"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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Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 14 Mar 2017 - Spiritual Initiation
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    You know that in our Vicharasetu English magazine, there is a serial running called ‘Science of Inner Redemption’. I am writing a condensed version of the Nirvana Prakarana of Yogavasishta Ramayana. It is a very lofty subject and a lofty writing. In a way, I am happy that there are some readers who take to them in a very wholesome and effective manner. The articles touch them in their heart and they make them think quite deeply into the presentation and what is suggested as the goal.

    I don’t think it is easy to write on Yogavasishta Ramayana. First of all, the subject should appeal to oneself. Then there must be sufficient competence to deal with it. But besides all these things, if the writing has to become really inspiring and wholesome, one must have his own direct experience of what he writes about. I write only what is within my experience. I never speak nor write anything besides these. At one point of time, I have written about it in a recent article about the word “desika”.

    Desika is actually a very refined epithet for the spiritual teacher. Who is a desika?

    दर्शनात्स्पर्शनाच्छब्दात्कृपया शिष्यदेहके ।
    जनयेद्यः समावेशं शांभवं स हि देशिकः ।।
    darshanātsparshanācchabdātkrpayā shishyadehake |
    janayedyah samāvesham shāmbhavam sa hi deshikaḥ ||
    (Yogavasishta Ramayanam,
    Nirvana Prakarana Poorvardham 6.128.61)

    Spiritual teachers are of very different levels and different kinds. Their experiential merit will differ widely. Their competence and aptitude to discuss the subject, answer the questions raised by multiple seekers from their different standpoints, all these are very, very different. There are three types of deeksha in spirituality. One is called āṇava, the second is called śāktha and the third is called śāmbava.

    The āṇava deeksha is one where one is given a mantra and he is asked to go on chanting it. In Kalisantharanopanishad, it is said, I am told, that

    Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
    Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare.

    It is 16 names of the Lord. If this mantra is recited 45 crores of times, one will get God realization and liberation. When I was sitting to calculate how much time it will take, when somebody takes to it very assiduously, I think it will take about 30 to 40 years. It is just like our Valmiki, Ratnakara who went on chanting ‘Rama Rama Rama Rama’. He became a Maharshi.

    So, a mantra is given. Its effect is supposed to be like this. Ants go on crawling on a rock. If they crawl every time in a different line, there will be no impression at all. If they start crawling over the same line, then you will find after some time, I cannot say whether it is after months or years, there will be a clear dent line there. Imagine the weight of the ant and the solid and heavy nature, density of the rock. In spite of it, there becomes a dent. This is the way the āṇava deeksha works.

    Here is a mantra, you go on chanting, only chanting, they don’t say anything else. But the mantra can be used not merely for chanting, to get into your mind, penetrate into the further layers and ultimately reach at the soul. But nothing like this is told.

    In the śāktha form of initiation, some experience is generated in the body like a thrill or something like a sensation. That is what they refer to as Kundalini Prabhoda and all that. Once that sensation is generated, creates exhilaration and the seeker starts believing that there is something within the body other than the body. I know of people who go on enjoying this kind of a sensation. And they have been enjoying for years and I find no difference in their seeking.

    The śāmbava is the highest of all forms of deekshas and there, the deśika, the one who is able to do it, he creates a kind of a spiritual influence and vibration in the seeker. How does he generate it?

    Darshanāt sparshanāt sabdāt

    Whenever a knower of truth looks at you, his look is only from the knowledge level. You can say it is a self-realisational look proceeding from one and that look also graces you for a similar knowledge. I don’t think anybody else will be able to glance you or glimpse you like this. When you prostrate before me or even talk to me, what is it that I have in my mind? I can only think that you must also have your inner spiritual peace, fulfillment, dispassion should grow, viveka, discrimination should grow, mind should become pure, intelligence should become clear, heart should become innocent. These are the feelings and motivations, any knower of truth will have whenever he looks at anybody, even about the world. This itself is a very special and unique influence, blessing.

    Then you have sparsana, sometimes he may touch you, touch your head, bless you or pat you. Then the third is sabdhāt. The word ‘sabdha’ means what? Whatever he speaks. What will he speak? He will always speak like scriptures. The scriptures are the speech of the knowers of truth in whatever form the scriptures are. So, he will start telling you only about the scriptural propositions and all of them are veering around one central point – That you carry the centre of the whole universe whose circumference is nowhere. You are the centre. The ‘I’ is a reference to it. The ‘I’ is immortal, unaffected. All the rest is mortal and affected. Through all his words, he will only convey the presence of the soul, the need for realizing it, and what are the qualities and embellishments you must have in order to realize this truth. What is sadhana and what is non-sadhana, asādhana, always he will be speaking about it. Then he will chant omkara in a very, very effective manner. ‘Om’ very effectively.

    Darshanāt sparshanāt sabdāt. By one or more of these means, he has to generate a kind of a spiritual inspiration in you. There can be inspiration, patriotic inspiration, filial inspiration, marital inspiration, brotherly inspiration. But this is spiritual inspiration. This inspiration comes from the spirit, no doubt. And it also spiritualizes you to become a better and better seeker. And the deeksha he will give will be such that he will not take you to formalities. ‘Do this puja, do that puja sit here, go there, Mahalakshmi is this, Tripurasundari is another, Parvathy is another, practice Srividya.’, nothing like that. The Mahāvākyās of our Upanishads, Vedas will be his message. What is Mahāvākya?

    प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म
    अहं ब्रह्मास्मि
    तत्त्वमसि
    अयमात्मा ब्रह्म
    सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म

    These are the summary messages of the Vedas. So, he will always be speaking on their basis. You don’t have to search, you don’t have to go, you don’t have to seek. Understand what you are, what were you when you slept, when you sleep and what are you when you wake up. Is it not you who woke up? Who was in wakefulness and who was in sleep? You only know about the wakeful ‘you’. Understand the sleeping ‘you’, the dreaming ‘you’. When these are properly heard, you will find they transform people miraculously.

    न कर्मणा न प्रजया धनेन त्यागेनैके अमृतत्वमानशुः ।
    (Kaivalyopanishad 1.3)
    उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत ।
    क्षुरस्य धारा निशिता दुरत्यया दुर्गं पथस्तत्कवयो वदन्ति ।।
    (Kathopanishad 1.3.14)

    These are the great statements of our Upanishads.

    वेदान्तविज्ञानसुनिश्चितार्थाः संन्यासयोगाद्‌ यतयः शुद्धसत्त्वाः।

    You should determine the object of your life, the pursuit of your life on the basis of the knowledge given by Vedanta vijnāna sunischitārtāh, the knowledge provided by the Upanishads. So, there will be a lot of inspiration, divinity, spirituality, the other-worldliness, wholesomeness in whatever he talks. His personal life will be like that. Now, by darsana, sparsana and shabdha, he always tries to generate this spiritual vibrational inspiration in the seeker. Normally you use your body only to interact with the objects through the senses. Maximum you think, maximum you reflect upon. But all of them are the external gross objects. Here, it is absolutely different.

    My dear seeker, contemplate upon the pre-first presence from where thoughts arise, emotions arise, questions arise, enquiries arise. This is something very, very rare. And there are people who feel chocked in thrills and horripilation. Different types of exhilarations will be had. The truth he conveys will be the last truth. There is nothing beyond it, nothing beyond the last truth, last truth.

    ब्रह्म तत्त्वमसि भावयात्मनि॥
    (Vivekachudamani 254)

    It is not like Gods, Rama, Krishna, Balarama, Devi, Deva, Vishnu, Siva, Brahma, none of these. Simply get into the bottommost layer of your personality, extract the soul from the body. This will be his message. Now, anybody who is able to give this kind of a śāmbava deeksha, he is called deshika.

    darshanātsparshanācchabdātkrpayā shishyadehake |
    janayedyah samāvesham shāmbhavam sa hi deshikaḥ ||

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 13 Mar 2017 - Assimilate Interactional Outcomes
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    Today I thought I would tell you something about a practice which really means the whole of your spiritual sadhana, Vedantic pursuit. Our life is a constant interaction between the senses which are on our body and the objects which are around the senses. The objects are variable and our interactions also therefore become variable. It is not because the senses vary, they remain constant. In any multiplication, if one figure changes, the whole outcome changes.

    All the objects can be classified into persons, places and events. Our senses interact with persons, whether they are at home, in the office or in the society. It interacts with difference places, home is a place, office is another place. Suppose you get into a public vehicle, it is another place, market is another. And then, different types of events, it maybe the birth of a child, marriage of a child, death of an elderly person, some calamity in the neighbors’ house. Let it be anything. It is an event. So, we have to interact with persons, places and events. All the objects fall into these three categories.

    The interactions are proceeding from us. And the interactional effects or outcomes also are produced in us by the same mind. Because before the interactions, during the interactions, after the interactions, at every point of time, mind is the sole factor to begin the exercise with or from, you are at an advantage. When as a result of mind’s own interactions employing the senses with the objects of the world, when the mind’s interactions using the senses with the objects, they themselves are creating difficult outcomes, you tell me, what is this outcome?

    Interactions are triggered by the mind. They are also resting upon the mind and the reactions also are another set of murmurs from the mind. So, the mind has to take note of its own interaction and its own reactions. There is nothing called outside reaction belonging to another person, a second person. Once you know the mind has to assimilate mind’s own reactions, the story becomes different. Mind produces a number of thoughts, dissolves them. Some thoughts produce emotion - likes or dislike or fear. Cannot the water enable its flow as a river? Cannot the water allow its rising in the form of vapour? Will it not allow itself to be cooled and shed?

    When you know that the mind alone is interacting, guiding the interaction, subsisting the effects etc. the whole process falls on one specific ground, that is the mind. Cannot the mind assimilate its own reactions and outcomes? So many thoughts surge forth in our mind and they subside in the mind. In the same manner, this assimilation is not something new. You know about it only now. When there is a hurricane or a cyclone, it is a violent movement, blowing of the wind. Actually, nothing happens to the wind by that. Similarly, nothing will happen to your mind by any extent of thinking, any extent of action, any extent of reactions. So, allow all these things to be and see what happens.

    So, you have to assimilate the outcomes of your own mind’s interactions. When you are able to assimilate, it instantly becomes an enrichment, a beautiful addition which makes your mind and its capacity better, better and better. This assimilation process is optional. There are many people who refuse to learn from life. Historians have a complaint – The trouble with history is that it is never valued and taken as a guide. Every time something is assimilated, it enriches the mind and it increases the capacity, the potential to interact with difficult factors later.

    So, my statement to you today will be that you should consider all aspects of your life and activities as enabling and empowering you to do sadhana. Sometimes you meditate. It is necessary and helpful. But as you meditate, you must also remain absorbed. And after absorption, you should be able to again employ your mind and intelligence and remain unaffected. That portion is called to be a jeevanmukta. You feel freedom while you remain in the world and you are active.

    So, this assimilation - what should you assimilate? You should assimilate the outcomes of interactions understanding that the interactions were originated by the mind, they are subsisting on the mind and now we can dissolve them in the mind. I don’t think anything else is sadhana. The sadhana is always to embellish or ornament your mind, make it more and more vigorous. You will not be able to do it unless you spend time. ‘What did Swamiji say? He said interactions start from the mind, is it so? Do I have any other answer to find or offer? He also said while the interactions go on, they are subsisting on the mind. Is it true? I feel that all interactions are physical but Swamiji says that this feeling that all interactions are taking place from me, it has to be stabilized and it should guide your life and further interactions.’ That is why the great shanti mantra is there.

     पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।
    पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥ 
    Om pūrṇam-adaḥ pūrṇam-idam pūrṇāt-pūrṇam-udacyate
    Pūrṇasya pūrṇam-ādāya pūrṇam-evāvaśiṣyate ||
    (Shanti Mantra)

    Everything is complete and full. You cannot take away the fullness, oneness. So, I think you should listen to these things, work on them, assimilate them, make sure that they are enriching you and go if at all, as an enriched person, empowered person and it is possible. Sky is the limit. 

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

  • PR 11 Mar 2017 - Self Sublimity Sadhana
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    Yesterday I told you about,

    अतीव सूक्ष्मं परमात्मतत्त्वं
    न स्थूलदृष्ट्या प्रतिपत्तुमर्हति ।
    समाधिनात्यन्तसुसूक्ष्मवृत्या
    ज्ञातव्यमार्यैरतिशुद्धबुद्धिभिः ।।
    atīva sūkṣmam paramātmatattvam
    na sthūladṛṣṭyā pratipattumarhati |
    samādhinātyantasusūkṣmavṛtyā
    jñātavyamāryairatiśuddhabuddhibhiḥ ||
    (Vivekachudamani 361)
    निरस्तरागा विनिरस्तभोगाः
    शान्ताः सुदान्ता यतयो महान्तः ।
    विज्ञाय तत्त्वं परमेतदन्ते
    प्राप्ताः परां निर्वृतिमात्मयोगात् ॥
    Nirasta-rāgā vinirasta-bhogāh
    Śāntāh sudāntā yatayo mahāntah |
    Vijnāya tattvam parametad-ante
    Prāptāh parām nirvṛtim-ātmayogāt ||
    (Vivekachudamani 472)

    I am wondering when the more studious people who are given to Brahmavidya pursuit, who have been initiated by me into Brahmavidya sadhana, when are they going to realize the relevance and depth of all these statements the way I had understood. See, the emphasis is something that you should not miss.  

    Nirasta-rāgā vinirasta-bhogāh
    Śāntāh sudāntā yatayo mahāntah |
    Vijnāya tattvam parametad-ante
    Prāptāh parām nirvṛtim-ātmayogāt ||

    If you look into this verse you will find that all the words are addressed to the mind and intelligence. The entire sadhana is mind-intelligence focused, mind-intelligence focused. Nirasta-rāgāh. Rāga means desire. Nirasta-rāgāh. You have to look into your mind and find out is there any desire play there. If there is, you should awaken the mind, say that your desiring for objects of the world is unnecessary, a waste of time. You may have the objects of the world in your focus but you should understand, rāgāh, what you have is a desire for the objects. The objects by themselves do not involve you or attract you.

    So, it is rāga, desire that your mind throws up towards the objects. Now, you analyze the two and find out where is this involvement for you. Are the objects your involvement? No, objects are far away from you. And you are never going to have them within you. You only have a desire for the objects. This desire is behind your effort. Desire is purely personal and mental. After you fulfill the desire for the objects, what happens? The desire gets eliminated. So, I would like you to be sharp in understanding what? - In the whole process, what is the mechanism that works? Your mind picks up a desire or many desires and your mind goads the body and its limbs to work. And after working, you get the objects. Now all these are in your mind. Your mind picks up the desire and your mind makes the body work, and it feels they are working. As a result, the mind feels that you have got the objects, there is a fulfillment. Is it not all mind and mental? So, in the mind level, do you need these things?

    The mind desires, the mind puts up efforts and the mind feels the efforts are fulfilled and therefore, there is a satisfaction the mind produces. So, the whole process is in your mind. Satisfaction and fulfillment are also in your mind. What does it mean? Why don’t you ask the mind to generate satisfaction subjectively, not desiring or getting any objects? In this way, nirasta-rāgāh, all the desires should be dispensed with, dispensed with.

    Vinirasta-bhogāh, naturally your body, senses etc. will refrain from the objects. When these two take place, sāntāh, you become peaceful and quiet. Who can do it? - mahāntah. You must have a great aim in life. I am not going to use my life like animals to chase objects of pleasure, get them, have the pleasure, no, no, no. I understand that the whole process is in the mind and the mind itself is the bestower of delights. So, I will resort to the mind, rely upon the mind, look to the mind and I will say “Without desiring any objects you create delight for me.” And that is this ātma-jnana and ātmānanda.

    Ātmānanda comes to you, akritrma ānandam, without any effort. Sit, close your eyes, let the mind become calm and quiet. In that placidity of the mind, you get whatever you want. Sudhiyo, to understand this, you must have a very good, lofty, subtle intelligence.

    Sudāntah, the senses should sufficiently controlled. Mahāntah.

    Now what happens to them? Vijnāya tattvam parametad-ante. Ante etat param tattvam vijnāya. At the end, knowing this Supreme Truth. Tell me, what is this knowing? Is it not purely mind-intelligence based? Desire is mind-intelligence based, pursuing it is mind-intelligence based, fulfilling it is mind-intelligence based. So, when you understand the truth that all these are inner and mind-born, when you understand that, that understanding itself is the sadhana and loving it, culturing it, cherishing it, getting nourished by the understanding, that is called sadhana.

    You don’t perhaps find me to be particularly doing any sadhana. But I was the same person who used to plunge himself in meditation for hours every day. Now, if at all I do something, I do far more than meditation. It is just like somebody who was sleepy while riding on the horse. So I am sleeping while I am wakeful. What does it mean? While I am wakeful, mind is not picking up and thickening any agitation. On the other hand, the mind nurtures sublimity, purity. The same path is available to all of you, my dear girls. Why don’t you nurture it and be very happy and cheerful? Why are you pointing your fingers at x, y, z, x, y, z? Why? Be sympathetic to them, considerate to them. So, their presence is elevating you by evoking sympathy, evoking consideration, evoking softness. You are losing the entire opportunities.

    Vijnāya tattvam parametad-ante. So, the spiritual pursuit progresses through the mind and intelligence, getting confronted by various emotional and intellectual challenges but you try to gloat over them, row over them. And every time you do so,

    Vijnāya tattvam parametad-ante
    Prāptāh parām nirvṛtim-ātmayogāt ||

    you attain the supreme redemption by ātmayogā, ātmayogā, ātmayogā. What is ātmayogā? There, you understand that the mind is always in a state of oneness with its own essence. While the water is flowing powerfully in a river, the water-ness of the flow is not affected at all. Similarly, in all your activities you will find this self-sublimity that you are able to generate and preserve will not undergo any kind of a fluctuation at all. But this works constantly in your mind and intelligence, nowhere else, nowhere else, nowhere else. People want to do work and they smoke. The smoke is necessary for them to work. Here, this oneness, not dropping it, not losing it, not missing it, that acts as the fillip or motivation for them. Will you learn this verse and understand its inner, inner, inward applicability?

    Harih Om Tat Sat. 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...

 

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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