Friday, August 13, 2010

Excerpt from "For Seekers of God: Spiritual talks of Mahapurush Swami Shivananda"

Place: Belur Monastery. Time: Friday, July 26, 1929

It was afternoon. Mahapurushji had just finished his shave. Seeing a monastic worker of the orphanage at Baranagore, he called him to his side. In the course of conversation the Swami remarked: 'How can you leave now? Let S. return; then perhaps you may go. And why do you want to go at all? Even here, after attending to your regular work, you will have plenty of time for spiritual practice. It is simply a matter of mental attitude. If the mind has a natural leaning towards God, one can make time and opportunity for spiritual practice. What is essential is earnestness. If you cannot carry on your spiritual practice here, you won't be able to do so anywhere. The Master used to say, "He who has it here, has it there too." That is a statement full of truth, my child. Call upon God and pray to Him with great sincerity. He will give you an abundance of devotion and faith. Why should you go? You are doing the Lord's work. Is it a small matter?'

Monk: 'In the season and out of season, K. says whatever comes to his mind.' Saying this, he started crying.

Mahapurushji: 'I had a feeling there was a misunderstanding between you two. Why does he use abusive language? I know very well that you do not deserve that treatment. You are a gentle, good-natured person. Why don't you ask K. to come and see me some time? I will explain matters to him. Do not take it to heart, my child. You know, when pots that are together are moved, friction is inevitable. Do not take it seriously. Misunderstandings are bound to occur sometimes and they are straightened out eventually. It takes two hands to clap. Let him say whatever he wishes. Just endure it all quietly. That will prevent misunderstandings. You will have to be a little humble. You will have to sacrifice a little. You have dedicated your body, mind and soul to the Master's work. You have renounced everything for his sake. You will have to do this much also for his work. You should practice forbearance, you should sacrifice - for his work. The Lord will bless you abundantly.'

Monk: 'Please bless me so that I can do it.'

Mahapurushji: 'Certainly you will be able to. You have my hearty blessings, my child. But you must pray to the Master sincerely, too. He will give you greater strength. You have come here renouncing everything for his sake. There is nothing that he will withhold from you. How will his work go on if you all do not live at peace in one place? Be patient for his sake, paying no attention to what people say, good or bad. You are all sadhus and have come here with the idea of improving yourselves. You do not have any other desire or wish in your life. You want him alone. Temporary misunderstandings are inevitable when several work together. They aren't something to be blamed for; it is quite natural. Such misunderstandings come and go; they cannot touch your inner Self, because the main objective of your life is the realization of God. Such petty matters as attachment and aversion cannot deeply affect you. This is what we feel. The work that you are carrying on is being done in a spirit of service. This work is purifying your mind day by day. You have no selfish motive in your work. You should carry on your spiritual practices along with your works of service. Whenever you can, practice japa, meditate upon God and pray to Him sincerely. The moment you have a feeling of weakness or of lacking in anything, tell the Master about it. If you pray very sincerely, you are bound to get a response. Repeat his name often. The repetition of his name will purify your body and mind, washing away all impurities. You have renounced everything in order to be sadhus. The realization of God is the aim of your life, my child. Your ideal is "to remain unaffected by praise or blame, to be silent and contented with a little." Balance in praise or blame, silence and being satisfied with whatever comes - this is the state at which you should aim. You should be absorbed in God. What does it matter to you what people say about you?'

After hearing these words, the monk burst into tears and caught hold of Mahapurushji's feet, saying: 'Maharaj, please bless me that I may be unaffected by praise or blame, that I may remain absorbed in Him.'

The more Mahapurushji tried to pacify him, the more disconsolate he became, crying like a child. Mahapurushji said: 'You will certainly reach that stage, my child. The Master has brought you to him because he is gracious to you.' After a while Mahapurushji said with great affection: 'Go to the shrine for a little while. Practice japa and pray to God; that will lighten the burden of your heart. Then take a little of the food offered to the Master. In future, whenever you have the leisure come here. There are so many sadhus and brahmacharins at the monastery. Do you mix with them freely?'

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