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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
Yesterday, the eight day long Geeta Tatva Sameeksha, the 17th yearly event, came to an end. Yesterday I was primarily referring to three words - Om Tat Sat. These three words are considered to be very auspicious, enlightening, purifying, sublimating, and elevating. All these three words are equally denoting the Supreme reality called Brahman. Being so, it is always used in connection with whatever good activities, whether they are yajña dāna, tapas, or others - are concerned, they are always used. Om Tat Sat, Om Tat Sat, Om Tat Sat.
I was born in a good family. In the rural environments, my body was born. And right from the beginning, religious traditions and practices should have been on. I think to some extent, to the extent it is possible - in the modern times, I was properly exposed to our religious and cultural traditions. In the course of my life I have come across… don’t think that I have come across many things but at least some good things, but at no time I had an occasion to hear anybody say or speak about - Om Tat Sat, Om Tat Sat. Never!
When I went to Calcutta and my brother had brought - I was also a participant - our Gurudev home. And when he came and sat, my brother asked me to prostrate before him. I prostrated. So he lifted me up, gave me a kiss on my fore head, embraced me. But before that he was saying, “Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat.” The first time I saw and heard somebody utter these words with one difference - ‘Harih’ was prefixed. ‘Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat.’ I heard it. I cannot remember when exactly I started saying these words - maybe when I started moving about and people used to come and show their respect, particularly do pranaam. I was wondering, ‘What shall I say in acknowledgement’. So, it occurred to me that I should say, ‘Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat.’ In the public platforms also, while talking, after completing the initial invocatory verse etc., I used to conclude saying, ‘Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat.’ I continue to say these words. In Delhi, somebody asked me, “Swamiji, is it Hari Om or is it Harih Om?”. In Sanskrit, this visarga, when it is followed by some special vowels and other things, they drop. Harih Om Tat Sat. So we found that some of the authoritative books it is mentioned, Harih Om, not Hari Om. Harih Om. Harih Om.
When I was speaking yesterday, I was very much struck that the 14th Chapter concludes by, with a reference to Om Tat Sat. I was explaining the significance of Om as the three constituent syllables representing, denoting wakeful, dream, and sleep state and Om itself representing the Supreme Brahman or the Supreme Soul. Tat is a sarvanama, a pronoun, it refers to - ‘That. That. That.” ‘That’ means the Supreme Reality, the Brahman, and Sat is the imperishable. All these are synonymous. But in Om, you have got reference to the pursuit by virtue of which you can get there.
After all this, the 14th Chapter concludes with a significant statement by Krishna. Generally every Chapter ends with a good positive remark. But here it is almost like a warning. I think all the inmates in this ashram should clearly know about it. When we speak about attention, care, concern, etc., some of them perhaps still feel why are these people stressing so much? We have come here as seekers of truth, and why give so much of attention to tidiness, cleanliness, orderliness, and all that. I don’t think we refer to attention like that. Attention in everything. In looking after the people who come to the dining hall, in serving them, trying to understand what they need, and administering gentle notes of caution, watching people, trying to see that no unnecessary indulgence is done, people do not shout…
Now the mobile has proved to be a threat almost. People have no norms. They come and roam about in the ashram with the mobile and continue to talk for minutes and minutes. I think they should talk, if at all, from their room. Not here. Let us keep the ashram main compound as much holy as possible.
Now in all these things, our inmates have to be very careful. In the dining hall, there should not be talk. I understand somebody even uses the mobile there. I don’t know what happens, what shall we do? We cannot be harsh and rude to people. I think it is all a question of shraddha. You know what Krishna says in the last shloka,
aśraddhayā hutaṃ dattaṃ tapastaptaṃ kṛtaṃ ca yat | (Bhagavad Geeta 17.28)
Lacking śraddha, whatever you do, hutam, it may be the sanctifying ahuti that you offer into the sacred fire, and maybe it is a great gift that you give. Whenever people bring something, we always tell our inmates, we have told our center people also - we would like to see what is given, how it is given. So don’t suddenly take it away. I would like to see the manner in which it has been brought. When it is placed I see. How well it is brought, in what container it is brought, how clean it is, I would like to know. It is my attention that I would like to see it and understand it. It is their attention in administering it to what they do.
aśraddhayā - without any shraddha,
hutam - even if the most sanctifying offer you make, either with ghee, or boiled rice or some other substances into the fire,
dattam - maybe a gift or daana that you give. Maybe an act - kṛtaṃ.
See, people come and prostrate, they collect the flowers. They wipe our feet. Some days you would have seen the flowers are wet, and my toes are getting wet. The doctors have said, “You should not wet your feet. Fungus infection will grow.” So I have reduced the number of times I wet my feet. The types of living that we have also, that traditional part can be overcome. Previously we were walking on bare ground. Even the floor inside was not so clean. Out toilet was at a distance, we had to walk through the ground. So washing feet was very important. Now it is not so much washing, because we are always moving with chappals. Ground is cleaner. It is all in-built toilets, attached bathrooms, and all that. So sometimes I take my towel and I start wiping myself.
So, in offering the flower, in removing it also, keeping the vessel, how attentively they do it.
Why are we doing it? Is it that by offering a few flowers at Swamiji’s feet, Swamiji will be greatly elevated? Certainly not! We are using Swamiji and this occasion only to generate more and more sublimity and purity in ourselves. So it is for you to do it as heartily, as sublimely - as beautifully as possible.
hutaṃ dattaṃ tapastaptaṃ - Even in the austerity that you perform you have to be very, very attentive. In reality - in whatever you do. A few things are strewn. Bend yourself and collect them. The manner in which you spend time to collect the strewn articles, that also is śraddha.
Suppose without śraddha, even yajña, dāna, tapas are done. He says, asadityuchyate pārtha. It is called asat. You may think that I have done a yajña. No, but it is asat. You may feel I have made a noble gift. No, it is asat. You may feel that I have done a lot of austerity. I have lived in the ashram. I have served Swamiji. After all these years they are not pleased. I feel I am not up to the mark. It’s all a waste. Don’t think like that. It is an opportunity for you to develop and grow in your attention. That is the important point. Memory, memory! Why don’t you keep a diary? Note whatever you want. The interest in a subject will determine how intense and active is your memory.
na ca tatpretya no iha - He says, without attention whatever you do - it becomes asat and it is a sheer nonsense! It has got no value either here or in the life hereafter. It is a very clear denunciation. Suppose you are gifting somebody, maybe a crore of rupees - if you do it without the sublimity of attention, I think that act of giving has got no value. In the same manner if you offer pudding, flowers, or other things to God in the altar, unless you do it with śraddha, I don’t think it will have any sublime value at all. It is such a great pronouncement.
Harih Om Tat Sat.