"Unflinching devotion to the Teacher is paramount in the life of a true seeker. To begin with, an external God can be the object of faith. But once the devotee grows to be a seeker, only a Wise Teacher can fulfil his quest.  It is then for the seeker to get purified and enlightened by the words of wisdom from his Guru.  Their bond and attunement put the Teacher on the pedestal of God.  Such an impeccable Guru-sishya bond alone bestows wisdom, strength and fulfillment to the seeker."

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.

During the past 3-4 days I had some discussions with some of the inmates here. I also had some occasion to notice some of their feelings, expressions, wants and the like. You know I am a person who thinks very deeply about all these matters. I do sometimes pass very critical remarks, sometimes very strong words are used. I think these words are meant to penetrate into the listener’s heart and bring about the till-then-unknown dimensions of thought, response and enquiry. So keeping all these things in mind, I would like to say today that what you primarily and ultimately need is tapasya - austerity. Austerity has some sublimity to offer. Austerity also goes to purify our system. The austerity alone will be able to give you tolerance.

There are occasions when the spirits apparently sink. A sense of loss, a sense of dejection, a sense of retreat and a sense of meaninglessness and wastefulness, all these things may crop up in the mind. In spite of all these, we must have a spirit of outliving and surviving all these transitory phases. The power and the process by which you will be able to outlive is what I would like to describe as austerity.

When we somehow developed the practice of spending about one hour, it was originally one hour in our prayers in the morning and nearly that much time in the evening prayers, I felt that this was the backbone of our Ashram and our community life here. I also wanted the neighboring houses to know that there is something like a kind of a divine spell generated by us in the Ashram like ringing the bell, blowing the conch. So they will know in their own language that this is a place of spirituality, divinity and also austerity.

Our life in the Ashram is primarily meant for others. It is not meant for us. So whenever I hear words like, "We are always busy, we have no time for ourselves", I feel very bad because this is what the householders will say. They will say, "I have done this for you, that for you, this for others, that for others, I have not done anything to myself." The worst thinking that a seeker or an austere person can have is that "I have done so much, I have got so much routines that I have no time for myself."

What for is the time for yourself? Are you going to sleep? Are you going to listen to some kind of a talk or a dialogue? Are you going to read novels? Are you going to watch the cricket? What is meant by time for yourself? I think I would like you to define it. Now all these feelings come in your mind only because you lack the austerity. We have taken up this wholesome pursuit of spiritual life only for arriving at a level of mind and an attitude whereby our whole life will become a constant unbroken wholesome worship. It is not that we will always be free and we will have the leisure to open a book, see this, see that. The leisure, the relaxation, the freedom, the ecstasy, all this should come to you from the attitudinal orientation.

मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः ।
निर्वैरः सर्वभूतेषु यः स मामेति पाण्डव ।।
mat-karma-kṛt mat-paramo mad-bhaktaḥ saṅga-varjitaḥ |
nirvairaḥ sarva-bhūteṣu yaḥ sa mām eti pāṇḍava ||

Where is leisure mentioned there?

सर्वकर्माण्यपि सदा कुर्वाणो मद्‍व्यपाश्रयः ।
मत्प्रसादादवाप्नोति शाश्वतं पदमव्ययम् ।।
sarva-karmāṇy-api sadā kurvāṇo mad-vyapāśrayaḥ |
mat-prasādād-avāpnoti śāśvataṁ padam-avyayam ||
(Bhagavad Gita 18.56)

This is what Krishna said at the end. It is the same thing that he tells Uddhava also. So whenever any one of you feels or says that "I don’t have the leisure, I don’t have the leisure", I feel very, very bad. We have not come here to take leisure. We have come here to convert our entire life to be leisurely. What gives you the leisure and what robs it is your mind, the attitude of the mind.

Arjuna wanted to retreat from the war. He kept his bow and arrow down saying that, “I will not fight the war”. The same Arjuna got enlightened and without Krishna telling him, he took back his arrow and bow and he said, “I will fight not one but a score of Mahabharata wars.” Will you please reflect upon this transition that took place in Arjuna right in the midst of the two armies in Kurukshetra?

Whenever you feel, "I lack this, I lack this", understand that physical fatigue needs recuperation. When the body is fatigued, simply disappear from the scene, go to your room. You need not tell anybody, if you like you may say and then simply take rest. For physical reason, I do agree restfulness is a requirement but the mind’s relaxation is karmay-akarma ya paśyed akarmai ca karma ya (Bhagavadgeeta 4.18), karmai akarma ya paśyed, He who is able to pursue actionlessness in action. In activeness, you must be able to find and feel non-actionness, non-action. Akarmai ca karma ya, when you take a physical relaxation, understand that your mind is going to be active.

Why I mentioned all this? The morning program and the evening program, if you are undergoing this properly, it is the most relaxing, it is the most delightful, it is the most retreatal in nature. The same thing you are doing over and over again, over and over again. Initially it may appear to be monotonous. This monotony is a response created by the mind. You have to lift your mind above this and every day when you put your attention into it, it should become relaxing, relaxing, delightful and fulfilling.

These programs are not silent-sitting programs. These are loud recitational ones. I emphasize that the people who go to Samadhi Mandir, their chorus voice should be heard. All of them should put their attention to it. If you don’t put your attention, you will miss the joy of doing it. It is not that we do something to get joy in the end. We are doing the whole process joyfully and cheerfully.

Arjuna told Krishna, “My whole body is getting scorched by grief. I cannot think of taking back my weapons to fight. So, if you want me to do anything Krishna, you have to first of all remove my grief and make me joyous and joyful. And joyfully alone I can take back my Gandīva and the arrow box, then fight.” Will you please understand this transition in Arjuna’s mind, all within a matter of 2 or 2.5 hours? I think your mind should be confronted, your intelligence should become baffled, your ego should crumble. Only when all these things take place, you will find something deeper within you where no effect befalls and no action emerges. You cannot discover this actionless soul except karmai akarma ya paśyed.

My body is full of blood circulation, air circulation. It is full of material substances. But am I only that - No! Besides and within the body, I have a non-material sphere. That sphere is what we call mind with its thoughts, feelings and emotions. I have another sphere still deeper as it were called intelligence where it is wisdom, doubt, enquiry and knowledge. Still inside I have got something called the ego - identity. All these are not physical and material or energial layers. Then I go still beyond. I have, as I talk to you and close my eyes, I am in link, I am actually floating in that chidākāśa, in that sentient space, sentient space. My dear souls, this is the one that will give you relaxation. What? What? That actionless.. actionless.. actionless presence, that spiritual luminosity which is beyond and beneath the ego.  Unless you are able to get to it, get to it, for which you need the austerity. So, our morning recitation is a very beautiful and elevating austerity. The program here is equally elevating but there it is mento-oral. Here it is mento-intellectual. So here you have something called ‘to understand’, ‘to understand’, as I speak you have to understand. So it is a deeper level of relaxation and enlightenment that you get here but both are equally austerity.

You know when my mother, pūrvashrama mother, when I was a young boy she asked me to recite Vishnu Sahasranāma, maybe I was 6 or 7 years old as I told you earlier. Nobody was there to help me to read and understand. A book was given or I got, borrowed it or something like that. When I looked into the letters and I simply looked, looked, looked and started pronouncing, pronouncing, pronouncing, seeing, hearing, seeing, hearing, examining, examining, correcting, correcting till I was satisfied. What do you think of the austerity and thereafter everyday reciting it for years together? I think all of you lack this austerity.

Let us build this austerity. Be present in the morning and the evening programs. Never say "I don’t have time". All the other things should follow. “I was in the prayer. Therefore this got delayed.” I have no objection. But there should be some people who will not miss the prayer and who will have greater delight in doing some of the other Ashram needs, ashram work. It is a promotion for you but the basic austerity should be there. Because you don’t have this austerity or you lack it, you find intolerance, ill reconciliation, suffering, agitation, tension, stress, strain etc. Why should we have? The wind by blowing doesn’t become tense. The water by flowing doesn’t become tense. How many difficult terrains the river passes through? If the water of the river can do this, the consciousness within our body can do much, much, much, much better. I would like you to think in these lines and build up the necessary austere sublimity in all of you.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. 

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