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

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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  • Sādhanā-Śibiram | CIRD-Jamshedpur | Dec 2018

    The Annual Sādhanā Śibiram consisting of discourses, satsangs, interactive sessions, including the Enlightened Living (EL) residential retreat (participation by pre-registration) will be held in CIRD between 25 Nov and 15 Dec. Details....

  • Enlightened Living | Jamshedpur | December 2018

    Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha Ji will conduct a residential course "Enlightened Living" from 1st to 15th Dec. Participation requires prior registration. There is no charge for participation.

  • 44th Annual Delhi Jñāna Yajña

    Poojya Swamiji, Nutan Swamiji and Mā Gurupriyāji will travel to CIRD-Delhi on 31st Oct to conduct the 44th Annual Delhi Jñāna Yajña. Poojya Swamiji and Ma will return to the Ashram on 21st Nov.

Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR - 02 Mar 2016 - Inexplicable Providential Experiences
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    Today, I thought of telling you something about what is meant by an inexplicable mystic development. In fact, the entire world is a mystic development. We will not be able to explain the process and the cause of the world when you take it to the ultimate level. Philosophy speaks something about the causeless cause. At one point of time, the cause-effect chain starts. Before that, there was no cause and effect process at all. It is something like this. We are all born of our parents. Our parents were born of their parents. Their parents were born of their parents. Now, when you come to the first parents, from where could they have been born? Not from their parents. So there is naturally in our discussion, in our probe, a condition in which something starts. And from there, the cause and effect chain also starts.

    Our spiritual philosophy says very clearly that the whole world when properly analyzed is a sensory perception. Though it is called a sensory perception, the perception is had in the perceiver’s horizon. The perceiver is not in the body or in the senses. He is something away from the body, different from the body, besides the body, but apparently within the body. How can you have three dimensional figures within the body? But it is within the body that you perceive all these dimensions and you are assessing them. So, the entire assessment is made by the mind. The mind has no weight, no mass, it is not physical, it is not energial, but it is that mind which produces all these things. How can a mountain be within your body? How can the sun be within your body? But it is within the body that you feel everything. When you think in this manner, that this externality is inexplicable, that is what Sankara puts in Vivekachudamani.

    सन्नाप्यसन्नाप्युभयात्मिका नो भिन्नाप्यभिन्नाप्युभयात्मिका नो ।
    साङ्गाप्यनङ्गा ह्युभयात्मिका नो महाद्भुताऽनिर्वचनीयरूपा ॥

    sannāpyasannāpyubhayātmikā no bhinnāpyabhinnāpyubhayātmikā no ।
    sāṅgāpyanaṅgā hyubhayātmikā no mahādbhutā'nirvacanīyarūpā ।।

    (Vivekachudamani 109)

    You cannot call it existence or non-existence. You cannot call it as a part of a whole. You cannot call it different or non-different. We can only say it is something amazingly wonderful and it cannot be described. So there is a category called indescribable. This belongs to that indescribable category.

    Meera was given, Bhakta-Meera was given poison by her mother-in-law. I always, I often refer to it. The mother-in-law gave poison to kill her. With her Krishna-Bhakthi and simplicity, straightforwardness etc. she drank it. What was given was poison but it did not have any bio-chemical effect on the body.

    My disciple Sankaran who was living in Coimbatore, he was admitted to the hospital, he had so many problems. One operation was done by an expert Gastroenterologist who had done thousands and thousands of operations. He was set right but the problem as such did not leave him. At one point of time, he became so desperate that he drank, I don’t know what is that element, a poisonous insecticide or something like that. He drank two-three bottles of it. The pain disappeared and he had nothing. Nobody can explain how it took place. Then he was relieved but in the subsequent months or subsequent year, he wanted very much to take up sannayasa. I had allowed him. “Yes, you take up.” And he put on the sannyasin’s robe and he continued, he breathed his last. How do you explain that? So much of poison going in to the stomach and there is no effect for it. These are some of the inexplicable providential spiritual developments.

    Yesterday, there is one Rajammal who is also initiated by me, a disciple. I have always found in her something very strange and unusual. I am yet to know more about her. She used to come and talk to me in a very rare manner, to some extent I can say in a supra-worldly manner. One son died, another son is mentally unstable and she had problems with perhaps the husband, now they are resolved. So she used to say “I have been listening to your Mukthisudhakaram, Swamiji. I am a reader of Srimad Bhagavadam also after that.” And she used to quote liberally some verses which are all bearing upon the fullness and exclusiveness of God and the strength of dispassion. “I know that nothing is permanent. Our mind is the cause for everything. So I am not going to be bound by all these factors. Let the son be what he is, I shall be what I am.” And she reads and recites SrimadBhagavada very regularly etc.

    It seems, day before yesterday, she wanted to go to Guruvayur and have darsan. That was a very unusual day and there were special restrictions etc. One Ārāttu, the Lord in the form of an idol is taken by the tantri and accompanied by the others. The tantri along with the idol takes a bath in the tank. It is a very sublime function to see, to participate in which quite number of devotees come. So she could not go anywhere near the temple for darshan. So she was a little upset and apparently, the dejection or what shall I say, difficulty was evident in her face.

    When she was about to return, it seems a young boy came. “Why are you returning?”

    “Because today I will not be able to see the Lord.”

    “No, no, don`t worry about it. I will take you. There is an entrance through the western gate.”

    And there was a conversation between her and the boy. “Are you coming alone?”

    “Yes.”

    “Are you not missing your husband?”

    “What is there to be missed in this world?”

    And she recited a verse from Srimad Bhagavadam saying that “Everything is God, I cannot miss anybody. I have got my Guru, he always tells me that…” And she said something which I don’t remember fully.

    “Who is your Guru?”

    “My Guru is Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.”

    “O Bhoomananda Tirtha, He is a big Krishna”.

    Then she was speaking and at one point of time, the boy seems to have smiled exquisitely. She says “That smile was so enchanting that I felt there was something very strange about it.”

    And she asked, “Who are you?”

    “I am a Unni Namboodiri.” That means, I am a small priest, Brahmin boy who has come.

    “My function, my role is within the sanctum sanctorum. I have come here to help the priest.”

    And then, thus saying he led her, and then she was led to the point where she could have the worship. And by the time, the boy disappeared.

    So some people questioned her or something like that. So she said “There is a boy called Unni Nambodiri here. He brought me here.”

    “There is no Unni Nambodiri here at all. You can ask the office whether there is anybody.”

    “This is a leela of Guruvayurappan, Krishna. You can go and ask the office people.”

    It seems she went and talked to the office people. They said “There is no such person here at all. Only the main priest is there and assistant priests are. There is nobody like a boy who is anywhere here. We have not appointed anybody. You are very fortunate because it is Lord Krishna who has come to you in your distress.”

    She always has a stroke of dispassion. She was saying that “Though I am going back, I am not feeling sorry because my Guru has told me that it is Gurudevatātmā.” etc. Now, how do you explain this? Such a simple instance.

    There was one lady called Meenakshi Ammal about whom I have mentioned in my book. She was the mother of Dr. P. K. Narayanswami who was the chairman and managing director of FACT last. He was very close to me and closer was his mother. His mother was a relatively young age widow wearing white sari in the traditional style, nine yard sari. She used to come here. Our Ashram was a very poor hermitage at that time. We did not have any material sufficiently for our purpose. She used to purchase an extra sari, one or two sometimes and give it to me for my wear, that was the time. She always said, “Swamiji I would like to die lying on your lap. You call me cheriyamma, chittama, something like that, mother’s younger sister.” I used to call her like that.

    She was very much interested in going about to different temples, seeing Pasupathi-nathan and all that. So her relatives would arrange it but they will not be able to accompany her. So I was a little concerned. So I told, “Chitthi, you are going alone wherever you are”.

    She is given to singing. She will go on singing for hours. Everything she would sing in the form of Tamil songs. For everything she has a song. So I told her “Wherever you go, you will have some divine help. You are going alone; I am a little concerned about it. So you may feel weak, tired etc. so some kind of a help will come to you. You have my blessings.” I said.

    It seems she went to Sabarimalai. This is many, many years back. Maybe 50 years or so back. So at that time, to climb Sabarimalai from Pampa was not easy at all. Now I don’t know what the situation is. So she was going up the Karimalai also, feeling tired. And at one point, she was breathing very heavily, not able to place her steps. Suddenly a boy appeared and he started gently pushing her from the back using his hand. Then she found she was able to place her steps faster and faster. And she went up, went up the eighteen steps and stood in front of Lord Ayyappa to see Him and worship Him. The boy disappeared. Before that, she had a feeling “This is not a simple boy, something very different, his looks, his touch etc.”

    When she narrated to me, I said “This is how it will be and it should be. You have to go to Sabarimalai. Your body doesn’t allow you to go, you are becoming tired, you are so anxious to reach there, so that anxiety, intensity of that has got a value. Wherever such intensity is there, it produces a phenomenon but the one point is that after fulfilling its purpose, it should disappear. It will not be available at all. Not that somebody gifts you a watch and people say if it is something fictitious then will it remain? If it is something really providential and mystic, it will not remain at all. It will fulfill its purpose and suddenly ‘tatraivāntaradheeyata’, it will disappear in the emptiness of space.”

    One instance in my life I remember. When I was thinking about it, suddenly it came to my mind. I don`t know whether it is worth mentioning. I was walking somewhere in Ernakulam in my wandering days. It was very hot. I had only the usual clothes with an uthareeyam and perhaps one extra set. One dhothi, perhaps one shirt, one uthareeyam, my kaubeenam, and a towel. I was walking. It was very hot. One young age man called us from behind and the freedom and confidence with which he called us, “Swami, Swami, it is very hot. You should be thirsty. Look, I have got an orange. Take this”.

    Normally in Kerala, I have found oranges which are a little big, medium size and irregularly shaped. Only somewhere in Calcutta and other places, I have found a well-formed orange with a thin skin and very sweet inside. So “Take this.” So I stopped and this orange was given to me and then we walked. Because I was not inclined to, in these particular kind of thoughts nor would I say it should not be or dismiss it, so I was giving a place. Then I opened the orange and started taking one after the other, the segments there. After sometime when I looked back, this man was not there.

    So he smilingly called me and the confidence with which he was calling, normally nobody would call like this except an idiot. This kind of a calling of a Swami from behind, alerting them, alerting him to stop. So, that instance comes to my mind.

    So if there is anything mystic if you want to call it, these are the mystic instances. But I would like to say these are providential developments. When a particular redress is to be given, to deliver that redress, whatever means is necessary will be born. Don’t you think the world is born like that? The entire world is present and exists in the womb of empty space. Can the empty space produce such huge planets?

    After all, a matter will be born only of another matter. A physical substance can be generated only from a physical substance. The total physical substance, it cannot come from another physical source. That is where it defies the so-called objective, scientific understanding, sequences, models etc. Our body is also something like that. It is made from a cell! That cell multiplying itself into so many. And here it becomes the eye, here it becomes the nose, there it becomes the mouth, tongue etc. ear. The one cell having multiple powers and constantly so and evolving a system and a procedure which lends itself to scientific analysis, manipulations and all that maneuvering. This is called the wonderful magic. And as part of it, this subsidiary magic also can be had.

    So yesterday Rajammal called me and spoke to me this. I thought of sharing it with you. Yesterday I was speaking on Bhagavad Gita saying that in this Bhagavad Gita discussion you will find there is no magic or mysticism. Then I remembered that here is a mystic development reported by one.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

     

  • PR - 13 Feb 2016 - Bhagavad Gita : Self-Knowledge as a pursuit of the mind
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    I have been in this course of spiritual dissemination for sixty years. Right from the beginning, I was speaking on Bhagavad Gitā. In fact, all the evening sessions were only on Bhagavad Gitā. If at all, other more serious or subtle texts are taken, that will be always invariably in the morning. Now alone, a little departure is made at times. I was speaking on Bhagavad Gitā sixty years back. I am also speaking on Bhagavad Gitā even now. In Trichur, I spoke for eighteen years consecutively, each year taking one chapter. After that, for the past three years including this year, I started speaking on Aṣṭavakra Gitā primarily with an intention to provide something still subtler and even loftier, though there cannot be any such comparison.

    So this Bhagavad Gitā has been a book in which I go on doing research, research and research. Today I thought I would tell you, in what way does Bhagavad Gitā become a book of sādhanā and what is the striking difference between Bhagavad Gitā treatment of the subject and the Upanishadic and Brahma-sutra treatment.

    Self is something to be known. Self is not something to be got, not to be produced, not to be had. You can have something which is different from you and away from you. You can reach somewhere provided the destination is away from you and you are distanced from it. You can produce something provided there is a raw material and there is a process to be administered to it as a result of which the finished product, the outcome comes. You can get at, reach or obtain something; provided you don’t have it now and you have to have it. None of these processes or pursuits is applicable to the self because the Self is a siddha-vastu, not a sādhya-vastu.

    What is meant by ‘siddha’? Already obtained. Do you have to have wind or air? No, the wind is, the air is already in your system and it is surrounding you. You cannot bring it in a faster dose or a greater dose. Of course, in instances of diseases we are given oxygen cylinder because our system is not able to take the necessary oxygen through the biological processes. All the air is not oxygen. Part of it is oxygen. So, air is not something that you have to have. It is already there. It is in your system. Much more so is the case of the self. You are already the self. The self alone is present. You are surrounded by it. You are penetrated by it. You are permeated by it.

    Now such a self, what kind of a predication can you do about it? Nothing! You only have to understand it as such. This understanding is the entry into God.

    भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान्यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः ।
    ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम् ।।

    bhaktyā mām-abhijānāti yāvān-yaścāsmi tattvata: ।
    tato mām tattvato jñātvā viśate tad-anantaram ।।

    (Bhagavad Gitā 18.55)

    By devotion, the devotee comes to know me well. When he knows me essentially, in essence, that ‘knowing in essence’ marks his entry into my being. He understands that the whole world is in God. I am in world. If the world is in God, I am also in God. There is nothing excluding God. So, this understanding marks the entry, the entry is only a word, a phraseology you use.

    So, the self is only to be known as such. That is why this Ātma-jñāna. It is not Ātma-prāpti. Jñānā deva-kaivalya- prāpthi. By knowledge alone you have kaivalya.

    Why I am saying this? That is why this entire self-knowledge-science is said to be a pursuit of the intelligence. So the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras and such other texts like Chit-sukhi, Advaita-siddhi, Khandana-Khanda-Khadya and all that, particularly Yoga Vasishta Ramayana… Sri Rama was repeatedly told and described about the Self. It is the mouth of Vasiṣṭha that spoke. It is the eardrum that enabled Sri Rama to hear. But the speech came from the buddhi of Vasiṣṭha and the absorption came in the buddhi of Rama. So it was a buddhi interaction. So, we always say self is a knowledge, knowledge, knowledge, knowledge.

    ज्ञानं ज्ञेयं ज्ञानगम्यं ।

    jñānaṁ jñeyaṁ jñāna-gamyaṁ ।

    (Bhagavad Gitā 13.17)

    It is knowledge, it is to be known and the process is knowing.

    Now, the point I want to bring about is Bhagavad Gitā has made it a mind pursuit. Arjuna asked, “Grief is scorching my whole body, not merely the mind. The mind grief has become so pronounced that my whole senses are being scorched by it. So it was so pronounced that it was a physical expression that Arjuna was suffering from. Now, you have to assuage it, cool it, make me comfortable.”

    He did not say, “I am suffering from ignorance and remove that ignorance.” He has said it, but the primary focus was ‘yat-śokam-ucchoṣaṇam-indriyāṇāṁ’ (Bhagavad Gita 2.8). That is why Krishna began saying ‘aśocyān-anvaśocas-tvaṁ’ (Bhagavad Gita 2.11), and he repeatedly speaks about grief. This grief is a creation or a product of the mind. So, the entire self knowledge is described and expressed by Krishna, mostly as a redress for the mind’s problems. How does he explain it? I wish at least some of you will try to grasp it properly.

    Sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā. Be even-minded towards sukha and duhkha, sukha-duhkhas are not buddhi creations. Lābhālābhau jayājayau. The feeling of lābha, the feeling of jaya, all these are emotional evolutes.

    सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा लाभालाभौ जयाजयौ ।
    ततो युद्धाय युज्यस्व नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि ।।

    sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvālābhālābhau jayājayau ।
    tato yuddhāya yujyasva naivaṁ pāpam-avāpsyasi ।।

    (Bhagavad Gitā 2.38)

    Sukha-duḥkhe same kṛtvā lābhālābhau jayājayau. Tato yuddhāya yujyasva. See? In the mind level, let these things be even for you and then fight. Naivaṁ pāpam-avāpsyasi. You will not incur any sin at all. Buddhi is not involved there. Only mind is involved. You remain in the mind level. In the mind level, mind level.

    यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सरः ।

    yadṛcchā-lābha-santuṣṭo dvandvātīto vimatsaraḥ।

    (Bhagavad Gitā 4.22)

    Yadṛcchā-lābha-santuṣṭah. Be contented with whatever chance and providence bring. That contentment is a reference to the mind and then you are not to worry about it. Whatever providence brings. Look at everyday of your life as something providence brings. If somebody talks to you, it is. If somebody doesn’t talk, it is. If it is joy, okay. If it is sorrow, okay. If people are friendly, good, unfriendly, good. See, you always remain in the mind level. And in the mind, that Samatva,

    सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्योः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ।। २-४८ ।।

    siddhy-asiddhyoḥ samo bhūtvā samatvaṁ yoga ucyate ।। 2-48 ।।

    This samatva is not in the buddhi level. Buddhi is given to understanding and mind is given to experience. This samatva is in the experiential level. You will find in Bhagavad Gitā, the entire self- knowledge is brought to the level of the mind and it is presented to you in the form of

    सन्तुष्टः सततं योगी ।

    santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ yogī ।

    (Bhagavad Gitā 12.14)

    The actual yoga is constant cheerfulness and delight. Santuṣṭaḥ satataṁ, always be contented. Contentment belongs to the mind. Make your mind contented. Don’t worry about the self. Don’t worry about your intelligence. Don’t worry about anything else. Be contented. Be smiling, joyful, happy, Wah! Wah!

    मुनिः प्रसन्नगम्भीरो ।

    Munih. Prasanna-gambhiro ।

    Munih. Be an ascetic. Prasanna-gambhirah. Wah! Profoundly cheerful.

    Just see? The whole science of self knowledge is related in terms of the mind, in terms of mind’s emotions, emotional equipoise, emotional evenness, emotional, emotional, emotional. Have moderation, have moderation, do not be depressed, do not be unduly delighted. Live in the middle of your mind. It should be a midpoint. Neither go up nor come down. In your life, there is no place for happiness or unhappiness. There is only a place for moderation in the two. Happiness and unhappiness, the world and life will create. You have to become moderate, moderation, moderation.

    Samatvaṁ yoga ucyate. Samatvaṁ yoga ucyate.

    There is no reference to the self even and self knowledge even. Such a wonderful presentation!

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

     

  • PR - 15 Feb 2016 - Understanding Sankhya
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    Yesterday, while discussing Bhagavad Gita, we came to the end of the sankhya section of the exposition. ‘S’ asked me, “What is meant by sankhya?” This sankhya, I mentioned that ’Samyak Khyāyate Paṭyate’. A further definition is ‘Khyāyate Paṭyate anena iti sankhya’. The supreme truth is very well known or studied only by this exposition. So, whatever exposes you to the supreme truth is called sankhya. It is the truth discussed in the Upanishads, and this sankhya truth is not so much to be read as to be told. The word ‘ख्या’, the important meaning relevant to us is, “It has to be narrated, exposed, told or explained by somebody”. Our upanishads themselves have a meaning उपः, समीपे, निषद्, to sit, to sit close to the teacher and then listen to it from the teacher.

    So, this sankhya is such a subtle truth that it will be clear to you only when you hear it from a person who has realised the truth and who is capable of explaining to the others, primarily resorting to reason and philosophical line of thinking.

    I said this is the last portion, concluding statement of the sankhya section. What is that statement? सुखदुःखे समे कृत्वा. So many times I have explained that. Our life is an interaction between the senses and the world objects. These interactions in a way take place at the bodily and sensory level. Though, it is the mind that gives us the experience of the body, experience of the senses, and mind alone employs them for interactions. So, the senses and the body cannot independently exist or function. Mind again is behind them. But we generally don’t know it.

    So to start with, let us think that the interactions are taking place in the sensory level. Throughout the wakeful hours, we are only acting and interacting with our senses, our body. And all these actions and interactions bring about and result in only the twin experience of sukha and duḥkha. So you can say, our whole life as well as the entire world will be equal to sukha-duḥkhas. You cannot get anything more than or different from sukha-duḥkhas from the total worldly life.

    Now Krishna says, “These sukha-duḥkhas are to be evenized in your mind. It’s a very great statement, though very simple appears to be. What is meant by evenizing them? After all, these sukha-duḥkhas are produced - By what? They are inhering or abiding where? Though you feel that interactions with the objects bring about sukha-duḥkhas, the interactions proceed from the mind, they subsist on the mind, they also conclude in the mind. So, the sukha-duḥkhas do not have a ground or a basis other than the mind. The mind causes them, the mind experiences them and the mind alone concludes or terminates them every time.

    What you have do is, what is the source of sukha-duḥkhas in the experiential level? Our mind. If the mind is the source of sukha-duḥkhas , the mind can as well do whatever it wants about them, because they are produced by the mind, preserved by the mind. So, the mind can do whatever it likes. Normally, what does it do? It prefers the sukha and it has abhorrence, a prejudice towards the duḥkha. So, first of all, it produces sukha-duḥkhas and it also produces a preference and prejudice. Mind is the source of the preference and prejudice as well as the sukha-duḥkhas. Knowing that it is so, you take a different attitude. “I will not be having a preference for sukha and a prejudice for duḥkha. On the other hand, I will have an evenness of outlook towards both.” This is the fundamental and ultimate change that you want. It is not very difficult it is very simple, provided you will be governed by your knowledge. So, adopt the even attitude towards them.

    When, instead of having a preference and prejudice towards both, either and both, suppose you start developing an even and harmonious attitude towards them, then the intensity of sukha declines, equally so the intensity of duḥkha also declines. In no sukha, will you feel so excited or blinded. In the duḥkha also, the same thing. You will not be unnecessarily excited by a duḥkha or blinded by duḥkha. An altogether new attitude of evenness and harmony will develop in you. That attitude of harmony and evenness, he says, that is what we want.

    You have answered, you have handled, you have transcended, you have risen above the entire world which has only two experiences or responses or reactions to provide for you. Just see, such a simple formula! And once you strike this evenness towards sukha-duḥkhas, that itself will look after the problem of sin in life. The word ‘sin’ means what? A feeling that I am doing something wrong. After all, what are we doing? We are doing what our nature propels us to. As long as it is not harmful to the others, I don’t think any action can be found wrong. Suppose you hurt another man either by word of speech or by your thought or by an action, it is wrong. As long as no harm is sought to be done to another, any action that you do, I don’t think it can be considered sinful at all.

    Just like you should not do anything harmful to another, you should not also do anything harmful to yourself. What is meant harmful to yourself? Suppose you cover the whole of your body with a bed sheet, including the nose and head and you start lying, then what will happen? You will start breathing your own respirated air. That means, carbon dioxide will be breathed, you may die. In the same manner, you should not do anything harmful to yourself.

    So, sinfulness is not merely not hurting others, not hurting yourself also. An action you may do now, later on you may feel, “No, I did not do it properly.” So a sense of guilt will follow you. It is self victimising. That is also sinful. So, this sin will be completely looked after by this even attitude.

    नैवं पापमवाप्स्यसि

    naivaṁ pāpam-avāpsyasi

    (Bhagavad Gitā 2.38)

    I would like you to reflect upon this verse for hours and hours and hours. What is the fundamental point? That the entire world with which we interact throughout our life has only two experiences to offer, sukha and duḥkha. Actually these are not produced by the world; they are related to the world. The producing centre, the source is our own mind. If our mind is the cause of sukha-duḥkhas, our mind is also the redress for them.

    Suppose there is a cyclone, a hurricane, an earthquake or extreme rain, when all these things take place on the surface of the earth, the solution is not in the air, it is not in the rain, it is not in the earthquake, the solution is in the earth. The earth will have to assimilate the impacts and become normal so that life in this earth thrives. It may be caused by air, by water, by earth’s own quaking, but the solution for all these things will have to come from earth itself. So, the source of sukha-duḥkhas is our mind. Naturally, the redress for them also should come from the mind. Will you believe this, understand this and hold on to this point?

    The moment you start understanding in this manner, from next moment onwards, the density and intensity, the severity of sukha-duḥkhas will simply decline. It doesn’t take a minute further. “Oh. Is it so? My own mind is the source of sukha-duḥkhas and my mind holds the redress for them?” That very consciousness, awareness will simply act upon the sukha-dukha twins, opposites, and then you will find, it is just like a very small pen torch. In pitch darkness, if you press the button, you will find the darkness will be lessened, it will flee. In the same manner, you will find the intensity of the sukha-dukhas starts declining, declining, declining and it can go to any extent. It depends upon the individual’s parameters.

    How far can you be sensitive to your own finding? How far will you act upon this finding? I can tell you that when I read this, this is my development, the manner in which I explain this verse मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय (Bhagavad Gita 2.14), I don’t know whether anybody has explained it. You know, ever since I read it and I have been a speaker for a long time, sixty years, I found a great, I made a great discovery, it was a great uncovering. The whole wonderful brahmajñāna path became facile, simple, easy and within reach. And it is the same thing that Krishna has developed into what?

    इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गो येषां साम्ये स्थितं मनः ।
    निर्दोषं हि समं ब्रह्म तस्माद्ब्रह्मणि ते स्थिताः ।।

    ihaiva tair-jitaḥ sargo yeṣāṁ sāmye sthitaṁ manaḥ
    nirdoṣaṁ hi samaṁ brahma tasmād-brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ ।।

    (Bhagavad Gitā 5.19)

    “When the mind is established in samya, he is established in Brahman, the supreme truth.” he says.

    So, I would like you to have a right point of view. It is not very hard, it is a very simple truth and concerning your own mind, your own sukha-duḥkhas , the world which causes it. So it is a full solution for everything in life and also a full redress for everything that you call sinfulness or adversity.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

     

Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR - 02 Mar 2016 - Inexplicable Providential Experiences
    Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    Today, I thought of telling you something about what is meant by an inexplicable mystic development. In fact, the entire world is a mystic development. We will not be able to explain the process and the cause of the world when you take it to the ultimate level. Philosophy speaks something about the causeless cause. At one point of time, the cause-effect chain starts. Before that, there was no cause and effect process at all. It is something like this. We are all born of our parents. Our parents were born of their parents. Their parents were born of their parents. Now, when you come to the first parents, from where could they have been born? Not from their parents. So there is naturally in our discussion, in our probe, a condition in which something starts. And from there, the cause and effect chain also starts.

    Our spiritual philosophy says very clearly that the whole world when properly analyzed is a sensory perception. Though it is called a sensory perception, the perception is had in the perceiver’s horizon. The perceiver is not in the body or in the senses. He is something away from the body, different from the body, besides the body, but apparently within the body. How can you have three dimensional figures within the body? But it is within the body that you perceive all these dimensions and you are assessing them. So, the entire assessment is made by the mind. The mind has no weight, no mass, it is not physical, it is not energial, but it is that mind which produces all these things. How can a mountain be within your body? How can the sun be within your body? But it is within the body that you feel everything. When you think in this manner, that this externality is inexplicable, that is what Sankara puts in Vivekachudamani.

    सन्नाप्यसन्नाप्युभयात्मिका नो भिन्नाप्यभिन्नाप्युभयात्मिका नो ।
    साङ्गाप्यनङ्गा ह्युभयात्मिका नो महाद्भुताऽनिर्वचनीयरूपा ॥

    sannāpyasannāpyubhayātmikā no bhinnāpyabhinnāpyubhayātmikā no ।
    sāṅgāpyanaṅgā hyubhayātmikā no mahādbhutā'nirvacanīyarūpā ।।

    (Vivekachudamani 109)

    You cannot call it existence or non-existence. You cannot call it as a part of a whole. You cannot call it different or non-different. We can only say it is something amazingly wonderful and it cannot be described. So there is a category called indescribable. This belongs to that indescribable category.

    Meera was given, Bhakta-Meera was given poison by her mother-in-law. I always, I often refer to it. The mother-in-law gave poison to kill her. With her Krishna-Bhakthi and simplicity, straightforwardness etc. she drank it. What was given was poison but it did not have any bio-chemical effect on the body.

    My disciple Sankaran who was living in Coimbatore, he was admitted to the hospital, he had so many problems. One operation was done by an expert Gastroenterologist who had done thousands and thousands of operations. He was set right but the problem as such did not leave him. At one point of time, he became so desperate that he drank, I don’t know what is that element, a poisonous insecticide or something like that. He drank two-three bottles of it. The pain disappeared and he had nothing. Nobody can explain how it took place. Then he was relieved but in the subsequent months or subsequent year, he wanted very much to take up sannayasa. I had allowed him. “Yes, you take up.” And he put on the sannyasin’s robe and he continued, he breathed his last. How do you explain that? So much of poison going in to the stomach and there is no effect for it. These are some of the inexplicable providential spiritual developments.

    Yesterday, there is one Rajammal who is also initiated by me, a disciple. I have always found in her something very strange and unusual. I am yet to know more about her. She used to come and talk to me in a very rare manner, to some extent I can say in a supra-worldly manner. One son died, another son is mentally unstable and she had problems with perhaps the husband, now they are resolved. So she used to say “I have been listening to your Mukthisudhakaram, Swamiji. I am a reader of Srimad Bhagavadam also after that.” And she used to quote liberally some verses which are all bearing upon the fullness and exclusiveness of God and the strength of dispassion. “I know that nothing is permanent. Our mind is the cause for everything. So I am not going to be bound by all these factors. Let the son be what he is, I shall be what I am.” And she reads and recites SrimadBhagavada very regularly etc.

    It seems, day before yesterday, she wanted to go to Guruvayur and have darsan. That was a very unusual day and there were special restrictions etc. One Ārāttu, the Lord in the form of an idol is taken by the tantri and accompanied by the others. The tantri along with the idol takes a bath in the tank. It is a very sublime function to see, to participate in which quite number of devotees come. So she could not go anywhere near the temple for darshan. So she was a little upset and apparently, the dejection or what shall I say, difficulty was evident in her face.

    When she was about to return, it seems a young boy came. “Why are you returning?”

    “Because today I will not be able to see the Lord.”

    “No, no, don`t worry about it. I will take you. There is an entrance through the western gate.”

    And there was a conversation between her and the boy. “Are you coming alone?”

    “Yes.”

    “Are you not missing your husband?”

    “What is there to be missed in this world?”

    And she recited a verse from Srimad Bhagavadam saying that “Everything is God, I cannot miss anybody. I have got my Guru, he always tells me that…” And she said something which I don’t remember fully.

    “Who is your Guru?”

    “My Guru is Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.”

    “O Bhoomananda Tirtha, He is a big Krishna”.

    Then she was speaking and at one point of time, the boy seems to have smiled exquisitely. She says “That smile was so enchanting that I felt there was something very strange about it.”

    And she asked, “Who are you?”

    “I am a Unni Namboodiri.” That means, I am a small priest, Brahmin boy who has come.

    “My function, my role is within the sanctum sanctorum. I have come here to help the priest.”

    And then, thus saying he led her, and then she was led to the point where she could have the worship. And by the time, the boy disappeared.

    So some people questioned her or something like that. So she said “There is a boy called Unni Nambodiri here. He brought me here.”

    “There is no Unni Nambodiri here at all. You can ask the office whether there is anybody.”

    “This is a leela of Guruvayurappan, Krishna. You can go and ask the office people.”

    It seems she went and talked to the office people. They said “There is no such person here at all. Only the main priest is there and assistant priests are. There is nobody like a boy who is anywhere here. We have not appointed anybody. You are very fortunate because it is Lord Krishna who has come to you in your distress.”

    She always has a stroke of dispassion. She was saying that “Though I am going back, I am not feeling sorry because my Guru has told me that it is Gurudevatātmā.” etc. Now, how do you explain this? Such a simple instance.

    There was one lady called Meenakshi Ammal about whom I have mentioned in my book. She was the mother of Dr. P. K. Narayanswami who was the chairman and managing director of FACT last. He was very close to me and closer was his mother. His mother was a relatively young age widow wearing white sari in the traditional style, nine yard sari. She used to come here. Our Ashram was a very poor hermitage at that time. We did not have any material sufficiently for our purpose. She used to purchase an extra sari, one or two sometimes and give it to me for my wear, that was the time. She always said, “Swamiji I would like to die lying on your lap. You call me cheriyamma, chittama, something like that, mother’s younger sister.” I used to call her like that.

    She was very much interested in going about to different temples, seeing Pasupathi-nathan and all that. So her relatives would arrange it but they will not be able to accompany her. So I was a little concerned. So I told, “Chitthi, you are going alone wherever you are”.

    She is given to singing. She will go on singing for hours. Everything she would sing in the form of Tamil songs. For everything she has a song. So I told her “Wherever you go, you will have some divine help. You are going alone; I am a little concerned about it. So you may feel weak, tired etc. so some kind of a help will come to you. You have my blessings.” I said.

    It seems she went to Sabarimalai. This is many, many years back. Maybe 50 years or so back. So at that time, to climb Sabarimalai from Pampa was not easy at all. Now I don’t know what the situation is. So she was going up the Karimalai also, feeling tired. And at one point, she was breathing very heavily, not able to place her steps. Suddenly a boy appeared and he started gently pushing her from the back using his hand. Then she found she was able to place her steps faster and faster. And she went up, went up the eighteen steps and stood in front of Lord Ayyappa to see Him and worship Him. The boy disappeared. Before that, she had a feeling “This is not a simple boy, something very different, his looks, his touch etc.”

    When she narrated to me, I said “This is how it will be and it should be. You have to go to Sabarimalai. Your body doesn’t allow you to go, you are becoming tired, you are so anxious to reach there, so that anxiety, intensity of that has got a value. Wherever such intensity is there, it produces a phenomenon but the one point is that after fulfilling its purpose, it should disappear. It will not be available at all. Not that somebody gifts you a watch and people say if it is something fictitious then will it remain? If it is something really providential and mystic, it will not remain at all. It will fulfill its purpose and suddenly ‘tatraivāntaradheeyata’, it will disappear in the emptiness of space.”

    One instance in my life I remember. When I was thinking about it, suddenly it came to my mind. I don`t know whether it is worth mentioning. I was walking somewhere in Ernakulam in my wandering days. It was very hot. I had only the usual clothes with an uthareeyam and perhaps one extra set. One dhothi, perhaps one shirt, one uthareeyam, my kaubeenam, and a towel. I was walking. It was very hot. One young age man called us from behind and the freedom and confidence with which he called us, “Swami, Swami, it is very hot. You should be thirsty. Look, I have got an orange. Take this”.

    Normally in Kerala, I have found oranges which are a little big, medium size and irregularly shaped. Only somewhere in Calcutta and other places, I have found a well-formed orange with a thin skin and very sweet inside. So “Take this.” So I stopped and this orange was given to me and then we walked. Because I was not inclined to, in these particular kind of thoughts nor would I say it should not be or dismiss it, so I was giving a place. Then I opened the orange and started taking one after the other, the segments there. After sometime when I looked back, this man was not there.

    So he smilingly called me and the confidence with which he was calling, normally nobody would call like this except an idiot. This kind of a calling of a Swami from behind, alerting them, alerting him to stop. So, that instance comes to my mind.

    So if there is anything mystic if you want to call it, these are the mystic instances. But I would like to say these are providential developments. When a particular redress is to be given, to deliver that redress, whatever means is necessary will be born. Don’t you think the world is born like that? The entire world is present and exists in the womb of empty space. Can the empty space produce such huge planets?

    After all, a matter will be born only of another matter. A physical substance can be generated only from a physical substance. The total physical substance, it cannot come from another physical source. That is where it defies the so-called objective, scientific understanding, sequences, models etc. Our body is also something like that. It is made from a cell! That cell multiplying itself into so many. And here it becomes the eye, here it becomes the nose, there it becomes the mouth, tongue etc. ear. The one cell having multiple powers and constantly so and evolving a system and a procedure which lends itself to scientific analysis, manipulations and all that maneuvering. This is called the wonderful magic. And as part of it, this subsidiary magic also can be had.

    So yesterday Rajammal called me and spoke to me this. I thought of sharing it with you. Yesterday I was speaking on Bhagavad Gita saying that in this Bhagavad Gita discussion you will find there is no magic or mysticism. Then I remembered that here is a mystic development reported by one.

    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...

MaJi-HmPg-White

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


 

Vicharsetu
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 ....

How to chant Bhagavad Gita

How to chant Viṣṇusahasranāma

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