~ Satsang by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati on August 20, 2021 at Ganga Darshan Ashram, India
Welcome to Sanyasa Peeth Paduka Darshan, the event of Chaturmasa and the program of Krishna Aradhana. And a big ‘Jai Ho’ and ‘Hari Om’ to all of you.
It is my Anushtana that I perform every year in (the) form of Chaturmasa. And there are two aspects of it, one is personal and private, and the other one is to share with the people the residents and the citizens of the town, the country, and the nation.
During Chaturmasa different activities are conducted and guided at Sanyasa Peeth Paduka Darshan. One of the activities is the yoga flow, and in this yogic flow we learn the practices and the principles of the yogic tradition, the yogic science, the yogic culture and the yogic lifestyle; along with the practices of asanas, pranayamas, relaxation, and meditation. And this is to acquire fitness and health which is physical; which is psychological; and which is spiritual. Along with this current of yoga, another current flows as well, and that is of jnana. Jnana means knowledge: Cultivate the correct understanding. And in this tradition, there are studies of Upanishads, Gitas, Vedas, Sutras, and Vedantas by the eminent personalities and sannyasins who are masters on these subjects. (The) third current, is that of Karma through Seva and through Dhan; through correct and positive interaction with people all around with the intention to uplift their life, the intention to bring health, peace, and beauty in their life. Different activities are undertaken. The next current is that of Bhakti. And, in the current of Bhakti there are the chanting of mantras, kirtans, bhajans, namasmarana, japa, different invocations, different aradhanas, and upasanas which bring one closer to inner purity and inner wholeness. There are cultural programs to introduce people to the different spiritual traditions and the folk traditions of the country. And in this manner, two months pass very fast. Due to the pandemic, the Chaturmasa Anushtana is a private affair this year. And in this Anushtana we are performing Krishna Aradhana and you are participating in this Krishna Aradhana. This is not a religious function, but an awareness to cultivate purity and wholeness in life, the determination to cultivate love in life. And Krishna represents love. The definition of bhakti is also love. And the definition of bhakti is also service. Bhaja sevayam indicates ‘express your love; express your devotion through service.'
Parama prema rupa means bhakti is the ultimate form of transcendental love. And these are two things that we need to understand in order to grasp the subject of bhakti. People define bhakti as devotion to God. That is one path. People define bhakti as ritual; karmakāṇḍa- Going to temples, worshipping that is another path. People chant kirtans, the name of God. That is another path. And all these different paths represent different traditions, and customs, and aspects of religions. But the yogic perspective is different. The yogic perspective says you have to discover that purity, you have discover that wholeness, you have to discover that love inside you, and the moment you do that you are united. You are one with the element of Krishna, and Krishna represents the effulgent love. He is the premavatar, the incarnation of love.
So, there are different paths of bhakti as well. And a yogic path has its own views and understanding, because there are two aspects of life; one is experience and the other is expression. And experience and expression go hand in hand. In the state of wholeness and purity you experience Ananda and you express Love. You experience bliss, and you give love, you receive ananda and you give prem. And they both are complimentary to each other, the bliss and the love. They both are complimentary to each other and they can not be separated.
But in order to perfect bhakti, just following a method; a ritual; a path is not enough or sufficient. In order to explore the dimension of purity and positivity and quality in one’s life, just following one path is not enough. But also an awareness has to cultivate as to how we can become stable in that experience of bhakti. And there are two aspects that have to be considered; if you can cultivate the aspects that I am going to enumerate now then you will be able to stabilize yourself in the path of bhakti, in the dimension of purity and love.
And what are these conditions? The first two conditions are saman and namratā, these are the two qualities that need to be cultivated first. Saman means respect and honour; namratā means humility. if you can cultivate the ability to respect and honour everyone around you; the downtrodden and the rich affluent both, the poor and the rich, the miserable and the happy, then you will be able to control a very big block in your life which hampers your identification and your expression of bhakti or love. And that barrier is ego and the various expressions of ego. When you are able to honour someone and respect someone, you are setting aside your ego for the time being. You are setting aside the arrogance for the time being, and you are honouring what the other person represents. When you go in front of a master a guru, you bow your head out of respect. Bowing of head symbolizes ‘I am setting aside my arrogance and my ego and I am coming to you as a friend, as a seeker. So the idea is, that in order to honour and respect people, set aside the ego for a little while and develop a positive and uplifting constructive relationship and communication/association with the person- without the intervention of the ego in different areas and actions and ideas. And when you are able to set aside the ego for a little while, humility will be the natural outcome. So honour, respect and humility… if we are able to cultivate these qualities, then we shall take one step in the path of bhakti.
Two more qualities that have to be developed are kartavya-parayanta and nishtha. kartavya-parayanta means performance of one’s duties in the correct and timely manner. And Nishtha means determination.
The first aspect of ‘respect, honour, and humility’ represent the dissolution of arrogance and egocentric behaviors and attitudes. Making one more simple and innocent. More connected, more harmonious, more balanced. And when ego is set aside, then the path to bliss and love opens before us. Then we come to the other aspect: kartavya-parayanta performance of one’s obligations and duties in correct manner and in timely fashion. And nishtha, conviction and determination. These also have to be developed because they aid the process of satkarma. The appropriate and the correct action done for the upliftment of the individual; and that is Seva.
These two also you have to develop. And then there is another group of two. You know you have two eyes. The left and the right, and these eyes represent rag and dwesh, attraction and repulsion. the left eye represents rag- attraction. The right eye represents dwesh- repulsion. And we look at the entire world with our two eyes and what the eyes see either I like it or I dislike it. Rag and dwesh is a natural expression of the eyes. If eyes see something nice they will like it if eyes see something not so nice they will dislike it. So the experience of rag and dwesh happens through the eyes. And this association of eyes happens with every object, individual, person, situation, place, time. We are always saying I like and don’t like, I like and I don’t like, I see this and I don’t like; I see this and I like. So just the vision of raga and dwesha which controls and guides our life all the time and raga is the ida function; it receives. Dwesha is the pingala function; it gives. And these two have to be balanced. Raga has to be balanced with vairagya and dwesha has to be balanced with viveka. Raga is what comes to you, what you like, what you desire, what you aspire for, what you are passionate about, what you crave, and dwesha is the opposite of that. So if you are able to observe and analyze in your meditation for five minutes: my attachments; my desires. And think, that are they appropriate for this time, this moment this period in my life or are they just my fantasy and imagination? And develop slowly, non-attachment. Become non-attached to those things which today attract and attach you. I am not saying reject them. I am saying do not reject them but be aware of their effect and influence on your thoughts, on your behavior, and on your performance and manage that. If you are able to manage these things, then you will begin to cultivate vairaghya in your life. I am not using the word detachment; I am using the word non-attachment. Things can be there, but you are not attached to it, you don’t have to reject anything you just accept it, but don’t identify with it. That is vairagya. And the second aspect, which helps to manage dwesh is vivek. Because dwesh is repulsion, non-acceptance; rejection. And with viveka the correct understanding with the right wisdom, with the right knowledge, we can control and modify this behavior which leads to rejection and strife which leads to separation and difficulties. Which leads to not wanting anything forcefully, but internally craving for it. So viveka is the right understanding and vairagya is non-attachment. And these are the six conditions, which if we can live in our bhakti Aradhana, then we shall definitely experience Ananda and express love. And the moment that we are able to do this we shall be one with Shri Krishna. Because Krishna means the element that attracts you towards it. “karsha te iti Krishna’ the element that attracts you towards it, and what attracts you, what holds your awareness, what holds your attention is always love. If you find love, you will always be attracted there, you will always gravitate there. So Krishna is another name for bhakti, bhakti is another name for prem, prem is another name for the unconditional love. And this can be attained by tweaking and modifying certain dimensions of our personality and nature in which we live on a day to day moment to moment basis. In order to experience purity; in order to experience internal peace and harmony; in order to experience an integrated personality – follow the path of bhakti, follow the path of love, follow the path of purity, follow the path of wholeness. And that has been the message of Shri Krishna which we see in his teachings, which we see in his life. And that is the aspiration of yoga as well. To connect with the dimension, to experience the dimension of Anandamaya kosha and premmaya kosha and to express the pure quality that we are able to live when we connect to that higher dimension. This is our Krishna Aradhana. And, you are all welcome to participate in this Aradhana by invoking the positive, the benevolent and the graceful satyam, shivam and sundaram in your life.
Hari Om Tat Sat.
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