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Sathya Sai Vahini - Chapter 10

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  • Swamy Mahadevan
    Sathya Sai Vahini Chapter 10 The Yogis There are three steps in the progression of philosophic enquiry (or Vedantic thought) in India. They are the Adwaithic,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 29 9:09 PM
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      Sathya Sai Vahini

      Chapter 10
      The Yogis

      There are three steps in the progression of philosophic enquiry (or
      Vedantic thought) in India. They are the Adwaithic, the
      Visishta-Adwaithic and the Dwaithic. It is not possible to advance
      beyond these three steps by any human endeavour. Adwaithic thought is
      beyond reach of the common man; it is not so easily comprehensible. To
      conceive it with the intellect is itself hard. To experience it, a
      powerful faculty of penetration is needed. Therefore, it is best to
      start with the Dualist or Dwaithic step, and experience it as the
      reality behind things; then, the second stage of Visishtadwaitha is
      rendered easier to reach.

      The individual must progress as fast or as steadily as the community.
      We pass through boyhood, childhood, adolescence, youth, middle age
      and old age; it is an imperceptible but inevitable progress. We
      experience each only when we are passing through it. So, too, with
      these three stages of philosophic discovery. Each of these views is
      latent in the rest and each proceeds out of the experience of the
      previous stage. It is not possible to be aware of all three at the
      same time. Based on our Sadhana and the experiences gained therefrom,
      each of these viewpoints comes into the consciousness and forms the
      spring of action and thought.

      Those who assert that the Universe is real, but, declare at the same
      time that the existence of God is but a dream, are only proving
      themselves foolish. For, when the effect, namely, the Cosmos is real,
      it must have a Cause, for, how can there be an effect with no cause?
      God can be denied only when the Universe is denied. God can
      disappear, only when the Cosmos disappears. What now appears as the
      Cosmos is really God; this is the Vision that the true Sadhaka will
      get when he succeeds in his endeavour. As a matter of fact, the
      Universe we experience is the dream. When we awake from the dream,
      the Truth of its being God will shine in the consciousness. From the
      beginning of time, the God whom we posit outside ourselves has been
      the reality inside us also. This Truth too will become steady in the
      faith of man.

      Of course, there is no philosophy existent that can be satisfying to
      all types and levels of mental equipment. Each has a distinct value.
      The stages of intellectual development, or the powers of reasoning are
      different from each other. So, the three schools of philosophical
      interpretation mentioned above (the Dwaithic, the Visishta-dwaithic
      and the Adwaithic) attain acceptance among different temperaments and
      different groups of people. Therefore, no one school has the right to
      claim superiority and impute inferiority. Only those who are unwise
      will resort to such tactics.

      When people approach us with fanatic views, we must meet them with a
      smile, eager and yearning, filled with devotion to God. One can get
      intoxicated, of course, but, only as a result of quaffing the wine of
      Prema. When some one who is frantic for work approaches us we must
      share with him our skill and strength and join with him in work. By
      this means, it is possible to bring harmony between followers of
      various faiths and philosophic thoughts. It will bring together
      schools of thought and belief. If only this principle of harmony and
      harmonious co-operation had become a permanent asset of each man, how
      excellent it would be? How happy the world would have been, if every
      one had this knowledge that his view point can at best be only
      partial and that it requires the harmonious commingling of many other
      facets to posit Truth?

      Yoga means 'coming together'. In India, where yoga is flowing in the
      veins of every one since ages, it is possible to have the harmonious
      co-existence of many faiths and beliefs, which is the ideal type of
      Universal Religion. Those who can heroically put their faith into
      daily living can accomplish this 'together-ness' in the human
      community. Togetherness or Union can be established between one's
      outer behaviour and inner nature. The Sadhaka, intent on the path of
      Prema, can strive for Union between himself and the embodiment of
      Prema, namely, God. The Vedantin can achieve the Union of all that is
      in the one concept of God. The path of Yoga is designated differently
      in Sanskrit under different contexts; but, those who are able to
      conceive and execute the Union are revered as Yogis.

      Those who strive through activities and achievements to establish the
      Union are the Karma-yogis; those who follow the Prema path, are the
      Bhakthi-yogis; those who strive to manifest their latent powers and
      canalise them are the Raja-yogis; those who stick to logical analysis
      and rational interpretations and attain intuitive perception are the
      Jnana-yogis. In the Bharathiya spiritual history, these four types
      recur again and again.

      First, the Karma Yogi. He adopts the path of establishing union with
      Godhead by elevating and sublimating acts. We meet in the world many
      who seem to have been born, just to accomplish one particular mission
      or project. Their intellect is not satisfied with mere imagination or
      planning. Their minds will be full of actual concrete achievements
      which they yearn to realise. For such people, a guide-book or Sastra
      is needed to direct them along beneficial paths. Every one in the
      world is seen engaged in some activity or other, all the time. Yet,
      very few know the significance and worth-whileness of Karma; or, how
      best to realise the best results out of this inescapable trait.
      Hence, life is being made banal and barren. Karma-yoga teaches man
      the awareness of this significance and guides him along to achieve
      the maximum benefit out of the activity. Where, when and how Karma
      has to be done, how spiritual urges can reinforce strength of mind in
      the performance of Karma, and how Karma is to be taken up so that
      spiritual development can result - these are taught to us by the
      Karma-yoga.

      There is one great objection raised by some people about this and we
      have to pay some attention to it. The objection is that Karma Yoga
      involves too much physical strain. But, basically, it is the company
      that one keeps that decides the strain and the stress that the mind
      and the body of man are subjected to. "I like very much to engage
      myself in only this task"; "I sought only to do good to him, but, he
      ignored my desire and tried to injure me"; these are the usual causes
      for the strain and stress mentioned above. Such disappointment makes
      one lose interest in activity. It wants to do good and it seeks to do
      good to some one in some way, hoping to derive joy therefrom and
      distribute joy. When such joy does not arise, despair sets in.

      But, without getting attached, without being aware as to whom the
      Karma helps or how, the lesson that Karma Yoga teaches is - do the
      Karma, as Karma, for the sake of the Karma. Why does the Karma-yogi
      fill his hands with work? That is his real nature; he feels that he
      is happy, while doing work. That is all. He does not bargain for
      results; he is not urged by any calculation. He gives, but never
      receives. He knows no grief, no disappointment; for he has not hoped
      for any benefit.

      The second Path: Bhakthi-yoga. This is congenial for those who are
      emotionally oriented. It is the path for those capable of filling
      their hearts with Love. The urge is to have God as the Beloved. His
      activities will be different, for they relate to incense-burning,
      gathering flowers for worship, building shrines and temples where he
      could install and adore symbols of Beauty, Wisdom and Power.

      Are you inclined to remark that this is not the right means of
      achieving union with Divinity? Remember that saints and sages, great
      spiritual leaders and guides throughout the world have emerged just
      from this devotional and dedicatory stage of spiritual endeavour.
      Some faiths tried to imagine God as formless, and described worship
      of God through various such acts as blasphemy, tried to suppress the
      Bhakthi cults and in the process, they slighted the Reality and Its
      Power and Majesty. The belief that God cannot be symbolised in a Form
      is evidence of blindness; the charge that such worship is barren is a
      hollow charge. The history of the world is the witness to the
      efficacy of Bhakthi. It is not proper to ridicule these activities,
      ceremonials and rituals and the descriptions of the lives of sadhakas
      who adhered to them in order to earn Union with Divinity. Let those
      who yearn after the joy of worshipping the Form do so; certainly, it
      will be a sin to shatter their faith and treat it as infructuous.

      The glory of the great heroes of the spirit, those who have scaled the
      highest peaks of Realisation, and those who attained spiritual
      fulfilment is exercising immense influence on the mind of mankind. It
      is as a result of a long line of such seers that the spiritual
      Message of India has attracted the attention of all nations. If India
      has been able to earn the reverence of the world, the reason has to
      be sought in the precious treasure that they have earned and
      preserved. Here, love of God and fear of Sin have been the chief
      pillars of life and the everlasting guides for living. Bharatha has
      won a name for being a holy land, a land steeped in renunciation and
      in spiritual sadhanas aimed at union with the Absolute, renowned for
      thyaga and yoga. The urges that this culture encouraged were all
      directed to the conquest of the vagaries of the mind.

      Can the explanations offered by this culture on the nature and
      characteristics of Reality be palatable to those afflicted by agitated
      feelings and passion? To the great builders of this culture, God was
      tangible Truth, the one and Only Real Fact, the Goal of their entire
      Love. So, the inheritors and followers of this culture treat the
      nihilist arguments based on the inescapably limited 'reason' as the
      fool is treated in the story. The fool saw an idol, and eager to
      discover the God he broke it to pieces with a hammer!

      The Bhakthi Yoga will teach such people the path of Love. It will tell
      them not to love with a view to gain profit. Love all; love all as you
      love yourselves. No harm can come to you then. It will only spread joy
      and happiness to all. God is present in all beings as love. So the
      Love is directed to and accepted by, not the individual but by God
      who is resident there. The seeker of God who relies on the path of
      devotion and dedication soon becomes aware of this fact.

      Some love God as the Mother, some others as the Father, and some love
      God as 'dearest and closest Friend'. There are others who regard God
      as the Beloved, the Only desired Goal. They all endeavour to merge
      their Love with the Ocean of Love that God is. Wherever Love is
      evident, take it that it is God's own Love. God is the greatest Lover
      of mankind. Therefore, when any one decides to serve man whom He
      loves, God showers Grace in plenty. When the human heart melts at the
      suffering of others and expands as a result of that sympathy, believe
      that God is present there. That is the sign of the validity of the
      path of devotion, the Bhakthi Yoga.

      Now, about Rajayoga: Rajayoga means the process of establishing
      mastery over the mind. One need not surrender one's intellect or
      follow the guidelines of religious leaders. There is no chance of
      being misled or mistaken. At every step, one has to rely on one's own
      intellect and experience, as tested by oneself.

      Every being has three varieties of instruments for acquiring
      knowledge, and through that knowledge, wisdom. The fact
      is 'instinctive'; this is very strong, active and advanced in
      animals. This is the earliest, the lowest and therefore, the least
      beneficial of the three. The second is the 'rational', the instrument
      that seeks the cause and the effect thereof. This is most evident in
      man. The instinct can operate only in the limited field of senses and
      sensory experiences. In man the instinctive knowledge is largely
      subordinated by the rational instruments. The limits of the rational
      are very thin; reason can range over vastly wider fields. In spite of
      this, reason too is capable of very poor performance only; its reach
      is restricted. It can proceed only a certain distance. It cannot
      venture further. The road that logic takes is not straight. It is
      more circular, returning again and again, to the place where it
      started from.

      Take for example, our knowledge of the objective world, of the
      elements and energies that compose it. That which urges and prompts
      the objective world and its components does not stop with just this
      much. It absorbs also that which is immanent outside the objective
      world. And so, the extent that reason can spread over and explain is
      as the 'consciousness' that is imprisoned in the tiny molecule, as
      compared with the vastness and grandeur of the transcendent fullness.

      For us to go across the boundaries of reason into this full, free
      realm of intuition, certain spiritual exercises and disciplines are
      essential. They can be grouped under the name, God-propelled Jnana.
      For, we have only three stages of Jnana - Sahajajnana (Native,
      derived from the senses of action and perception), Yukti-yuktajnana
      (Knowledge derived by the process of discrimination and evaluation),
      and Iswaraprerithajnana (God- induced knowledge gained through Grace
      by inner vision or intuition). The first of these is the knowledge
      possessed by animals; the second is the characteristic of man and the
      third is the special treasure of high-souled individuals. It is
      possible for everyone to foster, cultivate and develop the seedlings
      of this third Jnana. For, the capacity is latent in all.

      Another fact also has to be borne in mind. The three are stages of
      growth and so not three mutually exclusive types of knowledge. The
      Iswaraprerithajnana will not contradict the yukti-yuktajnana; it will
      only bring to light what is unmanifest in the yukti-yuktajnana. The
      later stage only confirms and elaborates the previous ones. Afflicted
      by the vagaries of the mind and its fancies, some take their distorted
      attitudes as God given or Grace-induced. And, they may even call upon
      others to heed their counsel. They lead men astray by their barren
      guidance. These morons announce that their absurd prattle is
      God-propelled.

      True teaching can never be counter to the yukti-yuktajnana, the
      conclusion arrived at by discrimination and evaluation. The Yogas
      mentioned above are all established in consonance with this view.
      Rajayoga has to be practised mostly by the mind and its resolution.
      This is a vast subject and so, we shall consider here only its
      central theme. It is something that is the only refuge for the lowest
      of the low and the highest of the Yogis - namely, single-pointed
      meditation. For the person engaged in research in a laboratory, for
      one walking along a road, or for a scholar reading a book, or an
      individual writing a letter, or driving a car, the concentration of
      all their attention on the articles before them and the activity they
      are engaged in is very important. He understands the nature and
      peculiarities of the object he is handling. The more intense your
      concentration, the more successful will be your activity. When the
      mental abilities are focussed on one effort, knowledge can be
      acquired quicker and from a wider field. And, that is the only way by
      which knowledge can be earned.

      Concentration will enable one, whoever he is, whatever the activity he
      is engaged in, to finish it much better than otherwise. Whether in
      material assignments, or in ordinary day-to-day work or in spiritual
      Sadhana, concentration of mental energies is a must, if success is to
      be achieved. It is the key that can open the treasure-chest of Jnana.
      This is the most important aspect of Rajayoga. It can even be said
      that it is the only important aspect of that Yoga. Millions of
      unwelcome, unwanted, unnecessary and even harmful thoughts enter our
      minds and confound their activities. These have to be kept out; the
      mind has to be guarded and controlled and kept under our rigorous
      supervision. Rajayoga is the one refuge for persons endeavouring to
      win this victory.

      Jnana Yoga is mostly devoted to the study of principles, basic
      principles. This Universe or Cosmos that we cognise as outside
      ourselves can be explained by means of various theories of knowledge,
      but, no one of them can be convincing to the uninitiated. The Jnana
      Yogi weaves many such theories and hypotheses. He is not convinced of
      the reality of any material object in the Universe, or of any
      activity or even of any one else who propounds any other explanation.
      He believes that he should transcend the daily chores of life and not
      be bound by social or other obligations. In the vast Ocean of Isness,
      or Sath, all objects are but drops, in his view. They are all
      struggling to move from the circumference to the Centre, from which
      they manifested through Maya. The Jnana Yogi too yearns to merge in
      the Centre, the Core of Reality, away from the tangle of apparent
      diversity. He exerts himself to become the Truth, not only to become
      aware of It. Of course, as soon as he is aware of It, he becomes It.
      He cannot tolerate the thought that he and Truth are separate and
      distinct.

      The Divine is his only kith and kin. He knows none other. He does not
      entertain any other urge, any other attachment, any other desire. God
      is all in all. He cannot be affected by grief or joy, failure or
      success. He sees and experiences only one unbroken, unchallenged
      stream of bliss-consciousness. For the person who is firmly
      established in this state, the world and its ups and downs appear
      trivial and illusory. In order to stay in that Consciousness, he has
      to counter the pulls of the senses and face the fascinations of the
      world without any agitation of mind.

      The Jnana Yogi is vigilant against the temptations held before him by
      his senses, and turning them aside, he approaches the Divine and seeks
      strength and solace there. He realises that the power and energy that
      vitalise the tiniest of the tiny and the vastest of the vast is the
      same Divine Principle. His actions, thoughts, and words reveal this
      vision he has experienced. This is the Paramartha Drshti, the Supra-
      Vision. It sees all elements - the earth, fire, water, wind and sky -
      as the Divine itself and all beings - man, beast, bird, and worm - as
      emanations from God and therefore fully Divine.

      One fact has to be noted here. If a person has this knowledge of the
      immanence of the Divine, and even of its transcendence, he cannot be
      honoured as a Jnani. For, the knowledge has to be digested through
      actual experience. This is the crucial test. It is not enough if the
      intellect nods approval and is able to prove that Godhead is all. The
      belief must penetrate and prompt every moment of living and every act
      of the believer. Jnana should not be merely a bundle of thoughts or a
      packet of neatly constructed principles. The faith must enliven and
      enthuse every thought, word and deed. The self must be soaked in the
      nectar of the Jnana.

      The intellect is a poor instrument. For, what the intellect approves
      as correct today is tomorrow rejected by the same intellect on second
      thoughts! Intellect cannot judge things finally and for all time.
      Therefore, seek for the experience. Once that is won, the Atman can be
      understood 'as all this'. That is the Jnana Yoga. According to the
      Bharathiya way of thought, the Vedas are taken as the Voice of God.
      Thus, the Vedas are the primary source of all knowledge for
      Bharathiyas. Everything is tested on the basis of Vedas. The ancient
      sages have laid down that what agrees with the Vedas is agreeable to
      man; what does not thus agree cannot agree with him. The Vedas were
      not spoken by humans, or composed by men and women. They were heard
      and recorded by sages, and transmitted by the guru to the pupil for
      generations by word of mouth. The guru recited, the pupil listened
      and recited just as the guru did, with the same care and
      correctitude. Thus the Vedas have been handed down from centuries. No
      one can determine the exact dates when the Vedas were first heard or
      recited. Therefore, they are taken as Sanathana or
      Eternal.

      At this point, we have to keep in mind another very important truth.
      All other religions prevalent in the world hold as authoritative
      communications made to some holy persons by God Himself in His
      Corporate Form, or through some Superhuman personalities or
      embodiments of parts or portions of Divinity. Bharathiyas do not
      follow this line. They declare that the Vedas are based on no human
      authority; they do not depend on any man for their validity. They are
      emanations direct from God; they are primeval; they are their own
      authority and validity. They were not written down or composed,
      constructed or put together.

      The Cosmos or Creation is limitless, eternal and it has neither
      beginning nor end. So too, the Voice of God, namely the Vedas have no
      limit, they are eternal, they have no beginning nor end. 'Vid', the
      root from which the word Veda is derived, means, 'to know'. When
      Knowledge began the Vedas too manifested. The rishis visualised and
      announced them. They are the 'see-ers of mantras' - the mantra-
      drshtas.

      The Vedas have two major sections: the Karmakanda and the Jnanakanda.
      First comes the Karmakanda and it is followed by the Jnanakanda. In
      the Karmakanda, a number of different 'krathus' or sacrifices in which
      oblations are offered in the sanctified fire, are mentioned. Most of
      them have been given up by Bharathiyas in recent times, since it has
      become difficult to perform them with the exactitude the Vedic rules
      prescribe. Some still continue in a very attenuated form. In the
      Karmakanda, the moral codes are insisted upon very much. The moral
      rules and restrictions regulating life and conduct refer to the
      Brahmachari (the student) stage, the Grhastha (householder) stage,
      the Vanaprastha (recluse) stage and the Sanyasa (monastic) stage.
      Also, the Karmakanda declares what is right and wrong for people
      following various professions and occupying different statuses. These
      are being followed here and there, in some thin form, by people in
      India.

      The Jnanakanda is called Vedanta or the end of the Vedas, the Goal,
      the Finale. The Jnanakanda is enshrined in the Upanishads. The
      adherents of the Dwaitha, Visisht-adwaitha and Adwaitha schools of
      philosophical thought, the worshippers of Siva, Vishnu, Sakti, Surya
      and Ganapathi - all accept the supreme authority of the Vedas. They
      may interpret the Upanishads and other texts according to their own
      predilections and intellectual calibre, but no one dare question the
      authority of the Veda or the Vedanta. So, it is possible to use the
      words Hindu, Bharathiya or Vedantin, to the same person. The various
      schools of philosophical thought current at the present time may
      appear difficult to comprehend or as derived from unripe
      understanding; but, when the matter is thought over in quiet, or the
      texts are studied in silence, or investigated without prejudice it
      will become clear that they have all relied on the points raised and
      the conclusions arrived at in the Upanishads. The Upanishads are
      being symbolised and worshipped in image form in temples
      and in private shrines, as a tribute to this universal appeal. They
      have entwined themselves, inseparably, in our lives.

      The Vedas are 'endless': Anantho vai vedaah. But, they are reduced
      into four collations and their essence was preserved in those forms.
      For promoting peace and prosperity in the world, the four were then
      taught and propagated. They are the Rg, Sama, Yajur and Atharvana
      Vedas. They uphold Dharma (Righteousness), proclaim the Reality, and
      promote peace and harmony by developing among men the attitudes of
      worship, music, and adoration and also by the cultivation of skill in
      weaponry and war. They present the ideal before mankind, and exhort
      them to follow.

      Whether the Bharathiya is aware of it or not, invariably, every right
      act of his, will have some Vedic injunction or prohibition behind it
      as the regulator or the illuminator. From marriage rites until funeral
      rites and even the rites for the propitiation of the manes, the Vedas
      are the guides. A true Bharathiya should never forget the Vedas or be
      ungrateful to them. The dualists, the special-monists, the monists -
      all direct their lives according to lines laid down in the past by the
      sages. But they do not now know the origin and the purpose of these
      guide-lines. If only they do, the fruit will be much more plentiful
      and permanent.
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