Monday, March 31, 2014
Meaning of Karma
Karma is a Sanskrit term that signifies action or deed. Any physical or mental action is karma. Thinking is mental karma. Karma is the sum total of our acts, both in the present life and in the preceding births.
Karma means not only action, but also the result of an action. The consequence of an action is really not a separate thing. It is a part of the action and cannot be divided from it. The law of karma means the law of causation. Wherever there is a cause, there an effect must be produced. A seed is a cause for the tree, which is the effect. The tree produces seeds and becomes the cause for the seeds. The cause is found in the effect and the effect is found in the cause. The effect is similar to the cause. This is the universal chain of cause and effect which has no end.
No link in the chain is unnecessary. This world runs on this fundamental and vital law. This law is inexorable and immutable. This grand law operates everywhere in the physical and mental planes. No phenomenon can escape from the operation of this mighty law and all other laws of nature are subordinate to this fundamental law.
No event can occur without having a positive, definite cause at the back of it. The breaking out of a war, the rise of a comet, the occurrence of an earthquake or a volcanic eruption, the outbreak of an epidemic, thunder, lightning, floods, diseases of the body, fortune, misfortune, all have their definite causes behind them.
The grand law of causation includes the law of action and reaction, the law of compensation and the law of retribution. All these laws come under one general, all-embracing heading, namely, the doctrine of karma.
If there is an action, there must be a reaction. The reaction will be of equal force and of similar nature. Every thought, desire, imagination and sentiment causes reaction. Virtue brings its own reward; vice brings its own punishment. This is the working of the law of reaction. God neither punishes the wicked nor rewards the virtuous. It is their own karmas that bring reward and punishment. It is the law of action and reaction that brings the fruits. No one is blamed.
The law operates everywhere with unceasing precision and scientific accuracy. The law of action and reaction operates both in the physical and mental planes.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Man is threefold in his nature. He consists of desire or feeling, knowing and willing. These three fashion his karma. He knows objects like chair, tree, etc. He feels joy and sorrow. He wills - to do this, or not to do that.
Behind the action, there are desire and thought. A desire for an object arises in the mind and then you think of ways and means to obtain it. Then you exert to possess it. Desire, thought and action always go together in this process. They are the three threads, as it were, that are twisted into the cord of karma.
Desire produces karma. You work and exert to acquire the objects of your desire. Karma produces its fruits as pain or pleasure. You will have to take birth after birth to reap the fruits of your karmas. This is the law of karma.
Karma is of three kinds, namely, the accumulated works, the works that fructify and the current works. The accumulated karmas have accrued to you from the past. Part of it is seen in the character of man, in his tendencies and aptitudes, capacities, inclinations and desires.
The fructifying karma is that portion of the past karma which is responsible for the present body. It is ripe for reaping and cannot be avoided or changed. It is only exhausted by being experienced. You pay past debts.
The karma of current works is that karma which is now being made for the future.
In Vedantic literature, there is a beautiful analogy. The archer has already released an arrow; it has left his hands. He cannot recall it. He is about to shoot another arrow. The bundle of arrows in the quiver on his back is the accumulated work. The arrow he has shot is fructifying work, and the arrow which he is about to shoot from his bow is current work. Of these, he has perfect control over the accumulated and the current works, but he must surely work out his fructifying works. The past which has begun to take effect he has to experience. Fructifying karma cannot be prevented even by the Lord.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
The law of compensation operates everywhere in nature's phenomena. The seed breaks and a large tree arises from the seed. There is no loss in the breaking of the seed. Fuel burns. Fuel is destroyed. But there is heat, in accordance with the law of compensation. Many articles are cooked in the fire on account of the heat.
The law of compensation operates in the mental plane also. It keeps up the balance and establishes peace, concord, equilibrium, harmony and justice in nature. Think deeply, cogitate and reflect. You will see that this law of compensation is operating everywhere in the phenomena of nature. It is inexorable and immutable. No one can defy this relentless and irresistible law. If you do an evil act, you will reap a bad fruit in compensation.
If you take an individual life as an isolated event which begins with birth of the physical body and terminates with its death you cannot find any correct explanation or solution for the affairs of life. You will be groping in darkness and despair. Your present life is nothing, when compared with the whole soul-life. It is momentary - a mere fragment. If you want to find the cause or antecedent for anything, you will have to go deep into the affairs of the eternal soul-life. Then alone there will be perfect balance of cause and effect, antecedent and consequence. Life does not end with the disintegration of this physical body alone. There is reincarnation. There had been countless previous lives also. You will have to take into consideration the widest view of the life of the soul. Then you will find a perfect, satisfactory solution for all the intricate and complicated affairs of life.
Every wrong action or crime brings its own punishment in accordance with the law of retribution. The law of causation, the law of action and reaction, the law of compensation and the law of retribution - all operate together. He who hurts another man, hurts himself first.
Remember that God is neither partial nor unjust. Remember that God is not responsible for the wealth of one man or the poverty of another. You suffer on account of your own wicked actions. There is nothing chaotic or capricious in this world. Things do not happen in this universe by accident or chance in a disorderly manner. They happen in regular succession and events follow each other in a regular order. There is a kind of definite connection between what is being done now by you and what will happen in the future. Sow always the seeds which will bring pleasant fruits and which will make you happy herein and hereafter.
Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda
23rd May, 1949
A DAY’S GAINS
After hardly five hours of rest, the Ashram was buzzing with activity at 4:30 a.m. this morning. A mild OM at the threshold brought Mrs. Mohanlal Saksena (wife of India’s Rehabilitation Minister) and others who were staying with her, out of the chamber of the Goddess of Slumber. The lady and the children looked extremely fresh after what a city-dweller might have considered hardly a nap of a few hours.
The morning university class began with Kirtan, Guru Stotras, Shanti Patha and prayers. Ere the mind could have sufficient leisure to fall back into its favourite grooves, Swami Krishnanandaji began his learned exposition of Panchadasi, dinning into the ears of the listeners: One alone is true; Truth is thy own Self: that Truth should be meditated upon constantly forgetting the wrong notion that the body is the Atman. Close on his heels follow Sri Ramamurthy’s Karma Yoga lecture, interestingly interspersed with stories, similes and illustrations, concisely and precisely telling the Sadhaka how he should behave in this realm of duality—for, by this time the rays of the sun have begun to illumine to the eyes of the mortal the vast creation of multiplicity and this talk on Karma Yoga gives the most timely reminder that ‘Even this is the Virat Swarupa of the Lord: it need not frighten you or bewilder you: serve without egoism: do your duty: realise the Self through all this.’ (On alternate days Sri Swami Chidanandaji delivers his inspiring lectures on Raja Yoga. Here again one is taught to feel that the perception of each external object, now gradually coming into the Sadhaka’s vision as morning advances, can be controlled and sublimated by an inner process of control of mind, that culminates in Samadhi revealing the true nature of the Self.) From Unity to diversity: from diversity back to Unity again. That is the process.
Nor should one imagine that the students are ever kept in the dizzy heights of Vedanta and that the layman who listens to these discourses could sink into Tamas, unable to rise into Satwa. As soon as the Raja Yoga class is over, Vishnu Swamiji will call ‘attention’ and begin the Yogic drill.
All done sitting: Yoga Mudra, Ushtasan, lateral twists of the spine, Paschimottanasan, an elementary physical culture, Uddiyana, Agnisara, Kapalabhati, Bhastrike (slow, internal and rapid), Sitali, Sitkari and eye-exercises. This round of exercises saves (those so inclined) from relapsing into Tamas, and adds to the Satwa of others.
These are immediately followed by Siva’s inspiring Kirtans and songs—each word pregnant with the Self-realisation of the sage, thrilling, elevating and tranquillising. One is inclined to feel at this stage that all the previous items were preparatory stages to this grand culmination. Maha Mantra Kirtan, Maha Vakya Kirtan, Soham Mantra Kirtan, Gita Kirtan, Yoga-Vasistha Kirtan—it is then that you are thankful for the bending and twisting and breathing that you had just passed through, for they have enabled you to enjoy the thrill of the Kirtan and attune yourself to Siva, by driving away the Tamas that might still have been lingering in the body and mind. The final OM chanting enables you to feel actually the unreality of externals and the Reality of the Kutastha. With a prayer for the peace, prosperity and health of all (for after the spiritual drill in the morning, you are in a pure state with a powerful Will which you are taught by Gurudev to use for the good of all), the class concludes. Then follow individual or group Suryanamaskara, Asana training and practice.
Needless to say that Mrs. Saksena and children enjoyed this morning class immensely, indeed.
Later Mrs. Saksena and party were shown the Photo-Phonics Department and the Sivananda Art studio. They (especially the children) witnessed with great delight the movie films projected through the editing equipment.
Soon after this the Yoga Museum. The significance of the arrangement, the meaning of the composition of the museum, etc., were succinctly explained to the party.
What a fund of knowledge does one gain in such a short time!
No wonder that a visitor remarked after last night’s Satsang: ‘I have never attended such a wonderful Satsang meeting as this!’ Even during the night Satsang the mind is never allowed a moment to stray away. Beginning with Kirtans, Bhajans, study of the Gita, Upanishad and Tulasi Ramayana, the evening programme includes a lecture by Swami Chinmayanandaji on the Upanishads and concludes with Siva’s Kirtans and Bhajans (in English, Hindi and Sanskrit). Siva often distributes a few of his spiritual vitamin tablets in short crisp and sweet poems, each one with a high concentration of spiritual truth, humour, and practical instructions! After Siva’s Kirtan, there is OM-chanting, Maha Mrityunajaya Japa, Arati, and Peace Chant.
Someone described this as Indra Sabha. And, aptly so, for there is every kind of instrumental music, many vocal Bhajanists hailing from various parts of the country singing the Bhajans of various great devotees. A wonderful mixture of indescribably ingredients, sweet, pleasant and God-intoxicating.
INDIAN PARLIAMENT AT ANANDA KUTIR
The sun was still young, and a calm pervaded the atmosphere near the Ashram. The tranquillity of the Abode of Bliss, with Mother Ganges perennially humming the Pranava, seemed to reflect the Peace Within of the Lord of Ananda Kutir (our Siva) who calmly and silently was going through the letters, signing them, and checking the addresses on book-packets.
It was a calm before a spiritual storm.
Dr. Gairola, the Tehri Minister of Health, came in and bowed to Siva.
‘Swamiji, OM Namo Narayanaya. Has not Sri Mohanial Saksena come in yet?’
‘No. Is he coming?’
‘Yes, Swamiji. He had promised to be here now and asked us to pick him up. By the way, our Congress President, Rashtrapati Pattabhi Sitaramiah, is here along with some other Congress leaders.’
‘Please ask them to come to the Ashram.’
The Minister, with the help of a couple of Ashramites, at once brought in the Rashtrapati. Thakur Krishnan Singhji, Education Minister of Tehru, and Sri Sampurnanandji, Education Minister of the U.P., and Sri Paripurnanand were also with the Rashtrapati.
Even as he was entering the D.J. Hall, after being received outside it by Siva himself, the Rashtrapati was attracted by the Suryanamaskar and Yoga Asan Charts. The party seated themselves in the Hall, facing the Ganges and the Himalayas. First, books started slowing around to them, Siva silently selecting for each one the books that would be most welcome to him.
(Messengers had gone about fetching tea, fruits, sweets etc.!)
The Rashtrapati’s first remarks were: ‘Swamiji, the more we learn, the ‘smaller’ we seem to become. What I have learnt and experienced during these seventy years has, I think, enabled me to begin life. I personally believe in Samskaras and that nothing is lost.’
‘Yes, yes, you continue the evolution in the next birth.’
By the time the Rashtrapati had obtained two sets of Suryananmaskar Photographs, and they had all taken their seats for the Prasad and coffee that were awaiting them, another party consisting of—Sri Mohanial Saksena, Union Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, Sri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, Deputy Speaker of the Parliament, Sri T. Prakasam, ex-Premier of Madras, Sri Prof. N.G. Ranga, A Congress leader, Sri Thirumala Rao, M.P., had also come in.
Books and Prasad flowed competing with the Ganga. The Rashtrapati was astonished.
‘You seem to have a Kamadhenu here,’ he exclaimed.
Sri Sampurnanandaji replied to him: ‘It is all the glory of Swamiji’s Tapasya. What cannot Tapasya achieve?’
Now the Parliament was in full session at Ananda Kutir. Discussion, questioning, heckling, humour—all were given full, informal play. One Minister vied with the other in claiming that he was keenly interested in the visit to the Ashram. Sri Sampurnanandaji was emphatic: ‘I am in charge of the Ecclesiastic Portfolio. Both Hinduism as well as Christianity are my concern. So, I have come to visit this great religious institution.’ Tehri Ministers replied to this with a smile: for they have always considered the Ashram their own. To Sri Mohanial Saksena the Ashram is his own home and the abode of one whom he adores and admires.
As these discussions were going on, Sri Thirumala Rao quietly slipped away and joined Siva for a private talk and a ‘closer view’ of one whom he had always admired from a distance.
The debate was in full swing. Ultimately everyone concluded that they had all done the wisest thing:
‘It is a God-given opportunity for all of us.’
Prof. Ranga’s gaze was attracted by the Telugu books in the almirah. ‘Doctor Saheb! There are Telugu translations of Swamiji’s works also.’
Calmly, and with all the seriousness of a seasoned Parliamentarian, Sri Thirumal Rao rejoined: ‘Why, Swamiji is an All-India figure; nay, his influence has reached beyond India’s shores, too. He is a world-figure now.’
Someone noticed that Sri Mohanial Saksena was merely witnessing the table. When the cup of coffee was taken near him, he quietly said: ‘Today is Ekadashi. I am fasting.’
For a high-ranking Minister to say that! No wonder. He is a great admirer of Siva, one of whose main teachings is ‘Fast on Ekadashi.’
After the discussion on the merits and glory of Ekadashi Vrata among the members and Ministers was over with, the Rehabilitation Minister, adamant in his resolve….
Siva whispered to us: ‘We shall do Kirtan for a minute.’ Sri Thirumal Rao at once caught up with the idea and made the announcement. Siva began with OM thrice. Immediately Sri Ananthasayanam Ayyangar sat cross-legged in his chair, in the customary Indian fashion while praying.
‘Hare Rama’ Maha Mantra, quickly followed by the Song of Admonition. Silent nodding of the head with half-closed eyes while Siva sang….
Time sweeps away Kings and Barons
Where is Yudhisthira, where is Asoka?
Where is Valmiki, where is Shakespeare?
Where is Napoleon, where is Sivaji?
Can you expect real Santi if you waste
Your time in cards and cinemas,
In novels newspapers?
The leaders were suddenly awakened to the realities of life when Siva thundered….
When your throat is choked at the time of death, who will help you for your Salvation?
The Rashtrapati, who was till then reclining against a pillar, suddenly sat up, as if to ask: ‘What is it you are saying?’
Then followed instruction: ‘The Song of A Little’.
Later Gita Kirtan, Upanishad Kirtan and Yoga-Vasishtha Kirtan.
Jeeve Kalpana, Jagat Kalpana,
All is Kalpana, Deergha Swapna
Sri Prakasham in a perfectly prayerful mood, nodded assent.
Then Soham Kirtan ending with…
Sarvesham Swasti Bhavatu
Sarvesham Shantir Bhavatu
Sarvesham Purnam Bhavatu
Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu
Niramayah, Sarve Bhadrani Pashyantu
Maa Kaschit Duhkha Bhag Bhavet
Om Santih Santih Santih
Asato Maa Sat Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Maa Amritam Gamaya
OM Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnaat Purnamudachyate,
Purnasya Purnamaadaaya Purnamevaavasishyate
Om Santih Santih Santih
This conclusion of the Kirtan impressed all, for that indicated the true Jnani’s attitude ‘Savra Bhuta Hite Ratah’ (devoted to the welfare of all.)
As the party was leaving the Ashram, Padmanabhanji came up with this battery of cameras. The whole gathering formed into a group. Click….click. ‘Thank you’—bowed P.
Someone remarked: ‘All these cameras, too?’
The Rashtrapati was ready-witted: ‘Swamiji has developed a modern Ashram on our ancient ideals.’
25th May, 1949
MAHARAJAH OF SITAMAU
Siva was having his lunch when the Sitamau Rajah was seen coming towards the Ashram in a boat. He had sent word previously that he would be coming to Ananda Kutir today to have Siva’s Darshan. Even without finishing the lunch, Siva got up and walked up to the Ghat to receive the Maharajah.
Straightaway the party wended its way to the Mandir. They sang the Kirtan in chorus, led by Swami Chidanandaji. The Raja Saheb offered bael leaves and flowers to Lord Viswanath in great devotion and sang a few inspiring hymns in praise of the Lord. Coming out of the temple, he bowed to Siva and said:
‘I desire this one boon from the Lord and from your holiness. May devotion ever dwell in my heart. May I strive to become a true Bhakta. May I ever have Smaran of the Lord, my Lord Rama.’
The Raja Saheb then went round the temple. He noticed the big marble slab on the walls of the sanctum sanctorum put up to commemorate the inauguration of the Viswanath Mandir Moola Dhana with a generous contribution of ten thousand rupees which he had made in memory of Her late Highness, the Maharani of Sitamau.
‘And, even this act was made by me only with this one motive at heart. May I have devotion to Lord Rama. I felt that Swamiji’s Ashram Mandir founded here through Swamiji’s Sat Sankalpa would fulfil that purpose. The worship done here would bring about the peace of the departed soul and our Kalyan also.’
Raja Saheb believes only in devotion, though, as he said while Chidanandaji was explaining the Yoga Museum, he had mastered the Prasthanatrayi. ‘I want only devotion. I do not want Mukti even. I fully believe in the meaning of the stanza….
Abhimanam surapanam gauravam rouravam samam
Pratishtha sukrivishta trayam tyaktva bhajhetu
Abhimana is like Surapanam (drinking of toddy): respect in the worldly sense is equal to Raurava hell: getting established in name and fame is equal to a pig’s faecal matter: one should renounce the three, and then worship Hari.
Siva greatly admired the Raja Saheb’s humility.
Milk and fruits were brought. But the Raja Saheb went on repeating: ‘I have come here only to receive Swamiji’s blessings that I may have devotion to Lord Rama.’ He then touched Siva’s feet and departed.
Save later said to us:
‘My children! See the Raja Saheb’s humility. And, his thirst for devotion to His lotus feet. That should be a Sadhak’s motto.’
‘It is no doubt true that Bhakti Sadhana consists in remembering the Lord constantly. Very few people will be able to do this and this alone, without doing anything else. See the Raja Saheb himself. He has been a student of Jnana Marga: he is well read in the Upanishads, Gita and Brahma Sutras. And, remember that he has been carrying on the business of a State. He has been maintaining his own family. Side by side, he has been carrying on his devotional practices. That is the secret.
‘Karma Yoga should be nicely blended with Jnana and Bhakti. Do not be frightened if during the course of your work you sometimes forget the Lord, your mind stops the repetition of His name, and you seem to lose the Bhava. God is the Antaryamin. He will understand inner motive. You need not tell Him what you are thinking of. He will give you a greater abundance to devotion and Bhav. Early in the morning and at night say unto the Lord in prayer: ‘Oh, Lord, whatever I do is your worship only. Please be gracious enough to accept.’ This synthesis leads one to the goal very quickly.’
26th May, 1949
The Sadhu Bhojan arranged by Sri Gauri Prasadji of Swarg Ashram was in progress. Sri Narayanaswamiji was continuously singing some Stotras and Mantras. Siva asked Atmanandaji to recite a few hymns. The meals were over and the Manager said: ‘Ganga Mayya ki Jai’. Siva’s voice rang forth from his seat: ‘Ohji, wait a bit.’ All resumed their seats.
Siva asked an old South Indian woman to sing a few Tamil songs in praise of the Lord, of Vairagya, and of devotion. A South Indian young lad well versed in Hindi sang a Hindi Bhajan. This was followed by another Tamil verse. Siva then prompted a Punjabi mother to sing a Punjabi Bhajan. Every time someone finished, the Manager will say ‘Ganga Mayya ki Jai’, and every time Siva would stay the dispersal of the crowd. Last came the turn of a Marathi mother. ‘Sangitla, some Bhajan of Tukaram.’
The ‘Satsang’ in the dining hall lasted longer than the dinner itself. The diners who assembled at 10.30 dispersed at 11.45. In sophisticated society, too, dinners last that long. But, what a difference! When you are joyous, when you have satisfied your appetite, when you are ‘full’, you should utter the Lord’s name and sing His praise. Instead, people waste these precious moments in idle gossip and chit-chatting. The mind during that period is calm and ‘satisfied’, and fresh desires and longing have not risen yet. That is the best time to sing His name and remember Him. That is the secret which Siva has revealed today. May all hosts take the hint.
LADDU AND MUD-BALLS
‘Atmanandaji, please take some Laddus’….(Siva gave him some)….‘Do we have the same Bhavana when we look at this as when we look at mud-balls?’
‘Swamiji, we have heard that they are the same: we have an intellectual understanding. But, how difficult to see one in the other?’
‘And, yet, people wish to rise at once to Vedantic Sadhana. They do not want Bhakti. They repeat ‘Sivoham’ and ‘Soham’. Till the Sadhaka actually feels and sees that Laddu is a mud-ball, he is not an Adhikari for Vedantic Nididhyasana. It is good to study Vedanta and to try to raise up the Brahmakara Vritti: but the Sadhaka should also engage himself in Nishkamya Karma Yoga and Bhakti, too.’
SONG OF ITIES
Siva was in full form this evening during the Satsang. He read the humorous poems from his ‘Vedanta Jyoti’. People often roared with laughter. Then he sang a couple of Tamil songs; then Hindi Bhajans, at the same time playing on the Harmonium. Then he suddenly sprang up and roared:
‘The Lord has enumerated in the Gita several virtues which every Sadhaka should develop to perfection if he wants to attain Mukti. Most of the virtues depend upon one another. Find out the quality that you lack; consciously develop it. Introspect. Analyse. Eradicate the opposite evil quality.’
He sang the Song.
‘If you sit at a particular place and at a particular time for meditation daily, the meditative mood will come automatically.
‘Simplicity. Have always the motto: Simple living and high thinking. Gandhiji was revered throughout the world even though he was clad but in a loin cloth. The fullness of awakened divinity should shine through you. Merely putting on beautiful clothes will not do.
‘When inside these is dirt and ugliness, merely putting on costly dress is sheer hypocrisy. You try to deceive yourself and God. Clean the heart; purify it. Then people will worship you.’
Siva noticed a Rishikesh Sadhu who disapproves of the use of English language, sitting in the audience.
‘Oh, Swamiji Maharaj, (In Hindi) I am only repeating what the Lord has said in the Gita. You read it in Sanskrit. I have put it in English. The idea is the same. The purpose is the same. Only a difference in mode of expression, in a superficiality—the language.’
‘English also will be the common language in India for another 20 or 25 years: afterwards also it will be one of the main languages here. People will want to go overseas for higher education and research. Man is not satisfied with a little income: nor with a little knowledge. He wants to earn thousands and is eager to expand his knowledge.’
Then he looked at us. We had been asked to keep ourselves in readiness to sing Nama Ramayan.
I KNOW WHEN YOU SHOULD BEGIN
‘No, not now. You should be ever prepared. When I say ‘begin’, then only can you begin. But, be always prepared.’
The remarks referred to a song, but I take it to be a command for the entire song of life. A Guru knows when his disciple should do what, when he is fit for particular Sadhanas. Disciples often delude themselves into a belief that they are fit for Nirvikalpa Samadhi and that their Guru is obstructing their progress by insisting on work and worship of God. They run here and there, lose themselves in the dense jungle of doubts and difficulties and ultimately perish. Beloved Sadhaka, stick to the lotus feet of the Guru and do his bidding. He knows best and you will attain your goal.
Siva then sang Kirtans, interspersed with instructions.
SOLUTION FOR WARS
‘You should sing with Bhav. Sraddha, faith and a belief born of conviction are necessary. Husband pretends to love his wife; wife pretends to love her husband. There is no real love at heart. Similarly, between father and son; between friends, too. Real love is the heart’s love. Develop this divine love. That is the only way to end quarrels, riots and wars.’
SPEND THE NIGHT IN YOUR OWN KUTIR
Sri Swami Suk Devanandaji who has a big Ashram on the other side of the Ganges—one of the oldest friends and admirers of Siva—had been invited to the Satsang today. He had delivered an inspiring discourse on the necessity during Kali-Yuga of the performance of Karma Yoga. The assembly dispersed, and Sukdevanandaji could not get the motor-boat to go across.
Chidanandaji was offering the guests bed, etc. to spend the night in the Ashram. Sri S. wanted to go via Lakshmanjhula. Siva at once saw the point.
‘Yes, that is a very good idea. Even though it means additional strain and walking a couple of miles and loss of an hour’s sleep, you will have peaceful rest afterwards.’
This is an object lesson for all Sanyasins.
CONSERVE PRANA: INSPIRE, LET THEM PRACTISE
A member of S.’s party acquiesced and added: ‘Yes, Swamiji. Further, Swami Sukdevanandaji has to attend the morning class in his Ashram, too.’
Siva said: ‘Sukdevanandaji! You have lectured enough: worked enough. Please take care of your health. If you go on lecturing like this for hours on end each day, you are wasting your life-breath. You should simply inspire people; then they should practise. Later on, all that you need do is to silently watch your disciples’ progress. Occasionally, you can deliver discourses, too. They should practise and realise themselves.’ It was friendly advice from sage Siva that went straight to the heart of Sr. Swami S.
DECIDE: DO IT AT ONCE
Another member of Sukdevanandaji’s party raised some objection, and suggested that they might all spend the night at Ananda Kutir.
‘Swamiji, once you decide, stick to it. Sukdevanandaji is going; you all follow him. Stick to your decisions. Do not waver.’
How many of us fail in this respect! This tenacious adherence to decision is SIVA: and that is one of the secrets of his great achievements.
GIRL ABANDONS PARENTS AND FOLLOWS SIVA
Thus came to a glorious conclusion the day’s function arranged in memory of the late Sri Gyaneshwari, a grand-daughter of Judge Saheb, in whose memory a Kutir had been built at the Ashram. G’s mother, too, was present during the whole day’s proceedings. She was greatly pleased.
‘Gyaneshwari was a saintly soul. Her devotion to Krishna was equalled only by Mira’s. She was Mira herself. She left just when we were arranging for her wedding, to join her Lord. It was she herself who later, (after she had passed away), asked Judge Saheb to build a Kutir for her in Swamiji’s Ashram so that she could be always near him. It was she herself who had arranged all these functions which have drawn Swamiji’s grace upon her departed soul. She wanted to follow Swamiji. She has fulfilled her own wish.’
THEN AND NOW IN KASHMIR
A Professor from Kashmir who has migrated to India (Punjab) has come with his family. Siva at once recognised him as one whom he had known during his (Siva’s) Kirtan-tour in Kashmir.
UNPRECENDENTED CROWD AND SIVA’S AGAD BHUM
‘Swamiji, how well do we all remember your famous Agad Bhum song and dance. In spite of all that has happened since those days of peace, plenty and prosperity, the memory is still fresh in us of the eager throngs of men and women and children who would sit through whole days listening to your sweet, stirring Kirtans. I was only a small boy then, but I have the most vivid memory of this one thing in my life.’
His father, who had listened on with approval to his son’s talk, now put in his: ‘And, what gatherings! Swamiji, in all my life in Kashmir I have never again seen such a mass of humanity assembled together.’
I was inquisitive: ‘Did the figure run to thousands?’
‘Thousands?’—the old man felt disappointed. ‘Not less than ten thousands every day; and that looked like a sea of heads that swung to and fro in the fashion of waves, to the tune of Swamiji’s Kirtan. It was a sight for the gods.’
The old woman I could positively see was lost in a reverie: the picture of Kashmir, then, stirred and roused up by Siva’s Kirtan, perhaps floated before her eyes—and she was satisfied within herself.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Every man should have a comprehensive understanding of nature's laws, and their operations. Then he can pull on in this world smoothly and happily. He can utilise the helping forces to serve his ends in the best possible manner. He can neutralise the hostile or antagonistic currents. Just as the fish swims against the current, so also he will be able to go against the hostile currents by adjusting himself properly and safeguarding himself through suitable precautionary methods. Otherwise he becomes a slave. He is tossed about hither and thither helplessly by various currents. Various hostile forces drag him in different corners. He drifts like a wooden plank in a river. He is always very miserable and unhappy although he is wealthy and possesses everything that the world can offer.
The captain of a steamer who has a mariner's compass, who has knowledge of the sea, the routes and the oceanic currents can sail smoothly. Otherwise his steamer will drift here and there helplessly and be wrecked by being dashed against some icebergs or rocks. Likewise, a wise sailor in the ocean of this life, who has a detailed knowledge of the laws of karma and nature can sail smoothly and reach the goal of life positively. Understanding the laws of nature, you can mould or shape your character in any way you like. "As a man thinketh so he becometh", is one of the great laws of nature. Think you are pure; pure you will become. Think you are noble; noble you will become. Think you are a human being; human you will become. Think you are Brahman; Brahman you will become.
He who spreads happiness will always get such favourable circumstances as can bring him happiness. He who spreads pain to others will, doubtless, get such unfavourable circumstances, according to the law of nature, as can bring him misery and pain. Therefore man creates his own character and circumstances. Bad character can be transmuted into good character by means of good thoughts, and unfavourable circumstances can be changed into favourable circumstances by doing good actions. O Ram! You must understand the laws of nature and become wise and happy.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
The Ladder of Yoga
There are people who have not been able to serve their preceptors, who have not done any selfless service, or any devotional practices, who have not had the heart to treat other children with the affection they show to their own, who may not have had the heart to help others who were in severe distress - and yet, they sit and speak high philosophy. They sit and speak of cosmic love, of cosmic vision and of their own spiritual experiences and realisation (brahma jnana). They repeat the mantra Sivoham Sivoham ("I am Siva") - or the mantra Aham Brahma Asmi ("I am the infinite") - every few minutes. They wish to be in contact with great avataras (incarnations of God) this very second.
Place your foot, step by step, very cautiously, on the different rungs of the ladder of yoga. Ascend very gradually to the summit. Be earnest in your sadhana (practice). Equip yourself with the necessary qualifications. Do not waste your time in search of a preceptor. When you are ready, you will enter the halls of wisdom. And there, waiting on the threshold, you will find your preceptor.
Sage Vasishta says: "I assure you; on the authority of my own intuitional knowledge, as well as that of other illumined souls, that the reality can be realised by man. But one who has known it cannot communicate it to others, for want of means." Even the knowledge acquired by the five senses, which are common to all, cannot be communicated to others. You cannot tell the taste of butter to a man who has never tasted it. Nor can you communicate the idea of colour to a man born blind.
All that a teacher can do is to tell his disciple the method of knowing the truth. All he can do is to tell the disciple of the path that leads to unfoldment of the intuitional faculty.
If you have a burning desire, like Lord Buddha, if you possess patience and forgiveness, and if you have devotion to the preceptor - then you can contact avataras and sages right now, this very second.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
What is Yoga?
Yoga is the science that teaches us the way, the most effective way, how to remove our defects and weaknesses, and how to attain the state of perfection, freedom and super-conscious blessedness. The state in which there is union with the Absolute.
Yoga enables its students to acquire perfect control over the physical body, the mind and the senses. Yoga shows you the marvellous method of rising from evil to goodness and from goodness to godliness, and then from godliness to divine splendour.
Yoga is a search for truth. It raises a man to spiritual eminence. This form of self-education is called yoga. The yogi observes the law of moderation at all times. He treads the middle path. He does not torture his body, but he does regulate his eating and sleeping. He does regulate his talking and working.
Yoga is your unique heritage. Proceed upon this path gradually and steadily. Nothing can be achieved overnight. But steady practice will certainly bestow great blessings in the long run. Yoga has an unparalleled utility and curative value not yet tapped by modern medical science.
The practice of yoga is not opposed to any religion. It is not opposed to any sacred church. It is purely spiritual and universal in its teachings. It does not contradict anyone's sincere faith.
Yoga does not want you to turn away from life; it demands spiritualization of life. Yoga brings about physical and spiritual development, side by side. And finally, yoga enables the aspirant to attain blissful union with the Supreme Being. When yoga gets ripened, it becomes the super-conscious state. It becomes the state called nirvikalpa samadhi (realisation of the Absolute).
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Apply yourself tenaciously to self-enquiry and meditation. Be vigilant. Be diligent. Kill thoughts and desires of the world, through holy desires. Slay unholy thoughts with holy thoughts. Thus gain victory over your destiny. There is a vast ocean of knowledge within you. Unfold. Become a jivanmukta (a liberated soul). Remember, God helps those who help themselves.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Yoga is Eternal Life
Yoga is a perfect and practical system of self-culture. Yoga is an exact science; it aims at the harmonious development of the body, the mind and the soul.
Yoga is the turning away of the senses from the objective universe and concentrating it on the mind within. Yoga is eternal life in the spirit.
Yoga aims at controlling the mind and its modifications. The path of yoga is an inner path, whose gateway is your heart.
Yoga is the discipline of the mind, the senses and the physical body. It helps to control and coordinate the subtle forces within the body.
Yoga brings perfection, peace and everlasting happiness. Yoga helps you in your business and also in your daily life. Through yoga you can have a calm mind and a peaceful sleep.
Through yoga you can also have increased energy, vigour, vitality, longevity and a high standard of health. Yoga transmutes your animal nature into divine nature. It raises you to the pinnacle of divine glory and splendour.
The practice of yoga will help you to control your emotions and passions. It will give you the power to resist temptations and to remove disturbing elements from the mind.
Yoga enables you to keep a balanced mind always. It removes fatigue. It confers on you serenity, calmness, and wonderful concentration. It will enable you to hold communion with the Lord and thus attain Self-realisation.
If you want to attain success in yoga you will have to abandon all worldly enjoyments. You will have to practise tapas, (austerity) and brahmacharya (celibacy).
To curb the mind you have to use intelligent and judicious methods - because, if you use force, the mind becomes more turbulent and mischievous. Those who try to control the mind by force are like those who endeavour to bind a furious elephant with a silken thread.
Monday, March 24, 2014
The Supreme Gift
Yoga is the supreme gift of India to the world at large. Yoga does not quarrel with science; it supplements it. Yoga is a methodical way to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature - both physical and psychical.
Yoga is the supreme science of contacting reality. It is perfection in action. It is equanimity of attitude. It is perfect peace. Yoga is union with God.
Yoga is not a thing merely to be heard. Yoga is a thing that has to be assimilated and put into practice in daily life. The practice of yoga enables one to realise unity with the whole world. It is living in tune with God.
Yoga is abiding by the principles of truth and avoiding the path of untruth. Yoga is a science which is meant for the study of the reflective. It is for those who are convinced that the world of the senses has nothing substantial to offer.
Yoga is a process of continuous transformation. The inner perfection of Self-realisation can only come to be revealed by experience. This happens only progressively. The transformation of one's personality is achieved through stages.
As you advance in yoga, the ego is progressively replaced by the spirit. It is through this that the will of God works. By the practice of yoga, the sadhaka (seeker) is freed from the tyranny of the lower mind and he becomes divine. At a later stage the transformation takes the shape of a progressive unfoldment of the spirit.
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A preceptor or guru is indispensable for the practice of yoga. The aspirant should be humble, simple, gentle, refined, tolerant, merciful and kind. You will not have success in yoga if you have desire to get psychic powers. Yoga does not consist of sitting cross-legged for six hours, nor in stopping the heart-beat, nor in getting buried in the ground for a week or a month.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
Yogasara-Upanishad Mantra - 14
The yogi separates himself from the three gunas (qualities) and attains kaivalya
Notes and Commentary
By increasing the satvic modifications of the mind such as kshama (patience), love, mercy, magnanimity, generosity, truthfulness, celibacy, you can destroy the rajasic and tamasic mental vrittis. Internal fight is ever going on between gunas - satva, rajas and tamas, between good vrittis and evil vrittis.
If satva predominates in the mind, thoughts of God, Brahma-vichara (enquiry into truth) will manifest. The mind will be one-pointed. The meditative mood will come by itself without any exertion. In spiritual neophytes the satvic state of mind will not last for a long time. Rajas and tamas will try to rush in. You will have to be very careful and vigilant. You will have to watch the mind through careful introspection. Your important duty is to increase the satva in the mind. A satvic man will be ever virtuous, God-loving, dispassionate and powerful. A rajasic man will be ever engaged in worldly activities. He wants to lord over people. He has a domineering attitude. He wants powers. He is much attached to wife, children and property. The dross or impurities of the mind - rajas and tamas - should be removed by heating the mind in the fire of vairagya and abhyasa (dispassion and spiritual practices of sadhana). Then alone you will become a dhyana yogi.
Eventually the purusha (soul) realises his own native state of divine glory, isolation or absolute independence (kaivalya). He has completely disconnected himself from the prakrti and its effects. He feels his absolute freedom and attains kaivalya, the highest goal of a raja yogi. All klesha-karmas are destroyed now. The gunas, having fulfilled their objects of enjoyment and evolution, now entirely cease to act. He has simultaneous knowledge now. The past and future are blended into present. Everything is "now". Everything is "here". He has transcended time and space. The sum-total of all knowledge of the three worlds, of all secular sciences is nothing, nothing, compared to the infinite knowledge of a yogi who has attained kaivalya. Glory, glory to such exalted yogis. May their blessings be upon us all!
Saturday, March 22, 2014
Yogasara-Upanishad Mantra - 13
Samadhi is of two kinds, samprajnatra and asamprajnatra
Notes and Commentary
Samadhi means super-conscious state, wherein the yogi gets super-sensual experiences. Samadhi is of two kinds viz., samprajnata or sabija or savikalpa and asamprajnata or nirbija or nirvikalpa. In savikalpa samadhi there are triputi (triad) - the knower, knowledge and knowable. There is alambana (support) for the mind to lean upon. The samskaras (tendencies) are not fried. In nirvikalpa, there is neither triputi nor alambana. The samskaras are fried in toto. The nirvikalpa samadhi only can destroy birth and death, and bring in highest knowledge and bliss. Savikalpa samadhis of various kinds - savitarka and nirvitarka, savichara and nirvichara, sa-ananda, and asmita.
When you get full success or perfection (siddhi) in raja yoga by entering into asamprajnata samadhi (nirvikalpa state) all the samskaras and vasanas (conditioning) which bring on rebirths are totally fried up. All vrittis (mental modifications) that arise from the mind-lake - come under restraint. The five afflictions, viz., avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga-dvesha (love and hatred), and abhinivesha (clinging to life) are destroyed and the bonds of karma are annihilated. Control the mind and the sense, become desireless, develop the power of endurance, contemplate see the Self in the self. Samadhi brings on highest good (nishreyas) and exaltation (abhyudaya). It gives moksha (deliverance from the wheel of births and deaths). The afflictions, egoism, etc., have their root in avidya (ignorance). With the advent of the knowledge of the self, the ignorance vanishes. With the disappearance of the root cause, viz., ignorance, egoism, etc., also disappear.
In the asamprajnata samadhi, all the modifications of the mind are completely restrained. All the residual samskaras also are totally burnt. This is the highest samadhi of raja yoga. This is also known as nirbija samadhi (without seeds) and nirvikalpa samadhi. Dharma megha in raja yoga means "the cloud of virtue". Just as clouds shower rain, so also this dharma-megha samadhi showers on the yogis omniscience and all sorts of siddhis (powers). Karma is the seed for life state, life period and life experience. Nirbija samadhi will burn all the seeds.
Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda
6th May, 1949
The morning class was over. Ganga Prasad Sharda’s presence drew Siva’s attention. When Siva saw people getting up to leave, he said:
‘Don’t get up. Oh, Ganga Prasadji! Oh, Vishnu Swamiji! Both of you demonstrate your skill in the performance of Yoga Asans. Let us see who wins.’
Both of them got ready and came forward.
‘Now, Ganga Prasad will demonstrate some difficult Asan. Do something which he will not be able to perform.’
G.P. demonstrated a most wonderful pose where the body had to be subjected to several difficult bends.
V. tried, but could not reach perfection.
‘Ganga Prasadji, you have won. Now Vishnu Swamiji will demonstrate something which Ganga Prasadji will not be able to perform.’
V. demonstrated Shakti Chalan Kriya. G.P. could do that. Finally, V. also scored a victory as G.P. did not know Vayu-Bhakshana.
After this very interesting, amusing, and instructive contest, Siva said: ‘These competitions have another effect also. When you practise alone or with less efficient people, you slowly develop a satisfaction that you are good. But, when you find someone who can do better, you feel ashamed. You should gradually learn to overcome that: and you should also ever yearn to achieve greater and greater perfection. The goal is THAT and nothing short of it should produce satisfaction.’
DO IT: AND DO IT WELL
Ganga Prasada Sharda of Pilani is a painter, too. He had brought a wonderful drawing done by him. And he had, not minding the cost, framed it in a thick frame, too.
‘That is the spirit of a Karma Yogi,’ said Siva. ‘He does not leave things half-done. He completes everything. If Ganga Prasadji had simply given the painting unframed, there was the chance of this painting being spoilt. In spite of the fact that it would have cost him 30 or 40 rupees to frame it, he has done so. Now, it is safe.’
‘Karma Yoga is not to do everything in a slipshod way, thinking that that is the way to remain unattached to the actions and their fruits. That is Tamasic negligence. Karma Yoga is to do everything efficiently and proficiently and yet to remain unattached to the fruits.
HAUGHTY SADHU AND HUMBLE MAHARAJAH
After the evening Satsang a Sanyasin with an imposing appearance began to discuss with Siva the cardinal tenets of his cult and the practice advocated by his Guru and himself.
‘Swamiji, from our point of view even Sravan Manan and Nididhyasan have no significance. Only our Sadhana is listening (mere listening without even trying to grasp through the mind what is being said!) in silence. We do not try to understand, because the Atman is beyond the reach of understanding. Our Guru has told us that that is the best method and that all other practices are meaningless. One day Truth will shine of Its own accord, without any effort on the Sadhaka’s part.’
‘Very nice,’ replied Siva with his inimitable smile. ‘But, the Sadhaka must be a super-Adhikari to grasp the Truth in this manner. To Janaka, the utterance of Tattwamasi once was sufficient, and he realised the Self. But, even if we nowadays hear it millions of times we seem to be far, far away from It.’
After dwelling on several topics, Siva told us: ‘The Maharajah of S. is a great devotee. His Sadhana is a continuous repetition of the name of Lord Rama through the twenty-four hours. He has attained great Siddhis in this practice, too. A devotee who happened to sleep on the Maharajah’s bed had a vision of Lord Rama which he attributed to the Mantra-Shakti of the Maharajah. The Maharajah is well-versed in the Upanishads too. Yet, he would say: ‘I am only an Abhyasi, not a Bhajani. I am quite unfit for Vedanta.’ He was too humble to call himself even an advanced Sadhaka or a Japa Yogi.’
7th May, 1949
Siva was showing Swami Sivayogiji round the Ashram. He showed him the room where the books were being stocked.
‘We have somehow to manage here. Lack of funds, lack of sufficient accommodation—and we have to keep stocks of books in living rooms also, and there is lack of sufficient number of workers who will work for the welfare of the institution till the end.’
‘It is extremely difficult to manage an Ashram,’ agreed Sivayogiji.
‘Yes, yes, you know very well yourself. These people come here renouncing family, worldly prosperity, etc. They wish to be independent. It is difficult to make them feel the responsibility of the work we are doing. People should realise the good an Ashram is doing for humanity at large, and therefore be ever eager to dedicate their lives to an institution. Generally, they come, live here for some time and, if someone utters a harsh word against them, or even otherwise out of their whim and fancy, they will say ‘OM Namo Narayanaya’, leave the Ashram and go somewhere else. Somehow, I please them, serve them and let the work go on.’
‘Swamiji, it is all due to your Tapas Shakti that the institution has grown so rapidly and widely. No other cause could have contributed to this grandeur.’
MAHARANI OF MYSORE AT THE ASHRAM
News reached the Ashram in the afternoon that Her Highness the Maharani of Mysore would be paying a visit to Rishikesh. With his characteristic cordiality Siva had instructed everyone in the Ashram to prepared to receive Her Highness. Siva himself looked to the details of the arrangements.
Just as she arrived at the Ashram the boys were doing Ganga Arati. The pious Maharani watched the prayers with great devotion and fervour.
Later she was received by Siva himself at his Kutir. As they were entering the Kutir the gramophone was singing Swamiji’s records. Her Highness and party listened to them with great joy.
Siva himself showed Her Highness and party round the Ashram—the temple, Bhajan Hall, Library, etc.
‘Swamiji, the entire Ashram is simple, neat and grand. I have been following the growth of the institution. I do not know how you were able to achieve so much in so short a time. Only Ishwara could have done this.’
‘It is all His grace.’
9th May, 1949
Yesterday’s birthdate expenses were borne by Her Highness the Maharani of Sitamau. Every year the Maharani spends a couple of months in Rishikesh. The pious couple never miss to have Siva’s Satsang at least once or twice every year.
This evening the Maharani came to have Siva’s Darshan. She said that she was thirsting to hear Siva’s inspiring Kirtans. She had brought with her a ‘Mira Bai’, a resident of Brindawan and a great devotee of Lord Krishna.
And, Siva poured out his sweet melody; the Maharani and party listened spell-bound.
The little boy of Swarg Ashram, Vaidji, who had been brought to the Satsang by his mother found the boy too irrepressible to allow him to sit quiet and listen. He could not sing: he was less than a couple of years old. Therefore, he got up and began to dance. Every time Siva changed the Kirtan, he would look inquisitively into Siva’s face, ‘How shall I dance now?’ and then start his Nritya.
The power of living near a saint is great indeed—if you have a child’s heart.
DON’T BE SHY WITH GOD
During the night Satsang, the new visitors caught Siva’s attention. He called out to them one by one and asked them to sing Kirtan. An Advocate and another high official offered many excuses, but found that Siva would not yield.
‘You don’t know Kirtan?’
They could not say ‘No’….for that would be telling a lie.
‘I know, Swamiji.’
‘Then, sing. What is the difficulty in saying Ram Ram Ram?’
Each one then poured forth his heart. Shyness vanished; and at that psychological moment the devotee gets his entrance into the hall divine.
10th May, 1949
RECIPE FOR BRILLIANCE
Hari Badri Narayan of South Africa, who is now a student of Lucknow University, had come to the Ashram for the summer vacation.
‘Oh, Hari! Go on with your class lessons here, too. Prepare well for the next year. The first six months’ lessons you should study well now itself. If you have a good grounding, you will be able to grasp the lessons quickly in the class. Even if you later have to be absent from the class owing to illness, etc., you will not be the loser. And, in the end, you will get brilliant success in the final examination. You should practise Sadhana also, and so some Seva to the Ashram. At the same time, you should prepare yourself for the next year’s course.’
That is exactly what Siva himself used to do, during his college days. Out of his own practical experience he had found this method effective. Siva never tires of letting the entire world share the secrets of his success.
INSTRUCTIONS TO THE ADVOCATE
The Advocate Saheb came late to the morning class.
‘You have come to earn something more valuable than all the world can give you. There, you give your blood to earn a livelihood. Here, you have the inexhaustible wealth of spiritual knowledge. Do not miss a single opportunity of attending Satsang and learning life’s greatest truths.’
‘It is all the more important for you because you have chosen the law profession. As an Advocate you are bent on achieving success: you might be tempted to resort to falsehood, cunningness, etc. to achieve the end. Please do not be discouraged. You can be a spiritual aspirant even now. Enter the Bench. Or, become a Legal Adviser somewhere. Or, at least do not take up criminal cases. In any case, let not money be your goal. Always strive to practise truth, righteousness and try to serve the people.’
PRACTISE vs. BOOK-KNOWLEDGE
A Parsi boy who had come to the Ashram was attracted by the Seva that the Ashram Charitable Dispensary was doing. He desired to learn medicine.
‘OM Namo Narayanaya. I do not find you at all nowadays either in the office or in the dispensary. What are you doing?’
‘Swamiji, I am learning medicine.’
‘Learning medicine? Where?’
‘I am copying out your book, ‘Family Doctor’, Swamiji.’
‘That you call learning medicine? Would you like to copy the world ‘sugar’ on a piece of paper and taste its sweetness? Learn it in practise. Go to the dispensary and assist the present doctor-in-charge. You will know the names of the diseases and how to prepare each mixture. That is the better way to learn.’
This principle applies to everything, especially to Yoga Sadhana.
15th May, 1949
‘Tat Twam Asi! Krishnananda Swamiji,’ greeted Siva as K. met him on the way to the Bhajan Hall for the morning class, at the same time bowing to him, with folded palms. K. reflected for a while what this might mean. Siva explained.
‘You want to know what it is? This is the new Vedantic greeting. The Europeans say ‘Good morning’: a South Indian says ‘Namaskaram’: a North Indian says ‘Jai Ram ji ki’: a Sikh greets ‘Sat Sri Akal’: a Sadhu greets with ‘OM Namo Narayanaya’. Now this is a new invention for Vedantins. They should greet each other with ‘Tat Twam Asi’ or ‘Jai Satchidananda’. They should bow to each other also. Adwaita Vedanta does not prohibit prostrations and respecting one another. In Samadhi there is no ‘other’ to bow to. But, when a Vedantin is not always in Samadhi with the non-dualistic consciousness: and he should bow to all with the Bhavana ‘Sarvam Khalu Idam Brahman’.
‘This method of greeting will constantly remind the Vedantin of his own essential nature which is Satchidanand or of the great formula, the Mahavakya ‘Tat Twam Asi’. The more people he greets with this formula, the more continuous will be the Brahmic thought. This will greatly help the Sadhaka in raising the Brahmakara Vritti, hasten the dawn of Brahma Jnana or Final Liberation. Tat Twam Asi.’
Padmanabhanji, now gone thin and weak, was helping Siva in picking out books for free distribution.
‘You have gone so thin nowadays. You are not taking any food I think.’
‘Swamiji, it is two months since he took proper food.’ rejoined Dayanandaji.
‘This is no good. You should take Mitahara always. You will now exhibit great Vairagya and give up food. Later there will be a reaction and you will swallow maunds of fruits. Such Sadhana is not of much use. You should adopt such measures as you will be able to carry through unto the last.’
SIVA GANGA PIYAVOO
In the morning was declared open the Siva Ganga Piyavoo. In view of the fact that there was another Piyavoo (a shed where water would be served to thirsty pilgrims) nearby, we had almost given up the idea of having one in the Ashram. In time, Siva reminded about it:
‘No, no. That does not matter. Let there be another Piyavoo nearby. But, we should also have one in the Ashram. It is a great service to the pilgrims which should not be given up. Even if no one contributes for the expenses, let us spend out of the Society’s funds and open the Piyavoo.’
There is a beautiful lesson in it. Often Karma Yogins lull themselves into a false belief that there are sufficient workers in the field and that they can ‘retire’ into a cave. Some workers neglect actual field service with the same plea, and seek positions of respect. It is a mistake. Even if there are a million people in the field, a Karma Yogin should not abandon his duty, his Sadhana of selfless service.
During the night Satsang, some of the people assembled got up in the middle. Torches flashed: and the centre of attention was skifted to an insect moving on the floor.
‘What is it, scorpion?’ asked Siva.
‘No, Swamiji, It is another variety of....’ Vishnuji fumbled for the proper word.
‘Another variety of Vishnu?’ remarked Siva and we all had a hearty laugh.
Truth in jest. Lord Vishnu is the Indwelling Presence in even the tiniest or the most venomous insect. See Him in all. Or, as the remarks were addressed particularly to Vishnuswamiji, see your own Self, Vishnu, in this insect, too. It is only another variety of the same thing called Vishnuswamiji. What a fountain of wisdom and philosophy in humour.
17th May, 1949
DELUSION WITHIN DELUSION
Sri Ganga Prasadji with his party of students had made a lightning trip to Badrinath and had returned today. He had made a few rapid water-colour paintings of the Himalayan landscape at various places en route and was showing them to Siva at night. Wishing to see them clearly, Siva flashed his torch across the pictures.
‘What is this? I see only a jumble of colours.’
‘Swamiji, if you put out the torch, you will see more of the beauty of the painting.’
‘Oh, the darkness adds charm to the pictures?’ He put out the torch. ‘This is delusion within delusion. This is one way of cheating people. Have you ever bought shoes at night? They will be glittering. In the morning you will be sorely disappointed. In the photograph the prospective bride will appear most charming. When you come face to face with her, you will be disillusioned. This is all delusion within delusion. If there is real beauty in an object, it should always be beautiful, in light or in shade. When you flash the torch of true wisdom on these shining objects you will at once perceive their hollowness and ugliness.’
22nd May, 1949
SURGEON FOR THE EGO
Dr. Kanakasabesa Iyer from Madras was introduced to Siva in the morning as an eminent surgeon.
Without getting up from his seat, as usual, without so much as to enquire whether it would be convenient for the doctor, and after the several usual enquiries about his comforts in the Ashram itself, Siva turned to the group of visitors and inmates standing around him:
‘Would any of you like to consult him and utilise his services?’
What a complete absence of formalities and the artificial falsities of behaviour commonly known as etiquette! Siva’s Religion is the Religion of Love and Service. It is this Religion that fills him and is incarnate in him. Its irrepressible fragrance wafts around the moment the slightest movement of the wind is caused and an opportunity presents itself. Thus the only thought the presence of an eminent surgeon before him could evoke in him was ‘Any service?’
Siva Narayanji got himself examined. And, so on: one by one. Siva’s mind must have been working very fast, trying to recollect people in the locality who had any use for this surgeon.
‘Oh, Doctor Saheb, Jayadayal Goenkaji of Gita Bhavan has some trouble with his eyes. We shall go and see him.’
‘Yes, Swamiji,’ was all that the doctor could say.
Without the least loss of time, milk was brought for the doctor and his family, and after the doctor’s breakfast, Siva and the doctor left for Gita Bhavan.
On return from Gita Bhavan (and for the first time, after exhausting all possible sources of service) Siva expressed his great appreciation of the doctor’s knowledge and readiness for service.’
‘You are a great surgeon. Can you operate on the ego of a man?’ asked Siva.
‘Certainly not, Swamiji. Well, I need the operation upon myself: and you are the surgeon for it. So I have come to you.’