This life, which begins with a wail, must end with a smile. When you were a little baby, everyone around you smiled, though you kept on wailing. But when you die all around you must weep at the loss, and you should
smile in peace and quiet resignation. The pleasures from sensual enjoyment (bhoganandam) must finally be converted into happiness from divine union (yoganandam); the pleasures of the senses must gradually be left behind, and you must develop a taste for the higher and more lasting pleasure derivable from the springs of your own personality. For divine union, devotion to God is the main thing, the head and the crown; peace and happiness are the other essentials.
The fire of sorrow and joy burns when the fuel of impressions left on the mind by actions of past lives (vasanas) is fed into the furnace of the mind. Take away the fuel, and the fire dies out. Take away the vasanas, and you become your own master. This is done in yoga by various physiological and psychological exercises. But devotion is the easier means for this end. Remembering God’s Name is enough; it is said that the name Sitarama (Sita’s Name) sufficed in the Thretha Yuga (Era), the name Radheshyama (Krishna) sufficed in the Dwapara Yuga, and in the present Kali Yuga, I tell you, all divine Names have that capacity.
De-individualisation is moksha
When you recite Radheshyama, dwell on the significance of the Name; the deeper mysteries of the word must be present before the mind’s eye. Then, remembrance of the Name will yield quicker results. Radha is not an individual. It symbolises Dha-ra meaning Earth, the creation. Krishna or Shyama is the Creator, the Active Principle: the Chith (Awareness), the Purusha (Supreme Being). Sakthi (Supreme Energy) is the Supreme Atma; the individual is the individual soul; the Ocean is the Supreme Energy and the Wave is the individual. All the taste and all the forces and roar of the wave are derived from the ocean, and they disappear into the ocean itself. The disappearance of the wave form and the wave name is called liberation (moksha): that is, merging of the wave in the ocean from which it seemed to differ. De-individualisation is, in other words, liberation.
When you do bhajans and sing the Names of God, you should contemplate on such underlying truths. The verse, “Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare; Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,” has sixteen words, and each of the sixteen signifies a virtue that has to be cultivated along with that bhajan. (Here Baba recited a Telugu song composed by Him on the spot, which indicated the sixteen qualities to be developed by a spiritual person).
Sixteen qualities to be developed
A spiritual seeker should be (1) full of devotion, (2) prepared to enjoy suffering, (3) free from the attachment to the transitory, (4) eager to serve the Lord, (5) of correct conduct, (6) charitable, (7) having an unsullied reputation, (8) with no blemish on his character, (9) fully content, (10) endowed with good qualities, (11) equipped with all the virtues, (12) equipped with the fruits of learning, (13) ripe in wisdom, (14) self-controlled, (15) adorned with commendable social traits, (16) full of humility and fully surrendered to God.
[In Sanskrit, a spiritual seeker must be (1) a bhaktha, (2) a thapoyuktha, (3) a samsara muktha, (4) a paadasaktha of the Lord, (5) a vihitha, (6) a danasahitha, (7) yaso-mahitha, (8) a kalmasha rahitha, (9) a purna, (10) a gunagana, (11) an utthirana, (12) a vidya-vikirna, (13) a jnana visthirana, (14) swaantha, (15) a sadhguna krantha, (16) a vinaya vishrantha, and finally, a paadaswaantha of the Lord
If he has these virtues (here Baba quoted the last line of the song he had just composed), “He is I, I am He.
(Vaade nenoudhu, nene vaadoudu).”
Or, at least one must pray, with verbal repetition of each word, for the inner growth of each of these attainments, which will take one nearer the goal.
Yes, you must struggle. You cannot go to the top without an effort. Have faith in ultimate victory, and gather courage and faith from wherever you can get them. Do not have contact with persons who sow the seeds of fear or doubt. Treasure all the confidence that you get here, foster it and guard it carefully. Do not let it slip from your grasp the moment you get beyond this gate. The seedlings should be well cared for, watered, manured, and protected from insect pests. Can you pass an examination without studying the texts? But that is what you hope to do!
You must liberate yourself from attachment to fleeting things and grow strong and be above temptation.
Never discuss spiritual standards of others
The fish are happy because they are immersed in water; when thrown out of the water, they struggle and suffer mortal pain. So too, one is happy when he is immersed in love, peace, and truth (prema, santhi, and sathya); those are the components of the water that gives life; when one is thrown out of the water, one also suffers and feels terribly miserable. Life is “being” thrown out of the water; spiritual discipline is the struggle to leap back into the life-giving element. For success in this struggle, do not depend upon another; depend upon yourself and on the Grace of God. Remember that Divinity (Rama) and worldly desire (kama) cannot be together; where Rama is, kama cannot thrive; where kama is, how can Rama enter? Every person must have, as a single stream (dhara), worship (aaraad) as the basis (a‑dhara); that is the easiest means of winning Shyama (Krishna, the Creator).
When you carry on such effort unbroken, the Lord Himself will come as your Guide. When Madhurakavi was doing penance, he saw a big pillar of light in front of him reaching up to the sky, and he saw Dakshinamurthy in that light. Then the pillar moved on and on so that he could follow it, and at last, the light led him on to Nammalwar, who agreed to be his guru! The guru later made him realise the Reality.
Vemana and Thyagaraja reached the heights of spiritual experience through the Grace of the Lord and the encouragement they derived from His Appearance. Pray to Him and He reveals Himself. He is the yarn in the cloth, the gold in this seeming variety of jewelry; he is the mud in all this pottery; he is that water that sustains all these waves. Once you have realised this, you will be filled with love and respect for all, for all are the same Form as the Lord Himself.
Do not cynically talk about the spiritual aspirants. What do you know of the mood of a devotee, that you so easily pass judgement thereon and label him as insane or out of his mind? Never discuss the spiritual standards reached by others; persevere in your own path. “Be moderate in talk, in sleep, in food (yukthahara vihaarasya).”
Remembrance of the Name is the best antidote for all ills
Never be ashamed to sing the name of God or to sing bhajans. Be proud that you get the chance, be glad that your tongue is put to the best use. When the artist sees a stone, he sees immediately the form of beauty hidden in that stone imprisoned in it; and he will not get peace of mind until he releases that form from the clutches of the stone. Do not see the stone as stone, see the God in it, the basic reality underlying it.
Vemana did not visit any temple for years; for years he laughed at those who considered that the image was a symbol of Divinity. But when his daughter died, he was one day holding her picture in his hand weeping over the loss. Then the idea suddenly struck him that if the picture could cause sorrow in him and bring tears, the image could also evoke joy and bring tears to those who know the beauty and the glory of the Lord. The image was just a reminder of the Presence of the Lord everywhere and in everything.
The Lord is the sun, and when His rays fall upon your heart, unimpeded by the clouds of egoism, the lotus bud blooms and the petals unfold. Remember, only buds that are ready will bloom; the rest have to wait patiently. Meanwhile, carry on with the companionship of the Name of the Lord; remembering the Name is the best antidote for all ills.