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

Yesterday I was speaking about some of the important findings, or say revelations that I have made in my life. The only quest in my life was either realization of self or realization of God or the achievement of liberation, attaining ‘Jeevan Mukthi’. In this matter, my life was an experiential one for quite a few decades. So I used to think quite independently and arrive at some of the findings, assessments, conclusions and resolves. One of them is identifying the devotion correctly in the devotee’s own mind and heart.

Our country has millions of devotees, and devotional centers are numerous. But when you ask them, ‘Throughout your devotional practice and pursuit have you been able to realize your aim in full? Have you realized God? Has God given you anything from his side? Are you quite pure, good, benevolent? Is your life fulfilled? Is there any more aspiration?’ When you ask for fulfillment, I don’t think any of the devotees will come up and then say I am fulfilled. ‘Are all the doubts cleared? Is the ego dissolved? And is the entire ‘karmabandha’ gone?’ I don’t think anybody will be able to give an answer. You know what is the reason? We are devoted to God. This devotion is completely resting upon our own mind and heart. You may be devoted, you may not be devoted. Even today in our country there are sections of people who believe that devotion is absolutely an imaginary and speculative process. They try to be or they want to be rationalists. Rationalism appeals to them. They are also living in the country.

If you take Kerala, I can clearly say the majority of Hindus are on the leftist side. Majority of Hindus and, leftists generally do not believe in God. They have also passed a legislation in our assembly where they said, in the matter of administering the temple or even in taking up the oath of office etc. it is not necessary that we must have a belief in God or faith in God, something to this effect. So we have to recognize that there are people who do not believe in God and who do not want to. You mean to say they are not human beings? Can they not still live well? What is meant by devotion? Is it merely love and love alone to God with no other restraint, refinement, sublimation and virtues associated with devotion? In Bhagavadgeeta you will find, there are a number of verses where Krishna does not refer to either the God or the self. But he speaks of some discipline, pursuit, some sublimational process by virtue of which, the mind will be completely enriched, elevated, expanded, enlightened and fulfilled. I call it interactional sādhanā.

A person is devoted to God. God remains a constant factor. Before he became a devotee of God, God was X and he continues to be X. His devotion is addressed to God. By addressing his devotion to God, what he makes of himself is what counts. The devotion enters your heart or you pick it up. You alone have to develop it, touch it up, and you alone have to take it to its fulfillment level. In the whole process, God as he always remains, he remains benevolent, he remains benedictory to one and all. When you go to the temple and you pray before the Lord, all people are making their prayers equally well, they think. But two or three out of ten will say, “My prayers are fulfilled.” Others will say, “No”. For the fulfillment and lack of it, do you mean to say God has played an important part? It is an idol which has been idolized, which has been sanctified. This sanctification is done by the priest, using their own mind’s power, mind’s sankalpas, mantras. The mantras are evolved by us, the tantras are evolved by us, their application is done by us, and the stone becomes a divine product, a divine center. So the entire divinization of the stone is done by man’s own effort in which his mind, intelligence and heart are primarily involved.

You go into the temple signs you will find, a stone made by a sculptor is transformed into divinity by a process of rituals and ceremonies administered by human beings. These rituals are our creation. Temple architecture is ours. The idol making is our own art and effort. Where is God coming in there at all, I ask? The purpose of my asking is to make all of you think as to what is the genesis of devotion and where and how does it grow and how does it attain fulfillment. I hold every one of you responsible to become a devotee or not to be so. If you become a devotee, understand and declare, ‘I am a devotee, I belong to God, nothing else I belong to. I belong to God. The entire world is God. My own jīva is God. I am surrounded by God. I am penetrated by God. God is blissful. God is the truth. God is consciousness - the knowledge. What God is I also am, I also am. There is nothing like God plus or God minus. God alone is.’ When you reach this level of understanding, God is no more an imagination, a speculation. God becomes a kind of a continuous presence which cannot be separated from or disassociated from you. To develop your devotion to this level is your task, your effort, your progress and your fulfillment. Listen to what Krishna says in the last message of his to Uddhava.

निरपेक्षं मुनिं शान्तं निर्वैरं समदर्शनम् ।
अनुव्रजाम्यहं नित्यं पूययेत्यङ्घ्रिरेणुभिः ।।
- श्रीमद् भागवतम् ११.१४.१६
nirapekṣaṁ muniṁ śāntaṁ nirvairaṁ sama-darśanam |
anuvrajāmyahaṁ nityaṁ pūyeyetyaṅghrireṇubhiḥ ||
- Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 11.14.16

The entire focus of this verse, this statement is      

nirapekṣaṁ muniṁ śāntaṁ nirvairaṁ sama-darśanam, Imagine a saint who is floating in Nirapekshata. He has no expectation even from God. He finds absolute rhythm, beauty, order and perfection anywhere and everywhere. Whether it is the cloud burst or the tsunami in the Himalayan region which we recently had, or a cyclone or anything whatsoever, as are the Panchabhootas so are their behavior. He will not be surprised or dejected by anything. He will not be elated also by anything. The mind remains absolutely even towards any development either in himself or in the others. He has no expectation. You expect something and you get something and you become joyous. When you expect something and you are having it, the expectation becomes extinct. He hosts that extinctional state throughout his mind. Can you imagine the satisfaction he will have then? So he becomes apekshā rahit - non-expectant.

muniṁ śāntaṁ, he remains calm.

nirvairaṁ, he has no hatefulness or dislike or resentment towards anybody.

sama-darśanam, he finds the presence of the Supreme Reality or the Supreme Presence everywhere, in himself as well as outside, in the wakefulness, in the dream and the sleep alike, in pleasure as well as pain, in fortune as well as misfortune, in birth as well as death, in heaven as well as hell.

My dear devotees, listen to me with borrowed ears, why? This kind of a discernment and development should be cultivated and strengthened by the devotee in himself. Normally we are given to prayers and we expect God to sweep our mind through. No broom stick is necessary. Nobody need enter you. You have the will, you have the wish, you have the mind, you have the intelligence, you have the entire scope for making your effort, declare that ‘I am a devotee of the Lord, and my devotion rests with me, my dear Lord. I will nurture it, I will nourish it, I cherish it, I will bring it up, as you say.’ As the shastras say

nirapekṣaṁ muniṁ śāntaṁ nirvairaṁ sama-darśanam ..

anuvrajāmyahaṁ nityaṁ, Such a devotee, Uddhava listen, I will follow him, I follow him, I closely follow him. For what purpose? So that the dust of his feet will be smeared, will be falling on my body and I will be purified.

My dear souls, do you have a mind to feel, a heart to respond, and intelligence to understand? Everybody wants to follow God. Here Krishna says, “I follow such a lofty devotee and a saint so that I will be purified by the dust of his feet.” This is the fulfillment of devotion. Who will become a saint? A man will become a saint. Who will become non-expectant? His mind will become non-expectant. Who will become non-hateful? He himself. Who will become calm? He himself. Who will have the equal vision? Man will have the equal vision - the devotee. When such a situation is had, God follows you to look after you, to be with you, he is so happy, because such a devotee will never ask God for anything. God follows him and looks after himself, surrounds him, penetrates him, without his asking he(God) starts giving. There are a few statements. “Before you think, I understand. Before you knock, I open. Before you speak, I hear. Before you walk, I reach.” This is the law of devotion. Devotion is our option, our selection, our pursuit, our refinement, our sublimation, our enrichment, our fulfillment. Know that devotion rests completely on you.

Listen to me what my heart says with a view to drive home the supreme truth. “My dear God, my dear God, people say that you are and you are not. I don’t bother at all. I feel happy to think that you are. It is my privilege, my fortune, my option, my decision and resolve to feel that you are, and in feeling so, I feel happy, ecstatic. I rely upon you whether you are there or not. This reliance belongs to me. I have trained my mind to rely upon you and I consider you to be supreme. When I rely upon the supreme, can you imagine the strength, the security, the fulfillment, the affluence I get from my reliance? The son of a rich man is automatically rich, so when I rely upon God and I consider that I am a child of yours, I become a little God, I become Godly, it is my privilege. I am happy thinking about you. Whether you are happy thinking about me is your look out. I cherish it. I nourish it. It is my privilege. Now if at all, I ask you, can you take away this belief and reliance? If you can, you do. Otherwise I believe it is my privilege, my possession, my enrichment, it will safely remain with me.”

Can you imagine what makes me say this? Can you imagine the surety, the surety, the absoluteness of my devotional stand? My devotion does not depend upon God. It depends upon me! Me! It is my reliance, my option, my surrender, my attunement, for all of which my mind and intelligence are the focus. So remaining focused on my own mind, heart and intelligence, I declare by the glory of birth, my dear God, I am one with you and you can never become separate or distant. You are the closest that I can think of. You are the ‘I’ in me, in every one. The ‘I’ in me is closer to me than the body, than the mind, than the intelligence, than the ego. And this ‘I’ never becomes extinct, separate or distant. In the same manner, my dear God, you who are the ‘I’ in me can never become separate. I have no pang of separation. I have no fear of distance. I have no doubt of existence. My heart is full, complete, affluent and resourceful because of this supreme nature of the devotion I cherish, nourish and live by.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

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