The Mother Divine
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“There’s a sadhu who has come to the temple accompanied by a gentleman, they want to see you,” the temple attendant informed.

I was greeted by the sadhu I was familiar with and the guest he had brought. The guest was clad in white cotton kurta and pyjama and I found him repeatedly prostrating before Sri Sri Thakur’s (Sitaramdas Omkarnath’s) photograph in the Naam Mandir. “I have received much Grace from Him,” he said pointing at the photograph and went about narrating his story.
He had been employed in the Armed Forces and was posted at the Air Force base at Lohegaon, Pune. Toward the end of 70s he was gripped with tremendous vairagya and a desire for a touch of the Divine. He had read a biography of Sri Sri Thakur and heard that he was residing in Rishikesh at the time. He set out to receive initiation from him with great expectations. It was the year 1983.

On the train he met a person who wore a locket of Thakur. “Are you a disciple of Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath,” our man asked, and when the gentleman nodded in the affirmative, said, “I am going to Rishikesh to meet your Guru.”

At this the co-traveller became solemn and remarked after a bit of silence. “Looks like you aren’t well-informed...Gurudeva left the body last year.” The Air Force man was distraught; he could not have the great fortune of meeting Sri Sri Thakur. To make up for his loss, he wandered in the Himalayas and the Anjana hills in Maharashtra, graced by Sant Jnaneshwar, in search of light.

In one of the caves near Alandi, this gentleman decided to spend three nights in isolation.

A lonely oil lamp would be seen burning at the end of this cave... god alone knows who tended the lamp. There were three caves in fact, one at the higher reaches of the mountain and two much below. When he went to the cave, the sun had set. Inside the cave he could see a young sannyasi in his twenties sitting in meditation. He was sitting still, like a rock. After he had finished his meditation, the sannyasi offered the new cave-mate some dinner. The sannyasi had large, round, bajra rotis neatly packed in a pile, which he got in bhiksha once a week; from a village that was about fifteen kilometres away.

While they were having their dinner, the sannyasi got talking. “Actually, I used to live in the cave on the top. It used to be lonely. One night, as I lay asleep, I felt hot air near my nose. Something was breathing close to my face. I shivered with trepidation and tried to gauge the situation with my eyes half-open. It was a tiger. I was petrified and I just froze. That tiger sniffed me for a while and went away. I rose, shouted for help and bitterly cried for two hours. I felt very helpless, you see. And then I was too tired and went to sleep from exhaustion.

“Sant Jnaneshwar appeared in my dream and said, “Child! Why are you crying? Don’t be afraid. You’ll not be hurt. You’re a sannyasi, be secure and follow the thirteenth verse from the eighth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita. And don’t live in this cave; move to the one below.” And thus blessing me, Jnaneshwar Maharaj disappeared.  I have been staying at this cave chanting the Name of God ever since.”

The visitor narrated this story to me and stopped to ponder about the exact verse which is as under.

Ananyachetaah satatam yo maam smarati nityashah;
Tasyaaham sulabhah paartha nityayuktasya yoginah.

I am easily attainable by that ever-steadfast Yogi who constantly and daily remembers Me (for a long time), not thinking of anything else (with a single or one-pointed mind), O Partha (Arjuna)!

The key word here is “Sulabh” that which is easily accessible. The Lord is saying He is easily accessible to the one who remembers him constantly and daily. This fact about it being “Sulabh” greatly appealed to the visitor. “I am a householder, I cannot follow difficult paths, I needed something simple, something easily accessible (Sulabh), and feel by God’s grace, I found it in this verse in the Gita through that sannyasi,” he said.

It got me thinking.

How does one do this? How does one remember the Lord constantly and daily? How does one keep the remembrance of God unbroken?

One cannot do Puja all the time, one cannot meditate all the time, perhaps the only thing we can do all the time is to chant the Name of God. That way we can “remember” Him all the time because we can chant the Name while doing other activities. How wonderful is Naam! It is Sulabh, it fulfils the mandate of the thirteenth verse.

Our ultimate aim is uninterrupted remembrance of God. Which means there should not be a moment when we don’t remember God.

Let’s looking deeper into remembering Him “all the time.” The challenge is, while time appears as a continuum because there are no missing points in the scale, the way it manifests in our lives is discreet. Any length of time is nothing but an aggregate of moments of smallest measurable unit. A day is 24 hours, an hour is 60 minutes, a minute is 60 seconds. Having said this, in order to remember God every “moment”, we have to begin by remembering Him once in every one hour, then every fifteen minutes, then every minute etc.

The trick thus is to slowly start to fill up all available time with thoughts on God. To start with, we could break all the waking hours of the day into equal units of time – say an hour, and, every hour, we remember God for certain duration, say for a minute or two. This way we are uniformly calling God through the day amidst our daily work.

If we have been remembering God only during the prayer time then by adopting this method of God remembrance, the frequency of remembering God changes optimally.

Oft times, we scam ourselves into believing that we are in frequent remembrance of God, when in reality finding time to remember Him even for a minute in one hour is a real challenge.

That’s the role of Maya in our lives. She forever keeps us rapt in her numerous traps. And we as fools have given her the reign of our lives, of our precious ‘times’ which could otherwise be dedicated to the service or remembrance of the Lord.

Maya works through our senses, and keeps us absorbed in sense objects without self-awareness. We find ourselves lent without our own permission. The senses are lent to their respective objects of desire. And we aren’t even aware!

We take pride in being so absorbed in our sense gratification that we lose track of time. That is not absorption, that is enslavement! Without the awareness of the self, we are no better than the earthworms caught in a cesspool. Unaware of our own existence, moments pass by in lumps, and a substantive amount of time is lumped out of our daily lives through vast expanse of unconsciousness. Obviously we cannot remember God during these long expanses of unconscious existence. To remember God we have to remember ourselves. To remember God we have to reclaim ourselves from where we have been scattered.

Our first task therefore is to be aware of the moments so that we can bombard all aware moments with thoughts of God. That’s the “Real” way to live.
Hindu calendar is full of auspicious tithis and festivals, these are reminders and alarms for remembering God. The trikaal Sandhya serves us in remembering God at the three twilight hours, thereby allowing us to spread our God thoughts evenly through the day. “Japa” and “Naam” are designed to easily remember Him. These techniques ensure we utter the Name at a frequent interval for a certain number of times.

Glory to the sannyasi of the cave near Alandi. Glory to Bhagvad Gita that brings us precious knowledge! May we all remember God continuously! May our paths be Sulabh!
Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
The Editor