Conversations with God – 1

The following is the first of a series of articles written by Guruji. These have earlier been published in the newspaper in Udipi. Guruji has kindly made these available for sharing with our readers and Satsanghis at Gitaaonline. Thanks to Vidya Rangarajan who has edited and sent the articles to me.

This first article called “Prajnanam Brahma” is a beautiful conversation that traces the progress of a casual devotee into one with intense faith and then to a Jnani and eventually a Jeevan Mukta. It has been beautifully expressed by Guruji in simple language that even a passing reader will be able to read and grasp and yet with so much profound wisdom that the most seasoned Satsanghis can draw so much inspiration from.

Do feel free to express your thoughts or questions to Guruji and Satsanghis.

PRAJNANAM BRAHMA

By Shantaram Bhandarkar

“How are you my friend?”

I looked in the direction of the voice and was happy to see Him. “Oh! You! I am fine, except for the problems you have given me!”

He said, “Have I? And this after your giving pravachanas on Gita? Read ch 5 shloka 14-15. You are responsible for your current position”

I protested, ”But you helped Pandavas all the time”

“All the time? Did they not go through 12 years of exile and one year of stay in secrecy? Did they not go through innumerable sufferings throughout their life? Compared to them, are you not in a better position?”

I could not answer. He consoled me. Well, well, time will cure all problems. Get on to your computer and I shall dictate, as your narrative, something for you to think and act.”

Before I could think, He vanished. I sat to type, His words came as my own narrative.

1. BELIEF IN EXISTENCE OF GOD

All religions advocate and promote belief in God of some form. Concept and understanding of
God at ordinary levels may differ. But the principle of belief in existence of God remains.

2. FAITH IN GOD

When belief becomes a conviction it becomes a faith. When rituals like bhajans or worship are
practiced daily, the belief becomes strengthened into faith. When our prayers for removal of
obstacles or solving our day to day problems yield intended results, the faith leaves a strong root
in the mind.

3. LOVING GOD

A long association with God, with total faith, gets transformed into love with Him or Her. In order for Faith to become Love, an identification of God as “He” or “She” becomes necessary. We cannot
love God if He is something that cannot be seen like electricity or magnetic power or solar energy, although He is all of it too.

But our bodily feelings make it easier for us to love another body, who is a super body (purushoththama ). Thus we find ourselves worshiping Him with great love, chanting His stotras with intense fervor, and begin to love talking of God, and talking about miracles in our lives to others, and sharing reciprocally such feelings with them.

4. SEEING GOD IN ALL

The next stage is a big jump, like leaving the primary school and going to secondary school. I now begin to love God so much that I have started seeing Him or Her manifestation. Firstly in teachers, Masters and such realized souls; next in all good people and all great people whom I see as His or Her Vibhootis or great manifestations.

With the passage of time I started seeing God in all people good or bad , great or small, poor or rich, intelligent or dull ; I now find myself seeing Him OR Her even in animals. Lo! Plants too. And I see Him like the little future master who was asked to eat the banana unobserved by anyone, and who found that he could not do so, since he saw God everywhere.

5. SERVING GOD IN OTHERS

My worship and rituals got transformed into service of others. For, my pooja room has now got expanded to my house, to my village, to my country, nay the whole universe. I now get immersed in the love of others, following the footsteps of great saints. I love all for I see God in all; and as I love them all, I cannot but serve all. That seems to be the only purpose now; to serve all and try to remove their miseries. Help them in all spheres of their life. Removal of their disease, promoting their health through yoga and chaste life, their fuller value based education, providing the poor a simple roof on their head, helping them to take out a livelihood, the nourishing of their and their children’s souls, become my concern through day and night.

6. REMOVING EGO FROM OUR SERVICE

Service of others for years, gives me vast experience. I do not seem to do anything for ‘myself.’ I have literally forgotten myself, my needs, my interests, my comforts, my possessions, even my own blood relatives.

I observe myself closely, I find in the earlier years of service of others, I used to get angry when people disobeyed me. When they did not agree with me, I was losing my temper. I was happy when people appreciated what I did or what I said or when projects were completed, there was a euphoria which was laced with ‘I did it.’ I was intolerant to anybody else trying to overpower me, or bring ideas which were better than mine. I was uncomfortable when others were centers of attraction.

I slowly realized how ugly these feelings of mine were; they needed to be weeded out. I actively started empowering others. I praised them wholeheartedly when they achieved even a little success. I started looking for other people’s suggestions and complimented them. I started loving those who disagreed with me. For slowly ‘ I ‘ and ‘ mine ‘ from my heart were slipping away. My love was now reaching its culmination.

7. REALIZE THE FUTILITY OF ONE’S IMPORTANCE

Whenever I found time I was doing swadhyaya or self- study of scriptures. I saw that however great a person is, death has to come to all. However big the mansion, it has to become dilapidated, outdated and fall someday. I found the tilled fields which yielded the crop, are cut and tilled again for a new crop. I saw that parents who became spiritually great, had ignorant children who had to go through the process of self- education. I saw in spite of all the thousands of great souls, rishis, mahatmas, avatars, reincarnations, the world remained the same. The world of three gunas; Satwa, Rajas and Tamas; nothing changed it. All my efforts, my services, my love for others, seem only to change me alone. Everything that I did all these years, seem to show me how insignificant I was and how ugly my feeling of pride was, when I carried the
feeling of ‘ I .‘ I felt I am in no way superior to an ant or insect and invariably they behaved better.

8. UNDERSTAND THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE GREAT TRUTH

My reading of scriptures continued. I learnt from the matters that this world is not real; since I had zillions of births with the conviction that this world is real, it takes some time to get this new idea that this world is unreal, into my consciousness. Further I am not this body at all. This body is temporary and it will be abandoned by the soul like old torn dress. The soul which this body wears is imperishable, undying, neither born or dies. It is so magnificent that it is beyond the range of our understanding. Hence it is called ‘unthinkable or ungraspable.’ Further, all souls are one and there is no difference between atma and paramatma. To my great surprise, I found myself alone exists in this universe. Nay , the universe seems to
exist in me. Yes, I am that Great Brahman that I wanted to ‘seek.’ I alone exist. I have nowhere to go, none to seek, no work to do, nothing to speak. I am in a state of total bliss of this great awareness.

9. WATCHING THE FUNCTION OF MIND

All along, I have been watching my mind. The thoughts which were turbulent like a river in spate had become more controllable. They still had a sway over me for a long time. Now in recent years these thoughts have been canalized by reduction of desires . By the use of mantras, by deeper meditation, I found that meditation was invariably disturbed by thoughts about my activities, which are centered on my desires . As I abandoned the worldly desires, it became easier for me to have control on my thoughts. All thoughts are now merging into a single thought.

10. DISSOLUTION OF MIND

Each time I chanted the Lord’s name mentally, slowly and deliberately, I found I was enjoying the great peace and satisfaction of calmness. I noticed a gap between ending of a mantra or thought and starting of the next. As I reduced the speed of my breath, I noticed that this gap between the two chants or thoughts becoming longer and longer and it seemed to be like thoughtless stage, a vacuum, a state of mouna (silence). It seemed to give me a unique satisfaction and peace which passed all understanding. I started losing myself in great bliss.

11. REMOVAL OF ALL LATENT DESIRES (CALLED VASANAS)

I had to simultaneously with the dawn of knowledge (that I am that Great Brahman and this world or my perception is false), and the dissolution of mind (where all desires and thoughts of the world – samkalpa) with fervent beseeching to the Lord to ward of my all latent tendencies, I found myself free from their effect on me.

12. JEEVANMUKTI: LIBERATION WHILE ALIVE

Unasked, as if it were, like a fruit on the palm of my hand, I find myself, free from ‘ I ‘ and ‘mine.‘ I have now neither any want, nor any need. I am grateful to my Guru, to God and to all, and I find all of them in me only.

I have neither memories of past nor visions of future. I live strictly, but most naturally, in ‘ The Great Now.’

I have nothing to achieve, although I have no problem in being a part of any program or project.

I have no fears since I have no desires. I have no goals, nothing to run after.

I have reached the end of all journeys; for I found, I reach myself, losing myself in me.

I am free now and ever. I was always free and will ever remain free. My bandhan (being locked
up) was a dream!!!

I have no need to talk, I have none to listen.

Although looking alive to your eyes, I am dead already, dead to world of wants.

I find myself eternal, eternally blissful and wish all well. In fact find all is well. It was always so!

This in essence is the hardcore of spirituality as advocated by the Greatest of the Masters in
Hinduism.

Rituals, worship, homas, songs, chanting of hymns, stotras and various pujas are all only
beginning steps towards eventual spiritual evolution.

Till the idea of enjoyment in this world or in the other world is there in us, there can never
be clarity of perception of goal. All such people, however good they might be, are in the grip
of ‘Maya.’ So also in the person who talks on spirituality and does not follow the spiritual
precepts, or the person who reads a great deal on spirituality and does not act upon what he
has learnt. All these are in Maya only.

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About Shantaram Bhandarkar