“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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So I believe in the worldly level, only physical actions are considered to be effective and the standard of judgement. But when you come to the sphere of spirituality, religion and devotion, the law is entirely different. What is that law? What is your mind feeling, what is the attitude of the mind and by that what do you expect or intend to achieve? In other words, it is an attitudinal orientation that devotion looks for and objectival, that is concerning the objective of what you do.

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru. 

I thought of pointing out one significant difference between the principle and standard of worldly actions and the same - namely the principle and standard of spiritual, devotional or divine actions. I don’t know whether I will be able to explain it to you well and you will understand it also well.

Suppose you have some feelings, either of love or hatred or anything else, your feelings are not counted in the worldly actions but following the feelings, whatever you express in the form of a physical activity, that alone is counted. Suppose you have fondness for somebody, whether this fondness is expressed and the other party is able to see here and understand it; this means sensory expression, this is what counts.

Suppose you are contemplating upon committing a crime, you may have contemplated upon, that will not be taken into account. But if you have taken a single step in pursuit of conducting that crime, that will be considered and taken into account. Suppose you say, “I have a great love for the whole humanity. I am very sympathetic and considerate.” Very good, it may be a fact of your mind. But if the outside world has to understand it, you will have to express it in one way or the other.

If one person says “I am extremely charitable and kind.”, he may say that. Suppose he is not able to or he is not expressing that charity even to a minor degree, how can other people know that it is charity and all that? “I have got the capacity to do job very well.” Yes, you have the capacity. But people should see that evidenced in your actions.

So I believe in the worldly level, only physical actions are considered to be effective and the standard of judgement. But when you come to the sphere of spirituality, religion and devotion, the law is entirely different. What is that law? What is your mind feeling and what is the attitude of the mind and by that what do you expect or intend to achieve? In other words, it is an attitudinal orientation that devotion looks for and objectival, that is concerning the objective of what you do.

You may prepare a fire altar and a number of materials may be offered into the fire. This is the physical part of it. But if this performance has to become effective, then in addition to what you physically do, what exactly is the attitudinal fervour in you, that will determine.

पत्रं पुष्पं फलं तोयं यो मे भक्त्या प्रयच्छति ।
तदहं भक्त्युपहृतमश्नामि प्रयतात्मनः ।।
patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati |
tad-ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ ||

‘You may give me a patra - a leaf, pushpa- a flower, phala - a fruit, or even water.’ These are very simple materials.

Yo me bhaktyā prayacchati - Whoever gives one or more of these with bhakti. What is this bhakti? This bhakti is an attitude, bhakti is a wholesomeness, it is a purity, it is a sublimity, it is a sense of weddedness, loyalty your mind fosters. These are purely internal. They are not external at all. Externally you only give seemingly, a leaf, flower, fruit or water. But if you offer it with your bhakti, Krishna says that “You have to besmear the material offered with bhakti.” So the bhakti should surround the physical offer.

Then, tad-ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam aśnāmi. “If you have coated it with bhakti, that coating is what I take, I don’t take the material.” Don’t you think the laws in the two spheres are absolutely different from one another?

In the devotional or spiritual sphere, it is bhāva and lakshya that matter. Bhāva - attitude; lakshya – intention or objective. Now who will know about your bhāva and objective? Nobody will know. But in the external world, these have no bearing at all. Suppose you make some offering either to the Lord or to your Guru or maybe you offer something to the poor. Physically you offer, this is what others see. But religious, devotional and spiritual judgement is “See? He is giving it; but in that giving I don’t find any devotional sublimity.”

“I have, therefore I give. I feel like giving, therefore I give”.

You know, the whole giving is vitiated by this attitude. So the attitude is more powerful and more reckonable than the physical action. But in the worldly sphere, the physical action is considered to be more reckonable than what you feel. I thought you should understand this difference.

People will see how much you have said, how much you have given, how much you have acted. But God’s judgement, devotional judgement, the Guru judgement will be, “See? So much he is giving; but he is giving it, not at all with a real feeling.” I think this point requires a lot of introspection.

लोकेश चैतन्यमयादिदेव
श्रीकान्त विष्णो भवदाज्ञयैव।
प्रातः समुत्थाय तव प्रियार्थं
संसारयात्रामनुवर्तयिष्ये।।
lokeśa caitanya-mayādideva
śrīkānta viṣṇo bhavad-ājnayaiva |
prātaḥ samutthāya tava priyārthaṁ
saṁsāra-yātrām-anuvartayiṣye ||

What does this mean? 'My dear Lord, by virtue of your command alone, I get up in the morning and I pursue this journey called ‘Life’ only to propitiate you and please you. In following the samsāra, sāmsāric journey, I have no intention except pleasing you. And I am enabled to proceed in this yātrā only because of your wish and will.'

Don’t you think that in the whole statement, it is that mental position that is pictured? What you do - we don’t speak. Where you do - we don’t speak. When you do - we don’t speak. We only are concerned with - Are you doing it with this spiritual and devotional attitude? 'By virtue of the command of God, I am doing, what I do according to the design and purpose of yours, not mine and by so doing, I propose to please you.' Just see? In this one attitude, the whole physical activity stands covered. I think it makes a lot of difference. The intention is what matters. The attitude is what matters. In the external sphere, what you do is what matters. Here, how you do and what for you do are what matter. I think the point requires a lot of introspection.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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