As we prostrate to our Paramguru in gratitude, let us receive these very pleasing blessings on the day we conclude our worship of Gurudev's 25th Mahasamadhi year. The words of Swami Tapovanam have blessed us everyday since we began on 12th of January 2018. May Swamiji Maharaj's blessings envelope us always ....
In conclusion, I pray all my fellow-men who possess enough intelligence and some purity of mind to work for the realization of Brahman, which alone fulfils the purpose of human birth. There is nothing wrong if a householder, residing in his own house, tries to realize Brahman, even as a sanyasin does in his forest home. People of all varnas and Asramas, in short, all human beings are entitled to the enjoyment of spiritual bliss. It is their birth right.
Spiritual realization is not impracticable even in the vortex of worldly activities, provided, one has the necessary mental strength. The present writer [ Swami Tapovanam] is a sanyasin, who has, after the acceptance of Sanyasa, made the Himalayas his abode. -- a great lover of solitude, engaged un-intermittently in the contemplation of the Paramatma -- a firm believer in Sanyasa, not only as a desirable stage in human life, but as the holiest part of it -- one who looks upon Sanyasa as a miraculous means of converting worldly existence, which is generally regarded as sad and melancholy, into something full of bliss. He concedes, also, that for certain people the very thought of the soul is impossible until they have totally abandoned all distracting activities. That is all true. But, in spite of all this, the writer of this book [Swamiji Tapovan Maharaj] does not believe that householders and other Asramites are disqualified to lead a spiritual life or that, for people in other Asrams it is impossible to meditate upon the Soul.
I have expressed this opinion elsewhere, but I am repeating it here to stress that view over again. In the midst of action, think of the Soul. Surrounded by wife, children and grandchildren, still think of the Paramatma with devout love. Think, constantly, of the power that activates your hands, legs, etc. Always use them to do things good and desirable. Allow not yourself to be tempted by the intoxicating wine. On the contrary, drink, drink your fill of the Nectar of Life for evermore and find everlasting Bliss!
Om Santi! Santi!! Santi!!!
"A life-long devotee of Mother Ganga, Sri Gurudev [Swamiji Maharaj] refused to move away from Her enthralling banks, and ever remained near Her, either at Uttarkasi or at Gangotri, or at Rishikesh. Beyond these three spots he never went anywhere else, all through the twenty closing years of his life. Such an ardent and deep devotee of Ganga himself, when he took his pen in hand to revel in her fabulous religious beauty and spiritual significance, he produced Hymn to Ganga, soaked in Vedanta, and yet filled with devotion." -- Swami Chinmayananda …
hence it is fitting that we conclude this offering with Swami Tapovan ji's end verse from Sri Gomukhi Yatra Verse 10
गङ्गे गोमुखी! तुभ्यमस्तु मनसा वाचा च तन्वा नम -
स्त्वां दृष्ट्वा तव निर्मलेSमृतसमे स्नात्वा च भद्रे जले |
मन्ये धन्य जनिर्ममेति सुतरां धन्योSस्मि धन्योस्म्यहं
भूयो भूयइवानतोस्मि चरितार्थोSस्मि त्वदासेवनात् || १० ||
This is the last verse of Sri Gomukhi Yatra (from, ‘The Glory of Sri Gangottari’), where Swamiji Maharaj expresses gratefulness towards Gomukh with prostrations --
O Gomukhi! O Gange! prostrations to you from the mind, the body and the speech. I accept that by paying homage to you and by bathing in your clear nectar like teerth (pious waters), my this birth has been blessed. I am blessed, I am extremely blessed, even then I bow to you again and again. Hence, I am extremely grateful for having worshipped you.
Om Sree Chinmaya Satgurave Namah
During his journey across the Kailas Mountains, verily a tapas, Swamiji Maharaj took ill several times; the climate not exactly kind to him; Food was just saktu aata often had dry; there were times when they had no water to drink. Swamiji says, "To be happy in any state, thinking it is the play of the Lord is very difficult, but it is a priceless treasure to be attained by all of us."
Then there were mountain animals to watch out for; energy was needed to climb these mountains, unwell as he was..... Explaining his accomplishment of all this and more in the face of all kinds of dangers, Swamiji Maharaj says, "If this is not by the will of the Lord, what else is it?
We were all very exhausted after travelling more than ten miles through such a tedious path on that day. My companions started looking for some waterfall nearby, but we soon realised that the Lord had brought us to a waterless place. Happiness! To be happy in any state, thinking it is the play of the Lord is very difficult, but it is a priceless treasure to be attained by all of us. All of us ate the saktu flour, wetting it with our own saliva and there was no way to quench our thirst.
To protect us from the biting cold and the cruel animals, we lit a fire with the little firewood we had gathered.
All started sleeping. I was lying in my seat, silently listening to the terrifying sounds emanating from the awesome mountains and watching the darkness spreading on all four directions.
My mind was immersed in some other-worldly mood. At such moments, what would be the mental moods of those atheists who do not believe in God, I wondered. Only they know their hearts.
After midnight, it started drizzling. However, finally it was dawn and we started on our journey. A mad dog which has become cruel though by nature not cruel, can bite his own master and cause his death. But people who are staying in the midst of wild animals are daily protected and saved from harm. If this is not by the will of the Lord, what else is it?
[...] In the day time we ate saktu flour and in the evenings made roti and ate them. Whenever possible we used to make tea and have it, drinking cold water was not good for my body which had not recovered from fever. [ ... ] Now we were starting on a tedious expedition. The ascent of the famous mountain called Margar which is thousands of feet high. [ ... ] Climbing! Climbing! That is the only job. [...] When we were very tired and the head started paining we used to eat some sweet food like date fruit or sugar candy. All my companions were smokers of the hookah and their smoking gave them enthusiasm to continue the climbing.
But to one whose body is emaciated due to illness, it is a great tapas to climb the mountain.
to refuse help to the needy is against the spirit of Sanatana Dharma
It is the bounden duty of every householder to help the helpless, for there is no act of goodness in the world so great as helping the poor and the wretched. The bodies of the living are the temples of God. Kasi and Rameshwar are but of secondary importance as the abode of the Supreme Being. So, helping the poor is an act of worship.
Let every householder remember the story of Rantideva. The wealthy king gave away all his riches to the poor. When his wealth was exhausted, he parted with his jewels and household utensils. Then he began to distribute rice, ghee, etc. In time, foodstuffs too were exhausted and the king began to starve. For a full 48 days he went without food. He grew extremely feeble on account of starvation.
Just then, a guest arrived at his house. It was a poor, helpless Brahmin and Rantideva's duty as a host was to feed him. So with the greatest difficulty he procured a handful of rice, prepared a simple meal and fed the guest as well as he could. He was then preparing to swallow a morsel of food that had been left over, when another starving Brahmin made his appearance on the scene. Rantideva gave his new guest half the morsel.
Just at that moment, a few huntsmen came begging for food. He handed over to them the little food that yet remained. Only a drop of water was left. Weakened by starvation and perishing with thirst, the king was eagerly raising the cup to his lips, when he heard a piteous cry, "O King give me a drop of water to wet my parched lips!" It was a Chandala who was imploring the king's mercy. At once the king poured out the water to him and himself sank back, fainting with hunger and thirst. It seemed he would perish in a few minutes.
But the benevolent ones are never forsaken in their hour of need, for Lord Krishna has pledged His word:
न हि कल्याणकृत् कश्चिद्दुर्गतिं तात गच्छति (Bhagvad Gita 6:40)
"Dear Son, never does a doer of good meet with an evil end."
The omniscient Sri Narayana was pleased with Rantideva and granted him salvation. If the people of India remember that they are the descendants of Rantideva, they will never allow Satwik Dana to die out.
Dana(charity or liberality to the poor) is its own end. Give for the sake of giving. Give it at the proper place, at the proper time and to the proper person who cannot make any return. Such liberality alone is satwik. It is no charity to treat lords or one's own kinsmen to a sumptuous feast, in the hope of winning fame or making a gain. He who offers a handful of rice to satisfy the raging hunger of a poor man, is a far more truly charitable person than the royal entertainer of lords and kings. He is the true Agnihotri, who makes offerings to the fire of hunger in the poor man's stomach. Hail to thee O true Agnihotri!
When I commend the virtue of liberality, let no one jump to the conclusion that I am encouraging beggary. Already, this once fabulously rich land of ours has sunk to the lowest depth of indigence. Year by year, the number of beggars is going up by leaps and bounds. It is high time we devised some practical plan to eradicate the evil of poverty. Who, indeed, will defend (much less commend) a way of life so degrading and so pitiable as beggary? Not even the birds and animals resort to it at the worst of times! All that I mean is that it is the duty of duties with men to help their starving fellowmen and comfort them in their misery. Beggary is contemptible but beggars are not. Until society stamps out unemployment and poverty, to refuse help to the needy is against the spirit of Sanatana Dharma.
during the interval between two sets of thought currents, one experiences a state devoid of all thought currents, which is nothing but the inherent state of samadhi or experience of the Self
Swami Tapovanam: Samadhi is experienced by the illumination of one's own Self alone. It is not possible for another to know it; nor can it be explained to another through words. It has to be experienced by the Self alone.
When the mind, which is cultured, refined or purified by the study of the sastras, the advice of the Guru, and the six-fold spiritual disciplines like sama, dama and so on, remains still and alert, unaware of the ordinary world around, it is said to have attained the stage of nirvikalpa samadhi or objectless meditation.
Swami Vidyananda - This samadhi and the experience of the Self are not usually felt as inherent or ever abiding with us. Hence, some say they are false experiences.
Swami Tapovanam- From just the viewpoint of an ordinary person, they may appear as false. But if we examine the inner equipments of the mind and intellect very closely, it will be clear that samadhi and the experience of the Self are inherent and ever abiding with us.
When an earthen pot is made, it is already filled up with space. It is quite possible for us to fill this pot with water and to empty it completely of water.
But it is not possible for us to empty the pot of the space that fills it up.
Even if we close its mouth by wrapping it up, the space is still there within the pot.
In the same way, even when our mind is born, it is illumined completely by Pure Consciousness.
After the mind is fully formed, several bewildering varieties of thought currents arise in it.
It is possible for us to rid our mind of all these thought currents, but the pure Awareness or Consciousness that ever illumines the mind can never be removed or eliminated from it. That Awareness always illumines the mind, irrespective of whether there are thought currents in it or not.
But those who are always extrovert by nature can never realize this Reality. By the practice of Samadhi, when all the thought currents are controlled and stilled, the full form of the Self is revealed and experienced in the subtle intellect.
Swami Vidyananda - In that case, should not everyone always have the experience of samadhi and the experience of the Self?
Swami Tapovanam - Though that experience is inherent and abiding in everyone at all times, the aspirants of the mean order (or the ordinary persons with just average intelligence) are not aware of it because of their ever-flowing mental thought currents. Even when we are preoccupied with thoughts of sense objects, we experience momentarily, in between such thought agitations, the eternal state of absolute serenity and calmness. That state of inner peace is illustrative of our inherent samadhi and experience of the Self.
Swami Vidyananda - Is it because of this ever abiding state of peace in us, that persons who are plunged in very deep sorrow are seen as serenely calm and devoid of all grief without any valid external cause for such a composed state?
Swami Tapovanam - Yes. Even the utterly grief-stricken sometimes find consolation. This is because the thought currents, which were of the very nature of grief, subside or disappear, and no other fresh set of thought currents arise.
In between the sets of thought currents, one experiences a state without any thoughts whatsoever. It is in this state that the grief-stricken person finds consolation and quietude. When one observes or examines minutely the interval between two such sets of thought currents, one experiences a state devoid of all thought currents, which is nothing but the inherent state of samadhi or experience of the Self.
Through constant study and reflection on Vedanta teachings, when one wakes up to the awareness that the supreme state is nothing but the very nature of his own Self, one begins to enjoy the bliss of the inherent and ever abiding samadhi.
Samadhi and the experience of the Self are never false or artificial to such rare Mahatmas.
Mother Bhageerathi alone manifests as all these forms, according to the demands expressed by the devoted hearts
रामः कृष्णो गजास्यस्त्रिपुररिपुसुतः षण्मुखोSहस्करश्च
ब्रह्मा ब्राह्मीति युष्मद्भजनपथजुषां भावनाभावितेन |
नाना देवात्मना वै जननि ! विजयसे विश्वमूर्ति स्त्वमेव
कारुण्यं तेSत्र हेतुर्निरवधिकरुणा वारिधे: स्वाश्रितेषु || ५ ||
(5) O Mother!
Thou art the sole One
who manifests Thyself
to the sincere devotees
in the very form
in which they invoke Thee --
as Rama, Krishna,
the son of Siva,
or Goddess Saraswati.
All this perceived Universe
itself, is surely,
Thy manifestation only,
the real Cause
for all these
wafting from Thy
ocean of kindness.
As the devotee invokes the Lord of his heart, so He appears, and the devotee seems to experience Him in that very same form. The one sole Essence Divine which manifests in the bosoms of the devotees, in the forms of their beliefs, is Mother Bhageerathi.
There are sincere, devoted hearts invoking the Supreme in the form of Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Sri Vinayak, or the son of Siva, Sri Shanmukha. These are the Pauranic deities popularised during and after the days of the Puranas, in Hinduism. Before this age, in the Vedic period, the devotees did their worship at the the altars of the Sun, the Creator (ब्रह्मा ), the Mother of Knowledge - Goddess Saraswati (ब्रह्मी) etc. In all these cases, the One Absolute Reality is Mother Bhageerathi, and She alone manifests as all these forms, according to the demands expressed by the devoted hearts.
This entire Universe is but an expression of Thy Own Glory, and Thou art the Substratum beneath the entire manifested world. And yet, Thou art ever Unconditioned by the world of names and forms.
In and through all these mysterious activities of Thine, we recognise only the floods of thy Grace. It is out of Thy boundless kindness that Thou descendest into the mental vision of Thy devotees in the very Form-Divine that they invoke.
"Resolve to know; then follow it up with action: Know what you ought to know. Then put into practice what you have come to know ..."
Nothing more we need to exert on. The best advice ...!
24th July 1952
So, at the root of all gain is self-effort. Devote your days and nights to spiritual exercises. You will be, in the end, crowned with success.
I do not propose to write much. There is no need to. Writing and reading are not very helpful towards Self-realisation. They are merely diversions of the mind. Briefly know what you ought to know. Then put into practice what you have come to know, all with devout attention. That is what spiritual aspirants ought to do. Meditate more than you read. Follow up resolution with action. Those who meditate more upon a subject get more courage and strength in carrying out their intention.
With good wishes,
फलमिह सुकृतानां दुष्कृतानां च न स्यात् |
फलति फलविधात्र्या ब्रह्ममूर्त्या भवत्या ;
प्रतनु ! करुणयैव प्राणिनां कर्मजातम् || २||
"From the Lord spring
All fruits of actions:
for, that alone is reasonable" --
Following this logic,
the good and the bad actions
derive their exact results
only from this One
Supreme Intelligent Being,
Who is capable of judging
the texture and quality
of all actions.
gets his desert,
and it is never accidental.
It is only by the grace of Thee,
who are Brahman-in-form --
who art the Dispenser-of-deserts --
that all creatures gain
Gurudev's commentary (Extracts) --
Man can only put forth efforts as intelligently as he can. But what results will accrue will depend upon the motive, the intensity, the sincerity, the quality of application, the amount of effort put forth, the condition of place and time .... a hundred such different factors. The One who is within each of us, Who is the witnessing Consciousness in our bosom, He alone can exactly calculate all these factors and dispense our deserts all along life. This Super-intelligence, the Vedantins call, Iswara.
According to mimamsakas, karma, not Iswara gives the fruits of one's actions. According to them, it is unnecessary to create an Iswara concept for this purpose since Karma itself can give its result at a future period of time.
The Brahma Sutra refutes this claim of mimamsakas. [...] all karmas are short-lived, and therefore they cannot bestow the fruits of actions, in a future period of time, all by themselves. From the Lord alone the fruits of actions, our deserts, can proceed.
Based upon the logical arguments of the Brahma-sutrakaar, Sri Vyasa, the poet [Swami Tapovanam] asserts that it must be the Lord who alone is the sole 'dispenser of results'.
Mother Divine, Thou art the very embodiment of the Supreme Brahman, and so Thou art the sole distributor of fruits of actions to all.
we waste time seeking and canvassing for a superior god. Swamiji Maharaj says,"Whomsoever you worship in devotion, the result is all the same." There are innumerable manifestations of Him for man to worship. But foolishly, we waste our life testing the superiority or otherwise of His manifestations!
The first and foremost means of God-Realization is Love -- love of the Lord all unsurpassed. Even for the dullest it is not incomprehensible, inaccessible or impracticable. To have as much love of God as an ordinary man entertains for his wife and children, that is one's highest duty.
Love purifies the mind and easily leads to mental concentration. When meditation deepens, the mind gets detached from all worldly trammels. It becomes easy for that mind to realize God and gain Divine experience thereby enjoying the highest state of bliss, finally securing full Liberation.
It is in vain to waste one's time, considering which god to worship. Worship Him in any form. It is the sincerity of devotion that matters. Whomsoever you worship in devotion, the result is all the same. It is in the degree of devotion that the all-seeing, all-knowing Lord delights. The dull ones are never satisfied with even life-long testing of the superiority and inferiority of the different manifestations of God.
All those who have worshiped the Lord in any form ... have attained Liberation, by worshiping still other manifestations of God.
How selfish is the act of a sannyasi in seclusion, spending his time in tapas?
Swami Vidyananda - Even when a great tapasvin does tapas in a secluded spot, totally unmindful of what is happening around him, the world considers him as one engaged in a selfish act for his own individual improvement.
Swami Tapovanam - In every action, the doer's selfish interest will naturally be reflected to some extent. Let us suppose that someone is engaged purely in serving others. When he finds that his service has benefited others a great deal, he naturally feels happy.
On the other hand, if such activities have not benefited others, he feels sad. These feelings of sadness and joy on the part of the doer show the selfish nature of his action. Yet, the service of such a selfish worker is beneficial to the world around him. The benefit he can impart through such selfless service gives him more joy than anything else.
In the same way, a sannyasin who does tapas in a secluded spot gains mental serenity along with several other sattvika qualities. All those who meet such a Mahatma and serve him with devotion also gain a firm faith in the existence of God and a mental peace born out of such faith. Therefore, even if one is engaged in tapas in a secluded spot, it can be considered as an act of service to the world around.
The path of action is for the householder. The great Smriti clarifies seekers of Truth in the following order of merit. Compared to the ordinary people engaged in narrow, mundane self-centered activities, the householders running philanthropic institutions and doing acts of public charity are indeed noble. Those devotees who dedicate their entire life to the worship of the Lord with form and attributes, stand on a higher rung in the ladder of spiritual evolution. Those ardent seekers. who worship the Lord in His formless aspect. stand on a still higher pedestal spiritually.
But above all of them stands the Atma Jnani -- the knower of the Self. That knowledge gives one ever abiding serenity of the Self.
The most cherished goal of every human being is therefore the complete avoidance of all sorrows and the attainment of everlasting happiness. The be-all and end-all of all activities in the world, irrespective of whether they are undertaken with low selfish motives or noble altruistic sentiments, have this sole end in view -- the avoidance of all sorrow and the attainment of lasting happiness.
The only right way to reach this goal is knowledge of the Self. Therefore, the role of a sannyasin in leading humanity along the path of Self-knowledge (jnana marga) is undoubtedly a great service to mankind and an immense blessing to them.
.... steadfastness in faith and abundance of love and devotion will give the necessary impetus to do all duties choicelessly and desirelessly.
Desire is the seed of all fear and sorrow. Therefore the first thing the true seekers of happiness have to do is to conquer desire. Desirelessness is the panacea for fear, sorrow and other ills of life.
One must perform all one's worldly or scriptural duties without any selfish desire; do them as dedication to God.
Even those who desire to amass worldly wealth or enjoy sensuous pleasures should worship God with faith and devotion. If faith in God and love of Him gradually increase, all their efforts will be crowned with success. Besides they will understand the evils of a sensuous life and abandon the desire for sensuous enjoyment; steadfastness in faith and abundance of love and devotion will give them the necessary impetus to do all this. The root of samsara is desire. That is why even the sages beyond the Vedic fold counsel man to root out desire. It is not right to renounce all action. Action is superior to inaction. Action by itself need not lead to bondage or Liberation. So the renunciation of all action is not beneficial to man. To tread along the path of liberation man should learn to discharge his duties without aiming at their fruit. He should also learn to keep up mental equilibrium in honour as well as dishonour, gain as well as loss, pleasure as well as pain.
Logic works upto a point only. Faith is the means to pole vault into Truth. Logic cannot help with realizing Truth. The Truth needs to be recognised first, then reached. For that, one needs Shraddha in sastras and mahatmas...
Shraddha (faith) is a wonderful thing indeed. It turns water into teertha, stone into God. All religions of the world are founded on faith. It leads the world forward as a marshal leads his men. If there is no faith, there is no religion. It reclaims man from his brutish tendencies and guides him along the path of duty.
All the existing systems of philosophy are based on faith. One who lacks faith is bewildered by the variety of systems and is unable to follow any. The reason is, it is impossible to realize Truth by sheer logic alone. No system of philosophy has done it and none is likely to do so in the future. Philosophers arrive at their subtle conclusions with the aid of inference. But there are certain hidden abstract truths which even inference cannot reach up to. One can reach them only through one's firm faith in the mahatmas and the Sastras. Without faith it is impossible to ascertain those great truths and without ascertaining them it is impossible to take practical steps to reach them. How can I define the greatness of the faith that is at the root of all prosperity here and hereafter? How can I describe the skill and the uniqueness of the faith that renders the most difficult penances most easy?