August 2009

Loving God

From Chapter 1

“God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child’s attraction for its mother, and the husband’s attraction for the chaste wife. If one feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions, then through it one can attain Him.

“The point is, to love God even as the mother loves her child, the chaste wife her husband, and the worldly man his wealth. Add together these three forces of love, these three powers of attraction, and give it all to God. Then you will certainly see Him.

From Chapter 3

(To Vidyasagar) “The activities that you are engaged in are good. It is very good if you can perform them in a selfless spirit, renouncing egotism, giving up the idea that you are the doer. Through such action one develops love and devotion to God, and ultimately realizes Him.

“The more you come to love God, the less you will be inclined to perform action. When the daughter-in-law is with child, her mother-in-law gives her less work to do. As time goes by she is given less and less work. When the time of delivery nears, she is not allowed to do any work at all, lest it should hurt the child or cause difficulty at the time of birth.

From Chapter 7

My desire is to sing the name and glories of God. It is very good to look on God as the Master and oneself as His servant. Further, you see, people speak of the waves as belonging to the Ganges; but no one says that the Ganges belongs to the waves. The feeling, ‘I am He’, is not wholesome. A man who entertains such an idea, while looking on his body as the Self, causes himself great harm. He cannot go forward in spiritual life; he drags himself down. He deceives himself as well as others. He cannot understand his own state of mind.

“But it isn’t any and every kind of bhakti that enables one to realize God. One cannot realize God without prema-bhakti. Another name for prema-bhakti is raga-bhakti.4 God cannot be realized without love and longing. Unless one has learnt to love God, one cannot realize Him.

“There is another kind of bhakti, known as vaidhi-bhakti, according to which one must repeat the name of God a fixed number of times, fast, make pilgrimages, worship God with prescribed offerings, make so many sacrifices, and so forth and so on. By continuing such practices a long time one gradually acquires raga-bhakti. God cannot be realized until one has raga-bhakti. One must love God. In order to realize God one must be completely free from worldliness and direct all of one’s mind to Him

From Chapter 14

“The whole thing is to love God and taste His sweetness. He is sweetness and the devotee is its enjoyer. The devotee drinks the sweet Bliss of God. Further, God is the lotus and the devotee the bee. The devotee sips the honey of the lotus.

“As a devotee cannot live without God, so also God cannot live without His devotee. Then the devotee becomes the sweetness, and God its enjoyer. The devotee becomes the lotus, and God the bee. It is the Godhead that has become these two in order to enjoy Its own Bliss. That is the significance of the episode of Radha and Krishna.

From Chapter 18

“One must not cherish any desire whatever. The devotion of a man who has any desire is selfish. But desireless devotion is love for its own sake. You may love me or not, but I love you: this is love for its own sake.

“The thing is that one must love God. Through intense love one attains the vision of Him. The attraction of the husband for the chaste wife, the attraction of the child for its mother, the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man-when a man can blend these three into one, and direct it all to God, then he gets the vision of God.”

On Pilgrimage

From  Chapter 4

MASTER: “There are two classes of. yogis: the bahudakas and the kutichakas. The bahudakas roam about visiting various holy places and have not yet found peace of mind. But the kutichakas, having visited all the sacred places, have quieted their minds. Feeling serene and peaceful, they settle down in one place and no longer move about. In that one place they are happy; they don’t feel the need of going to any sacred place. If one of them ever visits a place of pilgrimage, it is only for the purpose of new inspiration.

From Chapter 8

KEDAR: “It is said in the Bhagavata that Vyasa asked God’s forgiveness for his three transgressions. He said: ‘O Lord, Thou art formless, but I have thought of Thee in my meditation as endowed with form; Thou art beyond speech, but I have sung Thee hymns; Thou art the All-pervading Spirit, but I have made pilgrimages to sacred places. Be gracious, O Lord, and forgive these three transgressions of mine.'”

MASTER: “Yes, God has form and He is formless too. Further, He is beyond both form and formlessness. No one can limit Him.”

From Chapter 13

“Have faith in the name of God. Then you won’t need even to go to holy places.”

Sri Ramakrishna sang, intoxicated with divine fervour:

Why should I go to Ganga or Gaya, to Kasi, Kanchi, or Prabhas,                                                            So long as I can breathe my last with Kali’s name upon my lips?

From Chapter 14

“At the beginning of spiritual life the devotee should observe such rites as pilgrimage, putting a string of beads around his neck, and so forth. But outward ceremonies gradually drop off as he attains the goal, the vision of God. Then his only activity is the repetition of God’s name, and contemplation and meditation on Him.

“The pennies equivalent to sixteen rupees make a great heap. But sixteen silver coins do not look like such a big amount. Again, the quantity becomes much smaller when you change the sixteen rupees into one gold mohur. And if you change the gold into a tiny piece of diamond, people hardly notice it.”…

MASTER (to M. and the others): “Well, these people practise so much japa and go to so many sacred places, but why are they like this? Why, do they make no progress? In their case it seems as if the year consists of eighteen months.

“Once I said to Harish: ‘What is the use of going to Benares if one does not feel restless for God? And if one feels that longing, then this very place is Benares.’

“They make so many pilgrimages and repeat the name of God so much, but why do they not realize anything? It is because they have no longing for God. God reveals Himself to the devotee if only he calls upon Him with a longing heart.

From Chapter 36

“There are two kinds of yoga: manoyega and- karmayoga. To perform, following the guru’s instructions, such pious acts as worship, pilgrimage, and service to living beings is called karmayoga. The duties that Janaka performed are also called karmayoga. The meditation and contemplation of the yogis is called manoyoga.

From Chapter 41

MASTER: “Worldly people wander about to the four quarters of the earth for the sake of happiness. They don’t find it anywhere; they only become tired and weary. When through their attachment to ‘woman and gold’ they only suffer misery, they feel an urge toward dispassion and renunciation. Most people cannot renounce ‘woman and gold’ without first enjoying it.

There are two sorts of people: those who stay in one place and those who go about to many places. There are some sadhakas who visit many sacred places. They cannot settle down in one spot; they must drink the water of many holy places. Thus roaming about, they satisfy their unfulfilled desires. And at last they build a hut in one place and settle down there. Then, free from worry and effort, they meditate on God.

Repetition of Divine Names

From Chapter 1

MASTER: “Repeat God’s name and sing His glories, and keep holy company; and now and then visit God’s devotees and holy men. The mind cannot dwell on God if it is immersed day and night in worldliness, in worldly duties and responsibilities; it is most necessary to go into solitude now and then and think of God. To fix the mind on God is very difficult, in the beginning, unless one practises meditation in solitude. When a tree is young it should be fenced all around; otherwise it may be destroyed by cattle.

From Chapter 4

MASTER (to Balaram):  “Maya is nothing but ‘woman and gold’. A man living in its midst gradually loses his spiritual alertness. He thinks all is well with him. The scavenger carries a tub of night-soil on his head, and in course of time loses his repulsion to it. One gradually acquires love of God through the practice of chanting God’s name and glories. (To M.) One should not be ashamed of chanting God’s holy name. As the saying   goes, ‘One does not succeed so long as one has these three: shame, hatred, and fear.’

From Chapter 6

“Worldly people will never listen to you if you ask them to renounce everything and devote themselves whole-heartedly to God. Therefore Chaitanya and Nitai, after some deliberation, made an arrangement to attract the worldly. They would say to such persons, ‘Come, repeat the name of Hari, and you shall have a delicious soup of magur fish and the embrace of a young woman.’ Many people, attracted by the fish and the woman, would chant the name of God. After tasting a little of the nectar of God’s hallowed name, they would soon realize that the ‘fish soup’ really meant the tears they shed for love of God, while the ‘young woman’ signified the earth. The embrace of the woman meant rolling on the ground in the rapture of divine love.

“Nitai would employ any means to make people repeat Hari’s name. Chaitanya said: ‘The name of God has very great sanctity. It may not produce an immediate result, but one day it must bear fruit. It is like a seed that has been left on the cornice of a building. After many days the house crumbles, and the seed falls on the earth, germinates, and at last bears fruit.’

From Chapter 8

NEIGHBOUR: “Sir, we are sinners. What will happen to us?”

MASTER: “All the sins of the body flyaway if one chants the name of God and sings His glories. The birds of sin dwell in the tree of the body. Singing the name of God is like clapping your hands. As, at a clap of the hands, the birds in the tree flyaway, so do our sins disappear at the chanting of God’s name and glories.

“Again, you find that the water of a reservoir dug in a meadow is evaporated by the heat of the sun. Likewise, the water of the reservoir of sin is dried up by the singing of the name and glories of God.

“You must practise it every day. The other day, at the circus, I saw a horse running at top speed, with an Englishwoman standing on one foot on its back. How much she must have practised to acquire that skill!

From Chapter 9

DEVOTEE: “How can I develop love for God?”

MASTER: “Repeat His name, and sins will disappear. Thus you will destroy lust, anger, the desire for creature comforts, and so on.”

DEVOTEE: “How can I take delight in God’s name?”

MASTER: “Pray to God with a yearning heart that you may take delight in His name. He will certainly fulfil your heart’s desire.”

From Chapter 19

MASTER (smiling): “Why, is the name a trifling thing? God is not different from His name. Satyabhama tried to balance Krishna with gold and precious stones, but could not do it. Then Rukmini put a tulsi-leaf with the name of Krishna on the scales. That balanced the Lord.”

True Devotee

From Chapter 11

“There are certain signs by which you can know a true devotee of God. His mind becomes quiet as he listens to his teacher’s instruction, just as the poisonous snake is quieted by the music of the charmer. I don’t mean the cobra. There is another sign. A real devotee develops the power of assimilating instruction. An image cannot be impressed on bare glass, but only on glass stained with a black solution, as in photography. The black solution is devotion to God. There is a third sign of a true devotee. The true devotee has controlled his senses. He has subdued his lust. The gopis were free from lust.

From Chapter 13

M: “Many a time you have said that a devotee, who loves God for the sake of love does not care to see God’s powers. A true devotee wants to see God as Gopala. In the beginning God becomes the magnet, and the devotee the needle. But in the end the devotee himself becomes the magnet, and God the needle; that is to say, God becomes small to His devotee.”

MASTER: “Yes, it is just like the sun at dawn. You can easily look at that sun. It doesn’t dazzle the eyes; rather it satisfies them. God becomes tender for the sake of His devotees. He appears before them, setting aside His powers.”…

“A true devotee of God does not care for such things as wealth or health. He thinks: ‘Why should I practise spiritual austerities for creature comforts, money, or name and fame? These are all impermanent. They last only a day or two.’ ”

From Chapter 15

“Vidyasagar once asked me, ‘Can it be true that God has endowed some with greater power and some with less?’ I replied: ‘If that were not so, how is it that one man may be stronger than fifty? If that were not the case, again, how is it that we have all come here to see you?’

“The soul through which God sports is endowed with His special power. The landlord may reside in any part of his estate, but he is generally to be found in a particular drawing-room. The devotee is God’s drawing-room. God loves to sport in the heart of His devotee. It is there that His special power is manifest.

“What is the sign of such a devotee? When you see a man doing great works, you may know that God’s special power is manifested through him.

From Chapter 16

A DEVOTEE: “We find that everyone strives after money. Even Keshab Sen married his daughter to a prince.”

MASTER: “Keshab’s case is quite different. God provides everything for a genuine devotee, even without his making any effort. The son of a real king gets his monthly allowance. I am not talking of lawyers and men of that sort, who go through suffering in order to earn money, and who become slaves of others to that end. I am speaking of a real prince. A true devotee has no desire. He does not care for money. Money comes to him of itself. The Gita describes such a devotee as ‘content with what comes to him without effort’. A good brahmin, without any personal motive, can accept food even from the house of an untouchable. He does not desire it; it comes of its own accord.”

From  Chapter 47

‘I’ and ‘mine’-that is ignorance. ‘Thou’ and’Thine’-that is Knowledge. A true devotee says: ‘O God, Thou alone art the Doer; Thou alone doest all. I am a mere instrument; I do as Thou makest me do. All these-wealth, possessions, nay, the universe Itself-belong to Thee. This house and these relatives are Thine alone, not mine. I am Thy servant; mine is only the right to serve Thee according to Thy bidding.’…

SHYAM: “We hear a great deal about the subtle body. Can anyone show it to us? Can anyone demonstrate that the subtle body, when a man dies, leaves the gross body and goes away?”

MASTER: “True devotees don’t care a rap about showing you these things. What do they care whether some fool of a big man respects them or not? The desire to have a big man under their control never enters their minds.”

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