3. Prema Vahini - Part 3b
Prema Vahini - Part 3b
31. Bharath is the home of the Eternal Universal Religion
The Vedic religion is the only religion to achieve and maintain the foremost position among all religions from earliest times and to be established permanently. The only people who have survived without being destroyed, throughout the historic age, are the Hindus. In this religion, more than in any other, people have practised lives of love, equality, and gratitude. The Hindus have earned their dharma through the discovery of philosophic principles and through the Vedas. They have drunk deeply the essence of the Vedas, which are without beginning and end. A land so holy is a veritable spiritual mine for the world. Just as the bowels of the earth reveal mines of different metals in each area, so in Bharath is found the mine of the Eternal Religion (Sanathana Dharma), of the essence of all the principles of all the scriptures (sastras), all the Vedas, and all the Upanishads.
As if by the good luck of the Bharathiyas (Indians), from the moment the mine of the Eternal Religion emerged, leaders, thinkers, commentators, apostles, and teachers have been appearing in this land for the purpose of fostering it. Also, from this very Bharath, seers arose - selfless yogis of action (karma-yogis), wise men, realised souls, and divine personages connected with this religion. Through these people, spiritual wisdom guaranteed by experience flowed all over the country. In this way, loaded with divine essence, the Eternal Religion progressed throughout the world.
But although it spread, the “original home” is Bharath itself. Look at the world today. Machines, cars, and engines of some new type or other are produced in one country and exported to others. But their original home cannot be forgotten. Such cars and engines are manufactured only on the basis of that country’s experience. Nothing can be done without that basis. So too, the Eternal Religion arose. Bharath and people of other countries benefited from its waters through the great personages and the books they composed. Hence, the basis of the original home cannot be ignored. That is impossible.
32. Eternal Vedic religion is the heritage of all mankind
But there is some concern today in this Bharath, the birthplace of those holy persons who nursed and fostered this sacred dharma. New modes are being accepted as one’s dharma, and the Eternal Religion (Sanathana Dharma) itself is being ignored; it is being kept aside for people of other countries by people who have not even tested the sweetness of the dharma, who have not grasped its meaning, and who have smothered it in empty disputation.
The reason for this is, of course, the absence of proper guides who could show the way. But even when there are such guides, people yield to these modern modes and get attached to them. These are really like little food treats (pakoras). They attract by their smell and are bought by people who do not discriminate. Though their own duty (swa-dharma) is the pure Eternal Religion (Sanathana Dharma), the fascination exercised by outward show is absent, so it gets neglected. Truth has no need for such decorations. Taste is the important thing.
The basic reason for this problem is the fact that people today are motivated by mere whim and fancy. It has become the habit to reject reality and accept the dharma of another. This is a great mistake. It is against dharma for Bharathiyas (Indians) to be attracted by external forms and outward show. No other dharma has, or will have, truth and highest love above and beyond that contained in the Eternal Religion. The Eternal Religion is the veritable embodiment of truth. It is the heritage of all. There can be no boundary for holiness. Holiness is one without a second, right?
Those who have attained liberation in this life by adherence to this Eternal Religion, who have earned the grace of God, who have understood the nature of truth, who have achieved realisation - they are all Bharathiyas.
Bharathiyas have adored those who have reached that holy stage, without distinction of caste, creed, or sex. The holiness of that stage burns to ashes all such limitations. It is only until that stage is reached that it becomes impossible to consider everything as equal. So, it is necessary to determine boldly on the realisation of the Eternal Religion. This is the birthright of Bharathiyas.
33. Divine personalities predominate in Bharath
If we examine history since its very beginnings, we can know in detail what great personages were born and in which sections of the Bharathiyas (Indians) they were born in.
Incarnations, divine personalities, enlightened persons (jivan-mukthas) like Rama, Krishna, Balarama, Janaka, and Parikshith, and yogis on the royal path (raja-yogis) like Viswamitra arose among the protectors (kshatriyas).
Highest sages (brahmarshis), great pundits, scriptural scholars, and Vedic sages (rishis) originated in the brahmin caste. Labourers (sudras) predominate in the epical books, like Bharatha and Bhagavatha. Among the great devotees of the Lord, members of the lower castes form a large number. To attain holiness without being affected by the world, and to reach the Highest Lord (Paramatma), each one’s spiritual discipline (sadhana) is important; other things like caste will not be a hindrance at all. But one should deserve the grace required for it; one should become regular and disciplined in practice.
Such holy Bharathiyas (Indians), however, now bring endless disgrace on the Eternal Vedic religion by neglecting the principles of life of the above-mentioned great personages, by not studying them and following their instructions, by modifying their way of life to suit the changing times, and (as the saying goes, the hour of ruin brings wicked thoughts) by becoming slaves to name and fame and the craving for power and position and the anxiety to promote the well-being of their wives and children through selfish means.
Still, there is no dearth of people who love all in equal measure, who are devoid of selfishness, who are engaged in the promotion of the welfare of all, who have dedicated themselves to the service of mankind, and who sacrifice everything. But they are suppressed; they are not appreciated or placed in positions of high authority for fear there will then be no place for the wicked, the crooked, and the unjust.
However broad and deep the ocean, when the earth quakes underneath, the waters part of themselves, and when the commotion subsides, they resume their original position. So too, these good people keep away without being caught up in it during the earthquake of injustice, unrighteousness, selfishness, and ostentation. And as soon as the hullabaloo subsides, they reenter the world. Evanescent authority and self-glorification cannot be permanent.
“To grow is only to decay,” it is said. The present peacelessness is decay, not growth. For example, consider some Bharathiyas (Indians) who from the beginning grew up in righteous ways with pure feelings, with selfcontrol and reverence for the good name, who were fed on the breast milk of the Vedas, scriptures (sastras), and Upanishads, who welcomed and honoured races driven out of their own country and vouchsafed to them love in equal measure. Today, for the love of power and self, some of these Bharathiyas accuse their own brethren, impatiently envy the prosperity of others, deceive their own brothers maddened by selfish greed, keep at arm’s length their real well wishers, pursue only their own selfish end, multiply bad qualities hitherto unheard of in the Hindu fold, follow wrong paths and ways of life, and become the target of conflict and restlessness. All this because of the absence of fear of sin, fear of God, discipline, reverence, and faith. The fall is indeed incredible.
34. Awake, arise, and tread the path of love and devotion
Hindu brethren! Children of Bharath (India)! Followers of the ancient (sanathana) way! Where have the human qualities of old gone? Truth, tolerance, morality, discipline - when would you accept them? Arise, awake! Establish once again the kingdom of Rama (Rama-rajya), resplendent with mansions of truth, dharma, and peace. Love your Bharathiya (Indian) brethren. Practise the Eternal Religion, quench the burning flames of ignorance, peacelessness, injustice, and envy with the waters of love, forbearance, and truth. Develop the feeling of mutualness. Sweep away all jealousy and anger.
Remember the rule of the holy personages, the characteristics of the most eminent and of the reign of God.
Each one should realise their own faults and understand that there is no use in searching for faults in others. It is a mere waste of time; it also breeds quarrels. So give up that trait.
If this opportunity is missed, what else can be done? Don’t yield to dejection, but say “finis” to all the unrighteousness of the past. Repent sincerely and tread the path of prayer to God, good deeds, and brotherly love.
Establish the eternal kingdom of Rama (Rama-rajya).
The Sanathana Sarathi was started to win this kingdom; its army will help this effort by word and deed.
Draw that chariot forward! Gird up your loins and seek the protection of the Lord. Barathiyas (Indians) are all children of one mother - her name is Sanathana Dharma (Eternal Religion). Redeem the debt due to the mother.
He is no son who forgets the mother. He cannot be good who says the mother is bad. Her breast milk is the very breath of our life. The giver of this life, the father of all is the supreme Lord (Paramatma).
All are children of the same parents. So, without blaming and accusing each other, without wishing evil for your kith and kin, understand that your brothers have the same attachment to the objects they love that you have to the ones that you love. Don’t find fault with or laugh at what another loves. On the other hand, try to love it.
These are the characteristics of truth and love, of Bharathiyas.
35. The Universal Soul is One and Only One
The Vedas, the scriptures, and the messages of the sages (rishis) - all have proclaimed uniformly and without any possibility of doubt, from that day to this, that the supreme Lord (Paramatma) is the universal Soul (Sarva-antaryami), present and immanent in everything. Issues like the relationship between “He who is served”, “he who serves”, and “the wherewithal of service” have also been the subject of endless discussion. Every believer (asthika) has heard the Bhagavatha verse in which the great devotee Prahlada states out of his own experience that the supreme Lord need not be searched for far and wide, that He is already very near the seeker.
He’s here, He’s not here - give up such doubts.
Listen, Oh Leaders of the demons (danavas)!
Wherever you seek and wherever you see,
There … and there … He is!
Listen, Oh Leaders of the demons (danavas)!
Wherever you seek and wherever you see,
There … and there … He is!
People speak of the Lord as having a particular nature or characteristic, as having a particular form, and so on. These statements are true only to the extent that imagination and guesswork can approximate the truth; they are not the fundamental truth. Such conceptions are valid as far as practical worldly knowledge goes, but they can’t be considered as valid knowledge of the Absolute. For it is impossible to see or speak about the Complete (Purna).
36. Be universal in outlook
In spite of this, devotees and aspirants have been framing some form or other of the Divine as the basis of their devotion, each according to the stage of their own inner progress. They worship the supreme Lord (Paramatma) as existing in some Ayodhya or Dwaraka and nowhere else, as found in places where some image or picture exists and nowhere else. They worship that form itself as complete (purna). Of course, it is not wrong to do so.
But devotees should not proclaim that only their belief is the truth, that the names and forms that they have ascribed are the only names and forms of the Divine, and that all other forms and names are worthless and inferior.
It should be realised that the names and forms that are the ideals of others are as dear and sacred to those others as such names and forms are to oneself.
When a form is idealised like this, it really becomes a symbol of the Universal. But how can a mere symbol of the Universal ever become the Universal itself? Conscious always of this, everyone should acquire the vision that all forms of the ideal are equally valid and true, without giving room to senseless hatred. Without this, it is impossible to realise the Complete (Purna). All these gross forms of the ideal are fully saturated with the subtle, divine Principle.
The taste of the vast ocean is to be found, complete and undiminished, in every single drop of its waters, but this does not mean that the drop is in the ocean. Though we recognise the drop and the ocean as separate entities, the nature and taste of both are identical. Similarly, the Universal Soul (Sarva-antaryami), Paramatma, and the gross form and name that the supreme Lord assumes and through which He is realised - these are not separate entities but are identical.
When the all-pervasive, all-inclusive pure Existence is described, the matter and method depend on the principles of the speaker and tastes of the listener. When the individual name and form imposed by the devotee are transformed into the Attributeless and the Formless, it is referred to as Brahman; when this same Brahman appears with attributes and forms, it is referred to as Rama, Krishna, Vishnu, or Siva.
Don’t the followers of other religions agree that all distinction between the devotee and God disappear when the devotee attains the ecstasy of mystic union? The yogis and philosophers of other lands and faiths also accept without demur that this distinctionless experience can be earned through supremest devotion (para-bhakthi).
Even if some little trace of difference is retained, it is due to the individual’s own taste and desire and not to anything specially basic.
It is only when name and form come in that it is named differently as nature (prakriti), the supreme Lord (Paramatma) and devotee (bhaktha). When name and form are absent, doubt and discussion whether it is masculine, feminine, or neutral won’t even arise. Then, any description fits. For something that is above and beyond imagination, any name and form can be ascribed. In fact, It has no attribute and no form. It is all pervasive, omnipresent.
When this subtle omnipresence is systematically worshiped through a gross form, with attributes, the devotee will clearly realise its nature through the spiritual practice (sadhana) itself.
37. Incarnations reveal the universal form of the Lord
To vouchsafe the knowledge of this spiritual practice and that truth, and to bless the devotees with that bliss, the attributeless Supreme Lord incarnates in this world, assuming name and form, and gives scope for all embodied beings to have concrete experience and joy. Through these experiences, the incarnations facilitate the realisation that the supreme Lord (Paramatma) is the Universal Soul (Sarva-antaryami) and All-pervasive, the Inner Atma of everything in creation. Lord Krishna showed the entire creation in His own form. Even Arjuna failed to understand that Krishna was the universal Soul until he saw with his own eyes how Lord Krishna contained the entire creation in His gross form.
Love, lover, and the Loved - all three are one and the same. Without love, there can be no lover. Even if there are both love and the lover, without the loved, love has no function. In all three, love is the chief ingredient.
That which is saturated chiefly and uniformly in everything, that is the supreme Lord (Paramatma). So there is no difference between these three. In all three, love (prema) is discernible as the Universal Soul (Sarva-antaryami).
So can’t it be realised that everything is the embodiment of the Lord (Paramatma-swarupa)? Certainly, it can be realised, without fail.
38. Nondualism teaches the highest knowledge: the unity of all
Everything is suffused with love (prema). So, we can unhesitatingly declare that the supreme Lord is the form of love (prema-swarupa). In the entire creation, in all living things, love is manifesting itself in various forms. The nature of love cannot alter, though it is known under different names like love for offspring, affection, devotion to God, desire (vatsalya, anuraga, bhakthi, ishtam) etc., according to the direction in which it is canalised. But whatever the form, the essence cannot alter. On the basis of this knowledge and experience, the conclusion becomes clear that the supreme Lord is the inner Atma of all created things (Sarva-butha-antar-atma).
That which teaches the highest knowledge of this unity is known as nondualism (a-dwaitha); that which teaches the principle of the lover and the Loved, the individual (jiva) and the Brahman, is known as dualism (dwaitha); that which teaches about all three, love, lover, and loved - or nature (prakriti), individual (jiva), and Brahman - is known as qualified nondualism (visishta-adwaitha). But these three are one. The child that is born changes into the student; the student changes into the householder; but all three are one and the same person, right? While the manners and attachments change in various ways, the person remains the same.
Butter and buttermilk emerge from milk. Milk, which contains all, is nondualism (a-dwaitha). Butter, which contains the two categories, is dualism (dwaitha); after that is separated, the buttermilk that remains is qualified nondualism (visishta-adwaitha). But though their tastes differ, the colour of all these is the same, always. This, which is the same in all, is the Brahman without qualities (nir-guna Brahman).
39. Have firm faith in the unity of Self and Cosmic Lord
The attitude of the worshiper and the worshiped is the seed of devotion (bhakthi). First, the worshiper’s mind is attracted by the special qualities of the object of worship. The worshiper tries to acquire these special qualities. This is spiritual discipline (sadhana). In the early stages of spiritual discipline, the distinction between worshiper and worshiped is full, but as the spiritual discipline progresses, this feeling diminishes and, when attainment is reached, there is no distinction whatsoever.
Whatever the object of worship one has grasped and loved and sought by spiritual discipline, one should have firm faith that the individual self (jivatma) is the supreme Lord (Paramatma). There is only one wish fit to be entertained by the aspirant: the realisation of the Lord (Iswara Sakshatkara). There is no room in the mind for any other wish. That is why Kunthi prayed thus to Lord Krishna, “Let us have always, O Lord of the world, distress, and misery, if only You grant us Your sight (darshan), the sight that destroys rebirth.” Devotees (bhaktha) who desire and seek to attain the Supreme should have this mental attitude. Then, regardless of joy and sorrow, without any worry about their own satisfaction, they will engage in spiritual discipline (sadhana) firmly, uninterruptedly, and with conviction; after understanding the Reality, they will have full contentment.
From this point of view, there is no difference between a liberated soul (jivan-mukthas) and a devotee; both are beyond ego (ahamkara), nature (prakriti) with its three attributes, and the dharma of the caste-stage of life (varna-ashrama). The hearts of such will be full of compassion and the urge to do good to the world. Their Brahmic bliss impels them to act in this way. They will have no desires, for desires are the products of feelings of “I” and “mine”. Only after these desires are uprooted do people become devotees, right? So there can be no room in them for desires. They are devotees of immortal nature (amritha-swarupa). For those with that immortal nature, there can be no appetite except for the sweetness of spiritual bliss (ananda).
40. Start spiritual practise at the earliest moment
Yama (Lord of Death) is as omnipresent as Siva! Yama is associated with the body (deha); He cannot affect the individual soul (jiva). Siva is associated with the individual soul, but He won’t allow the body to subsist for any length of time. The body is the essential vehicle for the individual soul to understand its real nature. Still, who knows when it may become the target for the attention of Yama, the master of the body? Who knows when this body will get entrapped in the coils of Yama’s ropes?
The individual soul, burdened with this easily destructible body, must grasp the above-mentioned caution and be all-eager to merge in Siva, whatever the moment, that very moment! No single moment that is passed by can be turned back. People usually delay doing some things; yesterday’s till today and today’s till tomorrow. But the tasks of spiritual discipline are not of such a nature. For them, there is no yesterday and no tomorrow. This very moment is the moment! The minute that just elapsed is beyond your grasp; so too, the approaching minute is not yours! Only the individual soul that has this understanding engraved on its heart can merge in Siva.