My dearest embodiments of pure love,
When the inner and outer worlds are challenged by various factors of our existence, meditation is difficult. One can still meditate if he or she is well established and well settled within the world inside (inner world) and dependency on the external world is minimal. When an individual uses his senses purposefully, and if his mind is not affected by the most enchanting of sense objects the world can offer, he could always bring his senses under control and detach from them at will. We are living in a world of fancy. There are many glitters around us to hook ourselves with, sometimes consciously and mostly unconsciously.
Inertia is easy to sell. Television and internet sell it well. Most of the objects that we experience with using the eyes, sell inertia. At the same time everything in moderation, has value. They are part of our life. We cannot ignore them all and be part of society as well, because human existence is oriented in relationships which are the tangible extensions of relativity, the basic substratum of creation. This is also because there is an underlying flavor of emotions spicing up our relationships.
Do remember, anything in excess is BAD.
The sale of tamas is rampant. Tamas means inertia. When we become couch potatoes, it is a clear sign that we have swallowed a lot of tamas, and that we have already bought ourselves into it. When inertia is at its peak, people cannot even handle the slightest of turbulences in life. They blame other people for their situation, which they themselves have consciously or unconsciously created. They resort to excessive food, alcohol, sex or drugs to maintain their comfort levels. They watch sob stories such as soap operas and enjoy the sadistic pleasure of watching others suffering with an inner glee that they are relatively better off than those characters in the films! But they do not understand the most important point: that they are accumulating similar karma in their own life through gathering and storing such emotions.
Data of suffering is unconsciously entered into their systems. Since they are emotionally participating in those stories, they are living it or experiencing it. Those impressions are stored in their minds. These will become realities or ingredients of their next incarnation. Some people don’t have a clue about the causes of their suffering. They do not know why they are suffering in life despite many good deeds they might have accomplished in this existence. It is simple. Whatever data is entered into our system or whatever is consumed through thoughts, words or action, or whatever food we consumed through our body, mind and intellect, becomes the ingredient and basis for our further existence, this one and the next.
Remember, inertia sells well because its buyers are many. Food for the senses always sells well. If a new book is released with a title, “Tantric Sex for you”, or “100 new ways of making love”, it will sell well, and such authors who do this for money will be respected well by the society, while people will avoid true satsang or company of an enlightened master because they think, “Ah, the same boring lecture about the SOUL which nobody has seen”, or, “This man brings forth my worst hidden fears into light”. People will choose to keep their fears rather than let them go, pretending they do not exist.
Society consists of people and when it is mostly tamasic people, they either convert the not-so-tamasic to their group or they destroy them. That means the tamasic community makes people in their own image or it destroys them. Digging a little bit into history, we can see that we have consistently destroyed – either killed or silenced all those who spoke eternal truths. If we were not able to do that, we ran away from them and their teachings. Human Existence!
We can see heavily tamasic and greedy people sitting in places of power, which is actually a big tragedy. They dish out ‘believable’ excuses for not performing any positive action. They have impossibility pasted on their forehead loud and clear. Then again, they have come out of the same society that we belong to. The society created them. People will only get rulers that they deserve. Hence it is important to shed the tamas at the grass root level in order to create a better world. Positive transformation should happen in every heart in society.
When the times create restlessness, it tests the talent of even the most consistent spiritual seeker. This is natural. Meditation and practices (sadhana) will become difficult. On one side the looming cloud of tamas which constantly push one to ‘sleep a little while longer’, and on the other side, the lack of environmental support. The mind really sways. Many give up. Many will become disillusioned. Many change their Gurus, imagining that it is because of their Guru that they are suffering!!!
The best recommended practice during such time is Japa Yoga, or the Yoga of Chants (chanting of the Lord’s name).
Lord Krishna and almost all the great masters who walked on earth have acknowledged the importance of Japa yoga. “Among the various types of yajna (a ritual or sacrifice into fire, with chants or mantras and materials), I am the yajna of Japa”, said the Avatar Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita also emphasizes the importance of chanting ‘which destroys all afflictions, sins and sufferings’.
Patanjali instructs that Japa be done for prolonged period without interruption so that we become one with the chant and this should be done with deep reverence and respect. Japa is the very form of God. Perfection can be attained by chanting the Divine name. In this context, I remember the story of the great Valmiki – the transformation of the hunter Ratnakara to Sage Valmiki! He attained the highest possible state of spiritual elevation and total transformation (metamorphosis) by just chanting the name of the Lord Rama and thus becoming one with the name.
Constitutional change can happen when we become one with the name of the Lord. God is the subtlest of the subtlest. In that context, even the name is gross. But, the name itself can be considered as the form of God, where the sound is the form. The sound ‘OM’ can be considered the form of God because God is formless or all forms.
Jagadguru Adi Shankaracharya says, “Control the self, restrain the breath, sift out the transient from the true. Repeat the holy name of the Lord and still the restless mind within. To this universal rule, apply your heart and soul.”
Zarathushtra says that Japa (name of the divine) cures all ills.
Guru Nanak said that the Holy Communion with the Naam is the only means to have oneness with the Lord Supreme.
The great saint Kabir Das says, “Without sincerity, thought or chant of the Lord’s name is not possible. If one ‘imbibes’ (be one with) just one particle of Naam – no, even half a particle, all one’s sins will be reduced to ashes”. This is profound indeed.
Chant from deep within. Be one with the chant. Keep your spine erect, and chant in your spine, if you could. Chanting just from the throat out is of no use. That will just be an addition to the already existing sound pollution. 🙂 Going within while chanting is important and being one with the name you chant is also equally important.
Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti said, “If you rub the mirror of your heart with the name of God, you will see God’s effulgence reflected on it”. Beautiful!!
Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi said, “Mantra is a channel of shifting current of thoughts. Mantra is a bund or dam put up to divert the water where it is needed. Japa is clinging to one thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts, that is the purpose of Japa. It leads to dhyana which ends in Self-Realization.”
Bhagavan Nithyananda of Ganesh Puri says, “Japa is a means. Very easy as well as highly efficacious. Through japa sadhana and the vibration thus created, the body gets cleansed and by that the mind also becomes pure and Divine. Continuous Japa will result in nada-upasana and such a state will help to reach the state of Self-Realization”. Here, Bhagawan talks about the cellular level purification due to the vibration created by chanting. Since body and mind are integrally connected, cleansing happening in the body also cleanses the mind. Sincere Japa with a steady mind on the sound and the Lord, will ensure an all-round cleansing. This is the most effective practice possible in turbulent times.
Saint Teresa of Avila found completeness “when each breath began to silently say the name of Lord”. Eknath said, ‘Remembrance is liberation. Forgetfulness is regression. Utterance of the name is essential devotion”.
Shirdi Sai Baba said, “God’s name is eternal, Allah Malik!” Baba also implies that God has no name. He is beyond name and form. But for us, a name or form will be helpful to transcend to the formless. So we should catch the rope of the name and climb to the highest possibility of our existence, while we can.
One more thought and I am off… Tukaram said, “The Lord’s name is eternal. Do japa of Ramakrishna Hari and He will always save you. THIS IS MY LAST REQUEST AND ADVICE!” Thus concludes Saint Tukaram.
The scriptures have given a few road signs or guidelines for chanting, especially on its results. Some of them are as follows:
1. This is the era or Yuga (Kali Yuga) where people can achieve the same results that one might achieve through penance, rigorous practices or rituals through the chanting of the Lord’s name.
2. In this era, while mantra recitation needs a certain systematic approach, the chanting of the Lord’s name can be done by anybody at any time, without any restrictions. Hence the best practice to follow in this era is chanting of the Lord’s name.
3. The only requirement that any devotee need is absolute bhakti or devotion or faith on the deity of worship.
4. Lord’s name has the power of fire which burns hard karmas.
5. Those who consistently and with absolute surrender and dedication, chant God’s name will become as powerful as a yogi who has done years of penance. He will be as purified as one who has done penance on fire.
6. One who chants more than 30 million times the name of God, will even change his hard destiny. The lines of his hand will change for good. Diseases and afflictions will leave him.
7. Those who chant more than 40 million times the name of God will never suffer poverty and will be rich inside and outside.
8. Those who chant more than 50 million times the name of God, will have the awareness equal to that of great masters. Their stature will grow beyond limits. The more one chants, the nearer one approaches inner purity. Nothing that belongs to earth will ever affect them again.
I shall leave you now to contemplate on these thoughts. When we cannot meditate, chanting helps. Even when we can meditate, chanting can lead to deeper meditation. The name of the Lord, the sound, the breath, the vibration, everything helps to reach silence of the mind. Chant the name, contemplate on the name of your chosen God or Guru and merge with that constitution, which would be the state of oneness. I wish you that.
Finally, let us sincerely chant ‘Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu’. May all the beings of the world and the whole world itself, be happy and peaceful. All are one. One consciousness – or various expressions of One Consciousness.
I love you