"Devotion is a means as well as its true end when it grows into a full treasure. When devotion becomes a treasure, you will need nothing more for inner fullness or affluence. As devotion grows, it will begin to free you of all desire, hatred and fear. It will relieve poverty, either by making you amply resourceful or by taking away from you the very feeling of poverty. Devotion also will remove your weakness, generating untold strength and confidence."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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While we do consider good behavior, bad behavior etc. let us understand the cardinal truth that anyone who has got a wrong behavior, he is not ultimately to be blamed for it. Once you accept you will not resent and revolt against the irregular behaviors of the others. Now, when you live in your own house, the members of the house are there. If you are in an ashram, the inmates of the ashram are there. I don’t think at any point of time you can have a feeling that, ‘He is not alright, so I will not get along with him.’ I say, you become the second criminal. The first criminal is his behavior is not alright. Seeing his misbehavior or wrong behavior if you feel, ‘I cannot get along with him’, I believe you are a double criminal or you incur a double crime. While you complain about his misbehavior, you are displaying a much greater misbehavior. ‘His behavior is not alright, it becomes difficult; still I will get along with you.’ If this is your attitude then you can be approved.

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

I am wondering what I should talk to you now, today. Some days back I had a conversation with ‘Z’. The subject of the conversation was behavior, responses, particularly interpersonal behavior. He had some thoughts, feelings and reactions with regard to his interpersonal behavior in the ashram. I heard him and finally I said, “For anybody in this world, one important watch word will be to live and let live, to go and let go, to be and let be.” Suppose an individual has got a very hard or difficult behavior do you think you can totally blame him? If you have a good behavior, you are not so much to be credited for it. Because you are born with such a behavioral pattern just like the physiognomical features of the body are there, in the same manner you also have some behavioral elements. It was inborn in you. I don’t think you gained it with any particular effort because you started making your effort after you became an adult in this life.

While we do consider good behavior, bad behavior etc. let us understand the cardinal truth that anyone who has got a wrong behavior, he is not ultimately to be blamed for it. Once you accept you will not resent and revolt against the irregular behaviors of the others. Now, when you live in your own house, the members of the house are there. If you are in an ashram, the inmates of the ashram are there. I don’t think at any point of time you can have a feeling that, ‘He is not alright, so I will not get along with him.’ I say, you become the second criminal. The first criminal is his behavior is not alright. Seeing his misbehavior or wrong behavior if you feel, ‘I cannot get along with him’, I believe you are a double criminal or you incur a double crime. While you complain about his misbehavior, you are displaying a much greater misbehavior. ‘His behavior is not alright, it becomes difficult; still I will get along with you.’ If this is your attitude then you can be approved.

A son or a girl tells the parents, “I am going to marry. Let me marry the boy or girl of my choice, why don’t you agree?”

So I asked them, “Are you prepared to do the other way around? You want the parents to leave their expectations. Why don’t you leave your expectations for the sake of the parents?”

They have no answer to give me. So they are asking the parents to do something which they themselves are not prepared to do. In the same way, while you complain about the misbehavior of another you are displaying a greater misbehavior or misbehavior squared.

Everybody has got a character, a behavior and an interactional method. We can suggest improvement and they will also perhaps try for it. But it is not certain that the improvement suggested will be incorporated and everything will be alright in a matter of days, weeks or even months. So the first point to be understood by everybody is that we must have the flexibility and insight to adjust and co-exist with the others.

Vivekananda Swami once happened to dictate some systems and procedures and rules for the monks of Ramakrishna Ashram, especially at that time about twelve of them and one point that he mentioned if I remember correctly is that everyone should have a room for him to live by and nobody should step into the room of another for any reason. Any meeting or inter personal discussion should be held only in a common place. In Tamil there is a proverb ‘oonum orakkavum otthaarukkotthapadi’. The manner in which one eats and the manner in which one sleeps, this should be left to each person. When you sleep you are unconscious and in the unconscious state suppose you have some irregular procedures in your body how can you be held responsible for? So let us give the minimum freedom that is necessary for an individual. We often hear that when two people live in a room, one person occupies the room, occupies the bathroom, how to proportion, not thinking the other is there. And they begin to dirty the rooms to the dislike of the other inmate. All these are arising because of the self-centered or selfish nature of the people. Selfishness and self-centeredness are the stark enemies of the human mind.

As we go on living, we will have a very good memory of many things that happened. One important factor if you want to be successful in your co-existence is that whatever has happened in the past you should not chew it repeatedly in your mind. Everybody grows, everybody outlives, everybody learns, so, many things may have been done. You should not go on taunting them, taunting them, taunting them, pricking them, pricking them, paining them for whatever has been done or said. You did not do this. You did not do that. You did that. You did that. You did that. You did that. You see, it becomes so irritating. Are you interested in pointing out what the other people have done? Or are you interested in helping them to come out and be a little more polished, refined and co-existential? The subject can be well thought of and we can evolve very good thinking and procedure. This is why they say, adjust and accommodate, adjust and accommodate, adjust and accommodate.

When I am travelling with many people I used to ask them, especially people who have widely travelled. We were coming from Seremban. Dr. Suresh, a young dentist who is much more than a dentist, he spends six to seven hours with a patient like the operation theater procedure, long drawn out operations. Six to seven hours he spends one day with one patient in order to give that patient a beautiful smile and like that three, four or five sittings. And he has many things to speak about. So I was questioning him.

“Suresh you tell me. You have attended several conferences, gone to several countries. Tell me, what is that one principle which has helped you to be effective and successful in your life?”

He was not giving me a right answer. There was another person who was in charge of about fifty six countries or so in the world when he was a CFO and a CEO. So I asked him, “Can you tell me, my dear boy, what was the one factor which enabled you to be effective and successful in your profession?”

He said, “Swamiji, I have mixed with a number of people, different nationals, different regions and what not. I have never questioned their behavior and styles. I have adopted them for the time being at least, joined them and then conducted as they do. But I never questioned, in my mind I had no resentment or revolt.”

I happened to meet possibly a family which I did not know a family, when I was travelling to Chennai, Madras, years back. The meal vendor came. So the elderly man was ordering. “I want vegetarian meal.”Then he asked a boy who was sitting by the side, “What kind of a meal do you want?” He said, “Non-vegetarian.” So I was seeing and hearing what took place there. Meals were ordered. After about half or hour or one hour I asked him, “I would like you to tell me that what relationship you have? Who are you and who is this boy?” He said that, “He is my son, I am the father.”

“Then can I ask you a question? When you were ordering the meal, you said I want vegetarian meal and about the boy you asked him his choice and he opted for non-vegetarian. This appears to be a little strange.” They were Brahmins also from the South, Kerala. “So can you explain to me why you did so?”

He said, “Swamiji, I have travelled widely in the world. I have mixed with and interacted with a number of people. I asked him, what kind of a meal do you want. In our house we don’t cook non-vegetarian food, we are all vegetarians traditionally. Here is an opportunity for him to say whatever is in his mind. If he has the feeling to have non-vegetarian food and if we deny him he will go and have it in stealth. So I thought this is an opportunity where I can allow him to do what he wants and I expect that after opting for it for a few times he will correct himself.” This is what he said.

I am wondering, how is it that this adjustment becomes difficult for you. When you say, I cannot adjust and you expect others to adjust, don’t you think you are becoming a worse criminal? Because your complaint is that X is not adjusting. Knowing that adjustment is necessary which X does not do, you become even more non-adjustable. Have you ever thought about it? That is why I say, yield to the other man if there is a relationship like husband and wife, son and daughter, brother, sister etc. yield. So sometimes I tell people, “For three months or six months you simply do what X wants and then see what kind of a peace and harmony will be there in home. Simply do what X wants. Don’t question. Every time you ask him or her, what do you want? What do you want? What else? What else? What else? What else? What else?”

Are you prepared to do it? If no, then you cannot expect another also to do. Then naturally the question is we will never have interpersonal relationship. We have to recede into the forest, live in a cave, and only with air, earth, forest scenery, water, sun, moon and stars we will be able to co-exist with. In what manner can I explain this to you? Adjust! Adjust! Adjust! Adjust!

“You should go as an ambassador of peace.” Yudhishthira said.

“Yes if you want me, I shall go. But I am pretty sure that Duryodhana being wicked having no respect for the society will not change his stand and my mission will not be successful and effective knowing as I do him. Nevertheless I shall go.”

“I am afraid of your safety.”

“Don’t worry if I get angry the whole earth will not be able to face me.

And he said, “Dharukuka yoke the correct horses, powerful horses, fill the quiver with all kinds of sharp arrows and let me go.”

See, Krishna did not like to go and he did not expect a result. Nevertheless he was prepared to go. What kind of an adjustment you see in this? Sometimes you have to do things unnecessarily because the other party wants it to be done. When you treat a man it cannot be only to the body. It has to be to the psychology, it has to be to the intelligence. So unnecessary things, wasteful things, meaningless things also must have a place. How many play things we buy for the children? All are to be spoiled and wasted and thrown away. But as children they want. They can only play. Give them the best of play things. Try to teach them if possible through the play things. Everything we are outliving in life. Living and outliving, living and outliving, living and outliving.

In the whole of my life after I was introduced to spirituality, I can only tell you one thing. I have understood not to do what I like and to do what I dislike. This is the greatest merit and glory I have. Always I find I cannot do what I like and I have to do what I dislike. Sometimes we have to do what is not correct. Sometimes we will not be able to do what is correct and we have to do what is incorrect. Our government is like that, systems and procedures are like that. We are a public charitable educational trust. And you know we are sannyasins. We deal with the culture of the land, and under the culture everything comes under the sun, including the sun and beyond, that is our Dharma. Now, some of the items we are given to doing, they call it religious and our trust cannot do religious things. Now we are going to conduct a Vishnu Sahasranama Yajna where millions of rupees will have to be spent. Now this is some expenditure we cannot incur from our trust. So we are concerned about it. Our auditor has been telling us for a long time, “Why don’t you form a religious trust, religious trust, religious trust?” We were avoiding it. Now finally we decided we are going to form a religious trust. This is something that is not necessary. We should have the freedom to do what is necessary. After all we are Indians, we are people of culture, we will not do anything contrary to the interests of the country. But our country and government have its own definitions.

Do you know we don’t have a ration card? It has been confiscated by the government because I wanted the ration card to describe us properly. The head of the family I have been put. We are not a family and I am not a head. And what is the relationship? You have to say daughter, wife etc. So we said, we are citizens of the country under the culture of the country so please describe our names and positions properly. So it was handed over to the chief secretary of India and the chief secretary of Kerala. Naturally they had to do some action. Finally we got a letter saying that it was a mistake that ration card was issued for you. It should have been a ration permit. And then we surrendered the ration card and when we went with a request for ration permit they say all the ration permits are stopped. Nobody will get one. So we are without a ration card and without a ration permit.

See we are citizens living in this country and we have no earnings at all. We have no money belonging to us, no property belonging to us, no income belonging to us. So we don’t have a ration card. Why? Because I wrote to the people saying that you have to give us a recognition for what we are. I am, you can say the head of an institution, the people here are my disciples. They are not sons, they are not daughters, they are not brothers, they are not sisters. They say, “We have no nomenclature like this.” So I said something should be done. So this instruction came and the whole thing is in a muddle. So we are asking them, taluk’s people. “Give us a letter saying that you have confiscated our ration card and you have no authority to give a ration permit.” They are not giving us the letter. This is what we are. I think we have to still live in this country, love the country, love the government, love the officials, and still live. I wish all of you know this.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.