"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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In Gurusannidhi – 6

17 Jan 2000

Four devotees, three ladies and a gentleman, arrived yesterday for an extended stay. They had come all the way from Malaysia to have intimate satsangs with Poojya Swamiji. Having listened to Swamiji’s talks and spiritual discourses from the platform, they had developed an urge to come closer to their Guru and get to know the minute aspects of sadhana. They asked very pertinent questions that every serious seeker wants clarified. A few devotees from Thrissur were also present.  It was about 9:30 A.M.

Swamiji: I shall explain everything about sadhana in a very simple way. Listen attentively. There is an important sloka in Bhagavadgita:

अनन्याश्चिन्तयन्तो मां ये जनाः पर्युपासते ।
तेषां नित्याभियुक्तानां योगक्षेमं वहाम्यहम् ।।

[I look after the welfare of those who, exclusively thinking of Me, always worship me earnestly.]

“What is this ‘exclusive thinking’ about ‘Me’ or ‘God’? And when you do so, who will ensure the welfare?

“Exclusiveness means not allowing a second thing. In effect, it means seeing God in everything, everywhere. Such a devotee is therefore constantly linked to God. Do you know what is the potential of such exclusiveness? That itself releases the creative power of the mind bringing about the required self-sustenance.”

Dr. K asked: “Swamiji, is it concentrated, one pointed thought of God?”

Swamiji: “No. Not at all. On the other hand, it is seeing God in everything and everywhere.

“So the sadhana is to develop this vision. You must continuously examine your mind, find out where lie the constrictions limiting your vision. Sublimate your clinging to narrow relationship and expand your mind to love the entire creation. The creation itself is God. That is why, as Krishna says, such a devotee is constantly linked to God. And this exclusiveness itself brings forth the means for the devotee’s wellbeing and welfare. This is the assurance.”

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01 Freb 2000

These days we have hectic activities going on in the Ashram. Construction work for the new dining hall has commenced. Swamiji is fully involved with it. There are many workers from the contractor’s side engaged in various activities – digging, carrying materials, cutting, chipping, clearing, stacking, watering and the like – all associated with civil engineering tasks. Swamiji is quite at home with all these. He too sometimes takes a shovel, sometimes waters the site – now a hand here, now a helpful direction there. He seems to be everywhere, simultaneously.

Occasionally he comes in for a glass of water from Ma. Often he has disappeared before she gets the water jar. And then if someone of us carries it down to the work spot a little distance from the Ashram building, where he has started watering the bricks, he has moved away before we get there. He can then be found with another group of workers. In the simplicity and guilelessness of the manner in which Swamiji involves himself, losing himself in the work, no one can get annoyed with him! So child like that it only makes one smile at having to run around trying to reach him – to give a glass of water !

But in fact, there is rarely an event in the Ashram that misses his attention. If someone has not returned from the local market in time, he is prompt to ask the person for the delay. Or, if a destitute from the village waits for him in the Ashram building, Swamiji goes there and  speaks to the person and gives some help. This in the midst of all other activities.

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04 Feb 2000

This morning I woke up with the lines of sahasranama running in my mind. I had woken up with a start from dreaming that I was in samadhi mandir and that it was past 6:00 a.m. Actually it was only 4:45 a.m., my usual time for re-entry into the world. I got up from the mattress. The first act usually is to switch on the light in the verandah and peek at the surroundings and gaze at the starry sky, which is very clear and bright, this time of the year.

As I did so, I noticed Kalicharan, the grey tom cat of the Ashram, sitting on the parapet. He too looked at me. “Jai Guru!” I said, looking at him. I also did namaste to him. He simply winked at me, without any change in his expression. “Why Kalu, why are you cross with me? Say something!” I ventured to start a conversation. This time Kalu muttered a faint mew (which I couldn’t hear), winked again and looked the other way! “Oh! You are not in mood, are you? So be it.” I said. Then I saw Naya Swamiji coming down the Ashram steps, looking stern and austere with a danda, a stick in his hand. He was on his way for a stroll. Now I knew why Kalu was silent! He had been chasing mice and wanted look pious before Swamiji!

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06 Feb 2000

Today we had a lot of visitors from Bangalore. The couple, A and V, who have been associated with Swamiji for quite some time, were accompanied by V’s cousin and her husband. They had already been exposed to Vedanta. V had been talking to them about Poojya Swamiji, the clarity with which our Swamiji explains the concept of God and religion and the supreme Truth. They naturally got interested and wanted to meet Swamiji personally. They hail from a very orthodox traditional Hindu family wherein importance is given to religious practices. At the usual satsang time we all sat in the verandah in two rows on either side of Swamiji’s chair.

Swamiji got acquainted with the newcomers. He asked their names and enquired about other details – their connection with V and their interest in the Vedantic wisdom.

Swamiji: “Yes! Do you have anything particular to ask or say?”

Devotee: “Is prayer effective?”

Swamiji: “There are cases when prayers have been granted. What is the basis on which prayers get granted?”

Devote: “The intensity of the prayer?”

Swamiji:  “It is not merely the intensity of the prayer that matters. There is another set of qualities – goodness, purity, restraint etc. Now, if you have all these factors, is there a need for prayer? By the very relationship, the mother feels that her sick child should be cured. Where is the need of a separate prayer for cure?

“Any normal sensitive mind will feel for others’ afflictions. What is the factor on which the prayer becomes effective? When a good and noble mind is present, automatically it will generate benevolence.

“What is purity? Never asking anything from God. Not having desires. Not having attachments. A mind with attachments is impure.

“So, when you start becoming pure, prayer becomes redundant. What prevents you from becoming pure? Your desire for the sense objects is the obstacle. Should you therefore spend your time in more and more prayer – in elaborate rituals, offering flowers and arcana to your idols – or should you earnestly start making efforts to become pure?"

The crystal clarity with which Swamiji explained had a stunning effect on the new comer. She asked: “Swamiji, if you say all these to the youngsters and the un-initiated i.e., those who are not exposed to Vedanata, will it not have an adverse effect? Will they not stop going to the temples? Will they not lose devotion and belief in God?”

Swamiji: “V! It is because people don’t think that such conclusions are made. Our sanatana dharma speaks of acara and vicara in devotion. Achara consists of religious routines – keeping of vows, vratas, worship of idols, images, even animals like cows, trees etc. These are for the various levels of devotees. But in every case, it should be coupled with vichara. Vichara is a thinking process. The devotee should ask – What am I doing? To whom am I offering these? Who will be benefited?

“But what is happening? People remain at the level of achara comfortably. They don’t progress to the level of vichara. The entire Bhaagavata, my dear V, takes you to vichara and vichara alone.”

Quoting a verse from Bhaagavata Swamiji continued: “Sreemad Bhaagavata is like a factory consisting of 12 departments, 12 skandhas. The mind of the devotee is the raw material that goes into the ‘factory’. After coursing through all the 12 skandhas, the resultant mind shines in full lustre and competence.

“The whole purpose is to purify the mind; to sublimate the personality. In fact, all acharas are for purifying the mind alone. The temple was built by man; the idol was sculpted by man; it was installed in the temple and divinised by man; it is also worshipped and prayed to by man. So, all the acts are by man for his own sake.

“It is like putting tilak on your forehead, looking at the mirror. You place the tilak on the forehead of your reflection in the mirror. But where does it actually fall?

“So, why don’t you learn to see God everywhere? The entire creation itself is God! The idol was made from a piece of rock taken from the earth. If it can be divinized by the mind, then what is the difficulty in divinizing the entire earth and all the creatures in it? Also see God in the entire gamut of the universe. Expand your mind. And you will find yourself becoming godly.

“V! It is such a simple proposition. But people are not willing to accept it. They feel comfortable doing half-an hour pooja everyday. Then they close their divinity inside the pooja-room, securely lock it and plunge into interactions of the world of the senses. They forget that they are interacting with God in God’s creation.

“If everything is indeed God, then why is it that you miss him? Why is it that you miss your own self? Dear V, it is happening because of your desire and greed for the illusory objects of the world – the world created by your mind and senses.

“So, now tell me. Should we not expose this truth to all? Will they not become better devotees and more conscious of God by understanding this?

“By all means, do your pooja or go to your temple and pray; but, be aware that your God is everywhere and not restricted to your idol. Be pure in your thoughts and heart. Be compassionate to all. Divinize every act of yours as a worship to the Lord and become divine yourself, shedding all the bheda-buddhi."

– A devotee

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