"In acquiring material wealth all are not equally blessed. But in gaining mental and spiritual wealth, every one has an equal chance. Beginning from character and disciplines and ending with supreme kindness and goodness, the wealth of the mind is displayed in abundance before all. The question is only who wants, and, to which measure !"

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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  • Programs in USA - Global Bhagavad Gita Convention (GBGC)

    The Global Bhagavad Gita Convention for Personal Growth and Universal Well-Being will be held on 15th and 16th Sept 2018 in the George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia. Early registration is encouraged. For more information visit www.GlobalGita.org.

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    Holy Gurupoornima will be observed on 27th Jul. The 7-day Retreat will be from 28th Jul to 3rd Aug. 2018.  To participate in the retreat, the completed application form must reach the before 15th June. Read more ...

Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 13 Mar 2012 - Knowledge Austerity
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    You know that I am spending a lot of time in Srimad Bhagavatam solely because of the fact that it is this text on which I speak for the two series, Muktisudhakaram and ‘Inner Spiritual Splendour’. Both of them are on the eleventh skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam. The eleventh skanda of Srimad Bhagavatam is actually the essence of not merely the Srimad Bhagavata narration, but also the entire spirituo-philosophical exposition.

    Our whole spirituo-philosophical culture, religious culture commences itself from the Vedic period and Vedic literature. The Vedas would not have been evolved all of a sudden. There must have been a time lag between the first thoughts on the Vedas and the last thoughts on them. We cannot say how much is the period but there certainly is an evolution if you can call it an evolution, a search, research, finding, processing the finding further, thinking further and finally they arrived at a finale. This is what we call the Upanishads. The Upanishadic thoughts climax and also crown the Vedic enquiries, the Vedic life and it climaxes in what? In a zero.

    यदा पञ्चावतिष्ठन्ते ज्ञानानि मनसा सह ।
    बुद्धिश्च न विचेष्टते तामाहुः परमां गतिम् ।। 2.3.10 ।।
    yadā pañcāvatiṣṭante jñānāni manasā saha |
    buddhiśca na viceṣtate tāmāhuḥ paramām gatim ||
    (Kathopanishad 2.3.10)

    It started elaborately with praises and hymns addressed to the super human powers. These were followed by elaborate ceremonies and rituals. Even now people have a great admiration and awe towards them. Then they receded into a contemplative state. Finally they found even the contemplative effort is to be surrendered and we should become a zero within ourselves.

    The verse I quoted is from Kathopanishad. When all the senses along with the mind and the intelligence keep quiet, doing nothing. तां आहुः परमां गतिम् – that is said to be the supreme abode, refuge and fulfillment. This is what I called a zero. ‘Are we living only to know and be this? - is an important question. There is so much of widespread alluring materials and other things around us. Can we suddenly say that these are nothing and of no value? This is a question that should occur to everybody, anybody.

    Srimad Bhagavatam is the latest scripture written about fourteen hundred years back. So you will find that in Srimad Bhagavata you will have the latest thinking in the subject. It is not that all the Srimad Bhagavata thoughts were new at that time. The Srimad Bhagavata thought process should have started very soon after the Upanishadic period. Because the Upanishads are philosophical and primarily meant for intelligence, the highest faculty, constituent in the human personality. Not all will be able to access the Upanishadic thought or adopt them all of a sudden. At the same time, everybody should be given the benefit of the ultimate truth. That is how our Vedic thinkers thought of producing something in the way of a puranic narration. Through a process of narration where time, place and personality featured repeatedly. The imagination soaring very high into the unseen heights above the earth, they started communicating with the normal people who do not have time either to read and think themselves or who may not be able to understand even when they read. So, the puranic processes had started earlier.

    In Srimad Bhagavata, you perhaps find a kind of a climax and fulfillment of the thinking. Srimad Bhagavata is primarily a devotional text, means it is completely resting upon God. God who is the creator, the preserver and the dissolver of everything in this world. Normally people say God is sporting in the whole creation. In a way it is right. Would you like to be a cat and also a rat together? Become the rat and become the cat. And as cat you pounce upon the rat. You don’t allow it to go, you don’t kill it also, you sport with it for some time. As a rat, you submit yourself to it. What should be your dimension when you are able to sport in this manner?

    You know we take to wrestling and boxing etc. as a vinoda, as a play and so many people watch it. What are they doing? One hits the other, the other counter hits until at last one is defeated and we are trying to see it. So, in sport there is something called punishment, hurting and the pinnacle of it is killing. Not only that, eating. This is the perhaps the biggest of sport that you can think of, though it is on the first hearing very painful and excruciating. There is something called bull fight. People fight with the bull until at last he is able to insert a sword into the heart region of the bull and so many people are seeing it. So killing is not avoided in sport. Maybe people delight it, may not be all. So God is sporting, you can say, except as a sport this cannot be justified. That rat being pounced upon by the cat. Like that so many animals, Our own body preyed by a number of germs. Some incurable diseases. Sometimes we have to be shut up in a dark room. So many things are there. Can you justify it as a normal act? Then God will be considered very cruel. He is not. So it is only a vinoda for Him. But is this vinoda justifiable? Can a God sport in all these cruelties? That is also a question. So an ultimate answer has to be found out.

    In Srimad Bhagavata you find in more than one place, several places it says that the whole creation is non-existent. It is nothing but an extension of man’s illusion. If there is an illusory product, an illusory cat killing an illusory rat, then I think you have no problem. The problem arises only when the cat and the rat become real. So Srimad Bhagavata clearly says यत्र त्रिसर्गॊ मृषा (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1). The combination of words is such that it allows to be read as त्रिसर्गॊ मृषा and त्रिसर्गॊ अमृषा. In very critical places Srimad Bhagavata clearly sees that the words are put as a positive and negative. It can be split as a positive word or a negative word. But there are occasions when doubtlessly Srimad Bhagavata says everything is an illusion. 

    I was just reminded of Mundakopanishad how this illusion has come, we find so much of concreteness, grossness, weight, this, that and all. Positing Brahman as a source of everything, Mundakopanishad says,

    यस्य ज्ञानमयं तपः
    (Mundakopanishad 1.1.9)
    The tapas of Brahman is jnanamaya. 
    तपसा चीयते ब्रह्म
    (Mundakopanishad 1.1.8)

    Brahman is actually consciousness. It is not matter, it is not energy, it is not anything conceivable. On the other hand, it is knowledge. Knowledge is not unknown to us. We are knowing. We have knowledge. We have consciousness. Consciousness does not take any space or place to be. Now this Brahman, तपसा चीयतॆ - it goes on swelling. How does it swell? तपसा. The process is tapas. What is this tapas? You can have various forms of tapas. Physical tapas like walking a few kilometers, fasting, taking āsanās, prānāyāma, all these are forms of austerity. But Mundakopanishad says यस्य ज्ञानमयं तपः whose austerity is knowledge, knowledge. So, knowledge is not a process. It simply dawns. No activity is involved. And from that knowledge austerity अन्नात्प्राणो मनः सत्यं. Matter evolved. Force evolved. Mind evolved. And the elements, five elements evolved Shabda, sparsa, rasa, roopa, gandhah and panchabhutas. I would like you to grasp this word ज्ञानमयम् तपः.

    You know whenever I read something, I try to understand it and that understanding itself is the process. Nothing else is necessary. Spend your time devotionally, piously and with attunement in whatever you read and try to understand. That is the best form of austerity that you can think of. I am not sure even now that our inmates have understood that knowledge is the best corrector, improver, refiner, sublimator, fulfiller. You are not respecting knowledge. You are not able to assess knowledge. When you know something to be bad, bad, that knowledge that it is bad is sufficient to cast it aside because if the knowledge is not firm, the bad thrives. So, knowledge is the deepest faculty and constituent in the human personality. So that knowledge austerity is the process by which the knowledge Brahman started growing and becoming matter, energy, force, senses, mind, intelligence and ego. Will you think about this proposition and try to understand it? It is a very, very great statement.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 29 Jan 2012 - Sanskrit Poetry for Mind Introspection
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    Yesterday I was speaking about the quality, the habit, the ability, the gift of remembering things properly. In all these, that inner qualitative refinement is the most important factor. I speak. Many of you hear. The hearing part is almost common. No, there also there is difference. Each person may listen to it from his own insight. Maybe the ear drums fulfill their role. But the ear drums exist only for the sake of the mind. So, in the mind part, the listening maybe of an assorted nature. Some people will listen to it with a lot of attention, with a view to absorb what is said, to be identified with what is heard and to incorporate it in their life, in their system.

    So far as the hearing is concerned, you can say ear has a role to play. But once it becomes a question of receiving the words, receiving and absorbing the ideas, I think the ear keeps away. Everything is done by the mind. So, the qualitative listening will depend upon the attunement the mind is able to develop. Attunement itself as I said will depend upon the extent and depth of interest you have in any subject whatsoever. Whenever I began to read spiritual literature, luckily I found that whatever I wanted to read was invariably in poetry. Poetry is the only kind of literature which you can remember.

    You know in our country, when children are being taught Sanskrit, the first thing that they are taught is Amarakosam. This Amarakosam, if I remember correct, it is partly in Malayalam and partly in English also. We have got a dictionary in Sanskrit. The dictionary of all the names used in Sanskrit - it is all in poetry. And this dictionary used to be by-hearted by the students because there was no other way. They had to learn it, learn it, learn it and be impressed by it. Similarly, the entire grammar, Panini sutras, they also used to be by-hearted. This was the way. Suppose it was not poetry, I don’t think we will be able to by-heart prose to that extent. I don’t know whether anybody will be able to do it.

    Poetry has got a kind of closely knit nature by virtue of which it is all governed by chandas, metre. So the metre will not allow any kind of a deflection or a replacement so easily. So every letter will bring the other letter, the second letter will bring the third letter, the third letter will bring the fourth word, like that. There are some children who come to the Ashram, maybe six years, seven years or five years even. You know, they recite quite a number of verses at such a tender age.

    So what I have to tell you is that how can you learn, by-heart a particular verse? Only by reading it, reciting it, reading it, reciting it, making mistakes and then feeling “No, this is not the word.” When you start chanting a verse, it will not come to you properly. So you have to relearn it. So the extent of mind hours or mind minutes you put on a subject, can you imagine?

    I would like to ask all our Brahmacharis and Brahmacharinis, "Are you spending such mind hours on a subject?" I am telling them "You learn.” But they are not learning. I was telling them that “I would teach you something like one hundred verses.” I began with fifty and at one time I went up to one hundred. Except Yogavasishta Ramayana, all the verses necessary for them to know the subject of Vedanta, right from the beginning of the theory and the end of realization, I had covered in about 100 verses. If they were to by-heart these verses, every time the verse will come to them. And by appearing in the mind in the form of memory, you get an opportunity to match your behaviour, match your thoughts, match your reaction with whatever is said there. Now this process of inner examination, inner verification, inner correction will be automatic. This is all accomplished only by the poetic rendering of the values, principles and goals of our life.

    Our ‘X’ knows quite a number of verses. She knows Gita very well. If she has that kind of a memory which I also don’t have because I have not spent time in that manner, which verse belongs to which chapter etc. So, how can she say that “I don’t remember”? Whatever she wants to remember, she must spend time for it. I told you that ‘Lokesa chaitanya mayaadi deva’. That beginning word will never occur to me. So I was trying and trying and trying, now it is almost alright.

    Some of the verses which I have learnt long back, suddenly sometimes I remember it. For Muktisudhakaram, I have to spend a little time. When I read the verses, the mind will connect whatever else is there somewhere. So, it takes time. I must give time to that. Invariably I remember connections while taking bath in the bathroom, maybe in the toilet also. So I think it is question of mind application. I would like you to examine and find out whether you are applying your mind to what you are learning or want to learn.

    Yesterday I was speaking –

    मनो हि द्विविधं प्रोक्तं शुद्धं चाशुद्धमेव च ।
    अशुद्धं कामसङ्कल्पं शुद्धं कामविवर्जितम् ॥ १ ॥
    mano hi dvividham proktam suddham ca-asuddhameva ca ।
    asuddham kāma-sankalpam suddham kāmavivarjitam ।।
    (Amritabindu Upanishad 1)

    What does it say? The human mind is twofold – It is pure and impure. So, this is what you have to know in Vedanta. Mind has got two kinds – one is pure, another is impure. What is pure and what is impure? Aśuddham kāma-saṅkalpam. The impurity is kama and sankalpa and shuddha is kama-vivarjitam.

    You learn this verse, you remember it. And every day you match your mind with this statement made here, evaluation made here. I don’t know how much time it will take. Learning only 24 letters. To learn 24 letters, how much time will you take? Even if you take in the course of 10 days, 10 hours, I think that is the long and short of the whole sādhana. And then you start applying it. Suppose you don’t have this information, then it becomes difficult. And by rendering it in poetry, we also have the additional benefit of getting a lot of ecstasy, exhilaration, joy and delight by chanting it because it is partly music. For everything we have got Sanskrit verses. What is self-realization? What is Jeevan-mukti? When does a sādhaka completes his sādhanā? Will he become free and liberated from sādhanā also? Yes. He will become a siddha, a sādhanā-nirmuktah. All these are mentioned there. Why not we open the book, learn and keep that learning in your mind readily available? I think it is all a question of spending mind minutes, mind hours, mind days.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 12 Mar 2012 - Atma Jnana to Resolve Confrontations of Mind and Intelligence
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    On many occasions, I used to say this Atma Jnana is just like the fire we are using. The fire has got manifold application. It can be used for making pudding for offering to the Lord. It can burn the dead body and refuse. It can heat the water. It can sterilize many things. It can heat up the Earth. It will give you warmth. So many different applications are there. Similarly, this atma jnana is also of manifold application. The application of Atma Jnana is primarily and solely to resolve the problems and confrontations of the mind and intelligence. Whenever the mind is confronted with anything, the intelligence also is confronted. In the case of intelligence, it will be ignorance, delusion and doubt. In the case of the mind, it will be unpleasantness, unhappiness, suffering and what not! Atma Jnana can completely remove all these. When I say this, I am sure that most of you will not be listening to and absorbing what is said.

    We have the most illustrious application of Atma Jnana in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Generally, this jnana is sought by people who are dispassionate in the world, who develop a dispassion or even a repulsion for the world. And such dispassionate people perhaps go to the forest or kutiras, say something like this, this Ashram also and they seek atma jnana not to get involved in this world but to retire from this world and to be solely occupied with. So, it is a very peaceful application, that too austere and absorbing application of atma jnana. This is the context in which we know. But I would like you to understand that it is not at all so. It maybe so for practical purposes with many of the seekers but don’t restrict atma jnana only for that. It is supposed to treat the mind and set it right so far as any problems, interactional problems are concerned.

    So you will find in Bhagavad Gita, Krishna treating Arjuna’s mind and intelligence with the same soul wisdom, no other soul wisdom, the same wisdom and then making him get up with his bow and arrow and resolve to fight the bloody war of eighteen days, in which the first people he had to confront were his own grandfather and teacher, between whom and himself there was no enmity or dislike at all. Bhishma and Drona were blessing him, the Pandavas. And the Pandavas had the utmost regard for Bhishma and Drona. As the fight progressed also, Yudhishthira was sent by Krishna to ask Bhishma. “As long as you are alive, we won’t be able to do anything with this Duryodhana army. So, please tell us how you can be subdued and you can be de-seated from the chariot.” Bhishma himself told them the method of doing so.

    So, you can understand that this Mahabharata war is such a cruel war in one sense, though it was a dhārmic war. And such a severe, excruciating impact of the war, Atma Jnana resolved it. Resolved it and said what? “Arjuna, you need not fight. Get away from here. Let us go to the forest and dissolve our mind and intelligence. Remain immersed in the self.” That was not the advice given. Arjuna wanted to do it. Krishna denounced it completely and said “Whatever you will achieve by meditative absorption in the forest and in the cottages, achieve it here and now. I have got a formula got Yoga-buddhi”. Very good.

    Sri Rama was confronted after a pilgrimage. He was unable to live even because of the impact of suffering caused by whatever he saw during the pilgrimage. It was a widespread exposure for him. What happened? He was very young, sixteen years old. He never sought any cottage or a hermit living in the forest. Vasishtha was luckily in the palace. He called Sri Rama and then remaining in the palace hall, Vasishtha went on giving spiritual and philosophical instructions. The same Atma Jnana, Sri Rama absorbed it, got himself meditatively absorbed while the discussion was going on and then his problems were resolved, he began to do. The summary advice of Vasishtha intermittently was “Rama, Rama, you have to sit on the throne. Rule efficiently with loyalty but never have possessiveness or ego.” So what is the summary effect of Atma Jnana? Dis-possessiveness and non-ego. These are the two important ingredients of Atma Jnana.

    Now let us go to some other occasions. What are the occasions? Parikshit. Parikshit was fated to die on the seventh day. The great King decided that “I am going to die on the seventh day. I will prepare myself for death right from today by denying and refusing food and drink. I will not have my food, I will not drink even water. Prayopavesham. But my ears have to be feasted with Tattva-Kathana and devotional Kathana.” Luckily, the young sixteen-year old Suka muni came there with no apparel on his body, indicating that whatever he was going to say was as naked and open as the body was. So with all nudity outside and openness inside, he exposed the chamber of the self to Parikshit. Parikshit went on absorbing it and before Takshaka came and administered his poisonous bite, Parikshit had already internally got absorbed, forgetting the whole body.

    Which are the other occasions? You will find Saunaka going to Angiras with a doubt. That was a very peaceful situation, the Upanishadic situation. And Angiras exposed to him the mystery of self-knowledge.

    Rukmini wrote a letter to Krishna asking him to kidnap her. “Krishna, literally do so.” Then all the Kings assembled there felt very bad and Rukmini’s brother Rukmi confronted and obstructed Krishna. The battle began. Krishna caught hold of him and He was about to behead Rukmi. Suddenly Rukmini fell at his feet and said “Oh! My dear Lord, please don’t do so. He is my brother. I will not be able to bear the agony.” So He cut off the hair and the mustache or so and then sent him away. Immediately Balarama came and started advising her. “What is it? It is because it was your brother that you obstructed Krishna. Suppose it was somebody else, you would not have said anything. You certainly wanted Krishna to confront the enemies. But because the enemy happened to be your brother, you pleaded before him not to kill him. This feeling of one is my brother, another is not so, this is brought about by delusion. Because you don’t know the truth about the singularity of the soul. This is clearly moha and delusion. Rukmini, do not give vent to this. Today or tomorrow, your brother will have to be confronted and will have to be killed.” See the occasion there. Rukmini confronted by her mind and then Balarama advising the same Atma Jnana.

    What is the other instance? The other instance is Hiranyakashipu, seeing that his brother Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Hari, felt angry on the one hand but he went to the sister-in -law and the mother to console them. He consoled them by exposing to them the philosophy of the indestructible self, Atma Jnana.

    What is the other example that comes to my mind? Devaki. All the children of Devaki except one were killed mercilessly by Kamsa. After delivery, Vasudeva faithfully took one child after the other. The seventh, there was a miscarriage. The eighth child was born, Krishna. Krishna was transported to Vrindavan, a girl was brought instead. This girl was taken away by Kamsa and when he about to smash her, it simply escaped from Kamsa’s fist and remaining in the sky it said that “I am not your enemy. Your enemy is born elsewhere. Find him out if you can”. Kamsa felt very disappointed. In spite of all heavy preparations, whatever he wanted to do, he could not do, he did not succeed. He straightaway goes to Devaki and consoles her with the spiritual and Atmic philosophy saying that “Gods also have started speaking lies. What shall I do? However, my dear sister, I am sorry for whatever I have done, but you should understand that the soul is different from the body. When the body is killed, the soul is not dying. Every one of us is under a fate. Prakrti is supreme here and let us not worry about it. Though instrumentally I might have killed your children, in reality I did not act of my own volition. Prakrti is behind everything. We are really a football hit by Prakrti this side and that side. So don’t worry.”

    What do you understand from all this? My dear souls, please know it for certain, this atma jnana is sought by a meditational and absorptional process, I agree. But meditation and absorption are only one way of it. For people who are not given to introspection, meditation and absorption alone will make them introspective. But once you become introspectional, your moments and hours of meditation will have to be larger and longer. In meditation, the mind becomes sharper, the intelligence become subtle, the mano-vrttis, the chitta-vrttis become subtler and subtler and at last they disappear like the matter particles before a scientist’s microscope. They simply disappear and the chittha will become chit. This is true.

    But Atma Jnana is not exhausted by meditation or absorption. It has to be applied in every life situation. If you are displeased by ‘x’ or ‘y’, that displeasure will be treated by atma jnana. If you are disturbed by jealousy towards anybody, that is also a disturbance of the mind. That will also be treated by atma jnana. If you have a fear, the fear also will be treated. If you have an ambition, the ambition will be treated. If you have hatred, that also will be treated. So, this Atma Jnana has got an all-fold application and that application is on no other factors than the emotional mind and the enquiring intelligence. I thought I would explain this proposition. I think it is a kind of a unique contribution from my side.

    Krishna made the greatest revolution by presenting the sublime and peaceful message of the self in a manner that was very active and vibrant in order to empower Arjuna to fight the most notorious and bloody war where human emotions were highly assailed almost to a point of irretrievable level. This is the greatness of this culture. Try to think about 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...

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...

Short Description

"Dharmo rakshathi, rakshitah" translated "Dharma protects, protected" What does this mean? Dharma is a force which greatly protects us, but if it has to act as a protecting force, we have to first protect it ourselves. We must recognize the importance of the role which Dharma plays in our life, and then install it at all levels, in thinking, in talking, in doing every thing that we do, we must see that Dharma reigns supreme. If this is ensured, then Dharma will in turn sustain us like the loving Mother. redeeming us from the dangers and ills which would otherwise harass our lives frequently.

Reproduced from the Monthly Magazine Vicharasethu June 1968

Dharma is universal

Morality or Dharma consists of a number of virtues, rules of conduct and the like, which are meant to be adhered to by every man and woman, boy and girl, in their daily life. Chastity is an important virtue which comes within the range of Dharma and which is considered in Bharat as particularly sacred. Many people here as a rule also observe chastity scrupulously.

But these are days of civilization. Many of the old concepts, especially those relating to religion, are now being considered as outmoded and unscientific. This fate, has befallen the concept of chastity too. As a result, the traditional concern for chastity is getting lost, or has already lost. Our present generation is more inclined to, or shall I say is determined to, disregard the rules of chastity than try to adhere to them with faith and reverence. But this is not a good sign at all. Unless the modern youth of our country right away revolutionize - these are days when revolution is the talk everywhere - their thinking in the lines of their own lofty tradition and heritage, and pledge themselves to live as the true children of Dharma and Jnaana, the danger that awaits them is very grave indeed.

By saying this, I do not imply that chastity is not a virtue which countries other than Bharat need or can safely afford to disregard. My outlook is universal in all matters. It is so in respect of chastity as well. I am born and I live in Bharat, and as such it is natural for me to speak about Bharat and her people particularly. Chastity, or any other code of Dharma for that matter, is a universal virtue and it is applicable to all people. In fact, it is high time that the peoples of the entire world recognize the place and value of Dharma in human life, and make earnest efforts, both individually and collectively, to practice the codes of Dharma in their day-to-day life with faith, understanding and reverence.

There is a well-known precept which clearly describes the role of Dharma in human life. I wish all people to take it as a watchword in their lives. The precept is "Dharmo rakshathi, rakshitah" Its literal translation is "Dharma protects, protected." What does this mean? Dharma is a force which greatly protects us throughout our life. But if it has to act as a protecting force, we have to first protect it ourselves. That is to say, we must recognize the importance of the role which Dharma plays in our life, and then install it at all levels of our life. In thinking, in talking, in doing activities, in short in every thing that we do, we must see that Dharma reigns supreme. If this is ensured, then Dharma will in turn sustain us like the loving Mother. It will redeem us from the dangers and ills which would otherwise harass our lives frequently.

It is the lack of understanding about the meaning and value of Dharma that make people indifferent towards it. Once they understand that Dharmic codes have the sole aim of helping us live cautiously, courageously and successfully as ideal humans, I am sure everyone will become an ardent votary of Dharma.

Coming to the question of chastity, it is an important Dharmic virtue. Rather it is the basis or foundation of Dharma. What is true of Dharma is also, therefore, true of chastity. This would mean, if chastity has to bestow its rare benefits upon us, we must first of all enable it to do so by giving it its due place in our life and movements. Only if we allow it to govern our life throughout, it will in turn make its contribution for strengthening and ornamenting our life.

Dharma and the walking stick

Any code of Dharma or virtue is like the walking stick we employ for walking. The walking stick does not evidently serve any purpose of its own. Its function is fully to help us. Left to itself, the stick cannot even stand erect. But when once we use it, holding it in position; it can help us immensely. We can walk fast with confidence.

This is exactly the case with chastity and the other codes of Dharma. The codes and virtues of Dharma are by themselves inert, useless. They are not intended to serve themselves. Their role is to help those who need their help and who hold fast to them. As such, it is our duty to understand the true import of Dharma, and then resolve to adhere to it at all times, so that it may help and protect us at every step.

As beings we are in many respects akin to the animals and birds. But we are also different from them in the sense that we have the power to culture knowledge. Also we can steer all our actions in the light of the knowledge we have gained each time. This difference makes us superior, not inferior, to the animals. It is for us to justify this superiority by rightly exercising our higher faculties and evolving suitable ideal standards for all our actions. In fact, it is the ideal standards, which our forefathers evolved after considering the various aspects of life, that go by the name of Dharma. To adhere to Dharma at all levels of our life is, therefore, obviously to our own advantage. Above all, it is to live in conformity with the superior status which we have over the animals.

Celibacy, a natural rule

Chastity is a well-known code of Dharma, which, unlike the many other codes, a large number of people do adhere to in their day-to-day movements. But celibacy is not so. Celibacy is a superior virtue. It is the elder of chastity. Correspondingly, its scope and contents are also superior to those of chastity.

In India celibacy is viewed as an indispensable factor for attaining success in spiritual life. Without the wing of celibacy no one can fly to the lofty heights of spirituality. This is the widely accepted view of the Bharatiyas.

But what is celibacy in truth? Can it be successfully practiced? These questions are often asked by many persons but the answers which they get, I think, are not for the most part true or encouraging. Many take it for granted that celibacy is a very hard virtue, which cannot be practiced by the common man and woman in their day-to-day life and movements. This is a very sweeping conclusion, and we cannot take it as either logical or factual. Celibacy is not so hard a virtue as people imagine it to be.  It is not also difficult to practice it, provided you understand what it is in truth and then try to cultivate it step by step.

Celibacy, I think, is the natural rule for all created beings, the humans and the non-humans alike. But only in the non-humans we find it to be the rule. The humans have developed their own perverted notion about celibacy. Due to this perverted notion, they find themselves unable to live as celibates. It is no doubt true that there is some difficulty for the humans in observing celibacy as a rule, as do the animals. But there is no meaning in interpreting this difficulty as an open sanction, for neglecting the virtue altogether.

The case with non-humans

In the world there are various kinds of beings other than we, the humans. In fact, the non-human beings far out-number the humans. Look at all those beings, and see how the sex instincts work in them. The cows, dogs, cats, birds and the like are beings very familiar to us. They all have their own mating seasons or periods. They seek the company of the opposite sex only during these seasons or periods. During other times, they move with the opposite sex, but in all innocence and composure, undaunted by any mating or sex instincts. Their sex indulgence is restricted to once or so in a year.

For the most of part of their lives, therefore, do not they live as celibates? They break their celibacy only for the specific purpose of mating, and the mating invariably results in reproduction. Nobody can deny these facts. The behaviour of the animals, or the sub-human beings as a whole, would therefore, drive us to some basic conclusions.

The first of them is that mating is only an occasional need not a regular or constant one. Secondly, it is primarily intended to bring about reproduction, which is an indispensable factor for the continuance of race. As such, the natural rule in the matter is to resort to it only if and when reproduction is needed. The very fact that animals and birds, in whom the higher faculties of knowledge and creativeness are not at work, observe this rule is sufficient enough to deem it as natural.

But in the humans we find the position quite different. They are conceiving the act of mating in a manner too different from that of the animals. The reason for it is the presence in them of the higher faculties, the mind and intellect. These faculties, are creative in nature, and they can view things in any manner they like and herein lies the danger too. Our creative faculties can work creatively and uncreatively alike. They can be constructive as well as destructive. The example of our inventing the fission and, fusion bombs, which have an enormous power of destruction clearly proves this truth. The way in which our mind and intellect view mating or sex-indulgence is rather destructive. It is not fitting in with our human nature and the superior status, we have over the other beings.

Our superiority over the animals demands, no doubt, that we must act in all matters in a manner different from that of the animals. But this difference should not be such as will disprove our superiority, or lower us to the animal or still lower levels. But is this case in respect of our sex habits?

Instead of resorting to sex indulgence rarely and only for the specific object of begetting progeny, most of the people consider mating as a delightful exercise, and go on indulging in it freely, keeping to no rule or seasons. The golden rule with many is "as long as they have the capacity and inclination for it". Those who are determined to stick to this rule will not be generally prepared to heed any analysis or advice in the matter. Those others, who honour morality and ethics, cannot escape the feeling that they should conform to the "human standards" in their sex-dealings. And in that case, these pages will be useful to them.

View celibacy properly

I think the main reason for mankind not attempting at the practice of celibacy is their ignorance or wrong notions about it. As long as they think that celibacy need not be practiced, nor that it is impossible to practice it, how can they ever feel an urge for gaining the virtue? So it is the mental opposition or the intellectual misapprehension that they have to get removed at first before proceeding to attain celibacy.

Our life and movements are rooted or based on two levels. The mind and intellect together make one, and the body and senses together the other. Every act that we do must be in consonance with both these levels, if it has to be pleasant and successful. Suppose we do something which fulfils the needs of the senses, but fails to satisfy the inclinations of the mind and intellect, it will not be wrong and will not fetch the desired results. Again, if the mind and intellect start evolving ideals or standards for actions, which are impracticable for the body and the senses to implement, there is the same difficulty. Therefore, our aim always, in all matters, must be to work in harmony with both the internal and external levels, the inner and the outer sides, the psychic and the physical sides, of our personality. That is to say, if you can in all matters act in a manner which falls in line with the findings of the mind and intellect, and which also satisfies the needs of the senses and the body, then it will be safe, easy and successful.

In the matter of mating too, it is such a harmonious approach that we need to make. At present the position is that none pays heed to the mind or buddhi with regard to the act of sex indulgence. People simply act prompted by the urges of the senses alone. That is why they do not feel like restricting the indulgence to any seasons or periods. Stop this habit and listen to what your mind and intellect have to say in the matter. Then celibacy will become an easy and soothing practice. 

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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 ....

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