these directions also. Man thinks: "I will develop pneumonia. I have already got a fever and a cough." He gets unnecessary fear in this way. Any disease is intensified by thinking about it. An ordinary ailment becomes severe by entertaining unnecessary fear.
Another man is afraid of criticism. If any man calls you a dog, why do you become furious? You do not develop four legs straight away, do you? But now you begin to fight him. Your eyes become red, you retaliate. You call him a donkey. Then he gets irritated. He fights back and you both end up deadly enemies. This is not good. Practise vichara (enquiry) and you will find that all this is nothing.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Man creates trouble and misery for himself. Give up all sorts of fears. Stand up like a lion. Draw courage from within. There are many people who are so timid that they will not move around at night. Even when they see a cat at night, they tremble. What a shame.
They are embodiments of timidity. They are 'moustache ladies'. There are some sanyasins (monks) who repeat: "SHIVOHAM SHIVOHAM" ("I am Siva") - but they tremble with fear when they are put to a little test. They perspire and quiver when there is any impending danger!
They are poor, miserable specimens. I always say that a dacoit can become a good Vedantin if his energy is turned in a spiritual direction, because he is absolutely fearless and has no deha adhyasa, (feeling "I am the body"); but not a timid man.
Fearlessness is the greatest qualification for a spiritual aspirant. All fears are imaginary. They have no real basis. When you think seriously they will melt away like snow before the sun. Think a tiger or a lion has come in front of you, and you will have to face it. Think that you are placed in front of a machine gun, and that you will be blown up right now. Draw courage now. Think of the verses of the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. They deal with the immortality of the soul. Again and again think of the divine verses of the Avadhut Gita. You will become courageous - though perhaps not all at once. Gradually you will find that you are gaining courage.
Constantly think that you are the Atman, the Self. You will gradually develop great courage. Worry and fear are fearful forces within us. They poison the sources of life; they destroy all harmony, vitality and vigour. Thoughts of cheerfulness, joy, and courage are healing and soothing. Always be cheerful. Always laugh and smile.
Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, so also fear cannot exist in the presence of self-denial or Self-realisation or courage. Exhibit undaunted spirit, intrepidity and manliness. Make a strong resolve: "I will die or realise the Self". Give up the idea that you are the body. Fearlessness is one important sign of a liberated being.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda
22nd December, 1948
Today is the 87th Birthday of Sri Raghavacharyaji, the founder of Sri Darshana Mahavidyalaya, near the Ashram. Siva had been invited and he went up to the Vidyalaya with fruits, etc.
As he was nearing the Vidyalaya, Sri Raghavacharyaji, Sri Vishnu Dutt Sastriji and others were hurrying towards him to welcome him. Noticing this, Siva remarked: ‘Do not trouble yourself, Maharaj, I belong to you all. This honour is, therefore, superfluous.’
Siva then delivered an inspiring talk. After describing in detail Sri R.’s services, to the cause of the spread of Sanskrit knowledge and a knowledge of the Darshanas, Siva felt that Sri Acharyaji’s disciples should join hands with one another and bring out a short life-sketch of Sri R. ‘It is your duty, the duty of all the disciples of Sri Acharyaji Maharaj. Where there is a will, there is a way. You should all at once set about the task.’
Siva led the gathering to the famous RAM chant. He demonstrated to them how his RAM chant, in some respects, even excelled OM chanting. ‘OM is Nirguna and RAM is Saguna. Chant RAM. It is even more inspiring. You will quickly get into Bhava Samadhi. It will bestow on you peace and joy.’
Then Siva taught them the loud RAM Japa-Kirtan. It is unique. You have to quickly repeat Ram Ram Ram. ‘This is wonderful,’ said Siva. ‘It is very efficacious when you wish to counteract evil thoughts. You can gain peace very quickly. Not only this, this quick chanting of RAM automatically brings about Kevala-Kumbhak and thus goes a long way in stilling the thoughts. It is a powerful form of exercise also. It increases the gastric fire. You will be able to digest your food properly. This is an all-round exercise, very suitable to you all, the disciples of Acharyaji, who is a Samuchaya Vadin.’
Siva noticed some books lying stacked in a corner. He quickly pointed out to one of the inmates of the Vidyalaya (and this effectively proves the truth of the earlier remark ‘I belong to you’): ‘Please keep these books nicely. They are very precious. They are more valuable than our life itself. Tie them nicely in a good wrapping paper and keep them safely. I will ask Kesavji to assist you in this work.’ Who else will do this? Divine Life is dissemination of spiritual knowledge: and whoever does this, Siva is at-one with him.
23rd December, 1948
I was just passing along the verandah outside the dining hall when I heard this very interesting conversation between Sri Balanji and a visitor. I reproduce the gist of it: it gives you an idea of what Siva did silently, months ago.
‘Balanji, I heard your wonderful lecture this morning and last evening. How long have you been here?’ The visitor obviously was unaware of the fact that Sri Balan is an M.A. and a prosperous free-lance journalist.
‘I came here a little over a year ago on just a casual visit. I stayed for a couple of days and felt irresistibly like staying on. On and on I have stayed, granting myself piece-meal extensions, until at last I feel that I have, as you would say, come to stay.’
The visitor was deeply interested. With just an exclamation, ‘Achcha?’ that involuntarily escaped him, he listened, eyes gleaming in curiosity.
‘You see,’ continued B: ‘there is the rare blessing of Ganges here. You might say that there are other places where the Ganga flows. There are the Himalayas. I know you would again say that there are other places in the Himalayas. You have a Society here that has its numerous departments to cater to the needs of aspirants of all temperaments. Here, again, you might suggest that there are other institutions approximating to this, or at least with departments enough to suit MY temperament. But, then, you do not have one thing anywhere else. And, that is the closest proximity to a living sage and Jnani (and, what is extra-ordinary) who would talk freely with you, mix with you, crack jokes with you, at the same time clear all your doubts by his mere glance and elevates you by his mere thought. He is truly your father, mother, friend, all.
‘Not only I: but quite a few there are like me who just came for a day and then decided to spend their whole life here. Do you know our Sivanarayanji who delivers inspiring Hindi lectures? He, too, came three years ago just to attend the Birthday celebrations. He used to deliver Hindi lectures during the celebrations. His talks were highly interesting, full of educative humour, of stories and anecdotes which produced side-splitting laughter among the hearers. Swamiji found good spiritual Samskaras in him and suggested he might stay on for some time more. S. actually renounced the world and has stayed on. The miraculous thing: this has saved his life, so to say, because he was living in what is now Pakistan. S. attributes all this to Swamiji’s grace and timely suggestion. What else do you call a person who gives you life, than father and mother in one?’
With a look suggestive of an inward envy at the happy and glorious lot of these ironfilings who were without any effort on their own part drawn to the Great Magnet Siva, the visitor left the spot. He must have reflected within himself: ‘Has this iron-filing, myself, reached that level of rustless purity that would enable it to be drawn to the magnet?’
Sri Seth, the Society’s auditor, expresses profound gratitude at having been able to stay in the Ashram.
Siva said: ‘This is your own home. You can come here as often as you can. You are, after all, so near. Make it a point to spend all your holidays here and attend all important functions here.’
‘Swamiji, the world is such that if, instead of saying all this, you had said: ‘Come to Rishikesh.
There is such and such a chance of your acquiring ten thousand rupees.’ I would have rushed to Rishikesh any number of times. It is very difficult to gauge the value that one derives from this Satsang, seclusion and Tirtha Yatra. Very few people can even understand that there is a lot of good in them.’
How true, indeed!
28th December, 1948
Swami Omkaranandaji and myself had been deputed by Siva to represent him at the Tehri-Garhwal Constituent Assembly to be inaugurated at Tahri tomorrow.
Familiarity breeds contempt: is a proverb in which I had cent per cent belief. For once I had to experience an exception.
At Rishikesh, we ran into a tea-shop for a cup of tea. The shop-keeper is an old resident of Rishikesh.
‘I have been here for the past forty years. I have been watching all the Sadhus and Mahatmas. But I have never seen anyone approach Swami Sivanandaji’s greatness.’
‘Oh, yes, he has written a number of books,’ explained someone else.
‘That is all right. Of course, he is a great learned man, too. But my point is not that. I have never met anyone who has got his heart. Swami Sivanandaji’s is a divine heart. I remember how he used to serve all sick Sadhus and Sanyasins, poor people and lepers here. I shudder to think: he used often to sleep with dangerously sick patients suffering from cholera and typhoid. No, no: there is no one in the world with Sivanandaji’s heart.’
30th December, 1948
The crowded Sadhana Week programme had almost come to an end. The drama, ‘Four Letters of Yama’, had been staged under the direction of Sri Swami Chidanandaji. Many were the interludes to the play: there was the humorous Doctors’ Parade conducted by Sri Kesavji with his discourse on Namopathy and its uniqueness; there was the formal opening of the Anand Kutir Brahma Jnana Research Pharmacy with Swami Chidanandaji as the doctor-in-charge (Dr. Brahman), and with sparking humour C. explained his Adhyatmic prescription for the root-maladies of man: lust, anger, greed, etc.; and there was Siva’s dialogue between meat and milk which, Chidanandaji explained, actually meant Rajas vs. Satwa; dialogue between Astika and Nastika; and discussion among the senses regarding their superiority. The boys taking part in the ‘Four Letters’ had given a very good account of themselves especially in the tense death-scene.
Siva stood up on the platform, and spoke in fluent Hindi. Below is the gist of his stirring address.
‘I thank you all for coming here on this occasion, for sitting through this performance in this cold. I am deeply indebted to you all for this.’
Look at Siva’s attitude: surely, the entire audience is grateful to him for taking all this trouble for their sake! But, no: HE is grateful, and HE thanks you for giving him an opportunity to serve you. Let us all learn this Yoga attitude from him.
‘Lord Yamma sends four letters to man. But, every time he is misguided by his worldly friends, and he ignores these letters. Hairs turn grey: but he paints them black. Teeth fall: he takes on false teeth. Eye-sight fails: he puts on spectacles. His vitality is exhausted: he resorts to tonics. He does not see that death is inevitable; and that only God’s Name will really help him in the end. In the end he repents. But it is too late. He cries for help. But who can help him? There is only ‘matlab’ (selfish) friendship in the world. Note this point well. No one but the Lord Himself is your real friend. Every one else loves you for his or her own purpose. Understand this moral very well.
‘Always repeat the Name of the Lord. Merely doing one or two Malas of Japa will not do. All the day you should repeat His name. Then only will His grace descend upon you and save you. This is a very easy form of Sadhana. This is the safest, too. Even if you don’t realise God in this birth, if you go on repeating His name, you will continue the thread in the next birth: the Samskaras will be there and you will soon realise Him.’
With ‘Sunaja’ Kirtan (Siva’s favourite), he continued:
Serve Love Give Purify Meditate Realise
Be good, Do good, Be kind, Be compassionate
‘This is the essence of all the Vedas, of all Sastras, Puranas, not only of the Hindu religion, but of all the religions of the world. Always aspire to purify the Antahkarana. Service alone can purify the heart. Service will give you opportunities of analysing yourself and finding out the impurities that lurk in you. Gradually you should develop all the Daivi Sampath or divine qualities.
‘Isavasyam Idam Sarvam—the Lord pervades the entire creation. Realise this well. Feel this. Bow to all. Be kind to all. When you have some sweetmeats, distribute them to others’ children first, before giving them to your children. This is the way to develop the heart. Give to the health officer (scavenger, in Siva’s dictionary!) the fruits that you take yourself: do not give him stale plantain fit only to be thrown away. Analyse yourself. See how many good Samskaras you have developed. Look at the Auditor’s wife. Even in this cold, she daily goes to the Ganga for her bath in the morning. Find out how many good Samskaras you have implanted in yourself. Perfection is not an easy thing: but you need not despair, you will surely attain perfection if you purify yourself every moment.
Siva had instituted the two-party Kirtan with Krishna Dhwanis. After some time, he said:
‘There is Uma Raniji: she is a devotee of Lord Siva, and she would like Siva-Dhwanis.’ So saying, he started Siva-Dhwanis.
‘All the names are one. God is one. He is called variously. Particularly, in the case of Rama Bhaktas, they are asked to repeat the Panchakshari for six months in the beginning, and worship Siva. It is said that only then will they get Rama’s Darshan. There is a secret behind this: ‘Sivasya Hridayam Vishnur, Vishnoscha Hridayam Sivah’. Both are one. Do not act like the silly devotee of Siva who plugged the Vishnu-side nostril of a combined image lest the fumes from the incense which he was waving before the image should enter Vishnu’s nostril. Know that all forms of the Lord are one: all names of the Lord are one and have equal effect. Some people foolishly imagine that one name is superior to another. Soham is the best they will say. What do they understand by Soham? They think that the body is the Atman. What else can they understand? Their minds are full of dirt. Without cleansing their minds, they cannot understand the Mahavakyas. They do not practise Karma Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. They speak derisively of these: they jump to Jnana Yoga. Finally, they achieve nothing at all.’
Again Siva sang his other favourite Kirtan in the Maha Mantra tune:
Eat a little, drink a little, talk a little, sleep a little
Mix a little, move a little, work a little, rest a little.
‘Eat and drink in moderation. You will have health and long life. It does not mean that you should starve. You should be moderate. Have one good meal at noon. Take a light diet of milk and fruits at night: that, too, before night-fall. In this respect the Jain custom of finishing their supper before sunset is very healthy. When you go to bed, you should have digested your food. Then you will have a refreshing sleep: and you will be able to’ get up at 4 o’clock next morning.’
‘But, what people generally do is just the reverse. They run hither and thither during the day: and at night—that, too, very late, they take a heavy diet. They do not have proper digestion. They suffer from Dyspepsia. They do not enjoy sound sleep. And, on top of it all, they get up at 8 a.m. A day’s programme is before them. They do not know what to do. They get bewildered. Their mind is confused.’
‘Mixing with all sorts of people is very bad. That does not mean that you should be gloomy and secluded. Talk to people: be cheerful: but be moderate in this. Too much of talking will only result in fights and quarrels.’
He again sang the song.
‘This is the ‘Song of A Little’. You will be able to remember this very easily. The moment you think of ‘A Little’, you will remember the instructions, too. This is the Law of Association which governs the mind. Have you not heard of the famous ‘tion’ sentence? Examina‘tion’ is a great bothera‘tion’ to the Hindu nation whose sole occupa‘tion’ is cultiva‘tion’.
‘Here you will make many pious resolves. But the next morning you will forget all about them. Get these small songs by heart. Sing them every morning and evening. They will inspire you.
They will not allow you to slumber again.’
At this stage Siva noticed that some people were feeling drowsy, while some people were slightly inattentive (the time was nearly 12 midnight.)
‘I have got a medicine which will revive you marvellously. You will get new vitality without having recourse to tea.
Now sing:Jaya Jaya Radhe Shyaaaammm....
Jaya Jaya Sita Raaaaaaaammmmmm….
Now, the shooting Dhwanis:SHYAM SHYAM SHYAM
(The words are shot out with force.)The effect of these on the audience was miraculous. Siva continued:
‘Remember the moral of today’s drama always. The more you reflect on it, the more strength you will get. Vairagya alone is the priceless treasure. Turn away from the world and direct your gaze towards the Lord in the heart. Do not run after worldly pleasures. You can never get any satisfaction in them. Even a millionaire is only a poor man. A crorepathy is more worried than an ordinary man. When the bank fails, the crorepathy’s heart also fails. He sleeps over the concealed iron-safe in which he has stored his wealth. He is afraid of thieves. Even his sons hate him: everyone is jealous of him. He has hardly a true friend. Throw away worldly riches and acquire the priceless treasure of God’s name. No one can rob you of this wealth.’
Then Siva sang his Vedantic song:
Sarvam Brahmamayam re re
Sarvam Brahmamayam Jagat
Sarvam VishnumayamMatha Pitha Brahmam
Ladka Ladki Brahmam
Orange juice BrahmamSoda Lemonade Brahmam
‘People with little understanding cannot realise the significance of this great truth: Sarvam Brahmamayam. But, when you have real Vairagya and Viveka, then you will understand the real meaning. People who try to understand and interpret the utterances of the sages with the help of their own finite intellect are deluded and they are led astray. They are like Virochana in the Upanishads.’
‘Sarvam Brahmamayam means that the Adhishthana or support for all is Brahman. The name and form are illusory. You will have to negate them and take the essence, the substratum of everything, which is Brahman.’
‘This understanding will come only when the mind is purified of its dross through selfless service and Upasana. Therefore, I say again: serve, love, purify, meditate and realise.’
Sri Sudarshan Sareen specially requested Siva to sing his ‘Govind song’. Siva poured forth his precious instructions in the form of this famous song. ‘The nature of God, ethical teachings, essence of Yoga—all are given in the form of this beautiful song. Siva concluded the song with:
May God bless you Govinda
With health and long life GovindaPeace and Prosperity Govinda
And Kaivalya Moksha Govinda
May you all become Govinda
In this very birth Govinda
31st December 1948
Today is the Viswanath Mandir Pratishtha Anniversary Day. A programme of Ekadasha Rudra Abhishekam and Laksharchana is being put through in the temple. The Abhishekam is over and several Sadhus and Sadhaks are sitting inside the Mandir worshipping the Lord with flowers and bael leaves. The Laksharchana had already progressed well and the Lord (Siva Lingam) had been fully covered over with a thick shawl of flowers: a wonderful sight.
Siva was circumambulating around the temple. Suddenly he appeared at the threshold of the shrine. One of the Sadhaks offered Siva some flowers and bael leaves to worship the Lord with. And, as the Sanyasin outside was going on with his recitation of the Mantras, Siva also joined us in offering flowers to the Lord. This went on for a few minutes.
Lo! In a mood of complete self-forgetfulness, Siva had turned on the Sadhus and Sadhaks sitting around the Lingam and is worshipping them with the flowers intended for the Lord. I looked up: but there was not a trace on Siva’s countenance or eyes that would indicate his recognition of who exactly we were. The eyes gazed on: they looked at us—but what can anyone say what he saw?
Sadhus and Sanyasins had vanished: Grihasthas and disciples had vanished: boys and old men had vanished: man and woman had vanished: all distinctions melted away before his purified gaze. Lord Siva alone remained. Siva in the Linga being worshipped by Siva in the human garb. And, Siva worships Siva in the Lingam and in all: Sarvam Siva-mayam—a silent discourse.
3rd January, 1949
A visitor wanted Purascharana-rules. He desired to perform a Purascharana of the Panchakshari.
Siva explained to him the essential points.
‘Swamiji, I don’t know if I can every day spare so much time.’
‘It does not matter. Do Japa for about two hours in the morning and two hours in the night, and if possible increase this period. But, on that account, do not miss the morning and evening Satsang. Sit down on your Asan, pray to the Lord and then commence your Japa. Repeat the Mantra slowly. Keep a watch by your side one day and find out the rate at which you are repeating the Mantra. Then you can give up counting beads. Supposing, you find that you are able to do 30 Malas in one hour, calculated the number of Malas that you daily perform according to the time you have sat. This will prevent distraction in counting.’
‘How many Malas of Japa should I do, Swamiji?’
‘Five Lakhs. But, to be sure, continue till you reach six lakhs. You should not have the contractor’s mentality with God. Do the Japa with Nishkamya Bhava. No rules will worry you.’
Sri R. Ramakrishna of Karachi (now at New Delhi) has come with a harmonium for the Ashram.
He narrated to Siva the gist of a thrilling lecture by an independent spiritual leader (what a contradiction in terms—one cannot be independent and a leader at the same time.)
‘Swamiji, Sri…. stresses on the immediate individual transformation to be brought about by Self-awareness, and asserts that the awakened individual will then be able to establish the right relationship with environments. His theme begins with an intellectual analysis of one’s own emotions which, through the mental process of naming them as such, become anger, lust, jealousy, etc. Then such feelings are recorded in memory. This triple process of experiencing, naming and recording the emotions, is the work of mind or self-projection, or thought-feeling. The separation of the Thinker from his thought, which is a mental process leads to the cessation of thought process. When the awakened individual is alive to the force behind his emotions, it is a state of Being called LOVE in which the individual experiences an inward richness and creative joy. He is face to face with the Reality which has no end and which is never static and, viewed from the relative standpoint of time, is ever new, ever fresh from moment to moment. When he says this, Swamiji, it is so convincing and inspiring. He does not have any organisation; and he actually condemns organisations, and also the institution of Guru and disciple. He does not believe in, or quote from, any scripture. He does not advocate any religion, but he says that he has arrived at the Truth independently himself. He does not like Kirtan and speaks of them derisively as the shouting-class.’
‘You should not attend such lectures,’ instantly came Siva’s reply. ‘What a travesty of truth.
Lord Krishna has clearly said in the Gita that one should not unsettle another’s faith. That is why the Sastras emphatically declare the need for a Guru: the Guru alone will be able to understand the aspirant’s state and prescribe the proper Sadhana. The same instructions do not suit all: and if you enunciate some general principles, they should not be antagonistic to anyone else’s principles. These instructions are suitable only for the microscopic minority. For advanced students who are well-versed in psychology. Those who have faith in the Lord’s name, in Japa, Kirtan, and the Yoga of Synthesis, should not attend such lectures. Their faith in their own Sadhana will be shaken: they will not know exactly how to proceed on the new path: and torn between the two, they will simply collapse midway.’
‘Further, organisations are necessary if you want to do some real and substantial service to humanity. Everyone has his own organisation. Take the case of this Sri….: is he not being looked after by the public? Does he not have a following? That is the organisation, though he may not call it so, and register it. If you have no selfish motives, there is no harm in having an organisation.’
In the evening Satsang, Rampremji had concluded today’s portion of Vinaya Patrika. Quietly, he folded the right-hand top corner of the particular leaf, to serve as a book-mark, and closed the book. But, Siva, of all people there, had noticed this.
‘No, no: Rampremji, don’t do that. If you go on doing so, the pages will start breaking. The book will be spoiled. This is a little thing: but it matters a lot. These little habits of carelessness and ease-loving nature you should try to overcome. Place a proper book-mark—a piece of paper.’
‘This is not the only one. There are people who, when they find it difficult to turn a leaf in the book, will bring their saliva to use. God did not intend saliva to be used for this. To prevent this only have the Sastras prohibited such practices as unholy. They are unhygienic, too.’
‘There are several other practices which a Sadhaka especially should avoid. Cracking the fingerjoints is one such thing. Spitting, especially when it is accompanied with a roaring throat-clearing sound, is another. When you are in others’ company, disturbing others, specially when they are in meditation, with curious noises is another. These little things go a long way in forming a Sadhaka’s character.’