His Inner Content

Swami Sivananda Saraswati. 27th October 1950: Public reception at Madhav Bagh

Immediately after the function, Siva rushed back to the city and went to Madhav Bagh. At 6 pm the public meeting at Madhav Bagh commenced. Mandaleshwar Maheshwaranandaji Maharaj of Suratgiri Bungalow, Haridwar, who had got a very big ashram at Vile Parle here had also come to attend the meeting. He met Siva earlier that day, along with Mandaleshwar Prem Puriji of Kailash Ashram, Rishikesh. Siva spoke as follows:

The message of the Gita

"Adorable and worthy Mandaleshwar Maheshwaranandaji Maharaj, venerable mahatmas, and children of immortality! Let us chant Om, as usual. Om Om Om.

Madhav Bagh is a sacred place where Sri Satyanarayana dwells and where His Holiness Mandaleshwar Vidyanandaji had given continuously his discourses on the Bhagavad Gita. Now also Mahamandaleshwar Swami Maheshwaranandaji is giving you discourses daily. The Gita is a subject well known to you all. You have heard and assimilated all the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita already.

The Srimad Bhagavad Gita is a sacred book which contains the essence of the Vedas and the Upanishads. It is a book for all times and is suitable for all people and all nations of this world. It gives practical instructions to guide you in your daily battle of life, in the removal of avidya or ignorance, and in the attainment of your supreme abode of immortal bliss and perennial peace. If you live even in the spirit of a few verses of the Gita, you will attain supreme peace and perennial joy.

The unborn, changeless absolute

Ajo nityah saswathoyam puraano– "unborn, eternal ancient". If you dwell on the meaning of this one verse, and meditate constantly on it, you will attain immortality. You can get over deha adhyasa, wrong identification with this body, which is the result of anadi avidya, beginningless ignorance. This identification with the body is the cause for all our miseries, troubles and tribulations in our life. If we can remove this deha adhyasa and attain true knowledge through discrimination and dispassion, we shall free ourselves from the mortal coil of birth and death, and we shall enjoy the supreme peace of the self. We shall become supermen, yogis and sages, not in the unknown future, but right now, in this very second.

Ajah means unborn. The Lord is unborn. The Absolute is unborn. He is changeless. He is immortal. In reality this mortal jiva and perishable world, the changing phenomena, has never come out of Brahman. It is only an illusory perception in the mind. If the immortal, unchanging Absolute can become the perishable, changing world or the individual soul, if the Unborn Being can take a birth, Brahman will lose His immortality! In reality, there is no world in the three periods of time, from the transcendental point of view, from the viewpoint of real wisdom.

Apply yourself diligently to the practice of the Bhagavad Gita. You will have to put into practice, in your daily life, what you have learnt from the discourses and the teachings of the great and the wise. Lead the divine life in accordance with the teachings of the Lord in the Bhagavad Gita. Engrave on the tablet of your heart, slokas like (12:13):

Adveshta sarva bhootaanaam maitrah karuna eva cha, Nirmamo nirahamkarah sa shantim adhigachchati

He who is free from malice towards all beings, friendly and compassionate, and free from the feelings of 'I' and 'mine' . . . he attains peace.

Meditate on it. You will develop cosmic love, kshama and vishwaprem; and you will get over ahamta and mamata. Maya binds you to the world through egoism, ahamta, and mine-ness, mamata. If you can give up these two through discrimination and enquiry into the nature of the self, you will be free right now, from the mortal coil of birth and death. You will enjoy this very second the supreme peace of moksha.

Beware of maya

The goal of life is self-realization. Never forget this. Maya is so powerful that she tries to bind you in a variety of ways. You know it is not good to tell lies; yet you indulge in falsehood. Introspect regularly and find out for yourself! You know it is not good to be selfish; yet you are selfish. This is maya. When you are in the burial ground, you make various resolves: I will lead a virtuous life; I will do more japa, more meditation; I will never hurt others' feelings. However, as soon as you come back to the house, you forget everything. This is maya.

Sometimes the husband and the wife quarrel in the house, on account of some friction and lack of psychological unity of hearts. The husband wants to abandon the wife, renounce the world and embrace sannyasa. Again she smiles and he clings to her like a leech! This is maya. So powerful is maya's influence over the poor, deluded jiva. But the Lord has assured you in the Gita that if you take refuge in Him, He will enable you to cross this maya very easily.

Do japa. Sing kirtan. Associate with the wise and the saints. Satsang, santosha, vichara and shanti: these are the four sentinels at the door to moksha. If you make friendship even with one, he will introduce you to the others, and you will have all of them. If you get shanti, you will get other virtues. Gradually you will attain the goal. Therefore, cultivate the virtues enumerated in the Gita.

Thy essential nature

The nature of Brahman is described in Chapter 13, sloka 17:

Jyotishaamapi tat jyotih tamasah param uchyate;
Jnaanam jneyam jnaanagamyam hridisarvasya vishthitam.

That, the Light of all lights, is beyond darkness; it is said to be knowledge, the knowable and the goal of knowledge, seated in the hearts of all.

Nowhere in the books of the world will you find such grand teachings (15:6): Na tadbhaasayate suryo na sashanko na pavakah – "The sun does not shine there, nor the moon, nor the fire...." He gives light to the intellect; He gives light to the mind and the indriyas. He is manasya manah, pranasya pranah, chakshushah chakshuh– "the mind of the mind, the prana of prana and the eye of eyes." The eye does not go there, but through his power, through the power of the Absolute, alone does the eye perceive and the ears hear. The intellect and the mind function, through His power only. All these, the intellect, the indriyas and pranas, receive and borrow their light, power and intelligence from this Supreme Brahman, the Absolute, the Substance or the Thing-in-itself, any name you may give Him. There is One Supreme Being whose nature is satchidananda, ever-existent, immortal, supreme bliss. You should attain That, then only will you be free from the miseries of samsara janmamrityujaravyadhi duhkham– "The world of birth, death, old age disease and pain."

You must enquire into the nature of the atma. We have forgotten our essential divine nature, because we are identifying our Self with this body, being influenced by this little mind and the self-arrogating little personality. As a concomitant effect, we are miserable. The moment we realize our essential divine nature, we will be freed from misery.

In dream you have no experience of the body; the body remains as a log of wood. In that there is a clue that you are distinct from the physical body. In deep sleep there is no functioning of the mind either. This clearly proves that you are distinct from the mind also. Your essential nature is peace. What do you enjoy in deep sleep? Peace. In the morning the next day, you say, "I enjoyed a peaceful sleep." In a place where there is no play of the raga-dwesha currents, where there are no objects, in deep sleep, you enjoyed peace. There is no hotel there; no clubs nor stimulating drinks; yet you feel joy and peace in deep sleep. This goes to prove that you are non-dual, and that you are an embodiment of peace and bliss. This is your essential nature. If you can annihilate the mind by sadhana, deep meditation, and knowledge of the nature of the mind, you can enjoy that peace and bliss in the waking state. Mind is only a bundle of raga-dwesha, of sankalpas, of vasanas, habits and trishnas. If you can eradicate all vasanas, trishnas or raga-dwesha currents, there is death for the mind. You become one with the Supreme Being. This is the goal of life.

The way of attainment

Self-realization is the goal of life. Never forget this. Maya tries to delude you and makes you think that this world alone is real, that sensual pleasures alone are real and that there is nothing transcendental beyond the mind and senses. Be vigilant, be diligent, apply yourself to yogic sadhana. Have satsang, practise enquiry, do japa, meditate, study vedantic literature.

Vedantins say that there are three doshas in the mind: mala, impurity, vikshepa, dissipation, and avarana, veil of ignorance. Remove mala through selfless service. Annihilate the evils and impurities of the mind, raga-dwesha, jealousy and hatred, through untiring selfless service, through charity, service of the poor, service of the sick. When the heart is purified, then only will the knowledge of the self descend. You must have a pure heart. The mind is ever oscillating and fluctuating like a monkey. You must do upasana, trataka and pranayama and steady the mind. Sage Patanjali says in the Yoga Sutras (2:52 and 53):

Tatah kshiyate prakashaavaranam.
Dhaaranaashu cha yogyataa manasah.

Thereby the covering of light disappears. And fitness of the mind for concentration (develops through pranayama).

Sattwa is enveloped by rajas and tamas. Destroy rajas and tamas by the practice of pranayama. You will be filled with sattwa. Then alone will you be able to practise enquiry and vichara, and attain the goal of life.

Vihaaya kaamaan yah sarvaan pumaamshcharati nihsprihah;
Nirmamo nirahankaarah sa shaantim adhigacchati.

The man attains peace, who, abandoning all desires, moves about without longing, without the sense of mine and without egoism.

Dwell on this one sloka (2:71) from the Gita constantly. Where lies real peace and happiness? Not in trying to accumulate wealth in a variety of ways, in having mills here and there, floating limited companies and amassing wealth. Remember, nothing in this world can give you lasting peace, mental shanti. Ask any multimillionaire, "Have you got mental shanti?" No. Vihaya kaamaan! Give up all the desires, give up mineness and I-ness. Then alone will you attain shanti. Remember this sloka (4:39):

Shraddhavan labhate jnanam tat parah samyatendriyah;
Jnaanam labdhva param shantim achirena adhigachchhati.

The man who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued all the senses, obtains (this) knowledge; and, having obtained the knowledge, he goes at once to the supreme peace.

Faith in the words of the guru, in your own self. When you have shraddha, everything else you will get. You believe in so many things! You should have faith and firm conviction: there is one atma, one Absolute Consciousness that dwells in all these names and forms:

Eko devah sarvabhooteshu gudah
sarvavyaapi sarvabhootaantara atma.

One pure consciousness is hidden in all beings like butter in milk, like fire in wood, electricity in the wires, like a foetus in the womb of the mother. Through enquiry, through the study of the Gita, through a disciplined life, eating little, always loving all, being kind to all, removing all the barriers of raga-dwesha which separate man from man, and destroying this bheda-buddhi through vichara or enquiry, attain the goal of life right now in this very second.

In Chapter 13, you find the Lord has enumerated certain virtues such as: amanitvam– absence of vanity. In Chapter 16, again He has enumerated some other virtues: Abhayam sattvasamshudhir – fearlessness, purity of heart......

Courage is your essential nature; this timidity is a negative evil vritti; it will not last by itself. Only courage is eternal. It always persists. Timidity is a negative evil; therefore it will disappear. Remember the nature of the atma, Abhayam Brahman; you will attain the Supreme Courage of Brahman. All these virtues I have combined in the form of a small English song which I shall sing now."

Siva then sang the Song of 18 ITIES:

Serenity, regularity, absence of vanity,
Sincerity, simplicity, veracity,
Equanimity, fixity, non-irritability,
Adaptability, humility, tenacity,
Integrity, nobility, magnanimity,
Charity, generosity, purity.

Practise daily these eighteen ITIES,
You will soon attain immortality.
Brahman is the only real entity,
Mr So and So is a false non-entity.
You will abide in eternity and infinity;
You will behold unity in diversity;
You cannot attain this in the university.
But you can attain this in the Forest University,
But you can attain this in the ashram in Rishikesh.

After a number of other bhajans and kirtans, Siva spoke to the women and placed before them the noble examples of Madalasa and Sachi. Siva then chanted the Mahamrityunjaya mantra. He said, "In these days of complex life, those who recite this mantra will be free from accidents, will have health and long life. You should repeat this mantra daily. It will bestow on you moksha also." He then sang:

Glorious Bombay, sublime Bombay,
Sacred Bombay, beautiful Bombay.
This is the sacred land which is trodden
By various yogis and sages,
Where His Holiness Swami Vidyanandaji,
And Mahamandaleshwar Maheshwaranandaji
Deliver beautiful discourses.
To Bombay-oasis, to Divine Life organizers,
My silent adorations, my silent salutations.
My silent prostrations, my silent namaskarams.
Namaste, Namaste, Jaya Jaya Ram-ji-ki.

May the Lord bless you all with health, long life, peace, prosperity, eternal bliss, success in all undertakings, a brilliant career, vidya, knowledge, tushti, contentment, pushti, wellbeing, and all divine aishvaryas, attributes. Siva concluded his talk with Swasti Vachapa.

A discourse on a single theme

Everyone sat spellbound and listened to the entire oration. From the point of view of both the delivery and the message itself this speech was one of the most thrillingly delivered by Siva during the yatra so far. This was practically the first occasion when the people were able to pin Siva down to one topic. Everyone who knew Siva to be an inspired thinker-aloud, who would not be tied down to speech making and would invariably bring into his lectures a bit of everything, delivering His Message as His True Messenger, wondered at Siva's ability to canalize intuition.

The wise ones said (and perhaps they were right) that as Siva himself was a running and living commentary on the Gita, it was his pet theme, and therefore when he allowed his thoughts to flow from within outward, they bore the sweet fragrance of his inner content: the Bhagavad Gita.

– From Sivananda's Lectures, during All-India and Ceylon Tour – 1950, Chronicler Swami Venkatesananda