1st, 2nd, 3rd June, 2011, Lucknow: Mahārāja Jī, Sādhvījī, Swāmījī and accompanying devotees arrived at Lucknow late on the evening of 1st June and the first stop of was devotee Jitendra Soni’s home. The atmosphere was buzzing and full of festivity. Late in the evening, everyone gathered for the sabhā. Bhajans were sung. They were full of emotion. Then the Mahārāja Jī speaks to answer the question asked to him on living a householder’s life and utilizing that in the spiritual ascent.
‘Man and woman come together to live the life of husband and wife, they unite together. Why do they come together? Parents’ will plays a part in some cases. ‘How shall we live alone’ – is another factor. To walk together on the path is the purpose of grihastha aśrama (the householder’s life). There is also an attraction between a boy and a girl which leads people into household life: ‘We wish to live together.’ Now a days, there is also a trend to have live-in relationships, where a boy and a girl have a relationship but they do not tie the nuptial knot, but we shall not go into that. But whatever the reason be, and in fact these are coarse material reasons only; the real, subtle principle behind entering a householder’s life is far removed from all these reasons.
The meaning and purpose of householder’s life is to walk in unity, not alone. Because one cannot live alone therefore one enters into the householder’s life; for only one whose one and only goal is attainment of Divine can manage to live alone. If we enter into householder’s life out of mere physical attraction, or under the concern of ‘what shall happen to us in old age’ then necessarily many troubles would rise forth. And this is indeed what is seen happening all around us. The focus is on getting something from the other; not on giving, but on taking. When we enter the the householder’s life for material goals, sensory enjoyments, then problems arise, because all these objects, enjoyments and supports are temporal (and end in frustration and disillusionment. Also they cannot satisfy man’s eternal quest).
One should enter into householder’s life with the thought that because right now ‘I have not gained complete detachment, because right now my sole goal is not only God but some other desires are within me as well. So in order that I may pacify these little desires, I am entering into a householder’s life.’ This life would become a āśrama only when material goals are not given a priority. Say if there is attraction also, it should only be secondary. The household should be made a site of tapa. If say there is dearth of wealth no problem, if the mind’s desires are not satisfied, no problem, because one had entered into a householder’s life with the understanding that it is a site to attain God. But really, in our eyes, such cases are very rare, and can be counted on fingers. There is always some pulling-pushing going on.
Suppose one partner is a little ahead on the path (more aware of the path), the other one is a little behind on the path (we needn’t talk about those cases where both are only materially oriented). Then, the householder’s life should be lived as a life of vānaprastha (life of detachment and austerity). Such a tapa is more significant than going to forests and doing tapa; leaving home and performing tapa is very easy; but say our partner is totally opposite to us and even then we can live harmoniously and be on the path then that is direct staircase to heaven. This kind of tapa is far superior to any other tapa performed out of egotistical tendencies. Such examples appear through the lives of Socrates, Tukaram etc. One Tukaram was coming home after conducting a ceremony. The devotees had offered him some sugarcanes there. On his way back, he met children on the road and he freely offered many sugarcanes to them such that by the time he arrived home only one sugarcane was left with him. The wife asked, ‘How come, you had gone to the ceremony, didn’t they offer you anything? ‘O I gave the sugarcanes to the children on way back.’ This raised the short-tempered wife’s wrath and she beat him with the sugarcane on his back which split into two. ‘That’s good’ – he replied smilingly. ‘Only one was left. Now, I can eat the one half and you can eat the other half.’ But such an attitude is only possible if God is the goal. Ordinary tapas is very easy. Those fighters who are now in an householder’s life should travel directly on this path of tapa which is the direct staircase to heaven. The general rule is: don’t become a master. Be a servant. Let God be the Master. You be the servant of the God and do your household duties for his sake. With ‘I’ and ‘me’ the life would just be wasted away. One line of thought is ‘What have I done for you?’ The other is, ‘What have you done for me?’ The aspirant should tread the former path.
The next day, Mahārāja Jī moved to another place where the hosts had organized a satsanga. In the electrifying atmosphere, fast-paced devotional hymns were sung; after which the Master discoursed on the web of Death.
The main ideas from the discourse are presented below for the English readers.
None wishes to die because everyone is the part of the Immortal Self. Even if one may say, ‘O I want to die’ he cannot mean it. Once, a man too dissatisfied with life asked Yama (the Lord of Death) to end his life. Yama obliged and arrived at the scene all ready to fulfill the man’s wish. The man was stunned. ‘O what horrendous times these are’ – he complained. ‘Can’t one even joke awhile these days?’ (all laugh). What is death after all? What is this suffering, decay, disease and death? The aspirant should first know that death is not his fate. The first step to awakening is a sound belief that I am the part of the parmātmā. Until we take ourselves to be merely this body of flesh and bones, till that time we have not truly become the associates of our Guru; till them we are not truly believers. Until we believe in a God that is a judge that punishes and rewards, till then we have our belief in a God that is a figment of our imagination; it will shatter. God is not one who throws someone in hell and takes some to heaven. God is our own inherent Nature; all-compassionte, omnipresent, omnipotent etc.
However, merely believing and speaking all this won’t do. It is only when we forget this basic principle that we become fearful, weaklings at the mercy of our wild mind and the world around. Attachment and aversion are also direct consequences of forgetting our innate Nature. Therefore, one who is walking the path should necessarily acquire the qualities of fearlessness and love towards all. Until one acquires this one should go on practicing ceaselessly. All our actions and duties are meant to achieve this end. To forget God, our innate Nature is Death.
The web of death stems across various levels:
The root is ignorance about our true nature. The stem is the strong belief in the intellect that I am a body of flesh, bones, marrow etc. The result of this is a mind that is saturated with worldly desires which further causes the pranic motions to be predominantly active from inside to the outside (spiritual levels to the material realms). The ultimate fruit is the manifestation of disease and decay in the physical body.This is the maze of death. The climax is reached when the being is unable to even draw live-sustaining air within. This results in the death of the physical body.
We see the entire situation is that we have ourselves taken support of a rope that hangs over a pit and we are all the time afraid that we should not fall into that pit.
When the last time comes, it is God’s grace that pulls the prana and the soul from the body and gives them the new body. This event is not to be feared, but it is only the Lord’s compassion that a tattered body, useless in further evolution of man is forcefully shed behind and a fresh, new breath is given in a new body. Ain’t this God’s grace? After all can anyone leave the body of his own will? Surely, this is Lord’s grace.
This body is extremely precious. Even the divine beings yearn to take human birth. Using this body, we can do such practices and attain those realms which are not possible otherwise. But instead of doing this what do we do? We only thicken the maze of death. The one who is a believer is endowed with the following qualities: he is gurumukh (his face is towards the Guru). He believes that he is a part of the Lord. The materialist atheist is one who gives greatest emphasis to the worldly objects and takes himself only to be the body. Instead of being gurumukh he is manmukh (carried to and fro by the whims and fancies of his mind).
However, sometimes even the initiated practitioner gets drawn to external objects; he gets entangled in wealth and other allurements. No surprises! What should such an aspirant do? He should first put his believe in himself and then believe himself to be a part of the One God who is sat-cita-ānanda and then make sincere efforts to change.
Too much drawn outside it becomes impossible for us to go within. We were at Lakṣmī Belā many years ago. Many sadhus used to then sit facing the road. When asked the reason for doing so they said, ‘Well, the mind remains occupied seeing the traffic on the road.’ Such is the condition. If we are asked to look at the vast sky we would soon feel dizzy; our mind being so weakened by the constant touch of the fragments of worldly shapes and sizes.
Out of all the sense organs it is the mouth that dissipates the mind the most. If we go on filling this instrument to an extent that it fails to work properly then what japa-tapa would we be able to perform? Therefore, as a first step do not fill the body with trash through this mouth.
So what we have to do? To consider ourselves as part of God.
And what we don’t have to do? Not to fill the body with trash through the organ of mouth. Atleast, we should understand the tricks of the belly, before we can understand the tricks of the mind. Those who can’t even set the body on the path to health what would they do to bring the mind under control!
In order to purify this significant sense organ change the timings of when you eat. In the morning do not take anything that you have to chew. Go on taking liquids so that cleansing is total. Even when you eliminate waste once, the cleansing process is on and taking anything solid would only stall that process. But taking liquids would aid that cleansing. Then take complete diet towards the afternoon. In the evenings, take normal diet but only take care that at least 3-4 hours elapse before you go to sleep. In this way, the fire in the navel would be strengthened. The relationship with our inner being would be strengthened as well. The diseases would be eradicated and the body would begin to shine in pink health.
After the discourse, Mahārāja Jī after meeting various visitors moved to D.P. Maheśwarī Jī’s house. The next day Mahārāja Jī spoke forth on the attainment of Holistic health.
The main ideas have been presented below for the English reader.
The human body is extremely rare and precious. It is not that since the population is exploding so it mustn’t be all that rare. Its real worth is only understood when it is not attained. When water is not there then we understand its worth. To have this body is a result of tremendous compassion of the Lord. The divine beings yearn for this body. The poor animals and other lower forms of creation cannot even think about attaining it. The significance of this lies in the fact that through this that great level can be achieved, that ladder can be reached which is not possible to attain anywhere else, in any other life-form. Since we have got this great chance, do not waste it, do not spoil this human body. Do not let it become diseased because it is only through this body that one attains success in the world, in hereafter and above all it is through this human body that one attains to the Supreme Bliss also. So do not allow the body to go haywire.
If the body is fine, then only one will be able to do sādhanā; then only the mind will be strengthened. There is a general belief that if the mind is strong the body will be strong, but in reality the mind is too entangled into the world, too weak, too dissipated in a variety of affairs. It is really not that easy to control the mind, to strengthen it. Hence we say, make the body strong and the mind will be strengthened by itself. Yes, it is very good to strengthen the mind, but that is only possible when the mind can be freed from the influences of the senses, objects, attachment-aversion etc. To attain this at least, strengthen the body first. If we will not take care of the body, something that is right in front of us, that can be seen, if we do not channel that rightly, then how would the mind ever come under our control.
We were right now doing kīrtan which is a great means of coming close to our inner Nature, also it makes our mind strong and the body light. Often many diseased come to us and say, the doctors have given up on us. Then we ask them to do kīrtan in full ecstasy, clapping the hands, which would certainly help them with their health. There is also the trend of discos today where people dance with the music. Here without criticizing anything we shall compare that to kīrtan. In both one is dancing. Both are experiencing ecstasy. Then what is the difference? Someone came to us and began to say that ‘You experience ecstasy by mediating, we by drinking; so where is the difference?’ Now in case of kīrtan and disco if we only compare on the level of the body then there is no difference; but within the body, the Lord is present. Within the body a boundless source of power is present. For those who do not believe in this; the atheists, ecstasy gained through drinking or meditating, through disco or kīrtan makes no difference. But when we believe that within our bodies is present that great power which governs the cosmos, then there is a huge difference. And yes, he who believes that the Lord is sitting on some heaven above, to him also the difference would not matter. However, some do believe that indeed the Lord is present beyond the cosmos, in the cosmos too but for me he is most nearest when he is present in my own being. But this does raise a small question: if the Lord is present within me, then why do I feel pain in, say for example, my knee? The question is truly genuine. If the great grand Lord is present in every pore of my body then why should I feel pain in my stomach? Indeed, we also say, that no pain should be there. But though there is pain in the knee, yet it does some work. Though there is pain in the stomach, yet it is the means of some comfort and enjoyment too. The situation can be understood as: consider the sun and its rays reaching the Earth. Sometimes, clouds block the path and the rays do not reach here with their full intensity, though the sun is still present there. Similarly, in our bodies too there is a spot where the great Lord is present in his full splendor. In our language we call it the daṣam-dvārā. In the language of the medical science we can link it to the point-like centre of the pineal body. There we can see the Lord residing in his full splendor, only if we can somehow reach there. There the Lord is present in all purity but as the power descends down there are so many veils of ego, ignorance, attachment-aversion etc. It is due to these veils that the knees pain, that the stomach suffers. There is no doubt that the Lord is indeed present, within this very body; after all it is through that power that the various parts, say, the knee, move; though they may have pain, yet, there is a power governing their motions. Now moving further from this state we shall take our consciousness within and if we manage to establish it in Brahmarandra, even for an instant – the state that is also called samādhi – then the mind becomes healthy, the prāṇa become healthy and when we come down from that state the ecstasy would remain with us for many days. So the truth is that the Lord is present in our body, we are also getting his power; the problem is only that we are sitting with our backs towardshim. There is no doubt that the Lord, the Master of the three worlds is present everywhere, but if we wish to connect to him directly and gain His power, if we wish to have his guidance and inspiration, then we have to go within our own beings.
Now in a discotheque, the eyes are opened and the body moves; the entire focus is outside, the force of breath is also outside. This results is lightening of the body to a certain extent. But what happens in kīrtana? The focus is on looking inside; the eyes are closed. We look at ourselves. Then the names like Rama, Govinda etc. are chanted. Now the mind knows that these are the names of God. One can move ahead and imagine that the Lord is residing within my body only; go on looking at yourself; keep the eyes closed; then this would become a significant practice in itself. This is its difference from the dancing done in a discotheque. If done like this the body would become totally healthy. Then there are other practices like surya sādhanā, agni sādhanā etc.
Now along with this what do we do to keep the body healthy? Medicines are used; that is all right. It is not wrong at all, but it is only a sick person who shall eat medicines. We will consume medicines after the disease has occurred, but what we really want is that the disease should not occur at all. Is there a medicine which we can eat beforehand, such that we do not fall ill? Perhaps there is. But if someone eats the medicine to prevent cancer than that would only spoil his health instead of preventing cancer. Medicines cannot be eaten beforehand, because they are all on a superficial level. But what we want is that we should not fall prey to disease. Now eating food is also a kind of medicine. Just like there is fixed quantity of medicine that can be consumed; exceeding which would lead to problems; similarly for food. For someone it is fine to eat only one cappāti, others can eat more. Therefore food should be eaten in right quantity. But we shall not go into the details of this now. There is one more important need i.e. the quantity of water to be consumed. The water cleanses. Drink as much water as you can; it is summer right now; even 10 glasses can be easily consumed. Take care of the quantity of food that you eat and drink loads of water. Wake up in the morning and you could drink 2-3 glasses of water before defecation. Then keep on doing some exercises which aid the cleansing of the body. Consume some water about an hour before eating anything. Consume water also after eating; take little gulps while eating as well; but take care not to drink water immediately after eating – that dissipates the navel-fire; let at least an hour elapse. But we are not going into details of even this. There is something even more important than this: and that is breath. It is the most important factor.
Food is more significant than medicines; water is more significant than food and still more important is breath. It is this facet that we shall discuss. Form the habit of breathing completely. If we can breathe completely, then there is no doubt that even till the age of hundred years one will live completely healthy. Though our own age is still less, but we have complete confidence that way we are walking and if we continued to walk like this that complete healthy is possible even in advanced years. A little child breathes completely. Due to this he is connected with the Divine within; because the breath is the path of the inner realm and also outside. When angry, the breath is so forceful to the outside. The brain loses control and one often hears people saying, ‘O I do not know, what all I ended up speaking.’ Now if someone is running very fast his breath is focused outside. You ask him a question; first he will halt and only then answer. Owing to the surge of breath outwards he cannot answer, though he may know the answer. We should create this force of the breath towards the inside as the little child is habituated by Nature itself. Look at a little child how he breathes. The entire body vibrates with his breath; the chest, abdomen, even the feet vibrate with the breath. But as he grows and along with that if the force of breath decreases within then the body goes on becoming rigid from within. At the last the body becomes useless; it cannot draw the breath within. The ventilators can’t pump air within. It is said in scriptures, that if breath can be totally filled then one rises above the need to eat. Look at a child how much he eats; merely some drops of milk and how fast he grows. That is because his breath is complete. And what about us? We also eat and we eat so much and we also grow but we grow not in height, but in breadth and width. It is therefore important to learn to breathe completely. If we are breathing incompletely, we have to get that checked and get it corrected through regular practice and go on practicing until we can get it right and then make ourselves habituated to that right habit. Just like if someone wants to learn swimming, then merely reading a book will not teach; an instructor can at most tell him the techniques; looking at a training video will also not help much until he jumps into the water and practices, practices, practices. Same with correcting the breath.
With the wrong breath the entire body goes wrong. Therefore, when learning to breath completely go on and on and the entire constitution of the body would change. In various camps and while initiation we lay huge emphasis of breath. People ask, ‘How long do I have to practice breathing?’ ‘Well, come on, we are breathing all the time, so one should also practice all the time’ – is what we reply.
The principle of correct breathing is simple. Just like a balloon when filled with air expands on all the sides, similarly when the breath is filled in the lungs they expand in all the directions. Then the breath is also channeled into the blood. Through this process the wastes are also eliminated. If we can fill the lungs completely with breath, then the entire body can also be filled with the breath. When you breathe the lungs should expand and contract totally; while inhaling it should expand in all the six directions; front, aback, on the two sides, upwards and downwards. In the wrong method when we inhale we contract the belly within, the diaphragm rises upwards (instead of expanding downwards) and the lungs instead of expanding and letting in more air, contract, constricting the respiration process on the whole. It is a matter of surprise that we use only ten per cent of the available capacity of the lungs in respiration. This is the science of breath. This is called prāṇāyāma. Do not underestimate its worth. While exercising, the breath also becomes forceful but it is activated to the outside. Ok, but take care that the breath should be activated to the inside as well. Then that would become bhasṛkā (bellows breathing). The athletes do not live long healthy lives usually because they go on filling and filling but do exhale the toxins outside. The toxins accumulate within the body and this results is many problems.
Do everything. Exercise; do kīrtana but do not forget the breath. The breath is not merely to keep the body healthy, but it is also a part of inner practice; it is the breath through which the inner path is built; the inner channels open up and the Lord that resides within, we come into contact with Him.
The tips are: When you breath, know that you are breathing. The second thing: zero the pause between inhalation-exhalation and exhalation-inhalation. This pause exists because of ignorance. Inhale and exhale without the pause. In pranayama when we stop the breath also, we give an internal motion to the breath. This pause has to be eliminated gradually. This makes all the difference between exercising and these breathing kriyas. Also know, that while inhaling, the belly should not move to the inside.
For advancing, go on practicing regularly, daily.