|Listen to Prabhaata-rashmih Audio|
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
‘S’ from Bombay had a very short talk with me last night. Keeping that in mind I would like to speak something about our spiritual culture and how one has to look at it and be devoted to it.
We generally have something like religion and devotion. Most of what you find around, are religious and devotional practices. We cannot discount them. They have popular appeal, they also are desperately needed by the people, particularly by the mind level of the people, the cravings of the mind, problems of the mind, anxieties and concerns the mind produces, all these will have to be properly redressed and religious faith and religious practices are able to meet them in a very practical, substantial measure. But it is incorrect to think that these religious practices, the faith and belief supporting them are the be-all and end-all of either the religious life or spiritual life or human life.
Our inner personality is what constantly uses the body. Body and all the organs are simply inert, insentient. They can be employed only by the mind and intelligence. But the mind and intelligence are themselves not matter and energy and therefore not physical parts of the body. The requirements of the mind can be summarized as joy, contentment and fulfillment. The need of the intelligence is the quest and its pursuit of knowledge. Religion may fulfill the needs of the mind but will not fulfill the needs and compulsions of the intelligence. That is how in our Vedic civilization and Vedic evolution, we have to outlive the hymns and prayers of the samhita portion, take to the ritualistic side, outlive them very soon and take to inner contemplation search and research. Ultimately ending up with our Upanishads where all the needs of the human mind stand fulfilled, both the psychological and intellectual needs.
On the basis of this, we have evolved a four stage human life. One is the educational facet consisting of Brahmacharya, those people who want to marry and perpetuate their lineage are free to take up the second phase, Grihastāshrama, the married life, but that also should be taken up in a very sublimating manner. Then, after the children become adults then the parents should not cling to the household and household routines. They should leave the household and be fully focused on the inner development, psycho-intellectual expansion, sublimation and fulfillment. If they succeed in doing so, they end up with sannyasa which is the full answer and fulfillment of human life. This is not an evolution of the recent past. Right from the Vedic times, these four ashramas were there.
So if you ask me, what is the real pursuit of spirituo-religious life, my answer will be sannyasa is the real pursuit. But does sannyasa answer all the requirements of human life, if you ask me, yes. And sannyasa alone does. Our Ratnakara was a forest dacoit. He was always robbing people in order to have his own livelihood and the family’s. One day he encountered seven sages in a row. And that interaction completely transformed him. If dacoity was fulfilling to human life, then why should he think of a change? Suddenly he realized the mistake of what he was doing, had a consultation with the wife and children and in a matter of moments he came back and sought spiritual instruction from the sages. Poor man, he did not know anything. So he was asked to sit and chant ‘rama, rama, rama, rama, rama, rama’. This is all what he knew, what he could understand and imbibe and do. This is the simple religious and devotional austerity that you can think of. The chanting became initially oral, later on, only by lip movement, thereafter it became silent in the mind. It trickled down further until at last his mind and intelligence were completely dissolved in the inner source. When he woke up perhaps after months or years, he had become a totally different man. Where from did he begin? Oral, mental levels. And where is he now? He became an absolutely different man with his intelligence brilliant to think, to understand and to give something to the society based upon his own life.
I am not going into details, he took up writing Ramayana as a biography of Sri Rama - the Prince and King of Ayodhya. But before long, he became a part of the biography making the whole narration an autobiography. The tapasya that Valmiki did was only for himself, nobody else knew about it. But the Ramayana he has written is available ever since then to the whole world. Can you imagine Valmiki getting lost in his austerity and contemplation without having written Ramayana? And compare him with what he has written. This is how spirituality brings about not merely a mento-oral austerity in mankind, it also promotes itself, elevates itself to the level of a knowledge expression. It is this expression that has survived throughout.
We have very devotional people like Meera and so many others. Others write about them. They have nothing to say about themselves. And whatever we know about them is through these narrations by others. Take the instance of Nāyanārs, so many other devotees. Unless somebody records it, explains it, we won’t be able to know. Our civilization, culture and heritage are available to us only because when they are documented. Our Upanishads, the various smritis, the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, all of them are documentations coming from the intelligence level.
Now if you ask me, a seeker of truth what is he supposed to do? After all, what will you get from the world if you live a worldly life? You get satisfaction, contentment and fulfillment. But the satisfaction and contentment you get are very, very short living. It is a wild goose chase. But in spirituality, you have a fulfillment, a fulfillment in the physical and sensory level, in the oral level, in the mental emotional level and then rational, philosophical, intelligential level also.
So my answer to ‘S’ and people like him, students like him, will be that, this is the one line where human life gets fulfilled and it expresses itself to the maximum. You become an Upanishadic thinker; you become a Valmiki Ramayana writer, a still greater writer like a Veda Vyasa. Not that you are going to write like them but your level will be of that kind where our physical needs are fulfilled, our emotional needs are fulfilled, our rational intellectual needs are fulfilled, the philosophical and spiritual pursuits also are taken up and fulfilled.
Now the question is, not many are able to take to our religio-spiritual life in this manner in a full measure. But there are certainly a few in our country who always can stand and take up only this. I think the people here in the ashram belong to that category. That is why we are together. So, to a question, “Swamiji, should I take up a worldly life and live in the world pursuing secular matters or should I take up a religio-philosophical and spiritual life spending my whole time?” You know, from this Swamiji you will only get an answer, you have to take it up and as soon as possible the wholesome pursuit of spiritual life. By so doing, you are not losing anything from the secular world. What will the secular life give you? Some joy and contentment. That belongs to the mind, is generated by the mind. The same contentment and joy you get from spirituality but in a long living manner, in an un-assailed manner.
I am a person with a lot of joy and I don’t want it further. There is abundant joy. I don’t want it anymore. It is more than sufficient. Not that I started having it today. I started having it, even in Calcutta before I took up sannyasa. I was telling myself, ‘What is this intolerable joy which I am experiencing in meditation and absorption? I don’t want it. I want something different, something in the way of a knowledge like a thousand moons arising in the sky with no heat, only light, beautiful, comfortable, cool light.’
So, the full-fledged seeker doesn’t lose anything from the world or from the worldly life. He gets that and infinitely more which the worldly people do not get. The religious and devotional people end up with some emotional notes but the more evolved people, they enter into the philosophical and spiritual side of refinement and ecstasy, as a result of which they start thinking, understanding, speaking, writing, explaining and enabling the people to do something good, great and glorious. I would like to know, I shall answer ‘S’ in the days he will be here, explain the proposition better. Meanwhile it is as much for all of you as it is for him.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.