Your Heart is Your Address

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

An encounter with God is not a remote possibility; it is a reality but the fine-tuning of life has to happen. We are unable to do that at present.

The effect and influence of the yugas also plays a major role. The environment, education and samskaras that we imbibe and are growing up with are McDonalds, Coca Cola and fast food. There are many media diversions, and the whole world is becoming like an entertainment place. For example, there are more visitors from all over the world to Disneyland and Disney world than to any other place in the world. In fifteen to twenty years’ time the whole world will become a big entertainment centre. It is already becoming that.

With this kind of mentality, will we be able to rise spiritually? Each one of us has to answer this question. One thing is definite, with the appropriate living it does become possible to commune with God as is seen in the lives of saints and the enlightened beings of our age. The classical example is Paramahamsa Ramakrishna, talking to Mother every day.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

According to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, the way to commune with God is to give God your address. There is a story from his life. Somebody once asked him, “You commune with Mother everyday why don’t you ask her to give me darshan?” So Thakur said, “All right I will tell mother to give you darshan but you have to provide the right address.” So the man took some paper and pen and wrote down his address and gave it to Thakur Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna looked at that piece of paper and said, “Sorry, this is not your address. Give me your address.” So the man wrote the address of his work office and gave it to Thakur. He looked at it and he said, “No, this is your office address; it is not your address.” The man was stumped. He said, “What do you mean?” Thakur said, “I want your address. What you have given me is the address of your family and friends, where you live in your body but your address is inside you. If you can give me your address then I will ask Mother to come and visit you. As long as you cannot give me your address, don’t even think about it.” This incident indicates that you have to open your heart and stop the search through your mind.

There is another story. One day an old lady came out of her house and started to search her surroundings for something. A man who was walking along saw this old lady searching for something and said, “Can I help you to search for what you have lost?” The lady said, “Yes, you can help me. I have lost my needle.” So the man also started to search for the lost needle and while searching he asked, “Where did you lose it?” The woman replied, “I lost it inside my house, but it is absolutely pitch dark in there, therefore, I am searching for the needle out in the daylight.”

Look in the right place

Everybody says God is inside us but we never search inside, we always search outside as it is too dark inside. It is also said that God resides in the purity of heart but all our searching for Him is through the mind, not through the heart. Our entire search is based on equations and calculations. This book says this, and that book says something else, and third book says something else again. We continually use the mind.

How will we ever come to the realization that the divine strength or the transformative transcendental energy is within us if we are looking in the wrong place? We are just like the woman who is searching for the needle outside the house and not inside where she lost it. We are searching for God outside, through the mind. We are not looking at the inner room, in the heart, where we have been told God lives.

In every religion, culture and tradition the realized beings have said that the transformative experience, the transcendental energy, is in the heart. Despite hearing this so many times we are all searching for him or her out there.

To realize God the purity of heart, shuddha bhavana, is important, and not ashuddha bhavana, impure sentiments. Impure sentiments arise due to association with the material world. Shuddha bhavana arises when we are able to remove ourselves from the conflicting experiences of the material world and direct and channel our effort and energy to cultivate pure sentiments.

It is said that God is love. Love is not a mental behaviour; it is a behaviour of the heart. It is said God lives in compassion. Compassion is not a mental behaviour; it is an expression of the heart. It is said God is with those people who are selfless. Selfish people who desire for themselves are using the mind, whereas selfless people who have no expectation or desire have opened the doors of their heart and the divine light is seen shining.

20 September 2009, Ganga Darshan, Munger