The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj

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

“Pure diet, pure devotion and trikaal sadhana Shall deliver the vision of the Beloved!”

Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

“Look my friend, there is a realm made of pure light. Each thing therein is illumined. This    is the native land where we all hail from. We have come to this place as visitors. You can subsist in that luminous realm if you obey the shastras, treat your parents with devotion, maintain celibacy and chant the name of God (Ram) constantly. Those who do not do so, have to contend with disease, sorrow and anxiety over manifold problems, and eventually slip into a grave darkness wherefrom they bemoan their fate.”

In his book ‘Badaa Atithi’ (An Important Guest), Sitaram gave invaluable advice, addressed to his most beloved nephew Gurudas, and vicariously, to all children. In his book ‘Sur Aur Aalok Se Nirmit Loka’ (The Realms of Sound and Light), he has given an introduction to that most blissful abode as described by the title, and he tells, in soft and affectionate tones, of the means by which one may reach this realm.

The ancient civilization may accurately be described as the Vedic civilization. Even as of today, in the twenty-first century, the values and principles of this Vedic civilization continue to predominate Indian thought and action. Sitaram always strove to gently weave into the fabric of the consciousness of the little ones, these values and principles. The Vedic lifestyle is conducive to welfare of an individual irrespective of the cultural values he/she subscribes to.

In the olden days, when it was time for a disciple of the Guru to return home after duly completing Vedic studies, the Guru would instruct him “speak the truth always and walk on the path of righteousness. It is for you to gather assets for the Guru, and beware of being swayed from the path of the Dharma. Do not give in to any temptation, be upright and thus maintain the luster of your soul.”
“Do not falter in self-study and teaching or the giving of instruction to others. Likewise do not be indifferent in doing your duty by the deities and the pitris (the souls of the ancestors).”

“Mother is God, Father is God, the Teacher is God and the guest is God” …such is the order, preaching and the mystic secret of the Vedas.

Through the book ‘An Important Guest’ Sitaram hints at the human being’s essential status of a guest or visitor on this earthly plane. As a visitor’s stay is restricted and is motivated by a purpose, so is that of a human being on this earth. We humans are here to resolve our karmas or samskaras (gathered impressions) for a given period of time after which we shall return to the eternal abode, the abode of light. Swami Vivekananda in his talks inspired by the Vedas exhorts the soul in his world-renowned speeches to aspire to return to nijaniketan, that home which is one’s own without a doubt. “What temptation you have, that you roam again and again, as an alien in a foreign land?” he asks. Modern civilization is increasingly devoid of righteousness and fraught with lack of discrimination in all aspects of thought and action. In the ancient times the Gurus ensured that their disciples imbibed the values of righteousness as well as belief in God. Thus the foundation of the character was well-laid. Today, the guardians of children take a soft view, claiming that they are at an age to play, laugh, study etc. and will learn about Dharma and related matters in good time. But the child left without the moorings of stern ethical training rooted in sound values soon turns into a youth caught in a trap of evil company. Guardians tend to turn a blind eye, saying that Dharma, ethics, theism and the like are premature concerns for a youth with academic preoccupations. After the gathering of worldly knowledge and skills, the youth is readied for work and for marriage. At this juncture, the guardians feel that the youth who has newly stepped out into the world must enjoy his life when he has a chance. Once he is fulfilled, he will turn towards Dharma and related concerns at the right time, of his own. After all life is long enough!

A famous rishivakya (profound truth uttered by the seers) says that the mind, the vibrations of the consciousness and youth are fickle, and temporary or passing. Soon, old age dawns and the man or woman is as yet to wake up and embrace Dharma or the right way of life. Old age is wasted in laziness, foolish leisure-time hobbies such as playing cards, or in idle gossip, which even prove to be addictive. Those few who develop an urge to turn towards spiritual activities find that they lack the strength and spirit. The rest of the world too largely discourages through disparaging words and gestures. You old fellow! After spending your entire life in work and enjoying life to the fullest with all its joys and sorrows, what is this new ‘hobby’ you are trying to undertake?

Hence the spiritual life remains inactivated in childhood, youth, adulthood and even old   age…thus goes the tale of the unfolding of life in this age and day. What then is the appropriate age at which the spiritual life must be activated? Our ancient treatises have given wise counsel regarding the opportune time for such. “There is no need to wait for an opportune time, day and age to do something that is so auspicious!” is their counsel. Else one would perhaps go on waiting until old age overcomes; the faculties are in a state of decrepitude.

Sitaram always strove to draw the attention of followers to the universal fact of life: its impermanency and its hurtling towards death. Man does not suddenly die one day. The process of dying begins at the very moment of birth. And yet, no one seems to give adequate cognizance to this one inevitable fact of ‘life’! Man cannot truly visualize that death shall come to him. The craving for immortality reflects a subconscious awareness of the immortal nature of Man’s existence as Atma, which transcends the three-fold gross, subtle and causal bodies.

Bhagavad Gita tells us that the Atma neither is born nor dies. It is neither created nor destroyed. It can neither be added to nor depreciated from. When the physical dimension is destroyed, the Atma remains intact. Hence the importance of embarking on the spiritual life that shall grant the sacred knowledge of the Atma…the further one progresses on the sacred path of immortality, the less fearful and the more bliss-filled does one become. Ethical values and the mode of conduct of life, if imbibed in childhood itself, become embedded impressions with the passage of time. The individual then is more likely to lead a life of idealism as a matter of course, rather than as an imposition. The pursuit of a life as dictated by the sanctions of Dharma makes for a tranquil and concentrated mind. The power of memory too is sharpened having been rendered unclouded and bright. The adoption of Dharma in early life makes for a firm foundation for a pure life with ideal values. The yoking of the ultimate Powerhouse to oneself is surely the best possible step to take, and it is never too early to take this step. Such is the ideal, which Sitaram places before us in the book ‘The Important Guest’. Sitaram points the way, tells of the methods and also speaks of the various duties, which are enjoined upon the conscientious practitioner. He begins by bemoaning an education, which fails the student in this respect almost fully. He notes that on the other hand, education, deplorably, promotes mindless consumerism.

This is an age of liberation in lifestyle. The goal of life is to lead life so as to enable maximum enjoyment. Men and women impulsively engage in pursuits, which later lead to tremendous suffering. Education is directed merely at enabling livelihood and increasing one’s pecuniary worth; little attention is paid to religious growth and promoting values. Hence children are directionless in respect of how to lead life, and this becomes a cause of suffering.