The central part of Guruji’s teachings is LOVE. To awaken love inside of us we need bhakti. Bhakti is devotion. In order to get devotion you have to surrender. There is no shortcut to this. And what is surrender and to what or whom should we surrender to?
We need to understand that we are souls encased in the body. Our souls are part of the Cosmic Lord. The body is the vehicle of the soul. The soul needs this body to work out all material desires and past karma that propels this soul to be born again and again on this mortal plane of existence. When we identify ourselves with this body (or profession, or possession we have, or the family, name, nationality, race, colour of skin, fame, and so on) we suffer because we begin to rely on something that is transient; we depend on the world of illusion. That is so childish of us, but we seem to be very stupid since we fall over and over again on the same self created misery.
Whom should we blame when things don’t go the right way for us? The blame is only on us. What we saw we shall reap. That is the inexorable law of karma, the law of action and reaction. It works on all levels of human existence.
The mind and the senses of men will naturally be turned towards the outside world. As we live in this reality, which is constructed to entangle us in its multiple ramifications of magical illusory phenomena, and the more we focus on it, the more we will let the outside drag us more and more in its magic spell, and the more unhappy we will become. The reason is that we move away from the center of our happiness which lies deep inside of us. It is a constant struggle between the two forces: the one which is pulling us toward the world of illusion, and the inner spiritual force, the force of our soul, which is calling us back to its kingdom. What did Christ say? The kingdom lies withing you! And only those pure in heart will meet the Lord.
So how to get there? How to achieve the purity of the heart?
Heart is ever pure in its essence but what surrounds it are the layers of impurity. To remove it may prove a titanic task for us. We are lost in this world. We are born crying as we realize in what mess we have come back to again. We lose our memory due to the past tendencies (samskaras). And that is the grace that we don’t remember the past lives. If we did, we would not be able to cope up with this life. And we need this life to reestablish our eternal relationship with our Creator, to rediscover our true self, and to live eternally in this Love Divine that every atom of our being is made of.
It is very difficult to turn the mind and the senses in the opposite direction as they have been conditioned since birth to enjoy the transitory pleasures of this world. Nobody taught us how to live this live so we were left to be guided by our lower animalistic instincts. The more we do, it seems, the more the world rejoices, and this gives us motivation to dive deeper in the mud of the material life. All the true values have been forgotten.
Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda came to remind us about the true purpose in life, and that is to love God, just as Jesus came to remind people, back then, to love God with all their minds, hearts and souls.
What does that mean?
It simply means to surrender the mind and the senses. Let the mind sink to the heart, let it be purified in the nectar of love and devotion that our heart is brimming over. Let the heart get the throne back from the mind. And let the senses perceive everything with the eyes of God.
“Let thine eye be single”, says in the Bible. That is our spiritual eye with which we should see the world around us. All the five senses were given to us not to enjoy the pleasures of the world (as we know by experience what are the consequences) but to see, smell, taste, hear, touch God in everything around us. When we remind ourselves that everything is God, as it truly is – the whole world is His creation, His dream world, His platform on which he put us in to see whether we love Him more or His imaginary objects – then all our sorrows and misery will be forever erased. We will see God in everything and everybody; we will taste Him in all; we will hear the subtle music and song of praise that all creating in unison is offering to Him; we will smell the fragrance of His presence in each nook and corner of this world; we will feel Him underneath our feet as we walk; we will touch Him in all; we will feel him in the breeze and in each breath we take.
This is the beauty of life. This is what we are made for. And we can accomplish this as we all have this capacity. God made us in His image, he gave us mind, senses, feeling and heart to do it. When we forget this, he always sends us reminder through a Guru, such as Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda. And once we recognise Him in our Guru we should let go of everything and cling only to Him. He came to rescue us from this mire, from the spider’s web of self created misfortune.
The real spiritual path begins when we understand this and let Him guide us in the form of an ordained guru. We all have a guru and he is there for us from the inception of time. If he is not incarnate he guides us from within, so called the inner guru. If we listen we will hear his voice and guidance, as he is the speaking voice of silent God.
Only through a guru we can reach God.
The mind will create the major obstacle on the way. That is why the above passage from the Bible, when Jesus says to love God with all your mind, he is referring to the act of surrendering. Mind needs a focus, without focus it has no existence of its own. When the senses feed the mind with the objects of attractions, it moves farther away from God. Many yogis tried to control the mind using many yogic techniques. They all agree it was a very difficult task. The jñānis (jñāna yogis, those who follow the path of jñāna yoga, or the yoga of knowledge) know how difficult it is to subdue the mind. But the bhaktas (those who follow the path of bhakti yoga) know more simple method. When we offer the mind to the Lord, He asumes the responsibility. Guruji often says, when we give a gift to somebody to whom that gift belongs to? In the same way, when we offer it to the Lord, it is not ours any more.
That is of paramount importance: to feed the mind with the right thoughts. To listen to the stories of the Lord, to chant His name, to engage in the service towards bhaktas, is the highway. Why go through the country roads and long windy paths when we can use the direct, the shortest, and the safest route?
The pull of maya (illusion) is very strong and all bhaktas have had many experience with it.
The mind can be a great friend on our spiritual path, but it is also our greatest enemy if we let it take the reins in its hands. Doubt is one of the greatest obstacle. The mind will judge, doubt, criticize, blame, scheme, avoid doing the right thing, and so on. But of all the negative qualities of the mind, the doubt is the most dangerous. When doubt creeps in, it is very difficult to uproot it. I have seen many nice people leaving the spiritual path due to the doubt created in the mind. When it rises, we should not feed it; we should not follow its ways, as it will leads us to our downfall. It is a great test of God when it comes. And nobody is safe until we reach God. Even great souls fall due to the intricacy of the mind. Guruji is reminding us, “Any one of you can fall any moment. Don’t think for a second that you are safe. Stay vigilant and work every moment to become closer. And the biggest factor is who you keep around you. The association is so important on the spiritual path.”
I always wonder, when doubt arises, why we don’t doubt the doubt itself?
Sometimes, due to doubt, in one moment, we throw the spiritual accomplishments of many lives. We doubt everything. It is the nature of the mind to doubt.
That is why it is necessary to have a little knowledge of some basic spiritual principles. For that, Bhagavad Gita is the greatest manual; it is the manual for life! But it is not easy to understand it. It can be understood only with the (spiritual) heart. If heart is not opened, it is pointless. It is still a good book to read; we will still draw a lot of benefits and receive a lot of counsel from it. But the Book opens its secrets only to the bhaktas (lovers of God).
In order to understand Bhagavad Gita, it is recommended to read or listen to Shreemad Bhagavatam. Shreemad Bhagavatam is a love story of the bhaktas’ love for God. It awakes devotion inside our hearts. It is filled with bhakti, the devotion of the bhaktas of the Lord. On the other hand, Bhagavad Gita is the Lord Himself giving the adesh (the instruction) as how to live life. Both are necessary. Without devotion we cannot reach Love (God).
And the Dharmakshetra Kurukshetra, that is being described in the Bhagavad Gita, is an inner battle that is happening inside of us – a battle between the mind and the heart. Bhagavad Gita is all about our the inner journey we all have to travel.
Our atma (soul) should let Paramatma (Lord) to take the reins in His hands and we will safely be driven to our final destination.
mām ekaḿ śaraṇaḿ vraja
ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
This verse, in the Bhagavad Gita, beautifully describes our true path and the goal. It translates as:
“Abandon all dharmas and take refuge in Me alone.
I will deliver you from all sin and evil, do not grieve.”
This is the hope of the bhaktas; the only tool we should have. God promises to deliver us, no matter how sinful we may be, or how deep we may be steeped in karma, or evil. The only thing that is required from us is to give Him our hand so that He can deliver us, nothing else – no great prayers, no great worships, or rituals, or following moral codex, etc, will save us.
All we have to do is to let Him take the reins of our lives. That is the surrender of the mind that Jesus spoke of in the Bible; that is what Krishna spoke of in the Bhagavad Gita; and that is the same message that Paramahamsa Sri Swami Vishwananda is trying to impinge on our minds, hearts, and souls. Nothing else, but Love, just Love.