THE SOUL-STIRRING CALL FOR A CELEBRATED LIFE…
By Mr. Sanjay Sahani
An Adamantine Aspiration
Many years ago, after I finished my education, when I reached home, the first thing that my father asked me was: “What did Swami ask you to do?” Of course, Swami had first told me: “Go abroad, do your Ph. D, then He said, ‘Do C.A.’” I didn’t want to tell that to my father because both were unacceptable to me. I said: “Swami did not tell anything to me.” He said: “The moment Swami returns from Kodai Kanal, you should ask Him what you should do.”
Any parent would have said: ‘Come, now let’s decide your future, what should you do?’ But that is Swami’s blessing. Finally on June 1, He called me. Some of my classmates were also there, and He asked some others to take up research and He asked me to join teaching. On that occasion, He asked me: “What did your parents say?” I said: “They said I should do whatever You ask me to do.” I narrate this because of this one statement made by Swami. He said: “When you yourself were so determined, what else could have your parents said?”
God’s Ever-Present Grace
The aspiration, the motivation is very important. The motivation is ‘God should be the center of my life. God is the first priority of my life.
What I mean is, aspiration is not enough! Determination is also required, but even that is not enough! There is one third thing that is very important ingredient, which is required, and that is Bhagavat Anugraha - God’s Grace. This brahmacharya life is not for everybody. And those who earned that anugraha of the Lord, will be able to walk on this path, which is like a razor’s edge. As the Katho Upanishad describes: ‘To walk on this path, without slipping.’ If a person says: “Sir, I have already slipped!” It doesn’t matter if you have slipped once; or if you have slipped 10 times, but persist! Determination is everything!
One day, God will have mercy on you and say, ‘Okay, Come!” and He will put His hand over you and will give you that blessing and the obstacles in your path will be removed. But, the aspiration, the motivation is very important. The motivation is ‘God should be the center of my life. God is the first priority of my life.’
And when Swami has come here, His path, which He is showing the spiritual aspirants, is not the path of going to the Himalayas, or in some cave in some mountain, and locking yourself there. No, He wants us to enter society. He wants us to be in the world and show how you can lead a life of being dedicated to God in spite of being in the world!
Is Simply Loving God Easy?
I would like to quickly come to some aspects of how do we walk on that path. Many people say: “Swami says, ‘You love Me that’s enough! You need not do any sadhana (spiritual practice).” Somehow I intuitively felt there is something wrong with this logic. Because to love Swami, and to consistently love Swami and to be attached to Him and nothing but Him, how do we control this mind? It’s not easy! Unless you put some extra effort.
Quite a few students in our days, used to have this love, but none of them could really live up to their highest potential. It is not easy to consistently love Swami and to be attached to Him unless there is spiritual effort. What kind of spiritual effort?
The Necessity of Morning Prayer
Swami says: “I am your banker; your custodian. The prayer that you do in the early morning is actually meant for your spiritual growth and evolution. I will not allow you to encash it for any other purpose.”
Number one: prayer. We may pray throughout the day, but there is a fundamental difference of prayer early in the morning – brahma muhurtam – and prayer at any time of the day. That’s why in our daily schedule for students; the morning prayer is given so much of importance.
Swami compares the morning prayer that you do, as a fixed deposit. The prayer that you do at any other time of the day, as current deposit. What is current deposit? You can deposit anytime and withdraw too at any time. So whatever deposit you make in terms of contemplation of Swami, throughout the day, is like a current account.
Suppose some difficulty comes, Swami immediately gives a withdrawal from the current account and your problems are solved. But the prayer of the early morning is not like that. Swami says: “I am your banker; your custodian. The prayer that you do in the early morning is actually meant for your spiritual growth and evolution. I will not allow you to encash it for any other purpose.”
So when we want to walk on the spiritual path, the prayer, the contemplation, whichever way you want to do it, the brahma muhurtam, the early morning is very important! And if we don’t do it, we are jeopardizing our future in the spiritual path.
The Requisite of a Disciplined Daily Routine
Point number two is another very important ingredient for the life of Swami’s students in the Campus: regularity of schedule. Whatever the schedule, it has been meticulously been planned by Swami!
When we are working in other Institutions, or we are elsewhere, maybe we may not be able to have the exact schedule that is possible in the hostel, but you can fix up some schedule and regularly follow that routine. There should be time for everything.
We must have time for exercise and games too because the body has to be fit to be able to do Swami’s seva. If the body is unfit, what seva can we do? So have time for everything! But it should be done regularly – the time you should eat, the time you should sleep, etc.
Today’s modern generation want to sleep late and get up late. In the spiritual path, this will not lead us anywhere. So, regularity of schedule, whatever they maybe, the spiritual routines that you have fixed for yourself, cannot be changed to - ‘today I will not do it; I am not in the mood.’ No! You should do it! Whether you like it or not, you should do it! One day, the enthusiasm will come, the mood will come back. One day, you will relish the joy, which is within.
You are not making a sacrifice for somebody else when you take up the Brahmacharya path! It is to experience joy in your heart!
If Swami is inspiring us to lead this kind of life, it is not Swami who is getting anything out of it! If all 240 of us decide today: “Swami, we don’t want to work in Your Institutions, we don’t want to work in Your Mission”, I tell you, for each one of us, Swami will produce 10,000 people! It is a chance for each one of us! He chose us, He showed us the way, He gave us the encouragement! He gave us the support of our friends, of our brothers, of our parents, of our teachers who helped us, who supported us and lead us to where we are today.
The Immense Power of Brahmacharya
The third important ingredient is to control our negative thoughts. Every human being, every human mind faces negative thoughts. Let me share with you a small anecdote from the Ramayana. It was narrated by Swami,,and in my more than a quarter century of association with Swami, I have heard it only once when He was speaking to students in Trayee Brindavan. And it is not recorded in any Ramayana.
Though a gruhashta, Lakshmana was a great brahmachari. The sages of Rama’s time declared that his victory over Indrajit was superior to that of Rama over Ravana. Because Indrajit had the power to become invisible and he had mastery over the magical art and there was no way in which anybody could defeat him. Except one person, who had practiced purity for fourteen long years! And that qualification, Lakshmana had. For the fourteen years that he was in the forest, through the dedicated service that he did to Lord Rama, he had acquired that purity of heart to defeat Indrajit.
When we participate in Swami’s Mission, the challenges are going to be so immense that we need the power of Brahmacharya to face those challenges; everybody will not be able to face those obstacles! Lakshmana was able to do it because he was able to practice brahmacharya. But not without God testing him!
Overcoming the Tests along the Razor Path
One day, Sri Rama wanted to test his brother Lakshmana. [You know, Swami is no different!] Sita is sleeping in the forest in Sri Rama’s lap. Rama pretends that He has some urgent work and says: “Lakshmana, I have some work, I have to go; but don’t disturb Sita. You come and take My place and let Sita sleep without any disturbance until she wakes up.”
So quietly they change their positions; Lakshmana takes Rama’s position and Sita is with her head on Lakshmana’s lap. And what does Rama do? He converts Himself into a parrot and goes and sits on the top of the thatched hut, and looks to see what is going to happen to Lakshmana. But Lakshmana is not any ordinary person! Do you know what he did? This is what Swami said: “Look at him! He was alone with a woman! There was nobody else. This is his brother’s wife. And look at what Lakshmana did.
'Sumitra…Sumitra…Sumitra..' he was reminding himself constantly that the woman who is sleeping in his lap is not Sita, but Sumitra, ‘my mother, my mother, my mother’ he kept saying to himself.”
Patanjali calls this pratipaksha bhavana. When you get a wrong thought, always produce a counter thought, which is more powerful, which will negate the effect of the wrong thought. It is one of the subtlest of the secrets of Ramayanam, which Swami narrated once to the students - how to practice overcoming wrong or negative thoughts, which will always assail us from time to time. But we must have the wherewithal to overcome all that.
Glowing in His Light…
Whatever I have shared with you; I share it with my students. Many of them are here. For some of them, it may be a repetition, but we have joined together to express our joy to Swami for the joy of being with Him. The greatest fortune of our life has come on our lap. God knows in which lifetime, if not in this lifetime, we have prayed for this opportunity! It has come to us!
Swami’s Mission is entering into a very critical phase and His Glory is going to multiply much more. Swami wants that each one of us should share a little bit of that Glory - that light, which is His, a little bit of that light should also come to all of us. And He has given us that call and we have responded to that call. Expressing our gratitude to Swami for inviting each one of us to participate in this wonderful convention, I close. Jai Sairam.
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