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

Q. Are you happy?

A. Yes and nobody can snatch away my happiness. Even if a murderer comes, I am ready. By Gurudeva’s grace I am able to stay calm in sukha-dukkha, jai-vijay, maan apamaan. The Bhagavad Gita says, ‘samatvam yoga ucchyate’. In this equanimity is contained the state of fearlessness. One gets it through Naam kirtan. Remember, happiness is a function of the mind. Mind is all powerful. Mana eva manushyaanaam kaaranam bandh mokshnayo. It is the mind which is the cause of bondage and it’s the mind which is the cause of salvation as well. Milton, in Paradise Lost, says, ‘the mind has its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.’ So, you can easily say: Mana eva manushyaanaam kaaranam sukha dukkhayo, with the same emphasis as bandh mokshayo.

Q. I have a strong weakness. I have a one-track mind. When I get into anything, when I set my mind to anything, I just can’t think of anything else.

A. No problem. I’ve one-track mind too. It thinks of Thakur alone.

Q. Guruji, this one-track thing can be very dangerous, you know. From morning to night, there’s nothing on the mind except some work. And then you don’t like anyone to break that momentum. If someone disturbs me, I get very angry. The family suffers in the process. They are neglected. I must find a way to curb this.

A. What you need is a speed breaker. And the speed breaker is the practice of daily japa. Daily japa breaks the violent force of work. You continue to work with peace of mind. You know what happens when you go high speed and can’t stop at a road block. Without daily japa, there’s a good chance of going astray.

On Ajapa

Ajapa is given by the Guru by judging the suitability of the student. A certain amount of spiritual evolution is necessary. It is very helpful for a disciple who is involved daylong in performing manifold duties.”

Pranayama gets done in ajapa practice. Ajapa is the joining of Ishta mantra to breath. The inhalation is joined to one part of the Ishta mantra and the exhalation to another. A great deal of japa gets done over and above the japa done at sandhyakaal.”

Pranayama and mudras must not be practiced of one’s own accord. They can become a hindrance, even cause harm, if practiced without the Guru’s explicit sanction.”

Sahaja siddha pranayama combines pranayama with mantra. Manasic or mental japa is a thousand times more powerful than vaachik or spoken japa. But Ajapa japa is thousand times more powerful than mental japa. There’s nothing higher. In his diaries, Kuladananda Brahmachari sings high praise of this technique.”

On Visions and Other Spiritual Experiences

“Visions of Ram, Krishna, Shiva… meeting the great masters hearing sounds, seeing various sights, different experiences that are delightful, frightening, mysterious, inexplicable… all these are like the scenery and landmarks that we see as we travel in a train. The train is bound for a destination, so are we since we are on board. We must not get carried away and disembark, but remain steady till we reach the destination.”

“The sighting of Bindu is very important. It appears suddenly as a very tiny bright dot.”

“Amrit drips from the bindu into the throat…it will be experienced in due course by a sadhaka.”

Q. When will it be possible to meditate with absolute concentration?

A. Absolute concentration is possible after one becomes a siddha. One can see through the water only when the waves cease.

There used to be a great saint called Ramadas Kathiababa; according to him, one just had to go on working without expecting fruit, because this life as also any other, is coming from far - from myriad lives we’ve lived before. With a touch of irony, he said, “Keep going, work hard, and if per chance you find your efforts crowned with success before the end of your life, pause to think...there must be an error... you can’t achieve things so easily.”

As Maharaj spoke pausing now and then, one of the older women broke in and wanted to know about the methods of doing sadhana. She asked, in a loud voice:

“How long should do the japa?”

“All your life!” said Maharaj

Q. Is it true that God resides in everyone?

A. God is present in everyone. In the same way as the clouds hide the sun, our sins hide Sri Bhagavan. By japa, the sins get cleared and Sri Bhagavan becomes visible.

Q. How can one develop deep love for Ishta and Guru?

A. So long as the chitta or the mind is ashuddha or not pure, love for the Shuddha (Pure) is not possible. As we get purer through spiritual discipline, we come nearer to the Supreme gradually, by degrees. As I have already said, it is all through stages and not sudden. You can reach the highest level only through the stages as I have described before- I am Yours, You are Mine, and You and I are not different.

Q. Maharaj, when will you come to Indore?

A. I am already indoors!

Q. There are instances when you dedicate exclusive and extended periods of time for japa-dhyana or swaddhyaya (reading of scriptures) in an isolated place; at other times, you are seen to travel to different places within the country or at times abroad, for the purpose of prachaar – Naam or dharma; how do you strike a balance between these two seemingly contradictory forces; one that is inward bound and one that is outer-directed?

A. Excellent question! To tell you the truth, these two opposing forces of life are a critical part of our Guru parampara, it’s something that we have received from our Guru Sitaramdas Omkarnath. One glance at the life of Thakur Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath indicates that there were indefinite periods of time when he would be completely absorbed in deep sadhana and swadhayay in a desolate place; and then at other times, he would get fully occupied in preaching either the precepts of Sanatana Dharma or the glory of Naam.

While staying in isolation, every day, after a long period of dhayna-dharana, he would get up and prepare for swadhyaya (studying scriptures or writing spiritual texts). He would be surrounded by sacred books and his notes. Let us take the example of the twenty-month long mauna, vow of silence, he observed at Omkareshwar. At that time, he would sometimes renounce his dhyana-asana in the meditation cave, and engage in nurturing a bilwa tree outside. Sometimes, by God’s inspiration, he would script several invaluable books that would help devotees on the path of sadhana-bhajan, while at other times, he would be absorbed in reading scriptures himself. His entire spiritual life is replete with such instances – at the old ashram in Dumurdaha, Sri Ramashram, in his early phase of sadhana, and later at Puri, Gangasagar, Uttarkashi, Betdwarka, and others.

Truth be told, it is for this reason, that he never resolved upon any fixed time for his mauna; he always acted from divine inspiration. In our very ordinary life, we may not receive directive from the divine directly, but that’s fine, we can emulate Thakur’s life. Keeping the same ideal, while I have travelled to various places, to the different ashrams or pilgrimages, I have also remained engaged in sadhana and swadhyaya for extended periods. It is during such times that different works such as ‘Naba Naba Rupe Eso’ or ‘Sitaram Sindhu Teere’ have been produced.

Now, coming to preaching the precepts of Sanatana Dharma or the glory of Naam, it would be untrue to say that I am doing this out of my own desire. To be honest, right from my youth, my mind and heart enjoyed solitude. I remember an amusing childhood incident that happened in Ramashram. That time, my father, Acharya Bimalkrishna, was absorbed in tapasya and Ramashram was lit up by his austere presence. Next to his room, Bholababa had taken up an abode, in a room still under construction. In the words of Prabhu Sitaram, Bholababa was the ‘glory of Ramashram’. He used to be smeared with ashes, and he observed mauna. He hardly spoke. I was about 11-12 years old then. One day, I sat there silently, in front of the cave-room, by the side of ‘aat-chala’ temple structure, facing Ganga. Suddenly I woke up from my dhyana to the deep voice of Bholababa. Seeing me unexpectedly, he started talking to himself in a soft, indistinct voice – “this son of Bimal will grow up to be a saint. A hunting cat is known by its whiskers!” These sweet words of Bholababa, still come to me floating from distant childhood memories! Bholababa was always in mauna, prone to austerities; because of his serious and ascetic demeanour, everyone, young or old, was reverent towards him.

In the subsequent years that followed, gradually, my attraction for solitude and sadhana-swadhaya only increased. To tell you the truth, activities such as administration of the sampradaya or dharma prachar, are not my inner desires. So, who is to blame for this – this awkward question needs to be assessed by the kartaa (the real Doer) Himself! Because, during the formation of the trust-body of Akhil Bharat Jai Guru Sampradaya, when a list of prospects was created by his special devotees, Thakur Himself, by adding the name of this useless, unworthy servant, significantly altered the course of my life. At that time, though, I had little idea of what was to become of me! A direct witness and a very highly-revered devotee of Sri Guru, told me that Thakur spoke the following words: “Listen, add Bithhu’s name in the Trust.”

That was 1973. Ever since, for forty, forty-five years, the shaper of our sampradaya and the sole guide of my life, Sri Bhagawan Omkarnath Dev, has graced me with the opportunity to be a companion-servant of his divine leelas. And thus, he has drenched this poor servant’s life with unspeakable grace!

Glories to the Divine leelas of Prabhu! Jai Guru!

Q. Which one is ‘Mahabhaya’?

A. Death! How long are you going to die? Ten times? Hundred times? …thousands of times? Take to God…you will not have to die a thousand deaths…you’ll die just once!