"The power to promote and reward, as also to demote and punish the individual and his fate in this world, lies within his mind, its thoughts and feelings. No external agency is necessary to bring this infallible fruition. As the growth and development of a seed, an embryo, or a cell designed and preserved by its own inner makeup, here too the causal forces for what one rightly deserves lurk within one’s own invisible bosom."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 25 Apr 2016 - From Religiosity to Spirituality
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    The idol worship is part of our worship which is very comprehensive in nature. Whenever a subject or an item is taken to the comprehensive dimension, it has to become complex also, because creation and the world are themselves very, very complex. People are born there, creatures are born, they grow, they also die. This death is inevitable as long as birth and growth are there and all the things in between birth and death will naturally make our life complex.

    We are spiritual people and this ashram is a spiritual abode. We have in contrast or maybe in conjunction, a number of temples and holy places where tens of thousands, lakhs and crores of people visit. We also have a few ashrams and spiritual abodes. I have mentioned many times that our temples and ashrams are called the ‘Dharma Kedārās’, the abodes of our sanātana dharma. The difference between the two is that, in the temple whatever is done is unilateral. We are worshipping a God or a Goddess. That we worship is something tangible, we can experience it. But whom we worship and what happens to the worshipped, whether the deity or otherwise is pleased with what we do, whether he or she has something to suggest in the matter of our worship or worshipper, our character, our behavior, our interaction with the world, what are the defects if any to be rectified and what are the improvements and additions to be made, we don’t have any idea. Yes, we have idea, because in the temples, these are supposed to be discussed as a part of the exposure that we get with regard to our śāstras. There is no subject which our dharma śāstras do not deal with.

    The word ‘Dharma’ according to us is defined as the power and the process by which our life will be sustained. To sustain our life while living in this world is not easy. Our mind produces a number of emotions and emotional conflicts. The intelligence has its own conflicts, enquiries and the like. Caught up in between the two you will find, it is not going to be easy.

    So our dharma should be such that it has something to do, something to offer for every kind of a life situation. How the individual life will be sustained and supported? How the family life will be sustained and supported? How the societal life will be sustained and supported? How the global life will be sustained and supported? All these are discussions of our dharma. If you understand dharma properly, there is nothing that is precluded for dharma. That is why our dharma has remained sanātana, eternal for all this while.

    Now this Dharma-śāstra should be discussed and exposed in the temple precincts. So it is much more than even God talking to you, about you. Otherwise the idol doesn’t speak, the idol does not hear. We do everything. As Srimad Bhagavata puts it, it is just like you have a mirror made for you and you hang it on the wall or fix it on a stand. You go and stand before it. You cannot see your face but you can only see the reflection in the mirror. But when you see the reflection, you can do whatever you want in the way of ornamenting your face, shaving your face, puffing it up, anything that you want to do. But whenever you do it, you are not doing it to your face; you are doing it to the reflected face in the mirror. Mind you! You don’t do anything on your face. You only apply your processes to the reflection and what it does is it falls on your face. In the same manner:

    प्रतिमुखस्य यथा मुखश्री:-।।
    prati-mukhasya yathā mukha-śrīḥ 
    (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.11)

    These are the words used by Srimad Bhagavatam. In the same manner, all the worship that you do to the idol falls on you. You are benefitted. God does not want any offer from you, any kind of a naivedya, or an ornamentation or a praise or a decoration; nothing he wants. He is self-fulfilled.

    Nijalābha pūrṇah is the word used by Srimad Bhagavata. He is fulfilled by himself. As such, what kind of a respect and regard can we give and what is he looking for? But by doing all these things, just like items are prepared in the kitchen, everything is cooked, they are placed on the dining table and the people go on eating whatever is cooked, neither the vessel nor the spoon nor the stove nor even the fire. Whatever we do in our life is for ourselves, there is nothing for another. This is the truth.

    This truth may not be understood by the devotees who go there. But out of the thousands or may be lakhs of people who crowd the temple precincts, some have some enquiries. These enquiries are never answered either by the deity or by the priest or by the others. When such an enquiry germinates in your mind, they come to the ashram and unlike in the temple where it is a mute deity, here you will find a vocal and sentient deity is there, more than one also, the ashramites. The person who has founded the ashram and he resides. He was also a person of a similar enquiry, maybe in a different setting. So you can place your questions before them, get answers clarified and proceed further. So one is a speaking God, another is a mute God. However, these two are the citadels which have always supported, sustained and preserved our dharma.

    As far as the idols and the power of the idols are concerned, as I have always mentioned, they are governed by the tantra śāstras. Yesterday I had a talk to inaugurate the “Srimad Bhagavata Sapthaham” in a temple. So I was explaining, the deity has to be consecrated. It is a sculptural piece when it is brought to the place of installation. But you have to consecrate it. The consecration is done by various kinds of rituals and ceremonies. They are performed by the tantri or the temple priest. And what are these ceremonies? They consist of only mantras which are evolved by our mind, uttered by the mouth or muttered by the mouth and then various tantras, gesticulations are shown by our limbs. Maybe you use materials like flower, rice, milk, water, fruits and so many other things.  In the event of fire sacrifices, there also it is materials which are offered.  The fire place is set by us, the materials are collected and selected by us and they are offered by our limbs and the mantras are uttered or muttered by us. You tell me, in the whole process is there anything other than human?

    God is our concept, a concept of the mind. That concept is being pursued by various kinds of rituals and ceremonies which constitute the consecration of the deity as well as the worship of the devotees. I would like to repeat it with a thousand mouths and in so many places, as many as possible that everything in our dharma in the form of values, disciplines, ideals, restraints and the like, all of them relate to the human mind and the human intelligence. There is nothing that relates to anything else. All our values are related to the human mind and intelligence. They are not related to God. We may use God to interpret these things or to explain these matters. Say, in the worship of an idol, who makes the idol? We. Who shapes it? The sculptor.  Who consecrates and divinizes it? Man himself. So between the idol worshipped and the mind which has consecrated and anointed it as an idol, tell me which is superior and which is critical, causal? It is the mind.

    Our temple śāstras say that when the tantri installs the idol, from tantra samuchaya there is a shloka: “You are all-pervading my dear Lord, yet I invoke you here.’ It is just like Vyajanena vāyum. The air is present all around but I am sweating. I would like to have an intense blow of air so I use a fan, maybe electrical fans and the same air is pushed so much so that I feel a little relief. It is not that I create a new air, it is the same air. So just like with a hand fan, I swing the air, I move the air so that I feel relief, you are present everywhere. But I would like to have you specially present in this idol. It is something like fire present in wood but it is hidden. When we make two pieces of wood and churn them rubbing each other, then you will find the inside fire becomes manifest and I can make it blaze forth. In the same manner, my dear Lord, I am entreating you, I am requesting you, please enter the idol and remain an object of worship”.

    My dear children, please understand that every bit of divine brilliance in the idol and the benedictory or blessing power that it has, it is imparted by the priests. By virtue of what? By virtue of mental formula, which they or their forefathers have evolved and rituals and practices which have been existing. Everywhere it is the expression of the mind, expression of the human limbs, that alone.

    Now one more point. To the extent the priest imparts divinity, infuses divinity to the idol, to that extent, the priest’s his own brilliance, spiritual brilliance reduces, reduces and he has to replenish it by virtue of chanting Gayatri 1008 times etc. in his house, after he does the installation. This rejuvenation for himself, it can take about a week, 21 or 41 days. What are you understanding from this? Then again the tantra shastras say, the divinity and the divine brilliance imparted to the deity is subject to depletion. When devotees go and pray and the idol seems to be blessing you, wherefrom will the idol take the stock? The stock has been given to by the priest at the time of installation. So the daily puja is not sufficient. Every 12 years, a rejuvenation ceremony has to be done. Whatever is done at the time of naveekaranam, rejuvenation, every bit and piece of it is for idol, idol and idol alone. So this is something that I wanted you to understand.

    Now what is the next point? The next point is the difference between religiosity and spirituality should be very clear. In religion, we are always looking at a God of our belief and faith and that God is invisible and he is at infinite distance and all the worship that we do is unilateral. So there is an incompletion, incompleteness and a lack of fulfilment. I am doing all this but whether my God is pleased with it, I have no access to know. That is why you will find, there are millions of devotees in our country but there will be hardly one to say, “Yes, I have worshipped the Lord. I have been a devotee and I am fulfilled. I have seen God, realized God. I have no more anything to do anywhere.” This kind of a fulfilment does not grace. Even to a distant place if you start approaching, after some time you will reach there. Every day is a greater distance covered. In the same manner, the worship also should become complete and fulfil itself. That we are not hearing. Why? Because this religiosity completely depends upon an invisible and infinitely distant God. Whereas spirituality, every bit and piece of it, right from the start to finish, rests upon yourself.

    All the practices are either sensory, bodily or oral. Both of them are visible or they are inner, mental and intellectual. These are the four levels of activity that we have. We have five senses, knowledge senses and five action senses. These are all visible. When you see, when you hear, when you move your hand, feet, everything is visible. Then, oral, a distinct level of activity which can be heard and seen. Then, the cause for both is in the mind and the mind is guided by the intelligence.

    So every activity is primarily inner. What is thought in the inner side, that alone we express or manifest or display either orally or physically. We have a pushpa-samarpanam here. What is this pushpa-samarpanam? This pushpa-samarpanam is receiving the flowers from Swamiji or Maa and then coming in a very nice manner, offering it wherever you want. In the whole process, your body and limbs are employed. But who is benefitted? Your mind. It instils and generates a mood of sublimity and humility in you. We are not able to generate it remaining in our own home during the course of our activity and interaction. So we require a special setting whereby this sublimity and humility, sense of devotion, it is instilled into our mind. How you instil it? To which extent it becomes intense and successful will depend upon the individual who tries for it; and then you offer it, you go, prostrate before the others. Go back and stand or sit. A few minutes are passed in this manner. And all the while, some divine chants are being made and heard.

    So we are creating an atmosphere and that atmosphere is audio-visual. We can hear, we can also see. But there also when you worship a deity, the deity is not benefitted. The worshipper is benefitted. When you have your food, the food is not benefitted. The dining table is not benefitted. Everywhere, the person to be benefitted is oneself and the benefit is really speaking to the mind and intelligence. Our dharma is solely based upon the mind and intelligence. Unfortunately at some point of time, people lose this emphasis and then say, “Achārās! Supreme!”. These achārās were made by us. They are followed by us. If we have to make an adjustment or a new accommodation in the achārās, we alone can do it, we alone will do it.

    Our Smritis have been changed from time to time to accommodate new requirements, new eventualities. Our forefathers have done it. Now we say we cannot do it. But the world has become more intelligent. We are more intelligent than perhaps our forefathers, at least on an average. Our forefathers were superbly intelligent, individually, collectively it could have been less. Now we are now following. We are not able to make adjustments. So that evaluative thinking, innovative thinking, using our reason and logic, which our śāstras repeatedly insist upon, that is lacking. Until we are able to, we are able to employ our reason and consider and evaluate matters properly and if necessary change whenever and whatever is necessary, our dharma will be spoilt. Because as time passes, a number of corruptions and changes will be brought in. Unless these are examined properly, evaluated by thinkers and corrections administered, every custom will be spoilt.

    See, when we got independence, what was our idea? And after getting independence, you tell me now. Our own elected people, our own options are everywhere. Still we have only what - Corruption, corruption and corruption. At that time, we said Britishers were robbing us. I think I have to compare notes. The money taken by Britishers, that was more or the money being smuggled now is more? You just tell me? The money deposited in foreign banks inaccessible to us is so much that if it is recovered, the mere interest of it will be sufficient to run the country’s budget. Government will not need any money. We can say, ‘Nothing we want’, the government in the form of taxes and income. So much money is outside. So have the Britishers stolen more or we are stealing more is a great question. It is a corruption. The same corruption can creep in and prevail in any walk of life including religion because religion is again a practice and pursuit of the same mind and the same intelligence. Please understand this.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 26 Apr 2016 - Interactional Sadhana of Mutuality, Love and Tolerance
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

    This is a subject I have spoken about many times. On coming to know of behavioral patterns of our people, I feel I have to speak about it more. Everyone who has come here in this Ashram has done a very amazing degree of renunciation. They have left their home; some of them have been very young when they came here. Normally speaking, all worldly things they have left and they have come here not possessing anything, only to be dispossessed of everything. The only link that keeps them here is their fondness for me, also for Nutan Swamiji and Ma. This is very, very appreciable and admirable. But what I find is that in the same way that they accept us, they are not able to accept each other. I really don’t know why is this so.

    Do you want to live peacefully in a place, joyously in a place, contributing to its welfare, advancement etc.? Then where is the question of hating or not tolerating the others? By developing intolerance, you only spoil your mind and you get into trouble. I don’t want to quote or narrate any instance. Everywhere I will not be there but I come to know of whatever is taking place. When other visitors are there, even then, in your talk between yourselves, why is it that you are not a little guarded? Can the dislike that the mind feels drive you to such a level of not being aware of environments even?

    The other day I was pointing out in a language that could not be understood by the others. “Please keep quiet. Do not say anything.” If the other person is younger to you, you can at least bang upon the point that “I am elder and the other person is younger. Therefore let me tolerate him or her.” Suppose the other person is elder, then you can say “After all, he or she is elder. Let me not mind it.”

    People go into such kind of behavioral pattern, I am not able to understand this! The whole picture can be changed by one attitudinal change. Why don’t you love others? Why don’t you be sympathetic to others? Why don’t you be considerate to others and sacrifice whenever necessary? Somebody is sick. So the person is given meals from here. It is being reached. We have some discipline and standards to reach them. Sometimes, in order to fulfill those needs, we cannot send anybody else. So, one of the inmates takes it. But it is taken in a very emergent situation. That emergency has to be understood, both by the one who goes and the one who is served. The person who is served must see to it that the other party does not feel that the facility is being overused.

    I think everyone will have to be careful. What is called good behavior? Why do you have a tongue to speak? “I am very sorry. I want to come to the dining room but I am not able to. Will you mind one or two more days more?” What is the harm in talking to? I don’t say whether they talk to or not. I am only suggesting a way by understanding many things that are going on. Unless we work in a team, the whole world talks about team spirit, team spirit, team spirit. Whether it is Jamshedpur, whether it is New Delhi where the centers are left to their own people for manning, there also what I hear is this displeasure, this intolerance. Cannot every one of you change your attitude of loving others?

    X is good for a job. When such a job comes, let me ask X, “This is something that you will do best. So will you please do it?” “This is something that I can do. If you like me to do, I shall do” you can say. It is all a question of speaking a few words courteously and lovingly. What for are our words, our tongue? Is it not to speak something very good, sweet and palatable?

    Who is a leader? A leader is not merely a man of knowledge. He is a man of behavioral nicety. If people are shouting, if you can simply smile and keep quiet, allow the person to shout, keep quiet, I think the other man will be humbled. Suppose you counter shout, then both of them will shout and counter shout and the roof will break, that’s all. And in the heat of the moment, you have no awareness of the surroundings, who are there, who are not there.

    So I am wondering how to bring about this amity, friendship and sharing in the minds of the people. I am ashamed of talking on this subject. I generally speak about three important virtues - Love, sympathy and sacrifice. Ma and Nutan Swamiji are there, we discuss matters, we have our own behavior. I think there is sufficient critical observation on the part of, in my case it may be a little less, but sufficient critical observation is there on the part of Nutan Swamiji and Ma. We are able to get along only because these observations are there and they are being welcomed and heard by one another. But all observations are done in a lot of love and fondness. There is no hatred or intolerance. Why don’t you overcome this hatred and intolerance in your mind?

    If you go to the Himalayas, if the mind is intolerant, you will be intolerant of a particular deer or a squirrel. Intolerance is not going to leave your mind. Why not we like each other? Is it not a sadhana for you? What is meant by behavioral sadhana, characteral sadhana and interactional sadhana? At any point of time, you should not lose your contentment. At any point of time, you should not become a victim for hatred or unpleasantness or intolerance. There will be inattention, carelessness, sometimes you may shout. Only when others are there you don’t shout, but after shouting you should go and say “I am very sorry. I shouted. It was a tension or something that I have been carrying for a number of days. Please don’t mind.”

    Even the other day when I told somebody “Please keep quiet. Please keep quiet.” three, four, five times I said. Even then, the other party was not prepared to listen to. I don’t know what is this sadhana. The sadhana is only meditation? It is only solitariness? Sadhana is behavioral. It is interactional. If one person is there to make some adjustments for others, to accommodate them,  I think he will be accepted by all as a leader. Not that I want you to become leaders  straightaway.

    I started moving with people from the age of, say as you know 23. In how many houses I have lived, with how many people I have moved! All of them were elders to me. I perhaps did not have an occasion to chat with somebody of my age. I was always  moving with people because elderly people used to come to me. Whom do you find as a seeker less than 23 years old? Very difficult to find. Without displeasing people, giving them sufficient respect, attention etc. And I was very jovial, I was very happy, I used to smile, laugh etc. very free person I was, but equal freedom I had given for the others. Nobody has asked me – “Swamiji, at such a young age you became a sannyasin and you started moving about with people. How did you get along?”

    When I got into their car along with Dr. Sreedharan to visit DMRC, within seconds or minutes I asked him a question,“Sreedharan, You have been entrusted with a  great job and you are doing well as it is. Can you tell me what are the qualities which have stood well for you to deserve this merit?” He said, “Swamiji, only one word ‘Integrity’.” he said. Why am I telling you this? I was interested in knowing.

    To Anandakrishnan , I asked many years back – “Anandakrishnan, you have been looking after so many countries as a bank official. You must have travelled a lot, interacted with many country people. Can you tell me what is the quality which helped you to do all this and to rise to such a position?” He told me at one time “I am controlling about 36 or 40 countries, I am in charge of. And every day I get  two hundred, three hundred emails. There is no difference between office and home. Every time I have to act into emails that come on the mobile and all that.” So his answer to me was that “Whenever I go to a country, mix with the people, I have accepted their ways and methods. I have never criticized them. I just assimilate whatever they do, never find fault with, do as they do and then carry on.” So the opposition is taken from the mind, conflict is taken from the mind. Why don’t you appreciate others? Everyone will have some quality. And that quality why don’t you use for this job ‘X’?

    This Subha has come here. I had specially asked her to come. We have a number of addresses. She belongs to Kerala. Jaya told me that “Kerala addresses I am not able to understand and avoid duplication.” So I told Subha. She said “I will come when the schools are closed. Then I will do it”. In between, some other job came. So I asked her “Subha, can you not stop this and take up this work and do it?” And she devoted the whole of it, took it to her house, got assistance from her sister and somehow she did the job. I cannot say it was delayed, though it was delayed by two or three days beyond what I had expected. Because these addresses were entered, letters were printed with individual names and labels were printed, all of them had to be put in position. The envelope itself had three papers to be enclosed and we had to post it before a certain period, otherwise the addressees will not get the communication. Without speaking a word, she did it. She has that job. I found that she is from Kerala, she will be able to do it. Why don’t you depend upon others? Why don’t you accept wholeheartedly the ability and skill of another? If Jaya can do something we will tell her. If Namrata can do something we will tell her. If Vinaya can do something we will tell her. If Sumesh is all right, okay we will accept. If another person can do something, well and good.  Why don’t we be courteous, courteous? Admit that “I don’t know”. Admit that you know and it is not in wrath or anger but in sweetness and fondness and love. I am very disappointed to see that this kind of an amity is not built. The same reports come from Jamshedpur. The same reports come from Delhi.

    In Malaysia, to the extent we are able to understand, they don’t have any problem. They make a roaster and many people are coming and doing things very well. They run their programs very well, regularly, regularly, regularly, retreats are held, special programs are held when we go. Everything is going on well. Can we not develop this mutuality, this fondness? How happy you will be when you have love for others, love for others? Suppose with your love you feel hurt, why don’t you tell the man “I am very much hurt” and start crying? Tears are to be used!

    So I only have to say something - Please love each other, love. You don’t wait for the ideal person to be loved. Such a person may not be there .How much of trouble Krishna as a child caused to Yashoda and the others, but still they had fondness for him. Every time it should be like that. How much Krishna stood with Pandavas? You should read Mahabharata. He used to  say “I will myself go, Yudhishthira and kill all the enemy including Bheeshma and Drona. Give me a word. I will go. Don’t worry.” Why should Krishna speak like that? It is up to us to encourage others, to strengthen others, to stand by the side of others. Suddenly “No. He is like that. She is like that…” What is this? Every time you try to overcome and sublimate your dislike, sublimate your intolerance and grow within yourself in your own manner.

    Shall I buy a special barometer or thermometer for you to measure the tolerance attitude, the tolerant attitude that you have, the loving attitude that you have? All of you have come here seeing me, seeing us. It is paining me when I find that you are not able to get along with each other with love, joy and contentment. Make me a focal point around which this mutuality, mutual fondness, love and joy will emerge.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 24 Apr 2016 - Mind is the Source of Everything
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    A group which had come here from Gujarat, the members of which have been given for long to spiritual pursuit, they have been doing very good sadhana. They wanted me to explain a particular portion in the book, “Science of Inner Redemption”. It was referring to how mind becomes the sole source and terminus of even the world. When I say this, many of you may not even listen to it with attention. The world is very huge, our body is very small. It is a part of this world. Can you imagine how big is the earth and how small is the body that we have? Then compared to the entire world and universe, how insignificant our body is! And this mind is within the body.

    How can you say the mind is the source and terminus of the entire world? In the first hearing itself, people will dismiss it. That is where we lose God; we lose the supreme gain in life. Whenever a truth is heard or a statement is made, it is up to the listeners to give attention to it and think about it. Thoughtfulness, thoughtfulness, thoughtfulness, introspection, introspection, introspection, this is the very core of human life. Can you imagine a boy or a girl having been born in this world and his or her body alone growing in size? When he becomes 18 or 21, if the mind and the intelligence have not grown, what do you think of it? We have so many autistic children. Their body grows but they are not able to connect to the body with a healthy mind. So don’t dismiss the statement. Our mind is not a physical part of the body. Our mind is associated with the body.

    We are living in a huge house. The house is much bigger than our body but we are different from the house. The house will not move, it is inert and insentient, but we move from place to place within the house. We can demolish the house if we want. We can rebuild the house if we want. Though we are smaller than the house, our body, how are we able to demolish it when we want and rebuild it when we want? It is only because we have a mind and intelligence within the body which have the capacity to think, think, design, design and then execute.

    Our body is totally inert but the mind associated with the body, intelligence associated with the body is not inert. This mind if you probe into, you will find, it is greater than the world. You think of the eyes, they are very small, the smallest organ in the whole of our body. Though the eyes are very small, how much of distance we see with the eyes and how much of variety we see! We see a huge expanse on the earth. We go to the shore of the sea and still see a greater expanse. We look into the sky, there the expanse is infinite. The same eyes which see the tip of a pin, it sees a huge tree, the huge landscape, the still wider sea and the more expansive sky. In a beautiful dark night when you look at the sky, can you imagine how many stars will you be seeing? You cannot count the number of stars with the same eyes.

    So the power and the presence that have made the eyes, made the ears, made the hand, made the skull, made the brain, what do you think of its potential and greatness? When we refer to the mind, refer to the intelligence, we are actually referring to this inner presence and it’s potential.

    I was explaining yesterday as I do, many times I have done, you never see the world outside. It is the mind that imprints the world in itself which means the mind takes a mental imprint of the world and that imprint is what you experience and know. Whether you see an elephant or a goat or a mountain or the sun and the moon and stars, all of them are imprinted in your mind. It is the mind causing their imprint, that imprint is what we experience. So in the experience of the world, is the world crucial, significant, or the mind that sees? All our experiences are in the mind and mind alone. Mind is within the body, it is not a part of the body, it is associated with the body because the body doesn’t have the capacity which the mind has. It is very rigid, solid, inert and very much small in size. But we are experiencing far greater things with the mind within it.

    So the mind is bigger than whatever it sees. The mind is greater than whatever it experiences. If you are experiencing the sea, you must be greater than that. That is why you are able to look at the sky and experience a higher dimension. This mind produces a number of thoughts, emotions, so many responses and reactions, memory, knowledge, doubt, many, many things. But all of them are mental products, products which the mind creates. When we make products with the earth, they will be earthy, earthy. When we pour water into different vessels, all the different forms and shapes of water are still watery. In the same manner, whatever the mind produces; let it be a thought, let it be an emotion, let it be a memory, a doubt, an enquiry, a finding, a knowledge, all these are products of the mind. All these products are mental and mental alone. As the ocean is not in any way affected by the waves, bubbles, lather and foam it produces, all these things produced by the mind do not the least affect the mind. Once you understand this truth, my dear children, tell me very clearly where is the trouble for you and what is it that you are complaining?

    We get only two experiences and reactions - pleasant and unpleasant, happiness and unhappiness. Both are equally mind’s products. Being so, they are assimilable to the mind, they cannot affect or dethrone the mind. If anyone starts thinking in this manner, you will find he becomes stable. He becomes poised. He starts feeling ‘I am full, I am full. I am full. I am full. Nothing in this world outside can give a plus to me. No event or episode in life can be a minus to me. My mind remains M-I-N-D. I may weep, I may sob, I may laugh, I may run, I may sit, I may sleep, I may dream, I may be wakeful. None of these things takes away from the mind its potential, its character and its possibility.’ It was this subject that I was talking yesterday. I was giving a summary of the statement.

    I think all of you should start feeling, feeling the presence of the mind far more than the presence of the world outside. Think about the mind more, understand it more, probe into it more and know that it is all mind’s products, mind’s products, mind’s products. Thought is a product of the mind, response is a product of the mind, knowledge is a product of the mind, doubt is a product, enquiry, finding, similarly sleep is a product, dream is a product, wakefulness is a product and part of the wakefulness namely the world is also a product of the mind. You carry the entire world in you because of your mind. Not that the world carries you. Maybe the world carries your body but your mind carries the entire world including your body. Can you thus become spiritual and spiritual thinkers? Answer this question every day and reflect upon it.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

 

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Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

Swamiji's Teachings

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Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

 

NSJi-HmPgSwami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirthaji, a renunciate disciple of Poojya Swamiji, is known for his scientific expositions which are a source of inspiration to seekers.  Read More...

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Ma Gurupriya

A disciple of Poojya Swamiji, Ma is the loving mother of Poojya Swamiji's devotees around the world. Devotion and service remain the predominant forces shaping Ma's life.  Read More...

Previous

[Concluding part  of the talk on Kathopanishad  delivered on 26th   December 2004 at the 3rd  Sreemad Bhaagavata  Tattva Sameeksha Satram.]

Seeing  the useless  cows  being gifted  to the priests,  Nachiketa  felt very sorry and anxious: “By this behaviour of my father, he will certainly be taken to hell.” He was a humble, pure-minded boy. His only concern was how to save his father. Finally he thought, “The most virtuous gift a person can offer is his son. If my father can give me  as  Dāna,  then all his sin for offering  the useless  cows to the priests  will be expiated.”

So, Nachiketa went to his father and asked, “O my dear Father! To whom will you gift me?” The father did not reply. Nachiketa asked once, twice, thrice. Finally the father burst out in anger: “mṛtyave tvāṃ dadāmīti – I shall give you to death.”

Cursing the son to death! Can there be a greater fall for a father? Such a ritualistic father who must have studied quite a lot of scriptures! The son too was exceptionally noble  and had not done anything wrong – he only wanted to save his father from going to hell! Such a son Vaajaśravas was cursing to death!

The Upanishad is pointing out the level of degeneration desire and greed can take us to if they are not treated and purified at the right time by wisdom – by the words of the scriptures. Overpowered by greed for worldly objects or otherworldly attainments, when  we  flout  the  scriptural  directions  and  injunctions,  it  can  lead  us  to  any inauspicious consequence. Vaajaśravas’ character shows us that one may read many scriptures or perform hundreds of rituals, but if the mind is not purified he will fall from the auspicious path.

From Constricted Identity to Universal Identity

In life, we start from the ignorant state, where we think ourselves to be small, limited by our body-mind personality. Whenever we refer to ‘I’, as our own self, we identify with our body-mind limited personality. But the Upanishads speak about the Ultimate Goal,  which is Brahmātmaikatvabodha   –    Brahma - ātmā - ekatva - bodha. Brahman is the all-pervading consciousness on which the whole Universe appears to be. And ātmā is the  Subject Consciousness  within us. Generally the two are wide apart  in  our  understanding.  But  the  Upanishads  exhort  us  to  realize  through  the purification of our mind the identity of Brahman and ātmā– where my ‘I’, your ‘I’ and his ‘I’ will not be  different; there will be only one Universal Consciousness or Brahman. That is called Brahmātmaikatvabodha.

So, our journey is from the constricted body-mind identity to the unlimited universal identity – from  Dehātma bodha to  Brahmātmaikatvabodha. And,  what  is  the sādhanā for that? Whatever makes our mind expand, that alone can take us to the final universal expansion. That is the sādhanā. Whatever constricts our mind, surely takes us away from the goal. That is anti-sādhanā. All of us can find out looking into our  own  mind  whether  any  action,  word  or  thought  is  constricting  our  mind  or expanding our mind.

Now,  in  the  case  of  Vaajaśravas, we  find  that  he  was  getting  more  and  more constricted  by  his  behaviour.  Although  he  was  performing  Dāna,  which  should expand his mind, he was doing it in a manner that would constrict his mind further. The  greed for futile worldly possessions  was clouding his viveka – discrimination. Whereas young Nachiketa could understand that his father was not on the right path: “My  father  will  get  more  and  more  constricted  by  his  sinful  behaviour  and  that constriction is the real hell.” Truly speaking, whatever constricts us is pāpa (sin) and whatever expands us is puṇya  (virtue). When we understand our Brahmātmaikatva, we become universally expanded.

When Nachiketa asked his father to gift him to the priests, the father got angry and cursed him to death. But, Nachiketa still remained composed. Because he was pure-minded, he did not retort back immediately: “O Father, what you are doing is wrong. I wanted to correct you and you are cursing me to death!” No. He did not have such a narrow mind, egoistic mind. He was humble and impersonal. He thought, “Well, my father has said something.  May be he has cursed me in anger. After all he is my father. What am I to do as a worthy son?”

Again, śraddhā was dominating his mind. He thought: “The Wise Ṛshis of the past and the present have always given Truth the highest pedestal. Whatever my father has uttered must come true. I must go to Yamaraja, the Lord of Death.” In Ramayana too, the  pure-minded  Rama felt the same way! When Daśaratha told Rama about his promise  to Kaikeyi that he would send Rama to the forest, Rama did not think of justice or injustice. He was firm in his decision: “Be it fourteen years of forest-exile, my father’s words have to be kept.”

Vaajaśravas does not appear any more in the Upanishad. His character has been presented to point out that learning or performance of rituals does not make one a fit recipient of Knowledge if the mind is haunted by desires – worldly or otherworldly. In contrast, Nachiketa’s character exemplifies the qualities of a deserving seeker.

Qualities  of a True Seeker

So, Nachiketa  left for Yama’s  palace. When he reached,  Yamaraja  was not there. Three days and three nights, without any food or drink, Nachiketa  had to wait for Yamaraja to return. Now, why did the Author make Nachiketa wait for three days and three nights? We said that the Upanishad is sādhanā-oriented. We have to look for the  hints given for a seeker of Truth – what qualities of Nachiketa are emphasized through this episode.

Nachiketa had gone to Yama’s palace for a certain purpose. Even when he did not find Yama there, he did not come back saying: “Oh, I have been waiting and waiting! Who knows where Yamaraja has gone! Let me go back.” –  which most of us will do. He did not even go around looking for food or drink – remained there in Upavaasa (fasting), waiting for Yamaraja’s return. We should not miss the qualities of a seeker exemplified by the imaginary episode. In scriptural language it is called sādhanā-catuṣṭāyam (the four-fold pursuit) consisting of viveka (discrimination), vairāgya (dispassion), śamādi ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ (which  is  a  combination  of  six  virtues:  śama,  dama,  titikṣā,  uparati,  śraddhā and  samādhāna)  and  mumukṣutva (yearning for liberation).

When Yama came back and offered him three boons against the three nights he fasted at Yama’s door, the first boon Nachiketa  asked for was: “My father must be very sorry after cursing me to death. His mind should become restful. He should also be rid of anger.” This is the quality of a seeker. The father who cursed him to death – his suffering filled Nachiketa’s mind. He did not have any worldly desire that he could think of fulfilling through the boons. Naturally, the father’s plight occupied his mind.

We may think that a seeker of Truth or a Sannyasin should not love or be considerate towards his father, mother or other relations. It is not at all so. A person who loves his family and friends, who loves the country and the society, alone can become a loving Sannyasin! A person who cannot love his near ones – can he love the whole Universe? Is it ever possible? Only when a person loves the people around, there is a possibility  of  expanding  his  love  to  embrace  the  whole  world.  That  is  what  the Upanishad is pointing out through the behaviour of Nachiketa.

Now, against the second boon, Nachiketa wanted to learn Agnividyaa  for the benefit of  the people and in the process, proved his exceptional attention (śraddhaa) as a student. Finally as the third boon, the last boon, Nachiketa puts forward the deepest enquiry of his heart:

Yeyaṃ prete vicikitsā manuṣye astītye ke nāyamastīti caike 
Etad-vidyām-anuśiṣṭastvayāhaṃ varāṇām-eṣa varastṛtīyaḥ ।।
                                                                                                                                              (1 .1 .20 )
He  is asking Yama, the Lord of Death, about what happens  when the body falls: “Some people say that the ātmā exists while some others say that it does not. I would like to know the truth about this under your tutelage”. It is a very significant statement.  Nachiketa  uses  the word  “anuśiṣṭastvayaaham” –  I  shall  learn by undergoing the discipline  and guidance given by you.

It is not that the Knower will tell me what happens after death and I will go away with the information. It is not so. Nachiketa knew that it is not so. He understood that the Knowledge of what  happens after death or what  is the Transcendental Existence  in man  that  survives the fall of one’s body, cannot  just  be had  by listening  to the statements of anybody. He understood that he had to be disciplined and guided on this path by the Wise Teacher. Only then the Truth will be revealed in him. Otherwise the revelation will not take place. From this statement of Nachiketa we can easily discover his depth and maturity as a true seeker of Brahmavidyaa.

To test the deservingness of Nachiketa as a seeker of Truth, to ascertain the purity and one-pointedness  of his mind, Yamaraja then goes on alluring him with all kinds of worldly and heavenly gifts: “Don’t ask me about death. Even Gods of the heaven are confused about it. Ask from me any bounty a man can think of. I shall also give you a long life span and the health to enjoy all these. Be the Emperor of the entire earth. But please don’t ask me what happens after death!”

Four Cardinal Observations

But, Nachiketa was not to be attracted by any of these. He remained firm in his enquiry. His viveka and vairaagya are beautifully exemplified through four cardinal statements  and observations, which are like four jewels of Kaṭhopanishad. Mind you, they are not coming from Yamaraja,  the Teacher;  they are coming from the disciple Nachiketa. Nachiketa says:

 

Śvobhāvā martyasya yad-antakaitat sarvendriyāṇām jarayanti tejaḥ
Api sarvaṃ jīvitam-alpam-eva tavaiva vāhās-tava nṛtya gīte ।।     
                                                                                                    ( 1 .1 .27)

“O  Lord of Death, whatever enjoyable gifts you have offered me are all short-lived. They are all śvaabhaava– they may not be there even tomorrow. Moreover, the result of all these sense-enjoyments  is: sarvendriyāāmjarayanti teja– they will only deplete our organs of their brilliance and power! And O Yamaraja, you have offered me an unlimited span of life. But, I know: Apisarvajīviam-alpam-eva – whatever be the life span of a man, it is always alpam – insufficient – for him.” Why?

We find that a person who has lived for fifty years does not want to die. Even after living for hundred years one is not ready to die. Because, as long as our desire for worldly  enjoyments lingers,  we  are not  fulfilled  in  life,  we  are not  ready to embrace death.  So, by increasing the life span by any amount, no one is going to be satisfied, no one will be free of the fear of death. Even before the last breath one will crave to enjoy more. Is not life then insufficient for everybody, irrespective of the life span?

Am I clear? As long as the desires persist, the life remains insufficient. Only when the desires get attenuated, one becomes free of the fear of death; one becomes  ready to leave any time.

Then  comes Nachiketa’s  fourth statement: “Navittenatarpaīyo manuyo” – man  can  never  be  satisfied  by  material  possession. Therefore, he  appealed, “O Yamaraja, please don’t try to lure me any more! I know that these material possessions  are not going  to fulfill me. I am not interested in them. So, tavaiva vāhās-tava nṛtya gīte – Let all these chariots, musicians and the danseuses and what not,  remain with you. I am only interested in the knowledge of the Transcendental Truth. Teach me what survives when the body falls.”

One Goal – The Quintessence of All Śaastras

Finally Nachiketa proves that all the four qualities (saadhana-catushṭaya) needed of a  seeker  he  has  in  ample  measure.  Yama  not  only  agrees  to  impart  to  him Brahmavidyaa,  he  in fact  expresses  his  overflowing  joy in  having  a disciple  like Nachiketa. After giving some initial guidelines and cautions, and also explaining why he  considered  Nachiketa  to  be  a  fit  recipient  of  Brahmavidyaa,  Yama  starts  his instruction with a beautiful synthesis and clarification:

Sarve vedā yat-padam-āmananti tapāṃsi sarvāṇi ca yad-vadanti
 Yadicchanto brahmacaryaṃ caranti tat-te padaṃ saṃgraheṇa bravīmy-om-ityetat ।। 
                                                                                                                                                                                       (1.2.15)

He says: “The one Goal that all the Vedas expound and elucidate, aiming which all the austerities are performed, and aspiring which people pursue brahmacharya, I shall speak to you about the essence of that Goal. It is OM.”

Sometimes one portion of the Vedas apparently contradicts the other. So, for a seeker the  statements may appear confusing. So many different kinds of austerities people resort to – some undertake fasting, some sit with five fires around, some meditate in a secluded cave, some practice celibacy. The  seeker is likely to get confused  seeing the diversity. Yama, in order to remove the doubts and confusions from Nachiketa’s mind, confirms that all these have the same final Goal that is represented by “Om.”

Om represents Brahmavidyaa, the realization of the Ultimate Truth. The path to this goal is basically one of purifying and expanding the mind, making it free of desires. Although the practices appear to be divergent, their sole purpose is to gradually make  the mind  one-pointed by taking  it away  from worldliness. So, if our pooja, rituals and whatever else we do in the name of religion or spirituality fail to take us forward on the path of purity and expansion, they lose their purpose.

Yama is saying: saṅgraheṇa bravīmi – I shall tell you in essence. Saṅgraha is samyak grahaṇa. It does not mean briefly. The  Acharya  or the  Guru  takes  the quintessence of all the scriptures and passes it to the disciple. So, what Yama means is: “O Nachiketa, you don’t have to worry seeing the variety and the contradictions. You don’t have to read the thousands of Śaastras. I shall teach you the essential Truth expounded in the Śaastras, so that you can attain the ultimate Goal.”

There lies the contribution of the Guru. We may read thousands of Śaastras and get confused. But the Guru will never ask us to read all the texts. He will give us the quintessential sādhanā leading  to the final attainment from which the Śaastras themselves have  originated. He will guide our pursuit through which the mind will be purified and we will be led to the transcendental state, from where we can identify ourselves with all the statements of the Śaastras.

Fulfillment – Emotional & Intelligential

Actually to know the Truth, nobody has to die. Yamaraja reveals at the end: “If you have to realize the Transcendental Existence  that survives death, you have to know It here and now!” There is no question of knowing it after the body falls. He categorically asserts: Atra brahma samaśnute.

Yadaa sarve pra mucyante  kāmā ye ’sya hṛdi śritāḥ
Atha martyo’mṛto bhavati-atra brahma sama śnute  ।।
                                                                                                                                (2.3.14)

“When  all  the  desires  clinging  to  one’s  heart  fall  off,  the  mortal  man  becomes immortal and he attains Brahman here itself.” Desires are like knots in our mind and heart. They make the mind constricted, and the intelligence opaque and complicated. Muṇḍakopanishad also says:

Bhidyate hṛdaya granthiḥ chidyante sarva-saṃśayāḥ
Kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi tasmin dṛṣṭe parāvare ।। 
                                                                             (2.2.8)

“When the saadhaka realises the Self as abiding in both small and great, the knots of his  heart  get broken,  his doubts  dissolve  and he  becomes  free  of the bondage  of doership.”

Brahmavidyaa promises two kinds of fulfillment for man: emotional fulfillment and intelligential fulfillment. Emotionally we   always feel restricted, constricted, unsatisfied. Our mind is never fulfilled, because it is smitten with desires. The other lack of fulfillment is with the intelligence. The intelligence  is never doubt-free and poised. It is never sure or confident about the true path or attainment. Spirituality as presented in the Upanishads, makes the human being fulfilled in both these aspects.

Emotional fulfillment results from the purification of the mind, the effacement of ego. Intelligential fulfillment comes from the dissolution of all doubts. Hṛdaya-granthiḥ refers to the ego – the emotional knots, and samśayāḥ (doubts) refer to the bondage of  our intelligence.  Both are caused by ignorance  which gives rise to desires. The Upanishad  started  with  the  word  ‘desire’  (The first word of Kaṭhopanishad is ‘uśan’ meaning ‘desirous of’) and concludes with the ‘removal of desire’. Desire is the fundamental point here the Upanishad urges us to attend to.

Indispensability of self-effort

We need not read many scriptures, many Upanishads. Even a single Upanishad is sufficient provided we understand the fundamental note and look within ourselves to see what is happening inside. In each thought, word and action, we have to watch: “Am I getting constricted or am I getting expanded?” It has to be practised every moment. The responsibility rests entirely with us.

Kaṭhopanishad categorically tells us in the second chapter: Don’t say, “It is all Destiny! The time has not come for me to practise spirituality.” The world comes to you with two options: śreyaḥ, the auspicious, and preyaḥ, the pleasurable. You have to decide which of the two you want. Śreyaḥ may not be immediately pleasurable but it will take you to the ultimate auspicious Goal. Preyaḥ is immediately pleasurable but  will take you away from the auspicious goal. It is for you to discriminate and introspect  every moment of life: “Am I looking for preyaḥ or am I looking for śreyaḥ? Am I always choosing śreyaḥ in preference to preyaḥ?” The responsibility of the choice rests fully on you. That is what Kaṭhopanishad emphasizes again and again.

Bhaagavatam – The Essence of Upanishads

I thought of relating the discussion to Bhaagavatam, but there is no time. In fact, I have not read Bhaagavatam at all. Our Swamiji and Ma Gurupriya read Bhaagavatam. Ma had been reading out portions from Bhaagavatam wherever they are touching and purifying. I have only been listening and shedding tears.

Neither I am a speaker, nor do I have the aptitude to speak to a large audience like this.  But,  when  Vijaykumarji   and  finally  our  Swamiji  asked  me  to  speak  on Kaṭhopanishad, I agreed because I already take a class on Kaṭhopanishad in our Ashram. And when this occasion came, I thought that this being a Bhaagavata Satram I must relate the discussion to Bhaagavatam.

I opened the last portion of Sreemad Bhaagavatam – the concluding verses of 12th skandha 13th chapter. And I found that whatever the Kaṭhopanishad or the other Upanishads say, it is simply that. There is no difference at all. And Bhaagavatam is spoken of as the sāra (essence) of the Upanishads. Verse 12.13.18, which was sung as our inaugural invocation, says:

Śreemad bhāgavataṃ purāṇa mamalaṃ yad-vaiṣṇa vānāṃ priyaṃ 
yasmin pāramahaṃsyam -ekam-amalaṃ jñānaṃ paraṃ gīyate  ।
 
Tatra jñāna -virāga -bhakti-sahitaṃ naiṣkarmyam-āviṣkṛtaṃ
tacchṛṇvan vipaṭhan vicāraṇa-paro bhaktyāvimucyen-naraḥ  ।।

Yasmin pāramahaṃsyam-ekam-amalaṃ jñānaṃ paraṃ gīyate – Sreemad Bhaagavatam sings the supreme Knowledge which is advaya  (non-dual), which is pure and which is carried by the Paramahaṃsa's. Who is a Paramahaṃsa? Haṃsa is our ātmā. And a person who has realized that his ātmā itself is the Paramātmā, the one  Brahman, is  called  a  Paramahaṃsa. This is what  the  Upanishads call Brahmātmaikatva-bodha. Paramahaṃsas carry the knowledge. They are the living Truth. They are the living Upanishads.

Tatra jñāna-virāga-bhakti-sahitaṃ naiṣkarmyam-āviṣkṛtaṃ.” Naiṣkarmyam-āviṣkṛtam – I was struck by the words. I thought about it, what is this  āviktam? Aaviḥ means light. The real light is our Consciousness. Aaviḥ kṛtam. It is not the external naiṣkarmya (non-activity) of the idlers, that I don’t do anything  at  all. Not at all! Through the assiduous practice of jñāna, vairāgya and bhakti, what happens is that we discover ‘Naikarmya’ within us – that I am not the doer, I am not the enjoyer.  The  truth of Naikarmyagets revealed and actualized in us. That is the real ‘Naiṣkarmya’. Naiṣkarmya is not sitting idle doing nothing.

The next verse (12.13.19) says:

Kasmai yena vibhāsito’yam-atulo jñāna -pradīpaḥ purā
  ….  satyaṃ paraṃ dhīmahi

“That  ancient flame of spiritual Knowledge which has been transmitted by Brahman itself to Brahmaa, the Creator, and then the Brahman in the form of Brahmaa passed it on to Naarada, and then in the form of Naarada imparted it to Vyaasadeva, and in the form of Vyaasadeva bestowed it to Śuka, and finally in the form of Śuka imparted it to Pareekshit – that Supreme, pure and blissful Truth (satyam) we meditate upon.”

The  Author  is  referring  to  Bhaagavatam  –  not  the  book  Bhaagavatam,  but  the Knowledge   presented  in  Bhaagavatam.   The  Knowledge   is  one  and  the  same. Assuming the forms of different Knowers in different times it has been passed on from generation to generation since times immemorial.

Six verses before (in verse:12.13.12) I found: “Sarva-vedānta-sāraṃ yad-brahmaatmaikatva -lakṣaṇam” – Bhaagavatam is the essence of all Vedantic texts and its  distinctive characteristic is the identity of the Self and the Brahman. So the word brahmaatmaikatva is also there!

Many thoughts are coming to my mind. But it is OK. The fundamental point has been covered more or less.

OM sa ha nāva va tu  sa ha nau bhunaktu..….. śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ.

Harih OM Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

* * *

Recordings of Poojya Swamiji's Talks

Bhagavad Gita : A Topic for Research - 1

Bhagavad Gita : A Topic for Research - 2


 

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Vicharasethu 
Vicharasethu is a monthly journal in English and Hindi, edited and published by Poojya Swamiji. It is also published in Malayalam by the name Vicharasarani. With Articles, Correspondance, Guidance for Sādhana and News updates from the Ashram, these monthly publications are a great guide for the earnest sādhaka. 
 
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Devotees hold periodic meetings at their own locations wherein the teachings and messages of Swamiji are heard, read and discussed with a view to comprehend and arrive at their essence and make it a functional note in their life. This section provides resources to facilitate the proceedings at such gatherings. Read More ....

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