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DASSERA (DAY 4) DISCOURSES
SOHAM - THE RIGHT SADHANA
|Brahma is the Creator of the whole Universe|
Vishnu is the Sustainer, and
Shiva is the Destroyer of all sins
This is the Truth I am revealing to you.
Embodiment of Love!
What is man,
immersed in an ocean of sorrow, seeking in this vast and limitless
universe? What for is he doing sadhana? Some are seeking fulfilment in
worldly things; some others are wasting their valuable time in trying to
seek satisfaction of their unfulfilled desires. Yet, others are entering
the spiritual path with a desire to have darshan, sparshan and sambhashan
of Divinity. Human beings contemplate on God as Brahma, Vishnu and
Maheswara. But these are not Gods with a human form. They have neither a
form nor a place. If one enquires into the nature of their form, it will
become clear that they have only some attributes, with no specific upadhi
It is said "Easwarah Sarva Bhoothanaam" (God is the indweller of every living being). But, with what form? How can one contemplate on God with an invisible form? What is the use of such contemplation? Divinity is the very life breath that can be perceived and heard. How can one recognise and experience the sound of this Divine breath? The Upanishads have given the names of "Brahman" and "Atma" for this invisible Divine breath in human beings. But, one cannot understand these abstract concepts, with any amount of explanation. What is the meaning of Easwarathwa (Divinity)? It can be understood as the Divine, auspicious breath of soham that emanates from a human being. Soham means "I am that" (Divinity). The sound of the breath in human being, i.e., soham establishes the nature of Divinity. If one tries to contemplate on the form without recognising the sound, he will not be able to understand the nature of Divinity. Soham is sathwic in nature. This sathwa guna is Easwarathwa (the Shiva Principle). There is another principle that emanates from this Divine breath, namely, Vishnuthwa (the Vishnu Principle). What is the form of this Vishnu Principle? The feelings in the mind. In other words, mind is the Vishnu Principle. There is yet another form which emerges from the navel of Vishnu, namely, Brahma. Thus, the principles of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are emanating from the Soham Tathwa in a human being itself. In this trinity, Shiva is the Soham Tathwa, Vishnu is the Mind and Brahma is the Vak Swarupa (in the form of words). It means, every word that emerges from the human being is Brahma; every resolve (sankalpa) emerging from the mind is Vishnu and every breath coming out of the body is Easwara. Thus, Divinity is permeating the entire human body. The body is living, as long as the life breath emanates from the body. Mind is made up of sankalpa (resolution) and vikalpa (negation or dissolution). This is the Vishnu Principle. The Principle that emerges from the navel of Vishnu is Brahma. What is the root cause for this Brahma Principle? That which attracts the sound (sabda).
It is said Sabda Brahmamayi (sound is Brahman) Characharamayi (that which is permeating the whole universe, movable and immovable is Brahman) and Vangmayi (word is Brahman). Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi are the embodiments of these three, namely, sound, pervasiveness and word. In every breath of the human being there is this soham chanting. Without this soham sound, the breath cannot exist. Similarly, devoid of mind sankalpa cannot arise. And, without sankalpa, the word cannot emerge. Thus, there is inseparable and inter-dependent relationship between the soham sound, the sankalpa in the mind and the word. Several efforts are being made by several people to recognise this relationship. However, this principle cannot be understood by sadhana. It can be realised only through enquiry.
Man today is engaged in the study of several Upanishads. What is the essence of these Upanishads? The essence of Upanishads is the principle of unity in diversity. We are nourishing and nurturing the body. For what purpose? What is the benefit accruing out of this nourishment? In fact, nothing. As long as the body exists, we have to feed it. As long as we take food, we sleep as well. During sleep, we experience happiness. But, once we wake up, are we able to experience the same happiness? No. Therefore, in order to experience everlasting bliss, we have to realise the essence of the Upanishads. Divinity has no names. All names and forms belong to God. There is no place in which He does not exist. Nor is there an object in this world, which does not belong to Him.
Embodiment of Love!
The essential nature of Divinity is Love. However, few
make the effort to recognise this principle of love. There are several
systems in the human body like the digestive system, nervous system, etc.
But, there is one main switch, which controls all the systems in the body.
The eyes see several colours. The tongue tastes several delicacies. The
ears hear several types of sounds. But, what is the basis for all these
experiences? That basis is called the fundamental principle, because of
which man is able to experience all these things. That fundamental
principle is given the name of Atma. Because of this Atma Tathwa, several
sankalpas and bhavas arise in our heart. Hridaya (heart) is
the Veda. The sankalpas are the sruthis. The essence of these sruthis is
Vedantha. Hence, it should not be presumed that the Vedas are somewhere in
a distant corner. The all-pervading sound of the sruthis is constantly in
us, with us and is part of us. Therefore, we have to recognise the sounds
that emerge from the Veda of our heart. During the past three days, in the
morning you must have observed the Pundits chanting the Vedic manthras
with several intonations, in the Poornachandra Auditorium. When you hear
the sound of the manthras, you feel very happy, even though you are not
able to understand their meanings. There may be several meanings for the
words in these manthras. But, the very sound emerging from the chanting of
these manthras will make you happy.
In order to know the true meanings of the words in these manthras, one must enter into the process of spiritual enquiry in an environment of deep silence. For, it is only in the depth of silence, the voice of God can be heard. Yesterday, I was mentioning to you in My discourse about the inherent nature (sahaja) of an object. How did sweetness come into the sugarcane? How did hot taste come into the chillies? How did bitterness come into the neem leaves? How did fragrance come into the jasmine flower? We call it nature. No, no. The Divine Nature is expressing itself through these forms.
In order to understand the nature of Divinity (Paramatma), we must engage our mind in the contemplation of the Transcendental Principle (Parathathwa). Where does the mind come from? It comes from the sankalpa (resolve) and vikalpa (negation or dissolution). They in turn come from the nature of sabda (sound). Sound is the real Brahma Thathwa (the Principle of Brahma). The soham principle in the Brahmathathwa is Atmathathwa, in essence. Therefore, in order to understand Atmathathwa one has to recognise the nature of the swaasa (Divine breath). Soham is also called as Hamsa Gayathri. "So"(sah) means that, and "ham"(aham), means I. Thus, soham means "I am that". What is this "that"? What is it that proclaims "I am that"? Is it mind? If so, the mind becomes an obstacle to realise the soham principle, since it is like a mad monkey. How can you march forward in your spiritual journey by relying on such an unsteady mind? This kind of approach is not correct. Manas (mind) is verily the embodiment of Vishnu, who is all-pervading. Without such a mind there cannot be the swaasa (breath). It is only on account of the life breath the mind functions. In order to understand such subtle meanings, one has to depend upon the method of enquiry. When you sit for meditation on the soham principle, you will observe that the "so" comes in and "ham" goes out while inhaling and exhaling. This process has to be watched carefully. Here "so" relates to the Divine Principle and "ham" to ahamkara (ego). Thus, while Divinity enters into our body, ego leaves us. And that Divine Principle which has entered into our body must be held firmly in our system by the process of Kumbhakam (holding on). People doing pranaayama sadhana call these processes puraka (inhaling), kumbhaka (holding) and rechaka (exhaling) of the breath. Soham, the Hamsa Gayathri consists of inhaling the breath through one nostril while chanting "so" and exhaling the breath through the other nostril while chanting "ham"and in between holding the breath for sometime. The most effective method lies in observing strict timings for all the three processes involved in the soham. Disregarding the timings, if one does pranaayama, it will endanger one's life itself. The time spent for the three processes of Puraka, Kumbhaka and rechaka must be exactly the same. Time is the essence of this pranaayama sadhana, since God is Kalaswarupa (the embodiment of time). Our sankalpa (resolutions) must always be sathwic in nature. In order that we have sathwic sankalpas, our swaasa (breath) must be pure in nature. Thus, the principle of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are inseparable and interdependant. They are one and the same. We must try to understand the essential nature of their unity.
Today, no one is able to realise the true meaning of the Upanishads. It will take at least a month to describe, analyse and understand the inner meaning of each one of the slokas in the Upanishads. There are several meanings for each word and we must take that meaning that is appropriate to a given situation. A small example. There is a young boy who is still in the process of learning to talk. Considering his age, if you say orally the word "Rama", he will pronounce it as "Lama". That is the correct pronunciation at his age, so far as he is concerned. But, in our view, it may be wrong. It is only when we take into consideration all factors like the age, time and the particular word used, it is possible to decide whether it is right or wrong. There are many educated boys. If you ask them to spell chaapa (mat), they will pronounce it as chepa (fish). It is only when one knows what chaapa is, he will be able to distinguish it from chepa. Otherwise both chaapa and chepa would mean the same for him. In the Gajendra Moksha episode in Bhagawatha, Lord Vishnu was rushing to the rescue of the elephant from the jaws of the crocodile. His consort, Lakshmi was on his side at that time. She wanted to ask Him where He was rushing to, but there was no time. The famous poet Pothana was describing that scene beautifully thus:
|" Running fast behind Lord
To enquire as to what has happened;
But, she was not sure, whether
He would reply; anxious and confused,
Her locks of hair loosening while running
Unable to catch up with Him
She sat down dumb-founded".
Thus, each language and each country
have some beautiful ways of portraying a given situation, which are
specific to them.
If you want to know the meanings of the Upanishads, you have to approach the great souls who are well-versed in them. The essence of all the Upanishads is derived from the Brahmathathwa. And this Brahmathathwa expresses itself through the vaak (word). Vishnuthathwa is based on the mind. It consists of good thoughts. When there are good thoughts in the mind, they will find expression through good words. The good words in turn, give good meanings. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara are not three separate entities. Brahma is swaasa (breath), Vishnu is manas (mind) and Maheswara is vaak (word). The unity of these three is the Atmathathwa.
Embodiments of Divine Love!
You will not be able to understand these concepts, if I go on repeating them like this. It is also possible that those who do not know the real meaning of the Upanishads may have some misconceptions. Therefore, the Upanishads have to be taught in a peaceful, sacred and calm environment. The manthras have to be chanted with a clean breath. A particular manthra has been prescribed in the Upanishads for cleansing the breath, while explaining the Swaasathathwa. If you chant this manthra, several diseases will be cured. First and foremost our breath will become clean. The blockages in the vascular system will be removed and blood will flow freely; the cataract in the eye will get dissolved; the sound coming out of our throat will be purified. However, we must chant these manthras with correct intonations. Only then the proper meaning of these manthras will be revealed to us. The entire nature of the body will be revealed by the essence of the Upanishads. How does the tongue know the taste? The tongue is able to reveal different tastes of different food materials. How is it possible? There are lakhs of taste buds on the tongue, with the help of which the tongue reveals the different tastes. Similarly, there are crores of light rays in the eyes. Thus, the Upanishadic manthras will be able to cure several diseases of the body, when chanted properly. Also, when you realise their correct meanings, your behaviour itself will undergo a tremendous change. Alongwith the change of behaviour, sacred feelings arise in your heart. Ultimately, these sacred feelings find their expression as sacred words.
Embodiments of Divine Love!
There are several words in several languages in the world. They have several meanings as well. But, there must an intimate relationship between the words and their meanings. There is no use spending all your time in dilating on the meanings. It will become an exercise in futility, especially in the spiritual field. The proper swara (sound) in chanting the various manthras is very important. I often quote the example of people chanting the Aum manthra. Several people do not chant Omkara with correct intonation as they do it in a most mechanical way. The chanting of this manthra is done with three syllables, namely, 'A', 'U' and "M'. 'A' comes from the throat, 'U' from the tongue and 'M' from the lips. The combined form of these three syllables, namely, AUM emerges from the navel. Several people when asked to chant AUM they give us the spelling. This is not what is required. All the three syllables must be chanted simultaneously in unison. The chanting of Omkara can be compared to the taking off, soaring in the sky and finally landing of the aeroplane. It is only when a manthra is chanted in the proper manner that you get good feelings. Several people tell Me, "Swami, I am doing Omkara for several years. But, I am unable to have a steady faith." Yes, I know. How is it possible when you are not chanting with correct intonation and not understanding its true meaning?
The Upanishads appear to be very difficult to understand. But, if you know the meanings of the various concepts nothing is more easy. Those who have lost their teeth will have difficulty in chanting various manthras. Even the sounds while chanting the manthras will be different. While practising, you need not have to chant the manthras loudly. You do it within yourself. In music, some people concentrate on the swara (note). They will change their tone to be in tune with the swara. While doing so, they change their physical posture also. Very often this posture appears awkward. People know that when the swara is not in tune with the sruthi it becomes apaswara (discordant note). In order to avoid this, one has to control his body also. You must have observed several people, while singing bhajans. When they sing loudly there will be a change in their tone (swara). This should not happen. This must be controlled. Some people while singing devotional songs close their eyes. Some people raise one eye while the other eye is kept at a low level. All these contortions present an awkward picture. That is why, some people while playing on the harmonium keep a small mirror over it in order to observe their lips, eyes, etc. If the song is not sung in a proper swara he can see that his own face looked awkward. He will himself feel disgusted with this. It is important that one's posture is also good while singing a keertan or a bhajan song. He should not make others unhappy by the contortions of his face. Absolute concentration is necessary while performing such things. We often do certain acts inadvertently. For example, while drinking milk or coffee we indulge in conversation. Then the milk will spill and spatter on our dress and may even get our throat choked. We should never talk while drinking something or eating. In the olden days the great Rishis used to maintain silence while eating or drinking. Not only that; they invariably used to chant the following mantra before partaking of the food.
|“Brahmarpanam Brahma Havir|
Brahmaiva Thena Ganthavyam
Brahma Karma Samadhina.”
You affirm that the food is an offering to Brahman. Then where is Brahman? He is within. So, immediately God replies from within:
|Aham Vaishvanaro Bhutva|
If you talk while taking food, the
digestive system will be spoiled. Once the digestive system is spoiled,
several diseases will confront you. Pray to God silently keeping your eyes
closed and then partake of your food. Most of the children do not know
this rule. Take your food in silence in a calm atmosphere. Do not howl,
talk and chit chat. Do not laugh or cry while taking food. Do not
entertain any worry before or while taking food. These are some of the
precautions one has to take to lead a happy daily life.
Embodiments of Divine Love!
You speak of sadhana. But, sadhana is not that easy. It is easier to repeat names of the nine forms of Bhakti, like like sravanam, keertanam, etc. When do you get into the ultimate step of atmanivedanam (self-surrender)? It is only after you establish sneham (friendship) with God. Several people do not know what is real friendship. In their opinion friendship means wishing each other 'hello, hello'. What is this 'hello, hello'? Nothing. It simply does not mean anything. It is only a casual accosting. This is not friendship. Friendship presupposes an inseparable relationship between two individuals. Their bodies may be different. But their life principle is one and the same. When the two individuals have different thoughts and feelings, it is not friendship. It is said: "A man with a dual mind is half blind." Where there are two kinds of thoughts, it becomes a dual mind. How then can you contemplate on divinity with a dual mind? Children are serious of doing sadhana. Considering their sraddha (earnest spirit of enquiry) I wish to elaborate on this aspect. Do not ever leave the sacred path. Then only will you have a sacred life. You can definitely achieve this. Do not waste time. At present you are wasting a lot of time in vain pursuits. Time is our life. It is said Kaalaya Namaha, Kaala Kaalaya Namaha. Time is everything. If you spend such a valuable time indulging in vain and unsacred things, how can you get it back? It is only to sanctify the time that God has given you your span of time. If you channelise your thoughts in the right path, your actions will be right. The kaala (time) karma (action) kaarana (cause) and karthavya (duty) must be harmonised to become one. What is this human body after all? It is just a water bubble. Any moment it may burst. It is bound to perish any day - either today, tomorrow or day after. We should not grieve over such a perishable body for that which has come is bound to go; that which has gone is bound to return. Therefore, we need not attach much importance to this coming and going. We must make effort to realise that which has no birth and death; which is sacred and which is unsacred; which is happiness and which is sorrow. What are difficulties? In My view, difficulties are better than pleasure and comforts. It is not prudent to pray for happiness and comfort. The wisdom you gain in times of difficulty is not available in happy times. You ask any realised soul or a saintly person as to how he acquired this great wisdom? He will tell you that he underwent several sorrows and difficulties and then only he could get that wisdom. Today, people desire to have kaivalya (liberation) without undergoing any difficulty or spending a pie. How is it possible? You must work hard. Just by sitting somewhere and happily enjoying things you will find difficulties painful. It is only after undergoing difficulties you must enjoy happiness.
Once Krishna came to Kunti to enquire about her welfare. Kunti asked Krishna, "When did You come? How is the war going on?" Krishna replied, "Mother, birth and death, good and bad - these are common to everybody. You forget about these things. You tell Me what do you want". Then Kunti requested Krishna, "My son, until I leave my body and merge in your Lotus Feet, please continue to give me difficulties". Krishna enquired, "Oh Mother! You have been undergoing difficulties right from the time you married King Pandu. Will that not suffice? Why are you asking for further difficulties"? Then Kunti replied, "Oh Krishna, You do not know the happiness in undergoing difficulties. I only know about it. Because I had undergone several difficulties, I am enjoying your divine presence constantly. All my sons earned your grace. The sons born out of my womb became the recipients of your Divine Grace. That itself gives me great pleasure. What is the use of having several children without earning your Divine Grace? What happiness do I derive from that?"
|"King Dhritarashtra had a number of sons but ultimately what was his fate? Sage Suka was not married and had no son,but did he suffer on account of this?"|
"There is no happiness by having
sons nor is there any loss by not having sons. The children that are born
must bring credit to the family. They must lead a life of good behaviour.
They must join good company. My sons are under your Divine umbrella. From
morning till evening they constantly chant your Divine Name. What more
happiness do I desire? I pray that I continue to enjoy the bliss. Oh
Krishna". Will the mothers of present times pray like this? Do they court
difficulties of their own accord? No, no. They want sons. But they do not
desire that they live in the Divine presence of God. They are afraid of
such a prospect. What is the use, if they sit somewhere, without reaching
the Divine presence. The purpose of a human birth is to reach the Lotus
Feet of the Lord.
|Having grasped what ought to be grasped, |
Do not let go of the grip till you succeed.
Having desired what ought to be desired,
Hold on till your desire is fulfilled.
Having asked what ought to be asked,
Hold on till you obtain what you had asked for.
Having thought what ought to be thought,
Hold on till you succeed.
Either God should yield to your prayer
Or you should ask wholeheartedly with intensity.
This is the path a true devotee should pursue.
There will be several sorrows, losses and difficulties confronting
us in life. You should not mind them. We should always consider the Divine
presence as the greatest treasure that we can seek. You must develop an
unwavering and abiding faith and devotion in the eternal truth that is
Divinity. That is the only thing you should pray for. Your devotion should
be steady, pure and selfless. People want devotion as well as everything
else in the objective world. How is it possible? You have only one mouth
and you want to drink both milk and water simultaneously. That is not
possible. Therefore, you must desire only one, that is divinity. If you
develop yearning for God, He will Himself look after all your needs.
Divine presence will give you real happiness. It is the only
permanent happiness in this world. There is no sorrow, no
unhappiness and no worry in the Divine presence. Someone came to Me and
enquired. "Swami, I am a devotee of God. How is that I am always deep in
sorrow"? I replied, "If you are really a devotee, how did this sorrow come
to you? What you derive from God is happiness and not sorrow. If you say
that you are experiencing sorrow, it is not correct. God always gives
happiness and bliss. There is nothing like sorrow with God. What you
experience is not God's sorrow. You must have borrowed it from somebody
and attributed it to God. That is not correct. God is the embodiment of
bliss. He always gives happiness only.
Mamaivamsho Jeevaloke Jeevabhuta Sanathanah (The eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being) is the declaration of Lord Krishna. You, who are the amsa (part) of the divine will get only divine feelings. Will God's prasada be ever bitter? No, never. But people out of their ignorance think that way. Madhwacharya, the great exponent of dualism used to live in the Kannada region. He was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Once he told his disciples that they should observe the ekadashi vrata. Commencing from that day, for three days they observed fasting constantly contemplating on God without even taking any food or even water. On the third day, in the night, Madhwacharya appeared in their dream and advised them "My dear disciples, this is not sadhana. You hold on to the principles, to the Divine Feet of Lord Krishna; not to the formalities. Otherwise when will you sanctify your life? This is what I have practised throughout my life". People observe ekadashi vrata and fast for three days. On the fourth day they make preparations for making forty dosas (savoury pan cakes). Is this ekadashi vrata? This is not correct. What you have to do on the fourth day is to add love to your sadhana. Once you cultivate love for God, you will forget hunger and thirst. Sage Viswamithra was taking Rama and Lakshmana to the forest to protect the yajna being performed by him. Rama and Lakshmana, sons of King Dasaratha were of tender age at that time. They never experienced any difficulties till then. Dasaratha was much worried about their welfare in the forest. When they reached the banks of river Sarayu, Viswamithra wanted to teach them the manthras of bala and athibala so that they would not be bothered by hunger and lack of sleep.They happily followed Sage Viswamithra who initiated them into the manthra. Did Sage Viswamithra not know that Rama was an Avatar? In spite of knowing this fact, why did he initiate Rama into these manthras?
Several people argue like this. It is true that Rama and Lakshmana were Divine personalities. But, they had taken up human frames, which needed food and sleep. Therefore, inorder that they did not suffer from hunger and lack of sleep Viswamithra initiated them into bala and athibala manthras. If one is not troubled by hunger and lack of sleep, any amount of sadhana can be undertaken. Anything can be achieved. Even the most dreadful demons can be defeated in a battle. That is why Sage Viswamithra initiated them into these manthras. After walking some distance, Lakshmana enquired as to why they were initiated into these manthras. Viswamithra replied, "My dear sons, you are of tender age. You cannot bear the hunger and lack of sleep. While you are taking food or sleeping if the demons confront you, you will be in trouble. Therefore you must always be alert and on your guard. These bala and athibala manthras now relieve you of hunger and lack of sleep". Mahatmas (great souls) teach manthras to establish peace in the world. Therefore one should not put silly questions like, "Did Viswamithra not know that Rama was an Avatar?" The manthras were taught to them keeping in view the requirement at that time.
Bhagawan concluded Hid Divine Discourse with the Bhajan, "Prema Muditha Manase Kaho..."
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