"Every moment of your life you are being carried to fulfilment, irresistibly. Everything that comes to you does so to improve, correct or alter your nature, thereby taking you nearer perfection. So, whenever agitation assails your mind, ponder over this truth again and again."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Austerity is an important quotient or coordinate in a seeker life. The austerity can gradually become different and higher but at every point of time, the austerity should involve our body and senses which are a part of, visible part of our personality. Austerity should also involve our mouth, our tongue. It should equally involve our mind, thoughts, memories etc. Then lastly, it should involve our intelligence. In which manner you use your intelligence, what is the type of evaluation and argument with regard to any matter that you use your intelligence, all these are very important. The entire quality is built and gained by virtue of tapasya.

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

I have written a book on Sannyāsa. It is a book that should be read by all people who are in the spiritual path. The entire Bhagavad Gita has only one message - That is sannyasa. But the one who speaks about it is Krishna and who heard about it is Arjuna. Both of them were not sannyāsins. At the same time, Krishna emphasizes on sannyāsa. The last chapter of Bhagavad Gita commences with a question from Arjuna as to what is this tyāga and sannyāsa Krishna was speaking about. In this context, I think the concept of sannyāsa and tyāga has to be examined, analysed, probed into and understood. I think in this matter, the book we have published from the Ashram will be very useful.

Why I mentioned this? Not so much to speak about sannyāsa as such today which we have been speaking about always, but to bring to your attention especially the inmates and the others here, their attention, an important fact which comes to my mind. The value, the strength, the ornament, the reinforcement, the attainment, expression and display of a seeker is primarily the tapasya or taponuṣṭāna he has.

Austerity is an important quotient or coordinate in a seeker life. The austerity can gradually become different and higher but at every point of time, the austerity should involve our body and senses which are a part of, visible part of our personality. Austerity should also involve our mouth, our tongue. It should equally involve our mind, thoughts, memories etc. Then lastly, it should involve our intelligence. In which manner you use your intelligence, what is the type of evaluation and argument with regard to any matter that you use your intelligence, all these are very important. The entire quality is built and gained by virtue of tapasya.

What are the items which constitute tapasya is an important point. The tapasya must have a bodily bearing, an oral bearing, a mental bearing and an intellectual or intelligential bearing. The tapasya for the body, I think it is becoming less and less in the Ashram, especially with regard to our inmates. We have got a number of work assistance in the Ashram, they keep the Ashram clean. So with to regard to wiping or sweeping, washing etc. very little our inmates have to do. But please understand that though we have people to do all this work, the work should not be unknown to you or alien to you. The dependence on the workers should be as much reduced as possible and self dependence should be cultivated.

I am afraid that there is a tendency in many or all of you to omit and ignore one’s own involvement in work, especially physical and to always depend upon the others. At least for a change, the workers also will feel happy. Why don’t you wash a few vessels, why don’t you clean a particular place? Examine whether it is done or not properly and then say in the presence of the worker himself or herself, you do it. Suppose you do it well and better, that will be a great correction and insistence for them.

Mā noticed yesterday or the day before yesterday, one feature. Baba’s picture is there in the Mandapam. It is placed on a pedestal. Every day in the morning before 6 o’ clock or about 6, somebody comes and lights the lamp making sure that the lamp is clean, the case is wiped etc. It is such a privileged devotional and spiritual job calling for a very, very sublime, austere approach. It seems Mā noticed that the little higher of the floor with yellow colour tiles, after the lamp was lit and a little alpana also was made in front, Girija was coming and wiping on both sides or the three sides of the alpana. Ma very much felt hurt and also concern. Why? After it is done, such a small space, why is it necessary for Girija to come and wipe it, the surrounding areas? Whoever does it, cannot that person wipe it fully, such a small place? When the matter was discussed, the answer was nobody is doing it. The right answer would have been, “Oh, I didn’t know. I shall do it.” Just one reply. But this was not the reply. The reply was in defense, offence, argument and I would like to say kilograms of tongue movement and talk.

If this is the attitude we have towards austerity and austere approach to life and activities here, I think our Ashram is losing its quality. Understand very clearly that the core of our life should be austerity, the content of our life should be austerity, the expression of our life should be austerity and the outcome of our life should also be austere enrichment. Understand that we are not business people, we are not traders, we are not farmers, we are not professionals. All that we do right from the morning till we go to sleep and even in sleep, what we do is spiritual austerity. This austerity should involve the body. Keep your body clean, keep the place clean, keep the articles you use clean and help and insist upon this cleanliness.

I always ask one question to all of you - Would like to be a cot man or a cot woman, lying always on the cot? If the least possible, you should go to the dining hall and have your food. There is a tendency here, if you are sick, you are sneezing and you have cold, you have taken a paracetamol or so, remain in your room. “I will bring you the food.” Why should we take the food there, for what purpose, unless the person is totally immobile? You clean your body in whatever manner you can clean, it is not always possible to take bath when you are sick. Change your clothes, have your sponge bath, wipe your body and put on your tilak etc. and come to the dinning hall. Will you not change your clothes, will you not clean your body? Where is the necessity for taking the food to the room? And the others also are saying it and they are ready, it has been come a custom I understand. I don’t think this is right. This is not the way we have to look at it.

Please examine every time. ‘Am I austere? Are we austere?’ I don’t think a spiritual man has to be reminded by others that he is spiritual. When people come up with comments, I always say I took up sannyāsa of my own accord and it is for me to preserve sannyāsa. If others have to remind me that I am a sanayāsin, I am good for nothing. What are the elements of sannyasa, how they should be preserved, how they should strengthened, whenever it gets slackened, how attentive you should be, I think this is called sādhana.

तद्बुद्धयस्तदात्मानस्तन्निष्ठास्तत्परायणाः ।
tad-buddhayas-tad-ātmānas-tan-niṣṭhās-tat-parāyaṇāḥ |
(Bhagavad Gita 5.17)

And maybe sometimes we are very busy and in our busy moments or busy routine, we may forget something. So others around should take the liberty and fondness to remind us and we should not get angry either while reminding or when being reminded. I think we have to very, very sensitive to this.

So I would like you to understand the proposition and examine yourself to find out whether every one of you is individually austere enough, in which austerity the body has to be included, the tongue has to be included, the mind and the intelligence also have to be included.

Why don’t you discuss this subject? What is this austerity? In Bhagavad Gita which is chanted everyday here you will find śārīram tapa uchyate, vāchikam tapa uchyate, mānasam tapa uchyate, bauddham tapa uchyate. Why is it mentioned there? You know Hinduism or Hindu Dharma is a wonderful evolution. I was speaking about kuśa grass, darbha the other day. It has got medicinal properties. There is no pūja without darbha. It has got such medicinal properties that we have to use it. I find that it is so important. In every ceremony, a pavitra, a ring it is called. A pavitram is made and inserted into this ring finger. Without that, there is no ceremony that is done. And its contact insulates us from jaundice, herpes and some other things also.

Everything that we do is not at all superstitious, it is not at all religious, it is absolutely secular, for secular benefits and purposes we do. So please reflect over the Gita verses and make sure that you embody and strengthen and retain ample austerity in your life here or anywhere else.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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