"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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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

We have a word called pārāyaṇa, pārāyaṇa. Another word called swādhyāya. The word pārāyaa means religious recitation or even reading of any kind of a religio-spiritual philosophical literature. It can be Ramayana. It can be Bhagavadgeeta, it can be Sreemad Bhagavatam, it can be the Upanishads. You must take something and do pārāyaa. The pārāyaa is actually a daily practice. Just like we are doing Vishnu Sahasranāma in the Samadhi Mandir and then the next day Bhagavadgeeta one or two chapters. Then we are also reciting a few other verses which have got very good meaning, suggestion, philosophy and a kind of a sublimating, enlightening instruction. Doing this pārāyaa is actually a kind of an austerity that we are doing. But it can be more than austerity provided you are reflecting upon the meaning and the message of what you recite and then try to apply it to your own personality, its conduct and behavior at the different levels -the sensory level, the oral level, the mental level and also the intellectual level.

The culture of a person is formed by the thought pattern and the attitude pattern he has plus the oral refinement that he has. How one is able to talk or one does talk? What is the type of vocabulary he uses? Is there any roughness, toughness or something refined is there? Somebody came here yesterday. That person had come earlier also. But whenever I saw that person and was listening to the type of talk coming from that source I always found that the person was a refined person, only by virtue of the talk. Very few people have got that kind of a talk. The pārāyaa will help you to bring about a refinement in the mental and intellectual levels. If you try to understand what you recite the effect becomes much, much more. For such pārāyaa we have stotras and we have purānic compositions. Bhagavadgeeta is part of Mahabharata, Vishnu Sahasranama also is part of Mahabharata. Mahabharata is the second and the larger epic consisting of one lakh twenty five thousand Sanskrit verses.

The other day a very elderly couple came here. They were brought by ‘U’ uncle. He gave me two copies of a book he has printed. And he told me that this book was printed at the instance of his father. Father said, “In Mahabharatam there is a dialogue called Vyādhageeta. It’s a dialogue that transpired between Dharma Vyādha and Kaushika a Brahmin ascetic. The ascetic became very proud of his tapasya and the benefit it has given him. His hollowness was revealed and proved by a householder woman who was very chaste and with pātivratya she was looking after her husband. Kausika was sitting underneath a tree closing his eyes. Before that he had done a long tapasya. So much of jata, matted locks had got formed, he tufted all of them and put them on his head. So when a bird discharged its excreta on his head he got angry so he looked at the bird. The bird got burnt. So he felt I am a great tapasvin, my tapasya has got a great effect, see the bird has been burnt.

He proceeded on foot forward and went to a house seeking bhiksha. He went and announced his identity ‘Om Namo Narayana’. But it took quite some time for the lady to come out and give him some food. By then this ascetic had got so angry. He was almost cursing the woman. After sometime the woman appeared and told him, “Please understand that I am not that bird.”

Imagine the stunning effect her statement had on the ascetic. He felt very humiliated and also enlightened.

“I am a householder woman. My first duty is to look after my husband. He had come and I was serving him food. I cannot leave him half the way. So I was serving food, I have completed it. Now I will look after you.”

Then he said, “What shall I do now?”

“You go to a hunter who is trading in flesh. He is a great knower of truth. Go and seek instructions from him as to how you have to proceed.”

The ascetic after having his bhiksha went to Vyādha he is called Dharma Vyādha because he was an embodiment of Dharma. And then there is a dialogue between Kausika and the Dharma Vyādha. This is called Vyādhageeta. Vyādhageeta.

It appears that one Ramachandra Shastrigal of Nochur whose son and daughter in law came here, the father had asked the son, “I would like you to publish this Vyādhageeta with the original verses and the shloka.” My dear souls this is how our culture is preserved and is prevailing. Why should it occur to a Ramachandra Shastri who has completed hundred years to tell his son, “One mission I want you to fulfill is print Dharmavyādhageeta and circulate it.” Now that can be done, pārāyaa.

Then we have so many other things to do pārāyaa of. There are a number of prakarana granthās. Why I am mentioning this? Chanting of Vishnu Sahasranāma, reciting of purānic texts, Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, anything whatsoever, let the time be occupied. The other day a man came here, an old man and he said, “I get up early in the morning, have my bath, and I do my pārāyaa, go for a walk, again come and pārāyaa, do this do that.” If you start doing this pārāyaa the mind is very piously and sublimely, sublimally employed, employed in a very good austerity. I think it is a readymade cure for dementia. When you start memorizing, memorizing all these verses, that memorizing itself is an exercise for the brain. It also keeps away unnecessary thoughts and agitations, thoughts and agitations, thoughts and agitations. So I would like you to understand this need for pārāyaa and try to do it.

You know, many things are taking place in this ashram. Out of all the things for some days now when so many people are there in the vijnana bhavan and when I recite the Sreemad Bhagavatam chapters and all of you are jointly following me, to listen to your chorus voice is so delightful to me. It is very unique. I am very, very happy. The only disappointment that I have is why is it that you are not picking up similar fondness for it? Yesterday I asked, ‘X’ was telling me, “I recited only here. I never did it elsewhere.” Even ‘Y’ who doesn’t have much of other work here, even she does not recite and learn it perfectly. See vidya is something where your effort cannot be spared. When your children go to the school how particular you are, study, study, study, study, study, study, study to the point of the child getting irritated and disappointed. Now you don’t do any study like that. What right do you have to tell your children that you should study? All that is required is the visitors are here, they don’t do anything in this ashram except attending the routines. Maybe washing their clothes, looking after their routines, coming to the dining hall, three-four times a day. But there is time, why don’t you use it? It is such a great wealth, treasure, cure, safeguard, preventive as well as curative for the body, mind, diseases, everything. So this pārāyaa is something very, very important.

It is not necessary that you know all the meaning of what you read. If you know, well and good. What we want is austerity in the form of pārāyaa when it is rightly done it produces delight and fulfillment. So the meaning part does not become relevant there. Suppose you want to understand it and have the joy of understanding, utility of understanding, maybe explain it to others and correct and improve yourself after what you read, then the meaning is necessary, otherwise not. Most of our Vedic people did not know the meaning of Vedas though their whole life had been spent on reciting it. So austerity, austerity, austerity, is an important part of human life. Yajna is another part and daana is the third.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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