Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Story 41 – Story of Saubhari Muni - 01

We are entering into the next story in Srimad Bhagavatham. Before starting the story, we need to remember that each of these stories has for its import the ultimate reality of Lord. If the Lord is forgotten for anything (even the thing is devotion or knowledge of scriptures), then the seeker enters into the ocean of samsaara characterized by sorrows-sufferings and controlled by avidya-kaama-karma. Once avidya is prssent in the form of ignorance of one’s nature of the ultimate reality of Lord, desires spring in the mind. These desires lead to performance of actions for the sake of fulfilling the desires.

Desires whether they are good or bad will never remove avidya nor can they be fulfilled. Manu says that if a person thinks of getting rid of desires by enjoying them, it is like trying to put off fire by pouring ghee. The fire will not be extinguished; instead it will burn still more. Similarly if a person tries to remove desires by fulfilling them, more and more desires will be created in the mind. There is no end to the desires that can be created in the mind. At any point of time, if we put down in paper the desires in our mind we will understand this clearly – there will be infinite desires. Remove one and another will spring in its place. The one and only way out of this ocean of samsaara is constant contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord knowing that there is nothing here but the Lord alone.

For a seeker who knows that there is nothing but the Lord alone, there are no desires at all. If something good happens in the world, he is happy with it. If something bad happens, he is again happy. Though he might perform actions propelled by few desires, these desires are not seeds of future desires because they are burnt in the fire of knowledge.

Once a jnaani gets a desire to teach the Upanishads, he will start teaching the Upanishads all the while asserting the mind that there is nothing here but the Lord (thus though he teaches, the desire has already been burnt in the fire of knowledge).

But we all know and must remember that we aren’t jnaanis until the thought of Lord is ever present in our mind even while sleeping! Paramaartha (Swami Paramarthananda of Chennai) used to mockingly say that a jnaani would dream as if he is teaching people the scripturesJ. Since our mind is not fixed to the Lord and knowledge is not strong enough for us to be always established in contemplation of the Lord, we have to ensure that desires are kept away from the mind.

If desires are not there, then how can we even do daily activities like brushing the teeth, bathing etc.?
Keeping desires away from the mind doesn’t mean removing all desires – it only means that desires have to be kept in check. The easiest way is to remember the Lord while having any desire or while doing any activities. Thus if I desire to write an article on Valentine’s Day (since today is Valentine’s dayJ), I will desire the same remembering that the Lord alone is real and offering this desire plus the action to AMMA. Thus the desire instead of binding me will lead to purification of the mind and thereby to realization.

There are people who learn a few things about scriptures either through a few chapter of Gita or few of the books of saints like Chinmaya, Vivekananda etc. and start speaking about “doing actions”, “being in the world and serving the world”, “not running away from the world” etc. We have to remember the scriptural statement that the Self is not realized through many pravachanas (discourses) or by listening many discourses or by the intellect – the Self is realized only by the seeker who desires for the Self & the Self alone (not anything else in the world – everything is given lesser importance than the Self).

As explained in the previous postings, karma can never lead to realization. The Lord’s statement and the statements of few saints that “seekers should do his nitya karma” etc. are only partial knowledge. The people who having learnt a few scriptures and advising people about the same are not less than fools because they forget the essence of the scriptures.

The Lord’s advice to Arjuna to do action was preceded by knowledge that “the Self neither kills or nor is killed or is bound any actions” and succeeded by knowledge that “all actions are burnt into ashes in the fire of knowledge”. If we go to a few discourses and gain such wrong knowledge, not even Mahatmas like AMMA will be able to save us from the ocean of samsaara. Any Guru cannot save such a disciple whose mind has wrong notions about the reality.

All scriptures proclaim in one voice that the reality is realized only through knowledge and constant contemplation of the reality (which jnaana marga people term as Nidhidhyaasana); the Lord is not realized through any other means whatever it be – whether it is devotion to AMMA or Sri Sri Ravishankar or Sai Baba or even Lord Krishna. No Mahatma can save us without knowledge that there is nothing here but the Lord alone. All Mahatmas help us in gaining this knowledge if we are really devoted to them.

All sincere devotees of such Mahatmas should think as to why are these Mahatmas also unable to solve many problems (many are problems which involve these Mahatmas themselves) – AMMA is criticized by many journalists in articles; Sri Sri Ravishankar was called homo-sexual person by many of his own old followers; Sai Baba had cases of murder which happened in his very bedroom.

The above statements don’t mean that “I” don’t have any respect for them. It is only meant to show that no Mahatma can save a seeker who has either the presence of wrong knowledge or the absence of right knowledge. We as ardent seekers of the ultimate reality of Lord should always remember the Lord with the knowledge that everything is the Lord alone – there is neither karma nor jnaana nor bhakthi – whatever is there is the Lord alone, one without a second. This knowledge and constant contemplation of this knowledge alone will lead us to eternal bliss.

We will see in the coming days as to how desire can lead a great muni (a taapasvi) to get deluded in the ocean of samsaara (this is why earlier it was said that knowledge alone can save a person from the ocean of samsaara – everything else, whether it is tapas or bhakthi will only finally delude the seeker more and more into the ocean of samsaara).

We will start the story from the next day.

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