"It is not what you do that matters, but how you do it – with what attitude and aim. The spiritual effect that a seemingly spiritual activity brings, can also be had by the domestic pursuit, provided you preserve a spiritual attitude and dedication."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Learning the sastras  is fruitless as long as you don’t know the supreme truth. The purpose of the sastras is to lead you to the supreme truth, not lead you, lead you, make you understand and realize it and make you self authoritative and self verifiable. So, it is a fulfilling science. There is something, you can approach it this way, proceed, approach, see and write your own verdict about it. This is the way our sastras  proceed because the product is not outside, it is within the body. So it cannot be unapproachable to anybody. It is only it’s imperceptibility that puts us into trouble.

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

We have got a word in our Indian language, ‘sastra’ or ‘sastras’. The word ‘sastra’ properly derived means a kind of a text or a book or it can be even an oral presentation where the subject dealt with is discussed in terms of reason, rationality, pointing out the good and bad of it, the desirable and undesirable aspects of it. You can have a sastra about anything whatsoever. We have got nātya-sastra, nadana-sastra, gāna-sastra. We have got a sastra which discusses the physionomical features of people and identifies each particular aspect with the qualities associated with it. It is called sāmudrika-sastra. Similarly, we have astronomy, astrology, medical science, mathematics, physics, chemistry. All these are written, well documented and presented in our country. When you have something presented in the form of a document, you cannot doubt it because it must have been authored by somebody. We may not know who is the author, and we may not be able to date the time of creation, having authored the book. But the book is available before us.

One aspect of the sastras is called eternal because the subject discussed is eternally relevant to the human, and we don’t know when it was written. Everybody who knew about it, found that it was far, far old. So we call it anādi,  beginning-less because its beginning is not traceable. So virtually it is beginning-less. Our sastras are wonderful, especially these spiritual sastras. In the spiritual field, no objective experimentation is possible because it is not a material or an energial science. It is not dealing with a subject which the senses can perceive. It is inside the body. People generally refer to it as the mind, intelligence, soul, ego etc. They are referring to it and the references have meaning. But with beautiful definitions, comparisons and contrasts, our people have been able to discuss this invisible, invisible but experiential subject, spirituality. One should really read them and get at progressive and progressive revelations.

Everything is empirical and everything is related to the mento-intellectual constituents of the human being. Mind and intelligence are the ground on which, every branch of  knowledge is built. When I say, ‘built’, it means quite much. A knowledge cannot be built easily and for no reason. If it has to stand the test of time and the test of acceptance, then it has to be verily a science. I will tell you one or two verses from our sastras.

अविज्ञाते परे तत्त्वे शास्त्राधीतिस्तु निष्फला ।
विज्ञातेऽपि परे तत्त्वे शास्त्राधीतिस्तु निष्फला ।। ५९ ।।
Avijñāte pare tattve śāstrādhītistu niṣphalā
Vijñate’pi pare tattve śāstrādhītistu niṣphalā
(Vivekachudamani 59)

Mostly, both the lines are same words. In one a negative is put, akāra. 

Avijñāte pare tattve śāstrādhītistu niṣphalā

Learning the sastras is fruitless as long as you don’t know the supreme truth. The purpose of the sastras is to lead you to the supreme truth, not lead you, lead you, make you understand and realize it and make you self authoritative and self verifiable. So, it is a fulfilling science. There is something, you can approach it this way, proceed, approach, see and write your own verdict about it. This is the way our sastras  proceed because the product is not outside, it is within the body. So it cannot be unapproachable to anybody. It is only it’s imperceptibility that puts us into trouble.

So, Avijñāte pare tattve, when the supreme truth is not personally known and experienced, any extent of education in the sastras  is useless. Then the next line, next half says, Vijñate’pi pare tattve. When the supreme reality is known and realized, experienced, śāstrādhītistu niṣphalā, further education in the sphere of sastras  is useless. If you don’t know the truth, the scriptural education is of no avail. If you know the truth, it becomes redundant. Can you imagine how much of introspection is called for by these two statements?

Another statement is,

यदा पञ्चावतिष्ठन्ते ज्ञानानि मनसा सह ।
बुद्धिश्च न विचेष्टति तामाहुः परमां गतिम् ।। २.३.१० ।।
yadā pañcāvatiṣṭante jñānāni manasā saha |
buddhiśca na viceṣtati tāmāhuḥ paramām gatim ||
(Kathopanishad 2.3.10)

They are discussing how to approach the self. It is inside the body. So you cannot have a vehicle, you cannot have a tool. The tool is only intelligence. Now, then how is it, what is this self in terms of one’s experience, approachability? He says, yadā, when pañcāvatiṣṭante jñānāni. When all the five knowledge senses like, eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin, avatiṣṭante, they remain absolutely still and non-active in their own respective centres, manasā saha, together with the mind. Buddhiśca na viceṣtati, and the buddhi, intelligence also remains still and quiet. Tāmāhuḥ paramām gatim, that is considered to be the supreme state. What do you understand from this? The supreme state is one where the senses are not employed, the mind is not functioning, the intelligence also is made to be still. It is stillness of the senses and the body on the one hand and equal stillness inside the body, in the mind and the intelligence levels also. Tāmāhuḥ paramām gatim, that is considered to be the supreme state.

So, what is the supreme state? This is the supreme state. If this is the supreme state, one may ask, “Swamiji, is there anything to be done?” No. Ultimately there is nothing to be done. But every day we are having our food. The food generates energy. The energy requires output. We are breathing, we are having respiration, hot blood is circulating, elementary canal is functioning. If you keep quiet, and you can, I don’t say you will, you can, if you can imaginatively at least. “No, I will not have any food.”

Parikshit Maharaja stopped taking food, even stopped taking water, except breath he did not have for seven days, he continued and he listened to Shuka-muni very faithfully. He only listened to him, he did not do anything. Srimad Bhagavata speaks about a number of austerities, many different kinds of austerity, going to the mountain, practicing this, that, many, many things. Parikshit never did all this, he only listened to Shuka-muni. And the end on the seventh day, he said, “I am blessed. I am fulfilled. I have gained what I wanted. I don’t fear anymore. Takshaka coming and biting me any time now, I don’t fear death. Here I withdraw my senses from the objects of the world. I withdraw the mind from the senses. I withdraw the intelligence from the mind. And I dissolve it  to rest in my own inmost bosom.” Before that, he registered his gratefulness and respects to Shuka-muni. This is what happened. What did Parikshit do? Nothing! But he listened to. The clarity he received was so much that he said, “I have nothing to gain or lose.”

Now, so many people are listening to this Srimad Bhagavatam but not in the way Parikshit had done. All of them are not fated to die on the seventh day and they don’t take prāyopaveśa, fast unto death, not taking even water. If you can, stop everything. Stop even your breath but not by closing the nose and mouth. Exercising your inner will, one can even do that.

At other places, they say…When you understand the truth, will the body instantly fall? It may not. So what will you do as long as the body lives? You are free to do what you want. And a spiritual man, what will he do?  He will not like to take up any material calling. Then what will he do?  

प्रारब्धकर्मपरिकल्पितवासनाभिः
संसारिवच्चरति भुक्तिषु मुक्तदेहः ।
सिद्धः स्वयं वसति साक्षिवदत्र तूष्णी
चक्रस्य मूलमिव कल्पविकल्पशून्यः ॥
prārabdhakarmaparikalpitavāsanābhiḥ
saṁsārivaccarati bhuktiṣu muktadehaḥ |
siddhaḥ svayaṁvasati sākṣivadatra tūṣṇīṁ
cakrasya mūlamiva kalpavikalpaśūnyaḥ ||
(Vivekachudamani 552)

This is one description.

Prārabdhakarmaparikalpitavāsanābhiḥ. He is born in some family as a child of a couple, parents. His body has inherited physical and biological characteristics. In the same manner, his mind and intelligence also have inherited some mento-intellectual characteristics in which tendencies, desires, predilections, aptitudes, all these are falling. Governed by these, he will live in this world. He will appear to be a samsāri, a worldly man to the others, but he will live and move in this world, carati bhuktiṣu muktadehaḥ, as a man liberated from all bondage and inner afflictions.

Siddhaḥ, fulfilled, svayaṁvasati sākṣivad, as a witness of everything. As he is a witness to the world, he is a witness to his body, he is a witness to his mind, mental activity, intelligence and intellectual activity, ego and egocentric processes. His position is as a witness, not as the witnessed. Atra tūṣṇīṁ, truly speaking he will be silent. Cakrasya mūlamiva kalpavikalpaśūnyaḥ, it is something like a revolving wheel. That the wheel is revolving around a pivot. The pivot has to be strong and stable. Depending upon the revolution, the speed and the counter force it creates, the pivot has to withstand. So, the more he is active, the more stable he has to be inside. Like the pivot of a wheel, kalpavikalpaśūnyaḥ, he will not have any imagination victimizing him at any point of time.

There are other descriptions which say that he will live and move dispensing with felicity for the world and many people will come to him. They may offer things. Some may be good, some may be bad. People will come to him, they will also be assorted. Thus, being subject to a kind of various kinds of treatment by the people, he will remain like the sea into which so many rivers flow. All of them will bring impurity, slush, dirt. All of them are received by the sea without any sense of revolt or conflict. Salinity is passed on to the river water. All the slush settles down and the river is no more a river, it becomes the sea.

Similarly, he will be selfizing, selfizing, it’s a word I am coining. He will make everything an inner expansive self. All the four bhutas will be dissolved into the fifth bhuta namely ākāśa. At the time of dissolution, all the visible universe will undergo a counter evolution, and ultimately there will be nothing. No solid particle or object, no fluid, no gasses, no energy like a light, magnetism etc. heat, everything will be dissolved into the invisible space. Like that, all the imprints the senses try to bring about in his mind, all of them will be dissolved into his self expanse. Now, whether this takes place or not, and it is true or not and with whom, nobody else in this world can say. Maximum you can approach that person, where you feel people are alleging that he is a great man, please go to him, without any offensive step without offending him. Being courteous you ask him, “I would like to know my dear soul. What is your state? We have heard this from sastras and others, is it true? Have you realized it, have you attained it? I would like to know just as an inspiration.” Then he will tell you. Whether his words are labeled or not, he is honest or dishonest, I think you can find out in the case of anybody. This is the only way, you can know.

Never sit in judgment upon anybody in this world because this is an inner development and fruition. You cannot apply any kind of an external test for it. It’s simply nonsense, failure, inadequate, unfruitful. Now all these are mentioned in our sastras. They are the recorded and documented version of people and only the truthful and lasting ones will survive. Others will be buried in history, buried by time.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.