Hints on Sadhan for the uninitiated
Shree Bijoykrishna Goswami has said, “I have particularly learnt that it is never possible to achieve dharma without taking shelter under a guru. For learning even a very ordinary subject one has to take the help of a teacher and that to learn the subject which is most difficult is just not possible without a guru.” Common people do not have the insight. So how will they recognise a high souled person? In answering this question Goswamiji has presented five signs. Generally high souled persons can be identified by these signs.
- They do not speak highly of themselves. They never present themselves as great either by actions or otherwise.
- They never speak ill of others.
- They never waste time unnecessarily. They are always engaged in something that is good for the soul.
- They show mercy to all living beings. They are sympathetic to human beings, beasts and birds, insects and even trees and creepers in their sorrows. They feel for others’ condition as their own and never become a cause of anxiety for anyone.
- They are always satisfied. They do not lose their cool under any circumstances.
(Sadguru Sanga, Vol. 5)
Until the spiritual aspirant comes in contact with such a high souled person he should patiently pray to God, “Oh God, grant me that I may get my Sadguru”. In due time by the grace of God he will certainly get Sadguru.
Now a days it has become a business to pose as a guru. Hindu society is being greatly harmed by this. Before accepting one as guru every aspirant should thoroughly test that person and then decide. The tests are to be done at first, not later. In this matter the summary is that it is essential to have respect, devotion, faith and reliance on guru.
Guru also should know it for certain that if the disciple goes to hell, he will have to follow. The initiation received from Sadguru has a special force. The sadhak does not have the power to infuse force into others, even after getting his own deeksha, without the direct orders of Sadguru. At the time of his death the disciple under the shelter of Sadguru will definitely see him.
During initiation Sadguru severs the root of all the accumulated sins of his disciple. When the root of a tree is chopped, the tree gradually dries up. In the same manner because of severence of the root of sins, the disciple’s capacity to commit sin cannot continue for a long time. But because of the accumulated juice the tree remains lively for some more time even after the root being chopped. The juice thus stored from earlier times is called prarabdha (accumulated karma). Following initiation by Sadguru new prarabdha is not created any more. But one suffers for the cumulative prarabdha prior to initiation. However, because of naam japa following initiation from Sadguru the burden of sufferings is reduced. On acquiring initiation from real Sadguru the sadhak will certainly attain God’s proximity within a maximum of three births.
To achieve shelter under Sadguru, mahatamas have laid down various methods of sadhan. Some of them are given below. The spiritual aspirant may diligently practice anyone of them according to his preference.
- Spiritual practice may start with the Tarak Brahma naam preached by Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This naam japa and sadhan is considered to be the principal path for acquiring Sadguru. This is :
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
This mantra should be repeated daily whenever there is time. For a speedy result this should be repeated at least 100 times of the rosary containing 108 beads. This apart tulsi (basil) plant has to be watered daily and surya pranam (prostration to the Sun) should be done.
One should perform samkeertan also in the evening regularly with this naam. Obstacles of all sorts are destroyed by the regular repetition of this naam and no sadhak is ever again harmed in any way.
- During his physical existence Prabhupada Bijoykrishna had established ‘Naam Brahma’. After he left his mortal frame the famous devotee of Puri Sreemati Sarojini Mitra (popularly known as ‘Ma Moni’) had explained the special significance of Naam Brahma japa. Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Goswamiji had appeared before her and uttered the following mantra–
Harernama Harernama Harernamaiva Kevalam
Kalou nastiyeva nastiyeva nastiyeva gatiranyatha
Everybody can repeat this Naam Brahma in pure or impure state. This mantra contains special power. Many spiritual aspirants have attained blessings of Sadguru in due time by repeating this mantra.
- Once a devotee prayed to Prabhupada Bijoykrishna Goswami, “Give me a path of spiritual practice by which I can simply and easily get immersed in meditation and also get deeksha from Sadguru in due time”. On hearing this Goswamiji told him, “I am giving you an advice according to your choice. It is both easy and difficult. It is easy because people can easily do it if they pay some attention to it. It is difficult because inspite of knowing people do not get the inspiration to do it. Practice Omkar. Omkar means ‘A’, ‘U’ and ‘M’. The creation, existence and destruction. Nothing existed before, things exist now, will cease to exist later. The world, moon, sun, stars, planets, human beings, animals, birds, insects, trees, creepers, immovables and—none of them existed before, they exist now, will not exist later. Just treat everything you see with this feeling. It was not there, now it is existing, it will no longer exist in future. Gradually the stronger this idea grows, the more you will find everything to be inconsequential, impermament, false — nothing will attract your liking. Then you will find your heart to be hollow. This is the time when you will have an intense eagerness to get something that is everlasting, ever existing. That is the time for deeksha. Then you will be blessed with deeksha.”
- Scriptures have considered the essence of guruship as the best of all other philosophical knowledge. It is mentioned in the 36th verse of Shree Guru Gita —
Na guroradhikam tatvam no guroradhikam tapah.
This means that there is no better philosophical knowledge than the essence of guruship and no better spiritual practice than serving the guru. The samkeertan mentioned below is based on the philosophy of guruship.
Bhaja Guru Gouranga Radha Govinda
Brahma Narayana Hare Krishna Rama
Meaning : Who is Guru? Guru is Gouranga himself, meaning Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Who is this Gouranga? He is Radha Govinda, meaning Govindaji in the form and emotions of Radha. Brahman is the attributeless form of Radha Govinda and Narayan is the attributed form. This keertan can be sung with the names Hari, Krishna, Rama.
This keertan was preached at first by the disciple of Goswamiji Shree Kiranchand Darveshji Maharaj. In his ashram one day he saw that Shree Chaitanya and Shree Bijoykrishna Goswamiji were walking along with sages, ascetics and mahatmas of other communities and singing, Bhajo Guru Gouranga Radha Govinda Brahmo Narayana Hare Krishna Ram. The core meaning of this samkeertan is that naam (name), naamee (whose name it is) and naamdata (giver of name, that is, Guru) are one and the same. While repeating the powerful naam, the form of the giver of naam—Sadguru becomes clear. Later according to individual impressions in the mind of the aspirants various images of gods and goddesses, divine plays of gods become visible. It will again be seen later that the form of Guru will merge with all these forms and at times the form of Guru will be seen to be similar to those forms. The naam, form and shape will disappear at this time. The mind, intellect and ego will get diluted and having seen the divine form of Gurudeva being indistinguishable with the tutelary god, the sadhak will get immersed in the bottomless depth of emotion. Then the truth will appear before the sadhak—naam, naamee and naamdata are one and the same.
Namee means the God we worship. That is why it is said—
Gururbrahma, Gururvishnu Gururdeva Maheshwarah
This naam samkeertan is helpful for both those who want to get Sadguru and who have got Sadguru. Based on the truth of Guruship, this samkeertan can be performed by aspirants of all communities. This samkeertan is sung in various parts of Bengal in different ragas and beats.
Those who find it difficult to repeat a large mantra can just repeat, ‘guru’all the time. It is applicable to those who are yet to get a mantra from a Sadguru. One can acquire the shelter of Sadguru just by repeating ‘guru’.
- The sadhak wanting to repeat naam japa continuously should be careful about his food and good conduct. Since :
Aharashuddhou Sattwashuddhi Sattwashuddhi Dhruba Smriti
This means that pure food makes a pure mind and a pure mind remembers God continuously. Generally there can be three faults in food. First, group fault—like food mainly consisting of tamoguna—meat, fish, egg, onion should not be taken, second, fault of shelter. The cook’s nature is transmitted to the food he prepares. This finally influences the sadhak taking such food. That is, the food to be taken, should be cooked by a person of satwik nature. Third, causative fault. The cooking area should be free from dirt and dust and any such impure matter. Impure and left over food should not be taken and food given on the occasion of a shraddha ceremony should also not be taken. By taking such food the tendency of devotion gets spoiled and the mind refuses to be concentrated.
Various diseases are transmitted from one body to another by taking uchhishta. On taking uchchhishta knowingly or unknowingly we often suffer physical illness. These days ill practices like taking tea or something else in a train or hotel, drinking water in the same glass used by others, taking water from covered clay pots touched by this glass, several people sharing food from the same plate are in vogue. Just imagine that a tuberculosis patient or a patient of any infectious disease takes tea from a cup. Now without cleaning that cup properly another healthy person takes something in the same cup.
By just sparing a little thought one can understand the dangerous consequences this may lead to. It is necessary to clean glasses and utensils used for taking food. Diseases are generally transmitted more through hotels and restaurants. That is why everybody should pay special attention towards this without feeling shy for the sake of good health. The food that comes in contact with the uchchhishta ones is also considered uchchhishta due to the fault of contamination.
These days taking others’ uchchhishta has become a norm. While transmitting infections this increases restlessness of the mind at the same time. That is why sadhaks should exercise caution in this matter.
To maintain the purity of the body and mind, the sadhaks should observe the rules of good conduct as far as possible. The practices followed by the sadhu mahatmas are known as good conduct. The main indication of good conduct is recognising oral uchchhishta and avoiding it. The hand touching the inside of the mouth becomes uchchhishta, so also by drinking water from a glass holding it between the lips, the glass becomes uchchhishta. That is why this should be duly cleaned. Following use of toilet one should take bath or have a wash from the waist downward and the clothes used should be washed in water. In case the clothes cannot be washed, these should esentially be changed. Even after urination water should always be used for washing. Observance of these rules saves one from many diseases and imparts good influence into the mind. Food should not be taken without offering. Pure food with basil leaves (tulsi) or mahaprasad of Jagannath Dev should be offered to God and taken as His prasad. This increases satwik feelings and taste for naam is enhanced.
While travelling in the Himalayas Goswami Prabhu had reached a snow covered place and met a mahatma there. The mahatma had given him several sermons and said, “If the two things, continence and adherence to truth can be maintained then the rare state of Brahman achievable by the yogis can be attained. Nothing can be achieved without these. Truth is as important for protecting oneself as continence is essential for protecting health. Untrue thought and behaviour are very harmful for yoga. Telling a lie is a great sin. Similarly false imagination too is sinful. Those treading the path of yoga should have link with truth. Hearing or reading dramas, novels whose basis is imaginary or untrue are forbidden in yoga scriptures. It is a great sin to think untrue thoughts as they damage the brain. God alone is true. It cannot be expressed in words as to how the capacity of the brain enhances in all fields by always thinking about God.” It may be recalled in this connection that telling anything to anybody is not truth. Truth is that whose purpose is honest.
- Selfish people cannot remember God all the time. My heart will get purer as much as I can do good to others. The Supreme one makes his seat in such a pure heart. That is why our shastras recommend panchayajnas (five yajnas).
Adhyanam Brahmayajnah Pitriyajnastu Tarpanam
Homa Daivo Balirbhouto Nriyajnaatithipoojanam.
- Brahmayajna – Reading some parts of books written by the sages daily and hearing satsanga. This draws the blessings of the sages.
- Pitriyajnas – To show respect to the forefathers, conducting shraddha and daily tarpan. Their blessings bring welfare to the householders.
- Devayajna – Offering of fire (Hom), going on pilgrimages with the intention of worshipping God are known as Devyajna.
- Bhoot yajna – Serving all living beings like offering food to insects, birds and beasts, watering plants.
- Nriyajna – Serving the guest in the house to the utmost extent possible with due respect. Guest means one who has never come, on coming stays not more than a day and departs after resting. Thus a relative cannot be called a guest.
If there is no food in the house, then the guest should be served at least by being offered cold water.
The downtrodden one is the form of the Super soul, the destitute is the form of God. It is the duty of the householder to keep his doors open for such people and to help them as far as possible.
- Goswami Prabhu used to sing a hymn regularly.
Hari se laagi raho re bhai
.....Seva Vandana aur adhinata, sahaje milabe gosain.
In answering a query about the meaning of the song Goswami Prabhu said–”There is no easier way to achieve God than to be lowly and humble. Service, adoration and being subservient are the easiest and best ways of sadhana. Many people, many mahatmas were asked, but they have not suggested any easier path to achieve God than this. I too believe nothing easier exists than this. This sadhan is the best and an easy one. This brings great feelings about God”.
Service : One should serve everybody, human beings, birds and beasts, insects, trees and creepers as far as possible with body mind and soul. Real service can not be done without kindness and sympathy. One should feel the eagerness for meeting the needs of others the way one feels when fulfilling one’s own needs. A mother becomes restless on seeing the need of the child. This is called service. The alternative is non-existence of innate love. Service is not real if some food is offered only by imitating others or helping in a different fashion on seeing others do it. Serving the tree, husband, child, boss, servant, wife are real services when done in selfless manner. Otherwise these should not be called service. Service causes great harm to oneself where it gives rise to vanity. In such a case no service should be done as this may cause substantial harm to oneself.
Obeisance : Everyone has to be offered obeisance. Take as much truth as is available from any place. That person or place from whom or from where truth or sermons can be drawn has to be particularly saluted. Repeated prayers are to be made to God so that one can maintain this truth. If this does not generate eagerness, then one should pray to God for it. Truth will then blossom in the heart. One cannot achieve any truth by one’s own strength. When one becomes intensely eager in a very humble manner to get that truth, just then by the limitless grace of God, that truth blossoms in the heart and makes life blessed. Without this condition truth is not achievable; transformation too remains unattainable.
Obeisance is of three kinds—physical, verbal and mental.
Physical obeisance—Prostration, salutation with folded hands etc.
Verbal Obeisance—Words of praise for Him or for that thing.
Mental obeisance—Having such a feeling of obeisance within. The person from whom such truth is obtained should never be treated with ridicule. Looking upon him as similar to one’s guru, one should always be respectful to him. Then only one can attain good result.
Subordination : All are respectable. You should subordinate yourself to all. You should remain polite and obedient to all. Think of all as master. You should be afraid on seeing them. Sing hymns in their praise. Everyone should think of you as one’s own. You may not have to wait for long if this is done. These things should not be told anywhere—keeping these concealed gives special results.
(Vide : Sadguru Sanga)
- Swami Amalananda Saraswati