32.1 In the Samvat year 1876, on the morning of Posh vad 3 [3rd January, 1820], Shreeji Mahãrãj was sitting on a decorated bedstead on the veranda outside the west-facing rooms of Dãdã Khãchar’s darbãr in Gadhadã. He was wearing a white khes and had tied a white pãgh around his head. He had also covered Himself with a white chãdar, and His forehead had been smeared with sandalwood paste. He was wearing a garland of white flowers, and a tassel of white flowers was hanging from His pãgh. A sabhã of munis, as well as haribhaktas from various places, had gathered before Him. Some of the munis were singing kirtans.
32.2 Shreeji Mahãrãj then said, “Please listen, I have a question to ask.”
32.3 The munis and haribhaktas replied, “Mahãrãj, please ask.”
32.4 After thinking for quite some time, Shree Mahãrãj said, “In this world, a materialistic individual who is attached to the five vishays cannot survive without indulging in them. Moreover, just as that vimukh(a person who does not believe in God) indulges in the five vishays, a bhakta of Bhagvãn also indulges in five vishays. So, how are the two different? In what way? Well, the materialistic person enjoys worldly vishays without Bhagvãn. However, for a bhakta of Bhagvãn, listening to kathãs of Bhagvãn is the only vishay for his ears; touching the charanãvind of Bhagvãn or touching the holy dust from the holy feet of a sant is the only vishay for his skin; having darshan of Bhagvãn or His sant is the only vishay for his eyes; taking the prasãd of Bhagvãn and singing His praises are the only vishays for his tongue; and scents of flowers and other objects which have been offered to Bhagvãn is the only vishay for his nose. In this way, there is a difference between the vishays that a vimukh indulges in and those that a bhakta indulges in.
A devotee or a non-devotee, both need sensory objects to survive. A human needs something to eat, and then what is the difference between a devotee eating food and the non-devotee eating food. Physically it looks same, but there is a subtle difference. A devotee eats only that food which is offered to God and sanctified by God’s association, additionally it is within the rules of eating the right food, that is vegetarian food and pure food, made by pure people and thus the food becomes divine, whereas the non-devotee eats just to please the tongue, and hence his tendency becomes gluttonous and that is why he won’t mind killing animals just to satisfy his tongue. Similarly, for all the other sensory inputs, a devotee seeks association of God, and rejects everything else which is not associated to God.
32.5 “Furthermore, just as a bhakta cannot stay without indulging in the vishays, even eternally liberated muktas, such as Nãrad and the Sanakãdik, cannot stay without indulging in them. Although they remain in samãdhi for long periods of time, after emerging from samãdhi, they also indulge in vishays in the form kathãs, kirtans, and talks of Bhagvãn.
A person cannot survive without sensory inputs; even the liberated souls require sensory inputs when they come out of trance, so they indulge in singing glories of God. So that is the basic difference between a liberated soul and a bounded soul, both indulge in sensual gratification, but their object of gratification makes them different, one indulges in objects which are associated to God, while the other indulges in one that it desires; whether or not associated to God.
32.6 “For example, birds leave their nests to gather food, but after gathering their food, they always return to their nests at night to rest. They never forget their own nests and return to another bird’s nest. Similarly, after feeding on kathãs, kirtans, and talks of Bhagvãn, bhaktas of Bhagvãn also return to their own nest (Bhagvãn’s svarup) to rest. Also, animals, birds, and in fact, all creatures, return to their own homes to rest after feeding. People also travel far and wide for their work, but only when they return to their own home do they rest peacefully.
Isn’t it natural that we feel peace only when we return home? No matter how small or how old, our home is the place where we rest. Even when we go for an outing and we live amidst nature or lavish five star hotels, but the day we come back and step into our house, we feel at home, we feel peace.
32.7 “Now, based on the analogies that I have just narrated, I ask all the haribhaktas a question: Just as a vimukh is attached to the five vishays and is unable to live without them for even a single moment, have you becoming firmly attached to the vishays in the form of the kathãs, kirtans, and talks of Bhagvãn, or not? I also ask another question:
Just as a bird returns to its nest after feeding, do all of you also return to rest in your nest (Bhagvãn), after feeding on kathãs, kirtans, and talks of Bhagvãn? Or, do you rest elsewhere?
This is what we need to check for ourselves, do we rest in God, do we think of God, do we check upon our day’s activities and ultimately do we rest in God’s thoughts when we sleep or are disturbed various other thoughts of the world when we sleep.
32.8 “Additionally, domesticated cattle return to their post in the evening after grazing on the outskirts of the village, whereas stray cattle do not return to their post. A stray cow, after grazing in someone’s field, sits wherever it wishes. There, someone may beat it, or it may even be attacked by a tiger. Now, do you return to your post like the domesticated cattle, or do you sit down to rest anywhere after grazing in someone else’s field like the stray cattle? Those who are senior amongst you, think about your answer to these questions.”
32.9 Then, all the munis and bhaktas replied individually, “Mahãrãj, we have indeed become attached to kathãs, kirtans, and talks related to Bhagvãn. Except for the nest and post (Bhagvãn’s murti), we do not stay anywhere else.” Hearing their reply, Shreeji Mahãrãj became extremely pleased.
Each every saint and devotee during Lord Swaminarayan’s time was attached to God, hence they all used to rest in God’s form when they slept, and they did not go astray elsewhere. We are their decedents, so we have to strive to become like them, we have to glorify their legacy.
32.10 On that same day, towards the end of the afternoon, Shreeji Mahãrãj was seated on a large decorated bedstead under the neem tree in the centre of Dãdã Khãchar’s darbãr, facing the mandir of Shree Vãsudev- Nãrãyan. A sabhã of munis, as well as haribhaktas from various places, had gathered before Him. Some of the munis were singing kirtans.
32.11 Shreeji Mahãrãj then requested, “Now, please begin a question answer discussion.”
32.12 Dinã-Nãth Bhatt and Brahmãnand Swãmi asked, “At times, a bhakta of Bhagvãn is able to blissfully engage in bhajan and smaran of Bhagvãn, and is able to concentrate on His murti. At other times, he is disturbed within and is unable to experience the bliss of bhajan and smaran. What is the reason for this?”
Sometimes, a devotee enjoys bhajan(singing Kirtans and listening to them and any other type of devotion and smaran is thinking of God), and sometimes we just do not feel right, there something disturbing, something pricks in our mind even when we are worshipping God.
32.13 Shreeji Mahãrãj replied, “He has not learned the technique of visualising the murti of Bhagvãn.”
Then God says there is a technique of visualising God, one must first learn the technique and then do bhajan, like in other task, if one knows the technique, things become easy and interesting and fun!
32.14 Hearing this, Muktãnand Swãmi asked, “What is that technique?”
32.15 Shreeji Mahãrãj explained, “The technique is as follows: Different gun enter the antah-karans at different times. When sattva-gun prevails, the antah-karans are pure, and a person can pleasantly engage in bhajan and smaran of Bhagvãn’s murti. When rajo-gun prevails, the antah-karans become polluted and many disturbing thoughts arise, making it difficult to engage in bhajan and smaran. When tamo-gun prevails, no thoughts arise in the antah-karans at all. Therefore, a person engaged in bhajan should learn to recognise the prevailing gun and should perform dhyãn upon the murti of Bhagvãn whenever sattva-gun prevails. When tamo-gun prevails, no thoughts arise at all, and a person experiences a feeling of emptiness. A person should not attempt to perform dhyãn upon Bhagvãn in such conditions. When rajo-gun prevails, many disturbing thoughts arise. Therefore, a person should not attempt to perform dhyãn upon Bhagvãn at that time either. On such occasions, a person should think, ‘I am distinct from these thoughts, and I am an ãtmã. In fact, I am the knower of these thoughts. Furthermore, Purushottam Bhagvãn is forever present within me as antaryãmi’. Only when the force of rajo-gun decreases should a person perform dhyãn upon the murti of Bhagvãn.
Our conscience changes from time to time, due to the dominance different modes of nature, so one should always try to increase satva gun by purifying our inputs and keeping a check on what we consume through our senses.
Although, whenever we want to visualize God, we should first prepare ourselves by thinking ourselves to be distinct from our body, our thoughts and we are the pure soul, who knows these thoughts, and God is forever present with me, in me as the knower of everything, every thought that I have.
Realising that God knows what we think; it becomes easier to filter our thoughts, as we feel guilty conscious about our thoughts.
Then by thinking of oneself as the soul, one can decrease the Rajo goon and then start meditating.
32.16 “However, a person should not become unhappy on noticing the many thoughts which arise when rajo-gun prevails. After all, the antah-karans are like a small child, or a monkey, or a dog, or like a person who plays with a child. The nature of the antah-karans are such that it remains restless for no reason whatsoever. Therefore, a person who wishes to perform dhyãn upon Bhagvãn should not become disheartened on seeing the disturbing thoughts that arise in the antah-karans. Moreover, the thoughts arising in the antah-karans should be regarded as being distinct from himself. Therefore, a person should engage in the bhajan of Bhagvãn, while believing the ãtmã to be distinct from himself.”
Disturbing thoughts are almost impossible to contain. One should never become disheartened when there are a lot of disturbing thoughts, one should stay calm and engage in outer forms of devotion like loud singing or reading loudly, to divert the mind into something else. When those disturbing thoughts subside, one can again continue meditation. Our inner self is very restless, and it is its nature to be restless, so one should not mind it much, ignore it and be persistent on our devotion.
This is something one needs to understand, so that one does not get disappointed.
|| End of Vachanãmrut Gadhadã I || 32 || 32 ||