The Mother Divine
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(Excerpts from Be Tension Free)
By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja

Sadhana (spiritual practice) is not something where you could become a millionaire overnight. Sadhana implies “lifelong struggle”. Shadripu, or the six foes or defects of the embodied soul: sensual attachment, anger, greed, pride, infatuation and envy, are bound to assail the spiritual aspirant on the path. When Mother Sita was held captive in Ashoka forest, she endured, with great patience, the tortures, intimidation and abuse of the demons and she-demons that surrounded her from all sides. Her heart was set single-mindedly on her Lord Sri Ram. And she went on chanting “Ram” Naam. At last, Hanuman, the emissary of Sri Ram, dispelled her sorrow by handing over Sri Ram’s ring. In the same way, while going through the trials and tribulations of worldly life, if one chants “Sri Ram Ram Ram” giving a fair fight to the six foes, one is bound to receive the assurance from God’s emissary in the form of divine grace and spiritual experiences and be rid of all sorrows, thus installing Lord Ram on the throne of one’s heart.

If it is not possible to endure as much as Mother Sita did, one can do as much as is within one’s power. But it is necessary to contemplate upon God single-mindedly.

There were four blind men. One day, as they walked, they landed up in a big ground hemmed in on all sides by four walls and with only a single door to enter or exit. Wandering here and there, the four blind men were groping to determine where they were and which way to secure their release. Seeing them lost and distraught thus, a gentleman ran to their rescue and counselled, “Why don’t you put your hands on the wall and go on by the feel…this way you are bound to reach the door sooner or later.” The blind men said, “Well, that’s a good idea! But we have another problem, you see! The thing is, we are all greatly afflicted by scabies and our hands are busy scratching to ease our itching.” The gentleman said, “Well, never mind if you must scratch, but you can surely feel the wall by one hand and continue scratching with another and finally reach the door.” Acting according to this advice, they reached the gate alright.

This is pertinent to our lives as well. With one hand manage the itching of material life and with another clasp the lotus feet of God. This will help you attain both the aims of this world and the next.
To escape the whirl of this material existence one must seek exclusive refuge with God and Gurudeva. They alone are competent to protect us. Here’s another simile:

There is a Grand Master Fisherman. He has spread his splendid net across the whole world. His net is as vast as his gigantic figure. It appears as though the skill of the Fisherman is beyond anyone’s grasp or access; the net has also been woven so flawlessly and infallibly. Now how can any fish escape such a trap? All the fishes, the big, small and the middling ones –all of them are taken captive so easily. But among them, there was a strong group of clever fishes. They thought it out and concluded that the whole world is caught into the net but there is no net laid out just beneath the Fisherman’s feet. Now, without much ado, that group of fishes somehow managed to hastily reach and hide at the feet of the Great Fisherman.

That Supreme Designer casts the net of illusion upon the whole world. All this is but a big show and totally illusory. Only the Almighty Lord is the ultimate Truth. There is only one way to escape from His terrible net and attain to eternal peace –to take refuge at the feet of the Architect of this illusion. Japa, meditation, contemplation, study of the Scriptures, discernment of the permanent and the transient, self-enquiry or self-analysis –no matter what you follow, nothing worthwhile is going to come out of all this.

Tameva sharanam gaccha

Sarva-bhaavena bharata

Tat-prasaadaat-paraa shaantim

Sthaanam praapsyasi shaashvatam (Sri Sri Gita: 18/62)

O scion of Bharata (Arjuna), take refuge in Him alone with all your being. By His mere grace you will attain supreme peace and the eternal abode.

In the spiritual world there is only one param gati (ultimate recourse) –Sharanagati (Surrender).
Therefore pray at the very beginning of all undertakings: ‘O Cause of all the causes! O Guru! I surrender myself entirely to you! I have not the power to fully or appropriately follow the instruction you have imparted either through the Shastras or from your own mouth. Be gracious enough to grant me the strength so that I may abide by all the disciplines of this spiritual life!’ During the undertaking of any activity keep repeating: ‘O my Lord! I have taken total refuge with you. But I am now very much exhausted in the tough battle of spiritual life. O God Gracious, do purify my mind! Give me the power so that I may be able to invoke you in the true sense of the term.’ At the fag end of sadhana (spiritual endeavour) pray once again: ‘O God! I tried to call you with all the power that lies in me but at the end I have come to realize –no matter how much I exert or assert myself, all my ventures to attain to You in your true essence are in vain –so insufficient and insignificant! The final truth is this: whomever you choose or whomever you show your grace on that devotee alone is capable of having your Vision or reaching the final destination. That is why here is an ardent submission:
‘Open the doors of your compassion! Once… just for once dispel the thick veil of darkness from my heart with Thy all-compassionate glance. O Self-Luminescent! O All Transcendent! Do light up at Thine own sweet will, out of your boundless grace –this little lamp of a miserable life. I repeatedly offer my humble salutations to Thee and Thy limitless grace.