The I behind the Eye

This gathering is like the confluence of two rivers, the Yamuna and the Ganga, of people speaking Thamil, and Thelugu. I always speak in one language, and I am not inclined to change the language to suit the audience. I am sure even those who do not know Thelugu will understand the gist of what I say.

Whenever ashaanthi (absence of peace) overwhelms the world, the Lord will incarnate in human form to establish the modes of earning prashaanthi (tranquillity) and to reeducate the human community in the paths of peace. At the present time, strife and discord have robbed the family, the school, the community, the society, the villages, the cities and the State, of peace and amity. Anxiety and fear have contaminated the very ‘food one eats. Therefore, the Prashaanthi Vidhwanmahaasabha has been established, and Pandiths have been entrusted with the task of revitalising the dry sources of Shaanthi, by the teachings contained in the Shaasthras.

Why is ashaanthi harassing the world? Because of raaga, dwesha and moha (attachment, hate and infatuation). These are born out of ignorance, which cause delusion. Things seen in darkness cannot be clear; they are mistaken for something else. A rope is mistaken to be a snake; a stump is mistaken to be a thief. A piece of glass may be coveted as a diamond. So, this mistaken notion, this indistinct light, must go. It can go only if methods of discovering the truth are learnt. That is what the Shaasthras teach and what these Pandiths are commissioned to instruct you. They will tell you that the outward-seeking senses must be directed inwards; the inner realm of impulses, instincts, habits, prejudices, attitudes must be cleansed before God is reflected clear and bright therein. How is this to be achieved? The Vedhas explain how.

Falsity of dualistic experience

The Vedhas tell you those things that cannot be known by anything else. The word Vedha means ‘knowledge’, knowledge that cannot be acquired by the senses or the intellect or even by unguided intuition. Adhwaitha is something that no one in the dual world can understand. It is ‘spraapya manasa saha:’ “beyond the reach of even the mind.” In fact, intellect and mind must each be transcended, before one can grasp the magnificence of that Unity. If dhwaitha has to be taught, why should the Vedhas take up that task? Dhwaitha ( duality) – the seer and the seen, the creator and the created, the good and the bad, the right and the wrong — this is the daily concrete experience of every one. Prakrithi (Nature, Creation) is patently dualistic. The Vedhas endeavour to open the eyes of man to the falsity of dualistic experience, the reality of the only One, Adhwaiha (the non-dual One). They proclaim it, loudly and with enthusiasm.

Appanna Shaasthry said that the deer, the elephant, the moth, the fish and the bee are drawn to death by the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell respectively. If each of these falls a victim to one sense, how much is man to be pitied for he has all the five to drag him to perdition! Arjuna too had the same combination of foes. He had the urge to give up his mission and take up another’s mission, namely, an urge to give up fighting, which is the mission of the kshathriya and a temptation to take to sanyaasa (asceticism), which has to ‘be earned by further evolution. To overcome these obstacles,’ one must have both saadhana and a sankalpa, self-effort and grace.

Lord’s hands and feet are everywhere

Arjuna aspired to give up karma, momentarily fascinated by the ideal of sanyaasa. It is only through action that devotion can be deepened. Action cleanses the mind and makes it fit for spiritual knowledge. Sravana (hearing) is a thaamasik act, manana (recapitulation) is raajasik, while nididhyaasana (concentration) is Saathwik. When you are simply listening, quietly receiving without responding, you are just dull (thaamasik); when you turn it over in your mind, attempting to assimilate it, then you are active (raajasik); when you are sunk in the sweetness of experience in dhyaana you are having pure exultation (saathwik). That is the fruit of bhakthi, this nididhyaasana.

There is no need to fight against the fundamental delusion of dheha bhraanthi (attachment to body) with overwhelming force and argument! As Agnihothram Raamaanuja Thaathaachaariar said now, the delusion will disappear only if one sits quietly for a minute and analyse for himself the world and his experience of the world. Jnaana is not Apraaptha-praapthi, something new that’ is acquired, like gifts by some one, of money that the donor had, but which the recipient did not have. It is praptha-prapathi, like some one giving you a ten-rupee note which you had kept between the pages of a book you were reading. You had lent him the book; when you needed a loan, you asked him for a tenner; and he gave you back your own note. That is how jnaana reveals to you your own glory. The Guru gives you from out of your own hridhaya-pustaka (heart-book) the treasure which was there unrecognised by you. You are afraid because you have forgotten your own strength. Agnihothram Thaathaachaariar said that the Lord had sarvathaah paani paadham: “His hands and feet are everywhere.” It is through him that you are able to see; your eye required His eye in order to function. It is the reflection the Aathma in the anthahkarana (inner consciousness) that activates it and makes it flow through the senses towards the objective world.

Liberation is attained when the Aathma shines in its own glory; it is not a colony or a suburb where aristocratic residents have secured good sites in paradise. it is the condition of the jeeva which has shed delusion.

It is not easy to become a bhaktha

When delusion is shed, grief gets destroyed; joy is established: dukha nivritthi (removal of grief) and aanandha praapthi (attainment of bliss) both happen at the same time. The mind is the villain; it is’ another name for desire; the texture of the mind is just desire; both warp and woof are desire and nothing else. If desire goes, the mind disappears. When you pull out all the yarn from a piece of cloth, you have no more cloth. So too, pull out desires from the mind, it disappears, and you are free. Grief and joy are the obverse and reverse of the same experience. Joy is when grief ends; grief is when joy ends. When you invite a blind man for dinner, you must set on the table two plates, for he comes along with another man who will lead him in. Grief and joy are inseparable companions.

Bhakthi is very difficult to acquire; do not think it is easy to become a bhaktha. As a matter of fact, it is even more difficult than jnaana, for it means complete surrender, full contentment whatever may happen. The river must flow back to its source; it must turn back and up. If you flow down, you will have to go down, down, down, and water becomes undrinkable. But, do not despair; you have to win some day. The sooner, the better. A mango seller may seek to sell four for a rupee; if three of them get spoiled, he should not give up hope, for, a person may come and offer a rupee for the fourth one.

Having come here and lists, and secured dharshan and read about Me, put into actual prance at least one of the good counsel you got; one stick is enough to light a fire; the entire box of matches need not be used. Have faith that you will win; have steadiness in the pursuit of the goat.

Bhakthi has stages in its growth

For, like the body which passes through childhood, boyhood, adolescence, middle age and old age, bhakhi too has stages in its growth. The tender fruit is love, the grown one is devotion and the ripe fruit is surrender. There is a type of karma which will melt the heart of the Lord. It is the type which does not inflict pain on any one. When Raama met the armies of Khara-Dhuushana single-handed, He did so in order to demonstrate his valour and His divinity to the demons and the sages of the forest.

My coming here and speaking daily at these meetings is the consequence of your merit and my grace. You had fine dharshana and sravana (audience and listening) in this silent gathering, silence which beats even the silence of Prashaanthi Nilayam. I am glad so many of you have been prompted by the desire to know about spiritual discipline. The committee too has the energy and enthusiasm needed to continue these Sapthaahams; such chances may be given to you in a larger number in the coming months. This extensive area round the Venkatagiri Raaja’s bungalow is always available for your meetings; imagine what a great piece of good fortune it is for him. That so many thousands of you could gather here and hear the elevating discourses of Scholars and get started on the path of spiritual progress must indeed be very satisfying to him. Tile aanandha that you experienced here now is not something that carne from outside; it was your own aanandha that you experienced; you are Aanandhaswaruupa (bliss personified); and so it welled up from inside your own heart.