|Date:9 Oct 1994||Occasion:Dasara||Place:Brindavan|
The Divine Potencies in Man
Oh Man! If the Divine Lord is not visible to you,
So too the stars cannot be seen in daylight.
Because you are blinded by ignorance,
Do not deny His Existence.
Embodiments of Divine Love,
From the most ancient times, men have been engaged in the search for God. The questions, Who is God? and What is the means to realize God are not of today. They have been present from the earliest times and have agitated mankind ceaselessly. A few yogis who comprehended the nature of the Divine and who felt that the purpose of human existence is to seek the Divine, undertook various spiritual exercises to discover how to achieve this objective.
The purpose of human life is to realize the Divine. It is in this context that human birth becomes the rarest among all living beings. The ancient sages, recognizing this truth, pursued different kinds of penances to experience the Divine. Some of them, feeling that the task was beyond their powers, gave up the quest in the middle. Some others, recognizing that this was the sole purpose of human life, persevered in their efforts with determination. When man sets his heart upon achieving anything, there is nothing impossible for him. But, immersed in worldly pleasures, man becomes a prey to weakness and forgets his Divine nature. Few care to enquire into the real value of these mundane pleasures, or their ephemeral nature.
What is the difference between man and birds and beasts? Can eating, drinking, sleeping and ultimately dying be the end-all or be-all of human life? All these are common to animals and human beings. What then is the difference? Although man is endowed with intelligence, discrimination and wisdom, without endeavouring to know the truth, man regards physical phenomena as the only reality, the Divine as remote from him, and forgets the main goal of life.
The ancient sages, however, regarded realization of the Divine as their main goal and practiced various austerities. Thereafter, they went out into the world and proclaimed, `Oh man! We have experienced the effulgent, all pervading supreme Divine!' Vedaaham etham purusham mahaantham. Where did they experience Him? They declared: `We have found Him beyond the darkness, beyond the mind and senses, in our hearts!'
Man is a combination of the body, the mind, and the spirit - Atma. He is thus the embodiment of these three. But, forgetting the mind and the Atma, when man identifies himself solely with the body, he reduces himself to an animal. When he forgets the Atma and the body, and identifies himself with the mind alone, he becomes a demon, Daanava. When one forgets the body and the mind and adheres only to Atma, he gets Divinized.
The body is the instrument of action. The mind is the instrument of cognition. The Atma is steady and unwavering. Corresponding to these three are Karma, Upaasana and Bhakthi - action, ritual worship, and devotion. What is the difference between Bhakthi and Upaasana? In both of them, Prema, love of God, is present, Bhakthi and Prema are both synonymous. Contemplating on God, forgetting the world, living in a state of bliss, Ananda, is Prapathi, total surrender to God.
Bharatiyas have been celebrating the Navarathi festival from ancient times as a mode of worship of Devi, the Divine as Mother. They worship Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati during those nine days. Who are these three? They are the three forms which have fascinated man. Their esoteric significance is represented by three potencies or shakthis. They are: Karma, Upaasana and Jnana.
The concept of total surrender, Prapathi is related to self realization, oneness with the Divine. God, in fact, dwells in every human being as the Atma.The body is the sacred abode of the Atma. Hence the scriptures declare: The body is the temple of God in which the individual spirit dwells as the ancient One. Just as the diamond is found in clay and not in rock, the spirit, as consciousness, resides in the earthly body. The body is of the earth, earthy. The Atman is consciousness. Humanness is the coming together of the mundane and the spiritual consciousness.It is a combination of good and evil. It is a mixture of the transient and the eternal. Hence, for what is auspicious (subha) or inauspicious, (asubha), for truth (Sathya) or falsehood (Asathya), for the perishable (Kshyaya) and the imperishable (Askhsaya), the prefix `a' accounts for the difference.
For instance, untruth, Asathya is that which is not true, Sathya. The transient, Anithya is that which is not permanent, Nithya. By understanding these distinctions, men have sought to realize the Divine.
The human body is precious. Man today is not realizing what he owes to his body. The body that is composed of the five elements, which has been given to man to understand his true nature, to recognize the truth about his immortal spirit, and to experience the eternal within him, is being used for the enjoyment of physical pleasures. The body surely has not been given for this purpose. The body is a shrine, kshetra. The indweller is the knower, Kshetrajna. The relationship is that of the body, sarira, and the indweller, sariri. Instead of recognizing this integral relationship, man is concerned with only the body and seeks to realize the Divine. How is this possible? The first requisite is for man to acquire the firm conviction that the Divine dwells in his heart.
There is no need to search for the Divine elsewhere. There is no need to go to a forest and lead an austere life to experience the Divine. Who is within each one. When man turns his vision inward he can experience eternal Bliss. The source of Bliss, the spirit, is within himself. God is nearer to everyone than one's parents, spouse or children. Kith and kin are outside one, but God is within the body. Forgetting the God, who is nearest and closest to them, people are trying to seek for an invisible God elsewhere. Daivam maanusharupena. God appears in human form. It is sheer human fancy to imagine that God is effulgent light or that He has four arms with conch and discus and dwells in some remote place. A man who is attached to the body can never experience the formless, incorporeal God. Only when he gets rid of the body consciousness can he recognize the transcendental Divine. Hence, as long as one has attachment to the body, one must adore God in a physical form.
It is a waste of time to try to secure in one way or another a direct vision of God. God is manifesting Himself in the heart of everyone. The One supreme spirit is the indwelling spirit in all beings. Ekaatma sarvabhutha antaraatma. The absolute reality, Sath, is One only, though the wise call it by many names. We have to endeavour to experience that Divine.
The significance of Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati has to be rightly understood. The three represent three kinds of potencies in man. Ichchaa Shakti, will power, Kriya Shakti, the power of purposeful action, and Jnaana Shakti - the power of discernment.
Saraswati is manifest in man as the power of speech, Vaak. Durga is present in the form of dynamism. Lakshmi is manifest in the form of will power. The body indicates Kriya Shakti. The mind is the repository of Ichchaa Shakti. The Atma is Jnaana Shakti. Kriya Shakti comes from the body, which is material. The power that activates the body that is inert and makes it vibrant is Ichchaa Shakti. The power that induces the vibrations of Ichchaa Shakti is Jnaana Shakti, which causes radiation of energy. These three potencies are represented by the mantra Om Bhur Bhuvah Suvaha. Bhur represents Bhuloka, the earth. Bhuvah represents the life force, conscience in man. Suvaha represents the power of radiation. All three are present in man. Thus Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati dwell in the human heart.
Men are prone to exhibit rajasic qualities like anger and hatred. They are the menacing manifestations of Durga. The extolling of the Divine in song and poetry and the pleasing vibrations produced by them indicate the power of Saraswathi. The pure qualities that arise in man such as compassion, love, forbearance and sympathy are derived from Lakshmi.
When people worship Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi externally in pictures or icons, they are giving physical forms to the subtle potencies that are within them. The unfortunate predicament of man today is that he is not recognizing the powers within him and developing respect for them. He goes after the external, attracted by the physical forms. The relationship between the material and the subtle has to be understood. The remedy for man's life is contained within himself. But man seeks remedies from outside. Here is an illustration of what happens in the world.
A hotel and a drug store are adjacent to each other. When a hotel server gets a headache, he goes to the neighbouring pharmacy for a pill to cure his ache. When the pharmacist gets a headache, he goes to the hotel shop for a cup of coffee as his cure, instead of taking his own pills.
In a similar way people today tend to ignore the Divinity within themselves, but hanker after many external objects. There is no need to go in search of the Divine. Men must develop firm faith in the Divinity within them. All that is needed is to turn the vision inward to experience the Divine within.
Men engage themselves in many outward spiritual practices. All scholarship is of no avail if there is no realization in the heart. The scholar may expound the texts, but lacks the internal experience. One who has mastered the Vedas may be able to explain the words, but cannot recognize the Veda Purusha, the supreme person hailed by the Vedas.
When a person goes to a temple, he closes his eyes in front of the idol, because what he seeks is an internal vision of God and not a sight of the external form of the idol. God is Omnipresent as proclaimed in the Geetha. God is One, though names and forms may differ.
All education today is related to the physical world. It will not serve to reveal the Divine. It was this which impelled Sankaracharya to teach a pundit who was learning by rote Panini's grammar that at the moment of death only the Lord's name, Govinda, will save him, and not the rules of grammar. [Swami then sang several verses].
Though this teaching has been propagated for centuries, very few practice it. Many read the Ramayana as a daily ritual. But how many carry out the commands of their fathers? How many practice the virtue of fraternal affection and love proclaimed in the Ramayana? Is there anyone standing for the gospel of Dharma, duty, as upheld by Sri Raama? Of what use is it to endlessly listen to discourses without putting anything into practice? Geetha is being read and expounded on every street corner - is a single precept from it being put into practice? Not at all. The Geetha shows the path to God realization. But simply reciting the Geetha is valueless. Follow the Geetha and tread the path indicated by it. Only then you will reap the reward.
What is meant by practice? Direct your sacred love towards God. There is no need for any severe spiritual exercise. Love is God. Live in Love. Get immersed in that Love.
What should be pure love has been polluted today by all kinds of attachments. Pollution today is all pervading and has spread to the hearts of people. Purity has become scarce.
The love of God, Prema, is all powerful. Prahlada demonstrated this all conquering power of love for the Lord. He survived every kind of ordeal by his faith in Narayana.
Embodiments of Love, though people live in the phenomenal world and carry on their activities, they should perform all their actions as an offering to please the Lord.
What is it you should do during these ten days of the Navarathri festival? Convert your ichchaa sakthi into a yearning for God. Convert kriya sakthi into a force for doing Divine actions. Convert your Jnaana Sakhti into the Divine Itself.
Sathyam, Jnaanam Anantham Brahma, proclaim the scriptures. The Divine is truth, wisdom, and infinite. These three are in man. You can experience the entire cosmos within your own heart. The marvelous powers in man, the power of sight, touch-- all are derived from God.
Human birth has to be redeemed by contemplation on God. Man today is misusing his precious body. Instead of filling it with the nectar of love, he is filling it with worldly trash. Man should be the master of his senses, instead of being their slave.
[Swami concluded by singing Prema Muditha Manase Kaho, Raama Raama Ram!]