There are two maxims to be adopted in life: (1) Correct use of self dependence. (2) To keep away from dependence. You have freedom to speak, whether sweet, bitter, truth or a lie. Speaking sweet is good and bitter is bad use. You also have freedom of thought. You can think about sense-enjoyments, about friends and foes and you can also think about the Atman and Brahman too. You have physical strength. You can misuse it for harassing others and you can also use it for the well-being of others, for the happiness of others ‘बहुजनहिताय-बहुजनसुख य’, or for self-defence. You are free to use your physical strength, faculty of speech and abilities that you have earned, in doing good to others, in meditation and in attaining Knowledge; and you can also spend them in sinful acts driven by hatred and envy towards others. If you refrain from misusing your faculties, good use will follow, or if you make only good use of them, misuse will be avoided. No one likes being dependent, we are always seeking freedom, yet all sense-pleasures entail dependence. For sensual pleasure, you depend upon your spouse. Similarly for all other sense-pleasures, you depend upon objects of sense pleasure. The dependent pleasures impair physical strength, intelligence, radiance, health and merits. The independent pleasures promote physical strength, intelligence, radiance and health. Self-Bliss is independent. You don’t have to be subservient to your wife or son for Self-Bliss and you don’t have to depend on your father either. You can avail of Self-Bliss, meditate on your Real Self, and love your Real Self without any dependence on anybody or anything. For bodily love however, you need another body, and that body or your own body is vulnerable to disease and certain to die. Then there is the possibility of altercations and conflicts and you have to depart at the time of death. The joy from physical relationships is dependent. Do not opt for dependence. You will get rid of the allurement of dependent joy when you enter the realm of independent joy. Some scholars hold the view that God has made the senses extroverted; therefore they are naturally attracted to external phenomena. But the experience of saints says that the senses are neither extroverted nor introverted. If you move towards freedom and want to become introvert, the senses turn inward; and if you want to be dependent on others seeking dependent pleasures, the senses become extrovert. You seek pleasure in eating, seeing or touching some thing… there is nothing wrong with eating, seeing, etc. do so but only for sustenance, just like medicine, it should only be resorted to get rid of an undesirable condition. You have freedom to eat, but don’t make your stomach a storehouse. Similarly you have freedom to see; but use it for seeing worthwhile things and not obscenity and vulgarity. If you have the freedom to think do not nurture thoughts that will make you dependent on others. You are endowed with the sense of smell. It is up to you whether you smell scents and get aroused or you inhale the fragrance of flowers and incense offered to the Lord. The Lord says ‘I am the pure odour (the subtle principle of odour) in the earth…’पुण्यो गन्धःपृथिव्यां च... (The Gita 7.9) Make good use, not bad use of your relations. Good use of marital relationship is to encourage each other to spirituality, to nurture each other by observing brahmacharya and living a life of self-restraint and to beget lustrous children. Excessive sexual indulgence for the sake of carnal pleasure while preventing pregnancy by adopting various means is bad use of the relationship. It is also harmful to health. Whether you put your possessions and your wealth to good use or bad use, you are free to decide. If you opt for Self-Bliss that is not dependent on anything or anybody, you will become free and independent in other matters too. And if you hanker after sense-pleasures and carnal pleasures which are dependent on others, you will become dependent in other matters as well. Please become free and independent. Your powers and the wealth which you have gained will increase and enhance all the more if you make good use of them. And if they are misused, they will bring misery. To misuse is to sow the seeds of misery. How simple and how easy! But the habit of improper use is very old. It makes the good use look difficult and therefore sadhana is required for that. If you make good use of the freedom you have gained, you will become liberated and great. You will get the power to trample death. The shackles of birth and death will be broken forever and you will attain realization of the Supreme Self.
The practice of Japa generates a divine aura, divine bliss and sattvic vibes in the environment which eradicate the thought-pollution prevalent in the atmosphere today. Japa of the divine name creates a divine armour which protects the japaka from negative elements and helps the person progress on the path of spiritual and material development. Once you get a mantra from the Guru, half of your sadhana is completed by the power of diksha and if you do not repeat your past sins and bad habits, you are absolved of those sins and you become free from vices. As your japa increases, your sins will be gradually eradicated. However, more anushthanas1 are required in the case of a great sin. There was a great scholar named Vidyaranya Swami in the order of Lord Adi Shankaracharya. He was initiated with the Guru mantra and was told to perform an anushthana by his Guru. The Ishtamantra is perfected by doing 1,11,110 number of japas if it is a mono-syllabilic mantra. In case of mantras which have more than one syllable in them, the japa should be performed for as many times as the number of syllables in the mantra multiplied by 1,11,110. By performing an anushthana, one gets protection from negativity and the inauspicious, and the presiding deity of the mantra is revealed. Vidyaranya Swami performed many anushthanas but saw that his presiding deity, divine Mother Bhagwati, had not yet revealed herself. No miracle of any sort had happened. “All this is humbug. I should not have got entangled in this”, he thought, and collected some wood at the solitary place where he had built a hutment for himself. He lit a fire and offered all the religious books, articles of worship, rosary, gomukhi etc. to the fire-god. As everything was being engulfed by the fire, a divine lady with a magnetic aura around her manifested herself and said to Vidyaranya Swami, “What are you doing?” He replied: “Mother! All this japa is nothing but humbug. I have performed several anushthanas and found that mantra japa is useless. Now I will spread the information among people that they should not waste their time by becoming religious. Let them earn, eat, enjoy and make merry. I will spread atheism. There is no God. All this talk about mantras is useless.” The goddess said, “Well! You may do whatever you like but at least turn around and look.” Vidyaranya Swami saw that just like the fire which was burning before him, there was a conflagration behind him and huge boulders of the size of mountains were falling from above into it and were being blasted to pieces. One after another, several such boulders were being destroyed in the fire with a deadly sound. Dumbfounded, he thought, “What is this that I am seeing? The lady who spoke to me must be aware of the mystery behind this.” He turned around but the lady had disappeared! Where did she go? He wandered in the woods calling out to the goddess, “O Mother! O goddess!! O Mother of the world!!! Be gracious. You revealed yourself and have now disappeared. I don’t know who you really are. Please guide me.” A heavenly voice was heard, “You have abandoned dharma, japa and the refuge of the Guru’s command. You are now an orphan. Go and wander according to the whims of your mind. There are many such orphans who wander, and after death they flow into the drain when they don’t get a mother’s womb to be reborn in. You too may go and do as you please. Will the sun become extinct by your saying that it does not exist? Will God perish by your propagating atheism?” “Mother! I saw huge boulders being destroyed in the fire. What does that mean?” The goddess replied, “The great sins of your past lives have been destroyed one by one by anushthanas.” “Mother! Kindly guide me.” The goddess said, “You have shown disregard to the mantra given by the Guru. Worship and pray to the Guru to forgive you. If you once again perform an anushthana, considering your Guru’s touch, the mantra and the rosary given by Him as the supreme means for your good, you will experience the efficacy of the japa and gain supernatural powers.” Vidyaranya Swami fell at his Guru’s feet, cried and narrated the whole incident to Him. The compassionate Guru again gave him a rosary and the required scriptures, etc. and said, “You will now become successful by performing a single anushthana.” He did as he was told and became such a great siddha (enlightened master) that he composed a scripture, which helped me (Pujya Bapuji) attain Self-realization. Lord Krishna’s Gita blessed Arjuna with a divine intellect capable of comprehending the Real Essence (Tattva). Similarly, the Guru’s mantra destroyed the dangerous darkness caused by his mahapatakas committed by Vidyaranya Swami in his past lives to bless him with a divine intellect capable of realizing the Ultimate Truth. He composed the famous scripture ‘Panchdashi.’ The sadhaks of Vedanta and all the saints and devotees who follow the path of Wisdom are acquainted with this scripture. So, it is not that if you do japa, you will get the result instantly. Japa first purifies the body, the mind and our past karma. Only after that past debt is cleared, will something be deposited in your account. When does one accumulate a bank balance? One may say, “I have been depositing 200-500-1,000 rupees with the bank everyday, but the balance in my account has not yet touched one lakh rupees!” Foolish person! You already owe three and a half lakh rupees to the bank and you still have to deposit 25 thousand rupees to clear that loan. How can you have a bank balance? Only after the debt is cleared will something be deposited in your account. On the same lines, japa creates an energy which destroys sins. The accumulated sins of the past are destroyed and one’s merits increase. Therefore, one should do japa continuously.
The insistence on having things our way is the root cause of all strife and disharmony. Give up the insistence that whatever you say must be followed. For happiness and harmony in family life one should respect the elders and cultivate a habit of yielding to the demands of the younger ones. King Yudhishthira, before proposing anything, used to listen to his younger brothers first. He used to say, ‘This seems to me to be the right thing to do though what you say is correct too.’ Then all of his brothers would say, ‘No. What you say is better.’ He would not try to impose his opinion on account of being elder. In a family, when people are motivated by egotism, desires and selfishness, the atmosphere in the home becomes hellish. And when decisions are taken after giving due consideration to the well-being and interest of the entire family, the atmosphere in the family becomes heavenly. Happy are the ones who give up their ego. ‘My son doesn’t listen to me; and so is my daughter-in-law; both are lacking in virtues. His sister-in-law is shameless…..’ The sister-in-law is most likely having a good time. Why do you look sullen criticizing her? Why don’t you leave her alone? When a person is criticizing another, his mind is full of negative thoughts. The negative thinking spoils his looks and also mind; and there is increase in the secretion of neuropeptides and other harmful liquids in his body which in turn increases the level of oxidized LDL. Oxidized LDL is a constituent ofCholesterol and it causes many diseases. At the root of every human being, irrespective of his nature, the same Supreme Self is present. There is calm water in the depth of an ocean. On the surface there are a variety of turbulent waves, bubbles, whirlpools and surf etc. People say, ‘Everything is fine in all respects in my family, but my son is like this and that…,’ It is good if it is so. If the son is obedient and caring to the mother, she will develop deeper attachment to him and the same goes for the daughter in law. One should thank God that His grace has lessened the attachment. If things are going your way, if you are comfortable, thank God for His kindness. And if something is not going your way, if you have troubles, thank God for reducing attachment. So, you are benefited both ways! There is no need to worry or make complaints. If members of the family are nice to you, it is good, for you can devote more time to devotional practices and if they create problems, it is good, for it reduces attachment, sense of mine-ness and needless bother. There was a family of 65 members living together and there were no conflicts in it. Swami Akhandananda asked the head of that family, “There are so many members living together; still there is no strife in the family. What is the reason?” He said, “We have cultivated good traits in all members that the younger ones should respect the elders. If the elder one comes, the younger one is supposed to stand up, as a mark of respect; and receive blessings and good wishes from the elders. The younger brother’s wife should respect the elder brother’s wife; and in turn, if the younger brother’s wife commits some mistake then the elder brother’s wife should teach her with love and affection. All these traits have been cultivated through the Satsang of our Sadguru. So the younger ones do not feel humbled to respect elders and the elders do not feel proud of being respected.” He added, “I eat after all 64 members have eaten. Everybody obeys me but I don’t expect or demand that they must obey me. I hear suggestions from all members before expressing my view for the good of all.” Like King Yudhishthira used to listen to Arjuna, Bhima and other two brothers and then support the conclusion that was in conformity to scriptural ordinance. He would not let anyone feel small. He would say, ‘Your idea is good but what do you think about this idea?’ And all four brothers would say, “Yes! That’s better. You are right.”
How is this world? First see what is your bhava, your emotional disposition? The world appears to you according to your bhava. If your nature is divine you will perceive goodness and virtues. With demoniacal nature, you will be inclined to find faults and vices in others. A photograph appears according to the angle from which it has been taken. There is no joy or sorrow, mine or others’ in this world. How the world appears depends on whether you look at it through the angle of attachment, aversion or equanimity. Whatever way you behave in the world do not think it to be real. Otherwise it will make you disturbed and give rise to demoniacal tendencies, grief and sorrow. If your actions happen for the good of others, then don’t be boastful about it. This is an ever-changing transient world, dualistic in appearance. There is either joy or sorrow. Open the third eye beyond these two, that of Knowledge. To develop the vision of Knowledge – to get entangled in neither joy nor sorrow is the summit of spirituality. ‘Neither joy is good, nor is sorrow. Bless me with Your vision, that alone is the best.’ O Lord! Bless me with Your Consciousness, Your Truth, Your Bliss. Constantly placing one foot after the other, on the path and the stairs, we ultimately reach the temple. In the same way, trampling under your feet (the pairs of opposites like) joy and sorrow, profit and loss and life and death, attain the knowledge of the Giver of Life. Attain repose in Him. Attain His love. Pujya Bapuji asks the listeners – “Those who did not attend the satsang yesterday, please raise their hands.” (Some people raise their hands). Pujya Bapuji says, “Alright. Those who have not come today, may raise their hands.” (No one raises). Pujya Bapuji continues… How did this occur to you? It is through knowledge. What is the source of this knowledge? There is sense based knowledge. Beyond that is the mental knowledge and beyond the later is the intellectual knowledge. But from where do the senses, mind and intellect receive ‘knowledge’? It is from the ‘I’. That is, the consciousness from which the ‘I’ arises. All love ‘I’. All crave for the joy that emanates from the source, the ‘I’, the consciousness. Isn’t it? Will you believe if someone says to you - “I do exist but you do not exist.” You will reply – “No, even I exist. If I do not exist then how can you exist? I exist and so you are visible to me.” ‘I’ is self-satisfied. Everyone refers to himself saying -Their forms are different. Their minds are different. However, the Existence of everybody’s ‘I’ is the same. Seek repose in that One, ‘I’. In deep slumber you enter into this ‘I’. Isn’t it? You will attain the highest goal when you realize this Absolute Knowledge to be your own ‘I’. You will attain your divine nature. Thereafter, those who even listen to you will be blessed. ‘A single Ghadi (24 minutes) or even half, nay be it halved again, spent in the company of a saint, frees us from sins innumerable, says Tulsidas. Says Kabir, when shall I meet the saint, the lover of the Supreme Lord, who takes away our sorrows, gives happiness to us, and destroys our sins?’