Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hasten slowly!

Q। Appalled by my lack of spirituality and purity of thoughts and actions someone within me burst out with the below appended poem
I searched for God couldnt find proof for existence of one
Longed for a guru but found none

Read many books and confused myself and my brethren

Became skeptic and argued about everything from tantra to zen

Nothing seemed to be right and no one in flesh seemed realized

In my hunt for enlightenment i got demoralized

Why do i want liberation,
How can i be a bhaktha if god is a myth

The questions are huge and so is my frustrations width

Greed came in under the guise of survival essential,

Then anger, lust and every sin you can name seemed inconsequential

Bah Karma is a bluff and we are but specks in a large universe

I did tell myself and reread richard dawkins every atheist verse

But oh mother i feel ashamed of myself when i see your picture on the wall
Although every claim of your presence a bluff i would call

What am I going through and where am I headed

What do i do to get my ego shreded

Bhagawan Ramana said so do vichara and I tried

But the mind resists and every few seconds i cried

Am i filled with so much filth that purification is impossible

Or am i such a genious that abating my thought storm is not feasible.

Nah this mind should be silenced and the thoughts stopped

All that destroys calmness and equanimity must be dropped
I might not believe in god nor in realization
But there is a better way to go through life and thats through
What do i do to maintain the calm

When for bread and existence I ship in the storm

I dont want to give up and say realization is through prarabdha or destiny
If i cant calm my mind now, my having sown seeds in a previous birth
to calm it seems funny. Guide me oh masters and my mother, if you do exist
I dont want intellect or siddhis through which i can persist

Just one boon i need and all the evils of this world i will resist
Tell me how my when thoughts arise upon them silence i can insist.
Will start with the opening line, "appalled by my lack of spirituality"।
There are two qualities which are best avoided by a
seeker - one of course is abhimana or an exaggerated sense of self- worth, but at the same time, the other is atma-ninda or self- depreciation. What Vedanta stresses is a healthy does of self-esteem. Abhimana or Ahankara is related to external features- real or imagined (– as in the case of vanity). Self-esteem and self-worth are attributes that have for their basis माय own view of myself. It is an intrinsic self-acceptance, unrelated टू anything I possess materially. Self-image is enhanced by a life लिवेद with values. So "dharma" becomes extremely important. Now, with regards to our attitude when we fail to meet up to our ideals - what is stressed is three things - objectivity, non- judgementality and cheerfulness. IN the words of the Bhagawad Gita Uddhared atmanatmanam natmanam avasadayet - By your Higher Self, buoy your lower self, your ego.
Swami Chinmayananda-ji would say - the spiritual path is a process of
evolution and not revolution - so hasten slowly! Be non-judgemental about your ego's slip-ups. Be forgiving - most of all of yourself. And no - this is NOT complacency but objectivity, and there is a world of difference between the two।
So there is really no room for despondency in Vedanta. There has to be a very healthy dose of cheerfulness - prashantachittaya - is the expression in the Mundaka Up to describe this very important quality. If Vedantic or spiritual pursuits are leaving someone feeling frustrated, dejected, and despirited, then it is most unfortunate - samsara can do this job much more effectively! A well-known parable Swami Chinmayananda would talk about is about a young lad who finds a letter written by his grandfather, telling him about a grand treasure buried deep in one of the rooms in the old family farmhouse. The letter is very detailed, all the descriptions of the house are accurate and there is no doubt in his mind that was written was true. SO he starts digging, and then some. After three days of digging day and night, there is nothing. Just dirt. What should this boy now do? Simple - gird up and dig! The story may be simplistic but the message is clear. Another example Swamiji would give for this would be about a person who is tightly holding onto a tree and shouting - "I am bound; help!". A passerby sees him wailing in agony and very goodnaturedly asks him what is the problem. "I am stuck to this tree. Please save me." this guys sobs. The passerby smiles and says "- my good friend, you are not really stuck to this tree - it is simply your notion that there are some ties that are binding you to this tree." "What!" - exclaims the man - somewhat indignant - "cant you see all these ties, these numerous ropes, - it easy for you to say - after all you have no fetters that bind, you are standing a safe distance away from the tree, and naturally do not quite understand my difficulty" The passer- by replies "Sir, trust me, the only things binding you are in your mind. Let go" The simile I am sure is quite clear. These relationships we have cultivated to this world, are simply notional binding ties. "tyagenaike amrtatvam anasuh" the Upanishad thunders - yet we lament. If not external, at least internal sannyasa to begin with, has to be slowly cultivated. Now someone else asked - "I understand I am awareness - now what? what do i do now?" Someone else talked about how "understanding" I am Brahman"can be compatible with, in the same breath, "getting irritated at my colleague" or someone else
This is where there is basically a mixing up of levels in this. If
understanding that I am not a karta/bhokta is clear, then "what do i do now?" is a meaningless question;
What is needed is to further anchor that very understanding, ingrain
it - only then does it result in a transformation of one's personality।

Swami Paramarthananda-ji gives a beautiful example - you
put a spoon of sugar in a cup of your morning coffee. Now the cup of coffee has sugar in it - you taste it and to your surprise it is not sweet! Perhaps it is needs more sugar and so you add two more spoons - it is still not sweet. Very frustrating. What is needed is "stirring" ("kalarufication Swamiji will say smilingly) - The very first spoon of sugar was enough. What is needed is to stir it - till the sweetness is amalgamated into every drop of the beverage।

Similarly, tat tvam asi
once understood has to be internalized. There should be no room for complacency - one has to do mananam and nidhidhyasanam to make sure that one gains "nishta" in that very Jnanam, and perfunctory modes of thought/action are nullified. And for this, shatsampatti becomes very crucial - building up of qualities such as shama, dama, etc - which will enable the mind to dwell on this teaching, and not get distracted. Now - most effective of all is prayer. Our Mother ParAshakti is no myth - She is as Real as You are - dont look for proof of Her existence - know She IS because You ARE - the "search" is only to understand that you are nonseparate from Her - so dont suppress your thoughts - you can't - but instead channel them to Her - Surrender to Her in action and in thought -- it is the veritable "Brahmastra" in the war you are waging on samsara - the benevolent Mother IS verily the Mukthi Nilaya!


Anonymous said...

Wow! What pious thoughts specially on a Friday ( that too a Good Friday) - i love every word in this para.

Shyamji writes :

(Our Mother ParAshakti is no myth - She is as Real as You are - dont look for proof of Her existence - know She IS because You ARE - the "search" is only to understand that you are nonseparate from Her - so dont suppress your thoughts - you can't - but instead channel them to Her - Surrender to Her in action and in thought -- it is the veritable "Brahmastra" in the war you are waging on samsara - the benevolent Mother IS verily the Mukthi Nilaya!)

Yes! The Divine Mother is the 'Ultimate Reality ' - She is verily the 'Brahman' !

No wonder , Our Advaita Acharya has composed many hymns on the Divine Mother , Adi Parashakthi !

Kanchi Mahaperiyavaaal says :

" Dhanuh paushpam maurvee madhukara mayee pancha viskikhaa

Vasantah saamanto Malaya-marud-aayaodhana rathah;

Tatah-api-ekas sarvam himagiri-sute kaam-api krpaam

Apaangaat-te labdhvaa jagad-idam-anango vijayate

What the grace of the Divine Mother can achieve is illustrated by Sri Sankara Bhagavathpada in this verse occurring in Soundarya Lahari. Ananga, Cupid, is able to conquer this world, though he is equipped only with a bow of sugarcane, whose string is composed of a row of bees, with five arrows of flowers, with only Vasanta or Spring as his lieutenant, and with the Malaya-breeze as his chariot. Thus ill-equipped, from the standard of a warrior, he is able to achieve the feat of conquering the world, because he has obtained the grace of Sri Parvati, daughter of the snow-capped mountain, conveyed through the glance from the corners of Her eyes.

In this Ananga’s conquest of the world, the bow is sweet and brittle and the arrows are fragrant and soft. The person who wields the weapon is Ananga, one without any form. Yet, he derives his strength from the source of all strength, the grace of the Divine Mother.

(((((snip snip snip))))

Sri Kamakshi is depicted as holding the bow and the arrows of Kamadeva, controlling Kaama within Her eyes. Hence Kamakshi. She holds the sweet sugarcane bow representing the five senses through which the mind is influenced and is functioning, and won the grace of Lord Siva, who alone, as the destroyer of Kaama and Kaala, is capable of saving us form the cycle of birth and death. If we surrender ourselves at the feet of the Divine Mother, in the manner in which Sri Adi Sankara has taught us in Soundarya Lahari. She will help us to keep the mind and the senses under control and purify our heart, so that we may attain perfection without being afflicted by kaama and lobha (lust and desires) and realise the Ultimate Truth and achieve sublime peace and happiness."

courtesy -

On this Auspicious Friday , join me in saluting The Divine Mother Kanchi Kamakshi and ask her to bestow on us both jnana balam, buddhi balam, yoga balam !

meera said...

Hari Om Shyam,

Your observation on a cheerful disposition for a seeker, for a spot on! Nothing is as critical...thank you.


yuxing said...