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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
Bhagavad Gita contains eighteen chapters. Many chapters begin with a question or inquiry from Arjuna and the whole Bhagavad Gita is an answer to Dhritarashtra’s question to Sanjaya. True to the spirit and purpose of Bhagavad Gita, the eighteenth chapter also commences with a last question from Arjuna: “I want to know the truth about tyāga and sannyāsa”.
पावनानि मनीषिणाम् ।
(part of Bhagavad Gita 18.5)
They are not fruitful and enriching if the performer is not a manīshi. Manīshi means given to thoughtfulness and introspection. Every time in your mind there must be a note of truthful introspection about what you do - what you intend to achieve, is it being achieved, am I falling short in the right attitude, is there any relaxation, is there any carelessness, how much is the inattention, have I done it well, was the mind fully involved, did I get the joy that is necessary, if I missed it, why. Actually it is with the same body and with the same senses that we act and interact everyday.
So far as these organs are concerned, they get only tired and they age. There is no evolution or advancement possible in these organs. The more and more you employ your eyes, the eyes will become tired, they will age. The same applies to your hand, leg, everything. But by these activities, a question arises - What is the factor or constituent in you, which gets enriched, elevated and improved? The answer is ‘your mind is getting enriched’. While the body and bodily parts are getting tired and they age off, the inner mind and the inner intelligence, they seem to be always enriched provided these activities are done in a manner that is necessary. How they are to be done?
Sri Krishna emphasizes that even yajña, dāna and tapas will have to be done in an austere manner. In a way these are themselves austerities. Yajña is an austerity, dāna is an austerity and tapas also is an austerity. But these austerity performances or austere performances will have to be done in an austere manner. What is that austere manner, that austere note?
एतान्यपि तु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा फलानि च ।
कर्तव्यानीति मे पार्थ निश्चितं मतमुत्तमम् ।।
etāny-api tu karmāṇi saṅgam tyaktvā phalāni ca |
kartavyānīti me pārtha niścitam matam-uttamam ||
(Bhagavad Gita 18.6)
It is not that the secular activities alone will have to be done without sanga, these holy ceremonies or activities also have to be done without saṅga. To detect the saṅga and to be constantly striving to remove it, I think that is the right and the last austerity that all of you should have. Every other form of physical or ceremonial austerity is only leading you to this inner austerity.
तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर ।
असक्तो ह्याचरन्कर्म परमाप्नोति पुरुषः ।।
tasmād-asaktaḥ satataṁ kāryaṁ karma samācara |
asakto hy-ācaran-karma param-āpnoti pūruṣaḥ ||
Bhagavad Gita 3.19
Arjuna, all the activities have to be done, as an asakta:, as one who does not have any attachment to them. This asakti: or dis-attachment will itself lead you to the supreme goal of life. Why did I say this? This is the central and ultimate austerity effect that you should look for and ensure. Anything else that you do, what else will you do? You will do some sensory activities. Either knowledge senses or action senses will be at play, say collecting the flowers, cleaning them up and bringing them in a vessel, handing it over to Swamiji or Mā, let us take this act.
It is considered to be a very holy act. It is not enough if you do this holy act, the act is categorized as holy. But are you holy? And are you doing it in a holy manner? Whether you, the actor, are holy will depend upon what? Not your body, but your mind. So is holiness present in your body? Present in your mind? You yourself examine - ‘Have I done it in a holy manner?’. If you don’t understand what is holiness, think about it, ask for clarification.
I went to the flower plants, plucked the flowers, did I pluck them well? Did I do it in a holy manner? Just like the plants have given the flowers, I am taking them. My taking them should be a plus factor for the plants as well as myself. The plant should not feel I have plucked the flowers and wasted them. The flowers are also meant for yajña, the plants also would be very happy if their flowers are used for a sacrifice, for pleasing the Supreme Lord.
So when you pluck it you must make sure, that it is not hurting the plant but it is delighting the plant. For that, plucking is a physical act. Add your austerity to it. What is that austerity? Do it in a holy, wholesome, sublime, nice, good, beautiful manner. After collecting them, see them through and clean them up. When you clean them up, when you detach the petals from the stem, the detachment should be done in a nice manner. Do it in a slow way, make it a holy act, somehow something very simple, in a holy manner. That holiness is a contribution, a generation, which will have to be made by your mind. Make sure that you do it in a holy way. That means the mind will have to be holy. Now verify whether you mind is holy or unholy and make sure that whatever things are (to be) removed, are removed and kept in a place. And whatever are to be accepted, they are also kept in a vessel, covered up properly. Make sure that they are lying properly, one over the other, then open the lid, cover and bring it. While doing it, do it in a holy manner. This holiness is what ensures your austerity. The austerity is a discipline. It is in a way fully attention..., attention...., attention. Without attention, there cannot be any austerity.
See, I am chanting a line of a verse, what is that, any line …
न कर्मणा न प्रजया धनेन त्यागेनैके अमृतत्वमानशुः ।।
Na karmaṇā na prajayā dhanena tyāgenaikē amṛtatvamānaśuḥ |
Can it only be an oral exercise? The line contains a message, a supreme truth! Now am I comprehending it?
Na karmaṇā na prajayā dhanena tyāgenaikē amṛtatvamānaśuḥ |
When I put my attention into the words, and also into the tune, do it in a slow manner, steady manner, in a poised manner, then you will find that the whole utterance, apart from being an oral exertion, also becomes an austerity.
If you are austere, you will not have cheap talk, cheap behavior, every time you will make sure that whatever you do is delightful, is pleasing, is promoting, is holy, is elevating. Let it be anything. Anything whatsoever. All actions are done by our bodily parts and organs, whether it is a pooja or whether it is a kitchen work. All actions are movements of our body and its organs. These movements by themselves are physical. They cannot be called holy. The holiness is an attribute to the mind. And it is the mind’s holiness that makes the movements of your body or bodily parts holy.
Yajña … yajña … make everything a yajña. Bring the element of God, bring the element of offering. My act is an offering at the altar of the Supreme. So that altar of the Supreme should be there in front and your acts should become an offering.
See, it is the same simple statement. But you will have to practice it every time. Maybe if you attempt it in 100 cases, maybe in 30 cases you will feel happy. In 70 cases you would have missed it, either by haste, or by hurry or by inattention. Austerity means you touch your mind and elevate it, elevate it…
It is not a physical act done over a period of time, it is also a mental sublimation that takes place along with it. I think in short this is austerity.
The dāna normally does not come, tapas you always do, you go to the Samadhi Mandir chant the Bhagavad Gita, the Vishnu Sahasranāma, do it in an austere manner. Nobody has to ask you, you yourself ask the question ‘have I chanted it austerely?’ Then you will get an answer 'yes' or 'no' or partially yes or partially no.
When you have done it in an austere manner you will feel a sublimity in your heart and mind and a resulting joy and satisfaction. Every act is like that. If you start getting it you will feel like calling the others and showing them. "See, I have arranged a set of books, I have arranged them with attention and books are well arranged, so I feel joy after having done it." You will start telling the others. Every act will thus become holy, austere, sublime and joyful.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
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