“The paths leading man to god or Truth are said to be many. I will speak only of the shortest. It is to recognize God as the Self in you and then to find Him out. What is the distance then between you and God, between you and yourself? Ah, there is no distance at all, a full Zero! Yet, how dare you say to find God and Truth is hard?’’ 

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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In Virginia this time, we had a four-day Bhagavad Gita session. In Malaysia also, we had a three-day session. It was specifically aimed at making the people understand, how Bhagavad Gita is not so much a religious text as it is a practical, interactional sadhana text. First day, I spoke about the historic background and the developments that took place before this dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna began. This dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna transpired before the commencement of the war.

And after the end of the war, Bhishma and Yudhishthira had a prolonged dialogue. There, Yudhishthira raised the point, “I don’t feel like sitting on the throne. I feel a lot of guilt and even sin. I have been instrumental in killing my own brother. My mother did not disclose the fact that Karna is my elder brother. Why did she not do so? I am not going to sit on the throne. I will go to forest again."

Now, this was the background from where Bhishma had to speak elaborately to redress the mind of Yudhishthira. In all probability, that was a longer conversation and dialogue. But in the case of Arjuna and Krishna, it was not so elaborate, though we find it is a synopsis of all kinds of thought processes prevalent in the country. But, may be 2 ½ to 3 hours, the conversation extended itself.

And then I started discussing the second chapter, the third chapter, taking some relevant verses, only to explain to the listeners that Bhagavad Gita was discussing in a very pragmatic way what Arjuna wanted. He wanted removal of grief and he also wanted sreyas. Krishna was focusing on these two points very, very well. Both of them related to the mind and intelligence. How the mind has to be dealt with, how the intelligence has to be encouraged and also persuaded to think loftier and loftier. This is a very simple human personality and life and interaction with the world question. But I ended it up with some devotional elements also. And people seem to have been very much touched. They were very happy.

The point in my bringing about the devotional thoughts there was, whether it is the approach of devotion or the approach of interactional philosophy, in both cases what is involved is the mind and the enrichment that we are seeking to gain is also mental. And there is only one subject, one quality, one ideal, one value, that is the mind is always getting alternate responses and reactions to the interactions – happiness and unhappiness. These are the only resultants of all the activities and interactions we do. Even if the interaction or activity become religious, even then you would feel either happy or unhappy about what you have done or what you have left. So, it is a kind of calmness quietitude, stability of the mind. I said this is the attainment in the devotional approach also. Then I quoted two verses. One verse was:

नास्था धर्मे न वसुनिचये नैव कामोपभोगे
यद्भव्यं तद्भवतु भगवन् पूर्वकर्मानुरूपम् ।
ह्येतत् प्रार्थ्यं मम बहुमतं जन्मजन्मान्तरेऽपि
त्वत्पादाम्भोरुहयुगगता निश्चला भक्तिरस्तु ।।
- मुकुन्दमाला
nāsthā dharme na vasunicaye naiva kāmopabhoge
yadbhavyaṁ tadbhavatu bhagavan pūrva-karmānurūpam |
hyetat prārthyaṁ mama bahumataṁ janma-janmāntare'pi
tvat-pādāmbhoruha-yugagatā niścalā bhaktirastu ||
- Mukundamālā

For all devotees, what is the goal? To have unflinching devotion to the Lord. What does it mean, unflinching devotion to the Lord? The effect, so far as the mind is concerned is the mind becomes calm, it is not shaken, there is no desire, there is no hatred. It will become an embodiment of serenity, virtue, sublimity. This is what Krishna means by samatva also. When you become equal towards sukha and duhkha, the only two experiences which the world and the world objects, interactions with them bring about, then what is there further to be had?

In this sloka, what the devotee says is, nāsthā dharma, I have no interest in dharmic discussions and dharmic adherence. Why? They are required only when we are interested in the things of the world. In my case, na vasunicaye, I have no interest in gaining or amassing property and wealth.

Naiva kāmopabhoge, I don’t want also to appease my passion. If there is no desire and greed for enjoying anything, then what is the impact? The impact will be serenity, sublimity and calm. Why are you saying like this that you are not interested even in dharmic adherence? Because, the question of dharma as a discipline or a value arises only when we are doing something to gain. When that gainful feeling is not there and you are not after anything in this world, then where is the need and relevance for dharma? I have no desire to fulfill, I have nothing to enjoy. When that feeling comes, dharma becomes redundant.

Moreover, one more reason is that yadbhavyaṁ tadbhavatu bhagavan pūrva-karmānurūpam. People say that our present life is a resultant of so many lives we have led in the past. So, we have got something, while getting born, we also come a bundle. That bundle will govern our life. If the incidents in our life are governed by the results of our past karma, then should I ever seek anything? Everything will take place according to the karmic law.

But, he says, “I have one specific prayer before you.” hyetat prārthyaṁ mama bahumataṁ. This one prayer is extremely cherished by me and it is immensely valuable. What is that? Janma-janmāntare'pi, we don’t know about further janmas. Some say no, some say yes. There is philosophy for both. So, I would like to be on the safe side. What is that? Assume that we will have further births. So, as is this birth, so will be other births also. What is my problem now? The same problem will continue. So, what is it that I want?

Janma-janmāntare'pi, even if I have to take many janmas, in all the janmas, tvat-pādāmbhoruha-yugagatā niścalā bhaktirastu. Let me have unshaken, unflinching, unswerving devotion to Your lotus feet.

Now tell me, it is a prayer by a devotee based upon completeness of devotion. And where does it act? And what does it produce? It brings about a reformation to the mind and the mind drops all desires and concerns, thinking that whatever will take place, will! Why should there be a prayer or an interference? By praying, can we change? Even if we change, what? World will continue to be what it is, producing happiness and unhappiness.

So even in the devotional language and thought process, what we arrive at is the quietude of the mind, the stillness of the mind, the absorption and contentment of the mind. This is the same contentment that Sri Krishna speaks about by his samatva buddhi yoga. There it was analyzing life, analyzing the sensory interactions, then going into the impacts they bring about in the mind, identifying them as only two and developing an even attitude towards them. Both of them together alone can work. You cannot have happiness alone nor can you have unhappiness alone. They are mutual, mutual. Understand that mutuality and then be free, free. There is nothing for you to gain or to lose.

You did not want your birth, but you are born. You don’t also specifically say, “I should be this or I should be that”. But we are something or the other. Just like there are so many universal laws, many of them are physical, chemical, bio-physical, bio-chemical, biological, there is also a mental or inner spiritual law by virtue of which whatever one rightly needs, he is sure to get. So, I make myself calm and composed. This composure and calm of the mind are what is sought by the samatva buddhi yoga also.

I generally don’t quote devotional verses when discussing this kind of a portion from Bhagavad Gita. But this time, I quoted two verses. And then said, even in the pursuit of devotion, the fulfillment comes when the devotional approach and the devotional attitude have their due impact in the mind to take away all agitations, all desire, all hatred, and all everything. It is better that we understand this. It is not that devotion is different from wisdom or wisdom is distanced from devotion. It is not at all so, not at all so.

नास्था धर्मे न वसुनिचये नैव कामोपभोगे
यद्भव्यं तद्भवतु भगवन् पूर्वकर्मानुरूपम् ।
ह्येतत् प्रार्थ्यं मम बहुमतं जन्मजन्मान्तरेऽपि
त्वत्पादाम्भोरुहयुगगता निश्चला भक्तिरस्तु ।।

You know, I might have chanted this verse alone by myself with all the full voice that I could, many times. People don’t know what is sadhana. Sadhana is spending time like this. When you chant the verse and you can chant it very well with the full throat and heart and in the process, you can also mentally associate the meaning with each word, making sure that as you utter the words, the meaning and association also come to your mind, then you also listen to your voice, it will be a threefold focus or concentration. Once you are able to strike it, instantly it will be joyful and fulfilling. Very ecstatic!

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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