Naham Karta Hari Karta, Hari Karta Hi Kevalam

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Please explain the saying “Naham Karta Hari Karta, Hari Karta Hi Kevalam”. How can one imbibe this in one's life?

The meaning of “Naham Karta Hari Karta, Hari Karta Hi Kevalam” is very simple. It is the knowledge, the wisdom that you are not the thinker, that somebody is guiding your thoughts. You are not the actor, someone is acting through you; you are not the performer, someone is performing through you; and the one who is performing through you is the cosmic self, Hari.

It is the knowledge of a jnani, it is the feeling of a bhakta, and it is the life of a person who acts. But first a knowledge of one's identity must come. Nobody seems to have a knowledge of their identity. For this the discovery has to be made by asking the question “What kind of nature do I have?”

You do not have to imbibe “Naham Karta” just as you do not have to imbibe love. It is there, it is a natural thing. Do you have to imbibe courage? No, it is just there as a natural expression. Similarly, having the ability to understand “Naham Karta” is the natural expression of a person who has become the drashta, the seer or the witness. Drashta does not mean being aware of your ability to witness twenty-four hours a day. It means the one who experiences it. The drashta has manifested in the field of awareness and you are able to see it, it is not a reaction.

The state of sanyam is the state of drashta. Being the drashta is technically a natural expression. It represents the state in which you have surrendered. You run your life with the attitude of surrender. This is very beneficial, a real experience, because at the time of surrender we renounce our personal things and purposes. This is bhakti yoga, with no personal purposes, like Mirabai. One has to let go of certain things after developing awareness. There has to be awareness of one's interactions in life; both right and wrong should be observed. One should not try to be a hero from a zero. Slowly, slowly, one's mind, attitudes and thoughts develop and improve. This is one of the prerequisites for understanding the state of surrender.

Surrender is not a state which can be talked about by the rational mind because the rational mind always sees difference: you and me, I and you, the duality. The dual concept is always seen by the rational mind. Until now the rational mind has not seen the singular mind, the unified mind, and for that you have to be slightly irrational. Letting go of the attraction of being rational is being irrational, and then it is accepting, knowing, realizing and moving forward in happiness, contentment, bliss and peace. That becomes the nature.

However, it also depends as to which karma is manifesting in your life, because different karmas manifest at different times. Some karmas alter your lifestyle, or your life's beliefs for a period of one month and then suddenly you realize that what you were doing was an experiment to improve your understanding. Sometimes the karma is for a few years, sometimes it is for a lifetime. One is never the master of one's destiny. Which karma is manifesting when, and what affects you in which way, nobody can say or guarantee. If you start thinking of one aspect you become stuck. If you think of love you become stuck in love; if you think of anger you are stuck in anger; if you think of depression you are stuck in depression or its opposite – exhilaration, high happiness. This happens in your life. Haven't you gone into depression and to the highest point of happiness? Going from high to low, cause and effect.

Karmas decide how we are going to be in health and sickness. Some people have a raging body problem for years and years. They are not one hundred percent or they may have an aversion to bright light or loud noises. Aversions of different kinds and karmas also manifest in this way. Some people overindulge in food. Eating is the apex of happiness in their lives.

We all have our experience of an apex. It is karma which takes you to the apex, and then it changes and simultaneously changes happen in your lifestyle too – what is known as becoming mature, having a bit more understanding, having a bit more wisdom. Of course, with your personal effort you can be stronger in the face of adverse situations. You may not overcome them, but you will be a much stronger person, a much stronger being.

Naham Karta Hari Karta”. It is part of your life and you cannot escape from it. Even on your death bed, the final moment of your life on planet Earth, the final moment before you depart from this body, suddenly the realization comes that this is the end of an experience and death is the next step. So even in life there is no continuity. There is a beginning of the physical body and physical interaction, there is an end of the physical body and physical interaction. There is a beginning of mental interaction in life and an end of mental interaction in life. Both are objects of your happiness and suffering. There is a limited area of the spirit's light which is being illumined; that is all and one has to work through it.

Ganga Darshan, 12 September 1998