“The paths leading man to god or Truth are said to be many. I will speak only of the shortest. It is to recognize God as the Self in you and then to find Him out. What is the distance then between you and God, between you and yourself? Ah, there is no distance at all, a full Zero! Yet, how dare you say to find God and Truth is hard?’’ 

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

I was speaking about how devotion is totally centered on the devotee, his mind, heart and intelligence. This is a point which generally eludes the devotional people. However much the point is thought about and discussed, the devotees refuse to understand this and assimilate this point. If you practice devotion and the devotion does not grow and enrich you, you cannot look at God and then say “My dear God, you are not enriching me with my devotion.” Suppose you happen to look up God and then you say that, that is again your effort and your feeling. God doesn’t express anything before you at all. In the whole pursuit of devotion, the devotee’s wish, will, effort, so many qualities like tenacity, perseverance, exclusiveness, dedication, zeal, fervor, all these are the qualities of the human mind, they alone matter.

Dhruva’s mother on coming to know that his father spurned him, did not allow him to sit on his lap, immediately said that, “In the palace you cannot get justice or your parental love and fondness. There is only one way, my dear son. Go to Madhuvana, and do your devotional austerity there alone in the dense forest.” Dhruva did not think for a moment. He straight away started. Narada intercepted him, tried to dissuade him. Then the young Dhruva said, “My dear Sage, understand I’m a Kshatriya boy. I’m not somebody who will accept defeat. You tell me that Mahavishnu is very hard to please and propitiate. Many have tried and failed. That is the one reason why I shall try to propitiate him and I shall succeed. If you have anything to tell me in support of my venture and resolve, please speak. Otherwise go back the way you have come.” , this is what the little boy said.

What do you find in this? You tell me. Is it not his own mind, his own resolve, his own decision, tenacity? Then Narada gave him a mantra and said, “Go, chant this mantra.” Straightaway he went to Madhuvana. There he started practicing very, very austere ways. Now all these ways completely depended upon him. He started with a single meal a day. Then he started prolonging it, finally stopped all kinds of material or solid food, was taking only water, after sometime he left that also. Then he started, he stopped his breathing even, it is said. Now escalating his austerity was something that this boy personally himself did. It was his own mind’s and intelligence’s and heart’s decision and practice. Where did God come in there? It was his decision. Though he had the concept of God before him, it was he who decided to propitiate Mahavishnu. Mahavishnu is a concept, is one of the trinity that Hinduism has. Then what happened? When this little boy’s austerity became so severe, Srimad Bhāgavata says, all people were finding it very difficult to breathe, there was no air, oxygen, so they became panicky, they rushed to Mahāvishnu and said this is what is happening.

“Oh is it so? Then I shall go there. Go back consoled.” he said. And Mahāvishnu appeared there.

Now you tell me, even others feeling stifled, going to Mahāvishnu, telling to interfere in the matter, all these were resultants of Dhruva’s prayer, Dhruva’s devotional practice. Where did Mahāvishnu come there at all? He was dragging, forcing and pulling and warranting Mahāvishnu’s presence. It was his decision. Where do you find God coming to play there at all, except in answer to what he wanted? So God was only responding to what the young boy wanted.

Think of Prahlāda. Right from the beginning he had exclusive fondness to Lord Hari. The same Lord Hari was in front of everybody, but none of them had Prahlada’s exclusiveness or intensity or fervor. Whether you call it this or that, all these are qualities of the human mind. But these qualities are presented or they become displayed with reference to or in relation to God. Every time what happened? He was refusing to budge an inch from his exclusive devotion. The father, a tyrant stood before him, asked him questions. He started answering, startling answers, which agitated, agitated, angered, so to say, his father. Finally there was a confrontation between himself and the father. Not that the boy confronted him, his father confronted him.

“Where from do you get the power to challenge me and deny me like this? I am the emperor of the whole world. Even the Dikpālas, Indra and Chandra, all of them are afraid of me. Where from do you get the power to challenge, to challenge and disobey?”

He said, “My dear father, there is only one power for every one of us to look to and rely upon.  Indra, Chandra, Dikpālas and all of them are led and guided by Him. Even the source of your strength and power is Lord Hari. Lord Hari, none else.”

You tell me, do you find Lord Hari here or do you find the resoluteness and the declaration of the child? What is it that you are finding here? Where is Lord Hari? Lord Hari is a concept and that concept is fostered by the little boy and he says, “I rely upon Lord Hari, my Lord Hari.”

“Where is your Lord?”

He said, “Everywhere, everywhere.”

“Then is he in the pillar?”

“Yes he is.”

Now what is happening here? The same Lord Hari was there earlier and also later. But he never thought of appearing in a manner that he did in front of Prahlāda. Then Hiranyakashipu went and challenged the pillar. Hit the pillar, then came out, came out, Srimad Bhāgavata puts it in this manner. Which manner?

सत्यं विधातुं निजभृत्यभाषितं व्याप्तिं च भूतेष्वखिलेषु चात्मनः
अदृश्यतात्यद्भुतरूपमुद्वहन्स्तम्भे सभायां न मृगं न मानुषम्
- श्रीमद्भागवतम् ७.८.१७
satyaṁ vidhātuṁ nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitaṁ vyāptiṁ ca bhūteṣv akhileṣu cātmanaḥ
adṛśyatātyadbhuta-rūpam udvahan stambhe sabhāyāṁ na mṛgaṁ na mānuṣam
- Srimad Bhagavatam 7.8.17

Satyaṁ vidhātuṁ nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitaṁ, See here is a little boy who swears upon his Lord Hari saying he is present everywhere and therefore in the pillar also in answer to Hiranyakashipu’s demand. It was a dialogue between the father and the son. But, but, the dialogue was centering around Lord Hari, the subject and object of devotion in Prahlāda’s heart. So whatever my servant who is totally dedicated to me, whatever he has said, it is for me to make it true. “satyaṁ vidhātuṁ”. Then I should also make it known that I am present everywhere. Therefore he jumped out of the pillar in a form that was unheard of and unseen. What was that form?

अदृश्यतात्यद्भुतरूपमुद्वहन्स्तम्भे सभायां न मृगं न मानुषम्
adṛśyatātyadbhuta-rūpam udvahan stambhe sabhāyāṁ na mṛgaṁ na mānuṣam

Neither an animal nor a human. This appeared, there was an encounter, a duel between Narasimha and Hiranyakashipu. Ultimately Hiranyakashipu was killed, Narahari sat on the throne, Prahlāda went and appeased him, the conversation was over, the mission having being completed, the same form disappeared in the same place, was no more to be seen. I don’t find Lord Hari in the whole episode. There were only two people. One is the little young Prahlāda devoted to Lord Hari. Another is the father who was opposing and challenging him, at every point intimidating him. So it was an interaction between the father and the son. And the son and the father, both of them were creating a concept as part of their dialogue and part of their mind processes.

It was Prahlāda’s devotion that resulted in the emergence of Narasimha and when the purpose was fulfilled it disappeared there. The whole appearance and disappearance, both I am able to see only as occasioned by Prahlāda’s mind and devotion, nothing else. Unless you are able to understand it in this way, your devotion will never progress at all. It will never become meaningful. Let God be there or not be there, let him come or not come, devotion is revolving on your mind, around your mind, understand this.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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