We all think that by merely chanting a few nāmās, going to the temple occasionally, everything will be done. No. The effort should be from your side, it should be very direct, personal and regular and consistent. This is where our shlokas, poetic literature is of immense help. Remember this. Read more and more, the thirteenth to eighteen chapters of Bhagavad Gita. Wherever you find qualities, make a note of them, if necessary write about them specially, keep a diary and every day try to find out how much you have improved and how much yet you have to go. This self-examination is the one factor that will enable you to grow.
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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
I would like you to reflect upon what is devotion, what is spirituality, what is true religion. To imbibe these in our life and be benefited in the form of improvement and also the resultant benefit called contentment and joy. For the mind, we need contentment, joy. For the intelligence, we need knowledge. Our religion, our spirituality, our devotion must be able to provide what we want and the mind should be happier, the intelligence also should be more enlightened. How can this be brought about?
In Bhagavat Gita you will find, Krishna was very focused in speaking to Arjuna. Arjuna finally said, “I am being scorched by grief. Unless you are able to cool it, I will not be able to do anything.” Then Krishna made grief itself as the point of analysis. That is how Gita began with the words “aśocyān anvaśocas-tvam”. “You are grieving over those people who should not be grieved at, at all!” Just see? Arjuna was aggrieved and Krishna says, “ Your grief is not at all called for.” It was such a shocking input for Arjuna that he was stunned! Then he said, “All my understanding is wrong then. Then, what is right understanding? I become a seeker, I am a disciple, please instruct me.” So, the ground became very clear for Krishna to give the right instruction. But you should understand, the instruction was focused to remove grief.
But the first thing Krishna began to expose was, the unborn and the undying nature of the soul. So, it began with a philosophical dissertation. The first few chapters are dealing with this wonderful philosophy of the soul, that is true spirituality - the self. But as the conversation progressed you will find, Krishna starts discussing what are the qualities a good and a noble person should have. If you want to improve, improvement can be had only by developing the qualities which will make you improve. Thus, you will find from the thirteenth chapter onwards for six chapters, Sri Krishna is discussing nothing but values, qualities, enrichments, embellishments of the human personality. Now all these are not at all relating to the body. Krishna maximum speaks about food, the quality of food, nourishment. He speaks a little about meditation also where he says, “Go to a secluded place. Prepare a proper āsan. Sit there. Make the body erect. Do not look at the objects, look at the tip of your own nose. If possible, make the in-going, incoming and outgoing breath even.” This much, these are all the physical references. All the rest are relating to the mind and the intelligence. Will you ever understand this?
In the twelfth chapter towards the end he says, after having explained bhakti, he says, “These are the qualities of a true bhakta and such a bhakta I like.” So, here is a beautiful exposition for you to understand whether you are a devotee or not, and if you want to become a devotee who will be pleasing the Lord, then what are the qualities you must have. It starts from there. Then when you go to thirteenth chapter, he speaks about twenty qualities, virtues and excellences which constitutes knowledge and the knower. Every quality, you can pick up and try to apply it to yourself. It will be like a goldsmith making a necklace of beautiful pearls. You can take one pearl after the other and stick it to your mind and see that the mind is made most beautiful.
In the subsequent chapters also he speaks about how the guṇās are working. "Daivasura-sampad-vibhāga-yogaḥ". What are the divine qualities and what are the non-divine qualities? I would like you to read these portions, commit a few verses to memory and see how you can grow. Abhayam sattva-samśuddhih jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ (Bhagavad Gita 16.1). Abhaya means fear-freeness or fearlessness. He says, fearlessness is a quality the devotee should have, the seeker should have, the yogi should have. What is this Abhaya? Can we become fearless? If so, how? So, fear is an ingredient which is not approved by either religion or devotion or spirituality or yoga. And when Krishna says, be fearless and fear-free, do not doubt it. It is something that is possible for the human and everyone can practice it and perfect it. So, never doubt it.
Then sattva-samśuddhih means make your being pure. To make the body pure, what can be done? Try to find out what are the pure forms of food or food which is pure. Krishna has described. And the pure food is very tasty. So you do not lose on taste. It is very edible. It is not that bad food is to be offered in order to make your body pure. Rasyāh snigdhāh sthirā hṛdyāh āhārāh sāttvika-priyāh (Bhagavad Gita 17.8). All these adjectives are very, very taste-giving, delicious. Then, you have to be careful about your breath. Breathe good air. Take good water. See good things. These are days when many things are available through the screen, electronic media, internet.
If you want to be a good person, qualitative person, make sure that your tastes are good. You should listen to good sound. That is where our Classical Music, nāmasaṅkīrtana, Srimad Bhagavata or Ramayana reading, Bhagavad Gita chanting, all these things come up. So, see good things, hear good things, taste good things, touch, wear good type of dress. See, it is very systematic and scientific.
Whatever inputs are there for your system, make sure that these are good. Wherever they are not good, then the mind should become much better and greater to overwhelm the bad inputs you get from the world. Your mind can be overwhelming. After all, we are going to assimilate only the mental part of the inputs. When I hear somebody speak, the sound energy touches only upto the eardrum. Thereafter, it is a mind imprint of the sound. This imprint is made by my mind. So, I have to assimilate only my own mental imprints. I don’t know whether you follow me, what I say. It is something very, very, very important. People don’t think about it. I have to assimilate my own mind’s imprints and reactions, not gross things.
Mind you, mind is superior to matter. Whatever comes in the form of energy and matter, they all remain upto the level of the senses, they don’t go to the mind. In the mind level, it is our own reactions, our own responses, our own inputs. That or those, the mind can certainly look after. So, I would like you to read some of these beautiful qualities and virtues where Krishna has enumerated one, two, three, four, five, six, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-six. Try from one. Almost every day you read them, recite them, open a diary and start writing. "I read this, this quality, I wanted to imbibe, I am trying but I cannot succeed. Yes, I have succeeded 5%, 15%." See, it is such a simple but matter-of-fact process.
We all think that merely by chanting a few nāmās, going to the temple occasionally, everything will be done. No. The effort should be from your side, it should be very direct, personal and regular and consistent. This is where our ślokas, poetic literature is of immense help. Remember this. Read more and more, the thirteenth to eighteen chapters of Bhagavad Gita. Wherever you find qualities, make a note of them, if necessary write about them specially, keep a diary and every day try to find out how much you have improved and how much yet you have to go. This self-examination is the one factor that will enable you to grow.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.