The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj

Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj (Right) with his Guru Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath (Left)

Part – III (contd.

Leelachintan (contemplation on divine sports of the Lord): The practitioner may attain to a vision of the Lord by meditating on the four, namely, His name, His form, His sports and His abode. Meditation on these four in relation to any of the gods and goddesses, which has personal appeal to the heart of the sadhaka, yield visions of the One.

Sitaram advises that contemplating the divine sports of the Lord is not only an easy but also an interesting practice. Sitaram says with poetic earnestness: 

O Bhakta, worship, serve and enjoy His divine sports! This enjoyment, nothing but incessant meditation, burns away those burning sorrows! There is no better and easy way, in the age of Kali Yuga. 
Why is the enjoyment of the divine sports of the Lord said to be a painless method accessible to all? Most of us love to hear tales; we love even more, by a hundred-fold, to watch a story unfold in a drama. A drama brings to life the story and make the experience immediate. Over and above action, the devices of song, dance and so on; serve to keep the attention riveted. Drama is a reflection of life itself. Theatre is the best medium of propagation. If we analyse Sitaram’s texts, we find that he has not emphasized acquisition of knowledge of texts and learning these by heart; rather he has stressed adopting the simple method of listening to stories about the gods and goddesses, and watching episodes concerning these being played out on stage. This insistence on leela chintan arises from his deep personal experiences. 

When he was engaged in leela chintan or contemplation on the Lord’s divine sports, he wrote twelve or so plays in which divine and human personages intermingle. The practitioner reading these plays is engaged in leela chintan! In these plays he has preserved the divine elixir of leela chintan and the fruit of engaging in it. These plays contemplate pre-eminently one or other divine being. Some of these also dwell on a particular type of devotional sentiment. These are depicted in the following table:  

Divine Being/Divine Sentiment as a Theme Name of Play

Sri Ram 

Katha Ramayan, Vijane Vijaya and Milan Yajna

Sri Krishna 

Ranchod and Ashrubadal 



Jnaneshwar, Namdev, Shukadev and other saints on the path of Bhakti 

Bhaktaleela, Shukadev 

Blissful Devotion expressed in the form of Service 



Gurupooja, Ramananda 

Reverential Love of Allah (the ideal of Islam) 

Taapas Habib (written at the special request of Muslim devotees) 

‘Taapas Habib’ was the first play penned by Sitaram. Inasmuch as his contribution to the discipline of sadhana is unique and unforgettable, so also the work done by him to propagate and popularize leela chintan is unexcelled. 

Tapasya: Sitaram has said again and again that the body of the Brahmin is not meant for enjoyment; it is meant for penance. Not only Brahmins, all Mankind has the supreme goal of attaining God. The only way to attain the Divine is tapasya. The crown of all shastras or scriptures is the Gita, which says that tapasya is performed using the three instruments of body (kaya), speech (vaacha) and mind (manas). Tapasya using the physical vehicle of the body refers to worship of the gods, Brahmins, gurus and jnanis, maintenance of inner and outer cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and non-violence. Tapasya using the vehicle of speech refers to composure, truth and auspiciousness in speech, and the learning and recitation of the shastras. Mental tapasya encapsulates, among others, contentment, gentleness, minimizing speech, control over the mental modifications, lack of guilelessness in dealings with others, and, speech and thought matching in transacting with others. Bereft of expectations regarding the fruits of action, those full of faith, and with an absorbed mind perform the tapasya as given. (Sitaramdas Omkarnath, ‘Sudha Dhaara’). Sitaram lived in isolation practicing severe penance such as maintaining complete silence, study of the scriptures and so on, for about half his life. The current book affords little space to give elaborate descriptions of his tapasya. He lived in phases replete with such activities of penance for not short periods but long ones, quite astonishing for the common man. For example, he lived doing penance for 22 monhs at a stretch at the supreme pilgrimage place of Omkareshwar. Here in the midst of penance, he penned a large number of texts; this period has indeed been described as the golden period of his life.

Brahmacharya or CelibacyTapasya of all kinds is completely overshadowed by the supreme tapasya of celibacy. Sitaram would not tire of quoting from the scriptures where it is said that the practice of celibacy is tapasya par excellence, and the one who successfully withholds the reproductive fluids, transporting these to the higher chakras, is not a human being but a god. 
Celibacy also known as brahmacharya, is about strict avoidance of actions, physical, mental and of speech, which lead to a downward flow of the reproductive fluids. Sitaram is the best example of one who practiced celibacy. 

SwadhyayaSwadhyaya or self-study is part of Tapasya but merits independent treatment. Patanjali in his Yoga Darshan (2/44) says that repeated efforts to learn and understand the mantra, the Vedas and other scriptures, finally grant the vision of the favorite deity (Ishtadevata). 

As described earlier, Sitaram engaged in study with greatest concentration and earnestness, all through his life. While studying the Ramayana, he was completely absorbed in the persona of the protagonist, Rama. While he learnt the Srimad Bhagawat, he was immersed in Lord Krishna. Similarly, the reading and composing of Shivaleela, Durgaleela and Bhaktaleela led him to total absorption in the personages from the earthly and divine planes, leading to Samadhi. On one occasion, he sat reading in the shade of the Panchavati trees at Omkareshwar. The text was Laila Majnu, which is among the Islamic texts of study. Here too he experienced total absorption.
The Vishnupurana states: Study the shastras and then practice yoga. After yoga, study again. The practice of the combined and integrated study (swadhyaya) with yoga will surely reveal the light of Brahma. There are thousands of examples in every chapter of Sitaram’s life, which demonstrate this great union of self-study and yoga which finally gave him the identity of the Paramatma (the Highest Self/ the Divine Supreme).