"It is not what you do that matters, but how you do it – with what attitude and aim. The spiritual effect that a seemingly spiritual activity brings, can also be had by the domestic pursuit, provided you preserve a spiritual attitude and dedication."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha


Articles for Saadhana

Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

I spoke in Chennai for three days. The subject was “Self-realisation in the words of Krishna, Sankara and Vasishtha”. I took more than one day to deal with Krishna’s words. Then the remaining part of the second day was devoted to Sankara’s statement. I was referring to Vivekachudamani. Then the third day, it was exclusively for Vasishtha’s pronouncements on the subject of self-realisation.

In the case of Krishna, the dialogue was with Arjuna. Both of them, one sitting, another standing on the chariot, to commence the unprecedented war of Mahabharata. The purpose of the spiritual gospel was to empower Arjuna to take back his bow and arrow, stand heroically to fight the eighteen-day war. I would like you to picture this scene in a very, very vivid manner. The time available for Krishna was very short, also for Arjuna, short. And the whole resistance, delusion, weakness in the mind of Arjuna had to be removed. He came for the war, he was unable to fight the war. He had to be enabled to fight. And this objective was fulfilled by presenting the truth about the immortal self.

What Krishna exposed was the self and its realization, but (that ‘but’ is very important) Arjuna had no time to contemplate upon the self in a meditative or absorptional manner and realize the self. All that Arjuna could have had was a clarity about life, clarity about the ‘I’ the soul, the clarity about death, and the relevance of war, even the most bloodiest war that he was in. He had to take away his ego and mamata from the whole scene and look at the entire fight just like ruling the kingdom. One was administering the laws and regulations of the country, another was administering arrows to make the enemies fall one after the other.

Arjuna had to discern the harmony prevailing in the whole of nature. Whether it is one of mothering a child, whether it is one of disposing of the dead body by cremation, whether it was feeding the poor people or running a factory – an assortment of activities are necessary. All of them had their respective places and the whole of them make a beautiful harmony. Nature is behind this. The three guṇāsSattva, Rajas and Tamas are behind every activity, no matter whether it is a cyclone like that was predicted in Chennai yesterday, or it is the smooth flow of a river or setting up an irrigational project. Anything whatsoever, it is all a play and propulsion of the three guṇās of prakṛti. Arjuna had to find out this harmony and realize equally at the same time that the soul of man is indestructible, there is nothing like death at all.

Now, Sankara speaks about it in a very ascetic background. Sankara does not picture a scene where somebody is there like Arjuna, confronted in his activity field. No. Sankara presents a seeker who had grown dispassion to the world, finding a number of disharmonies and anomalies there.  Unable to overcome the impact of what he saw, the seeker struggles to find a solution. May not be a solution, a dissolution for his mind. So, Sankara being an ascetic presents it in a very beautiful manner as a patient and consistent pursuit to be taken up in life and to be pursued wholeheartedly, maybe for years and even decades till the end of life. And in Sankara’s presentation, we find a clear spiritual overtone. It was not the secular and worldly activity of Arjuna which was to be resolved. There is dispassion to the world. Passion if at all for spiritual quiet, quietitude. So the whole life can be devoted to spiritual pursuit in a renunciational manner. And Sankara pictures what is the highest level of this self-realisation. He was not just speaking about harmony in action or activity. But that is also part of it.

When we go to Vasishtha, the scene is still different. Rama, the young Prince is yet to sit on the throne, if at all. Sixteen years old, after the pilgrimage he found completely no answer to life, no question answered. Everything is disappointing, disharmonious. The mind was in a turmoil. To a thinking mind, how much of turmoil and torment the world could bring about is clearly evidenced by the Prince Rama’s life and narration. Vasishtha had all the time he needed. Rama also had all the time he wanted to spend on the subject. So they patiently sat.

It was a three-hour dialogue followed by eighteen days fight for Arjuna. For Sankara, it is a lifelong pursuit maybe lasting for decades in the ascetic and austere environments of a seeker. But for Vasishtha, it was dealing with a budding prince who was supposed to sit on the throne and rule the kingdom very effectively and efficiently. But the dispassion the prince grew towards the world and all the contradictions and conflicts it presented before his mind had to be set right. Vasishtha went on speaking for eighteen days. In between, Rama completely got absorbed into the self.  Vasishtha had to stop his narration until the prince revived his consciousness.

I am wondering my dear souls whether you are able to understand the effectiveness of a spiritual enlightenment program in the hands of a teacher. Three hours for Krishna, a classroom discussion for Sankara and a palatial dialogue for Vasishtha. All the three handled the same subject. The focus was the self and its realization. But they were linked to different environments, objectives, involvements.

Now what I wanted to tell you is that the general impression I could get from the three-day talk was that “Swamiji, the third day, the talk was very, very sublime and beautiful.” Because they did not have the Arjuna confrontation. They were also not prepared for an austere, wholesome ascetic pursuit. Perhaps that was the reason why they found the third day’s discussion very beautiful. Not only that, that related to the real seeking and its advancement and fruition. I think the whole subject has to be understood.

We can include one more instance. What is that? Pareekshit, on the verge of death, being exposed to the self and its realization. We also have another instance. That is, Prahlāda, right in front of Narahari, asked by Narahari to sit on the throne, and he refuses it. Finally Narahari tells him what is the harmony and the smooth flow of life. One doesn’t have to have any resentment towards life. Life will flow itself. It is an unfoldment. There is nothing like achievement. When Narahari said,

भोगेन पुण्यं कुशलेन पापं कलेवरं कालजवेन हित्वा |
कीर्तिं विशुद्धां सुरलोकगीतां विताय मामेष्यसि मुक्तबन्धः ||
bhogena puṇyaṁ kuśalena pāpaṁ
kalevaraṁ kāla-javena hitvā
kīrtiṁ viśuddhāṁ sura-loka-gītāṁ
 vitāya mām eṣyasi mukta-bandhaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavatam 7.10.13)

I think this is the greatest perception that you can have about life. “Exhaust the puṇya by undergoing the royal luxuries, so to say. And exhaust the pāpa by bearing the burden of ensuring the welfare of the people. And wear and tear your body by the passage of time. By then, you will have become so famous as a great and a grand person of enlightenment, a Jeevanmukta, that even in the heavens your fame will be sung by the people. Be relieved of all bondage, psycho-intellectual, and then come to me.”, he says. A beautiful message of devotion, by the Lord of devotion itself to the devotee.

I think these four instances are sufficient enough for everyone or anyone to understand the subject, the spiritual subject of self and its realization and a life of self-realisation, the self-realisational, fulfillmental life, how many different kinds it can be, but how all of them have the same focus inside oneself. 

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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