How should one receive the Guru at one’s home?

Contents


1. Inviting the Guru to one’s home

1.1 Whom does the Guru visit?

‘Should the disciple visit the Guru or should the Guru visit the disciple? Why should Baba visit someone who does not visit Him for reasons like leave not being sanctioned at the workplace, crowded trains, family problems, etc. Baba feels like visiting only those who visit Him inspite of all such obstacles. Besides when one says “come over to our place” the emotion that “this house is mine” is in the mind. The Guru does not like that. One should harbour the spiritual emotion (bhav) that “this is the Guru’s home. He will come whenever He wishes”.’ (1), and that ‘I am living in the Guru’s house’. If one maintains this spiritual emotion then the Guru Himself visits one without an invitation and even moves freely in and around the house. Harbouring the spiritual emotion that ‘this is the Guru’s home’ some disciples put the name plate of the Guru instead of one’s own on the main door of the house while others inscribe the Guru’s Name on home appliances. Still others name their house or even their children after the Guru’s organisation (sanstha) instead of His Name.

1.2 What should one do when the Guru comes to one’s home?

A. When the Guru comes home one should decorate the house with flowers, lit lamps and by elegantly drawing designs on the floor with special white powder and colours (rangoli). One should remember Saint Tukaram Maharaj’s quote, “The day saints come home is in itself the day of Divali or Dasara”. This also facilitates the development of spiritual emotion towards the Guru. Just before His expected arrival one should keep half a cup (vati) of milk, a tumbler of lukewarm water to wash His feet and a towel to wipe them, at the entrance. Similarly, a platter containing sandalwood paste (gandha), turmeric (haldi), vermilion (kumkum), consecrated rice (akshata), flowers, a lamp (niranjan) with clarified butter and an offering of some sweetmeat or sugar should be kept ready for performing His arti (the ritual of waving lit lamps).

    One should wait on the road to receive the Guru at the scheduled time of His arrival. When He arrives one should escort Him to one’s home with honour. One should enter the house before Him and request Him to step onto a wooden platform (pat) placed outside the threshold of the door. Then one should pour milk from the cup (vati), on His feet with the left hand and with the right hand rub the milk onto them. Keeping the cup of milk aside one should pour lukewarm water from the tumbler over His feet with the left hand and they should be washed with the right hand. In cities, due to tiled flooring there is a likelihood of collection of water. So instead of a wooden platform the Guru should be requested to stand on a big plate (parat). At such times His feet should be washed only with a spoonful of milk and then with water. Since there is a likelihood of the milk and water accumulating in the plate and of making the Guru’s feet greasy, less milk should be used. The Guru should then be requested to take one or two steps with wet feet and then they should be wiped with a towel. The big toes of both the feet should then be ritualistically worshipped in the usual way, with sandalwood paste, consecrated rice, flowers, turmeric powder and vermilion. This worship should be repeated on the forehead of the Guru, midway between the eyebrows and He should either be offered a flower or should be garlanded. Then He should be offered arti with a lit lamp (niranjan) waved around His head thrice. Finally a pedha or any other sweetmeat should be offered or fed to Him. Lastly, offering obeisance (namaskar) He should be escorted to His seat or room in the house.

    If the Guru looks tired after a long journey then instead of making Him stand at the doorstep He should be offered a seat in the house and then worshipped ritualistically. If He is very tired then instead of worshipping Him immediately one should allow Him to rest. Ritualistic worship can be performed after sometime.

    However, when doing all this one should remember the basic point that rather than external decoration, doing spiritual practice as advised by the Guru is more important. The Guru is appeased faster with internal decoration, that is with one’s spiritual practice rather than with external decoration. The importance of decorating the house when the Guru comes, preparing His favourite dishes, etc. is not even 1% in contrast to doing the spiritual practice advised by Him, which is of 100% importance.

B. Throughout the duration of His stay at one’s place the Guru should be worshipped every morning just like other deities. If not the entire ritual atleast sandalwood paste (gandha) and vermilion (kumkum) should be applied to the Guru’s forehead. Since it is important to serve the Guru when He is staying at one’s place one often does not find time to ritualistically worship the Guru’s photographs and deities as usual. Then it does not matter if one does not perform that worship. If possible one may also ask someone else to do so. When the Guru is departing from one’s home vermilion should be applied on His forehead and He should be offered arti with a lit lamp (niranjan). Whatever offering one makes to the Guru should be preferably done when He is worshipped either on arrival or before departure. If that is not possible then it may be done during worship on any other day during His stay.

C. One should take leave from the workplace and remain with Him constantly.

D. Water for His bath and His clothes should be kept ready. After His bath He should be ritualistically worshipped as described above by applying sandalwood paste (gandha) to His forehead and offering flowers and consecrated rice (akshata) at His feet.

E. Separate towels for wiping His face and hands and feet should be kept. After He washes His face and hands, He should be offered the towel meant for wiping His face and hands. His feet should be wiped outside the bathroom if He happens to stand there or otherwise after He sits down.

F. The meals prepared for Him should include His favourite dishes and should be in accordance with the dietary restrictions that He follows. If one is unaware of what they are then one should ask one of His close disciples. After the meal He should be offered water to wash His hands and a towel to wipe them.

G. One should wash the Guru’s clothes oneself and iron them as well. One should not get them washed from a servant or ironed in a laundry.

H. When fanning the Guru it should coincide with His or one’s own breath and should not be mechanical like the electric fan which operates without any spiritual emotion.

I. One should welcome everyone accompanying the Guru cordially.

J. When the Guru comes home, with His permission one should invite the other disciples of the Guru and also those who like to pay their respects (darshan) to saints. All those coming for the Guru’s darshan should be offered tea, snacks and meals courteously. Their accomodation, etc. too should be looked after. This is because they have come to visit the Guru and are not one’s unwanted guests! [Refer to the point ‘Visiting a disciple’ in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 6 – Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)’.]

2. One should not make the Guru an invalid

Bringing the car to the doorstep, keeping a toothbrush and water for brushing teeth by the bedside, fetching water to wash hands after a meal, lifting His luggage, etc. make the Guru become physically inactive and weak. The disciple should see that the Guru gets atleast some exercise. Thus, He remains healthy and there are less chances of His falling ill. Though the Guru is unaffected by His illness, if He remains in good health it proves beneficial to the disciple itself!’
                                        – H. H. Jijai (wife of Saint)

3. The behaviour of a disciple staying at a place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetra) along with the Guru

Never embark on a pilgrimage to a holy place
like Kashi or visit a temple of The Lord without serving
the Guru. – 2:203.

Do not go on a pilgrimage, to a temple, care for the
physical body or pay a visit to someone. Serve none
other than the Guru as The Supreme Brahman,
incessantly. – 2:204.
                                     – Shri Gurucharitra

3.1 The real place of pilgrimage (tirthakshetra) from the disciple’s viewpoint

‘When an average person who has incidentally realised the importance of fulfillment of human life acquires the satsang (holy company) of a devotee of The Lord and thus undertakes spiritual practice he progresses from the gross dimension to the subtle study of Spirituality and acquires pure spiritual intellect. At such a moment he develops an intense yearning for Liberation and realising that without the acquisition of a Sadguru there is no salvation, he sacrifices everything and goes in search of the Guru. During this process there comes a moment when the seeker gets very exhausted in his search and The Lord fearing that he will die if he does not meet the Guru assumes the form of his Sadguru and appears before him. On seeing the much desired Guru he feels gratified, that is he achieves quiescence. Feeling gratified is the very nature of the mind. His embodied soul disappears and his life gets transformed. Such a disciple himself becomes a holy place (kshetra)’.
                                                   – Saint

4. One should not tell the Guru anything

‘A disciple should listen to the Guru and not tell Him anything. If one expects the Guru to listen to oneself then it is as if one feels one is superior to Him.’(2) One should not tell the Guru anything regarding his food, medicines, rest, etc. A seeker had printed ‘no presents please’ on his wedding invitation. However, it was cancelled on the card offered to the Guru. On being questioned about it he replied, “How can I tell the Guru what He should do?” (This probably expresses the spiritual emotion that the disciple wants everything from the Guru!)

5. A function in the Guru’s home

If there is some function like a wedding, etc. in the Guru’s home, one should consider it to be one’s own.

5.1 The spiritual mission

A month before the 1993 Gurupournima, a Guru told His disciples about the expense they would incur at the Gurupournima celebrations. The expenditure was estimated to be sixty-five thousand rupees but there were funds of only forty-five thousand rupees. The very next day a disciple sent ten thousand rupees with the feeling, ‘From where will the Guru fetch so much money? I should do whatever I can to help.’ Others merely listened to the statement of accounts and forgot about it.

6. The Guru’s illness and renunciation of His body

6.1 Treatment during the Guru’s illness

If a Guru is in a coma during an illness, one should give Him the treatment prescribed by allopathic or Ayurvedic doctors. However, if He is conscious and refuses to take treatment or refuses to follow the dietary restrictions, one should listen to Him (the Guru).

6.2 The inability of the disciple to do anything

‘Once when Baba suffered a heart attack disciples of His who were doctors made three attempts to record His electrocardiogram (E.C.G.), against His (Baba’s) wishes. The machine failed all the three times. Thus, Baba taught that none of His disciples could do anything against His wishes.’(3)

6.3 A disciple cannot undergo the Guru’s suffering

When a disciple says, ‘I will undergo Your suffering’ the Guru tells him –

My sins are mine; they are not for my sons and disciples,
If I do not undergo them with this body they
will not get nullified. -Shri Gurucharitra 2:177

6.4 Going to pay obeisance (darshan) to the Guru when He is ill

When the Guru falls ill both, going to pay respects to Him in the ashram or waiting outside the hospital, both are meaningless. When Baba fell ill, everyday about five hundred people had to be served meals in the ashram. When He was admitted to a hospital, arrangement of meals had to be made for about two hundred people. This causes unnecessary strain on the seekers serving in the ashram. Besides, the Guru does not get sufficient rest required during the illness due to the flow of visitors and His worrying whether each one has had a proper meal. To avoid this, with the faith that curing His illness lies in His hands alone, one should continue one’s spiritual practice wherever one is. At the most, one may inquire about His health on phone or through letters.

The reasons why most people go to pay respects (darshan) to the Guru when He is seriously ill are:

  • If the Guru passes away, one will not be able to pay respects (darshan) to Him again.
  • What will happen to me?

Both these thoughts are erroneous. The Guru exists and will continue to be so. He will certainly meet one in future. The Guru refers to the Guru principle. The Guru principle is eternal and will definitely take care of all disciples.

6.5 The errors a disciple should avoid

When the Guru was ill an individual wrote a letter to the Guru, just as he would write to any other person. It said,

  • ‘One has to undergo one’s destiny’(!) How will the disciple know whether the Guru’s illness is due to His destiny or due to some other cause? One cannot decipher the cause-effect relationship in one who is more evolved than oneself.
  • ‘I pray to The Almighty for Your speedy recovery’(!) The Guru and God are one and the same. Since he had no faith in this, he wrote in the above manner. If one does write at all, then instead of this, one may write: ‘You are Omnipotent. Grant me the strength to endure the grief of Your illness’.

6.6 The gradual stepwise changes in the disciple’s attitude

A. Repeatedly telling the Guru the importance of taking medicines prescribed by the allopathic or Ayurvedic doctors, about following dietary restrictions, etc.

B. If the Guru refuses to take medicine or refuses to follow dietary restrictions, one should observe His illness and treatment with the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav), realising that He is Omniscient and Omnipotent.

C. Giving medicine by analysing through meditation, that is analysing in the subtle dimension: During Baba’s illness doctors who were His devotees were treating Him. Dr.(Disciple) used to request Baba to take the medicines prescribed by them. However, Baba continued to become frail day by day. One day Baba said, “You treat me like a stranger. Treat me like a family member. You administer medicines to me like a nurse. You should give them to me taking my constitution into consideration.” Then analysing through meditation Dr.(Disciple) reduced the dosage of the medicines. From that day Baba’s condition started improving. (The doctors thought that He had recovered with their treatment!) This is as though Baba had worsened His illness just to teach him!

D. Realising that ‘one cannot do anything’ and praying to Him to recover: Once Baba was very seriously ill. He was not responding to any kind of treatment. Then Dr.(Disciple) silently prayed to Him, “Baba, You had once prayed to Purnapurushottamacharya whom You considered Your Guru, to recover from His illness and He had recovered. I am praying to You in the same way. Please get well.” The next morning onwards Baba’s condition suddenly started improving and on the third day Baba had recovered completely.

6.7 The Guru’s renunciation of His body

A. After getting the news that the Guru has renounced His body the disciple should leave aside all his chores and as an expression of his gratitude should go to pay his last respects to the Guru. This is akin to a son who goes for the last rites of his father.

     The disciples attending the Guru’s last rites are classified in the following three categories.

  • Those attached to the Guru’s physical body.
  • Those going to express gratitude.
  • Those going to set an example to others.

B. Baba has said:

  • ‘If you are compassionate to even those who abuse, beat or murder Me then I will think that My Guru has prepared you well.

    The implied meaning: Abusing, beating, murder, etc. are all from the Great Illusion (Prakruti). Realising this, instead of expressing anger towards the doer if one feels compassion for him just like the compassionate Lord then it is an indicator of a disciple’s real progress.

  • What is the identity of the disciple who weeps when the Guru renounces His body?

    The implied meaning: A disciple attached to the Guru’s gross body will weep when the Guru renounces His body but the one who loves the Guru principle continues to do spiritual practice and makes spiritual progress even after the Guru’s renunciation of His body.’(4)

C. Normally after touching a corpse one has to bathe because it amounts to the act of seeing a corpse (shavadarshan). However, when one touches the Guru’s dead body, one does not have to bathe as it is a vision of The Supreme God (Shiv) itself (Shivdarshan).

D. Information on how energy is expelled from the Guru’s body when He is renouncing it, what happens to it, etc. is given in ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 6 – Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga), point – Guru’s renunciation of the body’.

7. One should not sit on the Guru’s seat

‘Baba used to spend at the most fifteen to twenty days every year in Kandli. At times, Baba sat on the swing over there. When Dr.(Disciple) visited Kandli five years ago, he felt like sitting on the swing. Two to three minutes after doing so, he felt nauseated. He thought that this was because he was unaccustomed to sitting on a swing. The next time, no sooner did he sit on the swing (without swinging it) than he developed heaviness in the head and slipped into meditation. Instead of narrating what he felt after sitting on the swing, he asked seven to eight seekers attending his spiritual workshops to “describe their experience after sitting on the swing”. Each one experienced some sort of distress. From that spiritual experience, all were convinced that if a swing that the Guru uses so rarely can have so much energy that a seeker with the ability to perceive sensations of the subtle dimension is unable to tolerate, then how great the one who can ascend the seat which is constantly used by the Guru will have to be!’(5)

8. Behaviour with the Guru after the disciple has attained Absoluteness (Purnatva)

A. ‘One disciple, after being fulfilled by serving his Guru, became steady in the natural state of communion with The Lord (sahajavastha). When the Guru and disciple were all by themselves, Shri Guru asked the disciple, “First you were ignorant. Was it not I who vanquished your ignorance and endowed you with the realisation of Brahman?”. The respectful disciple did not speak as he felt that his statement of truth would offend the Guru. Then Shri Guru said, “Do not bother about being respectful towards me now. There is no one around here. Speak the truth. That will please Me.” After the Guru’s repeated coaxing, the disciple was convinced that Shri Guru expected him to express his true feelings and that only that would please Him. So the disciple replied, “You have not done anything. I am originally Brahman”. Upon hearing these words the Guru was overwhelmed. Then He opened the door of the ashram and told the disciple, “Now people have started coming. Begin performing my ritualistic worship (padyapuja), etc. as usual because when by the grace of Shri Guru I attained the realisation of Brahman, I was doing the same. This itself is the sign of Absoluteness (Purnatva) and the culmination of one’s life”.’
                                                          – Saint

B. It is benevolent rather than malevolent for a disciple to ritualistically worship His Guru after he (the disciple) has attained Absoluteness (Purnatva) because this itself is a feature of Absoluteness. The Guru and disciple are merged into the state of The Supreme God (Shivdasha). So, there is no question of worshipping the Guru.On the other hand, when the disciple is in the state of the embodied soul (jivadasha) the spiritual emotion is that of a disciple; so he worships the Guru.

 

Advertisements

What is the correct way of offering obeisance to the Guru?

Obeisance

Contents


1. The types of disciples

तद्‌ विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया ।
उपदेक्ष्‍यन्‍ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्‍तत्त्वदर्शिन: ।। – श्रीमद्‌भगवद्‌गीता ४:३४

Meaning: Acquire spiritual knowledge (dnyan) by going to the Guru, offer obeisance (namaskar), ask questions and do service. The Guru possessing immense spiritual knowledge and experience will endow you with that knowledge.

‘This verse (shloka) itself describes the following three types of disciples.

1.1 The superior disciple

When the one who has a desire to acquire knowledge of the soul principle, that is, a superior seeker offers obeisance to one who has experienced the Absolute Principle (the Sadguru), the latter bestows the seeker with spiritual knowledge (dnyan). The superior disciple is a seeker who inspite of being trapped in unhappiness in the state of the embodied soul is convinced that “I am not the embodied soul but am really The Supreme God (Shiv)” through the study of the scriptures. He is the one who has overcome the anadi (one without a beginning) illusion but has not gone beyond the state of the embodied soul (jivadasha) and is thus not experiencing the state of The Shiv (Brahman) principle. He struggles just like a fish out of water for a Guru and wanders in search of Him. In such a situation God Himself appears before him assuming the form of his Shri Guru. After the seeker has offered obeisance, that is after his complete surrender to the Guru, when the Guru gives him a mere glance he feels that he has accomplished the very essence of his existence.

The quote by Saint Tukaram which means, “He moulds one like Himself at once, It requires hardly any time” is in the context of such a disciple.

In His Dakshinamurti verse (stotra) Shri Shankaracharya describes the superior seeker as, ‘गुरोऽस्‍तु मौनं व्‍याख्‍यानम्‌ । शिष्‍यऽस्‍तु छिन्‍नसंशय: ।’. This means that the Guru taught through silence (moun) and got rid of all the disciple’s doubts. Brahman is the nature of the soul and cannot be described in words. The adjective wordless is affixed to It, that is It is referred to as “The Wordless Brahman”. For the superior seeker silence (moun) itself is the real deliverance, the teaching. He is rid of all doubts at that very moment and acquires the spiritual emotion (bhav) of non-duality. He begins to experience the entire world from the sky to even his own body to be composed of Brahman. A superior seeker is one with an intense desire for Liberation (mumukshu).

Since Arjun (from the Mahabharat) was endowed with divine qualities one may refer to Him as a superior seeker. ‘Saint Dnyaneshvar says, “Only those who are capable of being in the same class as Arjun really deserve to hear the Gita”. The word Arjun can be defined as ‘शुद्धांत:करणयुक्त: इति अर्जुन: ।’ meaning that the one with a pure antahkaran is Arjun. After the deliverance of the Gita Arjun says,

    नष्‍टोमोह: स्‍मृतिर्लब्‍ध्‍वा त्‍वत्‌प्रसादान्‍मयाऽच्‍युत ।
    स्‍थितोऽस्‍मि गतसंदेह: करिष्‍ये वचनं तव ।। – श्रीमद्‌भगवद्‌गीता १८:७३

Meaning: I have lost the attachment that “I am the body” and have regained the realisation that “I am Brahman”. All this is the result of remaining in Your company. Now that I am free of doubts, I am sure that I shall be able to obey Your directives.’ This means that he was worthy of receiving this most secret teaching. Such a seeker has a sattvik (sattva predominant) temperament.

A superior seeker does not fall prey to any supernatural powers (ruddhisiddhis) attained during the course of his spiritual practice. Even if the hitherto unrevealed secrets of this universe were to lie exposed before him, they would be unable to divert him from his ultimate target even for a fraction of a second and he would attain the state of Absoluteness. The superior seeker is the one worthy of Sage Vyas’s quote, ‘शिष्‍यादिच्‍छेत्‌ पराजयम्‌ ।’ meaning that the Guru should expect defeat from His disciple. This implies that the Guru expects His disciple to merge into God.

1.2 The medium disciple

The Guru imparts spiritual knowledge to him by answering his questions. Since he is yet to master the Yogas, that is the art of being one with God (yogarudh) he is qualified only to do spiritual practice from the path of Action (karmasadhana). Such a seeker predominantly has combination of sattva and raja temperaments.

1.3 The inferior disciple

A Guru gets a lot of service done from him and then imparts him with spiritual knowledge. He needs to do spiritual practice for several births. He is predominantly of the rajasik (raja predominant) temperament.

The medium and inferior disciples can gradually become superior but this constitutes a rare exception. One comes across many who have fallen prey to supernatural powers (ruddhisiddhis), desire to be respected by others (lokeshana), etc.’
 – Saint

2. The Guru’s forms and His worship

2.1 The Guru’s physical (sagun) form

A. Keeping the Guru’s photograph or idol in the temple in one’s home: The Guru’s photograph or idol should be kept in the temple at home and should be worshipped like the deities, everyday. If it is the practice to sing a specific poetic verse for the Guru during the ritual of waving a lamp (arti) then it should be sung. If not, then one may sing Dattaguru’s poetic verse (arti) or chant the Name imparted by the Guru at that time.

  • The one living alone: After the acquisition of a Guru all the idols and photographs of deities in the temple in one’s home should either be given away to a seeker who performs ritualistic worship (puja) regularly or should be immersed in a river or the sea. Only the Guru’s photograph should be kept in the temple at home. This assists one in going from ‘many to one’. If the Guru has advised the chanting of a specific deity and if it is a male deity then His photograph or idol should be placed to the right of the Guru’s photograph and if it is a female deity then Her photograph or idol should be placed to the left of the Guru’s photograph.

    Later, after marriage for the sake of the other family members one should keep the male and female family deities’ idols or photographs in the temple at home, following the above rules.

  • If the one who has acquired a Guru is the head of the family: If the head of a family has acquired a Guru while the others in the family have not; then one should place the photograph of one’s Guru in the centre of the temple at home where the other deities are kept. The other male and female deities should be arranged as described above. However, after the demise of the head of the family who had acquired a Guru, his Guru’s photograph should either be given to another disciple of that Guru or should be immersed in a river or the sea.
  • If the one who has acquired a Guru is not the head of the family : If a student or a woman has acquired a Guru and faces opposition from parents or the husband respectively, then he/she should keep the Guru’s photograph in a place where it is not seen by the others such as one’s closet, book, purse, etc.

B. Keeping the Guru’s photograph in the house: As far as possible the Guru’s photographs should be kept in the temple in one’s home. However, if one wishes to keep His photographs in the living room, kitchen or office so as to remember Him constantly then instead of thinking that they are mere photographs one should harbour the feeling that the Guru is actually present there. This is because just as a word coexists with touch, form, taste, odour and energy so does the Guru’s divine consciousness (chaitanya) accompany His photograph. One should wipe the Guru’s photographs daily and worship them offering incense and should offer obeisance to Him after doing the same to the deities one worships. If one is unable to worship the photograph in the office with incense sticks then obeisance should be offered with wholehearted devotion. If a photograph is kept in one’s wallet, locket, etc. then that too should be removed and offered obeisance similarly.

C. Garlanding the Guru’s photograph

‘Question :  A person’s photograph is garlanded only after his death,
not when he is alive. Then why is a saint’s photograph
garlanded when He is alive?
  Baba     : Saints’ photographs are garlanded because They are not
alive. They are actually dead. (Their ego is dead).’(1)

     Since the ‘Guru is God in the manifest form’ He is garlanded just like the deities.

D. Offering to the Guru (Gurudakshina): One should send money to one’s Guru every month instead of offering Him money all at once on an annual or a bimonthly or trimonthly visit (darshan). The motive behind this is that the disciple should remember His Guru atleast every month. One should also send more money for Gurupournima and for every religious festival. Finally one has to surrender one’s body, mind and wealth to the Guru, entirely. Keeping this in mind a disciple should offer a greater portion of his monthly income and total assets stepwise, to his Guru. Only if one surrenders everything to the Guru then He gives His everything, that is, His Omniscience and Omnipotence to the disciple. Offering everything to the Guru is the real offering (Gurudakshina).

E. Gurupournima: Merely expressing gratitude to the Guru is not the only motive behind celebrating Gurupournima. The grace and blessings and the non-verbal knowledge endowed by Him on that day is ten times, more than that endowed by Him on any other day. Those, participating actively in the celebrations, benefit in proportion to their participation in it. Naturally, those who come on that day merely to pay their respects (darshan) obtain less benefit. The real disciple remembers his Guru every moment. Perhaps Gurupournima is celebrated so that the namesake disciple remembers the Guru atleast once a year!

F. The Guru’s birthday: It is important to celebrate the day the Guru met His Guru rather than celebrating His birthday, as the former is a kind of rebirth. The celebration should be held according to the date (tithi) in the Hindu lunar calendar. If one does not know that date, then one should certainly celebrate His birthday. But that too should be according to the date in the Hindu lunar calendar.

G. Remembering the Guru (Gurusmaran): Remembering the Guru (Gurusmaran) and the Guru are not distinct from each other. Gurusmaran is memory of the Guru’s physical (sagun) form. Remembering The Lord’s Name (Namasmaran) bestowed by the Guru is a form of the Guru’s unmanifest (nirgun) form which in a way assists in the attainment of the unmanifest form of the Guru. Hence, He who remembers the Guru dearly is worthy of worship in the three regions (trilokas).

Only that disciple who drinks the nectar (amrut)
of the manifest (sagun) form becomes immortal*.
                                               – Shri Gurucharitra 2:59

* Immortal means the unmanifest (nirgun).

2.2 The Guru’s unmanifest (nirgun) form

When performing ritualistic worship (puja), etc. of the Guru one should be aware that He is not a physical form but a principle. ‘The body consciousness (dehabuddhi) of the one who loves the Guru’s physical form lies in himself and in the world’.(2)

3. How should one behave with the Guru?

3.1 How should one approach the Guru?

‘One should approach Him in a naked and exposed state.’

The implied meaning: ‘Naked’ refers to not possessing anything, that is listening to everything that He says without speaking and ‘exposed’ means without hiding anything from Him.

One’s attire when visiting the Guru: The clothes should be simple. The attire or ornaments one wears should not be a display of one’s worldly riches.

3.2 Offering obeisance (namaskar)

A. The obeisance to be offered to the Guru by a disciple following the path of Yoga.

  • Initially: Since the battle in Spirituality is just beginning one should offer obeisance sitting on one’s knees, that is, in virasan (the posture of the brave one). Virasan is also called viramudra.
  • Once the target is achieved: One should offer obeisance by prostrating on the ground before Him (sashtang namaskar).

B. Placing one’s head on the Guru’s feet: If one meets an acquaintance, one always smiles, shakes hands with, greets him with obeisance (namaskar) or if he is elderly then offers obeisance by touching his feet. Whether one meets the Guru at one’s home, in His ashram, on the road or elsewhere one should place one’s head on His feet. Placing the head on someone’s feet denotes the surrender of the intellect.

    The amount of frequencies of Energy (Shakti) or Bliss (Anand) emanating from a Guru and a saint

  • The amount of frequencies of Energy (Shakti), Bliss (Anand) or Serenity (Shanti) present depending on the spiritual level
The spiritual level The amount of frequencies of
Energy, Bliss or Serenity %
1. An average person
    (20% level)
Energy 10
2. A saint of 70% level Predominantly Energy 30
3. A saint of 80% level Predominantly Bliss 60
4. A saint of 90% level Serenity 90
  • The amount of frequencies of Energy or Bliss emitted through various organs: First carefully observe the eyes, palms, feet and other parts of the body in the Guru’s sketch given below and note which part emits more Energy or Bliss.

Every individual may not get spiritual experiences from such experiments. The table below gives information regarding the spiritual experiences of only those who are able to perceive a little in the subtle dimension after having done some spiritual practice.

The organ The amount of frequencies of
Energy or Bliss emitted %
1. The eyes 20
2. The hands 20
3. The feet 40
4. Other organs 20
Total 100

From the above table one will realise why one offers obeisance to saints by placing one’s head on Their feet instead of merely folding one’s hands in the obeisance (namaskar) posture. At that time, a saint often touches one’s back or head. This bestows an even greater benefit. When one places one’s head on the feet of a saint, Energy or Bliss frequencies enter one’s body through the Brahmarandhra in greater quantities.

C. The real obeisance (namaskar): ‘मनेन नमन: ।’ means offering obeisance mentally. Undertaking spiritual practice however is the real obeisance.

3.3 Offering something

Instead of offering pedhas, garlands, coconuts, etc. it is better to offer some favourite dish of His made at home, money, etc. because the Guru distributes the pedhas, garlands, coconuts, etc. but the money is useful for His mission. However, the most valuable thing that one can offer to the Guru is spiritual emotion (bhav).

3.4 Continuous chanting of The Lord’s Name

A. One should chant The Lord’s Name continuously so as to purify oneself in order to be able to serve the Guru.

B. Chanting occurs easily and automatically in the Guru’s presence and when doing His service. One should take advantage of this phenomenon.

3.5 The Name imparted by the Guru is more important than the Guru’s speech

‘Question (Dr.(Disciple)): Sometimes instead of listening to Your speech my concentration turns towards chanting. If this happens, there may be inattention to a certain task one might have been asked to do. To avoid this, should I stop chanting the Name and instead listen to what You are saying?

Baba : While paying attention to chanting the Name, one need not pay attention to anything else; because all these things are from the gross dimension; whereas the Name is associated with the God (Purush) principle.’(3)

3.6 What should one do when the Guru reprimands, abuses or beats?

‘Question: When accompanying the Guru, if the disciple walks ahead of the Guru, He shouts, “How dare you walk ahead of Me?” If he remains behind, the Guru yells, “Why are you lagging behind when you are My disciple?” and if one walks alongside Him, He rebukes, “Are you trying to compete with Me?” Then how should the disciple behave? And what is the Guru’s intention behind it?

Baba: In fact not much importance should be attached to the Guru’s rebuke, as the Guru’s motive is to teach the disciple to continue chanting The Lord’s Name and not to feel aggrieved by the Guru’s rebuking.

    Once Shri Saish, Baba’s Guru was supposed to travel somewhere by horse carriage. He asked Dinu (Baba’s former name) to sit in the carriage. However, thinking “How can I sit beside the Guru?” Dinu instead of sitting in the carriage kept running behind it, barefoot. The Guru gave Dinu His slippers to prevent his feet from getting hurt. But he did not wear them thinking, “How can I wear the Guru’s slippers?” and kept running behind the carriage clutching the slippers to his bosom. The Guru then shouted at him. On asking Baba “Was this shouting due to Your disobeying the Guru?” He replied in the negative. Further Baba did not reply as to why the Guru shouted at Him. In short, instead of analysing the reason why saints or the Guru reprimand, one should continue chanting The Lord’s Name and perform Their service because eventually comprehending the real reason is beyond one’s intellect!’(4)

More information on why the Guru rebukes is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 6 – Path of Guru’s Grace (Gurukrupayoga)’ point ‘Reprimanding and abusing’.

3.7 One should not force the Guru to eat

‘One should not force Baba to eat due to the following reasons.

  • Many people who come to pay their respects to Him fondly bring pedhas, barfi or homemade ladu, chivda, etc. Often it is impossible for Him to taste even a little bit of everything.
  • One should take Baba’s physical condition, age and dietary restrictions into account.
  • Baba has no likes and dislikes of His own. If Baba says that He “liked” some food item brought by someone, it is actually the spiritual emotion (bhav) of that person that He is appreciating. If Baba says He “liked” someone’s chakli then an onlooker’s bringing chakli for Baba the next time proves wrong.’ (5)
  • Even if the Guru just touches a food item it is an expression of His acceptance.

3.8 One should keep only one thought in mind, that ‘the Guru should not experience any discomfort’

Once a lady disciple of our Guru, that is Baba came to stay with Him for Divali. Her intention was not to celebrate Divali joyously with Baba, instead her attention was fixed on whether Baba was following dietary restrictions like not eating oily foods. Another lady disciple of His wept after Baba scolded her because she felt upset that it must have caused Him trouble to yell at her. Once at Indore at the construction site of the ashram, Baba standing on broken bricks was beating up a disciple. The disciple however instead of paying attention to the beating was worried lest Baba lost His balance and fell injuring Himself!

 

What is the importance of serving sagun form of the Guru?

Contents


1. Participation in a bhandara

One will understand how one can serve the Guru in different ways from the illustration of a bhandara (the festival of distributing food for a spiritual purpose) given below.

1.1 The motive behind organising a bhandara

Those who attend a bhandara for the first time observe that some cook, serve food or clean utensils while others just chat, etc. This appears just like a gathering of scouts and guides or NCC cadets at a camp. One does not feel that there is Spirituality involved in a bhandara, at all. However, after becoming aware of the following objectives behind organising a bhandara, one realises that “One should not judge a book by its cover”.

  • Offering of food (annadan): Although imparting spiritual knowledge (dnyandan) is superior; yet, since it is in the subtle dimension most people do not realise its importance. As against this, since “offering food to the hungry” can be easily seen with gross eyes, most people realise its importance.
  • Service: Seekers get the opportunity to perform various types of service, for instance making preparations for the bhandara, serving food, cleaning utensils, etc. More than eating the food oneself, the joy that one gets by serving others and seeing them eat to their heart’s content needs to be experienced by each one himself.
  • Sacrifice: Due to physical work done at the bhandara there is sacrifice of the body and due to the money offered to buy the groceries or due to offering of other things, etc. for the bhandara there is sacrifice of wealth. Also since at that time the only thought in the mind of a seeker performing service is to do it in the best possible way it also results in sacrifice of the mind.
  • Feeling love for others: One begins to experience a feeling of brotherhood for other seekers participating in the bhandara.
        Thou hast shown us various relations
        Whom Thou lovest equally.
  • Assuaging the ego: No matter what one is in one’s personal life, thinking that one is a servant here helps to decrease one’s ego.
  • Satsang (Holy company): Whether organised by saints or seekers one gets the benefit of satsang, at the bhandara.

1.2 Preparing for the bhandara

Preparations for a bhandara begin a few weeks before the actual function. Buying groceries, cleaning the foodgrains, getting the grain ground into flour at the mill, etc.are tasks which have to be done two to three weeks in advance. Onions, potatoes, etc. are bought two to four days before while the vegetables are fetched on the eve of the bhandara. Some seekers from places other than the place where the bhandara is being organised come to help in these preparations two to four days before the event.

1.3 The eve of the bhandara

On the eve of the bhandara, seekers arrive by various means such as train, bus or car. On their arrival, they go to pay their respects (darshan) to Baba. If they have brought something from home, they offer it to Him. Baba too inquires affectionately about their well-being. A few words from Baba are sufficient to alleviate their fatigue from travelling and they feel very refreshed and relaxed.

Then they keep their luggage somewhere in the ashram and those interested in helping in the preparations for the bhandara, do so; while those who wish to chat, stand around the place or sit on the tea-vendor’s bench outside and chat. At night, after dinner, either Baba or His devotees sing devotional songs (bhajans). Those who are tired or those not interested in bhajans go to bed. Many seekers listening to the bhajans experience Bliss. Some, however, make preparations for the next day’s bhandara.

1.4 The day of the bhandara

Since dawn, there is great hustle and bustle as if it were a wedding. The serving of food begins by 12 noon or 12.30 p.m. This (mahaprasad) continues till 3 or 4 o’clock in the evening. There has never been an incident where there has been a shortage of food at a bhandara. Several devotees have experienced that two or three thousand people would partake food when it was prepared for only a thousand; inspite of continuous frying, the oil in the pan remained at the same level, etc. Baba sees to it that the devotees who stay for preparations of the bhandara get a variety of food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Those leaving bid farewell to Baba and to one another and depart with a sacrament of food (prasad). Some stay behind to do the clearing up. After clearing up everything within a day or two, they too leave for their respective homes and look forward to the next bhandara.

1.5 The types of people who attend the bhandara

One can atleast see the saints who attend the bhandara but most people do not even realise when deities come and go.
     Invitations were sent to all, the celestial beauties, celestial musicians, deities, sages and their attendants. (Bhajan no. 107 Sai celebrates the bhandara)

People attending the bhandara behave in different ways as follows.

Types of people attending the
bhandara
Benefit
%
The number of
people attending
the bhandara %
1. Behaving as if on a picnic 0 30
2. Behaving as if on a holiday or
    as a girl visiting her father’s
    home after marriage behaves
0 20
3. Those who have come to
    remain in Baba’s company
1 20
4. Those who have come with
    the intention of learning
    Spirituality
2 5
5. Those who perform service
    physically to a maximum
    extent.
30 9
6. Those who perform service to
    a maximum extent physically,
    psychologically and financially
100 1
7. Others 0 15
Total 100

No matter how the ones who attend the bhandara behave, Baba loves them all equally. Once we had asked Baba, “Inspite of spending thousands or lakhs of rupees on bhandaras, very few people benefit from it, spiritually. Yet, why do you continue to organise them? In response, Baba had said, “For those few only.” And that is very true. It is not possible to acquire qualities of service, sacrifice, love for others, etc. despite discussing about them in our spiritual workshops, but is possible if seekers participate even in a few bhandaras whole-heartedly. Dr.(Disciple) has experienced this himself and have also noticed it in many others.’(1)

2. Collecting funds for the ashram

‘Question : If everything occurs according to the Guru’s wish, then
if the Guru so wishes funds for the ashram will come in
automatically. Why should one ask for donations?
Baba        : What if the Guru wishes that donations should be asked
for? Everyone must keep in mind that “what one sees is
his duty”.’(2)

3. Willingness to go anywhere to render service

The disciple should be mentally prepared to go even to hell to serve the Guru, if He happens to go there. However, in reality since the Guru is The Supreme God Himself there is no question of His going to hell!

4. One should not allow the obstacle of intellect to interfere in service towards the Guru

‘One night, Baba was sleeping with the fan on. At dawn as it was chilly, a disciple (Dr.) thought of putting it off but immediately recollected that Baba liked cool weather. So he did not put it off. In the morning Baba said, “It was so cold in the morning. The fan was not necessary”.

5. The importance of serving the manifest [(sagun), the Guru’s physical body]

Since the Guru is an unmanifest (nirgun) principle one tends to neglect His physical form. In reality too service of the unmanifest principle is 70% important while that of the manifest (sagun) form is only 30% important. Most disciples start with the manifest and then go to the unmanifest. Dr.(Disciple) however had gone in the reverse direction. He had yet to do service of the manifest. Although it is just 30% important yet to make progress and attain Absoluteness (Purnatva) service of the physical form is also necessary. He realised the importance of serving a Guru in the physical form when in 1995 during Baba’s illness He stayed with Baba for eight months. If one is unable to serve the Guru’s physical form then one may serve one’s grandparents, parents, etc. considering them to be the Guru’s form. This too becomes service of the Guru’s manifest form. Pundalik too realised God by serving His parents alone.

5.1 Study of service of the manifest (sagun)

Buying vegetables for the family becomes a chore while doing the same for the Guru whether He directs one to do so or not becomes spiritual practice.

‘Knowing how to respect the object of faith,
Is possible only if one’s Guru is Lord Sadashiv.
              – Shri Bhavarthadipika (Shri Dnyaneshvari) 12:216

Meaning: The Lord tells Arjun, “If one who is intensely devoted to Me is paid respect by an individual then the Guru of that individual is none other than Lord Shankar.”

The commentary on the implied meaning: If a devotee of Mine visits some person and if that person is able to pay due respect to him then his Guru has to be Lord Shankar Himself; as only then, will he be able to honour My devotee.

In the Dasbodh (9.3.11) Samarth Ramdas Swami says – Yogeshvar (Lord of Yoga) can recognise a yogi, Dnyaneshvar [Lord of Spiritual Knowledge (dnyan)] can recognise a knowledgeable person (dnyani) just as only the intelligent one can recognise one who is very intelligent.

In other words, this means that only a knowledgeable one will recognize The Lord of Spiritual Knowledge – Dnyaneshvar and only a yogi will perceive The Lord of yogaYogeshvar. One requires intense spiritual practice to have faith in a saint. After worshipping God with great fervour only when the heart overflows with intense motivation for Liberation will one come across saints, that is because of God’s compassionate nature He brings one in contact with one solely devoted unto Him. (He is called a saint.) The Avadhutgita says, ‘ईश्वरानुग्रहात् पुंसां अव्‍दैत वासना ।’ the purport of which is the same; because God grants this true realisation through a devotee solely devoted to Him. So, that is one’s real test; because so long as the saint with whom one has been associated is not appeased with one’s service till then The Supreme God will not bestow His grace on oneself, that is, one’s target remains unaccomplished. For instance, if a wealthy man is pleased with someone and bequeaths all his wealth to him the latter continues to consider himself poor as he is unaware of this favour. Actually, the very moment the will is made he becomes rich. The same holds good here. Even if a father bequeaths his assets to his son, till the son attains the age of majority the law does not grant him its possession. Similarly here attaining majority means appeasing one’s Guru (The Lord’s devotee) with one’s service.’
 – Saint

5.2 The difficulties in the service of the manifest (sagun)

Service of the unmanifest (nirgun) is easy as the unmanifest does not say anything if one makes a mistake. However, service of the manifest (sagun) is difficult. Whether one commits a mistake or not the manifest Guru reprimands. Those who have spent a day or two with Maharaj, do not realise how tedious the task of serving saints is. No matter what one does, He can never be appeased! This is what Dr.(Disciple) experienced when in 1995, he spent eight months with Baba, to render his services. Some examples have been cited below.

  • At Baba’s usual tea-time Dr.(Disciple) asked, “Baba will You have tea?” Baba retorted angrily, “Is this the time to have tea?” An hour later He shouted again, “No one is bothered whether I have had tea or not!”
  • Since it was time for His dose of medicines Dr.(Disciple) asked, “Baba will You take Your medicines?” Baba shouted suddenly, “Who are you to ask me? Throw away the medicines. I will take them if I wish, otherwise I will not.”
  • As Dr.(Disciple) was dressing the keloid on Baba’s chest H. H. Aanand was flashing light with a torch. Inspite of the light falling in the right place Baba abused and shouted at Him saying, “Why are you flashing the light just anywhere?”
  • Seated beside Baba, Dr.(Disciple) used to write the volumes of the book ‘Science of Spirituality’. One day Baba shouted, “I am sick and you are busy writing! Throw away those papers.” He stopped writing, stood up and began fanning Him to prevent flies from sitting on Him. Two days later as he was fanning Him Baba shouted again, “Why are you wasting time in this useless work? Start writing.”
  • Noticing that Baba was asleep Dr.(Disciple) went to switch off the lights. Just then He opened His eyes. So, Dr.(Disciple) casually asked Him, “Shall I switch off the lights?” Baba responded saying, “Who has asked you to meddle in these useless things? Someone else will be paying the electricity bill.” He said, ‘O.K. Baba’ and no sooner had he left the room than Baba sent for him. On going back to Him He said, “Put off the lights.”

    One should ignore such behaviour of the Guru and just keep on chanting. If one experiences Bliss from the chanting then one does not grieve.

  • ‘A disciple named Sandipak served his blind, crippled Guru, Vedadharma afflicted with leprosy at Kashi, a place of pilgrimage, for twenty-one years. He used to clean the maggot infested wounds and the urine and stools of the Guru. Inspite of being served food the Guru would shout that He was not served. If Sandipak did not bring delicacies in the alms then He would shout as well. At times, He would even fling the plate of food. (To avoid a lapse in the service of His Guru inspite of being in Kashi, Sandipak did not even go to the temple of Lord Vishveshvar.) Pleased with his service to the Guru when Lord Shankar and Lord Vishnu manifested to bestow upon him a boon, Sandipak said, “My Guru is capable of granting me everything.” This pleased Lord Vishnu and He cured his Guru of leprosy.’ – Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 2.

6. Examples

A. While serving his Guru the best disciple
     forgets even his hunger and thirst. – Shri Gurucharitra 1:76

B. ‘Dinkar’s service to his Guru is in itself an ideal lesson on service to the Guru. Some illustrations of this are given below.

  • Since the Guru would require hot water for His daily ablutions after waking up in the morning, Dinkar would wake up at four or four-thirty at dawn, warm the water and await his Guru’s awaking. After He woke up he would serve Him tea. Serving Him the whole day he would return home at 1.30 or 2 o’clock in the morning only after the Guru told him to leave. Thus Dinkar would sleep for only two to three hours everyday.
  • To prevent himself from falling asleep and from causing a lapse in his service, Dinkar would stand on his toes.
  • Within a few days of Mr. Haribhau Lambhate’s first meeting with Shri Saish, He came to stay with him. At that time harbouring the thought that “Since the Guru lives in this house everything should be neat and tidy”, Dinkar would wake up in the night and removing the contents such as sugar, rice, lentils, other foodgrains, etc. would clean all the containers from the kitchen, without disturbing anyone. Then he would refill the containers and keep them back in their respective places. The people in the household would realise this only the next morning. Dinkar spent many such sleepless nights. Yet he would be up to serve the following day too. Once as he was washing a pot scrubbing it with ash, he was granted a vision of Lord Shankar in the ash.
  • When the Guru would sit down for a meal, Dinkar would be very eager to serve Him. Even if His plate was full of various items he would not forget to add a crisp pungent wafer (papad), a preparation of rice flour resembling vermicelli (kurdaya), an exquisitely delicious pickle, etc.
  • After serving the Guru His meal, Dinkar would remain standing on one foot and would sing devotional songs (bhajans) till the Guru finished His meal.
  • Whenever the Guru told him to press His feet or to sing bhajans, etc. Dinkar would continue to do so for hours together till the Guru told him to stop. Sometimes he would press His feet or sing bhajans all night long.
  • Once when the Guru had gone down for His daily ablutions, as usual Dinkar dusted His mattress, cleaned it and spread out the bedsheet meticulously, without leaving a single crease. Then Dinkar went down to give the Guru water to wash His hands and feet. After the Guru had finished, he returned with Him. The Guru had the habit of chewing tobacco. On ascending the stairs, he observed that two or three tobacco leaves were stuck to the bedsheet. Dinkar was very upset about it. After a while, when he led the Guru to the bathroom for a bath the fragrance of roses emanated all over the place and Haribhau’s mother noticed that the Guru’s mattress was strewn with rose petals. So, she said to the Guru, “Baba, just see what he has done!” In reality, since Dinkar was accompanying the Guru he could not have strewn the petals. When talking about this later, Baba said, “The Guru must have done that realising the distress I underwent due to inefficiency in my service unto Him.”
  • Harbouring the feeling “How can one serve the Guru when one is impure?” Dinkar would chant The Lord’s Name as he served the Guru. (After Dinkar became Baba He would shout at His disciples if they did not chant during service.)
  • Dinkar would follow his Guru wherever He went, like a shadow. The Guru would at times stay with Dada Mujumdar at Ratlam, with Haribhau Lambhate at Tarane, in a room of the Tilbhandeshvar temple at Badhvah or in a hut at Mehtakhedi. Dinkar was always with Him.
  • When the Guru went out, anywhere that He took off His wooden slippers, Dinkar would stand holding them in his armpit. When it was time for Him to return he (Dinkar) would quickly place them at His feet.
  • Whenever the Guru travelled in a horse carriage, He would ask Dinkar to sit beside Him. But Dinkar would not, thinking “How can I sit beside the Guru?” Then the Guru would say, “Follow me”. Fearing that the Guru would reach His destination before him and to avoid any lapse in service towards the Guru, Dinkar would run behind the carriage. One can imagine how difficult it must have been for one to run after a horse carriage in a street where one has lived in dignity. But Dinkar would never pay heed to such things.
  • Once, soon after the Guru sat down in the horse carriage, it departed. Since Dinkar did not get time even to wear slippers he began running after the carriage, barefoot. Seeing this, the Guru threw His own slippers from the carriage, for him. Yet feeling that he could not wear the Guru’s slippers Dinkar held them close to his bosom and continued running behind the carriage, barefoot as before. The Guru reprimanded him for that too.
  • Once when running behind the Guru’s carriage barefoot, a thorn pricked Dinkar’s foot. However, to prevent a lapse in his service to the Guru, Dinkar continued running inspite of a bleeding foot. With every step he took the thorn pierced the foot even deeper. Yet he continued running. The Guru then felt that He was testing Dinkar far too much and was full of compassion for him. Then Dinkar stepped into cowdung and the next moment he realised that the thorn was no longer there in his foot.
  • Once, to prevent a lapse in service unto the Guru, Dinkar did not go to the latrine for his daily ablutions for two consecutive days. When someone told the Guru this He said, “He is a real ass. Is this something worth taking permission for? If he were to ask Me, would I ever refuse?”
  • Once when bathing on the banks of the Narmada at Sahastradhara, Dinkar realised that he had not brought a change of clothes for the Guru to wear after His bath. Thinking that he had failed in his service to the Guru and unable to face Him anymore, Dinkar went to end his life. Just as he was about to jump into the Narmada he heard a voice, “You fool! Do you think you will complete this destiny by giving up this body? Surrender your body unto the Guru.” Realising that Dinu was about to jump, Ramjidada, Haribhau, etc. tried to stop him. Hearing that, the Guru shouted, “Dinu what are you doing? Come here at once.” Only then did he turn back and run. He fell at his Guru’s feet and sobbed uncontrollably.’(3)

C. A saint(Anna) from Dahanu taught a lot of practical aspects of Spirituality along with its theory. In reality, His wife was His disciple. Everyone used to call her Vahini (sister-in-law). Towards the middle of 1988 Saint/Anna developed cancer of the large intestine. He was admitted to the Nanavati hospital in Mumbai. Vahini accompanied Him, so as to serve Him. Some examples given below will illustrate how much she had merged into Saint/Anna.

  • Saint/Anna had loss of appetite due to both, the illness and the medication. His diet consisted of about a quarter of a chapati, three or four teaspoonfuls of rice, one or two teaspoonfuls of vegetable (bhaji), one or two teaspoonfuls of curry, half a banana, one to two cups of tea and one to two biscuits. Saint/Anna was reluctant to eat even this much. However, He complied with solely due to others’ requests. Vahini too would eat the same amount of food as Saint/Anna. Yet she could manage to serve Saint/Anna energetically, day in and day out.
  • Saint/Anna was reluctant to take medicines. If some medicine was bitter He would refuse it. So Vahini would take that medicine first and would say, “It is not so bitter.” Then Anna too would be forced to take it.
  • Vahini would sleep only after Anna did and would wake up before Him.

Such blending is called ‘breathing in unison’(samashvasan). Vahini’s blending however was even beyond this, to the extent of 100%. The following instance will prove it.

Almost two months before Anna renounced His body, once when conversing with Anna and Vahini, Dr.(Disciple) said to Anna, “We are not worried about how Vahini will cope after You renounce Your body as she too will follow suit within five to six months.” (One does not feel inhibited about discussing anything with saints as They do not have emotions about anything.) Hearing this, Vahini responded sharply, “You are mistaken, Doctor. Only twenty-four hours!” In 1989, after Makar Sankranti in the first half of the year (Uttarayan) Anna renounced His body. True to her words, expelling the vital energy (pran) through the Brahmarandhra Vahini too left for the divine abode twenty-three and a half hours later. Those ignorant of all this, at the psychological and intellectual levels expressed the following reactions, at Vahini’s funeral.

  • 1. She expired because she could not withstand the shock of her husband’s death.
  • 2. She must have consumed poison and committed suicide out of despair, following her husband’s death.

Renouncing the body within twenty-four hours in this way is becoming a sati of the highest order. Such a chaste and devoted woman (pativrata) merges into her husband so much that when he breathes his last, so does she. Renouncing the body within a few months of the husband’s death is becoming a sati of the moderate type. Remaining faithful to her husband after his death, and spending the rest of her life following the ‘religious codes of conduct’ before renouncing her body is becoming a sati of the inferior type.

7. Service of the Guru after Self-Realisation (dnyanottar Guruseva)

Once one starts acquiring spiritual knowledge (dnyan) which is beyond words one should perform the service of the Guru physically by entering the state of the embodied soul (jivadasha). Generally this service is done as gratitude.

8. Total surrender

Total surrender means submitting oneself to the Guru, entirely. The table below explains the importance of surrendering oneself to the Guru totally.

  Chanting in the
Madhyama
mode of speech
Service
of the
Guru
Total
surrender
to the Guru
1. The minimum spiritual
    level % of the seeker for
    whom it is possible?
40 60 80
2. The importance % 50 70 100

9. The one staying in the company of the Guru

9.1 The importance of staying in the company of the Guru

In spiritual practice the fastest path to make spiritual progress is staying with the Guru, sacrificing one’s own home. To feel real love for the Guru, one needs to be in His company. Only after staying with the Guru can one acquire control over desires.

The objective of the liberated souls (jivanmuktas) in keeping a disciple in Their company is to purify the disciple’s mental and desire bodies even further and to keep them in harmony with Their own. In ancient India, according to the Gurukul tradition the pupils lived in the Guru’s ashram till the completion of their education.

‘Inspite of chanting five hours everyday for twelve years once Gurudev Ranade’s mind was in a turmoil. He could not meditate. So, He went to His Guru. The Guru asked, “Ramaraya, why have you come?” He replied, “Master, You know everything.” Then the Guru asked Him to stay with Him for eight days. Simply living with the Guru for eight days was sufficient to get rid of His mental turmoil.’

It is important to remain close to the Guru till He bestows His grace. Thereafter however, this is not a necessity as the Guru’s mind is Omnipresent and the disciple gets the spiritual experience that the Guru is perpetually with him. Those with subtle vision are able to view the silvery cord connecting the Guru and His faithful disciple.

9.2 Living with the Guru sacrificing one’s own home

This is very easy to talk about in lectures but when it is actually to be put into practice it is rather difficult. In March 1995, after Baba’s health had improved, that is, after staying with Baba for two to three weeks Dr.(Disciple) asked Him, “Shall I return to Mumbai?” He repeated this once a week for two to three weeks. Inspite of the reasons for the return being predominantly of a sattvik (sattva predominant) nature, that is to visit all the centres of the Sanstha and to complete all the volumes of the book ‘Science of Spirituality’ by the day of Gurupournima Baba replied, ‘We will see later’. When this occurred two to three times it struck him that being with the Guru who is beyond the three components (trigunatit) was even more important than these things and no matter how sattvik these reasons were, that to be in the Guru’s company one should be able to sacrifice even one’s mission. Thereafter he never asked Him when he should return to Mumbai and He too did not talk about it. After four months had passed thus, just four days before Gurupournima Baba gave him permission to return to Mumbai.

9.3 The progressive steps in the behaviour of the disciple with regard to the Guru’s presence

A. He behaves well so long as he is with the Guru.

B. He behaves well even when away from the Guru, that is he becomes his own Guru.

10. The one who respects the Guru

When a disciple performs the spiritual practice advised by the Guru, he gets spiritual experiences and then automatically begins respecting the Guru. Jagadguru Shri Shankaracharya the one who advocated the advait (non-duality) philosophy has said, ‘One should maintain the feeling of duality only towards the Guru and honour Him accordingly’.

11. The one who possesses the qualities of a seeker

A disciple should possess most of the qualities of a seeker given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 4 – The Seeker’.

12. The one curious about Spirituality (jidnyasu)

Initially one should certainly ask the Guru questions pertaining to Spirituality. The Guru’s answers assist in increasing one’s faith in Spirituality and in the Guru. After making a considerable amount of spiritual progress asking the Guru questions proves to be unnecessary for the following reasons.

  • It is the Guru Himself who imparts the spiritual knowledge required for the progress of the disciple.
  • The aim of spiritual practice is to bring about dissolution of the mind and intellect. So long as the disciple is entrapped in questions and answers, the activity of the mind of creating questions and deriving happiness from the answers obtained through the intellect, continues. Rather than asking questions, if one devotes time to spiritual practice then progress occurs faster. That is, one begins getting answers from within. When the access to receiving answers from outside is blocked, the route to getting answers from within is opened faster.

13. The one who can win over the Guru

The states of a Guru vary from a momentary state of the embodied soul (jivadasha) to the state of the embodied soul doing spiritual practice (jivatmadasha) and the state of the God realised soul (Shivatmadasha) each lasting for sometime and the state of The Supreme God (Shivdasha) lasting for most of the time. If one is able to behave appropriately for that state, that is, one is able to fulfill His expectations then the Guru is appeased.

14. Do not emulate the Guru

The Sadguru is beyond all behavioural restrictions. On the other hand, so long as the disciple is bound by restrictions he is not liberated. A disciple has to observe restrictions till he attains Absoluteness (Purnatva); hence he should not try to emulate the Sadguru’s behaviour. (The Guru’s behaviour appearing to be unrighteous may be so only externally.) A disciple should behave as advised by the Guru. Thus if one behaves like Rama who followed restrictions one can become like Shrikrushna who was beyond restrictions. Hence, in Shrimadbhagvat Shukacharya preaches to King Parikshit that instead of imitating the behaviour of saints one should righteously follow Their teachings and that one’s welfare lies in that alone.

15. The one without ‘ego’

The one who has no ‘ego’ is a disciple and the one who is devoid of the spiritual emotion that ‘He is I’ (So’ham) is a Guru.

16. For the sustenance of Absoluteness (Purnatva) the one remaining intensely devoted to the Guru even after its attainment

‘In the Yogavasishtha, the Final Liberation (Moksha) is defined as the “destruction of desires and instincts”. Destruction of the ego also means the same. But the irony of it all according to Shri Shankaracharya’s school of Ajatvad is that since nothing has originated at all, how can desires and instincts and ego be created? Then how will something which has never been created, be destroyed? Then what does its destruction mean? The answer to this is that “the conviction that there are no such things as the ego, desires, instincts, etc. itself amounts to their destruction. Hence only the appearance of their illusion will have to be considered as their origin. Manifesting itself is the very nature of the soul, hence one cannot predict when it will manifest itself. Thus one cannot say that the ego is destroyed”. Consequently, saints preach that until the end, devotion solely unto the Guru that is, worship of the Guru is necessary for the sustenance of Absoluteness (Purnatva). Gulabrao Maharaj says, “Even if one is liberated while still embodied (jivanmukta), one should continue chanting the Omkar till one renounces the body”.’ – Saint

Gratitude: One should constantly harbour the awareness that one’s spiritual progress is occurring (mainly) because of the Guru. If that is absent then at any moment ego can manifest in oneself. A seeker used to weep out of gratitude thinking, ‘My chanting is occurring automatically because of my Guru’.

17. The comparative importance of some qualities of a disciple

  The importance
%
The minimum
spiritual level %
required to follow
the spiritual practice
1. Chanting with effort 5 40
2. Remaining in the Guru’s
    company
30 50
3. Obedience 60 60
4. Service of the Guru 70 60
5. Surrendering one’s body,
    mind, wealth and life to
    the Guru
100 80

Obedience encompasses doing only ‘what one is told’ while service of the Guru is perceiving what is in the Guru’s mind and doing what pleases Him; hence service of the Guru is superior to mere obedience. Surrendering everything surpasses all other qualities; since, thereafter the disciple has no independent existence.

 

Why does a genuine disciple follow his Guru’s directives without any doubt?

Contents


1. The desire for Liberation (mumukshutva)

‘Although the Guru initiates one preaching, “You are That Brahman yourself” yet one has to live discriminating reality from mere illusion (vivek) because the Guru’s teaching is merely for the convenience of the spiritual discipline. Ultimately without the disciple’s intense desire he cannot get liberated from worldly life (jivanmukti). Saying, ‘शिष्‍य प्रज्ञेव केवलं: ।’ Bhagvan Shri Krushna told Arjun, “After assimilating all My teachings become aware of your own shortcomings, that is with the help of My teachings make a resolve and liberate yourself from worldly life.” Among the four fold spiritual practices realising what is eternal and perishable (nityanityavastuvivek), detachment (vairagya), controlling physical and psychological factors (shamadishatsampatti) and intense desire for Liberation (mumukshutva), the last that is, intense yearning for realisation of God is considered to be the main spiritual practice (Vedantashastra, Brahmasutras – A. 1). No matter how much a woman decks herself up with jewellery, etc. if she is a widow then will it suit her? Similarly even if a seeker has the other three qualities except yearning for Liberation then it is useless.’ – Saint

2. Obeying the Guru’s directives

This is the monarch of all the virtues of a disciple.

2.1 Do not analyse the Guru’s directives

A disciple may not be aware of the motive behind the Guru’s directives yet he is certain that whatever the Guru advises has a benevolent purpose. That is why a genuine disciple of the Absolute Truth carries out the Sadguru’s orders without a hint of doubt. When the Guru tells him, ‘Chant The Lord’s Name’ he does accordingly without doubting the usefulness of doing so. Ambu chanted continuously for seven days and nights because His Guru had advised Him to chant The Lord’s Name continuously. As a result, He attained Self-realisation and became Amburao Maharaj. Even if one disagrees with the Guru initially one should follow His directives and then ask the reason for them. If the Guru says, ‘Go back to your parents and obey them’ then one should do so without feeling hurt. One should not think ‘the Guru is driving me away from Him and back to my parents’ or ‘returning to my parents is all a part of the Great Illusion (Maya)’, etc. When the Guru advises one to go, there must be some intention behind that. Viththalpant, Saint Dnyaneshvar’s father had renounced the world but his Guru told him, “Become a householder again” because the Guru wanted to bless the world with Saint Dnyaneshvar.

2.2 Benefits

A. One should obey the Guru without using one’s intellect. Then one does not feel worried about any task to be accomplished.

B. If one obeys everything that the Guru says then one does not make use of one’s mind or intellect. It is therefore the best means of destroying the mind, intellect and ego.

C. ‘Just as a mound of clay rests peacefully in the hands of a potter so also if one surrenders oneself unto the Guru then Shri Guru can shape one appropriately.”(1)

2.3 What is more important obeying the Guru’s directives or other duties?

‘One of Baba’s (Saint’s) disciples (Vijay) used to conduct workshops on Spirituality every Sunday. If it was not possible to conduct the workshop on a Sunday then he would inform everyone beforehand. When the workshop was fixed on one Sunday, Baba summoned him to Indore. Since it was not possible to convey the message of cancellation of the workshop to the thirty or forty people who attended the workshop he was perplexed about how to cancel it at the last moment. Even so he immediately started out for Indore cancelling the workshop. When he reached Indore, Baba asked him, “Have you informed the people attending the workshop that you had to come to Indore because your Guru summoned you?” When he replied in the affirmative Baba said, “From this those attending the workshop will learn a lot more than what they would have learnt at the workshop.”

2.4 Obeying the Guru’s directives and the intellect

A. One should not use one’s own intellect in obeying the Guru’s directives

  • One disciple (Vijay) had an eighty-six year old father and a seventy-six year old mother. Both had suffered from three to four heart attacks. For two consecutive years Baba was telling him to bring his parents to Indore. The disciple used to feel that his parents would not be able to withstand the journey. Thus, he was using his own intellect. In 1990, when Baba told him to bring his parents to Narsobavadi for Gurupournima he arranged for their tickets, at once. He did not think, “There will be a huge crowd of three to four thousand people and they will have to wait for three to four hours in a queue just to pay their respects to Baba. Will they be able to cope all this?” He left it all to Baba. Baba took good care of them and then said, “You took the right decision of bringing them here”.’ (2)
  • ‘One Saturday night at 10 o’clock a perfume vendor who always offered Baba perfume came to pay homage (darshan) to Baba. Since he did not have the perfume that Baba wanted he affectionately told Baba, “Baba, tomorrow being a holiday the shops will be closed and the perfume that You want will not be available. But I have another good perfume at home which was ordered for someone else. I will bring that for You.” He returned with the perfume and handed it over to Baba to smell the fragrance. Suddenly Baba was enraged and ordered someone to sprinkle ten drops each of the perfume in the toilet and the bathroom. The other seeker did accordingly. The vendor too being a disciple neither felt angry nor dejected. He would be obeying the directives of the Guru if he were to tell Baba that the perfume He desired was not available and remained quiet or if he had tried to procure it within a day or two and then presented it to Baba or sent it to Him; if He was out of town by then. Bringing a similar perfume using his intellect was a mistake. Hence, Baba ordered it to be sprinkled in the toilet and the bathroom.’ (3)

B. Obeying the Guru better by using one’s intellect: If the Guru says, ‘Do ritualistic worship (puja)’ and the disciple performs it in a progressively better way using his intellect then it not only amounts to obedience but also pleases the Guru.

    Once Baba told a disciple, “When you visit Goa give some offering of food (prasad) to Mr Pansare, an old devotee of mine”. When the disciple went to Mr. Pansare’s house he was told that he was admitted in the hospital. On reaching the hospital that disciple realised that Mr. Pansare was in a coma. The disciple then put a small pinch of the prasad into his mouth. When one wishes to obey the Guru one is automatically guided by one’s intellect to act as per the situation. Any other person would have perhaps handed over the prasad to someone at Mr. Pansare’s residence and returned giving Maharaj’s message. That would have been just like running an errand.

2.5 The Guru’s question, wish and order are all one and the same

‘Once at Kandli, Baba asked one of His disciples (Vijay), “Could you go by car to Narayangaon and fetch some vegetables?” For a moment the disciple thought “could you go” means that he had an option. Why should he go to buy vegetables leaving Baba when he had come to the ashram to be in His company? But at once it occurred to him that His question, wish and order are all one and the same and so he replied in the affirmative. Baba then said, “I expected just this from you”.’ (4)

2.6 Obedience of the Guru’s orders occurring automatically

After one reaches a spiritual level of 70% or so there is nothing left in life to be done for oneself. So the disciple starts behaving according to the Guru’s directives.

2.7 Penetration of the Adnya chakra

‘According to the path of Yoga after intense and strenuous penances are performed over a prolonged period the Adnya chakra is penetrated but only after penetration of the Muladhar, Svadhishthan, Anahat and Vishuddha chakras. However, by obeying the directives of the Guru, penetration of the Adnya chakra occurs directly bypassing all these chakras.’(5)

2.8 The secret of obeying the Guru’s orders

The strength behind obeying the Guru’s directives lies in the very order. The Guru does not tell one something which is not possible for one to do. Although externally it appears that the directives cannot be obeyed, the Guru Himself gives one the strength to obey His directives.

2.9 The steps in obeying the Guru’s directives

A. Doing whatever the Guru says.

B. Perceiving the Guru’s wishes and fulfilling them accordingly.

2.10 The consequences of not following the Guru’s directives

The one who does not obey the Guru enters the dreadful
rourav region of hell*,
He becomes a resident of Yama’s region (hell)
and undergoes continuous suffering there. 15:22
The one who does not obey the Guru enters the dreadful
rourav region of hell.
He is not far from sin and he always remains a pauper.- 40:75
                                                                 – Shri Gurucharitra

* The worst region of hell is referred to as the rourav region.

2.11 Examples

‘Once Sage Dhoumya asked His disciple Aruni to water the crops in the field. On reaching there, Aruni realised that since the water was flowing away the crops were deprived of it. He attempted to dam the flow with stones, but due to the force of the current the dam would not hold. Finally he lay down on the ground between the two banks of the dam and thus blocked the flow of the water. As a result, all the crops began to receive water.’- Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 16.

‘To follow his Guru’s order a Shudra named Parvateshvar cut off the entire harvest of jowar crop not heeding the opposition of his wife and children. (Later the crop which was cut off grew in abundance and manifold more of jowar was harvested).’ – Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 47

3. Belief, faith, spiritual emotion (bhav) and devotion (bhakti)

‘A quote “न विश्वसेदविश्वस्‍ते विश्वस्‍तेऽपि न विश्वसेत्‌ ।”, means that not only should one not trust an untrustworthy person but one should also not trust even a trustworthy one. As against this, “One should have complete faith in the Guru’s words” is another quote. Ultimately what should one do? Belief is of two types, one arising out of respect and the second out of friendship. The trust developed in one’s parents due to one’s own weakness in the beginning is of the first type, while belief in others for the acquisition of greater strength despite having strength in oneself is of the second type. If the infant does not trust its mother then it will be handicapped. In the same way in Spirituality the disciple is like an infant without the guidance of the Guru. Hence, one needs to have belief of the first type. “One should have intense faith in the Guru” is a belief of the first type. On the other hand while planning worldly assignments one needs to have belief of the second type. Quotes like “न विश्वसेत्‌” meaning “Do not trust”, etc. refers to the second type of belief.’

Belief is developed through verbal information while faith develops from spiritual experiences (anubhutis). There is a saying,‘There is God where there is spiritual emotion (bhav)’ but there is no such saying as ‘There is God where there is faith’. Then what is spiritual emotion? Spiritual emotion lies in between faith and devotion. One who is not separate (vibhakta) is a devotee (bhakta). This is a state of non-duality (advait). Devotion (bhakti) is the energy which ends this separation. The components of spiritual emotion which convert faith into devotion are as follows.

The component The amount %
1. Gratitude 30
2. Service 10
3. Spiritual love (priti) i.e.
    love without expectation
10
4. Bliss (Anand) 30
5. Serenity (Shanti) 10
6. Others 10
Total 100

Out of these, the first three components that is gratitude, service and spiritual love are a part of spiritual practice whereas the next two, that is Bliss and Serenity are the results of spiritual practice. The Bliss one experiences when the eight sattvik emotions (ashtasattvik bhav) are aroused is because Bliss is an ingredient of each one of them. The first three components especially gratitude to the Guru are constantly essential. Only then can one obtain the spiritual experiences of Bliss and Serenity constantly.

Intellect is definitely not a component of spiritual emotion. Hence, spiritual emotion is always simple in nature. Minor incidents like the one regarding a wedding invitation illustrate whether a person has any spiritual emotion and if so to what extent.

  • Those without spiritual emotion: As is the custom they write the Name of Ganapati or the family deity on the wedding invitation.
  • Those with spiritual emotion: They write ‘By the grace of the Guru we have the pleasure of inviting you to the wedding of our son/daughter……….’.
  • Those who have merged with the Guru’s mission completely: In addition to point above, they conclude the invitation by writing ‘yours……..(name), name of the Guru’s organisation ’.

    Those with a lot of spiritual emotion write the Guru’s name or the name of His organisation on their house, all the items in the house such as utensils, etc.

    A disciple continuously chants the mantra imparted
    by the Guru day and night.
    He knows no lore other than his Guru’s quotes.

    A devotee of the Guru believes that the water
    which has been touched by the Guru’s feet
    no matter how it is, contains the holy water
    of the entire universe and that it is superior to
    all the holy waters.

    If a seeker suddenly obtains the leftovers of the holy
    sacrament of food (prasad) partaken by the Guru
    then in comparison to this achievement
    he does not aspire even for the
    superconscious state (samadhi).

    The seeker receives the dust particles
    which fly off behind the Guru as He walks,
    onto his head and considers himself fortunate
    to be blessed with Supreme Bliss.
                   – Shri Bhavarthdipika (Shri Dnyaneshvari) 13:446-450

    मंत्रे तीर्थे देवे व्‍दिजे दैवज्ञे भेषजे गुरौ ।
    यादृशी भावना यस्‍य सिद्धिर्भवति तादृशी ।।

    Meaning: One gets the benefit from a mantra, holy water offering (tirtha), God, a Brahman (priest), an astrologer, a physician and a Guru depending on one’s faith in them.

    From the mantras and holy water offering,
    Brahman, deity, spiritual practice and medicine
    one gets results according to one’s faith.
    Similarly by considering the Guru to be
    The Supreme God (Shiv), one gets His full blessings.
                                            – Shri Gurucharitra 40 : 49

3.1 Do not harbour doubt after offering everything to the Guru

On 2nd October 1995 after paying homage (darshan) to Baba He said, “Doctor (Vijay) you have given everything except your ‘self ’.” Since in today’s times some require to do spiritual practice adopting the warrior attitude to destroy evil (Kshatradharma) thoughts in that direction that is, of spreading that spiritual practice were arising in Vijay’s mind. Since these thoughts were contrary to the usual ones that is of chanting The Lord’s Name, being in holy company (satsang), service to God (satseva), the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav), etc. He felt that He was drifting away from Baba. On 8th October 1995 at Indore, He confided in Baba about these thoughts regarding the warrior attitude (Kshatradharma) and asked Him the meaning of His statement. Baba said, “If chanting The Lord’s Name is combined with spiritual practice with the warrior attitude then that too is appropriate. The fact, that you considered the thought on the warrior attitude to be your own, means that you have not surrendered your ego.” So after all, it was Baba Himself who had suggested that thought!

3.2 Fearlessness

How one develops fearlessness due to faith in the Guru is illustrated by the following examples.

  • A seeker working as a government official in Mumbai was threatened with murder by members of a political party when investigating the functioning of an organisation. Once, during the enquiry he said to a hundred and fifty workers creating an uproar, “You cannot scare me. My Guru is capable of protecting me. I will die only when the time comes for me to die. If I am destined to die at your hands; then so shall it be. But till then, I will not fail in my duties.”

    Many a saint visited this seeker’s office for their personal work. At that time, he would get up from his chair and pay obeisance to Them by placing his head on Their feet. As a seeker, he would guide Them as far as possible. But if anybody spoke arrogantly to him he would behave sternly like a government official. If anyone tried to show off his energy or supernatural powers (siddhis) he would ask the security guards to turn him out of the office.

  • Hundreds of Hindus and Muslims were killed in the horrifying riots in Mumbai in 1993. At that time Swami Parmanand with His matted hair locks tied in a bun, sporting a long beard and the usual sadhu’s attire went to visit an acquaintance in the Muslim locality. When asked whether he was not scared, He replied, “When my Guru is capable of protecting me, why need I fear?”

3.3 Illustrations

A. Some examples from the Gurucharitra:

     ‘When Shri Guru asked a Brahman lady to milk an infertile buffalo she began milking it with intense faith and the buffalo yielded milk in abundance.’ – Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 22

     ‘Due to the faith in his Guru obeying His directives, a Brahman named Narahari afflicted with leprosy watered a dried twig of the oudumbar (holy fig) tree for four years. Inspite of people labelling him as insane, he persisted in his act. Later the twig sprouted leaves and Narahari too was cured of leprosy.’ – Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 40

B. Once when a disciple of Samarth Ramdas Swami was walking on a road, he saw the aged parents, wife and children of a young man, the sole bread winner of the family, grieving over his dead body. Full of compassion he sprinkled some water on the corpse uttering ‘Rama, Rama’. He thus came back to life. When the disciple related the incident to Saint Samarth, He slapped the disciple on the face and said “Why did you call out to Rama twice? Did you not have faith that Rama would respond to your first call?”

C. Once a disciple named Ambadas was told by Samarth Ramdas Swami to perch himself at the end of a branch of a tree and then to cut it towards the trunk. With full faith in the Guru he set out on this task. On cutting the branch he fell into a well below the tree. Three days later Samarth asked him, “Are you all right?” He replied, “By Your grace I am alright.” Then Samarth brought him out of the well and renamed him ‘Kalyan’.

D. ‘To a disciple who had injured his leg the Swami said, “Your foot was swollen yet you walked. You were in pain yet you ignored it. Thus, if one ignores happiness and unhappiness, one will experience The Supreme God. If one clutches onto sorrow, it increases all the more. You walked; because you had trust (faith) in Me. Otherwise you would not have walked this much. That is why one needs a Guru. Though your leg is injured you will soon feel better. Do not worry.” Speaking thus, the Swami departed.’(6)

E. On a Monday in the month of Shravan (according to the Hindu lunar calendar) Baba went with a disciple to the temple of Omkareshvar. There, He handed over a bel leaf to the disciple and asked him to offer it to the deity, Omkareshvar. There and then in the temple itself, he offered it upon Baba’s head.

F.

Bhuranand Maharaj: Your parents will go to heaven
(Vaikuntha/Moksha).
The disciple            : Will they really go?
Bhuranand Maharaj: Now that you asked me this, they
will not go; because you do not
believe in your Guru.

G. A disciple married a girl without even approving of her just because Baba told him to marry her. After the wedding, he realised that she was afflicted with leucoderma. Even so, he did not blame Baba for asking him to marry her; because he had faith in Him. (The wife was a devotee of Sai Baba even before marriage. It was when she had gone to Shirdi that this disciple had gone to ask Baba whether he should marry this girl and Baba had replied in the affirmative.)

H. Entrusting everything to the Guru: A thirty-five year old spinster was asked by her Guru, “If you wish to get married, I shall make a resolution (sankalpa) and you will get married in six months.” She replied, “You only decide what is essential for my spiritual progress getting married or remaining single.”

I. A letter from a Guru to a disciple: ‘I am unable to protect you since you do not believe in My Omniscience and Omnipotence.’

4. The one sacrificing everything

A. Initially, it is not possible to sacrifice everything, all at once. It is possible only gradually as one makes spiritual progress. The noteworthy point here is that if one is destined to be rich due to merits acquired in one’s past births, one will definitely be so. Since the Guru has no desire for anything from the Great Illusion (Maya), He does not accept the money offered by a disciple. So it remains with the disciple. In such a situation the disciple should spend the money purposefully harbouring the spiritual emotion that ‘This is the Guru’s money’.

     The amount of money offered to the Guru is not important but not keeping any money for oneself is. For instance, an offering of ten thousand rupees by one who has a saving of one lakh rupees is far inferior to one offering his entire saving of fifty rupees.

     ‘Is not offering everything to the Guru contradictory to a (Guru’s) renunciant’s lifestyle? If the Guru is detached then what will He do by taking everything from the disciple? One who has actually experienced this will not get such doubts as he observes his destiny as a spectator. But to those who have not experienced this we reply that even if the disciple sacrifices everything, is it necessary that the Guru should use all that? If one considers the possibility that ‘the Guru is a shrewd householder who asks the disciple to offer everything to him’ He too must have offered everything to his own Guru. If this is the tradition according to the Vedas just like any other dealing, why then should one view it with scorn?’(7)

B. The more one sacrifices one’s intellect, the more one uses the universal intellect, that is the more the disciple merges himself in the Guru.

C. Normally, deserting one’s wife and children amounts to sin. However, if one leaves them and goes to the Guru, it is not a sin. On the contrary, it assists one in going beyond sins and merits. In 1993, Gurupournima celebrations were held in Goa. One day prior to it, in the evening there was a quarrel between Mr. and Mrs. Bhagat. Mr. Bhagat said, “Why such a fuss about Gurupournima? I am leaving for home, at once.” Mrs. Bhagat replied, “You may go if you wish, but I will not accompany you.” The husband then packed his bags and left. He returned in a short while saying, “I was just testing you.” God alone knows the truth! Later, when we asked whether she was not scared about what would happen if he really deserted her, Mrs. Bhagat replied that at that moment it did not matter to her even if he divorced her, but she was determined to remain by the Guru’s side.

D. ‘When Shabar could not find human ashes even after a search of seven days, Shabari his wife told him, “Burn me and use those ashes for the ritualistic worship (puja) of the linga”. A linga is a symbolic representation of Lord Shiva. When this was done Lord Shiva brought her back to life.’ – Shri Gurucharitra, Adhyay 40.

5. The one who does not think of the offerings he has made

‘Once in Dandi in the Indian state of Gujarath a businessman offered a bundle of five rupee notes (worth five hundred rupees) to Baba when He was bathing in a river. Annoyed with this Baba asked him, “Is this the time to offer money?” and hurled the bundle into the river. The businessman was awestruck. Then Baba told him, “Since you have offered me the money I will do whatever I wish with it – throw it in the water, burn it up or spend it on eatables. But this should not create doubt in your mind. Once you offer it to me; you should realise that it is like throwing the money into the river from a running train. Now the river will decide what is to be done with that money!”(8)

6. Humility

  • ‘Dinkar (Baba) never sat in front of his Guru.
  • When with the Guru, Dinkar would stand in a corner awaiting the Guru’s orders. ( He never tried to impress his Guru!)
  • Dinkar always gazed at his Guru’s feet or at the ground. Later when speaking on this Baba (Guru) would say, “A servitor should never look into his Master’s (Guru’s) eyes. That is why I always looked at His feet. Inspite of that I could see Saish’s face clearly.”
  • Dinkar never asked the Guru anything. He only knew that the Guru should command him and he should obey those commands.’(9)
  • One views people as per their ability, so let us see a great example,

    Water accumulates in a crater in the earth But flows away from a mound.
                                                                    – Shri Gurucharitra 3 : 32

    Intense devotion is like a crater, while the hypocrites are like a mound.
    It is for this very reason that one should surrender one’s
    mind, speech and actions to Shri Guru, with determination.
                                                                   – Shri Gurucharitra 3 : 33

Reference:

[1] Siddhabodh. First edition – Gurupournima 1985, pg. 5. Publishers : Gagangiri Publishers, 4, Nalanda Kalpataru Society, Mahant Cross Road, Vile Parle (East), Mumbai.

Sadhubodh: Shri Gulabrao Maharaj Virachit Prashnottaratmak Sukti Ratnavali. Ashtamayashti. Publishers : Shri Dnyaneshvar Madhuradvait Sampradayik Mandal, Dahisath, Amravati.
[6]. Pg. 47

[7]. Swami Shri Loknathtirtha Charitra. Pg. 504. Author : Achyut Siddhanath Poòbhare. Publishers : H.H. Shri Vasudevanand Sarasvati Swami Maharaj and H.H. Shri Loknathtirtha Swami Maharaj Memorial Trust Publishers, Shri Vasudev Nivas, 42/17 Karve Road, EranÅvane, Pune 4.

 

What are the means of obtaining bliss?

Contents


1. Definitions of Bliss

  • A. Bliss is the favourable experience experienced by the embodied soul undertaking spiritual practice (jivatma), the God realised soul (Shivatma) or the soul in the state of union with The Supreme God (Shivadasha), when the functions of the five senses, mind and intellect have ceased.
  • B. यास्‍मिन्‌ स्‍थितो न दु:खेन गुरुणापि अविचाल्‍यते ।

    Meaning: When the mind does not get disturbed even by intense sorrow and remains Blissful is itself the Bliss of Self-realisation (Atmanand).

  • C. सुखं आत्‍यंतिकं यत्‌ तत्‌ बुद्धिग्राह्यं अतींद्रियं
         यं लब्‍ध्‍वा चापरं लाभं मन्‍यते नाधिकं तत: ।

    Meaning: After acquisition of that happiness which does not arise from the organs and which the pure intellect can realise to some extent, one does not desire to obtain any other type of happiness. This itself is known as the Bliss of Self-realisation (Atmanand).

2. Synonyms of Bliss

Spiritual Bliss, spiritual happiness, eternal happiness.

3. Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations

Refer point ‘Confusion due to the usage of the words happiness and Bliss with various connotations’.

4. Differences between happiness and Bliss

Refer point ‘Differences between happiness and Bliss’.

5. Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness

Refer point ‘Bliss in relation to happiness and unhappiness’.

6. Bliss and Serenity (Shanti)

Even Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Anand) is not the real nature of Brahman as it is a spiritual emotion which has some attitude. Brahman means that devoid of an attitude (nivrutti), that is Serenity. In the nirvikalpa superconscious state (samadhi) one experiences Serenity. To simplify it, Brahman is a state of Bliss and Parabrahman that of Serenity. A quote from the Upanishads says ‘शांतं उपासितम्‌’ which means that in the state of union with The Supreme God one experiences Serenity whereas in the state of the God realised soul (Shivatmadasha), one experiences Bliss.

7. Types of Bliss, the amount of Serenity and the corresponding spiritual energy (kundalini) centre (chakra)

Type of Bliss Amount of
Serenity %
Spiritual energy
centre (chakra)*
1. Bliss (Anand) 10 No. 6: Adnyachakra
2. Parmanand 30 No. 7: Mahodadhichakra,
shrungachakra alias
dhvajanubandhchakra
3. Brahmanand 70 No. 8: Rutambharachakra
4. Serenity [The final
    Liberation (Moksha)]
100 No. 9: Sahasrarchakra

* Refer ‘Science of Spirituality: Chapter 38 – Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)’.

8. Theoretical discussion on Bliss

Refer point ‘Theoretical discussion on happiness and unhappiness’.

9. Why does one feel like experiencing Bliss?

‘A vast multitude of Bliss is stored within one,
Waves of Bliss arise in the river of Bliss,
Blissful is the nature of Bliss.’

This is a quote by Tukaram Maharaj. Bliss is the basic nature, the very core of the embodied soul and the universe. Hence the embodied soul has an inherent tendency to return to its basic nature, that is to experience Bliss and on attaining it, tries to sustain it. (Refer point ‘Why is man interested in Spirituality ?’.)

10. Although the nature of the embodied soul is Blissful why does it not experience Bliss ?

यश्‍च मूढतमो लोके यश्‍च बुद्धे: परं गत: ।
तावुभौ सुखमेधेते क्‍लिशत्‍यन्‍तरितो जन: ।  –  भागवत ७-३

Meaning: In this world, only two types of people are happy – 1. Those who are totally ignorant and 2. Those who have transcended the intellect. The remainder in the intervening category experience unhappiness to a large extent. – Bhagvat 7-3

Refer point ‘According to the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)’.

11. Why does the embodied soul not feel bored of Bliss?

Because Bliss is its basic nature. This is akin to sweetness which is the quality of sugar.

12. Seven regions (loks) and Bliss

The Bliss experienced in one region (lok) is ten million times that experienced in the other. For instance, the Bliss in the nether world (bhuvalok) is ten million times that on the earth. For more information refer point ‘The seven regions (saptaloks) and happiness ’.

13. How to attain Bliss?

Bliss is already within oneself. One should not expect someone else to give it to one. ‘If one realises the eternal value of life then one will be able to obtain Bliss from impermanent things. However without understanding the permanent, no matter how hard one tries to obtain happiness or Serenity from the impermanent, it proves futile.’(1) ‘There is no permanent happiness in objects which are changing or have a limitation. That which is infinite and eternal is the true site of origin of happiness. It bestows everlasting Bliss and releases one from the bondage of unhappiness forever.’(?) The ways of realising the absolute value of life are as follows.

13.1 Observing Righteousness (Dharma)

सुखार्था: सर्वभूतानां मता: सर्वा: प्रवृत्तय: ।
सुखं न विना धर्मात्‌ तस्‍मात्‌ धर्मपरो भवेत्‌ ।
                                  – वाग्‍भटकृत अष्‍टांगहृदय, सूत्रस्‍थान २:१९

Meaning: The tendency of all living beings is to attain happiness (in this context the word happiness is used synonymously with Bliss), but they cannot expect to get it without following the ethics of Righteousness. Hence they should be observed. The righteous individual whether knowledgeable or ignorant, will definitely experience happiness. Ashtanghruday by Vagbhat, Sutrasthan 2:19

13.2 Spiritual practice

spiritual practice

Only when the impressions of desires and instincts, likes and dislikes, temperamental characteristics, etc. are wiped off from the subconscious mind, that is only when nescience is destroyed can one experience the Bliss lying dormant within oneself. This method of destroying impressions and nescience is called spiritual practice.

Repetition (chanting) of The Lord’s Name, attending spiritual meetings or remaining in satsang (holy company) of seekers or saints, service of the Absolute Truth (satseva), sacrifice and spiritual love (priti) for all are the main aspects of spiritual practice. Spiritual practice wipes off the impressions in the subconscious mind. Apart from this, the accumulated account of destiny decreases and the ability to withstand suffering due to destiny increases. Besides, by doing spiritual practice the sattvik (sattva predominant) nature is enhanced. As a result decisions made are more appropriate and errors in wilful actions are avoided.

Detailed information on spiritual practice is elucidated in ‘Science of Spirituality: Vol. 21 – Introduction to Spirituality and Individual Spiritual Practice’.

13.3 Company of saints

A. The Bliss that an ordinary man experiences in the company of a woman, is constantly experienced by the one who is liberated from the cycle of birth and death; hence he does not harbour any sexual desire. – Saint Eknath Maharaj

‘The less desires a person has the more enjoyable is his company. Inspite of the desires being present in a subtle form in children they are very lovable. Then why should one consider it impossible for one whose desires have totally been destroyed by The Lord’s grace to impart Bliss to others when in His company ?’ (2) Saints emit frequencies of Bliss. Every seeker experiences them once he is able to perceive the subtle dimension beyond the five senses, mind and intellect.

B. In the company of an evildoer an individual begins to consider unhappiness, for instance stealing, drinking alcohol, etc. as happiness. In the company of a saint however happiness appears like unhappiness. Actually this is detachment (vairagya). Saints destroy the very desire for happiness. Similarly in the company of a saint, due to the acquisition of strength to endure unhappiness even that appears like happiness. Hence no unhappiness is felt, only Bliss is experienced in Their company.

C. Just as cancer cells are destroyed with certain radiations, so also dissolution of the mind and intellect occurs after exposure to frequencies of Bliss from a saint when in His company for a long time. In other words, the subtle and causal bodies and nescience are destroyed, and the individual experiences inner Bliss.

13.4 Sacrifice of happiness

One can acquire Bliss only by sacrificing happiness. Sacrificing all pleasures rather than indulging in them is of greater significance (प्रापणात्‌ सर्व भोगानांम्‌ परित्‍यागो विशिष्‍यते ।)

13.5 Avoiding loss of energy

That pure energy which is utilised in wishing for happiness, is itself Blissful in nature. Once this is realised, desires will not be generated at all.

13.6 Becoming loving

Our culture (sanskruti) teaches that an individual’s happiness and unhappiness depends on his actions (karma). All can never get the same amount of happiness. Although happiness and unhappiness are dependent on action, love is independent of it. Hence, one can express sympathy towards one who is suffering.This augments the individual psychological strength and he is able to tolerate the suffering. This itself is the special feature of our religion. Due to such a loving tendency, man’s attitude becomes sattvik (sattva predominant) and he learns to make greater sacrifices. Thus his requirements go on reducing and gradually he is able to attain Self-realisation.

13.7 Destroying ego

‘Righteousness (Dharma) proclaims that once one blends with the God principle (Brahman), one experiences eternal happiness. If this is true then from an individual’s viewpoint attaining the Final Liberation (Moksha), that is blending of the soul with the God principle itself is the supreme goal. One should certainly leave this body but should also destroy the awareness of ‘I’ness. Righteousness states that even thereafter one will experience happiness. If the one experiencing the happiness himself does not exist then he will acquire happiness, such is this strange concept (reality).’ (3) [When ‘I’ness ends only the God principle exists and as It’s nature is Absolute Truth (Sat), Absolute Consciousness (Chit) and Bliss (Anand), one gets the spiritual experience of Bliss. At that time there is non-duality between the one experiencing it and the experience itself.]

13.8 Society experiencing happiness and Bliss if the Brahmans (priests) are righteous

‘The world’s happiness depends on the Brahmans being righteous and unhappiness lies in their unrighteousness. The foremost Adya Shankaracharya in the commentary on the Bhagvadgita has said, ‘ब्राह्मणस्‍यहि रक्षणेन रक्षितो वेदधर्म: ।’ which means that only if the Brahmans observe the code of Righteousness of a Brahman meticulously, then the code of Righteousness prescribed by the Vedas is protected. When none behaves unrighteously there is a lot of love among all the classes (varnas) and castes and consequently the world becomes happy. Thus, the happiness and unhappiness of the world certainly depend on the Brahmans alone’. – Saint

Reference:

1. Shri Shankar Maharaj Adbhut Charitra Va Alaukik Upadesh. First edition 1985, pg. 129. Anand Sane. Anjali Publishing House, Pune 411030.

Shri Brahmachaitanya Gondavlekar Maharaj Yanchya Hrudya Athvani. First edition 1979, pg. 85. Compiler: L.G. Marathe. Yashvant Publications, Pune 411030.
2. Pg. 85

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
3. Vol. 10, pg. 62.

 

Why does one feel happy after seeing a vast ocean or the sky?

Contents


1. Theoretical discussion on happiness and unhappiness

1.1 Expectation of happiness and not of object pleasure

Man does not have expectations of getting object pleasure but of happiness or rather of Bliss. Supposing one is told that his trip abroad will be sponsored with enough money to enjoy worldly pleasures but that he will have to endure unhappiness, he will reply, ‘I want neither worldly pleasures nor unhappiness’.

1.2 Happiness derived from objects itself is Bliss

The peak of worldly happiness is sex. Hence it is called the ‘seat of Bliss’ in the Ayurveda (Sushrut Sanhita). Sex in this context refers to ejaculation. At that moment total activation of spiritual energy (kundalini) occurs. The ignorant person experiences happiness from object pleasure. The mechanism of object pleasure is as follows – Due to the firm conviction that happiness lies in objects, at least momentarily the pran and apan vital energies attain equilibrium, the individual loses awareness of his body and his inner Bliss manifests itself. Since he does not realise this due to ignorance, he considers that his happiness depends on some object, some tool which in this case is sex, and gets more and more entangled in it. Thus entrapped in the cycle of birth and death, he becomes unhappy. In Vedic terminology this happiness is termed as object pleasure. As it is dependent on a cause it is relative to time, space and objects.

When one eats to one’s content the vital energies pran and apan become steady, the individual forgets the attachment to his body and thus his inner Bliss surfaces. But the person attributes it to the food. ‘The spouse, children, etc. are for the sake of one’s own happiness. One experiences one’s own Bliss through them. Though that happiness is inner Bliss itself, it is considered to be happiness derived from objects namely the spouse, children, etc. In short, real happiness lies within oneself (and is termed as the inner ocean of Bliss).’ (1)

1.3 Vast objects bestow happiness

One feels happy when one sees the vast sprawling ocean or the sky. However, if one sees a part of the ocean or sky through the window then one does not feel happy. That is why a quote from the Chandogya Upanishad [chapter (adhyay) 7, Vol. 23, mantra 132] says,

    ‘यो वै भूमा तत्‍सुखं नाल्‍पे सुखं अस्‍ति भूमा एव सुखं भूमातु
     एव विजिज्ञासितव्‍य इति भूमानं भगवो विजिज्ञास इति’

[Meaning: That which is infinite itself is true happiness. There is no happiness in small objects (that is limitation). Expansiveness is itself true happiness; hence one should acquire knowledge about the infinite.]

Hence if one’s mind becomes all pervading, the Bliss too will be limitless. This point will become clear from the following experiment.

First look at the small circle in figure ‘A’ and then the large circle in figure ‘B’, for one to two minutes each and note whether you feel pleasant or distressed. Only then read further on. There were thirty-five seekers attending a satsang (spiritual meeting). Their spiritual experiences are given below.

subtle experiment

Experience Figure ‘A’ Figure ‘B’
1. Pleasant 8 26
2. Distressing 12 2
3. Nothing 15 7
Total 35 35

The majority felt better looking at the larger circle in comparison to the smaller one.

The spiritual level of an average seeker is 35%. During a spiritual meeting it can rise upto 40% to 50%. The spiritual level of an average person is 20% while that of one who has attained the Final Liberation (Moksha) is 100%. The former will not be able to perceive anything if he participates in such experiments.

An individual who is inspired by a specific objective like the welfare of the society, nation, humanity or animals experiences more and more happiness and does not feel much about worldly happiness and unhappiness. For instance, Tanaji Malusare, a warrior from Shivaji Maharaj’s army said, “First the wedding of the Kondhana fort, then that of Rayba.” (First I will fight the enemy and capture the Kondhana fort and only then celebrate my son, Rayba’s wedding.) Similarly, those motivated by the desire for Self-realisation are affected neither by pleasures and pains of worldly life nor the happiness and unhappiness of living beings. On the contrary, one who thinks only about one’s own family or only of oneself becomes more and more unhappy.

1.4 Absence of desire means happiness

The happiness experienced through objects is not obtained when actually experiencing the object, but due to the contentment arising from it when one feels fed up of the object. One enjoys the first ladu (a sweet delicacy), if offered more the enjoyment decreases and later one does not feel like eating any more. This proves that happiness does not lie in objects like sweetmeats, it is in the state beyond objects.

‘When desire is generated in man he digresses from the state of happiness. No matter what the reason is for absence of desires, their fulfillment, their sacrifice, absence of their generation or obscurity due to concentration of the mind, that state devoid of desires proves to be that of happiness. In other words happiness is not in objects, it is in the subconscious mind. Absence of desire is of two types.

  • A. Absence of desire during sleep: Though there are no objects involved with sleep one acquires Bliss from it. If man is deprived of sleep for two days he becomes restless. The Chandogya Upanishad (6.8.1) states that there is absolutely no difference between the happiness acquired during deep sleep and that obtained with the attainment of the Final Liberation (Moksha). Both Shri Shankaracharya and Vidyaranya have accepted this concept. According to the Bruhadaranyak Upanishad (14.3.21) happiness obtained with the attainment of the Final Liberation, that in deep sleep and with sexual intercourse is the same in intensity. Thus every individual experiences this happiness for 5-6 hours everyday. Then the precept that the one who is attracted towards the Final Liberation (Moksha) finds other happiness inferior becomes meaningless because despite experiencing this happiness everyday, man is still in search of other happiness. [The reason for this is that man does not know how to acquire the same happiness (Bliss) in the waking state so he tries to acquire happiness through other means.]
  • B. Absence of desire in the waking state: Absence of desire in the waking state is better than that during sleep. It is true that happiness is experienced during sleep but at that time the embodied soul is unaware that ‘I am happy’ unlike the happiness in the waking state when the embodied soul is aware that ‘I am happy’. Hence the happiness in the waking state is of a higher quality than that during sleep.

The Shrimadbhagvadgita states that ultimate happiness (Bliss) is extrasensory but can be realised with intellect. Three states are present in this state of ultimate happiness – 1. absence of desire, 2. the waking state and 3. the subtle proportion of ego which is required for this waking state.

The one who desires ultimate happiness or the Final Liberation should renounce the world is the final doctrine of the sect of renunciants. The path of renunciation advocated by Shri Shankaracharya in the Kaliyug and that described by the Smruti texts is based on this very principle.

All happiness stems from overcoming unhappiness such as that from desire. Lokmanya Tilak however, did not accept this. The gist of what he has described in his book, the Gitarahasya is as follows – desire is the feeling of wanting to experience something which has bestowed happiness, once again. Not acquiring a desired object results in unhappiness. However, if the desire is fulfilled before the unhappiness is alleviated then one cannot say that the happiness obtained was on account of overcoming the unhappiness arising out of desire. If one gets something good even when not desirous of it, then the doctrine that the happiness derived from it is out of desire is disproven. For example, if one suddenly puts a cube of sugar into a child’s mouth one cannot say that the happiness that it is experiencing is due to elimination of desire. If one sees a beautiful garden or hears the melodious singing of a nightingale then one experiences happiness even without harbouring the desire to experience them. From this one can conclude that since the sense organs have the natural ability to experience pleasant and distressing objects, one experiences happiness or unhappiness without the desire for them. Hence the Gita (2.14) quotes that, by contact with objects, that is external objects from Nature, one experiences sensations such as hot, cold, etc. and acquires happiness or unhappiness. The Gita also states (3.34) that all happiness is not in the form of elimination of unhappiness and that the affinity and repulsion between sense organs and objects of sensation like speech, touch, etc. are separate entities altogether. The Gita considers happiness and unhappiness as two opposite and separate attitudes.

There is a vast difference between the happiness acquired after experiencing unhappiness and that acquired after remaining engrossed in object pleasure everyday because the ability of the sense organs diminishes by experiencing happiness everyday. However in the Mahabharat (1.75.49) Sage Vyas has preached what is given below, to King Yayati. The following verse (shloka) is also in the Shrimadbhagvat.

नात्‍यश्‍नतस्‍तु योगोऽस्‍ति न चैकान्‍तमनश्‍नत: ।
न चातिस्‍वप्‍नशीलस्‍य जाग्रतो नैव चार्जुन ।।१६।।

Meaning: (But) O Arjun, if one eats voraciously (or) scantily, sleeps excessively (or) hardly, then there is no possibility of accomplishing yoga.

युक्‍ताहारविहारस्‍य युक्‍तचेष्‍टस्‍य कर्मसु ।
युक्‍तस्‍वप्‍नावबोधस्‍य योगो भवति दु:खहा ।।१७।।

Meaning: He whose diet and travel is within limits, who regulates all his actions and whose sleep and wakefulness are balanced, can mitigate all (worldly) unhappiness by practising this yoga.

1.5 Concentration of the mind means happiness

Due to the conviction that happiness lies in objects, once the object is obtained, to experience it fully, the mind goes into concentration. The vital energies pran, apan, saman come to a standstill and at least momentarily breathing ceases (kumbhak). At that very moment inner Bliss manifests. Thus, when concentration of the mind is achieved happiness is experienced. The happiness which is acquired through objects does not occur while experiencing the object but when the subconscious mind becomes steady, after its fulfillment. At the time of ejaculation and after a meal too, the mind becomes blank. Hence one feels happy.

‘The intellect which believes that happiness lies in the soul itself is called the intellect of the soul. Based on this intellect if the mind concentrates on anything then it becomes the cause of happiness. The other synonyms for it are happiness of the soul, sattvik (sattva predominant) happiness and permanent happiness. When the mind gets steadied due to contact with objects even for a moment and there is a marked reduction in ego, that happiness is called rajasik (raja predominant) happiness, object pleasure, etc. In case of happiness arising from the soul as there are no objects involved, it is experienced whenever the mind is free of desire. Hence happiness from the soul is superior to object pleasure.’ (3)

1.6 Thoughtless state itself is Bliss (Anand)

When one attains the thoughtless state in meditation, one experiences Bliss. When one drinks alcohol, thoughts are suppressed. At that time one is able to experience Bliss in the thoughtless state between two successive thoughts. The one drinking alcohol however attributes this happiness to drinking alcohol. (Refer point ‘Happiness derived from objects itself is Bliss’.)

1.7 Stability means happiness

The gaze of a child is never steady but constantly shifts. After its gaze becomes steady it smiles due to Bliss. The onlooker feels that the child has smiled at him !

1.8 Forgetting attachment to the body is equivalent to happiness

When concentration of the mind is achieved, one forgets one’s attachment to the body and experiences Bliss. That is why with spiritual practice when one forgets oneself, the mind achieves concentration and the spiritual experience of Bliss is obtained.

1.9 Spontaneous cessation of respiration induces happiness

Brahman is Bliss itself. Brahman is steady; hence when Bliss is experienced there is steadying and spontaneous cessation of breathing (that is automatic cessation of respiration is a sign of Bliss). Contrary to this when automatic cessation of breathing occurs, Bliss is experienced. This occurs by itself at the time of ejaculation, when one belches feeling gratified after a meal and when the eight sattvik spiritual emotions (ashtasattvik bhav) are generated. Hence as one undertakes spiritual practice, breathing gradually decreases and finally stops. It is through this that real Bliss is obtained. No Bliss is experienced through voluntary stoppage of breathing.

2. How to acquire at least a small amount of true happiness?

Though man constantly strives to attain happiness, mankind is becoming increasingly unhappy with the passage of time. The number of psychiatric patients the world over is also on the rise. Though the aim of modernisation based on today’s science and research is to improve the quality of life, man cannot acquire happiness through them. Hence they have no value. It is impossible for a living being to be happy with happiness and yet not to be unhappy when suffering comes. The following paths indicate how to acquire real happiness at least to some extent.

  • A. Devotion with expectation (sakam bhakti): The universe is within the control of the deities. If the deities are appeased then they endow happiness but if displeased, they bestow unhappiness. One can please them through devotion and thus attain happiness.
  • B. Company of saints.

3. Overcoming unhappiness completely

If one never wants to be unhappy then one has to go beyond the duality of happiness and unhappiness. Unhappiness does not vanish by denying it and joy does not come by merely wishing for it. Hence it is best not to think about happiness and suffering. The state beyond happiness and unhappiness is called the ‘balanced state of mind’. In this state the individual experiences neither happiness nor unhappiness based on worldly objects. That is, the individual does not become happy with joy and is not aggrieved with unhappiness; on the contrary, he is engrossed in enjoying inner Bliss.

3.1 Happiness and unhappiness, the materialistic (average) individual and the spiritually evolved

A. The materialistic individual experiences both happiness and unhappiness because he is influenced by the anadi (one without a beginning) illusion by means of which he considers the Great Illusion (Maya) to be the truth. This illusion can be eliminated by spiritual practice.

B. The spiritually evolved with a spiritual level of more than 70% in the stage of Self-realisation experience only sattvik (sattva predominant) happiness. There is no physical and psychological suffering as only the adi (one with a beginning) illusion persists. Due to this illusion one believes that ‘the Great Illusion is fake’. This illusion is overcome by the grace of the Guru. In other words, the Brahman in the Great Illusion is realised and the seeker attains non-duality. Those at a spiritual level of more than 90% like the knowledgeable ones, ascetics, devotees, the spiritually evolved enjoy only Bliss because they are rid of the adi illusion.

C. Peaceful and restless: One who has gone beyond happiness and unhappiness is peaceful while one who experiences happiness and unhappiness is restless.

D. Mahavir attained liberation through penance (spiritual practice). Penance means acceptance of unhappiness.

3.2 Class (varna), spiritual practice, happiness, unhappiness and Bliss

Class Spiritual
practice
%
Proportion
of happiness
and
unhappiness
Happiness %
+ unhappi-
ness % =
Bliss
%
State
beyond
happiness
and un-
happiness %
Total
%
Brahman
(priest)
70 Approaching
the level at
which one is
beyond both
happiness and
unhappiness
Sattvik
(sattva pre-
dominant)
happiness
20+10=30
20 50 100
Kshatriya
(warrior)
50 Happiness
more than
unhappiness
Rajasik (raja
predominant)
happiness
40+20=60
0 40 100
Vaishya
(business-
man)
30 Both happi-
ness and
unhappiness
are equal
Rajasik
happiness
35+35=70
0 30 100
Shudra
(labourer)
10 Unhappiness
more than
happiness
Rajasik
happiness
30+50=80
0 20 100

3.3 Happiness, unhappiness, Bliss and the spiritually evolved

  Happi-
ness %
Unhapp-
iness %
State of absence
of happiness and
unhappiness %
Bliss
%
Total
%
1. Average
    individual
20 50 30 0 100
2. Saint of 70%
    spiritual level
20 5 20 55 100
3. Saint of 80%
    spiritual level
10 2 10 78 100
4. Saint of 90%
    spiritual level
5 0 5 90 100
5. Saint of 100%
    spiritual level
0 0 0 100 100

3.4 Natural state of communion with God (sahajavastha)

The spiritually evolved do not dissociate from their inner self when experiencing Bliss in external objects. They are always immersed in Bliss irrespective of whether they are experiencing an object or not. This state is termed as the natural state of communion with God.

3.5 Righteousness (Dharma)

The Vedanta and the Sankhya philosophies (Darshans) consider the overcoming of unhappiness completely and the attainment of ultimate happiness (Bliss) as the zenith of Spirituality.

3.6 Need for philosophy

दु:ख त्रयाभिघातात्‌ जिज्ञासा तदपघातके हेतौ ।
दृष्‍टे साऽपार्था चत्‌ नैकान्‍तात्‍यन्‍ततोऽभावात्‌ ।। – सांख्‍य करिका

Meaning: Curiosity for elimination of unhappiness arises after one experiences physical (adhibhautik), divine (adhidaivik) and spiritual (adhyatmik) suffering. If this desire is fulfilled with visible remedies then what is the need for remedies from philosophy which are invisible? – Sankhya Karika

As this does not happen, philosophy is necessary.

Reference:

Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandanchya Sahavasat). First edition 1986. Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, Thane district 401206.
1. Pg. 34

Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh. Publisher: Pandit Mahadevshastri Joshi, Secretary, Bharatiya Sanskrutikosh Mandal, 410 Shanivar Peth, Pune 411 030.
First edition : Vol. 3 to 10
2. Vol. 10, pg. 59-62
3. Vol. 10, pg. 59

 

In spite of soul being part of Blissful Brahman, why does one experience unhappiness?

Contents


Causes of happiness and unhappiness

1. According to psychology

  • A. Restlessness (no peace of mind): ‘अशांतस्‍य कुत: सुखम्‌ ।’ means how will a restless soul find happiness?
  • B. ‘Worrying nature’ as a defect in personality: The following example illustrates how a person with a worrying nature can become unhappy even after knowing the prediction of future happiness. A woman was worried about the future of her 15 year old son and 11 year old daughter. In order to get rid of her anxiety, she was told that her son’s life would be thrice and her daughter’s twice as happy as an average person and that they would be educated abroad, would be well-off, the daughter’s in-laws would be good, etc. After she was told all this she felt better for a short while, but soon became depressed. When she was asked the reason for feeling sad she replied, “I do not have to do anything for my children. They are going to be happy by their own destiny, thus I will not get the satisfaction of doing something for my children and shaping their lives. Because of this feeling I have developed this void within me and am feeling very sad.”
  • C. Many a time there occurs a conflict among the tongue, mind and intellect, whether to eat a tasty dish or not and consequently psychological stress is generated. If there is a harmonious co-ordination between the body, sense organs, mind, intellect and the soul then one will enjoy good health and happiness. However if this is not so, it will result in illness and unhappiness.
  • D. सर्वं परवशं दु:खं सर्वमात्‍मवशं सुखम्‌ । – मनुस्‍मृति

         Implied meaning: Dependence itself is unhappiness and independence is happiness. But independence does not mean immorality or promiscuity. That is not independence but dependence on the sense organs. – Manusmruti

  • E. ‘The educational system commenced by the British in India destroyed the loyalty to Righteousness (Dharma) and increased the desire for wealth. This led to the development of the purpose of education to earn wealth. The concept generated from education, that knowledge (Sarasvati) and wealth (Lakshmi) are the by-products of following Righteousness became extinct. Our culture (sanskruti) says that happiness in this world, the subtle regions and that of Final Liberation (Moksha) are dependent on following Righteousness. Contrary to this, due to the Western concept that “happiness depends on wealth”, man became eager to acquire happiness. Consequently, the physical sciences made vast progress and thus man was further attracted to object pleasure. Immorality became rampant in the West. Today, there is nowhere more immorality and unhappiness than in the U.S.A. which is famous for its riches’. – Saint

2. According to the science of Spirituality

Unrighteousness induces unhappiness.

अधर्म एव मूलं सर्व रोगाणाम्‌ ।

Meaning: The origin of an ailment, that is unhappiness lies in behaving unrighteously.

सुखं न विना धर्मात्‌ तस्‍मात्‌ धर्मपरो भवेत्‌ ।
                            – वाग्‍भटकृत अष्‍टांगहृदय, सूत्रस्‍थान २:१९

Meaning: Without following Righteousness (Dharma) one cannot experience happiness (and Bliss); hence each one should follow it. Ashtanghruday by Vagbhat, Sutrasthan 2:19

2.1 According to the Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga)

Devotion unto God is happiness and forgetting Him is unhappiness.

2.2 According to the Path of Action (Karmayoga)

A. The Adhyatmaramayan [Ayodhyakand, sarga 6, verse (shloka) 6]: Lakshman tells the boatman named Guha ferrying Rama across the river,

सुखस्‍य दु:खस्‍य न कोऽपि दाता । परो ददाति इति कुबुद्धिरेषा ।
अहं करोमि इति वृथाभिमान: । स्‍वकर्मसूत्रै: ग्रथितोऽहि लोक: ।।

     Meaning: No one can give one happiness or unhappiness. Only the ignorant feel they have acquired happiness or unhappiness because of someone else. Similarly, thinking that one will achieve happiness or get rid of suffering with one’s own efforts is vanity as finally one is bound by one’s accumulated account and destiny.

B. Wilful actions, destined actions and physical and psychological suffering: Life events occur in two ways – wilful and destined actions.

willful and destined actions

  • 1. Wilful actions: In some incidents, thoughts, actions and behaviour are totally within one’s control. One uses one’s mind or intellect and acts accordingly. These are called wilful actions. In this period of Kaliyug, 35% of all actions are wilful.
  • 2. Destined actions: In some incidents, thoughts, actions and behaviour are beyond one’s control. They occur automatically. They are called destined actions. Nowadays, they contribute to 65% of all actions.

    The proportion of destined and wilful actions varies with time as follows.

  First birth Present birth Last birth
1. Destined
    actions %
0 65 100
(life is like that of a puppet)
2. Wilful
    actions %
100 35 0
  • 3. Inability to distinguish between wilful and destined actions: Only when one progresses spiritually and perceives the subtle dimension beyond the five senses, mind and intellect is one able to determine whether an action is wilful or destined. Since an average individual cannot distinguish between the two, he attributes everything to wilful actions. Due to this inability, instead of blaming someone for an action, it is ideal for a seeker to observe all events with the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav). The Lord too, inspite of being omniscient and omnipotent observes almost all events as a spectator.
  • 4. Physical suffering due to wilful and destined actions

    a. Wilful actions: Suppose ‘A’ is warned that water from a particular area is polluted and needs to be boiled before drinking, yet due to overconfidence about his physical fitness he says that he can digest all kinds of germs and drinks that water. If thereafter he develops diarrhoea it can be said to be self-induced and thus becomes a wilful action.

    b. Destined actions: Now if ‘A’ is destined to get diarrhoea then based on the principle that intellect operates according to destiny, although otherwise he is not overconfident about his physical fitness, at that moment, he will suddenly become overconfident or will not meet someone who will tell him that that water is polluted and needs to be boiled. Thus he will suffer from diarrhoea.

  • 5. Psychological suffering due to wilful and destined actions: Marrying an incompatible partner and experiencing psychological distress may also occur either due to a wilful or a destined action, just like the above example. Marrying someone without heeding anyone’s advice is a wilful action whereas consenting to marry an incompatible partner because of faulty judgement due to destiny, when choosing the partner, is a destined action.
  • 6. Physical and psychological suffering due to spiritual causes: That which occurs due to destiny is due to spiritual causes. If due to destiny one accidently steps across a lime charged with distressing energy thrown on the roadside, then one may be affected adversely. At times spiritual, that is events beyond the purview of the intellect occur due to wilful actions. If one who has no faith in such things proudly ventures there inspite of being warned that the place is haunted, the distressing energy there could trouble him.
  • 7. The proportion of physical, psychological and spiritual events occurring on account of wilful and destined actions.
Action Event Total
Physical Psychological Spiritual
1. Willful % 0 10 15 35
2. Destined % 10 55 (The other two
are also spiritual)
65
Total % 20 65 15 100

C. Desire for happiness itself is the cause of unhappiness: ‘There is only one path to escape from the cycle of unhappiness and that is obliterating the desire for happiness; as due to the very desire for happiness, man while attempting to generate merits ends up creating sins and thus the cycle of birth and death continues perpetually. At the time of dissolution of the universe (pralay) as Lord Brahma is asleep, new creation is not generated. It is only during this period that the embodied soul (jiva) gets some rest. But what is the use of this rest? After Lord Brahma wakes up He once again causes us to be born according to our actions (karma). As long as desire (i.e. desire for happiness) exists one will continue to be born. In the destruction of the desire for happiness itself lies true happiness. The desire for happiness itself is the basic cause of all unhappiness. Thus, the desire for happiness is a sin’. – Saint

कालार्थकर्मणाम्‌ योगो हीन मिथ्‍याति मात्रका ।
सम्‍यक्‌ योगश्‍च विज्ञेयो सुखासुखस्‍य कारणम्‌ ।।

    Meaning: ‘The inadequate, wrong and excessive usage of time, sense objects and action (karma) is responsible for generation of unhappiness and their balanced usage, that is proper utilisation yields happiness.’ – Saint

2.3 According to the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)

A. Nescience (avidya): The word avidya (अविद्या) is derived from ‘a (अ)’ meaning absence and ‘vidya (विद्या)’ meaning knowledge. It is thus the absence of knowledge. The three qualities of the soul are Absolute Truth (Sat) which is permanent, Absolute Consciousness or Knowledge (Chit) and Bliss (Anand). [How these three qualities are one and the same is given in ‘Science of Spirituality : Chapter 28 – Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga)’.] This implies that spiritual knowledge is without a beginning or an end. It is eternal and Blissful. Nescience is the absence of Knowledge, the absence of Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness and Bliss. Happiness and unhappiness occur because of nescience.

composition of subtle body

The main component of the subtle body is the soul which is a fraction of Brahman with the qualities of Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness and Bliss. The soul is Blissful in nature. The covering of the Great Illusion surrounding it is called nescience (avidya). Nescience is the root cause of unhappiness. Man gets attached to money, his own house, family, city, country, etc. The greater the attachment to any individual or object, greater is the likelihood of unhappiness arising from attachment. Even an ideal social worker or a saint may become attached to the society or his devotees respectively. The greatest attachment that each one has, is for himself, that is his own mind and body. Even a slight discomfort or illness can make one unhappy; hence everyone should gradually become detached about oneself and accept pain and illness in one’s stride.

The soul and nescience together constitute the embodied soul. Nescience has nineteen components in all – the five subtle sense organs, the five subtle motor organs, the five vital energies, the mind, the subconscious mind, the intellect and the ego. Since the functions of the components of the subtle body go on continuously, the attention of the embodied soul is drawn to them instead of the soul, that is away from spiritual knowledge to nescience. Consequently though the Blissful Brahman is all pervading yet one experiences happiness or unhappiness. Examples of how happiness or unhappiness is caused when the attention of the embodied soul is drawn to the physical and the subtle body are given below.

  • Physical body: One feels unhappy when one is physically ill. When walking in the hot sun in summer if one gets a chance to walk in the shade, one feels happy. One also feels unhappy if one’s basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter are not fulfilled.
  • Subtle body: It is made up of four constituents of nescience – the mind, subconscious mind, intellect and ego, that is the four fold antahkaran (antahkaran chatushtay) and the soul. Ego is the feeling that one is separate from The Lord. How happiness and unhappiness occur because of intellect and impressions of previous births on the subconscious mind is explained with examples below.

    functional diagram of subtle body

    1. Subconscious mind:

    • a. Desire center:
          मनसो दु:खमूलं तु स्‍नेह इत्‍युपलभ्‍यते ।। – महाभारत ३.२.२७

          Meaning: It is found that attachment alone is the main cause for unhappiness. – Mahabharat 3.2.27.
      Since for several births one is habituated to object pleasure, no matter how much one studies Spirituality, due to the attitude and firm belief that object pleasure means happiness, it becomes very difficult to divert the mind from objects. One is used to keeping the mind steady in objects, so if one attempts to divert one’s mind from objects temporarily even for a moment, one is aggrieved. This is because the mind feels at rest with object pleasure and an effort is being made to keep the mind away from it. In this context Samarth Ramdas Swami has said, ‘The embodied soul becomes restless in the absence of objects’. The unfulfillment of desires, wishes, ambitions, expectations, the desire to live (pranaishana), to have a son (putraishana), to have sex (kamaishana), to be righteous (Dharmaishana), to attain the Final Liberation (Mokshaishana) is unhappiness. When one acquires happiness due to the fulfillment of some desire a faulty impression that ‘fulfillment of desire is happiness’ gets reinforced in the desire and instinct centre and then the individual tends to drift away from Bliss.

    • b. Like and dislike centre: When a favourable event occurs one feels happy and when something which is disliked occurs one feels unhappy.
    • c. Temperamental characteristic centre: Unhappiness is experienced due to defects in personality and happiness due to qualities.
    • d. Talents centre: When achieving expertise in art, sports, etc. one experiences happiness; if not it results in unhappiness.
    • e. Give and take account centre: This contains the accumulated account and the list of destined actions. One has to experience the unhappiness that is accounted for in this centre.

    2. Intellect: When one’s curiosity is satisfied there is happiness. If not, there is unhappiness. One who does not even realise that he does not know anything experiences happiness even in that ignorance and one who realises it feels unhappy.

    3. Ego: Basically all unhappiness stems from considering oneself as distinct from The Blissful Lord. One experiences happiness and unhappiness due to attachment. If one breaks off the bondage of attachment, then one does not experience happiness and unhappiness.

B. Desire for happiness itself is the cause for unhappiness: ‘The Lord’s nature itself is one of Bliss. Therefore it is but natural that the creation which has originated from Him will be Blissful. Just as it is not possible for an ornament made from gold to appear as that of iron. In the holy text, Ganapati Atharvashirsha it is said that all living beings originate from the singular Bliss, sustain on it and finally blend into that Bliss. Yet one experiences unhappiness in the creation. The cause of experiencing this unhappiness is termed by philosophers as an illusion, ignorance, the Great Illusion (Maya) etc. all of which are synonymous.

No one feels that ‘he should be unhappy’. Everyone ‘desires happiness’. This feeling is generated as one’s basic nature is that of happiness. If our basic nature was unhappiness then would one not have felt that ‘one should be unhappy’? When one’s basic nature is of happiness having a desire to be happy itself is ignorance. This itself is the beginning of unhappiness. When the desire to be happy ends, that is where happiness lies. When this state is achieved then one has no reason left to be unhappy. This is the state of saints. Righteousness (Dharma) is meant for us to be released from the ignorance of happiness and unhappiness. – Saint

C. Expectation and attainment of happiness: When attainment is less than the expectation, there is unhappiness. However when it is equivalent to or more than the expectation, there is happiness.

  • 1. Just as electric current yielding both hot and cold water is the same, so also is the happiness or unhappiness that individuals experience from God, due to varying constitutions.
  • 2. Just as images of objects get distorted with the use of concave and convex lenses, so also due to desires and instincts, likes and dislikes, temperamental characteristics, sins and merits, the proportion of the three components, the five cosmic elements, etc. Brahman instead of being experienced in Its form is experienced as the Great Illusion (Maya) and consequently there is happiness or unhappiness.
  • 3. When a student who has fared excellently in an examination goes out to distribute sweets to his well-wishers wearing a new but tight shirt, instead of feeling happy about his success, his mind gets diverted to the tight shirt. The same occurs with the embodied soul and instead of the inner Bliss its attention gets focused on happiness and unhappiness due to the covering of nescience.
  • 4. A person in bondage is unable to eat, even if food is placed in front of him. Thus he remains hungry. Similarly, a person in bondage is unable to quench his thirst even if a river is flowing ahead of him and remains thirsty. An individual is deprived of the Bliss within him due to the bondage of nescience. This point will become clearer from the following example.

    ‘Once a person built a palace of mirrors and kept a beautiful blooming rose at its centre. The mirrors enhanced the beauty of the rose. Then he set a pigeon free in the palace. Seeing the numerous reflections of the rose, the pigeon started swooping onto them and began pecking at each mirror. Finally exhausted with the fluttering about, it collapsed and landed straight on the rose. Now that it had got what it wanted, it was satisfied. Man’s state too is the same. Although “happiness is within”, he keeps on searching for it in the enchanting mirage of external objects.’ (1)

D. Three components (trigun) and happiness and unhappiness: The three components sattva, raja and tama are from the Great Illusion (Prakruti). The sattva component imparts happiness; hence as the human mind becomes more and more sattva predominant, the creation too becomes proportionately happy and as the sattva predominance declines and is replaced by predominance of raja and tama components, proportionately the creation becomes unhappy. As the sattva component increases, love for others increases and consequently an attitude of sacrifice develops. Due to this attitude of sacrifice, one’s attitude becomes expansive day by day and one learns the art of blending with the unhappiness of others. This art itself is active compassion.

E. A resolve and happiness and unhappiness: The creation, sustenance and dissolution of the universe depend on a resolve. Then is all the suffering of the entire creation due to a resolve? How is this possible? Because each one makes a resolve for happiness and not sorrow. Then why do we experience unhappiness when we make a resolve for happiness? Its answer lies in the fact that we have lost our sattva predominant nature and have become raja and tama predominant. Therefore we have lost the ability to make our resolve come true. As The Supreme God’s resolve is of the Absolute Truth (Sat), He is able to create infinite universes within a second by His resolve. Hence, the creation will become happy in proportion to the number of people who shall attain an attitude conducive to His resolve of sustenance.

F. The Yogadarshan has classified unhappiness of living organisms and its causes into four divisions, namely hey (हेय), hetu (हेतु), han (हान) and hanopay (हानोपाय). All unhappiness and object pleasure in the world should be rejected.

Hey : Worth forsaking (unhappiness and pleasure)
Hetu : Cause (of unhappiness)
Han : Destruction (of unhappiness)
Hanopay : Remedies to eliminate unhappiness

All unhappiness as well as object pleasures (which also culminate in unhappiness) should be forsaken.

G. The entire creation has originated from the steady (samyak) word (from the Vedas). Its sustenance depends on the word and its dissolution too occurs with the word alone. As the word gradually becomes unsteady, that is as human behaviour becomes contrary to that prescribed by the Vedas, the creation too becomes likewise.

H. व्‍दितीयाव्‍दै भयं भवति । – बृहदारण्‍यकोपनिषद्‌, मंत्र ४१,
                                             चतुर्थ ब्राह्मण, अध्‍याय पहिला

     Meaning: Fear is generated by a foreign object. – Bruhadaranyakopanishad, mantra 41, Chaturth Brahman, chapter 1)

     Explanation: In non-duality, as everything is one there is no fear.

2.4 According to the Path of Activation of Spiritual Energy (Kundaliniyoga)

Saint Shri Vasudevanand Sarasvati, in His holy text ‘Dattamahatmya’ says – Until the vital energy (pran) enters the Sushumna channel, that is until the vital energies, pran and apan achieve an equilibrium with each other and the vital energy enters the Sushumna channel from the Muladharchakra (spiritual energy centre situated at the base of the spine) till then, it may be said that the efforts of spiritual practice are in vain. The Bliss (Anand) experienced when the spiritual energy (kundalini) ascends to the Manipurchakra (spiritual energy centre situated at the level of the navel) is akin to that experienced by an ordinary person during orgasm. This itself is referred to as the peak of worldly happiness; but this Bliss (happiness) is tama predominant while the Bliss experienced in the Manipurchakra is sattva predominant.

2.5 According to science of frequencies (spandanshastra)

Happiness and unhappiness depend on the frequencies generated from sensation, thought and imagination. If these frequencies match with the natural frequencies of the body, five sense organs, five motor organs, mind or intellect then happiness is generated from them. If these frequencies are incompatible, then they prove to be distressful. These frequencies vary according to the individual and change from time to time in the same individual. The soul principle or Brahman (God principle) has no frequencies. But when the knowledge of Brahman manifests through various media then frequencies of various intensities are generated. As the production of frequencies in us which are compatible with natural frequencies is less, generally unhappiness is experienced more often than happiness. The traversal from gross frequencies to subtle ones and finally to realisation of the supreme knowledge and the state of Bliss wherein all frequencies are destroyed is termed as spiritual progress. In such an evolved state, frequencies are not generated from any other sensations and the state of Bliss remains unaltered.

2.6 Concept of happiness and unhappiness according to various paths of Yoga

  Path of Devotion
(Bhaktiyoga)
Path of
Action
(Karmayoga)
Path of
Knowledge
(Dnyanyoga)
1. Happiness Remembering God or
pleasing Him
Merits There is no such
thing as happiness
or unhappiness.
Everything is The
Blissful Brahman
(God principle).
2. Unhappiness A lower level devotee:
God is testing me by
endowing me with it.

A higher level devotee:
Unhappiness is
forgetting God

Demerits

Reference:

Kalpavrukshatali (Swami Muktanandanchya Sahavasat). First edition 1986. Gurudev Siddhapith, Ganeshpuri, Thane district 401206.
1. Pg. 34.