"It is not what you do that matters, but how you do it – with what attitude and aim. The spiritual effect that a seemingly spiritual activity brings, can also be had by the domestic pursuit, provided you preserve a spiritual attitude and dedication."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Throughout Bhagavad Gita there is only one message. Sublimate your kama-krodhas, raga-dveshas, ishta-anishtas and all kinds of pairs of opposites. Krishna has spoken about meditation in a chapter. Then he should have ended saying that “I have explained to you meditation. Sit in meditation and experience the Self, enough.” He did not do it. He discussed meditation as a part of his exposition in the sixth chapter and all the seventeen chapters of Bhagavad Gita are not about meditation. Then what are they about? They are only about our life, its interactions, the type of responses our mind generates, our intelligence generates, how constricted our inner personality is, how to bring about changes, improvement, expansion and all that.

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

After taking deeksha from my Gurudev, I started my sadhana. The sadhana I felt then was sitting in a closed room, absolutely still bodily, and then getting into the mind and making the mind in terms of intensity of sadhana, whatever it wants to be. It started leading to various kind of experience but I somehow felt and perhaps my Gurudev also told me, “You should not be attached to or looking for any experience”. So that was very a guiding principle. I also found these experiences are of no avail. They have a beginning and they have an end. They will come again and again.

Whenever we want to be spiritual, we cannot sit in meditation and then bring about spirituality. Spirituality should transform us and we should continue to be spiritual all the time. In sleep, we don’t want it and we are definitely spiritual. So, in the wakeful hours we must always have a feeling and fullness that we are spiritual.

So, this meditation and meditational experiences did not, I thought suffice. I also started reading Vedantic books. Every time I read especially poetic texts, I found something very, very suggestive, very revealing. These revelations started acting on me. Maybe it is from the Upanishads, from Bhagavad Gita, from the Prakarana Granthas, primarily written by Shankaracharya.

Why I am saying this? However much you may meditate and meditational absorption also takes place, the moment you wake up, you may feel a little spiritual and divine for a time. After some time, you are interacting sensorily with the world and world objects in which persons also are there. That interaction is what constantly upsets you. It generates desire, greed, possessiveness, jealousy, intolerance, hatred. So many troublesome and unpleasant reactions and attitudes crop up in our mind. If we are constantly sleeping, this problem is not there. The moment we wake up, the mind starts picking up all kinds of responses, ambitions and the like. Unless this wakeful life is set right, this meditation will be of no avail.

Meditation should be there, then only you will understand the problem, you will know about your mind. This is how I started thinking about interactional sadhana.

When I started reading Bhagavad Gita and trying to understand, I found throughout Bhagavad Gita there is only one message. Sublimate your kama-krodhas, raga-dveshas, ishta-anishtas and all kinds of pairs of opposites. Krishna has spoken about meditation in a chapter. Then he should have ended saying that “I have explained to you meditation. Sit in meditation and experience the Self, enough.” He did not do it. He discussed meditation as a part of his exposition in the sixth chapter and all the seventeen chapters of Bhagavad Gita are not about meditation. Then what are they about? They are only about our life, its interactions, the type of responses our mind generates, our intelligence generates, how constricted our inner personality is, how to bring about changes, improvement, expansion and all that.

I have been speaking about Bhagavad Gita after I became a sanyāsin. Right from the beginning, my talk was very unique, only in this sense. I was emphasizing a lot about this ishta-anishtas, kama-krodhas and bringing instances of family life, kitchen life, drawing room life, inter-personal relationship within the family, outside the family etc. People must have found something totally new about it.

Why I am mentioning this? Unless your inter-personal relationship is set right, I don’t think there is any purpose in our doing sadhana. In the Ashram, all the inmates who have come here, they have come here renouncing everything. Renouncing their own people, renouncing their income etc. and then they have only Ashram in their mind, Ashram as the refuge, Ashram as the friend, well-wisher, everything. It is a very, very great step, laudable step. Obviously, they were young but their growth has been after coming to the Ashram, maturity and all that. You should use this Ashram and the presence of inmates for your improvement.

You are all physically living together, mentally you should start living together. It requires appreciation and accommodation for the others. Appreciate the others. Everybody will have some plus points, maybe some minus points. Appreciate the plus. Do not spend your time on the minus and you should take the freedom and give the freedom to discuss the points of difference. Communication should be kept up always. This requires softness, sweetness, nobody should dislike you. Go into the question as to “Why I am disliked?” You can ask the people. Say, “You say you dislike me. Please let me know what are the factors which make you dislike me. I will try to set right these factors”.

In other words, the constant effort to be friendly with each other and appreciative with each other, towards each other, this itself will be the best sadhana that one can think of. Bhagavad Gita says:

सुहृन्मित्रार्युदासीनमध्यस्थद्वेष्यबन्धुषु ।
साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते ।।
suhṛn-mitrāry-udāsīna-madhyastha-dveṣya-bandhuṣu |
sādhuṣv-api ca pāpeṣu sama-buddhir-viśiṣyate ||
(Bhagavad Gita 6.9)

You take this shloka and read it. Think at least one week on what it means. Our sama-buddhi to accommodate all the different kinds of people, that is what makes a man excel in the practice of yoga in spirituality. Your mind should not be upset by anything, by anybody. If ‘X’ causes agitation to you, agitation is yours, ‘X’ maybe the cause. That agitation should be treated as my failure, my problem and I must be able to set it right, sublimate it. How will you sublimate it? By meditation? Okay, meditate. Every time something happens, you cannot go and meditate.

So, the sublimation takes place by loftier reflections, loftier qualities. We require dispassion. We require aspiration also for moksha. But we also require viveka, discretion and discrimination. Understand that mind is one where you float, you live, you move. Interactions are with people and with the objects of the world but what interacts is the mind and what is impacted is the mind.

So I would like to say, when we go and when we come back, every one of you will have something good to say, not bad. If you have bad you should tell us, that is bad. Feel that ‘Others should be helped and not hindered by me.’ Your inter-personal relationship should be very sweet and it should become a model. Will you deliberate upon it? I would like you to have some little joint meeting. Joint meeting when? If you want to call Swamiji, call Swamiji, otherwise you discuss matters between yourselves. ‘Are we all right? What is the trouble? Do you have anything to say about me?’ This should be the purpose of the meeting. Use every other as a mirror that reflects your mind. Will you do it? This is a question I am asking.

If this approach is adopted, you will find, in a month or two, matters will completely change. You cannot imagine, amazing improvement will take place. Your mind will become open, it will become flexible, it will become assimilative. It will start assimilating all instances, all events, all problems, all developments. Never have a feeling of displeasure about anybody. If the displeasure comes, it becomes your problem. Dissolve it, dissolve it, dissolve it by reflecting upon it. ‘Is this displeasure right? Am I to be in displeasure or am I to be in pleasure? Why is displeasure caused?’ Displeasure is your mind’s. Should your mind become amiable, amiable, amiable to all? Or should it become selective? Why don’t you think about it?

Then another confession I have to make to you is this. If I start thinking about the behavior and various kinds of expression of every one of you, I have some difficulty. I am not very happy. Though behavior-wise, interpersonal-behavior particularly, every one of you is not up to the mark, there are problems and difficulties. But I would like to say that I have no dislike to any one of you, though I find that you have dislikeable traits. So, the dislikeable traits even if they are there, I don’t dislike any one of you. Not only that, I like you. Seeing you, talking to you, being by your side, having all of you here doing different pieces of work, all these are so delightful and fulfilling to me.

Why I am telling you this? It is not necessary that you like all the traits in everyone but you should not dislike the person. So, this is perhaps a little strange proposition. Traits are not alright but the person I love, like and cherish his company or her company. It is such a wonderful thing! Similarly, in the world there are many things which I don’t like. In spite of it, I don’t hate the world. We are a product of the world. The world is ours, we are of the world. Whatever the world gives me, even my talking to you about this, this is something that the world has enabled me to do. So, I don’t dislike the world at all though there are many dislikeable elements in the world.

I read a report from a New Zealander about India. What he says is perhaps absolutely correct. He says, “India will never become non-corrupt. People like corruption here. The Europeans came here and built schools. Indians have gone outside and they are building temples”, he says. This is one side of it. We are going there not to deliver them anything but to take from there. Here, Europeans have come to the poor country and they have come here to give us something. So, they were picking up schools and building it. That is one side of it. But just imagine, there is a lot in saying this. We like corruption. Without corruption, nothing can be done. And people like to give some money and get things done. The other day somebody told me the entire industry is standstill because no corruption is possible. They say “We want to give some money and get things done but we are not able to do it. At the top level, licenses are granted, no delay is there. But at the lower level nothing moves. Even one generation will not be able to set it right.”

First of all, we must be more resourceful. There should not be any individual poverty or lack of minimum resources. Everybody must have enough to eat, enough to drink, enough to wear, enough to live in. When such a condition comes, there is no necessity for corruption. Then if you can enforce your law, a new culture will evolve and it will take something like 50, 60 or 100 years to get settled. So when people say the truth, we have to accept.

So please be loving each other, be happy with each other. You should be happy at the sight of the people. You should be happy at his or her company. It is very, very necessary, very, very necessary. A failure in this is a failure in your sadhana, failure in your mumukshutva, failure in your viveka. Why I am saying this? This interactional field, interactional sadhana, this is the ground for everything. Perhaps many people do not know this that this is the fact. Every one of you should examine and incorporate these points. I embrace all of you mentally. I bless you also but please pick up and be very pleasant and sublimating everything in life.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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