"Thought is the most potent and creative power in the world. It initially takes shape in an individual mind. When shared with others, any benevolent thought starts growing as a vibrant process encompassing more and more people. It is such collective benevolent thoughts that build up great cultural values and treasure in the society."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

I was reading the 22nd Chapter in the 11th Skandha of Srimad Bhagavatam which primarily contains the dialogue between Uddhava and Krishna. Krishna is already 125 years old. Correspondingly Uddhava also should be old. The Kurukshetra dialogue transpired when Krishna and Arjuna were middle-aged. But now many decades have passed, and Krishna has practically accomplished whatever he was supposed to do. And he was preparing himself to depart from the world. Knowing that he was about to depart, Uddhava became very anxious and afflicted; and he said, “I cannot think of living separated from you. So take me also along with you”.

This is a proposition that has got no relevance at all. If one person dies, he cannot think of taking others also. What is meant by death? Are people going away from anywhere? Have we come and are we going? If so, where? All these are inexperiential or non-experiential points about which there cannot be any finality at all. So Krishna said that, “Uddhava, your problem, I understand. Before I leave, why don’t you leave me? I will be still here and I ask you to leave me.” What should you do?

त्वं तु सर्वं परित्यज्य स्नेहं स्वजनबन्धुषु ।
मय्यावेश्य मनः संयक्समदृग्विचरस्व गाम् ।।
(श्रीमद्भागवतम् ११.७.६)
tvaṁ tu sarvaṁ parityajya snehaṁ svajanabandhuṣu |
mayyāveśya manaḥ saṁyaksamadṛgvicarasva gām ||
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.7.6)

Whatever fondness and delusional clinging you have, towards your bodily relationship and also the house and residence in which you live, remove all of them! Keep me in your heart. See me everywhere and go to Badrikashrama.

Krishna is one to whom Uddhava was wholesomely devoted. His association with Krishna is very, very intimate. He was so fond of him that everyday he used to eat whatever Krishna had left over, wear the clothes which he had removed. So much of fondness and intimacy he had with Krishna. Now when Krishna himself says, “You leave before me”, and in leaving, two factors are there- the family ties and Krishna ties. Now Krishna himself is saying this, “You do this”. Instantly, Uddhava should be able to do it. If he is devoted to Krishna and Krishna asks him to do something, instantly he must be able to do. But he says, “I am not able to do.” And what is the reason for it? It is because of the deep delusional clinging I have to my body and body’s needs and relationships. “So instruct me Krishna so that my deep delusional clinging will be removed and I shall be able to implement and act upon what you say”. This is how the conversation began.

Altogether it is 24 Chapters. It goes up to the 29th Chapter of the Mukti-skandha called the ekadasa skandha. I was reading this morning the 22nd. Uddhava is asking, “There are people who say a number of items. What constitutes this universe is an important question. There are people who say 24 principles are there, constituents are there. Some others say 21, still others say 18, and there are people who will say 12. Like that a variety of accounts is there. Let me know what is the truth.”

Then Krishna answers saying that, “Yes, this is a subject on which a variety of opinion, findings, and philosophies are there”. Finally he concludes, “For the enlightened people what is there disharmonious and non-decorative - viduṣām kim aśobhanaṁ. For the enlightened, any proposition will be alright. Whatever they see, whatever they understand, and whatever they express, it is absolutely alright. Whether it is 24, 21, 18, 12, 9, 6, or 3 or 4, it makes little difference. Positing all these factors, what do you want to achieve and where do you want the seeker or enquirer to reach, is an important point.

With this background, I would like to say, in the satsangs that I had planned for the Brahma Vidya Seekers, especially those initiated by me, I had given them a set of slokas from Bhagavad Geeta. And one sloka is this

नान्यं गुणेभ्यः कर्तारं यदा द्रष्टानुपश्यति ।
गुणेभ्यश्च परं वेत्ति मद्भावं सोऽधिगच्छति ।।
(भगवद्गीता १४.१९)
nānyaṁ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṁ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati |
guṇebhyaśca paraṁ vetti madbhāvaṁ so'dhigacchati ||
(Srimad Bhagavad Geeta 14.19)

Bhagavad Geeta is very important and it emphasizes the gunatraya philosophy. I think, that is the unique contribution of Bhagavad Geeta. There are altogether three principles, you can say, constituents. They are not physical or chemical in nature. They are spiritual postulates or constituents. They constitute the entire complex prakriti. One is sattva guna, another is rajo guna; the third is tamo guna.

Sattva represents light, happiness, and wisdom. Rajas represents the different forms of activities and the motivations or compulsions for them, namely, passion, prejudice, fear, etc. And tamo guna represents ignorance, sleep, and lethargy. Now these are the qualitative constituents of prakriti. The prakriti, by virtue of various factors and combinations, they produce or the prakriti produces only three- satva guna, rajo guna, and tamo guna. Now Krishna says

nānyaṁ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṁ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati

In all the activities big or small, in the individual, in the family, in the society, in the nation, in the globe, in the universe, whether it is microscopic or macroscopic, any form of an activity, it is propelled by sattva, rajas, and tamas. The knowledge part is sattva guna’s contribution. The activity, the movement, the vibration part results from rajo guna, and the tiredness, the cessation, the wear and tear, ignorance, lethargy, etc., that is an outcome of tamas. So in all the activities, whether it is of an individual or of a society or anything else - understand that activity is born of sattva, rajas, and tamas. There is no other cause than the sattva, rajas and tamas.

If I am speaking, it is because of sattva guna, it is because of rajo guna, it is because of tamo guna. The very act of speaking is an activity or an exertion. It is employing or utilizing energy to produce sound. I am producing sound, making use of the energy available in the system. Possibly the matter in the body in the form of cells are employed to generate the sound energy. And there is a conversion and a transformation taking place. I apparently have the will and wish for it. The will and wish part of it comes from the sattva guna. The articulation part of it results from rajo guna. After I speak for a while, I become tired, I become fatigued, and I want to stop and be restful. That is tamo guna. While speaking you will find the knowledge or the ideational part of it, it comes from sattva guna.

Sometimes you will find the tamo guna also interferes in the speech. Unless I am conscious of what is not clear, I will not be able to speak, clarifying the point. So the tamo guna should constantly assist me with the so called ignorance and delusion. This is a point where the people are deluded. I want to speak to remove this delusion. So the consciousness of delusion should be there. Then only I can speak with a view to remove it providing clarity.

So in the whole of speech I don’t have any doership, kartṛtva. It is all a play and a combination of sattva, rajas, and tamas. This is one view.

nānyaṁ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṁ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati | guṇebhyaśca paraṁ vetti …

Understand that the three gunas alone are not there. The question arises as to where from the gunas came. Because there are three, who employs them, who manages them, who avoids a conflict between the three, and who preserves the harmony between the three? So there is something that transcends the gunas. Though I am speaking and the three gunas are active, or they express in my speech, understand that there is something beyond in me, and that beyond factor has to be properly comprehended. That is why at one point of time, I begin to speak. At another point of time, I stop speaking. So there is something beyond it.

nānyaṁ guṇebhyaḥ kartāraṁ yadā draṣṭānupaśyati |guṇebhyaśca paraṁ vetti …

First of all, all activities are performed only by the gunas. This is one perception, analysis, and assessment. The second one is - It is not gunas alone, qualities alone. There is something from where these qualities emanate and express themselves. And that is transcendental. So you should also realize or experience that transcendental presence. Thus four completely exhausts everything. So whether it is 24, 21, 18, 16, 12, anything like that, you will find, ultimately, it is only four and this four you will find Bhagavad Geeta repeatedly presents and discusses. Krishna is very fond of these four.

So the answer to Uddhava should be in this manner. Don’t go in for 24, 18, and the like. Finish with only three plus one, four. And if you are able to understand these four properly, remaining within the three, understand that central - that transcendental factor called the fourth. Then, I think, the whole problem is over. The enquiry fulfills itself. The investigation is complete. The examination is very productive.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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