The new year of faith

The Krodhi year has gone and Vishwaavasu has come; and, people are happy at the New Year. Well, how many Krodhis have gone and how many Vishwaavasus have come, since the years were named and even before that, how many centuries and millennia have elapsed in the history of man! There is no use turning back and watching the road traversed; one’s duty is to watch the road ahead and march on towards the goal. Krodhi is related to krodha or anger and Vishwaavasu is related to vishwaaasa or faith. It is want of faith that causes one to lose temper and fly into fits of anger; want of faith in oneself and in others. If you see yourself as really the undefeatable Aathma and others as reflections of yourself, as the Shaastras declare them to be, then there can be no provocation to get krodha or anger. What you must resolve upon for the New Year is to manifest your reality, more and more; that is to say, to reveal your Divinity more and more.

Karma is the seed out of which the individual emanates; the jeevi feels separate and limited, on account of the illusion created by karma or activity. As the karma, so the consequence. If it is good, the consequence will tend to attract you towards the means of liberation, that is, towards saadhana and Sharveshwara chintha (spiritual efforts and Godly thoughts). Just as three younger brothers followed the footsteps of the eldest, Raama, so too the other three Purushaarthas (Aims of Man) must subserve the demands of the eldest, the first, Dharma.

Practise what you preach

The one dharma that subsumes all else is: the deed must be in conformity with the word. Don’t speak one thing and act another; don’t advise others to do a thing which you yourself do not practise. Do not start prachaara without aachaara — preaching without practice. There was a man called Ranjodh once, who went about expounding the Geetha, extolling it as the authentic word of God; at the end of his discourse, he sent round a plate for collecting their contributions in cash; suddenly, one man rose from the gathering challenging him and reminding him that the Lord has spoken against parigraha, or acceptance of help from others. Yes; the Geetha recommends aparigraha, non-acceptance of offerings and those who send round subscription lists and donation lists for Geetha discourses or bargain for fees for the same are all behaving against the express orders of the Lord whose words they propose to explain! This is hypocrisy, indeed.

Only those who feel that God is the highest have the right to build a temple for Him; if he is a servant of the Raaja and if he bows before him and deals with him as his master, he should build a temple for the Raaja and not for God, who does not get his full loyalty. First fix your devotion exclusively on God; then, think of serving Him. If you collect money from all and sundry and get a Minister to open the temple, then, you are only revealing yourself as a worldly man engaged in a low worldly trick. Get firm in mind; then, your reason also will not deviate. Without that equanimity or shaanthi, you can get no soukhyam (happiness), as saint Thyaagaraaja sang from experience. Many people who give Geetha discourses have themselves no shaanthi; they revel in controversies and challenge their rivals to come and contest with. them; they parade their victories and their titles, they flaunt their triumphs in the face of all possible rivals. It is all so egoistic; these people have not mastered even the primer of spiritual saadhana. And yet, they expect people to sit at their feet and learn the secret of saving themselves from bondage, these weaklings who are themselves bound.

Let God manifest in and through you

Whatever else you may or may not do, do at least this: know the Lord that resides in you. Recognise Him, let Him manifest Himself in and through you. This is what Vaaranasi Subrahmanya Shastri meant when he spoke of punya and dharma — good deeds and right conduct. He said that the grihastha (the householder) who is the pillar of society, has forgotten his responsibility and his opportunities and so, the entire structure of society has crumbled. Of course, his estimate is correct; but, I must add that the fourth Order, the Order of Sanyaasins (monks) has deteriorated badly, so badly that the reverence that once was the natural right of the sanyaasin has now disappeared. The sanyaasin has to live rigorously and with great self-control; but he has fallen from that height and so, has lost respect. Of course, there are even now many who adhere strictly to the rigorous rules and are models of ascetic life. Only, they have to be sought after and discovered. The sanyaasins who seek you and your patronage are more worldly minded than yourself!

Fundamentally, the fault lies in not understanding that this body and all things connected with it are not permanent. When Bharthrhari the King was lamenting the death of his queen, and weeping over her grace, an old man appeared before him in great distress, weeping as loud as the King himself. His tragedy was that a mud pot he had with him for long had broken. Bharthrhari told him that there was no use weeping over a broken pot; no quantity of tears would ever make it whole. The old man, who was no other than his Chief Minister, said that a person who believed that weeping could bring the dead back to life had no right to tell him that his pot would not be made whole again. This droves some sense into the King’s head and he became sane again! When you weep for the dead you are only announcing your colossal ignorance.

Underlying faith should be in the Unity of all

You must use your intelligence to discover what is best under the circumstances and in the situation, considering the status and the profession which you have won. The barber should not treat all things equal and use his razor to peel vegetables, cut pencils and paper, bamboos and beards. Each instrument has its own special uses and purposes; each man has some special skills and responsibilities. The Raaja has to be treated as a Raaja and the ryot as a ryot. Fish can live only in water and not in milk; keep fish in water and do not put them in milk, on the plea that milk is thicker and costlier!

Though in principle all is Brahmam, in dealing with them in the Vyaavahaarik stage (day-to-day activity), you cannot follow the adhwaithic line. There should be Bhaava-adhwaitha, not Karmaadhwaitha, that is to say, the underlying faith should be in the Unity of all, though the outer activity may be different for different entities. The activity must not leave any scar on the faith in Unity. There is no scar on the sky, though clouds and stars, the sun and moon, all appear to steak across it. So too, let a thousand ideas steak across the mind; but, let it remain unaffected and serene. Kabir had no food for three days; he thanked God that he got the coveted chance of observing a ritual fast. Raamadas was confined in jail; he thanked God that he got a place where he could meditate on God without disturbance. That is the attitude of the saint, the beloved of God. Shivaji brought a palanquin for Saint Tukaaraam, but he refused the honour, saying that he was not yet ready to be carried on the shoulders of four men!

Virtues or sadgunaas are like cows yielding health-giving milk. Vices are tigers that fall upon the cows and tear them to pieces. If you build a barricade of Naama, a fort with the Name of the Lord, the tiger cannot harm you, or your virtues.

Bangalore is the capital of the Kannada people and Malleswaram is as the head for this city. Here this Bhajana Mandali is being run and it is celebrating the functions in connection with the Prashaanthi Vidwanmahasabha, Kannada Branch. Make the best use of this chance, all of you. Beware of some who use My Name for collecting money and for activities that tarnish their claim to be devotees. Do not believe such; where money is asked and offered, I have no place.

Editor’s Note. This discourse took place on Malleswaram. Malleswaram is one of the most visited and oldest localities of Bangalore, and was named after the Kadu Malleswara temple.