The Mother Divine
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By Kinkar Vitthal Ramanuja (Excerpts from Shri Vitthal Uvaac)

Two Types of Dhyana

I recommend two types of dhyana. Murti dhyana and Mantra dhyana.

For mantra dhyana focus on ajna chakra and inhale with "aem” and exhale with “Guru”,

For murti dhyana imagine a garden with many flowers in your heart. In the middle of the garden visualize a beautiful lake with crystal water. In that, a beautiful throne. On the throne Thakur is seated. Visualize full body of Thakur starting with the feet. And from time to time talk to Thakur and say, ‘take me under your shelter’ and ‘sharanaagatoham’.

This is the dream I had... I found myself in this very place. There was the mountain in front and the forest, everything like this. Even the children who were playing were the same. But there was no palatial house, there were only kutirs. I had chosen a kutir for myself and I was meditating there. You see, I see myself meditating in solitary spots regularly. It has been an unfulfilled desire of mine. Somehow Thakur never allows me to sink into meditation for long periods of time, I have to attend to the ashrams and the responsibilities of the Trust. So, I keep dreaming of tapasya. In this dream too, I was meditating at this abode. My eyes were closed. And then I felt a strange movement on my body. It was a green serpent. Very long one, and of the poisonous variety. He crawled up my waist and encircled me around the chest and the shoulder. I was not scared. Serpent coming like that during meditation is a good thing. It represents the power of kundalini. I was not afraid but my concern was this: it’s ok he has come in today, what if he comes every day? I won’t be able to perform my rites. Anyway, he went away. Children came to give me water, I told them, ‘You should not come to the kutir and disturb me; you can go and play, I will call you if I need anything.”

Later I found myself facing a pond. I was meditating there. There were people cutting wood, they saw me and said: ‘Babaji, shall we stop if it’s disturbing you?’

I said, ‘no I’m ok, you go on with your work.’ There was great silence. Birds chirped; there was a faint sound of the water flowing the river. My meditation went on deep and blissfully.”

“Thakur used to put the sadhakas into three categories– uttam, madhyam and adham, that’s the shastric convention.

The lowest class is adham (those who don’t do what they have been asked to do). Thakur thought these types of people will need twenty-four years of rigorous sadhana to get to perfection. If they can do it in one lifetime, at a stretch, well and good! Otherwise, they will have to continue in the next birth.

The next category is madhyam (those who will usually do what they have been asked). According to Thakur, these will take twelve years to reach perfection. And finally, the highest or the uttam category of devotees (who are akin to anticipating what needs to be done and do it). These will take only three years to reach the spiritual goal.”

“Spiritual practice will have to be long and continuous. One has to practice without a break.

Sah tu dirgha kala nairantaira satkara asevitah dridha bhumih says Patanjali Yoga Sutra (1.14). It means when the practice is done for a long time, without a break, and with sincere devotion, then the practice becomes a firmly rooted.

To succeed, three things are needed. Note these well. First is dirghataa: practicing for a long time; second is nairantairya: practicing without interruption, continually and lastly satkarataa: practicing with devotion. You can get dridha-bhumih i.e. solid foundation only that way.

“This is further to our discussion on how by steadily doing sadhana you will get the fruit.

योगाभ्यासेप्रवृत्ते तु शीघ्रं सिद्धिं न कामयेत्।
कालेन दर ुितक्षये स्व यमेव प्रजायते।।

Yogabhyaase pravitye tu shighram siddhi n kamaye
Kaalena duritakshaye swa yameva prajaayate

Maharaj, which text is this from?

"I don’t know, this was noted by my father, I remembered it. Basically, what it means is: When a devotee is engaged in regular practice of Yoga, he should not wishfully expect the complete success prematurely. In the course of time when sins are destroyed, the success is generated automatically. In fact, it’s the sins of the past that prevent siddhi from appearing.”

The air was nippy, one could spot a few lamps lit before the Tulasis in the houses below. The ashtottarshat deep archana (offering of 108 lamps) to Dasharathi Dev Yogeshwar Maharaj and Sri Sri Thakur Sitaramdas Omkarnath was being performed on a nine-staired wooden lamps-stand accommodating a dozen lamps in each row. The clay lamps were lit like the Diwali decoration. Each person present, children and old alike, was requested to come forward and light up a lamp.

Soothing radiance filled the hall.

Vitthal Maharaj sang Hare Krishna Naam in the end in Jaideva raga and followed it up with the Piley Piley Piley Hari Naam Ka Pyala. This, he said, was the kirtan of Naam kirtan– the praise of Naam itself!

“I will tell you a story,” he commenced. “There once lived a bee, happily taking an abode in a lotus which had blossomed in a beautiful pond. The bee fed itself regularly on the nectar of the lotus and passed its days in great intoxication. There was a cow-dung bug who lived nearby and was used to helping itself sumptuously to dung and considered it the best thing anyone could eat. It knew no other dessert. This dung-bug became friends with the lotus-bee.

One day, the bee invited the dung-bug to taste the nectar in the lotus but the dung-bug declined. ‘I am extremely happy with my food; I don’t think this lotus stuff can be any better!’ said he. The bee tried to persuade. ‘Look, my friend! You’ll have to take my word on this. You might be labouring under the impression that dung is the best fare, but let me tell you there are things far more pleasurable to the tongue in this world, the nectar concealed in the lotus for instance is one of them. Please taste it; it will be a supremely gratifying experience! Take a drop and see for yourself!’

But the bug was averse to new draught. Upon repeated requests, finally the dung-bug tasted it.

‘Isn’t is delicious?’ the bee asked.

‘No! It’s tasteless, flavourless, insipid!’ said the bug.

‘Try it one more time. I know it’s got a wonderful taste!’ the bee insisted.

One more trial followed.

‘It’s no use. The stuff is tasteless!’ The same unavailing result. It didn’t work.

The bee asked it to try just one more time. The bug tried it after much hesitation. No taste, again!

The bee was rather taken aback and a bit depressed too. After some reflection, the bee said, “My dear friend, do you mind opening your mouth, I want to examine something in there!’

The bug opened its stinking mouth.

‘Aha! Look! Your mouth is full of cow-dung, how can you taste the nectar? Go and wash your mouth of the dung first, you will then know what nectar is.’

And the bug washed its mouth and tried the lotus extract one last time.

‘How does it taste now?’

The bug did not answer. It was too busy relishing the nectar, too heavenly for words.

So, you see, the cup of wine called ‘Hari Naam’ is indeed heavenly, but not until we have purged ourselves of the impurities

One gets there stage by stage. Japa and Naam first, which gradually leads to Dhyana. It’s like the young girl who plays with her dolls throughout her childhood and sometimes even in her teenage. She’ll play with her Barbie, feed her, put her to sleep by her side and practically live with her. But when the girl grows up and gets married, she throws the doll away. That’s how it is. As you advance, the lower things are discarded.

Q. I am unable to focus on my Ishta or quieten my mind during japa. What should I do?

A. Your thoughts are born from memories of several past lifetimes including this one. Once a great mahatma said that with dedicated practice, even if you become peaceful just before death, a lot is attained. Continue with your spiritual practice as guided by the Guru.

Q. Is it important to keep a count during japa? Sometimes, when I feel I have attained great absorption I lose count. Is that fine?

A. Counting the japa rounds with the use of tulsi mala or any other mala is important, but it’s useful only up to a point. Afterwards, it is neither possible nor desirable to count. Then it is good to lose count!

On the Restless Mind

Once a disciple of Thakur Omkarnath said: “Baba, I am not able to control my mind. Every time I try to bring it to one point, it moves. It’s so chanchal (restless). How can I meditate with a restless mind?”

“No problem!” said Baba. “If you have a fickle mind, it’s a great news! Imagine what would have happened, if you were one-pointed and had great powers of concentration and your mind was set on an evil thing.”

On another occasion, someone told Thakur: “Thakur, I will start offering regular prayers only after I have made my mind still.”

Thakur smiled and said, “In that case, I don’t think you will ever need to pray. Because the reason one prays is to make the mind still.”