"In acquiring material wealth all are not equally blessed. But in gaining mental and spiritual wealth, every one has an equal chance. Beginning from character and disciplines and ending with supreme kindness and goodness, the wealth of the mind is displayed in abundance before all. The question is only who wants, and, to which measure !"

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Articles for Saadhana

Bhaagavatam In Daily Life - 2

[The second part of the talk on ‘Bhaagavatam in Daily Life’ delivered by Ma on 31st December 2004 at the 3rd Sreemad Bhaagavata Tattva Sameeksha Satram.]

How to Grow Dispassion

Once, during my saadhana days I asked my Guru, Swami Bhoomanandaji, “Swamiji, I would like to intensify my dispassion.” He said “Any quality that you want to acquire, simply love that quality. If you want purity, love purity. If you want dispassion, love dispassion.” Then he taught me two ślokas from Bhaagavata Maahaatmyam.

Dehe’sthi-māṃsa-rudhire’bhimatiṃ tyaja tvaṃ
Jāyāsutādiṣu sadā mamatāṃ vimuñca |
Paśyāniśaṃ jagad-idaṃ kṣaṇa-bhaṅga-niṣṭhaṃ
Vairāgya-rāga-rasiko bhava bhakti-niṣṭhaḥ ||

(Śreemad Bhāgavata Māhātmyam 4.79)

Dehe’sthimāṃsarudhire abhimatiṃ tyaja tvam – take away your attachment to the body, full of bones, flesh and blood. Jāyā-sutādiṣu sadā mamatāṃ vimuñca – get rid of the mamatā (mine-ness, possessiveness) for the near and dear ones, husband, wife, children etc. Know that this body is very, very different from the Soul, which is unattributed, undivided, eternal. Mistakenly the Soul is identified with the body and we have all kinds of suffering. We start having mamataa for whatever is connected to the body.

Paṣyāniśaṃ jagad-idaṃ kṣaṇabhaṅga-niṣṭham – every moment, look at this world as kṣaṇabhaṅganiṣṭham (momentary, transitory). It may disappear any moment. What has happened? The Tsunami waves have come and lakhs of people have died. Did they ever think that in their sleep they would be washed off?

Similarly, anything can happen to us any moment. In human life, the most surprising factor is that although everyday death is coming to man, so many people are dying, still everybody thinks that death will not visit his door. “I will be spared,” he thinks. We try to acquire things, keep it to ourselves, we become constricted, not remembering that the world is transitory. So, again and again we have to think about the transitory nature of this world. Then we will be rid of possessiveness.

Instead of having mamataa , what will the mind have? Dear devotees, Bhaagavatam says, “In that mind wherefrom you have removed the mamataa for your body, for your near and dear ones, in that empty space, generate devotion towards the Lord and vairaagya (dispassion) towards the world.” Vairāgyarāyga-rasiko bhava bhaktiniṣṭhaḥ – be a lover of vairaagya and become an exclusive devotee.

Dharmaṃ bhajasva satataṃ tyaja loka-dharmān
Sevasva sādhu-puruṣān jahi kāma-tṛṣṇām |
Anyasya doṣa-guṇa-cintanam-āśu muktvā
Sevā-kathā-rasam-aho nitarāṃ piba-tvam ||

(Śreemad Bhāgavata Māhātmyam 4.80)

Dharmaṃ bhajasva satatam tyaja loka-dharmān – practise the one devotional dharma leaving all the various injunctions and rituals. Sevasva sādhu-puruṣān jahi kāma-tṛṣṇām – serve the holy people, the sajjanas, without having any kind of desire while serving them. Serve without any desire, just for the sake of serving.

People are always wasting their time talking about others: “That person has talked rudely”, “He should not have behaved like this”, and so on. Bhaagavatam says, “Stop doing all that – anyasya doṣa-guṇa-cintanam-āśu muktvā – immediately stop thinking about others’ doṣa and guṇa (defects and qualities).” And what should one do? Sevā-kathā-rasam-aho nitarāṃ piba-tvam – drink relentlessly the rasa (nectar) of listening to, speaking about or reading the Bhaagavata kathaa, the stories and the glories of the Lord.

In Bhaagavatam it is repeatedly told in the different narrations about the practice of talking less. Let the speech be such that it is only about the Lord. If we see, we will find, we are constantly talking about others and unnecessary things, wasting our time. And we say we did not get time to sit and contemplate or meditate upon the Lord. The senses should be regulated so that everything becomes congenial to our saadhana. The senses should be given to only those activities, which help us generate and strengthen devotion.

Constant Purification of Mind

Then comes the practice of purification of the mind. Always we should detect the traits of the mind which are not helpful for growing devotion, which are not what a devotee should have. These should be rejected. And instead, qualities of a devotee like love, sympathy, sacrifice, fellow-feeling etc., should be generated more and more. We should be very, very attentive to see what our mind suffers from. First we must admit to ourselves that we are having those traits and then we should try to remove them. It should be a constant process.

Dear devotees, we cannot afford to be inattentive any time. We have to be alert – alert to remove all the doṣas (defects) from ourselves and not to talk of the doṣas of others. Long back I had seen a dance drama on Sri Rama. There was a scene where Śabari – a tribal woman devotee living in the forest – was waiting for Sri Rama to come. She had become very old waiting and waiting for Sri Rama. Every morning she used to get up and start sweeping the courtyard of her house. She used to become tired because of her old age. But, she would not stop. While sweeping, she would murmur to herself, “I should not stop cleaning my house. Suppose, today is the day when Sri Rama, my Lord, comes! Can I invite Him and receive Him in an unclean house?”

It was a revelation for me. I related it to my mind. I thought our mind is like that. We have to sweep our mind everyday, every moment. In that mind we have to see the Lord. Any day the Lord can reveal Himself as He is the Indweller. Can He come and reveal Himself in an unclean mind? He will not be seen through impurities. So we must keep on purifying the mind constantly. This purification process should go on without break.

Seeing The Lord Within And Everywhere

Then comes seeing the Lord in our heart and also everywhere. We should read and contemplate in such a manner that we start feeling the Lord in our heart. Not only that, we must see Him everywhere. Bhaagavatam says:

khaṃ vāyum-agniṃ salilaṃ mahīṃ ca
jyotīṃṣi sattvāni diśo drumādīn |
sarit-samudrāṃśca hareḥ śarīraṃ
yatkiṃ-ca bhūtaṃ praṇamed-ananyaḥ ||

(11.2.41)

Khaṃ (sky), vāyuḥ (wind), agniḥ (fire), salilam (water), mahīm (earth), jyotīmṣi (all the celestial objects), sattvāni (all the creatures), diśā drumādīn (all the directions and the trees), sarit-samudrāṃśca (the rivers and the seas) – all these are hareḥ śarīram (the body of Lord Hari). In everything we should see our beloved Lord and offer pranaams to everything.

Every moment, whatever we see, whatever we interact with, we should find the Lord in that. He is in the smallest particle to the greatest mountain, from the smallest insect to the greatest creature. In everything He is. He alone is. We should think like that and mentally we should do pranaam. In Him, not only the good, the bad also is, not only the joys, the sorrows also are – everything, everything is in Him.

We should think like that. When we love somebody, his belongings remind us of him. Similarly, all the objects in the world belong to the Lord. Seeing these, we should think of Him. He is everywhere and He is in our heart. In my heart, in everybody’s heart, He is the indweller, the nearest, to whom we can talk any time. We can talk to Him, we can sit near His feet and weep and ask for guidance.

We have to practise all this. We cannot say that we are not able to. We cannot have any excuse not to practise. All these feelings are of the mind and intelligence. Every individual has the capability to realize the Lord in his heart. This capability we have been gifted with. We don’t use it. We don’t want to use it. My dear devotees, let us make the resolve that we shall follow the devotional practices. We must. Then alone we will have: manaso śaśvan mahotsavam – the mind will become eternally joyful, eternally festive.

Satsanga – The Most Powerful Saadhana

For all this, Bhaagavatam says – not only Bhaagavatam, all the spiritual texts say – that one must have satsanga (holy association). We may try to practise ourselves, but we will not have the right inspiration, the right focus. We will constantly get diverted by the world. So, to keep us on the right path, the spiritual texts exhort us to take to satsanga. What is satsanga? One kind of satsanga is to read or to listen to the spiritual texts like Bhaagavatam, Bhagavadgeeta, Upanishads etc. But the most powerful satsanga is to have the direct association with the holy people, the sajjanas.

Who is a sajjana? He is a person who does not have any desire, who has transcended all the three guṇas. A Sajjana is one who is seated in the Self, seated in Brahman. He is a friend of everyone in the world. When a seeker comes to him with the humble submission – “Please show me the way. I want to know whether there is a Supreme goal for me, whether I can realize the Ultimate Truth or God.” – he tells him mercifully: “Yes I will hold your hand and take you along. Come with me”.

A Sajjana is a niṣkiñcana; he has nothing of his own. But he has one thing – the Lord. He considers the Lord to be his own and is happy only to serve Him wholesomely:

Niṣkiñcanā mayyanurakta-cetasaḥ
śāntā mahānto akhila-jīva-vatsalāḥ |
Kāmair-anālabdha-dhiyo juṣanti yat
tan-nairapekṣyaṃ na viduḥ sukhaṃ mama ||

(11.14.17)

They are niṣkiñcanas – free of possessiveness. Mayyanurakta-cetasaḥ – their mind is full of love and fondness for Me. They are śāntāḥ – calm and tranquil. Akhilajīva-vatsalāḥ – They love everybody. Kāmair-anālabdha-dhiyo juṣanti te – They do not have any expectation from the world. Tan-nairapekṣyaṃ na viduḥ sukhaṃ mama – They only know what is meant by My Bliss.

And about such people, the Lord says: “I always go behind such holy people to get purified by the dust of their feet” –

Nirapekṣaṃ muniṃ śāntaṃ nirvairaṃ sama-darśanam |
Anuvrajāmy-ahaṃ nityaṃ pūyeyety-aṅghri-reṇubhiḥ ||

(11.14.16)

Guru – The Indispensable Guide

Now, we may be listening to many holy people, going to many Satsangs. That will definitely help us become a devotee. But, these are general. Specifically, we must go to a Guru and take personal guidance from him.

Guru is the embodiment of Jñaana. He is the person, who knows what is best for a disciple. He will always put the disciple on the path of the śreyas (ultimate good). He will tell us, “See, you are deviating from the right path. This is the impurity in your mind; you have to correct it. This is how you should progress; this is how you should think; this should be your attitude.” He will constantly guide the disciple till the disciple attains the goal. In fact, the Guru owns the disciple. The disciple feels, “He is the person who can save me. He will always show me the right path and will never blame me.”

Dear devotees, long back I had the fortune of coming in contact with Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa. When one goes to the Guru, the Guru frees him of all the ignorance and bestows on him Viveka. I was fortunate to be on this path under the guidance of a Guru like Baba, and when he was about to shed his body, he handed me over to Swami Bhoomanandaji for further spiritual guidance.

What the parents cannot give, the Guru gives. Parents give the body but the Guru gives the “Soul-birth”. He says, “See, you are not the body, you are the Soul. Try to realize That Imperishable Soul. I will show you the way.” I was exposed to Upanishads and Bhagavadgeeta. Then, Poojya Swamiji, Swami Bhoomanandaji, told me to read Bhaagavatam. He also told me how to be introspective. “Every moment you have to introspect. You have to see that you are becoming pure. Then only in the pure mind, you can realize the Supreme Truth,” he said. And, every moment, he has been guiding me.

Dear devotees, I am not a Bhaagavatite. Nor am I a speaker, although I do talk to people in an informal manner when they come with spiritual questions and doubts. When I was requested to speak in this holy assembly, I thought and thought: “What should I speak?” I felt I could speak only on my own saadhana, my own experiences. My experience is: however much we may read, however much we may listen, we must contemplate on the messages – the Truth and the virtues. We must practise them; we must learn to live them under the guidance of a holy Mahatma – a Sadguru.

(to be continued)

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