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Self-Test: II

"This is the introspective self-test that everyone in AM must take. No one can administer this test to you. Nor can you impose this test on anyone else. This is for every sadhaka to think about internally - with absolute honesty and sincerity, otherwise it will not work."

"This is the introspective self-test that everyone in AM must take. No one can administer this test to you. Nor can you impose this test on anyone else. This is for every sadhaka to think about internally - with absolute honesty and sincerity, otherwise it will not work."

From: “Ramlal Sharma”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Self-Test: II
Date: Sun, 11 Oct 2009 10:50:51

Baba

“A’lo jhariye madhu ks’ariye a’ndha’r sa’riye tumi esecho…” (P.S. 1233)

Purport:

Baba, You have come and by Your divine advent You are showering
effulgence, exuding nectar, and wiping away all darkness. Baba, You have
come– making the flowers blossom & graciously spreading happiness and
bliss to one and all. Baba, by Your august arrival everyone’s hopes and
longings have been fulfilled.

Baba, living beings were awakened by the deep yearning and pain of
longing in their heart. And with this feeling, in the anticipation &
hope of Your coming, they were awake, watching for Your arrival–
constantly looking towards Your path. Baba, this pain and longing of
devotees resonated in Your heart and You could no longer remain distant.

Baba, You have come and You are graciously pouring the basket of love–
satisfying everyone’s heart. The sleeping humanity has gotten new life
by Your grace.

Baba– that river which dried up and evaporated, and that song which
was lost in the oblivion– the current of that very river and the tune of
those songs You have graciously brought along with You.*

Baba due to Your august advent You have inundated each and every heart
with the nectar of devotion. This is Your causeless grace…

* The inner idea is that when Parama Purusa comes and He saturates the
heart with deep devotion, then all those feelings of love and which had
dried up start to blossom. In the above song, the river signifies the
flow of devotion and the song and melody refers to that subtler
expression of devotional feeling…

== SELF-TEST: II ==

Note: The link for the first letter in this series is below the signature.

Namaskar,
The first letter in this series emphasized the importance of devotion
and offered a self-test: “Am I a jinani or not?”

This letter focuses on evaluating, “Am I truly a devotee?”.

In any discourse it states that devotees are the uppermost and
their life will be victorious. So let’s see, “Am I devotee
or not?”

Many live under the illusion that they are devotees, but in
true sense they are not. None should fall into this hole.

Thinking about being a devotee is not enough, one should
test oneself according to Baba’s divine teachings.

Knowing what one’s real status is very important. If you
discover this truth at the end of your life, then that
will invite misery and it cannot be fixed in that late
hour.

Now is the time to know: Do I have devotion for the Divine
Entity or not?

There is no external judge, court, or committee that is carrying out
this survey. This is purely a self-test.

Specifically, I should ask myself and you should ask yourself. There is
no “other” involved and this is not the time to judge or classify
someone else. This is purely a personal experiment for spiritual
liberation

Let’s then investigate this important topic, “Am I a real bhakta?”.
Knowing the answer will foster progress along on the path.

IMPORTANCE OF DEVOTION

Other schools of yoga may give huge credence to the paths of action
(karma) and jinana (knowledge). But in Ananda Marga, everyone
understands well that bhakti is the main thing. That is what Baba
Himself emphasizes in so many thousands of discourses.

Baba says, “It is a recognized fact that the way to salvation is
three-fold; jina’na, karma and bhakti. All three of these roles are
recognized routes, and I have nothing to say against any of them. But
you know, those who are experienced in this life of spirituality say,
after realization, that the path of bhakti is the best. Even the
intellectual giant Sham’kara’ca’rya had to admit that “moks’a
ka’ran’asamagryam’ bhaktireva gariyasii” – bhakti is the best way to
moks’a or salvation, the approach of bhakti is the best.” (AV-6)

Baba says, ‘The path of bhakti is not only harmless, but the wisest one
and is the approach of the most rational people. So my advice to you all is
to move along the path of bhakti. It is the best route.” (AV-6)

Indeed, it is well known in our Marga that devotion is the most favoured
approach and the best thing in life is to become a devotee – that is
second to none.

“I MUST NOT DUPE MYSELF”

When we all want to become devotees, there should be a sure-fire way to
determine, “If I am a devotee or not”.

One should not live in the illusion that “I am a great bhakta” when in
fact I have just tamasik devotion. That is like cheating oneself,
knowingly or unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally.

It is just like if I think to myself, “I am a great swimmer and I can
swim across the river”, when in truth I am not a great swimmer. Then
when I try to swim the river, invariably calamity will strike. I will
not make it – I will drown. All because I was living under the banner of
self-deception & hypocrisy.

Such horrors should not happen in one’s devotional life. One must not
think, “I am a top grade bhakta, I am a top grade bhakta’, only to reach
the end of their years on this earth and suddenly realise, “I have
wasted my time, I do not have devotion, I do not know what to do.” This
type of panicked desperation due to living in an illusion should not
befall anyone.

All along they hypocritically think that I am great devotee, and they
get happy announcing this to others, when in fact in their heart they
have just tamasik devotion. That situation is not good, because
Parama Purusa sees right into your heart and knows what you are.

So one must not dupe oneself in this hypocritical manner. Then one
will just feel empty inside despite getting praise from others.

Nor should one live with the false notion that “I have no devotion”,
when in fact I have a lot of devotion.

There should not be a miscalculation in either direction.

So we should make a clear pathway to understand our own degree of
devotion. That is what this letter is all about.

WHAT IS DEVOTION?

First we must understand and define what devotion is.

Sa para’nuraktriishvare

According to Baba, devotion is love for the Supreme Entity.

Baba says, “One’s attraction for the Infinite Entity is called
prema…And for a bhakta? Bhaktipremasvaru’pin’ii. For a bhakta, “bhakti
is prema personified.” Bhakti is the spirit of prema.” (SS-24)

Having love for Parama Purusa is devotion.

MEASURING ONE’S DEVOTION- Part 1

The key principle then is how to measure one’s love for Him. How can a
sadhaka introspectively understand, “How much do I really love Baba.”

Here is one theorem that will help.

Baba says, “Where “I” is, “He” is not… where “He” is, “I” is not.
Remember, devotion is the pre-requisite of sadhana’. Maturity of
devotion is love and maturity of love is He.” (SS-3)

What needs to be understood here is that the human mind is one. One’s
egoistic desires cannot co-exist with love for Baba. It is either “I” or
“He”, “I” or “Baba”. That is the real determining factor in assessing
the level of devotion.

Let’s take a more careful look.

Suppose a person thinks, “I want to become a respected leader, but of
course I love Baba.” Anyone thinking like this is not a true bhakta.
Because their egoistic desire of wishing to become a great leader is
more than their love for Him.

Likewise if the mind is full or dominated by any similar desire: “I want
to become a millionaire”, or “I want to meet someone from the opposite
sex”, or “I want my boss’s job”, or “I want post and prestige”, or “I
want to vacation in Switzerland”, or “I want to become Purodha
Pramukha”, or “I want to be respected in my town”, or any other such
desire, then to the degree that desire is existing or dominant is the
degree to which, “I am not a devotee”.

Because the “I” is dominant and not “He”.

That is essentially how it works. “I” and “He” cannot co-exist as the
human mind is one.

One is imposing my desire about His desire.

This does not mean that one must give up everything of this world,
such as a job, or house, or family, only it means that one
should live in this world in service to Him.

I should continue doing my duty – doing my job and serving my
family – all in service to Him, not in pursuit of my own
petty desires. This is objective adjustment.

Objective adjustment does not mean forgetting Baba, it means
keeping Him as the Supreme Subject in all one does. The I-feeling
of ego should never dominate. Many get confused on this point.

Real bhaktas harbor only a single desire in their mind; regardless of
what they are doing they think, “I want to please Parama Purusa”. That
is their singular motivation and internal longing.

Any other subsidiary desire merely diminishes that state of true
devotion. Why? Because love is only one, not two or many. One cannot
simultaneously long for Baba and a higher post. Longing is one and a
person will naturally long for what they love most.

Thus every Ananda Margii must reflect, “What do I long for most? Baba
and Baba alone – or do I have other desire in mind?”

One cannot love two things to an extreme degree, only one. Some
confuse that they can have strong love for many objects, but that
is just a misnomer. There can be top-grade love for one entity.

Why? Because the cult of spirituality is the cult of pinnacled order.

MEASURING ONE’S DEVOTION- Part 2

This is the introspective self-test that everyone in AM must take. No
one can administer this test to you. Nor can you impose this test on
anyone else. This is for every sadhaka to think about internally – with
absolute honesty and sincerity, otherwise it will not work.

If others administer the test, one can get a passing mark by
their hypocritical behavior. One has to prove to Parama Purusa, that
I am devotee – not others.

One must consider, “Am I doing to please Him or do I have some other
competing desire in mind.” That is the essential question.

Everyone must know their own state of mind and mental longing. That is
the self test. Then one will know their level of devotion.

According to AM scriptures, devotion is everything, and one’s longing
should only be for Parama Purusa and for that reason one gets
human life, then we should be clear about our real
stature of devotion. One should know, “I have high devotion or low
devotion.”

No one should live in some dreamland state like the pauper who
internally thinks they are a billionaire when in fact they have not even
one penny to their name.

Similarly, no Ananda Margii should foolishly walk this earth thinking
themselves to be a great bhakta, when in truth they have so many other
worldly longings in mind.

When talking about highest devotion then mind can only love one. When
loving Parama Purusa then one cannot simultaneously have worldly love.
If you fall in love with worldly things side by side dreaming that you
are a great devotee, then your devotion is false and it will not help you.

That is why introspection is needed to fix oneself.

In this regard, no third party is involved in this self-test. It is
between you and Parama Purusa. In this situation, hypocrisy has no
value. Sincerity is needed.

Here Baba shows how worldly love cannot coexist with Divine Love.

Baba says, “Do you love your son? No, no you don’t love your son. You love
Brahma in the form of your son. By loving your son as a son, you cannot
love the Lord. Where there is the feeling of son, there is no Lord and
where there is the Lord, there is no son. Where you exist He does not
and where He exists you are no more.” (SS-1)

Jánhá káma tánhá nahiin Ráma, jánhá Ráma tánhá nahiin káma;
Dono ekatra nahiin miile ravi-rajanii ek t́hama.

Baba says, “When there is attachment to the mundane, Parama Puruśa is not
there; where there is Parama Puruśa there cannot be attachment – these
two things cannot go together, just as the sun and the night cannot go
together in the same sky.” (DKG)

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace He has given us devotion for Him by bringing us onto the
path. But one must not let that level of devotion be drowned out by
other crude desires. One must cultivate more and more pure devotion –
failing that one’s fate is bleak.

Baba says, “the worship of Brahma should be done scrupulously, or else you
will later regret and bemoan the futility of your life with the last drop
of your tears at your last hour. You should make your life worthwhile through
your sa’dhan’. How much can your worldly friends and relations do for you?
After your death your relatives may perhaps ask, “How much money has he left
behind?” Your friends may go to the crematorium and indulge in flattering
reminiscences about you. Your husband or wife may cry for you for about
ten or twelve days and then regain their normal composure. Your lot will
be only a profound sigh – a record of the futility and frustration of your
life. So do not waste your time lest you later have to repent.” (SS-3)

One must sincerely ask, “Do I long for Baba or something else like
money, name, or fame?”. Then one will know one’s true status.

At the same time, never miss the opportunity to ask Baba for more and
more bhakti. By His grace human life is a unique opportunity to come
close to Him.

One must realise, “I have been through so many animal lives and day by
day I am speeding towards my death. I must be practical and sincerely
advance along the path of bhakti. For that, I must think, ‘Am I longing
for Baba or something else’.”

Baba says, “There should not be any amalgamation in devotion. For example,
people mix copper in gold, but there should be no mixture in bhakti. Bhakti
should be shuddhá bhakti, unadulterated devotion; that is, there should
not be any covert desire in the mind. If there is a second thought, it
might be that that desire will be satiated; but Parama Puruśa will remain
unattained. The covert desire was your main desire, and devotion was a
show. This will not do.” (AV-1)

Baba says, “The object of Esana is Parama Puruśa and nothing else.”

“Ananyamamata visnormamata brahmasamgata”.

The Esana for other objects has to be channelized towards Parama Puruśa.
This will be the right Esana. And “Ananyamamata visnormamata brahmasamgata”
– that is love, that is Mukti. Hence, the correct Esana for men is Bhakti
(Devotion).”

“If a man wants to become a devotee of the lord but in the mind of his mind,
if he thinks that God will make him pass his examination – here the Esana is
not one but two. Here the work will not be done, “I want Paramatman and from
Him I want nothing”. When something is demanded from God the Esana becomes
two. Hence the time is completely wasted. Where this Esana is towards Paramatman
there it is known as Devotion. Where there is Bhakti there will be the success
in action and there will be victory for devotees.” (SS-20)

Namaskar,
Ramlal

Note 1: MORE LETTERS ON THIS TOPIC:

AM I JINANI OR AM I DEVOTEE?


*****************************************
Baba says, “O’ human beings, don’t get scared, light is sure to come
after darkness.” (AV-1, p. 51)
*****************************************

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To: am-global@earthlink.net
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 05:37:28 -0800
From: “Hank Tomasson”
Subject: The All-Important Point of Ista

Baba

PS intro: This below Prabhat Samgiita, song #324, is a neo-humanistic
song given by Baba on 10 March 1983. Thereafter Baba expressed this same
theme in His RU address and DMC discourse of 28 and 29 May,
respectively. In both those discourses He has given the same type of
idea but in greater detail. However, as the DMC speech has still not
been translated into English, a portion of Baba’s RU speech is cited
below, after the purport of the song. In that RU address, Baba is
specifically telling that everything is the expression of Parama Purusa:
He is expressing Himself throughout this manifested universe. That is
the central idea of His RU discourse and Prabhat Samgiita #324 is based
on this same concept.

“Moder dhara’ ru’pe peyeche toma’r ru’per sa’je…” (PS 324)

Purport:

O’ Lord, this world has become beautiful because of Your infinite
charm. That is why I behold You everywhere in all Your creations. When I
look at any expression then I see that You are there. You are expressing
Yourself in that form. Baba, You are expressing Your grandeur in the
form of all these created entities– animate and inanimate. Baba, You
Yourself are One but Your expressions are many. You express Yourself in
innumerable shapes and forms. You are hiding within Your creation.

Baba, You are present everywhere– in all the flows. Nothing is
outside Your mental arena; everything is within the purview of Your
mind. That is why nothing is ever lost. I am in Your mind and I do
according to Your desires. This entire creation is in Your mind and I am
one part of that. I am working according to Your exact wish. Because
this entire creation is Your thought projection.

Baba, You are present in each and every thought. Whatever human
beings think is known to You since You are the Witnessing Entity of that
thought process. Baba, You are very vast: Everything is in Your mind.
Baba, You are very small: You are present in everyone’s thoughts. Baba,
You are smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. Baba,
even by mistake I do not think that besides You anything else exists.
You are everything.

Baba, by Your grace I always think that You are the quintessence…

Note 1: Here is a portion of Baba’s RU address of 28 May 1983 wherein He
is expressing this same type of idea as has been expressed in the above
song.

Baba says, “Neohumanism includes within its scope not only human beings
and animate creatures, such as plants and animals, but all inanimate
entities as well, for the scope of Neohumanism extends down to the
smallest particles of sub-atomic matter… Why should the love and
affection of developed human minds be restricted to human beings only?
Why should it not include all living beings, including plant life? This
is the new explanation of humanism – neohumanism – for within
neohumanism the entire animate world is included…And that golden day
is sure to come when that perfect stage of structure, that is, unit
existence in the intra-atomic world, will be reached, when human
intuition will realize that the essence in the sub-atomic world is pure
Consciousness.” (NHNS-1)

Note 2: Materialists think that everything comes from matter while
Baba’s AM philosophy states that everything comes from Brahma. This then
is the fundamental difference between the crude world view of
materialism and our spiritual outlook. Needless to say, our spiritual
perspective changes our whole view of this universe as well as our
relation with it. Materialists think that the world is for their
self-satisfaction only whereas in AM we think that we have come to this
world to serve others since all are the expression of Parama Purusa.

== THE ALL-IMPORTANT POINT OF ISTA ==

Namaskar,
Each and every A’nanda Ma’rgii is aware that the point of Ista is one of
our Sixteen Points. Specifically it is point #10.

Baba says, “Observe non-compromising strictness and faith regarding the
sanctity of Ista.” (Pt #10 of Sixteen Points)

So everyone is aware that this point of Is’t’a is included within His
guidelines, but even then it may be exactly clear what it means.

STRAIGHT-FORWARD MEANING OF OTHER POINTS

In comparison, many of the other aspects of Sixteen Points are
comparatively much more straight forward. Such as point #1: “After
urination wash the urinary organ with water.” This point does not need a
lot of explanation to understand the meaning. No one is confused or in
doubt about the meaning of this point.

And same can be said about so many of the aspects of Sixteen Points such
as:

“Do not cut the hair of the joints of the body” (#3)
or
“Regular participation in the weekly dharmacakra at the local
jagrti should be considered mandatory” (#15).

Both of these above points are quite literal and easy to understand. It
is readily apparent as to what the meaning is and what one is to do.
Indeed most if not all of the Sixteen Points are like this.

THE POINT OF IS’T’A IS LIKE A SUTRA

However the point of Is’t’a is less defined– less specific. Naturally
one may wonder then what exactly does it mean.

To get the answer then one must treat this point #10 of Sixteen Points
like a sutra. To understand its full meaning it is necessary to take
help of Baba’s other discourses. Because the point of Is’t’a is itself
extremely dense and is not at all explanatory– not descriptive. By the
wording itself, it is not evident what it means to be strict in Ista.
In that case point #10 of Sixteen Points must be treated like a sutra
since an explanation of this point has to be found in other places of
His vast body of teachings.

ONE VERY IMPORTANT EXPLANATION OF THE ISTA POINT

Certainly there are many ways and interpretations of this point of Ista,
such as in His discourse titled ‘Ista & Adarsha’ as well as in the
‘Seven Secrets of Success’ discourse where Baba elaborate on the point
of Shraddha’– deep reverence for the Goal. These are all important
places to gain a deeper understanding about what it means to follow
point #10 of Sixteen Points: “Non-compromising strictness and faith
regarding the sanctity of Is’t’a.”

In addition here below Baba gives us deep insight as to what it means to
be established in Is’t’a.

Baba says, “When people are established in devotion, they attain a state
called is’t’a nis’t’a— devotion for one’s goal. In that stage there is
but one dominant thought: ‘Whatever I do, be it social, political or
socio-economic service, the motivating thought in my mind will be to
please Parama Purus’a’.” (AV-8, p.101)

ANSWER IS IS’T’A NIS’T’A: DOING TO PLEASE HIM

By Baba’s above teaching of Is’t’a nis’t’a, we can understand that one
is established in the point of Ista when one does each and every thing
in order to please Him. That is the key point and the defining factor.

So throughout the day all our activities and duties are to be done with
this singular aim in mind– to please Him. This is the secret of Is’t’a
nis’t’a.

Thus whether we are bathing, taking food, doing sadhana, reading
svadhyaya, raising our family, engaging in business, or organising
social service projects, everything should be done with the sole motive
of pleasing Him. We are doing these things to make Him happy. This pure
intention must be the only guiding force in our engagement. Then alone
can it be termed as Is’t’a nis’t’a.

And Is’t’a nis’t’a– doing to please Him– is what it means to be
established in Ista, according to Baba’s above teaching.

MOST DO FOR SELF-SATISFACTION

At the same time it has to be recognised that being truly established in
Is’t’a nis’t’a is not an ordinary affair.

Because in their general dealings and movements in life, people are
mostly if not always guided by their own selfish desires. That is the
overriding idea behind the bulk of their actions: selfish pleasure. Some
fall into this predicament to a greater degree than others. But it is a
fairly pervasive tendency.

For example one degraded person who visits a prostitute house is
obviously sunk in this principle of selfish pleasure. But not only him,
often people in our Marga perform social service work also with the idea
to gain some self-satisfaction, i.e. to get some lift and pump
themselves. By doing that service work they derive some ego
satisfaction. This also happens.

Here the point is not to lump anyone’s service work in the same category
as visiting a prostitution shop. Only the point is that it is not the
activity in and of itself that dictates whether one is established in
Is’t’a nis’t’a or not. What qualifies whether one is established in ista
nista is the idea or motivating factor behind one’s action. If one is
doing solely to please Him, then that is Ista nista, otherwise not.

ISTA NISTA IS OUR MEASURING ROD

By analysing the motive behind their actions, everyone can freely
determine how far they are established in the point of Ista. If one is
doing to please Him then they are marching ahead on this sacred pathway
and if one is doing for some other reason then they are not established
in Ista. Baba’s definition is very clear cut about this.

So with full sincerity we should use this measuring rod of Ista nista to
gauge our intention behind our every action or work. By this way one can
understand how far they are strict in Ista or not.

And then with renewed efforts we can again take His name and ensconce
our minds in His thought and move ahead. So we should always try to
understand what is the motivating factor in our actions and
simultaneously infuse more and more devotional feeling in our lives by
sincerely doing our prescribed practices of bhakti yoga etc.

Through this dual approach one is sure to get more established in the
point of Ista. And the key point behind it all is to sincerely evaluate
one’s own actions and not try to befool oneself. If one is honest with
themselves then they can surely progress on the path of ista nista.

SURE PATHWAY TO SUCCESS

May our each and every action begin with the sincere desire of pleasing
Him. With this pure intention in mind, success is sure. This is Baba’s
blessing on us all.

Baba says, “You too should keep moving forward, and you will also attain
victory after victory – there is no doubt about it. Therefore continue
your efforts tirelessly, do your duty and you will surely be crowned
with success.” (SS-18)

Namaskar,
Hitendra

Note: MORE ON THE POINT OF ISTA

Here Baba tells more about this all-important point of Ista.

Baba says, “There are many meanings of this word “Is´t´a.” One is the
fulfillment of the goal. In other words, by ideating on Him, all sorrows
of the mind and bad thoughts go away. That is called “Is´t´a.” Ideology
is an impersonal element. To go toward “Is´t´a,” we need only love;
whereas to follow an ideology we need courage and efforts. If we have
love for our Lord, then we do not need anything else. We cannot get
devotion by going to pilgrimages. The minimum requirement for getting
devotion is the human mind. By simply exerting little efforts, you get
development. If you desire devotion, you will get it. If you have love
for the Supreme, you will get established in your “Is´t´a”.” (23
November 1971 DMC, Purnea)

******************************************
Proper Plan of Life

Baba is revealing how ignorant, short-sighted people think and plan in
their dogmatic way.

Baba says, “Some people consider that one should start intuitional practice
in old age when a person has more leisure, after one has spent the prime of
one’s life earning money. People are afraid that they may face insecurity
and difficulties in their old age if they do not accumulate enough wealth
before their bodies weaken with age, rendering them incapable of hard work.
They regard the prime of life as the period intended for earning money, and
old age with its decreased capacity for hard work as the time to remember
God. They are labouring under the misconception that hard work is not
necessary for intuitional practice and that old age is therefore the proper
time for it.” (AMEP, ’98, p.131-32)

Now here following Baba is giving the answer.

Baba says, “Whoever is born is bound to die and one is constantly
approaching death, not knowing when it will come. It is never certain if
one will live to grow old. Yet people reserve the most important work of
practising sa’dhana’ for the time when the body has become completely
enfeebled and the fatuous mind of old age has become entangled in the
reactions of this life to such an extent that it is afraid of starting
anything new. Ordinarily it is fear of one’s approaching death that makes
one think of God in old age. One’s evil deeds begin to haunt one, and one
starts praying and imploring God to save him or her from the consequences
of one’s deeds. There is no value in remembering God in old age, when it is
not possible to concentrate the mind due to the weakness and disease of the
body and its preoccupation with the reactions (sam’ska’ras) of the deeds of
this life. The mind then is caught up in the infirmities of the body, in
the diseases of old age, impending death, and most of all, in memories of
past incidents, and it is impossible to concentrate it. For these reasons
one is incapable of intuitional practice.” (AMEP, ’98, p.132)

Note: This problem is such a common ailment that 99.9% of the people in the
present society are caught up in this whirlpool. And by this way their
whole life gets wasted. It is our duty to think again and again and reach
the conclusion about what is the best approach to utilise this priceless
human life.

******************************************

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From: “Shantatma Kerketta”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: Devotee Story: Three Boons
Date: Sun 13 Sep 2009 14:13:55 +0530

Baba

“Diner a’lote a’so ni, ele tumi a’ndha’re…” P.S. 2073

Purport:

Baba You are so merciful, You are so divine. Earlier when my life was
full of happiness then that time You did not come; but now in this
period of darkness You have come. It is Your grace. During my good days
I wanted You to come and rejoice the occasion. But that did not happen–
in the effulgence of the day You did not come. But now in the darkness
of night You have come.* Baba, how You play Your liila.

Baba in the smile of the moon, You do not present Yourself. But when I
was suffering in pain, then with the soothing balm You came and relieved
me of my suffering. Baba, You have come in this cimmerian darkness when
I am crying. Baba, everyone knows that You are most-loving; and everyone
knows that You think about one and all. Even then they involve in
logically analysing and reasoning about Your ways in order to strengthen
their love for You– to love You in a deeper way.

O’ Baba, You are beginningless and Your abode is in infinity. In all the
twelve months You remain constantly along with me– in pain and
pleasure. Baba, You are the divine shelter of everyone; You are the
heart of everyone, the Soul of souls. And by Your grace You pull
everyone close to You. You never discard or ignore anyone– irrespective
of how high or how low they are. Baba You have only come in this time of
crying and suffering. In the good days when I was calling You then You
did not come. Baba, Your glory is unfathomable; Your liila is beyond
imagination; Baba, You are so gracious…

* Here Baba is using effulgence to represent those days of happiness and
darkness symbolizes those periods of tears and sorrow.

== DEVOTEE STORY: THREE BOONS ==

Namaskar,
Devotees have a special characteristic that separates them from ordinary
people. That is Baba’s explicit teaching.

Irregardless of a bhakta’s behavior, whether he commits a right or a
wrong, we must not think that thr devotee is therefore useless or worse
than common folk. Because still that bhakta has the special quality of
devotion. Baba Himself places tremendous importance on this.

Here below is one famous story about a devotee from long ago. The inner
meaning of the story lends itself well to life in Ananda Marga.

Thereafter are two dramatic Baba stories wherein He vigorously defends
the honor of even bad bhaktas after they were condemned by others for
their faults.

All these stories point in the direction that Parama Purusa holds a
special place in His heart for all devotees, even bad ones who commit
wrongs.

GAYA’SURA STORY: BAD DEVOTEE GOES ON CRUSADE

Baba tells the story of King Tripasura who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu.
After launching a crusade, King Tripasura met his untimely death.

His son, Gaya’sura inherited the throne and followed in his footsteps.

King Gaya’sura too was an ardent worshiper of Lord Vishnu. He prayed
endlessly and finally achieved the gift of immortality, granted to him by
his chosen Lord Visnu. King Gaya’sura promptly launched a heinous offensive
wiping out innocent people in all lands. The wrath of Gaya’sura was terrible.
And no one could kill him.

King Gayasura even attacked the devotees of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu Himself
came to defend them, but the Lord too was defeated.

Lord Vishnu’s followers pleaded with Him to do something.

Lord Vishnu then asked a boon of King Gayasura. The King agreed. Lord
Vishnu then asked that Gayasura be turned to stone.

Gaya’sura replied, “So be it”, but then made three pleas:

1) The Lord should put His feet in Gaya’sura’s heart;
2) All those with the Lord’s feet in their heart must be granted liberation;
3) If anyone with the Lord’s feet in their heart does not get
liberation, then King Gaya’sura will again be granted life on earth.

Here Baba describes these boons in full:

Baba says, “First, the Lord will seat Himself in the heart of the
devotee without bothering Himself about the nature of that person, good,
or bad. It is enough to be a devotee, in order to have the Lord inside.
Second, all those who have the Lord’s feet in their hearts are bound to
get liberation – liberation is a sure guarantee for them. Third, since
Gaya’sura had been turned to stone by the Lord, and since He would again
arise if anyone having the Lord inside failed to be liberated, the Lord
would have to grant liberation to all such persons for all time to
come.” (‘The Lord’s Feet)

By the above story – which Baba Himself has recounted on various
occasions – we can understand that Parama Purusa places great value on
devotion.

Baba says, ‘This devotion is a heavenly attribution.” (1 June 1986 DMC)

Even though King Gayasura was a ruthless warrior, due to his devotion
he was able to keep the Lord’s feet in his heart. Such is the quality of
devotion and such is the grace of the Lord.

Devotion then is enough to gain the favour of the Lord, despite what
other bad qualities a bhakta might have.

TRUE TO FORM IN ANANDA MARGA

With all the groupism, difficulties, power mongering and so forth, it is
very easy to think that certain people in AM are total garbage. But we
should never harbor such ideas.

Some may have made mistakes and committed gross sins, yet still all are
our brother and sisters. We must develop a relationship of love with them.

We must remember that all have come into Ananda Marga – and they have
come for a reason. In the the near or distant past, they established an
inner link with Parama Purusa, by His grace. They have a place for Him
in their heart – so they have come once again to sacrifice in some way
for Him – and they are going to be granted salvation.

So all in AM are not just our brothers and sisters, but they are
devotees of the Lord and that in itself has great meaning. They have a
special connection with Him.

Regardless of what faults they do or what hell they create, we must not
banish such persons from our minds or think ill of them. Rather we are
to love them.

No doubt such persons may have to undergo rectification in the social
sphere – they may have to stand before the court of justice – but their
spiritual well-being is safe and secure, just as was the case with King
Gaya’sura. Parama Purusa has saved a place in His heart for even bad
devotees.

So we must appreciate all who have come to do something for Baba,
despite whatever shortcomings they may have. Their arrival onto the path
of AM has great meaning – that is enough to make one’s life successful.

We should not just think this way about others but about ourselves as
well. Baba has graciously has blessed us with the special gift of devotion.

BABA STORY #1:

THE CASE OF SHARANA’NANDA

We all know that in the 70’s when the mass of Wts were called for reporting
and RDS with Baba, then it was so crowded. The rooms were small and
everyone had to squeeze into just a few rooms.

During one such occasion, Dada Sharana’nanda arrived and was told that
all workers should place their bags and blankets into a particular room.
There was hardly any space as hundreds of workers were putting their
belongings there.

Anyway, somehow Sharana’nandaji found a tiny space. He spread his
blanket halfway and placed his bag on top. Then he went off to attend
his various meetings etc.

That evening when Sharana’nandaji returned, he saw that one Dada had
tossed his things aside and taken his spot. When he awakened that Dada
and told him, the Dada did not care at all.

Sharana’nandaji was extremely frustrated. In addition, it was a fasting
day and that made his frustration grow even more. Internally he was
thinking that many of these other Wts were just like monkeys, totally
uncultured and uncivilised. He was thinking they were just worthless
people.

He did not complain openly but those were the thoughts floating in his
mind.

The next day Sharana’nandaji was called before Baba for reporting.

Baba looked at him and in His loving liila He abused him openly. Baba
strongly rebuked him and said that those who have come in AM are not
ordinary. They may have bad manners and their conduct may be irregular,
but I have specially called them and they have come. So you must adjust
with their behaviours. They have a special samskara. Do not
superficially judge them by seeing their bad qualities or rude behaviour.

Baba lovingly scolded Sharana’nandaji in this manner.

Dada was shocked to hear this. First because he had not complained to
anyone, just Baba was peering into his mind. Secondly, he realised that
he must reconsider his relations with other workers and adjust with
their poor dealing.

Certainly Baba must have strongly scolded the Dada who threw away
Sharana’nandaji’s blanket. Sharana’nandaji did not know. All he knew was that
he must have respect and love for all in the Marga because of their link
with Baba. That is Baba’s wish and explicit direction.

This above story shows how Baba never judges any of His disciples based
on external affairs but rather looks at their inner essence and feeling.
And when He Himself says that all in AM have come because I have called
them and that they have a special samskara, then we must always look
favourably on everyone in AM – and love them.

That does not mean that we cannot point out their wrongdoing. We can in
the social sphere, only with the sweet motive to clean them of their faults.
Good margiis do like this because they know that all in AM are part of their
kith and kin. So in our heart we must not have ill will toward them.
Whether they do wrong or right, we must remember that they come to serve
Him in some capacity and they have Baba’s love.

BABA STORY #2:

THE CASE YOUNG WT IN GORAKHPUR

This next story leads in the same direction.

One family acarya from Gorakhpur came to Baba to complain about one
young Wt. The family acarya was telling about all kinds of incidents.

Baba immediately interjected and began scolding the family acarya and
told him to look upon that young worker as his own son. Then Baba
pointed out that the family acarya’s own son did not become a WT and was
not even a margii. And not only that, Baba said that, “While you
yourself were eating and enjoying at your house, this young worker was
not even able to find any proper food in the jagrti.”

Baba continued, “But you never cared about that and never checked to see
if he is alright. And now you are complaining to me about the behaviour
of this young worker. Such is your audacity. You should be ashamed of
yourself.”

Baba concluded, “I am His Father and I have to take care of Him. And you
also should have love for him.”

After this incident, everyone stopped complaining about Wts – at least
on the external level.

Again, here the point is not that wrongful behaviours should be
overlooked entirely. We are to point out and seek the rectification of
those bad devotees. But at the same time we should not harbor any
negative feelings in the mind toward such bhaktas. Because all have come
because of His call. They are not ordinary people and we should love
them.

MOTHER-BABY ANALOGY

Just as a mother has inherent love for her progeny — regardless of what
harm their children might cause, same is the case with Parama Purusa. He
has innate and unconditional love for His children.

The mother may abuse and scold her children but she has love. Likewise
Parama Purusa also may scold but His quantum of love is always present.

In the spiritual sphere, love is not unilateral. The bhakta has love for Him
and in return Parama Purusa has much more love for His devotees.

Baba does not look at the qualities or conduct of bad devotees. His love
is based on seeing the feeling in their heart. We should do the same.

This explains why despite all the mischief caused by some Central Dadas,
even then Baba has blessed them and kept them close.

BABA’S BLESSING

By Baba’s grace He loves, cares for, and looks after all His devotees,
whether they be good or bad. All have a special place in His heart.

Here we must remember the story of King Gayasura and how Lord
Vishnu granted him three boons – keeping His feet always in his heart.

And Baba Himself approves this story.

Although this is the story of King Gayasura and Lord Vishnu, yet in reporting
Baba Himself told and promised that He grants these same boons to all His
devotees.

Then when Lord Vishnu granted the boon that the Lord’s feet will always be
in the heart of the devotee, irregardless of their good and bad deeds, we must
know that Baba has promised and guaranteed the same. That is the first boon.

Secondly, Baba also promises that those who have the Lord’s feet
in their heart will get salvation. This is His second guarantee.

Lastly, if anyone with the Lords’ feet in their heart does not get liberation,
then the Lord’s prestige is at stake. Thus He is bound to fulfill them.

So Baba guarantees the above boons for all devotees up to eternity and
the only prerequisite for these boons is devotion. Then liberation is sure –
and the noose of maya will be shattered.

All this Baba has guaranteed and by His grace I was there that time in reporting
and by hearing Baba’s loving promise, then tears began flowing from all those
present. The room was completely vibrated; Baba’s immense love and grace
was emanating. We all felt especially graced by His infinite love and special
promise. And this guarantee Baba has granted to every devotee – for all who
have love for Him, irrespective of what wrongs and rights one commits in life.
Such His the nature of His loving and unconditional boon.

Thus when Baba does not judge bad devotees poorly, neither should we.
Their mistakes must be corrected in the social realm, but on the
spiritual plane, we must think of even bad devotees as our kith and kin
and love them, and know that Baba will take care for their salvation.

We should not judge any bhakta or even ourselves based on past sins. We
should think about Him and cultivate love for all.

So the lesson given in the Gaya’sura story of old applies equally well
today. That is why Baba has given this story again and again in His
discourses. Because all bhaktas – even bad ones – have earned a place in
His heart.

May we all focus not on the the poor behaviour of bad devotees but
instead adopt a high spiritual ideal.

Baba says, “Cherishing a strong desire to know and understand Him, think
of Him, ideate on Him, meditate on Him – You will certainly attain Him.”
(AMIWL-6)

Baba says, “…The wise and intelligent ideate less on their defects and
demerits and more on the Supreme desideratum.” (A’nanda Va’nii #66)

Namaskar,
Shantatma

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From: “A. Roy”
To: am-global@earthlink.net
Subject: To Become A-Grade Bhakta
Date: Sat Jun 27 2009, 23:05 +0530

Baba

“Toma’kei a’mi bha’loba’siyachi, keno ba’siya’chi ja’ni na’…” (P.S. 304)

Purport:

O’ my Dearmost Baba, I love only You. Why I love You that I do not
know– I cannot say. But one thing is sure, from the deepest core of my
heart I love You.

Baba, by Your grace I have chosen Your path. You are my Polestar and I
never have any iota of doubt why I have come on this path. My eyes remain
fixed on Your blissful arrival, looking for You day and night.

Baba, my mind always remembers You. In good times and bad, my mind
always remains awake thinking about You. Baba please grace me by coming in
my mind all the time– during sleep & while awake, all the 24 hrs. Except
You I do not believe anything. You alone are the love of my life.

Baba, whatever may be the height of the tidal waves, and no matter how
severe the difficulties are, always I will march ahead on Your path. And by
Your divine grace I will continue to overcome all obstacles and reach unto
You.

Baba, other than You I have no desire. You are my Goal. You are my Ista.
You are the Essence of my existence my Soul of soul. Baba, You are my
Dearmost, I love only You…

== TO BECOME A-GRADE BHAKTA ==

Namaskar,
This entire letter revolves around the spiritual ideal of how
one can become an A-Grade bhakta, according to Baba. Being the Sadguru,
Baba has graciously provided us with the exact way to reach this pinnacled
state.

AIM OF HUMAN LIFE: GETTING HIM

In this ultra-modern, materialistic era, we see how the mass of people
thrust their minds in various directions. Their mind gets stained with the
mundane colours of this world. This we all understand well and we all
witness such events throughout the day.

In contrast, as Ananda Margiis we know that we are to spend our human life
involved in spiritual pursuits. In innumerable discourses, Baba has told us
that human life is something very special– very rare. And the aim of this
human life is to come close Parama Purusa. And the only means we have for
achieving this is through sadhana. And the chief ingredient for doing
proper sadhana is bhakti. This magic formula is known to every Ananda
Margii– whether they be wholetimer or family margii or LFT etc.

So now, on the cusp of this spring season, we should take the time to
objectively evaluate our own standard of bhakti and also remain aware of
the fact that we can always heighten our standard, by His grace. Because
Baba has given us the tools to do so.

THREE GRADES OF BHAKTAS

In order to move ahead let us take a look at one of the main ways that Baba
has given us for measuring one’s standard of bhakti.

Baba says, “The bhaktas of the lowest category think, “As Parama Purus’a
belongs to all, so certainly He belongs to me as well because I am one of
the multitude.” Thoughts of this type are not very congenial for one’s
spiritual progress. The second category of bhaktas is slightly better than
this. They think, “Parama Purus’a is mine, and thus He must belong to
others also.” That is, the bhaktas of both categories have no hesitation in
sharing Parama Purus’a with others. But the bhaktas of the highest category
think, “Parama Purus’a is mine only and He belongs to no one else.” This is
the sign of an excellent sa’dhaka, and the spiritual progress of this
category is inevitable. “He is mine and mine alone and He does not belong
to anyone else” – this assertion is undoubtedly true.” (SS-11, 26 February
1971 DMC, Jammu)

So in His above guideline Baba acutely describes to us the three broad
categories of bhaktas. And by internalizing Baba’s teachings we can easily
do self-analysis and understand where we are.

IMPORTANCE OF SELF-ANALYSIS

And really self-analysis is the key here because our entire relation with
Parama Purusa is an internal affair. There is no third party involved. It
is between I and God, between I and Baba. I may brag about my greatness to
others, but what I am is not hidden in front of Parama Purusa. He sees me
for who I am.

So through self-analysis we should become truthful to ourselves about who
we are– what type of bhakta we are and what our relation is with Parama
Purusa. All this is quite important.

Because with Parama Purusa we should always be natural and straight and not
pretend to be something else. That will not work. So self-analysis will
help make our relation with Parama Purusa to be sincere and natural, which
in turn will help give us the impetus & insight to proceed ahead on the
path of bhakti.

Hence, the whole concept of measuring one’s own level of bhakti is not some
hazy, baseless affair; rather, it is quite practical and highly scientific
and is based on the process of self-analysis.

THE THREE CATEGORIES OF BHAKTAS (REVISITED)

So once again, regarding the three categories or grades of devotees, Baba
is quite clear:

(a) The lowest bhaktas think that since Parama Purusa belongs to all then
He also belongs to me also since I am part of the all.

But this standard is not very desirable since one is willing to share
Parama Purusa with others. That is Baba’s teaching.

(b) The next category of bhaktas falls into a similar problem. They think
that since Parama Purusa belongs to me then He must belong to others also.
Here again though the sadhaka is willing to share Parama Purusa with
others– that is the main weakness of this approach.

(c) Finally, those who are A-grade bhaktas lovingly feel in their heart
that ‘Baba is mine and mine alone’.

Such bhaktas do not feel comfortable sharing Parama Purusa with others.
They want Baba all to themselves.

According to Baba, this is the highest standard and such devotees are sure
to reach the Goal. Their success is guaranteed.

MORE ABOUT THIS HIGHEST STATE OF BHAKTI

And indeed this type of feeling– of not wanting to share that which is
most treasured– is very natural in any kind of worldly attraction as well.
All might have had the mundane experience that one does not like to share
those things which they are deeply attached with. For example, a mother has
very strong attachment for her baby; so, the mother does not like to share
that baby with others.

Similarly, that same theory applies with the highest realm of bhakti also.
That stage comes where one feels that Parama Purusa is mine and mine alone.

In that realm, one has the feeling in their heart not to share Baba with
anyone else. This aspect is completely internal and the heart gets that
feeling intrinsically by His grace. It is not something external where one
is bragging to others or showing off their greatness in public. It is not
like that. Rather, when through bhakti one feels that ‘Baba is mine and
mine alone’, then that is just a soft, sweet internal feeling in the core
of one’s heart.

So every sadhaka should do self-analysis and understand, ‘If I want to
share Baba with others or not’. Because understanding this will enable one
to move ahead on the path.

GETTING TO THAT POINT

Ultimately, in order to become that highest standard of bhakta– where we
think that Baba is mine and mine alone– then two basic steps are needed.

STEP ONE: SELF ANALYSIS

First, we should openly and honestly evaluate our present status; we should
sincerely recognise who we are as sadhakas. In that case we have to ask
ourselves again and again, ‘what is the nature of my relation with Baba, to
what degree do I consider Him my own’. An honest estimation or
self-analysis is needed otherwise we will not be able to rise up to the
next level.

Because Baba warns us again and again that there is not an iota of scope
for duplicity or hypocrisy in spiritual life. So who we are, we should
recognise and act accordingly inside. We should not falsely lie to
ourselves if that is not who we are. So we should be true to our nature and
at the same time dearly hold onto the vision that through sadhana and by
His grace we may increase our standard.

THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING IS NOT ENOUGH

Theoretically understanding all this is very easy but bringing the feeling
that ‘Parama Purusa is mine and mine alone’ is very difficult. Bringing
this idea in the domain of one’s internal realisation is a huge endeavour.
Just as it is easy to intellectually think that ‘I am Brahma’. Whereas to
internally feel and realise that ‘I am Brahma’ is completely different–
i.e. it is not easy. It takes sincere effort– it takes sadhana, i.e.
Iishvara Pranidhan or first lesson. And by that way one can get there.

Similarly to develop the realisation that ‘Baba is mine and mine alone’,
that demands intensive sadhana. Specifically, it means doing prolonged
dhyana or sixth lesson.

STEP TWO: SADHANA IS NEEDED

So the second aspect is that we should be sincere in sadhana. All the
lessons will pointedly help us to develop our spiritual base. These lessons
will clean the mind and with that purified mind we can pointedly rush
towards Him in dhyana. Because actually it is sixth lesson, or dhyana,
which ultimately enables us become established in that highest grade of
devotion.

Why is it that dhyana is necessary? Why is it that dhyana is the secret to
becoming an A-Grade bhakta? Because in dhyana one comes in very close
proximity with Parama Purusa and one loves Him and serves Him and shares
the feeling of their heart with Him. So much internal communication happens
that is completely personal.

And as this feeling grows more and more intense through dhyana then one
internally starts feeling that ‘I do not want to share Baba with anyone,
Baba is mine and mine alone’.

So dhyana is the only lesson which gives us the training and requisite
bhakti to develop a more personal and intimate link with Baba. There is no
other lesson like this. But to do dhyana or to reach up to that heightened
stage of dhyana, other lessons are needed. All the lessons will serve as
support pieces for strengthening dhyana. And then with dhyana an intimate
feeling for Baba will grow more and more.

So the regular practice of all the lessons and doing dhyana will bring Baba
in a very close and intimate way. In which case that will make this highest
stance of bhakti attainable.

Of course nothing can come about without His grace. So His blessing is
needed. And that He is surely giving. What we have to remember is that from
our own side, effort is needed. And proper effort in dhyana will raise one
to the highest standard. Because it is only in dhyana that one can nurture
and cultivate that intimate relation that ‘Baba is mine and mine alone’.
This feeling can only arise in the mind through intense and sincere
practice of dhyana. That is Baba’s teaching.

MUST OFFER ALL COLOURS UNTO HIM

As our practice of dhyana grows then one becomes more and
more like Parama Purusa. That is, one sheds their colours by offering them
unto Him. And in that way, when one is not shackled by so many worldly
attachments, then the sadhaka becomes more and more fixed on the Goal. And
in a spontaneous way the feeling will arise in the mind that, ‘Baba is mine
and mine alone’.

This is the beautiful process that happens through dhyana.

Baba says, “‘By surrendering all the colours of my mind to You, I want to
become colourless.’ This surrender to the Supreme Consciousness propels
human beings towards Him. So this colour festival is not merely an outward
play; it is purely a psycho-spiritual phenomenon. This very
psycho-spiritual phenomenon is operating behind the process of
varn´a´rghyada´na [offering of colours]. ‘O Lord, make me colourless so
that I may move towards You without any hesitation’.” (NH-LOI, ‘Inner Asset’)

BABA’S BLESSING

By His divine grace, we will all feel that sweetest level of bhakti in our
lives.

Baba says, “This bhakti is a heavenly attribution, and this heavenly
attribution is enjoyed by human beings.” (SS-17, 1 June 1986 DMC, Calcutta)

Namaskar,
Amoghasiddhi

Note 1: MAKING THE MIND CLEAN AND CONCENTRATED

Ultimately to make dhyana a veritable force in our lives, two distinct
qualities are needed. The mind must be both clean and concentrated.
Think of it this way. If you look in the water to see your reflection then
two things are needed. The water must be clear and the water must be still.
Without both those attributions, one cannot see their reflection in the
water.

Likewise, in order to see Baba in dhyana, those same two qualities are
needed.

Firstly, that mind must be clear– i.e. pure or clean just like that water.
That means the mind must have the earnest desire to move on the spiritual
path and not get hung up on mundane allurements. In this regard the other
lessons and aspects of sadhana help a lot such as iishvara pranidhana,
cakra shodhana (5th lesson), Guru Puja, Kiirtan, etc.

Secondly, that mind must concentrate. That is, it must not move all over
the place like a river. Rather it should remain quiet and still in one
place. Or more specifically there should be a gentle flow of mind towards
the Goal. Dhyana is a dynamic expression of mind.

That is the beauty of concentration and that is a requisite of
dhyana. Otherwise one will not be able to keep the idea & image of Baba in
the mind. And to enhance concentration, then tattva dharana (3rd lesson),
pranayama (4th lesson) and so many related spiritual practices are needed.

So if the mind is dirty or fickle then dhyana is nothing but a dream.
Whereas if we do all our spiritual practices and as our moral conduct
improves then certainly our dhyana will grow more and more.

And by Baba’s grace dhyana is that special tool to bring Baba in one’s
close proximity and become an A-Grade bhakta. Certainly by regular dhyana,
this sweet and intimate relation will descend in the dry heart, by His grace.

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