7 January 1995
Dear and Revered Swamiji,
Trust this will find your good self in good health and cheer. It is long since I wished to bring to your notice the enclosed pamphlet which seemed to me very interesting and I will consider it a great honour if you can send me your comments on the same.
Here in the Asram, life goes on calmly, though some small construction works are being carried out. Asramites are not many.
What Swamiji had written to me on 9th May, 1994 (Vicharasethu April-May 1994P-22) is treasured here, serving as a source of inspiration and encouragement. They are precious words very meaningful and acceptable to any one who is in quest of the Absolute, whatever his or her religious affinity be. They are illuminating thoughts shedding new light whenever I re-read them. They provide the urge and strength to continue the pursuit.
If there are any publications from your Asram, kindly put me in the mailing list. ….We were planning to visit your Asram once. When will it be realized I do not know. You and your disciples are sharing in our prayerful thoughts. With respectful regards,
19 March 1995
Dear and blessed Soul-----,
Harih Om Tat Sat. Your letter of 7th January, together with the enclosures, to hand. I went through them right then and wanted to reply soon thereafter, but it could not be. I had been to Jamshedpur, via Calcutta and Madras, for conducting the 30trh Yearly Jnaana Yajna (spiritual discourses and satsangs) there. Jamshedpur devotees have been taking me there, and I have also been going, for 3 decades without break. We returned on the 9th and got busy with many things here. Only now I have some little insufficient time to write to you.
In the Dinacharya (daily routine) sheet sent by you, I have marked some changes in the terminal letters or affixes which will make the words or phrases more orderly. You may reflect upon the points. We shall send you our monthly magazine “Vicharasethu - The Path of Introspection”. After reading these, if you feel like having anything more, please let us know.
You have asked for my comments on the broucher you have sent, in which quotations from Vedas, Quoran and Bible are given in an effort to arrive at some concordances and derive a measure of authentication. I have always kept away from comparative religious study or presentation, which is a scholar’s job and not a sagely pursuit. Our ascetic and spiritual focus is always on realization of the Supreme Truth, which instantly rises above all religions and religious levels. In the path of realization, Supreme Reality alone is the focus. Religions do not have that as their focus.
I am, however, presenting some thoughts on Vedas and their place, and also on religions in general. But these are to be taken in their right perspective and then reflected upon for deriving the intended benefit. I am in a way reluctant to pu them down, but my reluctance should be proved unwarranted by the true sense of catholicity and reception from your side, I hope.
Vedas are a complex but complete composition, like any profound or revealed text. Vedic thoughts were formed and rendered undoubtedly over a long period. Whatever be the details of their origin, we have them before us as a stupendous wholesome composition displaying adequate integrity and conclusiveness. To pick up a verse from here or there and then to draw any conclusion on its basis, will be un-Vedic first and then utterly wrong and distracting. More than providing any proper and useful understanding of the fundamental message, such an effort will only be misguiding and even harmful.
When the Vedic thoughts emerged on our land, nowhere on earth there was anything like religion. Religion is an English word and it applies to religions which the language saw before it. Christianity is a religion, Islam is another; but Vedas, by their very nature, do not belong to any religious kind or order. That is why we call them “A Way of Life”, or more truly “Dharma” which does not have an English equivalent.
Vedas are, in fact, a source of knowledge. Vedic thoughts begin with a discussion of human life and its extraterrestrial bonds. A host of ideas and imaginations took shape in the first Vedic period, which the thinkers strove to relate to earthly life with a view to instill discipline and divine enrichment. The Vedic practitioners were intended to grow with these imaginations and rise above the visible external sphere to get to the invisible internal sphere, wherein lie the seeds of genesis – both of man himself and the world that surrounds him.
In thus shifting the focus from the visible to the invisible, they actually evolved from the external sphere to the internal. In the process, the mind inevitably grew the habit of contemplation which finally led to dropping the flair for rituals. Thoughts and reflections naturally became free, bold and penetrating. The thinkers felt impelled to honour facts and compulsions more than mere beliefs and faiths. Investigations and evaluations about the very structure and process of faith too roots.
And before long, the thinkers addressed the enquiries more after themselves – their own mind and perception process – than after what they saw and felt: “Does the world come first or I who perceives the world? Only when I happen to be, the world-perception can follow. Should I then not enquire first into myself, the first factor, about which we are not clear at all ?
“While the world continues to be changeful, ‘I’ is obviously the changeless. The world, however extensive and endless it may look, is an outcome of my wakefulness. Let me find out the source of this wakefulness. That is evidently within me, and there alone. Wakefulness is also impermanent – it passes into dream and sometimes into sushupti, the dreamless sleep. In all these transitions, something acts as a constant basis. Is not ‘I’ a repeated reference to that Substratum ? “
Thus the Vedic thoughts became Subject-oriented and conclusive – more Self-based and Self-subsisting than depending on the heavens, the other world or even the so-called God.
“There is no ‘God’ then; also no heaven or hell to interfere; no command from the unseen heights. Our body is a fact. But the mind shines as a greater fact. It can make the body felt in wakeful state but unfelt in the sleep state. Mind is then the primary expression and body is but the secondary!
“Go into the laws and processes of the mind. Find out how much freedom, power and scope lurk within its fold. Mind itself is but an offshoot of something deeper and vaster. The sky perhaps could be a pointer to it, but with a clear difference – sky is inert but mind carries with it sentience in its display.
“Find out then the sentient aspect of the mind; observe and experience from where has it come to be, what is its Source.”
This is, dear --, the last and final word of the Vedas. This is Vedanta, the final position of the Vedas. Puranas have a much lower order of relevance, meant to cater to the desire-ridden minds. Some of the puranas, of course are highly philosophical.
So, Vedas cannot be called a religion, in the usual sense of the word. They do no posit any personal God or His son. “Srnvantu Sarve Amrtasya Putrah – Listen Ye all, O children of Immortality,” is the way they address mankind. Why? Humans have the inborn feeling that they are mortal. Vedas exhort them to correct this basic delusion and realize their true identity and heredity. Again and again they do so.
The exhortation is simple but drastic and challenging : “O human, as your body is constituted of five material elements (panca-bhootas), so are these elements pervaded by the Imperishable Sentience. As the body is mortal, so is the Spirit immortal. It is so in every one – man or woman, virtuous or sinner. Each can and must realize this immortal, immaculate nature of his own, by his own search and seeking. At best, one may look for the instruction and guidance from one who has already attained the goal. Learn from such a one; adhere to his words of wisdom in an attitude of fond humility.”
The Vedas repeatedly assert, “As you feel the body is born, it grows, decays and may die, so you can and must feel the Immortal Presence – the ‘I’ – to be unborn undecaying and undying.
“Senses perceive the body, as they do any other object. But to perceive the Inner Presence, the Subject, senses are powerless. Reflect upon the Subject by contrasting It with all the objects. It is a process of inward dissolution as well as inmost revelation. As the sun shines in its own luster, unlike the moon, and in its light the earth is revealed, the Subject reveals Itself and in Its “light” everything else including the mind, intelligence and thoughts, become known.
“Being that Inmost Reality, O man, you cannot plead any insufficiency or weakness. Either assert your inward reality and proceed, or seek the necessary guidance and pursue. Do not court excuses or wait for God to shed His grace. The one grace is already there, always, which alone ,makes the body alive, the mind think and the intelligence understand. Find that One Source of everything and all.”
The words of exhortation are clear and convincing :
Iha ced-avedeed-atha satyam-asti
Na Ced-ihavedeen-mahatee vinashtih l
Bhooteshu bhooteshu vicityan dheerah
Pretya-asmal – lokad – amrta bhavanti ll
“---If you have known This (Inner Presence) right here and now, your life becomes truthful, meaningful. And if you fail in knowing This, then colossal is the loss. Realizing this Presence in and through every speck of existence, the Wise Ones, transcending this ephemeral world, become immortal.”
Dear---, I know to speak only of this and similar truths, relevant to the life prevailing on this earth, and experiential as well as conclusive to the core; not the others like some of the references made in the literature you sent. About any proposition which is not experiential or evident – like heavens and the rest – there will always be doubt. To ignore such matters and to be focused only on the experiential and evident, is alone right discrimination – Viveka.
If Islam has emerged as a religion, it has its prophetic background and relevance. So too Christianity has its own background and relevance. Why try to derive any authority or credence on something else? That is a self-doubting and self-defeating note. Religious faith, in truth, calls for much loftier notes.
Christianity may be a religious heredity of the Christian families here. But in the same way, a deeper and longer Vedic and Vedantic heredity is also there for any one born in this land. It is a racial, social and national heredity – first and perhaps ultimate in reckoning the core personality. Religious heredity can shine fully only in the background of such national and ethnical heredity. That great heredity makes it natural for them to dwell in Vedantic thoughts and revelations, wherein far more universal and fulfilling notes shine beautifully.
The so-called “Hindus” imbibe the Vedantic heritage, actualize the inward spiritual immortality, only by outliving or transcending their mythological and puranik imaginations and associations. In the same way, seekers (of the Ultimate Truth) belonging to the other religious sects also have to transcend their usual conventional predilections. There cannot be any conflict in this. On the other hand, there will be beautiful harmony and oneness.
So, I cannot make any special comment on the quotations and comparisons, except that they are an effort to relate things which are unrelatable. Instead of attempting such exercises, a seeker should always look for the right guidance and inspiration from the source material in order to strengthen, refine and fulfil his seeking.
Remember: Our being is truly impersonal. Physicality is merely in the superficial level. Everything is non-physical, supraphysical indeed, when you delve deeper and deeper. This is so even with regard to the earth or the universe. Planets and stars have evolved not out of a material source, but of a Source far subtler and non-objective.
To break the physical barriers from the mind and understanding, to transcend the fetters of physicality and dwell in the supraphysical Reality, is the task before the seeker. Nevertheless, this has to be achieved while living and moving with the body.
It may appear to be a contradiction. But truly it is transcending the contradiction of the very world, its creation and prevalence. To make this transcendence a living realization is the essential spiritual siddhi (perfection). It beckons every one. The need is yours. Fulfil it yourself. Make the right effort.
With love, regards and benedictions,
Yours own Self
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.
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