"Every moment of your life you are being carried to fulfilment, irresistibly. Everything that comes to you does so to improve, correct or alter your nature, thereby taking you nearer perfection. So, whenever agitation assails your mind, ponder over this truth again and again."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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  • Gurupoornima and Retreat 2017 12-06-2017

    The programme in the Ashram has now concluded, Disha TV will carry Poojya Swamiji's Gurupoornima message for the viewers at 3 p.m. today (9th Jul 2017).

  • Annual Jñāna Yajña | Malaysia | Aug 2017 14-06-2017

    Jñāna Yajña in Malaysia (Aug 10 - 24): Poojya Swamiji along with Mā will leave for Malaysia on Aug 09. They will stay at the Society for Inner Resources Development (SIRD), Petaling Jaya. 

  • Anna-Vastra Daana Satram 2017 21-06-2017

    32nd Anna Vastra Dāna Satram: This year’s Anna Vastra Dāna Satram (AVDS) will be held between Jul 1 - Aug 15. Distribution in Narayanashrama Tapovanam will be on July 16.

Practical Guidance

Prabhaata Rashmih talks by Poojya Swamiji
  • PR 26 Jan 2016 - How to Remove Hatred from the Mind
    Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    You must be wondering as to why I am smiling. I am wondering what else shall I do. 

    I understand that every day a bus was going to Trichur during the Atma Tattva Sameeksha. It was in Malayalam, so all the people in the Ashram who have arrived from outside, they were not able to follow it, but still if they felt like going and sitting there, that is at least silence for them. Very good! But I understand that every day, something or the other for you to chew was distributed – biscuits or some cheena badam or something. I asked ‘X’, “Was it distributed on all days?” He says, “I went on three days and all the three days it was there.”

    So I am wondering, is it not very cheap on your part to wait for an occasion like a bus travel like this to rejoice in eating? If you wanted to have some biscuits or anything that is permissible to us, you could have told the kitchen people. We would have arranged it here. Why is it that you waited for an opportunity to get together in a bus? Is it in anyway different from a household social visit?

    All of you have come here to undergo a difference from your household life. Maybe the meals are very regimented here, but I think our meals are reasonably good and it should be sufficient to provide the necessary nutrition for the body. If anybody feels anything insufficient, he or she is free to report it to us and we will consider it. That ‘austerity’ part in staying in the Ashram should not be overlooked at all.

    It is very difficult for you to become austere at home because it is your own house, different types of people are there. If you want to impose austerity on others, they may resent and revolt. You may not like to do it also. But when you come to the Ashram, certainly it is a spell of austerity. Austerity, to some extent in eating, austerity in speaking, austerity in reading and you always have interactions with the ashramites or the visitors. There also it is an austerity. That is why many people do not come to the Ashram and stay for a long period.

    So, I am a little amused that what I can do is only laugh over the whole thing. What is it that is in every one of you which prompts you to do this kind of an act – not one day, every day! So, we were not very happy to hear this episode. I want to make you understand our response and reaction and think about it well.

    The next point I wanted to say is – it is primarily keeping in mind our inmates. See, this is a place of sādhana and we are given to jñāna sādhana. What is jñāna sādhana? The jñāna sādhana always functions or operates on the mind and its emotions, on the intelligence and its reason and knowledge, on the ego, its improper expression and the need for regimenting it and sublimating it.

    In the bodily level, it applies as a sensory restraint and regulation. Our senses are our senses. We should employ them in such a manner that there is a regulation or a refinement in the process which alone will help you to have joy and fulfillment in your mind.

    वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता ।। २-६१ ।।
    vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā || 2.61 ||

    Krishna says right in the second chapter. He, whose senses are under his regulation, his mind and intelligence alone will be stable.

    Vaśe hi yasyendriyāṇi tasya prajñā pratiṣṭhitā. Krishna was describing the sthitaprajña and sthitadhī and he says one who has enough of self-regulation, he alone can be a sthitaprajña. So, in the bodily level it is sensory restraint. And see what happened in the bus while going for a lecture program. While going for a very serious, in-depth lecture program, what is it that you did? Just think about it. Is it comparable to what Sita did or worse, I am wondering.

    Then, so far as the emotional flux, emotional turbulence is concerned, this is where the whole devotee crowd fails miserably. They never look into the need for mind orientation.

    अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च ।
    निर्ममो निरहङ्कारः समदुःखसुखः क्षमी ।। १२-१३ ।।
    adveṣṭā sarva-bhūtānāṁ maitraḥ karuṇa eva ca |
    nirmamo nirahaṅkāraḥ sama-duḥkha-sukhaḥ kṣamī || 12.13 ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 12.13)

    In listing, who are the devotees who are dear to me, Krishna says in the twelfth chapter, adveṣṭā sarva-bhūtānāṁ. See, dvesha is victimizing you, the possessor. When you have dvesha to anybody, even for an ant, you will be victimized.

    Sarva-bhūtānāṁ adveṣṭā – do not be a hater of any bhuta, any being. You should be a non-hater. It is applicable to your own domestic set-up environment, professional set-up and also societal set-up. In all these areas, you should not breed hatred to anybody. There may be many things hateable, but so far as you are concerned, you cannot hate and indulge in hatred.

    Yesterday I was explaining,

    मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः ।
    निर्वैरः सर्वभूतेषु यः स मामेति पाण्डव ।। ११-५५ ।।
    mat-karma-kṛn-mat-paramo mad-bhaktaḥ saṅga-varjitaḥ |
    nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ sa mām-eti pāṇḍava || 11.55 ||
    (Bhagavad Gita 11.55)

    He says, “Always let your activities be dedicated to me. Consider me to be supreme for that. Be a devotee. Don’t practice devotion, be a devotee.” – Means what?

    Saṅga-varjitaḥ - Do not have delusional clinging towards anybody or anything.

    Nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu – Do not have 'vaira', hatred to all the creatures.

    Yaḥ sa mām-eti pāṇḍava – Whoever is like this, comes to me.

    Where is 'vaira' of any order sanctioned, permitted or condoned in our shastras? When you get hatred, your hands and body start trembling. The eyes become red. The cheeks start trembling, lips also. The blood pressure goes up, circulation becomes faster. And whatever you do and whatever you think, whatever you speak, everything will be disorderly. How much time does it require to know that it is so? How can you say, “This hatred, I am not able to overcome. That hatred, I am not able to overcome.”? You cannot say that!

    It is something like inverting a vessel and pouring water. All your sādhana becomes wasteful. And does this hatred help you? Does it help the other? Can you not make it an important point in your sādhana that whatever may be the cause, provocation… ‘Whatever’ may be anything. See, we are living with our diseases, we are living with our disabilities because it is in our body. Do you throw the body away because it is unable to do things? In the same manner, in the family in which you live, in the Ashram in which you live, in the office in which you live, there will be some people who have unpleasant and unacceptable qualities. In fact, it is a struggle for everyone to be free of such qualities.

    I think a thief will be crying and moaning in his own heart saying that “Why have I this stealing tendency?” The tendency is there. Who has introduced this tendency in anyone? Everybody is born in this world and we are imbibing anything only from the world. So the thief, the dacoit, the rapist, everybody has imbibed the tendency from the world and the author of the world is God. Why did he not construct a world where no hateable or unpleasant qualities will be imbibed by anybody? The mind should be structured in that manner and the world also should be designed accordingly. That has not been done. So maybe you are also. Just like you say a rapist is a wrong doer, to hate him in your mind, you are also a wrong doer.

    A person gets angry first, you become counter-angry. He did the mistake, first knowing that it is not correct. You are doing it next, you tell me who is a worse doer than, the worst crimer, indulger? So I think the sādhana is something that one has to think about seriously, think about seriously. It is not a vocal expression, it is not a physical expression, it is a mental, mental, mental and intelligential, intelligential emergence. Until you start feeling that adveshta, adveshta, adveshta, adveshta. Why don’t you drill it into your system? This is called  puraścharya. Puraścharaṇa means take a mantra and as many letters as it has, start chanting it so many lakhs. Akshara-laksha, this is called. This 'puraścharaṇa' is very important.

    So why don’t you go on thinking, adveshta, nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ sa mām-eti pāṇḍava, nirvairaḥ, nirvairaḥ, nirvairaḥ ……… sarva-bhūteṣu, nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu.

    Absorb this idea in your mind. If you are able to absorb it for one or two hours, I think there will be drastic change in your personality. We only speak that “I don’t like. I want to become pure.” We only speak. But you are not trying to implant, remember and reflect upon impurity, saying that it is not it is not acceptable. I think it makes a lot of difference between wanting something at the mind level and speaking about it in the oral level or even in the physical level. What we want is a mental action, a mental pursuit. That is why it is called manana. Will you please think about this and do something about this matter?

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 25 Jan 2016 - The Spiritual Dimension
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    For eight days in Trichur I have been discussing the Ashtavakra Samhita. Two years, the discussion have been going on and this is the third year. Even this year, I always had a very strong sense of reservation while I was exposing the Self and its dimensions. 

    See, to praise an unseen God, giving all kinds of attribute to Him is very easy for us and we are used to it by virtue of our custom, tradition, practice and training and all that. But to keep that concept away and then to focus only on what we experience, what is within our reach is something very strange. But it is not strange when you understand that we are a human being and in our being we have always the power of understanding to guide us.

    Can you imagine a child who doesn’t have a properly developed intelligence? He may be good looking, he may also have a mind, but unless he is able to have the intelligence to understand, evaluate his experiences and arrive at proper knowledge and implement the knowledge through the emotional and sensory personality, of what use will that person be? Not only for us, for all the living beings and the creatures also.

    It is not the leaf that matters, trunk that matters, it is the life presence in that cell or in that being – that is what counts at every point of time. If the tree has to grow, it must cast its root. For it to cast its root, there must be soil available. It is a proportionate growth. As the tree grows, it must also have sufficient depth and also root system in the soil so that the growth can be sustained. So there is a measure of intelligence there also. It is not that the tree grows disproportionately between the trunk and the branch, the branch and the by-branch and the branch and the leaves and fruits and flowers.

    There are instances when a jack tree bore a number of fruits on a branch. When the fruit started growing, one day the branch broke and the whole of it fell, because when the jack started growing, a new weight was added. The branch was not able to bear the weight. If we were there to understand that when the fruits grow, the branch will find it too much to bear, then if we had cut and removed two or three fruits, then it would have been different.  

    The role of intelligence is very important, not only important, it is indispensable. Why am I saying it? We may say God. We may say many other things. But what guides our life, on what our life is based is our own senses, our own mind, our own intelligence and our own ego. We have a full personality in which the senses are the outer most. With the outer most senses we interact with the world objects, but the senses cannot do the job all by themselves. The mind has to be active. The mind also is helpless. It can activate the senses, take imprints of the objects, but the mind cannot do anything further in the way of comparison, contrast and inferences. That building up knowledge - it is not the mind’s role. There the intelligence has to come. That is why you will find only the people, the family, the individual who has intelligence, he counts. That is the deepest faculty in us and that is the most powerful.

    I make an assertion – what is that? The entire human world or even the rest of the world, it is ruled by money and intelligence. Money perhaps cannot make intelligence, but intelligence can make money. I don’t want, I say we don’t want, when I was speaking in FRNV – we don’t want money to rule the world, we want intelligence to rule the world. We have intelligence but we don’t have any money.

    Recently there was a murder that was being tried in the Trichur Court but ultimately only life imprisonment was given to the offender. You know it was a play of money, money, money, money! That haughtiness which money brought about, taking the person to the garage, kicking him, pulling him, pushing him, and – what is this? What is it that a man is after all doing? And then the person who died, who was murdered, for nineteen days he lay in the hospital and the police did not go to him to record his version, his words. For nineteen days, one set of police officials did not move at all! Nothing was done! Because there was so much of channel reporting and press reporting, some officer after the other was changed and finally some kind of justice was brought. It’s only because of money, money, money!

    But money is not supreme intelligence. Why am I saying this? In our life, everything proceeds from oneself – not from a group, but from oneself. We are a total unit, an individual. An individual is considered to be indivisible. We cannot divide ourselves. You cannot divide the neck and the leg, the eyes and the ears, the mind and the intelligence, the mind and the senses, ego and the rest. We are an indivisible entity and together with the body, senses, mind, intelligence and ego, we become a distinct unit capable of experiencing ourselves, experiencing the others, interacting with the others.

    So, we ourselves are the fulcrum and the pivot of the whole life and world. Why I say world? Which world are you referring to - the world in which we live, the world in which we interact. So then again the individual is the sole foundation and in the individual we find senses have their specific-ness and limitation. Mind also activates the senses, interacts with the objects, makes imprints and makes the imprints available for the intelligence to study. But the actual thing is done by the intelligence.

    Taking your stand on the intelligence, Ashtavakra Samhita analyses and presents everything. Can you imagine when Janaka says after listening to Ashtavakra that “The entire world is subsisting on me. The whole world is mine, otherwise nothing is there at all.” If the individual were not there, do you think anybody would have been there to sense or report about the world? So there is a dimension in us, that dimension is not belonging to matter or energy. It belongs to something called consciousness.

    What is consciousness? Consciousness cannot be defined but yet it has to be defined. So “it is That”. Then we define ‘That’ – which is capable of being conscious of itself and the others. The consciousness itself becomes conscious of itself, that is why we say ‘I’. For saying ‘I’, we don’t need either the senses or anything else. ‘I’, ‘I’, it is a spontaneous, irresistible feeling. So the first thing is, consciousness has become conscious of itself. Now it is making oneself conscious of the rest. I have an ego, I have an intelligence, I have a mind, I have the senses and around the senses, I have my world.  These are the two properties, twin properties of consciousness.

    This consciousness is consciousness alone. You cannot research into it like you research into matter and energy. The only way to research into consciousness is - Jnanam Jneyam Jnanagamyam – the research can only be through, by and of consciousness. That is why the sphere of consciousness becomes so sovereign and so great. So he says, “However expanse I look at, whatever variety is there surrounding me, it is I who feel it and I pronounce it. So whatever I pronounce as saying there is – am I not responsible for it, does it not rest upon me?”

    Keep away the sphere of matter and energy, think about the consciousness by which you think, understand and know. That consciousness wakes up and through the senses it percieves the world. The entire range of perception is subsisting, resting upon consciousness and in the evening when we sleep, the whole extensiveness, everything is wiped off and we become different from everything and get lost in ourselves.

    So, he says – “Either everything is mine, the whole world or there is nothing. If I am not there, nothing is there, if I am there, I am everything.” Can you imagine? This is a spiritual dimension. A dimension in understanding, it is a realizational dimension. That realizational dimension is supreme in the sphere of realization. This understanding cannot be dislodged by anybody.

    The only point is that a person who is guided by this understanding, will his life in this world be successful and effective? That is where the so called divinity and faith come. If this understanding is resorted to and a man is exclusively pursuing it, we have found that his life is successful. A number of ascetics in our country, their wealth is not money or matter. Whatever they have – you take this Ashram. This Ashram is a result initially of my understanding and whatever I was. Mataji Sulabha Devi was there. There was one more sanyasini here. I decided to leave everything and be on the street  because “on the street” is only a physical explanation. See, if I believe, if I understand, that this consciousness in me, the ‘I’ in me is supreme then nothing else can be of consequence to me. So the sincere mind doesn’t allow itself to be involved in other pursuits.

    So the only way is to leave and we are also having a great tradition in our country that ascetics have been there in every generation. So I left everything. Though I left everything, my body did not fall. It had to eat its food. It had to breathe its air. As it was breathing, it also needed food and nourishment. It also needed a place of rest. All these things came by themselves. You cannot say that I struggled for it, it is my greatness or anything like that. I was devoted to this understanding and I wanted to be zealous and sincere about it. That is why with a lot of humility and openness I say – every particle of Earth, sand or any other piece of matter here in this Ashram, including the walls, the roof, the floor, the various articles we have is – everything is a result and outcome of this spiritual awareness and the dedication I have towards this.

    Gradually others also joined. That is also another wonder. I had it – okay. Why should others also feel inspired by it? So, they also had a parallel inspiration and a parallel dedication and we all living together. The whole Ashram is nothing other than this inner consciousness and the worth, greatness and majesty of this consciousness. Can it deliver money – yes! Can it deliver matter – yes! Can it deliver buildings - yes! Because the whole universe is standing - not on matter. The entire universe, including space, you tell me where is it resting? It cannot be resting on matter and energy. Then what supports it? Some supra-material source is there and that is what this consciousness is.

    Now who can say that – “I am consciousness and the same consciousness surrounds and penetrates this whole universe.” If you are able to say so, I think that is the supreme, the end of it! Then will you be devoted to that understanding and in which manner? There comes the test. The catch point is that.

    So, this consciousness, Janaka was able to say, “Either everything is mine, everything is in me or nothing is there.” There are only two options for every one of you, either the whole world is yours and in you or nothing is there including yourself. This is the choice before you and see what appeals to you.

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

  • PR 24 Jan 2016 - The Majesty of 'I'
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    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

    After listening to Sage Ashtavakra, in this text, the initial conversation covers about twenty verses which initially Sage Ashtavakra said. After listening to the twenty verses, their message, Janaka instantly feels the touch, the dimension, magnitude and also potential of what everyone says as ‘I’.

    ‘I’ is only a word or a letter but it denotes something in the way of a presence and a power within your body, other than the body. Not only other than the body, it is other than the mind, other than the intelligence, other than the ego. There is something different from these. That is what we refer to by the term ‘I’. Maybe Janaka had not thought about this ‘I’ anytime at all.

    When Ashtavakra started discussing and exposing the true dimension, magnitude of the ‘I’, it was very, very, surprising, sweepingly so, and enlightening. As a keen listener, enquirer, a disciple, Janaka had the sensitivity to absorb the instruction and he starts speaking about how he was feeling after listening to the instruction and absorbing it.

    Here at one point he says,

    मत्तो विनिर्गतं विश्वं मय्येव लयमेष्यति ।
    matto vinirgatam viśvam mayy-eva layam-eṣyati |
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 2.10)

    Matto vinirgataṁ viśvaṁ mayyeva layameṣyati – We all know that everyone of us is born in this world. After we were born, we start living till the end of our life. The beginning of our life is marked by the emergence of our body from the mother’s womb and the end of life is marked by the body becoming breathless, unable to breathe by itself. So, the life is defined after the body. But truly speaking, it is not so. Life is what makes the body active and animate.

    Electricity passes through a conductor. It lights up or it comes up in the form of a bulb, illumination. In the whole process, it uses the copper or aluminum wire for passing. That does not mean electricity is that metal conductor, material conductor. In the same manner, life is not the body. Life is what makes the body animate and vibrant. That life should be introspected over and understood. When you understand in this manner, while the body is a product evolved by nature – our mother shaped the body in her womb, finally it was delivered off. This point is correct, but in the body what remains and what counts is not the matter-energy part of the body. It is something entirely different from both - the spiritual presence. That spiritual presence is not delivered off by anybody. It is not also taken away by anybody.

    It is true that the body is part of the world but what we refer to as ‘I’ is not at all. So he says that - Matto vinirgataṁ viśvaṁ. The entire world is what we perceive, we see, and we are seeing because we have the potential or ability to see. In the process of seeing, it is true that we are employing our eyes in the body but the eyes and the body are themselves shaped by the ‘I’. Only when I wake up, I employ my senses and perceive the world. Waking up is something that arises in me and world perception is something that follows my wakefulness. As the wakefulness arises from me, the world also arises within me.

    Any perception is an outcome of the perceiver. And the perceiver is inside - it is not the inert body. It is in the perceiver’s plane that all perceptions, thoughts, experiences, everything takes place. So, the entire world is born out of my perception. When I stop seeing, all the sights simply sink. So he says, "matto vinirgataṁ viśvaṁ mayyeva layameṣyati".

    In the evening, how comfortably we forget everything and go into sleep to remain wrapped up in ourselves inside for 6, 7 or 8 hours. So he understood the inner presence and now he goes on saying,

    अहो अहं नमो मह्यं विनाशी यस्य नास्ति मे ।
    ब्रह्मादिस्तम्बपर्यन्तं जगन्नाशेऽपि तिष्ठतः ॥ २.११ ॥
    aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ vināśo yasya nāsti me |
    brahmādistaṁbaparyantaṁ jagannāśo'pi tiṣṭhataḥ || 2.10 ||
    (Ashtavakra Samhita 2.10)

    Janaka is able to strike greater and greater dimensions of what he refers to as the ‘I’. He says, "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ". My dear children, this is the great culture that we have.

    Aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ. People only know about the so many idols installed by us, consecrated by us, whose divinity is generated by the human mind and they run here and there searching those idols. But very few people know that there is something different from the idol, a material piece, a matter piece we worship. So this knowledge and this kind of a worshipping attitude is also there! So he says, "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ". That which I refer to as the ‘I’, it has so much of world excelling dimensions. What is this? I never knew about it! My ‘I’ is not a simple point, it is a huge circle, excelling and exceeding the circle of the universe!

    So he says, "namo mahyaṁ" - I prostrate before myself! You cannot prostrate before yourself but you can only say and feel the majesty of the ‘I’ and feel like prostrating before it. It is your mind that makes you prostrate before an idol. The same mind when it has got the true dimension of the ‘I’, it feels that the ‘I’ is the one, the source of the entire universe! So the first and last prostration should be to the ‘I’. So Janaka says, "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ".

    Brahmādistaṁbaparyantaṁ jagannāśo'pi. The world is created by Brahma, Brahma - the creator. Along with Brahma, when everything that he has created including a blade of grass, when all these things are destroyed, ‘I’ still survive, he says. The ‘I’ that we are referring to, that stills survives. Let the entire creation be dissolved or destroyed but the ‘I’ in me will survive, will survive.

    So, which is the greatest, the loftiest and the most powerful, the source of all? The source of the world is not anywhere outside, it is not within the sensory ken. It is within our body. That a mortal body carries such an immortal presence is the great mystery of creation and mystery of human life!

    He goes on saying several times - "aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ".

    Oh! Wonderful ‘I’! I prostrate before me, before it, before myself! This is also in our country. While religious and devotional practices are rampant in the country, I would like you to understand that this kind of a spiritual introspection and the wonderful effects it is able to produce in the human mind and intelligence have also been there. It is true that many people do not read this Ashtavakra Gita, many people do not read the Bhagvad Gita also. Many people do not read Ramayana and Mahabharata as well. That people do not read does not make the text irrelevant or invalidate what they are saying. So this is also a very important line of thinking and reflection.

    Aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ. aho ahaṁ namo mahyaṁ

    The way this kind of a reasoning and this kind of understanding should influence you is this – Our mind should drop all kinds of lack, all kinds of negativity. Never blame others. Never feel insufficiency on this account or the other account. All people have children, if one does not have a child, what is there to be worried about? Many have, you don’t have. As they reconcile with their children, I will reconcile with no child. Our mind is always ready to become full and give you the ecstasy of fullness. So it takes away all kinds of lack, all kinds of contradiction, all kinds of disparity, making you feel singular, full, abundant, affluent and ecstatic! The work is psychological effect, intellectual effect. What a wonderful proposition is this!

    Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

 

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Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

Swamiji's Teachings

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Poojya Swamiji says that the real focus

  • of devotional practices is not God, but the devotee's own mind and behaviour;
  • of karmayoga is not action but the attitude of the mind with which an action is performed;
  • of knowledge is not knowledge, but the purification and expansion of the seeker's mind.

 

NSJi-HmPgSwami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirthaji, a renunciate disciple of Poojya Swamiji, is known for his scientific expositions which are a source of inspiration to seekers.  Read More...

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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...

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Answers questions like what a seeker wishes to know about the supreme spiritual state. They are also meant to throw light on how a Knower distinguishes himself from the rest of mankind, both in the matter of inward absorption and external interactions. Where lies the difference between a spiritual Knower and a non-Knower? Do spiritual life and its fulfillment pose a conflict to the life in the world? Will life in the world and the interactions it warrants bring about any dislodgement for the Knower from this inward state? Will the world also find the Knower’s presence and movements any disturbance or disharmony? Or, these will be enriching to the world too? How does the Knower ensure that his pursuit of activities in the external world does not disturb him, instead it turns out to be a great enrichment to his life of spiritual enlightenment?

 

The following article is reproduced from the English Monthly Vicharasetu – March 1998 published by the Ashram

Krishna has, in a way, completed his exposition of Sankhya and Karma yoga, their sadhana and goal alike. He has also shown when the saadhaka would reach his goal and what, in a nutshell, is the ultimate fruition of yogasadhana. Krishna’s description would naturally have their relevance and purpose, only when Arjuna, to whom they are addressed, is able to grasp what he heard and express his reaction to the message. Arjuna’s response shows that he did grasp Krishna’s teaching. That is why he asks:

स्थितप्रज्ञस्य का भाषा समाधिस्थस्य केशव ।
स्थितधी: किं प्रभाषेत किमासीत व्रजेत किम् ।। 

                                                                                                      Bhagavad gita (2.54)

Arjuna’s questions are basically two; but they cover the entire range of Yoga and its practical fruition. Equally so, they bring forth the nature of the Knower’s inward and outward life. It is very significant that Arjuna uses the word sthitaprajnain his first question, whereas he uses sthitadheein the next.

How can the samadhistha sthitaprajnabe described, is what Arjuna asks first. “How will the sthita-dhee speak? How will he be resting. And how will he move about in the world and interact with people?” – he asks next.

This portion of the second chapter of Bhagavadgeeta is called sthita-prajna prakaranaIt is a very deep and subtle enunciation which brings great value and clarity to the whole spiritual and philosophical exposition of our land. In many of the unique excellences which Geeta has, this is a significant one. It shines distinctly with all its emphasis and revelation. The manner in which Krishna answers Arjuna shows how well a dialogue can be conducted, even in a battlefield. Generally subtle philosophical discussions are held in calm environments and leisurely spells. In spite of the fact that the situation here is entirely different, neither Krishna nor Arjuna has allowed fullness and sublimity of the discussions and the messages imparted to suffer the least.

The first question of Arjuna has its special note: sthitaprajnasya samadhisthasya ka bhasha– “What is the description of the sthitaprajna seated in samadhi?” In other words, how would Krishna describe the Yogic Knower absorbed in samadhi?” One’s prajna (consciousness) becomes sthita (steady and still) only in samadhi. At all other times the prajna will remain active, generating thoughts and reflections. So the sthitaprajna will not be able to speak or describe his state himself. His sthitaprajnata has to be described by another person, who knows about it well. By wording the question in this manner, Arjuna shows how keen he was in listening to Krishna.

Vedavyasa, too, is showing his great insight and purpose while penning the whole dialogue. More than sketching the biography of the rulers and the ruled of his time, the Sage intends to lay down before the people of the land a message that would last for all times. The intricacies of human behaviour, the sublime purpose of all our interactions, the hidden potential the human personality contains and hosts within itself, how this can be brought to manifest in all relevance and usefulness, ultimately how the individual has the full scope to outlive and assimilate all challenges and inputs from the world around him, these and allied questions are clearly set forth in the narrations of Vedavyasa, whatever be the scenes and events before him.

Philosophy is truly a complement to our external life. It is not to be read and reflected in the leisure of retirement. Instead, it is to be read and applied to the actual needs and riddles of life right from early stages. Arjuna’s enquiry focuses these points with an emphasis that is hardly found elsewhere.

In the next question of Arjuna, he has used a different note and basis. The sthitadhee can speak himself, because he is no more in his sthitaprajna state of samaadhi. His speech naturally will strike a difference from that of the rest. What is that difference? Sthitaprajna will be still and absorded into himself. The sthitadhee is not so. He can be quite vocal and even eloquent. Arjuna wants to know how will the sthitadhee take his rest. In other words, what will be his mind like when he stops his activities any time and withdraws into restfulness? Will his mind be brooding and bothering in the same way as that of the ordinary people? Or there is a clear distinction? And lastly, how will he move about, conduct his vyavahara, without causing any disturbance to his own sthitaprajnata treasure. He can even be a greatly helpful source for others. With his unique attainment, he can immensely contribute to the inner welfare of others around.

On close analysis, Arjuna’s questions cover what a seeker wishes to know about the supreme spiritual state. They are also meant to throw light on how a Knower distinguishes himself from the rest of mankind, both in the matter of inward absorption and external interactions. Where lies the difference between a spiritual Knower and a non-Knower? Do spiritual life and its fulfillment pose a conflict to the life in the world? Will life in the world and the interactions it warrants bring about any dislodgement for the Knower from this inward state? Will the world also find the Knower’s presence and movements any disturbance or disharmony? Or, these will be enriching to the world too? How does the Knower ensure that his pursuit of activities in the external world does not disturb him, instead it turns out to be a great enrichment to his life of spiritual enlightenment?

In short, Arjuna is requesting Krishna to give a full description of the sthitaprajna state, samaadhi, and also about the sthitadhee state. One refers to the individual’s inward absorptional state and the other to the interactional life of the Knower.

By getting ample clarification in this manner about both aspects of Yoga – the absorptional and interactional aspects – the study and pursuit of saadhana will stand to derive more depth and comprehensiveness. So Arjuna’s enquiries are quite timely, relevant and useful to all seekers of spiritual wisdom and yoga. We have quite a number of Upanishads, where Self-knowledge and Self-Knowers are presented and explained. But the words sthitaprajna and sthitadhee are not mentioned in them. These two concepts, especially the background in which they are presented here in Geeta, throw special light on the whole subject of Self-knowledge and Self-Knower.

Krishna always deals with Arjuna’s enquires and questions carefully and well, thereby fulfilling the questioner as well as enriching the subject of discussion greatly. After Krishna began his exposition from the 11th verse of this chapter, this is the first significant question Arjuna raises. Briefly but fully Krishna gives his answer:

प्रजहाति यदा कामान् सर्वान् पार्थ मनोगतान् ।
आत्मन्येवात्मना तुष्ट: स्थितप्रज्ञस्तदोच्यते ।।

                                                                                                  Bhagavad gita (2.55)

When one renounces all desires born of the mind and rejoices by himself on his own Self, he is considered a sthita-prajna.

Krishna emphasizes here only two points in describing the sthita-prajna state. All the desires have to be renounced. After so renouncing, the seeker must be able to take his repose on his own Self within. And in so doing, he must find all the delight and fullness he seeks and yearns for. Leave everything and all, and rest upon your own inward Self. Such restfulness must be delightful, so much so that the seeker will not feel like having anything else for his satisfaction.

The mind has first of all to be disconnected from all the desires it fosters towards things of this world or the other world. Any desire is a desire indeed. And it has the sure effect of disturbing the mind. The only way to make the mind undisturbed is to keep away all desires. In any kind of desiring, the mind gets drawn outside.

A question may arise now: Is the desire for Self-realization also to be renounced? Well, if it is a desire, that is not good. In trying to realize the Self, why should one foster anything like a desire at all? In looking at your body, is there any question of desiring at all? To look at your own mind likewise, does not imply any desiring. So too, to look at the Self within and try to realize what it is, why should any desire be there? Generally you desire to get at some place away from where you are, or you desire to get an object which is different from you. Where the thing sought is different from you, a desire for it is possible and relevant. But in striving to realize your very Self, the Self that you already are, where is the need for any desire at all? You can have an urge for it, an impetus or compulsion for it. That is no desire.

Desire is something that pulls or pushes the mind away from its centre and leads it elsewhere. But here the process is just reverse. The mind, if at all, must get to its own centre, its own essence and being. That process is certainly different from desiring.

Krishna clearly states that after the mind gets rid of the desiring habit and desires, it should become self-seated and in that self-seatedness, the seeker should find all the delight he needs, to make him remain immersed within himself. This point is quite important and clear.

Every day we go into deep sleep for several hours. In sleep (sushupti), the mind itself ceases to be, it becomes extinct, not to speak of the desire it generates. Unmindful of the body, mind and intelligence, the sleeper sleeps to get lost into himself. In what way does this deep sleep state (sushupti) differ from sthita-prajna state? In the suspension of desires, in their disappearance for a while, sushupti and sthita-prajnata may be held to be the same, or nearly so. Even to say this is not true, because sushupti is a biological development. When the body gets tired after being wakeful and active, the biological system sends it to sleep, a state of utter restfulness. It is not something that we generate. Sushupti is a regular state we have just like wakefulness, as a counterpart of wakefulness. Like dream and wakefulness, sushupti is also a state, repetitive in nature, and even periodical. All the three appear in sequence and complement one another. By sleeping for hours together, no special change is brought to the mind, its structure and function. Also, it is not a condition that one should leave all his desires, in order to get into sushupti.

In sthita–prajnata, the whole development starts with an effort – the clear discrimination to eliminate desires; and as a result desires become extinct in the end. It is not then like one slipping into sushupti to forget everything and remain dead to the world and environments for a while. The similarity between sushupti and sthitaprajnata is that in both there is no awareness of the objects outside. The difference between the two is that in sushupti one becomes unconscious of himself, whereas in sthita-prajna state one remains fully conscious of himself. In addition, the sthita-prajna enjoys full delight born of himself, his Self.

What is such an awareness-full, delightful withdrawal? And why are people missing it throughout their life? Can the Self of one bring such an all-inclusive delight, as to exclude the need and company of all things, which he otherwise interacts with? All these questions have their full answer in the sthita-prajnata the seeker is able to gain within himself.

Explained just in 32 poetic letters, Krishna’s description of the “samadhistha-sthitaprajna” is verily a synopsis of all that the Upanishads point out, explain and reveal in various ways.

Our consciousness generally moves about in three states, each different from the others. Wakefulness is the state in which grossness and externality prevail. Only when one wakes up, his waking consciousness brings in the presence and perception of the external objects, including earth, water, fire, air and space. So the entire gross world is a result and outcome of our wakefulness, wakeful consciousness.

But does this wakefulness remain unbroken forever? In fact, whenever wakefulness takes place, it can only be from and after sushupti (deep sleep). Jagrat (wakefulness) cannot be except as a contrast and succession to sushupti. If jagrat is broadbased, external and gross, sushupti is just the opposite of these. In sushupti one remains drawn into himself, subtle and internal, so much so that he does not even know that he is. None says, or can say, that ‘I am sleeping’, ‘I am in sushupti’. The awareness of sushupti comes to us only after we wake up from it. Wakefulness alone is the state in which we have ‘current awareness and knowledge’.

Inasmuch as we have this sushupti state, just like the jagrat state, and that also lasts every time for hours, can we allow the waking state all its seeming value and relevance as we do now? In judging the value and truth of existence of objects, we cannot become blind or partial. A judgement based solely on our jagrat state will not be adequate. The parallel state of sushupti should also become equal ground in making our assessment. And sushupti completely negates the entire waking state realities. If the existence of objects including our own body was absolute, then when we, the perceivers, go into sushupti state, how does none of these objects, including our body, seem to exist and get felt at all? Does the object world come first before us, or we first wake up ourselves, and then alone perceive the gross existence?

Our waking or sleeping does not depend upon the existence of anything other than ourselves. The inward states are brought about by every individual himself. As we wake up ourselves, so also do we get into sleep all by ourselves. Whether any object exists outside or not, one can and does slip into sushupti. Do not people sleep while travelling? Even when some one dear and near is present nearby and a dialogue goes on with him, sometimes one slips into sushupti, to the surprise of all concerned!

Similarly wakefulness also sets in all by itself. One wakes up himself, as he went into sleep, and then begins to feel the presence of his body and the rest of objects around.

There is another state in between, the dream state, svapna. Svapna is a sate in which the dreamer, unlike in sushupti, wakes up into a new world, similar to the waking world but different from it, to enjoy and suffer the activities and interactions taking place exclusively there. The dream objects, interactions and the resulting experiences often, rather invariably, invalidate and contradict the wakeful objects and interactions with them and the resulting joy and suffering. This is similar to the waking world invalidating and contradicting the dream world. But the waker and dreamer are the same. Naturally the truth of both the states – jagrat and svapna –– perceived by him remains the same, because, the test of any existence is its experience by oneself. Waking world derives its status because it is perceived by us. Dream too has its similar status on the ground of being perceived by us.

Besides these two mutually invalidating and contradictory states is the sushupti state, in which both the waking world and dream world are completely negated, and the waker and the dreamer remains all by himself, to be the only subject, devoid of all object connections and consequences. The waking and dream objects together with the interactions and resulting experiences subsist solely on the subject waker and subject dreamer. Without the subject, neither can ever be. Whereas in sushupti, the subject sleeper remains all by himself. Like the objects depending upon the subject (in jagrat and svapna) the subject does not depend upon the objects (sushupti)

Sushupti is thus the full and independent state of the subject. It is this subject alone that brings about by itself, for itself, in itself, the wakeful and dream state, without any kind of linkage with anything else. In waking the grossness and externality of objects prevail, whereas in svapna, the objects remain within the body and as such are subtle in nature. Even the externality we experience during dream reigns within the body. Dream is in fact a sheer expanse within the gross body. Yet the objects of dream are felt to be external. The internal dreamer and waker, produces, all in himself, the externality in both states.

The comparison of the three states goes a step further. Only in jagrat we have the awareness that ‘I am awake’, ‘I am doing this, experiencing this....’. While dreaming,  the dreamer does not feel that ‘I am dreaming’. It is instead to him a waking state itself. Only when he wakes up, he realises that he was in a dream state. So in dream he does not have the current awareness about what he is, as happens in waking.

In sushupti, it is not at all so. He does not have any awareness at all as he will have in waking or dream. Unaware of anything outside or inside, doing nothing, knowing nothing, he sleeps, to feel on waking up that he was sleeping. It is this lack of awareness that poses the problem, the only problem, in understanding the ‘I’, the sleeper, dreamer and waker. This constant ignorance is what the sthita-prajna state removes outright.

The subject, the Self, reveals itself in all its fullness and delight. ‘Atmani eva atmana tushtah’ denotes this self-revealing and self-delighting situation. Thus, in this single verse, Krishna presents not only the yoga state of fullness but also the spiritual and philosophical goal discussed and revealed in the Upanishads and allied scriptural texts.

 

 

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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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