People have a feeling that bhakti is very hard and God is hard to approach. Srimad Bhagavatam, if you read well will take away these notions completely. God is the most, most assuring source in this world. God is the best form of insurance that you can have. To approach God is very simple, very easy, very natural. Repeatedly Srimad Bhagavata emphasizes that the Lord is not pleased by elaborate, costly and valuable poojas. He doesn’t want any of the eatables or puddings that you prepare. All that he wants is a guileless and a simple heart, and a kind of a continuing fondness for him. Srimad Bhagavata repeatedly says that God should be made beloved to you. You should feel he is dear and near to me, he alone is available at any time we want.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Last night I was speaking to you about Srimad Bhagavatam and how it generates promises and also fulfills a threefold fruition; supreme and unflinching devotion to the Lord, bhakti, equally so dispassion towards the perishables things of the world, virakti and in between bhaktih, viraktih, bhagavat prabodhah, a proper understanding, awareness and realization about God. My dear souls, literally Srimad Bhagavatam does this. Mind you, there are 18,000 Sanskrit verses in Srimad Bhagavatam. The whole narration consists of a number of stories, illustrations, episodes, events, presentations, dialogues, discussions, debates. Through a variety of these presentations, Srimad Bhagavatam constantly lives in the minds and hearts of the reader and the listener, at the same time it stimulates and activates the intelligence to think about and understand God in various ways.
People have a feeling that bhakti is very hard and God is hard to approach. Srimad Bhagavatam, if you read well will take away these notions completely. God is the most assuring source in this world. God is the best form of insurance that you can have. To approach God is very simple, very easy, very natural. Repeatedly Srimad Bhagavata emphasizes that the Lord is not pleased by elaborate, costly and valuable pūjas. He doesn’t want any of the eatables or puddings that you prepare. All that He wants is a guileless and a simple heart, and a kind of a continuing fondness for him. Srimad Bhagavata repeatedly says that God should be made beloved to you. You should feel 'He is dear and near to me, he alone is available at any time we want. All the rest of the things are deceitful and defeating.'
Understand, God is all-pervading. As he is all-pervading, just like you see God in the idol, see Him in the earth, in the water, in the air, in the stars of the sky, various forms of brilliant luminaries, then finally in the space pervading everywhere. See Him in the trees and the plants, the rivers and the seas, in the humans and the non-humans, outside as well as inside. Be surrounded by God, He is already surrounding you, be penetrated by God, He is already penetrating you, think of Him in the closest and the dearest terms. Thinking of Him in such closeness and dearness is the easiest way. Prahlāda puts it very beautifully.
एकान्तभक्तिर्गोविन्दे यत्सर्वत्र तदीक्षणम् ।।
etāvān-eva loke’smin-puṁsaḥ svārthaḥ paraḥ smṛtaḥ
ekānta-bhaktir-govinde yat-sarvatra tad-īkṣaṇam
The words are very significant. Svārthaḥ: means selfishness. In other words, it means that object which will gratify you to the full. God is such an object who alone will be able to gratify all your desires and bestow fulfillment. And this svārthaḥ, he says 'etāvān-eva', this is how you approach it and attain it. What is that? Ekānta-bhaktir-govinde, it is unflinching and supreme devotion to Lord Mukunda. What is that supreme devotion? Yat-sarvatra tad-īkṣaṇam, see Him everywhere and every time. All that you have to come to a decision about is that God alone is present, like water condensed becomes ice, water heated become vapour, but all the three forms are equally H2O, in the same manner, understand that God concretized is the world, solidified is the world, God vaporized is the space, God animated is life form, God sensing, cognizing and understanding is the mind, intelligence.
There is no time when you are away from God, not within the touch of God, feel of God. Think more about Him. We are given to so much of devotional practice. The practice is centered on the senses and the body, perhaps the mouth also. But let the devotion be centered in your mind and heart. Tell God whatever you want. If you are agitated tell Him, “I am agitated, remove my agitation.”. If you feel there is impurity, tell Him, “Remove the impurity and make me pure.” It is a kind of a mental restfulness on God that is required. Every time, look into your mind and see whether that feeling of restfulness is there, if not bring it about. There is no harm if you miss it, and my dear souls there will come a time when you know that whether I forget God or remember God, mark my words, whether you forget God or you remember God, in both cases you are in God. When I forget Him, He becomes an object of forgetfulness, when I remember Him, He becomes equally an object of remembrance. So, as an object of remembrance and forgetfulness, can you ever be away from God?
Tell God openly, “Sometimes I forget you, my dear God, but it is you whom I forget. So through forgetfulness, I am connected with you. It is you whom I remember. Through remembrance I am connected with you. When I live in this world which you have created, through this world I am connected to you. In the wakefulness, I am connected to you with wakefulness through, when I go to sleep and I am asleep, I am connected with you inwardly as the sleep, the one who is conscious of sleep to say ‘I slept’. When I am dreaming, I am connected to you through the dream world. The world is not mine, it is yours. My body is not mine, it is yours. My mind is yours, intelligence is yours, will is yours, everything is yours. And you alone are. There is no God plus and minus.” Why don’t you think in these terms?
I am not asking you to go to Himalayas or stand on your head. I say, think of God as what He is. He is all-pervading, all-pervading. He alone is there. Everything is His manifestation. He manifests as the solid earth, the fluid water, the gaseous air, the brilliant and hot fire, the electromagnetic waves, the space. He manifests as mind, intelligence, ego. He manifests as sleep, wakefulness and dream. He manifests as the pāncabhautik world and the power and presence that animate the whole thing. Tell me, where is the time when you are disconnected from or distanced from God? Are you disconnected from air? Because air is present all around, if God also is present all around and inside, can you ever be away from Him? Why don’t you think in this manner and start dancing, dancing dancing? What difficulty is there in thinking of God in his own manner?
When you look at a picture or an idol, the picture and the idol are not God, but both of them represent, denote and signify God. We don’t say ‘my dear stone’, we say ‘my dear God’. So, the stone is symbolizing God. Think about what is that God with the stone symbolizes. God is as much present in the idol as he is present surrounding the idol, inside the Garbhagṛha, the sanctum sanctorum as well as outside, inside the wall as well as surrounding the wall of the temple. Why don’t you think in terms of this all-pervading nature of God? I think that will make your devotion simpler, easier, faster and wholesome.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.