The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

Worshipping gods, Dhyana, Dharana, Niyama, Yama, Pratyahara, Samadhi (all the different stages of Ashtanga Yoga leading to Samadhi) are not comparable to Hari Naam.

Q. How is it that even Ashtanga Yoga and Worshipping the gods are not comparable to Hari Naam?

A. Jnana is of two kinds — Paroksha — i.e. which you learn from books or Acharyas and Aparoksha — i.e. which you learn by your own Anubhuti or realization.

To know that there is Brahma is ‘Paroksha Jnana’ but the knowledge that ‘I am Brahma’ is ‘Aparoksha’ or direct knowledge. In order to acquire this Jnana (knowledge) one has to have faith in the words of the ‘Sat-Guru’ and the ‘shastras’. A ‘Sat Guru’ is difficult to get and, in this difficult age, how many persons are fortunate enough to read the Vedas and the Scriptures. It is doubtful if one amongst a thousand gets this facility. A ‘Bhakta’, whose desire is to gain ‘Paramananda’ (eternal bliss), which is the desirable object for the 'Jnanis', can attain it easily by singing 'Hari-Naam'. Here ‘Jnana’, refers to knowledge gained from the Acharya or from the Shastras i.e. ‘Paroksha Jnana’.

Worshipping gods has five parts — (1) ‘Abhigamana’ — or to clean the temple, remove all stains and dried leaves and flowers; (2) ‘Upadana’ — to collect scented flowers for Puja; (3) Yoga — to think of one’s ‘Ishta’ as one with oneself; (4) ‘Swadhyaya’ — to practice and recite ‘Japa’, ‘Sukta’, ‘Stotra’ etc. after properly understanding their Tatwa, i.e. sense; and (5) ‘Ijya’ — to worship one’s Ishta according to proper rules and rituals. To worship God, one requires a temple for God, and all the materials needed for the ‘Puja’. Only the learned can do the ‘Path’ of ‘Sukta’ ‘Stotra’ etc. How many people have the power to imagine that their ‘Atma’ is Bhagwan? To do ‘Ijya’ is to do correctly the mental (Manaspuja) and the ritualistic ‘Puja’ which requires sixteen different ingredients.

In this Kali Yuga how many people, who do not observe ‘Brahmacharya’, who eat whatever way they like (i.e. eat prohibited food) or behave in whatever way they desire, have the strength and the patience to do ‘Puja’ daily in this way? Please ponder over it. You will then realize that to worship God is not a very simple affair. Worship God after becoming God-like. Unless one purifies the ‘Bhutas’, one cannot do proper ‘Puja’, Whatever the worshipper gains by this 'Puja' the ‘Bhakta’ also gains that and also the ‘Anandamaya (He who is full of bliss) by singing ‘Hari Hari’. ‘Yama’ consists of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence), ‘Satya’ (truth), ‘Asteya’ (not to steal), ‘Brahmacharya’ (continence), and ‘Aparigraha’ (non-acceptance of gifts). ‘Ahimsa’ consists of completely giving up of violence by thought, word and deed. It is ‘Satya’ only when the thought and the word are the same. Not to steal or covet other’s property is ‘Asteya’. To give up sex by thought, word and deed amounts to ‘Brahmacharya’. ‘Aparigraha’ consists of accepting only enough for maintaining and covering one’s body. After giving up everything, if a ‘Sadhaka’ goes to a lonely place like a cave in a mountain, which is favourable, for 'yoga-sadhana' he then becomes fit to practise 'Yama' 'Niyama' etc. cleanliness (internal & external) contentment penance (Tapasya), to keep one’s mind fixed on God — all these are parts of ‘Niyama’. ‘Pratyahara’ consists of forcibly drawing one’s senses away from material objects. To fix one’s thought on any spiritual object or any image of God amounts to Dhyana — The uninterrupted flow and spread of thought of God is ‘Dhyana’. When the ‘Jivatma’ meets and becomes one with ‘Paramatma’ it is ‘Samadhi’. A person who is fit to do this ‘Ashtanga Yoga-Sadhan’ is indeed very rare. The complete liberation, which a ‘Yogi’ gains with very great difficulty and after giving up everything material, the ‘Bhakta’ can gain by Hari Naam alone. Because any ‘Bhakta’, irrespective of the place or environment, can gain the ‘Paramatma’, which is solidified Sat, Chit, Ananda, so Vyasa Deva has said in the Padma Purana that worshipping of Gods or practising ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ are not comparable to ‘Hari Naam’.

Q. Is it not an exaggeration to say that even ‘Astanga Yoga Sadhana’ is not comparable to Hari Naam?

A. No; the proper performance of ‘Astanga Yoga’ depends on many factors — e.g., the proper ‘Sadhaka’, the proper place for practice, finding a real Guru, control of one’s food, and many other restraints and controls. But Hari Naam does not depend on anything. Every condition is automatically satisfied if one takes to Hari Naam.
— You give up the study of the decision of Vedanta, the repeated practice of Dhyana, all the Puja as ordained by the Shastras and think constantly of Govinda, Damodar and Madhava.

Q. If one does only Naam and gives up ‘Pujas’ as laid down by the Shastras will he not be guilty of violating the rules of spiritual conduct?

A.It is from the merit acquired after doing ‘Puja’ during millions of births that one gains the good fortune of thinking constantly of God. The ‘Bhakta’ who thinks of God all the time does not himself give up ‘Puja’, ‘Sandhaya’ etc; these themselves leave him?

Q. How do ‘Sandhya’ and ‘Puja’ leave him?

A. If one sings ‘Naam’ constantly then his Shakti (Kundalini) wakes up. He then has no strength to do any work. As soon as he tries to concentrate his mind, his ‘Prana’ enters ‘Sushmna’ and he loses all movement. Vilwamangala said: —
Blessed be you ‘Sandhya-Vandana’, Oh ‘Snana’ (bath) my Namaskar to you. Oh, Gods and ancestors, I am unable to satisfy you by doing ‘Tarpana’ etc.; please excuse me. I shall sit at any place and I shall destroy my sins by thinking of Sri Krishna, the jewel of the Yadavas and the enemy of Kansa. I have no need of anything else.

Q. If one gives up ‘Sandhya-Vandana’ and only sings ‘Naam’ will he not be committing a sin of omission?

A. If those, who have the strength to do ‘Sandhya-Vandana’, give it up boasting that they are ‘Sadhakas’ of a high order and so they do not have to do ‘Sandhya Bandana’, they will commit the sin of giving up ‘Karma’ laid down by the shastra. But giving up ‘Sandhya-Bandana’ is no sin to them who have had ‘Darshan’ of the ‘Saguna’ God and who have become one with the God of ‘Ishta-Mantra’.

Q. Is the real test of ‘Karma Tyaga’ direct ‘Darshan’?

A. Yes, after that there will be no strength left to do ‘Karma’.

Q. But it is said that some men, who have attained ‘Siddhi’, still do ‘Puja’. Why and how do they do it?

A. Their ‘Puja’ consists of saying, ‘Oh mother take this flower’, ‘Oh God take this flower’. In this way they do only superficial ‘Puja’. But as soon as they try to concentrate their mind they lose movement and have no strength left to move their hands even.

Q. When they have no strength left to do ‘Puja’, then why do they try to do it? Does it not amount to deceit?

A. They have no independence of will about trying to do ‘Puja’ or not trying. The ‘Shakti’, through whose medium God maintains the creation, makes them do the ‘Puja’ in that way. There is no trace of deceit in it. All big ‘Mantras’ disappear. All that remains behind is — ‘Take this flower’ ‘Eat this rice’ ‘Drink this water’! Sometimes they even say, ‘Lap it up’.

Q. Can one get the state that you are describing through Hari Naam only?

A. Yes, he can, he certainly can. You sing Naam, sing Naam. Say: —

Sri Rama Jai Rama Jai Jai Rama
Sri Rama Jai Rama Jai Jai Rama.