Sayings of a Paramahamsa

Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Satsang given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati during Sat ChandiMaha Yajna, Rikhia, December 9, 2002

I enjoy being with you. I don't try to avoid you or make myself unavailable. My anushthana ends every year on the Ekadashi of Kartik, in October-November. But this year I could not finish my prescribed practices because of many pilgrimages. I went to Badrinath, and also visited the ashram of my Guruji in Rishikesh twice. I went there for worship and conducted pooja, then visited many other places, including Vaishnav Devi near Jammu, which is a very important shrine of the Vaishnava sect. The comparable shrine of the Shakta sect is Kamakhya in Guwahati, Assam, which is considered to be the supreme seat of Shakti. Going to this place and that place, there was a gap in my sadhana of about thirty-five days. I could complete all the practices only yesterday morning, and so today I am here. So I don't try to avoid people; I live with the people, and I don't apologise for my absence.

108 Kumaris

People often ask why the number 108 is auspicious. Actually, it is not 108; it is one - cipher - eight. One represents Purusha; eight represents Prakriti, the eightfold nature, and cipher represents blank, void or shoonya. When Purusha and Prakriti come together, there is creation. Eight plus one is nine. Now, if you take all the multiples of nine: 9x2=18, 9x3=27, 9x4=36, 9x5=45, each total is nine! All the multiplications of nine are nine and it never changes. Whether duality or destruction is there, the universe, the creation, continues. But remember there is no beginning and no end to this creation. There will not be a day when there is no creation. It was, it is and it will be. So it is exactly 108. One represents Purusha and eight Prakriti, but to separate Prakriti from Purusha, you bring in the situation of vacuum, shoonya, non-existence, no mind. That is yoga. The number 108 represents the process of yoga, separation of Purusha from Prakriti by creating a state of vacuum, which is called dhyana or samadhi. The cipher means zero, and zero means there is nothing. When the mind becomes quiet, there are no ripples. The state of shoonya arises when the mind is totally devoid of every experience: conscious, subconscious and unconscious. So, shoonya separates Purusha from Prakriti, samadhi separates Purusha from Prakriti, and that is the significance of one - zero - eight.

One hundred and eight girls will be worshipped in the Kumari Poojan, which will be performed here today. One hundred and eight represents the separation of Purusha and Prakriti. These children are mostly from our locality, but one is from France, one from New Zealand and one from the USA. Two of these are the children of sannyasins. Of course, I don't ask sannyasins to produce children because the population is already up to five or six billion. If all the sannyasins in India and the monks and nuns in the West were to start producing, the population would be up to seven billion in no time. Sannyasins are the family planning officers. We do not need sannyasa in order to realize God, because God can be realized anywhere, but sannyasa is necessary in order to create balance and control in the world.

At the same time, if a sannyasin should reproduce, the quality of this child will be better. I am not encouraging the sannyasins to have children, rather I would say, please don't do it. The quality of progeny is influenced by changes in the DNA, as a result of the thinking and living patterns of man. You can also alter your DNA by changing your lifestyle and way of thinking. These genetic changes take place through sannyasa. A sannyasin is a genetic engineer. He changes his prarabdha and his entire genetic personality. All the sannyasins are undergoing a process of genetic alteration. If you don't know about this, you can study genetic science. What is DNA? How does it change? How does it evolve? How does it permute and combine? So these two children are born of sannyasins. I hope they will become sannyasins again.

Agricultural society

We are starting an agricultural movement here in Rikhia. The best form of society is a prosperous agricultural society. This is a very sustainable society whereas an industrial society is not. In the long term, industrial fallout will be very harmful to the environment and to the health of the people. Of course, we cannot change this situation, but we can definitely express our opinion. I always feel that agriculture must be given prime importance throughout the world. Governments should concentrate on agriculture and promote an agricultural rural society. Rural society is a very important section of our world which all the nations worldwide have neglected.

An agricultural program called Sivananda Sarovar has developed behind this ashram on land donated by the local people. We have already planted medicinal herbs for ordinary illnesses. Strong medicines, like antibiotics, are generally not needed here, except for emergencies. There are plenty of herbs for most of the common illnesses, like coughs and colds, stomach aches, itching and weakness. Many remedies can be prepared from ginger, onion, garlic and different types of leaves. The plants, leaves, bark, roots, flowers and fruits all have great medicinal value. Since all of us are now dependent on readymade medicines, we have forgotten practically everything about home remedies. We can't even identify the most common medicinal plants. There may be plants growing in our own garden or in the garden next door which can be used as medicine for our illnesses, but we don't even know about them.

So, agriculture is a versatile culture because it provides food as well as medicines. We must encourage the rural people to revive their herbal knowledge because they can grow medicinal herbs and sell them to make money. Many people have sent us seeds from all parts of the world: Australia, Greece and America also. Sometimes they send seeds of exotic flowers which don't have any market locally. Vegetables are marketable here and we can grow every kind of vegetable. We gave some of our exotic plants grown with foreign seeds to the agricultural college nearby. We supplied them with French mango, and now a new variety of mango has emerged. We created a small nursery here and supplied thirty to forty thousand trees to the local people, such as bamboo and rosewood. We also supply organic seeds to the local farmers, which can grow with natural fertilizers, so that they don't need to use chemical pesticides.

Cosmic Mother

Today is the last day of the Sat Chandi Yajna, which is performed to invoke the blessings and auspiciousness of the Mother. Soon the pandits will be lighting the ceremonial fire, which will bring our worship to a close. Although most of us are patriarchal, the Cosmic Mother is matriarchal. Mother is the first and God came next. This is what has been written in the Devi Bhagavat Purana, one of the epics of Shakti, in the form of Devi Bhagavat. Adi Shakti is the original or primal mother, who was not born from a womb. We are worshipping that eternal mother who has no particular form but every form is her form, even as gold has no particular form, silver has no particular form, earth has no particular form, water has no particular form and air has no particular form, but every form is their form. Every ornament is the form of gold; every pot is the form of clay. This is enough for us to understand that the mother has no particular form, which means every form is her form. We should not say that she is formless. She has no particular form, even as clay has no particular form, but every pot is a form of clay. It is her glory we see in the sun and moon, in all forms of life.

So, we are worshipping that Mother, whom yogis know as kundalini shakti, Vaishnavas as Lakshmi, Shaivas as Gauri and Amba, Christians as Mary, and today is the happy culmination of her worship. Mother is the giver and nourisher of life. At the same time, she has the power to bless everyone but she does not punish anyone. God may punish, because the father is known to get angry, but the mother is full of compassion and forgiveness. She has infinite tolerance. The children may go wrong, even the husband may go wrong, but mother never goes wrong. The son may turn out to be a bad son, but the mother never turns out to be a bad mother. This is the teaching of Shakta Tantra. Mother never punishes and, even if she gives a slap, she doesn't slap out of anger, she slaps out of love.

Anna daanam

The fire ceremony which the pandits are conducting marks the successful culmination of this yajna. This year the prasad of the yajna was patra, utensils and containers. People came from all over the world and brought different kinds of containers. Now, the local people have all the vessels and containers they need in their kitchens. They have received such an abundance of containers over the last few days that they find their kitchens too small to contain them all. Next year the prasad will be anna daanam, whether it is wheat, rice, maize or any other type of grain. By anna, food grains, we live. So, all the local people as well as the participants of the yajna will receive grains in abundance next year, as the prasad of the yajna.

I expect to receive grain from everyone next year, not flowers, not chocolates, not greeting cards. Our ancestors spoke of five grains: wheat, rice, gram, maize and mustard. These are the five foods which are most important for the survival of human beings. Flowers and greeting cards do not feed the hungry stomach. Everywhere, in every corner of the world, there are hungry souls whose children sleep without a morsel of food. Hunger and starvation exist not only in India but throughout the world. There are people who need food for survival in Africa, Asia, South America and even Europe and North America. Therefore, I say, "Feed man and God will be fed." If man dies hungry, God will also die. Because the existence of God depends on man.

I have lived amongst the poor all my life and my habits are like any poor man in India. Even if I wanted to live like the rich, I could not because I have lived with the poor and developed their habits. You may not have seen or heard about the poor, but I have seen and I have lived with them. Even now I live amongst them; they are all around me. So this is a very important injunction to every spiritual aspirant and to all of you. Next year do not bring candles. Candles are good inside churches and temples. Flowers are good when you want to meet your boyfriend or girlfriend. Greeting cards are good when you want to do business. But grain is necessary to feed the hungry stomach and, at the same time, it is necessary to maintain the law and order of the universe: anad bhavanti bhutani. This important truth is conveyed in the Taittiriya Upanishad and in the Bhagavad Gita as well.

Cultural revival

The ritual of yajna or sacrifice being performed here today was not accepted by Lord Buddha. His rejection of this practice was such an important platform of his teaching that it nearly became a movement in itself. Although Yajna was sanctioned by the Vedas and considered to be a very great practice, Buddha refused to accept it because he was moved by the slaughter of animals, which was included in the yajnas of those times. He criticized this vedic ritual, because he was moved by compassion for the beings that were sacrificed. From that time, in India the practice of sacrifice became almost extinct, although in the Vedas it is still upheld. So, in order to perform the yajna without offending this sentiment, what we do is improvise by replacing the animal with a cucumber. In Kamakhya, however, animal sacrifice is still permitted. Kamakhya is the yoni peetha, or the womb of the Mother, which is the most important peetha of Shakti. It is only there that real sacrifice, according to tantra, can still be conducted. Therefore, if a sacrifice is performed here for any purpose, it is necessary to go to Kamakhya to fulfil that aspect of it that can't be done here. The shakti peetha here in Deoghar is the hridaya peetha, which is the heart of the Mother. There are certain rituals in tantra, which can't be done here; they can only be done in Kamakhya.

Now the yajna has come to a close and the pandits who have performed it are chanting from the Sama Veda. Previously they were chanting from Yajur Veda. According to Indian tradition, the Sama Veda is the root of all music. The notes of the seven octave scale: sa, re, ga, ma, pa, dha, ni, sa, emanate from the Sama Veda, which means the Veda of music. Next is the chanting from Atharva Veda, the fourth Veda, which contains the science of music, the science of medicine, the science of archery, the science of martial arts - all the sciences are found in this Veda. The chanting which you have heard must have been sung by our ancestors, thousands and thousands of years ago, but we still remember it today because we believe in inheritance.

In modern times, the two greatest needs of humanity are yoga for mental peace and yajna for prosperity. These two things are difficult to attain during the Kali Yuga, the age which we are in now. Yoga brings about a confluence of all the four purusharthas (human efforts): artha (financial stability), kama (emotional fulfilment), dharma (right living) and moksha (liberation). For this reason, everybody needs yoga today, even those who are very rich and powerful. Everybody needs mental peace (shanti) and everybody needs prosperity (samriddhi). For obtaining these two needs, Yajna is the vehicle. As long as the culture of yajna was prevalent, India was the Golden Bird. It is written in the annals of history, by people who came here from other parts of the world that India was a land of riches and prosperity. Today, of course, the picture is very different. The culture of yoga and yajna will have to be revived and propagated again, and then conditions will improve. These are the twin cultures of this land, both of which are very powerful and beneficial for each and every human being.

Marriage of Sita and Rama

So today, about 1.7 million years ago, at the end of Treta Yuga, the second era, Rama and Sita were married at Janakpuri, in the north of Bihar. Their marriage is described in the Ramacharitamanas. Rama was a very strong boy, dark in colour, like a black cloud. You can see that colouring in some of the local people sitting here today. Rama was Shyam, dark in colour, and Sita was pure white. So we always sing the song: 'Sita Rama manohar jori; Dasharatha nandana janaka kishori'. The celebration of the union of Sita and Rama represents the highest culmination of human ideals, which is not limited to any one culture, religion or race. I don't believe Rama was Hindu, Buddha was Buddhist, or Christ was Christian. Everyone knows that Christ was born a Jew and he was still a Jew when he died.

Sita and Rama were married on this day seventeen lakh years ago, not today, the 9th December, but the fifth day of the full moon of the month of Marga Sheersha. We are also celebrating that marriage symbolically today. I give the figure seventeen lakh years ago because a bridge has recently been discovered by American satellite between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka, and they have said that it is seventeen lakh years old. That is the same bridge, which the monkeys constructed for Sri Rama and his army to cross over to Sri Lanka. That bridge still remains underneath the water and a satellite has taken a picture of it. This is a very authentic statement, not a myth or an epic. It is a part of the history which you have forgotten, history beyond history.

Tapovan Sangeet

A new CD of my chanting called 'Tapovan Sangeet' has come out. I will tell you the story of how those chants came to be recorded. Many years back I went to France and stayed with a homeopathic doctor, then I went to stay with Swami Devatmananda because there was no ashram at that time. She brought a small piano which I had to pump with my feet, like a Singer sewing machine, and then play. She recorded everything that I chanted, even the different Shanti Paths and many Hindi bhajans. Afterwards she gave these recordings to a company, and they put them through a sound processor and made a long-playing record album from them. This was the only chanting tape that I ever made, although I can sing well. I could have made another album, but I said no because I am one track, master of one, not jack of all. So this is how 'Tapovan Sangeet' was made. But I have made one condition, that this CD will be distributed free of charge and not sold commercially.