Many people are disheartened by the fear that such merger is beyond their reach in this Kali age (the era we are now in), however much they may try. But this is a kind of weakness, and nothing more. It is not a question of the path of communion (yoga) adopted; whatever the path, if one has faith in oneself and faith in the scriptures, the goal is bound to be won. Some pretend to have faith in both, all the while doubting them in the heart of hearts. Each one can discover for themself the measure of their faith by the results. If the experience of merger is absent, it is due to the absence of these two kinds of faith. They must be in one, as the very breath of existence. Only then can one succeed in spiritual practice and attain union (aikya).
Of course, those without faith are without anything. They cannot benefit by advice. The present state of affairs is due to men losing faith in themselves and in the scriptures. Even those who claim to have faith do not conduct themselves according...
Devotee: Greetings, Swami.
Swami: Oh, you have come, is it? You didn’t come for Dasara!
Devotee: The number of devotees would be large, I thought, so I was afraid I would not be able to speak to you to my heart’s content. Hence, I came now, a few days prior to Your birthday, so that with Your blessings I could realise the ideal that You teach and have both devotion (bhakthi) and spiritual wisdom (jnana) born in my heart, on the auspicious day of the celebration of Your advent.
Swami: Good! Very good intention, indeed! But do you mean to say that devotion and spiritual wisdom will not be born in you on days other than my birthday? Is that your idea?
Devotee: No, no! That is not so! You come to this world on an auspicious day at a holy moment with an auspicious form, right? My idea is that at least on such a day I could establish Your holy words in my heart and make it pure.
The day is holy; the moment auspicious.
Swami: Fine! What doubt do you have today?
Devotee: I came today deter...
Creation of caste
Hindu dharma and its rules of life are based on caste (varna) and stage of life (asrama). Let us take first the principle of caste in religion. The word illusion (maya) used in Vedanta discussions has generally been the target for indifference, neglect, and criticism. So too, caste. Caste and the distinctions based on it are condemned as artifices of humanity. Likewise, illusion is condemned as against all reason, for it disregards the world, calling it illusion. The codes of law (smrithi) declare, “The four castes are created by Me (chathur varnyam, maya srishtam)”; and the Vedas (sruthi) say, “The brahmin emerged from the face, the warriors rose from the arms, etc. (brahmanosya mukham aseeth; bahuu-rajanyah krithah, etc.)”. It is clear that the caste system is created by the Lord. If it is propagated that the caste system has brought about disastrous distinctions, the fault lies in misinterpretation of the word.
Does society now have genuine castes (varnas)?...
Q. They also speak of blissful ascetics. Who are these? What are their qualifications?
A. Like the forest dwellers (vanaprasthas) and renunciates (sanyasis), ascetics have to be free from all attachment and hatred; they don’t take any interest in their surroundings, be it a forest or town. They aren’t worried in the least. They have no relation with others. They pay no heed to past, present, or future. They move about on thorn and stone, silent, smiling to themselves, ever joyous, ever alert, seeking no comfort and no shelter, seeking no place to sleep or eat. Spiritual bliss (ananda) is their food.
Even today, there are blissful ascetics in the Himalayas, in silent caves, immersed in their own inner Atmic bliss (Atma-ananda). Not all can see them. Only good luck can bring you to their presence.
But many pretend to be ascetics and go about with that name. The genuine ones would not seek people or appear in public. Even if they miss their way and come among people, they just slip aw...
The King, who was listening to the thrilling narrative of Krishna’s gratitude toward His guru, suddenly opened his eyes. Seeing the sage before him, he said, “Ah the miracles (leelas) of Krishna! His wonder-filled acts exceed each other in miracle and mystery. God is prepared to assume any burden in order to correct and improve the world. By this means, He proclaims His genuine majesty and might. But the dark smoke of illusion (maya) settles hard on man’s eye and renders him incapable of recognising divinity. Thus, he misses the inner significance of these ‘miracles’.” Faith in God is the harvest from previous lives Suka understood the working of the King’s mind, “King! The confusing influence of illusion (maya) is the consequence of accumulated activities in previous lives. One can escape illusion through good consequence; one succumbs to it through deleterious consequence. If good activity has marked previous lives, any sinful tendency will be overwhelmed by virtuous ...
Questions may be asked and doubts expressed by many about the state of a person after attaining fulfillment, the fullness of awareness. The person’s life life will be saturated with unexcelled divine bliss (ananda).
The person will experience oneness of thought, emotion, and knowledge with all. The person will be in ecstasy, immersed in the One and Only, the eternal divine Principle, for that alone can confer joy during the process of living. Genuine joy is this and no other. God is the embodiment of eternal ever-full joy. Those loyal to Indian (Bharathiya) culture, whatever sect or faith they claim as their special mould, accept this axiom: God is the highest source of joy. This conclusion (matha) they accept as dearest and most pleasurable (abhimatha).
Self is fullness and bliss is wholeness
Fullness means wholeness. Wholeness implies One and not two or three. There cannot then be any place for the individual. When an individualized Atma or soul (jivi), the particularized different...
All that is visible shines as Gayatri, for speech is Gayatri and all objects are speech, are indicated by speech, and are subsumed in speech. It is speech that describes them, declares them, and denotes them. All objects are also of the world. Nothing can go beyond it. This world is the body of mankind; one can’t leap out of the body.
The breath (prana) that sustains a person is inside the heart (hridaya), and it cannot move outside and beyond the heart.
The Gayatri has four feet and six categories. The categories are speech, objects, world, body, breath, and heart (vak, bhutha, prithvi, sarira, prana, and hridaya). The Supreme Being that is extolled by this Gayatri is indeed exalted, sacred, glorious. As has been said, all this objective multiplicity is but a fraction of His body. The number and nature, the measure and meaning of the objects are beyond understanding; yet all this is but a quarter of His magnificence. The other three quarters are His effulgent immortal form.
It is im...
Sumanthra reaches home
Meanwhile, the ruler of the Nishadas, who was returning to his kingdom after accompanying Rama for some distance into the forest, saw Minister Sumanthra sitting in his chariot on the bank of the Ganga, the horses having been tied to a shady tree. Sumanthra was alone, weeping and wailing inconsolably. Guha himself couldn’t control any longer the anguish he had restrained so long. “Rama!” he cried out, and ran toward Sumanthra. He embraced the old man, and both sobbed aloud in agony, unable to put their grief into words. They stood under the tree together, but fell on the ground as if they were themselves trees felled by an axe. They lamented the fate of Sita, Rama, and Lakshmana and poured abuse on Kaika, who was the cause of the calamities.
The horses stopped grazing and drinking water. Tears rolled from their eyes. Whenever they heard Sumanthra and Guha utter the names of Sita, Rama, or Lakshmana, they raised their heads aloft and peered into the distance,...
Sage Suka was keen on King Parikshith’s seeing the Lord’s divine sports in their proper prospective. “Maharaja!
Parikshith! Who can describe the supreme super-world charm of Krishna, whose lovely form was the very embodiment of sweetness? How can anyone describe it in words? You want me to tell you stories of Krishna, but they belong to a realm that is beyond the reach of human vocabulary. God incarnated often and demonstrated, during each advent, many superworldly miracles, but in this Krishna incarnation, He exhibited a unique attraction.
“Did He smile but once, revealing the pearly line of teeth? Those who had the spring of love in their hearts, those who had the spell of devotion in their hearts, and even those who had mastered their senses and overcome their inner reactions felt an upsurge of emotion rising in them, an upsurge of affectionate adoration! Did He but touch them softly with His tender Hand? They lost all consciousness of their bodies; they were so immersed in ...
Preparing for war
When the King prayed like this, Vyasa said, “O King! The Pandavas, as agreed upon, lived through the twelve years of exile in the forest and also completed one full year of ‘life in incognito’. When at last they revealed themselves (on the occasion of the stealing of cattle from the Virata domain by the wicked Kauravas) Duryodhana, the eldest of the cruel clan, that monster of guile, swore that the full year had not elapsed and that the Pandavas had broken their contract. So, he said, they were bound by the penal clause, a further twelve-year exile and a further oneyear-of-incognito life! He was adamant about it.
“The elders, Bhishma, and others, claimed the Pandavas had scrupulously fulfilled the terms of the contract.
They had stayed in exile for a full twelve years and had not disclosed their place of stay during the entire last year.
But the Kauravas didn’t accept the patent truth. They prepared the path for their own downfall and destruction!