Saturday, July 26, 2014

Inspiring Talks, Message 47 (end)

Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda

JULY, 1950

3rd July, 1950
Today is the Yoga-Vedanta Forest University anniversary. It is celebrated during the morning class with special Kirtan, decoration, discourses etc. Chidanandaji presented the second annual report of the University.
After the class, Siva and Sri Tirumal Rao were talking to each other. One of the most interesting points, and the one that reflects Siva’s attitude to Moksha, is this:
Sri T. asked: ‘Swamiji, I find in a few places like Nagore, Shirdi, Tiruvannamalai, and the Andhra village where a boy-saint is sunk in Samadhi, and Rishikesh, ever full of Santi and a kind of spiritual bliss. May it be, Swamiji, that these places which have had the impress of the saint’s personality, his Tapasya and Siddhi, on the very atmosphere, retain that sanctity for a long time?’
‘Yes, yes,’ was Siva’s reply: ‘And not only that, the saint himself may live in those places. The liberated sage has the option to merge in Brahman or to live in a subtle form and carry on the work of Lokasamgraha, guiding aspirants, awakening in people a religious fervour and so on. This motive is manifested in some Jivanmuktas in accordance with God’s Supreme Will. Therefore, the places in which the saint practised Tapas and attained Siddhi, which might again be chosen by the Invisible Spirit of the saint as its permanent abode, becomes the abode of the saint’s divine qualities—peace, bliss and wisdom.’

8th July, 1950
Nature, who keeps Siva’s cosmic house, has sent a welcome shower in the morning, sprinkling water on the roads between Rishikesh and Hardwar, imparting to the whole landscape a freshness—a smile of joyous greeting—and to the whole atmosphere, a coolness. When the house had thus been cleaned, she lit the bright lamp, the Sun, which had temporarily been put out during the cleaning-ceremony. At 2 p.m. the sky cleared, and the vast blue canopy had just a few silk-cotton clouds hanging here and there. The sun shone brightly, but his heat had been already counteracted by the morning shower.
Suspense everywhere; what is afoot? For which God’s sake is all this preparation?
Two heavily decorated buses stood at the entrance to Sivanandanagar. So much had been done so silently by Swami Paramanandaji, that Siva himself was surprised to hear at 3.15 the Anandavani Loudspeaker singing his recorded songs.
‘Paramanandaji is working wonders,’ said Siva as he got into the bus; and to the accompaniment of ‘Sivananda Maharaj ki Jai’ the vehicle leapt forward. The bus sped forward, but faster than the car was the soul-stirring Kirtan Dhwanis that emanated from the Anandavani which travelled in the car.
We reached the Gita Mandir at Hardwar. A significant point is that Siva, though he had not been informed about the day’s programme, did not ask one question about the arrangements. He was content to take things as they came: the attitude of a true Sanyasin. And, P. had seen to the minutest details of the entire celebration so that the maximum service is rendered to the citizens of Rishikesh and Hardwar. The entire day’s function was carried through to success with clock-like precision.
Siva roared ‘OM’, and the entire audience joined him—an audience of more than 500. The building shook and responded. Then followed Kirtan. I held up the loudspeaker, but Siva brushed it aside saying: ‘I don’t need it.’ Nor did he need it, for his voice could be heard by all even at the farthest end of the hall.
How he made them sing the Lord’s names! The hall was resounding with His names. ‘Kirtan is the easiest and surest way to God.’ said Siva. ‘It is difficult to practise Hatha Yoga, and awaken the Kundalini through Asans and Pranayama. It is difficult to study Vedanta, understand its secrets and enter into deep meditation. But it is easy to repeat the Lord’s names. Kirtan cools down the three fires. Kirtan destroys the five Kleshas. Kirtan alone removes the three kinds of great obstacles—Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana—to the perception of the splendour of the Atman. Three kinds of Sadhanas are prescribed for the removal of these obstacles: Karma Yoga for the removal of Mala, Bhakti Yoga for steadying the mind and removal of Vikshepa, and Jnana Yoga for tearing the veil (Avarana) of ignorance. Kirtan alone can do all these. Sing the Lord’s names with Bhav and Sraddha-Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana. All the three will be removed. You will have Sakshatkara of the Supreme Lord.
‘How easy it is. You can repeat the Lord’s name after or before taking bath. Wherever you are you can sing His names. Even when you prepare bread, you can sing His names.’
So saying, Siva began his Kirtan (at the same time clapping his hands—as you do when you prepare bread.)
Jaya Siya Ram Jaya Jaya Siya Ram
The audience, which consisted of a large number of Punjabi women, rose up to Sivas’ expectations: all the women at once understood Siva, were thankful to him for this great Upadesha which they could translate into daily and hourly practice, and they repeated the Kirtan-Dhwani—most of them visibly moved—‘Sadhana can be so easy!’
Immediately after, Siva sought out the usual Katha-Vachak at the Mandir who used to read the Bhagavatha, and to the astonishment of the crowd, reverently touched his feet!
A similar function at the famous Hari-ki-Pauri (the bathing ghat at Hardwar), on the bank of the holy Ganga.
After the function at the ghat, we went to the water-front. Siva visited the spacious ghat after a long time. Like a child, he admired the tower, the other newer constructions and dived into his memory to recollect the older ones: ‘Yes, that temple was there previously. This is a new construction.
‘I have slept on this platform underneath the clock tower when I was in Swarg Ashram and when I used to come here with Chand Narayan Harkuli. Even when I first came to Hardwar in 1923, I had to sleep here one night, strange as it was then. I went to a Dharmashala, but someone in the Dharmashala objected to my staying there. I could not understand what the objection was as I did not know Hindi, and I quietly left the place and slept here.’
We returned to the Ashram at 11 p.m.

11th July, 1950
‘Not tomorrow or the day after, but now itself! They may change their mind later on and go away. We may not then have the opportunity of rendering our service to them. Bring the books now. I will sign them and you should hand them over to Sri Rao immediately,’ said Siva when Nityanandaji told him that a visitor (Sri Ramachandra Rao) would be staying at the Ashram for a few days and that Siva might give him some books ‘tomorrow or the day after.’
This is not a motto or an ideal with Siva. It is his inborn trait. He cannot put a thing off to ‘tomorrow. His life itself is one long illustration of this principle. Often his disciples are unable to keep pace with him. They sometimes find him a very hard taskmaster. But no one can fail to recognise that he does not tell others alone to do-it-now. He himself is zealous in his desire to do-it-now.
Siva then explained: ‘This is one of the most important rules in Karma Yoga. Opportunities come and go. A Karma Yogi should take time by the forelock and do-it-now. He should be ever alert and vigilant and utilise every opportunity for service. When one thing is put off for ‘tomorrow’, then other similar works accumulate around it and then the opportunity is lost. Procrastination is the greatest enemy of a Karma Yogi.’
The books were brought and Siva autographed them immediately, saying at the same time: ‘What you wish to do tomorrow, do today. What you wish to do in the afternoon, do in the forenoon. Then you will grow into a real Karma Yogi.’

The Lord provided an opportunity almost immediately for the demonstration by Siva of this unique trait in him.
Sri Ramachandra Rao introduced a lady who had accompanied him to Badrinath. ‘This is Bani Bai, Swamiji. For the past twenty years she has been doing Hari Katha Kalakshepam in South India. In fact, she wanted to conduct a Katha-Kalakshepam here also….’
Without a moment’s hesitation, Siva said: ‘Then I will have it arranged now itself. Oh Rajagopalji, ring the bell. Call Palji for Tabla. Get the harmonium and the Tanpur. Call everybody. 
Purushottham, bring some sugar-candy and black-pepper. Keep some water here. Vishwanath, spread the carpets. Call the neighbours also. Nityanandji, get some Prasad for distribution after the Katha.’ In five minutes, Bani Bai had already commenced the Katha Kalakshepam.’
He said to her: ‘You are a versatile scholar, too, besides being a first-rate musician. What a fund of knowledge and wisdom you have put into the Katha. There was ample humour, educative humour also. It was wonderful. You have Saraswati’s grace.’

20th July, 1950
‘How is Sri S. at the Viswanath Bhag? Have you sent him all the provisions necessary for his maintenance there?’
‘Swamiji, I offered to do so, but S. prefers to take Bhiksha from the Kshetra and do some Seva at the garden,’ replied Chidanandaji.
‘It is good as a measure of training. But, why does he do so now? Is it because he had a petty quarrel with Sri P.?’
‘Yes, Swamiji. Even when S. was here after the incident, he did not feel quite at home and was only waiting for the garden work to be started.’
‘That is not good,’ said Siva. ‘The true Sanyas spirit is not properly understood even by very many Sanyasins themselves. Of course, Virakthi, solitude, observance of Mowna, living on Bhiksha, constantly chanting OM may all be some of the external characteristics of a monk, but quite apart from all this is the real inner Bhav which constitutes the basic essence of the Sanyas-spirit. This is the absolute dispassionate sameness to all the pairs of opposites: heat and cold, pain and pleasure, grief and joy, failure and success, insult and honour. The Sanyasin receives and regards them all with the same Bhav and with calm forbearance. A Sanyasin is Dwandwa-atita. To him, friend and foe are alike, and praise and blame have no difference. How is this so? Why is this so? Because the true Sanyasin is above body. His Drishti should not be based upon Dehatma-Bhavana. No, the Sanyasin always ceaselessly tries to live in the thought that he is Pure Spirit. ‘Dehonaham, Jeevo Naham’ is his attitude. ‘Nitya Suddha Buddha Satchidanandoham’ is his constant Bhavana. When he performs the Viraja Homa at the time of taking Sanyas he offers up his everything into the Kunda, including his Pancha-Koshas with the Karma and Jnana Indriyas, Pranas, Antahkarana, and Aham-Bhavana. Thus, from that moment onward, he is pure Chit. Thus he comes to regard all things that are said of, done to, or experienced by the body as having absolutely no concern with him. The Sanyasin should by all means be unshakably established in the serene tranquillity of his essential blissful spiritual nature.
‘If a Sanyasin does not strive to manifest spiritual Bhav, then who else is supposed to do this? Moving with people of diverse temperaments and simultaneously endeavouring to keep up this inner Bhav will alone help him make this Bhav pucca within him. To get easily offended by adverse criticism, a little harsh treatment or unpopularity and become agitated and to leave the place and go away is a sign that he has failed in sticking to his Sanyas-Bhav. His ego is still grounded in the physical body only. He has been at once affected and upset by something done to the body. A Sanyasin has no body. How absurd to get upset by something said to this mere temporary garment that you are wearing, which is only to be thrown away at a moment’s notice.
‘A Sanyasin should have no Abhiman. It is Abhiman which makes one get offended easily at every trifle. Too much touchiness shows that one has not at all got rid of the idea of self-importance, the Ahamta or superior ego-sense. This is real death to a Sanyasin. Maana-Abhimana is rampant inside. Keen self-analysis alone will help sever a Sanyasin from the self-delusion that he is established in Sanyasa.
‘What to say of a little disrespect or insult. Even if anyone is to beat a Sanyasin with shoe or slipper, or cut his throat with a knife—even then he should remain peaceful and perfectly unperturbed. A garland or rose flowers put around his neck or a dirty shoe hurled at his head should both mean the same to him as a Sanyasin. Of course, the perfect Bhav does not come in its fullness all at once. But even then, every Sanyasin worth the name should strive every minute towards the attainment of this Atma-Bhavana. Under certain circumstances there may be a little agitation in the beginning. A sudden insult, an extreme experience, some harshness or disrespect, may no doubt agitate a Sanyasin somewhat for a little time. Perhaps for a whole day or even two days in some cases. Perhaps more if he was of a very sensitive nature. But ultimately, the Sanyas-spirit must prevail. Viveka and Vichara must set working at once. ‘Who am I? What is insult or honour to me—the Pure Atman that I am? What is all this transitory experience of this perishable body? It is unreal, petty, of no account and as such not worth my consideration. I am in truth blissful nameless formless infinity.’ Moreover, for what happens to the external body, who is to blame? Everything comes to this body according to its Prarabdha Karma. It is simply getting its due. How foolish to seek to put the blame upon someone else for this! Thus analyses the earnest Sanyasin and keeps his peace.
‘Such actual test in the field of active service helps to indicate one’s inner progress towards the ideal of Sanyas. They afford an invaluable training ground for the Sanyasin to perfect himself. To the Nivritti-Sanyasin also, Vyavahara (not Loukika or secular Vyavahara, but Paramarthika, unattached selfless Vyavahara) gives much-needed scope for practical spirituality.
‘Accept all experiences in a spirit of joy. Meet all difficulties and trials with serenity and fortitude. Remember that to you there is neither trouble nor trial, for you are the Pure Atman. Sometimes some Karma may affect the mind a little. But it is a mere passing cloud only. Brush it aside, and shine again with all the effulgence of your true spiritual splendour. Let daily Vyavahara mean for you so many welcome opportunities to manifest and to give expression to your true inner spiritual nature. Learn the secret of regarding everything only from this Atmic Viewpoint. Dehatma Buddhi will vanish and nothing will affect you in the least for you will never forget that you are the Pure Atman and Atman alone. Jai Ho!’

21st July, 1950
‘First, you should give up the B.A. Abhiman. You have good learning; you are intelligent;  you have very high qualifications. But, this Big Abhiman will hinder your progress. Therefore, renounce it,’ said Siva to a young graduate and journalist who sought admission to the Ashram but showed his willingness to do only (or mainly) literary work.
‘In the case of a spiritual aspirant, B.A. should denote Be Alert, and Bow to All. You should be ever vigilant and be ever-ready to do every kind of work. You should take part in all the activities of the Ashram. Literary work alone will not do. You should help in wrapper-writing. You should learn the magazine work. You should be able to type articles for journals. You should at the same time be prepared to carry water to the kitchen, or sweep the road. Then you will shine as a true B.A. (Best Adhikari), as a pillar of the institution.’

‘I was studying this book, Swamiji, so, I could not attend the Satsang at night.’ Sri K. said this when he was questioned by Siva why he was absent for the night Satsang.
‘The other day you said that you had diarrhoea and so could not attend the Satsang. Now you say you were reading, so you did not attend. Tomorrow you will have some other excuse.
‘You should question yourself. If you don’t like it, then I will not question you any more. But, you should question yourself and ask yourself: ‘What for have I come here? Am I doing what is necessary to achieve my aim?
‘If you work in an office and earn Rs. 50 a month, you are ever-ready to serve the petty master there. You are ever-ready to obey him. ‘Yes, Sir’ you say for everything. You have renounced the whole world and come here to attain the highest wisdom. Here you should not expect a master who would bully you and extract work (Sadhaha) from you. You should be your own master. You should question yourself rigorously and even punish yourself if you are not doing all that you can to evolve.
‘Obedience, adhering to the discipline of the Ashram, humility—all these Sadhu-qualities you have to develop yourself. No one will enforce them on you. You should find out the daily routine of the place where you are staying and automatically fall in line with it. That shows you are a good aspirant. If you do not conform to the discipline of the Ashram and go your own self-willed way, then it means you have not disciplined yourself.
‘No one need impose discipline upon you. For a moment put yourself in the other man’s position. Just think for a moment that you are yourself conducting the Ashram, and that you yourself have instituted the daily Satsang. There are several Ashramites. Would you or would you not expect all of them to attend the Satsang?’
‘I will, Swamiji.’
‘Then, is it not your duty to attend the Satsang without even being told to do so? When there is a common function if all the people attend the function, there is a special charm in it. It would be glorious.’

29th July, 1950
Today is the sacred Guru Purnima. 
Since early morning several Sadhakis, Sanyasins and householders who had come from far and near to pay their homage to the great Guru on this sacred day, have been streaming in and out of Siva’s Kutir.
Today Siva’s ever-blissful countenance shone with a glow of That Inexpressible Something which magnetises the atmosphere, draws everyone near, removes the birth-and-death fear, and makes the path clear. There is peace, and the peace permeates his entire being and overflows and floods all who bow to him. There is bliss, and this bliss is infectious, and the infection is life-long. There is depth in his eyes, and the near Siva appears to be far away, and this far-away seems to be within oneself.
Everyone went in and stretched himself on the ground before the August Presence, in one long prostration. ‘I am thine, Oh Siva,’ spake the heart. ‘I am Thou: That thou art,’ glittered the radiant message on Siva’s face. Hardly a word was exchanged. Occasionally a ‘May God bless you’ was heard. We talked to him in the most sacred language: he blessed us in the same divine tongue. Silence was the word: a silence that was at once pregnant with the utterance of the Vedas and the Upanishads and all Sastras.
Adwaita Para Brahma Sastrigal was initiated into Sanyas with the name Adwaitananda. The economist in Siva does not permit the new recruit’s old clothes to be thrown into the Ganges, as it is done in some other Maths. When these clothes can be given to someone who could wear them, why throw them into the Ganges? ‘Oh Dayanandaji, give these to the health officer,’ says Siva. Health Officer is what Siva calls the scavenger by. ‘The clothes are dirty. They are not clean. First wash them with soap and then give them to the health officer.’
That is our Guru Siva. The gift is not an act of charity, but an offering to the Lord seated in the heart of the receiver. The instruction reflects this Bhavana. Follow his glorious example and achieve the Liberation that he has achieved. That, by the way, was the gist of the inspiring discourse which Chidanandaji delivered on the sacred occasion. He said that a disciple, like the full moon, should faithfully and completely reflect the rays of Guru, the sun.
Guru Maharaj Guru Jaya Jaya   
Sivananda Sat Guru
Jaya Jaya
Here ends 'Inspiring Talks of Gurudev Sivananda'. Next Saturday, we will begin another series from 'Satsang Bhavan Lectures of Swami Sivananda'.