The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja
Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Once a holy man arrived in a city at the invitation of a disciple. One of the devotees who had come to his satsanga (spiritual discourses) made a request to him: ‘Maharaj, with your grace, we have moved out of a rented place into our own house. We request you to sanctify our new house with the dust of your feet.’ Maharaj accepted his invitation and graced his house. ‘You have indeed built a strong and beautiful house, but do you realize you will have to leave this house too one day? You therefore need to build up a house that is ever-lasting. It will of course cost a bit,’ said the holy man.
The surprised devotee asked: ‘Maharaj, what kind of house are you talking about? Pray, how much will it cost?’

Maharaj replied, ‘Your soul is in itself your Ever-lasting House. Sri Bhagawan speaks about this abiding abode in the Gita:

Ajo nitya shaashvatoyam puraano
Na hanyate hnyamaane sharire (Sri Sri Gita 2/ 20)

The soul is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
“Do you understand? This is indeed your permanent home! To own this house, you will have to expend some time every day and undertake japa, meditation, reading of scriptural texts and other worship. With all this, sooner or later you are sure to get the address of the permanent home.’’
Just then, as Maharaj discoursed about this profound truth, another disciple appeared there, having heard of the arrival of the holy man. He prostrated at the feet of Maharaj and requested him to visit his house too. The holy man went there. “I am retiring from government service this month.  And I have secured the provident fund and gratuity obtained at retirement in the form of fixed deposits in the bank. With this I have secured all my future expenses,” the host declared with profound relief.
Maharaj said, “You’ve acted prudently, but I am afraid you will have to leave this fixed deposit behind when you leave this world. Unfortunately, there is no provision for carrying any of the worldly possessions on your inter-world travel when you immigrate to the next world. But there is one fixed deposit which can survive your death and can be carried to your next birth.”
The disciple eagerly asked, “Maharaj, which fixed deposit is this?”

Maharaj smiled and answered, “That fixed deposit is nothing but Hari Naam!”—The Holy Name of God.

In the quest of peace, happiness and supreme bliss, a few things other than Hari Naam Japa also play a role. Pure sattvic diet regime, control of the senses, moral conduct, regular physical exercise, Yogasanas, Pranayama etc., writing of Sri Ram Naam, daily Japa, chanting and singing God’s Name, satsang (attending spiritual discourses) etc. With all these, regular practice of Yoga is mandatory. All these means can establish a spiritual aspirant on the highest seat of yogic perfection. The rewards that a spiritual aspirant gains will be in direct proportion to the efforts put in.

One might ask: what is the need for so many methods in spirituality? Why can’t we do with just one? The answer to this question may be found in our daily food habits. When we sit down to eat, the plate is served with roti (bread), rice, lentils, vegetables, salads, pickle, papad and kheer as the dessert. Now, why do we need such variety in food? The first reason that comes to mind is taste. We need variety to satisfy our taste buds, but even more importantly, we need varied forms of nutrition to supply our body different nutrients such as proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates etc. Multivitamins keep our body strong and disease-free. In the same way, in spirituality too different types of spiritual practices help keep the mental constitution strong, concentrated, steady and peaceful to make a person a complete yogi. This assists a spiritual aspirant reach the ultimate truth and inner bliss which the Gita speaks of:

Yam labdhvaa chaaparam laabham manyate na-adhikam tatah
yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunaapi vichaalyate (—Sri Sri Gita 2/ 20)

Established thus (in supreme happiness within), one never departs from it and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being established in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of greatest difficulty.

You have indeed built a strong and beautiful house! But do you realize that you’ll have to leave this house one day? You therefore need to build up a house that is everlasting. Your soul in itself is your everlasting house!