Hans Yog Prakash
It gives me great pleasure to declare that the sole aim of human life is to realize God. All Scriptures, saints and sages who had the True Knowledge of God have proclaimed this same Truth. Lord Krishna Himself said that the end result of all action is knowledge, and that there is nothing as holy as spiritual knowledge.
Just as fire reduces fuel to ashes, the fire of Knowledge burns up the bondage of good and bad effects of actions. Lord Krishna said to Arjuna, if you receive this knowledge, you will be freed from attachment and delusion. You will see all beings within yourself and within Me. However, you must prostrate to the wise seers, and sincerely ask them for this knowledge, serve them, and those who know these mysteries will reveal them to you.
Without knowledge the mind cannot be concentrated. In the Gita, Arjuna said, O Krishna! This mind is very restless, powerful, obstinate and wilful. It seems to me, that to control it, is harder than trying to tie the air into a bundle. Then the Lord replied, undoubtedly the mind is restless and difficult to control, but through constant practice and disinterest in worldly things (Vairagya) it is possible. In his 'Yoga Aphorisms', Patanjali has written, The highest Yoga is prevention of the fluctuations of mind.
Lord Krishna also said, The realized seer and Yogi of action is superior to the ascetic, so, Arjuna, be a yogi, understand what is renunciation, for someone who does not give up all desires and fantasies, cannot realize his soul.
To explain these mysteries, I have extracted the nectarlike essence from the flowers of the various scriptures of the world garden, and gathered them together in the hive of this small book. The spiritual Master uses the medicine of the "Holy Name" to neutralize the poison of the mind, in the same way as a skilled physician neutralizes poisons with his medicines. When the mind is still, you gain mental equilibrium.
There is an wasp called 'Bhringi' which turns a particular kind of insect into its own form by emitting a certain sound. The spiritual Master is like that Bhringi. By reading this book, which can be compared to the Bhringi's sound, and by digesting its ideas and putting them into practice, you can dissolve yourself in God.
What was the intention of writing this book? Lord Krishna said in the Gita, do not reveal my stories to anyone who has not made any sacrifice, or who has no devotion, or who has no desire to listen. He also said, He who propagates this supreme and secret Knowledge among My devotees, is dearest to Me, and will undoubtedly attain Me.
It is written in the scriptures that you should sit in a solitary place and meditate on God. If you must talk to anyone, then talk about God. This is the easy way to attain Him, but he cannot be realized by an impure mind. To purify the mind, this book recommends the Yoga of Devotion.
Liberation is not easily attainable by everyone. Only someone who has strong inherent tendencies in that direction, can achieve it. Firstly, He must remove the bad tendencies and impressions within himself, and purify his mind by
spiritual disciplines. Secondly, he must study the Scriptures and listen to the Spiritual Master's discourses, and reflect on their purport. Once he realizes what they are all about, he can quickly receive Knowledge, behold God face-to-face and attain perfect peace.
I humbly request my readers to use their powers of discrimination to reflect upon the substance of the scriptures which I, using my limited intellect, have collected. Excuse me if the language is not up to the mark. Please understand that the special quality of this book is that it glorifies God as He really is. I have not embellished it with clever words.
Someone who studies the scriptures and does not know what it mean is like a tree which is suffering from the weight of its own leaves, or like a beast which is suffering under a heavy load of valuable goods. On the other hand, someone who understands perfectly the meaning of the scriptures, can attain perfect bliss. Through knowledge and his own pious behaviour, he is freed from all sins, and at the time of his death, achieves perfect peace.
If you do not know the Almighty God Who is omnipresent and indestructible, Who is the truth of all scriptures and in Whom dwells the earth, sun and all the worlds, then what happiness can you get from merely reading scriptures? No happiness at all! If, however, after studying scriptures, an aspirant receives knowledge of the Soul and realizes it, he becomes stabilized in God. He attains liberation and the highest bliss. Therefore, I urge upon you to understand what you are reading and teaching.
Introduction to Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj 9
The Cage of Misery 13
What is the purpose of our life? 17
How King Janak Received Knowledge 23
The Need of a 'Guru' 25
To the Master 43
How should a Spiritual Master be? 47
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 51
Karma Yoga 83
The Yoga of Devotion 111
How should a Disciple be? 147
The Glory of the Holy Name 197
Remembrance of the Holy Name 229
The Nectar Technique 235
Celestial Music 239
Devotion to the Master 243
The Glory of the Saints 247
Satsang : the company of Saints 255
Bad Company 259
One Truth, diverse expressions 261
Guru Vashishta's advice to Lord Rama 273
Loving God 283
The Subtle Nervous System 317
The Eightfold Path of Yoga 319
Surrender to God 331
Seeing God 337
The Yagya of Knowledge 345
What is God? 347
An Introduction to Satguru Shri Hans Ji Maharaj
Born in the Himalayan district of Uttarakhand, he was destined to play an important role in re-awakening the experience of true religion in the hearts of millions of people throughout India, freeing them from the blind faith in ritual and superstition which was being perpetrated in the name of religion.
He was a magnetic personality. His very presence inspired confidence and radiated an aura of love and peace. From early childhood he had been inclined towards spirituality, so when be met swami Sarupanand, the saint who became his Spiritual Teacher, he devoted himself totally and dived into the infinite ocean of spiritual wisdom. His Guru declared, "I am in flans's heart, and he is in mine," and he became the spiritual successor to Swami Sarupanand.
In the early days of his mission, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj disseminated spiritual Knowledge in Sind and Lahore. From 1930 he started teaching in Delhi, staying in a small room near the huge Delhi Cloth Mills. Interest in his path spread among the employees of the Mill. His approach was not at all traditional. He was unique, and so were his methods. When the Cloth Mill employees expressed their desire to see God but wondered how it would be possible for workers like themselves who had no time for elaborate rituals
and pilgrimages, Shri Maharaji told them that true meditation is something that can be done anytime, in all circumstances and by anyone.
He took a personal interest in each and every disciple. He shared their joys and sorrows, and taught them to steer themselves on the Path of Righteousness.
He taught the deepest esoteric mysteries of religion in a very down-to-earth fashion. He made spirituality a living, practical reality in the lives of his devotees. He was known for the parables, anecdotes and homilies, which he used to bring home a point. He believed that theory bereft of realization was a futile mental exercise. His teachings gave disciples the ability to intertwine and harmonize the mate- rial and spiritual aspects of their lives in a most practical fashion.
He never had any intention of establishing a sect or religion. His was a teaching which transcended caste, colour and creed. Like all great saints, his message was for the good of all. He would say, "Who can be more merciful than a Guru? The Guru is the very ocean of mercy."
Although he was undoubtedly a great teacher of moral and ethical values, he will be primarily remembered for the practical technique of spiritual insight which he made avail- able to all. He made his disciples understand the need of first living religion and then talking about it. Thus, religion became a way of life for his disciples, and Shri Hans Ji Maharaj was himself the living embodiment of what he taught.
He preached the path advocated by the areas souls of
all times and lands, and urged humanity to follow in their footsteps. He stressed the importance of not just glorifying the saints but striving to attain the state which they had reached.
His death in July, 1966, was a great loss to mankind, but the torch of knowledge which he lit can never be extinguished.
The Cage of Misery
Once Shri Shankaracharya went to bathe in the Ganges at Benares. On the way he saw an aged Brahmin reciting the Sanskrit alphabets. Seeing such fruitless effort, the Master was filled with compassion. He thought, "Just look at him, reading grammar. If he were to read the scriptures and according to their instruction, take the shelter of the Master, he would have got true knowledge. He is about to die, so he should be meditating on God." So he started preaching.
"O Brahmin, soon you will die, and still you are reciting alphabets! This will not protect you. Now you should be meditating only on God.
'Day comes, followed by night. When you wake up you find that morning has come. Autumn and spring come and go. Death plays with souls. Life passes like this, But even now you have not given up your vacuous dreams. O dull-witted fellow! You should think only about God now.
'Childhood is spent playing and youth is spent chasing women. Old age brings all kinds of miseries and diseases. This happens to everyone, but still nobody is inclined towards God. You crazy man !The only thing that will benefit you now is meditation on God.
'Every part of the body decays, and a foul smell comes from the mouth and nose. The ears lose their power to hear, the eyes water, and your teeth fall out. Your mouth sags and becomes hollow, your hair turns white, you become stooped
14 Hansyog Prakash
and have to walk with a stick, but you are so shameless that even then you do not give up your infatuation with this lump of desires and expectations. Idiot! Even now you can meditate on the Name of God.
'While a man is capable of earning money, he will be attached to his family. He devotes his all wealth to serving them. They are his God. However, when his body weakens and he no longer has the ability to earn, nobody in his family will even ask after him. So you should regard this world as illusory and superfluous and only meditate on God.
'If you don't, you will have to take many future births, die again and again, and suffer the burning heat of the womb. To be freed from all these troubles, pray to God and meditate on Him constantly.
'Day follows night and night follows day. Days turn into weeks, and months pass. Seasons come and go, and the years roll by, but hopes and expectations never die. Every day they take new shapes and forms, making puppets of us. However, they do die when you meditate on God.
'If a pool dries up, it won't be called a pool any longer. When your money is spent, you'll have no family to call your own. When you realize self, however, the world will look different to you, but this can happen only when you meditate on God.
'Don't get caught up in infatuation for a woman. You will go astray and not be able to find the way out. The body is only flesh. Think over this carefully and often, and resolve to meditate on God.
'Think about it ! Who is really your friend, your wife, your son? To whom do you really belong in this weird
The Cage of Misery 15
world? Where did you come from? O brother! Think about this and meditate on God.
'Who are you? From where did you come into this world? Who is your mother and who is your father? Think about it carefully and form a reasonable opinion. Regard the world as a dream, renounce expectations and meditate on God.
'You think that short-lived pleasures are the real things, so you indulge yourself in all kinds of pleasures. Then the body becomes prey to diseases. Although we see that Death swallows everybody, we don't stop doing wrong. Where is the peace in this ? You can find the way back when you meditate on God.
'While you have breath in your body, your loved ones will take care of you, but once life departs from the body, you become a useless burden to them. Therefore, don't pin any hopes on those who relate only to your physical self. Know the body to be short lived and meditate on God.
'When a person realizes that the world is nothing but composition of sufferings, he renounces it. He may do penances, bear the heat of the sun, pass cold nights with his head between his knees, eat only what he gets from begging and live under a tree. Even then he cannot be freed from the trap of expectations.
'You should stop doing both good and evil. If you get something to eat, then eat it. If not then go hungry. You should not be upset by anything concerning yourself or others. Simply meditate on God.
'You may live under a tree beside the Ganges with only the ground for a bed and a deerskin to wear. You may
16 Hansyog Prakash
renounce family and all such enjoyments, and even be unattached to them, but without meditation you cannot gain true happiness.
'You may have matted hair or shave it all off. You may wear saffron robs and sit in different postures, but all this is just for show. Anyone who has done this knows that it does not bring spiritual peace. But we don't understand the folly of this, as we don't have the eyes to see. The only benefit lies in meditation.
'People read scriptures and study thousands of names of God, but even then they don't have the desire to know truth. They think that spiritual progress and benefit lie in study alone. They don't know what God really is, nor do they meditate on Him. They don't praise Him nor keep holy company. They don't remove the suffering of others by giving money to the poor. O fool! Meditate on God now !
'If you read the Gita and give it a little discriminating thought, you would drink a few drops of the Ganges of satsang. The point is, you should keep the company of the holy and realize your soul. How can death have any power over you if you worship God? Unfortunate fellow ! Even now, it is not too late to meditate on God.
'You may bathe at all the holy places, do all kinds of fasts and give alms, but without knowledge of God it is all useless. You will not be able to break the chains of worldly bondage, nor will you be freed from the cycle of birth and death, because the quintessence of everything is meditation on God. Therefore meditate and do your utmost to break out of this cage of misery'
- Bhaj Govindam by Shri Shankaracharya
What is the purpose of our life?
We are all busy in our individual activities. We may be doing something at all, but to what extent are we doing our duties properly? Generally, people do not work properly. Everyone has, to some extent or other, ignored his duty. Have people forgotten their real duty? Yes ! The vast majority have indeed forgotten.
Why are we alive? What is the purpose of our life? What is our prime duty? People's, actions are usually governed by time and place, but the ultimate purpose of life can never be conditioned by these. A fish cannot do anything without water, because it cannot live out of water, Similarly, while we are living in this world, our objectives will be limited to those which can be fulfilled in the world.
Another point to consider is that the human race has been in existence for thousands of years, and is likely to continue for thousands more. So the true aim of life must be something which can be fulfilled at any point of time. It definitely cannot be something which is restricted by time and place and political upheavals.
So, taking all this into consideration, what, do you think, is the paramount aim of our life? What is our destiny? It may be said that this aim is purely temporal, such as making money, adorning oneself with all kinds of titles and degrees, or amassing honour and material prosperity. In the
18 Hansyog Prakash
worldly sense, this may indeed seem to be the case, and we see people labouring day and night to achieve it. Indeed, what else could they do?
However, if we give it a bit of careful thought, we will discover that the reality is something altogether different. It is a great mistake to think temporal activities could ever fulfill our life's ideal.
A place is regarded as appropriate or conducive for a certain activity if that activity can be completed there without too much interference. If there is a possibility of abandoning the work because of insurmountable obstacles, then we haven't found the right place for that action. This applies to working for worldly goals such as wealth and honour. Going after wealth, honour, titles and reputation will always bring hindrances, mental torments and worries in tow.
Firstly, just acquiring these things means facing great problems. Secondly, keeping a safe hold on them involves special worries. You can suffer financial loss and damage to your health, even to the point of death.
Just thinking about it is enough to scare person. These facts are no secret. Most of our titled and wealthy gentleman know it well.
The prime example of this is amassing wealth. Most people consider this to be their prime duty. But just see what physical, mental and spiritual strain is involved ! Even if all this can be endured, how many people actually succeed in getting rich ? Very few are able to get as much as they want. Moreover, after going through so much trouble to get it, you cannot keep it for very long. When you die, every-
What is the purpose of our life 19
thing turns to dust. A king today may be penniless tomorrow. A billionaire today may be begging door-to-door tomorrow.
The same goes for titles and honour. To acquire them involves all kinds of physical, mental and spiritual problems, often with damage to health and wealth. Even if you succeed, your life is spent worrying about how to maintain your prestige. In addition to this, social and political upheaval can break you. So after thinking over these things, we have to conclude that getting rich or going after name and fame can never be the aim of our life.
What can it be, then? Consider that whatever we do has a good or bad influence on us, irrespective of whether it furthers our purpose in life or not. Is there an ideal or objective which will not be affected by our actions? Is there something which is unaffected by actions? Such a thing has to be related to soul. As far as accumulating wealth, titles and honour are concerned, you may succeed or fail, but the method you employ to get them definitely uplifts or degrades your soul. Obviously, the principal aim of life is spiritual upliftment, which is something which the wheel of time or socio-political changes cannot obstruct.
Worldly activities are full of cares. Some actions cause financial loss, and some cause mental disturbances. Some people have reached their lowest ebb. Spiritual upliftment is the only objective which can give true peace and happiness.
Now you may ask that if spiritual upliftment is the true purpose of life and our real duty, and if it is not troublesome but, on the contrary, bestows maximum bliss, then
20 Hansyog Prakash
why did the great saints have to undergo such tremendous suffering? Weren't Socrates and Jesus Christ great Masters? Why was one poisoned and the other crucified ? Why did they had to endure them that they had to kill them?
They were highly elevated souls, whose ideas completely opposed those of their times, and they severely attacked contemporary society. For this they were put to death. However, bear it in mind that we shouldn't try to judge them from our limited viewpoint. Such extremely elevated souls were far ahead of their time. We can't imagine experiencing even in the distant future what they were experiencing all the time. What we consider painful or enjoyable is not so for them. Their sorrow or happiness is related to something else. A small child can experience only his own unhappiness, not other.' When he grows up, he comes to feel not only his own sadness, but that of his compatriots and society as a whole, as if it were his own. When we evolve spiritually, we automatically think about relieving the suffering of others.
The great souls have reached the pinnacle of spiritual evolution. They consider all mankind their own family. They don't care about their own personal joys and sorrows, but are totally involved in relieving the sufferings of others. They are even prepared to sacrifice their own lives for this cause. Thus they realize God, which gives a thousand times more pleasure than our short-lived pleasures. This experience is beyond the scope of our limited intelligence. The things which make us miserable don't affect them. It is a great mistake to think that the persecuted Masters were ever
What is the purpose of our life 21
in distress. Poison is a harmful and dreaded thing for us, but it was nectar for sages such as Socrates as they fulfilled their role in life. Such saints derive their joy from something else. Their minds are not as narrow and confined as ours. The characters of these great souls teach us that the most sacred work and the greatest aim of our life is to elevate and strengthen our spirit. This is the best way to achieve real happiness and perfect peace.
How King Janak received knowledge
The great sage King Janak had a dream in which he was starving and suffering greatly. He reflected, "Is my waking state of being a king is true, or is the dream state of being a beggar is true?" He considered both to be false, so he resolved to find out what is Truth.
He called all the scholars, philosophers, sages, saints and spiritual teachers of the time and asked, "What is Truth?" None could answer him satisfactorily.
There was a boy named Ashtavakra whose body was crooked in eight places. He came to King Janak's Court. When everyone saw his deformed limbs they started laughing, whereupon the boy said, " Today I have come into an assembly of cobblers !"
Of course, everyone took offence at that. How dare he call an assembly of learned philosophers a gathering of cobblers ! The king asked him how he could be so rude. Ashtavakra said, "They only know about skin. If they knew about Soul they would not have laughed."
King Janak placed the child on the throne and humbly asked, "Sir, what is the soul? Please reveal Spiritual Knowledge to me."
Ashtavakra replied, "Your Majesty, none of these
24 Hansyog Prakash
philosophers can ever realize this Knowledge, even though they may try their whole life. So how can I tell you?" The King said, "I call nothing my own, except my mind, which I now surrender to you." Ashtavakra was pleased at this, and revealed to the king the way to plunge his mind into meditation on the soul within.
The need of a 'Guru'
Every soul is destined to be perfect, and every being, in the end, will attain the state of perfection. What ever we are now, is the result of our acts and thoughts in the past, and what we shall be in the future will be the result of what we think and do now. But this, the shaping of our own destinies, does not preclude our receiving help from outside; nay, in the vast majority of cases such help is absolutely necessary. When it comes, the higher powers and possibilities of the soul are quickened, spiritual life is awakened, growth is animated, and man becomes holy and perfect in the end.
This quickening impulse cannot be derived from books. The soul can only receive impulses from another soul, and from nothing else. We may study books all our lives, we may become very intellectual, but in the end we find that we have not developed at all spiritually. It is not true that a high order of intellectual development always goes hand in hand with a proportionate development of the spiritual side in man. In studying books we are sometimes deluded into thinking that thereby we are being spiritually helped; but if we analyse the effect of the study of books on ourselves, we shall find that at the most, it is only our intellect that derives profit from such studies, and not our inner spirit. This inadequacy of books to quicken spiritual growth is the reason why, although almost everyone of us can speak most
26 Hansyog Prakash
wonderfully on spiritual matters, when it comes to action and the living of a truly spiritual-life, we find ourselves so awfully deficient. To quicken the spirit, the impulse must come from another soul.
The person from whose soul such impulse comes is called the Guru, the teacher, and the person to whose soul the impulse is conveyed is called the shishya, the student. To convey such an impulse to any soul in the first place, the soul from which it proceeds must possess the power of transmitting it as it were, to another; and, in the second place, the soul to which it is transmitted must be fit to receive it. The seed must be a living seed, and the field must be ready and ploughed; and when both these conditions are fulfilled a wonderful growth of genuine religion takes place. The true preacher of religion has to be of wonderful capabilities and clever should his hearer be ("") and when both of these are really wonderful and extraordinary, then there will be a splendid awakening, and not otherwise. Such alone are the real teachers, and such alone are also the real students, the real aspirants. All others are only playing with spirituality. They have just a little curiousity awakened, just a little intellectual aspiration kindled on them, but are merely standing on the outward fringe of the horizon of religion. There is, no doubt, some value even in that, as it may in course of time result in the awakening of a real thirst for religion; and it is a mysterious law of nature that, as soon as the field is ready, the seed must and does come. As soon as the soul earnestly desires to have religion, the transmitter of the religious force must and does appear to help
The need of a 'Guru' 27
that soul. When the power that attracts the light of religion in the receiving soul is full and strong, the power which answers to that attraction and sends in light does come as a matter of course.
There are, however, certain great dangers in the way. There is, for instance, the danger to the receiving soul of its mistaking momentary emotions for real religious yearning. We may study that in ourselves. Many a time in our lives somebody dies whom we loved; we receive a blow; we feel that the world is slipping between our fingers, that we want something surer and higher, and that we must become religious. In a few days that wave of feeling passes away and we are left stranded just where we were before. All of us often mistaking such impulses for real thirst after religion; but as long as these momentary emotions are thus mistaken, that continuous, real craving of the soul for religion will not come, and we shall not find the true infuser of spirituality into our nature. So, wherever we are tempted to complain of our search after the truth for which we desire so much, proving vain, instead of so complaining, our first duty ought to be to look into our own souls, and find whether the craving in the heart is real. Then, in the vast majority of cases it would be discovered that we were not fit for receiving the truth, that there was no real thirst for spirituality.
There are still greater dangers in regard to the transmitter, the Guru. There are many who, though immersed in ignorance, yet in their pride, fancy that they know everything, and not only do they not stop there, but offer to take others on their shoulders and thus, the blind leading the
28 Hansyog Prakash
blind, both fall into the ditch. The Mundaka Upanishad (l.ii.8.) says, Fools dwelling in darkness, wise in their own conceit, and puffed up with vain knowledge, go round and round staggering to and for, like blind men leading the blind. The world is full of these. Everyone wants to be a teacher; every beggar wants to make a gift of a million dollars. Just as these beggars are ridiculous so are these teachers.
Qualifications of the aspirant and the Teacher
How are we to know a teacher then? The sun requires no torch to make it visible; we need not light a candle in order to see it. When the sun rises, we instinctively become aware of the fact, and when a teacher of men comes to help us, the soul will instinctively know that truth has already begun to shine upon it. Truth stands on its own evidence; it does not require any other testimony to prove it "true;" it is self-effulgent. It penetrates into the innermost corners of our nature, and in its presence the whole universe stands up and says. "This is truth." The teachers whose wisdom and truth shine like the light of the sun, are the very greatest the world has known, and they are worshipped as God by the major portion of mankind. But we may get help from comparatively lesser ones also, only we ourselves do not possess intuition enough to judge properly that man from whom we receive teaching and guidance; so there ought to be certain tests, certain conditions, for the teacher to satisfy as there are also for the taught.
The conditions necessary for the taught are purity, a real
The need of a 'Guru' 29
thirst after knowledge, and perseverance. No impure soul can be really religious. Purity in thought, speech and deed is absolutely necessary for anyone to be religious. With regards to the thirst after knowledge, it is an old law that all of us get whatever we want. None of us can get anything other than what we fix our hearts upon. To truly pant for religion is a very difficult thing, and not at all as easy as we generally imagine. Hearing religious talks, reading religious books, is no proof of a real want felt in the heart; there must be a continuous struggle, a constant fight, an unremitting grappling with our lower nature, till the higher want is actually felt and the victory is achieved. It is not a question of one or two days, of years or of lives; the struggle may have to go on for hundred of lifetimes. The success sometimes may come immediately, but we must be ready to wait patiently even for what may look like an infinite length of time. The student who sets out with such a spirit of perseverance, will surely find success and realization.
In regard to the teacher, we must see that he knows the spirit of the scriptures. The whole world reads Bibles, Vedas and Korans, but they are only words, syntax, etymology, philology-the dry bones of religion. The teacher who deals too much in words and allows the mind to be carried by the force of words, loses the spirit. It is the knowledge of the spirit of the scriptures alone that constitutes the true religious teacher. The network of the words of the scriptures is like a huge forest, in which the human mind often loses itself and finds no way out. The network of words is a big forest; it is the cause of more wandering of the mind
30 Hansyog Prakash
(Shankaracharya). The various methods of joining words, the various methods of speaking in beautiful language, the various methods of explaining in the diction of the scriptures, are only for disputation of and enjoyment of the learned. They are not conducive to the development of spiritual perception.
Those who employ such methods to impart religion to others are only desirous to show off their learning, so that the world may praise them as great scholars. You will find that none of the great teachers of the world has ever went into these various explanations of the texts; there is no attempt with them at 'text-torturing', no eternal playing upon the meaning of words and their roots. Yet they taught nobly, while others, who have nothing to teach, have sometimes even taken up a single word and written a three-volume book on its origin, on the man who used it first, and on what that man was accustomed to eat, and how long he slept, and so on.
Shri Ramakrishna used to tell a story of some men who went into a mango orchard and busied themselves in counting the leaves, the twigs, and the branches, examining their colour, comparing their sizes and noting everything down most carefully and then starting a learned discussion on each of these topics, which were undoubtedly highly interesting to them. But one of them more sensible than the others, did not care for all these things, and instead began to eat the fruit itself. And was he not wise? So leave this counting of leaves and twigs and note-taking to others. This kind of work has its proper place, but not here in the spiritual
The need of a 'Guru' 31
domain. You never see a strong spiritual man among these 'leaf-counters'. Religion, the highest aim, the highest glory of man, does not require as much labour as 'leaf-counting'. If you want to be a real devotee, it is not at all necessary for you to know whether Krishna was born in Mathura or in Vrija; what he was doing, or the exact date on which he pronounced the teaching of the Gita. You only require to feel the craving for the beautiful lessons of duty and love in the Gita. All the other particulars about it and its author are for the enjoyment of the learned. Let them have what they desire. Say "Santih Santih" to their learned controversies, and let us eat the mangoes !
The second condition necessary in the teacher is sinlessness. The question is often asked, "Why should we look into the character and personality of a teacher? We have only to judge what he says, and take that up." That is not right. If a man wants to teach me dynamics or chemistry, or any other physical science, he may be anything he likes, because what the physical sciences require is merely the intellectual equipment. However, in spiritual science it is impossible from first to last, that there can be any spiritual light in the soul which is impure. What religion can an impure man teach? The sine qua non of acquiring spiritual truth for oneself, or for imparting it to others, is purity of heart and soul. A vision of God, or a glimpse of the beyond, can never come until the soul is pure, and then alone comes the value of a teacher's words, because only then is he the true 'transmitter.' What can he transmit if he has no spiritual power in himself? There must be the worthy
32 Hansyog Prakash
vibration of spirituality in the mind of the teacher so that it may be sympathetically conveyed to the mind of the taught. The function of the teacher is indeed an affair of the transference of something and not one of mere stimulation of the existing intellectual or other faculties in the taught. Something real and appreciable as an influence comes from the teacher and goes to the taught. Therefore, the teacher must be pure.
The third condition is with regard to the motive. The teacher must not teach with any ulterior selfish motive, such as money, name or fame. His work must be simply out of love, out of pure love for mankind at large. The only medium through which spiritual force can be transmitted is love. Any selfish motive, such as the desire for gain or for name will immediately destroy this conveying medium. God is love and only he who has known God thus can be a teacher of godliness and God to man.
When you see that in your teacher all these conditions are fulfilled, you are safe; if they are not, it is unsafe to allow, yourself to be taught by him, for there is a great danger that, if he cannot convey goodness to your heart, he may convey wickedness. You must guard yourself against this danger by all means. He who is learned in the scriptures, sinless, unpolluted by lust and is the greatest knower of Brahman is the real teacher.
From what has been said, it naturally follows that not everyone can be taught to love, appreciate and assimilate religion everywhere. The 'sermons in the stones, books in the running brooks, and good in everything, may be all very
The need of a 'Guru' 33
well as a poetical figure of speech, but no man can impart to another a single grain of truth unless the other has undeveloped or latent germs of it within himself. To whom do the stones and brooks preach sermons? To the human soul whose lotus of the inner holy shrine is already quick with life. And the light which causes the beautiful opening up of this lotus comes always from the good and wise teacher. When the heart has thus been opened, it becomes fit to receive teaching from the stones or the brooks, the stars or the sun or the moon or from anything which has its existence in our divine universe, but the unopened heart will see in them nothing but mere stones or mere brooks. A blind man may go to a museum, but he will not profit by it in any way. His eyes must be opened up first, and then alone he will be able to learn what the things in that museum can teach.
The person who opens the eyes of the aspirant is the teacher. Our relationship with the teacher, therefore, is the same as that between an ancestor and his descendant. Without faith, humility, submission and veneration in our hearts towards our religious teacher, there cannot be any growth of religion in us. It is a significant fact that, where this kind of relation between the teacher and the taught prevails, there alone spiritual giants are in the making, while in those countries which have neglected to keep up this kind of relationship, the religious teacher has become a mere lecturer, the teacher expecting his five dollars, and the person taught expecting his brain to be filled with the teacher's words and each going his own way after this much has been done. Under such circumstances spirituality becomes al-
34 Hansyog Prakash
most an unknown quantity. There is nobody to transmit it, and none to receive it. Religion for such people becomes business. They think they can get it with their dollars, but unfortunately it cannot be.
Religion, which is the highest knowledge and the highest wisdom, cannot be bought, nor can it be acquired from books. You may thrust your head into all the corners of the world; you may explore the Himalayas, the Alps and the Caucasus. You may sound the depths of the sea and pry into every nook of Tibet and the Gobi Desert, but you will not find it anywhere, until your heart is ready for receiving it and your teacher has come. And when that divinely-appointed teacher comes, serve him with childlike confidence and simplicity; freely open your heart to his influence and see in him God manifested. Those who seek Truth with such feeling of love and veneration are revealed the most wonderful things regarding Truth, Goodness and Beauty by the Lord of Truth Himself.
Incarnate Teachers and Incarnations
Wherever His Name is spoken, that very place is holy. How much holier is the man who speaks It, and with what veneration should we approach him, from whom spiritual truth comes to us ! Such great spiritual teachers are indeed very few in number, but the world is never altogether without them. They are always the fairest flowers of human life. They are the ocean of mercy without any motive. 'Know the Guru to be Me' says Lord Krishna in the Gita. The moment the world is absolutely bereft of these, it will become a hideous hell and
The need of a 'Guru' 35
hasten on to its destruction.
Even higher and nobler than the ordinary ones are another set of Teachers, the Avatars of Ishvara. They can transmit spirituality with a thought, even with a mere wish. The lowest and most degraded characters within one second can become saints at their command. They are the Teachers of all teachers, the highest manifestations of God through man. We cannot see God except through them. We cannot help worshipping them; and indeed they are the only ones whom we are bound to worship.
No man can really see God except through these human manifestations. If we try to see God otherwise, we make for ourselves a hideous caricature of Him and believe it to be no worse than the original. There is a story about an ignorant man who was asked to fashion an image of the god Shiva, and who, after days of hard struggle, manufactured only the image of a donkey. So whenever we try to think of God as He is, in His absolute perfection, we invariably meet with the most miserable failure; because as long as we are men we cannot conceive Him as anything higher than man. The time will come when we shall transcend our human nature and know Him as He is, but as long as we are bound by our human nature we must worship Him in man and as man. Talk as you may, try as you may, you cannot think of God except as a man. You may deliver great intellectual discourses on God and on all things under the sun. You may become a great rationalist and prove to your satisfaction that all these accounts of the Avataras of God as man, are nonsense. But let us come for a moment to
36 Hansyog Prakash
practical common-sense. What is there behind this kind of remarkable intellect? Zero. Nothing. Only so much froth. When next you hear someone delivering a great intellectual lecture against worshipping the Avataras of God, get hold of him and ask him what his idea of God is and what he understands by the terms 'omnipotence' and 'omnipresence', and all similar terms, beyond the spelling of the words. He really means nothing by them; he cannot formulate as their meaning any idea unaffected by his own human nature. He is no better off in this matter than the man in the street who has not read a single book. That man in the street, however, at least does not disturb the peace of others; while this big talker creates disturbance and misery among mankind. Religion is, after all, realization, and we must make the sharpest distinction between talk and intuitive experience. What we experience in the depths of our souls is realization. Nothing indeed is so uncommon as common sense in regard to this matter.
By our present constitution we are limited and bound to see God as man. If, for instance, the buffaloes want to worship God, they will, in keeping with their own nature, see Him as a huge buffalo. If a fish wants to worship God, it will have to form an idea of Him as a big fish, and man has to think of Him as man. These various conceptions are not due to a morbidly active imagination. Man, the buffalo and the fish may be supposed to represent so many different vessels, so to say. All these vessels go to the sea of God to get filled with water, each according to its own shape and capacity. In the man, the water takes the shape of man, in the
The need of a 'Guru' 37
buffalo the shape of a buffalo, and the fish the shape of a fish. In each of these vessel there is the same water of the sea of God. When men see him, they see him as a man, and the animals, if they have any conception of God at all, must see him as an animal, each according to its own ideal. So we cannot help seeing God as man, and, therefore, we are bound to worship Him as man. There is no other way.
Two kinds of men do not worship God as man: the human brute who has no religion, and the Paramhansa, who has risen beyond all the weakness of humanity and has transcended the limits of his own human nature. He alone can worship God as He is. To him all nature has become his own self.
Here too, as in all other cases, the two extremes meet. The extreme of ignorance and the other extreme of knowledge, neither of these go through acts of worship. The human brute does not worship because of his ignorance, and the 'jiyanmuktas'(free souls) do not worship because they have realized God in themselves. Being between these two poles of existence, if anyone tells you that he is not going to worship God as man, kindly take care of that person. He is to say the least, an irresponsible talker, whose religion is for the unsound and empty brain.
God understands human failings and becomes man to do good to humanity.
38 Hansyog Prakash
'Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails I manifest myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil and to save the good, I come from Age to Age. Fools deride me who has assumed the human form, not knowing My real nature as the Lord of the Universe.'
Such is Shri Krishna's declaration in the Gita on incarnation. "When a huge tidal wave comes," says Shri Ramakrishna, "all the little brooks and ditches become full to the brim without any effort of consciousness on their own part; so when an incarnation comes, a tidal wave of spirituality breaks upon the world, and people feel spirituality almost full in the air."
Hymn of Praise to the Living Master
Jai Gurudev, Maharaj Ji,
Your glory fills the whole world,
Protector of the weary and the weak,
You bring the death of attachment,
You bring the mind true detachment,
Save us from the ocean deep.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev
Creator, Preserver, Destroyer,
Bow their heads and pray to You,
All bow and pray to you,
Scriptures sing your glory,
Scriptures sing your sweet story,
Your virtues are ever true
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev
Chanting, fasting, charity austerity
Will never bring you knowledge of the Soul,
Will never reveal your Soul
Without the grace of Satguru,
Without the Knowledge of Satguru
Rites and rituals won't reach the goal.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
In the river of bondage to Maya
All are swept out to sea,
All are sinking in the depths of the sea,
Guru's boat is the Holy Name,
40 Hansyog Prakash
Guru's ship is the Holy Word
In seconds he has set us free.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Anger, desire, attachment rob us of eternal life.
Take away our heavenly life,
Satguru gives true Knowledge,
Satguru is eternal Knowledge
The sword that kills our problem life.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Religions harp their own glory
And call me to follow their own path,
Welcome me to follow their own way,
The essence of all was revealed,
The seed of all was revealed,
I walk on the True Way today.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Nectar from Satguru's Feet is so holy
And it cleans us of our sins,
So sacred in cleaning us of sins,
When he speaks, darkness flies away,
When he speaks, darkness cannot stay,
Doubts removed, new life then begins.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Mine, thine, wealth, health
Give them to the Lotus Feet of Love,
Give them to the Lotus Feet of the Lord,
Give yourself to Satguru,
Sacrifice your all to Satguru,
Be united with the blissful Truth.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Bible, Gita, the Koran sing the glory of your Name,
They all sing the glory of your Name,
Angels sing you glory,
Heavenly hosts sing your praises,
They find no end to your fame.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Desires have robbed me and left me
In the darkness of the night,
Trapped me in the darkness of the night
Guru gives Holy Name and Light,
Guru gives Holy Name and sight
Cross the ocean by his Love and Light.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
Many past forms you have taken,
Now we have come in your control,
Again you have come to save the soul.
In this time of darkness,
To lead your devotees from darkness
You have come as 'Hansa' the Pure Soul.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
So come to the shelter of Guru's grace,
Come with your heart and your soul,
Bring him your heart and your soul,
Cross the worldly ocean,
cross it by your devotion,
And attain the supreme goal.
Jai Dev, Jai Satgurudev.
To The Master
I bow humbly in worship to the Lotus Feet of my Master, who is the Lord Himself.
The spiritual Master is the source of all happiness. He is the true personification of Knowledge. Like the omnipresent sky, he is beyond duality. He is the essence of everything. He is the ever present, all-merciful, unshaken, omniscient witness of the universe. He is beyond thought and above emotion. He is not bound by the three attributes of Nature - Sat (balance) Raj (excitation) and Tam (inertia).
0 Satguru ! I bow to you !
I bow to the dust of my Master's Feet. Because of him, all my difficulties faded away, the Lord Himself appeared before me and my mind became pure.
I bow to the Lotus Feet of my Guru, who is the fountain of joy and good fortune. A man who is the humble servant of his spiritual Master crosses the ocean of delusion without difficulty.
Countless difficulties are removed simply by remembering the Master. That is why saints remember him before they begin any action.
The all-powerful Master shows the True Path to a person such as me, who is full of badness, totally lacking in virtue and whose mind is stubborn.
O my Master ! you are the Almighty Lord ! Please
44 Hansyog Prakash
hold my hand tightly and land me to the end of this Path. Please don't let go of me in midstream.
0 Lord, please don't forsake us ! We are all drowning in the ocean of materialism. If you do not hold on to us, we will be swept away. The heart is like an ocean. It is very difficult to comprehend, as there are countless waves in it. Who else except the compassionate Master can help us to cross the ocean and safely reach the far shore?
I have made countless mistakes, and still have not grown tired of making them. Lord, Please, either forgive your servant, or let Death take me. I have been doing wrong ever since my birth. I am full of vices. Only you, the Merciful One, can remove my pain. Please take care of me.
My mind is not steeped in love for you. I do not behave properly. Still I don't understand why you allow me to live in your shelter.
I am ashamed of myself. How can I please you when I know that I am committing mistake right in front of you? How can I pray to you?
0 Master, Lord of Lords ! I ask for nothing more than to serve you day and night. If only I might see you, I would tell you all my sufferings, and rest my head on your holy Feet.
I bow to the Lotus Feet of my Master, who has removed the darkness of ignorance with his injection of Knowledge. I bow to him, who has revealed to me the Knowledge. I bow to him, who has revealed to me the Knowledge of the Ultimate Reality which pervades the entire animate and inanimate universe.
To The Master 45
I am in the shelter of the Master
Lord, I bow to your Lotus Feet. I have come to your shelter, my Master. Obeisance to you ! You cure the three types of suffering that one finds in the world, i.e. disease, disaster and spiritual ignorance.
You remove all our fears. You are the very embodiment of blessedness, and the source of bliss. You are Lord Shiva, the source from whom the endless Nectar flows.
You are the Generator, Preserver and Destroyer of the Universe, the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings. You reside within all beings. I do not have the capacity to remember you nor meditate on you.
You are concealed in the cave of the heart, yet you expand to fill the universe. You reveal yourself to be pure consciousness Itself. I bow before you.
You are the all-pervading Lord of all creatures, and the saviour of your devotees. You are unique, incomparable and beyond time. You are the one to whom all prayers are directed. You dwell within yet remain invisible to us. Through your Grace one can master all the Yogic powers. You reveal the highest Knowledge. You are the pinnacle of glory and sp endour. I bow to you, my Master.
I am extremely fortunate to have found my Master. He his removed all doubts from my mind. I have found within myself that which I was looking for in the external world. I have been shown the supreme Light of God which shines within all beings.
46 Hansyog Prakash
The bondage of many lifetimes is thus torn asunder, and the suffering of births in non-human species has been erased.
St. Brahmananda says that, someone who has dedicated himself at the Feet of his Master feels even more appreciation for the Master than for God.
People talk a lot about Gurus, but only that person who can remove doubts from our minds can be called a Guru. There are many religious teachers in this world, who are able to relieve you of your money but not your sufferings.
First test the teacher, and only then receive initiation and become his disciple. Anyone who adopts a teacher without first scrutinizing him is sure to drown in the worldly ocean.
Even in a moment of forgetfulness, do not follow a teacher if he is a sinner, a hypocrite, an atheist, wicked, proud, critical, unsteady of mind, cunning, lustful, angry by nature, argumentative, greedy, unbalanced, given to partiality, or deceit. Keep well away from such a person.
How should a spiritual Master be?
He should have realized the secrets of the Ultimate Reality, and should help others without looking for any reward. He should teach the path of spirituality. He should be full of forgiveness, compassion and contentment, think the highest thoughts and be free from pride and worldliness.
If you find such a Master and serve him, all fears of birth and death will vanish.
Once upon a time there was a Spiritual Master called Dadu Ji. He was very old and wise, a woodcutter by trade. Many people came to him from all over the land to receive the practical Knowledge of the soul.
In that kingdom there lived a very rich man, who was nearing the end of his life. He thought to himself, "I haven't very long to live. I had better find myself a guru before it is too late." He had never looked for Truth in his life, but now that death was approaching, he thought of the scriptures and remembered that they all advised that one should follow a spiritual Master. He had heard that Dadu Ji was a great saint, and decided to find him and to ask for knowledge.
He mounted his horse and galloped off. When he came to the forest, he saw an old man cutting wood and decided to ask him the way.
"Tell me, old man, where can I find Dadu Ji? But the old man was hard of hearing and did not answer. The rich man
48 Hansyog Prakash
impatiently gave the old man a shove and galloped off.
At last he came to the house of an old woman. He asked her where he might find the great sage Dadu Ji.
"Why, didn't you see an old man back there, chopping wood? That was Daduji himself!" she said.
The rich man was shocked. He returned to the woodcutter as fast as he could. When he reached there, the old man was still chopping wood.
The rich man jumped off his horse and fell at the feet of Dadu Ji, weeping his heart out and begging for pardon.
Dadu Ji only smiled. "There, there, my son. It's perfectly alright." He said.
Then he explained, "When you go to market to buy a piece of crockery, you must first tap the piece soundly to see if it is made properly. If it rings true, you know it is safe to buy it. In the same way, before you accept someone as your master, it is good to test him. You pushed me to see how I was, so perhaps you can accept me now and follow my teaching."
A disciple should meditate with intense love in the region of the 'thousand-petalled lotus' on the Master, who is the Supreme Lord manifested to reveal Spiritual knowledge and who removes the obstacles on the disciple's path.
The only purpose of the Scriptures is to direct us to unite the soul with God. A disciple who serves his master devotedly is saturated in Divine Bliss. If this were not so, you could not recognize the Master. Who is accomplished? A person may be physically beautiful. He may have a
How should a Spiritual Master be? 49
large number of relatives. He may be as rich as Croesus. He may have learned the Scriptures by heart. He may be an accomplished poet. He may be highly respected at home and abroad, and even royalty may bow to him. He may be tolerant, peace-loving and naturally of good character. He may be able to pass his nights in the company of beautiful women with his mind beyond attachment to worldly pleasures. Even though he possesses great wealth, high rank or even a kingdom, his mind may be steady. Living in a forest or town may be all the same to him.
However, even possessing all these virtues, if he cannot attach his mind to the holy feet of the Master and serve him, then he has achieved nothing. Nothing! Nothing!!
Anyone who reads and reflects upon this can derive great benefit. If he acts on these lines, his mind will definitely become attached to the Master's Feet.
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master
How can I describe the Spiritual Master? How can one like me as ignorant as I, possibly understand him who is beyond all illusion? How can my dull wits explain that greatness which is beyond comprehension? About him even the scriptures can only say, 'Not this, not this'. He is beyond my understanding, therefore I bow to him from afar.
O Master ! Please at least give me the strength to understand you. I had hoped to praise you and I wished to worship you within the limit of maya, but illusion is incapable of serving you, so what can I do? I have no faith left in illusion, so, Master, just be as you are.
People cannot imagine the Supreme Soul, so they have to contend with statues, Each person concentrates on God according to his personal taste. In the same way, I will have to utilize this illusion to sing the glory of my Master.
O Master ! All praise to you ! All glory to you ! O Lord of the Universe, Source of all creation, Supreme Personality, Bestower of salvation, Friend of the humble and poor ! Only our blessing can dispel this powerful illusion, as the sun's rays dispel darkness. The sun chases away the darkness which at night comes back. Our Master is not like that. He destroys forever the cycle of births and deaths, and uproots the darkness of ignorance once and for all.
52 Hansyog Prakash
A piece of gold can never be a piece of iron. In the same way, a true devotee can never become a victim of doubt. Any river which merges with the Ganges also takes the name 'Ganges'. It becomes the Ganges and can never be separated from it again. Only before it unites with the Ganges it has its another name.
The touchstone can turn iron into gold, but it cannot turn it into a touchstone like itself. However, through the initiation which he gives, the Master can turn others into Masters. The disciple can attain the position of Master. So there is a big difference between the Master and a touchstone. The touchstone can only turn iron into gold, whereas the Master unites the disciple with himself in knowledge.
We cannot compare the Master with Mount Olympus, for mountains are made of rock, whereas the Master is soft with mercy for his devotees.
We cannot say that he is like the sky, for he is infinitely more subtle.
Nor can we compare him with the earth, for one day the earth will be destroyed, but the Master's patience lasts forever. The sun, too, has its limits, but the Master is limitless. The Light of his knowledge is much greater than sunlight.
Nor can I compare the Master with Atlas, for Atlas carries the burden of the world on its shoulders, while the Master is free of burdens.
He cannot be compared with water, because eventually water will dry up. Why should anyone who already has peace of mind need a Chintamani (a glittering jewel mentioned in the scriptures
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 53
which is supposed to take away all worries)? A person who has no desires has no need for a wish-fulfilling tree.
We cannot call the Master 'wealthy', because what need has he of worldly wealth, when at his command is wealth of liberation? Even the wealth of Heaven may perish, but the Master's blessing are everlasting.
The powers of creation, preservation and destruction may fail, but the Knowledge revealed by the Master is everlasting.
What is there to compare with him? Everything in this world is mortal. The Master is beyond the limits of creating and it is impossible to describe him.
My way to describe his glory is to say that his glory can never be described ! Only a person who has had inner personal experience can appreciate this dilemma.
My Master is the incarnate Lord of this time. I bow before him, the embodiment of Supreme Bliss, the Revealer of the meaning of the scriptures, and the Remover of ignorance.
There is no one greater than spiritual Master, the Giver of Knowledge. Parents give birth to body, but the Master gives us our second birth, into the spiritual Kingdom. This birth is divine, beyond death and eternal. Spiritual knowledge is always fresh and alive.
We have two fathers. One gives us physical birth, and the other gives us spiritual birth, through revealing to us the Knowledge of the Truth. The father who reveals such a Knowledge is far superior, for only God lasts forever, whereas the body dies.
54 Hansyog Prakash
All the riches of this world are nothing compared to the gift of the Holy Word. How can we repay the Master who gives it to us?
The spiritual Master is he who gives us the lamp of true knowledge. He is God incarnate. The folly of taking the Master to be an ordinary human being will render a person's life useless;
A disciple should never go against his Master, no matter what happens, for Master is like mother and father to him. He should never listen to criticism of the Master. He should turn a deaf ear and leave.
The saints say that one should always sit. If he is eating, you should stand afar. Never interrupt his conversation.
When receiving his commands, stand humbly before him, to show respect.
There are many scriptures, and many doubts. The Knowledge of the self is very subtle, and without the help of the Master no one can realize it.
An aspirant who wants to realize his own self should receive Knowledge. Prostrate at the feet of the wise, render them forms of service, and request them sincerely for knowledge. Those Seers of the Truth will reveal it to you.
In the ancient scriptures it is written that knowledge should not be given to a person of unsteady mind.
Only someone whose devotion for the Lord is equalled by his devotion to his Master can realize the Truth. When knowledge is given to someone like this, it will bear fruit.
Bow to the Spiritual Master as often as you can. He can make his devotees become just like him, in the same way as
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 55
the Bhringi wasp transforms other insects into its own shape.
The Master, in his mercy, has shown us things which our eyes could not see. His glory is endless. He is always helping us. He opens our eyes to infinity.
When Master and disciple meet, they mix together like rainfall and river.
Place the Master's Feet on your head, and obey him at all times. Someone who is a true servant of his Master has no fear of anything in the three worlds.
Suppose my Master and God are both standing before me. To whom should I bow first? I am overwhelmed by my Master's Grace, because he has shown me god, and allowed me to realize Him, therefore I should bow to him first.
We can call the Master, even when he is very far away, by means of the Holy word. Our call will reach him, for the Word is always on the move.
O Master ! Nobody can help me as you can, so why should I turn to someone else?
The Master is a potter and the disciple is the pot. To make the pot perfect, the potter supports the clay from inside with one hand and firmly slaps it from outside into shape with the other hand.
The Master builds his castle and decorates it with love. The Holy Word is its window, through which we can also
56 Hansyog Prakash
enjoy the presence of the Lord.
The Master and the Lord are one. Everything else exists on the plane of duality. Therefore, the devotee who worships the Master and dissolves himself in love and service, can meet God.
When you serve the Master, you find shelter. When you have knowledge, you experience the joy of true love, devotion, kindness and faith.
Anyone who thinks that the Master is an ordinary human being is blind. He will always be very unhappy in this world and even death will not relieve him of his sufferings.
It's common sense that Master is greater than God. People who merely think about God stay stuck in the world, but those who have realized what the Master really is, pass beyond suffering, and attain perfect freedom.
If you want to understand the mystery of what I am saying, surrender yourself to the Master. Many people went down the drain because of pride and arrogance.
There is no giver like the Master, and there is no beggar like his disciple. The Master gives his disciple the wealth of heaven and earth.
The root of meditation is the form of the master, and the root of worship is his holy feet. His word is the True Name of God. The beginning of Truth is to have pure and sincere love for the Master.
By coming and going according to the Master's orders, a disciple is freed from cares.
If you look for something in the wrong place you can never find it, but when you seek out the company of the
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master
Master, you will find the Truth. The Path has existed since before time began, but the master shows it to you in a moment.
This body is full of poison, but the master is a well of Nectar, You should realize that to exchange your head for the privilege of following the Master is the best possible bargain, and very cheap at that price.
When the Master is pleased with me and speaks even a single word, a cloud of love showers joy upon me and I am completely drenched.
The Master is a perfect knight. He cuts you from top to bottom with firm strokes. The wounds are not visible externally, but inside, your ego is shattered.
If I shoot someone, he will die, but if the master shoots him with the arrow of the Holy Word, he becomes immortal. The dumb suddenly become eloquent, the deaf can hear and the lame find their legs, when pierced by the Master's arrow.
The Master tells us to go to a wise man, and the wise men tell us to worship the Master. This play allows me to realize the secret of the scriptures, which was otherwise beyond me. Millions of moons or even thousands of suns may rise together, but only by the mercy of the Master can an aspirant see the light which chases away the darkness of ignorance.
The word of the Master is like a ship. Rare are those who can understand this mystery. The ocean and the drop are one. How, then, can I tell the difference between them?
You may do many spiritual practices and make great
58 Hansyog Prakash
sacrifices. You may study many books, but without the Master's help you can never arrive at the Truth, no matter what you do.
Without the Knowledge of the Truth, even godly people and saints, let alone normal human beings, cannot be saved. The creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the Universe also need the mercy of the Lord. What to speak of ordinary beings?
The Master is like sandalwood, and his perfume is the love of the Lord. He distributes it to all those who come to him.
The more time we spend in holy company, the deeper our devotion will become. Everyday our devotion will increase proportionately. There is no stopping it.
The Master gives us self-Knowledge. You should serve him with love and devotion, worship him and give him all your respect and attention.
Gurus who have many monasteries and who are greedy and proud are wicked. They look towards the throne and court the respect of the people. There is neither truth nor substance in them.
By their fruits you shall know them. The marks of a true Master are his self-control, love, discrimination, disinterest in worldliness and impartiality. He is not stubborn. He is peaceful, not given to anger, and treats all people equally. He is always absorbed in the Holy Word. He is love and affection personified. Such a Master is the ultimate destination of the pilgrim. Once you take a dip in his knowledge, all your religious obligations are fulfilled.
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 59
He is the true philosopher's stone. He fulfills all our desires by granting us the gift of devotion.
Master, you are all-powerful, and the only one who can guide us on the True Path. You have saved me from unreality, severed me from my lower nature and made me pure and high.
I was walking a long road. My Master appeared and led me by the hand. When I was tired and sweating, he cooled me, sheltering me with his own shadow.
When an aspirant takes the shelter of the Master, he finds satisfaction, and learns how to behave properly. When he enters the storehouse of knowledge, he finds penances and praises, confessions and chants, prayer, meditation and devotion all lying there.
After I had wandered in ignorance for a long time, my luck changed and I suddenly found my Master. That was the moment when all my fears and ignorance left me.
I was following my mind's guidance into the ditch, but my Master caught my hand and, showing me the Abode of the Lord, even took me with him.
Rare are those who can understand the glory of the Master. He dispels all ignorance and saves us from the results of our actions.
When a person is weary of the cycle of suffering, he can find rest at the feet of the Master. When he remembers the Holy Name, all his needs are fulfilled.
Worship the master and pray to him again and again. He takes us across the ocean of mortality in the boat of the Holy Name.
60 Hansyog Prakash
A Master should be free from selfishness. He should be engrossed in spiritual thought and deeds, helping others all the time.
Such a Master lives in the garden of the world but does not take a single leaf. He distributes the Love of the Lord to all, regardless of caste, colour or creed.
God is Formless, yet all attributes are His. Get the secret of the Holy Word from the Master. Knowledge helps you grow in purity, penance austerity and discipline, and from the Master you get love, devotion and grace to meditate.
Guru Nanak's Poem
Meditate on the Guru, within yourself. His Word controls the mind. Keep the Master's Feet enshrined in your heart. Always worship him as God.
The Guru brings those who have lost the way back to the path of Devotion. He does not abandon them, but rather he inspires them with devotion for the Lord.
He breaks the bonds of birth and death. A True Master deserves unlimited praise.
We should not let ourselves get entangled in this world of ignorance. However, no one can cross this ocean of ignorance without the help of the Master. True knowledge has only ever been available from the True Master.
The Master's gift expands the consciousness of the devotee, and where once there was darkness, now all illuminates light.
Guru is the doer, because only he is fit to do actions. He is and always will be the manifestation of God.
Make no mistake about it - without the Master there is
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 61
no salvation from this mortal world. The Master has made me realize this.
In the words of Saint Tulsidas
I bow to the Lotus Feet of my Master, who is the ocean of mercy and God in human form. His words are like the shining rays of the sun which banish the dark clouds of ignorance.
The Master is the Lord personified, the pure and auspicious giver of pure joy. He wipes the dirt and dust from the mirror of the mind.
Without the Master, no one can cross the ocean of this world, even though he be equal in power to the Creator (Brahma) and the Destroyer (Shiva)
No one can receive Knowledge except through the Master. A devotee who is attached to the world, cannot have Knowledge. All the Scriptures agree that without devotion to the Master, no one can enjoy peace of mind.
Can a discontented and dissatisfied man ever find rest? Without water a boat cannot move, no matter how much you try to force it.
Without faith there is no devotion, and the Lord is only pleased by devotion. Without the Grace and Mercy of the Lord, we cannot find peace, even in a dream.
In the words of the devotee Surdas
Inside myself, I see myself. The Word alone is there. The Light of the Self shines within me, which my master has revealed to me.
The musk deer cannot find the scent outside it is looking for, but if it could explore inside itself, it would find the
62 Hansyog Prakash
scent hidden there.
In the same way, the radiant Self lies within us, but we can never leave the darkness of ignorance and see the light until the True Master opens our eyes.
You will not find the jewels that you yourself are wearing, even if you search high and low for them. Until the Master comes and shows you your Soul, you are as good as blind.
A mother dreams that her child is dead. She awakes, terrified, and is relieved to find him by her side. Surdas smiles at this
A dumb man cannot express what sweetness is and in the same way a saint can find no words to express the perfection of the inner kingdom.
Anyone who goes empty-handed to visit a doctor, a Guru, his friends, or a king will never be successful in his venture.
Believe that the Master is greater than God, because God places us in this he|l, while the Master causes all fear of it to vanish.
The Master is the embodiment of the three active powers of this universe (i.e. creative, preservative and destructive). He is the Supreme Lord, who take away the sufferings of the humble and the poor. Anyone who takes the shelter of the Master is freed from the wheel of suffering.
If even the most sinful of men comes to the Master, he will be protected from all pain and suffering. He who has faith in the word of the True Master can never go to hell.
No rites or rituals can help us without the Master.
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 63
Without him, we can never understand Holy Knowledge.
If a person has all the signs of a True Master, you can rest assured that his Knowledge will bear fruit. If the Guru fulfills all the obligations of this title, make him your Lord. Wise people who understand this secret will seize this perfect opportunity, knowing that the end may come at any moment.
He who does not realize what it means to serve the Master, and who does not worship his holy feet will be unsuccessful in all his spiritual endeavours.
Yoga postures, charity, chanting and bathing in holy rivers are all useless actions if you have not served the Master. Without service, the mind is dark and the light of knowledge can never shine there. Only he who is free from attraction and repulsion can save devotees.
My Master is a fearless warrior. He strikes with the Holy Word, throws the bomb of Love and destroys the bastions of ignorance.
When the Word of the Master takes effect, even a king forsakes his grandeur and luxury and enters into the Life Divine. When you are touched by the Word of the Master, you lose all taste for worldly pleasures. All identification with finite things vanishes and you become a true devotee, attached to the Feet of the Master.
If God is angry with 3/ou, you have nothing to fear, because the Master will save you. So respect your Master wholeheartedly and he will help you in every way.
The True Guru
It is the mercy of the True Guru
64 Hansyog Prakash
That has made me to know the unknown
I have learned from him
How to walk without feet,
To drink without mouth,
To fly without wings.
I have brought my love and my meditation
into the land Of no sun and moon,
nor day and night. Without eating,
I have tasted the sweet Nectar,
Without water, I have quenched my thirst.
Where there is the response of delight,
There is the fullness of joy.
Before whom can that joy be uttered?
Kabir says : The true Guru is great beyond words,
And great is the disciple's good fortune.
He removes the veil and grants the true vision of God.
He reveals the worlds in Him.
He makes me to hear the Unstruck Music,
He shows joy and sorrow to be one.
He fills all utterance with love.
Verily the disciple has no fear,
Who has such a Guru to lead him to safety.
Swami Vivekananda described the foolproof way to recognize a True Master. Firstly, he must be able to reveal the spirit of the Scriptures. Secondly, he must be sinless. Thirdly, he must teach without any motive other than the spiritual upliftment of one and all, regardless of caste or creed.
Many will claim to reveal the same Knowledge which Christ, Buddha, Guru Nanak and Lord Rama revealed to
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 65
their devotees. But to what extent are they practising what they preach?
A drug dealer may not use drugs. A liquor retailer may not drink wine himself. A surgeon performs operations but first makes sure that he and his clothings are sterilized. However, a Spiritual Master cannot separate himself from the knowledge he reveals. He himself must be a living embodiment, a pure and noble manifestation of the Holy knowledge, otherwise his ability to lead his disciples to salvation is severely limited. That is why purity and righteousness must be the foremost characteristics of someone claiming to reveal True Knowledge.
'The root of meditation is the Guru, the root of worship is his Lotus Feet. His Word is the controller of the mind, and liberation is only by his Grace.'
If a devotee has faith and reverence, then by the Master's Grace he will attain salvation. Without the Grace of the Master, no one can cross the worldly ocean.
The Theory of Cause and Effect
The theory of cause and effect always holds true. It is the Divine Law that all soul must return to God, That all souls will reach perfection, yet, even so we must have a Master.
The way in which we have spent our past lives and the thoughts which we had, have resulted in our present life. Whatever we are doing or thinking now, will result in our future lives.
This is the law of Cause and Effect, and it is quite true. However, it does not imply that there is no use in accepting
66 Hansyog Prakash
help to uplift our soul.
There is a hidden power in the soul, which awakens when kindled by the power of a great soul. The truth of this can be understood if we consider that most people need outside help sometime or other.
You cannot receive spiritual energy from books. The soul can only receive it through another soul, There is no other way.
We may spend our entire life getting educated. We may become very intellectual, but in the end this will not help our spiritual progress. On the contrary, we may find that the more intellectual we become, the less we evolve spiritually.
Books may help us to develop our intellect, but they are unable to help our spiritual growth. This is a fact.
We study the Scriptures and other books, thinking that we are growing spiritually. However, although we may become more intellectual, we may not have affected our spiritual development to the least.
We may deliver fine lengthy lectures on religion, but remain quite unable to live a truly spiritual life. This is because the special power which we need for this does not come from books.
It is most necessary to receive this knowledge from a great soul. It will awaken and develop the dormant spirit within us, and we can then embark on the spiritual path.
The True Master is Self-Evident
How can we recognize the true spiritual Master? We do not need a lamp or a torch to see the sun. In the same way as
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 67
everyone knows when the sun has risen in the east, the sincere soul will realize when it has found the True Master.
Truth is self-evident. It needs no other method to prove itself. It is self-illuminating.
The Light of Truth touches the innermost part of our nature. Everyone runs for it and accepts it as Truth.
The Role of Reverence
We can realize Truth by following the advice of the spiritual Master with love and devotion, not by merely reading books.
An aspirant may roam the four corners of the earth, climb the Himalayas or the Alps, cross the Sahara or the Gobi Desert, or dive into the deepest ocean, but until he finds the Master, he will never get Spiritual Knowledge.
Once he has found his Master, the disciple should serve him as a son serves his father, opening his heart and regarding his Master as God personified.
Lord Krishna said, 'Know the Guru to be Myself, the Lord.' We should understand that Guru is a most powerful manifestation of the Lord. If we understand this, our minds will automatically turn to the Master before we start to do anything.
God reveals many hidden miracles to those who seek Truth with reverence and devotion.
In the Bible we read, 'Take off your shoes, for this is holy ground.' A place is holy, if the Holy Name is remembered there.
So imagine the holiness of those who remember the
68 Hansyog Prakash
Holy Name at all times, and the holiness of someone through whom we can realize spiritual truth! How much devotion and veneration we should have for him! We should receive his Knowledge with our hearts full of devotion.
This world cannot survive without him. The day it is bereft of the Master, it will fall into chaos and will be destroyed.
The Master is the flower on the tree of humanity. This world is functioning only because he is with us. It in only his power and energy which keeps society from disintegrating altogether.
We cannot see God except in Human Form.
Have we ever seen God anywhere? Even if we try, we will not see him. Why should we speak of seeing him, when we cannot even paint his picture without distorting Him?
As long as we are in human form, we will be unable to imagine anything higher than the human. The day will surely come when we will be able to rise above Nature and see the real form of God, but as long as we keep our human nature, we will have to worship him in human form.
Whatever you say, no matter how much you may try, you will not see God except in human form.
You may deliver long lectures, be a great debater and prove all the stories of the Scriptures to be myths, but, my brothers, try and understand that your learning is still quite useless. There is no substance to it at all.
Whenever you see someone who is speaking against worship of God, immediately stop him and ask, "How much do you know about God, apart from the fact that He
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 69
is omnipotent, omniscient and that his love is unlimited? You've heard people saying all these things, but do you understand what they mean? I find that such people don't know anything. They don't know if these words have any meaning or not.
A fool, who has never read a book in his life, is better off than these people, for at least he isn't disturbing the peace, while these people irritate and confuse others with their arguments. Atheists have no inclination for any kind of religion, yet both these persons are in the same position.
Direct experience of the soul is the true religion. We must differentiate between words and experience. Whatever your soul experiences, is true. We should ask those who pay lip-service to God, who or what they think He is. Have they seen him? Do they understand why he is called omnipresent?
People have no idea what the soul is. They can only imagine the Unmanifest one in terms of whatever they see around them, so they imagine him in terms of blue sky, open spaces, the ocean, etc. If we don't allow ourselves to think in these terms, how can we form any picture of God? We speak about a God Who is everywhere but actually we are thinking about the ocean ! Is God the ocean, then?
So throw away all these useless arguments. What we need is knowledge of God, pure and simple, but that is the most difficult thing in this world to find. All we hear are lengthy debates. One thing is for sure: in our present limited condition, we are bound to think of God as having human form.
70 Hansyog Prakash
How can we break the bonds of delusion?
Even if you try thousands of different ways, you cannot break the bonds of worldly attachment. Even if you were to burn a fire under a cauldron of oil for a hundred ages, the reflected moon will not burn. A snake living in the hollow of a tree is not killed by the tree's thorns. Similarly, the mind cannot be purified by unreasonable practices. If your mind is full of desires for worldly things, you can bathe at holy places all you like, but how will you kill that snake within you? St Tulsidas said that without the Grace of the Master, you cannot receive the Holy knowledge, and without that Knowledge you cannot cross the ocean of mortality.
There are two things: the eternal soul and the temporal world. The Guru is he who takes us from the temporal to the eternal, who introduces us to the Truth, who shows us the Light to Truth and who thereby removes the darkness of our ignorance.
'Gu' mean darkness, and 'ru' means light. Just as darkness vanishes before the sun, so the mere presence of the Satguru dispels the darkness of ignorance. Then the sun of knowledge shines. The Knowledge revealed by the Master is not like the sun which sets in the evening, bringing back the darkness. That knowledge is never darkened. The soul is never lost again.
The soul is not born, nor does it die. It is self-manifested and everlasting. Being a free entity, it knows neither birth nor death. Having no creator and no cause, it is birthless, eternal, and indestructible. Even when this body perishes, the soul does not.
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 71
O Lord! You alone know in which Name Your infinite Energy lies. We don't have to waste time chanting all the other names. Time and place is also no obstacle to the remembrance of the True Name, because all times are favourable and all places become pure. You are extremely approachable and compassionate, but it is our misfortune that we have no love for you.
Without satsang you cannot hear about God, without hearing about God you cannot be free of attachment, and without destroying attachment you cannot have love for the Lord. A wise and patient person, after considering all this, gives up all doubts and illogical arguments and constantly meditates on God.
The Lord, Who is all happiness, an ocean of compassion and the support of all, is won over by devotion. Until a person dispenses with egotism and pride and constantly meditates on God, he won't find peace and happiness even in a dream. He may be a expert in worldly knowledge, but without meditation on God he is just like an animal without horns and tail.
You may be able to churn water and extract ghee, or extract oil from sand, but without meditation on God you cannot cross the ocean of birth and death. This is an unchangeable fact.
God's Name is most holy, sweeter than honey and the bestower of all blessings. This entire world is illusory and false, just like dream. Only God's Name is True. He who teaches us how to meditate on the eternal Name of God is truly a Spiritual Master.
72 Hansyog Prakash
Without light you cannot dispel darkness, and without knowledge you cannot remove ignorance. Without the Master (who is the qualified form of God) you cannot see the Absolute and attributeless God.
The Scriptures cast a net of many words. If you don't know the right path, you will continue to wander in the forest. Without the Spiritual Master a person keeps on wandering further away from the path of devotion, caught up in this net of words.
The Scriptures talk of four types of sounds. Three have a physical source, so they have a beginning and an end. But the perfect sound, the fourth one, is continuous. It has no beginning and no end. Only by meditation on this perfect sound we can gain everything. We can become perfected Yogis. This sound is revealed only by the master.
By remembering the Holy Name, we receive all that we need in this world. We become fully realized. There are two conditions, however: the Master must be super-powerful, and the disciple must be the same.
The Holy Name is received from one who has in turn received it from his master, and who is the present living Master in the correct line of spiritual succession. From ancient times the Spiritual Master has channelized his power to his disciples. Since the Name is revealed through that same spiritual tradition, It is very powerful. He who reveals this name is called the Master, and he who receives it is called the disciple.
If a disciple practises this Name properly and regularly, he will have nothing more to do in the way of devotion. All
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 73
spiritual disciplines are included in the remembrance of the Holy Name.
St Kabir said that devotees know that nothing is more powerful than the Name.
The Master is like a farmer, and the disciple is the farm. The farmer prepares his land to perfection, manuring it and making it fertile. Then he sows the best seeds, hoping for a good harvest.
When the Master sows the seed of the Holy Name in his disciple, he also hopes that his disciple will progress and benefit spiritually. The Master never plants the seed in the hope that his disciple will not enjoy perfect peace. Just as a seed can only sprout after it has been planted, so the flower of Knowledge will not blossom until the disciple erases his selfishness completely If the disciple is good, he will recoil from ego in the same way as sensitive grass draws back when it is touched. He then quickly realizes the Knowledge.
The path of devotion is very subtle and full of tiny holes. 'I'-ness and 'Thy'-ness cannot adjust together here. Sunlight disperses darkness, Knowledge disperses ignorance, sound intellect disperses greed and devotion disperses pride.
Just as a new cloth easily and quickly absorbs dye, so the disciple with a pure and guileless heart can quickly and easily absorb the Master's Knowledge.
The Master is the dyer, and he dyes the devotee's heart in the colours of love and devotion. The dye of love takes effect only in a pure heart. A disobedient one is never steeped in the colours of devotion.
The Master is not impressed by cleverness. He is pleased
74 Hansyog Prakash
only by a loving heart. Dirty clothes are cleaned by the washerman, and when a disciple comes to the shelter of the Master, he is cleaned of impure thoughts, completely purified, then dyed in the colour of devotion.
The Master is the washerman who cleans the devotee, like a cloth, with the soap of Holy Name and the water of love. He makes him pure.
The Master and his servant should both have the same thoughts and feelings. They should be as one, and then the disciple can please his Master. The disciple should keep his mind attuned to the Master and wish only to please him.
A boatman ferries people across the water by means of his boat. Likewise, the Master ferries his disciple to the shore of knowledge in the boat of Holy Name. Using the sail of his Master's advice, the disciple crosses the river of this world, fording the waters of ignorance.
The Master is a jeweller who knows well the value of the Holy Name. In the same way a person who has been a jeweller for a long time is able to recognize precious jewels, the disciple who has been with his Master for some time begins to recognize the value of the Holy Name. The devotee who is connected to the Holy Name is immediately liberated from the bondage of this world. Only a rare disciple understands the subtle message which the Master is trying to convey.
Once there was a disciple who was on his way to see his Master. On his way he passed a shop in which there was a caged parrot. He stopped and asked the parrot where the shopkeeper was. The parrot answered that he was at home.
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 75
As the man turned to go, the parrot asked him where he was going, so the disciple told him that he was on his way to see his Spiritual Master. The parrot asked what trade Spiritual Masters follow, so the disciple replied that the Master frees his disciples from the cycle of birth and death. Then the parrot requested him to ask his Master how a parrot could be set free, and the disciple agreed to do this.
When he arrived at his Master's ashram, the disciple offered his gifts, and sat down. The Master enquired about his health and well-being, and offered him some refreshments. Then the devotee relayed the parrot's request. The Master immediately stretched himself out on his bed as if he were dead. The devotee was extremely worried and began to weep. When the Master at last became normal, the disciple did not dare to mention the parrot's request again.
He spent a few days at the ashram, and then took permission to go home. On his way he again passed near the shop where the parrot lived, and by chance, the shopkeeper again was elsewhere. The parrot asked him what answer the Master had given to his question. The disciple told him, "Brother, the moment he heard your request, my Master acted as though he were dead. I don't know what magic was in your question, but only after a long time did he revive, and I didn't dare ask again."
The parrot understood the hidden meaning of this cryptic answer, and immediately fell to the bottom of his cage as if dead. When the shopkeeper found him lying there, he thought he was dead, so he opened the cage and threw him away. At this point, the parrot flew away.
76 Hansyog Prakash
This is an example of how the master helps his disciple. If the devotee understand the meaning of the Master's words, he can free himself from the cage of his own ignorance.
There are many stars in the sky, but the darkness of night can only be removed by the sun. In the same way, we cannot remove the darkness of our ignorance without the help of the Master, even thought we try a million times.
After a great deal of study, many people feel as if they have made some progress on the spiritual path. They even come to believe that they have received Spiritual Knowledge. They argue and debate and delude themselves that nobody is as Spiritually knowledgeable as they are.
However, if they use their discrimination, they will realize that although they have made some intellectual progress, yet they have not advanced on the path of self-realization at all. On the contrary, it seems that the more progress we make intellectually, the more we are retarded spiritually.
Those who think themselves to be wise and learned, but who are actually ignorant of the Truth, are fools, who will lose their path and end up going around and around in circles.
Many people never hear about the soul, and many do not understand even when they do hear about it. Without a doubt, who can explain to others about the mysteries of the soul is extraordinary. Someone who accepts his explanation is clever, and he who is trained by a wise Master is also exceptional.
The soul cannot be understood or explained properly except by a perfectly realized soul. You cannot understand
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 77
what the soul is, merely by thinking about it. However, when a wise man teaches you, you become established in the Spirit and become steady and strong. This is a very subtle thing, and cannot be proven.
The soul is realized only by directly experiencing it. This experience is a result of the knowledge revealed by the Master. Thus we should not dismiss this Truth with mere arguments. By the Grace of the Master, the Self can easily be realized. The Master is unique. He is the knower of the self, for only he who knows the Truth can reveal it.
Lord Krishna said to Arjun that the man of self-control has no pride or arrogance. He does no harm to anyone, and is filled with forgiveness and a simplicity which reveals itself in his mind and speech. He serves the Master with respect and devotion through body, mind and wealth. Pure both inside and out, his mind is steady and controlled. When he takes the shelter of the Master, he becomes steady in the spirit.
Therefore, Arjuna, leave other religions and rituals and come to Me, the embodiment of Truth, pure consciousness and Bliss-the supreme soul. I will free you from all your sins, don't worry.'
Complete surrender means to relinquish shame, fear, respect and fame, as well as one's worldly attachments and pride in oneself. It means to realize that the Master is the only shelter, the only way. He is the all-in-all of the devotee.
Contemplate upon the power and qualities of the Name of the Lord, and meditate on the Divine Light according to the Master's instructions with the utmost respect, devotion and love. Concentrate your mind and heart upon God. Do
78 Hansyog Prakash
this so that you can discharge your duties selflessly, according to the Master's orders, and for his sake alone.
Take refuge in the Master. Just as a clean piece of cloth quickly absorbs dye, someone who puts his mind aside completely and takes the shelter of his Master is merged in his Grace.
People who follow the Master but take the whole thing lightly can never understand what the Holy Name really is. They don't even know what the Master can give them. If they hear a stirring and uplifting spiritual discourse, they may be overwhelmed for a short time. They may even change their ideas or their religion for the time being, on the pretext of being broad-minded. But this brings them no benefit, except that they satisfy their curiosity. For such people, the need to hear something new every day has become like an addiction. A new idea will give them a little excitement like a glass of wine, but after sometime they will look for something else. Religion has become an intoxicant for them, like opium, and that's as far as they go.
There is a type of oyster which floats on the sea with its shell open. When a certain drop of dew falls into its mouth, the oyster closes up its mouth and dives to the bottom of the sea. It does not come up again. When a diver at last retrieves it, he finds a pearl inside.
In the same way, the sincere seeker of Truth keeps an open mind in this world and waits for the Word of the Master. The moment he receives It, he dives deep into meditation. After this, every word he speaks is a precious pearl. His attention will never be diverted anywhere else.
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 79
The tiny banyan seed grows into a huge tree, bearing countless leaves, but if the land in which it is sown is infertile, it will never grow. In the same way, if a disciple's mind is full of hypocrisy and doubt, the knowledge cannot flourish in him.
A sick person goes to a doctor and tells him his problem. The doctor prescribes medicine, which the patient must take faithfully and regularly as prescribed until his disease in cured. In the some way, the seeker of Truth, who is suffering from the bondage of birth and death, approaches the Master, who gives him the medicine of Knowledge. If the disciple practises this knowledge as prescribed, he will be cured of ignorance.
If patient fails to take this medicine as prescribed, it cannot do him any good, and if a disciple does not follow his master's instructions he will never achieve the desired result.
One ounce of practice is worth one ton of talk. Simply repeating 'sugar, sugar,' will not bring a sweet taste to your mouth. If talking about something was enough to bring it to pass, we would have eradicated poverty long ago, because people are always talking about money. However, this is not enough to make them wealthy. People do all kinds of rituals and ceremonies to get rich, but in vain. Nothing happens by mere talk.
The Sign of a Great Soul
There are many gurus in this world who relieve others of their wealth, but not their miseries.
80 Hansyog Prakash
The Master is one who has no greed, attachment, pride or jealousy. He always speaks about spiritual matters and removes the jealousy, pain, doubts and worldly attachments of others. He takes his stand on perpetual Truth at all times.
His power is unlimited, and through his love and mercy for his devotees, he teaches them the proper and righteous path. He never feels anger of fear even in dreams, but speaks soft words full of love and wise counsel.
He removes our worries, awakens us, and gives us good advice. He shows what are truly right actions and which actions are wrong. He shows us what is virtue and what is sin, and thus he dispels all the suffering in our life. Take the shelter of such a Master. Offer him all that you have.
People are born into the sufferings of this world, into the cycle of birth and death, and are trapped in the web of illusion, but when the Master showers his Grace upon them, all the pain caused by the world, vanishes. Then you can enjoy eternal happiness, and live in the realm of Truth forever.
You can even attain the level of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer, but there is none greater than the Master. Can your friend, brother or even father and mother help you in the same way as the Master's Grace can?
No harm comes to someone whose Saviour is the Master. If God is angry, Guru is always there to save you but if Guru is angry with you, then you have no place to go.
All the Scriptures agree that without the Master, all is lost. Without him, you can never be purified to the very core of your being, even if you try a hundred thousand
The Greatness of the Spiritual Master 81
Without the Master we cannot receive Knowledge nor awaken true discrimination within ourselves. Without him, there is no salvation, for without his grace we are as good as dead. Without the Master, we are in the hands of death, wallowing in suffering and remorse.
Can doubt be removed without the Master's Grace? How else will we ever acquire discrimination? Without him we will remain in ignorance forever, and never find the True knowledge of God which leads to liberation.
You can study the scriptures to your heart's content; you may even live a peaceful life mentally, physically and spiritually, but grace comes only through the Master.
All the great saints served their respective Masters. Although you may sing the Master's glory thousands of times, it remains infinite.
Someone who criticizes his Master is the most wretched of men. The fate of one who even listens to such criticism is not good.
A disciple who leaves his Master for another, will suffer extreme poverty. Do not come before the Teacher without making an offering, such as fruit or flowers, Be very humble and full of love when you bow at his Feet. Whatever he commands should be accepted humbly as his gift.
When you are in the presence of the Master, your hands should be folded and your speech gentle and humble. Never stretch your legs in front of him, but keep them folded beneath you. Do not walk across in front of him. Never keep anything hidden from him, and never tell him a lie.
82 Hansyog Prakash
Accept all that he says without criticism, for his words are like Scripture. Offer him whatever nice things come your way. His power is so fantastic that whatever we offer hirr it comes back to us thousandfold.
Worshipping the Master properly and totally is your only duty. It cleanses you of all sins and fulfills all your desires.
The Grace and mercy of the Master is unlimited. Even the angels cannot praise him enough. One kind glance from him turns a beggar into a king.
His power and glory is the source of everything in this world. He is the source of all strength and power. He is the giver of the highest bliss and is our only refuge in times of danger and suffering. He even takes away the fear of death. Anyone who takes his shelter will find all the happiness in the world. Poverty will never touch such a devotee, and his life will be full of unexpected boons.
When you meet a worthy aspirant, tell him about the knowledge, which is the Supreme Secret.
Great is the place, great are the parents, great is the family and great are the friends of such a devotee.
The path of dedicated Action
If someone has an interest in learning a certain subject, he will be incapable of understanding it. Teaching such an unworthy student is like trying to get blood out of a stone. He will not benefit, and the teacher will also be wasting his time and effort. This is why Jaimini says at the beginning of his treatise that an aspirant should be keen to understand what is Dharma (true religion) and what is God. Only those who desire salvation and want to practise true religion should receive instruction, in the same way as a scientific discipline should only be taught to someone who is keen to learn it.
The root of the word 'karma' is 'kri', which means 'action' or 'to do'. This is the general meaning given in the Gita. I say this because in other scriptures and systems of philosophy it is given a more limited meaning, and this may confuse readers, Take any religion - they all teach that some action or other must be done to realize God. The ancient Vedic religion taught that Yagyas were necessary and the Vedas described how these should be done. Yagya (a ceremony involving chants and consigning oblations to a sacred fire) is also accepted by the Upanishads, but its value is considered less than that of spiritual knowledge. The Upanishads declare that Yagya is excellent for attaining
84 Hansyog Prakash
heaven, but not for liberation. For liberation, Knowledge is necessary.
The Bhagavad Gita says, in Chapter 3 verse 9: 'Except for Yagya, all actions create bondage.' The Laws of Manu and other Scriptures advocate other actions, necessary from the religious viewpoint, in addition to Yagya. These actions were systematically described first in the Vedas, therefore they are called 'Smriti.'
In addition there are other religious activities such as fasting and worship, which were first codified in the Puranas, so they are called 'Puranic Actions.' All activities were divided into:
1) Daily actions
2) Occasional actions (the result of some previous action)
3) Motivated actions
Bathing and prayers are daily action, by performing which, no special purpose is achieved, but neglecting which is deleterious.
Occasional actions ('Naimittik') are done because some occasion necessitating them has arisen, e.g. penance for a violent action, or appeasing malevolent forces. If there is no previous cause, it is not necessary to do this type of action.
Motivate actions are those religious activities which people do to fulfill a particular desire, e.g. performing a ritual to bring on rain or to have a child.
There is another category of actions which the scriptures call 'forbidden' actions, such as drinking intoxicants or eating flesh.
85 Karma Yoga
Which activities fall into these four categories? In brief, all action, whether physical, mental or verbal have been classified by the Gita in the above four categories. Action such as eating, laughing, playing, residing, standing, sitting, breathing, crying, seeing, talking, walking, giving, taking, dying, living, fighting, renouncing, contemplating, meditating, giving and receiving charity, doing rituals, farming, running a business, desiring, deciding, keeping silent, etc. have all been discussed in the Gita. Even remaining alive and dying are action, and the occasion can arise when someone must decide which of them is preferable. In the context of such a dilemma, the word 'karma' may also be understood to mean 'duty', or 'proper course of action.'
We have so far only considered the actions of human beings, 'Karma' is also applicable to the functions of the animate and inanimate creation and to unconscious things.
'Know which actions to perform, and which one not to; know which actions to abandon as wicked, for the secret of action is deep,' says Lord Krishna in the Gita.
Even more complicated in its meaning than the word 'karma' is the word 'yoga'- The current meaning is 'prevention of the arising of mental and sensual impulses by the control of breathing', or, ' meditation according to the system of Patanjali.' It is used in this sense in the Upanishads, but we should note that this limited connotation is not found in the Gita.
'Yoga' comes from the Sanskrit word 'yuj', which means to 'join', 'a state of union', 'combination', 'addition', 'coexistence' or 'staying together', It also came to mean the
86 Hansyog Prakash
device, means, or method necessary to achieve that state of union.
In astrology, the alignment of propitious or malevolent planets is called a favourable or adverse 'yog'(conjuction).
Referring to the state of liberation, 'Yoga' is used in the sense of 'attainment'.
Let us glance at some specialized uses of the word. In the time of the Mahabharata War, Lord Krishna observed the invincibility of His opponent, Dronacharya, and declared that there was' only one Yog (device) for killing him'. Later on He also said that he had killed Jarasandha and other kings by 'Yoga' for the sake of protecting righteousness. In 'Udyog Parva' it is stated that as Bhishma carried off the maidens Ambika'and Ambalika the other kings pursued him, shouting, "Yoga! Yoga!". Here the word yoga has been used to indicate a means of deception, and this meaning has also been used in other places in Mahabharata.
In the Gita, the word 'yoga' or its derivatives appears about 80 times, but only in four or five instances is it used in the sense of 'method', 'skilful means', or 'the thing to be done'. It is one of the most comprehensive words used in the Gita.
Still, it is not enough to use the word 'yoga' only in this general sense of method or means because there can be very different ideas about what these 'means' are. The 'method' can be that of a renunciate, that of action, of inaction, or liberation, or indeed, anything else. For example, in a few places in the Gita, 'Yoga' refers to the 'Divine skill' or 'unique power of God' in the context of creation of the
Karma Yoga 87
manifold perceptible universe, and God is thus referred to as 'Yogeshwar' (that which manifests Yoga). But this is not the principal meaning used in the Gita. It should be clearly understood that this is an exceptional meaning.
'Yogah karmesu kausalam' (Gita 2:50) refers to this special meaning. ('Yoga performed through spiritual insight is the means for breaking the bondage of actions'). Generally , there are several ways of doing any given action, but the best possible way of doing all is called the 'Yoga' of that action. Accumulating wealth is an action, and there are various ways of doing it, such as stealing, begging, borrowing, using cunning method, or applying one's own effort. Although, strictly speaking, the term 'yoga' could be applied to each of them, it is most appropriate to say that the earning of money by making effort without losing one's independence and spirituality is the 'yoga of acquiring wealth.'
When the Lord Himself has given a definitive and independent meaning to the word 'yoga', there should not be any doubts as to its primary meaning. However, commentators don't take any notice of the definition given by the Lord, and interpret it according to their own intellects. So, to clear any confusion, further elucidation of this word 'yoga' is necessary.
It first appears in Chapter 2 of Gita and its meaning is clearly defined. Lord Krishna justifies the war to Arjuna on the authority of the Sankhya philosophy, and then says, 'Now I will tell you the origin of action according to Yoga' (Gita 2:39).
He then says, 'Desirous people who are busy perform-
88 Hansyog Prakash
ing Yagyas, hoping for results, have restless and unsteady intellect' He instructs Arjuna to keep his mind steady and abandon all ambitions concerning results, but not to force the mind to abandon action itself. He says, 'Still the mind and do your actions' (2:48). Here the meaning is also 'keeping the mind balanced in both success and failure is yoga'. Then He adds, that action done with desire for results is inferior to actions performed desirelessly (2:49). Only when someone does action with equanimity of mind is he free from the effects of karma.
Then immediately after this, He says that Yoga performed through spiritual insight is the means for attaining liberation (2:50). The way to succeed is to be unaffected by vice and virtue, and to perform actions with steady mind. This is the 'Yoga' of the Gita. Further on, the Lord explains how a man of Knowledge should live in the world: 'While enjoying the impermanent worldly pleasures, do meditation.
Before Shri Shankaracharya's time, there were two paths prevailing in the Vedic religion. The first was upon receiving Knowledge, to renounce all actions. The second path taught that if a person keeps on peacefully performing actions throughout his life with his mind in meditation, merit and demerit will not pose any obstacles for him.
In the Gita, these two paths are called the 'Yoga of Renunciation' and the 'Yoga of Action' (5:2). 'Sannyas' is called the path of renunciation while 'yoga' is associated with activity. The goal of both paths is Self-Knowledge or Realization, to which is given the name 'Sankhya Yoga'.
Karma Yoga 89
Chapter 6 talks about the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, but for whom? Not for the ascetic, but for the karma yogi, the person who wants to know the secret of action and practise it properly. It is to help him succeed. If not then why is it written that the Yogi is superior to the ascetic? Arjuna is instructed, 'Be a Yogi!' This cannot mean 'Practise Patanjali's Yoga!' It must have a more specific meaning.
The following passages endorse this:
Gita 2:49: 'Abandoning attachment to results and not worrying about success, do action.'
Gita 2:50: 'The Yoga performed through spiritual insight is the means for obtaining freedom from the bondage of action.'
Gita 4:42: That Yogi established in meditation, is not bound by his actions.'
So the proper interpretation of the term 'yoga' is, to know the correct way to work and be a Karma Yogi. This is Lord Krishna's instruction to Arjuna. He could not possibly have meant 'Take recourse to Patanjali Yoga and wage war.
Just prior to that he says, 'Yogi refers to one who practises the Yoga of Action.' (3:3). In the Mahabharata it is stated that those who are truly religious do not abandon work, but know how to work properly and thus realize God. From this it becomes obvious that in the Gita the terms 'Yogi' and 'Karma Yogi' are synonymous, and mean 'one who knows the secret of action'. Rather than use the weighty word 'Karma Yogi', the shortened from 'Yogi' is used in both Gita and Mahabharata.
90 Hansyog Prakash
'I will reveal that Yoga, which I showed in the beginning to Vivaswan' (4:1) Vivaswan revealed it to Manu, and through the traditional lineage of Guru-disciple this secret Karma Yoga was passed on, but it 'became lost, so now I reveal it toyou.' This Knowledge is always revealed by the living Spiritual Master. In this context, the Lord uses the word 'yoga' three times, and at no time does He convey the meaning 'Patanjali Yoga.' But rather it denotes some special method of doing action. The narrator of the Gita , Sanjaya, uses the same connotation when speaking of the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna as 'Yoga.'
Shri Shankaracharya was himself a Sannyasi, or renunciate, but he talked about both paths of renunciation and action. Similarly, in the Mahabharata it is clearly written that Yoga means the Path of Action or externalization ('Pravritti), while knowledge means the Path of Renunciation or internalization (Nivritti'). Therefore we can say that the ancient technical meaning of 'Sankhya' (Nivritta) and 'Yoga' (Pravritti) is given in both Gita and Mahabharat. Any doubts in this matter can be resolved by these quotes from the Gita:
'Yoga is the name given to equanimity.'
'The Yoga performed through spiritual wisdom is the means for attaining freedom from the bondage of actions.'
'Yogi refers to one who practises the Yoga of action.' It should be clear now that in the Gita the word 'Yoga' is used to mean the Path of Action or Karma Yoga. 'Yoga' is also used with this connotation in the Pali Buddhist Scriptures and in the Sanskrit Vedas.
When King Janak was giving instruction to some brahmins
Karma Yoga 91
in the practice of Yoga, he assumed the role of Spiritual Master. This was an unusual event, because up till then, kings did not usually instruct the priestly class in the matters of religion. Here, the word 'Yoga' must be understood to mean the path of karma yoga, because the Gita and other texts emphatically declare that King Janak's life proved that he was the quintessential karma yogi. Ashvaghosh, in his 'Story of Buddha', uses the example of Janak to show that even while living as a householder, a person can attain liberation, and explains how this can be done.
The path illustrated by the life of King Janak is that of Yoga. The same path is expounded in the Buddhist Scriptures. This interpretation should also be applied to the Gita, as it too gives the example of King Janak: 'Janak and other God-realized persons attend the supreme goal while performing desireless actions, so you also can do action while seeing to the public interest.' (3:20)
Once it has been proven that the principle meaning of 'Yoga' in the Gita is 'Yoga of Action', and that the main meaning of 'karma yogi' is 'a person who does desireless action', there should be no further need to ask again what the central theme of the Gita is.
At the end of each chapter in the Gita is clearly stated that the subject matter of Gita is the Science of Yoga, but commentators do not pay any attention to what is implied by this, After the opening phrase 'Srimadhbhagavadgitasu upanishatsu' ('The Upanishad sung by the Lord') Come the words 'Brahmvidyayanyogashastru' (The Yoga treatise which is one of the Brahmvidyas'). In other words, 'Karma Yoga is
92 Hansyog Prakash
the subject matter of the Gita.'
Brahmvidya or Brahmgyan means 'Knowledge of God'. After being initiated into knowledge, the aspirant has two paths open to him. The first is the Sankhya path of renunciation, following which he stays aloof from the world. The second is the path of Yoga (i.e. Karma Yoga), according to which he renounces motivated actions and works in such a way that nothing stands in the way of his achieving salvation. Another name for the first path is the path of pure reason or knowledge, which has been analyzed and explored by several sages in the upanishads and other scriptures. However, apart from Gita, no Scripture has fully dealt with the substance of Karma Yoga as being a part of Spiritual knowledge.
We are lucky, therefore, that the Lord Himself, the Founder of Yoga and the manifestation of it in all its aspects, has expounded this science for our benefit. He revealed this Yoga to Arjuna for the benefit of the mankind. The Light and knowledge which Lord Krishna showed to Arjuna can be shown to anyone through the perfect spiritual Master.
Of all the various paths called 'Yoga', which is the best and most beneficial way to practise action? Can this path be followed at all times, and if not, what are the exceptional circumstances in which it can't be practised? How do they arise? How can we be sure that the path we have chosen is the best? On what basis and through which method can we judge good and bad? What is the secret of good and bad action? The science which answers all these questions is the
Karma Yoga 93
science of Karma Yoga.
Good and bad are two very general words. Sometimes used synonymously are: benign-menacing, auspicious-inauspicious, beneficial-harmful, action-inaction, duty-non-duty, vice-virtue, righteousness-unrighteousness, justice-injustice, etc. Nevertheless, because the people who use these words have different concepts about religion and work, the interpretations of any particular Karma Yoga text will also be varied.
Take any science. Usually the subject matter falls into three stages. First comes the idea that inert matter is only as it appears to our senses and there is nothing beyond it. The process for formulating such a theory is called the materialistic or empirical analysis.
For example, scientists do not believe that the sun is a deity, but simply a globe of insentient matter, whose heat, magnetic field, light intensity, dimensions and distance can be measured. They only examine its properties and the laws governing them. This is called the empirical analysis of the sun.
Take a second example of a tree. If we ignore the power hidden in the tree which causes the shedding of leaves, blossoming and other arboreal functions, and only see things from an external point of view, we form the opinion that a seed is planted in the ground, a shoot emerges, it grows, and from it sprout leaves, flowers, branches etc. This is the physical analysis. Chemistry, physics and other modern sciences are of this type. Empiricists imagine that once they calculate the visible properties of any object, their
94 Hansyog Prakash
work is complete. And that it is useless to consider the matter any further.
The second step in the first example is to contemplate the origin of the sun. Are its behaviour and properties the result only of natural laws or are they based on some other phenomena? If something else is the cause, then the empirical analysis alone will not be sufficient. We have to go further. For example, to believe that in the sun resides a spirit or deity, because of whom this unconscious ball of matter exhibits certain characteristics and behaviour, is called the supernatural analysis of the sun. According to this theory, various deities exist in trees, air, water, etc. and they motivate and regulate the actions of these material things.
Then there is the spiritual analysis, which states that various deities do not, in fact, dwell within worldly phenomena, but that one imperceptible, conscious Energy motivates all the activities of the universe. This Energy resides in the human body in the form of the soul, and imparts to us all our knowledge of the universe. This spiritual theory teaches that not only the motion of the sun and moon, but even the rustling of leaves on a tree is due to the influence of this incomprehensible Energy. There are no hosts of independent deities living in the sun, moon, trees or anywhere else. These three theories, or methods of analysis, have been in use since ancient times, and they are also utilized by the Upanishads. The discussion of the nature of god at the end of Chapter 7 and beginning of Chapter 8 of the Gita is also based on them.
Lord Krishna says, 'Of sciences I am Spiritual Knowl-
Karma Yoga 95
edge' (10:32), The spiritual analysis, of these three words - empirical, supernatural and spiritual - have somewhat changed.
The famous French philosopher Comte gave greater importance to the empirical point of view. He said, "It is useless to search for the basic phenomenon behind Creation, because it is unfathomable." It is neither feasible nor desirable to build a belief system on an imaginary foundation. In fact, it is impossible to understand the basic power behind Creation without the help of the spiritual Master or a knower of the Truth.
When primitive man first saw trees, clouds, volcanoes, etc. he innocently ascribed deities to all these things. Comte's thesis would call this the supernatural explanation. However, this fanciful idea was later questioned, as man began to understand that all these phenomena must be infused with some spiritual element. According to Comte, this is the second step in the growth of human knowledge. He called it metaphysical or spiritual. However, when actual practical scientific knowledge did not increase by considering the ways of the universe from this angle, people began to examine exclusively the empirical properties of worldly phenomena. Through the knowledge thus gained, man was able to exercise greater control over his environment. All modern inventions are the result of this method of analysis, which Comte called the materialistic consideration. He came to the conclusion that this was the most profitable way to study anything and should be employed in the scientific study of societies and social mores. Using this method he reviewed history and came to the conclusion that the prime dharm
96 Hansyog Prakash
(moral duty) of every human being is to work for the benefit of others with a loving heart. The English philosophers Mill and Spencer also shared this view. On the other hand, Hegel Schopenhauer and other German philosophers considered the materialist process inadequate for analysing ethics.
Everyone has his own way of expressing a particular concept, therefore different writers have used different words, e.g. moral immoral, permissible-impermissible, etc. in the sense of good or bad.
The question before Arjuna was whether it was proper to fight a war in which the patriarch Bhishma and the Guru Drona would be killed. A materialist would calculate the benefit or the effect on society as a whole, before deciding whether this war was justified or not. The ^ason for this is, that when a materialist academic judges the goodness or otherwise of an action, he considers the utilitarian effect or the tangible external result. Such people don't have faith in any other proof. However, such a conclusion would not have consoled Arjuna. His vision was much broader. He didn't care about any harm or advantage to himself, but he was definitely concerned about the adverse effect that the war might have on his soul in lives to come. There was no doubt in his mind that if he killed Bhishma, Drona and the other, a vast kingdom would come into his hands, thereby assuring him of worldly happiness. Also, the ordinary citizens would have been far happier under his rule than under the previous king's.
Thus it appears that whatever we do, can be classified as
Karma Yoga 97
righteous (dharm) or unrighteous (adharm), or as virtue or vice. The Gita and Mahabharata also examine action from this angle, or from the spiritual-metaphysical angle. Usually the words 'religion' (dharma) and 'Non-religion' (adharm) are used to indicate good and bad actions. However, because of their wide-ranging application, 'dharm' and its antonym 'adharm' sometimes give rise to confusion. So a thorough examination of the meaning of these words in the Karma Yoga texts is necessary. For everyday affairs, the word dharm is used, while 'moksha' (liberation) refers only to the superconscious state.
When we ask anyone, "What is your religion?" our intention is to find out if he believes in Vedic, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim or Parsee doctrine, and he will answer accordingly. In Vedic times, people performed yagyas to attain heaven, and used the word 'dharm' in this sense also.
However, 'dharm' does not have only this restricted meaning. Dharm also includes the idea of one's duty or role in life, e.g. the duty of king, the duty of subjects, the duties of husband and wife towards each other etc. in relation to the social ethics of that time and community.
Spiritual or transcendental dharm is called 'moksha dharm' (i.e. the course of action necessary to attain liberation) or simply moksha'. The four aims of human life are said to be worldly enjoyment, proper action, righteousness and fulfilling one's role (dharm) and liberation. If dharm means the same as liberation, there would be no need to mention them separately. Dharm means the numerous ethical or moral duties which one has to do in this world.
98 Hansyog Prakash
Nowadays it may be called duty, role, morals, ethics or proper behaviour, but in the ancient Sanskrit Scriptures, 'niti' (ethics) referred especially to political ethics. Therefore in ancient times the general word for duty (dharm) or moral behaviour was not ethics but dharm. However, this semantic difference was not recognized by all the Sanskrit Scriptures. Therefore, here too dharm, ethics and duty have been used synonymously. In referring to liberation, the words 'Spiritual Knowledge' and Devotion' are preferable.
In the Mahabharata the word 'karma' appears often, and in those places where the instruction is to 'work according to Dharm', the word dharm means duty or following the rules laid down by society. Whenever the context is welfare of the soul in the life to come, the word 'moksha dharm' is used.
Manu described the duties of the four classes of society (Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra) using only the word 'dharm'. In the Gita the Lord says to Arjuna, 'There is no duty more holy for a warrior than to wage religious war.' (2:31) and, 'If you do not fight this religious battle you fail in your duty' Arjuna was a warrior, and his duty was to protect religion.
The sages of ancient times divided labour into four groups or castes, so that the burden of all the duties would not fall on a particular person or group, and all sections of society would support and be supported properly. However, after some time, people became dependent on the system alone. They ignored their real duties and merely retained the caste names. Undoubtedly, in the beginning,
Karma Yoga 99
this institution was meant only for the maintenance of society. If one of the four caste were to abandon its duties, or if a caste were completely eradicated, its place could not be filled by anyone from the other castes. Society would be crippled and slowly destroyed. This is surely happening in India. It is true that in Western societies progress has not depended on casteism, but keeping it in mind that, whether or not there is rigid division by caste in these countries, there definitely are professional and social classes. In short, when we use 'dharm' from a socio-economic point of view, we are describing how society is held together and sustained.
The root of 'dharm' is the Sankrit word 'dhri which means 'to keep, to hold, or maintain.' Citizens in any state are bound by dharm, and that which protects them is also dharm. If this dharm is ignored, all the threads which bind a society together will be loosened, and we would see a situation comparable to that of the heavens without the force of gravity or a ship at sea without a rudder.
Realizing this, the sage Vyas said that if one desires fame and fortune, he should acquire it through dharm and not upturn society. If he wants to satisfy his whims and dreams he should do it according to dharmic processes. At the end of the Mahabharata the author says, "No one listen to what I have been saying. One's desires and social ambitions should be achieved only through the laws of dharm." So why aren't we behaving according to dharm?
There may be objections, however, to the above explanation. It may be said, "If you accept these principles of
100 Hansyog Prakash
social preservation or general welfare, there is no difference between your viewpoint and that of the Materialists, because both these your viewpoint and that of the sufficient to say that, although we accept the preservation of society as the chief external application of the laws of dharm, we must never lose sight of Liberation, which is the highest ideal according to all religions, and is the special point of our argument, too. If the external application of dharm stands in the way of our individual spiritual progress, then we don't need it. If even the ancient Indian medical texts (ayurveda) maintain that the medical science is useful only because it keeps the body in good condition so that the soul can work towards its liberation, then it is impossible that the religious scriptures world divorce the Karma Yoga texts (which are on the vitally important topic of how to perform worldly action) from Spiritual Knowledge and liberation.
Therefore, we understand that we should act according to our dharm, or moral duty, whose merit is that it elevates our souls. We should abandon unrighteous, low and evil actions which degrade the soul. That is why I am using dharm and adharm in place of the word proper duty/improper duty, or good action/bad action, although I accept that there may be ambiguity in these words as well. Therefore, although our main topic is 'How to conduct our worldly affairs', we must along with this always keep in mind the effect our actions will have on our souls.
If you ask a Utilitarian the question, "Why should I work for the welfare of others, even if it means giving up what is beneficial to me?", what answer can he give except,
Karma Yoga 101
"Well, it is just human nature!"
The ancient Greek philosophers advised that someone who desires the maximum benefit or the highest virtues should decide what is his ultimate goal, and then, using this as his frame of reference, ascertain what is good and bad action.
In his 'Ethics', Aristotle wrote that only spiritual evolution encompasses all other matters. So it is surprising that he did not place more emphasis on spirituality than he did.
The authors of the India Scriptures went much further. They declared that spiritual progress is the first and foremost aim of every human being. Nothing is more beneficial than this, so one should consider what is good and bad action accordingly. It is difficult to form such opinions, of course, if you don't have spiritual wisdom.
Even western philosophers have accepted the importance of spirituality. Kant wrote in his 'Critique of Pure Reason', and the English philosopher Green in the foreword of his book that the vital force which is the foundation of the entire universe is a spiritual force.
From the above discussion it should be clear as to why we apply the general word 'dharm' chiefly to social morality or to systems laid down for the maintenance of society. Not only the Sanskrit Gita and Mahabharata, but also the vernacular works use the word dharm' to mean social duties or laws.
During the Mahabharata War, the wheel of Kama' chariot got stuck in the mud, so he alighted in order to extricate it. He saw Arjuna, totally despondent and ready to kill himself,
102 Hansyog Prakash
but instead of taking this opportunity to kill him, he said, "It is against the law to kill a defenseless enemy." Hearing this, Lord Krishna reminded him of some previous incidents, e.g. the disrobing of Draupadi and how young Abhimanyu's enemies banded together to kill him. The Lord then asked Kama, "Where was your code of righteousness then?" Why do vou use the word 'dharma' here? On other occasions it is used in the sense that it is morally correct that a person be punished in the same way as he mistreated other. In short, throughout the Sanskrit scriptures as well as those of other languages, the word 'Dharm' is used for the morals and ethics which are formulated by superior persons from the spiritual reference point for the preservation of society, and accepted by all the members of that society. I have also used 'dharma' in this sense.
The Vedas and Mahabharata call correct moral behaviour the highest dharm. However, the science of Karma Yoga will say that we have not fully discussed the topic. We have to thoroughly consider the causes leading to the formulation of a particular code of conduct. There is yet another definition of 'dharm' in the ancient scriptures, viz. "Chona lakshanartha dharmah', which means 'to follow the inspiration given by a superior person in doing or not doing a particular action.' So long as any such limitations are laid down, a person is free to do as he likes. This means that dharm originally came into being as the result of such limitations. This is dealt with in part by the philosopher Hobbs.
In the unrestrained or primitive condition, each person
Karma Yoga 103
acts according to the impulses of his mind. Later, when he realizes that such unrestrained behaviour is not beneficial on the whole, he concludes that it is in the best interests of everybody to lay down and observe certain restrictions on the instinctive reactions of the senses. In this way, everyone starts upholding the moral code.
When a person restrains his mind within the moral code and acts properly, that moral code becomes a decisive factor in controlling his behaviour. When the number of people following the same code of ethics increases, a written code of law is compiled.
Swetaketu codified the system of laws regarding marriage in ancient India. Sukracharya forbade the taking of intoxicants. Did these two saints get any personal benefit from setting up these codes? We must bear in mind that it was their duty to formulate these moral laws. 'Dharma' was already in existence, but its importance had to be brought to everyone's attention before they would put it into action. Eat, drink and be merry! Nobody has to be told to do this, because it is the instinctive activity of the senses.
Manu said that eating meat, taking intoxicants and enjoying sex are not trangressions against the natural laws. These are all instinctive desires, not only of humans but of animals as well. Morality consists of putting the necessary restraints on such behaviour for the sake of the general welfare and smooth running of society'. This is 'dharm'. The Mahabharata says that eating, sleeping, fear and reproduction are equally instinctive activities for humans and animals. The difference between man and animal lies only in dharm.
104 Hansyog Prakash
A person who doesn't keep his instincts in check and within the moral code is no better than an animal. In Gita Ch. 3 verse 34 the Lord says that each sense has certain objects to which it is automatically attracted and others for which it feels repulsion. This is natural, but we should not let this control us, because attraction and aversion are a trap. The Lord uses the word 'dharm' here to mean 'bringing the instincts under the restraints of the moral code.' The senses entice a man to act like an animal, while his wisdom and intellect pull him in the opposite direction. People who can sacrifice their lower nature, which permeates the whole body, into the fire of this conflict, are real performers of yagya and they are very fortunate.
So dharm can be defined as :
- 1) The influence of good character and wisdom in deciding actions.
- 2) Dharanat-the agreement between people which keeps society together.
- 3) Precepts which have been dictated by great souls.
No matter which definition you choose, you will find that none of them is much in use for coming to a definite conclusion, in cases of doubt, as to whether a particular action is dharmic or not. The first definition tells us only the basis of dharm. The second tells us how it is applied externally and the third tells us that moral restrictions are laid down by someone else. Not only is there much difference between customs of different communities, but one action can have several consequences. The precepts of the various sages are different, so when uncertainty arises, another way
Karma Yoga 105
of determining dharm must be found. What is it? Arguments are inconsistent, and all kinds of theories reside in the mind of an intellectual. The Vedas give various instructions and we cannot say that any one sage is more authoritative than the others. The origin of conventional 'dharm' is also shrouded in darkness, because the average person cannot understand it. So, in the light of all this confusion, it is best to follow the path trodden by the great souls. But who is a great soul? It cannot apply to the masses, because, in their ignorance, no uncertainty about dharm ever occurs to them. The Kathopanishad says, 'Fools steeped in ignorance, wise in their own conceit, and regarding themselves as learned, go staggering about like blind men leading the blind.' (1-2-5)
Also, we even find inconsistencies in the actions of men of noble ideals and conduct. The sinless Lord Rama abandoned his wife because he was swayed by gossip, even though she had passed the ordeal of fire and thus proven her chastity. Parshuram, following his father's command, cut off his mother's head. Just see the five Pandavas ! They were all married to the same woman!
Take the mythological examples of the gods. One of them violated the virtue of Ahilya, the wife of the sage Gautama. Brahma, in the form of a deer, lusted after his own daughter ! There are also many examples in Greek and Roman mythology. That is why the Ramayana says that we shouldn't take too much notice of these venerable beings.
An English writer complied a popular history of the devil and he wrote that in disputes between the devils and
106 Hansyog Prakash
angels, the former were often defeated by the angels' trickery. The Kaushitki Upanishad tells how Indra, the king of the gods, cut the ascetic Arunmukhi into pieces and fed him to the wolves, and how he killed Prahlad's relatives and friends after breaking several treaties. Yet, he says, that even after doing all this, "not a hair on my head has ever been touched."
You may say that we have no right to judge the actions of these Ancient Ones, but rather, as the Taittirya Upanishad says, follow the example of their actions which will be good for us and forget about the rest. For example, you should obey your father, but not to the extent of killing your mother.
So now the question arises as to how we can differentiate between good and bad actions. The reason for the erratic behaviour of venerable persons may seem obscure, but a person finds the answers after diving into Spiritual Knowledge.
Apart from this, some people have prescribed an easy way to determine what is good and bad action. They say that we shouldn't try to augment a particular virtue, otherwise it will end up becoming a defect, e.g. generosity is definitely a good trait, but overdoing it can lead to trouble. Aristotle described how to determine what is good and bad action, and he clearly proved that too much of any good quality becomes the cause of one's undoing.
St Bhartrihari said that too much talking is the sign of a babbler, while too little is a sign of reticence. Too much spending is the sign of a spendthrift and too little is the sign
Karma Yoga 107
of a miser. Rushing into something is the sign of rashness and holding back is cowardice. Excessive insistence is obstinance, and lack of it is fickleness. Too much flattery degrades you while rigidity is a sign of conceit. But this rule of thumb cannot be taken too far. First it must be decided what is too much, and what is too little. So who will determine it and how? What on one occasion may seem to be too much may on another occasion seem to be too little. Therefore, when confusion arises about good and bad action, we must weigh the pros and cons of mutually opposing action and using our intellect, decide what is the right thing to do on that particular occasion. However, even this may not decide what is essentially good and bad action, because in real life, we see time and again that learned people interpret in so many ways what is essential and what is not. They arrive at several different conclusions concerning the morality of a single act.
So is there any way to determine for sure what is good and bad action? If there is such a way, what is it? If there are several ways, which one is the best? This is a scientific task, because the distinguishing feature of science is that it unravels and separates intermingled ideas which are not understood, then simply and clearly reveals the exact meaning to us.
By learning astronomy we can predict the occurrence of future eclipses, but in order to solve all the variables, we must first know what they are. So the method of both ancient and modern authors is, before defending any text, to first consider all sides of the question and see their flaws
108 Hansyog Prakash
Thus the method described by the Gita for determining what is good and bad action is laudable, but we should also consider the ideas of other scholars, not just for comparison's sake, but in order to understand the importance of the message of the Gita about karma yoga.
In Gita chapter 5 verse 18, it is said that a knower of God looks equally upon a priest, and untouchable, a cow, an elephant and a dog. So what will the learned pundits say if a cow's fodder is fed to a priest and the meal prepared for the priest is given to a cow? Ignorant and dull people won't understand the significance of this question, but the science of karma yoga does. The formidable question raised by the karma yoga texts is: How to live resolutely in a society of selfish people, keeping in mind what is truly good and bad action, and determining, according to time and place, how the order of things should be changed?
Shri Samarth Ramdas in the beginning of his book 'Das Bodh' describes Divine Knowledge and then discusses which types of activities should be done (in a spirit of non-attachment and desirelessness) for the sake of society. He also describes how a contented, resolute and noble person, living among ordinary people, can make them wise and realized in knowledge. He says in the 28th chapter that a sage is known by his good habits, conversation, way of doing things, explanations, exertion, arguments, shrewdness, cleverness, statesmanship, patience, faith, broad-mindedness, generosity, spiritual knowledge, devotion, concentration, non-involvement in worldliness and desires, non attachment, equi-
Karma Yoga 109
librium of mind, determination, self-discipline, impartiality and discrimination. But even such an exalted saint has to deal with greedy people. So Shri Ramdasji advises, that if someone attacks you, you should defend yourself in like manner; with churlish people you should be churlish, and with cunning people you must be cunning.
In Gita Chapter 4 verse 11, the Lord says, 'I remember a person according to how he remembers me. Wise people who understand this mystery live totally according to my instructions. Devotees think of me only with love, faith and devotion.'
Lakshman's discourse about Devotion
No one is a source of delight or pain to another. We all reap the harvest of our own actions.
Reacting to union and separation, pleasure and pain, friends or foes neutralise are all illusory traps.
Birth and death, prosperity and adversity, destiny and time and all illusory things such as land, house, town, family, heaven and hell; whatever is thought of, seen or heard with the mind has its root in ignorance. It is not the Supreme Truth.
If a beggar dreams that he has been crowned king, or the Lord of Paradise dreams that he is reduced to the state of a pauper, on waking the beggar has not gained anything and the Lord of Paradise has not lost anything. This is how you should look upon the world. Do not be angry or blame anyone.
Everyone sleeps in the darkness of delusion and attachment, dreaming all kinds of things. Only the Yogis who are
110 Hansyog Prakash
in quest of the highest Truth are awake and aloof from the world. A person should be regarded as awakened only when he develops indifference and an aversion to sensual pleasures.
Only through right understanding do attachment and confusion disappear from the mind. Then a person can love the Lord. The highest goal is to be devoted to the Lord in thought, word and deed.
The Lord is the Supreme Reality, unknown, imperceptible, eternal, incomparable, unchangeable and beyond all plurality. The Vedas speak of him as 'not this not this.'
For the sake of humanity and especially his devotees, the gracious Lord takes a human birth and plays out his drama. When you hear about his deeds, the snares of the world are torn asunder for you.
The formless God is easily perceived but it is very difficult to recognize his manifested form.
Some say that he is accessible, others say that he is not and these different ideas confuse the mind.
The Yoga of Devotion
So far, we have dealt with question of how the desireless realization of the identity of Soul in all beings is the foundation of Karma Yoga and Liberation. Desireless intellect is acquired through knowledge of God, and everyone should practise it throughout his life while performing his allotted duties.
However, just this much does not exhaust the subject matter of devotion as discussed in the Gita. Undoubtedly, Divine Knowledge alone is Truth, the Supreme Goal, and the holiest thing there is. (Gita 4:38). However, the attainment of Knowledge, and the accompanying equanimity of intellect, up to now has been discussed as being dependent on Reason, therefore ordinary people have reservations about it. If someone's intellect is not sharp enough to fully comprehend these concepts, should he just give up any hope of realizing God, and do nothing about it? Truly, such doubts are not unfounded. Ordinary people question their ability to understand this knowledge, as even great sages have said, 'It's not this it's not this,' when describing the Supreme God Who is clothed in the names and forms of Maya. They want an easy path, by which their limited power of comprehension can grasp this profound knowledge. Who
112 Hansyog Prakash
can blame them? The Gita (2:29) and Kathopanishad (2-7) say that many people hear about the soul v/ith wonder, but still no one knows what it is.
There is a good illustration of this in the Vedas. Bashkali asked Bahwa, "Lord, please tell me what is God." Bahwa said nothing at all. Bashkali repeated his question but still Bahwa remained silent. After Bashkali had asked the same question four or five times, Bahwa said, "Now listen ! I have been answering your question But you don't understand. So what can I do? What God really is, can never be described in any way. So silence is a true sign of Knowledge."
The Kenopanishad (1-6) says that God cannot be seen with the ordinary eyes, but he makes the eyes see. He is normally beyond knowing, but he can be known. How can a person of average intellect realize him, and reach the highest state of mental equilibrium?
When someone experiences God's True Form and realizes him as He is, he comes to know that one spirit which pervades the animate and inanimate creation. If such spiritual attainment depended solely on a sharp intellect, then millions would have to abandon all hopes of God-realization and simply sit back and do nothing, because highly intelligent people are always few in numbers.
You may feel that simply having faith in the words of the wise is sufficient, but even they have differences of opinion.
If you say that faith can do anything, then you automatically establish faith and reverence as an alternative way to gain this profound knowledge. It is definitely true that with-
The Yoga of Devotion 113
out faith you cannot realize the True Knowledge. It is merely a'cademic arrogance to say that knowledge is acquired only through the intellect, without the help of any other mental faculty or emotion. People who talk like that have become hardened through studying logic all their lives. They themselves have no love and faith, so they cannot understand this mystery.
For example, let us take the proposition that the sun will rise tomorrow morning. We totally and firmly believe this. Why? Because we and our forefathers have witnessed it. But if we consider it a little further, we will discover that up till now, we and our ancestors have seen the sun rise every morning. That, however, cannot be the reason for tomorrow's sunrise. There must be some other reason. If our seeing the sun is not the reason for the sunrise, then what is the guarantee that there will be a sunrise tomorrow? It is also a type of faith to suppose that something will continue to happen in exactly the same ways as it always has without interference. This is called inference. We must keep it in mind that this inference does not have an intellectual basis, but is strictly rooted in faith.
The inference that sugar tastes sweet to one man therefore it must taste sweet to another, is in fact the same type of thing. Someone can say from his own experience that sugar is sweet, but he cannot go further and say that sugar tastes sweet to everyone without supplementing his reason with faith.
The geometrical theorem that two parallel lines will never meet, no matter how far they are extended, can be
114 Hansyog Prakash
understood only by going beyond our practical experience and taking the help of faith.
Behaviour is the result of faith, love and other such natural feelings. All that reason does is, control these feelings. Once the intellect has decided whether something is good or bad, this decision is put into action by the mind or feelings. To perfect the knowledge acquired by intellect, and to translate it into action, natural feelings such as love, faith, compassion and sense of duty are necessary. Any discipline which does not awaken and purify these feelings, and doesn't make use of them, should be regarded as dry, deficient, unfeeling, incomplete, barren and immature. You cannot fire a bullet without a gun and gunpowder, and similarly, knowledge acquired through reason without the help of love and faith will not redeem anyone.
The ancient sages knew this very well. Listen to this example from the Upanishads. One day, Shwetaketu's father, in order to illustrate the principle that the origin of the universe is the invisible God, told his son to bring a flower from a banyan tree and see what was inside it. Shwetaketu did as he was told, and answered that tiny seeds are inside the flower. His father told him to break open one seed, and tell him what was inside. Shwetaketu said, "There is nothing inside it'" his father said, "What! A huge banyan tree comes from nothing?" Then he advised his son not to accept anything on face value, but to go further and find out for himself. Faith is necessary for acquiring knowledge, but you must have internal reali2ation also.
Travellers take shelter at an inn then resume their journey.
The Yoga of Devotion 115
In the same way, to fully understand that the origin and foundation of the entire creation is something infinite, eternal, omnipresent, independent and all-conscious, we should first make use of reason and then go beyond it on the path of love and faith.
The Gita says (6:47) that of all Karma Yogis, the one who constantly meditates and does devotion is superior. Other Scriptures also say this. If something cannot be perceived by the senses, you should not rely only on logic to determine what it really is. If the only difficulty were that the attributeless God is hard for ordinary people to understand, then that difficulty could be overcome by having faith in the words of others' In the case of differences of opinion among reliable people, we would have to judge for ourselves who is the most authoritative, and trust what he says.
You can see from their behaviour that most people carry on their activities relying on the words of someone else whom they consider dependable. For example, why does 2x5 equal 10 and not 11? Writing 1 and 1 does not make 2. You'll find very few people who can explain the reason behind this. This world keeps on going because we believe such principles to be true. You'll meet very few people who can tell you from their actual experience whether the Himalayas are 5 or 10 miles high, but anyone can quote '30,000 feet' from their geography books.
Similarly, if you ask anyone, "What is God like?" he'll answer, "He is without form and attributes." The ordinary person's intellect may or may not be sharp enough to reason through the obstacles posed by this question, but there is no
116 Hansyog Prakash
lack of faith in the most ordinary people, either. Faith is not a quality possessed only by people of high intelligence. If people carry on their daily affairs relying largely on faith, then it is not surprising that they use this same faith to call God attributeless. History tells us that even before sages had the practical experiences which enabled them to declare that God is attributeless, the common people had been supposing on faith alone that behind the insentient creation's plurality of phenomena, there must be some infinite, immortal, independent, almighty and all-pervading power. From earliest times, people were worshipping this Entity in some form or another. It is true, though, that they could not explain the origin of this concept of theirs that God is attributeless. The logical series of events is first experience, then justification or explanation. Long before Newton formulated his law of gravity, everyone knew that apples fall from a tree to the ground below. Did apples fall from the tree to the sky before the discovery of the force of gravity? No, of course not! Apples have always fallen downwards, whether anyone noted this fact or not.
It is the job of the intellect to evaluate and find the origin of the concepts acquired by faith. However, even if you don't succeed in finding an adequate explanation, it doesn't mean that such knowledge is only a delusion and dose not, in fact, exist.
If it were sufficient to believe that God is attributeless, then faith alone would be enough. However, merely believing is not enough. We have already said that the aim of human life is to realize the Divine, and for this, practice of
The Yoga of Devotion 117
Spiritual Knowledge over a long period of time is necessary. By continual and sustained practice, this knowledge penetrates the mind and senses thoroughly, changing our behaviour. Then Divine wisdom becomes our very nature. The only way to do this is to first find that knowledge which can show us God as He really is, meditate with deep love upon it, and unite the mind with God. This path has been practised since ancient time and is called the path of devotion. The Shandilya Shastra says, 'Extreme love for God is called devotion.' TheBhagwat Purana says that this Love should be unselfish, desireless, and constant.
Reading, reading has turned you into a stone.
Writing, writing, has made you as thick as a brick.
You have not one drop of love within you.
If you read all the book in the world
You couldn't become wise.
But if you 'read' the One Word of God
You then could be said to be wise,
said the saint to the scholar. On the path of devotion you shouldn't desire anything. Asking is an obstacle to Love. If you don't have single-minded devotion, but perform external acts of piety in the hope that God will give you something in return, devotion becomes little more than a business, similar to the Vedic Yagyas which were done to fulfill desires. This is called rajasic, mercenary or motivated devotion, and it cannot purify the mind. If the mind is not totally pure, it becomes an obstacle to spiritual development. Scriptures have proven that only a completely desireless heart is an advantage on the path of devotion.
118 Hansyog Prakash
In the Gita, the Lord describes the four aspirations of a devotee : release from suffering, obtaining objects for happiness, seeking knowledge, and after receiving it, devoting oneself to Me.
A person does the first type of devotion to eradicate suffering. The second type he does for material gain and the third type for knowledge. Devotion done for getting anything at all is of an inferior type. The highest kind of devotee desires nothing for himself, because he already has spiritual insight. The Gita says that the best type of devotee has no selfish interest in anyone, but, just like Narad and other realized souls does devotion for its own sake.
According to the Bhagwat Purana, there are nine steps of devotion :
1) Listening to discourses about the Lord (shravan)
2) Kirtan-singing the praises of God
3) Meditation on God's Radiant Form and remembering the Holy Name.
4) Serving the Lord.
5) Worshipping Him humbly
6) Prostration and obeisance
7) Feeling oneself to be His slave
8) Regarding God as one's Friend.
9) Complete surrender to him.
Actually, if you practise the first eight, the ninth will happen automatically. These mysteries are treated in detail in 'Das Bodh' and other such devotional texts, but here we will deal with the ninefold path of devotion which Lord Rama expounded to Bhilni.
He said, Bhilni, I recognise only the relationship forged through
The Yoga of Devotion 119
devotion. No matter what a person's caste, kinship, lineage, religion, reputation, wealth, physical strength, abilities and accomplishments may be, if he has no devotion he is like a cloud without rain. Now I will tell you about the ninefold path of devotion. Listen carefully and cherish My words inyour heart. The first step in devotion is association with the holy, and the second is a fondness for hearing about me.
No matter how much wealth someone may accumulate, or how much profit he may make, he still has to reap the harvest of his actions after death when his soul transmigrates. However, just hearing a little satsang has immediate effects. True happiness and divine joy are found only in the company of saints. Saint Tulsidas said, Associating with saints gives all kinds of joy. Saints are the livingpilgrimage. He who has not stored up any spiritual capital cannot have the chance to hear satsang.
A person who has no faith and reverence in his heart is far removed from holy company. People who have no yearning to see god and to be in his presence, can never understand the mystery of devotion. The saints have always been praised, everywhere, but those unfortunates who are victims of their own pride can never derive any benefit from the company of a saint.
Prayagraj, or Tirathraj, believed to be the holiest shrine for pilgrimage is near Allahabad. However, the saints say that even holier than that is the company of the holy. If you 'bathe' there, you'll get immediate results. A person who has a mean nature can be transformed.
Without satsang there is no discrimination, and no one can enjoy
120 Hansyog Prakash
satsang without the Grace of God said Tulsidas. Its effects are immediate. One dip in it changes crows into swans. Only a person who loves satsang is entitled to receive the boon of devotion. 'Devotion is independent of anything, and the fountain-head of joy, but no one can get it without satsang. Devotion is incomparable and is an ocean of bliss, but it can be attained only by the favour of a saint.'
Devotion is the treasury of all joys and good qualities. It is not dependent on chanting, rituals, study, recitations, sacrifices or pilgrimages. It is independent and incomparable. If a saint is pleased with you, he will reveal to you the knowledge of devotion. The person on whom rests the highest Grace of God, and to whom God wants to give the gift of devotion, will meet a saint. The saint teaches devotion, which puts an end to all worldly sufferings.
The third form of devotion is renouncing all pride, and serving the Master, and the fourth is glorifying me sincerely.
Until you follow a realized Master, you will not progress on the Path. If you want to follow him properly, you must serve him. If you follow your mind instead, you are like the blindfolded ox which has to turn a wheel all day. It doesn't go anywhere, although it thinks that it does. So let go of all your hypocrisy and insincerity, and praise God.
The fifth step in devotion is remembering My Name with firm faith. The sixth is practising self-control and virtue, and always adhering to the code of righteousness. He who practises the seventh step of devotion sees me everywhere without distinction, and regards the saints as being even greater than myself. The eighth step of devotion is contentment, and never seeing the faults of others, even in a dream.
The Yoga of Devotion 121
The ninth step in devotion is being straight and honest in all one's dealings and having implicit faith in Me with neither undue joy nor sorrow.
A person who has reached any one of these nine stages is very dear to me. You, Bhilni, are blessed with all nine. That which is craved by Yogis and not easily available even to them is within your easy reach. The ultimate result of seeing me is that the soul regains its pure and natural state.
Whatever form his devotion may take, the fact remains that the devotee must have selfless and desireless love for God. He must stabilize his mind, and use it for devotion. The only job of the inner faculty called 'reason' or 'intellect' is to determine whether something is good or bad, righteous or unrighteous, a duty or an action to be avoided, and nothing else. Any other mental activity is done by mind.
The mind needs an object for devotion or worship. In the Upanishads the Cosmic or Absolute Form of God is described as being beyond the senses, formless, infinite and attributeless. You will find it difficult to use. It is your object of worship, because once you experience it, the mind no longer exists as a separate entity, and this separateness is necessary for devotion. In experiencing the Absolute Form of God, the worshipper and object of worship, the knower and the object of knowledge become one. The Absolute Form is the final goal; it is not the means. The Cosmic Form cannot be realized until the mind finds the method to achieve union with God.
Because of the distinction between the worshipper and the object of his worship, there exists a visible, qualified,
122 Hansyog Prakash
embodied form of God. In the Upanishads it is said that all qualities perceptible to the mind, e.g. taste, smell, activity, etc. are combined in God, whereas the Shandilya Shastra says that God should be worshipped as formless and imperceptible. Keep it in mind, however, that although God as described here has qualities, nevertheless He is formless and imperceptible as well.
However, man's natural make-up is such that it is very difficult for him to love, constantly remember or concentrate his mind on something that is imperceptible, i.e. that has no particular form, colour, etc. This is because the mind is naturally unstable. Therefore, until it has some visible reminder of God before it, it will forget over and over again.
So where can the mind be concentrated? Most people don't know. Concentration is difficult even for sages, not to mention ordinary people!
When we learn geometry, we are told to imagine a line which is infinite. It is incomprehensible, but it does have the quality of length. If we draw a section of such a line on the blackboard, its nature is brought to mind.
Ordinary people cannot merge their minds in the Infinite God, nor love him, even though he is the Doer of all actions, is omnipresent and omnipotent. They need some tangible representation. Without first seeing some visible reminder, they cannot imagine His imperceptible aspect.
For example, once we have seen the colours red and green, we can then perceive them in our imagination. They leave a mental impression. You can call it the shortcoming
The Yoga of Devotion 123
of the mind or whatever you like, but until someone overcomes this, he needs to see the attributeless in a qualified form in order to worship it. There is no other way for the mind to comprehend the Infinite. That is why worship of the Embodied Form has been recommended by the saints. In the Gita the Lord says, For those attached to worldliness, experiencing the unmanifest One causes much suffering. (Gita, 12:5)
It is very difficult to concentrate on the Imperceptible, but it is easy to relate to the qualified, embodied form. This worshipping God through some tangible representative is called Bhakti Marg, the Path of Devotion.
There have been, and undoubtedly are, wise men who, having determined what is the true form of God on the strength of their reason alone, labour hard to concentrate their minds on this absolute form. As the Form of God on which they concentrate is essentially imperceptible and accessible only to the purified intellect, this path is usually referred to as Jnana Marg, the path of pure discrimination. However, we cannot escape the necessity of Love on this path, either, as the act of attaching the mind to the Imperceptible cannot be accomplished without a certain amount of Love and faith. Jnana Marg is also called the path of knowledge (gained through reason) but actually it is not the path of True knowledge, or direct perception of God. God's True Form, which is Divine Light, can be realized but it is extremely rare to reach this stage through Jnana Marg. Worship of the Universal God is like a sword's edge. The same sword that protects you can kill you also. It takes no time to deviate from the path of Jnana, because there is
124 Hansyog Prakash
nothing for the mind to fix itself upon. The practice of spiritual discrimination involves many difficulties. A termite doesn't know how to form letters, but letters may take shape as it is eating wood. Such is the situation of the traveller on the path of Jnana, until he reaches the stage of liberation. Those who think themselves to be God stay stuck in the mud of worldliness. Ego is the distinguishing feature of the path of Jnana Yoga while humility characterizes the path of devotion. A person lying on the ground has no fear of falling, but a falling person will sustain injuries according to the height from which he falls. If a person leaves the path of devotion, which is easy and direct, to follow the profound and tortuous path of Jnana Yoga, which is full of pitfalls, and then falls from his objective, how wretched will his position be !
Worshipping the Perceptible Form in place of the Imperceptible is called the Path of Devotion. However, these two paths lead to the same destination, and in the end, result in the same equanimity of intellect. You may use more than one ladder to reach a roof. To cater to different types of people, these two paths have existed since time immemorial. Even though the paths vary, the goal is the same. In the end you will have the same Knowledge of God. Salvation is the end result of both paths. For both paths the same principle is true, that, without direct perception of Soul, liberation is impossible. So what is the use of idle disputes about which is the better path? At the outset, they appear to be different, but ultimately are of the same value. The Gita calls both of them 'spiritual' (11:1). From the point of view of practice,
The Yoga of Devotion 125
they are equally meritorious. Undoubtedly, devotion leads to the knowledge of God which comes from wisdom or from worshipping the invisible God (Gita 18:35). However, a person who is initiated into spiritual knowledge and then stops all worldly activities, being engrossed only in knowledge , is called 'Jnana Nishtha'. Until devotion is joined to knowledge, a person cannot attain his Object of Worship in its pure form. When a devotee is fixed in God, no other methods of devotion is Knowledge. Devotion is a way to knowledge. In short, from the point of view of worshipping the Unmanifested God, Knowledge is the means, while, from the point of view of union with God, the same knowledge is called Nishtha, the ultimate state of being merged with Perfection. When it is necessary to make this distinction clear, the words Jnana-Marg (path of knowledge or reason) and Jnana-Nishtha (ultimate stage of spiritual insight) are not used synonymously. The former indicates the preparatory stages of worship of the Imperceptible, whereas the latter refers to the ultimate stage of perfection, which means that after attaining perfect knowledge, the devotee stops all other activities and plunges into it.
This idea can also be applied to action (karma). According to the convention of the Scriptures, that work which is done to purify the mind is called sadhana (spiritual practice). First of all the mind is purified and finally Perfect Knowledge and peace are attained. However, even though he may not be merged in knowledge, anyone who, throughout his life, works calmly and desirelessly towards the Goal can be called 'Nishtha', because he is performing desireless actions
126 Hansyog Prakash
for attaining knowledge.
But this idea cannot be applied to devotion. It cannot be called 'Nishtha' because it is a means to acquire Knowledge.
In the beginning of the Gita, only the paths of Jnana Yoga and Karma Yoga are called 'Nishtha'. Of the two, Karma Yoga is considered the best way to accomplish nishtha.
Since the earliest times, the worship of the Imperceptible and worship of the Visible Form of God have gone hand in hand. The Gita says that worship of the Imperceptible is fraught with dangers and problems, while the worship of the Embodied Lord is easy, and anyone can do it. The ancient Upanishads discussed the path of Jnana, while Shandilya and other Scriptures glorified devotion. But no other Scripture has differentiated between the path of Jnana and the path of Bhakti, according to the capacity of the practitioner, and then ultimately brought them together again, together with the path of Karma Yoga, as the Gita has done, and impartially, at that.
So how should a person use his faculties to get the genuine experience of the True Form of God? This absolute Form is eternal, infinite, unutterable, indescribable and incomprehensible. The Vedas speak of It as 'not this, not this'. Even though God is beyond all qualities, and is unconceivable and imperceptible, when one does realize Him, the duality of worshipper and worshipped no longer remains. Therefore, at the outset you cannot worship him directly, because that Cosmic Form is something to be
The Yoga of Devotion 127
reached; It is the Goal. Worship is a means for acquiring that non-dualistic state and becoming identical with the Universal God.
Therefore, the object of worship must have qualities. The Divine Qualities are omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience and formlessness, but because He is imperceptible and accessible only to a purified intellect (not the senses), it is extremely difficult to worship him.
However, in every religion we find the apparent paradox that this incomprehensible, omnipresent, omnipotent God, Who is the vital force of the universe, also talks to us, loves us and shows us the path of the saints. We can call him 'ours'. He will share our joys and sorrows, forgive our misdeeds, and we can forge a relationship with him. We can say, "O God, I am yours, and you are mine !" He will protect us like a father and love us like a mother.
In Gita, 17:18, the Lord says, I am the unattainable God, the Witness of all, the Shelter; the Origin and Cause of dissolution; the abode and the imperishable Seed. In this context we can say, "Lord, You are my reason for being, so please cherish me. You are my Lord and ray Witness, you are my Boat, You are my ultimate Support, You are my Companion." The Lord lovingly reveals his True Form to His children, with the intention of relieving them of all miseries. He is the ocean of mercy, tender and loving, the Holy of holies, the paragon of generosity, the Origin of all, the most beautiful, most worthy of worship, and the repository of all virtues. In short, someone can naturally adopt such a sympathetic, easily accessible, love-attained, percep
128 Hansyog Prakash
tible and visible Lord for the purpose of devotion.
Why does the infinite Lord assume a finite form? The answer to this is provided by the famous Maharashtrian poet, Tukaram:
God is omnipresent, One and the Same for all, but for His devotees, He becomes small.
We also find this idea in the Vedantic texts. In the Upanishads, not only imperceptible phenomena and qualities, such as the vital energies, are mentioned for use in worshipping God, but tangible objects, such as fire, sun and moon, can be used also. God is the Lord and Sovereign of Nature, or Maya. The God with qualities is described in Gita, 10:3 as beginningless, unborn, and Lord of all the worlds. When someone realizes God, he is freed from all sin (Gita 9:2).
That object, having name and form, which is used as a symbol or representative of God is called pratika. The etymological meaning of this word is prati 'towards' and ika, 'that which faces us.' The side or part of any object which first becomes perceptible to us, and through which we subsequently find out something about it is called pratika. To find out about the absolute God, we first need some representative, some aspect or symbol of Him, which may be called pratika.
For example, in the Mahabharata there is a conversation between a Brahmin and a hunter. The hunter was talking about spiritual knowledge and then said, "come and see what my practical religion is." He took the brahmin to meet his aged parents and said, "They are my God in human
The Yoga of Devotion 129
form. My practical religion is serving them as if I were serving God Himself.
Lord Krishna said (Gita 9:2): This knowledge is the highest and purest of all knowledge, it is the king of all sciences and secrets.
He used the words 'Rajvidya' and 'Rajguhya'. These are compounds, and, according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, 'Raj' is placed first. However, some scholars have twisted this to mean 'secrets (or cults) of kings' and 'knowledge of kings'. The path expounded in the Gita was traditionally followed by kings. It was revealed to Manu, Ikshvaku and the royal sages in succession, but Rajvidya and Rajguhya should not be taken to mean that this knowledge was the exclusive property of kings.
Although in the Gita these two words could be understood to refer to Jnana and not devotion, the chapter in which they appear is itself a treatise in support of the path of devotion. (Chapter 9, verses 19-31). In the Gita, nevertheless, the path of knowledge of the unmanifest is said to be accessible only to purified intellect, and therefore full of obstacles. It is not likely that the Lord would again refer to that same path as tangible and easy to follow. It follows, therefore, for the sake of consistency, and also because the words 'perceptible' (pratyaksavagamaini) and 'easy to follow' (kartumsuskham) can apply wholly to the path of devotion, that the word 'Rajvidya' refers in this context to the path of devotion.
The word 'vidya' (Knowledge) refers not only to knowledge itself, but the means by which it is attained, from the Upanishads, we come to know that, in ancient times, this
130 Hansyog Prakash
knowledge was kept secret, and nobody except close disciples was initiated. Therefore, whatever the knowledge is, it is bound to be mystical.
Of all the existing ways to God-realization, the Gita claims that the path of devotion is best. Unlike the path of Jnana, devotion is not intangible but is within the reach of the devotee and can be followed easily.
The Gita (17:3) says that a person's faith determines what he becomes. The Lord said that those who worship deities go to deities, those who worship ancestors go to their ancestors, those who worship spirits and elemental go to them, and those who are the Lord's devotees go to Him. In chapter 4 verse 11 He says, As other remember Me, so I remember them. The Lord is the witness of all and rewards each person according to his actions. He knows each person's inner condition.
St Tukaram said that God is hungry for love, and does not take into account the images and symbols used by the devotee. A good devotee knows very well that he should not have the prejudice that the symbolic form of God that he worships is the only acceptable form of God and that all the others are false. Because his intellect is awakened and elevated, he considers that, no matter which symbols people use as a focus for their meditation and devotion, they will all ultimately merge in the same God.
The Lord said to Arjuna, Those devotees endowed with faith, who, not knowing me as I really am, worship other deities, are actually worshipping Me, although their method is wrong (Gita 9:23). The result gained from devotion through a substitute lies not in
The Yoga of Devotion 131
the symbol itself, but in the love within the devotee, which is focused on that substitute. Therefore, it is useless to argue over symbols.
Krishna said to Arjuna, Concentrate your mind on My perfect Form (Gita 12:8), and then describes various ways to achieve this. In verses 9-11 He says, If you cannot still your mind in meditation on Me, try again and again. If you cannot even practise meditation, then perform actions for me, which mil'purifyyour mind. If you can't do even this, then renounce all actions and their results, and by performing desireless actions, attain me.
If a person's nature tends towards ignorance (Tamasic nature), he won't succeed in stalling his mind in the Pure Absolute Form of God in only one lifetime, but any effort made on the path of devotion is never wasted. The Lord Himself guarantees that if someone does something devotional only once, then, if not in this lifetime, then in the next, and if not in the next, then in a future life, he will receive the knowledge of the Absolute Form of God.
The entire Creation in itself is the externalization of God. In Gita 7:19 Krishna says, At the end of many births, he who has attained the final stage of knowledge realises that God is all and that without him there is nothing. He achieves salvation. In reference to those practising Karma Yoga, Lord Krishna says, A Yogi who makes effort attains the supreme goal. the Yogi who attains liberation through the practice and perfection of Yoga in one lifetime is superior.
A devotee should never slacken his efforts in practising spiritual knowledge. In short, no matter how someone's curiosity to practise Karma Yoga is awakened, he will auto
132 Hansyog Prakash
matically be drawn towards perfection. Similarly, it is a fact of religion that if someone surrenders himself in devotion then God Himself increases his determination, and finally bestows perfect knowledge on him Faith and reverence are essential on the path of devotion.
When a person endowed with faith and reverence gains control over his senses, and strives to attain knowledge, he will experience God's Oneness as an absolute reality. He will quickly attain perfect peace (Gita 4:39).
In Chapter 18 verse 55 the Lord says that knowledge is achieved through devotion, and someone who attains it merges in God and is liberated. There is no third way to gain perfect knowledge of God - only through Knowledge and devotion. It is clearly said in the Gita that if a person's intellect is not pure, and he has no faith, he will destroy himself. A person who has no faith and is full of doubts, perishes.
It has just been stated that Perfect Knowledge is finally attained only through devotion and faith. The final destination of both the path of Jnana and the path of devotion is the same. We should discuss this a bit further.
It is scriptural principle that within the body is nothing but soul, clothed in name and form. From the scriptural reference point, we can say that the same soul which is within us exists within all creatures.
Every part of sugar is sweet, and similarly God is the same from inside and out. The ocean is not separate from its waves. Tuka says, we are like that.
Lord Krishna said, I am within all beings, and all beings are
The Yoga of Devotion 133
in Me (6:29). Nothing exists without God. To gain Knowledge of God, the devotee must strive hard and elevate himself. A person who does illegitimate actions is his soul's worst enemy himself and a person who does good and pious deeds is his soul's best friend (Gita 6:5).
It is true that when someone, through devotion, realizes knowledge of God, nothing more remains for him to do in the way of salvation. On the path of devotion, positive emotions such as love, kindness, compassion and sense of duty are not erased. On the contrary, they are purified. In such a situation, the question of whether to do action or not cannot arise.
Unconditional love arises in the mind of a true devotee.
Somone who doesn't belong to anyone else becomes God's,
He gives to all the Light of Love,
God pervades all, and he accepts all,
And a person who is also like that is a real devotee.
The mind of such a person is naturally inclined towards meditation. The riches of the "saints are for everyone, and that is why, out of benevolence, they tolerated so many difficulties.
Action is of paramount importance in the path of devotion as discussed in the Gita. Devotion is not just puja or flowers or words, but it is doing desireless action for the sake of the soul, and everyone ought to do this puja.
Although, from the point of view of Karma Yoga, there is a complete fusion of the path of Jnana and the path of devotion, the really unique advantage which devotion
134 Hansyog Prakash
has over Jnana will now be discussed.
It has already been said that, because the path of Jnana is accessible only to high reason, it can give trouble to people of limited intelligence, but because the path of devotion is based on faith, is accessible to love and can be practised in a practical and tangible way, anyone can easily follow it. However, if it is assumed that everyone, irrespective of caste, creed or gender can attain liberation, then everyone should be told how to do it. In one Upanishad, the sage Vadranacharya says that securing God's favour is one way. The Bhagwat Purana says that action, especially in the form of devotion, is the way to bring God's special favour on the soul. This is endorsed by the Gita and Mahabharata.
The Knowledge attained through the path of devotion and the knowledge of God described in the Upanishads is one and the same. Therefore, the devotee no longer sees any difference between man, woman, priest, warrior, merchant, the low-born or the outcaste. The Gita describes the special qualities of the path of devotion: By taking refuge in Me, even harlots become pure, not to mention pious priests, royal sages and devotee-they all can reach the supreme state.
In the Upanishads there is a conversation between a butcher and a hermit. The butcher describes how liberation can be achieved by doing one's allotted duties desirelessly. There are many such stories which show that a person is superior if he possesses equanimity of intellect, whether he be a goldsmith, carpenter, moneylender or butcher. It is not at all dependent on one's birth or occupation; it is entirely a matter of one's purity and feelings towards God.
The Yoga of Devotion 135
So by opening the door of salvation to all member of a society, a remarkable awakening takes place. God loves everyone equally, whether man, woman, priest or outcaste. God is hungry for love ! He does not care about social status !!
St Tukaram expresses it in the following way:
What is brahmin? What is shudra?
Even a prostitute can meditate on God.
Untouchables also can become pure and holy
Through devotion and renunciation.
What more is there to be said ? A person may have committed the worst crimes, but, if at the time of death, he surrenders to God with all his heart, God will forgive him (Gita 9:30 and 8:5).
St Tukaram's example of the prostitute may have offended at the time the learned scholars who parade their purity, but in fact don't know what religion really is. Such examples occur not only Hindu but in Buddhist and Christian scriptures as well. There are the examples of the courtesan Ambipali and the Angulimal who used to cut the throat of people. Both were initiated by Lord Buddha. Mary Magdalene's life was changed by Lord Jesus. In the Bible it is written that, of the two thieves who were crucified alongside Christ, one surrendered to Him as he died and achieved salvation (St Luke 23:42-32). Jesus Himself said that anyone, even prostitutes and publicans, who believed in Him with full faith and devotion would be saved (St Matthew 21:31).
Although this fundamental point of religion is indisputable, how can someone who has misbehaved all his life
136 Hansyog Prakash
manage, right at the last moment, to remember God with deep devotion ? At this time, relying on scriptures and mechanically opening and closing your mouth to chant verses or mantras will not do much for you other than exercise your jaws !
Therefore, Lord Krishna declared unequivocally that not only at the time of death, but throughout your life, you should always remember him, and do your prescribed duties with an attitude of surrender to God. You may have to work within the confines of caste or class, but if you work desirelessly, you will achieve liberation (Gita 9:26). However, if you don't concentrate your mind with love and faith, you cannot acquire a sound spiritual intellect, which is necessary for any devotee, and without which the mind gets entangled in the intricacies of external religion and worship of symbols.
The Lord is not only speaking to Arjuna, but to all of us, when He says, O Arjuna ! Leave these religious practices and come to Me. I will free you from all sins, don't worry! St Tukaram, having done just this, says,
Burn knowledge, burn wisdom,
But may I always keep my mind on the one true God !
Burn all religious practices, burn contemplation,
But may my mind stay fixed in God !
How should we love God ? We should unravel this mystery otherwise we cannot practise devotion at all.
Two kinds of concepts prevail in the world. In every country, no matter what its religion is, it is accepted that a human being is a combination of body and soul. But there
The Yoga of Devotion 137
are differences of opinion from country to country in relation to the aim of human life. In the West, people mainly concentrate on the physical or material aspect, while in India the emphasis is on devotion and the teachers there emphasize on spiritual life. Between the extremes found in the East and the West, there are all kinds of variations. In England, if someone dies, they say, "He gave up the ghost," But Indians say "He gave up his body." The creeds of people who believe that man in reality is a physical being, and that soul is subordinate to body will concentrate on body. If you ask them, "What is the purpose of human life ?" they will answer that the soul is used to enjoy sense pleasures; that it energizes the body so that the latter can enjoy itself. That's it! That is the aim of human life. There is nothing more to be know ! 'Eat, drink, and be merry ! This world is a carnival. Nobody knows what will be, so carry on !'
People who think like this cannot even dream of understanding something supersensory and metaphysical. Their idea of an afterlife is to go on indulging in pleasures in the same way that they have been doing in this life, only without the obstacles. They even worship God with the motive of getting more enjoyment out of life. Somehow, they have the notion that there is a being who dishes out all these pleasures, so that's why they worship God.
However, there are people who believe that realization of God is the aim of our life, and there is nothing Greater than God, so we should give up indulging in pleasures and forge ahead to realize him.
If sense pleasures were the be-all and end-all of life, and
138 Hansyog Prakash
there was nothing beyond this, then giving up pleasures would be intolerable. However, we can observe that if someone indulges less in sensuality, his life is correspondingly elevated and serene. Look at dogs ! Who can eat with the gusto and satisfaction that they do ! Look at hogs ! No human being can exhibit as much ecstasy while eating as they do ! The powers of sight, hearing and smell are much sharper in lower species. All their senses are very well-developed. Our senses are not as keen. Animals get intoxicated by sense-pleasures. The more degenerate a person becomes, the more he yearns to enjoy sensual pleasures. As he evolves, his thoughts become nobler and his heart is filled with love.
See for yourself. When your power of reason and feelings of Divine Love develop, you will be less able to indulge in sensual pleasures. If we accept that within us is a perfect power, which energizes body, mind and spirit, and can do anything, then there will be less need to depend on lesser powers. A wild animal's senses are much keener than a domesticated animal's. A tame animal is weaker, and if a wild animal is tamed, it also becomes weaker. Wild species are always physically superior. If we are always hankering after sensual pleasures, we should realize that we are desiring something that will turn us into animals. If a person wants an abundance of sensual pleasures, then he doesn't need a human body to live in, because he can get that type of enjoyment in animal bodies.
A pig never thinks that it is eating filth. That stuff is heavenly of him. Even if God Himself were to come before
The Yoga of Devotion 139
that pig, it would not even notice, as it is totally engrossed in eating. People have forgotten God, and are wallowing in the mire of sensual cravings, just like pigs. They cannot imagine anything beyond this. Everyone should realize that there is something much higher than sensual pleasures, something which they don't yet know. Nowadays, people tend to be cynical. They don't give any importance to God, and distrust noble sentiments.
A devotee of God who has already set his sights on something high, believe in only the Truth. Atheists do not want to go to Heaven, because they do not believe that it exists, and a devotee also does not want to go there because he regards Heaven as mere child's play. He wants only God. What else but God could be the ultimate goal of his lire ? Noble, civilized people cannot conceive of anything higher than God, because God is Love. What greater happiness than true love could we desire ? However, only completely selfless love is true Love, and we can only have this kind of love for God. But it is very difficult to achieve.
For Love of God, you must give up your wisdom, beauty, wealth and even pure desires. Understand that your well-being lies in being selfless.
Love is fathomless, peerless and immortal. It is like an ocean. Once it penetrates into the heart, it cannot be removed. God is Love, and Love is God. The two are one, like sun and sunshine.
I searched everywhere for a lover of God but found none. When two such lovers meet, they strengthen each other's devotion to the master.
140 Hansyog Prakash
What do worldly people know about love ? You'll meet hundreds of people who want worldly love, i.e. infatuation, but it is hard to find someone whose heart is filled with Divine Love. Even when people get all the paraphernalia necessary for luxury and indulgence, they still don't have the same peace that Love can give. People do not love their neighbour, yet cry loudly, "O Lord ! I love you !"
When a woman sheds a flood of tears, her husband expresses as much love as he can. However, as soon as he dies, she starts looking for the key to his safe ! She is only concerned with her future.
When a woman becomes ill, and her youth and beauty fade, her husband doesn't even want to look at her. Worldly 'love' is like this. It is insubstantial, hypocritical and selfish. It is all delusion and infatuation.
God Almighty, the supreme power, wants to love us, but we don't let him. Rather than experiencing his Love, we repeatedly let ourselves be deceived by the world. When we strive to catch hold of something, it slips through our fingers. Then we reach out for something else, and we again get deceived, but still we don't see the light! Then we want to see God, but this is very difficult. To approach him you have to negotiate a very long road. Therefore, very few people realize him, and in hundreds of years, extremely few really merge in his love.
When the sun rises, the darkness completely vanishes, and, similarly, a whole land is purified by the existence of a few true devotees.
When we were small children, we loved our parents
The Yoga of Devotion 141
more than anyone else. Later on, we regarded our playmates and then our classmates as our beloved ones. After marriage, a wife gives all her love to her husband and he to her. They are each other's all-in-all, but when a child is born, more than half of the wife's love is lavished on the offspring. This is the way it is with worldly love.
First, one star appears in the sky, and then countless stars are visible on the sky. The moon also rises, but when the sun rises, its light completely eclipses the light of all the other stars. God's Love alone is like the sun, and our worldly loves are like the stars. When the sun of Divine Love rises in a devotee, he becomes intoxicated. He who loves God is a real human being. He sees God in animals, birds, and all beings and he becomes like a wave on the ocean of Love. It is only by the Grace of God, however, that such a state of felicity can occur.
The Grace of the Lord
(From the Ramacharitamanas of St. Tulsidas)
The Grace of the Lord cures all ills if you follow his instructions. The Master is the doctor, so you must have faith in what he says, and the diet which he advises is indifference to worldly pleasures.
Devotion to the Lord is a life-giving herb, and a devout mind is the medium in which it is taken.
By this process all ailments will definitely be cured. On the other hand, all our efforts to cure ourselves will surely fail.
You can regard the mind as cured when your disinterest in the world is firmly rooted, when your appetite for good
142 Hansyog Prakash
deeds grows stronger every day and weakness in the form of sensual craving is gone.
Thus rid of all diseases, when the soul bathes in the pure water of wisdom, the heart is drenched with devotion for the Lord.
All saints agree that a person should cultivate devotion to the Lord.
It would be easier for hair to grow on the shell of a tortoise, or for the offspring of a barren woman to kill someone, or for flowers of every description to appear in the sky, than it would be for a person who is inimical to the Lord to be happy.
Sooner will one's thirst be quenched by drinking the water of a mirage; sooner will horns sprout on a hare's head, or sooner will darkness overcome the sun, than a person who has turned away from the Lord find happiness.
Sooner will fire come from ice, than an enemy of God be happy. Sooner will butter be churned from water, of oil be extracted from sand, than the worldly ocean be crossed without adoration for the Lord.
These are facts which cannot be ignored.
Abandon all scepticism and arguments and adore the all beautiful Lord, a fountain of mercy and the delight of devotees.
The Lord can elevate a mosquito to the position of Brahma, and degrade Brahma to a position lower than a mosquito. Realizing this, the wise discard all doubts and worship him.
The Yoga of Devotion 143
The Lord can animate an inanimate objects, and de-animate a living being. Those who adore such an omnipotent Lord are indeed blessed.
The Vedas conclude that, forgetting all else, worship the Lord, and remember him alone.
The human body is a raft in which we can cross the worldly ocean. The Grace of God is the favourable wind, and the True Master is the helmsman, This combination is difficult to secure, but is made easily available by the Grace of God. Any person, after getting all these resources, who fails to cross the worldly ocean, is stupid and ungrateful.
The True Guru is one who having himself realized God is a perfect example of a Karma Yogi, whose behaviour is truthful and exalted. He can show you God face-to face. Those so-called gurus who put on a superficial facade, who can only whisper a mantra in your ear, and have no more knowledge than that, actually working against Truth. A true Guru loves his own Guru, and the Scriptures. Aspirants who truly desire liberation and God-realization should let go of pride and reverently take refuge in such a Master.
In the Gita, Lord Krishna advises the aspirant to prostrate before the Master, please him by rendering all kinds of services, and ask him with a sincere heart for the knowledge. Ask to know the secret of devotion. After knowing it, nothing remains to be known.
Searching for the Master
I had never met anyone who could give me knowledge of God. I was drowning in the worldly ocean until God pulled me out. I had never met anyone whom I wanted to
144 Hansyog Prakash
follow. Everyone is burning in fires of his own making.
I had never met anyone who had conquered his lower self. You must vanquish the five enemies - lust, anger, greed, pride and attachment - and stay in Holy Name.
I have burned my bridges, a flaming torch in my hand ! If you want to come with me, burn your bridges, too !
I had never met anyone who understood God's mysteries and who could make me understand them. Only a person who makes efforts can enter the realm of spiritual knowledge. I never met anyone who could reveal to me all the techniques of Knowledge. You should constantly remember the one who dwells in inner space.
I wandered here and there, searching, but I didn't find anyone who could help me. God is beyond the three attributes of Nature, so you must dedicate yourself to the master.
I searched everywhere for a lover of God, but found none. When two such lovers meet, poison turns to Nectar.
A disciple should be prepared to give everything to the Master, but the True Master does not take anything from the disciple.
The key to unlock the door is in your hands. When the veil of ignorance within you is removed by the master, you will see God face-to-face.
The fragrance of a flower spreads everywhere. You will never find God outside in the world, but only through associating with saints.
If a tree were to look for its seed, it would find it within
The Yoga of Devotion 145
itself. If the soul searches for God, it finds him within itself. If the branch were to look for the root, it would find it within itself. Everyone has his own opinions that you are completely filled. I have no fear of coming back into the world.
The thing I wanted was in one place, while I was searching somewhere else, so how could I find it? If you want something, you must ask someone who knows where it is. Go to the Master. He will reveal to you the knowledge of God and the lessons of countless lives will bear fruit.
If you seek you will find, but you have to dive deep. I was afraid of drowning, so I was sitting on the shore. Only when I searched, did I find where God, the Lord of my soul, dwells. The drop merges with the ocean; everyone knows this, but only a rare person understands how the ocean merges with the drop. Where will you look for the drop after it has merged with the ocean ?
Without the help of the Spiritual Master, you will never find the True Knowledge, no matter how hard you try. Serve the Master with your body and mind, and very soon you'll see God.
The Master is not impressed by cleverness or showing off. Now I have my chance, and I am serving my Master with all my might.
How should a Disciple be ?
The splendour of the sun is its light; the splendour of the moon is its silver radiance, of trees their flowers and fruits, and of a king his love of righteousness and justice. The crowning glory of a father is a worthy child, and of a mother a child who is brave, generous and devoted to God. Likewise, the crowning glory of a spiritual master is a true devotee.
Only flowing water can be called a river. If there is no water there is no river. Similarly, only someone who has himself been a disciple is entitled to be called a Master, is like the sandalwood tree, and the disciple is the breeze that spreads the sweet fragrance and transforms others into men of Knowledge.
Lakshman carried aloft the banner of Lord Rama's fame. The way in which he served is a lesson in true discipleship. Shivaji completely dedicated himself in service. He spread the glory of his Master, Shri Samarth Ramdas. It was due to Arjuna that the Gita's deep mysteries were revealed to the world. The devotee makes the Lord manifest.
The meeting of a real disciple and the true Master is a great event. But until a disciple regards his Guru as God Himself, the elevating Spiritual Knowledge will not reveal itself to him. When he regards his Master as the Lord, he comes to understand the significance of his Master's every
148 Hansyog Prakash
action. The Guru graces him according to his love, reverence and faith. Service is absolutely necessary for receiving Grace. Service without love will not yield the highest results.
The world is like a market where you can get anything you want. Something which you don't want does not have even a farthing's value for you. For heavenly and worldly happiness a man serves wife, children, relatives and deities, but if he could let go of his pride and worldly infatuation and render a little desireless service to the Spiritual Master, he would gain a lot.
The main aim of human life is said to be liberation or attaining the state of Cosmic Consciousness, which is the gateway to all felicity. All worldly pleasures put together cannot equate even a fraction of it. Even greater than this, however, is the joy which comes from serving the Master. Only a disciple understands this mystery. A person who is fortunate enough to be able to serve his Master is indeed blessed, and his human life has not been in vain. Everything associated with him-his family, his race, his country-is blessed. His birthplace becomes a shrine. The beloved disciple who dedicates his life in service is free from the dual bondage of merits and demerits, and is even greater than the gods. Such great and true disciples, who lose themselves in service, forgetting their own existence, have always come into the world and will keep on coming.
Human reason and wisdom is the highest faculty. A beast can be made to work, but the disciple is not forced to serve. He serves of his own free will. The average person serves family and society to fulfill his desires and to gratify
How should a Disciple be? 149
his ego, but only very few people serve the Master selflessly and desirelessly. A desireless devotee serves his Guru by body, mind and wealth, without any kind of thought for himself. No one can ever serve the world desirelessly. A person does not get confused if he has one and only one ideal of dedicating himself to his Master and making the Master the centre of his life. Thus he works towards the highest goal according to the Master's instructions.
Actions motivated by selfishness only result in passion and hatred, the most bitter fruit of which is birth and rebirth. This is the greatest suffering. Universal love is awakened by serving the great souls. Success is proportional to one's love and devotion.
So how should a disciple feel towards his Chosen Ideal, the Spiritual Master ? What type of service pleases the Master ? A disciple must know this.
If you ask anyone, "What do you want out of life ?" he will immediately answer, "Peace ! Perfect happiness !" So to get this everyone runs here and there, but worldly activities are not giving us peace of mind. The real source of peace is the Spiritual Master. Until you lose yourself in service to him you cannot get peace by any means.
Why did we come into this world ? What did we come to do ? What are we doing with our lives ? You can only answer these questions properly after taking refuge in the Master. Only a very fortunate person gets to meet the Master, and even then, not everyone can recognize Him for what He is. Even if you haven't yet realized who He is, you can still derive maximum benefit by serving Him.
150 Hansyog Prakash
There is no lack of gurus in the world today. People just read books and imagine themselves to be great souls. If you work it out, you will find that there are more masters than disciples ! These gurus teach various methods of devotion. Some stress puja. Some think that sacrificing dumb animals to God yields benefits. Others even advocate breaking statues as part of their rituals. Gurus are of various types and their methods are also varied. Some distribute some mantra or the other and call themselves gurus. But the Realized Seer reveals the Sacred Knowledge which is one and the same for everyone. There is a saying, "Twelve priests teach twelve different paths, but twelve carpenters all work the same
way." Practical work is always done in the same way, but twelve academics will interpret something in twelve different ways, and further multiply their interpretations when explaining them to others ! Is this the way to safeguard religion and keep it alive ? Such people are not concerned with salvation. Whether their disciples go to heaven or hell is not their problem. They are busy consolidating their own gains and furthering their own ends. They talk about meditation on God but it doesn't mean any thing to them. You cannot have a relationship with God from a distance. God has to be seen.
If you say to them, "You have grown old worshipping and reading scriptures, so have you had a glimpse of God ?" those who are steeped in pride in their false religions will get angry, point to an idol and say, "Aren't you seeing God right in front of you?" However, we should reflect a little on the fact that if it is foolish to rely on a picture of a cow for milk,
How should a Disciple be? 151
how can you ever get bliss from a mere statue ? You don't meet your friend just by seeing his photo, so how can you meet God through an image or a picture ?
If a person is not dissolved in devotion to his Master, or if he has no love for God, then no matter how wise, learned or capable he might be, his knowledge is useless. First a person is a son, then he becomes a father. First a person must have the humble attitude of a servant, and then he'll meet his Master, How can someone who has never served a Master become a Master himself ? Saint Tulsidas felt bound to say, ' If a disciple does not serve, he cannot cross the worldly ocean. I definitely believe that God is the ocean and saints are the rain clouds; God is the sandalwood tree and the saints are the breeze that wafts the fragrance.
The ocean has unlimited water, but its saltiness makes it unfit for drinking or irrigation. However when the rain cloud above the sea take out the saltiness and shower sweet water upon the earth, this same Water becomes beneficial for all creatures. In the same way, God is omnipresent. His Light shines in every heart. His Holy Name is all-pervading, but just knowing this is of little use to us. It is the case of the salty water.
God never says, "Here I am within you", therefore very few people realize the divine bliss that is within themselves,
However, when the Master, like those rain clouds, comes and blesses us with the rain of satsang, we are revealed the Knowledge of God's Light (also called Bhargo, Chandna, Supreme Light, Noor-Ilahi or Divine Light) and the Holy Name (called Amrit Nam, Mahamantra, Satyanam or True
152 Hansyog Prakash
Name, Eternal or Secret Name, Hans Nam or Hans Yog). Once a disciple realizes this Knowledge, he grows in devotion, which is like fresh sweet water, and he experiences the highest rapture.
The sandalwood tree is full of fragrance, but it can't distribute this to anyone, even if it wanted to. But when the breeze blows, it takes the perfume from the tree and makes the whole forest smell of sandal. God is like that fragrance. He is within us all, but without knowledge, we can't perceive Him. When the Master, like the breeze, comes our way, he enables us to see God within. There are four types of gurus. One is like the touchstone, one is like the sandalwood tree, one is like a flame and one is like the Bhringi wasp.
The touchstone or philosopher's stone is supposed to be able to turn iron into gold, but it cannot impart this ability to anything else. A flame can light other lamps, but it itself lives in the darkness. You will never get anything from such gurus. There is fragrance in the sandalwood tree, but snakes cling to this tree. They don't lose their poison, even though they live is such close proximity to the wonderful fragrance.
There is a kind of wasp called Bhringi. It catches other insects and strikes them unconscious. It encloses the insect in a small cocoon and starts buzzing. After some time, that insect turns into a wasp, breaks out of the cocoon, and it too turns other insects into wasps. So the bhringi makes other insects like itself. The True Master can make any type of person become like himself, by his Word. Such a Master can truly benefit the soul.
How should a Disciple be? 153
Who can express the glory and importance of the Master ? Even the greatest saints feel themselves inadequate to the task. Who can adequately praise the wonder of his Grace ? The aspirant who becomes a true servant of the Master is really great. Knowledge yields fruit for him.
You may have heard the name of Eknath. He was a great saint. After receiving initiation himself, he helped many other souls to awaken.
He was born in a village in Maharashtra. He became orphan at a very early age. His grandparents reared him up lovingly, but due to his inherent tendencies and the loss of his parents, he lost all interest in worldly things, Longing for true happiness, he was disappointed in the world. He went to temples to worship the images of God and to listen to stories about him, but this did not satisfy his hunger, as time passed, his longing to see God increased. He had heard that God can be seen through devotion, and that the Spiritual Master shows the way. He also heard that a certain Janardan Swami was a very great and realized soul. He was the Prime Minister of the state of Devgarh. Although occupied with the affairs of the world, he was, in fact, aloof from them. Eknath longed to take refuge in him and follow his teaching, but knowing the grief that it would cause his grandparents, he didn't go. Eknath's distaste for worldly life disturbed his grandparents, but they also didn't want to discourage him from loving God.
Finally love of God triumphed over attachment and Eknath firmly resolved to go to find his Master. It was well past midnight and everyone was asleep. His grandparents
154 Hansyog Prakash
were also asleep, but Eknath was wide awake, When a person discovers that fire has broken out around his house, he won't sleep, but will try to get out of the house. This was Eknath's condition. He understood very well that the world is like a wooden house and the flames of desire are burning all around it, yet everyone has fallen asleep in the sleep of attachment, so they will die in the fires of lust, anger, greed, pride and infatuation. He who manages to escape from the house will be saved from the fire. Eknath wanted to escape from this fire and find true peace. So he was neither hungry nor sleepy. He was preoccupied with finding a favourable time to go to the Master, Janardan Swami, and surrender to him.
He slowly opened the door and left the house. It was dark all around. However, just as the stars twinkle in the sky, so the hope of finding his Master was shining like a lamp within him.
As he was walking along, a longing to see his grandparents and loved ones came into his mind, and his eyes filled with tears. But he drove away this weakness, quickened his pace, and left the village.
Even if it is hungry or thirsty, a bird will not be tempted to eat once it finds the door of its cage open. It'll just fly away. Eknath, escaping from the cage of attachment, was running in search of the Eight, after finding which there is no more worldly misery. People don't care about the difficulties they encounter in their quest for worldly enjoyments and in the same way, Eknath didn't care about the difficulties in the dark. Sometimes he fell into a ditch or struck his
How should a Disciple be? 155
foot against a rock, thorns tore his clothes and scratched his feet, but he didn't mind these or any other troubles that befell him on the way. The cries of the jackals and owls made his heart thump, but this did not deter him. He wanted to reach his Lord as quickly as possible. He pressed onwards.
In the morning when his grandparents didn't find him, they went crying through the village, calling all the residents together. There was sadness in every house. Meanwhile, Eknath as sitting on a river bank, taking thorns out of his bleeding feet. He was weary from the journey, but he was getting a glimpse of divine peace. He thought, "Eknath, you have left the world and hope to find God. You are very lucky to even wish for the Mater's love. If you didn't feel like that, you would've wasted your whole life chasing worldly love. You have to go now ! See, the Master is already giving you worthless self Grace and love, and is opening up the lotus of your heart!"
To get rid of his fatigue, he washed his face and hands, drank some water, and turning in the direction of his village, stood up. Suddenly he remembered his relatives. He knew very well the misery he had caused by running away. His face grew grim and once again feelings of attachment seized him. Giving up one's loving family may be easy, but forgetting them is not so easy.
Remembrance of his home perturbed Eknath, and this was plainly visible on his face. Suddenly a finely-dressed, handsome man came riding up, stopped in front of him and asked, "My friend, what are you thinking about, standing
156 Hansyog Prakash
here so early in the morning ? Where are you going ?"
Eknath turned away from the direction of his village and looked at the road stretching out before him. He said, " I have far to go."
The gentleman said, "Did you decide where were you going before you left home ? People usually decide where they are going before they set out."
If we are in a strange place and someone asks sympathetically about our difficulties then he appears like a dear relative to us. Eknath had left behind him his home and family, and now was starting to regard the whole world as his family. Someone who has no selfishness bears no enmity towards anyone. Eknath was charmed by the stranger's sympathetic words, and turned to look at him. Very humbly he said, " I am going to find my Master."
The stranger asked, "He must be great master to have a disciple like you. Who is he?"
Eknath said, "Janardan Swami," with folded hands and bowed his head. He did not know that the Master himself was standing before him.
The stranger dismounted. He was very pleased with Eknath's love and devotion. He said, "You mean Janardan Swami who is the Prime Minister of Devgarh?"
Eknath again bowed his head in respect and love and said, "Yes, sir. He is my Master. He is a great realized soul, always bestowing Grace on the poor and humble. I look to him and to no one else. Does he ever let anyone see him ? He must be very tender-hearted. Just by seeing and talking to him once, a person couldn't help singing his praises."
How should a Disciple be? 157
The stranger said, "Yes ! I have been lucky enough to meet him several times. But I have heard that he has not, to date, accepted anyone as a disciple. I have never seen any disciple of his. I am very surprised to hear that he has made you his disciple."
Eknath said, " You are indeed blessed to have been in the presence of such a noble soul. He hasn't actually made me his disciple, but, from the bottom of my heart, I have made him my Master. I am completely sure that when he sees my distress, he will bestow his Grace upon me. When I see his Feet and he places his hand on my head, all my suffering gets over."
The stranger asked, " have you seen him yet?"
Eknath replied, "No, sir, So far I have not been lucky enough to have met him."
The stranger said. " But you are very young."
Eknath answered, "There is no guarantee that I will live long. Therefore, I am anxious to take refuge in the shelter of the Master, break the bonds of attachment, and know the Truth." The stranger enquired, "Have you experienced anything of the world ?" Eknath replied, "So far I have had neither worldly experience nor experience of the Ultimate Reality, but by the Grace of my Master, I will realize them both."
The stranger said, "Brother, the path is very difficult and intricate. Will you be able to make it?"
Eknath said, "But the Guru makes a difficult path easy. Someone who has the Grace of the Master can cross the
158 Hansyog Prakash
ocean in one leap."
The stranger laughed and said, "You are very courageous, but Devgarh is very far from here. How can you reach there on foot?"
Eknath said, " If you really want something, you are not aware of the distance or the difficulties of the path. The object of your desire may be ever so far, but it is always in your heart and before your eyes."
The stranger said, "Won't you ride there?"
Eknath said, "I am going to the shelter of my Master. For me there will be no turning back. So why shouldn't I go barefooted? Just by thinking of him, I will reach him easily. My only duty is to keep on going.
The stranger was very pleased with what Eknath said. He thought, "This boy has very much reverence, love, enthusiasm and devotion. If he can keep this up, he will definitely reach his goal." He said to Eknath, "My boy, I see your courage and single-mindedness, and my heart tells me that you will achieve your objective."Saying so , he went on his way.
The road was undoubtedly far, but this didn't concern Eknath the least. He was riding on the horse of desire to see his Master. He didn't stop to rest, and didn't notice the difficulties on the way. For days and nights together, he kept the same goal before him, and finally he reached Devgarh. When he saw the city from afar, his face started gleaming. Instantly all his weariness vanished. Why shouldn't he be happy ? He had reached his destination.
He enquired of about the address of Shri Janardan
How should a Disciple be? 159
Swami and reached his office. At this time the Prime Minister was reading official documents. Eknath softly went inside, and the Minister did not know that he had arrived. With his heart full of love and devotion, Eknath prostrated himself, and, standing in a corner, gazed at the Prime Minister. When he looked up, Eknath's surprise knew no bounds. "Why, he is the same traveller whom I met on the river bank !"Eknath's whole body began to tremble, and his eyes filled with tears of love. "O Master !" he thought, "Even though you are so great, you conceal your nobility! But how can the sweet fragrance of musk be hidden by a mere veil ?" He kept his thoughts to himself, however.
Suddenly the Prime Minister looked up, and, seeing Eknath standing before him, he began to smile. Eknath ran, threw himself at Janardan Swami's feet and wept bitterly, cleaning his Lord's feet in tears. They were not ordinary tears but tears of love. The River Ganges traverses the Himalayas, and after passing all types of obstacles, such as rocks and forests, reaches the sea, and merges in it. Eknath had overcome the obstacle of worldly bondage and had reached his Master. His tears were not tears, but flowers nurtured in the garden of his reverence and love. With these flowers he adorned the feet of his Lord.
The Minister lovingly patted him on the head and said, "So, you have finally arrived ! My son, the road must have been full of difficulties."
Eknath replied, "Perhaps, my Lord, but that is all over and done with. Now that I have come into your holy presence, I no longer feel any sorrow or weariness. All I
160 Hansyog Prakash
want now is to attach my mind and intellect forever to your Holy Feet."
The Prime Minister said, "But I am a family man. If you want to receive initiation from a guru, you should make some monk or hermit your master."
Eknath said, "To my mind, you are my saint and realized Master. You may be the lord of Devgarh, and a learned scholar, but you are also a Yogi of the highest order, a true renunciate, brave and benevolent. You are the Highest Master; you are everything. I see all these things in you, my Master. You are the epitome of justice and impartiality. He who sees no difference in others is a great soul, whether he wears monk's clothing or not. Everyone bows to such a Master, and all come begging to him. He is the Lord of Heaven, Earth and Hell, and all the deities sing his glory. If I leave such a Master to which penniless man should I go begging ? Someone who comes to your door yet returns empty handed is truly unfortunate. A person with a jaundiced eye sees everything yellow. However, if you Grace rests on someone, he comes to your shelter and cannot help but express his gratitude. Who says that you are a householder ? You are like the lotus which lives in the water yet remains above it. You are like the flower which attracts the bee, but not the blood-sucking leech, because a leech has no use for its beauty and fragrance. The veil of delusion has fallen over the eyes of a person who sees you as merely a family man. People who are themselves burning in the flames of lust, anger, jealousy and passion, see you as being caught in the same, just as people sitting in a boat think that they are
How should a Disciple be? 161
stationary and the world is moving past."
"Amazing !" said Janardan Swami. "Such faith and love alone have bring you here. But, my son, consider this. I am the Prime Minister of this kingdom. Guru is said to be all knowing, the in-dweller of all, but I am the Minister of a land which has borders. So how did you get the idea of making me your Guru ? So far I haven't accepted a single disciple."
Eknath said, "Lord, in the eyes of others you may be King's Prime Minister, but to me you are the King of Kings ! Guru is the Lord of the Universe. The hearts of all beings is his kingdom. You take various forms and manifestations to remind erring beings like myself of the eternal Truth. Someone who is the recipient of your Grace is revealed the Truth. You are completely free. Yet at the same time, you are under the thumb of the devotees who love you truly. You embody yourself because they want you to. You are the Creator, Preserver and Destroyed of the Universe. Just as a spider spine its web and sits in the middle of it, you manifest yourself a body, yet remain absorbed in your self. O ruler of all ! Those who let go of insincerity and deceit and take refuge in you see you as you really are. Apart from you, there is no other way to gain spiritual blessedness anywhere in the universe. I want to follow your commands and serve you, and thereby attain salvation. You may be anything, but you are my everything. I have no other support in the whole world. My place is at your Feet."
You cannot argue with humility, faith and love, but even then, the Prime Minister said, "Very well. If you want me to
162 Hansyog Prakash
initiate you, first of all you must prove yourself worthy of initiation. Are you prepared for a test?"
Eknath bowed his head and said, " How could I ever be fit to take a test? I will do whatever you want. I am like a puppet, and will dance on your pulling the strings." So saying, Eknath prostrated Himself at his Master's feet and then stood before him with folded hands.
This world is insubstantial, but people are deluded by ignorance and look for the substance in it. Led by the nose on the string of hope, people wander around and around. Only a courageous person can snap this string of hope and expectation. Although this string is very weak, a person must be strong to break it. The black wasp is strong enough to bore holes in wood but it is trapped by the sweet smell and soft feel of the lotus and forfeits its life without trying to escape. Similarly, because of delusion and infatuation, human being cannot loosen the bonds of hope and expectation.
One person in a million takes on the role of disciple, in order to get free. Accepting a guru is nothing so great, but continuing the discipleship until death means a lot. Many start on the path, but very few can continue their discipleship. People give donations of money, and think that they are great devotees. They make so much in business; they spend thousands on their children's weddings, and they themselves don't lack anything, but even while doing all this, they say that everything they have belongs to the Master.
Parents give birth to the body. He who serves and honours his mother pleases the angels and he who serves
How should a Disciple be? 163
and honours his father makes the Creator happy, but he who serves and pleases his Master makes the Lord of the Universe his own. After we get this body from our parents we suffer physical and mental troubles. Parents cannot save a son from reaping the fruits of his actions. When the Master gives Knowledge to his spiritual child, he gives him a spiritual birth, and frees him from karma and the wheel of birth and death. In our previous births, we had different parents, and we left them all, but the Master never leaves us. He is our true mother and father. If a person gets the highest birth, that of human body, and then forsakes his Master or turn against him, he will never find peace and happiness, and will never progress, spiritually.
By serving the Master, we please all the saints and angels. Service of the Master is the highest action one can do. It is the true religion, and the way to salvation. He who hates his parents will suffer hell, but he who is malicious to his Master will find no place in heaven, earth or hell. We can never repay the debt we owe to him.
Only a person who is devoted to his Master has the right to be called a diciple. A disciple who doesn't have the desire to serve and dedicate himself to the Master is not really disciple, although he may call himself one. There will never be a lack of disciples who give donations, but a disciple who totally surrenders his life to the Master is truly rare. You will find plenty of gurus who live off donations, but a guru who can bestow salvation is also truly rare.
If a student learns something yet doesn't respect the one who taught him, or if an aspirant receives spiritual Knowl-
164 Hansyog Prakash
edge and still doesn't try to please his Master by thought, word and deed, he will not get any happiness or benefit from initiation.
It is the Master's duty to give the True Knowledge and help the disciple advance along the Path of peace and realization. It is the disciple's duty to first and foremost renounce all worldly attachments, and try to please his Master by loving and faithful service. In this way he will be spiritually blessed.
Imagine that you are going to the market to buy something. If you don't pay the full price of the article, you won't be able to buy it. Similarly, only by dedicating wealth, mind and body can you make the Master your own. You are mistaken if you hold back yet think that the Master is yours. Only when you pay the full price can you buy something. Cheating goes on in the market, but the Master recognizes only sincerity. If it wasn't necessary to give your all, then it wouldn't be necessary to mention it, and there wouldn't be any need for the many references to it, found it in the Scriptures. Service means to complete that work which has to be done. If one could become a disciple without doing service, why would it be necessary to talk about it?
Eknath had come to his Master after having broken all ties of previous attachments. He never thought of returning home. Three years passed, and he was so absorbed in service that he didn't notice the time passing. Day and night were the same to him. Would a hired servant ever work like that? However, Eknath had completely surrendered to his Master. He was constantly busy bringing water, washing
How should a Disciple be? 165
clothes, polishing pots, or feeding the Master's children. On top of all that, the Master put the whole burden of the office on Eknath's shoulders. He saw his capabilities and had no worries about his work. Everything was done according to the way Eknath wanted it to be done. All the employees took their orders only from him. They didn't have to ask the Prime Minister about anything, because Eknath's loving behaviour endeared him to one and all, and they were happy with his work. He listened attentively to the troubles of even the poorest people, and found the means to solve their problem as quickly as possible. Thus, in the hearts of the people, Eknath and the Prime Minister were equally loved. Eknath never let any complaint reach the Prime Minister. He was always ready to do the smallest task, yet he never left his own work to others. Everyone did their official duties according to their abilities, but Eknath's special quality was that, even though he had most important responsibilities, he never felt the least proud. He was always self-effacing, and felt that his Master was constantly testing him. He thought that if he passed the test then he would break forever the bonds of birth and death.
Everyone is afraid of exams. Even a student who studies most diligently for 365 days of the year is nervous at the exam time. When the exam is drawing near, the student gets butterflies in the stomach. Eknath's heart sank at the very thought of a test, but when he caught his Master' graceful glance, his courage revived. He had firm faith that no matter how difficult the test may be, he would surely pass. But that which we fear most, must surely come to pass, and the
166 Hansyog Prakash
day of Eknath's examination finally arrived.
It was early morning. Janardan Swami was alone in his room, meditating. Eknath was on duty, in front of the door, to stop anyone from entering the room.
Whether by chance or the Master's design, a man riding a horse reached Eknath. He had come a long way. Eknath became alert when he heard the sound of hooves. He signalled the rider to halt at a distance so that the sound would not disturb the Master. Eknath said softly to him, "Don't make a noise, and explain why you have come here."
The rider dismounted slowly, and handed over an envelope with the Royal Seal on it to Eknath. It was addressed to the Prime Minister. Eknath said, "When the Prime Minister has finished the work occupying him at present, he will come outside and then I will give him this envelope."
The cavalier said, " This is an urgent Royal matter. Please deliver it immediately."
Eknath said, "That is absolutely impossible. Not even Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva have the power to disturb my Master's meditation, to say nothing of me!"
Hearing this, the messenger turned pale, so Eknath asked, "Is this letter so urgent?"
The messenger said, "If it wasn't extremely urgent, would I be so crazy enough to insist that you disturbing the Prime Minister's meditation?"
Eknath turned the envelope this way and after looking at it said, "What is in it that cannot wait for even a little while?" At this the messenger trembled and said excitedly, "You must send this document to the Prime Minister. If you
How should a Disciple be? 167
persist in your refusal, I myself must go to him."
Eknath exclaimed, "What are you saying ? This is the King's document, but even if the King himself were to come, I couldn't let him in, either, because this is my Master's order. Being a disciple I cannot disobey his order, no matter how great a disaster is about to happen."
When the messenger saw that there was no way that Eknath would let him go to the Prime Minister, nor would he send the letter, he said softly, "Friend, the King has instructed me that no one but the Prime Minister must be told the contents of this letter. But now I have to tell you. Listen ! Our enemies have invaded the land, and their armies are even now approaching the capital. Because of a small error, the kingdom will fall into the hands of the enemy. Our armies are ready to fight, but they will not advance without the Minister's orders. So the King is calling for him urgently. You have wasted so much time talking. If he doesn't go, then just imagine what will happen ! It is vital that this letter reach him. I have done my duty. Now you do as you wish." So saying, he mounted his horse and galloped away.
His words were still ringing in Eknath's ears. The kingdom will fall to an enemy ! The city will be ruined ! What have I just heard !
He put the letter on the file of documents and sat at the door, but he was deeply worried. He was wondering whether to awake the Master from meditation or not. Then the thought came to him, "Eknath ! you are really stupid ! Everything belongs to the Master, so what is the existence
168 Hansyog Prakash
of one state to him ! "But this did not console him. The next idea that occurred to him was that the Master would be angry if his meditation was disturbed, and that would be the end of Eknath ! All the forgotten lesson would have to be drummed into his head again, and the Master might even say, "Eknath, how you have misused my teachings !"
He sat down, but conflicting thoughts disturbed his mind. "O Master ! What should I do? I can't figure it out, so please help me !" Then the idea came to him that everything will work out for the best, and, after all, nothing can obstruct the Master's work. So getting freed of anxiety he again sat down, but there was to be no relief. Troubled thoughts came flooding into his mind. He was oppressed by worries. He thought, "If any harm comes to the kingdom, the Master will say, 'Eknath, you didn't call me in time. You should have let me know about such an emergency. I was sitting in meditation while the kingdom was being destroyed. Is that your devotion ? In exchange you want the sacred and supreme Knowledge?"
Eknath was feeling more and more depressed, and all the while the Master was sitting in deep meditation. Sometimes Eknath thought that it would be expedient to disturb him, but next moment he thought it best not to. Meanwhile, the all-knowing Master sat silently.
Eknath couldn't figure out what to do by bowing his head to the ground as it did not help him. He prayed to be shown which of the two alternatives to follow.
The sounds of artillery began to reach his ears. He stood up quickly, his face became pale. Time was running
How should a Disciple be? 169
out. In such an emergency, an ordinary servant would have waited to obey orders. Eknath turned once more to the room but his Master was meditating as deeply as before.
"All sense of self is lost when one merges in the one beyond self." In such a situation, the soul is united with God, but the ego only disappears when all fluctuations of mind cease. He whose mind is directed to outwards, sees himself as the doer of action, and thus is bound by it and suffers. Many people do not check the fluctuations of their minds. They practise wrong methods, and are caught up in pride, think themselves to be liberated devotees. But they will never advance spiritually by doing this.
People praise peace, without knowing what it is. They praise hard work as being the greatest thing, and thus spend their whole lives carrying the burden of work with them. Some proclaim devotion to their country, or call themselves public servants, yet they don't do anything. But the Lord has said, "He who is a devotee of the Master is considered to be greatest devotee." A baby bird is dependent on its mother and doesn't worry about anything. Until it leaves the nest, its mother is its sole support. Similarly, for those in the shelter of the Master, the Lord Himself motivates all actions. If one has taken refuge in God, he doesn't fear making a mess of things. Pride dwells in selfish people, and they look only towards Maya, but those who want to do the highest work look only to the Lord. Passion and hatred arise from Maya, while the Master, the Lord, is the giver of supreme peace.
Thinking in this way, Eknath reflected that the Master
170 Hansyog Prakash
was telling him that the Lord does the devotee's work himself. If he disturbed the Master he would be angry. Suddenly an idea occurred to him. He stood up quickly, and went to the Master's room. He put on his Master's armour, mounted his Master's horse and set off in the direction of the gunfire.
After a short while, the army of Devgarh entered the capital city cheering the Prime Minister. Eknath returned as quickly as he had left. He hung up the armour on its hook, tethered the horse in the stable and again took up his position outside the door.
Soon after, the Prime Minister finished his meditation and came outside. From all sides he heard, "Hail to the Prime Minister ! All glory to the Prime Minister!"
All the citizens were discussing him. They were saying, "How capable the Prime Minister is ! Even though he is an old man, you should see how he wields a sword !" All were praising his bravery. "The enemy would have destroyed our city, but our Prime Minister foiled them completely. They all had to retreat!"
The Prime Minister listened quietly to all this, but he was very surprised. Who had wielded the sword? Who was retreated? Was this some kind of a joke?
As he walked on, he heard many people talking like this. He stood silently behind them and listened to what they were saying. One man said, "Today the Prime Minister was amazing with the sword ! I would never have believed that he could fight like that!"
Another said, "During the battle his appearance was different. It seemed as if a god had come among us, and all
How should a Disciple be? 171
he'd done was, change his clothes ! What feats of magic he performed ! After a little while, the enemy ran away from the battlefield, but true to the code of religion, he did not pursue them."
A third said, "You are talking like a child ! Our Prime Minister is a realized soul, the greatest devotee of God. What is there that a man cannot do, if the grace of God is upon him? Flying in the sky or making fire cool is easy for him. I have heard, that while he was seen fighting, he was also meditating in his private sanctuary."
As the Prime Minister was walking away, one man noticed him. He said, " Look ! The Prime Minister was standing there listening to our conversation ! Who knows how many disguises he uses in the course of running the state ! Really, a Yogi can do whatever he wants!"
Then the Minister understood that Eknath had done all this. He thought, "I was sitting in Samadhi and he did not disturb me. He put on my clothes and routed the enemy. What a promising boy ! Any ordinary servant would have thought, 'Let the town be destroyed, if that is what is to be,' but he takes every piece of state business to be service to me. Such devotees are very rare.
He went to the palace and embraced Eknath, saying, "My son ! You are lucky, your parents are lucky to have given birth to such a son and I am also lucky to have you as a disciple."
At his Master's sweet and loving words, Eknath's eyes filled with tears of joy. He said, "Lord, what are you saying ! How could I have the ability to defeat the enemy ! You did
172 Hansyog Prakash
it all. I was only the instrument for you to carry out your work. But I am guilty of desecrating your clothes. Now they are not fit for you to wear. All I can think of is, that I wore your clothes. I have no idea what else happened. When I took off your clothes, I realized what a great mistake I had made. I am ashamed to ask forgiveness, but, O Lord ! Please forgive me."
The Master was very happy with Eknath's devotion and humility. He said, "My boy, now I am old. You take over the Prime Ministership. You are young and capable. The citizens and employees love you very much. When I tell the king what had actually happened, he will be very pleased and ready to appoint you. My word will be enough. Tell me, do I have your permission to go ? I am ready."
Eknath fell at his Master's feet and started weeping. Again he begged forgiveness and said, "O Lord ! What are you saying ! What crime have I committed that makes you say like this ? Such a thought never entered my mind even in a dream. What is all this about the Prime Ministership? I don't want the kingship of the three worlds, if it means having to stop serving you. Let me stay at your feet ! I beg only this much of you."
Janardan Swami again embraced Eknath lovingly and said, "My boy, you have passed the first exam in my school, but only after testing you a second time will I initiate you."
Listen, all of you who are going astray if you want to do the highest work, if you want to make your life worthwhile, then like Eknath, you should follow the command of your Master. If a child stays close to his father, he can walk all
How should a Disciple be? 173
around a carnival or market and come back home again. In the same way, you will cross the worldly ocean. You should love your Master as Eknath loved his. Brothers ! Practise ! Practise!! Practise!!! Never think of turning away from your Master.
Time passed. In anticipation of his second examination, Eknath applied himself enthusiastically to his work. He was busy day and night.
One morning, after he had swept and finished polishing the utensils, he was about to draw water for his Master's bath. He wanted to finish this before the Master arrived, but suddenly the Minister appeared before him. Eknath was very happy to be able to see him so early, but at the same time, he was wondering why the Master had come so soon for his bath.
Immediately the Prime Minister said, "My boy, the new year starts tomorrow, but the accounts are not yet ready. Tomorrow the king must see them. Today and tonight it must be prepared. For such an able servant as you, this is not a difficult job. Forget my bath, and prepare the accounts. Today I'll bring the water for bath myself.
Eknath went to the office and started to do the accounts. The sun rose and set but Eknath did not raise his head once. The office boy lit the lights and left. Eknath felt neither hunger nor fatigue. He was so occupied in his work, that he was as still as a statue. His only aim was to finish the work before sunrise.
The clock struck midnight as Eknath finished his work. But, when he balanced the accounts he noticed a difference
174 Hansyog Prakash
of one paisa. He repeated the whole process of addition from start to finish, but could not find the reason for the difference. He was confused. He added again, and a third time, and by this time most of the night had passed. People were starting to wake up. But sleep had not even approached Eknath. He was busy balancing the books. With the passing of the night, he grew more and more anxious, wondering where the difference was.
The Prime Minister rose from his bed. His glance fell in the direction of the office, and he saw the light burning. He realized that Eknath was still at work. He quietly left his room and reached the office. The watchman was dozing at the door. The Minister peeped in the office and said softly, "Eknath, my boy !" He received no answer so he called a littie louder, "Eknath !" but just as before, there was silence, as if Eknath were asleep. The Prime Minister entered the office. He stood in front of the light and his shadow fell on the accounts, but Eknath was not at all aware of his arrival. He continued to be completely absorbed in his figure work.
The Minister stood in that posture for one hour, but Eknath was not aware of anything except his books and figures. Suddenly he shouted, "I found it !" He had found the error of one paisa. He corrected the books and put them back in their proper places. When he looked up and saw the Prime Minister standing before him he was extremely surprised. He rose and prostrated at his Master's feet. The Master asked, "Are the account ready ?"
"Yes, Master. Today is my lucky day. I am seeing you so early in the morning. Usually I don't see you until much
How should a Disciple be? 175
The Prime Minister said, "I've been standing here for more than an hour. I also called you several times, but you didn't hear me."
Eknath replied, "I heard nothing. Master."
The Master said, "My shadow fell on the books. Even then you could see the figures ?"
"Lord, I really did not know that you were standing there. The figures seemed to be shining somehow." His Master's face showed his astonishment. The Prime Minister sat down and said, "Have you been busy like this since morning?"
Eknath said, " I was not aware of the passing of day or the coming of night."
"Didn't you feel hungry, thirsty or sleepy?"
"Not at all, Master."
"What have you been doing all this time? What did you find that made you so happy?"
"A difference of one paisa was outstanding. It had to be found."
"You went to so much trouble for one paisa? Why, that's no difference at all!"
"Difference is difference, Master, whether it is of one paisa or 100,000 rupees."
The Prime Minister's face really lit up. He laughed and said, "You have made me very happy, my boy. The test was difficult. People who imagine themselves to be great renunciates and monks could not have passed such a test.
You have a real desire to know Truth, so you passed the test.
176 Hansyog Prakash
'You have come from so far away. You left your homeland and dear ones, You have renounced family life, and day and night have rendered all types of service. You have true love and reverence. You were even ready to risk your life on the battlefield, but you were victorious and made my reputation shine. You considered the Prime Ministership to be nothing. You wanted to push it aside because you know that nothing is greater than service. Even though you have done so much, you keep on regarding yourself as incapable and unintelligent. Even though I recognized your determination, pure love, faith, devotion and spirit of renunciation from the start, I did not initiate you at once, because I first wanted to see from your actions whether you had real enthusiasm and power of concentration . Someone who works enthusiastically but without concentration cannot succeed in reaching the final goal.
'I came, called you several times, stood in the way of your light and cast a shadow on your books, but you were so absorbed in your work that could even see in the dark. As a result of your true service to me, light came from your heart and cast itself on the figures. I am proud to have such a disciple. the devotee is the crowning glory of the Master. The omnipresent god dwells in the hearts of all, but simply knowing this is not enough. A great devotee makes God manifest himself. There are many who give initiation and many who receive it, but he who spreads the True Knowledge everywhere is actually worthy of being called a disciple. My son, I believe you can do it."
When the Master is pleased, the joy of the devotee
How should a Disciple be? 177
knows no bounds. Eknath was transported with rapture, because he was reaping the harvest of his years of sacrifice. He had left his home for this. Now he was about to get his desired reward.
The Prime Minister said, "Son, I have one more thing to ask of you. Today you put so much labour into finding an error of one paise. I request that in the same way, on the path of devotion, you will overcome even the smallest error that crop up in life, and that you will keep your mind free of even the most trifling defects. Go, bathe and rest. Your tests are over. Now I will show you the path to the soul. Now you will make the Lord of the Universe your own."
Valuable jewels are extracted from deep within a mine, while pebbles, even though they are easily found on the road, can never have the same value. Gold is rare, so its value is also high. Iron is readily available, but it is not coveted like gold. Even though iron is extremely useful, people prefer to possess gold because it is more valuable.
A devotee of the Master and a beloved of God is extremely rare to find, and that is why such souls are glorified. Devotees of Maya don't count. Most people are greedy for worldly illusion, and are very happy when they get it. However, the Master is hungry only for loving devotion. Love, respect and faith are necessary to please him. He who has true attachment for his Master receives his love in return.
The Master was pleased with Eknath's service, and, by testing him, was convinced of his devotion, so he filled
178 Hansyog Prakash
Eknath's heart with the glorious Knowledge of God. Nachiketas had also wanted to realize this Knowledge, so he could not be tempted by Yama's boons of worldly wealth and grandeur.
People try all kinds of ways, unsuccessfully, to get this supreme Knowledge, but without the Grace of the Master, no one can realize it. If, after receiving Knowledge, the disciple practises it with full faith, and serves his Master with deep respect , then his soul will become fixed in God. After merging in God, confusion, fear and ignorance will no longer exist.
What can we say about Eknath's Great fortune on that day ! He easily achieved that fortune which is rare even for the angels. The Divine Light was kindled in his heart and his whole being thrilled. The eight Sattvic qualities were at his command, and he was drenched in rapture. In his intoxication he glorified his Master thus :
"0 Master ! Until today I was bound by delusion, attachment, confusion and bothered by difficulties, but, by your mercy, I have been rescued by drowning in the river of desires and ambitions, and have been set on the bank. You have shown me the immortal Holy Name and, immersing myself in Truth, you have made me immortal. All I pray now is that my mind may always be directed towards you." Everyone tries in various ways to get happiness, but no one ever finds it. A devotee who has true, loving devotion may get nothing material, but makes God pleased, which is truly the greatest wealth. Lord Rama was happy to eat the berries which Bhilni had already tasted. Lord Krishna ate
How should a Disciple be? 179
banana peels offered by Vidurani, and a handful of raw rice given by Sudama. Wealth, beauty and qualifications are necessary to please the world, but these things will not help you to please the Lord, he is hungry only of Love. The Master will not approach anyone who has no love.
'How can I praise the Grace, mercy and qualities of the Master? If all the mountains were reduced to charcoals, and made into ink by mixing with the oceans; if the entire earth was made into paper and the branches of eve?), tree made into pens; and if the Goddess of Speech herself should advise me what to write, then day and night for years I would be writing his glories and still I could not adequately do it.
On that day, Eknath was exalted by the Knowledge which uplifts the soul and gives true happiness. Even these days, people try in all kinds of ways to attain this same spiritual Knowledge, which is the connection to God, but they don't succeed. But when, by the Grace of the Master, someone receives that Knowledge, which is internally realized, and with full faith throws himself into meditation and service, his soul naturally will merge with God. He will be released from all worldly sufferings and achieve infinite, supreme peace. When his mind is filled with God, all doubts vanish. The person who reaches this state becomes one with the external manifestation of God, which is the spiritual Master.
How fortunate was Eknath ! Why not exalt his greatness ! Even the angels long for the chance to see and serve the Master as he did. When the Divine Light was revealed within his heart, his whole being felt at peace, and when he
180 Hansyog Prakash
meditated on the Holy Name all his years of self-denial bore fruit. He said, "0 Lord of the Universe ! By your mercy you have shown me what you really are. I have no more vain hopes and desires! A fish flounders when taken out of the water, but I was drowning in an ocean of attachments and burning with desires. The Nectar of your Holy Name has completely cooled my heart. How can my feeble tongue describe your greatness? Therefore, I pray you give me the wisdom to always be your slave. I don't want anything other than this."
Worldly people think that there are many ways to attain liberation. However, just as light is the only way to dispel darkness, and heat is the only way to remove cold, it is a fact that the only way to liberation is devotion to the Master. A devotee never feels any difficulty, because that which experiences difficulty, i.e. the mind, is always attached to the Master's Feet. So how could such a devotee feel sorrow or difficulty? Pure love and faith for the Master will break all bondage, just as an elephant easily breaks lotus stalks. A disciple who serves cheerfully and meditates on the Holy Name can never feel difficulty.
While doing work the mind should be engaged in meditation on the Holy Name. Service and meditation should be thus balanced. As the disciple progresses in service and devotion, a disinterest in worldliness and the longing to see God grows in him. If one has an earnest desire to see God, he will naturally meditate on the Holy Name. Every second of his life is for meditation.
The Master's unlimited Grace is fully realized when one
How should a Disciple be? 181
has absolutely no desire for anything in this world or the next. This only comes through faith, reverence and service. A person who leaves the anchor of service and tries to free himself from sin by any other means is wasting his time. We try to restrain our senses but we cannot, we try to stop bad desires or impure thoughts but we cannot. Hermits hope to subdue the mind by a variety of austerities, but they cannot. Service to the Guru is also a type of sacrifice or austerity, and the disciple who serves will be able to stabilize his mind and restrain his senses. A devotee who surrenders all his hopes and desires to God becomes carefree and stabilized in Yoga.
The saint is described thus in the Ramayana : He looks upon all beings with an equal eye, he has no desires, and is free from joy, grief and fear. Such a saint abides in My heart just as the desire for wealth lives in the heart of a greedy man. Saints are dear to Me, and for their sake alone I embody Myself. Those who worship My personal and qualified form, and are resolved to do good to others; who firmly tread the path of righteousness, are steadfast in their vows and are devoted to saints, are as dear to Me as life.
God always dwells in the heart of a devotee who gets rid himself of all ego, and worships the Master who is the manifested form of God, placing his mind at his feet. All creeds and scriptures talk in some way or other about the need for the Master. All scriptures praise devotion. This testimony of devotion inspires us to become devotees and to serve. Until a disciple becomes a servant, he won't get the desired results.
Eknath had already dissolved himself in service. So
182 Hansyog Prakash
when he received Knowledge it blossomed in him. He continued to serve zealously and with heartfelt love. His love for the Lord increased day by day. He forgot all about the world, and cleansed his heart of the dirt of desire, thus making it a pure shrine in which he saw his Master's face 24 hours a day.
When he first met Eknath on the river bank, Janardan Swami had told him that enthusiasm is necessary and must be kept up to the end. Well, now that time had come.
Keep that first love up to the end, then you will be free, and will free thousands.
One day, Janardan Swami said to Eknath, "My boy, I have revealed to you that Nectar which rids one of worldly desires and by which you can reach the Divine Abode. It should be shared with others. Everyone is asleep in the awful sleep of infatuation and delusion, and therefore they are burning in the fire of desires. Go and reveal this Name to them and give them relief. Although your service so far has pleased me greatly, I will be most pleased if you spread this message of devotion and put people wander in search of this Nectar. Visit these places, show the people the knowledge and get rid them of their misconceptions. They imagine that merely going to a shrine, bathing, and worshipping idols is devotion. In exchange for trifles, they are wasting this priceless human body, which is rare even for the angels to get. Initiate them into Knowledge and explain the value of this life. A dip in the river of satsang can change a person's nature from being like a crow into being like a swan. Reveal the truth, Consciousness and Bliss to them so
How should a Disciple be? 183
that they can make their lives a success. Noble people work for the benefit of others. Most people are busy with selfish pursuits. A great soul is concerned with the welfare and blessedness of others, and nothing else. Therefore, my child, prepare yourself quickly for your pilgrimage !"
Allahabad (Pryag) is called the chief place of pilgrimage, but we have been shown that the company of saints and the presence of the Master is in fact the ultimate holy of holies.
Sahjo Bai said, Greater than all the holy places is the Master's s Feet, endlessly holy. There is no place to compare with this in the entire universe.
Once you reach the Feet of the Master, there is no need for fasting, giving alms, or pilgrimages. Eknath had already dived into this most holy of all holy places, so there was no need for him to go on pilgrimage and take dips in holy rivers. He was not sent to these places because he had no desire to see them, but because the Master wanted others to bathe in his holy words, an obedient disciple who does such a pilgrimage for the benefit of others is indeed blessed.
So, according to his Master's orders, Eknath travelled to various holy places, such as Dwarika, Jagananathpuri, Rameshwar, Hardwar, Badrinath and Manasrovar, delivering the message of Truth. He gave Knowledge to those who had the proper love and faith, and started them on the path of devotion. Finally his wanderings led him to Pandharpur. A huge crowd of people had gathered there on the occasion of Guru Purnima, to bathe in the Chandrabhaga River. They bathed, worshipped, and sang devotional songs before
184 Hansyog Prakash
the idols, gave alms and thought themselves most fortunate. They considered that just doing this much gave some meaning to their lives.
The great devotee Namdev and some other devotees were present on this auspicious occasion. When Namdev heard that Eknath had come, he gathered all the devotees and brought them to see him. Knowing him to be a beloved devotee of the Lord, they prostrated to him. When he beheld Eknath, Namdev's eyes filled with tears, which Eknath wiped away with his own hands. Whenever devotees and lovers of God meet, they automatically start talking about God.
Eknath said, "Beloved devotees of the Lord ! Today we have come together from here and there to this gateway of God to receive spiritual upliftment. But many unlucky people come here and leave empty-handed. Actually, when a soul had transmigrated through the 8.4 million species, and comes into a human body, it becomes entitled to see God. The soul cannot be revealed in any other species. When a person takes the holy bath of satsang, his sins are washed away, Now you have both these auspicious opportunities. If you so desire, you can clean all the dross from your mind. My heart is filled with joy at your love. You can also have a chance to see the true Master.
By the Grace of the Master, my mind is free of doubts. He has shown me the one Reality behind the entire animate and inanimate Creation. This Reality is always before me. In word and deed I am aware of Spirit and nothing else. I have beheld this all pervading Reality. Now I also want you to be
How should a Disciple be? 185
recipient of my Guru's Grace, and to make God manifest within yourselves. Your life will thus be successful.
The Master takes various births in all ages to share with the devotees, the Nectar of devotion, and to show them the True Path. He will keep on manifesting in the future also, for the sake of the devotees.
The Spiritual Master, Shri Janardan Swami, is truly a divine incarnation. An aspirant's every desire is fulfilled if he dives with faith, love and respect into the holy waters of his words and company. Such a disciple will be freed from the bondage of sin and will achieve liberation. When a person comes to the shelter of the Master, who is all compassion, forgiveness and peace, he gains the right to salvation and devotion. I have toured all the holy places, but find that there is no place like the Lotus Feet of the Master for purifying the mind.
If a person bathes there, he will cross the ocean of birth and death. Every holy place has a importance of its own, but all holiness is contained in the Master. So come to the Master and bathe in his Eternal Name. Dive into the stream of Nectar and you will experience eternal bliss. I sincerely hope that you will all take advantage of this opportunity. I have come to take you to the Supreme Light and show you God as he really is.
People avail themselves of the opportunity to go to sacred places of pilgrimage to bathe, meditate and give alms and charity. But even if you go to all the shrines and distribute alms you won't get the same result and benefit that you will get from meditating once on God within your-
186 Hansyog Prakash
Only a real fool would cast away a touchstone and go looking everywhere for pebbles; or cut down a wish-fulfilling tree and plant a cactus; or turn a cow out of his house and wander in search of milk. What is the use of being like that? Could such a person let go of his obstinacy and accept initiation from an enlightened soul? Never.
There are two types of people in this world. The first type of person heeds the words of a saint, gives up his evil ways and takes to the path of devotion. The second type is the idiot whose consciousness will never wake up, even if he gets God Himself as his Guru. People are devoted to inert things such as idols, but they won't devote themselves to a living I as ter.
If a person has a magic talisman that can fulfill all his wishes, will he go begging for food? If he has the cool shade of a tree in his garden, would he trouble himself by sitting in the sun?
The fulfiller of all desires dwells within everyone. Even though the philosopher's stone of the Holy Name is closer than anything else to us, we grope in the darkness of Maya. People who are unlucky do not search for the Holy Name, but waste their efforts on useless things. In actual fact, the Holy Name of God is the philosopher's stone and the fulfiller of all desires. People think that chanting and singing is True Knowledge, and they even regard liberation as being no more than this. But if you really want to gain something, and take refuge in the Master, you will be given the jewel of the Holy Name, which will free you from the poverty of
How should a Disciple be? 187
The philosopher's stone of Holy Name is present within us all, but it has been covered by the dust of ignorance. Fire reduces a heap of wood to ashes, and the Name burns up all desires and defects. But the fire of the Name is kindled only when the Master blows away the ashes of confusion with the breeze of satsang. A wise and discriminating person immediately receive the Name with faith, and then, in the shrine of his heart, the Divine Light is kindled. Fools don't appreciate the value of this jewel and throw it away. Turning away from the Light, they eat the vermin of desires and passions. Even though they have received the Name, they waste their life chasing after worldly desires and foolish pursuits.
What Eknath said was Knowledge in a nutshell, full of blessings and wisdom. People bowed their heads at Master's feet and prayed, "Revered Sir, if there is such a thing as this Holy Name, which is the simple way to get rid of the hassles of birth and death, please show it to us, and bestow on us the gift of devotion to the Master. Get us out of these worldly entanglements, and set us on the other shore of this ocean of suffering. We came to bathe in the Chandrabhaga River, but we are getting the chance to dive into the Manasrovar Lake. We would be idiots to waste this opportunity."
This liberated saint lived for the benefit of others. His purpose in life was to enrich the world through Knowledge. Eknath's intention in coming to Pandharpur was, according to his Master's instructions, to set people on the path of true devotion. He initiated the sincere aspirants, instructed them in service, satsang and meditation on the Holy Name,
188 Hansyog Prakash
and then went on his way. As he left, everyone's eyes were full of tears.
Prayer of Dharmadas
I bow before Your holy feet, for You have given me the Name,
My heart was dark, I could see nothing,
Until you kindled the lamp of Knowledge within me, My mind had been slumbering for long ages,
Until Your Word awoke me,
Waves of poison arose in my heart,
But you stilled them with one drop of Your Nectar, The river was deep,
It was beyond my capacity to deal with the currents, But you have helped me to safety.
0 Lord, your servant Dharmdas humbly request You, Please keep him in your shelter.
I bow before Your holy feet, for you have given me the Name.
You won't get anything from a false Guru
Both Master and disciple must be sincere. If they are not they will sink like a rock in water. If the Master is blind, the disciple will be even more so. The blind then leads the blind, and both fall into the ditch.
If the disciple doesn't understand something, but still doesn't ask, or, even if he does ask and finds out the truth yet doesn't try to progress on the Path, then he is really blind. No one can show him the way.
How can one blind man show another which way to go? If the master is not perfect, the disciple cannot become
How should a Disciple be? 189
perfect. A greedy Master and a greedy disciple compound each other's misery.
If an aspirant doesn't meeet the true Master, his knowledge will be incomplete. He may wear the garb and affect the mannerisms of a hermit, but actually he is just a beggar.
There are many types of teachers, with many kinds of knowledge, but the aspirant should follow the Master who reveals the Knowledge of the Holy Name. Don't try to recognize a Spiritual Master by his external appearance, but rather by the Knowledge that he gives, otherwise you'll have to dive again and again into the ocean of transmigration. A teacher who is not free of delusion himself cannot remove that of others. Both the teacher and his disciple will go to Hell, bound hand and foot.
A Master should reveal the Knowledge of the Holy Name, and the disciple should attach his mind to it constantly. How can one prisoner free another? Serve the one who is himself free and independent, then you will also be set free.
Don't hesitate for a moment to leave a false teacher, because if you don't, you'll get trapped and go straight to the gates of death. Someone who doesn't serve the living Master but instead worships an idol cannot cross to the other shore of the worldly ocean. You cannot remove stains by washing them with dirt. If the teacher is blind, how can he make the disciple see?
The True Master is the embodiment of spiritual Knowledge, and a true disciple is one who realizes the knowledge. Without the giving and receiving of Knowledge, there is
190 Hansyog Prakash
neither Master nor disciple. The Master must be perfect and the disciple should be like a fearless warrior, keeping the reins on his mind and turning it towards knowledge. The mind is controlled through meditation on the Holy Name. If he walks on this Path, the aspirant will reach the throne of the Master.
Living without the Master
There are people who pass their entire lives without receiving Knowledge from the Master. You should understand that they have passed their lives meaninglessly. Whatever they have done has been all in vain.
The great sage Narad is famous throughout India for the immense understanding which he had of subjects ranging from astrology to zoology. He was able to visit Lord Vishnu in his Heaven personally. Yet each time he left the court, one of Lord Vishnu's attendants would dig a hole in the ground where Narad had been standing and throw away the soil. He considered it defiled.
One day Narad happened to come back to Vishnu's Court and found the same attendant digging a hole in the ground and carting the soil away. He asked the reason for this and the servant replied, "Narad, you have no Spiritual Master, so you pollute the very ground you stand on."
Then Narad asked Lord Vishnu, "Lord, what need have I of a Guru, when I can visit you in person?"
Vishnu replied, "Actually, whether he sees me in person or not, the fact remains that without a Guru, a person's life is unholy and ignorant." Then Lord Vishnu directed Narad to a certain fisherman and told him to accept him as his
How should a Disciple be? 191
The great sage Sukhdev was already a Master of Yoga while still unborn. Even so, he could not experience perfect peace of mind. Finally he approached his father, the renowned sage Vyas, and asked him why his severe penances, fasting, chanting, pilgrimages and meditation were not bringing him satisfaction.
Vyas told him that it was because he did not have true knowledge of the Soul. Vyas could very well have revealed to his son this most holy secret, but he felt that familiarity would prevent Sukhdev from showing the respect due to a Guru. So he sent him to a great soul known as King Janak, to ask him humbly for the Knowledge. There are many stories of the tests which the King put Sukhdev through before bestowing on him the precious Knowledge.
All scriptures agree that charitable good works, counting rosaries, and all other such pious acts are of no value unless one is the disciple of the true Master.
Saint Kabir says that Sukhdev was refused admission to Heaven because he presumed to serve God without first following a Guru, even though he was a Master Yogi from birth. Not until he accepted King Janak as his Master could he enter Heaven.
Kabir declares that people who talk about realizing God but are not disciple of the true Master are like prostitutes who proclaim that they would gladly die for the Master, is no better than a bullock. He is good for getting things moved from one place to another, and that is all.
What use is temple, unless the Master is worshipped
192 Hansyog Prakash
there? What use is this human frame, unless we realize Self-Knowledge? Even if a million moons were to rise together tonight, without the Grace of the Master you would still be in the dark. Divine Light flashes in the Inner Sky, but only those who have a Guru will be able to see it. They alone, who have the Grace of the Master, will reach the final destination.
You may try a thousand times, and try again, but without the Grace of the True Master, you will never understand the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Without the help of the Master, Truth cannot be realized. Without a Master, it is most difficult to change one's bad traits.
The saints have divided devotees into two types. The first type approaches the Master because he understands that he needs spiritual guidance. He believes in his Master, obeys him, and gives his life in service of Truth.
The second type of devotee follows his mind. Although he has a Master, he continues to follow the dictates of his own mind, serves according to his own wish, and continues to do only those things which his mind tells him to do.
The devotees of his Master
A true disciple is focused completely on the wishes of his Spiritual Master, just as a Minister pays total attention to the wishes of the President. This disciple's glance never leaves his Master for a moment. He is always concentrated on him.
The Indian partridge is in love with the moon, and
How should a Disciple be? 193
stares at it all night long. That is how a disciple's eyes long for the sight of his Master.
A devotee is regarded as being truly devoted when he doesn't mind whether he gets praise or abuse.
There was a great devotee called Bulleh Shah who used to say, "My daily schedule is to fill every moment of my life with love."
How can I ever look anywhere else, when my eyes are already brimming over with the sight of my beloved? When all the rooms in a inn are taken, a traveller had to find somewhere else to stay.
The Follower of his Mind
People who claim to be devotees, but who are not stable in service, will remain bound to the wheel of birth and death, says Saint Kabir.
Those who are motivated by desire while doing service, and who do not try to remove that desire from their hearts, are not really devotees, although they expect four times the wages of a servant.
A disciple only ends up making mistakes if he tries to do anything while neglecting the Master's Word. He faces Death wherever he goes. What can his poor Master do about it?
Disciples say to the Master, "Whatever I have, is yours. I regard nothing in this world as my own. It will not cause me the slightest pain to hand over everything to you."
"Whatever you have, does not really belong to you," answers the Master."Everything is mine, but when the time comes for you it give me back what is mine, you will find
194 Hansyog Prakash
A disciple who acts shrewd and proud in front of his Master will end up being confused. A disciple who criticizes his Master is a sorry sight. He who criticizes both God and Master is liable to croak like a frog for thousand of lifetimes.
A disciple who concentrates on making friends in the world instead of forging a strong relationship with his Master gets stuck half-way, and never reaches the Abode of Truth.
Some such disciples want to restrain the flights of their mind and go beyond the ocean of worldly misery, but, due to their disobedience to the Master, they get entangled in a hell of suffering.
A greedy Guru and his envious disciple compete with each other for a place in Hell. A blind Guru and his deaf disciple accomplish nothing, for one does not hear what the other does not see.
An aspirant who has no faith in his Master cannot be happy even in his dreams. He claims to be a servant of his Master, but still puts his trust in the world. He is neither here nor there.
What is a true devotee?
A devotee is someone who is always active in service. This alone entitles someone to be called a devotee.
He is always occupied in service. He doesn't wander off in the middle of a task. He retains his mental equanimity in both sorrow and happiness.
The intellect of a true servant and the intellect of the Master become one. They merge with each other. The Master is never pleased by showing off. He is only pleased by a
How should a Disciple be? 195
If a beggar stays near a rich man's door and puts up with being pushed around, one day the rich man might change his mind and bestow favours on him.
Kabir says that the Guru expects you to depend on nobody but himself, but no one is willing to belong to him alone. As long as you cling to yourself in vain expectations, you cannot become a real devotee.
The Master is capable of doing anything. He has all powers at his disposal and he is always with you. His feet rest upon your head. What more do you need? Wealth and fortune, and the genius to accomplish all things are ever ready to serve the devotee of the Lord. Salvation is within his reach.
If his devotee weeps, the Lord also weeps. He appears before the devotee with the twinkling of an eye, and grants him all his desires.
A slave never makes demands on his master, but serves him day and night. If a devotee is like that, then Death has no power over him.
The Master can provide everything. Each devotee receives according to his needs and circumstances. The devotee loves him with all his heart, and always clings to his feet.
The devotee is as faithful as a dog to his Master. His Master leads him on the leash of Love. He does whatever his Master asks of him. When the Master says 'Go', he goes, and when he says 'Come', he comes. He lives as his Master sees fit.
Some people say that they are truly devoted to their
196 Hansyog Prakash
Master, but in their heart of hearts they don't really feel this to be so.
How can my thirst be quenched if I refuse to drink water? How can I be truly devoted if I have no humility?
Master, I do not ask for the pleasures of this world, nor do I pray for salvation. I beg only for devotion. I don't want to be involved with others and make demands on them. It is up to you alone that I turn.
The devotee may wonder what will become of devotees when the earth and sky collapse. The Master answers: Let everything collapse, no matter. Let earth and sky vanish. My devotees will find refuge in me.
You can always trust the true saint who would rather die than betray his Lord.
This world is like an attic full of cobwebs. Happy are those servants of the Lord who can live in it without getting covered in dirt, because they are protected by the Holy Name.
Why should a person, in whose heart the Lord dwells, be sad? The point is, that those who are not in love rest easy, but he who has fallen in love knows no sleep at all. He is always restless and passes his nights and days like a fish out of water. Such a devotee should make more and more effort to see Him, and all will be Light.
St Kabir is of the opinion that only God is fully conscious. Even His servants are not fully awake, and worldling are far from it. The Lord is enthroned is every heart. None is without Him, but blessed is the heart in which he reveals His presence.
The Glory of the Holy Name
All religions, sects and scriptures speak of remembering the Holy Name. It is of the utmost importance to know that Name by which we can realize the Absolute Truth, and by which the Supreme Power manifests itself in us. If we could realize God, and thus fulfil the aim of our life, simply by remembering any name at all, then it would not he necessary to find the True master and follow him. However, without the Master, progress on the path of devotion is well-nigh impossible. People worship various deities, keep fast and go on pilgrimages, and think that this is all there is to devotion. However, in this day and age, there is no other spiritual practice worthy of the title apart from meditation on the Holy Name. In these times, we cannot fully carry out ritualistic worship and other complicated practices to achieve spiritual insight. So don't worry about all other things. Simply remember the Holy Name.
Says Tulsidas :
In Kali Yug (the Dark Age) the only support is the Name, by meditating on which a person crosses the worldly ocean. In this Age neither devotion, nor spiritual discrimination, nor righteous action is possible, so the only recourse is in the Holy Name.
The Holy Name eradicates all the sins of this dark age. By remembering this Name, the dumb can speak and cripples can climb mountains.
198 Hansyog Prakash
St. Kabir said, One ounce of Name per ton of sin is enough. Just a small dose burns all sins to ashes.
There is a mythological story that once all the gods were arguing about who should be worshipped first. Finally, they decided that whoever was able to circumnavigate the earth and reach Lord Shiva first, would be entitled to be worshipped first. They all wanted that honour, so they mounted their various steeds and set off to encircle the earth. Now, the mount of Ganesh is said to be a mouse, so he was lagging behind the rest. He was worried about his slow progress. Suddenly St. Narad appeared and asked Ganesh why he was so depressed. Ganesh told him the whole story. Narad said, "Ganesh, stop worrying and meditate on the Holy Name. You will be sure to reach Lord Shiva first." Ganesh followed this advice and won the competition.
In the Ramayana, St Tulsidas says,
I bow to the Name of Ram (God) which is the source of fire, sun and moon. It is the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. It is the vital Breath of the Vedas. It is attributeless, peerless and the fountainhead of all virtues.
I bow to the Name which consumes sins like fire, causes the sun to shine and bestows supreme peace, like the soothing rays of the moon.
Academics have interpreted this through their own minds, and then try to explain it to others. They say that R-A-M is the Name of God, and that its letters are taken from 'krisanu' (fire), 'bhanu' (sun), and 'himakar' (moon). Can such a put-together name wipe out sins? You can be thinking of various desirable things while you are chanting 'Ram, Ram' (or any other such name). Your sins will not be burnt up, externally
The Glory of the Holy Name 199
or internally, nor will you get peace of mind.
The Holy Name contains the three active forces of Nature. It is actually the creative, preserving and destructive energy, and it is the essence of the scriptures. Saints have always sung its glory, and indeed it is the way of salvation. There is no use in reading the scriptures if you don't know what that Name is which is mentioned in all of them. The scriptures are just like a lifeless corpse, because they don't have that breath of life which is the Holy Name.
St Kabir said, If you take the Name, you've taken everything, this is the secret of the Scriptures.
The Name is said to be peerless, unique and beyond all attributes. Nothing at all can be compared with it. Some people chant the Gyatri Mantra, some chant 'Ram, Ram,' or 'Krishna, Krishna,' and think that this is devotion. Some think that chanting 'Om namah shivai' is real meditation. Still others remember names of their own choosing or which are imparted to them by their gurus. If they are all true, then they should all be peerless and incomparable, because that ultimate Name is said to defeat all others in competition.
Narad said to Lord Rama: Devotion to you is like the night of the full moon. Your Holy Name shines like the myriad stars in the sky of the devotee's heart. Your Name surpasses all other names in exterminating sins, just as a fowler kills a whole flock of birds.
So what is that Name, which exterminates the darkness of ignorance and sin?
This Name must be greater than all the others. This Name, which is omnipresent, and in which the Yogis merge
200 Hansyog Prakash
themselves cannot be equated by even thousands of other names. If you put all of them together, they could never equal that Name.
The Name is harmonious and attracts the devotee's mind. It resides always in the devotee's heart. The saints gave the same knowledge of Holy Name to everyone. If salvation came only as a result of chanting 'Ram, Ram' then Muslims and Christians would be left out, as chanting this name would not come easily to them. So how could 'Ram' be the Name whose pronunciation is easy for everyone:' God dwells in every heart, so his Name must also be in every heart, but as soon as you try to represent it verbally, you will get variations.
The Holy Name embellishes Devotion, just as earrings enhance the beauty of a woman. The Name benefits the world, as do the sun and moon. The moon stimulates sap in plants and the sun matures it.
The Name is the satisfaction in taste, and is like the juice in fruit. It, like Atlas, supports the whole world. The Name is like a bee and the devotee's mind is like a lotus, They have a natural affinity. Devotees love the Name as Yashoda loved Krishna and his brother Balaram.
St Brahmananda says,
Ascending, desending, moving with the breath.
a worldly man doesn't realize this, and wastes his life
People are wasting their lives because they have forgotten what the Name really is.
The name and the object named are equally important, and have
The Glory of the Holy Name 201
a mutual relationship like that of servant and master.
Name and Form are the two aspects of God. Both are ineffable, eternal, and are understood only by the wise.
Form is dependent on Name, because without knowing the name of something you cannot acquire it and see its form. You cannot identify something without a name. If you remember the name of something, then even without having to see the form, it comes to mind.
This Name is a clever interpreter between the unmanifested God and the Manifested Form.
There is no difference between a name and its referent. They are like master and devotee. Externally they are two, but are united internally. Similarly, the Divine Name and Form are the two aspects of God. Actually, Name and the Bearer of the Name are One. Both are eternal, and only a wise sage understands their mystery.
The words people chant, or the forms upon which they meditate, are not eternal. Lord Rama lived in Treta Age, while Lord Krishna lived in Dwapar Age. If there was no such Form in Sat Yuga, on what did the people of that time meditate? On what did the devotees Dhruva and Prahlad meditate? Everyone should think about this and work it out. Only a saint fully realizes what is Name and Form, and what is the relationship and difference between them. Form depends on Name. Without knowing the Name, God's Form cannot be realized fully. When a statue is made, it is first given a shape and then a name. But if you think of any name, without having to see it, the form of the referent will automatically spring to mind. So don't be confused. Meditate on the Holy Name. The story of Name and form as a
202 Hansyog Prakash
matter of fact is untenable, as it cannot be put into words, but the Spiritual Master helps the aspirant to easily understand this delightful mystery.
Some people imagine a statue made of clay, stone or paper to be God's image, or qualified form. Others believe that he is Formless and beyond attributes. But the devotee who has realized the Name feels no confusion. Name is the intermediary, the translator, between God-with-Form and the Formless God. Just as a translator or interpretor can bring together people whose languages are different, so the Name is the bridge between these two aspects of God.
Install the shining gem of the Name on the threshold ofyour heart, if you want Light both inside and outside, advises Tulsidas, 'Keep the diamond of the Name in the shrine of your heart.' You will glow from within. A diamond shines day and night. The Name also is always emitting Light. By remembering the Name you kindle this Light, and when you stop, you will also be unable to see the Light.
St Kabir said, You turn the rosary beads in your hand and your tongue in your mouth, but your mind goes in all directions. This is not meditation.
You have wasted so much time doing this, but still you don't know where the mind goes.
Throw away this rosary and turn the Inner Rosary. A slave of mind twists external beads but gets nothing from it. However, after meeting the True Master, the mind can chant the Inner Rosary.
If the rosary beads and the mind are at odds with each other, what kind of meditation wi Ilion do? When you merge your mind in the Holy Name, all will be light within.
The Glory of the Holy Name 203
neither count rosaries, nor chant 'Ram Ram'. Ram is remembering me, while I take rest.
If the beads are in your hand, but your mind is not in God, what kind of meditation are you doing?
A false saint wears all the external trappings, but his mind is only on money.
Tulsidas says in the Ramayana,
The Mahamantra is meditated upon by Lord Shiva, and to liberate the inhabitants of Kashi, He initiated them. Shiva understands well the power of the Name, by which He turned poison into nectar.
Any pronounceable name, by the mere fact that it is pronounced, has a beginning and an end. No such name is the 'Mahamantra' which has no beginning, middle or end, and which can turn poison into Nectar. The wondrous effects of meditation on Holy Name are described in all scriptures. How could the devotees of Sat Yug have meditated on 'Ram, Ram? Ram lived in a later age.
Guru Nanak said, It is the true Reality the beginning, is the truth now, and will always be the Truth.
Tulsidas said, Narad realized the glory of the Name, which is why he is beloved of God.
Because Prahlad remembered the Name, God showered His Grace upon him, and he is regarded as the epitome of devotion.
Dhruva remembered the Name and attained the highest state in the heavens. By remembering the Holy Name, Hanuman had Lord Rama in the palm of his hand.
The Name is praised as being even greater than God. Fire is present everywhere, but you can't use it in its umanifested
204 Hansyog Prakash
form to cook your food or drive away the cold. Only when you collect wood and ignite it can you take advantage of the element fire. Similarly, we realize the unmanifest God through the Name, whose praises were sung even by Lord Rama Himself. If the Lord Himself couldn't adequately praise it, then could it be done by any ordinary name?
By remembrance of Holy Name, the worldly ocean dries up. The wise should think about this. How can I sing the glory of the Name? Even Lord Rama Himself couldn't adequately praise it.
Kabir said, Everyone says, 'God God, but nobody knows what the Name of God really is.
If you want to know the True Name, you have to approach the Master. There are thousands of utterable names for God in this world, but none of them will liberate you.
He is a rare saint who realises the Primordial Name which is remembered deep within.
Tantras and mantras are not the real thing, so don't be misled. Without knowing the Holy Name which is the essence of all, nobody can cross the worldly ocean.
Ask yourself, when you chant a certain word or mantra, where does your mind wander? St Kabir goes on to say, Without the Word you are in darkness, no matter where you go. If you don't find the door of the Holy Name, you'll hare to go around and around in the wheel of birth and death. Remember the Name; don't say anything aloud. Close the external doors and open the internal. Close ears, eyes and mouth and meditate on the Pure Name. The internal doors gets opened when the external ones are closed. Remembering the Name brings great bliss, so keep your mind attached to it.
So close your eyes, ears and mouth. Then what do you
The Glory of the Holy Name 205
do? That mystery will be revealed to you by the Master. St. Mansur Said,
If you want to meet God, you must remember His Name constantly.
Clean your heart with the broom of meditation.
Leave behind all feelings of duality and soar towards God.
It is not necessary to fast and die of hunger,
or to go to the mosque and say prayers,
So break the thread of the rosary and throw the books in the river.
Stop loving yourself and love God.
Lose Him with all your heart and sing His praises.
Don't think that He is far away.
Forfeit your ego and search for the source within yourself.
You are not a Hindu or Muslim. You are a human beings.
So stop chasing duality.
You have to erase your pride, if you want to get anything from God.
There is only one Way, the True Way, to remember Him.
Guru Nanak said,
Meditate on that Name which pervades land and water. Why do you meditate on something else which is finite? God dwells in the shrine of your heart. Take a holy bath within yourself.
I know the One Lord which dwells in my breath. I won't be reborn. Close the doors of the body and drink the Nectar of God's Name. Rest within yourself
You can cross the worldly ocean by means of the Name, in the same way as a lotus lives in the water but does not get wet.
I am talking about the glorious Name of God.
He also said,
While standing, sitting, sleeping or awake, remember the Holy
206 Hansyog Prakash
Name, and you will be successful in all that you do.
You need the help of the Master to know and practise that Name, and if you don't know what the Name is, it's useless to simply chant any name that takes your fancy. You are only wasting your energy. If you could meditate on just any name, then it wouldn't be necessary to follow the Master, and the saints would have no value.
When we concentrate, we can hear that Word, but not with our external ears. It is not a matter of talking or writing, nor is its origin known. By virtue of being self-effulgent, it is eternal and said to be without origin. The scriptures call it God, the Primordial Seed, or First Cause. A person is a devotee when he listens to this Inner Word. Saints have called it Om, the True Name, Secret Name, Holy Name, Word of God, Satnam, Mahamantra, etc. Meditation means remembering it.
In the Kathopanishad, Vaivaswat asked Nachiketas,
What is that state which the Vedas, all saints, sages and ascetics have described, and to attain which Yogis practise continence and self-discipline? The only path, I tell you, is the Holy Name of God.
Definitely the Holy Name is God. It is called the Word of God, or the Energy of God. The devotee who knows it, gets his every wish fulfilled. It is the most reliable refuge and support. It is the foolproof way to realize God. Having understood this mystery, a meditator who faithfully, reverently, and lovingly depends only on the Name is glorified.
The Inner Breath (Prana) is not that breathing which discerns good and bad smells, says the Chandogya Upanishad. It is beyond sensory perception, and is therefore untainted
The Glory of the Holy Name 207
by sin. Because of this Inner Breath, we can eat, and drink. The secondary breath and senses are sustained by it. If, by the time of death you haven't realized this vital force, you will suffer all kinds of trouble. You will feel remorse. Someone who hasn't learned the 'Unchantable Chant' and who doesn't know how to worship the Name through the breath, will surely regret it.
By meditating on the Reverse Name, Valmiki became one with God. He knew well the glory of the Name, having been purified by it.
The constant awareness of 'I am That' is the dazzling flame of the lamp of Knowledge. When the rapture of self-realization sheds its brilliant light, the mistaken sense of duality, which is the root of birth and death, is destroyed. Then the enlightened intellect can untie the knots binding spirit and matter in the chamber of the heart. The darkness of ignorance is dispelled. Vanity, lust, anger, etc. dare not approach the devotee in whose heart the jewel of devotion shines.
The Holy Word and its sound dwell within each breath of all beings, therefore it is called 'unchanted'. Meditating on this sound very quickly concentrates and calms the mind. Samadhi is easily attained.
The Holy Word is also called 'Omkar Mantra'. 'Omkar' means 'omnipresent, omnipotent, sustainer and ruler of all'. The Name is present within all beings, and 'animates them. Therefore it is the foundation of all life. Because it is within us, we can live with each other. It is the inner controller of all. Meditating on it makes you aware of your soul. It is the origin of all life.
In Hindi, 'Hans' means both 'swan' and 'soul'. When someone dies, it is said that 'hans' has flown away. The great
208 Hansyog Prakash
work of Tulsidas is called 'Ramacharita-Manas'. 'Manas' means 'Manasarovar', the holy lake in which the soul-swan, lives. Our heart is like that Manas Lake, in which the soul-swan abides. The whole Ramacharitamanas is the sage of the soul. In it Parshurama says, 0 Rama! How can I adequately praise You? You are the Divine Swan which lives in the Manasarovar Lake of Lord Shiva's heart. Hail to you always!
Yogis exert great effort to realize that Pure Form of God which dwells within Shiva's heart. All the Scriptures sing the glory of Hans-Nam, or Holy Name of God.
St Kabir said, While breathing, remember the Holy Name, the unchanted Chant. It is the Divine entity, operating automatically within you.
St. Brahmananda said,
Turn the pure rosary day and night.
Ascending and descending with the breath.
Most people don't understand this and waste their lives.
The Holy Name is chanted without the use of lips or tongue.
While asleep or awake, 24 hours a day
Don't forget it for an instant.
The Master fully explains this mystery,
And the unsteady mind is tamed.
Those Yogis who apply themselves to meditation always sit before dawn.
Brahmananda has achieved liberation.
He won't be reborn.
In the Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 11 verse 54, Lord Krishna says, By unparalleled devotion to me alone, I am seen and even entered into.
The Glory of the Holy Name 209
Who can adequately praise the Power of God? It is the supreme and Almighty power. God's Light shines everywhere. It illumines the Universe. He who realizes God also acquires amazing powers, says the Athuravveda.
The Blissful Lord pervades every particle of the universe. Coming into His presence and seeing Him face-to-face, is unparalleled rapture. The devotee who brings his body and senses under control is drowned in bliss.
Spirituality means stilling the restless mind in the Holy Name and singlemindedly meditating on it. Knowledge of God, following the spiritual path, remembering the Name and regular meditation are necessary, says the Kena Upanishad (verse 4-5).
It further says, 'Upanishad' means to contact or worship the Soul, to know the mysteries of Spiritual Knowledge and the relationship between God and Soul. The disciple asks, and the Master answers, and thus Divine Truth and the mysteries of Knowledge are revealed. You should worship only God, Who is Love. Remember His Name and practise meditation. This is Upanishad. (4-7)
210 Hansyog Prakash
The Master says that such a devotee overcomes sin and attains liberation. (4-9)
The Kathopanishad says, in verse 3-17, A person who is not wise, whose mind is not under his control, and who lives impurely, cannot reach the Ultimate State, but stays bound to the cycle of birth and death.
According to the Prashnopanishad (verse 4-4) inhalation and exhalation of breath can be compared to a yagya, which is a ritual during which oblatory herbs are dedicated into a sacrificial fire. The circulation of breath sustains the body and digests food. Pranayama sacrifices the mind into breath. When the breath is stilled, this Yagya is succesfully accomplished. The ultimate fruit of meditation and pranayama is Samadhi, in which the mind is taken to God. In samadhi, the mind reaches the highest state and then it itself is called 'soul.'
There are three ways of remembering, or 'chanting' - vocally, mentally, and with the Inner Self. Only the latter is true concentration. The state of meditation occurs only when the mind-waves are concentrated and stilled in the Holy Name. In this type of 'chanting' there is no distinction between meditator, object of meditation and the process of meditation. Soul becomes tranquil and through the Holy Name is
The Glory of the Holy Name 211
united with the Supreme Soul. (Prashn.5-6)
Scriptures, astrology, grammar and education, etc. are all worldly Knowledge. The transcendental Knowledge in that by which the eternal Soul is realized. (Mund. Up. 1-1-5)
You cannot see God through studying the scriptures, by power of intellect, or even by much listening and reading. The devotee whom God favours attains Him. To such a devotee who is worthy of His Grace, God reveals Himself His full splendour. (Mund. Up. 3-2-3)
The Upanishads mention three places where soul-energy is concentrated, viz. at the head, heart and throat. When, through devotion, the Sushumna Canal opens, then spiritual power awakens, rises from the Heart to the crown of the head and resides there.
Worship and devotion are a way to awaken spiritual power. By devotion, the ancient sages awakened their own spiritual power, and instructed their disciples in the art of devotion. Maharishi Mahachanasyamal said to his disciples, 'The teachings which I have given to you, are my commands and my advice for your salvation. They are the substance and the secrets of the Vedas. You should follow them and behave accordingly.'
212 Hansyog Prakash
Meditation and remembrance of Holy Name are extremely important for devotion. The saints of old glorified the Name. Human life is meant for praising God. Hymns are sung to this effect. The hymns of the Sama Veda sing the glory of the Name and its remembrance. The Holy Name is the seed and core of everything. Being the very best way to realize God, it is also the highest state, and gives the highest rapture. Of all forms of devotion, devotion to the Holy Name is the best, according to the Chandogya Upanishad (1-1-3).
Matter is perishable, but the Lord is imperishable and immortal. He, the only God, rules over both matter and the soul. By meditating on Him, and becoming one with Him, there is, in the end, complete cessation of all worldly illusion. (Sveta. Up. 1-10)
God has three aspects :
1) The Energy of Creation
2) The sustainer of souls
3) The destroyer of sins.
In the second aspect, as the ruler of Nature and souls, God is the Lord of Spirituality. The other two aspects derive: from this one. By thinking of Him, by joining the mind with Him, and repeatedly remembering His Name, the aspirant finally becomes perfected in Knowledge. This is devotion.
The Glory of the Holy Name 213
A devotee who desires the maximum spiritual benefit for himself, should regard his body and the inner breath as two sticks of kindling wood, and, by practising the drill of meditation, he sees the hidden fire of God. So put your mind into remembrance of Name and see God. (Sweta. Up. 1-14)
We devotees, in order to realize God, must put everything of ours into meditation with concentrated mind, and single-mindedly devote ourselves to God, the Ultimate Doer.
Breathing is due to the power of the Holy Name. With inhalation, the Name rises from Swadhishthan Chakra and on exhalation enters the Muladhara Chakra. This is equivalent to one 'grand circulation' of the Taoist texts. The Holy Name, or Hans Mantra, is constantly and automatically going on with our every breath. In 24 hours, this Mantra is repeated 21,600 times. The soul does this by itself.
The unchantable Name is the bestower of liberation, and is the real Gyatri 'Mantra. It releases us from sins. It makes the soul one with God. No other Mantra does this. A little labour on our part yields the greatest results. No other chant can equal it, because it is automatically going on, day and night, in all circumstances, while we are eating, drinking,
214 Hansyog Prakash
sleeping, walking, sitting, etc. Nobody has ever received, nor will ever receive, this unique experience from scriptures.
Kundalini energy is produced by this Supreme Energy, and it is also the sustainer of the vital energies within us. It is the Knowledge of Soul itself, and therefore it is called the Supreme Science or Spiritual Science. Yogis who realize it, know the essence of Yoga practice.
At all times, and under all circumstances, remember the Holy Name. You will soon become perfect in Yoga.
Human beings, birds, and animals all breathe, and this enables them to move. By constantly remembering the unchantable Name, the sins of countless births are erased. Just as fire reduces grass to ashes, so remembrance of Name consumes all sins. After much practice of the Name, the mind unites and merges in it, breathing slows down and the meditator loses outer consciousness. The mind retains the introverted state, the Yogi experiences supreme bliss, and at the time of death attains liberation.
Beings have come and gone since time immemorial. Only by the Holy Knowledge, and by knowing the secret of the breath, can you be purified.
The wise rises at dawn, and, with determination, practise meditation according to the Master's instructions. Remember
The Glory of the Holy Name 215
the Name, day and night. Don't neglect it.
Meditate on Ganesh, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva the soul the Master and God (Truth-Conscionsness-Bliss), in that order, in their respective chakras. Ganesh resides in the Muladhara chakra, and 600 breaths, or remembrance of the Holy Name, are for him.
Brahma is seated in the second chakra, the Swadhishthana, and 6000 remembrances of the Name are for him. Vishnu is seated in the third chakra, the Manipura, and 6000 breaths are dedicated to him. The fourth chakra is Anahat, where Shiva resides, and 6000 breaths are for him. The fifth chakra, named Vishuddha, is the abode of soul. 1000 remembrances of Name are done for it. The sixth chakra, Agya is where the Master resides. In the region of the inner or spiritual sky, beyond everything, dwells the Master, and within him is absolute Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. 1000 breaths are for the Master, and 1000 are for God. This means remembering the Holy Name 21,600 time daily. A devotee who can do this is liberated. When it becomes natural for the meditator to direct the Name through the Sushumna nerve at all times, he becomes free of karmic bondage and is liberated even while in the body. Such a free soul has no more desires and within himself, he sees God.
The first chakra is called Muladhara. It is located between the rectum and the origin of the reproductive organ, at the opening of the Sushumna nerve, i.e. at the junction of Sushumna and Kanda. It has four crimson petals and is shaped like an inverted triangle. It shines with a radiant golden light. It contains the vibrations represented by the
216 Hansyog Prakash
Sanskrit letters vam, sham, sam and sham.
Within the triangle of the chakra or lotus, is the rectangular 'Prithvi-Mandal' or earth-region. In the middle of this earth-region is its basic sound, lam. The name of the presiding deity is Dakini (Energy) and she is represented as having four hands and red eyes. She is the illumination force in Knowledge and her brilliance equals many suns rising together.
The second chakra is Swadishthana, located at the base of the reproductive organ. The six letters barn bham, mam, yam, ram, and lam are like six petals on this lotus.
Its colour is vermilion and it contains the power of levitation. The presiding deity is Rakini. He who meditates on this chakra gains instinctive knowledge of books which he has never seen.
The third chakra is called Manipura, located in the region of the navel. Dam, Dham, nam, tam, tham dam, dham, nam, pam, and pham are the ten vibration-notes on its golden petals where
Shiva resides dispensing all kinds of blessings and benedictions. The presiding deity is lakini.
The fourth chakra, Anahat, is located in the heart region. On its deep red petals are the vibrations kam, kham, gam, nyam, gham, cham, chham, jam, jham, jnam, tam, and tham.
This is the bliss-centre of the heart. The presiding deity is Kakini. This chakra contains the source of all siddhis (yogic powers). The deities are always ready to serve the devotee
The Glory of the Holy Name 217
who meditates on the centre of this chakra.
The fifth chakra is called Vishuddha and is located at the base of the throat. Vibration-notes ang, aang, ing eenga, ung, oong, ring, reeng, lring, lrring, ayng, eng, ong, aung, an, ah adorn it.
This chakra is dusky-golden in colour and the presiding deity is Shakini. A person who always concentrates on this chakra becomes known as a wise philosopher and a master of Yoga.
The sixth chakra is located between the eyebrows and is known as Agya chakra. The vibration-notes on its two petals are ham and ksham.
It is pure white in colour. The power to control death is here. and the presiding deity is Hakini or Mahashakti. The superior meditator who can meditate here never falls victim to confusion or instability. The illumined sages described the greatness of Agya chakra in many ways. The meditator who puts his total concentration at this point severs the bonds of all desires and attains the supreme state. All the results gained from the other chakras can be attained from meditation on Agya chakra alone. Therefore this is the most important chakra.
Above the two petalled lotus is the Brahmarandha, the conjunction of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna, which is the 'holy of holies'. The Brahmarandha also contains the 'thousand-petalled lotus', which has also been termed Mt. Kailash, the Abode of Mahadev, the eternal Lord Shiva. Hans or the Prana resides here and this is where the devotee meditates
218 Hansyog Prakash
on the Lotus Feet of his spiritual preceptor. This Abode is also termed 'Satyalok'.
This One Word is uttered by God. Control of the breath by the Name is the greatest sacrifice. No mantra is greater than the Holy Name. All scriptures and rituals are temporal, but the Single Name of the Lord of Creation (Who is known with difficulty) is indestructible and eternal.
The Yagya of chanting yields ten times the results of any externally performed ritual. Chanting so that others don't hear yields 100 times the results, and inner chanting is 1000 times more beneficial. Thus the Yagya of remembrance is the best of all. (Mand. Up)
The devotee who meditates on the Holy Name becomes worthy of liberation, and it is immaterial whether he does any other kind of rituals or not, because the Name is acceptable to all the deities, whom those other rituals are meant to propitiate. There is no doubt about it.
Adoration of the Holy Name
The Nameless Name is the essence of joy, and he who remembers it crosses the worldly ocean.
Worship the Name everyday, by concentrating your
The Glory of the Holy Name 219
mind on it. All sages and meditators have glorified it.
By meditating on the Name you easily hear the sound of the Divine Harmony which is continuously playing within you.
The most wonderful sound is that which is made by God. He Himself is that Name, the abode of total peace.
Only the Holy Name is the True Name. It is easily experienced, is the remover of doubts and the delight of the saints.
The worldly ocean is perplexing, unsteady, unfathomable and turbulent. Sit in the sturdy boat of the Name and cross to the other shore.
Even if you meditate only once on the Name, but with love, a multitude of sins 'is burnt like grass to ashes. The mind has accumulated many sins and defects, but one spark of the Name reduces them to ashes.
If someone remembers the Name at the time of his death, his life can be regarded as a success. It's a matter of inner experience, which has to be understood.
The body is a layer of skin filled with the breath of the Holy Name. This Name saves you from a torrent of sins, so don't waste your chance to remember it.
The dependability of the Name is that it and our ultimate destination are the same. The Name and its referent are one, whereas a speaker and his speech are separate.
Saints meditate on the Holy Name and reach the goal. Worship of the Name is the easy way to achieve Yoga, and no obstacles disturb you.
Disease cannot touch the person who practises the Yoga
220 Hansyog Prakash
of remembering the Holy Name. Dying is miserable, and understand this to be the result of actions.
Saints have explained this mystery. They believe the Name to be the goal. They called It imperceptible and God Himself.
Search within and catch hold of the Name. There is no need to open your mouth. The unchanted chant is going on automatically, cleaning the filth of the mind.
Take delight in the Name. Bring the mental fluctuations under control and be determined that they should not arise again.
Merciful Lord, you are the all-in-all of devotees. Please give them the wonderful gift of Your Holy Name.
Please accept those who are Yours, take them in Your embrace. You are the Name and the Lord of the Name as well.
The Primordial Name is the touchstone, and mind is the base iron. When the touchstone attracts, the bondage of attachment is broken.
The Eternal Name is the root of realization; all other chants are just branches. Without realizing the Name, you are drowned in the world.
There are thousands of names for God, but they won't liberate you. Only a rare saint knows the Primordial Name which is remembered deep within.
Everyone says, 'God God', but nobody knows what His True Name is. If you want to know, you have to find the True Master.
God definitely exists, so don't think that you are the
The Glory of the Holy Name 221
doer of actions. The Word of the Master is the True Name, so realize it in your heart. A jeweller recognizes the value of a ruby. A devotee recognizes the value of the Name.
We try all types of medicines, but nothing is equal to the Name. A little dose, and you are purified. A person who meditates on the Name erases the illusion of birth.
When you keep the Name in your mind, all sins are destroyed, just as a flame destroys dry grass.
Nobody has ever escaped death, and without meditating on the Name you are finished. However, Death is afraid of those who meditate on the Name.
I have the capital of the Holy Name, which thief and death cannot steal. It never fails to give me happiness.
Meditate on the Divine Light and awaken to the Inner Life. Meditation on Name takes the mind into Samadhi.
Realize the Name and throw away everything else. The benefits of fasting, pilgirmage, and chanting are all included in the adoration of the Guru.
Death recoils from a meditator, just as a cobra is rendered harmless by a snake charmer.
I will reveal the Name to whoever comes to me. The Name is Truth, so have firm faith in it.
Take delight in the Name, because the world gives only sadness. Have firm faith in the Master.
Your only hope lies in the Name; all other hopes will fail. If you build a house on water, people will call you an idiot.
An ounce of Name per ton of sins is enough. Half an ounce of meditation reduces the lot to ashes.
222 Hansyog Prakash
In the twinkling of an eye, a little meditation on the Name cuts through the accumulated karma of thousands of actions. Without the Name, you will keep on accumulating sins.
The True Name is the medicine which the Master prescribes. If you take it as directed, you will understand more and more.
Where in the three worlds will a man, who is so foolish as to neglect meditation on the Name and his Master for something lesser, ever hope to find a place? A leper who has Knowledge is better off than a healthy body if you don't use it to meditate?
If you take the Name, you've taken everything. This is the mystery which the Scriptures describe. Without the Name you can fall into hell, even while reading the Scriptures.
The Name is like a philosopher's stone, and the soul is like an iron filing. When the soul contacts the philosopher's stone, it becomes holy.
The happiness which makes me forget the Name is a curse, while the sorrow which makes me remember the Name is a blessing.
You should receive the Name and give food and charity. If you depend on God, you will succeed, but pride causes a fall.
Immerse the mind in the Name, in the same way as you have so far immersed it in illusion. When you forfeit the world, you gain Paradise.
Why leave the Nectar of the Name for something lesser? Take the bounty of the Holy Name, becauce who knows
The Glory of the Holy Name 223
when your last breath will leave you? When it's too late, you'll regret it.
He who meditates on the Name knows the value of the breath, and tries very hard to remember it with every breath.
What is the time guarantee on this body? It can be finished off in an instant. Meditate with every breath, and don't care about anything else.
Remembering the Name is blissful. Keep your mind attached to it.
The devotee turns the rosary beads of the breath. He cuts through the bonds of karma and wanders no longer in the 8.4 million species. Remember the Name with each breath. Don't waste even a single one. No one knows whether the next breath will come or not. Practice the meditation in which you can easily lose yourself. Merge your mind within.
The Holy Name is greater than anything. I cannot sing its glory adequately. An aspirant who receives the Knowledge of the Holy Name needs no mantra.
Only he who experiences the Name can describe its glorious secrets. On the other hand, the devotee who neglects the Name cannot be happy, even in a dream. So meditate on the Name day and night, and you will be successful in all that you do. It is Consciousness Itself, the giver of Supreme Bliss. The Holy Name is Truth-ConsciousnessBliss, and the source of joy. No other mantra can compare with it, and someone who remembers it achieves the four aims of life.
Within himself he hears the Primordial Sound and with the Divine Eye he sees God. Only a yogi understands what
224 Hansyog Prakash
meditation really is; others can only hope to understand.
Devotees remember the Primordial Name with no desire for liberation or devotion, but by putting the mind into the Name, you very soon become successful in everything. Constantly and singlemindedly remember the Holy Name. A person who does this is the very likeness of God.
Simply by remembering the Holy Name, you can be freed from worldly bondage. The aspirant's nature is purified if he meditates with love on the Name.
So receive the Holy Name from the Spiritual Master and remember it with faith. When you let go of anger, lust and greed you can enjoy true happiness.
The devotee crosses the worldly ocean in the boat of the Name. Its glory has been sung in all Ages. When you remember it, all your troubles fly away.
This Knowledge, this mysterious source of happiness, should not be revealed to atheists who, full of pride in themselves, deride the Scriptures.
You should sit quietly in an isolated place to meditate. That Word, which exists without having to be pronounced, should be realized as being the naturally-existing Word, which can be experienced but not described. Practise and merge in it. With practice you will come to know what it is, and the breath will be stabilized in it.
How can any creature live without breathing? Therefore, the unchanted Name is within all beings, but only the aspirant who follows the spiritual Master is entitled to experience it. An ignorant person cannot.
Never leave the simple and natural to run after the
The Glory of the Holy Name 225
artificial. God is natural and eternal; nothing else is. He can never be destroyed. When you see the omnipresent God within yourself, you will automatically go into unbroken meditation.
Everyone is held at the will of God. Results depend on the way the person meditates. Eventually everything is dedicated to God, whether you renounce it, or whether it is taken away from you by force. It is quite natural to worship and praise Him, meditate on Him and be devoted to Him. To understand such a natural thing, people do all kinds of unnatural practices which do not bring about immediate understanding.
You may have accumulated much wealth, but if you lose it, you become impoverished. Sometimes, it so happens that a poor man is living on top of a buried treasure, but how will that help. him? He doesn't know that it is there. He lives in wretched misery, and his poverty may even increase. See the wonder of the Almighty ! So many people just waste their human life, which is a precious opportunity. Only if a person has discrimination, can he walk on either the path of renunciation or the path of action.
What do we lack if the Lord dwells within us? You should catch hold of Him, in Whose Hands is all prosperity, and keep Him firmly in your heart.
This Name is the sustainer of the breath; it is also the science of the Life Force, the 'Secret Science'. When a yogi grasps its secrets, he becomes all-knowing. The devotee should constantly meditate on the Name with devotion in
226 Hansyog Prakash
his heart. he should attune his mind to it. Then the mind and the breath fuse. By fixing the mind on the breath, the meditator can successfully practise the Name while sitting, walking and even sleeping. He is freed from the cycle of action-reaction, and becomes immortal.
If you hold fast to the Name, your sins are wiped out, just as a spark can consume any amount of grass. While you have life within you, don't forget the Lord. Hold tight to God's Name and remember it constantly, said St Tulsidas.
Guru Nanak said, by Name alone fear is crushed and defects overcome. Nanak used to remember the Name daily and all his work was successful. Remember the Name while sitting, standing, sleeping and while you are awake. You will succeed in all that you do.
Remembering the Holy Name erases evil desires and sins, just as fire consumes everything in its path. You can cross the worldly ocean. God is realized only by single-minded devotion.
Sahjo Bai said,
Practise that method of meditation,
In which you can be easily absorbed.
Sit straight, concentrate on the forehead.
Sit in lotus position.
Sink your mind into the Name
Follow it as it rises from navel to forehead.
Hearing the Word will entrance you.
The Master Charandas has revealed this Word to me. It dwells in every heart. It is the Supreme Being.
If you want to find God,
The Glory of the Holy Name 227
You can, by meditating on the Name.
Although there are so many kinds of beings, god pervades them all.
His Light is One,
Whether in a king, a beggar or an outcaste.
Remembrance of the Holy Name
He who relinquishes this mortal body, at the time of death, keeping his consciousness united in (recollecting Me along) becomes one with Me. There is no doubt about it. (Gita 8:5)
This verse explains the need to remember God at the time of death, and the results thus attained. Many people think that it will be enough to remember the Holy Name only at the time of death, and not before, but the next verse says that we will remember only that thing at the time of death with which we have been preoccupied throughout our life. Therefore, we should not confine our remembrance of God at the time of death, but we should meditate on Him throughout life. If you practise the Holy Name throughout your life, you will automatically succeed in remembering it at the time of death. The Upanishads also say that in the next life you will get the requisite environment to fulfill whatever was your last desire at the time of your death. However, the Gita says that if you have not merged your mind in one-pointed devotion and divine Love, when the agonies of death begin you will not be able to steady your mind in meditation. So it is necessary to practise meditation throughout your life.
The soul after death enters into that being in which his inner consciousness remains united at the time of relinquishing his mortal body. The inner consciousness at that time becomes attached only to
230 Hansyog Prakash
the thing which was the object of his thinking and recollection throughout his life. This being the case, one should keep his consciousness attached only to the Lord's Name, throughout his life, so that his consciousness might remain united to Him alone at the time of death, so that he may become one with Him after death. (Gita. 8:9)
Therefore, at all times, recollect Me alone and fight. With mind and reason dedicated to Me, without doubt you shall attain Me. (Gita, 8:7)
When a person withdraws his outer consciousness completely from the objects of senses, and opens his inner consciousness to the Lord, just as a tortiose withdraws all its limbs and keeps them within, then alone he attains equanimity of mind and thought. (Gita, 2:58)
Therefore, a person should completely abandon all desires arising from imaginations and, having withdrawn all sense organs from their respective sense objects, keep them under complete control (and keep his mind united with the Lord.) (Gita, 6:24)
Of all kinds of devotees, the sage whose consciousness is constantly and unreservedly united in Me alone, and who knows no other, is the best of all. I am extremely dear to such a sage and he is extremely dear to Me. (Gita, 7:17)
And among all Yogis, he who adores Me with full faith and with the inner self abiding in Me, is considered by me to be the most completely harmonised. (Gita 7:17)
I personally make those devotees perfect in Yoga who are constantly and devoutly doing meditation on Me and are devoting themselves to Me.
St. Kabir: Happiness comes from remembrance of Holy Name and all troubles fly away. Everyone meditates on God when they are in trouble, but not while everything is going
Remembrance of the Holy Name 231
well for them. However, a person who meditates during good times is never affected by troubles.
Be in the Name as water is in a container. When buffeted your mind will not falter.
Meditate on the Name with the same intensity as a cow remembers her calf. Even while eating, she doesn't forget it.
Meditate on the Name like a poor man constantly thinks about money. Don't forget it, and instantly you will be protected.
Let meditation change your mind like a Bhringi wasp transforms its prey. Forget yourself and be dyed in the colour of love.
Merge yourself in meditation: don't speak a word. Close the external doors and open the internal.
Be firm in body, tranquil in mind, and calm in speech. Until you fix your mind in the Holy Name, you can't for a second imagine the experience.
I am beating a drum and proclaiming aloud: 'You are wasting your breath, which has the value of the three worlds! One precious breath is equal in value to the fourteen spheres of existence. So don't waste it.
Remember only the True Name and nothing else. All other thoughts will trap you in the net of death.
Meditate on the True Name, as it has redeemed many people. Don't abandon the support of the Name.
The path of meditation revealed by the Master is easy. Remember each breath and one day you will see God Himself.
Meditation is everything to me, all else is unnecessary
232 Hansyog Prakash
entanglement. Meditation is the essence of mind, speech, action, everything. It brings joy, and everything else brings misery.
Chanting, austerities, and self-discipline are all included in meditation on ,the Name. Devotees know that there is nothing to equal the remembrance of Name.
If you must desire something when you meditate, then desire to reach the Supreme State. But if you meditate desirelessly, you will merge with the Unchanging Name. The mind meditates on that which it loves, and mind, 0 Lord, is always thinking of You.
I always meditate on God. When my breath will depart from my body, my near and dear ones will come to take away their loot.
I meditate fearlessly on the Name, therefore, while the lamp of life is still lit, because when the oil is exhausted and the light is extinguished, I'll sleep forever.
Someone who applies himself to meditation realizes the value of the breath. He tries very hard to put each breath into the Name.
Life may be short, but it is noble if you meditate on the Name. What is the use of living thousands of years if you don't meditate?
Meditation is like ploughing, which makes the seed of Holy Name germinate. If you experience even a particle of Divine Blisss, then your life has not been in vain.
The purpose of the breath is to take us to God. God is One.
Guru Nanak: Brother, if you have no devotion, what is the
The Greatness of the Spiritual blaster 233
point of having come into the world? Without devotion, you cannot cross the worldly ocean. Without meditation of the True Name, you are no better than a dog, or a bird trapped by its greed.
There is only one True Name. It is the Doer, fearless and without opposition, indestructible, birthless and self-existent. You can meditate upon it by the Grace of the Master.
It has been the Truth from the beginning of time, it is the Truth now, and will be so in future.
Meditate with each breath on God's Name. Don't waste a single breath. Who knows whether the next breath will come or not?
A person who has no love and devotion for God is most unfortunate. He is a sinner devoid of merit.
Sadhana: I myself am nothing, and nothing is mine. Everything is Yours. Please protect me.
St. Jagjivan: Always keep your mind on God, the Almighty, while doing your worldly duties. This is the way to live the world, and the way to be always happy and at rest.
Paltu Sahib: A person whose actions and thoughts reflect his faith is truly a devotee. Leave all doubts behind, and meet the True Friend. A devotee who does this is happy in his thoughts and the world does not affect him.
Bullehshah: Now that you have come into this world, you should wake up and remember the Holy Name. One day you will have to leave your body, wealth and home. A true lover of God can see Him anytime. People call him an atheist, but he doesn't care.
234 Hansyog Prakash
Sahjo Bai: Don't waste a single second without meditation, let alone an hour or a day! While sitting, lying down, walking, talking, eating drinking and carrying on your business activities, constantly remember the Name.
I meditate on God and have no interest or affection left for the world. I feel that nothing belongs to me, not even my body.
Tulsidas: Once you have come into this world, you should do two things: feed others and receive the Holy Name. Anyone who gets involved in the world has to endure countless times the duality of joy and sorrow. This is minimised for the person who is one with God.
Instead of keeping bad company, keep holy company, and then nobody can stop you from entering Heaven.
The Nectar Technique
The Gherand Samhita says that a person who practises the Nectar technique is not bothered by hunger, thirst or dizzy spells. Illness, old age and death do not approach him. His body shines like that of a god.
Fire cannot burn him, wind cannot dehydrate him, water cannot drench him and snakes cannot bite him.
Practising this technique totally introverts the mind. The yogi experiences the unparalled rapture of the Spirit, and, at the time of death, achieves liberation.
When the meditator is able to practise this technique perfectly he is not affected by snake bites or scorpion stings. His skin stays smooth and unwrinkled and he conquers ill-
236 Hansyog Prakash
ness, old age and death.
The yogi who drinks the Nectar from the inner well, which is associated with the moon, definitely overcomes death. Goraknath declares this unequivocally.
This technique is known as the 'mother of all yogic powers', and is as beloved to me as my own breath.
It is written in the Shiva Samhita :
He who constantly practises this technique and daily drinks Nectar becomes perfect, in other words, he is invincible, and he vanquishes Death as a lion kills an elephant.
This Shiva Samhita goes on to say :
Even if he was previously steeped in sin, when he receives initiation from the true Guru and perfects the Nectar technique, the wise meditator reaches the ultimate state, i.e., liberation.
Nectar practice banishes wrinkles and cures bodily tremors. He who knows how to practise this technique even conquers lust and death.
The Nectar Technique 237
There is a small aperature in the cranium, right in the path of the three major neryes (Ida, Pingala and Sushumna). It is associated with the Nectar technique, and is also called 'Vyom Chakra,' says Goraknath.
Saint Brahmanand composed a song about this technique :
Hear, brothers, about the Nectar technique.
It is the greatest technique,
And is the Mother of Yogis.
He who practises it constantly
Crosses the worldly ocean.
Penetrate the point between the eyebrows,
Then the body starts trembling,
You will see the Light Divine
The heavenly Nectar cascades endlessly.
The Yogi who practises this technique all the time
Becomes totally oblivious of himself
Brahmanand has entered the Divine Abode of God himself,
And will not have to be reborn.
In the Gherand Samhita it is written that the yogi should sit for meditation after midnight in solitude, where not a single sound may be heard. First he will hear cricket-like sounds, then thunder, then cymbals. Then buzzing sounds like bees are heard, then tinkling bells, and gong-like sounds, Next he will hear trumpets, kettledrums and tambourines. Daily practice of this technique enables the meditator to hear various kinds of melodic harmonies. He will also hear the marvellous sound emitted by the Holy Word, which is self-existing. He is enraptured by these sounds and merges in Divine Light. He reaches the Divine Abode. He achieves perfect Samadhi.
The 'Yoga Rahasya' ('Mysteries of Yoga'), states that at
240 Hansyog Prakash
first cricket-like sounds are heard, then buzzings, then bells, conches, lutes, clashing cymbals and tambourines, drums, and then the Divine Harmony Itself. Practising and listening daily to this Divine Harmony takes the yogi to the Supreme Abode.
Saint Ramanand, the Guru of Saint Kabir, wrote:
There is a Sound belonging to an endless, unbelievable place,
There is a staircase of ten steps known only to the wise.
From somewhere comes the sweet sound of a flute
From somewhere else, the lute.
Sometimes it is very faint, and sometimes deafening.
This secret mystery is revealed to very few,
And they clearly see God face-to-face.
Generally, the mind wanders about after pleasures like a drunken elephant in a forest. But the Divine Music is the goad which curbs this elephant. In other words, when the mind hears the Celestial Harmony, it is absorbed.
Saint Brahmanand said,
Wise saints listen to the eternal, endless Music.
Sit in solitude, and close your ears.
Put your attention into the subtle inner sounds.
Experience the Celestial Harmony.
Listen to the sweet sound of bells, conches, flutes and lyres, Cymbals, tambourines, and drums.
Thunder rolls as if from clouds.
If you listen to this Music day after day,
The mind is dissolved in it.
When you see the Divine Light, you forget yourself.
Celestial Music 241
all physical and mental troubles cease to exist.
Brahmanand has thus crossed the worldly ocean,
He has attained Nirvana.
The Unstruck Melody
(The Divine Music)
Listen to the Divine Music, O saints, to the Celestial Music !
Sit in lotus position and close your ears.
Concentrate on the subtle inner sounds,
Hear the strains of the celestial Harmony,
At first the sounds mingle together,
Then they are heard separately,
Bells, conch, lyre and flute,
Cymbals, tambourines and drums.
As the Inner Music wells up,
And reveals itself to you,
Your whole being thrills and trembles.
Your mouth is filled with heavenly drops of Nectar,
The Yogis' delight.
You forget your own existence.
Your heart is radiant with Light.
Brahmanand says, My mind has merged with that Music.
Realize what I am saying.
Devotion to the Master
You will not get the privilege of a human body again and again. So don't waste your time on worldly pleasures, but rather love your spiritual Master.
A piece of gold does not lose its value if you drop it in a mud puddle. In the same ways, nothing done in the way of devotion is ever lost.
Devotion is a very rare thing to attain. Knowledge of the Truth is necessary to reach it. The path of devotion is very narrow, and as sharp as a sword's edge.
You may have a keen desire to devote yourself, but how can one be a humble servant unless he first removes every other desire from his mind?
Devotion is the raft to salvation. One who climbs aboard is a saint, but lazy men keep on drowning one lifetime after another. So long as you have any ties to this world, you cannot have devotion. As soon as you cut all ties to this world, and apply yourself in remembrance of the Lord, you will be entitled to be called a devotee.
Without devotion you will never make it to safety, no matter how hard you try. Only he who has love for the Holy Name can reach the Kingdom of Heaven.
The Master can help you acquire devotion. He who has both love and devotion is the most fortunate of men. There is no way you can fake devotion. Imitation devo-
244 Hansyog Prakash
tion will fail you when there is a crisis, just like the leaves fall from trees in winter.
It is useless to try and grab at devotion. Your grasp will soon falter. Few are those devotees, maddened by Love, who can truly hold fast to the Name.
Without the total and perfect knowledge, the heart will never know lasting peace. Fake devotion cannot keep up the appearances of Love for very long.
The devotee who knows the Truth dies daily, for he longs to give up his sense of his own importance. An ignorant man cannot understand this mystery.
An ignorant man cannot grasp the importance of opportunities when they come his way, because he spends his time trying to satisfy his worldly cravings.
When the sun rises, the night flees. In the same way, all bad intentions flee before the sun of Knowledge. Greed undermines one's understanding, and lust and pride diminishes devotion.
During the rainy season there are floods everywhere, but a river is something which continues to flow even during the dry summer months. Similarly, everyone who starts out on the path of devotion may look like a devotee, but he alone is worthy of the name, who continues even when hard times come upon him.
People who are full of desires, anger and greed can never be devotees. Maybe one in a million can transcend caste, creed, colour and family and be a true devotee. Life is worthless without devotion to the Master. It is like smoke, which dissolves in an instant.
Devotion to the Master 245
Only someone who is truly impartial and who has no delusions can grow in knowledge. Only someone devoid of greed can dissolve himself at his Lord's Feet. Only someone who has no feeling of duality in his mind can attain salvation.
True devotion keeps the mind perfectly in balance at all times. The true devotee lives modestly. He does not have any feelings of 'thine' and 'mine'.
Fish loves water, greedy men love money, mothers love their children, and devotees love the Holy Name.
Devotion to my Master has rid me of all doubts. To go for a day without doing something in the direction of devotion would be complete torture.
So long as your devotion is mixed with personal desires, it cannot bear fruit. Why should the Lord, the Desireless One, come to a person who is full of desires?
The essence of devotion never changes with time. It is the same now and forever. A saint may be born in the family of a beggar or a king, but it makes no difference. A saint will always be a saint.
Forget caste, colour and creed, and devote yourself, body and soul. The Master will free you from the cycle of birth and death.
Devotion is like a toy. Anyone can play with it. But, in true devotion, there is no difference between a king and a beggar.
The Holy Name is as dear to the devotee as lovemaking is to the lustful man, who thinks of nothing else except fulfilling his desires. In the same way, the devotee
246 Hansyog Prakash
never ceases to remember the Holy Name.
No one can reach God without devotion to the Master. He alone can give the Knowledge of the Almighty. That is why all the Scriptures sing the glory of devotion.
He who has a much devotion for his Master as he has for God, is called a great soul, and his heart is illumined.
The Glory of the Saints
Saints are like clouds, which benefit the world with their rain. They cool the heat of passion in others, and change them with the Holy Name.
God is like the ocean, and saints are the rain clouds. God is the sandalwood tree, and saints are the breeze which disperses the fragrance.
Devotion blossoms when you do something devotional, but without contact with a saint you will not be able to be devoted to God in the first place.
If a person uses his discrimination and keeps the company of saints, devotion to God will come very easily to him.
God is like a mine. Saints extract the precious jewels within themselves, and through their discourses, give them to their disciples.
There is no misery like poverty and no joy like meeting a saint. It is their (saint's) nature to be benevolent in thought, word, and deed. They tolerate suffering for the sake of others. A person is really unfortunate if he sees other suffering and feels nothing.
Saints are like the tree whose bark is torn off for the welfare of others. They are as beneficial to the world as the sun and the moon.
You should always be contented, strictly adhering to the
248 Hansyog Prakash
laws of righteousness. Have faith in none except the Master, and don't be concerned about others. A saint cares for neither praise nor blame, and sees everyone with an equal eye. If anyone begs him for Knowledge, he will give it. Seek such a saint and cling to his feet. All the illusions accumulated throughout many lifetimes will be erased, and you will get complete felicity.
All trees are not sandalwood, and all men are not brave. All oceans are not sweet, and likewise saints are very rare. Lions don't travel in packs, swans don't fly in flocks, jewels don't come by the bagful, and saints don't come in large numbers.
Lions will not eat a rotten carcass. In the same way, a saint will not have anything to do with someone who has no devotion.
The sun is not affected by the clouds which cover the sky. The words of a saint can never change, even though the universe should perish.
How can a person be worthy of liberation if he is neither happy when a saint comes nor sad when he leaves?
Invite a saint to your home, feed him lovingly and listen to his discourses. You will achieve renown in this world, and after death you will reach the Supreme Abode.
A tree never eats its own fruit, a river never uses its own water. Likewise, saints come into the world only for the sake of others.
All saints are great in their respective place and time. A wise person who realizes the Holy Name is the flower of humanity.
The Glory of the Saints 249
Poppy buds are mostly white, and only a very rare one is red. Saddhus may all look the same, but only a rare saint can reveal the True Knowledge. The Absolute, Formless God within manifests externally as the saint. He is the mirror in which you can see the Invisible.
When I see a saint, I remember God. Such time is well-spent and the rest is wasted.
My mind was like a bird roaming around in empty skies looking for God. However, He is found with the help of a saint. God dwells with the saints, and nowhere else. If you want to offer Him anything, offer it through saints, with love. If you meet a saint, you meet God. There is no difference. Saints show their unity with God in thought, word and deed.
Don't ask a saint his caste, but ask him for Knowledge. Discard the sheath and appreciate the sword.
When a saint goes away, you weep, so you should go to see him often. Visit him as often as your circumstances will allow Come into his holy presence many times a day. Saints are beneficial as the rain. You will grow in Holy Name.
If you can't visit a saint often, at least try to see him twice a year. I associate with saints, and death cannot bind me. Don't go after highborn priests who are not saints, but don't hesitate to follow an outcaste who is a saint.
Saints are hungry for love, not for wealth. He who runs after riches is not a saint.
If one is very lucky he meets the Master. Then all his bondage to family and society is torn as under, and with a fearless heart he takes his seat in the boat of the Holy Name.
250 Hansyog Prakash
The dog of a saint is lucky, because he always hears holy conversation. On the other hand, the mother of an atheist is unlucky, because her son only rebukes God.
Saints belong to the court of God; they have no peers. If you associate with them, you will soon realize the Holy Name.
The mother is most fortunate whose child becomes a saint, even though, as a result of remembering the Holy Name, he loses all attachment to the world and her.
You accumulate a certain amount of merit from bathing at a holy place, four times thereby meeting a saint, and many times thereby meeting the Master himself.
A saint is the oyster and God is the sea in which the pearl is produced. If you want to procure that pearl, you will have to dive into the sea, because it is not found in shallow waters.
Understand and realize that a saint is great due to God. If you want to find God, you'll find Him in the heart of a saint.
A saint is even greater than God. There is no separation between him and God, and all his actions are done desirelessly.
Visit a saint and prostrate before him. Who knows, you may be meeting God in the form of that saint. I meet with saints and consider myself very fortunate. Instead of being punished for your previous actions, all you get is a thorn. In other words, the company of saints lessens the effects of karma.
The saint is a tree, whose fruit is the Holy Name. His words are cool and soothing. If there were no saints in this
The Glory of the Saints 251
world, it would go up in flames.
The house where God is not worshipped and where saints are not served is like a graveyard. Only ghosts live there.
You may make thousands of pilgrimages, and give charity thousands of times, but if you don't serve saints you've done nothing.
The saint is greater than God; all the scriptures declare this. Lord Rama had to cross the sea to Lanka by bridge, but his devotee Hanuman had no need of a bridge.
Everyone wants to look like a Yogi, but no one wants to make his mind like that of a Yogi. A person who changes his mind through Yoga is a Yogi indeed.
He whose mind is merged in Yoga is in a unique situation. Internally he is a saint , irrespective of his external appearance.
Someone who has dedicated his life to God is given eternal life, while someone who has dedicated his life to God is given eternal life, while someone who holds on to his worldly life will lose it, as well as his eternal life. What an amazing scene-- dead men eating death!
Pride, greed, attachment and ambition should be discarded. Then you can realize the Holy Name.
Don't let obstacles get you down. A saint should turn himself into the dust on the highway. However, what does it avail you if you have turned to dust, which flies up and covers the body? Better to be like the tranquil water. But what's the point of being like water, which is sometimes hot and then grows cold?
252 Hansyog Prakash
A saint should have the same attributes as the Lord Himself. But what is the point of merely being possessed of Divine virtues? Such a saint should sing of the Lord's exploits and thus be cleansed of all impurities.
But what's the point of merely being clean ? You must transcend that state also and dwell in Unity consciousness. Be above purity and impurity. Such saints are indeed rare. Everyone has fallen into the pit of duality. A saint should never take any burden on his head.
Duality also needs a place to live, so an exceptional saint stays aloof from it. Beware of duality; give up debating and arguing. A devotee who has faith in his Master's words is infinitely wise.
From the Ramayana of St Tulsidas
The character of the holy person is like the cotton plant, whose fruit is tasteless, white and fibrous. Likewise, the actions of saints yield results which are stainless, pure, free from attachment and are full of goodness.
The cotton suffers hardships such as spinning and weaving, but after going through these processes it covers the faults of others, and has thus earned a glorious reputation.
The company of saints, which is full of joy and felicity, is like a mobile Prayag (the holiest of holy places, which is near Allahabad). Devotion is like the holy river Ganges, while holy discourse is like the Saraswati (an underground stream believed to meet the Ganges and Yamuna at Prayag).
Discourses about Karma are like the river Yamuna, which washes away all the impurities of the Kali Age, while stories about the Lord represent the Triveni, the confluence of the
The Glory of the Saints 253
three streams, bringing joy and blessings to those who hear them. Noble actions represent the royal court of this king of holy places; the assembly of saints relieves the afflictions of those who take refuge in it with reverence. This king of all holy places, the company of saints, is beyond all description, and is not of this world. It gives immediate results and its glory is evident.
People who, having heard of the glory of association with the holy, appreciate it with love and affection, reap the rewards of human existence in this very lifetime.
The scriptures are like sacred mountains, and anecdotes about the Lord are the goldmines inside them. The saints are expert miners, using the pickaxe of penetrating intellect. Spiritual wisdom and non-attachment are the eyes with which they view these mines. Anyone who looks for the jewel of devotion with love and faith, will find it. It is a storehouse of all blessings.
Satsang : the company of Saints
The company of saints banishes sorrow and brings us joy. A candy wrapper fetches the same price as the candy, simply because of its association with it.
Associate with saints, whose minds are perfect, and who give away the riches the Holy Name without weighing its value. Associating with saints is rather like visiting a perfumer. Even if you don't buy anything, you still pick up the sweet fragrance which surrounds him.
I don't pray for riches or occult powers. All I pray for is the company of saints day and night.
Holy company is always worthwhile. You never fail to benefit from it.
Let the Holy Name dwell in your heart, and make good use of each breath. Any sacrifice is worthwhile, if it results in one moment in the presence of a saint.
The day is wasted if you don't manage to spend some time in satsang. Love is the only distinction between animals and human beings. You can never reach God except through devotion.
If you plant a neem tree (whose leaves have a very bitter taste) near a sandalwood tree, the neem tree will be drenched in the sandalwood fragrance.
If your mind is somewhere else, even though you are sitting in satsang, how can you benefit from the satsang?
256 Hansyog Prakash
How can a cloth be dyed unless it is dipped in the vat?
It is a terrible fate if one is still blind even after hearing the scriptures, and if he does not adopt the true path even after spending time with saints. A snake may spend a long time near a sandalwood tree, but still its sac is full of poison. You can't blame the tree because its scent doesn't take the poison out of the snakes that live near it. The snakes' sacs are so full of poison that there is no room left for the nectar. Likewise, how can saints influence someone who clings to his nature, and resists any change?
If you were to weigh the bliss of heaven or salvation against the joy of one moment spent in holy company, the later would surely win.
There is no mistaking the company of truth. One dip in it is enough to turn crows into swans. And it's nothing to be surprised about either. The glory of the saints is no secret.
Without associating with saints, you don't know what is true and false, spiritually speaking, and you can only enjoy satsang by the grace of the Lord. Satsang is the root of all blessings. Pious actions are like blossoms on a tree, but satsang is the actual fruit.
Even the wicked change their ways when they come into the company of a saint, just as lead can turn into gold when it contacts a touchstone.
Even such powers as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva falter in their speech when they try to describe the glory of the saints. Poets and scholars are mute. To ask me to describe the wonders of satsang is of little use as asking a stallkeeper in a vegetable market to describe the virtues of a particularly
Satsang : the company of saints 257
Rivers, trees, rain and saints all exist for the sake of serving others.
You become like the company you keep. The company of saints leads to salvation, while associating with the worldly affairs leads to worldliness. All scriptures, poets and saints agree that only if one is extremely fortunate, can he secure the company of a saint. By means of satsang, you can overcome suffering, and break through the cycle of birth and death, without any effort.
Good company is beneficial, but bad company is harmful. This is what the Scriptures say, Dust can be carried by the wind, but when it falls on the ground it becomes mud. Whether you are in the company of saints or the wicked, always remain cheerful by remembering God.
The conduct of saints and non-saints is comparable to the sandalwood tree and the axe. The axe cuts the tree and thus becomes scented. The sandal paste is used to adorn sacred images, whereas,the blade of the axe is beaten by hammers and cast into the fire.
Do not listen to the wicked, even by mistake, as their company always bring distress. They burn with envy just by seeing others prosper. When they hear others being reviled, they feel as delighted as if they had found a treasure lying on the road. They are steeped in lust, anger, arrogance, and greed. They are cruel, deceitful, crooked and polluted. For no reason, they bear enmity towards everyone, even to those who are kind to them. They deal in lies and eat lies with relish. Such people speak sweetly, but have a heart of stone.
Malevolent by nature, they covet the life and wealth of others. Human life is wasted on such people. They wallow in greed, and are given to lust and gluttony, yet do not fear punishment after death.
260 Hansyog Prakash
They are the happiest when they see others in trouble. Devoted to their own selfish interests, they will oppose even their own families. They respect neither father mother, nor spiritual preceptor. Utterly degraded themselves, they lead others to ruin. Overcome by avarice, they covet the wealth of others. They have no love for saints, nor for the hearing about the Lord. They are oceans of vice, they are dull-witted and lascivious. They revile the Scriptures, and, in particular, harbour malice towards saints. They are deceitful hypocrites, although they put on a show of piety. Such wicked men were absent in Satyuga and Treata Yuga. There were a few in Dwapar, but in Kali Yuga there are great hordes of them.
Dominated by delusion, infatuation and selfishness, they do all kinds of wrongs and ruin their prospects in the afterlife. God comes in the form of Death and gives them the rewards of their actions.
Listen, dear brothers ! Virtues and vices are many, and all are the products of Maya. Don't pay heed to either, because if you do, you will lose your destination.
One Truth, diverse expressions
Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free.
The experience of God has been shared by the great Teachers of all times and countries. They never came to set up new religions, but rather to show people the eternal inner Truth of religion. Jesus said that his mission was not to destroy the scriptures, but to fulfill them.
However, after the Teacher leaves the world, a superstructure of scriptures, temples and legend is built up and the inner experience of spiritual Knowledge recedes, with the result that the followers of different religions cannot even relate to each other, or accept that the teachings of the other group are valid.
By taking a quick look at some experiences described by three religions--Islam, Christianity and Judaism, this chapter will attempt to show that the major religions, so often at odds with each other, are in fact talking about the same experience.
The foundation and core of religion is the direct perception and experience of God. This is called Atmagyan in Hinduism, Knowledge in Christianity, Knowledge, Covenant or Wisdom in Judaism, and Ruhani-ilm in Islam.
262 Hansyog Prakash
The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (St James)
Compare this with the verse from Hinduism's Bhagvad Gita which says:
This Knowledge is the purest and highest and is the supreme science. It is experienced directly, it is easy to perform, and is imperishable.
Here are some more quotes to illustrate :
Knowledge is the seal of the Kingdom of Solomon. The whole world is form, and Knowledge is the spirit. (Rumi, Islamic mystic)
The Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh Knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs, 2:6)
That the soul be without Knowledge is not good. (Proverbs, 19:2)
And I will bring the blind by a Way they knew not; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them and crooked things straight. (Isaiah, 42:16)
The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. (Psalm 25)
Such Knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psalm 25)
From the Koran :
But it is clear revelation in the hearts of those who have been given knowledge. (Para 21, Aayat 49)
Behold that which I have given you of the scriptures and of Knowledge. (Para 3, Aayat 81)
This is called updesh in Hinduism. It is during initiation
One Truth, diverse expressions 263
that the Teacher, the enlightened soul, opens the Third Eye of the disciple and imparts to him the ability to meditate on the Holy Name and Inner Light of God. The seed of Knowledge is sown in the disciple's consciousness, and he begins his journey on the road to God-realization.
Christianity calls this the spiritual baptism, or second birth. The tradition of laying on of hands by the Bishop during the confirmation ceremony dates back to the Apostles' time, as this is the method of spiritual transmission or opening.
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance, that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (II Tim. 1:6)
(The Apostles) laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. (Act 8:17)
In the old Testament, and sometimes in the New also, the same process is called anointing.
And Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom for Moses had laid his hands upon him. (Deut. 34:9)
Samuel anointed him and the Spirit of Lord came upon David from that day forward. (1 Samuel, 16:13)
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth. (II John 2:27)
The Third Eye is called Teesra Netra or Shiv-Netra in Hinduism, single eye in Christianity, and inner gate in Judaism. In the ordinary state of awareness, this disciple begins to be aware of his own consciousness, and sees the Light Divine :
You cannot see my Cosmic Form with your ordinary eyes, therefore I will give you the eye of knowledge. (Bhagavad-Gita)
264 Hansyog Prakash
If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Matt. 7:22)
The Spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven and brought me in the vision of God to Jerusalem to the inner gate toward the north. (Ezek. 8:3)
The Koran calls this Third Eye Dil-ka-Ankh or 'eye of the heart' and initiation is called Ruhani rasalat :
Allah cannot be seen by ordinary eyes, but by the eye of the heart. He is the subtle, the All-Aware. (Para 17, Aayat 104)
Called Bhargo Jyoti, and Param Prakash in Indian scriptures, it is termed Light or the Countenance of God in Christianity and Judaism, and Ilahi-Noor in Islam. The Scriptures abound with references to it.
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. His Light shines as a candle in a niche though no flame has touched it. Light upon Light. (Koran, Para 18 Aayat 36)
Deep in our hearts the Light of Heaven is shining
Upon a soundless sea without a shore. (Rumi)
The Light of Truth I saw in my citadel,
When I had renounced all, I was bathed in it.
If thou, too, aspirest for it, give up thy lower self.
Then ye shall find thyself bathed in Truth's sunshine. (Sarmad)
Thou coverest Thyself with light as with a garment. (Psalm 104)
One Truth, diverse expressions 265
In Thy Light shall we see Light. (Psalm 36:9)
Out of Zion, the perfection of Beauty, God bath shined. (Psalm 50:2)
God is the Lord, which bath showed us Light. (Psalm 118
Make Thy Face to shine upon Thy servant. (Psalm 31:16)
I could not see for the glory of that light. (Acts 22:11)
That was the True Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (James 1:17)
(The Supreme Abode) had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it. (Rev. 21:23)
How similar is this to this verse from the Gita:
Where sun, moon and fire do not shine, there shines the Supreme Light which is My highest Abode.
And this verse from Isaiah :
The sun shall no more be thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee, but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting Light. (6:19)
This is called Amrit, the Nectar of immortality, by Indian scriptures. Islam calls it Aabehiyat. Jesus called it Living Water and the sages of the Old Testament called it various names, the most frequently used being Fountain of Life.
Whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into eternal life. (John 4:14)
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
266 Hansyog Prakash
proceeding out of the throne of God. (Rev. 22:1)
Come ye to the waters, yea, come, buy wine and milk without meney and without price eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself (Isaiah 55:1)
With Thee is the fountain of life. (Psalm 36)
Far away the living fountains ply
What is this fountain, wouldst thou rightly know?
The Soul whence issues all created things,
Doubtless the rivers shall not cease to flow
Till silenced are the everlasting springs.
Farewell to sorrow, and with quiet mind,
Drink long and deep. (Rumi)
From the Koran :
In a high Garden is a gushing spring (Para 30, Aayat 12)
a Garden where of the breadth is as the breadth of heaven and the earth. (Para 27, Aayat 21)
A Spring whence those brought near to Allah drink. (Para 30:28)
The Word, or Holy Name, is the active creative energy of God. Experiencing it, is the basis of God-realization. All the great Teachers knew this Word, and enabled their disciples to experience it too. All of them said that it is the Source-Energy, pure and perfect and beyond alphabets. However, when the inner experience of the Word is lost, people resort to external name and call them the True Name of God, hence the disparity found among religions on this point.
One Truth, diverse expressions 267
Hindu scriptures talk about Shabd-Brahm, Ram Nam, or Akshar Brahm. The Old and New Testaments call it the Word or Name. The Koran calls it pak Nam. However, these adjectival names all refer to the same fundamental Divine Energy, which is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent.
Those who meditate on the eternal, unmanifest and omnipresent Lord, which is beyond mind and intellect, attain the Supreme Abode. (Gita, 12:3)
If ye seek the Lord, remember the Name constantly, and be sure union will be thy lot, for there is not the least difference between the Lord and His Name (Sufi saint)
You worship using names which ye have named, ye and your fathers. Allah bath revealed no sanction for them. The decision rests with Allah only, who bath commanded you that ye worship only His real Name. This is right religion but most men know not. (Koran, Para 12, Aayat 40)
The Word of the Lord endureth forever, and this is the Word by which the Gospel is preached unto you. (I Peter, 1:25)
Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
He had a name written which no man knew, but he himself And his name is called the Word of God. (Rev. 19:13)
Thy Name is from everlasting (Isaiah 63:16)
I will give them a name …….. better than those of sons and daughters. I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah, 56:15)
We verily created a man and we know what his soul whispereth to
268 Hansyog Prakash
him, and we are nearer to him than his jugular vein. (Koran, Para 26:16)
In what language does the soul whisper?
Vibrations produce sound. The Holy Name, the Purest Vibration, produces the purest sounds. In all scriptures, divine visions were accompanied by heavenly sounds and music. Hindus call this Anahad Nad, the Koran talks about Gebi-Awaz, and the Bible describes sound like rushing waters, trumpets, choirs of angels, etc. Here are some examples:
Behold, the glory of the Lord came from the way of the east, and His voice was like a sound of many waters. (Ezekial, 11:43)
The voice of the Lord is upon the waters ……the God of glory thundereth. (Psalms 29:3)
I heard the voice of many angels. (Rev. 5:11)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet. (Rev. 1:10)
His voice was as the sound of many waters. (Rev. 1:1 5)
eighty million horns and 30 million shofars and 40 million bugles heard the Jewish mystic Rabbi Nehuniah.
If ye close thine ears, eyes and lips, I promise the Diving Voice shall reveal the Supreme Secret which ye cannot hear so long as thy ears bear the worldly sounds. (Rumi)
These secrets can be realized after initiation by the Master followed by long and sustained meditation, combined with satsang and service. The process of meditation, called dhyan in Hinduism, hitbodehut in Judaism and ibadat in Islam, is absolutely necessary. The mind must be with-
One Truth, diverse expressions 269
drawn from external stimuli (a process called 'Pratyahara' in Hinduism) and fixed on the object of meditation. Single-pointed concentration is known as ikswait in Islam, and kavanna in Judaism. The ultimate achievement of the meditator is the state of samadhi, which corresponds to Yechidah in Jewish mysticism and fanafillah in Islam. This is the state described by Christ when He said, I and may father are One. 'Fanafillah' refers to the state when the Light of individual consciousness merges with the Universal Light.
Moses, the greatest Jewish Master, had attained Yechidah, the highest stage of 'Devekuth', or cleaving to God. Psalms says, Who dwelleth in the secret place shall abide under the shadow of the almighty.
The great Jewish mystic, Rabbi Nachman, said, 'One who does not meditate cannot have wisdom …… His power of concentration remains weak and cannot be maintained. One who does not meditate also does not realize the foolishness of the world.'
Rumi, the Islamic sage, advised, Fix thy gaze upon the Light, and thou art delivered from the dualism inherent in the body. 0 Thou who art the kernel of Existence, the disagreement between Moslem, Zoroastrian and few depends on the standpoint.
St Nazir expressed the same thing in these words:
From duality I passed into Unity.
And all illusions vanished like phantom shows.
Since then, whatever I see I see Him alone.
The Muslim and the Hindu and the few
Have all become the same to me.
All differences have vanished
270 Hansyog Prakash
In that experience of Unity-consciousness.
Once a person has realized God in the state of unity consciousness, he breaks through all the chains that bind him to the world and attains liberation. This is the Supreme State, called salvation in the Bible, Mukti by the Hindus and Nizat by Muslims.
The holy saint through whom the experience of Knowledge is transmitted, and who guides the disciple on the road to salvation, is called the Sat-Guru in Hinduism, Pir or Murshid in Islam, and Master, Teacher or Prophet in the Bible. He is the Tzaddik, the enlightened sage, without whom, all scriptures agree, liberation is impossible.
This path can be trodden only through the help of an intermediary, the Teacher. But he alone is a Teacher, who is dead to self and established in Unity. He is the one who is above the Shariyat (institutionalized religion). He can help in the path of Tariquat (practical spiritual experience). Seek such a one, that ye may gain union with the Lord. (Rums)
In every epoch after Mohammed a Saint arises to act as his vice regent. The saint, then is the living Imam, who appears in every age. He is the God-guided one (Mahdi) and the Guide (Had:)… He is as the Light of the Prophet (Noor-i-Muhammadi) and Universal Wisdom is his Gabriel: the saint lesser than he receives illumination from him, like a lamp. (Rumi)
So believe in Allah and His messenger and the Light which we have revealed: And Allah is aware of all that ye do. (Para 3:85)
By his Knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many. (Isaiah 53:11)
One Truth, diverse expressions 271
The Teacher is one who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. (Hebrews 7:6)
All things are delivered unto me of my Jather, and no man knoweth the Son, but the Jather, neither knoweth any man the father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the son will reveal Him. (Matt 11:27)
Guru Vashishta's advice to Lord Rama
The soul is not realized by giving alms, charity, fasting, pilgrimages or whatever else you may do. You can only get Spiritual Knowledge through the company of saints. Satsang is like a tree, whose flower is Knowledge. Anyone who wants this flower, has to taste the fruit of spiritual experience.
Even if a person has no idea about spiritual ecstasy, he will be filled with it once he associates with saints. A man who lives all his life in ignorance meets his death, but someone who keeps the company of saints achieves immortality. People suffer all kinds of adversities, but find spiritual fulfilment in the company of a saint. Satsang eradicates misery in the same way as dew kills a lotus. Spiritual knowledge gets rid of sorrow and the devotee attains immortality and supreme Bliss.
In the company of saints the flame of Knowledge burns brightly, dispelling the darkness of ignorance. Great treasures are gained from satsang, leaving no desires at all remaining.
Saints are like a wishing well. They will grant your every wish. Contact with saints will ferry you across the worldly ocean, in the same way as a boatman ferries passengers to the other bank of a river. After receiving Knowledge from a saint, the devotee can take his place in God's Supreme Abode.
274 Hansyog Prakash
The breeze of satsang scatters the cloud of infatuation. Someone who has no particular affection for his body, who rests contentedly in the Spirit and whose intellect is not thrown off balance by the vicissitudes of life, always maintains tranquillity and mental equilibrium. Such a saint uproots the creepers of adversity, lifts us high above the worldly ocean as easily as the breeze picks up a flower, and sets us on the other shore.
The company of saints is like light. They can give you the highest things. A person who lacks divine vision cannot experience True Knowledge. Anyone who abandons the saints will burn in hell just as wood burns in a fire. However, if someone associates with saints, the fires of his personal hell are extinguished. He who bathes in the river of satsang does not have to do any other practices, such as fasting, austerities or chanting. He reaches the Ultimate State. So you should give up all these other practices and seek out satsang. A sincere aspirant searches for satsang in the same ways as a poor man is always on the lookout for a valuable jewel.
Satsang soothes the burning passions of body, mind and spirit. It cools the heat of emotions, just as rain cools the heat of the earth. The axe of satsang chops down the tree of ignorance and deluded infatuation. Only through satsang is immortality achieved, and nothing more than this is desired. Satsang is greater than anything. Even if you want nothing more than your own well-being, this is enough to qualify you for satsang.
Mental equipoise, contentment, right thinking (spiritual
Guru Vashishta's advice to Lord Rama 275
wisdom) and satsang are the four gatekeepers of the door to liberation. Anyone who cultivates them soon progresses spiritually, while someone who doesn't cultivate them has no hope of liberation. Liven if you practise only one of the above, the other three will come to you automatically.
If there is an ocean, automatically rivers will flow into it. If a person has mental equilibrium, then contentment, spiritual discrimination and holy company will follow. Contentment, equanimity and spiritual wisdom always accompany satsang.
The wishing tree has everything, and, in the same way, where there is contentment, then satsang, spiritual wisdom and mental equilibrium will also come. All phases and attributes of the moon are seen in a full moon. Similarly, where there is contentment, the other three will also come.
Then spiritual insight dawns on a person, all good traits become his, just as all good fortune comes to a noble man. Someone who possesses the above four graces should be regarded as the flower of humanity.
If you don't possess all four, then take refuge in any one of them, because the other three will surely follow. These four graces are the way to liberation. There is no other way.
Contentment is the highest profit, satsang is the greatest wealth, wisdom is the greatest knowledge and a tranquil, even mind is the highest joy. These four graces are the greatest benefactors a person can have. Someone endowed with them is praised even by the gods.
Hold on to them and use them to bring your mind under control. The mind is like an elephant which is kept
276 Hansyog Prakash
under control by the goad of spiritual wisdom.
Desires flow in the mind like a deep river, whose two banks are virtue and vice. Human beings have the capacity to take their minds from vice to virtue. When you become introspective, and the current of mind starts to flow back towards the soul, you will realize soul. The devotee must labour hard to remove the wrong ideas which are damming up his mind, because only when this silt of ignorance is removed, will the current of Knowledge flow smoothly.
The outflowing of the mental current towards the world is the cause of bondage of the soul. Introversion of the mind leads to liberation. When the heart is pure, spiritual wisdom develops. And then, through philosophical deliberation, the intellect becomes keen. Ignorance is like a forest in which flourish the creepers of adversity. When someone uses the sword of reason and spiritual insight to cut them down, his mind becomes peaceful.
Attachment and infatuation are like elephants which trample the lotus of the heart into the ground. Affection for desirable things and adversion for the undesirable disturb the mind. When the lion of wisdom kills this attachment, the spirit becomes peaceful.
Success in anything comes only after proper deliberation and hard work. A king who takes action only after much careful forethought wins his battles.
From spiritual wisdom are derived strength, sagacity, a shining countenance and the four objectives of human life (i.e.) righteousness, proper action, liberation and worldly prosperity). The possessor of these has a lustrous appearance,
Guru Vashishta's advice to Lord Rama 277
is master of his senses, and spiritually blooming. Someone who takes refuge in spiritual wisdom and holds fast to it gets whatever he wants. So, spiritual wisdom, or the capacity to reason for our spiritual benefit, is our best friend. A man of sound spiritual intellect is never thrown off balance when adversity strikes. He does not succumb to misfortune, just as a gourd does not sink in water. He who resorts to spiritual wisdom before taking action will succeed in whatever he does.
Righteous conduct (Dharma), philosophy, proper action and liberation are like trees. If you cultivate them, you will reap the fruits of success. So think about what is the absolute Truth and scale the heights of spirituality. In the light we can see clearly and likewise, a person who exercises his power of reason and spiritual insight, knows what is true and what is false. He discards the false and aims for the truth. Such a man can be said to have spiritual wisdom.
The world is like an ocean. Waves of adversity arise, but a wise man is not disturbed by the ups and downs of life. Happiness is the result of practising even a little spiritual discrimination. Thoughtless action yields only suffering. Thoughtlessness, or lack of reason, is like bracken which produces the thorns of misery. The specters of desire and ambition haunt the dark night of thoughtlessness, but when the sun of spiritual wisdom rises, these specters vanish along with the night. May the darkness of ignorance never find a place in you, because wisdom gets rid of ignorance and all forms of misery. Due to ignorance, a child mistakes his own shadow for a ghost and is frightened. Due to our
278 Hansyog Prakash
ignorance we are made miserable by the world, but worldly fears can be controlled by taking the help of the scriptures to reason correctly.
Where there is spiritual wisdom there is no misery, and where there is no wisdom, there is misery. Similarly, where there is spiritual insight there are no worldly fears, and where there is lack of insights, fears proliferate.
The good habits which produce happiness thrive in spiritual wisdom. Just as lotuses grow in the lake, so good traits grow with spiritual wisdom. Without it you are subject to all kinds of suffering.
Action performed without proper forethought lead to suffering. When a mouse digs a hole, it throws out dirt, on which weeds will start to grow. Similarly, through lack of consideration and insight, a person piles up the dirt of sinful actions which are a breeding ground for the weeds of adversity.
Thoughtlessness is like a woodworm which eats away at a tree. How can we get the fruits of happiness in such a situation? Lack of spiritual wisdom is not conducive to good action. Discrimination is like a king and spiritual wisdom is his minister. Wisdom follows Discrimination wherever he goes, and vice-versa.
Eveyone respects the person endowed with spiritual wisdom. Spiritual wisdom is your best friend. A pure intellect and spiritual wisdom have led many to salvation.
The Himalayas are always cold both inside and out, and in the same way, a man of spiritual wisdom stays cool. By exercising his wisdom, a person can reach a state which is
Guru Vashishta's advice to Lord Rama 279
eternal, endless, unchanging, pure and supreme ecstasy itself. Once he reaches this state, he does not desire anything, nor does he have to renounce anything. He is not affected by likes and dislikes.
Even though waves rise and fall in it, the ocean remains the same. Similarly, a discriminating person has no worldly confusions, and he reaches that peerless state which is independent of everything.
The universe is a product of the mind and through our own lack of insight we think that it gives us misery. The apparition of the world is like the ghost which the child imagines he sees in the dark. However, the person who has spiritual wisdom is not confused by the world. With the advent of wisdom comes mental equanimity. A wise man experiences bliss wherever he goes. He never feels sorrow. When the sun shines we don't see darkness, and a wise person never feels sorrow. Spiritual wisdom brings happiness and its absence causes suffering. If there is no darkness. we don't fear ghosts, and in the same way, a wise man does not fear the world.
Birth and rebirth is a long illness, whose only cure is spiritual insight. Spiritual wisdom results in reaching the Supreme State and the Ultimate Destination. Lack of wisdom results in degradation of the spirit. A man who becomes intoxicated with the wine of thoughtlessness cannot reason at all for his own benefit. He cannot perform the activities enjoined by the Scriptures. Wrong ideas can never result in spiritual wisdom.
The illness of desire is cured by the medicine of spir-
280 Hansyog Prakash
itual insight. A person who uses his discrimination and depends on spiritual wisdom gets perfect peace, and his mind does not descend again into the world. He sees the world objectively; he is detached and unchanging in the midst of life's ups and downs, pleasures and unpleasantness.
The ocean is full of water, and likewise, a man of knowledge is full of spirituality. If a blind man falls into a well, he can climb out using the strength of his hands. Similarly, if a person falls into the dark well of the world, he can be extricated by the strength of spiritual wisdom.
A wise person considers a problem from all sides, and then takes appropriate action to solve it. Any problem can be solved with proper deliberation. So you should depend on spiritual wisdom and then you will succeed in life. In order to gain this wisdom, you have to study the scriptural precepts, think about them carefully, and, with a firm intellect, reach the heights of spirituality.
Light reveals an object as it really is, and, in the same way, we can realize the Soul through the scriptures and the words of the Spiritual Master. A blind man cannot see anything, even in the light, and an unworthy aspirant will not be able to realize the Soul, even if the scriptures and the Master are available to him. The aspirant who has the eyes of spiritual insight will realize the Soul as it really is, but someone bereft of such vision is actually blind. He who acquires the insight of spiritual wisdom can know everything. Through it he grows in spirituality. He becomes perfect, and his mind does not wander any more in the world of merit and demerit.
Guru Vashishta's advice to Lord Rama 281
This body will continue to function until the action determined by the reserve of prenatal impressions and tendencies have run their course. However, a sage stays in the body through his own will. After he leaves the physical body, he lives on as pure Soul. So take refuge in Divine Wisdom and cross the worldly ocean. Not even a sick man laments as much as a thoughtless man does, and even as person in dire straits will not weep as much as the man who is bereft of spiritual wisdom. Just as all rivers naturally flow into the sea, so all adversities take up residence in a man who has no spiritual wisdom.
Germs live in dirty water, thorns are found by the wayside and snakes attach themselves to trees - all these are natural and right, but a man who doesn't think and who runs after sensual pleasures is no better than a dog. He can't look after himself for a moment. The aspirant should become fixed in wisdom, live fearlessly, and ponder the questions 'Who am I? and 'What is the real nature of this world?' Reflecting thus, he can realize the Soul, which is Truth Itself, and he has nothing more to do with the world of the senses.
A man of spiritual wisdom and discrimination doesn't fall prey to sensual pleasures. He is stable in Truth. If he lives like this he will realize the spiritual knowledge and rest in the soul. The fluctuations of his mind cease and all his troubles are over. Pure Love only awakens in a tranquil mind, and Love is God, God is Love.
Loving God is not an easy matter.
Only someone who severs his head and tramples it underfoot is worthy.
Love does not grow on trees, nor is it sold in the marketplace.
Whoever wants it, be he king or subject, must be ready to give his life.
I have drunk from the overflowing cup of Love.
The Knowledge bestowed by the Master has illumined me.
I have sounded the trumpet of the Word.
I have entered like a warrior into the field of devotion. Where does love come from and where does it go? No one knows.
Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying -
Such emotionalism is not Love.
The true beloved of God gives his mind with heartfelt love.
The heart in which love does not dwell
Is as desolate as a cremation-ground.
Such a person is like a blacksmith's bellows,
Which draws in air, although it is not alive.
There is no peace without Love,
And without the pain of separation
284 Hansyog Prakash
There is no renunciation.
Without the Master, the blemishes of soul and mind Cannot be eradicated.
Have the same intense love that the chakora bird has for the moon,
Even when is severed head is on the ground,
Its gaze is on the moon.
Great is the love of the fish of water.
There is nothing like it.
As soon as it is separated from the water,
It gives up its life.
Where there is Love, there is no reason, rules or commonsense.
When the heart is full of the ecstasy of Love,
Who counts days and dates?
When Love manifests in your heart, it can't be hidden. You can't express it in words
But your eyes are full of tears.
Love should be unchanging, whatever your ways of life. Then it doesn't matter
Whether you live in a house or a forest.
I searched everywhere for a lover of God but found none.
When two such lovers meet,
Their devotion is stengthened.
I have drunk the Nectar given by my Master,
What other potion do I need?
When a potter completes a pot,
Loving God 285
He doesn't have to put it on the wheel again. I have tried many medicines,
But nothing compares with Love.
Just a small dose purifies the whole being.
There is no room for mind
In a person who is in love with God. He is totally contented,
And sees Him everywhere he goes.
The words of a lover of God are sweet. Sometimes he feels like laughing,
And sometimes like crying.
It just happens, for no reason.
I care naught for caste or appearance.
Even though everyone may scorn me and call me crazy. Love is fathomless, peerless and eternal.
To express it is impossible.
Without Divine Love in your heart.
Your beauty, wealth and even your life have no meaning. Without purity of desire,
Your love in worthless.
Everywhere you'll find plenty of people Who want riches and happiness,
But hardly one who wants Divine Love. Only someone who is ready
To cut off his head and stamp on it May enter into the City of Love.
We do not enjoy pleasures, but rather they enjoy us. We do not satisfy passions, but they satisfy themselves through us. We do not conquer desire, but rather it conquers us and reduces us to senility.
The skin on the face wrinkles, our hair turns white, all our limbs become feeble, but desires remain ever-young.
You lose your taste for worldly pleasures, your prestige declines, your friends die and those that are left are due to die soon. You walk with a cane and can't see in front of you. Even in this situation you are so silly that the thought of dissolution of your body through death startles you! In a place where there were once many people, now there is only one. Where there previously was only one, now there are many, not one of whom will stay there.
288 Hansyog Prakash
It can be seen from this, that the world is like a checkerboard, on which Time plays with all beings, throwing the dice of day and night. With each day rising and setting of the sun, our lives are getting shorter. We are burdened with so many cares and responsibilities that we don't notice the passage of time. Even though we see old age, calamities, birth and death all around us, we are not struck with terror. Certainly we drink the wine of delusion and become intoxicated!
You may be a king, but I have been elevated by the wisdom which I have gained through serving my Master. I have reached the highest state. You may be renowned for your riches and worldly achievements, but my Knowledge is glorified all over the world. If you are cool towards me, I will also be indifferent to you.
Hope is like a flowing river, whose waters are ceaseless desires. Ambitions rise like waves. Doubts and arguments are like crocodiles, attachment to worldly things is like a stinging bee, scheming and greed are the aquatic birds that abound on the river, which destroys in its course the mighty trees of patience and fortitude. This river is rendered impassable by the whirlpools of ignorance. Anxiety and worries are its banks, and they are precipitous indeed. Only a rare Yogi of pure mind can cross this impassable river of birth and death.
When peace arises through the light of discrimination, desires are stilled, but through contact with worldly pleasures, these desires become so mighty that even though you are withered with age, the mind is incapable in giving up its excessive fondness for attachment, wealth and status.
So what if you attain the riches necessary to satisfy the myriad desires of this mortal body? So what if you vanquish your enemies? So what if you have the respect of your friend? So what if your body lasts for ages? If you have not practised meditation, in preparation for the hereafter, you have done nothing.
290 Hansyog Prakash
If you have no fear of death, if you have no attachment to relatives and are not moved by passion, if you have settled in a secluded forest, unsullied by the company of worldly men, and along with all this, also feel unattached to everything, what more do you need to ask of God?
A person who experiences even one particle of Divine Bliss counts the world of the senses as nothing. So meditate on the almighty, incorruptible and sorrowless God. What will you get from the illusory uncertainties of this world? So let go of ego and pride in yourself, and meditate on God.
Compared to the Knowledge of God, the pleasures of the three worlds seem insipid. After receiving Knowledge, don't hold any affection for food, clothes and worldly pleasures that are simply the creations of your mind. After tasting the ultimate bliss of Knowledge, the petty pleasures of the three world totally lose their charm.
We should realize that human life is as ephemeral as a wave. The beauty of youth does not last long, and earthly possessions are as transient as thought. The whole series of pleasures that we go through are as fleeting as lightning in a rain cloud. Your beloved ones who embrace you now will not keep your company forever. Cross the ocean of worldly fears by merging your mind in God alone.
In the end you have to leave behind these objects of enjoyment which you have been hoarding for so long. Is there any doubt about this? So why don't people just give them up? If enjoyments are torn from us by force, the mind is greatly afflicted, but if you renounce them of your own accord, you will find endless joy.
A renunciate may beg and eat unsavoury food, sleep on the ground, have no relatives other than his own body, and ware tattered rags. The surprising thing is, that even in this austere condition, he is not free from desires.
292 Hansyog Prakash
We do not do proper meditation on the Lord in order to destroy our bondage to the wheel of birth and death. We have no merit from pious actions to our credit. We do not attempt to concentrate our minds. We do not serve our parents as we should. Instead, like crows, we waste our time being greedy for food, and placing expectations on others.
0 Lord! After worshipping You with flowers and fruits, I want to sit in a mountain cave absorbed in meditation upon your gracious Form, which is the giver of all blessings. Full of faith in my Master's instructions, I will love You and renounce the ambition for rewards. When, by Your Grace, will I be released from the suffering of birth and death%
Someone who can live in a mountain cave meditating on the Divine Light is indeed fortunate. Birds sit fearlessly in his lap and drink his tears of joy. He really is blessed. Meanwhile, we romp around in the garden of imagination and destroy ourselves, as our life ebbs away.
The obstacle of old age is before us, frightening us like
a tiger. Diseases are enemies which afflict the body. Our life is slipping away from us day by day, just as water leaks out of a cracked vessel. It is truly amazing that, even in such a condition, people do actions which are detrimental to themselves.
All pleasures are ephemeral, and are accompanied by fear and dread. Knowing this, why do vou wander around in the vicious circle of pleasures? If you believe what I say, tear as under the net of hopes and expectations and constantly meditate with love on the pure consciousness Which is God, the Light Divine.
On that auspicious day when I can sit by a river or on the mountain crags, close my eyes and lose myself in Yoga, I will be so detached from body and senses that animals may rub themselves against me and I will not be aware of it.
Vairagya Satakam of Saint Bhartrihari.
To work hard to remove the misfortunes of others, is the mark of eminence, and benevolence is the sign of noble men and saints. The more serious a crisis is, the more we appreciate any help offered. If we help remove someone's agony for even one second, we have done a worthy act. To remove a thorn from someone's body, to offer water to the thirsty, and to feed the hungry, are all good works, but if we help somebody for a year, then proportionately this help is more valuable. So how much more valuable is relieving someone's troubles for a lifetime?
Spiritual Knowledge alone has the power to relieve the pangs of death. That is why, spreading knowledge is the highest form of philanthropy. It is the stairway to God-realization.
There is no form of learning whose effects remain intact forever. Spiritual Knowledge alone has the power to install the aspirant in the kingdom of heavenly bliss. It totally gets rid of desire and its offspring, dissatisfaction, which always reside within us. Under such circumstances, which action can be more meritorius than spreading knowledge? Lord Krishna describes its importance to us :
Whoever propagates this supreme and secret Knowledge among My devotees will attain Me and is dearest to Me. (Gita, 18:68)
The realized soul who shows the ways to perfection is
296 Hansyog Prakash
the true benefactor of humanity. Unsurpassed power lies in such a great soul.We do whatever we do on the strength of our reasoning power. Without this power, the body is no more than a lump of clay. Therefore, a person who experiences this power in its proper perspective, as do these great souls, will be able to perform any type of action, worldly or otherwise, correctly, A person who does not experience spiritual power within himself will be unable to pursue even his own selfish intersts properly, let alone any action which leads him to salvation.
Next in importance to spiritual knowledge is intellectual knowledge. The imparting of intellectual knowledge is much superior to the giving of clothes and food, because the main objective of man, which is to fulfill his creative urges, cannot be accomplished without such knowledge. For someone who has never experienced any creativity, living or dying would be the same. What use is a life spent in ignorance and its resultant suffering?
Physical assistance is the next most valuable aid that we can offer to anyone. To help others through one's own strength is truly a kind of charity. But we should not think that physical service is the only way to lessen the suffering of others. As a matter of fact, physical service is a lesser form of service, because it brings only short-term relief. Physical aid usually effects no permanent change in the situation. Feeding a hungry man will certainly remove his immediate pain, but he will soon become hungry again, and feel miserable along with it. Suffering is the constant compainon of need. If we want to be really happy, there should be no
feeling of want in our lives. The day our sense of need is completely removed, we will be instantly and truly happy. In that blessed condition, even hunger will pose no problem. No worldly events will be able to diminish our joy.
The help we need to reach such a state is the most important aid anyone can give us. Next in order of importance comes intellectual help and then comes physical help. The unhappiness that we see in this world cannot be eradicated by physical aid alone. Until people change their ideas and behaviour, they will continue to feel bound by a variety of needs. If these needs are not fulfilled, unhappiness is sure to result. Thus physical help alone is insufficient to remove unhappiness from the face of the earth. The most potent medicine for all sufferings is purification of the mind through True knowledge. One saint has said that if a man's mind is pure, even snakes and tigers look upon him with love.
All sins and sufferings spring from ignorance. Mankind will by truly happy only when individuals have been introduced to their own power of consciousnes, and when full confidence in it develops as a result of spiritual realization. We should not even hope for a state of universal happiness before this. Even if each household were to distribute alms daily to the poor, the present predicament of humanity can never be erased, Unless the nature of modern man undergoes a complete transformation, the world will continue in its present distressing state.
Lord Krishna tells us in various places in the Gita, that a person should constantly be engaged in work. It is His considered opinion that work is the father of success. Yet
298 Hansyog Prakash
each action that we do leads to a mixture of joy and sorrow As a result of any action, someone will be pleased and someone else will suffer. There is no action that does not result in joy or sorrow. Action by its very nature keeps on yielding a mixture of pleasure and pain. It is a complete misunderstanding to think that because actions result in joy and sorrow, we can avoid this by avoiding action.
Action produces joy and sorrow in proportion to their goodness or badness. Even so, joy binds a soul as much as sorrow does. We can experience it to be a fact that joy comes from virtuous action, but that is not the whole story. Actually, joy is already within us, but we can only realize it through meritorious actions. As long as we retain the misconception that joy is produced by virtuous action, our soul cannot escape the double-edged sword of joy and sorrow. So Lord Krishna tells us to completely abandon the idea of doing such-and-such actions in order to enjoy such-and such types of happiness. When we have a duty to perform, we must do it, but we must give up the idea that it will bring us joy.
Man has the right to work, but there should not be any attachment to its results. Now we have to understand what non attachment is. One of the central ideas of the Gita is that every action should be performed in a spirit of detachment. Everyone must work, but he should do so without desiring the fruits of his labour.
From birth everyone has some memories and latent impressions. We can compare the mind to a lake, Just as small waves arise in the water, so waves are also produced in
the mind. Even though the mental waves cannot he perceived, they cannot be completely destroyed either, but remain dormant in the subconscious, and resurface when a suitable opportunity arises. These subtle modifications are known as 'samskaras' in the terminology of the Indian scriptures. Some such inherent impressions are found in every living creature.
Whatever action we take and whatever thoughts we nurture leave impression on the mind, which remains hidden, but, even so, exercises influence on our actions. Whatever behaviour we are exhibiting at present, is the result of impressions that we have gathered in the past. In daily life we refer to the sum total of these impressions as our 'nature'.
Each person's nature is called his character. If his previous impressions were good, he becomes a man of good character, while if his previous impressions were bad, he becomes a person of bad character. If a man continues to listen to evil suggestions, invite bad thoughts and perform evil deeds, then the impressions in his mind are bound to become evil, and the character that is built on these impressions will also be evil. If somehow the habits which these impressions create get a stranglehold on the mind, then he will be unable to see the disadvantages of doing evil, and it will become part of his nature to do evil unthinkingly. In the course of time these impressions will gather so much momentum that he will become inclined to perform evil deeds deliberately. Even if he has also received some good impressions, they will not have a chance of withstanding the
300 Hansyog Prakash
influence of the negative impression.
In the same way, someone whose thoughts are good, and who performs good deeds, will be induced by resulting good impressions to perform even greater deeds in the future. Such a person's character becomes so solid, that even if he think of doing something wrong crosses his mind, his body will absolutely refuse to carry it out. This is the sign of a stable character.
Consider the tortoise. If someone starts to torment it, it will withdraw its head and limbs into its shell. No matter how much you may stick on its back, it will keep its limbs tucked inside.
Similarly, a person who gains control over his senses won't allow them to become the agents for any evil action. Lord Krishna said : He who has maintained a flow of good thoughts does not find it difficult to restrain the senses. His character, which is composed of the good impressions he has received as a result of positive actions, helps him. The word 'senses' does not only refer to the visual and other physical actions, a character can easily be spoiled simply by concentration on bad thoughts. A man who gains mastery over his senses can be called a man of steady intellect.
Therefore, a person can transcend duality and arrive at a perfectly sheltered place. One who has achieved this state, is absolutely incapable of performing any evil deed. Even if he is surrounded by the most wicked and degenerate types, he does not deviate at all from his noble character. This state is called being 'established in divinity'.
As soon as a person reaches this state, he immediately
attains liberation without being ensnared by any kind of delusion. This is the aim of every Yogi; this is the condition he strives to attain. On the surface, it may seem as if the paths taken by the various saints were different, but they all lead to this same place. That same state of consciousness which Buddha reached by following the path of meditation and discrimination, and at which Christ reached by the path of devotion, can also be reached by the path of Karma-Yoga. Buddha was Karma Yogi, also, and Christ was a devotee, but both of them reached the same place.
Now we must understand something of what the liberated condition actually is. One who becomes free of the polarities of joy and sorrow, and of good and bad actions, becomes liberated, but good actions and joyfulness are also. Maybe one type of action binds with a chain of lead and the other with a chain of gold, but it is still a chain. A person who enjoys the pleasure that he experiences upon performing charitable actions, is in fact is tied up in his actions, from the point of view of liberation, as the man who experiences remorse or pain is the result of his bad actions.
When you get a splinter in your foot, you may use another splinter to extract it, but then you throw both away. In the same way, we have to perform good deeds to get rid the mind of evil habits, but once the mind turns away from evil tendencies, we have no further use for the good deeds, either. At this point, we have to check the mind from dwelling on our good deeds, just as earlier we had to check it from concentrating on our bad deeds. We have to cultivate indifference, which means not feeling obliged to perform
302 Hansyog Prakash
any particular actions. We have to work but not let work disturb our mental quietude. Just as waves arise on the surface of a pool, and slowly fade away, without disturbing the peacefulness of the pool, in the same way, says Lord Krishna, even while you are performing your duties, do not let the mind be disturbed.
All the same it is our everydays experience that the mind invariably receives a measure of pleasure or pain from whatever we do. So how can we achieve the seemingly impossible? How, in this day and age, are we to keep our minds detached while doing our work ? Lord Krishna tells us to do all actions with a detached mind. He says that these actions should not leave impressions on the mind. We should continue to use the faculties at our disposal, to perform our duties, but we should not allow our efforts to have any impact on the mind. We must regard every object in this world in the same way as we look at the furniture of a house in which we are a guest. We should be a neutral witness. We should always be industrious, but never attached. There is nothing wrong with hard work, but to be attached to worldly attainments is detrimental on the path to salvation.
One day I visited a house where a number of people had gathered. I saw them all, but I particularly noticed one person, who was my disciple. My eye fell on everybody's face equally, yet only one person really caught my eye. This was because I had never seen the others before, and therefore had no previous impressions in my mind regarding them, whereas I felt affection for my disciple.
I had seen him several times before, and so I already had
some impressions about him in my mind. I had heard many other people talking about him on other occassions, too, and I had often thought about him myself. So on that particular day, as soon as his image reached my mind, it came in contact with latent old impressions that were already there, and these impressions refreshed my memory of him. Up to that point, the impressions had been lying dormant in my mind, but as soon as his face appeared in my mind, the memories returned.
We can understand from this that anything which is brought repeatedly to the attention of the mind, establishes a firm hold there, and can then be reactivated by the slightest reference at any time.
During the course of my work, I come into contact with many, many people, but suppose there is one of them that I love more than all the rest. Before I go to sleep at night, I try to remember everyone whom I have seen in the course of the day, yet, of all those people, the only face I can recall at will is the one for whom I feel affection. His face has been imprinted on my heart; his image has been imprinted so clearly on my mind that it cannot easily be forgotten.
The reason that my mind is not attached to the other faces is that they are not imprinted in my heart. For this reason, I am his whom I love, and he is mine who loves me. This attachment is a hindrance in loving God.
St Tulsidas said, Whatever love you had for the now concentrate it all on God.
We have not come into the world to stay forever. This world is like a roadside inn. We have stopped awhile in
304 Hansyog Prakash
many such places before, and we have no idea how many more places we shall pass through on our journey. There is no telling how long this cycle of coming, staying and leaving has been going on.
Indeed, the whole universe has been created for the benefit of the individual soul, but we should bear it in mind, that the spirit is not created by the creation. This entire creation has manifested itself in order to help teach the individual souls. There is no reason for its existence apart from this. The purpose of creation is to permit the individual consciousness to receive and realize the Truth. When the soul receives Knowledge of the Truth, it can attain salvation.
The universe is inert, unreal and unstable, like a dream, while God is Truth, consciousness, and Bliss. The world can be viewed as a scripture. The soul needs to receive Knowledge and realize the Truth, and then set the world, like a book, aside. We don't do this however, but do exactly the opposite. We don't realize our freedom, but are content to think that we are just like everything else in the universe, i.e. only for the sake of the body, and that the job of the soul is to satisfy and maintain the body. Nowadays, people think that the highest thing one can do is to satisfy physical needs.
There is a saying, 'Man does not eat to live, but he lives to eat.' we can see for ourselves that we are no better than that gluttonous person. The surprising thing is that we laugh at this habit, thinking that we are better! We firmly believe that we are part of the material universe only, and we get
involved in physical relationships, but if we get thus involved only once, that's it! The soul becomes completely bound and begins to act like a slave. The Gita says that we should always work, but we don't work like a master. On the contrary, we work and live like a slave. We don't have mastery over the situation. The objective of Karma Yoga is liberation, but we keep on deceiving ourselves and day by day recede further and further from our goal.
The central principle of Karma Yoga is to become free, then do work. Never forget that the final result of your actions should be liberation. All around us we see that people are working, but what kind of work are they doing? It is obvious that they are slaves to their desires. Because of this servitude, everywhere people weep. So dissolve yourself in working for your liberation. Put this tendency to fulfill physical desires aside, fill yourself with Divine Love, and then act. This is called Desireless Yoga.
The word 'love' has been very much misused. It is impossible to feel true love if you are not free. You can buy a person, make him you slave, bind him hand and foot and force him to work. He will certainly work for you, but will he love you? The spirit has become the slave of the senses. You cannot fill your heart with true love if you keep on working only for the senses. For the sake of his own sensual satistaction, a person is prepared to cut another's throat!
A person may be very industrious, but this doesn't mean he is doing work properly. Labouring for self or family cannot be regarded as proper action. You are behaving like a slave, if your actions are motivated by a desire for per-
306 Hansyog Prakash
sonal happiness. Only actions done in a spirit of true love result in total joy. Such acts will always give us peace of mind and its off spring, joy.
Eternal Consciousness, Knowledge and spiritual love always co-exist. They come from the same source and if we possess one of them, automatically the other two will become ours also. They are three branches of the same tree, three waves on the same pond.
The Name of the Primordial form of God is Truth, Consciousness and Bliss. Truth appears to us dressed up in the garb of the manifest universe. Consciousness manifests as knowledge of the various aspects of creation. The phenomenon of love, which expresses itself in the hearts of all living beings, originates from bliss. Thus, misery can never be the result of true love. A true lover is never made miserable by his beloved.
Now we have to answer the question : If love is always full of bliss, then why do people in love always appear to be grieving? Let us take an example, one that crops up all over the world. A man loves a woman so much that he sees and thinks of nothing else. His dreams and thoughts are full of her. Oh, what a divine love! But let us examine this love according to scriptural guidelines, and then we can understand what it really is. The man in question always want his lady to remain by his side, to eat and drink with him. The idea is that she should virtually be his slave, as if she had nothing else to do with her time, as if she had no independent existence. Every word he utters bears out this fact. However, having made her his slave, he also becomes her
slave. Can the love of two slaves last forever? If she leaves him for a minute, his mind is thrown into a turmoil and he is miserable. Real love is never like this. This is nothing more than infatuation. These people are caught up in their desires, which spring from physical attraction.
This man has become obsessed, and thus mistakes these feelings for love. He gets caught up in it and dances like a puppet, all the while imagining his ephemeral and unreal love to be divine love. Indeed, he manages to involve other people in his craziness, too! However, if the lady refuses to obey his orders, it doesn't take long for his mind to become very disturbed. Misery is never a part of true and pure love. If there is misery, the love is not pure. People become involved in this other thing, mistakenly believing it to he a love, but it is not true love. The day you experience pure love for anyone, be it your wife, your child, or anyone else, you will know the secret of universal love, and on that day it will be absolutely clear to you just what is love without attachment.
Says Krishna : I perform actions not because I look for anything in return, but because I love this world, and I am concerned for its welfare. If I don't perform action, others will also stop doing work, and as a result this world will be defiled and destroyed.
These words of the Lord give us a good insight into the nature of detachment and true love. The Lord. has no selfish motive. He does everything out of love. If the slightest desire for pleasure arises, detachment and true love vanish at once. The love of the man who enjoys sensual pleasure does not go beyond the physical. We may say that
308 Hansyog Prakash
so-and-so has fallen in love with so-and-so, but in fact he has fallen in love with her body. His mind dwells on her physical attributes, which are just inert matter, forms, and the attraction he feels is what we call 'love'. This type of love is nothing more than the attraction of iron filings to a magnet. In fact, this type of love can be broken off very easily, resulting in grief. Real love is quite different. It is never attached to physical objects, but only to the consciousness within them. This consciousness is beyond physical objects. It dwells in every soul uniformly. People who are truly in love experience no ups and downs. They may live thousands of miles apart, but their love doesn't change; it is constant and imperishable. It can never cause grief.
It is not easy to achieve this type of detachment. We must practise it every moment throughout our lives. It is seldom that this love grows by sheer coincidence. When we attain this state, true love and salvation is also ours. At this point, the bondage of this world begins to crumble, and Nature gives up trying to fetter and chain us. By walking on this path, we avoid having to suffer the consequences of our actions, whether they be good or bad, and there remains no need to figure out whether the fruits of our work will be sweet or sour.
Let us be frank, now Is the love we feel for those we call our own, true love or not? We have to admit that the 'love' we feel for our familiar and friends is not worthy to be called true. It does not deserve the name, for it is partly born of selfishness. If we analyze our natures carefully, we can see that we seldom go beyond this selfishness. Although
we may say that we are doing something only for the sake of others, for the sake of our family, or our country, when we get down to it, we find that deep in our heart we are craving for fame and honour. We have seen that wherever there is the slightest desire to see some results of our work, true love cannot exist. If our love is not true, how can we be detached?
It follows, then that we should do whatever we do as a duty, and no more. It is harmful for us to harbour any hope of reward for our labour. The more steadfastly we work in this way, the more true detachment will grow in us.
It has already been said that we are slaves to our senses, If we perform the work of a slave, we will find that the fruit of our actions become obstacles in our path, but if we keep our senses under control and work like a master, that is, without desire, we attain salvation. Lord Krishna expressed it thus : He who has control of his senses is established in wisdom.
We always hear people talking about rights and justice. In my opinion, talking too much about these things is a total waste of breath. There are two virtues that we can easily recognize in the day-to-day dealing of human beings. The first is compassion and the second is ability. Normally, any given person will manifest one of these traits more than the other. When someone ignores compassion and starts to show off his ability, his selfishness increases. This state of affair has now become so common, that it is very hard to find compassion in anyone. The heart in which compassion dwells is an expression of heaven itself. He who has a compassionate heart is themost fortunate of men. It is al-
310 Hansyog Prakash
most impossible to find someone with a true sense of justice. The composing of laws and judgements should be left to men of compassion.
If there is anything that comes in the way of spiritual wisdom, that thing is the desire to reap the rewards of one's own actions. Such desire will not help us to develop wisdom and a sound intellect. Rather, it may precipitate many other crises. Performing our actions without any kind of desire is the best way to worship God. When we have given something to God, we should not ask for it back. In the same way, we should surrender to Him all our good and bad actios. If we always bear this in mind while we are doing work then this habit will gradually grow on us. If we consecrate each and every action to God, then we will not expect or desire rewards from anyone.
Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever sacrifices you offer, whatever gifts you give, do it as an offering to Me.
The Incarnate Lord, who has always worked in this way, and who has never had any desire for the fruits of His actions, remains eternally free. And so it is with anyone who lives in this way. It doesn't matter if he lives in a great city where vice and corruption are rife. Sin cannot touch him, just as a lotus lives on the surface of a pond but does not get wet. Such a person can remain untainted even if he is cast into a den of inequity.
He who performs his duties with intellect surrender to God, haying given up attachment, and the desire to get the fruits of his actions, lives in this world but is not of this world. He is never entangled by the effects of his actions.
He remains pure and undefiled, like a lotus leaf in the water.
At the end of the great war which is described in the Indian epic, 'Mahabharata', the victorious pandava brothers held a great ceremony to celebrate their triumph. They spared no expense, and spent money like water, giving alms to all the poor and destitute of their kingdom. People were amazed at their generosity. It was generally agreed that there had never been such a sacrifice.
As the festival was drawing to a close, a mongoose appeared, half of whose body was gold. He came to the place where the great sacrificial ceremony had been held, and rolled over and over in the dust. After doing, so he exclaimed, "How stupid can people be! Everyone here is talking about a great sacrifice, but I see no signs of anyone having sacrificed anything."
People told the mongoose that he was crazy, because the greatest sacrifice the world had ever seen had just taken place. They pointed out that everyone in the kingdom had received rich gifts and there was not one poor person left in the land, so did this not add up to a great sacrifice? But the wise mongoose replied, "This sacrifice which you are all praising so highly is not equal to one grain of barley given by someone who is genuinely poor. Please listen to me carefully, and I'll explain what I mean.
'I come from a small village. An extremely poor Brahmin family used to live there. There were four members of that family. The Brahmin himself, his wife, a son and a daughter-in-law. The Brahmin used to support the family on
312 Hansyog Prakash
the small amount which he earned by teaching scriptures. It so happened that there was a great famine in that district, as a result of a drought which had lasted for three years. That poor Brahmin's family often went without food for days on end. They suffered greatly. Then one day the Brahmin managed to acquire a small quantity of barley. He divided it up into four portions, and prepared a meal. Just as they were about to eat, a guest arrived at their door.
Now, the scriptures tell us that a guest should be regarded as a manifestation of God. He must be welcomed and fed first. Therefore, the Brahmin told his guest, "Come in, the meal is ready," and offered him his own plate. The guest ate this portion in one mouthful, and said, "Sir, I haven't eaten for ten days. This is just whetting my appetite." Hearing this, the Brahmin's wife offered her share of the food. The Brahmin knew that his wife was weak due to starvation, and he tried to persuade her to eat it herself, but she replied that it was her duty to make sure that their guest was satisfied.
Even after eating her share also, the guest was still not satisfied. Then the Brahmin's son came forward with his plate, and said, "Sir, please do me a honour by taking my share of the meal, for it is a son's duty and honour to assist his father in doing good." So the guest ate the son's share, too, but still he was hungry. Then the daughter-in-law placed her share before the guest. After eating her portion, the guest blessed the family and went on his way. That same night, the whole family died of starvation.
'Now, it so happened that I came to that house the next
day, and I found some crumbs that had fallen from the table where that guest had eaten his meal. The sacrifice of that family had been so great and noble, and the crumbs from their table so sacred, that when I rolled over among the crumbs, half my body turned gold, as you can see. Since that day I have made it my business to roam the world, trying to find another place where a comparable sacrifice has been made. So far, I haven't found any place, so my body has stayed like this.
'I came here when I heard people praise the selfless sacrifice that was held here. But although I have rubbed myself in the dust of this festival, the other half of my body has not turned golden. So I understand that not such a great sacrifice has taken place here."
Once there was a boy whose mother lived in a small village. She was a widow and her son went out to work to provide for her. He worked in the city, in the factory of a wealthy man, and he would always send her some of his salary, even if it caused him considerable hardship.
One summer's day, he was operating the fan outside his employer's office, and, while reading a letter from his mother, he fell asleep. When the fan stopped moving, the boss came into the room and found him sound asleep, with the letter lying on his chest. He picked the letter up and began to read it. It said, "Dear son, may God make you immortal. May you always be happy, and successful in your work. I am managing to make ends meet as a result of the savings you send me from your honest hard work."
The rich man's eyes filled with tears as he read this.
314 Hansyog Prakash
Later, when the boy woke up, he called him into his office, and said "I am very pleased at your sense of devotion to your mother. I am doubling your salary, so that you may continue to support her adequately."
I tell you truly, that children nowadays find it hard to comprehend such stories of children who do without themselves to serve their parents. They talk about 'every man for himself'. People now are indeed callous and self-centered. When I first heard this story, its importance was not very clear to me, but now it is obvious. There are still plenty of people on this earth who would carry on eating till they burst, even though their parents may be starving or their wife and child are out in the streets begging. What kind of humanity is that? No one has the right to lives so selfishly. A person should use whatever is at his disposal to help others, too.
The highest work is to step forward to serve all men, even at the cost of your own life, without fuss, and according to the spirit of religious propriety. Even if you have been tricked a thousand times, it is still your duty and privilege to give something to anyone who comes to your door and asks. You should never talk about your charitable deeds. You should not even expect gratitude. 'Do good and cast it in the river'. Do not examine yourself for virtues, but rather be aware of your faults.
Someone asked Sheik Sa'adi, "How did you learn to do good?" and he replied, "I learned from my own mistakes and those of others. I went on giving up any bad traits in myself that I saw in others, because I realized that what I
don't like in others, other won't like it in me."
It must be obvious to you by now, how hard it is to live a householder's life and practise devotion. It is much harder than the life of a renunciate. It is difficult enough to renounce the world and not take any part in it, but to live in the world and practise spirituality is even harder. Yet both paths lead to the same destination. Both renunciation and unattached action are extremely beneficial. But of the two, the Yoga of desireless action is superior, because it is harder to accomplish.
The Gita says, He who knows neither hate nor desire, know him to be a perpetual renunciate. Free from the pairs of opposites, he is happy and easily set free from bondage. Only fools and children, not the wise one speak of Knowledge and Karma Yoga as if both are separate. He who is firmly rooted in one of them gets the results of both, because after receiving Knowledge, true work begins.
Renunciation (i.e. giving up the idea of personal doership) is hard to do without the Yoga of action. He who has achieved balance by performing his action in steady recollection of My Name, goes quickly to the Supreme Abode. He who devotes himself to the path of action, whose mind is pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses, who realizes his self to be the self in all beings, even though he lives and works in this world is not tainted by it.
The Subtle Nervous system
The Nadis, the subtle nerves or channels that carry vital energy (Prana) originate from an egg-shaped ganglion lying between the base of the genitals and the navel.
There are 72,000 such nerves, and of these 72 are major nerves, and of them, ten are the principle carriers of the Pranic current These ten nerves are the Ida, Pingala, Sushumna, Gandhari, Hastajihva, Pusha, Yashwini, Alambusha, Kuhu and Sankhini. The practitioner of Yoga should know about these nadis and their related chakras.
The Ida travels up the left side of the nose, and the Pingala up the right side, and between them is Sushumna. These three join at the Muladhara Chakra, forming a triangle. The Ida emerges from the left side, the Pingala from the right, and they flow through the nostrils on their respective sides. In the middle, the Sushumna extends from Muladhara to the Aperature of Brahma ('Brahmarandhra') at the crown of the head. The other Nadis originate from the above-mentioned chakras and proceed to each bodily aperature. The Gandhari nerve is located in the left eye, and the Hastajihva in the right. The Pusha is in the right ear, and the Yashwini travels to the left ear. Alambusha travels to the mouth. Kuhu is located in the genital region and the Sankhini at the base of the spine. Kuhu and Sankhini diverge from the Kanda-Kuha travels downward and Sankhini goes upward.
318 Hansyog Prakash
These ten nadis are the major carries of vital energy.
The Sushumna Canal which is located in the centre of the spine is invisible and is extremely fine. It is compared to the hypothetical river Saraswati (which is supposed to meet with the Ganges and Yamuna at Allahabad). In actual fact, 'Saraswati' refers to the spiritual knowledge which the devotee reeceives from an elightened soul. When a Yogi bathes his soul in the sacred water of the Aperature of Brahma, he attains liberation.
The wise aspirant should understand how the Prana is transmitted via Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. The Ida, to the left side, is associated with the moon, and the Pingala, on the right, is associated with the sun. Sushumna is associated with 'Hans', or soul. This Hans is the manifestation of the Lord in the body. Sushumna is called the Saraswati. The confluence of these three is called Triveni or Prayaga. The secrets of Hans and Sushumna are fully understood only after the aspirant takes refuge in the True Master.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga
The Path of Yoga has eight steps: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyashara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. To succeed in Yoga the aspirant should fully understand these eight, and thus he will experience the highest. bliss.
Non-violence, no-stealing, speaking the truth, chastity, non-acceptance of gifts, and not accumulating anything other than the physical necessities, are called Yama, which also means removing the mind from physical pleasures.
Cleanliness, contentment, austerities, study of scriptures, meditation on Holy Name and surrender to God are called Niyama.
The third limb of Yoga is asana, or postures. These make the body fit for Yoga and steadies the mind. There are many postures, each modelled on animal species. Of these: 84 are considerd excellent, 10 are major and of these four are the prinicipal postures. These are Siddhasana, which is done at the time of practising Pranayama; Padmasana, when listening to the Celestial Music; Swastikasana when practising Holy Name, and Vir Asana, which is also said to be conducive to meditation.
320 Hansyog Prakash
Siddhasana is practised by placing the left heel beneath the rectum, and the right heel on the base of the genitals, keeping the spine straight.
Swastikasana is done by placing the left foot beneath the right thigh and the right foot on the left thigh, and sitting erect.
Padmasana, the lotus postion, in placing the right foot
on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Virasana is kneeling with erect spine.
Practising Pranayama correctly is conducive to longevity. The practitioner acquires yogic powers. Yogis consider Siddhasana the best for practising Pranayama. Many types of pranayama have been described, but the two principal exercises are Chandrabhedan and Bhastrika.
Chandrabhedan is practised by inhaling through the left nostril, or lunar path, retaining the breath, and then expelling it through the right nostril, or solar path. Then inhale through the Pingala, or right nostril, retain it for as long as you can and then slowly exhale through the left nostril. The ratio of inhalation, retention and exhalation is 1:4:2. In other words, you retain your breath for four times as long as you took to inhale, and you take twice as long to exhale as you took to inhale.
Actually, success in Yoga and pranayama doesn't come just from doing these exercises, but by the Grace of the Master, through meditation.
Water cleanses the body, and virtuous behaviour purifies the mind. Sacrifice purifies mind and spirit, and Knowl-
The Eightfold Path of Yoga 321
edge purifes the intellect.
If you practise Yoga for longer periods of time, you will grow in Knowledge. You will go on progressing until you attain liberation.
Pranayama gets rid of impurities of the mind and senses in the same way as the dross in gold is removed by heat.
The place where you practise Yoga should be clean and level, free from pebbles, fire and dust, conducive to contemplation because of its pleasant scenery and not hard on the eyes. It should be a retreat sheltered from the wind. (Svetasvataropanishad, 2:10) Pranayama means control of respiration. Controlled inhalation, retention and exhalation stabilizing the breathing
The senses naturally dwell on external stimuli. Diverting and abstracting the senses from stimuli is called Pratyahara.
Dharana is preventing the mind from thinking about worldly things and repeatedly fixing it at one point.
The aspirant who, through meditation, realizes the Source of illumination of the sun and other radiant objects, becomes freed from the bondage of birth and death. (Yajur
322 Hansyog Prakash
Veda, chapter 11, mantra 1)
In Chapter 17, mantra 19, the Yajur Veda says, Greater than great, more subtle than subtle, formless, infinite, almighty, omnipresent, Who exists in the form of Divine Light, is the One Who is the Creator of this universe and he has the power to destroy it. There is no one more unfortunate than he who abandons the Almighty God to worship some lesser power.
The Athuravveda, in part 10, chapter 4, mantra 10, says that God, who pervades all the world and Who exists within all beings should be searched for within oneself.
The Sveta. Upanishad (6:14) and the Kathopanishad (2:5:15) say that the sun does not make God shine, nor can the moon, stars or lightning. How could fire ever illuminate God? In actual fact, His Light causes all these to shine.
In the deepest recesses of the heart dwells the pure, untainted God Who is Light. He is the Light of Lights. Only a sage knows His Pure Form. (Mundaka Upanishad, 22-9)
The Mundaka Upanishd (2-2-11) says that those who realize the self-effulgent Lord, know Him as extending in front, behind, to the right and left, above and below He permeates the entire universe. The Divine Light is supreme.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga 323
It goes on to say (3-2-1) that the knower of the Self realizes the Supreme Abode of God, resting in Whom the universe shines radiantly. Devotees who worship Him desirelessly overcome the cause of rebirth and death.
The Chandogya Upanishad (4-7-4) says that the devotee who realizes the True Form of God, which is Light, and who worships and adores Him, becomes endowed with splendour. The Light reveals Itself to him, and he becomes the master of the resplendent worlds.
The sage of the Brihad Upanishad (2-3) and the Second Mundaka Upanishad (2-1) say that God manifests through His own Creation. He is extremely near to us and is the Witness of all. He is the Supreme abode, in whom is entwined that dynamic Word which draws in the breath and makes the eyes blink. Know Him!
324 Hansyog Prakash
Second Mundaka Upanishad (2-2) states that God is Light and is more subtle than subtle. The inhabitants of all the spheres dwell in Him. He is indestructible and indescribably glorious. He is the life force, the power of speech and the mind of all beings. He is Truth and the Nectar of Immortality. One can enter into Him through meditation, therefore we should meditate on Him. To attain Him, meditate on His Supreme Light.
Knowledge should be your bow, and grasp it tightly with the hands of your heart, and place in it the arrow of devotion. Being fully concentrated in the Divine Light, draw the bowstring of attention and enter into the Holy Name.
The same idea is expressed by the sage Angira. He says, in II Mundaka Upanishad (2-4) that the devotee makes the Holy Name the bow, his soul the arrow, and the True Form of God his target. You should renounce evil actions, because they are as detrimental to meditation as carelessness is to archery. To hit the target the meditator should be totally absorbed in Holy Name.
I know that Light of the Almighty God which is completely beyond darkness, declares the sage of the Yajur Veda. When a devotee realizes it he transcends death. There is no other way to liberation apart from this.
The Gita says, If the splendour of a thousand suns were to
The Eightfold Path of Yoga 325
blaze together in the sky, it could not be compared to that Divine Light. (11:12)
Where neither sun, moon nor fire shine, there is that Light which is any supreme Abode. Having reached there, a person does not return to this world. (15:6)
One who practises the Yoga of meditation and constantly meditates with his consciousness attains the Supreme Being. (8:8)
He who remembers God, Who is present in all, Who is more subtle than subtle, unthinkable, the basis of all and completely beyond darkness and the brilliance of the sun, Who is pure Truth, Consciousness and Bliss, that man, at the time of death, still the breath between his eyebrows and, constantly meditating on God, attains Him. (8:9-10)
The Ramacharitamanasa describes devotion to God as a shining crown jewel. The Divine Light shines day and night without needing oil, lamps or wick.
Guru Nanak sang in praise of his Guru Even if I had the chance to dedicate my life again and again in service of the Master, I could never repay him. In a moment he turned me from a man into a god. Even if a hundred moons and a thousand suns were to rise together, without the Masteryou would still be in the dark.
St. Brahmanand said :
God is not in Benaras, Pun, Dwarika or on the mountain peaks, in the netherworld or in heaven, so why do you wander in delusion?
326 Hansyog Prakash
In the centre of the city of this human body is the beautiful golden palace of the Divine Eye, and here dwells the Lord in a world resplendent with Light.
Close your eyes and concentrate. Meditate day and night. Sit straight and be still in a lonely place.
First appear sun, moon and stars. Lightning flashes and then the Supreme Light Itself becomes visible within.
He sang in an another hymn:
The Inner Light is quite close to you, but you don't see it, so you wander here and there in search of it. Without the Master, you will never know the secret, although you may try many ways.
So sit in lotus posture, and introvert your vision. Concentrate on the Third Eye and see the eternal sport of God. Neither sun nor moon shine there, nor does lightning flash. God extends everywhere in the form of effulgent Light.
A Yogi who has this vision opens the door to Liberation. Listen, dear aspirants! This is our true home.
The Agya Chakra, or Third Eye, is called the Abode of the Holy Name. Yogis who meditate on the Word, the Soul itself, the bestower of all blessings, attain liberation.
Guru Nanak said, The Earth is the Word, the sky is the Word, and Light is emitted by the Word. The whole creation emanates from It and It dwells within every being.
Real meditation takes place in the 'spiritual sky' above the Agya chakra. Yogis attain liberation by meditating on the Cosmic Form of God which is untainted, like the sky, homogeneous, all pervading, effulgent and radiant.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga 327
The Lord of the Breath, the Holy Name, (which gives rise to the breath) is situated between the eyebrows and is above the mind. It is the ultimate in radiance and power. It is meditation on the brilliant Divine Light, according to the Gherand Samhita.
Sit erect, close your eyes, introvert your mind. Concentrate your inner vision at the point between the eyebrows. The Yogi who is absorbed in meditation on the Divine Light, dissolves himself in it.
The Manu Smriti (6-65) advises us to first get rid ourselves of mental disorders associated with the body. Then meditate on the True Form of God.
The Gita says, Having excluded external contacts and with gate fixed between the eyebrows, having made equal the ingoing and outgoing breath moving within the nostrils, with senses, mind and reason ever controlled, and pursuing liberation in a step-by-step manner, the sage, having forever cast away fear, desire and passion, verily is liberated.
The tranquil state which come from stilling the mind is called Samadhi by the sages. According to the Kathopanishad,
328 Hansyog Prakash
When the five organs of perception are stilled, together with the mind, and the intellect itself does not stir, that, they say, is the highest state, or Samadhi. (2-3-10)
There is no state of union higher than samadhi, and it is gained through devotion by the grace of the Master. One who has faith in Knowledge and in himself, stills his mind and by daily practice reaches the Divine State.
You should practise the Nectar technique. Nectar drips from the Inner Well and a person who drinks it succeeds in achieving Samadhi.
When a Yogi masters this technique, weapons cannot harm him, and wild animals cannot kill him. No magic spells or incantations can affect him. For him fire becomes cool and poison turns into nectar. Nothing that came in the way of devotees such as Meera and Prahlad could prove to be an obstacle.
When a Yogi becomes stabilized in Samadhi, old age and death cannot cause him suffering. He becomes immortal and death has no sway over him. He is not bound by sinful actions. nor can desires and longings torment him. Nobody can exert influence over a man established in Samadhi.
The Eightfold Path of Yoga 329
The Lord said : Arjuna, when the consciousness of a Yogi becomes peaceful through practice of Yoga, he then experiences the peace and satisfaction of the Self. He who does not consider anything to be more beneficial than this Divine Bliss, does not feel the pain of even great sorrow. (Gita, 6:20-22)
The Vedas describe the state of Samadhi as the state of introversion and becoming fixed in God's Absolute Form. The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali describe this also.
Yogis understand fully the eight steps of Yoga and realize their secrets. One who follows this path sincerely becomes stable in Yoga and attains the highest state and supreme peace.
For Dhyana (meditation) one should practise Yama, Niyama and Asana, and, to achieve Samadhi, Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana are necessary. Dhyana and Samadhi are absolutely essential for achieving the state of Yoga. Therefore the aspirant must follow this eightfold path of Yoga in its entirety.
Samadhi : stilling inhalation and exhalation, thus
330 Hansyog Prakash
to the natural process of inner breathing.
Dhyana : withdrawing the mind from sense objects and fixing it on God.
All the above steps are necessary components of the path of Yoga.
Surrender to God
If you want to stay at a certain place, first of all you have to contact the person in charge or the local authority. If you don't do this, how can you stay there comfortably? You definitely have to meet whosoever is in charge there. This is the best way.
The Creator and Lord of the entire Universe is God. A person of discrimination knows this very well. The wise reach the Lord, while people who don't, suffer all kinds of calamities.
The Creative Power has made everything, but Who is the Creator of the Creator? We should spare no efforts to know Him. We cannot be free from the clutches of Maya until we do. It is to our disadvantage not to be acquainted with the Lord of the Universe. A person is degraded and inferior if he doesn't know the Creator Who sent him into this world.
True Spiritual Knowledge is received only by the Grace of the perfect Spiritual Master. After the devotee has realized God, only then can he judge what is eternal and what is transitory. Someone who lives in society and explains spiritual mysteries, who has seen the soul, and in whom the pure and holy Knowledge has been awakened, is indeed rare. Such an illustrious person is a saint. His soul has merged with the Almighty and is liberated.
332 Hansyog Prakash
Worldly knowledge, which is learnt for material purposes, to earn a living and fill the stomach, is also called knowledge, but it is not the 'sovereign science', described by the scriptures, and which leads us to God.
Once Narad complained to St Sanatkumar. "I am thoroughly well-versed in all scriptures, in history, grammar, mathematics, ethics, debating, fortune-telling astrology, logic, political science, etc. I am an expert in all these. I have acquired all the intellectual knowledge which come from reading the scriptures, but I haven't realized my own soul. I have heard that Knowledge of Soul frees one from grief and the cycle of birth and death, but, Master, I grieve. Please save me."
St Sanatkumar said, "Narad, all those things that you have studied are only for entertaining the mind and filling the belly. There are many kinds of knowledges and initiations. A separate book would be necessary to list them all. There are various powers and energies, and mantras for invoking them. There are spells for protection against ghosts and for counteracting the poison of snakes and scorpions. People practise all kinds of techniques and postures and some also perform miracles. Intellectuals discuss the origin of the human body and discourse on the unqualified and qualified form of God. Some talk about pilgrimage and fasting. There arc all kinds of incantations spells and charms. There arc countless mystical diagrams, formulas and initiations. But without Spiritual Knowledge, they are all useless when it comes to realizing the soul."
Lord Krishna said in the Gita, that nothing is as holy
Surrender to God 333
and pure as spiritual knowledge. It is greater than any mantra and this is the knowledge which we should realize. But how can mere mortals understand a knowledge whose results arc a thousand times more beneficial than anything gained from bathing at holy shrines or giving alms? Thousands of pilgrimages and good works can never give the rewards that True Knowledge gives. It reveals the deepest of deep mysteries. Mental oscillations cannot be stabilized until one has practical realization of the soul. But people get confused by the word 'Knowledge'. How can its real meaning be clarified?
Knowing the past, present and future, is called 'knowledge', but it is not True Knowledge. Examining the behaviour of people is also not knowledge. Training animals, birds and aquatic animals is also not knowledge. Studying the properties of plants and viruses is also not knowledge. Analysis of various sciences, arts and grammatical systems is not Knowledge. Eloquence, repartee, and poetical improvisation are not knowledge. Understanding secret codes or symbolic art is not knowledge, nor is being adept at poetry, musical composition or dance. Sophistry. composing sweet lyrical ballads, or being accomplished in the art of love is also not Knowledge. Being totally adept in the arts such as paintings, or playing various instruments, is not knowledge. You may be accomplished in all sciences and arts, but they are still only worldly arts. They can never be called knowledge, although sometimes they might appear to be so. True knowledge, something else again. It has no connection with the natural sciences or the arts.
334 Hansyog Prakash
Being able to read the thoughts of others is also regarded as Knowledge, but it is not a sign of Spiritual Knowledge. It is not the Knowledge by which we can achieve full and final liberation.
So many things are called 'knowledge' that we cannot list them all here, but that True Knowledge which bestows liberation is something else. Knowledge means, 'the pure and perfect Knowledge of the Soul'. Realizing God, seeing the Truth as it is, and being able to discern between the eternal and the ephemeral is True Knowledge. Alike knowledge, which takes us beyond the realm of Nature cannot have anything to do with the five elements of Nature. It is beyond mind and intellect. No arguments can stand against it. It cannot be written down and it is beyond the four types of sound. Compared to it, even self-realization to the point of knowing 'I am God' is only ignorance. That which is perfect, completely unpolluted and is purity itself is True Knowledge.
In ancient times, the great saints and sages, such as Vashishtha, Narad, Janak and many other achieved salvation through this knowledge. It is the secret and the core of the Scriptures. Spiritual discrimination comes through experience, together with faith in the knowledge and the Spiritual Master.
You cannot get this Knowledge through fasting, pilgrimages, austerities, charity or using drugs. Spiritual Knowledge is the end and the reward of all practices and sciences. It gets rid of all doubts. It is the profound mystery hidden in all the scriptures. The Vedas say, not this, not this, and are silent.
Surrender to God 335
By the grace of my Master, I have been revealed its secrets. I have no knowledge at all of Sanskrit or other languages and their scriptures. I have seen my Gracious Lord seated within my heart, therefore I have no need of Sanskrit or worldly texts. My Lord's Grace has fully manifested itself within me. Only by the Grace of my Master have all these mysteries become clear to me, without any effort on my part, and without any study of scriptures. The words of the Master, which give greater benefit than anything else, are all that you need to contemplate, as they contain the deepest mysteries culled from vedanta and other scriptures. His words are themselves Vedanta, as they come from the practical realization of God.
I have revealed to you everything which is in my heart. These are the most profound things and from them I have derived unlimited joy. Only through the words of the great Lord, the spiritual Master, can you understand the supremely holy and perfect knowledge, and, alone with it, ultimate and everlasting peace.
Those who seek God, find Him
Many people are atheists. In the modern world, materialistic, atheistic societies have sprung up. This doesn't bother me, because at least these people are honest. They are a thousand times preferable to religious hypocrites who discourse very nicely on religion and devotion. They argue and debate about God, but they don't know what religion and devotion really are, nor do they want to know. They make no effort to understand devotion nor do they try to attain it. We should remember the words of Christ: Ask and it shall be given unto you,. seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened unto you.
Saint Kabir said,
If you seek, you will find,
But you have to dive deep.
I was afraid of drowning so I sat on the shore.
I was searching in the wrong place.
So how could I find what I was looking for?
find what you seek when you meet someone
Who knows where that thing is.
If you stick with him,
The thing you want will come to you.
The lessons of thousands of lifetimes will bear fruit.
Christ said clearly, that if you look, you will find; if you
338 Hansyog Prakash
call, He will answer. These words are not fiction, metaphors or imagination. These are the words of someone who knew God, who had the practical experience of God, conversed with Him and dwelt in His Presence. You and I see a building clearly, but he saw God even more clearly. It has always been the case that whosoever searched for God with dedication, found Him. The Scriptures are full of examples.
A river is crossed by a boat, butter is extracted by churning, darkness is removed by the sun, and ignorance is removed by Knowledge. Knowledge results from serving the Master. Undivided love and devotion are necessary for seeing God in the same way as breathing is necessary for staying alive.
Sometimes up, sometimes down-this is not love.
Imitation love in the heart at all times.
Imitation love never lasts.
When a crisis comes, you discard it,
Like a snake sheds its skin.
Everyone says 'love, love,
But who knows what it is?
Only someone who has experienced Divine Love
Knows what it is.
Once a disciple went to his Master and said, "Master, please let me see God! I want to see God." The master just glanced at him and laughed. Then he fell silent. The disciple persisted in his request.
One hot day they went to the river to bathe. Just as the disciple dived under the water, the Master pressed his head down. The disciple tried with all his might to raise his head
Seeing God 339
above the water, and finally the Master let him come up. He asked, "When you were under the water, what was the most vital thing you could think of? What did you need more than anything else?"
The disciple replied, "Without air I couldn't breathe. If you had released me even a moment later, I would have died."
The Master said, "My dear boy, did you ever long for God as much as you longed for that air? If you become as anxious as that to see God, then in an instant you will realize Him."
Until we have this kind of thirst for God, until this kind of longing is awakened within us, it doesn't matter how much we debate and argue, how many books we read or how many religious ceremonies we perform--we won't get any results. Until we have an intense longing for God in our hearts, we are no better than the atheists. At least they are honest, but we are not! Just as a fish cannot live without water, or animals cannot live without breathing, or a faithful wife cannot live without her husband, so a devotee cannot live without seeing God.
One day Emperor Akbar asked Birbal, his minister, "Your scriptures say that if a disaster befalls on a devotee, then God Himself comes rushing to save him. If God is the Lord of all, why doesn't He just send one of His servants to do it?" Birbal answered by requesting an interval of fourteen days, and the Emperor agreed.
Birbal made a wooden dummy in the image of the Crown Prince, and dressed it up like him. He told a nurse to
340 Hansyog Prakash
throw the dummy into the Royal Lake at the time when the Emperor was taking his evening stroll. But it had to be done carefully, so that the Emperor didn't find out.
When the nurse-maid saw the Emperor approaching the lake, she did as Birbal had instructed. Seeing the 'Child' falling in the water, the Emperor dived into the lake along with, clothes and all, and lifted the dummy up.
Birbal said, "See, your Majesty ! Just as you, overcome with fear for your beloved son's safety, jumped into the water without a moment's hesitation, so God comes rushing, unable to bear seeing His devotee in trouble. You have many servants, and I am also present, but you didn't order me. You went yourself to save your child. This is how God comes for His devotees."
If your child asks for bread, you won't give him a stone. If he asks for water, you won't give him something else. So If a devotee is begging to see God, why should God give him something else? Isn't God just?
If a worldly father doesn't have bread, he will say, "Wait,", but God has everything all the time. But who wants God? Do you really think that everyone wants God but they are just not getting Him? It's never like that!
Imagine that there is a thief living in a house, and in the adjoining room is a valuable diamond or ruby. The dividing wall is very thin and weak and somehow the thief finds out about the gem. Just imagine his state of mind at that time! He won't eat or sleep until he gets that jewel. He'll have just one thought on his mind--how to get it. He'll think of nothing except how to break that thin wall and steal the
Seeing God 341
Really, do people believe that God is present here with us? No! If they really believed that, they would spare no efforts to know him. Would they remain trapped in mundane activities? When someone completely and absolutely believes that God exists, he becomes obsessed with the desire to see Him.
But people are passing their time somehow or other. When a person definitely comes to understand that he is wasting his time, and that he could be shown a better life, he will start to search. When a person understands that the soul is indestructible and bliss itself, and that in comparison to this endless bliss, sensual pleasures are nothing, then he will become mad for this bliss, sensual pleasures are nothing, then he will become mad for this bliss. This madness, this craving thirst, is called the awakening to spiritual life. When this happens, spiritual life really begins.
The fact of the matter is, that we should not forget God and waste our lives searching for peace in material and worldly things. Always bear in mind, that God is Love. This amazing Love is never found in worldly attachment.
If a person, in order to quench his thirst, digs a well on the bank of a river, he is called a fool. Suppose someone lives next to a diamond mine, and scurries here and there looking for pieces of glass. If he is not a fool, then what is he? God is a diamond mine, but we have become involved in useless things and have forgotten Him. Therefore we have become weak and powerless. We run after useless things. Being eager to know what others think is merely
342 Hansyog Prakash
stupidity. Become noble, stand on your own two feet and search for that God Who is Love! Only he can bestow the highest glory and power. There is no power beyond God.
Only love and purity make the world go round. A spineless person can never be worthy of God's Love. So don't be frail physically, mentally or spiritually. Talking of ghosts makes us faint-hearted. So make the great renunciation. Concentrate only on things connected with the Divine. God alone is Truth, and all the rest is unreal. Worldly activities are not founded in Truth. Therefore love, serve, and be devoted to God.
Lord Krishna said, Neither by Vedas, nor by charity, physical service nor by sacrifice can this absolute Form of Mine be seen, but through single-minded devotion I can be seen, and in reality known and even entered into.
Anyone who practises the eight-fold path of Yoga, as shown by the Master, is released from suffering and duality. He has a tangible experience, and merges in the indescribable, self-existent God.
What need has a person of voluminous books, if he reads the Yoga texts and acts according to his Master's instructions? The results of the Yoga sutras can be realized practically, because there are the actual words of the Masters, who had the practical experience. Experience is the greatest proof, but without the help of the Master you
Seeing God 343
cannot experience this Knowledge practically.
Disciple who follow the Path of Yoga succeed in getting proof of the reality of liberation.
Suppose someone has bathed at all the sacred places, given money and oblations to all the major deities, performed thousands of ceremonies, worshipped the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer and all other Power, offered delicious food to the spirits of his ancestors and secured a place in heaven. The same results of doing all this can be had in one moment of meditation on the soul through Yoga.
A person bereft of the Master is just like a night without the moon, a day without the sun, or a king without a kingdom.
The devotee should rise from his bed before dawn, shake off sleep, sit comfortably and concentrate in the region above the eyebrows to where the Master is seated on the pure lotus. He is peace and mercy, and in his hands are all blessings and fearlessness.
0 Master! You break the bonds of worldly attachment.
344 Hansyog Prakash
You reveal the Knowledge, you alone give blessedness and liberation. You are in human form, but you are actually the image of God. You are the remover of ignorance. You are the Light of all religions. My obeisance to you!
The first and foremost duty of the disciple is to follow the commands of the Master and to do service. Then he can cross the worldly ocean.
Just as a lily longs for the moon, Just as the ruddy goose longs for the sun, just as the rainbird longs for the clouds, and just as a faithful wife longs to see her husband, likewise, O Lord! My Beloved! I keenly desire to see you!
I don't want liberation. I have no desire at all for worldly pleasures. I beg you again and again that awake, in dreams, in pleasure or in pain, at home or in the forest, night and day, let me be constantly busy in devotion. All-knowing, indwelling Lord! I beg to live at Your Feet!
The Yagya of Knowledge
Lord Vishnu said to Narad, "I do not live only in My heavenly abode, or in the hearts of yogis. I live wherever My devotees sing My praises."
Although God dwells in the hearts of all, we don't know the way to go within to see Him. There are plenty of examples of this in the Scriptures. Vibhishan meditated for a long time, but only when he approached Lord Rama did he receive the boon of devotion. Vashishtha was a very great sage, but when he actually received Divine knowledge, all that he requested of Lord Rama was the gift of devotion.
The three types of passions which torment us are cooled down when we listen to holy discourses, and whenever such satsang is held, the five great Yagyas described below are automatically being performed.
The Gita (Chapter 4 verse 28) says that using one's wealth in the service of the Master, arranging for spiritual programs to be held so that you and other may realize God is called Dravya Yagya.
The second is Tapa Yagya which means making physical efforts to arrange satsang programs.
The third type is union of one's mind with the Holy Name and Divine Light, and it is called Yoga Yagya.
346 Hansyog Prakash
The fourth is swadhya Yagya, which means listening to satsang and giving satsang to encourage other to receive knowledge.
The fifth is Gyan Yagya, the Yagya of Knowledge, which means realizing God through service, satsang and meditation. This is regarded as the highest yagya. The presence of the Spiritual Master guarantee the success of the five yagyas.
Anyone who desires liberation should have a chance to do service and devotion. The fundamental service is to establish facilities for holding satsang. This gives the devotees the chance to do all kinds of service, through wealth, body and mind.
Devotees always want devotion, so to fulfill this desire of theirs, the Lord incarnates from Age to Age to give them the chance. Anyone who gets this chance yet still continues to follow the dictates of his mind, does great harm to his soul.
What is God?
The Universe is the Body of God. Everywhere are His feet, hands and face. He is completely aloof from the universe, vet at the same time dwells within it. God is that Entity which exists within all beings keeping them alive. He is the seed and the origin of all things, and finally all things merge back into Him. He is present everywhere at all times.
He is the union of Knowledge, knower and object of Knowledge. By realizing Him, which is Bliss Itself, the devotee is showered in bliss.
Because He is far beyond the mind, intellect and senses, He cannot be proven through ordinary methods. He is experienceable only to the person who has Knowledge. When the aspirant receives Knowledge, he can see God face-to face. He can realize God's Form, which is Light.
Creator, Preserver and Destroyer along with all the deities adore Him. Again and again my obeisance to Him, the Almighty God, The Supreme Light, Whose beginning, middle and end even the angels can't know, and Whom the yogis see within themselves after they have stilled their minds in meditation.
348 Hansyog Prakash
Infinite is this, infinite is that. Out of the Infinite come the Infinite. When from the Infinite the Infinite is taken, th
Infinite Itself remains.
Peace! Peace!! Peace!!!