Are You Disconnected From Your Power Source?

When we play a game, we often become so engrossed in it that we forget everything else. Similarly, we become so engrossed in our daily lives that we forget who we really are. That forgetfulness cuts us off from our true power.
In a parable, the vine provides nutrients and life to a branch without which the branch can’t produce fruit.

A branch without its vine is merely a dead twig. We, too, must connect to a flow of energy from a power greater than our own.

For those of us connected to a spiritual path, the guru is the vine, the source of the power that sustains us.

When we cut ourselves off from the source that sustains us, we are left with only the power of ego. The ego has its realm, mainly in a small area of human activity involving will power, intellect, choice and the ability to function in society. But if we consider the many basic bodily processes that aren’t under our conscious control, such as breathing, circulation, digestion, and the beating of the heart, we see that there is a deeper power sustaining us. God does nearly everything, leaving only the tiniest part to us.

It reminds me of my granddaughter when she was three years old. We’d assemble all the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle except the last one. She would then turn that final piece many different ways and eventually , with a sense of great accomplishment, put it in place and say, “I’ve done the puzzle!“ We’re like that. God does 999 pieces of the puzzle, and when we put the last piece in place we say , “I did it all myself.“

Our egos are like little jets of flame on a gas burner: each one has the appearance of individuality; each is, in fact, but a spurt of the unifying gas underneath. As our consciousness expands, we become more and more aware of our connection to the Divine Source. Real spiritual growth begins when we recognise that true source.

To open ourselves more fully to that source, we need to realise first that we have much more inner strength when we realise ­ that the energy , intelligence and will we’re using come from an infinite ocean. Our will power is like a faucet. As we open up the valve, more and more water flows through.

Second, we have to connect to the deeper, more expansive parts of ourselves. This we can do by overcoming the delusion that we alone are the doer. God is the Doer through us. Third, we need to attune our consciousness to the guru who could help us realise our divinity . By attuning to his consciousness, we draw his grace.

Fourth, we need devotion. It is through the love of our hearts that we open a channel to that sustaining power. Grace then comes in, like sunlight through a window, and changes our consciousness.

Finally , we need to meditate deeply .In meditation we can experience God’s energy as the sound of Aum or as light. We expand not only by contacting that power, but also by offering ourselves into it. It’s like the branch and its leaves offering energy back to the vine that sustains it.

As we deepen our connection with the Divine, finally , we learn that there is no “I and Thou“. There is only the one Source. Then, with a flood of love, we re-establish our union with God and find our true power.

Om Namah Shivay

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Swadharma

Q: Guruji, what is Swadharma, and how do I know what is my Swadharma?

Guruji: Swadharma is that action which is in accordance with your nature. It is acting in accordance with your skills and talents, your own nature (svabhava), and that which you are responsible for (karma) . Any action that does not make you feel afraid or restless is Swadharma. That action which you feel compelled to do, without which you feel restless is swadharma. Now do not misunderstand this and say, ‘I feel restless if I do not drink alcohol’. No! Not at all. Every time you feel restless, it not always because of Swadharma. But at the same time not following your swadharma always makes you feel restless.

That is why it is said in the Bhagavad Gita, ‘Swadharme nidhanam shreyah paradharmo bhayaavahah’ (3.35). When we do something without authenticity, just to show off to another person, that is when we feel fear because such action is not genuine, it does not come from the heart. But when we do something that is authentic and from the heart, then there is no fear. When someone speaks lies, they definitely feel scared somewhere inside. But someone who speaks the truth does not feel scared at all. In fact speaking the truth and abiding by it brings so much strength to you, isn’t it? This is what Swadharma is.

When we follow that which comes naturally to us in our life, then it brings abundance and prosperity to us. When we flow in accordance with our nature, we grow from within. Any action that uplifts us is our Swadharma. Dharma is that which holds the mind, intellect, memory and our inner soul together in harmony. Growth comes when we follow our swadharma

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Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t question your devotion. I would say we should never doubt our devotion. Take it for granted that you are devoted.

No child ever asks the mother, ‘do you love me?’ The mother never asks the child, ‘do you love me?’

The baby has no choice but to love the mother and neither the mother has any choice but to love the baby. Similarly devotion is inbuilt in every one of us.

Sometimes it is covered with ignorance, hesitation, doubts and insecurity. One’s own insecurity covers one’s devotion. It is only a matter of time for that strip of ignorance and ego to give way and then the inner devotee will shine up.

Om Namah Shivay

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All About Love, Aesthetics and Ecstasy

What is love? It is the expressed form of devotion. When does this expressed form occur?

When there is seed, only then it will sprout; that seed is devotion. So, only that one can make oneself great, who one can take the correct ideation of Parama Purusha, who has the seed of devotion within … How can you surrender without bhakti, devotion? Therefore, from ancient times aesthetic science existed and there was devotion. While one remains in aesthetic science, one does not get entry into supra-aesthetic science. One feels, “I am serving Parama Purusha, I like Him, because I get pleasure in serving Him, by taking His ideation I get joy .“ If you ask artists or architects why they do what they do ­ why do they create works of art ­ they will say, “We get pleasure from it.“ This is aesthetic science. A poet composes a poem, because he gets pleasure.

Parents love their child very much.Do they love for the sake of their child?

No! They love their child because they get pleasure for themselves. If their child turns into a vagabond, or becomes cruel, and he does not even utter the parents’ names, then parents do not get pleasure.

After that what happens? By taking the ideation of Parama Purusha, when the quantity of pleasure increases, a person loses the self first. He feels “I take the ideation of Parama Purusha not for my sake. I love Parama Purusha so that, because of my love, He gets pleasure. I may or may not get it.“ When this stage is attained, it is called Ragatmika Bhakti, when one feels, “I love Parama Purusha, I do not care whether He loves me or not.“ When this Ragatmika Bhakti is attained, in that stage one is also called Gopa as described in scriptures.

Gopa here does not mean the cowherd. Gopayate means to give pleasure ­ “Gopayate yah sah gopah.“

One whose nature is to give pleasure to Parama Purusha or Paramatma is Gopa. When one is established in Ragatmika Bhakti, from Raganuga one enters the arena of Mohana ijnana when one is fascinated and charmed, and in that state, art, architecture, all come to an end; one’s verbosity stops, one becomes mute. This is Ragatmika Bhakti.

So long as human beings are in the sphere of Raganuga Bhakti they are in domestic life; they create arts, architecture, literature and painting, and get pleasure in them. They are within the scope of aesthetic science ­ Nandana Vijnana.

And what happens when they are established in supra-aesthetic science ­ Ati Nandana Vijnana? All their worldly music is finished. All the Ragas and Raginis and the art of dancing, whatever they be, they come to an end.In that condition, there remains only an ecstatic state, Bhavibhora. The music of that state is called kirtana.

If you want to be established in Dharma Sadhana, then in any case do not forget the importance and greatness of kirtana, and also the greatness of devotion. Always remember that the devotion begins with aesthetic science and its ultimate domain ends where supra-aesthetic science ­ Mohana Vijnana ­ begins.

Om Namah Shivay

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How Swami Vivekananda Bestowed a Vision of “Lord Krishna” With His Mere Touch

“The one Godhead has many forms. All these forms are real. A seer can see them and talk to them.”

– Swami Brahmananda, direct disciple of Sri Ramakrishna.

God in Advaita Vedanta has been described as the formless and infinite ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda consciousness. However this One Infinite Godhead, being the all-powerful creator of the Universe, can take up any form in which, a devotee worships Him with faith.

This fact has been revealed by Sri Ramakrishna, who has emphasized that God is both with form and without form. It all depends upon the concept of God that a devotee holds dear.

For this reason, a devotee struggling on the path of God-realization, must not become a fanatic and think that only his/her particular notion of God is right, and all other ideas are false.

This truth about the multiple aspects of One God, was beautifully revealed to Sardar Hari Singh of Jaipur, who had been an ardent believer in the formless aspect of God and thus could not reconcile himself to the idol worship of many Hindus.

However through the infinite grace of Swami Vivekananda, the Sardar’s dilemma was resolved when Swamiji bestowed upon him, a vision of God with form. The details of this incident have been wonderfully captured in the book: The Life of Swami Vivekananda by His Eastern and Western Disciples, Volume 1. Enclosed is an excerpt:

At Jaipur the Swami (Swami Vivekananda) became very intimate with Sardar Hari Singh, the Commander-in-Chief of the State. He passed many days in his home discussing many interesting and instructive spiritual and scriptural subjects.

One day the subject was the efficacy of image-worship. A strong believer in the doctrines of the Vedanta, Hari Singh did not believe in images and even after hours of discussion with the Swami he remained unconvinced.

In the evening they went out for a walk. As they were passing along the footpath they came upon some devotees carrying the image of Shri Krishna and singing devotional songs as they went. The Swami and the Sardar watched the procession for a while as it passed.

Suddenly the Swami touched Hari Singh and said, “Look there, see the living God!” The eyes of the Sardar fell on the image of Lord Krishna, and he stood there transfixed with tears of ecstasy trickling down his cheeks.

When he returned to ordinary consciousness, he exclaimed, “Well, Swamiji, that was a revelation to me. What I could not understand after hours of discussion, was easily comprehended through your touch. Verily I saw the Lord in the image of Krishna!”

Once Sri Ramakrishna had the following conversation with his disciple Mahendranath Gupta:

Sri Ramakrishna: “Well, do you believe in God with form or without form?”

Disciple: “Sir, I like to think of God as formless.”

Sri Ramakrishna: “Very good. It is enough to have faith in either aspect. You believe in God without form; that is quite all right. But never for a moment think that this alone is true and all else false. Remember that God with form is just as true as God without form. But hold fast to your own conviction.”

Om Namah Shivay

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शान्त हो जाओ चुप हो जाओ

एक बहुत श्रेष्ठ, बड़ी सुगम, बड़ी सरल बात है । वह यह है कि किसी तरह की कोई इच्छा मत रखो । न परमात्मा की, न आत्मा की, न संसार की, न मुक्ति की, न कल्याण की, कुछ भी इच्छा मत करो और चुप हो जाओ । शान्त हो जाओ । कारण कि परमात्मा सब जगह शान्तरूप से परिपूर्ण है । स्वतः-स्वाभाविक सब जगह परिपूर्ण है । कोई इच्छा न रहे, किसी तरह की कोई कामना न रहे तो एकदम परमात्मा की प्राप्ति हो जाय, तत्त्वज्ञान हो जाय, पूर्णता हो जाय !

यह सबका अनुभव है कि कोई इच्छा पूरी होती है, कोई नहीं होती । सब इच्छाएँ पूरी हो जायँ यह नियम नहीं है । इच्छाओं का पूरा करना हमारे वश की बात नहीं है, पर इच्छाओं का त्याग करना हमारे वश की बात है । कोई भी इच्छा, चाहना नहीं रहेगी तो आपकी स्थिति स्वतः परमात्मा में होगी । आपको परमात्मतत्त्व का अनुभव हो जायगा । कुछ चाहना नहीं, कुछ करना नहीं, कहीं जान नहीं, कहीं आना नहीं, कोई अभ्यास नहीं । बस, इतनी ही बात है । इतने में ही पूरी बात हो गयी ! इच्छा करने से ही हम संसार में बँधे हैं । इच्छा सर्वथा छोड़ते ही सर्वत्र परिपूर्ण परमात्मा में स्वतः-स्वाभाविक स्थिति है ।

प्रत्येक कार्य में तटस्थ रहो । न राग करो, न द्वेष करो ।

तुलसी ममता राम सों, समता सब संसार ।
राग न रोष न दोष दुख, दास भए भव पार ॥
(दोहावली ९४)

एक क्रिया है और एक पदार्थ है । क्रिया और पदार्थ यह प्रकृति है । क्रिया और पदार्थ दोनों से संबंध-विच्छेद करके एक भगवान्‌ के आश्रित हो जायँ । भगवान्‌ के शरण हो जायँ, बस । उसमें आपकी स्थिति स्वतः है । ‘भूमा अचल शाश्वत अमल सम ठोस है तू सर्वदा’‒ ऐसे परमात्मा में आपकी स्वाभाविक स्थिति है । स्वप्न में एक स्त्रीका बालक खो गया । वह बड़ी व्याकुल हो गयी । पर जब नींद खुली तो देखा कि बालक तो साथ में ही सोया है‒ तात्पर्य है कि जहाँ आप हैं, वहाँ परमात्मा पूरे-के-पूरे विद्यमान है । आप जहाँ हैं, वहीं चुप हो जाओ !!

‒२९ जून २००५, सायं लगभग ४ बजे

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श्रोता‒कल आपने बताया कि कोई चाहना न रखे । इच्छा छोड़ना और चुप होना दोनों में कौन ज्यादा फायदा करता है ?

स्वामीजी‒मैं भगवान्‌ का हूँ, भगवान्‌ मेरे हैं, मैं और किसी का नहीं हूँ, और कोई मेरा नहीं है । ऐसा स्वीकार कर लो । इच्छारहित होना और चुप होना‒दोनों बातें एक ही हैं । इच्छा कोई करनी ही नहीं है, भोगों की, न मोक्ष की, न प्रेम की, न भक्ति की, न अन्य किसी की ।

श्रोता‒इच्छा नहीं करनी है, पर कोई काम करना हो तो ?

स्वामीजी‒काम उत्साह से करो, आठों पहर करो, पर कोई इच्छा मत करो । इस बात को ठीक तरह से समझो । दूसरों की सेवा करो, उनका दुःख दूर करो, पर बदले में कुछ चाहो मत । सेवा कर दो और अन्तमें चुप हो जाओ । कहीं नौकरी करो तो वेतन भले ही ले लो, पर इच्छा मत करो ।

सार बात है कि जहाँ आप हैं, वहीं परमात्मा हैं । कोई इच्छा नहीं करोगे तो आपकी स्थिति परमात्मा में ही होगी । जब सब परमात्मा ही हैं तो फिर इच्छा किस की करें ? संसार की इच्छा है, इसलिये हम संसार में हैं । कोई भी इच्छा नहीं है तो हम परमात्मा में हैं ।

Om Namah Shivay

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Can Mantra Chanting Bestow Siddhi (God-Realization)?-3

Returning to Gurudev Shriram Sharma’s discourse: “Bhagiratha rishi also performed immense penance but it was all for social welfare. He abandoned everything for the public good and only then was he able to bring Mother Ganga to earth and quench the thirst of humanity. Had Bhasmasura nurtured a similarly noble objective, he too would have been able to help many people.”

“He could have asked Lord Shiva for such a boon that would have allowed him to cure any person simply by placing his hand on their head. But he could not think of performing such virtuous acts because he had not refined his inner self. So long as there is lurking greed, attachment and sensuality within a person, he/she cannot rise in their Sadhana (spiritual practice). These demonic tendencies pull a Sadhak (spiritual aspirant) downwards.“

“Only after passing the preliminary goal of self refinement can a person steadily climb up the ladder of spirituality. I lived on jowar roti (bread of millet) and buttermilk for 24 years. I did not take any salt, sweets or spicy food. I brought the tongue under control; only then could I control the mind. If the taste buds are controlled, all the 10 senses and the mind are easily controlled. Once mental control is achieved, realization of the Self becomes easy whether the sadhak is Jain, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Hindu.”

Note: In Vedanta a tremendous emphasis is laid upon controlling of the tongue (the organ of taste and speech). Once the sense of taste is brought under-control, the sexual instinct is also automatically conquered. It is a yogic observation that the two are intimately linked. The desire to enjoy tasty food is always accompanied by an increase in lustful tendencies in the mind and vice versa. Moreover since the tongue is the organ of taste and speech therefore, controlling the sense of taste also leads to a control of one’s speech, which in turn leads to a control of one’s thoughts, emotions and desires. In this way once the mind is brought under control the realization of the Self becomes easy.

Once Shriram Sharma Acharya visited the continent of Africa. There a disciple showed him a pet parrot, who had been trained to chant the Gayatri Mantra in perfect Sanskrit. Later Shriram Sharma Acharya would often use the example of this parrot to emphasize that a mere outward repetition of the Gayatri Mantra (similar to the parrot), is not sufficient to take us to the doors of God-realization. If this was the case then even that parrot could have attained to Samadhi.

Instead chanting of the Gayatri Mantra (or any Mantra for that matter) is successful only when its true meaning is permanently inscribed in the heart, through the transformation of each and every thought and action. We must become living embodiments of the Mantra. Only then can we truly become Siddha (Enlightened, God-realized).

Om Namah Shivay

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Can Mantra Chanting Bestow Siddhi (God-Realization)?-2

After saying this Gurudev narrated an incident which he himself had witnessed. “Two ascetics were doing Tapa-Sadhana (meditation, mantra chanting and austerities) in the Himalayas. Both lived without clothes and observed complete silence. There was a small piece of land on which roots, vegetables and fruits could be grown. They lived in the caves and ate these fruits and vegetables.

Once during the summer both of them started cleaning out the area around their caves. This operation continued for 2 days. One day one of them occupied a small portion of the land that was supposed to belong to the other.

Seeing this the second ascetic got very angry. Frowning he asked the first fellow to vacate the land immediately. Although they were both observing a vow of silence, the quarrel escalated and reached the stage of kicking and punching. The first one plucked out the beard of the second and as a result his chin started bleeding.”

Revered Gurudev continued: “I wondered what kind of ascetics doing sadhana (spiritual practice) in the Himalayan caves were these?”

“Shame on such a sadhana! Unless a person can refine his mind (his thoughts, his ego and greed) nothing worthwhile can be achieved in spirituality, what to talk of mantra siddhi. Even if some spiritual powers are attained they will serve no purpose other than destroying oneself like Bhasmasura.”

Detour: The Story of Bhasmasura

The story of Bhasmasura for those who are not familiar, is the story of a demon who had performed such a great penance that Lord Shiva became pleased and appeared before him. Upon seeing the Lord, Bhasmasura asked for an unusual boon. He requested that anyone upon whose head he placed his hand, would immediately be turned to ashes.

 

Lord Shiva granted him this boon, but Bhasmasura being a demon (meaning a person who had not purified his inner self) could not properly digest the immense spiritual power so granted. Uncontrollable greed and lust immediately rose up in his egotistical heart.

He began to eye Lord Shiva’s wife, the beautiful and talented Goddess Parvati and decided that if he got Lord Shiva out of the way, he could marry her. So he began to chase the Lord trying to turn him to ashes. Shiva helplessly began to run, and soon took shelter with Lord Vishnu.

After listening to Shiva’s predicament, Lord Vishnu decided to help and turned himself into an exceedingly beautiful lady, Mohini. Then he appeared before Bhasmasura. Mohini was so charming and pretty that Bhasmasura could not control himself and immediately fell in love with her. He wanted to marry her, but Mohini had a condition – she would only marry the man who could replicate her dance moves perfectly.

Bhasmasura agreed and began to dance with her. The dance went on for a long time. Engrossed in dancing, with his mental processes entirely clouded by an insatiable lust for Mohini, Bhasmasura soon forgot about the boon of Lord Shiva. When Mohini struck a pose, placing her hand on her head, he thoughtlessly copied her move and was immediately reduced to ashes.

In this way the spiritual power attained by the egotistical, greedy and lustful Bhasmasura, ultimately worked against him and became the cause of his own demise. For this reason, refinement of thoughts, deeds and character are the essential foundation upon which any successful spiritual endeavour rests.

 

Om Namah Shivay

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