Develop detachment

When the new born child weeps, all around are happy and their faces are lit with smiles; this is strange, for when someone weeps, others should not laugh. But, this is the fate of man. He weeps that he has come into the world; but, these who have been there long are not aware of the truth and they are misled into joy at petty comforts and transient pleasures. Man is happy one moment, the next he is plunged into grief or fear and the moment after, he is deep in worry. When the seven colours of the spectrum revolve together, the effect is “no colour”; when they stop revolving, the seven colours can be separately identified. When the three blades of the electric fan revolve fast and no blade is separately noticeable, they give cool comfort. So too when the different qualities of Sathwa, Rajas and Thamas are unrecognisably integrated, then only is man happy.

Supaari is brown; pan is green; chunam is white, but, when these three are together chewed, the colour is red!

When the three gunas are equated in saadhana (spiritual practice), the result is shaanthi. The lamp is the sathwa guna, the wick is the thamo guna and the oil is the rajo guna. When the three are integrated, they give the Light of jnaana which illumines all problems.

Three-wheeled contraption to realize Brahmam

When a plane flies across the sky, it leaves no mark on it, no streak that lasts, no furrow or pothole that interferes with further traffic. So too, allow all feelings and emotions to cross your mind, but, do not allow them to cause an impression. This can be done by inquiry, by quiet reasoning within oneself, more than by listening to lectures or study of books. Little children are trained to walk, by means of a three-wheeled contraption which they hold and push along. The Pranava is such a contraption, with the three wheels of A, U and M, the Omkaara Tricycle. Holding it, man can learn to use the two feet of Bhakthi and Vairaagya. If he gives up his hold on the Omkaara, he plumps down on the ground helplessly. If he walks on with the help of the Pranava japa, he can certainly realise the glory of the Brahmam, which is the very substance of the Universe.

Naagamahaasaya, the householder disciple of Shri Raamakrishna Paramahamsa, was able to escape the chains of samsaara by becoming humbler, and humbler smaller and smaller, with less and less egoism, and so tiny, that he could creep through to safety. Vivekaananda on the other hand expanded himself until he identified himself with the entire Universe and so, the chain broke, unable to contain his majesty. Naagamahaasaya felt “I am the servant of the servants of God”, Daasoham. Vivekaananda felt that he was the Master, the Isa who was Idam Sarvam, Sadaa Soham, He was always steady in the conviction that he was That.

This is called Jeeva-Brahma-aikya-anusandhaanam—the practice of the Consciousness of the identity of the Individual and the Universal. This is the real Kalyaana or Holy Rite, which man must endeavour to celebrate.

Egoism is the bane of the Age

The identity will not develop Ahamkaaram or Egoism. It will merge the ego in the Universal; the idea of I will disappear in the Thee, which is the only entity one becomes.’ aware of. Egoism, conceit, Ahamkaaram is the bane of the Age. In every field of activity pride is the undermining evil. Even sanyaasins and the presiding monks of monastery institutions are not free from this fatal flaw. “Eat like a dog and wander like a fox”, was the lesson an old sage taught his disciple. He should not have any thought of the morrow or about where to lay his head. He should not cater to the senses or count his age or feel his pulse and complain of ailments. He should not celebrate his birthday or encourage others to do so. The essential attitude that one should cultivate is, to engage in all activities that are one’s duty without getting attached to the work. As the sky’s clear blue is not affected by the clouds or rainstorms, lightning or thunder, but, remains the same in spite of those temporary disturbances, the mind of man too must be clear and clean, in spite of all the storms and stress of life.

Edison, the great scientist and inventor, used to be in his laboratory for hours and even days together, concentrating on some experiment on which his whole attention was bent; milk or bread or tea was pushed through the door, but, they were all untouched by him. So great is the concentration that science demands. Consider then how much more should the saadhaka be fixed in ekaagratha (single-mindedness), in order to achieve success in the subtler and more slippery sphere of spiritual conquest.

That is the supreme task of man, the victory for which he has come equipped. He must be light and bright, like a lamp on the waters of the Ganga; if weight is added, it will sink and the light will go out. The weight is “attachment to worldly goods”, “the pursuit of sensory pleasures.” Just ponder for a moment: how many millions of men have died so far? Have any of them taken from here anything to the realm into which they have disappeared? A man was dragged to court; he asked three comrades of his to come and bear witness to his innocence. One friend said, “I shall not move out of the house; let them who want my statement come here”; the second said, “I shall come up to the doors of the court; but, I dare not get in”; the third said, “Come on! I am ever with you.” The first is the wealth one has accumulated; the second is “his kith and kin” who will come as far as the cemetery; the third is “the fame, the honour, he has won.

A valuable instrument to win God’s Grace

When a person dies, his property and things remain at home; they do not go with him into the beyond. His relatives cannot also go; only the good or the bad name he has earned will last. So, he has to live in such a way that posterity will remember him with gratitude and joy. To lead the good life, constant prompting from the God within is a great help. That inspiration can be got only by constantly reciting the Lord’s Name and calling on the inner springs of Divinity.

The Name is so valuable an instrument to win His Grace, to realise His Presence, to picture His Form, to remember His Glory, that even if it is repeated from the heart once in the morning, once in the evening, that will make the griham a griham (house), instead of a guha (cave). The lamp of the Name when it is lit will illumine the household and make it a home, instead of a hole. If a lamp is kept burning in a room, it may go out when winds blow in from the windows. The indhriyas are the windows and when they are open, the “Name Lamp” will not burn steadily. So keep the outerfaced senses closed to the influences that attract, and concentrate on the Name of the Lord and its beauty and sweetness. Note how happy, contented and carefree were the great saints who revelled in that Name – Jayadeva, Thukaaram, Kabeer, Suurdas, Thulasidas, Raamakrishna. By simply shouting Shivoham, you cannot become Shiva; develop the qualifies of Divinity like Universal Love, absence of attachment, etc. Then, you will be entitled to assert Shivoham, though you may not assert at all, for you will have no aham feeling then!

Naamajapa saves man in all Ages

There are some who say that in the Kaliyuga man can save himself by means of this Naama japa (recitation of the Lord’s Name), and that this is a special concession for the weaker mortals of today. Probably, they think that it is quite easy to reel off quickly names of the Lord on the tongue, like a tape recorder. It is not only in the Kaliyuga (present Iron Age), in every Yuga, Naamajapa saves man. Bheema in the Mahaabhaaratha is considered to be a strong fighter and a very emotional and short tempered hero, but, really speaking he was a great bhaktha. Once Krishna showed this to his brother; when Bheema was fast asleep, they could hear from every pore of his skin the sound of Naama japa emanating ceaselessly.

Dharmaraaja had uttered some white lies during the war in order to foil the plans of the enemies and for this, he had to spend a few minutes in Hell. When he was approaching that place of torture, his very nearness conferred on the unfortunate dwellers such refreshing peace and coolness and comfort that they prayed to him not to desert them. Dharmaraaja learnt that they were able to get some relief, because he had accumulated merit by his good deeds. Then, Dharmaraaja declared, “Let them have all the consequence of all my good deeds and let me be impoverished of all the joy due to me”. This made them happy no doubt, but, Dharmaraaja did not become poorer, for the very act of renunciation was such a colossal meritorious act that colossal joy was available for him in heaven, besides the quantity already earned by him. Every act has its consequence which cannot be escaped, except by the Grace of the Lord. The Grace of the Lord can be won only by virtue and truth. So, develop sathya, dharma, shaanthi and prema; cultivate vairaagya — non-attachment to things and persons; remember death which is around the corner and time which is fast fleeting away. Take recourse to the ways of liberation, before ‘you are bound.

Editor’s Note. The date of the discourse is 1966, the exact date is not known.