The Mother Divine
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(Excerpts from The Maid in the Quest of Her Beloved)
Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Part IV

Ramdas: Pray, what is meant by Shraddha?

The Crazy man: Shraddha means faith in what the Guru or the Ve­danta says.

[The word is derived from the root dha preceded by the word Shrat which means truth. Shraddha, then, is the deity that presides over the intelligence out of which comes conviction or certitude as to the immutable and unalterable character of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha, the four principal pursuits of man. Truth is to be her stable seat. The Creator has ordained Truth to be her eternal shrine and has installed her in Truth.]

Shraddha is the source of all fulfilment; Shraddha is the cause of genuine knowledge. For truth, knowledge and Shraddha mean the same thing.

So you see, the disciple who has faith in Guru and Mantra does have his Mantra vitalised, irrespective of the quality of his Guru. While Gurus may be found in lakhs, scarcely can a true disciple be met with.

Shiva says in Jamala:

Gurureva Shivah proktah soham devi na samsayah
Guru stvamapi Deveshi mantra-o-pi Guru ruchyate.

The only Guru is Siva, I am that Shiva. Oh Goddess!
You too are Guru, the Mantra also is Guru.

In another Mantra you have:

Mantra data Guruh Prokto Mantro hi Paramo Guruh
Parapara Gurustvum hi Paramesthi Gurustwaham

He who gives Mantra is Guru. Mantra is Parama Guru (Grand Guru), Prakriti or kundalini is Parapara Guru (Great-grand-Guru), while the In­determinate Absolute is Paramesthi Guru (Great-Great-Grand-Guru).

The respectful disciple resorts first to Guru and Parama Guru and throws himself heart and soul into spiritual exercise. When his reliance comes to be absolute, no longer can the Mother hold off; she has to wake up. It is she who unites the seeker with the Paramesthi Guru and relieves him of the bondage of life (i.e. attachment).

Ramdas: Many receive Diksha, but few ever achieve anything Pray, why?

The Crazy Man: If you enquire, you will see that the vast majority of men receive Diksha just on the impulse of the moment; a month or two and they give up practice. They hardly ever care even so much as to sit down for japa, but keep standing while they count the Mantra for barely ten or at best one hundred and eight times. Not even a siddha Guru can be of much use to such disciples. Work you must, or how can you expect to reap the harvest? Very often again an ignorant Guru gives an incorrect Mantra, which necessarily leads to no tangible result.

Ramdas: Is it possible for a Mantra to be incorrect?

The Crazy Man: All Mantras come from Shiva, who uttered them first. Any fanciful collation of letters or arbitrary combination of words can­not attain to the status of a Mantra. Take an odd (so-called) Mantra like this:

Om namah sarasva kleem Gopinath vallavaya namah

or imagine an arbitrarily clipped and mangled Mantra. This cannot of course give joy. If ever proper japa should fail to fetch bliss, joy or some other tangible result, it is to be presumed that something is wrong with the Mantra itself. An incorrect Mantra may be abandoned in favour of a new one. If the Guru lives, the correct Mantra ought to be received from him. In case, however, it is obtained from another Guru, it does not amount to change of Guru or Mantra. For, he is the Guru who gives Mantra and an incorrect Mantra is a faulty combination of letters without sense; it does not enjoy the sanctity of a Mantra. Nonetheless, the Mantra ought to be taken from the previous Guru. A little alertness on the part of the family of the Guru and that of the disciple and all troubles cease.

One who draws water from a well, keeps it ready for all and deals it out freely, can of course, gratify any thirsty man that cares to approach him. So the Siddha Guru, having attained fulfilment after spiritual ex­ercise, infuses power into disciples, out of his own infinite mercy, and rescues men scorched with the heat of life. Thanks to that power, the disciple can easily attain Jivan-mukti (the state, that is, of a liberated spirit while yet alive in the body). But a siddha Guru of this category can rarely be found: it is only the accumulated austerities of many previous births that can bring you to the feet of such a Guru.

It is idle therefore to resolve not to drink water unless it is already drawn and kept in readiness. One should rather tie the bucket of Mantra received from the Guru with the rope of Japa, lower it into the well and pull it up, when filled with water, with “Jai Guru” on the lips. There is always a reward to honest effort. If thirst be there, my son, waterwill not be wanting. What is wanting is genuine thirst. My lord says:

Sakrideva prapannaya tavasmeeti cha yachate
Abhyam sarva bhute-bhyo dadabhyetad vratam mama.

“Whoever but once prays saying, ‘I am yours’, is promised every security by me: whoever he may be, I assure him of complete safety.” Only say, “I have come to you for refuge” and go on with Japa, night and day. All shall be well. The Crazy wench will wake up, you know. If you take refuge, the lord will not be able to hold himself but come in some form and vitalise your Mantra.

Japanmuktih Japanmuktih Japanmuktih Na Samshayah.

“Out of Japa comes Mukti, out of Japa comes Mukti, out of Japa comes Mukti, there can be no doubt about it.”

Naam Kirtan accomplishes everything.

Bhakti of every category—secondary as well as primary—comes from the recollection or chanting of the name. So long as you have power of speech, go on, my child, with Ram Ram.
Ramdas: Do all seekers exhibit the same symptoms?

The Crazy Man: There are differences at the outset. Once you get to the root or centre, however, all come to be alike.

The external manifestations such as shivering, hairs standing on end, shedding of tears, etc. are common to seekers of every school: Vaishnavas, Shaktas, Worshippers of Surya (Sun), Worshippers of Ganapati, Yogi, Jnani, and all. All roads lead finally to sushumna. Spiritual perceptions should not be generally disclosed. Publicity arrests perception and causes disease.

Ramdas: What should be done in case of doubt?

The Crazy Man: Doubts should be referred to, and resolved by, one’s Guru, in case he is alive, or else an advanced practitioner should be consulted. A man may be a great scholar, with vast book-learning, but without enough realization, a mere scholar will find it hard even so much as to trust you, if ever you take him into confidence about your experiences. He will measure your realisation with the yard-stick of his own second-hand knowledge and probably opine that you have gone off the track, or else oblige you with the news that you have developed a disease. Beware! Do not speak about your realisation.
Rarely do we meet an honest man candidly confessing, “I am only a beast of burden, bearing the precious lore of the shastras, I have no experience in that line.”

“Yogena Yogam Janeeyat”: Yoga is to be known by Yoga, that is, by practice. A seeker should go on with his spiritual exercise strictly according to rule. As soon as one stage is won, the next will come of itself.

Amazement and suspicion: these two are particularly detrimental to spiritual progress. “Is it possible for me to come actually by such an experience?”—it is bad to entertain this sort of amazement. Why should it not be possible in your case? Since seekers do acquire such transcendental experiences, why should they not happen to me? It cannot be false, since it is confirmed by the shastras. Reason in this man­ner and refer to the shastras to have your doubts resolved, and should pride assail you, remember at once that it is your Ishta, God as you love him who assumes all these various forms and pervades the universe. To whom should you brag then? “All’s you, all’s you”—know only this, lay it to your heart and all problems shall cease. To sum up, Sitaram, pure food, pious conduct, morning and evening worship at the proper hour, study of sacred texts, association of saints: these are sure to bring about fulfilment. The short-cut to fulfilment in this degenerate age is to chant the Name always and to muse on God’s Leela, His self-revealing activi­ties (e.g. in the role of an incarnation). At the end, reflections on Leela do not evoke images of any kind; language passes through bhava into Pranava and sets the seeker at rest.