Sunday, November 30, 2014
Vedanta does not want you to renounce the world. It wants you to change your mental attitude and give up this false, illusory 'I-ness' and 'mine-ness'. The snake charmer removes only the two poisonous fangs of the cobra. The snake remains the same. It hisses, raises its hood and shows its fangs. In fact, it does everything as before. The snake charmer has changed his mental attitude towards the snake. He has a feeling now that it has no poisonous fangs. Even so, you must remove the two poisonous fangs of the mind, namely, 'I-ness' and 'mine-ness' only. Then you can allow the mind to go wherever it likes. Then you will always have the feeling of the presence of God.
You must also renounce the attachment to renunciation, which is very deep-rooted. You must renounce the idea: "I have renounced everything; I am a great renunciate". This attachment of aspirants is a greater evil than that of the householders: "I am a landlord; I am a brahmana, etc."
Not by shaving the head, not by dress, not by egoistic action is liberation to be attained. He who possesses wisdom is a real sanyasin (monk). Wisdom is the sign of a sanyasin. The wooden staff does not make a sanyasin. He is the real sanyasin of wisdom who is conscious of his absolute nature even in his dreams just as he is during the waking period. He is the greatest knower of Brahman. He is the greatest of sanyasins.
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Perfect renunciation is born of discrimination. Dispassion should not be mild and half-hearted. It should be a burning flame of disgust for everything that is seen and that is not seen. Nothing but the state of final liberation is to be the ideal for attainment. There should be no desire for wife, husband, children and worldly activity. The aspirant must be encircled by the fence of dispassion on all sides.
Action is for the man of the world, the wisdom is for the sanyasin who has risen above worldliness. Only the man of renunciation with knowledge attains Brahman, and none else. Without perfect renunciation, it is impossible to pursue the path of the knowledge of Brahman.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
External Renunciation is Necessary
Renunciation of family life is the beginning of self-surrender. He who is endowed with burning vairagya (dispassion) and discrimination, one who is really earnest for his spiritual rejuvenation, can also do complete self-surrender even though he is living in the world.
In and through the world he realises the Lord by complete surrender of his whole being to Him. But it is only very few who are capable of doing this. This is because worldly life is beset with innumerable obstacles and temptations. And it is hard for the aspirant to attain complete dispassion in the midst of so many dissipations and distractions.
Therefore renunciation of family life makes the path easier for the aspirant. It also makes it smoother. The seed is now sown. The aspirant then goes to his preceptor and falls at his feet. Now the seed germinates.
The aspirant now starts the service of the guru. As he advances in his devotion and sincere service, his surrender becomes more and more perfect and complete. His heart becomes purer and purer and gradually the light of knowledge dawns in him. Now he cognises the supreme Atman which pervades all, everywhere.
The actions performed by the sadhaka (seeker) after renunciation do not bind him, because he has offered all his actions unto his preceptor or God. He does not do any action which can be considered selfish.
Thus, through service of one's preceptor, with utter self-dedication, his heart becomes purified and, ultimately, the Lord becomes his preceptor. Now he is completely surrendered to the Lord and he attains the highest intuition.
44. Serve the Mother - 46. Service of the Sick - 47. An Exemplary Disciple
Chapter Five: Some Exemplars
44. Serve The Mother
On Women's Hospital Opening Day, 10th May.
A hospital exclusively for women is a dire necessity in this area. God has endowed women with an extraordinary amount of the power of endurance; and they suffer in silence.
Woman is our mother. She is the embodiment of para sakti or the supreme power. She is our guru also. We learnt our first lessons from her. It is our sacred duty, therefore, to serve her.
Major General A. N. Sharma wants to establish a medical mission with its headquarters here. He is endeavouring to have mobile dispensaries also to tour the country. There will be a very big hospital here. That hospital will have a special women's section with every facility for effectively serving our mothers. Let us pray to the Almighty that this mission will fructify soon.
In the meantime, and kind compassionate Dr. Devaki Kutty has offered her services to our hospital for a few weeks. Therefore, this camp has been organised in order to enable the women of the surrounding areas, the refugee women of Rishikesh and others to benefit themselves by the highly specialised knowledge of Dr. Devaki Kutty.
Dr. Devaki Kutty is an able doctor. She is an M.R.C.O.G. (Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists). She is a London-returned specialist in women's diseases. She is at present serving in the Lucknow Medical College. We are highly grateful and deeply indebted to her for her kind and selfless offer of her services to the Hospital for a short period.
This is the fourth camp of its kind to be held here. Previously, Dr. Lakshmi Mirchandani of Delhi came here twice and conducted a Women's Medical Relief Camp each time. Dr. Savitri of Gujarat also held a camp. This is the Fourth one. May Lord bless this camp also with success.
May God bless Dr. Devaki Kutty, our Medical Officer Dr. K. C. Roy, and Assistant Medical Officer Sri Lilavathi, with health, long life, peace, prosperity and eternal bliss.
45. A Divine Family
The glory of Devaki Kutty is the glory of Sri Ramunni Nair and Ulpalakshy. Those who have done virtuous actions in their previous birth only will get brilliant, famous children who do great service to the country. So Ramunni Nair and Ulpalakshy Amma have done great meritorious deeds in their previous births, and as a result of their tapasya and good actions God has been gracious enough to bestow upon them intelligent, brilliant children. Each one of them excels the others—Devaki Kutty in the medical line, Narayani in the musical line. God has given various talents to various people. Otherwise the world will be like a prison. It will be monotonous. Chinnamma is a M.A. in Social Science and is now specializing for Ph.D., going from house to house and studying about maternity welfare. Another son, Dr. Krishnan, M.B.B.S., is going to London for F.R.C.S. All of them are full of virtues, good conduct, behaviour, divine qualities, daivisampat. This is a blessed family, noble family, possessing generosity, munificence and other divine qualities.
Devaki Kutty is the crest jewel among women, among lady doctors. At this young age she has passed M.R.C.O.G. in England. Even men go there and come plucked. What must be her ability, her talents, I leave for you to judge. She is a professor in the Medical College, Lucknow, and her services for the last three years have been tremendous and all the women folk of Rishikesh adore her. They are like chatak bird waiting for the swati star "When will Kutty come?"
Devaki suta govinda vasudeva jagatpate. Her name is repeated. Vasudevasutam devam kamsachanooramardanam, devaki paramanandam krishnam vande jagatgurum. Again her name only is repeated,
sarvamangalamangalye, sive sarvarthasadhake,
saranye tryambake gauri narayani namostute.
(Narayani's name is repeated.)
I am daily repeating their names.
All of them are silent. These virtues make them great, not their talents—simplicity, nobility, magnanimity, spirit of service. I asked some people to give lemon juice. One man says, there is no lemon, another man, says there is no sugar. I am not able to attend myself. Without any drink, for two or three hours they serve. They work under such conditions. So may Lord bless them with faith, knowledge, devotion and wisdom. This is my fervent prayer.
Narayani will shine in the music field. The mind is entrapped by music. Music is laya yoga, kundalini yoga. It is a great help for attaining God-realisation. She will be able to draw bliss and infuse bliss in others through her music. Chinnamma will serve people through social science. So glory to the whole family. Their mother is very silent. She has never spoken a word. I do not know whether she is present in the satsang or not, because she speaks not a word. We all wish them long life, prosperity, vidya, tushti, pushti, and we request them to come every year without our invitation. Even now they have come without our invitation. Nobody has gone to Badry. If they go, my work will suffer: The spirit of selfless service is ingrained in Chinnamma, and she is also assistant to Dr. K. C. Roy. Glory to these personages. They will visit this ashram every year and do service. God will give them wisdom and they will become jivanmuktas and radiate peace and bliss. They will set an example to others, so that they may also develop the virtues—humility, spirit of service, etc. These are not easy things. People want seven servants to remove the boots, put on the coat etc. When they get some position, they forget the spirit of service. Position is an intoxicant. Power is an intoxicant. A little power or position makes you proud. It is only through God's grace that you can develop humility and this alone will help you to attain knowledge. This alone will lead you to nirvikalpa samadhi and make you free from the pains and tribulations of the three kinds of tapas. That is the goal of life. Therefore, cultivate all these virtues, service, humility. Pride is champagne. All wisdom belongs to the Hiranyagarbha, and it will flow only to such people who possess these virtues. Grace will come only to them. So follow their example. Be humble, magnanimous, gentle. Develop sincerity, generosity, purity, and integrity. Our goal is to serve, develop so many virtues which will help us to attain God-realisation. Development of these virtues is wisdom. When you possess all the divine qualities, compassion, tolerance, dhriti dhairyam, this constitutes divinity. Enemies are there. We have to cultivate these virtues. Then the enemies will go away. The enemies are pride, vanity, and jealousy. According to the new theory the cause of disease is jealousy. Where there is jealousy, there is hatred. Where there is hatred, there is malice. Do not believe in bacillus. Only jealousy particles, vanity particles, that enter into the blood and cause disease. So remove all these evil qualities and become divine. Every one can become noble and attain divinity if he wills.
There is nothing in this world, though there are flowers and garlands. With all these things, there is scorpion bite, flea bite, mosquito bite, disease, old age. Janma mrityu jara vyadhi dukha doshanudarshanam—birth, death, old age, disease—all kinds of sufferings, mental torments.
Equanimity of mind, equal vision, balanced mind, this is what you study in Gita. Repeat the Lord's name and cultivate these virtues. May you all attain the goal of life, which is self-realisation, nirvikalpa samadhi, or asamprajnata samadhi. You cannot find real happiness in this world. All pleasures are mixed with pain, disease, and vices. People want to earn money, amass wealth, telling lies, cheating others and through cut throat competition. They do not introspect, do self-analysis. Introspection, self-analysis—these are the things which will help you to become divine, and one with the cosmic consciousness.
Ramunni Nair has not spoken a word. Devaki Kutty has not expressed a single doubt. Because the antaryami is there who will solve all problems. The answer to all problems is within, not outside. Tap the source, meditate. All doubts will be solved. She has not spoken any word. God will bless her and they will become great devotees, free from all kinds of difficulties. May God remove all obstacles in their path and give them the vision of truth, cosmic consciousness, always joy, eternal peace, and perennial happiness. This is my fervent prayer.
46. Service of the Sick
One, Sri Brij Nandan Prasad, had obtained permission from Swamiji to open a homoeopathic dispensary in the ashram for giving free homoeopathic treatment to all ailing persons. Today was performed the opening ceremony of the Dispensary, with Kirtan followed by a short speech by Swamiji and distribution of Prasad. The text of Swamiji's speech is given below.
Today we are opening a homoeopathic dispensary. I declare the dispensary open today. Sri Brij Nandan Prasad is our famous homoeopathic doctor. He will give us good health, so that we may be able to earn more money, so that we may be able to do more meditation and do greater service.
Homoeopathy is not an enemy of allopathy. People consider it as an enemy of allopathy. But it is not so. When allopathy fails, people take recourse to homoeopathy. When I started the ashram all people were against me. When I put drama and music, all people were against me. Now people themselves come and dance. In the beginning everything is pooh-poohed. Homoeopathy is the best system. All systems are necessary. For Mukerji one system is necessary. For Rama Iyer another system is necessary. They say there are three or four temperaments. But there are million temperaments. Though there are four yogas, karma yoga, raja yoga and jnana yoga, there are really millions of yogas. Similarly millions of treatment are there. For some ayurveda is good. For some allopathy is good. For some homoeopathy is good. For some unani is good. Even allopathic doctors have found out that there is something miraculous, marvellous in this homoeopathy. They combine both, allopathy and homoeopathy. You may have heard of a Belgium doctor in Calcutta. He takes recourse to both these systems. Many doctors take recourse to a combination of these two systems. Whenever diseases are not cured by allopathy, they try homoeopathy. For relieving pains in the twinkling of an eye, this homoeopathy is very good.
Do not think that I am a follower of homoeopathy. In my heart of hearts I am an allopathist. One man said that swamiji is a diplomat!
We have got another homoeopathic doctor, Swami Achintyananda, and Swami Venkatesananda is the third doctor. Swami Venkatesananda will excel all others, because his heart is good, his kindness is good. Homoeopathy is a very fine system. It is not very costly. I have written an article on 'allopathic' monsters. They give several kinds of mixtures, several kinds of tablets and several kinds of injections. Homeopathy is a very simple and cheap system of treatment. Our Ram Rup Tiwari is a homoeopath. He gave me Ferrum Phos and Natrum Mur. The effect was wonderful. They are very good for cough, fever and influenza.
We hope all sick people will approach Brij Nandan Prasad. He is doing selfless service. He is a Sadhak. Japa and meditation he will do on the Ganges bank. At the same time he will serve. So glory to Hanhnemann, the founder of this system. He is a rishi. He who found out dosa is a rishi. He who found out iddaly is a rishi. No one less than a rishi can find out sambar and dosa. Even so the founder of homoeopathy, Dr. Hanhnemann was a rishi. He meditated. He did tapas. In Upanishads it is found that Brahman did tapas. It means meditation with one-pointed mind. He created the dog, the cat, the caterpillar. He was not satisfied. Then he created man. Then he was satisfied. Then all devas entered into the body. They found a suitable resting place in the body. Surya (sun) dwelt in the eye. Likewise Indra, Asvinikumars and other gods entered the body and began to dwell in different places. Man only can become Brahman through tapas. Tapas is meditation. Tapas is blazing like fire on account of control of indriyas. There are various kinds of tapas like the Panchagni Tapas, etc. But the real tapas is meditation. So Hanhnemann rishi meditated and found out this Bryonia, Alpha-alpha. A small box costing Rs. 5/- contains all the important medicines required for ordinary diseases. Especially retired people should have a box of medicines. Then their hearts will expand and be ready for the reception of the divine light. Everybody should have the box. Even children and women should have the box. Gita on the one hand and this box on the other. These two will make you fit to approach God very easily. So, on this glorious day this Homoeopathic Dispensary is declared open. Anybody who wants can take medicine. All diseases take their origin in hatred, jealousy—irsha, matsarya. If you are jealous of a man who is prosperous you get disease. If you superimpose evil qualities on a man whom you do not like due to jealousy, you get disease. This is the doctrine of Hanhnemann. Disease is caused by entertaining bad thoughts. Jealousy is an enemy of meditation. Jealousy is an enemy of samadhi. The modern doctors have invented so many names for diseases just to get money. Really it is due to jealousy, hatred, anger, etc. that diseases are caused. Anger particles, hatred particles, malice particles—these are the real causes of diseases. I am not telling you a cock and bull story. It is your own experience that when you get angry, you cannot take food, your heart is agitated, you cannot sleep well. This itself is a proof that anger is the cause, jealousy is the cause of diseases. Note this point well. Do japa. Do meditation. Free yourself from malice, and hatred. Love all, embrace all, serve all, be kind to all, pray for all. These are medicines. Pray for all. This is 'Bryonia 200.'
Now prasad will be distributed. I will request the doctor to give me some sugar capsules. Is there anybody who has got jealousy? Everybody has got jealousy. He will also give globules which will expand your heart and make you share your bank balance with the poor! May he shine as a jivanmukta!
47. An Exemplary Disciple
Farewell to Swami Sahajananda (Sri V. Srinivasan) Durban, Swamiji's speech on 10 April 1956.
We rejoice today heartily, because we have amidst us a noble personality, a spiritual personality, a bala yogi, a bala swami, Sri Swami Sahajananda. Whenever a noble function takes place, the devas are pleased. So we had a very good shower today, and now we have a cool atmosphere. So we are able to celebrate the function joyously. You may ask, "Why there is no rain of flowers?" That also there is. The devas rain flowers.
You may ask why Swamiji is giving sanyasa to young people. You may say that people should take sanyas only when all hairs have grown grey and all teeth have fallen. No. We want people at this age, with great dynamism, with abundant spiritual energy. In old age one is not able to sit in one asana for half an hour at a stretch. When all energy has been squeezed out in family life, he is not able to sit on padma asana. We need young swamis. Sankara was not an old man. Padmapada was not an old man. Young people only should take sanyasa, for they will lead a life of fortitude, endurance. They are full of strength, full of energy. We require only young people to take sanyasa and spread the message of Sankara in the West.
Swami Sahajananda is styled as the spiritual king of South Africa, Durban. He is also called the African chotta guru. He does not want anything. He is a silent worker. He is a man of renunciation, vairagya and meditation. He is a very good organizer. He has organised some twenty branches of the Divine Life Society in South Africa. His friend Bika Cheba is also good as Swami Sahajananda.
There is savikalpa samadhi, and then comes nirvikalpa samadhi, and then comes sahaja avastha. He is established in sahaja avastha. He does not forget Brahman when he is working. He has got double consciousness. He is resting in his satchidananda swarupa, and he is utilising his mind and indriyas for the good of humanity. He likes sahaja avastha. He is in sahaja avastha. In the scriptures you will find that any man who attempts to practise yoga is also a yogi and a yoga arudha, who is established in yoga, is also a yogi. So he who is attempting to be established in sahaja avastha is also a sahaja avastha yogi.
He is a strong pillar of the Divine Life Society. Yesterday Swami Jayadayalji gave a great feast for me. He asked people to bring papayas. Then he asked me, "Will you take some milk and fruits?" I said, "Bring some fruits. I don't want milk." He asked a man to bring oranges. He brought them, and I distributed them to people. Then I said, "I am a rupee-eater." I am Swami Sahajanadaji's rupee-eater. I want money for printing paper, art paper, for hospital, etc. You may think that I am exaggerating him. Maharaja Pannalalji does not have much money, but the whole Divine Life Society buildings he has built. If you ask him three thousand, immediately you will get it. I am the rupee-eater of him also. He is more than a maharaj. People who have got plenty of money cannot give two rupees. Such a man is Kanju's prabhu! Swami Sahajananda has spent money on buildings, and for my stomach—biscuits, plenty of chocolates. He is the spiritual king of Durban, a great organiser, a great supporter, a pillar of the Divine Life Society.
He talks little. You have never seen him talking. He thinks much and does much. Such a great spiritual yogi is he. He came some years before also and remained here.
He has brought out the 'Divine Life Children's Pamphlets'. He is a man of invention. In letter heads and behind the envelopes, he has printed new sayings. In letter heads also the 'Divine Life for Children' he has brought out. He is a thinker. He has added a small press for the dissemination of knowledge, and the 'Path to God-Realisation' is his magazine, running for three or four years. What more you expect from a small boy swami? He has done everything. He will now go with redoubled energy, charged with Himalayan vibrations and mother Ganges' grace, and will work like a lion, vedanta kesari, yoga kesari. All these titles a man deserves when he becomes a yogi. When a man becomes God, any number of titles are not enough. His devotion to teacher is unique. He has a pure heart. Such a yogi is now going from here and he will thrill the whole of Africa, and again he will come. He has a spirit of renunciation. He has given his whole property to me. Just see his noble qualities, devotion, discipline, santi, humility. When a man comes to, you and says that he is a jivanmukta, you must test him. You must ask whether he has got humility, not feigned humility, but real unostentatious humility. Then he must have compassion. If you do not find these qualities in a man who says "I am a jivanmukta", reject him as straw. These are the two cardinal, fundamental virtues of a sage. If you do not find these virtues, even if he delivers a lecture for days together on the verse: sarva dharman parityajya mamekam saranam vraja—it is useless, empty bullet shots in the air. If you find humility, that is the sign of a yogi, and he must be compassionate. His heart should melt like butter when he sees the sufferings of others. If he finds a starving man, and if he has got a tumbler of milk, he will run to him and give it to him. Of all the qualities that are enumerated in the Gita, humility (not feigned humility) and compassion are the most important. He who possesses these qualities is a yogi of the first order. These are the tests of a jivanmukta. So we all pray for his health, long life, peace, prosperity. Such a person is a rare jewel on this earth. He who is not free from selfishness is a burden on earth, but when he becomes selfless and works for relieving the human suffering, when he has dedicated his life for the service of humanity, he is a divine being on earth. Other people live in vain, they are burdens on earth. Remove this selfishness and work for the well being of humanity, for your neighbour. Then only man is a real man. Otherwise, though God has given promotion as a human being, he is only a horizontal being. So let us try to become real men on this earth, divine men, super men, with God intoxicated feeling always working for your neighbours. In working for other people, you elevate yourself. In praying for other people you pray for yourself. There is only one being, one consciousness. So let us become absolutely selfless, courageous, bold; without attachment to this body. Timid people die thousand times before their actual death owing to attachment to this body, which is nothing but a combination of the five elements. You are really Atman, the all-pervading immortal soul. Then you become Atma samrat, king on this earth, nature is ready to open her secrets to you and you enjoy the divine aiswaryas when you become selfless. When you work for the good of others, you become atma-samrat. Such a king is this swami. Glory to him. Let us follow his example.
He is a young yogi, a yoga brashta. He was a swami in his previous birth, so at such a young age his heart is full of renunciation, vairagya and meditation, which are the key to open the chambers of a heart, the atmic store. It is not so easy to get renunciation and vairagya. That man lives in vain who has got no vairagya, no renunciation, no spirit of selfless service. God has given you in this birth a little wisdom. You must utilise it for meditation and service of humanity. Service is nothing but yoga. Karma culminates in wisdom. Bhakti culminates in wisdom. Yoga and vedanta are complementary. There is no wisdom without yoga. There is no wisdom without bhakti. All are complementary. Vedanta without bhakti is dry, and bhakti without wisdom is not complete or perfect. So let us pray for the health, and long life of this small yogi full of strength. One who can transform the materialistic intellect of the whole of South Africa means what tremendous influence, what tremendous purity, what tremendous yogic power, what tremendous meditation, his spiritual aura, selfless aura! A selfish man cannot do anything in this world. In South Africa they call him as 'brother'. The other people have lived in vain who have not done atmic search, who have not done sravan, manan, and nidhidhyasan or this navavidha bhakti to attain God. Ayamatma nirakarah sarvavyapi swabhavatah, aham brahmasmi, sivoham. This should not be mere utterance of a formula, it should enter your bones and heart. You must have a feeling that there is one common consciousness. That is your birth right. You must attain this. One Atma resides in all. He has attained this. Let us pray for his long life, peace, prosperity.
Let us utilise every second in service, meditation, in chintan of God. Waste not a single minute. Realise him. Live in God. Live in Brahman, and behold the whole world as your own self. Behold! Listen! Come! There is a way to the fourth dimension. There is a way for attaining immortality. That way is 'Be good, do good. Serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise, seek, find, enter and rest'.
Become a great yogi, not attached to this body, always thinking of this body. He who ever thinks of this body is a cobbler. A cobbler is not he who makes shoes, but he who always thinks of this body, because you are not this body. You are the Atma. Do not become a blind man, a deaf man. Open your eyes and see everywhere the self. Behind the nama rupa there is satchidananda, asti-bhati-priya. You see a tree. See the asti-bhati-priya. This is wisdom.
May Lord bless Swami Sahajananda with health, long life, peace, bliss and immortality. May Lord bless you all.
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NOTE: 'Story of Swami Sivananda', the section of letters of devotion, now concludes the book 'Satsang Bhavan Lectures of Sri Swami Sivananda'. Next Saturday, the new serialization, 'Raja Yoga' by Swami Sivananda, will begin.
Friday, November 28, 2014
What to Renounce
Mere outward giving up of things is nothing. It is not real renunciation. Real tyaga or sanyas (renunciation) consists in absolute renunciation of all vasanas (tendencies) and the destruction of the heart-knot of ignorance, the chit-jada-granthi (confusion between the conscious subject and inert object).
What is to be renounced is the bheda buddhi (divisive intellect) which says, "I am superior to that man." "I am the body." And the kartrtva abhimana which thinks, "I am the doer". There is no use in your renouncing your home, wife and children. You must destroy moha (attachment) for the body, children, money, house, property - then you will get that state of immortality from which you will never return.
He who has merely withdrawn himself from worldly possessions, cannot be regarded as having renounced the world altogether; but he who is living in actual contact with the world, finds out its faults. He who is freed from every passion and whose soul depends on nothing may be said to have truly renounced the world. Read the story of Raja Sikhidhwaja and Queen Chudala in the Yoga Vasishta.
The spirit cometh and goeth. Therefore you will have to be careful always in nourishing and protecting your spiritual samskaras (impressions) with burning vairagya (dispassion), intense and constant sadhana (practice) and burning mumukshutva (desire for liberation). Increase your good samskaras. Develop them. Multiply them.
People do not want to remove mala (impurity) by selfless service and vikshepa (restlessness of mind) with upasana (devotion). They think that bhakti and service are nothing. They at once jump to open the kundalini and raise the brahmakara-vritti (the feeling of Brahmin is the all). They will only break down their legs.
Serve and worship; jnana and yoga will come by themselves; kundalini will be awakened by itself.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
The World Needs Sannyasins
Every religion has a band of anchorites who lead a life of seclusion and meditation. There are bhikkus in Buddhism, fakirs in Islam, sufistic fakirs in Sufism, fathers and brothers in Christianity. The glory of a religion will be absolutely lost if you remove the hermits or sannyasins or those who lead the life of renunciation and divine contemplation. It is these people who maintain and preserve the religions of the world. It is these people who give solace to the householders when they are in trouble and distress. They bring hope to the hopeless, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak and courage to the timid by imparting the knowledge of yoga and vedanta, and the significance of, "That thou art".
True renunciation is the renunciation of all passions, desires and egoism. If you have a stainless mind, a mind free from attachment, egoism and passion, you are a sannyasin - no matter whether you live in a forest or in the bustle of a city, whether you wear white cloth or an orange coloured robe, whether you shave your head or keep a long tuft of hair.
Shave the mind. Someone asked Guru Nanak, "O saint, why have you not shaved your head? You are a sanyasin." Guru Nanak replied: "My dear friend, I have shaved my mind." In fact, the mind should be cleanly shaved. Shaving the mind consists of getting rid of all attachments, egoism, infatuation, lust, greed and anger. That is real shaving. External shaving of the head has no meaning so long as there is internal craving.
Many have not understood what true renunciation is. Renunciation of physical objects is no renunciation at all. True renunciation lies in the abnegation of the mind. It consists of renouncing all desires and egoism, and not world-existence. The real renunciation is the renunciation of the ego. If you can renounce this, you have renounced everything in the world. If the subtle egoism is given up, identification with the body goes away automatically.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Perfection Awaits You
The circle of darkness and degeneracy has reached its climax. Come now, arise victorious and step up towards the zenith of perfection that awaits you. Live with a definite purpose - do not roam about aimlessly. Walk with a definite aim. Climb the hill of knowledge steadily and reach the summit of the temple of Brahman, the grand abode of the life immortal.
In the spiritual path there are constant failures and setbacks. Repeated endeavour, constant vigilance and undaunted perseverance are needed. When the heart's knots are gradually loosened, when the vasanas (tendencies) are gradually thinned out, when the bonds of karma are gradually loosened, when ignorance is dispelled, when weakness vanishes, you will become more and more peaceful, strong and serene. You will get more and more light from within. You will become more and more divine.
Hard enough is it to purify the lower nature, difficult enough is it to practise concentration and meditation, but vigilance, perseverance, constant practise, steady and persistent effort, company of sages, resolute will and strong determination, will obviate all difficulties and render the path easy, pleasant and attractive. Fight with the mind bravely. Go on fighting with an undaunted heart. At the end of your battle you will attain the illimitable dominion of eternal bliss, the sweet abode of immortality, the immaculate, imperishable Self or Brahman.
Despair not; light is on the path. Serve all. Love truth. Be serene. Meditate regularly. You will soon attain the life beatitude, the silence, the supreme peace. Even when you get a glimpse of the truth, of the supreme, your whole life will be changed. You will be a changed being. You will have a new heart and a new wisdom. A new thrill of spiritual current will pass through your entire being. A wave of spiritual bliss will sweep over you. This state is indescribable.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Glory of the Self
Believe in the Self. Draw power from within. Dive deep into the source and come back quite refreshed and invigorated. Have unshakeable faith that nothing can ever overpower these. Chant Om Om Om when gloom tries to overpower these. Rejoice in thy own self. Have contentment in thy own Self. Never seek happiness from outside.
A timid man is unfit for the attainment of Self-realisation. Have no attachment for this mortal body of flesh and bone. Cast if off like slough, just as the snake throws away its skin. Be prepared to give up the body at any moment. Make a strong resolve: I will die or realise the self.
Do not lose heart when you are in adverse circumstances. Become a real hero and fight your enemies within - the mind, indriyas (senses), vasanas (tendencies), samskaras (mental impressions) and trishnas (cravings) which have robbed you of your atmic jewel. The spiritual battlefield demands great valour, patience, perseverance, strength, courage and skill.
Temptations will manifest without a moment's notice - you will be bewildered. There may be no time to detect them, so always be on the alert.
You came alone, naked and weeping. You will go alone, naked and weeping. Then why are you proud of your false wealth and false knowledge? Become humble, meek. You will conquer the world with humility. Become pure in thought, word and deed. This is the secret of spiritual life.
Birth and death, bondage and freedom, pleasure and pain, gain and loss - all are mental creations. Transcend the pairs of opposites. You were never born; you will never die. Thou art the immortal Self always. Thou art ever free in the three periods of time. It is the physical body that comes and goes. The Self is all-full, all-pervading, infinite and part-less.
Recognise that you are the living truth, that you are inseparable from that one essence, the substratum of all these illusory names and forms, these false, shadowy appearances. Get firmly established in Brahman. Now you are invulnerable.
Rely on your own self, your inner spiritual strength. Do not depend on money, friends or anyone. Friends, when put to the test, will desert you. Lord Buddha never even trusted his own disciples. Become absolutely free.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Helpers on the Spiritual Path
The spiritual path may in the beginning appear to be very hard, thorny, precipitous and slippery. Renunciation of objects gives pain at the outset. If you struggle hard to tread the path, if you once make a strong determination and firm resolve, then it becomes very easy. You get interest and a new joy. Your heart expands and you have a broad outlook on life; you have a new wide vision. You feel the help from the invisible hands of the indweller of your heart. Your doubts are cleared by themselves, by getting the answer from within - you hear the still, sweet voice of God. There is an indescribable thrill of divine ecstasy from within. There is ineffable, unabating, undiminishing, undecaying spiritual bliss. This gives new strength and the footing on the path becomes firmer and firmer. The jivanmuktas (liberated sages), yogis, nitya-siddhas (eternally perfect ones), amara-purushas (immortal souls) and chiranjivas (deathless souls) lend their helping hands to the struggling aspirants. The aspirants feel this actually - the feeling of loneliness and of being neglected and forsaken vanishes entirely.
Doubt or uncertainty is a great obstacle in the path of Self-realisation. It must be removed by study of religious books, satsanga (holy company), vichara (enquiry) and reasoning. Again and again it will raise its head to mislead the aspirant. It should be killed beyond resurrection by certainty of conviction and firm unshakeable faith based on reasoning.
An aspirant should always watch whether the sight of an unpleasant object or any unpleasant sound causes irritation or agitation in his mind. He should try to eradicate this irritation - he should have perfect control of temper. A weak aspirant, though strong in concentration, is overcome by idleness; and a strong aspirant, if weak in concentration, is overcome by tossing of the mind. Concentration and energy should therefore be well balanced.
Stick to your ideas, convictions and principles - whether you become popular or unpopular, even if the whole world opposes you. Dig a deep pit in one place. Centralise all your efforts. Even so try to imbibe the spiritual teachings of one spiritual preceptor alone. Drink deeply from one man - sit at his feet for some years. For the preliminary practices of japa (repetition of God's name), ahimsa (non-violence), truth and to develop mercy, devotion, love, tolerance etc., you do not need a guru. You have to do all these things yourself. When you are ready, the guru will appear before you of his own accord.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Most Important Sadhana
Man is a mixture of three ingredients. These are the human element, the brutal instinct and the divine ray. He is endowed with a finite intellect, a perishable body, a little knowledge and a little power. This makes him distinctly human. Lust, anger and hatred belong to his brutal nature.
The reflection of cosmic intelligence is at the back of his intellect. So he is an image of God. When the brutal instincts die, when this ignorance is rent asunder, when he is able to bear insult and injury, then he becomes one with the Divine.
A thirsting aspirant is one who practises self-denial. He always tries to feel that the body does not belong to him. If anyone beats or cuts him, either his hand or throat, he should remain quiet. He should not speak even one single harsh word - because the body is not his. He starts his sadhana (practice) saying: "I am not this body. I am not this mind. Chidananda rupa shivoham..."
One harsh word throws a man off balance and a little disrespect upsets him. How weak he has become, despite his boasted intellect, his high position in society, his degrees, his diplomas and titles.
Bear insult; bear injury. This is the essence of all sadhana. This is the most important sadhana. If you succeed in this, you can very easily enter the illimitable domain of eternal bliss. Nirvikalpa samadhi (super-conscious state) will come by itself. This is the most difficult sadhana. But it is easy for those who have burning vairagya (dispassion) and true yearning for liberation.
First you must become like a block of stone. Only then you will be established in this sadhana. Now nothing can affect you. Abuse, ridicule, mockery, insult, persecution - none of these can have any influence on you.
- - -
Life is God in expression.
Life is joy.
Life is the flooding bliss of the spirit.
Life is the fight for fullness and perfection.
Life is a battle for attaining supreme independence.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Difficulties Strengthen You
Difficulties come to test you and thereby to help you by strengthening your will, patience and power of endurance. Be bold. Be cheerful. Be calm, cool and collected at all times, even in the face of difficulties. There is no spiritual sadhana (practice) completely free from obstacles and difficulties. God sends consolation, encouragement at every step to the sincere aspirant. Defeat and failure have their purpose. Criticism too has its uses.
Be free from depression and irritation. Remain unmoved by criticism or praise. Be steadfast. Stand firm like a rock - unshakeable by emotional storms, frustrations and defeats. A spiritual aspirant is backed up by the whole spiritual world. All saints lend their invisible help and support to such a struggler. You are never really left alone. You will get help from saints and yogis internally. Their spiritual vibrations will elevate and inspire you.
Without great patience and perseverance, the spiritual quest becomes an uphill task. No half-measures will do on the spiritual path. Give your whole heart to truth and to sadhana. Have faith. Be firm. Unfold. Attain. All defeats are transitory. All set-backs are needed experiences. Muster up your courage. March forward. Success and victory are yours. Have patience first, second and last! This should be the motto for those seeking the inner light.
Great things have small beginnings. All growth is gradual. To be perfectly unperturbed by anything, in all circumstances, looking upon all things as passing phenomena, ever feeling a distinct, silent witness to all the experiences of life - these are the marks of a spiritual aspirant.
These qualities have to be carefully and consciously cultivated. They do not come in a day. But they do come gradually by faithful practice. An unseen power guides and guards you. Feel his power and presence. He who is endowed with dispassion, compassion, serenity, self-control, and who has given up the desire for this world and the next, and who has control over his mind and senses, is fit to tread the spiritual path.
41. Importance of Ashrams - 42. More Ashrams: Greatest Need - 43. Dance
41. Importance of Ashrams
Today I will talk on ashram life. Ashram is a place where one gets visram or sram or santi. Ashram is a haven of peace. There jivanmuktas, sages, saints and aspirants live. They do meditation. They do kirtan, swaddhyaya, study of prasthanatraya and books on bhakti, and thus generate very potent spiritual currents which help to maintain harmony and order in the world.
Buddhists have got ashrams, monasteries. In Tibet you have got very good monasteries. In Ceylon there are Buddhistic monasteries. In Bangkok and Siam there are beautiful Buddhistic monasteries. Christians also have got ashrams. Dr. Stanley Jones has got an ashram near Naini Tal. In Europe also there are good ashrams for monks of the Order of Saint Francis. Ladies also have got ashrams. Sulabha was a celebrated sanyasini—a jnana-yogi-sanyasini. In Ramakrishna Mission, Durga Matha and Gauri Matha were the first sanyasinis. Now they have Saradamani Ashram for ladies. Ladies are also eligible for leading the life of nivritti. Malayalam Swami of Vyasa Ashram has got an ashram for ladies.
This (Sivanadashram) is an ashram of the yoga of synthesis. Some ashrams have got only hatha yoga where students practise only hatha yoga. They learn kriyas, bandhas and asanas and the method to awaken kundalini and take it to sahasrara and join it with Siva. In some places we have got only pure vedantic ashrams, where panchadasi and Brahma sutras are taught. They do only nidhidhayasana. They do not do kirtan. They are nirguna-parayanas. Our Kailas Ashram belongs to this category. In some places there are Bhajan Ashrams, where Bhajans are sung, bhakti is cultivated. But here there is the yoga of synthesis. Man thinks, feels and wills. He must develop his intellect, heart and hand. So jnana yoga, bhakti yoga and karma yoga should all be practised for integral development. Here, some do nidhidhyasana like Swami Krishnananda, established in non-dual consciousness. Some are karma yogins. They assist in the hospital. They try to purify the heart. Some work in the press. Some are journalists. Some work in the free department, some in ayurvedic department. These are karma yogins. They try to purify the heart and through purification they want to establish themselves in nirguna meditation. They will take afterwards to sravan, manan and nidhidhyasana. This is also another path.
In the life here people assemble or congregate in the temple, Viswanath Mandir, where there is morning meditation in brahmamuhurtha. They chant guru stotras and Maha Mantra kirtan and practise common meditation. Afterwards Swami Vishnudevananda, our Director of Yogic Culture, trains people in asanas, bandhas, mudras. There also they have got common meditation and kirtan. After some time, at eight or nine o'clock, Swami Prajnananda will conduct Gita class. In the evening we have got, upanishadic class by Swami Jyotirmayananda, and at night we have got satsang where students are trained in giving lectures on Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, Bhagavat. Discourses are delivered by Swami Divyananda, Swami Prajnananda, Swami Jyotirmayananda, Swami Achyutananda. Bhajans and kirtans are sung. People from outside come for attending the satsang. There are veena recitals, fiddle recitals. This is the ashram life here.
Ashram life is beneficial, where you get everything. Classes are conducted. Senior professors are there. Especially for neophytes it is very beneficial. Students should stay continuously for a period of at least twelve years in one place till they are moulded and established, in the spiritual path. Some young students come here and after three or four months they try to have Badri trip, Vrindavan trip, and lead a life of independence. That is not beneficial. One should remain in the ashram under the alliance of a teacher who will point out his defects. One cannot find one's own defects. When the defects are pointed out, the ego gets annoyed. So, one should practise meditation, japa, study of scriptures. Then only he will progress. There is no use of running here and there. There is no security of food, no shelter. It is simply aimless wandering. It is not beneficial. Remain in one place. Practise meditation, asanas, discipline of indriyas. Then only you can reach the goal.
Ashram is beneficial for householders. During holidays they can come and convert holidays into holy days. They can learn various kriyas, the method of saguna meditation, nirguna meditation, practise pranayama. Here is the place for all these.
A good ashram must be conducted by a very good head, president, who is free from selfishness, who wants to share his belongings with all aspirants. Such a one will be of real help to aspirants, and not a president who closes the door and eats badam and halwa. A man of mere erudition will not also be able to help the students. A broad-hearted man, full of love and kindness and a keen heart to serve the students, to mould them—he alone can help the students. By such ashrams, the people will be benefited. Householders should come during holidays, puja holidays, Christmas holidays, and spend their time in an ashram with eagerness to learn things, spiritual, transcendental things. Simply coming at 8 o'clock and visiting Lakshman Jhula and Gita Bhavan and going back by the evening train will not benefit them. They must have a keen longing to learn the methods of meditation, pranayama and asana. With a great desire and yearning, with mumukshatwa, they should come, and then they will be benefited. They should learn the methods of meditation, pranayama and other things, and after going home, they should practise them. By merely coming for sight seeing, they will not be benefited.
The founders of ashrams should try their level best to train students in the path of yoga and vedanta and make them good teachers, efficient teachers, and train them in all philosophy—eastern and western—so that after same time they will be able to go out and preach and bring solace and peace to people outside. They should take great interest in training and developing students. Swami Rama Tirth went to America and preached vedanta. He said, "All ashrams are mine." He did not train students to take up his place. It is only Narayana Swami of Lucknow who preserved his lectures and brought out eight or nine volumes. Ashrams become weak when the heads of the ashrams pass away. It is only Ramakrishna Mission which is a well organised institution. They have got branches all over the world. They do selfless service. They have got seva ashrams in Benares and Kankal where expert medical treatment is given to patients. They practise combined meditation and service. They have got flood relief, famine relief, educational centres. They have got maths. They have got educational centres in Mylapore and other places where sanyasins are trained for giving lectures outside. There is Belur Math where people are given sanyasa initiation. Ramakrishna Mission is the only well organised institution. Students translate books. Swami Nikhilananda has done valuable work-commentaries on Mandukya Upanishad. This must be the case. Otherwise, when the heads pass away, there is no life in the ashrams.
Sankaracharya is regarded as Maya Vadin, who denied the existence of the world. He is a Vivartha-Vadin, and Ajata-Vadin. But within the young age of thirty-two he established four maths in different parts of India. He was a great dynamic sanyasin, a jnana yogi and raja yogi also, full of powers. Those maths are still running even after two thousand years. His spiritual influence is being felt by the people. Such must be the case of the heads of spiritual institutions and ashrams, who train people in meditation, in study of sacred scriptures, in acquiring extensive knowledge, comparative religion and philosophy. Such people alone will be harbingers of peace and give people the knowledge of yoga and vedanta and lift them from the quagmire of samsara.
In the western countries the state religion is Christianity. In Buddhistic countries the state religion is Buddhism. In Arabia and Mohammedan countries the state religion is Islam. It is only in India, the land of rishis and sages like Yanjavalkya and other greatest rishis, it is styled as 'secular state'. We cannot have much progress and cannot maintain Hinduism when India is styled as a secular state. But they interpret that secular state means that we do not interfere with religions, and that every religion has got its place. In such a state Hinduism cannot progress. It may degenerate. It may die. The state must be proclaimed and declared as the state of Hinduism. Then only there is food and strength for the growth of Hinduism, and the welfare state should look after the ashrams. These ashrams are a blessing to the world. These ashrams will keep up the spiritual fire, the flame of spirituality. If you remove these institutions, the world will be void, will be a desert. It is the sanyasins, it is the people who lead the life of nivritti, the sufistic fakirs, the Buddhistic monks, that can keep the life of religion. Otherwise the whole world will be immersed in atheism. No man will attempt for spiritual evolution, enlightenment or illumination. It is these people who keep up the spiritual fire. It is the duty of a welfare state to look after the welfare of spiritual institutions. They should arrange for sanitary convenience, lighting, water supply and other things. Then only the institutions can grow.
Very good ashrams are the dire need of this hour. There should be ashrams in provincial cities and district towns and taluks and in every village. Instead of spending so much money in aeroplanes and military academies and building of air-ships, if some money is diverted in this direction, we can bring peace, establish peace in this world and in India, and there will be no wars. The means for attaining peace is the establishment of ashrams, training of brahmacharins, training of sanyasins, yogis and vedantins, who will move to the different corners of the world and bring message of unity, goodness, universal peace, goodwill, the message of unity of consciousness, of oneness of life—this message that there is only one Atma which dwells in all names and forms, we are all one, tatwamasi. This message alone can establish peace, lasting peace, enduring, abiding peace.
In olden times ashrams were maintained by kings. They supplied whatever they wanted, to the ascetics. We have Valmiki Ashram, Bharadwaja Ashram, Kanwa Ashram. Many rishis are our forefathers. So, let there be more sshrams in this world, more sanyasins, more dynamic yogins, more bhaktas and bhagavatas, more ashrams everywhere. Let there be peace in this world. Then we can bring, heaven on earth. This will be a Brahma-loka, where all will enjoy goodwill and peace, where there will be no fighting, no quarrel. Rama rajya will be established through these ashrams, through these sanyasins and brahmacharis. May there be peace in the world. OM.
42. More Ashrams: Greatest Need
There is a huge cry for world peace to-day, but people do not know where to get that lasting peace and perennial joy. The world is in need of good ashrams. The governments are spending a lot of money in building up the Navy and the Air Force, but they do not spend anything on building ashrams. If Ashrams are built everywhere, the world will be benefited, it will be elevated and inspired and there will be no wars. There will be no threat of a third war. But they do not know how to build ashrams and they have no idea of spirituality and yoga centres. The world is in dire need of very good ashrams for ladies and gentlemen. We have got only very few ashrams. If every district, every taluk, has a centre where yoga is taught, where kirtan is held, where ladies are trained in veda patt, japa and kirtan, devas will be pleased. Every one will become a centre for radiating peace and joy. What is, wanted is good men and women with knowledge of yoga and control of mind. The world is in need of such people, not merely M.A., Ph.D's with literary talent for bread earning purpose. What is needed is knowledge of the self. Paranchikhani vyatrinat swayambhuh, tasmat parangpa-sayatina antharatman—The Lord created the senses with out-going tendencies: therefore, man beholds the external universe and not the internal self.
The world is in need of dheeras like Nachiketas, like Maitreyi, who wanted only immortality. When Yajnavalkya was about to divide his property between Katyayini and Maitreyi, Maitreyi who had a strong yearning for attaining the summum bonum of existence, asked: "My venerable Lord! Even, if I possess the wealth of the three worlds, can I attain immortality?" The world is in need of such men and women with discrimination and dispassion, with the Nachiketas or Maitreyi element. Nachiketas was tempted by Yama in a variety of ways, but Nachiketas was adamant. He said, "That supreme thing, by knowing which everything is known, that thing I want." The world is in need of such people with Nachiketas and Maitreyi element, like Dhruva and Prahlad. Kaschit dheerah pratyagatmanamaikshadavriachakshuramritatwamichchan—'Some wise men with their eyes turned inward, concentrate on their own internal self with an undistracted mind'. Such people can be produced not in the modern universities but only in ashrams. Atmic knowledge, strength born of discrimination, inner spiritual inexhaustible strength born of wisdom of Atman can be had only in ashrams, and not in trigonometry, B.Coms. and M.Coms. Only he who has discrimination and dispassion, who has inner life, can save this world. Such people are produced by ashrams. Vihaya kaman yah sarvan—'He who has no longing, who has no cravings, who has no egoism, no mineness', in whom the ego-dichotomy operation has been performed—we want such men who have undergone the ego-dichotomy operation. Surgeons do not know what ego-dichotomy is. This operation is done only in ashrams. Then the mind is thinned out—tanumanasi. One goes through the seven jnana bhumikas.
Knowledge of self is attained through guruparampara. Gaudapada imparted knowledge to Govindapada and Govindapada gave the knowledge to Sankaracharya. One sage is sufficient to save the world. Sages have got inner spiritual strength—strength not born of bank balance, for banks sometimes fail, but strength born of sadhana chatushtaya, shad sampat, wisdom of the Upanishads. Their mind is resting in bhuma. Where there is neither sound, nor colour nor taste, where no one thinks, no one imagines, that is bhuma—that is your essential divine nature. Though you are clad in rags, though you are in the role of unemployment, feel that you are the all pervading Brahman. Knowledge of Brahman alone can save you, free you from the thraldom of matter and mind and raise you to the glory of Brahmanhood. You will be raised to the immaculate state of Brahmanhood. Everybody is born to attain this knowledge. But on account of raga-dwesh their mind is turned outward. A wise aspirant controls the indriyas and develops viveka, vairagya, sama, dama, uparati, titiksha, sraddha, samadhana and a keen longing for liberation. After equipping himself with these means be practises sravan, manan and nididhyasan and attains Atma sakshatkara, which is our goal and which we have forgotten on account of raga-dwesh. Raga-dwesh dichotomy is also being done in ashrams.
Selfless work purifies the mind. Upasana removes the oscillation of the mind. Study of vedantic literature removes the veil of ignorance. Therefore, the yoga of synthesis should be practised. Selfless service, upasana and knowledge of vedanta will help us to attain the goal of life.
More ashrams are necessary now. People cry for peace, deliver lectures, write books, volumes after volumes, but nothing practical has been done, and people are not able to attain supreme peace. Practically they do not know how to attain peace. They deliver lectures, but at the same time they manufacture atom bombs and hydrogen bombs. The League of Nations failed and the UNO will also fail. Practical sadhana you can expect only from ashrams where people have dedicated their lives to spiritual practice, and are spending their lives in concentration and meditation. Such people only will be able to give you the key to peace. You may study books, but the key to peace is only with sanyasins who alone are resting in satchidananda swarup. This key is handed over from generation to generation through guruparampara and is kept by the heads of ashrams.
The world is in need of more ashrams with people of discrimination and dispassion. It is very difficult to get dispassion. Renunciation and dispassion are great things attained through the grace of God on account of meritorious works done in several births. Renunciation is not a commodity that can be easily purchased from shops. It is the grace of the Lord and the guru. It is the grace of sages who spent their lives in meditation, who are free from egoism, free from longings, trishna. Such people only will be able to show to the world the method for attaining the supreme beatitude, kaivalya moksha.
May Lord bless you all with health, long life, peace, bliss, prosperity and immortality. May all ashrams flourish and remain as peace centres for the people who are burnt up by the five afflictions—avidya, asmita, raga, dwesha, abhinivesha—is my fervent prayer.
Sri Swami Sivananda's Speech at the Conclusion of Sri Nalini's Dance-Recital.
Nritya or dancing is an important anga of bhakti yoga. It stirs up divine emotions in the heart of the devotee, generates prem, bhav and mahabhav and culminates in communion with the Lord. The greatest divine dancers are Lord Siva and Lord Krishna themselves—Siva-Tandava Nritya and Rasa-Lila. When these great beings dance, the devas themselves play the accompanying instruments.
Paramakkudi has become a famous centre of fine arts today, thanks to Sri Nalini and party. Sri Nalini's dance recital is highly praiseworthy. She expresses the bhavas very nicely. She has a wonderful body for nritya—pliable and agile. She performs even the most difficult yoga asans very easily: chakrasana, yoga-nidrasana and so many difficult asans. Her mudras and her footwork are perfect and faultless. She has wonderful concentration and alertness. At this young age, she is able to radiate joy to everybody, transport people to a different world where art and devotion of the heart reign supreme. These three hours fled like three minutes: It is all due to the grace of the Lord and the grace of mother Saraswathi, the grace of Lord Siva and Lord Krishna, and her own purva samskaras. No one else will be able to learn this difficult art within so short a time as she has done.
The drum is an indispensable instrument to nritya. The mridanga contributes a great deal to the success of the performance. So, we are thankful to Sri P. S. Nagarajan who has adapted the drumming technique exactly to suit the dance, so that the correct effect is produced. In Sri S. P. Jayaraman we have a wonderful nattuvanar who is well versed not only in Bharata Natyam, but in music also. Sri Swarnappa has a melodious and powerful voice and is a master of the art of music; he is an asset to the party. He is the disciple of the famous Chittoor Subramania Pillai and will shine like his guru. Equally marvellous was our violinist Sri N. V. K. Gangadharan. Last but not least is our make-up specialist-cum-photographer, Sri V. Raman.
All glory to Sri Nalini's parents, Mr. and Mrs. D. Srinivasan. All glory to Sri Nagappa Chettiar who brings talented people to this place every time he comes; and enables musicians, artists and dancers to offer their art to the Lord on the holy banks of the Ganga. May God bless them all.
Friday, November 21, 2014
O man! Do not be discouraged when sorrows, difficulties and tribulations manifest in the daily battle of life. Thou art the master of thy destiny. Thou art divine. Live up to it, feel it, realise it. Draw up spiritual strength and courage from within. Learn the ways to tap the source. Dive deep within. Sink down. Plunge into the sacred waters of immortality. You will be refreshed, renovated and vivified.
Understand the laws of the universe. Move tactfully in this world. Learn the secrets of nature. Learn the best ways to control the mind. Conquer the mind. Conquest of the mind is really conquest of nature and the world.
Do not murmur or grumble when troubles and sorrows descend upon you. Difficulties strengthen your will, augment your power of endurance and turn your mind towards God. Face them with a smile. In your weakness lies your real strength. Conquer the difficulties one by one. This is the beginning of a new spiritual life, a life of expansion, glory and divine splendour. Expand, grow. Build up all positive virtues - fortitude, patience and courage. Start a new life.
Have a new angle of vision. Arm yourself with discrimination, cheerfulness, discernment, alacrity and undaunted spirit. A brilliant future is awaiting you. Let the past be buried. You can work miracles. Do not give up hope. You can neutralise the effect of evil influences and the antagonistic dark forces that may come against you. You can nullify destiny - many have done this. Assert. Recognise. Realise. Thou art the immortal Self - claim thy birthright now.
You have created your destiny through thoughts and actions. You can undo them by right thinking and right action. Wrong thinking is the root cause of human sufferings. "I am the immortal self" - this is right thinking. Work in terms of unity - work unselfishly - work with Atma bhava (feeling that the Self is all). This is right action.
There is no such thing as sin. Sin is only a mistake; it is a mental creation. The baby soul must commit some mistakes during the process of evolution. Mistakes are your best teachers. Think, "I am pure Atman", and the idea of sin will be blown in the air.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Striving for Perennial Happiness
It is in the nature of man to strive for happiness, but all the happiness which he can gain by his actions is only of limited duration. The enjoyments of the senses are transient and the senses themselves are worn out by too much enjoyment. Further, sin generally accompanies these enjoyments and makes men unhappy beyond comparison.
Even if the pleasures of the world are enjoyed as much as their nature permits, if they are as intense, as varied and as uninterrupted as possible - old age still approaches and with it, death. And the enjoyments of heaven are in reality not more enviable than these pleasures of the senses. They are of the same nature although more unmixed and durable, and they come to an end for they are gained by actions. Actions are finite and their effects must also be finite.
In one word, there is necessarily an end to all these enjoyments and what avails us to strive for pleasure which we know cannot sustain us beyond the moment of enjoyment? It is therefore the nature of the man to look out for an unchangeable, infinite happiness (ananta sukha) - which must come from a 'being' in which there is no change if such a being can be found. It is only from him that man attains an unalterable happiness. And if this be so, this 'being' must become the sole object of all his aspirations and actions.
This 'being' is not very far - he resides in your heart. He is the sakshi chaitanya (witness consciousness) who witnesses the activities of your buddhi (intellect). He is the nirguna Brahman of the Upanishads.
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TRUE BEING. True being is that which knows no bounds, neither physical nor intellectual. It is unbounded, spiritual being. The nature of approach must befit the nature of the object approached. The pathway can be known only when the destination is known. The indivisible, absolute and conscious nature of the reality signifies that life on earth should be lived according to rigid laws - laws of dispassion towards external existence and active awareness of the Self as an unlimited being. It also shows that all forms of physical and even intellectual indulgence are deviations from eternal truth. It shows that every desire for objectification of consciousness is suicidal in the real sense.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Discipline of the Senses
Control the indriyas (senses) through introspection. Destroy the thirst for objects and sense-enjoyments then you will be established in supreme peace. Speak the truth and talk little. Observe silence for two hours daily. Speak only sweet, loving, soft words. Do not go to cinemas; do not look at ladies with a lustful look. When you move in the street look at the tip of the nose; do not look hither and thither. This is discipline of the eye, the organ of sight.
Do not attend dancing parties and do not listen to vulgar music. Give up musical entertainments and listening to worldly conversation. This is the discipline of the ear, the organ of hearing. Do not use scents. This is the discipline of the nose, the organ of smell. Give up salt and sugar for a week. Live on simple food. Fast on ekadashi (eleventh day of the lunar fortnight) or live on milk. This is the discipline of the tongue, the organ of taste.
Observe brahmacharya. Sleep on a hard mat. Walk barefooted. Do not use umbrellas. This is the discipline of the skin, the organ of touch.
To check the wandering mind and to develop concentration, fix your mind on your ishta devata (ideal). Bring the mind back again when it wanders and fix it on the image.
You may think or falsely conjecture that the senses are under your control. You may be duped. All of a sudden you will become their victim. You must have supreme control of all the senses. The senses may become turbulent at any time. Reaction may set in. Beware!
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Master the senses, the mind and the intellect ruthlessly. Do this through enquiry, discrimination, dispassion, devotion and meditation. Anger is born of rajas (restlessness). When desire is not gratified, then anger manifests itself. Anger is a form of desire only. Slay this anger through vichara (enquiry), discrimination, patience, love, meditation, and identification with the ever serene Atman.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Your Real Enemy
The senses are your real foes. They draw you out and disturb your peace of mind. Do not keep company with them. Subdue them. Restrain them. Curb them just as you would curb your enemies on the battlefield. This is not the work of a day. It wants patient and protracted sadhana (practice) for a very long time. Control of the senses is really control of the mind. All the ten senses must be controlled. Starve them to death. Do not give them what they want. Then they will obey your orders implicitly. All worldly-minded persons are slaves of their senses, though they are educated, though they possess immense wealth, though they hold judicial and executive powers. If you are a slave of meat-eating, for instance, you will begin to exercise control of your tongue the moment you give up the meat-eating habit entirely for six months. You will consciously feel that you have gained a little supremacy over this troublesome sense of taste which began to revolt against you sometime ago.
Worldly pleasures intensify the desire for enjoying greater pleasures. Hence the minds of worldlings are very restless. There is no satisfaction, and mental peace is absent. The mind can never be satisfied, whatever amount of pleasure you may store up for it. The more it enjoys the pleasures, the more it wants them. So people are exceedingly troubled and vexed by their own minds. They are tired of their minds. Hence, in order to remove these botherations and troubles, the rishis (sages) thought it best to deprive the mind of all sensual pleasures. When the mind has been concentrated or made extinct, it cannot force one to seek for further pleasure, and all botherations and troubles are removed for ever and the person attains real peace.
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The mind can do nothing without the help of the senses. And the senses cannot do anything without the help of the mind. Desire moves the mind and the senses and makes it outgoing. Abandon desires and control the mind. Thinking means externalisation or objectification. Thinking is samsara. Thinking causes identification with the body, with 'I-ness', 'mine-ness', time and space.
Stop this thinking through vairagya (dispassion) and abhyasa (practice). Merge yourself in pure consciousness where there is no thinking. This is the absolution; this is jivanmukta (liberation).
Monday, November 17, 2014
Dama - Sense Control
Dama is self-restraint. It is control of the senses. It is a vedantic sadhana (practice). It comes after the practice of sama (restraint of mind). It is one of the sad-sampat (six-fold wealth). It does not allow the senses to run outwards. It gives strength, peace and concentration. It develops will-power. It helps you to disconnect or shut off the mind from the senses, and the senses from the objects. It corresponds to pratyahara (sense-withdrawal) of raja yoga. An objector says, "Why should there be practice of dama when the mind is controlled by sama?" It is a double attack on the mind. The mind operates in conjunction with the senses; the mind will be subdued easily and effectively if you practise dama also. It weakens or thins out the mind.
There is also a deliberate order here. Without viveka (wisdom), vairagya (dispassion) is not powerful. It is viveka that weans the mind from sensual objects and directs it towards the Absolute. So viveka comes first. If there is dawn of viveka, vairagya, serenity (sama) will come by itself. It is easy to control the mind if the senses are also controlled. So dama comes after sama. If you practise dama, uparati (satiety) follows - you are disgusted with sensual objects. Serenity and restraint of the indriyas are increased if you have titiksha or power of endurance. When you possess the above qualifications naturally you will have faith (shraddha) and a balanced inner life (samadhana). If you are endowed with viveka, vairagya and six wealths, a burning yearning for liberation (mumukshutva) will automatically follow.
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Sensual pleasure is the womb of pain. The cause for pain is the pursuit of pleasure. Sensual pleasure is imaginary, illusory, fleeting and tantalising. Abandon pleasure and rejoice in the eternal bliss of the Atman. He who has destroyed desire is really a harmonised, peaceful and happy man.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Your Real Name
Do you know who you are? I shall tell you. Hear me. You are the master of the body and the senses and the mind. You are the master of your life. All power is within you. You have to know this and manifest it.
How can the mind torment you? How can despair overcome you? Despair is a quality of the mind and the mind is your servant. You are all bliss, all light, all strength, all knowledge. You are divinity. You are above and beyond both body and mind. You are immortal - satchidananda (existence - knowledge - bliss absolute).
The important thing to know clearly is that you are not the slave of the mind and the senses. You have got into the habit of thinking that their craving is your craving. Now get out of this habit, by constantly reminding yourself that you have nothing to do with the mischievous mind and senses.
Remember constantly that you are not this perishable body. You are not this perishable, changing mind. You are the all-pervading consciousness. You are the eternal seer. You are the eternal witness. Therefore be ever free and blissful.
Intensify your spiritual life. Seek the light of vedanta. Be a flame of the light of the Upanishads. Ever meditate on: "I am the immortal, all-pervading Brahman." Om is the bow, the soul is the arrow and Brahman is the target.
When you realise the effulgent Supreme Being you shake off all evil and attain the supreme stainless unity. Devote yourself to the holy quest of truth. Devote yourself to the discovery of the ultimate spiritual essence that is all-pervading and interpenetrating.
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Withdraw the senses. Look within and search your heart. Dive deep into the recesses of your heart, through deep meditation on the innermost self, the inner ruler. You will doubtless realise your identity with Brahman and get to the heart of the infinite - the heart of infinite joy and bliss.