Sunday, October 14, 2012

Root Of Miseries

(The following is based on part of a discourse by Guru Maharaj on the eve of the Gwalior Bhandara. This is reproduced in Amulaya Niddhi, Vol. III, Chapter 22). In this discourse, Guru Maharaj briefly traces the history of Scriptures leading to four basic questions. In the words of The Buddha, these questions (which He termed as the Four Noble Truths) are as follows:

I.              The Noble Truth about Suffering
II.           The Noble Truth about the Cause of Suffering
III.         The Noble Truth about the Cessation of Suffering
IV.        The Noble Truth about the Path that leads to the Cessation of Suffering

Every Scripture has tried to answer those questions. Guru Maharaj takes us on a journey (a thought experiment) to answer and help us understand these truths. Let us join Guru Maharaj on this journey.

As we leave Mathura with Guru Maharaj, we cross Agra; clouds start appearing on the horizon. Soon it is drizzling, followed by a storm. Fields become flooded. Those drizzles, composed of small droplets, come together to break the boundaries of the fields. These small droplets become flood water and rush forth, breaking all barriers to the river Chambal. Chambal merges into the Yamuna river near the town of Ettawa, which merges into the Ganges near Allahabad. The Ganges merges into the sea to lose its ferocity, frenzy, and restiveness. By reaching its objective, the source, the origin, the river rests in peace.

In the second phase of the journey, Guru Maharaj takes us through what in the Meteorological world is known as The Water Cycle.

Water in oceans and seas is heated by the sun. It evaporates as vapor into the atmosphere. Rising air currents take the vapor up into the atmosphere where cooler temperatures cause it to condense into clouds. Air currents move water vapor around the globe; cloud particles collide, grow, and fall out of the upper atmospheric layers as rain. Droplets become separated from its source, the ocean. But the intense desire to unite with the origin continues as runoff enters rivers, moving towards the ocean. Over time, the water (droplet) returns to the ocean, the origin, completing The Water Cycle.

The Atman enshrined in our bodies is similar to the droplets separated from its origin. However, the droplets always remember their source, the ocean, whereas we have forgotten our origin, the Brahman. This is the reason that no matter what one does, the soul is always in a state of restiveness. As long as it does not unite with the source, the soul’s miseries won’t end. That’s why the scriptures tell us to go from where our fall occurred. If the air is cooler and more soothing towards the Himalayas, then proceed in that direction. However, we don’t always move in the right destination. We are travelling, but not in the right direction. To move towards the right destination, we have to change our mindset. However, when an aspirant tries to do this alone, he runs into huge obstacles.

We and He, the Atman and the Brahman are separated by a huge lake. This lake is called the ocean of Maya. To reach Him, to get to the origin, there is no other way than to cross this ocean of Maya. If we move in His direction by enduring torments, then all our miseries will be over. There will always be a few, like sinking worms, who enjoy where they are; most would like to be free of misery.

The art of swimming is required to cross this ocean. During the rainy season, there is a marathon for swimmers. Swimmers jump into the Yamuna under the watchful eyes of their coaches. A few of them begin to drown. However, when their coach sees them drowning, he pushes them across the river.

In spiritual world the one who teaches the art of swimming the ocean of Maya is known as the Guru. After teaching the art of swimming, the Guru lets the aspirant go and swim. But, when the Guru sees the aspirant drowning, he pushes the aspirant across the ocean, provided the aspirant does not let the Guru out of his sight. God is on the other side of this ocean of Maya. The only way of getting to Him is to learn the art of swimming from someone and get his help. Simply talking and discussing won’t get us anywhere in this journey. Do not let Guru Maharaj out of sight. He is with us and He will push us to the other end of the ocean: the origin, the source, the ultimate resting place. Our Sadhana represented by the art of swimming, combined with the guidance of Guru Maharaj—our “swimming coach”—shows us how to reach the opposite shore and rid ourselves of all miseries.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Message and Messenger

Guru Maharaj wrote a biography of Dada Guru. It is comparatively a small book in size, containing only 80 pages. Out of those 80 pages, only 19 discuss Dada Guru’s life events, while the remaining 61 deal with his messages. A question was asked - though this is a biography, why has more space been allotted to the teachings rather than to the life events of the teacher? Traditionally, most biographies go into detail about the messenger, briefly touching upon the message. A distance or separation is always maintained between the two. In this book, the biography of Dada Guru, that separation has been eliminated; duality is nowhere to be found. It becomes impossible to distinguish between the message and messenger. The message merges into the messenger, or the messenger merges into the message, or the merger never takes place, as the unity of the message and the messenger has existed all along. An absence of duality between the teaching and the teacher is affirmed. Perhaps, the same is being identified by two different names. The message and messenger are inseparable. 

Param Bhagwat Pundit Ji wrote Guru Maharaj’s biography and called it Philosophy of Life.  In this biography of Guru Maharaj, we see the same thread as in the biography of Dada Guru. The message and messenger are so intertwined that one cannot be differentiated from the other. Life events turn out to be teachings. In turn, the teaching becomes life events denying the possibility that one can exist without the other. To emphasize, one cannot exist without the other. They become identical. Message and messenger, teachings and teacher, lose their identities to become one.  

Someone visiting Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa asked him what would be a good commentary to read on the Gita. Paramahansa answered, “Sri Krishna.” The visitor was astonished by the answer. Perhaps, the visitor was looking for Sri Ramakrishna to select a commentary on the Gita by the great commentators like Sri Sankracharya or Sri Ramanujacharya among others. Everyone knows the Gita to be Sri Krishna’s message to the world – the great teacher’s teaching to mankind. No one had ever heard of the Lord also commenting on the Gita. Paramahansa looked at the surprise on the face of the visitor and explained that to understand the Gita, one must look at the life of Sri Krishna. He is the commentary on the Gita; He is the walking Gita; He is the message and the messenger; He is the teacher and the teaching. He reflects the Gita, and the Gita is a reflection of Sri Krishna. You will never understand either if you keep one separated from the other. Message and messenger cannot be separated.  

It becomes obvious through the writings of Guru Maharaj and Param Bhagawat, as well as Paramahansa’s assertion, that the message and the messenger cannot be separated. If we just look at the message, it is an abstraction. For an ordinary mind to comprehend the message, it needs a human face, a messenger.

Guru Maharaj said - सेवा और प्रेम ही धर्म है –Dharma is composed of only Love and Service. This is the most precise description of dharma. In this authoritative characterization, Guru Maharaj has compressed all scriptures. We are all aware of the Upanishadic question “What is ‘that’ which being known, everything else becomes known?”  If we rephrase the question “What is ‘that’ which being known, religion becomes known in its totality?”  Yuga Purusha Sri Hemendra Kumar Ji who has assimilated Love and Service, knew ‘that’ in its totality. Most of us are fortunate enough to have seen the Yuga Purusha in whose person Love and Service thrived. He did not only know dharma in its totality, He became the definition of dharma. Dharma reflected through him. Selfless Service needed a spokesman, a human face. Actually, it needed more than that; it needed to manifest itself. And, it succeeded in finding the Yuga Purusha Sri Hemendra Kumar Ji. Selfless Service was defined by every act of the Yuga Purusha. Each act of the Yuga Purusha was, as if it were, manifestation of Selfless Service. In the Yuga Purusha, we see the same magnificent identification of message and messenger which Guru Maharaj described for Dada Guru, and Param Bhagawat Pundit Ji depicted for Guru Maharaj. We are lucky indeed to have seen the Yuga Purusha, Manjhale Bhaiya. He left us on February 18th of 2010. No, I am contradicting myself. He has not gone anywhere. We just don’t see him with our naked eyes. He is showering us with his unbounded love. दिल के आइनें में है तस्वीर यार की, जब जरा गर्दन झुकाई देख ली.