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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
When you look at any object whatsoever from a distance, the object may not appear to be what it exactly is. We are looking at the moon. It appears to be a brilliant orb. But when you go close to the moon, you find that it is an absolutely rocky formation like earth hovering in the sky without being supported or suspended from anything. It goes on moving in its own trajectory governed by the laws and processes of nature. The picture near at hand, it has got more resemblance with whatever we look at or see from a distance. The same applies to the sun, the stars. Think of our blood. It is all consisting of cells. It appears to be fluid. But the fluid blood, liquid blood consists of all material cells.
The other day, that means some years back, Doctor Bhaama came here after having purchased a microscope. And she wanted me to look through the microscope as an inauguration for it and she had brought some specimen blood, perhaps my own blood. So when I looked at the cells, I found that they were absolutely irregular. It is from this irregular, absolutely irregular blood cells that we have got a beautiful body formed, sometimes the bodies look very well with sharp nose and wide eyes, broad forehead and beautiful cheeks, looks etc. Everything appears to be very beautiful and symmetrical. But the root cell is absolutely irregular and deformed. We may not be able to know it when we look at the blood and we look at the body. The same applies to the spiritual path, the spiritual goal and the spiritual sādhanā. Everybody has some idea about God, religion, devotion. I am a devotee, I am a religious person, I am very pious and so many descriptions they make, assessments also. But when you start entering the path you will find the entire subject is different.
Arjuna was a very austere person. He was called Gudākeśa - a conqueror of sleep. Avoiding sleep, he could do austerity for months and weeks at a stretch. Such a person did severe austerity during his forest exile, got pāśupatāstra after fighting with Parama Shiva and he came with so much of expectation and self-generated glory. But when he came to the battlefield and looked at Bhishma and Drona, the picture completely changed and he crumbled right then. Arjuna had nothing within him to restore himself or to overcome the plight. Then Krishna started accosting him, speaking to him.
I would like you to stop for a while and think what did Krishna do. Krishna only spoke to him. What is meant by speaking? Using words, every word is a representative, a measure of ideas. So he was trying to impart and infuse into Arjuna a kind of a food and nourishment which the mind and intelligence can receive and absorb and assimilate. So it was a knowledge interaction that took place between Krishna and Arjuna which alone in the course of about 2.5 hours was able to restore Arjuna, stand up, take back his bow and arrow and do the war for eighteen days. Now this gives you an idea of spirituality.
What is spirituality? It is words of wisdom to be heard or read and then to be thought over, absorbed, assimilated until at last the wisdom that you have gained gets incorporated as an inseparable part of your inner personality. Take Bhagavad Gita for instance. Is it an emotional text? What is it after all? Right from the beginning, it is a sharp address to the intelligence. Arjuna, you are grieving over those people who should not be grieved at.
- Part of Bhagavad Gita 2.11
Arjuna started shedding tears. He was all in shambles. The body was trembling, mouth was drying, mind was whirling, intelligence was obstructing what he was proposing to do. There was no resource in him left which he could harness by virtue of which he could restore his personality. So Krishna was supplying what he lacked and what he did not have. And that was nothing but a nourishment, a food for the intelligence. Understand that spiritual wisdom is for the intelligence and every note, every measure of this wisdom is to directly act upon the mind and set right the mind’s vagaries, inconsistencies, imbalances, agitation and what not! Let the agitation be caused by anything.
Now the only way this knowledge can be imbibed, assimilated and absorbed:
Āchāryopāsanam, Āchāryopāsanam, Āchāryopāsanam
Sri Krishna lists in the thirteenth chapter of Bhagavat Gita twenty items. In these twenty items, there are many, many disciplines, refinements, regulations, expansions, corrections, qualities which will bring about loftiness, elevation, exclusiveness, so many qualities are there one after another. It starts from:
अमानित्वमदम्भित्वमहिंसा क्षान्तिरार्जवम् ।
आचार्योपासनं शौचं स्थैर्यमात्मविनिग्रहः ।।
ācāryopāsanaṁ śaucaṁ sthairyam-ātma-vinigrahaḥ ||
What is meant by the Āchārya upāsana? We generally know of īśvara upāsana. What is this īśvara upāsana? Have a picture or an idol, a sāligrāma or a Shiva-linga, do abhisheka, put flowers only to remove all of them the next day. The stone becomes the point of interaction for us. It is very clear that the stone will not speak to you. The picture will not speak to you. So all your worship becomes unilateral. There is no interaction there.
When you go to an āchārya, he is available. If the idol and picture are mute Gods, āchārya is a vibrant, sentient and articulate God. When you go and prostrate before Him, He knows that somebody has come. He looks at him, studies his features and he makes his own assessments. The manner in which you conduct, how you speak, what are the emotions displayed by your words, everything becomes a pointer to your inner personality and the qualities you have and the qualities you are likely to have from the interaction with the teacher. So this āchārya upāsanais something very, very sublime and important. By upāsana, we are not expecting that you will take flowers, water and pour it on his head to do abhisheka and put the flowers on his head. That is not upāsana. That is just like the idol worship. What does the āchārya want, what does he feel, what does he expect? Whatever you want to know ask him, discuss the subject, be guided by what he says. Any point you can discuss.
Somebody gave me a note consisting of about four pages here setting forth all her thoughts, questions, doubts etc. I was reading the paper and as I was reading, normally if I write a reply it will take a long time. So I started scribbling the answers at the end of every paragraph. Now it is for the writer to think about what I have written, understand and if there is any clarity called for, the writer should approach me and seek clarity. So with āchāryait is an interaction, interaction, interaction. The seeker stands on the one side and the knower stands on the other side and the seeker goes on placing his mind with all its complexity and then listens to what the teacher says and brings about correction and improvements.
Mind you, all of you, understand, the body has completed its growth at the age of twenty-one. There is nothing more to be had in the body except perhaps the wisdom teeth. After growth, it doesn’t remain exactly the same. It starts declining, declining. So I think your bodies have already started declining. But what is it in us which can grow consistently after the body has completed its growth? In the growth of the body you don’t have much of voluntariness possible. But in the growth, in nursing and rearing the mind, it completely depends upon you. You can be a fool, an ass; you can also be a wise man, an angel, all inwardly.
So how to improve the mind? Just like Arjuna set right his mind by listening to Krishna, the seekers will have to be in close proximity with the teacher, with the Guru and it should be a process of absorption, absorption, assimilation, assimilation. There can be doubts. Place the doubts before him. There can be enquiries. Place the enquiries before him. And we have such a vast treasure of scriptures in which you will find every quest of the human mind or intelligence has a place. Every problem the world poses also has a place.
Pareekshit was supposed to be bitten by a poisonous cobra on the 7th day. He instantly forestalled it by prāyopaveśa vow; by not eating and not drinking, only breathing. Everybody perhaps felt very bad and pained when they heard that Pareekshit had put a dead cobra on the neck of Śameeka, such a heinous crime. Everybody felt bad. But when he decided that "I would be on prāyopaveśa" and declared it, all the sin had disappeared, it had no influence. "Oh, he has taken up prāyopaveśa, Good! Great, Great, Great!"
All the people surrounded him showering compliments and praises. Then he said, “Your praises have meaning only when you are able to feast my ears by the narration of truth and Godly excellences and exploits.”
Suddenly nature gifted him a sixteen-year old avadhoota, a spiritually excellent person, Veda Vyasa’s son, a paramahamsa. As nature hatched a plot by giving a dead cobra when he went out of the cottage of Śameeka Maharshi, here now the same nature brings Śuka Maharshi who sat there at one stretch; there was a conversation between the two. It lasted for six days. On the seventh day, Pareekshit said, “I have completely understood what you have said. I am going to be immersed in Brahma Nirvāṇa. I express my gratefulness. My dear sage, I have no fear of death. I don’t fear from Takshaka. Nothing. I am alright.”
He withdrew himself sensorily, mentally, intellectually and immersed himself in the depth and profundity of the soul expanse within. Takshaka did come and bite but he was not there to know. This is what spirituality can do. This is what spiritual wisdom can bring about. Understand it very clearly.
Pareekshit would not have attained this solution if there was not the teacher like Śuka Maharshi who came there and there was a heart-to-heart interaction between them. So the word upāsana has a great meaning. It is a kind of worship no doubt. But worship in the form of seeking, knowing, interacting with the Guru and in the process, you can also serve him in whichever manner you can and you should. It maybe some physical service, assistance to what he does, there are very outwardly but the real upāsanais mentally, mentally close to the teacher, absorbing what he says, whatever he wants us to be. This is called āchārya upāsanam. This is one of the twenty virtues and excellences listed by Krishna which he says together constitute the spiritual wisdom - jñāna. Jñāna is not a one-pointed development. It is a comprehensive process as well as fulfillment whereby the human individual becomes a repository of a number of interactional virtues and excellences in which absorption into the soul certainly is the climax and foundation.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.