The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuj

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

Part – II (contd.

Karma Yoga:
Sitaram’s stern practice of karma yajna, from the early days as student at Digsui up until the age of 90, when he left the mortal coil, is nothing short of astonishing. In his last days, he would point to his aged body and say, “Only this khol (a type of drum used as accompaniment to pious rendition) is ancient. Inside there is a 90 year-old youth.”

His life was a harmony of sadhana and karmayajna in entirety He would remain in samadhi and mauna (silence) day after day, month after month, and then plunge into the endless and deep ocean of karmayoga with the greatest vigour. Every single day was spent in initiating new disciples, in preaching the Truth, in discussing the myriad problems of the disciples, in installing Naam and instituting temples, in attending religious conferences and so on. In the midst of his usual hectic schedule, the news once spread that Sitaram had disappeared, no one could tell where! On an inner instruction, Sitaram had chosen an unknown spot, to remain there totally bereft of company and to be in deep absorption. The arrangements were such that no one would even see him; one or two devotees would serve him in a manner that conformed to this requirement. Strict orders had been given to this effect.

In the midst of this isolation and absorption, he would suddenly be roused from samadhi and pen his words of inspiration, all of which would go to make up a text. In the precincts of the Panchavati at Ramashram, seated below the Bilva tree at Omkareshwar, on the sea- side at Neelanchal in Puri, on the sea-side in the island of Bet-Dwarka, he penned some two hundred, small and large, invaluable spiritual works. All were written with the exalted motive of benefiting the world. His capacity to work towards the furthering of the welfare of Mankind is incomparable. Regarding karmayog, the third chapter of the Gita clearly says:

Perform all your duties without attachment and expectation and as a form of worshipful offering. Work done without desire is certain to grant liberation to Man. The duties performed by Sitaram with detachment, were not done for the sake of liberation.  In the language of the Gita, such work was performed for the welfare of the general populace. Hence it is necessary to perform one’s own duties in furtherance of the welfare of the masses. In the Gita, the term ‘gathering of the masses’ is intended to mean the rescuing of people at large from adharma (irreligiosity) and setting them on the righteous path. The avatara and mahapurushas incarnate with the express purpose of ‘gathering’ the masses for the said purpose. We may quote Krishna Bhagawan Himself to explain the karmayajna of Sitaram:

O Partha! In the three worlds, I have no concern with heaven, immortality and the like. Such are neither to be attained, nor left unattained by me. Being concerned with the welfare of all I have not given up karma or action.

Bhakti Yoga:
Sitaram has recommended again and again the majestic bhakti yoga for the masses to follow in the present age of Kaliyug. He has described the form and features of Bhakti yoga in the text ‘Prapanna Pathik’ which is a commentary on the Narada Bhakti Sutra or Shandilya Bhakti Sutra. Also, he has composed twelve plays which feature the gods and goddesses, and the great Gurus, Rishis and other exalted personages. The predominant rasa or emotive undercurrent evoked by the interplay among these divine and spiritual personages being that of Bhakti, these plays prove to be a blazing illumination of bhakti yoga. In the Kaliyug unrighteous thoughts and actions are universally prevalent. Righteousness thoughts and actions being rare, recourse to the Name of the Lord is the only remedy. In the Naamamritlahiri and various other texts, and also in the texts on Yogashastra, the glory of Bhakti Yoga has been preached.

Sitaram conferred extra splendor on the philosophy of bhakti yoga by instituting sixty to seventy ashrams, wherein gods and goddesses are worshipped, prayers are performed during the three sandhyakal (twilight and noon periods), ceaseless chanting of Naam goes on, and, the holy epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagawat and the like are studied and learnt by heart. In all ways possible, Sitaram has illustrated how the bhakti yoga practices fructify into the experiences of tears, bliss, horripilation and so on, among other sattvik emotions (detailed in another chapter). The recurrent dawning of samadhi through such emotions is an experience, which possesses the reality of the objective world; it is not restricted to the inner space visible to the inner eye.

Jnana Yoga:
Sitaram enjoyed the ease of familiarity with the realm of Jnana yoga, much as he did with that of bhakti yoga. Samadhi inevitably dawns again and again in bhakti yoga with the devotee identifying himself as one or other of tranquil companion, servant, friend, lover and parent (vis-a-vis the Lord). Much in the same way, bhakti yoga, which necessarily involves worship on form, inevitably progresses into worship on the formless or Jnana Yoga.

To this effect, Sitaram produced invaluable works of Jnanayoga. Among these are commentaries on Ashtavakra Samhita, Brahmasutra (Brahmanusandhana), Bhagawad Gita (Pranava Prem Piyush). These works par excellence of Sitaram, deal with the Jnana yoga in its accurate form. The venerable author brings the exegesis to a grand conclusion, illustrating the states   of ‘Soham’, ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ and ‘Tavaasmi’ at their conclusion with the final attainment, the Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Just as fire burns away a pile of wood, brahma jnana burns away to ashes all the sanskaras, made up by the good and bad deeds. The jnani now realizes that here is nothing except the pure Truth, all else being illusory. Sitaram’s life was a living example of such realization.

Sitaram’s chief contribution in Jnana yoga is his theory, ‘Pranavavaad’. This philosophy of Aumkarvaad is unprecedented and original, and yet, the concept of Aumkar ubiquitously prevails in the scriptures of all religions. Sitaram’s novel or innovative proposal is that the Aumkar is simultaneously the Aparabrahma and the Parabrahma. The Universe is born, is preserved, and is destroyed in the Aumkar.
Bhagavad Gita says: Aum iti eka aksharam brahma vyaharan mam anusmaran I Yah prayati tyajan deham sah yati paramam gatim (Chapter 8, sloka 13)

All the gates of the body closed, the mind confined within the heart, having fixed his life energy in the head, engaged in firm yoga; uttering the one-syllabled ‘Om’, Brahman, thinking of Me, he who departs, leaving the body, attains the Supreme Goal.

Similarly Katha Upanishad (1-2-15) also says:

Sarve veda yat padamamananti tapamsi sarvani cha yad vadanti, yadichchanto  brahmacharyam charanti, tat te padam samgrahena braveemy om ityetat

The answer to the question booms at the core of Nachiketas. “That subtle principle, which the Vedas attempt to elaborate, which is brought forth with greater and greater clarity by austerities, which is being pursued by seekers by following the path of brahmacharya, is represented by the word ‘AUM’.
Bhagavad Gita too speaks of the Aumkar in like terms.

The Bible says, “In the beginning was the word…” The Japji of the Sikh religion says, “Aum sati naam kartaa purakhu”.

Sitaram attained the Aumkar both as Aparabrahma and Parabrahma; he also instituted the sadhana of Aumkar for those eligible for it. Many of his disciples attained the Aumkar by sadhana of singing and chanting of bhajan and Naam. Sitaram being a servant of Sitaram became a Master of Aumkar.