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Then & Now
A day in Ashram




Forbearance is the real beauty in this sacred land of Bharat . Of all the rituals, adherence to truth is the greatest penance. The nectarous feeling in this country is the feeling of love towards one’s mother. Character is valued far higher than the very life itself. People have forgotten the basic principles of this great culture and are imitating Western culture. Alas! The Bharatiyas are not aware of the greatness of their cultural heritage just as a mighty elephant is not aware of its own strength.

(Telugu poem)

Embodiments of Love!

Bharatiyas are very rich people. Bharat is a rich country. It is a great land of Punya (merit), Thyaga (sacrifice) and Karma (action). Unfortunately, today the people of Bharat are not realising the greatness of their country. Just as the elephant does not realise its innate strength, the Bharatiyas do not recognise their inner strength. An elephant can knock down a man and throw him three yards away with swish of its tail. However, a mahout with his goad is able to keep the elephant in complete control. Since the elephant is unable to realise its own strength, it is submitting itself to the commands of the mahout. Similarly, the Bharatiyas today mislead by their vesture of the body are unable to realise their innate strength.

The body is made up of five elements and is bound to perish sooner or later, but the indweller has neither birth nor death. The indweller has no attachment whatsoever and is the eternal witness.

(Telugu poem)

There is tremendous divine power in the physical body of a human being. The power of Truth that is present in this physical body can bind the indescribable and incomprehensible Divinity. None can assess this power of Truth. It is Sathyasya Sathyam (Truth of truths), which no one can visualise by the mind. It can only be experienced, not described. Truth is God, verily. That is why it is said Sathyam Jnanam Anantham Brahma (Brahman is the embodiment of truth, wisdom and eternity).

The creation emerges from truth and merges into truth,

Is there a place in the cosmos where truth does not exist?

Visualise this pure and unsullied truth. (Telugu poem)

Wherever you see in this universe, it is only Truth that manifests. That there is something called Mithya (illusion) is itself an illusion! However, man relies on the unreal body and considers it as real. First and foremost, man has to realise this Truth. He has to pray to Truth. He has to uphold Truth. It is said, Sathyannasti Paro Dharma (There is no Dharma greater than adherence to truth) . Devoid of Truth, there is no Dharma at all! It is only on the foundation of Truth that the mansion of Dharma rests.

Embodiments of Love!

You have to make efforts to realise this Truth. Unable to control our senses, unable to give up body attachment, we are neglecting the Eternal Truth. This is the effect of our so-called secular education. What is the nature of Truth? It is Nirgunam, Niranjanam, Sanathanam, Niketanam, Nitya, Shuddha, Buddha, Mukta, Nirmala Swarupinam (God is attributeless, pure, final abode, eternal, unsullied, enlightened, free and embodiment of sacredness)

Forgetting such an indwelling Truth, we are following the senses of action, senses of perception and the mind which are unreal. Do you know the nature of mind? It runs after worldly objects, indiscriminately. It is like a fly. One moment, it rests on a fragrant flower. The next moment it sits on the garbage being carried in a cart. How can you trust such a fickle mind? “Mind is like a mad monkey, body is like a water bubble”. Unfortunately, today, we are leading our lives reposing our faith in such a body and mind. The day you give up attachment to the body, forget the senses and contemplate on the Atma Tattwa, you will yourself become an embodiment of The Divine Self. You are not merely a human being; you are God, verily! Though you are God yourself, you are unfortunately deluded to consider yourself a human being. You have donned the garb of a human being for being in this world. This human form is a garb. As long as you are in this world you will wear that garb. The moment you return to the dressing room, you will leave that dress. You are enacting a role, wearing this dress. Once you leave this dress, you are your normal self again.

Humanness is sacred and divine. But man today is wasting such a sacred and divine nature by consigning to earth such a sacred and divine humanness. This is utter folly. On the other hand, one has to sanctify one’s humanness. Your education, your intelligence, your physical strength and power, all these are short-lived. You have to strive to realise the eternal Atma Tattwa instead. You are not the body. Supposing somebody comes and enquires, “Who are you?”, you reply, “I am so and so.” Thus, you introduce yourself. Taking into account your physical body, your occupation, the place where you live, etc., you say, “I am Ramadas.” This is a name given to you by your parents. Whenever someone enquires, “Who is Ramadas?”, you reply “I”. The name “Ramadas” pertains to your body. “I” is your real name. That “I” is real and eternal.

Who is Ramadas? He is the servant of Rama, the son of King Dasaratha. The name Dasaratha in this context does not pertain to the King of Ayodhya. Ayodhya means the place where no armed foe can enter. The human body with the ten senses (five senses of action and five senses of perception) represents Dasaratha. King Dasaratha had three wives - Kausalya, Sumitra and Kaikeyi. These three queens represent the three gunas -Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. Kausalya is an embodiment of Sattwaguna. Kaikeyi represents Rajoguna and Sumitra, the Tamoguna. One has to recognise the inner meaning of these terms in relation to one’s own body / mind complex. The great sages and seers realised this Truth. They were not deluded like the present-day human beings. They realised Truth, lived for Truth and propagated Truth.

Forbearance is the natural quality of Bharatiyas. In fact, the one who is devoid of this quality is not a human being at all! The mother has been given the first and foremost place in Indian culture. The Vedas declared “Matrudevo bhava”, “Pitrudevo Bhava” (mother is God, father is God).

You are all familiar with the Suprabhata sloka sung to Rama, “Kausalya Supraja Rama …. (Oh! Rama! Son of Kausalya! It is the time of dawn! Get up and perform Your morning oblations). Even in this Suprabhatam sloka, Rama is referred to as the son of Kausalya. Her name comes first, since mother is verily the God for a human being. When Rama prostrated at the feet of his mother Kausalya at the time of accompanying sage Viswamitra to the forest to protect the Yajna to be performed by him, she blessed Him, “Son! May the supreme Lord who protected Prahlada, may the Dweller of Vaikuntha who took the child Dhruva into His fold, may the one extolled by the Amaras (immortal Gods), may the Lord who is the refuge for the forlorn confer victory on You!” It is only on account of the blessings of His mother, Rama could vanquish the demons and protect the Yajna performed by sage Viswamitra. Again it was the mother’s words of blessing that was at the back of His success in the Swayamvara in King Janaka’s court where He broke the divine bow of Lord Siva. King Janaka who was a Karma Yogi (one who performs all actions as offerings to the divine, with no attachment or desire for the fruit thereof) and a Maha Jnani (a realised soul) himself, held Rama’s feet in full view of the court and said “Son! There is none greater than You. This is Sita, my daughter. I wish to give her in marriage to you. Please accept her.” But, Rama politely declined his request saying that he could not do so without the permission of His parents. In contrast, today’s youth make a big show of a marriage proposal. They arrange to print expensive invitation cards with costly designs and colours and distribute to all. That was not the way of Rama. He thought, “We are four brothers born at the same time. Hence, whether it is Upanayana (thread ceremony) or Vivaha (marriage), it should be for all of us together.” Till then, Rama did not even look at Sita. Today’s youth are different. The moment an engagement function between a boy and a girl is over, they go to a cinema together. This is not good. Sita did not come out into the open till the Muhurtham (auspicious moment) when the marriage was near. Rama also did not look at her till that time. It is only after His parents came to Mithila and Viswamitra informed them of King Janaka’s proposal to give his daughter Sita in marriage to Him that Rama consented to marry her. Even then, He did not look at Sita till the marriage ceremony was over.

The couples were to exchange garlands as part of the wedding ceremony. Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrughna were standing in a line ready to garland their brides. Rama was the eldest among the brothers. Hence, His bride Sita was to garland Him first. Later, the other brides were to put garlands around their respective bridegrooms. Sita stood in front of Rama holding a garland. But, Rama did not look at her, since the marriage ceremony was not yet complete. Till then, she was a stranger to Him. It is a great sin to look at a ‘Parasthree’, a woman who has not yet become His wife - was Rama’s view and ideal. Poor Sita! She waited for long. But, Rama did not bow His head to enable Sita to garland Him. Lakshmana then thought of a plan by which Sita could garland Rama. Suddenly, he fell at the feet of Rama and Rama bent down to lift him up. Exactly at that moment, Sita put the garland round the neck of Rama! Look! How sacred and noble were the intentions of people of those times! How pure and truthful were their hearts! Thus, people gave a lot of importance to character during the Treta Yuga and Dwapara Yuga. That is why those Yugas became very famous. You should also respect and worship elders like Rama. You must obey the commands of the elders. It is only when you pay heed to their words and follow them diligently that you will be able to experience peace in life.

In accordance with the promise given by King Dasaratha to his wife Kaikeyi, Rama had to spend fourteen years in exile in the forest. Though Kaikeyi was a great queen, she listened to the words of her servant, Manthara and sent Rama to the forest due to her promptings. There is a lesson to be learnt in this context that we should give weight to the words of the Master and not of the servant. Since Kaikeyi succumbed to the advice of her servant, she underwent great suffering and sorrow. During the journey to the forest, Sita also followed Rama. She firmly informed her decision to Rama, “Oh! Lord! The husband is God to a wife. Wherever he is, she should also be there.” Lakshmana also accompanied Rama to the forest, saying, “Dear elder brother! I cannot live for a moment without you.”

Lakshmana and Satrughna were born to Sumitra. True to her name, Sumitra was a woman of noble qualities. She dedicated both her sons to Rama’s seva. As per her wish, Lakshmana was serving Rama and Satrughna was serving Bharata. Lakshmana’s qualities were highly noble. Sita, Rama and Lakshmana encountered several difficulties during their exile in the forest. All this is a well known. Once while Rama and Lakshmana were walking in the forest, suddenly Lakshmana told Rama in a dejected mood, “Dear elder brother! Why this exile in the forest for us! It is very difficult for us to protect Sita from the demons in this forest. Why should we undergo so many ordeals here? Why should Mother Sita, who was never exposed to the sun and rain so far, encounter so many difficulties in this forest? Come! Let us go back to Ayodhya and lead a comfortable life.” Rama then realised that, what Lakshmana was talking was due to the effect of sthala (place). He took the hand of Lakshmana into His smilingly and brought him out of that place by walking some distance. Then He asked Lakshmana, “Lakshmana! Now you tell Me. Shall we go back to Ayodhya?” Lakshmana then realised his mistake and felt sorry. He pleaded with Rama, “Dear brother! We need not go back to Ayodhya now. We have to live here in the forest for fourteen years as per the command of our father. I never went against Your wishes nor disobeyed Your command. I do not know why I spoke like that then. I am just not able to understand why my mind had changed like that.” Rama explained, “Lakshmana! I know this is not your nature. This is the effect of the place through which we passed just now. There are several demons moving about in this place. Since you entered a place inhabited by the demons, the demonic qualities entered into you.” So saying, Rama helped him regain his poise. Hence, we have to take into consideration the time and place as also the sthala prabhava (effect of the place) and conduct ourselves accordingly.

No text had ever taught so much about good character, as Ramayana did. Unfortunately, today several people are not in a position to realise the greatness of Ramayana. Ramayana is verily the heart of Bharatiyas. Not to realise this truth and act accordingly is the reason for all the difficulties faced by Bharatiyas today. Wherever you reside, you cannot escape from difficulties and suffering. Nevertheless, one has to boldly face them reposing one’s faith in God.

God is your sole refuge wherever you may be,

In a forest, in the sky, in a city or a village, on the top of a mountain or in the middle of deep sea. (Telugu poem)

It is only those who are able to realise the nature of Divinity can understand this truth. Today, all the youth have to cultivate good qualities. You are all the children of God! Lord Krishna declared in the Bhagavad Gita. Mamaivamsho Jivaloke Jivabhuta Sanathana (the eternal Atma in all beings is a part of My Being).

Hence, we have to emulate the qualities of God and lead our lives accordingly. It is only when you consider yourself as the amsa (part) of Divinity that you will become good citizens. On the other hand, if you take pride on yourself as I am the son of so and so, I am the brother of so and so and I am the brother-in-law of so and so, etc., you will remain as such. You have to realise the truth that you are the amsa of God, verily. Then only will you be able to understand Atma Tattwa.

Embodiments of Love!

You are all good children! You are all golden children! But, the environment in which you live is spoiling you to a certain extent. There is also the factor of the food you eat. If the friends with whom you associate yourself are good, they will speak good words with you. Otherwise, they will talk bad things and create bad thoughts in your mind. “Tell me your company, I shall tell you what you are”. Hence, you should associate yourself with good friends.

Satsangatwe Nissangatwam,

Nissangatwe Nirmohatwam,

Nirmohatwe Nischalatattwam,

Nischalatattwe Jivanmukti.

(Sanskrit sloka)

(Good company leads to detachment; detachment makes one free from delusion; freedom from delusion leads to steadiness of mind; steadiness of mind confers liberation.)

You should not make your life a ‘nuisance’, listening to the ‘nuisance’ words of others. Join good company and get a good name. “Be good, do good, see good”. Then only will you be able to realise Divinity.

Embodiments of Love!

You must lead your lives taking Rama’s life as your ideal. Whenever someone questions you, “Where is God?”, your spontaneous reply should be, “God is immanent in me as the Divine Atma.” You are verily that Divine Atma. There is none other than Atma. That Atma is also referred to as consciousness. You should follow your Antharatma (conscience). Keep yourself away from bad thoughts. Don’t worry when you get such bad thoughts. They just come and go. You should not give importance to them. It is natural that when you are functioning in this objective world with your senses, bad thoughts trouble you. There are six enemies to a human being in the form of Kama (desire), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusion), Mada (pride) and Matsarya (jealousy). These six enemies will lead you into bad ways. On the other hand, the five human values of Sathya (truth), Dharma (righteousness), Santhi (peace), Prema (love) and Ahimsa (Non-violence) are your good friends. You develop friendship with them. If you make friendship with good people, you will be called “good boys”; otherwise, you are “bad boys”. You should not get a bad name for yourself. You should get good name for yourself and your parents. Your parents must be having high hopes for you. Hence, make them happy. The Veda exhorts you, Matru Devo Bhava, Pitru Devo Bhava, Acharya Devo Bhava, Atithi Devo Bhava (revere your mother, father, preceptor and guest as God).

Obey the commands of your parents. Then only you will become sacred and your life will be sanctified.