"Let not world-objects be your mind’s master. Let them be, if at all, subservient to the mind. To be spiritual is not to look for one’s delight and fulfillment in the objects of the world. The mind that causes delight through any object can also provide delight without such an object. Delight in reality belongs to the mind alone. It is verily mind’s own gift."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 14 June 2012 - Sublimate Ego and Desires
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    Last satsang in the evening yesterday, I was discussing a very, very important verse of Bhagavad Gita.

    आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं
    समुद्रमाप: प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्‌ ।
    तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे
    स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी ॥
    āpūryamāṇam-acala-pratiṣṭhaṁ
    samudram-āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat |
    tadvat-kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve
    sa śāntim-āpnoti na kāma-kāmī ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 2.70)

    Everybody generally thinks about spirituality as a practice which is to be taken up while sitting, closing the door, closing the eyes, then trying to handle your mind through a meditative process with a view to get absorbed into your own self. Physically it should be characterized by stillness, inactivity and inwardly it should be characterized by an absorption into our own inmost essence. This is what people always think. There is nothing wrong in it. But this is only a means to an end. And what is the end if you ask me, that is described in the verse āpūryamāṇam-acala-pratiṣṭhaṁ.

    Every action is a means to an end, an outcome. So spiritual study, spiritual practices including meditation have a goal to achieve. What is that goal? Is it to make man inactive or super-active? Is it to make man suffer during the course of his life or be happy in the course of the life? This is something that you should understand.

    There is a great difference between the meditative absorptional stillness and the interactive sublimation and enrichment and enlightenment. Maybe many people are not able to understand the difference and work for it. But understand that Krishna was always active, Rama was always active, Vasishtha was always active, Janaka was ruling the kingdom. All people were active; at the same time they were experts in the art and process of acquiring spiritual wisdom. So it is for every one of you to think what is the real attainment. Here is the sloka from possibly the fifth chapter of Bhagavad Gita.

    कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् ।
    अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम् ।।
    kāma-krodha-viyuktānāṁ yatīnāṁ yata-cetasām |
    abhito brahma-nirvāṇaṁ vartate viditātmanām ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 5.26)

    विदितात्मनाम् – For the people who have known and realized the Self, if they become कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् |

    कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां - The mind is constantly preyed and propelled by Kama and Krodha, attraction and repulsion. These twin forces should be sublimated by the mind, in the mind. And the constant striving should be aimed at this Kama-Krodha sublimation. Then the mind becomes sufficiently restrained, reformed, refined and moderated, Kama-Krodhas are no more there, they don’t trouble the mind.

    अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते - For such a person, around such a mind, sublimated mind, the Nirvana, the redemption arising from Brahman, the nirvana arising from the Supreme Reality will be encircling them. Wherever they go, this encirclement of nirvana will be there. Why? It is only because the mind has been sublimated so far as Kama-Krodha urges are concerned. What do you understand from this? You understand that this Brahma-nirvana is not something to be gained only by meditative absorption; Meditative absorption is the preliminary or the initial stage in the pursuit of a full-fold Brahma Vidya sadhana. And through meditation, you must be able to unravel the blissful existence of the self which is not bounded or boundaried by the body. Like space permeating in all the other four bhootas, this Atma or Brahman is permeating everywhere. To have the initial touch of it, you meditate and get absorbed. But from then on, through tattva-vicara, the refining process of the mind and the intelligence, every thought, every movement, every vibration should reveal the substance that vibrates.

    Water is flowing very powerfully. Still it is water. It is still in a lake, still it is water. It goes up in the form of vapor, still it is water H2O. It gets frozen into ice, still it is that. In the same manner, you must be able to unravel that wonderful presence which never undergoes any mutation or change. And the key for it is the sublimation of the mind, its Kama-Krodha urges. After reading or hearing this verse, your perception about spiritual pursuit should completely change. And you should understand, we may speak a lot, we may read a lot, we may think a lot, we may meditate a lot, it does not matter or it matters. But the point is the mind should be sublimated. Kama-Krodhas should be sublimated. The knowledge of the self should become not concentric but comprehensive. It should not be an earthy realization nor a watery one nor an airy one nor a firy one. It should be a spacial one, spacial one. As is the space though subtle, pervading everywhere, so is the self pervading everywhere. You can extract this nirvana from every atom, every piece of dust, every thought, every doubt, every knowledge because the content in all these cases is the same, the same, the same.

    कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् |

    We are sannyasins only because we wanted to have this wonderful state of freedom and redemption. And this can be had only when you become a yati, an ascetic, because the ascetic is having a wholesome, a wholesome pursuit. The very ascetic life is austere. The very ascetic life is inwardly sublimating, enriching. Such people have their nirvana, wherever the mind is, whatever they do, wherever they are. Remember this verse.

    कामक्रोधवियुक्तानां यतीनां यतचेतसाम् |
    अभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम् ||

    For the people who have known the Self, all around is Brahma nirvana, wherever they go, whatever they do.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 13 June 2012 - True Spirituality is Interactional
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    I have been discussing Bhagavad Gita, the second chapter, right from the eleventh verse onwards for a number of days now. We have come to the last portion, namely the Stithaprajna Prakarana of the second chapter. The chapter altogether consists of seventy-two verses and eighteen verses are devoted to the description of the Stithaprajna and all the details allied to the Stithaprajna and Stithadhee. Towards the conclusion Krishna says, 

    विहाय कामान्य: सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निस्पृह: ।
    निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: स शान्तिमधिगच्छति ॥ २.७१ ॥
    vihāya kāmān-yaḥ sarvān-pumāṁś-carati niḥspṛhaḥ |
    nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ sa śāntim-adhigacchati || 2.71 ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 2.71)

    All of you should know very well that spiritual wisdom and spiritual pursuit have only one focus. What is that? One's own mind. In order to focus ourselves on our mind and making it the way we want, the intelligence is used because that is the only tool which can act upon the mind. Krishna speaks words of wisdom using his intelligence. Arjuna, employing his own intelligence is receiving the words of wisdom. And the impact is meant to be generated in the mind. So he concludes the Stitaprajna discussion by saying,

    विहाय कामान्य: सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निस्पृह: ।

    The spiritual state is not just supposed to be one of absorption in meditation. Meditation and absorption are necessary no doubt, in order to understand one's own personality, its subtle complex nature, also the presence of the Self different from the body, matter and energy. One cannot always be sitting in meditation and absorption. In that case, the kārmic world will come to a stop. The entire universe is revolving like a wheel with activity of a smaller or a greater dimension. Within the atom, is the activity. The whole earth is revolving and going around the Sun. So activity is the very core and content of nature. We have to be active. Activity means interaction with the rest of the world. So our life is interactional. So spirituality also must be interactional sooner or later. Meditation, meditative absorption and the like are only to help this interactional sublimation and enrichment. So Krishna says विहाय कामान्य: सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निस्पृह: ।

    कामान् विहाय - leaving all the desires.
    पुमान् - the human.
    चरति नि:स्पृह: - when he lives and moves about.
    नि:स्पृह: - without any kind of a hold by desire.

    In other words, when the mind becomes desire-free, he finds a naturality, a natural sequence in everything. Early in the morning we get up, we wash our teeth, maybe we have our break fast, we have our bath, we start interacting with the environments, if you have a work front, you go there, you come back in the evening, you look after your body in the matter of cleaning it, feeding it, dressing, other times you interact with persons, places and events, all these are going on. But in doing so, he does not have any desire or the stronghold of desire.

    निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: He does not have anything like a possessiveness about anything whatsoever including his own body. The body is possessed and preserved by the earth, by the air, by water and the like. We are not preserving the body. The lungs are breathing and you don't push and press the lungs every time. The heart is beating, you don't press it. They go on by themselves. It is by virtue of the biological make up of each organ that it functions in its own manner. The entire body is held by the gravity of the earth. So I don't think we possess our body. The body perhaps possesses us.

    So निर्ममः - no possessiveness.

    निरहङ्कार:- there is nothing to be claimed as “I have done, I will do, I am doing.” No, our eyes are seeing, ears are hearing, mind is thinking, intelligence is understanding, ego is asserting - all these are meant to do what they are doing. I don't think any one of them is under one's control. So, there is no ahamkara also.  

    निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: स शान्तिमधिगच्छति ॥

    Such a person attains peace and beatitude. What does it mean? True spirituality is to make you functional and interactional but while being so, you have to be free from three factors - ahankara, mamata and desire. That ego-centric feeling about whatever you do, possessiveness which dominates in the mind, and desire, the craving to possess more, more and more, these are the three psycho-intellectual constraints that we are suffering from. When they are removed and set right, the mind become a beautiful serene flow. Good thoughts will well up in the mind. Good actions will follow. Good interactions also will follow. And everything will go on well, well and well. Now this is actually the liberated man; the Stithaprajna and the Stithadhi. Just imagine, you have to focus only on three factors. Setting right your ego, avoiding all cravings unnecessarily and take away the possessiveness which you unduly are having. If these three are looked after and eliminated and it is perfectly possible, then you become a Jeevanmukta, a Knower of Truth, a Sthithaprajna and a Sthithadhi. See how it is related to our interactional life.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 09 June 2012 - Attention for Sublimation and Refinement
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

    I was speaking about attention which normally will give rise to more and more inwardness, sublimation and refinement. How to develop this attentiveness or attention is an important question. You have to start from somewhere. Our activities are normally viewed external and sense-based, sensory. You may not be able to be attentive for all the items of work you are performing. So take one or two special items and try to put more and more inwardness and attention to it. That is how we have this pooja, chanting of hymns etc. When you chant a hymn, it is actually an oral activity. It is not a physical or a mechanical one. This oral activity results in the production of words, ideas and so many different propositions. Unless the mind is agile and attentive to bring about the right words and phrases, you will not be able to do the recitation well.

    So you can take up some very good recitation, recitation of some meaningful verses which have value, which can inspire¸ strengthen, elevate, bring expansion to you, which can make you more and more benign and benevolent. Chant these verses. While chanting the verses, be attentive to each syllable that comes out from the mouth. Try also to associate the meaning and import of the words that come out. So on the one hand, the mind is engrossed in bringing the right words, on the other hand, a deeper level of the mind or intelligence is employed to associate the necessary meaning, purpose and attitude with regard to what you recite. You also have to hear the whole recitation. Otherwise, the two processes cannot go on well. So you will find there is a multiple or multifold application from within your personality.

    First of all, we have to understand that our personality is truly inner. The biological body completes its growth at the age of maximum twenty-one. Then there is no growth, on the other hand there is steady decline. That is the time everyone becomes an adult. If at all, there is a growth, enrichment, expansion etc. it is only inward. Once you are sure of this, with all the attention and involvement, we are only trying to improve our inner personality, mainly the mind and the intelligence. Listen to what Sankara says in Vivekachudamani.

    अतीव सूक्ष्मं परमात्मतत्त्वं
    न स्थूलदृष्ट्या प्रतिपत्तुमर्हति ।
    समाधिनात्यन्तसुसूक्ष्मवृत्या
    ज्ञातव्यमार्यैरतिशुद्धबुद्धिभिः ।।
    atīva sūkṣmam paramātmatattvam
    na sthūladṛṣṭyā pratipattumarhati |
    samādhinātyantasusūkṣmavṛtyā
    jñātavyamāryairatiśuddhabuddhibhiḥ ||
    (Vivekachudamani 361)
    What does it mean? The Atma or in other words, God, is actually a सूक्ष्म तत्त्व. Not only सूक्ष्म, अतीव सूक्ष्म तत्त्व. It is a principle or a concept which is extremely subtle in nature. Ever since birth, we are interacting with only the gross objects the panchabhutas and things made up of panchabhutas. We don’t have anything like a subtle seeing or subtle introspecting habit. But actually, the Self is extremely subtle. It is inside the body. It is in the earth, water, air, different forms of energy and space, all of which constitute your body. So imagine the subtlety of the self. It is extremely subtle.

    न स्थूलदृष्ट्या प्रतिपत्तुमर्हति - Such a subtlest presence like the self, cannot be glimpsed or grasped by the usual gross-seeing habit or capacity. Then what is the way?

    समाधिना अत्यन्तसुसूक्ष्मवृत्या - You have to practice Samadhi. What is Samadhi? अत्यन्तसुसूक्ष्मवृत्या - Sit in a place, take an optional thought, spiritual thought. Start revolving it within yourself. Be attentive to the revolving process and make the process subtler, lighter, feebler, still more so, still more so, still more so, subtler, lighter, slower, feebler, still more so, still more so, until at last the manovrithi itself become very, very light and luminous. Mark my word - ‘Luminous’. It will become more and more brilliant and if it becomes subtler and subtler, stiller and stiller, feebler and feebler, you will find that the vibration is not different from the source, mother source.

    Suppose I start moving my finger, moving it something like six inches to begin with, then I reduce six inches to five, then four, then three, then two, further, one. Then I reduce it by divisions of an inch. Ultimately I move my finger only to 1/50th of an inch, I still reduce it to 1/60th, 1/100th of an inch. At that point, you will not see the movement at all. You will see only the finger, the finger, the finger. The same happens to the mind and the thought process.

    Mind is the source from which thoughts emerge. When the thoughts becomes lighter, feebler, slower, still more so, still more so, then there will come a time when the vibrant thought itself will be virtually extinct and you will find the source which vibrates. Now this cannot be done except when you are more and more inward and attentive. This attention is the secret of discipline. You can employ any discipline when you are attentive to your own body, its movements, your own tongue, its speeches, your own thoughts, their quality, breadth, loftiness and the like. So the word ‘attention’ has immense import. Every day you sit in a place and either by chanting or by studying your thought process, try to make your optional thought feebler, feebler and feebler. It will improve your attention, perception, absorption, expansion, loftiness and the like.

    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

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Ma Gurupriya

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

 

Actionlessness to Unfettered Action

Krishna emphasized the great truth of actionlessness at the core-level of existence. He also explained how the fullness of spiritual wisdom will alone ensure the integration of human life and the welfare of the world. He then proceeds to show how such deep wisdom, far from bringing any conflict, becomes truly harmonious with all kinds of activity one’s life in the world warrants. He explains this point in 5 verses, setting forth different viewpoints, one or the other of which can be taken up by the sadhaka and pursued earnestly.

यस्य सर्वे समारम्भाः कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिताः ।
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं तमाहुः पण्डितं बुधाः ।।

Knowledgeable people regard him as the Wise or Enlightened One if and when by the fire of wisdom his actions are rendered free of passion, greed, or undue imaginations and expectations.

The role of wisdom is not to interfere with the activities, but to enable and empower one to act with harmony and effectiveness. For this, the mind and buddhi have to be rid of their undue inhibitions and obsessions. Krishna thus points out that only when the desire or greed (kaama), and the unjust imaginations and expectations (sankalpa) are kept away from the mind, one’s performance of any activity will become natural, effective and sublime.

Krishna likens spiritual wisdom with a blazing fire in so far as its power to remove the dross and constrictions of the mind is concerned. It burns off all the traits of desire and expectation, like fire does garbage. The activities of the Knower thus become pure – cleansed by the fire of true wisdom. Only when wisdom accomplishes this task of mind-purification, the seeker is regarded as enlightened. Far from rendering any one inactive or indifferent to activity, true wisdom makes one a source of immense activity, aimed at the welfare of all.

In the next five verses, Krishna reinforces the same point from various angles. The emphasis he brings home is that the Knower, remaining a non-doer at heart, will still be performing all the necessary activities, to keep the society in order for the wellbeing of one and all. All the five verses that follow equally bear upon the magnificence of spiritual wisdom and the transcendental nature of the Self Knower. These verses by themselves stand out as a distinct set to be recited and reflected upon by the seeker repeatedly. The sadhaka should evaluate his sadhana on the basis of what Krishna conveys in them. Proper reflection on these five verses will enable the mind to find out the true Knowledge dimension and incorporate it effectively in the field of activity:

1)

त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासङ्गं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रयः ।
कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि  नैव किञ्चित्करोति सः ।।
(Bhagavad Gita 4.20)

Even when given intensely to activities, he remains a full non-doer. The spiritual wisdom he carries, keeps the truth of non-action shining in the core of his being, subtly taking away the mind’s attachment to the objective results (karma-phala-asanga). The Knower derives his contentment from the Self within, and that makes him ever-delighted (nitya-trpta). He does not depend on any external activity or situation to bring any particular delightful result. His delight reigns in the Self itself. Any dependent delight becomes redundant for him. Such a one irresistibly becomes a powerful performer. Krishna emphasizes that Knowledge of the Self cannot but make one a better and more effective performer.

2)

निराशीर्यतचित्तात्मा त्यक्तसर्वपरिग्रहः ।
शारीरं केवलं कर्म कुर्वन्नाप्नोति किल्बिषम् ।।
(Bhagavad Gita 4.21)

In the 2nd verse, Krishna drives home the point that all external activities are incidental to embodiment; they are caused by and related to the body-aggregate. But for embodiment, the body factor, none would have any occasion, need or compulsion to be active in the world.

The words Krishna uses are very suggestive: sariram kevalam karma kurvan-napnoti kilbisam (4.21). Even when engrossed in activities, which are but body-born and body-dependent, he still remains the non-doer, and hence is not the least tainted or bound by the action or its results.

To realize the Self is verily to become the Self. Realization of the Self naturally brings its own sublimity. And the Knower thus becomes a yatatma (a person of control and moderation). Desires fall off from his mind; he becomes one free of the hold of desires (nirasih). A constant note of renunciation adorns him always (tyakta-sarva-parigrahah). He does not look to anything for fulfilment. His fulfilment is self-derived and self-preserved.

3) In the 3rd verse Krishna specifies some qualities which abundantly adorn a Knower who does not get bound by any activity:

यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सरः ।
समः सिद्धावसिधौ च कृत्वापि न निबध्यते ।।
(Bhagavad Gita 4.22)

The Knower, Krishna says, has to rise above the hold of dvandvas, which are the ultimate effects the world can cause. The usual note of competition, which the mind is subjected to, must not victimize him. He naturally accepts whatever chance brings to him. Never comparing himself with others, or weighing the gains and losses of any endeavour at any time, he revels in a deep and abiding note of equalness (samatva). As long as such a spiritual note of insulation is there, any extent of actional involvement will not bind or taint him the least.

This spiritual adornment is available to one and all. It is wrong to think that it is a practice or culture or refinement for Hindus or Indians alone. It is a birthright of any human, living anywhere in the world. Mind and intelligence should become sublime and imbibe the resultant enrichment and refinement.

4) The 4th verse highlights spiritual wisdom and its outcome.

गतसङ्गस्य मुक्तस्य ज्ञानावस्थितचेतसः ।
यज्ञायाचरतः कर्म समग्रं प्रविलीयते ।।
(Bhagavad Gita 4.23)

The mind, by dint of wisdom, attains to its natural freedom from all attachmental notes. Sanga, as gita puts it, falls from it. That brings liberation, mukti. What is mukti and who is a mukta, become quite clear from these words. Krishna calls one freed from attachment of the mind, a mukta. Mukti is quite within the reach of the human mind, Krishna assures again and again.

All actions of such a free one become auspicious and enriching. Krishna calls such an action Yajna, the most sublime that man can think of performing for the sake of one’s own elevation as well as for world welfare. Actions performed as yajna, Krishna says, will get dissolved in the very doer, without causing any kind of binding effects. As a result of the Knower’s activities, whatever and wherever they are, no adverse consequences can result. The fire of Self-knowledge has the unique power of burning all karmic results. His body alone is seen to be acting; but he, the Self, does not do anything. No result of any kind can await him anywhere, before or after the fall of the body. This is what Krishna wants to clarify and assure.

The life of a Self-knower itself becomes a full-fold Yajna, as pointed out earlier. No selfishness ever tarnishes his mind or action. He becomes synonymous with Nature and her Lord. Words like dedication, offering, resignation and the like are truly applicable to the actions of only the Self-knower.

5) The 5th verse is one of the most benedictory statements of Bhagavadgita, recited and repeated by seekers, especially ascetics and renunciates, with great fervour and piety:

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्महविर्ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ।।
(Bhagavad Gita 4.24)

Krishna describes here the vision of the Knower about everything that he does, about the world in general, and about the relationship between the two. Yajna, the holy sacrifice, is the most sublime act extolled in the Vedas. The votaries of Vedas hold Yajna to be the summum bonum of life and also as the wish-yielding tree. In the background of this religiosity and ritualistic emphasis, what this verse conveys has untold relevance and importance.

Sarvam khalvidam brahma – is the final revelation of the Vedas. All this is verily Brahman. Brahman has revealed itself in the form of this visible existence. The effect is not different from the cause. The cause alone manifests in a changed form and then it goes by the name ‘effect’. Like ornaments made of gold are but gold itself, so too is creation the Creator Himself. The Self-Knower realizes this supreme truth, and he does not slip from it for any reason.

He does not feel the need to indulge in any separate act of holiness like pooja or sacrifice. For him all are holy, everything small or big, internal or external, thought, word or action – all are expressions of the one Self. Without the Seer can there be any visible or the seen? Without the Subject, can there be any perceived object?

In his perception, any Yajna, together with all its constituents, are nothing but the same Brahman. The ladle used for pouring ghee to the fire in a Yajna is itself Brahman. The material offered is also equally Brahman. The fire into which the oblations are offered and the offerer too, are the same Supreme Brahman. Thus the only result a Yajna can bring about is Brahman.

The Knower already has this outcome by dint of his realization. His Self-knowledge transforms everything into Brahman, the Supreme Reality. He does not have to look to any agency or special act for the sake of gaining any holiness or piety. He himself, together with all his actions, becomes holiness incarnate. It is not merely a state of fullness, but also one of supreme holiness, auspiciousness and sublimity.

The unique sublimity and the fullness of Brahmic thought this verse carries have given it a distinct place and importance in the seeking community, especially amongst renunciates and ascetics. Our body is made of food. Food of any form is a gift of Nature. Though the body consists of infinite parts and cells, with a host of potentials and powers, all of them have been made of the food one takes. Taking food and providing nourishment to the body, is of special importance to  devout seekers or even thinkers.

The best of attention is thus given to preparing food as well as taking it. To sit before the food that is served and partake it to provide the nourishment the body needs is something very significant and sublime. Great thought and introspection have gone into it and our land has evolved a lofty attitude in the matter. How has the talk that transpired between Arjuna and Krishna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra suddenly found a place in the kitchen and dining hall of this land is itself something to be wondered at and enquired into. Only then will the relevance of spiritual thoughts and dialogues in our day to day life become clear.

Ascetics are the people who reflect upon and pursue the spiritual wisdom in its full depth and dedication. Naturally, their practices are bound to reflect and reveal this wisdom fully. Thus, the ascetics (sannyasins) in the Ashrams and the Brahma Vidya students and seekers in this land have made it a practice to recite this verse before taking food, with closed eyes and a spoonful of water kept carefully in the centre of the right palm. When the verse is fully chanted, they sip this sanctified water and then alone begin their meal. To listen to chorus ‘Brahmarpanam’-chant in the Ashrams is common in India and the sublimity it generates is also quite unique.

The whole practice gains its special importance when we find that the usual ceremonial manner in which the Brahmacharins and householders take food is strikingly different. They too make the whole occasion and purpose quite sublime and divine. But the attitude and thoughts invoked are different.

The householders remind themselves that food is not just an offer to their body with the usual material note of selfishness and physical survival. It is instead a sublime oblation made piously to the five pranas (cosmic energy) - prana, apana, vyana, udana and samana. The sublimity does not ebb off there. It extends to reach Brahman at last, when they utter the sixth line ‘Brahmane svaha’ (offering to supreme Brahman). In the non-ascetics, the plural concept has its prevalence. Taking food is nonetheless an equally holy act for them too.

It is not, however, an offering to any celestial deities like Indra, Varuna, etc. of the Vedic sacrifices. Instead it is meant for the five Cosmic Forces like Prana, Apana, etc. residing in one’s own body. The hand which offers the food is the ladle. Mouth is the altar into which it is given. The fire to receive it is the jatharagni (the digestive power in the stomach), and the outcome the offering brings about is the nourishment it gives to the living body. The whole body itself becomes divine, and any act to preserve and employ it also is necessarily divine. The sense of divinity or holiness is thus co-existential with every activity.

The householder life still preserves a sense of plurality. Whereas in the Brahmic seeker, Knower or ascetic, this plural note is replaced with the ultimate singular one. There is only one sublime existence, the Supreme Brahman, and in whatever act is performed and whatever result it brings, it is the same Brahman that shines exclusively. How lofty, deep and wholesome! When one begins to reflect upon these lofty concepts, his mind and heart are bound to expand and be purer and holier. Thoughts and imaginations have immense power to generate divinity and soak man in its abundance.

The Brahmarpanam-chant carries with it the core of Vedic wisdom and the practice of its unifying culture and refinement. This portion of the 4th Chapter must receive special attention and absorption from all sadhakas. From the viewpoint of practical sadhana, Krishna’s statements lay before the seeker a great scope and emphasis.

(to be continued)

*        *        *

(From the Series Essential Concepts In Bhagavad Gita)

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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