March 20, 2013 Comments Off on Spiritual Pursuit is meant to free you
Spiritual Pursuit is meant to free you of Grief & Suffering
Bhagavadgeeta’s distinction lies in Sri Krishna presenting the philosophy of life with the sole intention of relieving Arjuna from grief that was torturing his mind. Thus, any philosophy must be aimed at redressing grief. Only then it becomes practical and related to day-to-day life and activities.
Why do I say this? See, all of you are seekers. You are given to philosophical enquiry. To be so is to be different from following a mere religious life, consisting of some formalities and practices. As seekers, your objective is to arrive at knowledge – ultimately the supreme Truth. Even an iota of this spiritual and philosophical practice should help your mind drop its suffering. Has this been so?
Whenever you are assailed by grief, question your mind: “I am a seeker of Truth. I am aiming at Self-knowledge. No desire or grief should assail me! How is it that I feel so tormented?” Every step in your pursuit must instantly bring sublimity and confidence to your mind, thereby relieving you of all suffering and grief.
Even the least of torment implies that your philosophical pursuit is not effective. This is not a pursuit of mere theoretical knowledge, disassociated from the problems and needs of life. There is all directness and purpose in this, and therefore its benefit must be evident.
It is to emphasize this that the supreme Truth is described as sat, cit and aananda. It represents the ultimate existence – sat. It is also Consciousness, cit, the awareness, and therefore something like your mind, which is, in fact, an expression of Consciousness. It is again blissful – aananda. Aananda also implies full freedom from mental agitation and agony. Seeking such a Truth should also bring about blissfulness. The sooner it does the better.
So, you should question your philosophical pursuit every time you feel grief. Externally, the cause of your grief may be anything – you may be aggrieved because of interactions with others; you may feel hurt by the words, treatment or responses from others; or there may be disappointment about your own life. Even for a saadhaka, there can be pain and disappointment due to lack of progress in his pursuit. People generally use the word “frustration”. Why should you be frustrated if you are a seeker of Truth? There is nothing to grieve over at all. And therefore frustration must have no place in your life.
This is why in Geeta, Krishna begins with the words: ashoocyaan anvashocaH (You are grieving over those who are not to be grieved about at all, 2.11). He also ends saying: ma shucaH (be not aggrieved, 18.66). Thus shoka (grief) is the sole subject, which philosophy constantly deals with and seeks to redress.
The point I wanted to emphasize is that every one of you should judge your own pursuit in this manner: “Am I becoming afflicted? Is there any grief or torment in my mind? If there is, my spiritual pursuit is not effective. I have not then understood spirituality properly. Inasmuch as I am a seeker, I must have samaadhaana (composure). I must have shama (sublimity of the mind) and I must have dama (my senses under my control). I must have enough of dispassion. Viveka should always be dancing in my mind. With viveka, vairaagya and samaadhaana, I should treat my mind constantly and make it free, light and peaceful.”
The test for your pursuit is in terms of the relief you get from mental agony and suffering. I would not like you to grieve at all on any account. Nothing new is going to take place in your life. The world has existed for an infinite length of time. In that all incidents have already taken place. The same alone will, if at all, visit you. There will be nothing more, judged properly.
Why should there be any grief then? And for what? Are you anguished that you have not progressed in your pursuit? No seeker can have progress all of a sudden! In fact, the progress will continue till the body falls! So what is there to grieve over lack of progress?
Is it that you are aggrieved about others then? That also should not be. Leave every one to his or her own nature! Understand that you are enfolded by nature. Try your best to remain free from the onslaughts of triguna. That is what a seeker can and should do.
Ultimately, what is called for is an evaluation of your own saadhanaa. In the mind level, philosophy has the aim of relieving grief and agitation; in the intelligence level, it must remove all doubts and delusions. Philosophy understood and related in this manner to grief-removal, is the unique contribution of the Bhagavadgeeta. -Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[This is an extract from Poojya Swamiji’s series on ‘Essential Concepts in Bhagavadgeeta’ that appeared in the November 2006 edition of the Monthly Journal Vicharasethu.]
(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012
March 15, 2013 Comments Off on Understanding Sannyaasa 2
Swamiji, I understand that true sannyaasa, based on spiritual wisdom, implies a wider outlook of life. Will it involve change of relationship with the society? How will a sannyaasin (or an enlightened soul) relate himself to the society and how should the society look at him?
Poojya Swamiji’s Response:
A person of enlightenment is very rare. At the same time, the need for such a one in every society can be felt every time. As Bhagavadgeeta describes him, he is the most wonderful person, having attained the most wonderful state – the Self itself being the most wonderful. His wonderfulness makes him dear and near to many a seeker and afflicted soul. People will rush to him for succour, finding him steeped in matchless goodness and benevolence.
To make himself available for such a new mission – involving a unique role of loka-sangraha by which all around him will be benefited – it is desirable that he gets away from bodily relationships, and throws open a new vista around him. In fact, it is with this in view that sannyaasa or the life of renunciation is described as a way of life or pursuit aimed at liberating oneself, and simultaneously promoting the welfare of the world – Aatmanah mokshaartham jagat hitaaya ca.
Our unique cultural thoughts as well as laws of dharma have emanated from the minds of such renounced and dedicated ascetics, no matter whether they were ascetics in a physically visible manner or not. Years of dedicated thinking, with the mind remaining free from usual clutches of passion, prejudice and fear (raaga, dvesha and bhaya) have been their wont. Through their austerity, they have evolved the code of conduct and norms of righteousness, applicable for one and all in every section of the society.
To be able to offer redemption to the afflicted and ignorant souls, who, unable to contain their agitations and doubts, seek the feet of the enlightened, the latter has certainly to be magnificent in every way. He should be like a moving God, with a heart as vast as the sky, and as deep as the ocean.
How can such magnificence be reached and preserved except when one gets away from the limiting environments of the so-called family and familial relations, in the usual sense of the terms?
Renunciation is coeval with true spiritual wisdom in two respects. One is that true wisdom irresistibly brings in the sense of renunciation – renunciation of the ego. Thereafter, it also induces the wise to lead a free life, not burdened by the constricted and selfish demands of the blood and matrimonial relations. Naturally, the sannyaasa way of life became the custom of such people.
Also, recognizing the greatness of sannyaasa, people started taking to sannyaasa as a pursuit for attaining the supreme spiritual wisdom, the unique Knowledge of the Self.
– Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha.
(c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2012
October 8, 2012 Comments Off on Aloneness Is Not Loneliness
Though we are all human beings, we have built walls between ourselves and our neighbors through nationalism, through race, caste, and class – which again breeds isolation, loneliness.
Now a mind that is caught in loneliness, in this state of isolation, can never possibly understand what religion is. It can believe, it can have certain theories, concepts, formulas, it can try to identify itself with that which it calls God; but religion, it seems to me, has nothing whatsoever to do with any belief, with any priest, with any church or so-called sacred book. The state of the religious mind can be understood only when we begin to understand what beauty is; and the understanding of beauty must be approached through total aloneness. Only when the mind is completely alone can it know what is beauty, and not in any other state.
Aloneness is obviously not isolation, and it is not uniqueness. To be unique is merely to be exceptional in some way, whereas to be completely alone demands extraordinary sensitivity, intelligence, understanding. To be completely alone implies that the mind is free of every kind of influence and is therefore uncontaminated by society; and it must be alone to understand what is religion – which is to find out for oneself whether there is something immortal, beyond time.
– JKrishnamurti, from:The Book of Life – December 2
December 6, 2011 Comments Off on Aloneness Is Not Loneliness
Though we are all human beings, we have built walls between ourselves and our neighbors through nationalism, through race, caste, and class -which again breeds isolation, loneliness.Now a mind that is caught in loneliness, in this state of isolation, can never possibly understand what religion is. It can believe, it can have certain theories, concepts, formulas, it can try to identify itself with that which it calls God; but religion, it seems to me, has nothing whatsoever to do with any belief, with any priest, with any church or so-called sacred book. The state of the religious mind can be understood only when we begin to understand what beauty is; and the understanding of beauty must be approached through total aloneness. Only when the mind is completely alone can it know what is beauty, and not in any other state.Aloneness is obviously not isolation, and it is not uniqueness. To be unique is merely to be exceptional in some way, whereas to be completely alone demands extraordinary sensitivity, intelligence, understanding. To be completely alone implies that the mind is free of every kind of influence and is therefore uncontaminated by society; and it must be alone to understand what is religion- which is to find out for oneself whether there is something immortal, beyond time. – J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life