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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...

It was almost seven O clock when I came out in the Ashram verandah. The place was not yet ready for Pushpa-samarpanam. Omana had just finished wiping the floor. Somebody was placing Swamiji’s chair and a foot-mat with a lot of precision. The basket of flowers was kept ready at its usual place. I stood there waiting for the bell to be rung. The two little kids Rahul and Rashmi – brother and sister – had already reached today. For some days they were coming late. Swamiji used to laugh and remark holding the little girl close to him after she prostrated: “Shininggi (as Swamiji calls her lovingly), is it that you could not get up early today? What a shame! Don’t be late tomorrow. Ok?” 

While the thought crossed my mind that today they have reached in time, I found Rahul, the elder of the two, eagerly trying to tell me something. “What?” I asked. “It’s her birthday today,” he said, pointing at his little sister. “She has brought some flowers to be offered to Swamiji”. Little Rashmi was looking up to my face with a shy smile but gleaming eyes. 

“Oh! Is it so? Let me see,” I said. Shyly she held up the plastic bag for me to see. Inside in a clean banana leaf was kept a garland of jasmine and some neatly cleaned flower-petals. What a pure lovely sight it was! The flowers and the garland seemed to be the most valuable offering that was offered to our dear Lord.

I had almost forgotten what Rashmi’s mother, Kausalya, had mentioned to me a few days back. Kausalya is one of our working girls. She has a special devotion for Swamiji and the Ashram and is of very loving nature. Kausalya narrated to me one day that Rashmi wanted her mother to buy a packet of toffees she wished to offer Poojya Swamiji on her birthday. Knowing their financial difficulties, she had pleaded to her mother saying: “Please, however much difficult it is for you, buy me a packet of toffees.”

“And what was your reply?” I had asked Kausalya. “I have told her,” she said, “that Swamiji is our God. He is the one who gives us whatever is necessary for our living. What is there then we can offer him? There is no necessity also.”

“O mother, why do you say so? Are we not going to the temple with offerings for the Deity?” – was little Rashmi’s reply. When I repeated this conversation to Swamiji, he remarked: “I hope she will remember this statement later.”

Narrating this incident, Kausalya had asked me: “Amme, what should I do?” I suggested that she should explain to Rashmi that it would be best to offer flowers, and Swamiji will be pleased with that. “Pluck some flowers, clean them well with devotion, and let her bring them and offer to Swamiji,” I had told Kausalya. And here was the little girl with her offering.

Surely, the flowers were not plucked from their garden, nor from their neighbours’. Because, such kind is not available in this village. Obviously the poor parents had bought these from the town to satisfy the child’s emotion. The question was now, how best to honor this devotion of the kid, how to make it a memorable event for her!

There was no time to think. The usual Pushpa-samarpanam was just about to start. I asked Gudia to bring a small plate in which I arranged the flowers and the garland. Little Rashmi watched me silently. When her turn came for Pushpa-samarpanam, I gave the plate to her. With a shy but fulfilled smile she walked up to Swamiji, her anklets tingling as usual. She held out the plate and Swamiji received it. And at that moment my eyes started shedding profusely.

I looked at this unique offering of love – an offering so simple, so innocent and pure! My thoughts went to the poor parents who must have made sacrifices for an occasion like this. I could feel the happiness and satisfaction of the parents in having been able to bring about this joyful moments in their child’s life.

I remembered Swamiji saying many a time: “A poor man conducting the daughter’s marriage in a poor manner and a rich man in a rich manner – the degree of satisfaction in the mind of both is the same.”

As I tried to continue chanting the Pushpa-samarpanam shlokas, my voice got choked. Tears blurred my vision. I have encountered these tears many a time – whenever my heart has touched purity – through an act or a word or an expression, as pure as the sparkling dew drop on a blade of grass. And the best of purity is touched when we observe or interact with children. For, a child’s mind has not become tinted with the worldly impurities.

The mornings in the Ashram on Sundays offer such a pure scene. Children of all ages – from 3 to 16 – from different parts of the village come running to the Ashram to attend the Sunday class. They all come neatly dressed after bath, with a tilak on their forehead. The very young boys and girls look especially innocent and pure. Most of the small girls have small cure bangles and earrings, beaded garlands and a carefully drawn ‘beauty spot’ on the cheek.

All of them say namaste when you look at them. My heart melts and I remember Rabindranath Tagore’s lines (from Aashirvaad):

Bless them, you all
These pure beings, that blossomed on this earth
Carrying the message from the garden of heaven. …
Let not these smiling faces lose their smile
Caught in the darkness of delusion!
Call them close to your heart,
Embrace with all your love,
And bless, bless them you all,
These pure beings. … 

 Yes, one cannot but bless them: “Oh children! Grow well. Have good health and a beautiful mind – full of love, confidence and selflessness. Know what is right and what is wrong and be good citizens of the country.”

The introduction of the weekly Sunday class in the Ashram for the neighbouring children has been one of the best events in the recent years. Our aim is to impart our culture and heritage to the children, to cultivate in their tender minds noble qualities and virtues. Our aim is to teach these children discrimination – to understand what is good and proper and what is bad and improper; and to make them confident and courageous to adhere to truth.

Some children who attend the Sunday class also come for the Pushpa-samarpanam programme everyday early morning when we prostrate at the feet of the Guru one by one amidst the chanting of the Gurustrotras. Rahul and Rashmi come regularly for the programme.

Now, as Rashmi held the plate in front of her Lord, Swamiji took the garland from the plate and wore it on his neck. He gave the plate of flowers back to Rashmi as prasaada. While I watched the little girl walking back slowly, never showing her back to Swamiji, I remembered:

न  दानं  न  तपो  नेज्या  न  शौचं  न  व्रतानि  च
प्प्रियते-आमलया  भक्त्या  हरिरन्यद  विडबनं

Na daanam na tapo nejyaa na shoucam na vrataani ca
Priyate-amalayaa bhaktyaa harir-anyad vidambanam

(Sreemad Bhaagavatam 7.7.52)

 “Neither charity, nor austerity, neither sacrifice nor purificatory rites and vows can please the Lord. The Lord is pleased only with pure bhakti (loving devotion without any desire). All other practices are ostentation.”

After the programme was over, I took the garland from Swamiji and tied it on Rashmi’s head. What a lovely prasaada! The whole day this scene remained imprinted in my mind and I narrated it to whomever I met – not so much the event, but the touch of simple pure devotion that cleanses the mind.

But, is amala-bhakti (pure devotion) to be experienced only during special days and moments? How to cultivate amala-bhakti through day-to-day activities? That day while I was carrying on with the usual chores, the mind was spontaneously looking back – my earlier days in Gurusannidhi. What was my idea about devotion many years back and what it is now? How my days in the company of my Lord has given me the understanding that bhakti is not so much in the worship with flowers, garlands, lamps or incense sticks. Neither it is in chanting His names and praises. It is verily in living and acting according to the wish of the Lord, pleasing Him, imbibing qualities and attitudes that He wants us to imbibe.

* * * 

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. 
 
₹100.00  

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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    First, food has to be considered as medicine in order to have a healthy body, to be taken in measured quantities alone. Second, one should not go behind tasty food. Even if the food is not tasty or delicious, but is nutritious and good for health, one should happily take it as a medicinal tonic for the body. Third, one should be absolutely contented with whatever one gets by Chance. Here comes the fourth important point. Food has to be considered as bhiksha that one gets from God.

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