[Poojya Swamiji speaks a few words of guidance at the conclusion of the daily morning Pushpasamarpana (flower offering) at the Narayanashrama Tapovanam. These profound words on saadhana, like the effulgent morning rays, would illuminate many a dark corner in the listeners' minds. This series is titled “Prabhaata-rasmih” (Morning rays). The following is the text of one such talk on 27 Jan 1999 by Poojya Swamiji.]
Sraddhaavaan labhate jnaanam tatparah samyatendriyah
This is a statement from Bhagavadgeeta (verse 4.39). Jnaana is the last attainment in human life. And that jnaana, Sri Krishna says, will be attained by the sraddhaavaan, the man of attention; tat-parah, who has given jnaana the supreme pedestal in his life; and samyatendriyah, whose senses are well under his control.
What is this sraddhaa that Sri Krishna refers to? In Sri Krishna himself you will find sraddhaa personified. Can you imagine how much attentive he was while advising Arjuna in the battlefield of Kurukshetra? Whenever Arjuna raised a doubt, it was immediately taken up and in answering the doubt Krishna brought forth the message of clarity with regard to all allied subjects – giving examples, presenting reasons, pointing out possibilities, dimensions and excellences.
In all these things you will find sraddhaa. Sraddhaa is a quality. It should necessarily be imbibed by a seeker. A seeker must have sraddhaa in handling his senses, mind, intelligence and personality. Sraddhaa makes him a constant examiner of himself, a relentless purifier of himself.
Wherever you are and whatever you do, you must have sufficient attention, awareness. In the Ashram, we have a number of activities and some of them are repetitive and routine in character. Participation in these activities gives you the scope to cultivate sraddhaa. Whatever be the activity, while taking part in it, ensure that your sraddhaa increases. In keeping the plates, washing and wiping them, in keeping the swab properly folded at its place, in maintaining cleanliness around the washbasin, in wiping the dining hall floor properly, your sraddhaa is revealed. You will find that in doing any piece of work perfectly, a lot of attention is required.
Understand that no work is inferior. It is the worker that makes the work either good or bad. Everything needs its own specific attention. sraddhaa lies in doing everything perfectly.
The attention can be tested only when one is involved in some activity. When you are interacting with others you will find that there is a lot of compulsion, scope for you to observe and be attentive to your thoughts and behaviour. Then you will find that there are a number of shortcomings or insufficiencies in you. So, interactions are necessary to know them and to strive for improvement.
Yesterday, our R has gummed a few envelopes. I looked at them and said, “You have put too much of gum!” Immediately the answer came, “No!” The response should have been, “Oh, is it so? I shall be more careful.” But such a response seldom comes. You might have gummed a lot of envelopes in your life, but there is still scope for improvement. We often get mail in envelopes so much over-gummed that we have to completely tear off the cover to salvage the papers intact.
Today I found that the spreading of the cloth at the feet for pushpa-samarpana had to be redone. Actually it makes little difference whether it is this way or that way. But it makes a lot of difference when it is related to the attention of the person who has arranged it. How you place a piece of furniture, whether it is harmonious with the surroundings and the occasion, how you dress yourself, how you prostrate, how you handle the vessels while serving food – all these speak a lot about your level of sensitivity and attention. Suppose you are sitting on a chair, make sure that it is tidy when you get up and go. To leave a chair unclean is really to leave your child unclean. The attention, so far as we are concerned, is the same. Similarly when you use a room – even if it is a hotel room – use it tenderly and well. When you leave, leave it very clean and orderly.
We can correct children easily. But the grown-ups generally do not take to suggestions easily. They already have a well-grown ego. They must have their own standards of cleanliness, tidiness, orderliness and the like. In the Ashram, we deal with many things that you also do at home. But there is a lot of difference perhaps in attitude with which you do things there and the attitude with which we do things here. It is worthwhile to note and understand where lies the difference. In all these things what is the motivation? What is the persuasion? Where lies the difference?
Then tat-parah: you must give jnaana the highest position in your life. You should be ready to surrender everything for the sake of jnaana. And then samyatendriyah: there must be a constant note of restraint, refinement and discipline.
The Mundakopanishad also says:
Therefore, this is very very important for a seeker of Self-realization. Even in the matter of austerity, if you do it improperly, it will not work. Arjuna did penance and conquered sleep. That is why he is called Gudakesa. He did intense tapasyaa for gaining rare weapons. But when he went to the battlefield, the very Gandeeva slipped from his hands. The tapasyaa he did was not of the saattvik nature to make his mind and personality grow with a transcendental strength and dimension with which alone one can accept and withstand all objective situations.
So, try to take to saattvik austerities which will make your mind elevated and refined, which will enable you to remain unshaken under any circumstances. To pursue saadhana in the right manner, to observe the mind, its tendencies and reactions, to resort to the disciplines and austerities which will bring you the desired growth and refinement – all these need cultivation of attention and sensitivity to a great depth and subtlety.
You must have a pleasant attitude, a cheerful and receptive mind so that you can take to whatever is being advised. We are discussing all these openly so that it will help you to become attentive. If you are sufficiently attentive, you will find that your whole body becomes vibrant with spiritual joy.
Harih Om Tat Sat.
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