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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
I was the seventh child. The first was a son. Either he left home before my birth or soon after my birth. We have no news of his for the past eighty-four years. There was a brother immediately elder to me, one and a half years difference. I was very close to him. He was a very troublesome person. I have witnessed the unimaginably cruel way in which my father was punishing him. I don’t think any father would punish his child in this manner. I was helplessly watching him. I never had a dislike or a disregard or a derision for my father. Instead I have a lot of respect and regard.
My body is born of my father and mother. Whatever I have is primarily inherited from them. To some extent, to this inheritance some acquisition has been made. That too in the initial years of our life, the acquisition is provided by the parents. I always say, whatever we have is whatever we have got from our parents. The parents want to bring up the children very well. Some have a sense of ownership and possessiveness. They overdo it. So our father was very anxious that the children should become better, grow sky high etc. But poor father could not do anything much about it except scolding the children and punishing them also. I had heard my mother say that when he took his tamarind tree stick to beat me for the first time, I embraced him tightly that my father seems to have thrown away his stick and said, “This boy I will bring up without beating.”
There are many occasions when we children used to laugh and laugh seeing the anger and the manner in which he was chasing the children. Sometimes we would go hiding in one part outside the wall. He could have left the matter there. But he would come after us. So we will run again. So when I think of all these things, I only have smiles and laughter. I have inherited the Vākdhādi of my father. Some kind of resoluteness also is there. I have inherited the austerity from my mother. That austerity is something very important. I have some Sanskrit verses. My mother was totally illiterate; could not read or write. But some of the Sanskrit verses she has taught me are so scrupulously clean and correct because her father was a Sanskrit scholar, a śāstrigal. Maybe we children have inherited from our grandfather. All of us are very much tuned to Sanskrit, tuned to learning and understanding the scriptures.
There were two denials, losses in my family. One is the first son. The second is my own immediately elder brother. With all this, what happened - That brother died, very very young. When he died in Calcutta, I alone was there, I was a boy, I was exposed to Calcutta for the first time. Naturally a lot of ignorance, immaturity and all that would have been there. I cremated his body and came home with a piece of cloth for doing all the post-death ceremonies. I used to think about his death. All the people from my village started crying but I did not cry. In the hospital itself I thought he would die. He was in the hospital for about two and a half months. Finally he became desperate and without telling anybody, getting discharged, he came away from the hospital alone. We had to readmit him and get him released from the hospital. Later on, he was admitted to the same bed number 72 in the hospital at night and in the morning his dead body was lying outside in the cot. I used to think about the dead body, think about the sight. I have a method of assimilating whatever comes into life. Anything when you assimilate, it becomes an enrichment.
My whole philosophy in life is that everything in this world and life is to be undergone. You are already undergoing it. But undergo it wisely with a will, with an intention. Nobody has elevated his life with comforts, laughter and smile. If anybody has been able to think and elevate himself, it is only through tears and denials. The strength of the mind consists in its undergoing sufferings and difficulties.
A man of riches will not have much of mental strength. A man of luxuries will have a weak mind. You will find the best of people are born in the middle class. Not in the upper class, not in the lower class. It is a fact of life. When I say this, many people would not accept or understand it. But let me tell you openly that I speak with a lot of… I am a research person. I research into the mind and life very much, very well, into God also.
Living children have never educated or elevated the parents but dead children have. The memory of the living as you grow old irritates you. You always have to speak about the misbehaviour of children, the inattention they extend etc. But when a child dies, especially young, it puts the father and the mother to a serious introspection. Actually, this introspection they should do without any kind of a death in the family. So many people are dying in different families. That should be sufficient for you to think about premature death and the impact it produces. People always want themselves to be hit in order to think. But is it necessary? Are we not human beings? Can we not share our thoughts and minds and hearts? When somebody suffers, that should be sufficient for you to feel for the suffering. But it seldom occurs.
When did Parikshit start thinking? When he was cursed and only seven days of life were left. Then he decided to undergo a fast unto death. Suddenly, the same providence which gifted Parikshit when he exited from Śamīka’s hermitage with a dead cobra outside which he took at the tip of the bow and put as a garland on the Maharshi’s neck; the same providence from nowhere gifted him a Śuka Muni, a sixteen-year old ascetic boy who had no other care or anxiety, sat in front of Parikshit, went on reciting to him Srimad Bhagavatam continuously, elevating the mind of Parikshit. He elevated Parikshit from his emotional mind to the rational intelligence as a result of which Parikshit started questioning him, making pertinent questions which were answered by Śuka Muni and the narration and dialogue continued for 6.5 days. At the end Parikshit says:
‘By your merciful self, I have become fulfilled in my life. I have become blessed. I no more fear death or Takshaka.’
Thus saying, he withdrew his senses from the world, mind from the senses, intelligence from the mind and steeped it into his own inner bosom. Takshaka came and bit him but he never knew! The real Parikshit, the conscious Parikshit was not there. His consciousness had become drowned in its own inmost essence. Takshaka came and bit. From the fire that arose from the poison, his body was burned. Others witnessed and reported; Parikshit was not there.
My dear souls, children, please understand, for every grief in this world there is a redress and a solution. For every question, there is an answer. You only live in the mind. The mind produces the grief. The answer is not in the mind. It is in the intelligence. The area of knowledge is accessible only to the intelligence of man. Intelligence survives on questions, enquiries, knowledge, discoveries, assessments.
In the battlefield of Kurukshetra also, Krishna elevated Arjuna from the mind level to the intelligence level. Suddenly the tears stopped and Arjuna asked him, “I am deluded. I cannot think and decide. I appoint you as my teacher and I become your student. Teach me, instruct me in such a manner that my grief is completely resolved, I become cooled and you tell me the way for elevation.” Everywhere it is like that.
This Srimad Bhagavatam which is a beautiful compendium clearly declares that the world may give you many things, a number of bounties, glories, splendours, allurements, fascinations, comforts, delights, thrills, exhilarations; all are there in the world. But mind you, mind you, mind you, it equally inflicts on you threefold suffering; three types of suffering. One is the Ādhyātmik suffering, suffering caused by your body in the form of diseases and the others, caused by the mind by improper thoughts and emotions, caused by the intelligence by wrongly adducing matters and evaluating matters. If you are not able to understand a development or a phenomenon, it creates suffering.
Rama along with Sita and Lakshmana went to the forest, got into the chariot. Somehow, Daśaratha rolled, rolled, rolled and came there and asked Sumantra to stop the chariot he was driving. Rama from inside said, “No! Go Fast. Sorrowful occasions should not be extended. If the father asks you, tell him you did not hear him.”
When the chariot was sped on, sped on, Daśaratha said, “Rama.. Rama…Rama…”. The life forces left him. But mind you, Kausalya who bore him in her womb survived. Who should have had greater impact if at all, the mother or the father? Kausalya remained there. She had blessed Rama. “You go. Initially I cried. Now I understand a good son should do what you are out to do. I bless you. Go to Dandakāraṇya, let the fourteen years pass away as fourteen months. Come back, I shall be here to greet you.” But the father could not say that. Just imagine. That was Ādhyātmik suffering, suffering caused by his own mind.
Similarly, we have accidents, 1.5 lakhs of people are dying on our roads every year and many are injured. Every year this happens on roads made by us, by vehicles we have manufactured, by traffic laws under which we operate. Death is not unusual in this world. Generally it comes when one becomes old. Sometimes it becomes otherwise also. How many diseases are there newly? We are causing diseases ourselves by polluting the earth, air and water. We don’t know what is the consequence. So the threefold sufferings which are inflicted by the world, one is Ādhyātmik, another is Ādidaivik, Ādibhaudhik.
India is one of the ten countries in this world which have a long sea coast. Seven thousand five hundred kilometres of sea coast we have. We are exposed to the vagaries of nature, cyclones, hurricanes, floods, drought, earthquakes, lightning, cloud burst. If you want to live here, you have to be subject to these. Learn to manage, otherwise go to some other land. Everywhere earth is the same.
So let us understand that our life in this world is exposed to these sufferings, exposed to the threefold suffering. These sufferings can be mitigated only by:
Only by knowledge of the truth about matters. You should know what life is. You should know what death is. You should know what the world is. Understand the constitution of the world. Understand the course of the world.
We are living in this world. The world is not ours. Perhaps we are of the world. We cannot dictate what should be in the world. We can manage to a very limited extent. There also, an individual is always ranged against many and the society and nature. Anything that takes place here is not outside the orbit of the world. Whatever has taken place earlier in life with our forefathers and ancestors, that alone has taken place now here.
My brother died very young. One brother ran away. In my mother’s face, I have never found that affliction and torment accompanying her. My father also, I have not seen him suffer unduly because of that. About one I don’t know much. About the next, the death, I was the only witness for the last moments and the death and the post-death ceremony, cremation etc. So I am speaking with a lot of experience. I belong to a full-fledged family knowing everything.
I have written one capital sentence in my life. THERE IS A WAY OF LIVING IN THIS WORLD WITHOUT BEING AFFECTED BY IT. THERE IS A WAY OF LIVING IN THIS WORLD WITHOUT BEING AFFECTED BY IT. YOU WILL ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU RIGHTLY DESERVE. Let us not question the developments. Let us accept them. If somebody has died, he has died; it is a fact. We cannot preserve the dead body. We have to cremate it. We have to make arrangements for cremation. But we are unable to do it and the neighbours come and take over. Is it the right course? Should we not be able to give the dead body its due treatment ourselves? But we are not able to do. And what is the reason? Total grief, total delusion. Is there not a way of living in this world in a better manner? What for is our intelligence? What for is our heart? What for is the treasure of literature we have on the subject? This is something that every one of us should reflect upon and know.
Yesterday I spoke quite eloquently about our ancestors, the people who lived earlier and how the human mind behaves with its vagaries, with its extremes etc. Don’t question life; accept it. When you accept it and start assimilating life, every assimilation is an enrichment. If the food is digested by the stomach, what will happen? In the course of four or five hours, it becomes converted into blood and the residual portion is thrown off. When the food is assimilated, it becomes blood and health in the body. Similarly, any input coming from the world, if the mind is assimilating it, it has the power and potential to do so, you will find you get enriched.
My dear souls, be enriched every day, come what may. Do not prefer and choose to have X alone in life. We can have X+, X-. Instead of X we can have Y also. We are to be born in a family and we have to live a few years. Our relationship with anybody is until one of the related dies. When the death comes, we simply have to embrace it. There is no other way. The dead people in the world is always far far more than the living people. If all of us did not die, even ants would not have space to crawl upon this earth. We are all born only to die. The question is when it comes. It can come with disease, it can come with age, it can come with starvation, it can come with an improper treatment by the mind about the incidents and events in life.
Daśaratha died only because of his mind. What was wrong in his son going to the forest? The entire world remembers Rama only because he left. Otherwise no Ramayana would have been written and we would never think of a Sri Rama at all. Whose story has been written who was rich and who was enjoying, living with a hundred servants for hundred years? Is there any story worth writing? If at all there is a story, it is a story of enrichment, elevation, enlightenment, loftiness, exaltation and that will not come in the hands of pleasures and comforts.
I think we should shudder at nothing in this world. We are a part of the world and the world is ours. It is always a harmony and a marriage and an alliance between the world and ourselves. Anything may happen. It may be pleasant today, unpleasant tomorrow, unpleasant today, pleasant tomorrow. Bhagavad Gita says:
Na prahṛṣyet-priyaṁ prāpya. Whenever something pleasant takes place, do not unduly delight over it, be exulting.
Nodvijet-prāpya cāpriyam. When something unpleasant occurs, don’t be agitated and don’t develop aversion or derision. Open your mind to receive whatever comes. Every day the sun rises, the moon waxes and wanes, the seasons come and go. In summer it is hot and sultry, in rainy season it is cold. What is there static in this world? Everything is subject to change. So let us accept the changes. Sometimes they will be pleasant, sometimes they will be unpleasant.
Our mind has got infinite potential to contain, to receive, to assimilate, to be enriched by anything that comes. Vasishtha and Arundhati were living together. Vishwamitra killed ninety-nine out of hundred children. Vasishtha kept quiet; Arundhati also. Did Vishwamitra succeed or Vasishtha succeed, you yourselves say. Then Arundhati said, “At least I would like to have this last son to survive.” So Vasishtha protected him.
What did Krishna do at the end of his lifetime? He sat leaning upon the Aswattha tree ready to receive the departure. That is the time a hunter aimed an arrow at his foot. That was the last event. What did Rukmini do? Jumped into fire on hearing Krishna had gone. What did Pandavas do? Thirty-six years they ruled India. At the end of it, they all walked up the Himalayas. One after the other not getting oxygen, they started falling, falling, falling. Draupadi fell first and Yudhishthira last.
My dear souls, this world is to be left. But till you leave it, you should live royally, gloriously, elevationally, you should live enrichingly, enrichedly. This is the way you have to live and that is what our intelligence is for. There is no life situation which our mind will not be able to contain, assimilate and be enriched by. I think it is foolish and ignorant to feel a sense of loss. The world nurses you, cares you, tends you. It will make you the best of a human you can ever be. Treat the world as the mother, as the father, and be nursed by it. Resent not, revolt not. On the other hand, feel humble, feel soft, be receptive, be receptive. Try to assimilate everything.
I told you about my experience, my birth etc. only to say that I have also gone through these things. Somehow, either about my first brother or about my immediately close elder brother, I have seen all these things. When my Pūrvāśrama sister was in the hospital and her daughter-in-law told me that this is the situation, they are thinking of hooking her body to the heart and lungs machine, I called the doctor. “My dear doctor, it is not necessary to put her on heart-lung machine. She is fairly old. She has been looked after well and let her have a peaceful departure.” “Is it so?” Then the doctor asked the daughter-in-law, “This Swami telephoned me and said. Who is He?” “He is our Guru. Whatever He says, we accept. So let us not hook.” My sister passed away maybe in one hour or half-an-hour. Before that I had gone and seen. I generally cut a little joke. So I was speaking a little fondly and cheerfully to her.
When my mother was lingering, lingering, lingering, I told my elder brother. “Generally you are very elder to me, fifteen years elder. I take advice from you. I never advice you. But one point I would like to point out. You have looked after the mother very well, very well, very well. She has lived long. There is no necessity for her to linger in life. So don’t overfeed her as the doctors say. Give her the minimum of food for the life to survive. Let not life linger at all.” I think we have to be practical.
So many diseases are there. What can we do? It is good that we don’t have it. If somebody has it, let us have all the sympathy and feeling for him or her. Do whatever is possible and be reconciled with the development. Try to look after people as much as possible, I always say. Relieve the patient of pain and suffering and let him carry on. Nothing else. I think all my people whom I know, they have been consoled and strengthened in many such instances of departure with disease, without disease, with old age, with young age etc. Everywhere it has gone off well.
That Rumni and Dr Alok were in Bombay in a hospital with their son, for about one and half or two months. He did not survive. We used to talk to Rumni frequently, periodically, enquire about the boy and the doctors say he is fighting, he is fighting, let us encourage him and all that. Finally he departed. What can be done? Disease is not our creation. Immunity is not within our reach. We will try to do whatever is possible and that is more than sufficient.
Like marriage we assimilate, death also we should be able to assimilate. Mind becomes the best by suffering. Intelligence becomes the best by knowledge. All these are areas of knowledge called subject knowledge as different from the object knowledge about the world by virtue of which as it happened with Parikshit, as it happened with Arjuna, as it happened with the young Sri Rama of sixteen years old, as it happened with Janaka in the hands of Ashtāvakra, everywhere I think there is a solution, there is a redress, there is an enrichment and elevation.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.