"Our body and this complex world around us is meant to reveal and display the Self variously. Spiritual seeking lies in looking for That which animates the body. Turn the mind and intelligence inward to their very Source. Let the thoughts make you search for the thinking substance, the thinker.  Only then the mystery of the Self will be unveiled."

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

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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Harih Om Tat Sat. Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

Two or three years back when I was in Malaysia, I was writing and also editing that year’s Srimad Bhagavata Parivrajanam series publication. The subject was Krishna’s last message to Uddhava and I had reached almost the end portion. And there is one chapter there completely on spiritual wisdom, vijñāna. When I was writing, I was feeling repeatedly, I don’t know whether you will be able to get what I say, I was amazed at the rational discussion of what otherwise will be a spiritual, religious and devotional subject.

Srimad Bhagavata discusses devotion and God. So it is a religious book, particularly a devotional text and the discussion is either on God or on devotee or on the progress and fulfillment of devotion, the whole subject coming under religion. So in a subject where God and devotion alone fill the pages, how is it that so much of rationality is brought about there! Rationality means the role and play of intelligence, intelligence presenting reason. So God is completely thrown away at a great distance. Devotion also is completely dismissed. There is no place for religious practices or anything. The human mind is initiated into a very rational discussion.

I started feeling: “Is Hinduism all rationality? Is it all enquiry, the pursuit of enquiry, then the finding where no place and role for either God or devotion or God’s mercy, God’s blessings, nothing is present there? Is Hinduism so rational, so rational, so rational?”

I was writing this month’s ‘Science for Inner Redemption’. The same rationality perhaps in a far greater and more widespread manner is presented by Vasishtha. There Krishna is talking to Uddhava, here sage Vasishtha is talking to Rama. You can compare the two. About Krishna, we have a feeling that He is God incarnate. Let it be. But about Sage Vasishtha we only have a feeling of human, humanhood who has taken to spiritual pursuit, tapasya and who has become enlightened. So it is between an enlightened person like Vasishtha and Sri Rama, a young Prince and enquirer.

There it is between Arjuna in total war distress in the battlefield and Krishna remaining in the place of a charioteer talking to him as an instructor. If Krishna spoke briefly, Vasishtha speaks very very elaborately. I don’t know whether you will understand and appreciate what I say. Can our religion and dharma be so rational, so rational, so rational?

Rama is enquiring: “Āchārya-Ji, how is it that from Brahman, the indescribable, the nothing, not something, but the nothing, how is the phenomenal display of the world, how did it come through? If Brahman is nothing, vacuity, how can there be such a splendidly colorful, gross display? From zero, nothing, can many things be born? What is that display, how? I wanted to know”.

Vasishtha took the thread and started arguing and he says if the entire world manifestation which is characterized by solidity, fluidity, gaseousness, energiality etc. people say, when you analyze it, split it, go into finer and finer and finer molecules, particles, ultimately you know there will be nothing!

The other day I said our body consists of all cells and all of them are eighty to ninety percent space and only a very thin wall around space. So virtually it is vacuity. Then how is it that it is able to exist? Look at the fan when it is switched off. It is three blades. Compared to the space occupied by blades and the free space, which will be more, you cannot get in between the blade though it is full of space if it is revolving at a great speed. So that revolution makes it apparently full. You cannot insert anything in between the blades though the space is more in the fan than the blades. So when we go into the finer and finer particles of matter and energy waves, you find that ultimately it is a nothing. So from a nothing, something has come up.

The world in which we live is governed by cause and effect. We can extract oil only from the oil seeds, not from sand. What is oil - whatever was oil seed. And what was the oil seed? It started absorbing from the soil various minerals and salts, it started absorbing air, sunlight, water and other things. So all these items were transformed partly as oil and partly as the plant, and the covering, the husk etc. of the seed. When you press the seed extract, then you get oil but the oil is there in the causal form. The effect is only a reappearance and a modified expression of the cause. Whatever is not in the cause cannot be in the effect. That is why we extract oil from the oil seed which itself has it. You cannot extract oil from the sand particle. So this is called ‘governed by cause and effect’. Effect is only a reappearance of the cause. There is nothing new.

If this principle is accepted, then how can from nothing many things come up? Unless the many things are in the nothing, as a tree in the seed, so if you say that there was originally nothing and from there ‘the some things’ came, it cannot be accepted. Similarly, if there are some things now, can they be at the time of pralaya, go back into nothing, vacuity presence?

नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।
nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ ।

From the unreal or non-existence, existence cannot come and from the existence, non-existence cannot be. If this is accepted, how dare you say that originally it was a nothing, a vacuity? From the vacuity, how can the manifest phenomenal world come? That does not agree with reason, cause-and-effect theory. Again, if the phenomenal world is solid, gross, liquid, gaseous etc. something is there. This something cannot go back into nothing. From ‘asat’, ‘sat’ cannot be, from the ‘sat’, ‘asat’ cannot be. So two ways this argument is not applicable. You cannot say from a nothing the world has come. You cannot also say the world is reduced into nothing.

Then what is this world? The cause-and-effect theory does not apply to it. Then how can this world come, from where? If at all the world has come, it has not come in the form of a transformation or a pariṇāma. If it is a pariṇāma, then the cause-and-effect theory applies. The phenomenal world is only an appearance caused by the Supreme Presence, Brahman.

What is meant by an appearential presence? In the case of the dream, our mind or consciousness has become many things. If consciousness was a true source, then if it has become, what it has become also should remain substantial but the dream is not substantial. Are you able to understand? If the dream were substantial, it cannot be simply vanish, so it is not substantial. Our mind or consciousness displays the world, ‘display’, ‘P-L-A-Y’. It displays the world. And at one point, the display stops just like the dream breaks, the world also can break one day.

It is not that from a zero or nothing, there is a pariṇāma, a chemical and physical transformation into the world nor is going to be a reverse, the reversal. Then what is this world? This world is co-existential with Brahman. When Brahman is there, it displays itself as the world. This display is not cause-and-effect theory. It is just like dream. This is something very important.

I was discussing in the ninth chapter (of Bhagavad Gita), that portion, “See Arjuna, I am pervading everything. Everything is in me but I am not in them. Even the beings are not in me. I alone am”. Then what are these beings? The beings are notional creations. Where is that zero? Can you show me? And where is that infinity, can you show me? They are notional, notional, notional. Our consciousness is capable of creating any notion. So it creates the notion of the world where there is no transformation involved.

When I start discussing like this, don’t you find it is reason? From a nothing, the world something could not have come. Then again, the world is something which has got all validity; we become hungry, we eat our food, hunger is appeased, fire is hot, ice is cold. The world phenomenon has all validity and effect, such a world where cause-and-effect theory is fully in full swing, how can such a world go back into nothing? If there is substantial presence here, it cannot be reduced into non-substance. Nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ.

Then what is this world? As long as Brahman is there, Brahman will display this world and it is only there in a display manner, not in a transformational manner. The pariṇāma is not applicable. Then what is applicable? Vivarta, an appearantial change. When we look at it, when we try to probe into the dream, we wake up, there will be no dream. Is it not stark reason?

You know I am a man given to this. So when I start writing and thinking, I feel an ethereal nature. I don’t know what makes me keep in a body and talk to you and interact with you. I am understanding and realizing the feeling. Feeling is neither energy nor matter, but somehow we feel, feel, feel, feel. That feeling is a feeling which consciousness alone can produce. When I was writing on rasa-krīḍa etc. that Malayalam series of book I have written in the book I am entering into a very very delicate area where I will find it very difficult to explain matters.

When I was writing, I felt I was not walking on the floor, there was so much of buoyancy in me. My difficulty was if at all, to have this buoyancy, at the same time to live in, move in this world with all the normal vyavahārās, interactions. It obviously appeared to be a grave contradiction, like putting your finger into the blazing fire and then remaining unburnt. When the mind feels this buoyancy, spiritual buoyancy, initially it will be very powerful, unbearable, later on it will become peaceful and placid. The body is only a means to experience it. Energy needs a conductor, similarly the body is a conductor to the Soul we have. To reconcile with in that manner and to accept activity as a corollary of life, that was a little contradictory for me. I am generally an ecstatic person, maybe I am eccentric also. So these ecstatic and eccentric nature, to moderate it, to regularize it and not to be overwhelmed or overpowered by it was an effort for me.

Whenever I used to hear devotional songs, bhajans, if the bhajan is very appealing, my whole body is surcharged with an uncontrollable spiritual current and I start vibrating. The vibration will make me deaf and dumb but I am not deaf and dumb. I used to go to devotional gatherings putting haritaki into my mouth and over the years, two or three years, I became quite usual. Now I will not get into that overpowering ecstasy. So my point is that is Hinduism so rational, rational, rational? Is it actually a voyage of the mind and the intelligence into the wilderness within the body? I would like you to think about what Vasishtha tells Sri Rama and see whether you also feel the manner in which I have expressed.

But the other side of it is that this rationality is the most refined, deep form of devotion. You understand? In the devotional practices, you use flowers, idols, water, milk, pudding and all that but here… When you love a man, should you love a man from the surface or from the depth? What is that depth love? Similarly, the devotion becomes very very deep. So it becomes an interaction between the mind and the intelligence. Your flowers are mental and intellectual products. Your pudding is a manufacture of the intelligence in the furnace of the mind. But whatever it may be, Mr.God goes away and devotion is drowned. Even to feel and accept that this is greatest devotion or loftiest devotion, people may take a long time.

Why should this rational discussion be brought into the conversation? You understand the argument? This world is a substantial world in our experience. How can this substantial world, when you trace the source, it has come from a zero-like substance? Is it not a negation of what we see? Suppose all this finally goes back into a zero when you say, if there is substantiality here, how can the substantiality vanish into nothing? Because nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ. So both arguments disprove it. Then what is it? That is what we say it is it is the very expression of Brahman. Like milk is white and fluid, at one place it has said, water has got the flowing power, fire has got the burning power, the wind has got the blowing power, Brahman has got the naśvara power. What? What is naśvara power? Brahman has got the power by virtue of which it becomes the fleeting prapañcha. A thing and its quality are inseparable. So this is Brahman’s quality. What - To display this ephemeral presence.

Brahman is actually an all-pervading presence. In that all-pervading presence, how can you have limited things like this? If it is all-pervading, this is just opposed to it. This opposed materials, limited materials, if this you think it is in Brahman then you are misunderstanding Brahman. Brahman is a very all-pervading, translucence presence. That presence, how do you feel like this? No this is called अतस्मिन् तद्बुद्धि: (Atasmin tad-buddhiḥ). It is a manifestation is okay but in the manifestation what do you actually find? Brahman you find, not the manifestation. It is exactly like the dream phenomena in your mind.

My mind was floating in a formless, some kind of a wonderful level or presence because I had to find explanations for rāsaleela, what happened and all that. I never wanted to the deviate from the text. So whatever is in the text alone I wanted to explain and explain it in a manner that it is justified. Do you understand? I will explain to you what is this rāsaleela.

Some Vraja girls wanted to have Krishna as the husband. So they undertook a Kārtyāyani vrata. So they were uncivilized people and in their community there were no morals also. That is also mentioned. The word used is vyapachāra duṣtaḥ. What? They are smitten by vyapachāra, this is the explanation given. Even now there are such communities here, they don’t look into much of morals.

कात्यायनि महामाये महायोगिन्यधीश्वरि ।
नन्दगोपसुतं देवि पतिं मे कुरु ते नम: ।
kātyāyani mahā-māye mahā-yoginy adhīśvari
nanda-gopa-sutaṁ devi patiṁ me kuru te namaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.22.4)

This is the śloka they uttered. And finally whom was it addressed to – Krishna. It is not a deva which they did not know. And so the deva whom they were addressing this was Krishna himself. So Krishna decided they have done enough of vrata and time has come for fruition. So Krishna himself came.

When He came, all these girls were in water, they had removed their cloths. I remember my mother telling me that whenever you enter into the water, you must have something in your hip in the form of a dress. Otherwise it is considered to be very irregular and adharma. So when you walk in air, will you not have dress? Then in going to water, why do you deny it? Suppose something happens, in an emergency you may have to run up and run. You will not have time to wear a dress if you keep it outside and it is wrong. So when he came here, these girls had kept all their dress and they were naked. So he found an occasion to take it and run away to punish them. Now in Krishna having done it, what is the wrong because it is this Krishna whom they wanted to be their husband. So the husband can do this, there is no harm. So he went away and climbed up on a tree.

These girls got up and went covering their private parts. So he said, “No you should not have any shame with me. Simply pray with both your hands.” So they did not agree and finally prayed. So he threw the dress and meanwhile they said, “We will complain to your father” etc. After giving the dress and wearing it, they did not go. They were still lingering there. Just imagine the punishment he gave and the further punishment he gave in having making them ask for the dress leaving both the hands exposing their private parts. And then these girls were not leaving. They were lingering. So he said, “No, you go. I will sport with you later and I will call you.” On that promise they left. But Krishna himself was not an adult at that time. The girls also would not have been an adult.

So when in the śarat kāla when the moon was shining brightly, there was no rain also, every flower etc. so he played the flute. The flute play was only a call for these girls to come. But you know, all the women went leaving all the work that they were doing. So he could not make them run away. So in a place unseen by others, away from the village, he sported with them and he made sure that before day-break, all of them went back. Now if there was anything irregular and anybody had to complain, you tell me who should complain? The husbands, is it not? Veda Vyasa says the husbands never missed their wives. The wives were at home. Now I was writing, so with which women did Krishna sport if at all? What they saw is the duplicate, nakal or what he sported with is the nakal, who will say? I think Veda Vyasa himself will have to come and say.

So in this, what is the disorder you tell me? Is there anything wrong here? First of all, it was night and it was away from the village and he was playing only with those who had come to play and it was only a play. Whatever feelings they had, he had not honored them. Krishna was young also. These elderly women were excited apparently but the excitement was only restricted to them. Krishna was not excited nor was he bodily, biologically grown. And then in this process if anybody had to complain, who should complain? And the husbands felt their wives were at home. So you tell me either Krishna did not play or he played with imaginary forms or he played with the real ones and to make sure that they had no pollution in the whole process, he made sure that the husbands were convinced that their wives were at home and that figure must have been imaginary. So I had to put all these things together and explain it in a manner that there is nothing irregular and the śāstras were revealing the real truth. This I had to say every time. You understand? I am not somebody who will say, it is this, it is that, this is an allegorical representation and it meant this, that I will not say. Will any community agree to that if you ask, their community was like that; they did not have much of morals. Okay.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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