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Sunday, 26 February 2012

True Spirit of Upaasanaa, Upanyaasam and Paaraayanam

We need to be extremely grateful to our Spiritual Master Bhagawan Baba who has so clearly presented to us the true spirit of the various prescribed spiritual practices. This gives us a right perspective and prevents us from missing out the wood for the trees. In this posting, we have Bhagawan Baba explaining to us the true spirit of all Upaasanaa (Worship), listening to Upanyaasam (Spiritual Discourses) and Paaraayanam (Chanting the name of God / study of spiritual texts / sharing the Glory of God).

There are six Discourse excerpts presented in this posting. These have been selected from the Discourses given by Bhagawan Baba in the years 1996 and 1997.

In the 1st audio clip, Bhagawan condemns the lame excuses that people give stating that they have no time for worship or for chanting the name of the Lord. In the 2nd clip, He highlights the importance that He gives to devotees who always contemplate on God or sing the glory of God, saying that He installs Himself in the pure and noble hearts of such devotees. He then goes on to explain in clip 3, how being “near” to God is not enough. One has to be “dear” to God also. In the 4th clip, Bhagawan laments over the modern trend wherein spirituality also has become a sort of fashion. In the 5th clip, Swami narrates a very humorous story to explain how people may attend spiritual congregations for years, they may listen to spiritual discourses a number of times; but no transformation takes place in their mind and hearts. This, He says, is a mere waste of time. In the final 6th clip, Bhagawan concludes stressing once again that all sacred texts are written not for the purpose of mere intellectual study and reading, but for understanding the message and practicing the same. He ends with His favourate analogy – “one teaspoon of cow’s milk is enough, why barrels and barrels of donkey’s milk?”

Each audio clip has a name that adopts the following code: Serial number, Title appropriate to the key content, Duration of the clip, Year-Month-Date of the Clip. Below the title is the translation in English of the select excerpt of the Discourse, followed by the audio player. The post ends with a short quiz that would help you evaluate your assimilation of Bhagawan's Message from these extracts.  

Note: Those receiving this blog by email may see words bunched together due to a technical glitch. That is beyond my control. Please click on link at the top of the email to read the blog directly. Sorry about this. If anyone has a solution to this please help me out.

1. We have time for everything else but God-2.03-1997 April 08

Time is God. Don't waste time. Time waste is life waste
Vyasa composed the 18 Puraanaas. But eventually, where are the people who read these Puraanaas? There is just no free time for all this. Many people think they must read these Puraanaas, but they say that they do not have the time to read these. In case they have to undertake some Vratam (spiritual vows), they say they have no time at all, they have lot of office work, they have a number of business errands or they have lot of studies to cope up with. In this way, they give reasons based on their position and status in life.

However, all these words are false. Truly speaking if you want to think about God or chant His name, you have enough time for this. Some people return from the office and settle down on the chair, stating that they are very tired. If their wife says, “Listen, today is the New Year day, let us go to the temple”, they say, “No, I have no time now, I am very tired today”. Such a person is a pucca (hard core) lazy man. Sitting on the chair does he take rest? No. He puts on and watches the Television. Are you not tired to watch the television? Are you not tired to go to the club and play cards? Is this the excuse to be given for not having time? Lot of time is there. But you are wasting this time, you are misusing this time. Instead of wasting this time, make good use of it. This is the true human value. We must sanctify our time. Don’t waste time. Time waste is life waste. Time is God. Therefore, we must make proper use of time. God is the embodiment of time.



2. Head Office of the Lord-Human Heart-1.58-1996 July 05

I install Myself in the hearts of those who sing the glory of God
At one time, Narada asked Lord Vishnu. Swami, all the time, in order to have your Darshan, I come to the place where you are there. But at times, there may be an emergency. At such times, if I need to see you or send word to you, where would you be? Where is your head office? Is it at Vaikuntam, or at Kailasa or in Heaven? Then Lord Vishnu said, “Narada, take down my address. Mad Bhaktaaha Yatra Gaayanti, Tatra Thishthami Narada. Narada, this Kailasa, this Vaikuntam, this heaven; these are all branch offices. My head office is - Mad Bhaktaaha Yatra Gaayanti - where my devotees sing my glory - Tatra Thishthami Narada - therein I install Myself Narada. At other places, I am just a procession idol. However, in the head office I install Myself. He said “install Myself” and not just “reside therein”. Therefore, every heart is the dwelling place of God. Hence, man should not imagine that he is just a man. All are verily forms of God Himself!



3. How to do Paaraayanam - Practice the message and connect to God-2.29-1996 June 29

For true experience, both "nearness" and "dearness"  are essential
We study the Ramayana, the Bhagavata, the Bhagavd Gita and perform so many Paaraayanaas (chanting the name of God / studying scriptural texts / sharing the glory of God). But what is the use? Everyday we do Paaraayanaa of the Bhagavatha and the Bhagavd Gita. Everyday we chant the Sahasranaamaa (1008 names of the Lord). All this is merely textual knowledge. But we need practical knowledge. It is enough if we practice at least one teaching (of these scriptures). If we enquire in this manner, it is a matter of shame and embarrassment to call ourselves devotees. We are there very close possibly. But we are like frogs on the flower. On the other hand, honey bees come from far off places and suck the nectar from the flower and go away.

In this context, “near” and “dear” – both are important. You are “near” but you are not “dear”. The honey bees are “dear”, but they are not “near”. For the true experience, both “near” and “dear” are essential. We must make an effort to practice at least one teaching. When it (teaching) is not put into practice, any amount of hearing (of sacred texts) is just like a tape recorder. When you merely watch a tape recorder, you do not hear anything. Even if you cut the tape into several small pieces, you will not be able to see or hear anything in it. But if you place the tape in the recorder and connect it to the electric current, by placing the batteries / cells, only then you will be able to hear the sound. Therefore, all the feelings in your heart must be connected to Love, to God. Then, all that is within will come out. All the collection of matter must be subject to connection with God. That will lead to selection; you will be selected by God.



4. Harikathaa - A Spiritual Fashion-Temporary Renunciation-2.35-1996 July 11

Spirituality has become a sort of fashion these days!
How is the practice these days? If there is some spiritual discourse, some Harikatha (story of God), or some other narration of the glory of God, all the people go there to listen. So long as these discourses, talks and Harikathas go on, vibrations of renunciation keeps manifesting in the people, over and over! How long do these vibrations, emotions and renunciation last? The moment the discourse gets over, these too vanish. What is heard, is not treasured even till they reach their homes. So what is the use of listening to any number of discourses that preach “Anityam Asukham Lokam” (this world is ephemeral and full of sorrow). It is all only listening, but no practice. Only when we practice, we will realize the benefit. Only when you eat, you come to know the taste and the hunger is satiated. We can also assimilate its strength. We do not know the taste. Why? Because we are not eating. We are unable to get rid of the weakness. Why? Because we are not digesting what is eaten. What is heard has to be eaten (absorbed) and what is eaten has to be digested (assimilated).

This is all the effect of the age of Kali. Spirituality has become a sort of fashion these days. Fashion and not compassion. Once we nurture compassion, this fashion will run away. So to listen (to spiritual discourses) has become a fashion these days. “Where had you gone”? The person answers, “I had gone to attend that (spiritual) discourse”. “What happened there?” The person answers, “Oh! So many things happened there”. “Can you tell me at least a little of what was told there?” The person answers, “Oh! But nothing went into my head!”. Then why should the person go there?



5. Merely attending Paaraayanam is of no use-Example of Businessman-3.50-1996 July 11

By the time you leave the  Hall, the spiritual discourse is forgotten!
There was a devotee. He had been attending spiritual discourses since 16 years. What were these discourses about? They were the stories of Lord Rama. Everyday, there would be a discourse on the life of Lord Rama. The quality of detachment is found extensively in the story of Lord Rama. His whole life was full of difficulties. To add to it, the Pundit was narrating the story with all the more feelings and emotions. The Pundit laid down the discipline that whosoever attends these spiritual discourses should do so without absenting themselves even for a day. Because, if people miss the discourse, the crowd will appear less! The Pundit wanted the pride of having large crowds attending his discourse. Therefore the Pundit had laid down the rule that unless one attends these discourses everyday without missing even one day, they would not receive the benefits / results of this Paaraayanam.

One day, this devotee had to mandatorily go elsewhere on some work. The devotee asked the Pundit whether for that one day, his son could attend the discourse instead of him. The Pundit was concerned only with filling up the seat; therefore how would it matter as to who came for the discourse. Thinking so, he told the devotee that his son could come for the discourse. The devotee went home. He then thought, “Oh, this Pundit is talking so much about renunciation. Asthiram Jeevanam Loke, Asthiram Yauvanam Dhanam (Life in this world is ephemeral, youth and wealth are ephemeral). If my son goes and hears his discourse, he too may imbibe the quality of detachment. What if he leaves everything and goes away”? Thinking so, the devotee went the next morning to the Pundit and told him, “Sir, your discourses are very good. But if young children of today, like my son, develop detachment and leave their family and house; what will be my fate? The Pundit replied strongly and in a straight forward manner, so as to make a deep impact on the devotee’s heart. “Sir, you have been attending my discourses for the last 16 years. How much of detachment have you developed? Do you think your son will develop detachment just by attending one day of the discourse? It is not so easy to develop detachment.

In the same manner, people have been coming here for years to listen to discourses. But not an iota of detachment or devotion has taken roots in their hearts. It is very nice when you are hearing the discourses. It gives lot of happiness. But the moment we leave this compound - Yathaa Sthaanam, Yathaa Bhaavam, Thathaa Sthithi (as is our residence, as is our feelings, so is our position). We go back to status quo.



6. Scriptures are meant for Practice and not just Paaraayanam-1.31-1996 July 11

One teaspoon of cow's milk is enough, why barrels and barrels of donkey's milk?
Therefore practice is most important. All these texts like the Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Bhagawatha, Koran, Bible, etc. have not been written for the sake of Paaraayanaa (i.e. sacred reading or chanting). For that matter, any religious text is not meant for mere Paaraayanam. They all have been written for the purpose of practising. However, today there is no practice. We just study / read / chant these texts. We say, “Oh! From so many years we are doing Paaraayanam of the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita. We are regularly chanting the Vishnu Sahasranaama. But what is the use of doing all these Paaraayanas? All these Paaraayanaas are leaving us and running away! Why then should we undertake these Paaraayanaas? Take up at least one Paaraayanam (in the true spirit). Practice at least one teaching. That is enough. Why? Because, one spoonful of cow’s milk is enough, why barrels and barrels of donkey’s milk? A teaspoon of cow’s milk is useful. Therefore, put into practice.



A Short Quiz:

1. Where is the head office of the Lord and which are His branch offices?

2. What is the message Bhagawn conveys through the analogy of the flower, frog and the bee?

3. Referring to the current day practice of spirituality, wherein it has become a fashion to attend spiritual congregations and listen to spiritual discourses, Swami draws the analogy of food, taste and hunger. Explain this analogy.

4. After narrating the story of the devotee who attended the spiritual discourses of the Pundit for 16 long years, Bhagawan concludes saying “Yathaa Sthaanam, Yathaa Bhaavam, Thathaa Sthithi”. What is the message He is conveying here?

5. Bhagawan concludes, stressing once again on the importance of practising at least one teaching than listening to number of spiritual discourses? What is the analogy He uses to drive home this point.

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