Friday 30 September 2016

First Durga Puja at Belur Math

That was in October of 1901. In the balmy autumn air of that year, the
fields were lush green with paddy stalks waving their laden heads, and
lotuses, jasmines, and tuberoses were rendering the air fragrant and
heavenly. The autumn festival was being held for the first time in that
monastery which was consecrated only three years before. That was the
first Durga Puja in image at Belur Math. It was, however, not the first
occasion Mother Durga was being worshipped by the Ramakrishna Order.

Swami Shivananda, the second President of the Order, said, 'Swamiji
introduced the worship of Mother Durga at the monastery at Baranagore.
Of course, the worship used to be performed in a consecrated pitcher
(ghata) in those days. But the worship of 1901 had one distinction —
Swamiji (Swami Vivekananda) had introduced for the first time in Belur
Math the worship of Mother Durga in image.

Many orthodox pundits and Brahmins of the neighbouring places used to
criticize Swami Vivekananda and the other monks of Belur Math for their
innovating and liberal ideas, their modes of work, and especially their
non-observance of the customs regarding caste and food. Even these
bigoted people who considered themselves 'custodians of Hinduism' gave
up their animosity and attended the Puja. They became convinced that the
monks of the Ramakrishna Order were truly 'Sanatan! Sannyasins'.
According to Sarat Chandra Chakravarty, Swami Vivekananda's main purpose
in conducting this Durga Puja was to remove all unsavoury doubts and
skepticism from the minds of the orthodox.

Swamiji had not seen Durga Puja for a decade. He intended to see it that
year. The decision to celebrate Durga Puja in image at the Math in 1901
was his own. He had cherished this idea since several months before. He
asked Sarat Babu to bring the book Raghunandana Smrti, which deals in
detail with the ceremonial forms of the worship of various gods and
goddesses. Swamiji read the book thoroughly. On being questioned,
Swamiji said to his disciple, 'This time I have a desire to celebrate
the Durga Puja. If the expenses are forthcoming, I shall worship the

But Swamiji did not speak of his intention to anybody till only a few
days before the date of worship. Four or five days before the Durga
Puja, Swami Brahmananda was sitting in the Math verandah facing the
Ganga. He had a vision of Mother Durga coming over the Ganga from
Dakshineswar and stopping near the Vilva tree (now, in front of
Swamiji's memorial temple). Just then Swamiji returned to the Math from
Calcutta and asked, 'Where is Raja [Swami Brahmananda]?' On meeting him,
Swamiji told him: 'This time make all arrangements for the Durga Puja by
bringing the Pratima (image) to the Math.' Swami Brahmananda hesitated
for a while, for there was very little time to make all the necessary
arrangements. Then Swamiji disclosed the vision he had had. He had seen
Mother Durga being worshipped in image at the Math. Swami Brahmananda
too then described his vision. These visions were greeted with great joy
and cheer by the monks and Brahmacharins of the Math.

Br. Krishnalal [later Swami Dhirananda], a disciple of' the Holy Mother,
was sent to Kumartuly to see if an image could be procured. Fortunately
one image was available, for the person who had placed the order had not
turned up to take delivery. Swamiji (Swami Vivekananda) was informed; he
and Swami Premananda went to the Holy Mother's residence at 16A,
Bosepara Lane, Calcutta, and sought her permission to perform the Durga
Puja. The Holy Mother gladly consented. Swamiji then asked that the
image be brought to the Math. Soon the news spread all over the city and
the devotees joined with the monks to make the celebration a grand success.

Thursday 29 September 2016

The Story of Solutions

The Story of Solutions

I had to go shopping for a pair of shoes recently. I live in Pondicherry which hasn't got enough stores and choice and so off I went to the famed malls of Chennai. 15 minutes into the labyrinth and I was suffocating. It was the presence of all those stores and brands and things and people and it felt like one had been sucked into a vortex of money and greed and insanity. Of course most people will not agree with me and will say I have been living in my little village for far too long. Be that as it may, my point of this excessive commercialization which slapped me as hard as the air-conditioned air of the mall, is real. That many of us may have developed a convenient immunity towards it is quite another matter.

People need things – I get that. I needed my shoes. And someone needed to make them and then sell them. But regard this: the brand I sought had developed the technology I needed for aching feet but at a premium cost; for anything less than that, I got only the brand but not the technology which meant that while they admitted that most people suffer from aching feet because of bad footwear, they (a)continue to sell that bad footwear and (b) make it impossible for the masses to purchase the technology that can help them avoid this very basic, human ailment.

That is what hit me as insane and greedy. And the examples are all around us, in every form, in everything that we consume. They tell you that we are ingesting high chemical doses with our food and to go organic but when we go shopping for organic, everything is priced at four times that of pesticide-heavy versions. Green is in, but Green needs tons of green to get it.

India is happily munching on the consumer cookie set loose by the West. It's fun as long as one can afford it. But it also has repercussions – for the local trade, for the local land, for the planet in general, for our own internal sense of balance.

What can I do?

To try being aware of the choices I make. To regard the earth as my home. And to talk about it to as many as possible.

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Austerity : Swami Brahmananda

To a question of a disciple, Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj said :
Real austerity depends on three things :
First : You must be Truthful. Completely establish your life on the truth and then perform action.
Second : You must conquer lust.
Third : You must conquer worldly cravings.
Observe these three basic principles. To assimilate them in your life is real austerity.
Of these, the second one is most important - conquering lust. Our scriptures say, 'God realization is easy for those who have strictly practiced brahmacharya for twelve years. This is very difficult. I am telling you from my own experience that deep meditation is not possible without practicing brahmacharya. It is a difficult task to control subtle desires.
It is the nature of the mind to enjoy beautiful objects. Unconsciously the mind enjoys many things, and this is harmful to spiritual life. When your life is established in brahmacharya, you will see the manifestation of Divine in everything. By observing Brahmacharya one accumulates OJAS(spiritual energy) in the brain.

Witty replies from Einstein

 Just over a century ago, Albert Einstein was born in Ulm, Germany. Recognized in his lifetime as one of the greatest intellects of the ages, he revolutionized scientific thought with his General Theory of Relativity, which he published in Berlin in 1916. He received many letters from a fascinated, respectful public, as well as from friends and colleagues. These excerpts are taken from a collection selected and edited by Helen Dukas, Einstein's secretary and Banesh Hoffmann, a physicist and former collaborator of Einstein.

           "Dear Miss Ley," Einstein wrote to a young cousin who had missed him on a visit to Stuttgart in 1920, "I hear you are dissatisfied because you did not see your uncle. Let me tell you what I look like: pale face, long hair, and a tiny beginning of a paunch. In addition, an awkward gait, and a cigar in the mouth - if he happens to have a cigar - and a pen in his pocket or hand. But crooked legs and warts he does not have, and so he is quite handsome - also no hair on his hands such as is often found on ugly men. So it is indeed a pity that you did not see me. With warm greetings from Your uncle, Einstein".

           Einstein disliked the rat race for promotion. In May 1927, when the scientific world was wondering who would be the successor to Max Planck's professorship at the University of Berlin, he wrote to Ehrenfest:            "I am not involved, thank God, and no longer need to take part in the competition of the big brains. Participating has always seemed to me to be a type of slavery, no less evil than the passion for money or power".

           Replying to birthday greetings from Sigmund Freud in 1929, who referred to him as 'You Lucky One', Einstein wrote: 'Why do you stress my luck? You, who have slipped under the skin of so many a man, have nevertheless had no opportunity to slip under mine.'

           In 1930, a letter from England posed the following question: "If, on your death bed, you looked back on your life, by what facts would you determine whether it was a success or failure ?"            "Neither on my death bed nor before", replied Einstein, "will I ask myself such a question. Nature is not an engineer or contractor, and I myself am a part of nature."

           A New York sixth-standard student wrote in 1936 to ask whether scientists prayed, and if so, for what. "I have tried," said Einstein, "to respond to your question as simply as I could. Here is my answer:            "Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural being."            "However, it must be admitted that our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary. So, actually, the belief in the existence of basic all embracing laws in nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same, this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research."     "But, on the other hand, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe, a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which, we with our modest powers must feel humble".

           An editor preparing to address the 1948 conference of the American Library Association wrote to complain of a widespread loss of interest in science books for the layman. "Most books about science", replied Einstein, "that are said to be written for the layman seek more to impress the reader than to explain clearly the elementary aims and methods. After an intelligent layman has tried to read a couple of such books he becomes completely discouraged. His conclusion is: I am too feeble minded and had better give up. In addition, the entire description is done mostly in a sensational manner which repulses a sensible layman."            "Not that the readers are at fault: it is the authors and the publishers. No popular book on science should be published before it is established that it can be understood and appreciated by an intelligent and judicious layman."

           In 1950, a graduate student wrote to Einstein for advice. The student was Jewish, and he had fallen in love with a girl of the Baptist faith. While the young man's parents liked the girl, they were frightened of inter-religious marriage and gave voice to their objection. The young man found himself torn between his love for the a girl and his desire not to alienate his parents and cause them lasting pain. Einstein drafted a reply on the back of the letter :            "I have to tell you frankly that I do not approve of parents exerting influence on decisions of their children that will determine the shapes of their children's lives. Such problems, one must solve oneself".            "However, you must ask yourself this question : am I, deep down, independent enough to be able to act against the wishes of my parents without losing my inner equilibrium ? If you do not feel certain about this, the step you plan is not be recommended in the interests of the girl. On this consideration alone should you make your decision depend".

          And when will it all end? In answer to an oral question from a child, transmitted by her mother, Einstein wrote the following reply :            "There has been an earth for a little more than a thousand million years. As for the question of the end of it, I advise: wait and see!            P.S. I enclose a few stamps for your collection".

Sunday 25 September 2016

What is personality

किसी वस्तु को सही आकार इसके घटकों के उचित संयोजन से ही मिलता है। इसके बाद ही कोई तत्व अपनी संपूर्णता तक पहुँचता है।

एक बार राजा मिलिंद भिक्षु के पास गए। भिक्षु का नाम नागसेन था। राजा ने भिक्षु से पूछा-महाराज एक बात बताइए, आप कहते हैं कि हमारा व्यक्तित्व स्थिर नहीं है। जीव स्वयंमेव कुछ नहीं है, तो फिर जो आपका नाम नागसेन है यह नागसेन कौन है? क्या सिर के बाल नागसेन हैं? भिक्षु ने कहा- ऐसा नहीं है। राजा ने फिर पूछा - क्या ये दांत, मस्तिष्क, मांस आदि नागसेन हैं? भिक्षु ने कहा-नहीं। राजा ने फिर पूछा-फिर आप बताएं क्या आकार, संस्कार, समस्त वेदनाएं नागसेन हैं? भिक्षु ने कहा-नहीं। राजा ने फिर प्रश्न किया-क्या ये सब वस्तुएं मिलकर नागसेन हैं? या इनके बाहर कोई ऐसी वस्तु है जो नागसेन है? भिक्षु ने कहा नहीं। अब राजा बोले- तो फिर नागसेन कुछ नहीं है। जिसे हम अपने सामने देखते हैं और नागसेन कहते हैं वह नागसेन कौन हैं?

अब भिक्षु ने राजा से पूछा? राजन, क्या आप पैदल आए हैं? राजा ने कहा- नहीं, रथ पर। भिक्षु ने पूछा-फिर तो आप जरूर जानते होंगे कि रथ क्या है? क्या यह पताका रथ है? राजा ने कहा-नहीं। भिक्षु बोले- क्या ये पहिए या धुरी रथ हैं? राजा ने कहा- नहीं। भिक्षु ने पूछा-क्या ये रस्सियां या चाबुक रथ हैं? राजा ने कहा नहीं। भिक्षु ने पूछा-क्या इन सबके बाहर कोई अन्य चीज है, जिसे हम रथ कहते हैं? राजा ने कहा-नहीं। भिक्षु ने कहा-तो फिर, रथ कुछ नहीं है? जिसे हम सामने देखते हैं और रथ कहते वह क्या है? राजा ने कहा-इन सब चीजों के एक साथ होने पर ही इसे रथ कहा जाता है। भिक्षु ने कहा-राजन, इसमें ही आपकी जिज्ञासा का हल छिपा है। जिस प्रकार इन वस्तुओं के उचित तालमेल से रथ् का निर्माण हुआ है, ठीक उसी प्रकार अग्नि, पृथ्वी, आकाश, जल और वायु इन पाँच तत्वों के समुचित संयोजन से बना शरीर ही नागसेन है। इसके इतिरिक्त कुछ नहीं।

व्यक्तित्व (Personality) का सम्बन्ध उन गहराइयों से है जो हमारी चेतना को विकसित करती हैं, अर्थात् जो हर क्षण हमारे व्यवहार, आचरण और हमारी चेष्टाओं में अभिव्यक्त होती रहती है। स्पष्ट है, व्यक्तित्व का अर्थ केवल व्यक्ति के बाह्यगुण (External Factors); जैसे - रूप-रंग, चाल-ढाल, पहचावा, बोलचाल आदि से नहीं है, उसके आंतरिक गुणों (
(Internal factors or instrinsic qualities) से भी है, जैसे- चरित्र-बल, इच्छा-शक्ति, आत्म-विश्वास, मन की एकाग्रता आदि। इस प्रकार व्यक्तित्व का अर्थ व्यक्ति के बाह्यगुण एवं आंतरिक गुणों के योग से है। यथार्थ में आन्तरिक गुणों के विकास से ही आपके व्यक्तित्व को संपूर्णता प्रदान होती है जिसे complete personality यानि Dynamic personality कहते हैं, जो किसी भी क्षेत्र में स्थायी सफलता का प्रमुख अंग मानी जाती है।

Destruction Of Desires Leads To Atmic Bliss

Vasanasahita mind (mind associated with desires) is Bandha (bondage). Mind free from desires is Mukta (free). Desires are themselves pain. Non-desire is itself pure Atmic Bliss. Mere annihilation of Maya is Moksha. With the extinction of the base Sankalpas, there is also the extinction of Avidya. Should all longings for the visibles cease, then such an abnegation of mind is itself the destruction of Ajnana or the mind. Such a bliss is generated through one's efforts only. There is nothing like Purushartha (right exertion). Purushartha changed the destiny of Markandeya. He became a Chiranjivi.

Desire is the enemy of peace. You have become the beggar of beggars through desires. A desireless man is the richest man in the world. It is the mind that makes a man rich.

Free yourself from the firm grip of crocodiles of desires. Do not get disheartened under trials. Cheer yourself up. Stand up like a lion. Destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make friendship with the Sattvic mind and rest yourself peacefully in Atman.

.... All 3 parts were from 'Divine Life Society'

Friday 23 September 2016

How to control Desires

Just as you starve a plant by depriving it of water, so you may starve out obnoxious desires by allowing the mind not to dwell upon such desires. You have no desire for a thing till you know what it is like. It is only after you have seen it or heard of it or touched it that you get a longing for it. Therefore, the best principle for a man is not to take, touch or see anything that is likely to taint the imagination. You will have to turn aside the attention resolutely and particularly the imagination from the subject. In course of time, all objectionable desires will die out.

It is desire in the mind that has created this body. The nature of the desire depends upon the quality of Samskaras. If these are good, virtuous Samskaras, good desires will crop up and, if they are bad, they will give rise to evil desires. Buddhi also is Karmanusarini (according to the nature of Karmas). It has to be specially trained by repeated efforts to think and act according to the holy injunctions of sacred scriptures. Desire becomes the thought and thought becomes the action. An evil desire sets up an evil thought which leads to evil action. Do always virtuous action-charity, Tapas, Japa, Dama, Dhyana and study of scriptures. Give up Nishiddha Karma (actions prohibited by Sastras). Have constant Satsanga. This is very important. It is the only means of changing the evil Samskaras of the mind.

The mind with half-developed Jnana feels severe pain when it relinquishes all desires. It demands aid, through prayer, from higher souls.

A counter-desire, a desire for God, one strong desire to attain Brahman will destroy all other worldly desires. Put down vicious desires through virtuous desires. Then give up virtuous desires through one strong desire-Mumukshutva (desire for liberation). Abandon this desire for God also in the long run. Give up Asubha Vasana through Subha Vasana. Give up Subha Vasana through Svarupa Vasana. Give up Svarupa Vasana by Nididhyasana. Desires will become extinct with the rise of discrimination. When desires cease, Jivahood becomes extinct.

Brahma-Chintana will destroy all desires. There are no desires in Brahman. Brahman is All-Purity. Repeat OM. Repeat the Mantra, "All purity I am." All the desires will vanish.

Kill the thoughts. Practise thoughtlessness. You can destroy desires. Mind associated with thoughts of gratifying the passionate desires, blindly goads a man to seek for sensual pleasures. Uncontrolled thoughts are the roots of all evils. Sublime thoughts will easily destroy lower, base thoughts. Do not entertain any base thought.

How to Control Desires

In this ocean of Samsara, desires are the crocodiles. Kill them as soon as they arise on the surface of the mind. Do not yield to them. Do not become despondent under your trials. Make friendship with the pure, Sattvic mind and destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make your mind rest in the blissful Atman. Desires should be crushed the very moment they arise in the mind, by discrimination and dauntless, indefatigable efforts.

Whenever a desire arises in the mind, consult always your Viveka (power of discrimination). Viveka will at once tell you that the desire is attended with pain, that it is only a vain temptation set up by the mind and that Vairagya and Tyaga alone can bring about satisfaction and peace of mind. It will advise you to renounce the desire immediately and take to the study of Upanishads, repetition of OM and to have Samadhi-Nishtha in a solitary place on the bank of the sacred Ganga. Think deeply again and again whether the new desire will give you more happiness or more spiritual gain. Viveka will guide you to take up the help of will and drive the desire immediately. Viveka and will are two potent weapons for an aspirant on the Jnana Yogic path to destroy evil Mara (temptation) and remove all major and minor impediments.

Never accept gifts from anybody, even from your closest friends. It will produce slavish mentality, weak will and attachment. Asking is begging. Recommending is begging. A beggar is absolutely unfit for freedom and spiritual pursuits.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Baba Jaggi Vasudev on Desires

The Buddha has said that we should be desireless and passionless. How should we get rid of anger, lust and hatred?

When Gautama talked of desirelessness, he was not unaware that without desire there is no existence. Your wanting to be desireless itself is a big desire. You being desireless means you have no identification with your desires; your desires are only about what is needed. You have no personal identity with the desires that you play with. Without desire, there is no game. But now the desires are no longer about you. It is just the way it's needed for this moment, for this situation.

Once you are aware — you are desireless in that sense — there is no karmic bondage. Whatever he does, even if he fights a war, there is no karma for him because he has no desire to do anything like that. It's not coming out of his love for something or hate for something. It is just coming because, simply, that's the way. That is the whole Gita.

Krishna is constantly talking about nishkarma — about not performing any karma — but insisting that Arjuna should act. He is talking about the same desirelessness in a different language and context, but it is the same thing. Just accepting everything is desirelessness. Once you are truly accepting what is there, you're not identified with anything. Everything is there the way it is, do whatever you can do about it. That's all there is. You can be deeply involved with everything, but still not be identified with it any more.

Don't ever try to fight your passions and desires. The more you fight them, the more they come up like asuras . The Puranas say that when an asura is killed, even if one drop of blood falls on the ground, 1,000 asuras will come out of it. Desires and passions are like that. If you try and fight with them, if you chop them, they'll spill blood and for every drop 100 or 1,000 more desires and passions will come up. Fighting them will be futile. You should just educate your passions; let your desires flow in the right direction.

Your desire, your passion and everything you go through is simply plain energy. It is you who makes it into desire, who makes it into passion, into fear, you make it into anger whatever else you do. May be these things are not in your hands right now. Maybe you are not conscious of them. But, it is you who makes them what they are. Whatever the emotion, whatever the nature of your passion, it is only the effort of your life energies trying to find a deeper foothold into life. It is only trying to enhance the experience of life.

When you desire, desire for the highest in life. Let all your passions be directed to the highest. If you get angry, that also you direct it towards Shiva, or what you hold as the highest — it is OK. Let your passion increase. Channelising it is in your hands. May be when you are angry you can't be loving, suddenly you can't make your anger into love. But anger itself, you direct it.

Anger is tremendous energy, isn't it? Lust is also tremendous energy. Direct it in the right direction, that's all. Every energy that you have, every passion you have, every emotion you have, every thought you have — if it is focused in one direction, the results are very, very quick.

D goal of every desire is to be desireless

The goal of every desire is to be desireless.
When there is a desire, the mind is agitated and cannot focus on anything else other than the desire itself. For instance, if one wants to drink a cup of coffee, the thoughts are constantly on how to get the cup of coffee. The thoughts lead to actions that will fulfill the desire. One thought leads to another and the goal is to get the cup of coffee and consume it. Till the desire is fulfilled or replaced by another desire, it will constantly occupy the focus of attention of the mind. Once the cup of coffee is in the hand and a sip of it is consumed, then there is contentment. Yes, the contentment or happiness may be fleeting but it is there because the desire was fulfilled. In that moment of happiness, there is no desire or there is desirelessness (only until another desire arises!). Therefore, it can be concluded that desirelessness is equal to happiness and vice versa.

The goal of every desire is to lead up to this desirelessness (happiness or contentment), which is our True Nature. One experiences this state of happiness or desirelessness every day, but the mind interprets the happiness to be due to the attainment of the object of desire and not to the fact that for that fleeting moment there are no desires (or desirelessness). Because of the misinterpretation of this state of happiness, the mind is constantly chasing desires thereby resulting in a state of constant seeking. The mind gives the impression that someday or sometime, there will be no further desires to be fulfilled and then there will be contentment.

But, desirelessness is actually our True Nature and it is present right here and right now. It is a state of peace and contentment. Once, one realizes that the state of desirelessness is indeed one's True Nature, the seeking stops immediately. It is just a matter of Understanding which leads one to Realization.

...courtesy Advaita Talks blog

Monday 19 September 2016

Fixing of Mind on God

M. (humbly): "Yes, sir. How, sir, may we fix our minds on God?"


(1) "Repeat God's name and sing His glories, and

(2) keep holy company; and now and then visit God's devotees and holy men. The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities;

(3) it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God. To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practises meditation in solitude. When a tree is young it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle.

"To meditate, you should withdraw within yourself or retire to a secluded corner or to the forest.

(4) And you should always discriminate between the Real and the unreal. God alone is real, the Eternal Substance; all else is unreal, that is, impermanent. By discriminating thus, one should shake off impermanent objects from the mind."


M. (humbly): "How ought we to live in the world?"

Master: (5) "Do all your duties, but keep your mind on God. Live with all with wife and children, father and mother and serve them. Treat them as if they were very dear to you, but know in your heart of hearts that they do not belong to you."


Sunday 18 September 2016

bhoga begets sufferings

SRI RAMAKRISHNA was sitting on the small couch in his room. Rakhal, M., and several other devotees were present. A special worship of Kali had been performed in the temple the previous night. In connection with the worship a theatrical performance of the Vidyasundar had been staged in the natmandir. The Master had watched a part of it that morning. The actors came to his room to pay him their respects. The Master, in a happy mood, became engaged in conversation with a fair complexioned young man who had taken the part of Vidya and played his part very well.

MASTER (to the actor): "Your acting was very good. If a person excels in singing, music, dancing, or any other art, he can also quickly realize God provided he strives sincerely.

"Just as you practise much in order to sing, dance, and play on instruments, so one should practise the art of fixing the mind on God. One should practise regularly such disciplines as worship, japa, and meditation.

ACTOR: "Sir, what is the difference between lust and desire?"

MASTER: "Lust is like the root of the tree, and desires are branches and twigs.

"One cannot completely get rid of the six passions: lust, anger, greed, and the like. Therefore one should direct them to God. If you must have desire and greed, then you should desire love of God and be greedy to attain Him. If you must be conceited and egotistic, then feel conceited and egotistic thinking that you are the servant of God, the child of God.

"A man cannot see God unless he gives his whole mind to Him. The mind is wasted on 'woman and gold'. Take your own case. You have children and are occupied with the theatre. The mind cannot he united with God on account of these different activities.

"As long as there is bhoga, there will be less of yoga. Furthermore, bhoga begets suffering. It is said in the Bhagavata that the Avadhuta chose a kite as one of his twenty-four gurus. The kite had a fish in its beak; so it was surrounded by a thousand crows. Whichever way it flew with the fish, the crows pursued it crying, 'Caw! Caw!' When all of a sudden the fish dropped from its beak, the crows flew after the fish, leaving the kite alone.

"The 'fish' is the object of enjoyment. The 'crows' are worries and anxiety. Worries and anxiety are inevitable with enjoyment. No sooner does one give up enjoyment than one finds peace.

"What is more, money itself becomes a source of trouble. Brothers may live happily, but they get into trouble when the property is divided. Dogs lick one another's bodies; they are perfectly friendly. But when the householder throws them a little food, they get into a scrap.

....from Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna

Saturday 17 September 2016

How to do Japa

"Do you perform prayer and meditation nowadays?
- No, Maharaj, not at all.

It is better to do at least a little every day. That will give you peace of mind and steadiness. I am sure you have a family guru. Why have you not taken initiation from him? You had better receive it from him soon. Every day you should perform a little Japa and meditation. Purchase a rosary of Rudraksha beads. Dip it in the holy waters of the Ganga and touch the sacred Feed of Lord Viswanath with it. Then perform Japa with that a hundred and eight or a thousand times daily. If you are inclined to do more, you can do so, and you should.

- What shall I repeat?

The blessed name of God! The name of that form of His which inspires the greatest faith and devotion in you – that is the name you should choose for your Japa.

- Without a form, meditation is not possible. What form shall I meditate upon, and where?

You must meditate upon that form of His you like best. You can place Him in the heart or outside. A wise guru, however, will understand the particular form of God that calls forth the greatest faith and regard from the disciple, and will instruct him to mediate on that.

Then there is mental worship. As you do external worship with offerings of flowers, sandal paste, burning of camphor etc. exactly so is the worship in the mind. In the mind you have to picture the form of the Deity you choose, in the mind you are to offer all the holy things used in worship and in the mind, again, you have to adore Him with all the reverence and devotion of your heart in humble supplication.

You have heard enough, Now do something and show your worthiness. No more waste of time. Begin from this day, this very evening. For the present, do these two things – Japa and meditation, every morning and evening without fail. Continue this habit for a couple of years at least. Then you will find great joy, and will know more and more of spiritual mysteries.

....Swami Brhamanandaji

Friday 16 September 2016

Desires imperishable

A Desire has its Own Personality and Existence

If you have a strong desire for something you cannot get, you project your desire outside yourself. It goes off like a tiny personality separated from you and roams about in the world. It will take a little round, more or less large, and return to you, perhaps when you have forgotten it. People who have a kind of passion, who want something,—that goes out from them like a little being, like a little flame into the surroundings. This little being has its destiny. It roams about in the world, tossed around by other things perhaps. You have forgotten it, but it will never forget that it must bring about that particular result….

For days you tell yourself: "How much I would like to go to that place, to Japan, for instance, and see so many things", and your desire goes out from you; but because desires are very fugitive things, you have forgotten completely this desire you had thrown out with such a force. There are many reasons for your thinking about something else. And after ten years or more, or less, it comes back to you like a dish served up piping hot. Yes, like a piping-hot dish, well arranged. You say: "This does not interest me any longer." It does not interest you ten or twenty years later. It was a small formation and it has gone and done its work as it could….

It is impossible to have desires without their being realised, even if it be quite a tiny desire. The formation has done what it could; it took a lot of trouble, it has worked hard, and after years it returns. It is like a servant you have sent out and who has done his best. When he returns you tell him: "What have you done?"—"Why? But, sir, it was because you wanted it!"

You cannot put forth a strong thought without its going out from you like a little balloon, as it were. We have certain stories which are not unbelievable, like the one about that miser who thought of nothing but his money; he had hidden his hoard somewhere and always used to go to see it. After his death he continued to come as a ghost (that is to say, his vital being), to watch over his money. Nobody could go near the place without meeting with a catastrophe.

It is like that, if you have worked to bring out something, it is always realised. It may be realised even after your death! Yes, for when your body ceases to exist, none of the vibrations stops existing. They are realised somewhere. That was what the Buddha said: the vibrations continue to exist, to be perpetuated. They are contagious. They continue in others, pass into others, and everyone adds a little to them.

The Mother