Sathsang with a fellow Sai student

In order to keep a track of a wonderful email conversation I had with my classmate Vishwanath, I am posting it as a blogpost since it brought out memories of conversations with Swami and how we should be following His teachings.
It started as an email from Vishwanath(Vishy):

Sairam Venu

Many times I feel that though we intellectually know everything ,what is it that is stopping us from realizing that He is within us and nothing really exists other than Him. I have read the hurdles which you narrated in another article. (refer to article on the obstacles to follow God’s commands at http://venugopalbh.blogspot.com/?view=magazine#!/2013/02/3-things-that-prevent-us-from-following.html )

Is it just lack of effort or lack of burning desire. I remember the saying (when we are in the bhajan hall) that "You love Me. But, you also love other things". (during a conversation with Swami captured in the blog - http://venugopalbh.blogspot.com/?view=magazine#!/2013/08/do-we-love-god.html)


Even if we start practicing (take any activity like meditation or remember that we are God), why is it that it is not continuous? Are we expecting immediate results or the hunger dies down after a while and then we have to start all over again.

Share your thoughts on these points and let me know what you think.




Venu:
What I feel is that we are not desperate to get THAT. In one interview, I remember Swami telling us “Will you go and catch a snake if you can clearly see that it is a snake – a vicious cobra? No. You will only hold it if there is confusion and if you think it is a rope. It is a similar thing with the world. You run after the world because you do not know that it is like the poisonous snake. When you feel convinced, you will automatically let go of it or keep away.”
Somehow, it is our karma to not have come to a stage where we are convinced about the falsity of the world. There is a sense of insecurity, of attachments, of pride, of reputation….that is why we work, we earn, we save, we hanker after fame, and so on. But I am sure that Swami has definitely planted the seeds in all of us and someday the bubble will burst. No results can be immediate. We need to have patience..rather the 3P’s that Swami would stress – Patience, Purity and Perseverance. Our meditation should get more and more intense and we should focus more and more strongly. Otherwise we will continue to be in the LKG stage and will never reach the University stage.
But Vishy, we must keep going..if we fall, we must get up again and again and not give up. The hunger will come. That is my only hope…




Vishy:
Yes Venu. I agree. The seeds are definitely there within us.

Also, there is intensity. But, it is not desperate.

I have a question- I know it is familiar to you and there are many versions/interpretations for what could be the answer.

The question is will realization be attained only through efforts (meditation or whatever means) or a firm conviction that when the time is ripe someday He will grant us?

People say only when child cries mother gives attention and gives milk. Other version is mother knows when to give what to give and how to give.

When there is intensity, you tend to fall in to 1st category. When you are lethargic/lazy the second one appeals to you. Even the desire to realize oneself is not selfish? Does this mean your meditation or whatever spiritual practice is tainted with a motive/end result in mind?

If we firmly believe no matter what happens, it is His will, will He not grant what is required for us at the right moment?

Just wanted to have a discussion with you on these lines and would like to hear from you what you think or what He had told you directly.


Venu:
Vishy,
Interesting point that you bring up. The one thing which directly comes to my mind is one group interview where one of the boys asked the exact same question – about mother giving only when the child asks for it. Swami’s reply was ‘Adagakundaa amma ayinaa pettadu emo kaani, Bhagavantudu pedtaadu’. Which means – mother may not give without asking but God will.
So, when the time is right, God will surely give. Now, the question is, when is the time right? I have often heard Swami say that realization is NOT an achievement or something to be attained. It is only self discovery. You are already realized. Experiencing that is important. So, when you say that there is a selfish desire to realize oneself, it is comparative. I mean, it is selfish when you think ‘I should get realization ahead of others’. But, realization by definition means that you understand and experience that there is no other – is it not?
What we need to work towards is not realization. It is chitta shuddhi or purity of mind. Because when purity of mind comes, realization is automatic. And, all those means – bhajan, meditation, seva etc..are all to achieve purity of mind. Swami used to say that He is soft like butter but even for butter you must show some warmth for it to melt. He used to say, you want to see God, but do you cry for Him like Ramakrishna did? You cry for your relatives, friends, job, money, but do you cry for God? When you cry for God, surely God will show Himself.
I know I am shuttling between Dwaita and Adwaita in my argument. But the point is, desperation IS intensity. Because, then you have only that one thing in your mind and it is cleansed of all other impurities. It becomes easy to see the reflection of the Divine.
Swami was once telling us in Kodai that He is like the vessel on top which pours the nectar of Divine Grace. But, the vessel below should be in the right position to receive this grace. If the vessel below keeps shaking , is inverted or is not in the correct position, how will Grace fall in?
All this means, there is some preparation needed apart from waiting. Like I said in the last email – Swami mentioned 3 Ps – Purity, Patience and Perseverance. He did not say only Patience or only Perseverance or only Purity. All 3 need to be there.
This purity is the preparation we need – Chitta shuddhi –following His words and filling our mind with Divine thoughts and feelings.
The patience is what you mentioned – have the conviction that He will give us when the time is ripe.
Perseverance – this is where the desperation and intensity come in. The ability to continue on the right path – continue your chosen Sadhana till you feel that you are totally ready to receive Him.
If we really believe that no matter what happens, it is only His will – in all matters – unconditionally – without ever complaining – I think we would already be realized.



Vishy
Yes Venu. I just read this analogy a few days back. I feel there is lack of desperation and the intensity is not there. Yes once in a while the feeling is intense but, we carry on with our routine. the only hope is someday or the day we will reach home.

HE said on shivarathri-during 2nd yr of our MBA, that "past is past forget about it. Your present and future are safe and secure in my hands". I still clearly remember that discourse and can never forget that.

In true sense there is nothing to realize. We are already THAT. All these practices are to remove the dirt or uncover the veil.


Venu:
Continuing this online satsang –
There are 3 kinds of obstacles wrt the mind. They are called Mala, Avarana and Vikshepa.
Mala – this is when the mind is filled with impurities, desires, ego, jealousy etc…
Avarana – this is when the mind is deluded into thinking that something is there when there is not…
Vikshepa – this is when the mind is unsteady and keeps flitting from one thing to another.
Swami gives the analogy of the mind being likened to a mirror. The reflection of the Divine can be seen only if the mirror is cleaned of Mala (from dirt of impurities), there is no cloth covering the mirror and the Avarana is removed (the veil of ignorance that the world is real) and the mirror is not shaking (Vikshepa) - this is where we can see or feel the Divine off and on but because of the unsteadiness of the mind, it is not constant.
So, by what Swami says – we are already THAT but in order to see, we need the mirror (mind) and in order to realize this fact or see the reflection clearly, it has to be cleansed/remedied from these three problems.
By constantly dwelling on the Lord’s name and form, it can be cleansed of Mala.
By constantly discriminating between Nitya and Anitya – it can overcome the Avarana.
By constantly practicing steadying our mind (this is where meditation plays a part), we can overcome Vikshepa.
But, to do all this, intense focus on achieving this is required. Otherwise, we will continue to wallow in ignorance. Again – 3P’s …..


Vishy:
Sorry Venu for the delayed response.

Why is that when He explains things look so simple (in deed it is) and yet we fail to follow this all the time (at least I can talk from my point).

What is it that is stopping us from simply following 3Ps all the time? Are we part-time devotees?

We remember Him everyday, bt do we really follow His teaching every moment? Why is it that we get angry, frustrated, disappointed (just to quote few -ve emotions), loose the path and then come back after a while? Why are we not having that Constant Integrated Awareness all the time?

Like to know from you (if you have directly heard from Him) what are the reasons.



Venu:
Sairam Vishy,
Anyway, I wouldn’t have checked my mail during the weekend. So, it really doesn’t matter even if you replied on Sunday 
There are a couple of things that I would like to add to this discussion. There was one interview where I told Swami, “Swami, why is it that I am very good for a few months. Am following Swami’s command and on the right path. And then, suddenly one day all the negative emotions come to me and I feel miserable. Why am I not able to constantly stick to what Swami says?” Although I had asked this question more from a self control point of view, Swami’s reply is relevant to our discussion. He said, “Why are you trying to suppress emotions? It is not possible to get them under control that way. You must learn to transcend them, not control. Remember, Swami will not be unhappy with you if you get bad thoughts because, thoughts are born out of food. Just ensure that you don’t translate them into bad actions. That way you will transcend the pull of these emotions. Steep your mind in something Divine, then automatically you will see that your interest in the temporary world will wane. When that interest wanes, the sway of emotions will not affect you. For, what emotions of the dream do you care for once you wake up?”
To your question of whether we are part time devotees, the answer unfortunately is a firm YES.
In one discourse, Swami mentions why we are not able to follow His command. I have written a blog based on that ‘3 things that prevent us from follow
Keep this satsang going. I will make a blog out of this conversation at a later point if you permit.



Vishy:
Sairam Venu

I agree. If we get bad thoughts we need to treat them as relatives. If we do not pay attention or divert the focus they will at one stage stop visiting us.

But, what about so called actions like getting angry or feeling disappointed, not able to od meditation or do regular spiritual exercise etc? Just don't have the discipline to always control anger or always follow a fixed spiritual exercise. Why is the interest varying? I think the answer is lack of seriousness or varying interest..which is what leads to part time devotee.

I had earlier read your blog on 3 things which prevent us from following His teaching and how Hanuman was successful in His journey.

Another thought which often crosses my mind is...I feel it is just enough to start the day by remembering him and saying that " Swami whatever happens the entire day it is You who Is acting through Me" and ending the day by offering all the actions to Him. It does not matter what you do during the day..meaning- you get angry, scold someone or work hard or whatever actions or thoughts. Just don't bother what happened, offer everything to Him and don't bother about results or anything. The question is by doing this and having 0 expectation or attachment are you being spiritual? if feel yes and this itself is enough and will take closer to the goal and nothing else is required. This is just my though and opinion. Not sure whether you heard anything of this sort from Swami or read anything like this He had said.

Feel free to make a blog out of our online conversation (if you think it will benefit some), I have no objections.


Venu:

You brought out a very good point Vishy. That we should offer all our actions to Him. I am reminded of a few slokas in this context,

‘Santushtaha Satatam Yogi, yatatma dridha nischayaha, Mayyarpita mano budhih, yo madbhakta sa me priyaha’
“The yogi who is ever contented and has a firm resolve to establish himself in Yoga and he who has offered his mind and intellect to Me, such a devotee is dear to Me.”

‘tasmat sarveshu kaleshu mam anusmara yudhya cha, Mayy arpita-mano-buddhir mam evaishyasy asamsayah’
“So, at ALL TIMES think of Me and fight by offering your mind and intellect to me. Do this and without doubt you will reach Me.”


Tasmaat Sarveshu Kaaleshu, Maamanusmara yudhya cha

There are many others – but what I wanted to highlight is the ‘offering’ part. Many say that I will offer all my actions and words and thoughts to You. But Swami would say very often that, you may offer but God has to accept. He will not accept anything and everything. The feeling behind the offering has to be sincere. This means that you should have put all your efforts to offer the best and the purest. So, if we intend to offer all our actions to Him, they should become the best and purest. There are a couple of conversations that we had in interviews in this context. One of the brothers once asked Swami, “What is meant by offering ourselves and our actions to you?”
Swami replied, “It means that whatever you do, from brushing your teeth, taking bath, cutting nails, going to work, talking to people, everything is done for Swami’s sake. But, you should also understand that if you stay unclean because you were lazy and come to Me and say, I offer my body to you…or if you eat non vegetarian food because of your relishing it and then to wash off the karma accrued, you say I offer it to You, I will not accept it. You should make every endeavour to offer that which is clean and pure. Will you offer stale food as Naivedyam? Will you come for Darshan without brushing your teeth? When you don’t do that – simply because you want to be at your best when you are with Swami, the same thing applies when you are back home.”
Another time, when someone asked how to make out whether he was making any spiritual progress,
Swami said, “Observe how you react to the same situation. Do you still react angrily or calmly? Has your speech become more loving? Are you still getting angry and flustered on small and silly things? You should become more calm and collected. That is the sure sign of progress.”

Just because you get angry doesn’t mean that it is a negative emotion at all times. There is something called ‘righteous anger’. Even Swami would feign anger when needed. But, what is important is who is in control. Is your anger controlling you or are you controlling your anger? If you do the action as an offering to Swami and someone is not quite doing what is supposed to be done for that, it is right to show your displeasure so that the person can put in better efforts. However, if the anger is aroused only because someone scratched your ego or because you want to show your importance, that is not right. Swami once said to us, “I never get angry. I only change the sound. If I say softly ‘koorcho amma’….you may not listen. So, I have to give a serious look and say, ‘AY KOORCHO’ and immediately you sit. It is only a tool. But I can never be angry.”

Not sure if this answers your questions, but it is a nice online satsang. Do read my other blogs when you find time and give your valuable opinions and feedback. It helps me to recollect the wonderful times I had with Swami and also helps me put His teachings in perspective.



Vishy
The point you brought up here is whatever we do is it worth offering to God.

But, when we get up in the morning we don't know how the day is going to unfold. You don't plan that I have to get angry at this person or I have to do this, etc.That is not an excuse for misbehaving.

What if we end up being rude to some person? I know there is another angle that think before acting or behave as if Swami is watching you all the time. All that is fine. But, in the spur of the moment if we do something that is not expected of us. Will that not be accepted by Him? Going by what Swami said, the answer is yes. The more we become mature/spiritual, we will react in a different manner to the same situation.

My question is- during the evolution period if you do something which is not expected of you, but, you sincerely decide/ consciously say in the morning to offer all actions to Him and if you end the day with he same thought, what happens?

Not expecting a straight answer, but, want to hear your opinion so that I can understand better.

Let us continue this discussion and will discuss other topic as and when it comes to us.



Venu:

I honestly do not think that Karmas will get sublimated till the point where your behavior is entirely Divine. So, to your point, just offering at the start and end of the day as a prayer is a good beginning. But, the offering has to become constant, all the time. Why are we taught that we should think of God when we get up, before eating, at night etc…not because those are the only times but to inculcate the habit by at least making it a practice a few times a day.

Swami used to say that our minds should become like that of the woman who carries a pot on her head but yet is chatting and talking to her friends, never for once taking her mind off the pot lest it lose balance and fall down. Swami used to also tell us about driving – He would say initially it takes you some time to concentrate on the driving etc. After you become used to it, you drive comfortably although you don’t make a conscious effort. It happens automatically. Such should be our feeling of the presence of God or rather the omnipresence of God. So, no matter how sincerely you do it only once or twice a day, unless it becomes the ‘Constant Integrated Awareness’ that Swami would mention, I suppose that it cannot be said that the karma is sublimated.
That’s what I think.


Vishy:
Yes Venu. I agree. That is why in Balavikas we were taught to remember God at every stage in a day.

Don't you remember Swami telling or narrating the story regarding who is the best devotee of Lord Narayana when the great sage Naradha approaches the Lord (the pot of water/oil/milk on Naradha's head and then there will be a humble person who just calls out Narayana's name just twice a day). My twice a day concept is from that story. I am just extrapolating this story and raised that question.

In in the initial stages it is conscious effort to remember God before we start any work or end any work. Later on it just automatically sticks to us. At any stage we are engaged in some activity or the other. The only ay to escape karma is to offer everything to Him. My point it, in the initial stages, it is ok to offer everything to Him (no need to now whether He will accept or not). As we keep doing this, there will come a stage of discrimination and we will get purified during the process and the offering is more worthy of His acceptance.

It is better to start at some stage and say let all my actions be pure and then let me practice the offering. God will accept 2/10 to start with but, if we keep doing it the acceptance % will increase and sooner it will become (depends upon ho fast the progress is) 10/10.

The start with a good intent will lead to complete surrender. That is what I intended to convey.

Your thoughts?

Venu:

Porapaatu paripaatu kaakodadu - Mistakes should not
become a habit!

I completely agree. But, it is for us to decide for ourselves if we are still at a stage where our discrimination has not blossomed enough to know what God will accept and what He will not. Consider the proximity, the opportunity, the exposure we had to Swami to see first hand how He would not like certain things which would otherwise seem acceptable at other holy places outside ( collection of money is an example). How He would chastise and correct seemingly small errors in conduct ( transgressing hostel discipline/ maintaining a girlfriend for example). I am sure we know quite clearly that eating non-veg, smoking, drinking or indulging in any activity which gives free rein to the senses and can be termed ‘misconduct’ is not acceptable. Wherever our conscience pricks even a little, we know clearly that it is not acceptable. We can however seek pardon. But, Swami once told us in an interview, “I can pardon ‘porapaatu’ – meaning mistakes in Telugu. Kaani porapaatu paripaatu kakodadu… means the mistake should not become a habit.
Sincerity is needed. I think it was Sri Yukteshwar who said, “Spiritual discipline without sincerity is like a beautiful dead lady”.
What is the use?

Vishy:
True. If mistakes become a habit then face the consequences. Like you said if we are not doing the right thing, we will now for sure and there is no need for anyone else point that to us.

When will we have the complete discrimination so that we do the right thing all the time?

We know many things intellectually. But, without discipline or put in to practice it is of no use. How many times He had said "Aacharannlo pettali" (put in to practice).

An iota of practice (any of His teachings), with 100% sincerity and dedication will lead to all the other things. That is the beauty of His teachings. You follow any one to 100% and the rest will follow.

The problem is like I started in the beginning, the constant intensity to follow any one teaching to 100% which is why we feel (at least I feel) we are at the same stage.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GURUDEVA - a tribute on Guru Poornima

Spiritual Stirrings for the Soul

Why God Created the Universe?