November 10, 2013 Comments Off on Self-denial is not renouncing things
Self-denial is not renouncing things, it is denying the self; and the first
lesson of self-denial is humility.
Bowl of Saki, November 8, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:
There is a story of a dervish who spoke with a young man who was very
interested in his words of wisdom. The young man said, ‘If I come to your
part of the world, I will come to see you. Will you tell me where you
live?’ The dervish replied, ‘I live in the place of the liars’. … When he
went to that country and asked for the dervish, the people said, ‘We do not
know any place of liars, but there is a dervish living somewhere here’. So
they took him near the graveyard where the dervish lived.
The first question the young man asked was, ‘Why did you give me a name
which is not the name of the place?’ The dervish replied, ‘Yes, this is a
place of liars’. It was the graveyard. He said, ‘Come with me, I shall show
you. This here is a tomb, they say, of a general. Where is his sword, where
is his power, where is his voice, what is he now? Is he a general? Here,
this one was called a prime-minister. Where is his ministry, where is his
office, where is his pen, where is his power? In the same ground! This
person was called a judge. Whom is he judging now? He is in the ground.
Were they not liars? Did they not tell a lie saying I am so and so, and I
am such and such?’
There is a beautiful story told of the King Akbar that when he was grieving
with an almost ungovernable grief over the death of his mother, his
ministers and friends tried to comfort him by influence and power. Akbar
replied, “Yes, that is true, and that only makes my grief greater; for
while I have everyone to bow before me, to give way to me, to salute me and
obey me, my mother was the one person before whom I could humble myself;
and I cannot tell you how great a joy that was to me.”
Think then of the far greater joy of humbling oneself before the
Father-Mother God on Whose Love one can always depend. A spark only of love
expresses itself in the human father and mother; the Whole of Love in God.
In whatever manner a man humbles himself it can never be enough to express
the humility of the limited self before Limitless Perfection. Self-denial
is not renouncing of things, it is denying the self; and the first lesson
of self-denial is humility.
April 25, 2013 Comments Off on LET GOD DO EVERYTHING
When the sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) has combined bhakti yoga and karma yoga, he feels that God does everything, that he is an instrument in the hands of God. Thus he slowly frees himself from the bonds of karma and attains freedom through action.
When the sadhaka combines jnana yoga with karma yoga he feels that prakrti (nature) does everything. He feels that he is the silent witness of the activities of the mind, the senses and the three states (waking, dream and deep sleep).
The karma yogi feels the indwelling presence everywhere. He develops adaptability, He shares all he has (physical, mental and spiritual) with others. He observes strict brahmacarya. He offers all his works unto the Lord. Before going to sleep he says: “O Lord, whatever I have done today, is done as worship of thee. May thou be pleased to accept it.” Thus he burns the fruits of action, and he is no longer bound.
The karma yogi attains freedom through action. Thus he gets purity of heart and, through purity of heart, he attains knowledge of the self.
Some aspirants are humble at the beginning of their career. But, when they get name, fame, some followers, some disciples, they become victims of pride. Now they cannot do any service, they cannot carry anything on their heads or even in their hands.
The yogi that carries the baggage with joy and feeling, amidst a multitude of admirers, without making any show of humility, must be admired.
“Restraining and subduing the senses, regarding everything equally, rejoicing in the welfare of all, these alone come to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter XII, Verse 4). Such a man becomes a good karma yogi. He reaches the goal quickly. – Swami Sivananda
April 12, 2013 Comments Off on GRADUAL PROGRESS
The mind is so framed that it cannot work without expectation of fruits or anticipation of rewards for actions. If you smile when you meet your friend, you expect a smile in return. If you give a glass of water to somebody, you expect something in return. If you salute a friend, you expect him to salute you in return. This is the inborn nature of a worldly-minded man.
Train the mind to work disinterestedly. Discipline the mind with patience and perseverance. Worldly-minded people cannot understand the spirit of niskamya seva (unselfish, motiveless service) as their minds are charged with or even saturated with impurities. In the beginning all your actions may be selfish. But if you work hard in the field of karma yoga for two years, then five actions out of a hundred will be unselfish and ninety-five will be selfish. Scrutinise your motives. Purify them. Struggle hard.
After some years of incessant struggle, fifty actions out of a hundred will be unselfish. A good time will come and all your actions will be unselfish and pure. The time is not very far to reach the ideal if you keep the ideal in front of you daily, and if you struggle hard and are sincere and earnest in your purpose.
Every work is worship of the Lord. In the light of karma yoga all actions are sacred. The aspirant who always takes delight in doing work which is considered by worldly man as `menial services’, and who always does such acts willingly, he and only he will become a dynamic yogi. Only he is completely free from conceit and egoism. Only he will have no downfall. The canker of pride cannot touch him.
The world is nothing but manifestation of God. Service of humanity is service of God. Service is worship. People are impatient, they expect to get siddhis (psychic powers) after doing a little service. But the real karma yogi, who serves people with humility and who sees God in every face, is honoured and respected by all. – Swami Sivananda
April 6, 2013 Comments Off on Good And Evil
The universe contains two dynamic forces. They are good and evil. Good and evil are twin forces, born of the same father. They are called dvandvas or the pairs of opposites. They have no independent existence. Evil exists to glorify good. This is its only raison d’etre. Evil is negative good!
Evil is a destructive force. Good is a constructive force. There is neither absolute good nor absolute evil in this universe. Evil has no independent existence apart from good. Wherever there is good, there is evil. You cannot expect absolute good in this relative world.
You can find absolute good in Brahman alone. From the viewpoint of the basic reality which lies at the back of evil and good, evil and good dwindle into an airy nothing. Evil and good are only mental creations. Transcend good and evil and reach the abode of supreme peace and immortality.
For a jnani, who has knowledge of the self, there is neither good nor bad. The `why’ of evil can only be understood when you get atma jnana (self knowledge). Do not rack your brain now. This is a transcendental mystery which only Brahman knows. Finite intellect that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot find out a solution to this problem of evil. When you are fully established in your self, then evil and good both vanish altogether.
Transmute evil into good by changing your mental attitude, or angle of vision. Out of evil good often cometh. Destruction is necessary for regeneration, for renovation and for reconstruction.
Tamas (inertia) is evil. Satva (purity) is good. So convert tamas into satva. Then evil is transmuted into good. Selfishness is evil and selflessness is good. Lust is evil, brahmacarya (celibacy) is good. Greed is evil. Generosity, integrity, disinterestedness all these are good. Pride is evil and humility is good. – Swami Sivananda
April 1, 2013 Comments Off on We can never sufficiently humble
We can never sufficiently humble our limited self before limitless perfection.
Bowl of Saki, March 30, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
I have seen with my own eyes souls who have attained saintliness and who have reached to great perfection; and yet such a soul will stand before an idol of stone with another, with a fellow man, and worship, not letting him know that he is in any way more advanced than other men, keeping himself in a humble guise, not making any pretense that he has gone further in his spiritual evolution. The further such souls go, the more humble they become; the greater the mystery they have realized, the less they speak about it.
The first aspect of prayer is giving thanks to God for all the numberless blessings that are bestowed upon us at every moment of the day and night, and of which we are mostly unconscious. The second aspect of prayer is laying our shortcomings before the unlimited perfection of the divine Being, and asking His forgiveness. This makes man conscious of his smallness, of his limitation, and therefore makes him humble before his God. And, by humbling himself before God man does not lose any virtue. God alone has the right to demand complete humility.
There is a beautiful story told of the King Akbar that when he was grieving with an almost ungovernable grief over the death of his mother, his ministers and friends tried to comfort him by influence and power. Akbar replied, “Yes, that is true, and that only makes my grief greater; for while I have everyone to bow before me, to give way to me, to salute me and obey me, my mother was the one person before whom I could humble myself; and I cannot tell you how great a joy that was to me.”
Think, then, of the far greater joy of humbling one’s self before the Father-Mother God on Whose Love one can always depend. A spark only of love expresses itself in the human father and mother; the Whole of Love in God. In whatever manner a man humbles himself it can never be enough to express the humility of the limited self before Limitless Perfection.
March 20, 2013 Comments Off on It is the sincere devotee
It is the sincere devotee who knows best how to humble himself before God.
Bowl of Saki, March 19, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
There are many different feelings which have an influence upon us, and which give a feeling of joy, of exaltation, but there is no sentiment greater or more effective than the feeling of bringing one’s faults and weaknesses before God to ask for His pardon. To become conscious of one’s shortcomings, to be sorry for them, to repent of them, and to ask His forgiveness in all humility, no ethics, no philosophy can give a greater joy than this. It is the sincere devotee of God who knows best what feeling it is to humble oneself before God. The proud one, ignorant of the greatness of God, of His all-sufficient power, does not know what is this exaltation that raises the soul from earth to heaven. To be really sorry for one’s errors is like opening the gates of heaven.
The customs existing in all parts of the world of bowing and bending and prostrating are all devoted to the one Being, who alone deserves it, and no one else. There is beauty in these customs. Man is the most egoistic being in creation. He keeps himself veiled from God, the perfect Self within, by the veil of his imperfect self, which has formed his false ego. But by the extreme humility with which he stands before God and bows and bends and prostrates himself before the almighty Being, he makes the highest point of his presumed being, the head, touch the earth where his feet are, and thus in time he washes off the black stains of his false ego, and the light of perfection gradually manifests. Only then does he stand face to face with his God, the idealized Deity, and when the ego is absolutely crushed, then God remains within and without, in both planes, and none exists save He.
March 15, 2013 Comments Off on As life unfolds itself to man
As life unfolds itself to man, the first lesson he learns is humility.
Bowl of Saki, March 13, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Every moment of our life, if we can see wisely, contains some fault or error, and asking pardon is just like purifying the heart and washing it white. Only think of the joy of humbling yourself before God! … humbling yourself before that Spirit, that Ideal, who is the true Father and Mother, on Whose love you can always depend — it is a spark of His love which expresses itself in the earthly father and mother — and in whatever manner you humble yourself before Him, it can never be enough. To humble your limited self before His Perfection, that is to deny yourself. Self denial is not renouncing things, it is denying the self, and its first lesson is humility.
~~~ “Religious Gatheka 8, Prayer”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)
This is self-denial: that a man says, ‘I am not, Thou art;’ or that an artist looking at his picture, says, ‘It is Thy work, not mine;’ or that a musician, hearing his composition, says, ‘It is Thy creation, I do not exist.’ That soul then is in a way crucified, and through that crucifixion resurrection comes. There is not the slightest doubt that when man has had enough pain in his life he rises to this great consciousness. But it is not necessary that only pain should be the means. It is the readiness on the part of man to efface his part of consciousness and to efface his own personality, which lifts the veil that hides the spirit of God from the view of man.
As life unfolds itself to man the first lesson it teaches is humility; the first thing that comes to man’s vision is his own limitedness. The vaster God appears to him, the smaller he finds himself. This goes on and on until the moment comes when he loses himself in the vision of God.