“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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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

This is a point I have spoken in several ways on several occasions but I have a very strong doubt whether all of you, particularly our Ashram inmates and such like initiates and the others understand the subject in very clear terms and apply it to their own practice and pursuit.

Spirituality is a science. A science has to be rational, logical. It has to be in the form of a cause and effect series. The difference between spiritual science and objective sciences is that the objective science only deals with the visible existence, visible to whom or what - visible to our senses. But our senses themselves are inert and insentient. They are made up of matter, matter and matter alone. Matter is inert. That is why our senses have to be energized and animated and activated by the sentient mind.

So the senses themselves are evolved by the inner presence without anybody else’s or anything else’s help and it is through these senses that we see the visible world. So the visible world, so to say, is hanging upon our mind and the spiritual presence in the body which animates and activates the body.

So any kind of a finding we make about the visible world can never be complete or perfect because it is an extension of the presence inside the body. The first extension was the inner presence made a biological body and the senses, then it activates the senses, then results the interactions with the objects. So the very objects and the interactions are practically speaking a creation of our senses. If our senses were not there, the world also would not have been there. It is this world that the objective sciences go into.

In spirituality, seeing the object world we understand that it has no locus or focus except when there is a subject, there is a subject opposed to it and within it. This subject is what identifies the object, gives it the authenticity, if at all it has. Therefore, spirituality becomes the supreme science; science of not merely the objective world, but science also of the subject horizon, the subject existence. The canons used for objective science and the subjective science are the same. What are they? Observation and on the basis of the observation, inference. Spirituality also uses the sensory observation and the sensory data and on the basis of these, it starts inferring, inferring, and finally directly experiencing what is inferred.

The entire spiritual science consists of three limbs - Śravaṇa, Manana and Nididhyāsana. Śravaṇa means listening to the truths exposed in spirituality, Manana - after listening, reflect and ruminate upon them and make them your own. In listening, you are depending upon another to speak or a book to give you the information in print. But in manana, the secondary part is not there, the seeker, all by himself will have to reflect upon whatever truths he has heard or wants to know. Then the next step is nididhyāsana where the variety involved in manana is completely suspended and the mind and the intelligence get focused on contemplation. When the contemplation attains its fruition, it is called direct perception. Śravaṇa, Manana and Nididhyāsana together form the entire subject as also its pursuit. Have you understood this? I am asking you. Everyone will have to answer me.

Śravaṇa, Manana and Nididhyāsana. In śravaṇa, you depend upon another person to speak, in manana its all independent, nididhyāsana - it is inward and focused. All the three together are called the pursuit of wisdom, jñāna sādhanā. This jñāna sādhanā is also called jñāna niṣṭa. It is a niṣṭa like any other religious or other niṣṭas but here the limb and the content is wisdom. And wisdom is always centered on the mind and the intelligence. So in jñāna niṣṭa, the mind has to be active, the intelligence has to be even more discreetly active. Why I mention this?

Dakshinkhanda where Poornashrama existed, still exists, it has been revived where our Gurudev was living; he was only representing and pursuing jñāna niṣṭa. There was only a picture of his Gurudev in his room, maybe a number of scriptural texts, but his practice was with his own body, his own mind and his own intelligence. Most of the time he spent on his head, śīrśāsanā. At other times, he played harmonium and sang, or played sitar and sang. It’s almost impossible to find an ascetic of this kind of a dimension or level. And while he was sedentary like this exclusively, the distinction with Baba is that he was a knowledge person. His niṣṭa was a jñāna niṣṭa. It was not prāṇāyāma, pratyāhāra etc. It was only contemplating upon using the mind and intelligence.

Bhagavad Gita is actually a part of this whole process. Krishna was providing śravaṇa, listening, to Arjuna. Arjuna was absorbing what Krishna said. When he had doubts and questions, he raised them, Krishna clarified them. So it was an interaction, a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna. In any dialogue, both the parties speak, words come out of their mouth and every word is denoting some idea or the other. An idea is a unit of knowledge. So dialogue is always is always knowledge revealing, knowledge revealing, knowledge revealing. Every word and sound that come out of the human mouth denote, indicate, represent and convey knowledge and knowledge alone.

Arjuna had no time to ruminate over and contemplate upon. He could only do the first part namely śravaṇa. Krishna could provide that. The śravaṇa process was so effective that Arjuna’s doubts and oscillations completely stopped, he became clear, consoled and resolved. See the effect of śravaṇa. Sri Krishna has clarified the entire spirituality in the Bhagavad Gita with references to all the systems of thought that were prevailing at the time. Thus we have eighteen chapters in Bhagavad Gita is differently called a yoga. I think in the fourth chapter he uses a verse:

वीतरागभयक्रोधा मन्मया मामुपाश्रिता: ।
बहवो ज्ञानतपसा पूता मद्भावमागता: ।।
vītarāga-bhaya-krodhā manmayā māmupāśritāḥ ।
bahavo jñāna-tapasā pūtā madbhāvam-āgatāḥ ।।
(Bhagavad Gita 4.10)

All doubts should be cleared by this. “Many people have come to my state, whatever state I am in spiritually, the same state has been attained by many people.” By what process? Jñāna-tapasā pūtāh, purified by jñāna tapas, knowledge austerity, austerity whose nature is knowledge. Applying the mind, applying the intelligence and by applying them you are applying the most important and effective constituents of your personality.

By pursuing jñāna tapas what happens? Vītarāga-bhaya-krodhāh - they are able to outlive, assimilate, sublimate, outlive rāga - attraction, bhaya - fear, krodha - hatred. Rāga dvesha bhayas are the three strong emotions which rule everybody’s mind. Every time we are acting upon rāga dvesha bhayas, to further them, to strengthen them, to increase their number and intensity. That situation will change. Every act that you perform will be to sublimate and attenuate your rāga - desire, your fear - bhaya and your krodha - your hatred, resentment, unpleasantness and animosity.

Vītarāga-bhaya-krodhāh, for that purpose, manmayāh – “They think of Me.” What does Krishna represent? He represents spiritual wisdom to the full measure! So any thought of Krishna should mean imbibing of spiritual knowledge.

Mām upāśritāḥ - “They depend and rely upon Me”. Krishna is not there but you can still rely upon Him by reading what He said on the one hand before the war to Arjuna and on the other hand, after the war to Uddhava. We have two important conversations from Krishna. One was to make Arjuna active and another was to enable Uddhava to leave Krishna and Dwaraka as a total retirement and then go to Badarikaśrama, remain there absolutely absorbed in jñāna niṣṭa. I think these two texts are sufficient for us to deal with life and also to deal with the termination and conclusion of life. One empowers you to act and interact, another empowers you to withdraw and remain still, absorbed and poised. I don’t think we need anything else.

Now it is this jñāna niṣṭa that our Gurudev Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa Dev was completely plunged in for decades in Poornashrama. After he left Cossipure Gun and Shell Factory where he was working as an engineer, he never sought any further employment. On the other hand, he plunged himself into solitary, silent, exclusive, absorptional knowledge austerity.

I would like you to know that you come and stay in the Ashram. Your very stay is an austerity. You should not indulge in your domestic and household residential talks and relationships. My son, my husband, my wife, my sister, my brother, X Y Y etc. Don’t count upon your domestic history and developments. Here you look at devotees, get devotionally impressed, you discuss with them items and constituents of devotion. You look at seekers and imbibe the note of seeking. Then you hear in satsang many things. Take a few points and reflect upon them after the satsang. Those who have taken initiation and are given to meditation, go to the Samadhi mandir when your stomach is empty, free of undigested food, sit there and contemplate upon, contemplate upon your mantra.

This is a place of wisdom austerity, knowledge, jñāna tapas, jñāna niṣṭa. In jñāna niṣṭa, our focus is sublimating, overcoming, outliving, transcending, rāga dvesha bhaya, rāga dvesha bhayarāga dvesha bhaya. Every word that you utter will be with a view to overcome and sublimate these. Every book you read will be for this purpose. The tapas becomes jñāna tapas when the ingredients of tapas, austerity are mind and intelligence. Do not pick even a small flower or a pebble. For doing jñāna austerity, you require your body and the mind and intelligence in it.

I don’t know whether you understand what I say. That is why Vedanta says Śravaṇa, Manana and Nididhyāsana are the three limbs of Vedantic sādhanā, the science and pursuit of self realization. I think Poornashrama was a very very unusual and exceptionally great abode of jñāna niṣṭa. I don’t think you can find somebody like Baba in any part of the world. Some people may be given to jñāna niṣṭa. I don’t say no but his jñāna niṣṭa where he did not have any kind of an activity or interaction. You know, the notice he had put in his room, “Come to a man of business, Talk to him of business, Finish your business, Leave the man of business to his business and go to your business”. What do you think of it? “Come to a man of business”, that means he was doing a business. What is that? Nididhyāsana and manana. Talk to him of the business for which you have come, and finish your business, leave the man of his business to his business. This is what he had written.

Can you imagine? His friends were only harmonium and sitar. He was very sensitive. Any letter he received he would immediately reply and all the letters arrived were pinned on a stand. He was not interested in talking to anybody. By and large, people did not go to him also. And like this for years, decades, he was so much given to śīrśāsanā that when he was walking he was wobbling. The legs did not have the necessary movements and exercise because he was standing on the head.

Śīrśāsanā itself is a full exercise. The one who does it, he cannot be active also. Because you have to focus sufficiently well on your hands, head, the way you hold your body, the feet, so a subtle attention is necessary to keep the body inverted and erect, that focus and application alone is an activity, the most intense one. Such a person will not be able to act and take activities also further. Because śīrśāsanā itself becomes an activity. It is given the name śīrśāsanā because it is the śīrśa of all āsanās. Śīrśa means head. Our head is the utamānga. It is on top of all other parts of the body and that is the one which controls the entire movement and propagation of all the organs in the body. What Krishna said was this kind of a jñāna niṣṭa.

vītarāga-bhaya-krodhā manmayā māmupāśritāḥ ।
bahavo jñāna-tapasā pūtā madbhāvam-āgatāḥ ।।

Many people have attained to my level while conforming to and pursuing jñāna niṣṭa. It is this jñāna niṣṭa that remains the focus of our Narayashrama Tapovanam also. Unfortunately or fortunately, many of you do not know this. What is being done here? We conduct satsang. We give talks at least for two hours, three hours every day. Then we have some devotional routines, spiritual routine like morning prayers and evening bhajan and we also have Prabhata Rashmi. At other times you are free to see us, raise your questions, seek clarifications. We have a library, go there, take the book you want, sit, read, reflect upon. Here you have come for mento-intellectual application and that too mento-intellectual spiritual application aimed at gaining wisdom and applying that wisdom to your day-to-day life.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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