The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj

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

Sitaram persuades children in affectionate tones to come to the path of light.
“Listen! In the wee hours of the morning, sit up in your bed and meditate on Ram Ram Ram… for a little while. Then go and perform your ablutions. Light the lamp at the altar every evening and do your studies. Bow down to your mother and your teachers. Do not engage frivolously with other children; that is, don’t argue, fight, run about mindlessly with them. Do not eat recklessly; if it has not been offered at the altar, at least offer it mentally to God. Do not tell lies. If you do something unjust, confess to your parents.”

“In the evenings, tend to the holy basil (tulsi) plant and other plants in your garden. Before the sun sets, perform ablutions and have a change of clothes preparatory to lighting the lamp at the altar. Complete your studies adequately and then meditate on Ram Ram Ram… Wash your hands and feet before sitting down to a meal. These are only broad instructions. Just remember…the main purpose in life is to know God; other purposes are secondary. Hence meditate on Ram Ram Ram…undoubtedly God appears to the one who meditates on Him. This is the truth. God dwells in all hence do not look upon anyone in contempt and salute mentally whomsoever you meet. We are born on this earth only to see God, hence salute everyone every single day.” Sitaram thus wants to weave into the child’s fabric of consciousness, a subtle thread of righteous awareness and conviction. Needless to say, an adult too learns much from this advice.

By meditating constantly ‘Ram Ram Ram…’ you will get precisely what you desire. Wealth and renown will loll at your feet. Anyone who abides by this will be utterly gratified. People will worship you as they do a devata, a God. The realm of light will descend to where you are. Even as you move about amid people, you will be in the realm of light.

Sitaram also gave little girls special instructions (undoubtedly of general relevance to girls and women) regarding their duties, demeanor and conduct of life. These were written in his book, ‘Sakhi’ wherein he directly addressed his Guru Daashrathideva’s granddaughter, Meera, who was a beloved childhood friend. “Look, O friend! There yonder is a kingdom of light and light alone, an abode, which is our home! We all have come here on this earth just to sport about and play. Those who call upon God, the ones who have utmost respect for parents and grandparents, teachers, Gurus, do obeisance to them, and obey them, avoid eating indiscriminatingly, share all that they eat, avoid all evil perform household duties, treat younger siblings with love and affection…these are the ones who shall enter this kingdom of God. Do you want to go there?” he wrote.

In these books, ‘An Important Guest’ and ‘Sakhi’, Sitaram refers to the ‘kingdom of light’ or ‘abode of light’ again and again. The rishis’ earnest and heartfelt prayer, ‘tamaso ma jyotirgamaya’ meant ‘lead me from darkness to light.’ The reader is referred to the Chapter ‘Naad, Bindu, Jyoti, Aakash’ and ‘The Abode of Light’. Sitaram described his highest transcendental experience of seeing the light both with open and closed eyes. Thousands of practitioners under the guidance of Sitaram (including even children) attained such and similar transcendental states. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Vijaykrishna Goswami, Sri Kuladananda Brahmachari, Sri Loknath Brahmachari, Sri Muktananda Swami, Sri Balananda Brahmachari, Sri Kathiya Baba and other great souls, attained these states. So also the many who were guided by these greats!

The advice given in the two books mentioned above is given succinctly in a poem by Sitaram.
Pure diet, pure devotion and trikaal sadhana shall deliver the vision of the Beloved!
Pure diet is sattvik diet. Practice done at twilight in the morning and evening plus at noontime is called trikaal sadhana. Sadhana is understood as the Japa or meditation on the mantra given by the Guru along with Japa on the two mahamantras of Guru and Hare Krishna Naam.

A question arises: In this age of Kali or in the Kaliyuga, is it not impractical and foolish to expect children to maintain pure diet and conduct, when older persons are unable to do so? It is noteworthy that in many institutions small and large, where spiritual life is enabled, practice at the twilight hours, righteous conduct and pure diet are strictly maintained. There is a large number of such institutions spread all over the world. In the Ramakrishna Mission schools for instance, children are made to do prayer and meditation for a half-hour. Also one period is dedicated to religious studies. Do these hamper the pursuit of academic excellence? The academic results of the Ramakrishna schools are better than those of others. A prestigious institution such as the Ramakrishna Mission would not be able to afford to waste time over experimental activities, which reduce academic excellence. Swami Vivekananda proclaimed that education devoid of spiritual education is not education in the true sense at all. Other Mahatmas such as Swami Pranavanandaji, Acharya Prabhupada A. C. Vedantaswami, Swami Yogananda, Swami Nigamanada Paramhamsa have emphasized spiritual education for early childhood itself. In foreign lands too, based on the evidence of statistical data, one finds that those who have been inculcated into spiritual life early in life, and those who voluntarily opted for such life with all its concomitant values (celibacy, pure diet and conduct etc.) have attained sublime bliss. All may not be admitted to the schools of Ramakrishna Mission and all may not become devotee-members of the Mission; however, the practices given by the Guru of one’s own family and tradition, would yield the same sublimity.
Every tradition has stressed the importance of ‘pure diet’.  Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda too gave it importance. ISKCON is the foremost in emphasizing purity of diet. So also Omkarnath Mission established under the banner of the venerable Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath, Bharat Sevashram Sangh, Satsang of Sri Anukool Thakur and Yogoda Satsang of Yogananda Paramhamsa.
There is a question regarding pure conduct. ‘Pure conduct’ is not a popular item of discussion. However the seers have expressed an opinion that all the power of the Vedas are powerless to purify one who is devoid of good conduct.

In the end we give the essence of all that is important in the preceding paragraphs. If inspired from early childhood to enter the spiritual life, the individual stands to gain in many ways, such as (1) during academic pursuits the student will enhance the faculty of mentation, concentration as well as patience (2) the future course of life will be joyous, peaceful and cultured (3) the capacity to deal with the vicissitudes of life shall be strong (4) a broad vision will develop regarding life and death, virtue and vice, the karmic consequences of one’s thoughts and actions, which will form a philosophical base for one’s view of the universe  and one’s place in it (5) as lights, TV, computer etc. all can come on when connected to power, so also the individual’s faculties, when connected to this power-house through dhyaan- dharana, pooja-paath, asana-pranayama. The individual’s life is replete with beauty in all its facets and fullness. A mobile cell phone needs to be charged every day. In a like manner, if we charge the mobile of the mind by plugging it into the powerhouse, using the wires, plug points etc. of dhyaan, dharana and so on, the youth (and all in general), will be able to shoulder its burdens and cope with its anxieties more easily. Academic pursuits and other pursuits can be done with more (than otherwise expected) quietude, energy, concentration, discrimination and hence success.