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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
S was telling me about her visit to Guruvayoor Temple. She could stand hardly for two seconds in front of the deity. Maybe she was not satisfied. And she moved out and either sat perhaps somewhere or stood, and suddenly she had some kind of an impersonal spell, something like a brilliance which had no limitation, form or identification marks as in the idol when it is properly decorated especially. It lasted for about five minutes. She was referring to the experience as something very distinct.
It was good. But what I thought people should understand including her is that whenever you have such experience understand this experience is not brought about or caused by an external fact. This understanding though very simple and very relevant refuses to transpire in the minds of seekers and devotees.
You go to a place. You find the place good and in the good atmosphere of the place you have an experience. So you attribute it to that place as a result of which when you are away from it, you will never have that experience. Similarly you choose an Ishta daivam. Maybe it is Krishna or Siva or somebody else, may be your Guru. Now because you call it an Ishta Daivam, that particular form alone gives you a delightful note and in contrast, all the other things do not give you any delightful note. So by specifying anything in this manner, I think you are refusing yourself a great deal of divinity and divine experience.
Be very sure that our personality consists of all the things the world had namely the panchabhūtās. We also have something called the mind, intelligence, ego and the substratum of all these. That is the SELF. With such a personality we are complete, full and wholesome. To understand that this is so and to make our mind and intelligence reflect the fullness and wholesomeness that you look for is the real effort and sādhanā. When you start thinking in this manner, the whole of spiritual sādhanā is centered on your mind. It is the mind that begets experience, it is the mind that distorts matters, it is the mind that becomes pure and brings clarity. Now in order to tackle the mind, help and lead it to the level of purity, sublimity and expansion, we are using or should use the intelligence. All our śāstras are thus for the intelligence to grasp and then the intelligence must infuse it in to the mind. There must be a close collaboration between the intelligence and mind. In describing devotional yoga, Bhakti Yoga in Bhagavat Gita Krishna says so simply:
मय्येव मन आधत्स्व मयि बुद्धिं निवेशय ।
निवसिष्यसि मय्येव अत ऊर्ध्वं न संशयः ।।
mayy-eva mana ādhatsva mayi buddhiṁ niveśaya |
nivasiṣyasi mayy-eva ata ūrdhvaṁ na saṁśayaḥ ||
(Bhagavat Gita 12.8)
Mayy-eva mana ādhatsva - 'Connect your mind and fix it as an offering to me. And see that your intelligence also is infused into me. When thus, your mind-intelligence stand dedicated to me, imbued or instilled into me, from that moment onwards you will start living in me, there is no doubt about it'. This is the way he summarizes and explains Bhakti yoga in the twelfth chapter of Bhagavat Gita. 'Fix your mind in me and dissolve your intelligence in me. When the mind-intelligence get dissolved into me, you become me, you start living in me, from that moment onwards'.
Now you tell me or at least think what is devotion and where is it centered? Unfortunately we think devotion consists in so many other external limbs and factors. Even this Pāda Puja is what? Somebody collects flowers, brings them, somebody cleans them and Mā distributes a little to each of you and all of you come and offer it at your Swamiji's feet. Constantly prayers are going on and finally somebody collects them, makes the feet free and wipes them. This is a kind of a practice or a discipline. When you do it well, do it well means what? Not physically. Physically, it is only a demonstration so to say. But the actual doing should be reflected in the mind. If you can do it devotionally, piously in a beautiful, orthodox manner, that means you must develop that devotional attitude in the mind, that devotional attention in the mind. The flowers should very well be collected with a lot of attention and devotional feelings. They should be brought and kept in a vessel; the vessel should be clean and washed. Then cleaning of the flowers should be very beautifully done.
Just like you will clean food articles dhal etc. when you get from the market before using it, will you not clean it up? Remove all the sand particles and stone particles, then wash them very well if necessary, once or twice or three times. That is cleaning for food. This is cleaning for devotional offering. What difference is there? No difference. Here the materials are used for their purpose; there the materials are used for their purpose. The user remains the same. The difference in purpose does not make the mind different or its attitude and attention different.
So what I wanted to emphasize is that every experience that you get is born out of yourself. How to generate this experience? If I can have it in Guruvayoor, that means I have had it. I can have it anywhere else. In Guruvayoor, what mattered for me to have this experience? What preceded it? What succeeded it? The constant factor is the mind. Maybe she wanted to see the Lord, the idol for some more time but because of the rigidity in the people in charge of permitting devotees and the excess number of devotees who come, they say you go around and see again, go around and see again, don't stand there because crowd is there. So that sense of denial was there. In other words what? It is a sense of separation from the Lord. 'I wanted to see the idol; I was not able to see', so there is a sense of denial, denial of your fondness, of your wish so that it induces a dejection. In reality, it must be one of viraha - the pang of separation. When that pang of separation comes, the mind cannot forget it or condone it. It has to redress it. That redressal perhaps she thought, 'I will not stand in front of the idol but I will sit somewhere closing the eyes thinking of the Lord'. That is the right way! Then automatically, the mind persuaded by the pang of separation and moved by the fondness to see the Lord, some ecstatic, mystic or transcendental experience automatically results. The cause of it is in the mind, the effect is in the mind, everything is in the mind. The Guruvayoor temple only focused it with a special note.
Any experience you have even during meditation and samādhi, understand that it is transitory. Your quest should be until you have the meditative absorption, samādhi, you have a craving for it, but the moment you have it, your craving will have to be 'how did I have it and what do I learn and how to make this experience a constantly operating influence in me? It cannot be a momentary one. It cannot be a time-bound or a place-bound or an effort-bound experience. I would like to have it all times. So what are the factors that will enable my mind to feel the state of absorption or absorption-like-becoming throughout?' If only seekers are able to think in this manner and they do so, you will find an ocean of difference in their sādhanā, in their progress, in their fulfillment.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
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