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I have been speaking and exposing Vedanta as a science and practice for more than 61 years now. Initially perhaps I was looking into our Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and other texts, maybe only in a traditional manner, giving it a very special sanctity, both in its content and message and also the purpose. Very soon, I realized that our whole scriptural texts have the aim of orienting and enriching the human personality, say men and women, in such a manner that they will have fulfillment in life and by their life, the society, the people at large will also be benefitted. In other words, our entire tradition and scriptures have the sole purpose of making man more and more selfless and more and more harmless and useful to the people. This whole process rests upon the transformation of the seeker, particularly his mind and intelligence.
Vedanta is all practical according to me. But many people think of Vedanta as theory on the one hand and as an exclusive life on the other. Exclusive life means not the ordinary life; it is something different. So, I have been emphasizing on the mind, the character, the characteral, behavioral and interactional stages which should be attempted and brought about. Though I have been speaking in this manner for many decades, only during the past one or two or three years, I have found that people have started bringing the mind element in their sādhanā, in their Vedantic interest.
Our Upanishads very clearly say,
For bandhana as well as moksha, mind alone is the cause. It is a very general, absolute statement. But this statement has to be looked at from a practical point of view. That practical linkage apparently was missing and even now is missing. Now everybody understands that mind is the one factor to be gone into, corrected, improved and ornamented in us. The mind expression is in character; the mind becomes more and more qualitative, qualitative, qualitative. This qualitative improvement of the mind because mind is invisible, the improvement also will be invisible. For it to become visible, it has to be carried in the behavior on the one hand and interaction on the other.
Behavior need not be always interaction with others. How do you wear your dress? When do you get up and have your bath? What do you do after having your bath? What is the type of work you do? What do you do with the income? How do you spend your money? How do you spend your leisure? What about the cleanliness and orderliness you preserve? All these are resting upon you; your behavior. When it comes to interaction, it is not just behavior resting on you; it is behavior which interacts with the others; their behavior.
So the behavior and interaction alone are visible, and it is there that the character qualitative enrichment becomes noticeable and visible. Characteral, behavioral and interactional qualitative improvement is what Vedanta or spirituality as a science is offering to humanity. Somehow this aspect does not get clung to the seekers. They are unmindful of character, unmindful of behavior and unmindful of their interaction. But, but, but, (that ‘but’ is very important) they are very fascinated, they are very much given to Vedanta, Vedantic thought and pursuit. So their pursuit is restricted perhaps to the study and reflection of the scriptures and perhaps meditation. Both do not complete or even really touch the core of the sādhanā.
The core sādhanā is getting into your inner personality, understand the behavior of the mind, character of the mind, and try to build it up by putting more and more qualities into it, by bringing corrections, by bringing moderations. You know, it is a question of correcting, improving, correcting, improving, correcting improving. And then you will find the benefits are first realized by you and then only they are noticed if at all by the others. I think for some time now, our people are realizing.
This time in Malaysia we had a workshop, a one-day retreat, and there was also a day for business community. The theme taken up by Malaysia for all these three (retreats) clearly reflects that they have become conscious of the practical applicational value of Vedanta as a science or spirituality as a science. When your character becomes better and better, you are the first person to know about it because you are building it. So you are the beneficiary. Whether your effort is successful or not, you will know about it. Then that character improvement will be reflected in the behavior, equally in the interaction. Then others also can know it. There is no point in deluding yourself to say that “I am improving, I am sure, I know”. At least, one percent of it should become noticeable to the others.
So I would like you to reexamine your mind and intelligence and find out whether you know what is this spirituality, how it works on the sādhakā and what is the sādhanā and what are the benefits and outcome the sādhanā brings about. Bhagavad Gita in the second chapter says at the conclusion,
When a man begins to live and move in this world without any desire whatsoever, nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ, there should be no mamata, possessiveness, there should be no ego, there should be no desire.
Sa śāntim-adhigacchati. That man attains peace.
Peace is the property, is the need of the mind, call it peace, call it joy, call it contentment, call it composure, call it acceptance. Peace is the requirement of the mind. Unless the sādhanā gives you peace, gives you peace, it cannot be called a sādhanā at all. And this peace comes from three factors - One is the dropping of desires, understanding that they are neither necessary nor useful; similarly dropping possessiveness and finally ego. Now this is the summary of the whole spirituality. So when we say drop the ego, drop possessiveness, people may be finding it very hard and repulsive even. So I don’t so much say about it.
What do I say? I speak about the very buoyant and administrative and behavioral benefits of Bhagavad Gita. “Such a human excels”, Krishna says. “Such a devotee is very dear to me”, He says. “Such and such a person is never resented by the world; he is worshipped by the world.” Such a person who doesn’t hate the world; he cannot hate the world. The world will continue to be a forum of all kinds of things. If a family has only boys, sons born to it, then another family will have daughters born to it. You should understand that the world is very complex! In the complex world, you should simply understand, accept and reconcile with it.
There is no time, there was no time, there will not be any time when the world consists of only good and not bad. In order to understand good to be good, there must be surrounding badness. Otherwise how will you know? How can you call something or some condition ‘light’ unless you have darkness also opposed to it? So I think that mind, mind, mind, intelligence is the only tool which can improve the mind. So through the intelligence, take up the mind-improvement program and understand what is the improvement, then I think your sādhanā is meaningful. I would like you to reflect upon it.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.