Saturday, August 24, 2019
Joy and Contentment Always Accompany Saints
Saints sometimes feign ignorance although in reality they are omniscient. Saints, indeed, are difficult to make out from their external appearance or behaviour. They can be known only by one who is completely dedicated to God or one who lives in the prescribed sadhana. A saint can be recognized by one who has completely vacated his mind of all earthly desires and interests, and who has become totally blind to defects in others. A saint is like the flower of the green champaka; its haunting scent spreads far and wide, but the flower remains hidden in the green foliage of the parent bush. Similarly, felicity and contentment are unmistakably found where there is a saint, but he defies discovery because he lives outwardly like a common man.
We prattle glibly about philosophical matters while the saint silently lives philosophy. Saints stay unmoved even in trying circumstances. They are free of all doubt about God, while our minds are constantly shrouded in doubt. It is therefore that they live in changeless contentment while we grope in discontent. To remove this doubt we must alter our mental frame.
True companionship with a saint is only realized when we learn to like what he likes. The pride of doership is the basic cause of the limitations that the individual soul experiences; to get free of that pride is the real way to belong to the sadguru.
A sadhaka is an aspirant; he is likely sometimes to be right, sometimes to go wrong; whereas a siddha is always right. The mortification of the senses is only a means, not the end; the real aim is to have a constant awareness of God.
Persons habituated to, interested in physical action, should first give up that interest by practicing to sit inactive in meditation, and acquire constant awareness of God. Failure in acquiring this awareness should not discourage or dissuade a person, but rather prompt him to fresh effort. In academic examinations, a failure naturally urges another attempt, but we often give up the spiritual quest if we do not succeed the first time. This is obviously unreasonable. God is truly like a father to us, just, but uncompromising; the saints, however, are like the mother, ever ready to condone, to pardon waywardness. The saints educate us by telling us about God. It behoves us to listen to them, to follow their advice.
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Friday, August 23, 2019
Reading : Need and Limits
The 'educated' man reads the scriptures, puranas, and saints' writings with great relish, and also narrates them enthusiastically to others. And yet he does not endear himself to God, because he merely talks about them, never acts up to them. Saints' works should be read as carefully as letters from near and dear ones, treasuring every word, and with a view to carrying out what is expressed in them; for the author writes in order that propositions expressed therein should be practiced. If it is a translation or a commentary, the writer will, knowingly or unknowingly, construe the original text according to his own view or interpretation; so the reader should always keep the original text in sight; to read the original text oneself is always the best. The text is like the mother's milk, while a translation is like the feed from a wet nurse.
With many, reading becomes a passion; much of it is not only futile but confusing. Indiscriminate reading particularly of newspapers is futile. Only he should read who clearly understands and digests what he reads. Others should read only with moderation.
What one reads should be absorbed thoroughly by contemplation. Reading is only profitable if accompanied by practice; the true meaning then becomes clear, and the sadhaka makes real progress. The reading of the basic philosophical books like the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgeeta, and such others, understanding their purport, is essential for a clear notion of the logical basis of our upasana. The Bhagavadgeeta, indeed, can be considered the basis, the mother of treatises on philosophy. It correlates and coordinates worldly life and spiritual life, performance of duty and renunciation. We should bear this in mind when studying it. Philosophy is of no use unless put into practice. Anything that is accepted or proved as wholesome must be acted upon in practical life.
Suppose we are walking by the highway to go to a certain place. We meet a knowledgeable person who points out a foot path or a cart-track which is a much shorter route. We take that path and reach the destination much sooner. Similarly, if on the spiritual path we are obstructed or halted by an unknown defect, or by a recalcitrant mind, a book like the Bhagavadgeeta often offers a useful corrective. We thereby become aware of the defect; and this is the first step in the process of reformation.
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Thursday, August 22, 2019
Contentment is the True Gift of God
Righteous-minded persons often ask themselves, "I behave very properly, never slander anyone; and yet I have many kinds of difficulties in life, whereas many persons whose behaviour is far from proper have all amenities and happiness. How is this justified?" That one who loathes nama seems to live in enjoyment, while another, an adherent of it, has to face misery and difficulties – how can this come from God who is celebrated for just dispensation? If we probe deep into the matter, we discover that though those people apparently enjoy many sources of 'pleasure', they are far from happy at heart, far from having true peace of mind. Suppose a man stands at a road junction; he sees one road in excellent condition, but not leading to his destination, while the other is in a very unattractive state but is the one leading to the desired place; which one should he choose?
The Bhagavadgeeta speaks of two types of sadhakas: the advanced, and the ordinary. Those whose desires are moderate and well-controlled, belong to the 'advanced' class. The others, like most of us, who still have plenty of desires and lack control over the senses, but, at the same time, desire to attain to God, belong to karma-marga. The first type of people follow a path of a subtle, superior type; the path for us, the common people, is more obvious, but easy in all ways. The former achieve the destination quickly, the others scale the height slowly, laboriously, step by step. So the ordinary man should cater to his desires in a proper way and remain contented with what he gets, remembering that since everything in the world is the result of God's will, what he gets is also His will.
If you ask, say, a dozen people the cause of their being discontented in life, they will cite diverse reasons. The obvious conclusion is that there is no single worldly thing that will bring universal satisfaction. Contentment is, indeed, an unusual thing that cannot be learnt from prapancha, for, there is always something that everyone, whether he is a prince or a pauper, feels he lacks, and that to his mind, causes discontentment. Contentment is, indeed, a truly divine gift, and it is earned by keeping constantly in remembrance of God.
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