Add Nama to Vedic Rituals
Those who study and master the vedas are certainly laudable for their erudition and for their assistance in preserving this precious treasure for the world. The vedas have shown great reverence for the Gayatri mantra. It should be borne in mind, however, that, to be fruitful, the sacredness of the mantra should be matched by unimpeachable vairagya, and by utmost purity in thought and behaviour. These are very difficult to find in the present degenerate times. The sages of the hoary past lived in the forest, far from the crowd and its life of strife. They subsisted on a simple diet consisting of roots, bulbs, and such other natural things. They exercised austere control over the senses and over passions like wild desires, anger, and covetousness. They never uttered an untruth. Leading such simple, undefiled lives, they were fit persons to pursue the cult of the sacred and potent Gayatri mantra. With the strength of such austere penance to back them, their blessings and their wrath were equally potent.
Times have, however, radically changed. We can no longer lead a life which is in the least like that of these past sages. Circumstances do not permit performance of vedic rites with adherence to their rules; nor have the people at large faith in them. Therefore, if they are undertaken at all, they should be supplemented by earnest nama-smarana. Self-control being virtually absent these days, the saints advocate recourse to nama, so that the common man may, even in the present conditions, succeed in attaining God.
Constant, determined nama-smarana, will eventually produce love for God, for, association produces love. A trader, for instance, always has thoughts of trading activities, and will even have dreams concerning them. We come to feel attachment for the house we have long lived in. A resident of a large city like Bombay becomes so used to its bustle, noise, crowd, even its filth, that he feels uneasy if he has to live a comparatively placid life of the countryside. If we teach our heart to feel the presence of Rama, we shall always be aware of His presence. Reinforce this conviction by telling yourself repeatedly: "I am not different, distinct from Rama; He resides in my heart."
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