Dear readers, in the last few days, many of us might have been immersed in the festive season but I was unable to work on and compose my post with full attention span and ease because of the blaring, boisterous noise of the Ganesh Utsav celebrations, a festival getting bigger and louder by each year in my neighbourhood. However, my namaskar and pranam to the Lord of buddhi, riddhi and siddhi to eliminate and remove all the obstacles and hurdles on our way to spiritual uprising and awakening for all of us.
The relentless noise and crowd has not deterred me but has made me recognize the fact that we have two types of sadhana- the inner and the outer sadhana. Or antarmukhi sadhana and bahirmukhi sadhana respectively. The outer sadhana consists of rituals, ceremonies and many possible visible actions to appease and please the deities and God. Such a pooja, aradhana or vandana is fine, it is so much better than doing any detrimental and immoral acts but the doer always has some wish, craving or fancy to fulfil, some type of yearning from the Lord and they in most cases are rewarded. (Refer What is the purpose of my life? ) The outer sadhana is easy to perform but the results and gains are diminutive, short term and perishable with no alteration in the person’s present level of wakefulness and consciousness. Years and years may pass by but the admirer or devotee of God and deities shows no signs of alertness, progress and transformation. On the contrary, the requests and wants multiply with each year.
On the other hand there is inner sadhana in which we cast, shape, train and discipline the wandering nomadic mind to be hushed, silenced and become desire-free. Instead of asking, one thanks and is appreciative and grateful to God for whatever one has. The aspirant by now knows that asking tangible material objects and fulfilling gratifying wishes are in no way an answer to his lingering complex life problems. Even though the inner sadhana is tougher but has very enduring, influential effects and then asking God to make us desire less is a difficult thing to ask conversely and it is no mean task by any standards. It is easier said than done I must agree. Praying to God for contentment and peace is a very wise, sane and a prudent thing to do as the wisdom of the sages goes.
Peace in the mind is sought after and achieved by the aspirant at the preliminary stage. Before he really embarks on the extensive, stretched and challenging spiritual journey, he is like any other regular person, one in the faceless millions. The average, worldly wise man wishes to possess, hoard, amass and consume tangible objects and they could be things, articles, objets d’art or money, wealth, fame, power, success etc.
Man has been given many incarnations to live by Mother Nature in order to develop and advance his soul to the state of higher perceptions, realizations and progressive living. (Read The process of liberation to know how the soul gradually evolves on the ladder of human evolution) Because he resides in a physical body for too long during this process, he becomes accustomed to living in the physical encasement for a very long duration, his consciousness becomes gross and undivine. And contamination, corruption and other impurities are harboured in his mind during his physical tenement. All the time his mind is engaged in worldly pursuits and it is not joined and tied with divine awareness and untarnished realizations. Hence his mind knows no peace at all and is perpetually active in gain-loss, joy-sorrow, fortune-misfortune, birth-death etc activities .
In fact, all humans are looking for pleasure and delight in some enterprise, adventure and endeavour, not realising that his soul wants peace and not some other acquisitions as the primary requisite for his earthly survival. And if, by probing and introspection, one day when we do come to an understanding that it is not worldly happiness after all but stability and equanimity of mind that should be acquired first.
Out of stability and equanimity is born peace.
And the sensory world is full of dualities, happiness and sorrow are two sides of the same coin and one has to undergo and experience both the feelings and emotions. Unfortunately, almost all of us do not ever realize it even once in our long life the importance of inculcating peace in our lives consciously like other efforts that we undertake.
But those seekers of peace and self- realization, on their way at a mature stage of advancement, do realize and it dawns on them that I must now not seek and run after impermanent outside happiness and gratifications but must attain permanent peace which comes from within. Hence the mind slowly quietens down and the old desires begin to fade away and die a slow death on its own. The mind seeks happiness and joy in pursuits of inward journey primarily. After which it becomes passive, reflective, and introspective and finds solace in gaining knowledge of self, deeper realizations, devotion, compassion and other such understated activities. And controlling one’s senses and the mind are the seeker’s favourite activities and liking now. The past wandering and restless mind is no longer asking or demanding things of the world as he is satisfied with his fate and is a content soul by now. On the contrary, he carries out actions which bring him relief from its non-stop agitation and restless activities of worldly pre-occupation, attachments and acquisitions. The mind becomes peaceful and is at rest with oneself. Hence we say “peace of mind”.
The ordinary person transforms into a sadhak as he seeks lasting peace. He turns his mind inwards and questions, seeks and finds his answers of self inquiry and dives to find inner peace within himself. At such a stage, the seeker is not yet above the dualities and pairs of opposites of this ever-changing momentary and brief- natured world. The ever-changing quality of the world, the duality of opposites, create agitation and disturbs his mind. The disturbance is also caused by the inevitable sanchit karmas (the previous lives’ accumulated, unmanifested karmas ) They are still manifesting in the ongoing life-stage and negative results of past karmas crop up again and again at set phases, thereby disturbing the equilibrium of his newly found peace. However, with the grace and help of the Spiritual Masters and blessings of heavenly deities, he is able to conquer and prevail over to reap the fruit of the backlog of his past sanchit karmas with considerable ease. As and as the unmanifested karmas begin to bear fruit, he becomes lighter and the mind becomes calmer and composed, because of the lessening of the weight of the load and deeper revelations. When all the sins and misgivings of all the previous lives are burnt to dead ashes, the soul involuntarily comes to a stable, restful and relaxing state. To substantiate this, now let’s read the shlokas from Bhagwad Geeta
Icchadweshsabuthen dwandmohen bharat
Sarvabhutani sammoham sarge yanti parantap 27
Oh valiant Arjuna, through delusion in the shape of pairs of opposites (such as pleasure and pain etc), born of desire and hatred, all living creatures in this world are falling a prey to infatuation.
Yesham twantgatam papam jananam punyakarmanam
Te dwandmohanirmukta bhajante maam dradhvrta 28
But those men of virtuous deeds, whose sins have come to an end, being freed from delusion in the shape of pairs of opposites (born of attraction and repulsion) worship Me with a firm resolve in every way.
Progressively, at one point, the mind becomes completely captivated and entrenched in God thoughts by the process of sublimation and gets finer and refined in its taste, likes and sensibilities. Nevertheless, at this last crucial stage also, there are a few left over vasanas (refer- How to have lasting peace within our hearts-I) of desires and egotism or self-centredness. As a kind gesture of grace, God permits and facilitates the fulfillment of all the remaining desires so that the soul is completely freed of all its bondage of previous actions. And after the blazing of all the desires, the last remaining remnants and impact of the severest enemy called ‘ego” in us is taken to task. The ego is the last enemy on the battle field to leave the jeeva or embodied soul after a prolonged battle of many, many lives. The delusion that “I am”, “I can”, “I will” , “I”, is very thin and the very fine thin subtle layers of “ego thought particles” sticking and covering one’s soul at last drops off with considerable passage of time. To give you an example, let’s consider this.
If you have ever pealed a pod of garlic, you must have noticed that after peeling the thicker outer skin there is a very thin inner membrane which sticks to the single garlic piece. It is sticky, transparent and light yet it doesn’t peel off easily and is of the same colour as the garlic. Similarly, the last remaining egotism is so well ingrained and entangled in our consciousness and nature, also called vasana that we are not sensitive towards it and aren’t aware of its presence at all. All the same, it exists and has to be separated to isolate the soul from its pervading blemishes and patchy and itchy impurities. Once this task is achieved, the soul eventually begins to glitter in its own radiance!
After the ego is shed, the duality of you and I, sorrow-happiness, bad-good, pure-impure etc evaporates as the mind is purified and cleaned by the seeker’s meritorious karmas and guru kripa. At this particular stage it is mandatory for the sadhak or spiritual aspirant to perform good meritorious karmas and selfless acts, deliberately and consciously, so that we do not sow and reap any ill effects or ill results at all in future. We must ensure that we perform only positive karmas to have a happy and harmonious life ahead. If we do so, nature is in our favour and there is no more suffering, hurdles, sickness perpetuating and invading us constantly. Even if some people wrong us, cheat us, or act with mean manipulations, we must not react and retaliate-this is the advice of the Gurus to us. After sometime those people suffer in many ways in terms of physical, mental and emotional illness and deprivation, while our life is good in every sense. Good luck and nature will always side with people who are good at heart and pure in actions.
At such a higher stage of spiritual level of consciousness and vast knowing, peace flows very gently and reaches us from very high subtle planes in the ether directly in our heart and is sublime and mellifluous to sense, feel and touch. It is very soothing, genteel and endearing in nature and cannot be exchanged with anything of this world, and it is very, very precious. It is awe-inspiring.
The quality and duration of peace at the mental level and the heart’s level is different. Peace is enduring and is received directly in the heart centre at this advanced and evolved stage because by this time the heart of the sadhak is completely purified by a long period of practice of saatvik pure karmas, meditation, chanting, japa, charity, love, compassion and service to mankind. There is no malice, grudge, revenge, envy, greed, pride or materialistic desires remaining in him any longer. In place of all these unwanted things, there is a priceless gift of God presented to us in our heart and that gift is of permanent and lasting nature –It is lasting peace in our heart!.
It’s because the heart centre is purified and energized and it is the seat of the Lord- the giver of bountiful peace. Such a wonderful person is called a yogi, a person whose mind is always connected to and remains one with God. The yogi has peace at all times whether he is asleep or awake, working or resting although there may be a brief period of ripples of mild perturbation from unexpected quarters, but he soon brings his attention where the Lord resides, i.e. in his heart and God talks to him and soothes his soul for all the abrasions caused by external agencies. The vibration of the aura of such a yogi is of deep calming peace which has a positive impact on other people’s mind and heart. He can convert people with his good conduct, behaviour, speech and selflessness. His speech is full of love and kindness and he is good to everybody. He never retaliates in spite of someone being harsh, self-centred or hurtful. Instead he prays unselfishly for the wellbeing and happiness for all. The yogi is generous and pious and ever willing to help others in times of distress, any need and agony. And God always blesses such pious and devout souls. Saints, yogis and mahatmas fall in this category.
From the fountain of peace of the blissful yogi flows the gushing cool waters of serenity, tranquility and joy.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Om.