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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
How to bring about a proper awareness, evaluation and also a resolve in the mind of the seekers and devotees? I think it is a very vexing but permanent question, unavoidable!
Uddhared-ātmanātmānaṃ nātmānam-avasādayet. This is from the 6th chapter of Bhagavad Gita. Krishna is speaking about primarily meditation, how to reach the supreme inner state.
He says that “uddhared-ātmanā ātmānaṃ” – Everyone should elevate himself. Now, in the matter of elevating yourself, are you dependent on others? Do you require any special favor or blessing from even God? Krishna says no!
Ātmanā ātmānaṃ uddhared – You have to elevate yourself only by making use of your own mind and intelligence, inner resources. In the matter of employing this self-elevating effort, you are not depending upon anyone.
Ātmanā eva – No other factor is involved there.
Questions are asked, “I want to improve, but I am not able to improve. I don’t want to get angry but I get angry. I don’t want to be this, I don’t want to be that but I am becoming like that.” See, everybody has a nature. We are not controlled, we are all born and each parent can only give rise to a child born of him. So the child will have some inherited tendencies. Just like you have a certain physical body with shape and features, you will also have an inner personality; mind intelligence and ego, with its characteristics, features, tendencies etc. So never say that “I am not what I want.” Nobody is perhaps what he or she wants. We are what we are.
Now the question is – Human life is meant for examining one’s own personality, find out what are the traits unacceptable or undesirable and then eliminate them, try to know about the acceptable and desirable ones and incorporate them. This is the only spiritual exercise everyone is supposed to and can possibly do. Will you understand it basically? We are all born with our own constrictions. These constrictions have to be identified properly and then by self-effort you have to remove them.
Physically changing our body is not possible nor is it meant for, but inner personality can be completely changed. An angry man can be very gentle and soft. A hateful man can be loving. How is it that a rich man of the US who was only giving for earning money suddenly turned a man of charity? It is opposed to earning! You are always wanting to earn money. Here, you attention is now spending whatever you have, give it freely, give it freely, give it freely. How did the mind change from possessiveness to dispossessiveness? You tell me.
‘X’ came here the other day and he was saying, “I have given the whole business to my son. He is doing it.” He built up a business, he was very prosperous and at one time he decided that “Let my son look after. I won’t go.” How is it that the mind can be very possessive and also dispossessive? If it can be with regard to money and running a business etc. can it not be with regard to anything and everything? The question is – Do you want it? If so, what is the effort that you are making for it?
A certain habit that is either inherited in us or developed in us – suppose you have to change it, how long and how old the habit is, you have to develop something in place for a longer time than what has been there. Suppose you are trying to change a habit which is fifteen years old, I won’t be surprised if you have to spend another fifteen years! Then only the new habit will exceed the old one.
Uddhared-ātmanā ātmānaṃ. But don’t question whether you can change your habit or change your attitude at all or not. We are born as human beings only for this. Our sastras give a lot of enlightenment, enlightenment, enlightenment. It tells you about the power of the senses and the harm the senses can work. It tells you about how corrupt the mind is and how pure it can be. It tells you about how divergent the intellectual application can be and what is the best application. Why don’t you be greedy, greedy for change, greedy for correction, greedy for improvement?
The other day, I had a discussion with some of the people here and they were saying, “Swamiji, why is it that this does not go away from me, go away from me, go away from me?” Why don’t you understand? The sastras are a constant reminder about what - what human nature is, what are the real potentials it has, and what habits normally can be and how to replace them, how long will it take? All these things are clearly mentioned there. I repeatedly tell you, please copy me. I have never made any struggle or effort in my life to cultivate a quality. “Then how is it that Swamiji, if at all, you have some qualities, how did they come up there?” Either I had them or they entered into me. How did they enter? I think you should listen to me very carefully.
We have luckily and fortunately, quite a number of Sanskrit texts. Our literature is very great. In that literature, the qualities of human life are mentioned, mentioned, mentioned in various contexts, in various inspiring and enlightening ways. Can you imagine the great poet Bhartrhari having written hundred verses on what is called morality, ethics and virtues? And each virtue he discusses with examples taken from world and nature.
We have a verse which describes..
विद्याधनं सर्वधनात् प्रधानम् । Vidyādhanaṃ sarva-dhanāt pradhānam. The wealth of knowledge is the best of all forms of wealth. This is the last phrase, last description of a verse.
See, it is description of how great knowledge is, how wealthy! Suppose you learn this verse, why are you learning? Because it is something to be learnt! Any learning becomes part of your system, part of your understanding system and once you have learnt it, automatically your attitude about wealth will be governed by this shloka.
I was mentioning the other day,
Five items are mentioned there. Why don’t you spend some time? Just love that verse. Learn it by heart and keep it in your heart, remember it, remember it. What is meant by parayana? What is meant by swadhyaya? Swadhyaya is actually sadhana! Swadhyaya means sadhana, sadhana, sadhana!
One line, advesta sarva-bhutanam. When you read it and you give your mind to it, can you ever become a dveshi? Hateful? How can it be? Then why are you reading? Are you giving your mind and heart to it? I think everyone of you should examine how zealous or sincere you are in the matter of listening to or reading these wonderful excellent items. Everything about spirituality is building up mento-intellectual excellence in the human, excellence in the level of the mind and excellence in the level of the intelligence. It increases your will power.
When I write that Vishnu Sahasranama will increase the power of retention, the power of application, there seems to be some doubt among some people. You need not doubt it at all! After all Vishnu Sahasranama is spending about 20 or 25 minutes minimum in chanting it. If you go on applying your mind, very soon you will learn it by heart. Now keeping the head occupied with Vishnu Sahasranama, our ‘Y’ says, it is an insulation against dementia. Not only Vishnu Sahasranama, any kind of a Sanskrit verse etc.
See, I am not able to get some words, when I start chanting, I may not get the verse. But I go on just like the computer goes on searching, my brain will go on searching, searching, searching and somehow it will bring! The other day, I was not able to get the word Gowdapada. Shankara, Shankara’s teacher, teacher’s teacher and within my speech I was looking, looking… what is this verse, I could not get. So, I just evasively mentioned about it and continued. Then within seconds it came to me - Gowdapada!
We don’t know the mystery of human brain, so you must have some kind of a practice, chanting and other things. Even Ma’s recent instance of hemorrhage – her faculties are very sharp, she did not have any impaired speech, particularly that non-damage of the brain, so to say. Physically there is a damage and I don’t know subtly what all damage was there, but otherwise, her understanding, memory, retention, sharpness, everything is intact. And I am reasonably sure that in the whole process, her recitation, her affinity for Sanskrit verses, songs, all of them have played a very great part. Now, who will say they have not played? Who will say they have played? It is better to assume they have played because it is beneficial. Suppose we denounce that it does not play……
I told you about an engineering boy who passed, came here and said, “Swamiji, I have been listening to your Mukti Sudhakaram for one and a half years. You said that spiritual interest will enable a student to read better, understand faster. One hour’s reading and absorption will be reduced to, if not 30 minutes, at least 40 minutes. It is literally true!”
Because, these children when they are trying to learn, they are not able to focus. They read and read over again. Children are coming and reporting that “I am not able to focus”. So, most of the reading time, the focus is not there - that inner attention and involvement. So, when they become spiritual, means what? Spirituality, whether you know it or not, it is always an effort to enrich, improve, strengthen and sharpen your mind and intelligence. All spiritual practices are only meant for that and as a result you will find you have better health.
Now, so many people are saying so many things. I was a sick child ever since I could remember. Upto nineteen years or so, I used to have, every time, month fever and had such a problematic stomach. With all these things, I seem to have survived for so long. I had little, little trouble in my body but no work was stopped. Everything I have been carrying on. How is it that in spite of a sick body, I was able to do all this? Quite possibly, my spiritual involvement must have helped me. That is why and moreover, it is something good. We can always say arthavada, phala shruti, it is always necessary. So, Vishnu Sahasranama, my dear children, you learn, I say. So that your study will be improved, examination fear will go, nervousness will vanish and you will be able to retain things.
Many children come and say that they forget. Suppose you start remembering Vishnu Sahasranama, the whole of Vishnu Sahasranama, to remember is a big job! Twenty minutes of recitation – if our brain has got this capacity, don’t you think their memory power, that memory area of the brain will generally be improved? So their memory also, so far as the examination is concerned will be much better. Let us say that. Let them learn Vishnu Sahasranama. To provoke or to inspire a man to do something good, we can say anything! Because people are given to phala shruti, phala shruti. “What benefit will I get?” This is the benefit you will get.
The whole devotional life is purely psychological. God has nothing to do there! He has already built your system to work properly, but it is psychological! By thinking about God, they get many things which otherwise they will miss! So, I believe that all of you should be feeling very clearly – uddhared-ātmanā ātmānaṃ.
Never tell me the story, “Swamiji, I am not able to do. Will I be able to do?” Never say that! Never think it! You are born here to only improve and you can! Otherwise why should Krishna say in Bhagavad Gita? So remember this.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.