The Vedic Wisdom (Part 1)
The entire cognition of the jiva has got an eternal relation to this Aprakrita Krishna. The natural bent of this cognition towards Krishna is called 'Bhakti' which in its fully ripened state is called Prema. This Prema is the summum bonum of all animated beings. Hence the Message of Sree Chaitanya or, as a matter of fact, of Sree Krishna Himself is not such as to be confined only to a sect of Bengal or India; neither it is such as to have no interest for the atheists, narrow sectarians, scientists, historians or modernists. Every entity of this universe has his eternal real self and his eternal inclination, wherein the necessity for the service of this emporium of all perfect rasas is found inherent. But enveloped as we are at present within the coarse and subtle tabernacles of the body and mind, we have been misguided to construe the "anartha" (that which is not 'shreya') to be our "artha" (necessary), and vice versa.
To remove our all pervading and contagious oblivion of the Absolute, to remove our dense ignorance by pouring into our ears the life giving-nectar of the Mahamantra in order to awaken us to the function of our real-self, Sree Chaitanya, the Divine Figure of Transcendental Love, appeared in this world four hundred forty-nine years ago at Sree Mayapur in the old town of Navadwip. Due to the pernicious effect of time, His Message and Teachings subsequently came to be perverted and distorted; and people began to show intense hatred towards the dubious morality, meanness and degraded culture of the so-called current Vaishnava religion taking it to be the facsimile of the real cult of Vaishnavism promulgated by Sree Chaitanya. The corruptions and debaucheries of the sects of 'Nera-naries' and 'Bauls', their hypocrisies, their immoral movements and other exhibitions of the type were misconstrued to be the doctrine of Sree Chaitanya. Professional singers, in imitation of the supremely devotional poets like Chandidas and Vidyapati, composing ribald songs about Radha-Krishna, gratified the sensuous cravings of worldly people. Formalities and rituals became the instruments to these people for earning their livelihood and the real Message of Sree Chaitanya concealed itself from the public view. At such a juncture, when the religious firmament was so much over-clouded with corruptions and ignorance. Thakur Bhakti Vinode, the Pioneer of the present age to bring down again into this world the current of unalloyed devotion as promulgated by Sree Chaitanya, appeared on the scene in a village of Bengal not very far from the birth-site of Sree Chaitanya. His principal motto was to establish true uniformity in the preaching and practice of the religion of love by eliminating all hypocrisies both in speech and performance. In order to elucidate the real cult of Sree Chaitanya, he wrote about a hundred treatises on the Vaishnava religion. He also renewed Sree Viswa Vaishnava Raj Sabha or the spiritual association of all pure devotees, a full development and re-organisation, of which has been brought about by His Divine Grace Sree Sreemad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, the president-Acharya of Sree Gaudiya Math and the present spiritual Head of the Sabha. For the disemination of the Message of Sree Chaitanya throughout the length and breadth of India and the West, the present Acharya has sent out trained missionaries in all directions and established over fifty centres of spiritual instruction. For the reestablishment of Daiva-Varnashrama-Dharma, circulation of Vaishnava literature, publication of theistic magazines in different languages, multiplication and revival of theistic institutions, constant culture of the Absolute, establishment of Maths to give opportunities to the people for associating with saints, organisation of theistic exhibition. etc., or to bring about the permanent good of all souls, has been the self imposed solemn duty of Sree Gaudiya Math under the guidance of the most revered President Acharya.
Some are of opinion that the material gifts of science are only meant for the enjoyment of men, which, when visualised in their true colours, are found to tend to jealousy and mortal warfare among nations, in the end. The so-called religious sects, due to their bitter worldly experience, throw the blame for the misfortune of humanity on the gifts of science and advise recourse to mental dissipations under the garb of renunciation. But the ways of the Acharya of Sree Gaudiya Math are quite different. He teaches how to utilize the gifts of science for propagating the saving Message of Sree Chaitanya. The radio, instead of being used as an object of luxury, is being utilised for broadcasting the Message of Sree Chaitanya throughout the length and breadth of the animate kingdom. The telephone, telegraph, aeroplane, bioscope and all other gifts of science can serve the permanent good of humanity if they offer to carry the Message of Sree Chaitanya under the direction of the Acharya. Then and then alone the scientific world and mechanical civilisation will be able to obtain the greatest all-embracing good; otherwise the dissemination of palpable or supressed enjoyments is sure to bring about the ruin of mankind, proving at the same time the alleged horrible futility of the gifts of science. Do not the last great European war and the futile proposals of the disarmament league as reactions thereof, fully testify to the truth of these statements?
The main-spring of the Message of Sree Chaitanya is the dissemination of the science of Transcendental Sound by means of the chant of the Name. Of all the discoveries made hither to in the domain of mechanical-civilisation, the radio stands foremost to declare the height of its glory and to pointedly show us the high excellence of the efficacy of sound. But the science of Transcendental Sound lying beyond the range of mundane medium is, indeed, the eternal novelty itself. If we want to have the songs from Krishna's Flute we will have to transcend the region of three dimensions and worship the 'Shabda-Brahma' or the living Transcendental Sound. He can, out of His Mercy come down from the Transcendental Region to the mundane medium without compromising in any way His real entity. Anybody catching the songs of Krishna's Flute can communicate and extend the same to the ears of mankind. If no non-conducting screen intervenes between the Message of Sree Chaitanya and our ears, it alone can really sweeten our whole life. The Science of this Transcendental Sound offers all bona fide universal peace, universal love, universal good and in one word, the highest goal of mankind. To be infused with the potentialities of this Transcendental Sound and thereby to be able to direct one's course of life towards the goal for the consummation of the summum bonum, is the Message of Sree Chaitanya in brief.
First Steps In God Realisation
(By O.B.L. Kapur, M.A.)
THE way to God-Realisation is supposed to be laid up with great barriers and insurmountable difficulties-high mountains, abysmal valleys, roaring cataracts and thundering storms. Not altogether unjustified are these fears ; for God-Realisation is not to be had merely for the asking and the doors to the kingdom of the Lord will not part at the mere repetition of some mystic words that opened to Alibaba the doors of the hidden treasure in the forest. But this difficulty is in no way peculiar to God-Realisation alone. The way to the attainment of any mundane object is likewise beset with innumerable hardships. The world, howsoever, transitory and shadowy in existence is not a dream-land in which the characters of the Arabian Nights perform their magic exploits and get what they desire without much effort or ado. If we want to achieve any mundane object, we have not only to desire but to will and act. Everything in the mundane world has got its price and we must pay the same before we may have it. The nobler the object we aspire to achieve the higher the price we must pay. We must put in the required effort and make the necessary sacrifice. To no worldly achievement does the way lie through a bed of roses. Everything is too dear for mere wish, and rightly has it been said that if wishes were horses even fools would ride. Every desire must excite efforts in order to achieve its end. Even for the sake of bread one must exert himself. The law of human life is, "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thy bread", and no man can evade this law with impunity.
In the spiritual world and in the matter of God-Realisation the above law finds its true application. Seek and you will find, strive and you will achieve, attempt and you will attain. Lethargy will ever result in failure and effort will invariably be crowned with success. These axioms of worldly wisdom should not be misapplied on the path of spiritual endeavour. In the mundane world nothing is supposed to be so easy and so cheap as a mere desire would bring and nothing so difficult or hard to achieve as an honest effort may fail to win. In the spiritual world the unconditional service of the Lord is to be had for the asking. It cannot be had unless it is given. But the disposition to ask for service and to wait on the pleasure of the Lord for the causeless gift of the same is all that is necessary.
God is nearer to us than our heart if we have a sincere hankering for His service but if we lack this sincerity He is farther to us than the farthest star in the heavens. Sincerity does not mean to cherish the desire of serving God as one among many mundane desires but the desire for complete self-surrender and single-minded devotion to the Lord with the sole desire of ministering to His Pleasure. "Burning like a steadfast star in the calm clear ether of the mind".
Human heart is a nest of desires for mundane enjoyment, but in the heart of everyman some particular desire reigns supreme desire for wealth, learning, lust or fame. One's life is moulded according to this dominant desire. A man desiring to amass wealth measures every single moment of his life and every single movement of his body in terms of pound, shilling and pence. He is always occupied with the thought of wealth and devising ways and means for its attainment. In the day he strives to fill his treasure chests; at night he dreams of gold mountains and diamond valleys; and the substance of his morning prayer is, "Lord grant me yet more wealth".
But the same money which a miser earns with such an enthusiasm and which he prizes even more than his life, a lustful squanders freely for gratifying the whims of his mistress. Not that the latter does not desire money but he desires it and hundred and one things besides, but what he desires most is the gratification of his lust. His mistress as the object of his lust is identified by him with his being and hence all his activities which he may be pleased to be either good or bad, great or small, are directed towards the unworthy object of his lust; she is imagined to be the be-all and end-all of his life in his state of temporary infatuation.
But in the heart of an earnest enquirer after Truth, a sincere devotee of God, the desire for ministering to the Pleasures of God reigns supreme. It is his summum bonum or the pivot on which the wheel of his life turns. Whatever he thinks, wills, or does, he does with this supreme end in view. The single hearted desire for attaining the Divine Feet of the Lord forms the pole star that guides him throughout his voyage across the ocean of life. His entire life is eager to consecrate itself to the service of His Lotus Feet. Even as a miser lives that he may hoard and hoard and grow richer every day, a lover lives that he may gain the favour of his sweet-heart and a scholar lives that he may learn yet more and more, the devotee lives that he may be nearer His Lord day by day.
Whoever entertains in his heart an earnest desire for the realisation of the service of God in the aforesaid manner, will find no obstacles in his way. The glow of the fire of his sincerity to obtain the Divine Feet of the Lord will destroy all difficulties that may from time to time seem to confront and confound him. The incessant flow of the infinite mercy of the Lord will wash away all the barriers that may come in his way, Indeed, there is nothing pertaining to the spiritual world or the mundane that may come between the All-Merciful Lord and the sincere seeker of His service. Provided one has the sincere hankering for serving God, the way to His Divine Feet is clear and smooth. But it is the sincerity that we utterly lack! We are at present only sincere in our pursuit of worldly objects, but sincerity for God-Realisation we have none! Our sincerity for the trifling objects of the world is shown by the way in which we weep, cry and go mad after them. How we knock our brains out to amass the trinkets of this world and how we shed our tears when we fail to get them! Our passion for lust, fame and wealth is infinite. If we had only an iota of desire for the service of the Divine Feet of the Lord, we would be surely blessed.
God-Realisation is thus primarily conditioned by hankering for His service that arises in the soul when he feels the utter worthlessness of all worldly aspirations. The real test of such sincerity is willingness to submit to the Feet of the Divine Master. The egoists and the empiricists puffed up with the idea of their self-sufficiency, are disinclined to admit the necessity of any spiritual agency on the path of God-Realisation. Against them the doors of the Kingdom of the Lord must remain closed forever. There is a big gulf between the phenomenal plane of the fallen souls and the Transcendental Realm of the Divine Lord, which cannot be bridged over without the aid of an agency of the Lord Himself. Such an agency of the Lord is ever present in the form of the Divine Master. He is always extending His Merciful Hand to the earnest and willing souls, and offering every opportunity to them to listen to His Transcendental Words, the rays of which entering every nook and corner of their hearts, dispel the gloom of ignorance clouding their vision, set them in the true path of God Realisation and lead them by the hand in the eternal activity of His service,
But the advocates of empiricism and the votaries of rationalism make a common cause against the position stated above and argue, "Why cannot the soul shift from the mundane plane to the spiritual, if it is credited with any individuality or freedom of will at all? If the soul has turned away from God of its own accord, why may it not of its own accord found a retreat from the world and go back to Him? If it can forge its own chains, why may it not break them as well?" Their arguments are based on a false assumption and they need to be enlightened on the point that the soul does not possess any power that it may call its own. All power is concentrated in the Lord Himself. He is the Fountainhead of all energy and all actions of the individual souls, as well as all transformations in nature, spring from Him. Not even a leaf can turn without His Will. The finite souls always depend upon His Mercy and their free will also is subservient to His. He being the only Master, the freedom of the finite souls is also permitted by Him. But they are, by their nature, only free to desire, wish, or aim at what they like to have, but they are not free to make anything serve their wishes. Unaided by the potency of the Lord, all their aims must remain unrealised and all their desires unfulfilled. It is a mistake, therefore, to think that the soul has the power either to attain God-Realisation or satisfy its desire of enjoying the objects of the mundane world without submitting to His Power. When the soul desires to turn away from God, feeling an attraction for the objects of the mundane sphere, it has to submit to the deluding or repelling Energy of God by which it is awarded a material body, equipped with the senses necessary to enjoy the mundane world. Similarly, when it wants to go back to God, it has to submit to His attracting or enlightening Potency which is manifested on the mundane plane in the form of the Spiritual Master. The finite soul must, in every case submit to the Power of the Infinite, because it has no power of its own. The conception of the Absolute as the Centre of all power, the Sole Monarch of the universe and the Immanent Regulator of the conduct of all finite souls, is essential to the maintenance of complete harmony. For, if each soul had its own power and was free to do what it chose, there would, in fact, be an infinite number of absolutes militating against each other in producing chaos instead of cosmos. The Monadism of Leibniz fails, because having once created an infinite number of monads of spirits each having its own power and free will, he finds it difficult to build a harmonious universe and is led to assume a "pre-established harmony", which he is not warranted by his premises to do.
In this way is established an ontological necessity of the intervention of the Divine Agency on the souls path of God-Realisation and an epistemological necessity of submission to the Feet of the Divine Master is entailed besides. The instruments of knowledge which a soul is equipped with in its fallen state are not capable of giving it the true enlightenment. Our senses and reasoning being themselves the products of the deluding Energy of the Lord, can only give us a perverted or distorted vision of everything to which they are applied. Even the so-called higher faculty of man, the 'higher understanding' or intuition to which some of the agnostic philosophers set much value, is nothing but a product of His deluding Energy. The highest praise that may be bestowed upon this faculty is that it may bring to light the non-manifest substratum of sense objects, which Locke calls 'substance' and which Kant terms as 'noumena' or 'the thing-in-itself' meaning thereby the objects as they are in their pristine purity uncontaminated by their contact with our sense organs. But any attempt on its part to penetrate into the spiritual realm which transcends both noumena and phenomena, would only bear out the common saying that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Any person, therefore, travelling on the path of God-Realisation with his entourage of the equipments of this world, will be denied entrance at the very threshold of the Realm of the absolute.
In our quest for God we forget that His Nature is essentially different from that of the mundane objects and hence, our method of approach towards Him must also be different. Mundane objects we can perceive and know and, therefore, in our quest for them we are less likely to be deceived if we approach them directly, although even in their case we have also to seek the help of others. We find it necessary to learn the art of pottery from an expert for progressive efficiency. In the case of God-Realisation we can have no knowledge whatever of His Divine Personality unless His Divine Agent is graciously pleased to impart the transcendental knowledge. So long as we do not receive the grace of the Divine Agent, we do not even put the first step on the path of God-Realisation. Therefore, the utter necessity of submission to the Feet of the Divine Agent must strike any person who sincerely hankers after God-Realisation.
Persons who are not willing to submit to the Divine Agent of the Lord, are not His willing devotees. They are not permitted to know, and as a matter of fact, are also not eager to know anything about His personality. Their idea of God is a concoction of their imagination suited to dovetail their desire for self-gratification. They would not submit to the Feet of the Divine Agent because it would mean bidding good-bye to their suicidal so-called interests of the mundane world, cutting asunder the ties of relationship with mundane things and turning a deaf ear to their inviting calls for self-gratification. It is, in fact, the necessity of submission to the Divine Agent with one's body, mind, and soul by the abandonment of the desire for mundane enjoyment that makes the path of God-Realisation appear to be free of thorns. This sort of feeling, however, is natural to all souls in their conditioned state, when everything appears to them in its perverted form - when sweet tastes bitter and bitter tastes sweet. But once they surrender themselves heart and soul to the Feet of the Divine Agent, He is pleased to sprinkle upon them a few drops of water from His vessel of mercy and they wake from their torpor to find that what appeared to them as throns on the path of God-Realisation, are only the choicest blessings of the All-Merciful Lord.
DEVOTION to the Supreme Godhead is 'Bhakti'. Show of devotion to humanity without reference to the Supreme Godhead is 'Altruism'. Altruism is the outcome of customary addiction to 'moral standards', or the old Grecian idea of attaining peace.
'Moral standards' have been devised for achieving the well-being of humanity. Humanity does not exist for serving 'moral standards'. It should not, therefore, be presupposed that whatever answers to 'moral standards' must also redound to the good of humanity. We should on the other hand examine the real worth and value of the so called 'moral standards with reference to our well-being.
Those who regard addiction to 'moral standards' as itself an end, base 'altruism' on the ideal of self-sacrifice for the good of others.
One would mount up to the scaffold on a charge of high treason towards the king and sacrifice his head in the name of the country. Another would welcome jail for having done some so-called patriotic act and sacrifice his liberty. A third would give his wealth for the supposed well-being of the people. A fourth again would put himself under a vow to starve himself to death for getting a wrong or supposed wrong redressed.
The logical culmination of a course of conduct actuated by the principle of self-sacrifice cannot but be complete self-annihilation. And such is the avowed aim of many altruists of this school e.g. the Buddhists, evidenced by their theory of Nirvana. One must go on sacrificing and sacrificing till he has sacrificed his very self in the cause of the good of others.
Will the people holding such a view of altruism be pleased to pause for a moment to think if they have been undergoing all the pains involved in their altruistic enterprises only to cause their own annihilation? In their code of life is there a place for considering as to whether a thing is desirable or undesirable in determining their course of action? If not, what is the rule by which they guide themselves? If there is, then do they really think that self-annihilation is a desirable end to attain to. If so, what is the process of reasoning by which they come to that conclusion? Will they further consider whether it is at all possible to attain to self-annihilation? If not, they may be led into unknown waters where they may begin to get drowned Like the man attempting to commit suicide but failing to do so they may only find themselves groaning under the pains of the injuries received in the attempt at annihilation rather than be really annihilated.
According to all scriptural evidence, behind the impermanent physical body and the ever changing subtle-body in which we have been encased, there is a principle called 'soul'. That soul is the real 'I'. The physical body is undoubtedly capable of being temporarily destroyed, element to element. But the subtle body can never unless the 'soul' takes shelter at the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Godhead. The soul has a free will. All the 'souls' who are roaming in this vast universe are prisoners. This universe is a prison. It has had countless sristis and pralayas. Subject to the rule of sristis and pralayas it is eternal. The imprisoned soul also, subject to the same ruin, is eternal. His imprisonment has its root in eternity and is a standing representation of his desire to domineer over and enjoy the material world. To constitute himself into a lord of the universe and enjoy it is not, however, his natural function. He has no genius for it. It is not at all cognate to him. Just as a man having no genius to become a mathematician attains only to trouble and labour in endeavouring to become one, and not to any mental acuteness in solving mathematical problems, in a similar way, the soul having no genius for enjoyment only attains to untold miseries and troubles in its pursuits, To put it more correctly, the soul is purely spiritual in nature, and the material existence not being cognate to the soul at all he cannot meddle with it directly.
He, however, finds an attractive associate or instrument in the subtle body (Man, Buddhi, and Ahankar) to enable him to fulfil his object. By itself the subtle body is incapable of functioning. It is 'jada', that is, without any power of initiative. But just as a piece of iron kept near fire attains to function of fire and can burn combustibles, similarly the subtle body attains to the cognitive, volitional and emotional functions by coming into contact with the 'soul'. The said three functions, really appertain to the 'soul'. As appertaining to the mind they are but perverted and partial reflections of their originals, namely, those obtaining in the soul. The subtle body, is, therefore, called 'chidabhas'. The soul takes on the subtle body to himself as his own agent to snatch pleasure out of the material world because the subtle body is cognate to the material body and can meddle with it. It can make the material senses run to the world outside and bring pleasing sensations out of the latter to itself.
The 'soul' himself has preferred to sleep and delegate his own powers to the subtle body, by means of which the latter acts as the 'proxy' of the former. His sleep is a kind of foolish submission to the alurements of the Deluding Energy (Maya) in the form of his completely identifying himself with the subtle body, and through the subtle body with the physical body to the forgetfulness of his own real interest. A sort of pleasure and pain which he believes he is attaining to are really experienced by his material encasements. A man dreams that his little baby has fallen into a well and attains to all the anxieties and pains which such an event can give birth to. But the moment he awakens all the said anxieties and pains disappear. Similarly as soon as the soul awakens to his real nature, the pleasure and pains, which under the influence of the Deluding Energy he has been believing to be attaining to, disappear.
The subtle body may thus be the eternal associate of the soul and not leave him unless he awakens to his real existence. And even when the subtle body does leave him, he exists. He, therefore, is the real entity. The subtle and physical bodies are merely added to him extrinsically. He is never annihilated. Strictly speaking even the subtle and physical bodies are not annihilated. All that happens is that the soul along with his encasement of the subtle body leaves one physical body and take on another, and when the soul awakens to his real nature he shakes off the thraldom of the subtle body also, and of the physical body along with it. The idea, therefore, of the annihilation of the self is merely phantasmagorial. The sooner the annihilationists bring their mind to bear upon the problem offered by the above disputation, the better. I sincerely hope that the honest amongst them will not shirk to do so. As regards those, however, who merely want to use annihilationism as a cloak for their self-complaisance or even for their desire to gratify the material senses, I have nothing to say. If somewhere in the remote corner of the annihilationist's heart is hidden the idea of gaining power, position, popularity, comfort, popular applause, or pleasing sensations behind his altruistic enterprises of which, or of the harmfulness of which he is not conscious, he should be forewarned that his said enterprises are as much productive of the con-commitant results of one's involvement in the whirling of Maya as any other enterprise.
Now let us come to that school of 'altruists', whose predilections for altruism are based on the old Grecian idea of attaining peace. The true mission of life of the altruists of their school is to live peacefully with pleasing sensations. They seek virtue and lead a pious life so that they may get peace. They want the peace of themselves and of those others whose help they require in achieving their own peace. There is no doubt that they also deny emphatically any reference to selfishness in their acts in the sense of wanting to satisfy the demand of lower nature. But their selfishness is only a means to attain peace and pleasing sensations.
The great advantage of the altruist of the school is that the ideal which they profess suits the convenience of the worldly-minded people. I can have no objection to your being an altruist because you thereby only make it easier for me to gain the advantage of your services. Now in the midst of such an attractive advantage it is very difficult for the generality of the people to persuade themselves to exercise their thought over the real worth of altruism with reference to realities. It is not contended that the altruist gets no benefit out of his transactions. But what he gets is not 'peace'. It is but a dim reflection of 'peace'. He calls it 'peace' because he has had no taste of the real 'peace'-the 'Shanta rasa'. It is really a kind of pleasing sensation only. You may call it 'happiness'. But this 'happiness' is short-lived and of a very inferior type. In face what we call 'happiness' is only another name of diminution of sorrow. The characteristic feature of human existence is 'want'. We are liable to hunger which we must satisfy. We are affected by heat and cold against which we must protect ourselves. We suffer from all kinds of painful diseases which must be mitigated. Our penurious 'indriyas' are always crying for more and more things for their enjoyment which must be supplied. So the normal state of every one of us is subjection to 'want'. The non-fulfilment of these wants is sorrow. To the extent to which any one of our numerous wants is fulfilled to that extent our affliction is diminished. In our present conditioned existence it is an exceedingly difficult task to attain to an extirpation of these wants, far more, - nay, impossible, -to their fulfilment. Where we find that the tendency to ponder to the demand of the lower nature is diminished and that towards doing virtuous deeds is increased, we should know that there is a preponderance of one of the three states (Gunas) of Nature namely, that of the manifestive state (Sattwa Guna). But the tendency of the three states of Nature, the manifestive (Sattwic), the active (Rajasic) and the inert (Tamasic), is that each of them predominates over the other in alternation. It is impossible to pitch oneself up in one of the said three states permanently. For one who has forgotten that his existence is eternal and transcendental and not limited to the function of mortal coils which he has adventitiously put on it may be enough consolation to derive happiness from the preponderance of the manifestive state reflected in, amongst others, his altruistic activities. But in reality one would be better advised not to seek for his summum bonum on the planes of mental and physical existences. There is no use chopping off the branches and leave the roots to thrive and shoot forth new branches. Our miseries and troubles should be sought and managed to be rooted out from the bottom.
There is an attraction in doing great things. That attraction itself owes its origin in to 'avidya'. The ideas of 'great' and 'small' of the world of relative reference are nourished by the false ego, 'ahankar', which has to be got rid of for achieving peace. This attraction for doing 'great deeds' is a real obstacle in our path of eternal good.
Our stock is small. We have not sufficient supply for properly engaging ourselves to the purpose of the so-called good of others. An account of our relative references will give us to know that our attempts will be a failure if we proceed to redress the grievances of the dislocated infinitesimals. Our engagements with parts lead us to trouble with others. There are many people who are engaged in doing good to humanity according to their own light. But not all people are satisfied with them. While they please some they are constantly coming into troubles with others.
But though we are obliged to cut out coat according to our cloth we need not be afraid of our imperfections. When we incorporate ourselves with the Infinity, no shortcoming would trouble us.
So let us serve the 'Achyuta' and all other items will have the fullest satisfaction. When the root is watered the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the flowers and the fruits all receive their proper nourishment. Let us make it the sole concern of our life to furnish the Fountainhead with the materials. The very Emporium of everything will distribute from His stock to others. Let us remember that unless we have surrendered all our tendencies and affections at the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Godhead, unless we have yoked all our senses to the service of the Supreme Godhead, unless we have abandoned our reliance on everything else and thrown ourselves entirely on the Mercy of the Supreme Godhead, we cannot possibly have any chance of rescuing ourselves from the troubled waters of the material existence and gain everlasting peace, if that only is our end. In Srimad Bhagawat Gita Sri Krishna said to Arjun,
This triple textured Maya of the Supreme Godhead is very difficult to transcend. He alone can transcend it who takes shelter under the Lotus Feet of the Supreme Godhead.
The constituents and the functions of the soul are spiritual. The plane on which the soul functions is spiritual. 'Peace' in its real sense is cognate to the soul. Peace of the mind is only a phase of the deluding energy 'Maya'. Let us not waste the invaluable human life which the Supreme Godhead has bestowed upon us in the pursuit of chimerical ideals. Let us know that there is something to substitute for the vain enterprises of securing to the mental, moral and physical upliftments of ourselves and of others to the detriment of the interests of our own soul and of the souls of others.
ON the south bank of the sacred river Kaveri is situated Nichulapuri (modern Uraiyur). In the days of yore it was a very prosperous city. It was ramparted on all sides and was filled with palace-like houses.
St. Tiruppani Alvar was born in this city in 100 B.C. in the month of Kartic with Rohini asterism. He was an incarnation of Srivatsa mark on the breast of Sri Vishnu but appeared in the society of pariahs or chandals. In respect to the saints, divine wisdom and spiritual illumination are taken cognisance in place of social status. Our saint, though low in social order, was greater than those who are highest in society i.e the brahmanas. At the outskirts of the town he was discovered in a field by a man of lower class as if the child was heaven-dropped. The man had no son. He took up the god sent boon and took to his wife. Both husband and wife were extremely glad to have the divine child and their long-cherished desire was fulfilled. With great care and affection they brought up the child never allowing the abomination of their class to defile the body's atmosphere both physical and mental. It was fed with nothing but cow's milk.
Being a heaven-born child, all its instincts and tendencies were heaven-ward. The child grew into a boy and the boy into a man. From the very beginning the boy showed no taste for the glamour of the world. He had no taste for worldly occupation. His only avocation was to play on a lyre and sing for the glorification of Godhead. With the growth of age he realised his status in the society. He respected the settled laws of the land. He knew that reform consisted not in defying and infringing the conventions and usages enjoined by shastras, but in respecting them and exemplifying their spiritual sense by exemplary moral conduct. He thought that his birth in a low status was about temporary body, but by the grace of the Supreme Lord his soul might be enlightened. Thus the saint deeply fastened his thought on Sri Ranga Nath and taking up his sweet lyre played thrilling notes of His praise from its strings.
Tiruppani's attachment for Sri Ranga Nath grew more and more intense and at times he lost himself in ineffable joy for hours together. He would close his eyes and become utterly senseless and oblivious to the external world. One day while he was in such a state of trance, Muni, a priest of Sri Ranga Nath, came to the river Kaveri to draw water for the ablution of Sri Ranga Nath, He found Tiruppani in a lifeless state by the road-side. He called him and asked him to stay at a distance, being a chandal. Our saint did not hear the priest as he had lost his senses for the time being. This infuriated the priest and he took a pebble and threw it to the saint. It hurt him on the face, drops of blood trickled down. He came to his senses, opened his eyes slowly and seeing the brahmin at a distance, realised the situation in a moment. He made way in grief and repentance considering that he was hindrance to the service of his Lord and prayed for mercy. Tiruppani remained at a respectful distance. The priest went to the stream, performed his daily duties and took the holy water in pitchers with due ceremony and reached the temple gate. On arrival he found the gate closed from inside. He called for the other priests, but nobody responded. His heart sank and he began to muse in anguish praying with folded hands for mercy of the Lord. A long while after he heard a voice from within the temple, 'How you dare to hurt me by flinging stone to my faithful Tiruppani considering him to be of low origin while he was deeply immersed in chanting the holy name. From this time your service is suspended". Muni was in deep sorrow. He knew not how to atone and pacify the Lord. With great humility he begged the mercy of the Lord. He was broken with remorse. Finding him penitent, a similar voice came from within saying, 'Do not think Tiruppani low. He is my confidential servant. If you lift him on your shoulder and circumambulate the temple, the temple gate will open, otherwise not. Let it be obeyed." The priest found himself relieved and ran with delight to the Kaveri. He approached Tiruppani and falling at his feet, asked for his forgiveness for injuries both physical and mental which he had unwittingly, indeed, inflicted on his sacred person, and submitted to him humbly the wish of the Lord. Hearing these he drew back, but the importunities of the priest made him submit to the will of God.
Muni took him on his shoulders and conveyed him to the temple amidst acclamations and applauses, and carried him round the temple to the pleasure of the Lord. The gate was now flung open and all present fell prostrate at the feet of Sri Ranga Nath and sang the praise of the Lord. From that time onward Tiruppani Alvar was named Munibahan or Yogibara.
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