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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Today I thought I would mention something about how you take to religious practices and as you grow older and older, how these practices also are outlived. This is a point many people do not know and in the name of religion, tradition and fondness for tradition, they get confused and they become miserable.
Let us know very clearly that every practice that we do is actually for our benefit. Suppose a practice proves hard and difficult, then why should you do it at all? As an austerity measure, when you are young and the body is strong, we can put the body to some kind of restrain and persecution. But if you ask me, in the sattvik level of austerity, no such persecution is expected, it is not necessary.
There is no religious exercise which if you do is good, if you don’t do it is bad. Whatever is good, if you do, you will be benefited by it, and if you don’t do it, naturally you will not have the benefit. To bring the idea of sin and virtue there, is not at all good, but generally we use the words ‘virtue’ and ‘sin’ as synonymous with good and bad, beneficial and not so. In that sense it is okay. But not that if you don’t perform this, then you will have sin. I don’t think we are safe in the hands of any such discipline.
There are people given to various practices. I have seen my poorvashrama father performing shrāddha twice in a year for his father and mother. He used to do it very punctiliously. That day, he would not take coffee which South Indian families are very much used to. By the time the Brahmins are fed and the crows also are fed, when everything is over, he used to come to the kitchen and Mā used to give him coffee. It will be about 2 o’clock in the afternoon. So, the whole day is a kind of discipline and austerity for him. He lived for 80 years and I have seen him towards the later periods. No shrāddha he performed. We cannot do regular things in life (During old age). Then can we do special things like shrāddha with all the rigorous austerity? So, we cut it short. Give some rice to people, Brahmins or the others and give them also some money in the form of dakshina as they call it and be satisfied.
So here is a dictum Srimad Bhagavatam pronounces.
Every karma that you perform is only to be redeemed of it, to outlive it. This outliving is, physical things are outlived, oral things are outlived, mento-intellectual things are also outlived and ultimately what comes or what survives is the outliving mind or the outliving ‘I’. I don’t know whether you understand what I say.
We outlive all practices. Ultimately, all practices are left, the practitioner alone remains. That is what we want. The earlier you realize it, the better. But people don’t realize it earlier. So, what is our spiritual sadhana, if you ask me in this line, the spiritual sadhana is one where you focus your attention on your own mind. We are doing elaborate pooja, elaborate disciplines also we have, all to bring some effect on the mind. What is the effect on the mind? The mind should be good, benign and benevolent. Your mind should not think of bad for anyone. If at all, you think of good. You should never have a pride or ego about anything. Do not have possessiveness even about your body. Then what to speak of the children, husband and wife, all of whom are related to the body?
Ultimately, we should not have any desire at all. The time and the duration for desires is all over! You live comfortably, happily, lightly, cheerfully with your mind. The mind should allow you to do so. Think of God when you can. Don’t think of him if you cannot. We are living in this world. So, we have to attend to the worldly requirements, bodily requirements etc. Make all of them equally God. The real bhakthi as Prahlada says
Exclusive devotion to the Lord is the greatest selfishness that you can think of.
What is that exclusive devotion to the Lord? “Yat-sarvatra tad-īkṣaṇam”. See him everywhere in everything. So, what do you have to do? Think of God whenever you can. If you don’t think of God, don’t miss him. Instead of God, you must be thinking something else, and all are equally God. What can we think of? We can think of world things. Our body, our existence is part of the world, whether we think of the world or ourselves, it is the same thing. This world is produced and displayed by God. So, it is God in a prathyaksha manner. Otherwise, you think of him in a paroksha manner. Whether God is thought of parokshi-cally or prathyakshi-cally, what difference does it make? Our mind should go to this kind of a thinking.
All of you who have come here are in one way or another interested in Brahmavidya. What is this Brahmavidya? It is only a practice done by your mind. What will the mind do? It will think, it will produce thought, memory etc. Brahmavidya is one which is done by the mind and the purpose of Brahmavidya is to make your mind lighter and lighter, thinner and thinner. The thoughts become less and less, feebler and feebler until at last all the thoughts come to a stop. When the thoughts stop, the source from which all thoughts proceed will come to light. Actually, while we are sleeping, all the thoughts disappear but we are not awake to understand where we are and what we are.
So, in real Brahmavidya sadhana, the Guru gives you a deeksha and the deeksha sadhana you pursue until at last all the thoughts and interruptions of the mind cease, stop and who or what things, their source is revealed. What a beautiful state is that! Whether it is Srividya, this vidya, that vidya or other vidya, all these are done only by you! You are the focus. Once you understand that your mind is the focus, always look into the mind and make it better and better. Get into the mind arena and then sweep it through. The effect of such sadhana will be the mind will become lighter, more and more peaceful, more and more delightful. Your mind will start delighting you. It can reach such a stage where you start getting “nairapekshyam sukam” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.14.17), there is a comfort and a delight arising out of non-expectation.
Every practice is ultimately to be left. Go on renouncing, renouncing everything mentally until at last the renouncing you alone are left. It is all by the mind, in the mind, for the mind.
You have to elevate your own mind by your mind. So please understand that everything in life is to be outlived. Do not have any fear. Our sadhana will be such that as the body grows older and older, we shall still be able to do it. It should be very, very simple resting only on your mind. As long as the mind is there, you can do your sadhana. If the mind is not there, we don’t need it, we are not there and the world is also not there.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.