"Self-realization is meant to ensure fulfilment for one’s own self. It is not reaching somewhere or getting at something external, like going to the peak of a mountain. The attainment is in dissolving the mind and intelligence, and getting into the very core of oneself. In other words, it is like multiplying everything with zero."

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 have mentioned this point earlier also but I would like to restate it. There is a widespread confusion about spirituality, spiritual science, spiritual wisdom and its application and relevance. Everybody associates spiritual wisdom, the imbibing and pursuit of it with either old age or retired life. It is not for the young. It is not for the young. There cannot be any greater misunderstanding and misrepresentation than this. We have some monumental instances where spiritual wisdom was sought, was given, was applied and then the seeker got his redress, perfection and fulfillment. In the Upanishads you will find always this wisdom is sought by people who are dispassionate to the world right from young age or people who have found hollowness in the world, non-utility in the world when they grow old.

All these instances are clearly highlighted in the Upanishads. One is the Saunaka an elderly householder finding the household ritualistic obligations, they could not be fulfilled by him because of age, hand starts trembling, shivering and all that. At the same time having performed these rituals for a long time had not given him any sense of meaning, fulfillment and confidence. So he was disillusioned. With the disillusionment he approaches Angiras to know what exactly is the truth by knowing which everything else will become known. This is a patient enquiry not associated with any activity, a crisis and interaction. It is not an interactional crisis. That also you can interpret it. It is a religious interactional crisis you can say. But however it does not have any secular connotation there. Religiously he felt disinterested, dispassionate, so he wants to know what is the truth. And Saunaka obviously must have become fairly old.

Then you find Nachiketas being sent by his father to the God of death. But he makes a pertinent enquiry as to whether there is a soul different from the body surviving the body’s form. There are other instances also where spiritual wisdom is sought exclusively by a seeker in a quiet environment not as an interactional crisis wanting its solution. Now I will site two or other three instances where by you will find this spiritual wisdom is not merely a pursuit of the old, retired and dispassionate, it can also become a vibrant pursuit for a man of action, man of interaction.

The Bhagavat Gita itself comes to me as a first example. Arjuna went to the battle field only to fight. To fight means to kill and there were 4.5 million warriors. Except ten all were killed in eighteen days. So you can understand, I don’t know whether I can describe it as a cruel nature, the cruel nature of the interaction he was supposed to do as part of royal administration. Because of the crisis in his interactional front he sought shreyas from Krishna. This point you should understand. Arjuna did not make an enquiry just like Saunaka made or Nachiketas made. His enquiry was to get rid of the grief that had overpowered him so that he could take up his bow and arrow again. So it was an interactional application and an interactional compulsion.

Similarly, there was a physical crisis for Pareekshit. What was the crisis? He was supposed to die on the seventh day bitten by Takshaka, the most poisonous cobra. He also had the impact of a great sin he had committed. That sin he decided to ward off by his prayopavesha vow. At the same time he wanted redemption just like Arjuna wanted redemption Pareekshit also wanted redemption from the plight or fate Takshaka would inflict on him. So there was a physical crisis there also. Then Suka Muni started delivering the Srimad Bhagavata values and message. Pareekshit started absorbing them and within such a short span, in the case of Arjuna it was a span of three hours, here it was span of six full days and another half day.

The problem of Pareekshit was completely resolved. How? Because he had withdrawn himself from the world, from his body, from the mind, from the intelligence and dissolved into the soul. Takshaka’s arrival or bite or the burning of his body in its poison, nothing he was there present to know. Others were reporting. Just imagine how the self-realizational gospel can be applicable to such a grave situation and in this kind of a manner. The crisis was external but the solution was internal. What did I say? The crisis was physical, concrete and external but the solution was subtle, inward, mento-intellectual.

Let us go to Sri Rama the young Prince. He undertook a pilgrimage and in the pilgrimage he encountered the various miserable plights of the people, miseries not merely born of diseases, ill-health, famine, starvation, poverty and all that. He also found misbehavior, immorality, unrighteousness, greed, possession, competition. So there was a psychological corruption that he encountered in the society. There were a number of physical disabilities he encountered in his pilgrimage. Now the sight of all these things generated such a disinterest, dispassion and dejection in his mind that he was unable to contain these. So he tells Vasishta that this is the plight of the world in which I live. If I think with a little expansion and greater sharing this kind of a situation I am not able to bear.

Mind you, it was not an interactional crisis as in the case of Arjuna and Pareekshit. There was no physical confrontation. It was only a mento-intellectual pathos that he encountered by looking at the world of variety and its assorted nature. That was true dispassion. When you think of the world, think of the world and its multiple ways automatically you get into a mood of dejection. Is this the world in which I am living? If people are starving in so many places how am I justified in having my meal? I have felt so many times. But can I remove the starvation of the others? No. And can I starve? That also is not alright. If others are starving I will also starve. On the first hearing it is good. It is sympathy and all that.

Suppose a person were to drown should you try to save him and die yourself? As I always say, four brothers went on a picnic; one of them fell into the quick sand and was going down. To save him the second brother went, he also went down. The third brother went, he also went down. The fourth was about to run to them again but the others held him back. So a question arises what are you supposed to do? So there is a clear difference between Rama’s inner crisis and Arjuna’s interactional crisis and and Pareekshit’s impending death. In the case of Pareekshit and Arjuna the crisis was physical, gross. In the case of Rama it was mento-intellectual. In the case of Nachiketas it was a sustained enquiry of his heart.

I would like you to understand the difference between the Upanishadic themes and the Bhagavat Gita, the Srimad Bhagavatam and the Yoga Vasishta scenes. Now what do I have to tell you on the basis of these? Do not understand that the self-realizational pursuit is only for the old and the retired. It is certainly available for them and let them take it up but it also has a greater relevance to when our lives are young, active and interactive. Either you have a crisis already or you take to spirituality as a precautionary and preemptive measure. It is a process of enriching and empowering our life as a result of which we will be able to conduct or lead our lives more effectively. What is meant by greater effectiveness? The life should be enriching and empowering to you every day, hour, week, fortnight, month, decade and year and decade.  That is one. And you should also be able to, you should also be able to, while leading your life contribute to the pool of the society’s welfare. The welfare consists of artha, kama, dharma and moksha. So you have to contribute to the wealth of the society, the welfare of the society and you should also lead the society in that process towards that later or last goal of moksha.  This is what I wanted you to understand.

If this message is taken up, received properly and spread, our world will be a far better world. Let us not relegate spirituality to an old age pursuit. Let us understand that it is very vibrant, very interaction and very contributing to the needs of the society at any point of time. I would have asked you now I would like to ask you now, would you have liked me to become a professional and an excellent one at that or would you have wished me to become an ascetic and a loka sangraha pursueras I am doing now? Which kind of contribution of mine would have been better or still better? This is the point I would like you to answer.

The society needs help and contribution to the body to fulfill bodily needs. The society equally needs contribution and fulfillment to the emotional needs of the mind like peace and well-being. The society also needs contribution to the intelligence in the way of knowledge, enquiry and enlightenment. Maybe the Government and so many others are trying to look after the physical part of the people. And a progressive and an enlightened Government will also try to ensure mento-intellectual welfare. There lies values, higher and philosophical and pursuits like culture, classical music, dance etc.; why should we spend money on them? But any Government spends. Sports, why are they spending on sports? Because it is a recreation, a need of the people.

Similarly the higher needs also are there, they should also be looked after by the Government. Why people become sannyasins? Because they find the spiritual wisdom and knowledge is so fulfilling that they feel impelled to devote themselves wholesomely and whole heartedly to. And then whatever comes for these a life of enlightenment and dissemination from such people. I think it is such classical, cultural literature the country produced from right from the prehistoric times that is the one even now remains as the backbone of our culture. And all these things have resulted from an ascetic, austere, wholesome life.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.

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