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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
I often used to wonder as to how in such a heterogeneous country with so many languages, customs, practices, habits and so many things, how is it that we have been able to have right from immemorial times, the same cultural pattern, the same thought process and that too, as revealed and discussed, right from the beginning in the Vedic literature. If you go anywhere in India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Saurashtra to Assam, you will find, even in the tribal areas in the folk congregations, you will find elements from our culture. When I say culture, I am not just speaking about music or dance. They are all very lately evolved. Culture which is relating to the mind and the intelligence. It should be able to enrich the mind, empower the mind, elevate the mind, enlighten the mind, must be able to give fulfillment to the mind. So mind has got contentment as a sheer need. Intelligence has got knowledge as its compulsion. So it must be able to fulfill the quest of intelligence and the craving of the mind. This is what I mean by our culture. And Vedas try to do only this.
Now, this Vedic culture, how is it that it spread so tightly, so compactly and so comprehensively, in all places? I have had occasions to listen to some of the very, very folk songs. There also you will find elements of Ramayana. But the language will be of that kind. At the same time, you have high scholarly discussions on Ramayana. People discussing the behavior of Rama, character of Rama and the great distinction-al traits of Valmiki, the author, how beautifully as a poet he has penned. And he has concealed and hidden causes and effects where you can connect them both. How Dasaratha misbehaved in arranging the coronation of Rama. And because of his misbehavior, Kaikeyi interfered and spoiled everything. It is what Dasaratha merited and deserved. How Dasaratha had a sense of partiality between all the three wives in distributing the prasada he got from Ashwamedha Yaga and Putrakāmeshti. Everything is beautifully written there.
Apart from the fact that it (Ramayana) is an epic, it is also a masterpiece in poetic excellence. Now all these are available everywhere. There was nothing like printing system, there was nothing like a process of circulation. If you had to write anything, you had to write by hand. And mind you, we have already lived for millennia, countless millennia. And nobody knows when this Ramayana and Vedas were written. Everybody will say it is ancient, ancient, ancient. Even the most primitive man used to say it is ancient. So nobody knows when it was. The original author is not known. We have not seen him. The original scripture we don’t have. The residence we don’t have. So it is very, very, pre, pre, pre, pre-historic. Even at that time, how is it that they were able to disseminate this culture in such a foolproof manner to become the warp and woof of social life? I don’t know whether you have the power of imagination to think about it very well. I can give you the answer. The answer is the same. Anybody who read it, read it, so many read it, at least one or two felt that, here is a great treasure to crown the inner personality of man. When he felt so much of affinity, fascination, compulsion, enchantment, he started incorporating it and pursued it as the life’s mission and aspiration. When he devoted the whole of his life, he started excelling in it. He became himself a repository of what he read and he started disseminating it. Such disseminating people were there from generation after generation. This is how it has been spread.
We announced a Vedantic course, Experiential Vedanta here. We have not done any publicity for it. Some of you have come here. It is for every one of you to understand the subject and react to the exposure in your own manner. I can tell you that one night, after about ten o’clock, sitting in a room in Calcutta, opposite Southern Market, in Tollygunge Road, a very small book on my table I began to read, Mundakopanishad. The first time I was reading anything Vedic, perhaps my life. I started reading and the pronouncements gave me so much of anxiety, concern, curiosity and what not! “What? What? Is this so, is this so! Then what else, what else, how, why?” It was all referring to my own tradition, my own practices, my own understanding, whatever little I had. I found that it was a very, very earth-shaking, revolutionary revelation, introducing Brahma Vidya in the background of the ritualistic traditions of the country.
First of all, the Upanishads said “Rituals are true, follow them.” Then the Upanishad was speaking about how difficult and impossible is to pursue a ritualistic life because there is a string of rituals you have to perform and if any one of them you fail or commit a mistake, all the fourteen worlds for you will be destroyed. So what is this? Perform the rituals and carry on with a ritualistic life. But nobody will be able to complete it and adhere to it properly. And if some failure is there, everything will be destroyed. Then why should the Upanishads say that “You perform.”? So, I became very anxious. “What is this?”
Then they said, all the rituals are leaky boats. If you enter them and want to travel or cross the ocean, you will sink midway. Then the Upanishad says that, knowing that this is so, grow indifference to everything in this world. You want to attain The Supreme. The Supreme cannot be attained by these mortal and short-living ceremonial acts. There is apparently a secret, the mortal man wanting to attain immortality. The fleeting, the fleeting personality wants to have an unfleeting anchor. It is almost impossible. At the same time, this is what we want. So grow utter indifference to everything else and go to the Sadguru who will instruct you Brahma Vidya. “So, there is some salvation.”, I thought.
You know, when I read the Mundakopanishad, the entire Vedic lore was opening itself up before me. I did not have to read anything in the Vedas, rituals or the other things. I was reading the conclusional portion of the Vedas. And this is what they said. So the salvation for anybody lies in going to the Sadguru’s presence and getting properly instructed. They use a word, नास्त्यकृतः कृतेन (Mundakopanishad 1.2.12). Remaining in the cause and effect sequence, you will not be able to reach the causeless source. So there is a secret. Even now it remains a secret.
As I told you, people, say, blank, blank and blank, having got into the very source of everything. Now, you see, when I read it and I felt this, ever since then, already I was a culture lover, I mean the spiritual culture, my weddedness to the whole knowledge, the Vedic knowledge or the Upanishadic knowledge, my weddedness to it became supreme. I don’t think married people have this much of weddedness which this Swamiji has in him. They are wedded alright, I don’t know to which extent, but the weddedness of my heart towards what I read was so overpowering, overwhelming, comprehensive that it shaped my life. I wanted to leave everything in its pursuit, in its excellence, in its achievement. That is how I became a Sannyasin. And for more than fifty-six years dedicatedly, normally we people will say with a passion, but I don’t have a passion as such, with very great dispassion, but perhaps a very amazing measure of loyalty and weddedness, rivetedness, I have been doing this. I still propose to do further.
See, I am very clear. And I feel very overwhelming when I say, the values, the insights, the perceptions, the inner enrichment, abundance, the ecstasy, the fulfillment, the anchor, the sukhoor, the resourcefulness, we are able to gain through our spiritual culture and practice, I think it is ever the cry, the ambition, the aspiration, the need, the compulsion and the persuasion for the human mind at any time, anywhere in the world. That is why when I talk, I don’t have any second words, I don’t have any doubt at all. You know, I say, mind is the source of all activities, mind is sustaining all activity and mind marks the conclusion and termination of all activity. So be focused on the mind. Understand its resourcefulness and try to, try to realize it and excel in that realization. Grow and develop inner abundance, inner fullness, inner affluence, inner ecstasy, the crowning glory of human life. When I say this, I have got a strength which is unassailable in the whole world. Even God cannot stop me when I say this.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.