Impressions

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

I'm not qualified to describe any impressions of Sita Kalyanam, but I have derived some understanding, some insight, from this celebration, some of which I can talk about. After all, what is an impression? If you go by the definition of the word, impressions are imprints of an event imposing themselves upon the mind.

I did have certain impressions. Last night, for example, I was dreaming in four levels at the same time. Of course, my body was fast asleep and everything was happening in my mind. At one level I was seeing all the people living here at Ganga Darshan, and at that level in my mind I was awake. At a second level in my dream I was talking with the yoginis. Simultaneously, on a third level I was aware of a visual picture of the crowd that we all saw at the wedding of Sita and Rama. I was dreaming of all the good luck kits, all the shirts, shawls, shoes, cosmetics and ornaments that we were packing till late that night. In my mind I was seeing all the gold and silver that people had brought and that had been packed. At a fourth level I was seeing Paramahamsaji sitting in his seat, singing and delivering his message. So it was seeing four dreams together.

In the back of my mind I was aware that I was having the four dreams and that I was sleeping, I was not awake. It was a strong impression, which had the feeling, which had the work, which had the association. The feeling was the crowd of people; the work was tying up the bundles; the association was with these people and with the object of devotion, Paramahamsaji sitting on his tiger skin in all his regalia. Four dreams in one dream. The feeling was there, the impression was there, and all those things are like imprints of an event on the surface of my mind.

Attachment and self-restraint

My first understanding was about attachment. As spiritual aspirants we talk of renunciation, vairagya, control of the senses and mind and many other different things. Fine. They are to be perfected till we are able to control ourselves, but after personal control, personal samyam, restraint, has been attained then we have to loosen the reins again.

You see, when you first jump on a horse it takes a few seconds to get a grip of the reins and to find your balance. The first thing you do when you mount the horse is to pull the reins to make the horse quiet. After you have adjusted yourself and you feel in control of the horse then you loosen the reins again. The horse begins to walk, then slowly you can make it trot and then slowly you can make it canter, run; you can do all kinds of things.

Similarly, in our lives too the first thing which we need to learn is restraint. After vairagya, detachment, is perfected towards all the crazy things in life then we again become attached. We let everything go free again, but this time there is greater control, a clear direction and a definite aim. First we are aimless then we have one aim. First we are selfish then we become selfless. First we are conditioned to think in a certain pattern, later unconditional expressions begin to happen. There is attachment in both: one binds and one liberates. So there is no use trying to be rigid in what one expects or tries to do. But one should not lose the sense of restraint and discipline. That is one thing which became clear.

Managing our nature

The second thing which became clear was having the realization that people are never going to change. That became absolutely clear. The swabhava, the nature, is never going to change. You can't change the colour of a black elephant and make it a white elephant. You can paint over it but the black colour remains hidden inside. No matter how much we try to paint ourselves, our nature will always remain the same. So what can one do? Adjust with that nature so that it does not become a point of conflict. By harnessing that nature it can become a force to liberate.

Have a compassionate aim

The third thing which became clear is to always have a compassionate and loving aim and meaning in every action. Even if you slap somebody, the slap must have a mission based on compassion and love. When we slap someone it is due to hatred and anger. But it should be without anger, without hatred, without disturbing the personal self. I came to this understanding because I was in the middle of all the programs. Many were helping, but there were times when I used to seethe with rage. While I was seething with absolute fury, I knew it was not anger but a drama. That was an understanding.

Discipline is not only personal but applicable universally. Nobody has any idea of discipline. What do you call personal discipline? Waking up every morning at four? No. That can be your personal timetable, but it is not personal discipline. Personal discipline is something else which I tell the sannyasins about. So always have a compassionate and loving aim.

There have been many other areas of realization and all these areas become clearer and clearer as I find myself becoming involved in situations either because they are self-created or because they exist.

—Ganga Darshan, December 6, 1997