Me: Why do you go to temple or even to your puja room? Isn’t it all within you?
He: I had this conviction because I read about it in many books also. Me: Conviction comes from experience and not reading. Books also tell you that you are God. Are you God? He: I think we all are part of God.
He: No, but I know it.
Me: You do not know it yet. It is only your belief.
Me: I read a lot of books and have always found it very useful, but they give only guidance and lets you understand about certain things that exist beyond your understanding. Learning the existence of certain truths beyond your perception by reading will motivate you to explore it and experience it. Without the medium of a book or a person or a video or any such, you could not have known about it just by sitting and wondering. Don’t you think so?
He: You mean to achieve God everyone has to only read and visit places? Me: As though you have achieved God just by reading and listening and doing puja or just believing in whatever you belief in. In this case, all the sacred hubs and places around the world would have been isolated, never ever to have been visited by seekers and even great sages. These locations have different higher subtle realities than what is just seen through physical eyes. If you don’t have the interest to read, books will be garbage to you. If you do not have the interest to travel, sacred places will be just another place for you. Similarly, if you do not realize the value of these divine tools, even a Master or even an Avatar or God cannot help.
He: I love kirtan and my devotion to my Lord and I am sure I will achieve it.
Me: Certainly you will if that is what suits you and you feel very connected to it. But at the same time not everyone may be inclined towards the Bhakti Marg, so even if it works for you, it will not work for everyone. Same way, even a Muslim will achieve God, whom he knows earnestly and beliefs in and has faith in, but you may not achieve it because you can’t relate with what he does. Same is with him. You may attain God through your devotion but he will not budge an inch on your journey, simply because he cannot relate to it.
Me: Yeah! All paths have had their own enlightened and liberated souls through their own methods. Creation of God is diverse and thus He has also made diverse ways to suit everyone’s needs to go back home. If creation is His, everything in it is His, how can we judge the Creator itself? So stick to what you feel connected to and allow others to stick to what they feel connected to.
Me: ….. and I was just elaborating on it.
He: Okay buddy, take care. God bless!
Me: You too brother. Stay blessed!
This provoked me to put down my thoughts as it flowed ~
Everything what we call internal and external is all a part of Shakti. If you ignore one, it is not the nondual approach.
It is truly said everything is nothing but dust or shunya (void). It is also truly said that everything is infinite. One theory says zero and other theory says infinity. Which is correct? Both are right and both are part of the same reality. In meditation, when you withdraw yourself and go on with Neti Neti (not this, not this) you renounce everything that is not true and slowly you end up in nothingness or a void or empty space., you become nothing. But also, when you expand yourself and begin to feel you are everything and everything around is a part of you – man, animal, stone, planet, rivers, etc to be you, then you become infinite, you pervade in everything. God is everything and God is nothing. All practices, if minutely observed, will have these two properties. Even in Shree Vidhya, both the processes are involved – the Srishti being involved with creation starting from the Bindu (which gives you Bhoga) and the Sanghar being involved with dissolution from creation back to Bindu or the point of nothingness (which gives you moksha).
There have been great masters and souls and there still are, who never ever travelled anywhere, did anything external and were always turned inward and they liberated. At the same time, there have been great masters and souls and there still are, who have travelled to sacred places, done external practices, but with inwardness in their outward doings and have liberated. It is just a matter of choice and preferences. But doing neither of these and commenting or judging someone else’s practices just with knowledge is not going to get anyone anywhere. Going to places may certainly not be important but neither is sitting in one place and imagining everything will happen also going to do any good. In either way, one has to do what has to be done. But most important in both doings, is doing what one is doing with the right understanding.
If one travels to places hoping to see God or get miracles, I am pretty sure nothing would happen, because the frame of mind is something else. But if one knows the importance of certain places and how they can boost your practices or if one can understand the value of energy vortexes and making good use of it, to realize the subtleties of divine souls or higher dimensions in those locations, then it certainly helps. There are so many masters and great sages who have chosen certain external locations to do sadhana and there are so many narrations of the vivid experiences that they have had in those locations which shows how it helps. There are also masters who travelled extensively, did sadhana in various places and later settled down at one place and later turned totally within. At the same time, there are so many masters (like Ramana Maharishi) who never bugged an inch right from the start and found everything inwardly. It must be remembered that these great souls have had previous lifetimes where lot of things were done by them, until they reached a time where they did not need it anymore. So, even the stage of evolution of the soul matters. Everything does not just happen in this life. What you are today is after being through thousands of births and experiences, rise and downfall, after which you stand today wherever you are at the stage of your soul evolution.
So, stating that something will be achieved only by going to a certain place or meeting people is not true. At the same time saying nothing will be achieved by these activities also is untrue. One must go with one’s inner feeling and guidance and not by other’s experiences. I never encourage people to travel just because it’s my flair, but always love to share everything about people and places and books that i have come across just with the intention that it helps those who need it. Not everything is for everybody. Not everyone eats pineapple but those who love pineapple will seek it. To such a person an apple may not be a good fruit, but that literally does not make apple a bad fruit for all. What is good for me may not be good for you and vice-versa.
Everyone you meet in life is not a coincidence. Everyone, including your family and friends have been associated with you in the past and that is why you have connections with them and experiences with them, all part of your past karma with them. Similarly, places also have connections linked to your past. I have strongly experienced it. I have also seen how people always keep meeting new people in various ways all the time and there is always something relevant in their lives with that person or place. It is not required to know what and how but just allowing that experience to happen itself is unwinding of your karma. What you do after meeting them is your entanglement or further karma but if you are witnessing things and passing through those events and people, then the very purpose of your meeting with that person, place or thing has been done with.
There are two ways – Pravriti and Nivriti. Pravriti is when you are engaged in action and Nivriti is when you retire from action. A karma Yogi is in the state of Praviti and a recluse or a tapasvi is in the state of Nivriti. We all are in both states all the time, because of the dual nature. In day you are in Pravriti and in night you are in Nivriti. A grihastha, when in the world is in Pravriti and when meditating is in Nivriti. When a bhogi he is in Pravriti and when a Yogi, in Nivritri. When in the world you are bound to be in action – household chores, office, puja, pilgrimages, reciting hymns, doing seva, doing exercises, etc are all states of Pravriti. Similarly, maintaining silence, aloofness, meditativeness, resting, yog nidra, contemplation, are all activities of nonaction. How to be in Nivriti while being in Pravriti is what the Master teaches us – with the gift of the drishta bhaav – where you know that you are not the doer but the grace of the Guru and the Divine does everything, even your sadhana is the grace of the Guru and all kriyas and everything that happens during sadhna is the Shakti working on you, you are not the doer of that sadhana, you are only a mere witness to all that happens in everything. You can only take the initiate for sadhana, the decision to do the sadhana, rest is done by Shakti.
So, while visiting places, without just being in the state of Pravriti (seeing, touching, worshipping) but if you can also be in the state of Nivriti (withdrawn, detached, witnessing, connected) it would help you, otherwise, it is more of entanglements or just mere time pass. Similarly, even in all worldly activities. Thus, when it comes to reading books or not reading books, it is again dependent on your own stuff and how you relate to it. If you feel inclined read if not then don’t. There are no rules as such. Everyone reads but who gets what depends on what one is seeking. Everyone travels but what one gets again depends on what one is seeking.
Let me share an experience of books with you. About four years back I was reading a powerful book written by a certain Saint who is alive today, whose name or book I would not want to mention. He had deliberately written this book and charged it with potent energies. That is what all Masters do as a matter of fact.
So, the book I meditated upon was so powerful that it brought intense states of meditativeness. It was so powerful that the same night I had intense shaktipat from that Saint at 2 a.m. Not just that, within a week, I found myself landing up in the places that he was intensely involved in, of course, the opportunities for going to those locations came as something else. That ‘something else’ I realized was only an opportunity to lead me to those places to further give experiences to whatever was required. I was so excited about it that i mentioned about the book and suggested many to read it but nothing really happened. It was then i realized that what is use to one may not be of use to another. All the great books of our ancient sages have potent energies and potent hidden secrets in them. How one decodes them or connects to them depends on one’s state of Chitta. Some great books have been written and coded in such a way that if one’s consciousness is not pure enough, it will never ever open up, irrespective of whatever the reader tries to do to dig it out. That is why these books are meditated upon, not read. (read the previous article “reading secrets“) Same way, the physical locations on earth have to be experienced and not visited. It all depends on the inner states of whatever you do irrespective of where you do and how you do. The bhaav that the Master emphasizes so much upon; it all shrinks down just to that.
So, with that experience there was nothing external to receive from that place or from that Saint, but it clearly demonstrated that the spirit of oneness of Divinity is so profound that you connect through anything, in any form, in any place, you are connecting to that pool of Divinity, and that will present itself to you, in it’s own way, not in our way. That is why I was mentioning earlier that we do nothing; we only feel we are doing things. The doer is somebody else. If you can identify with this truth, then whatever external you do, it does not matter.
Just like to do your sadhana you would first need an external device to go internal. Even though our Advait Shree Vidya sadhana is nondual, it begins with external. It begins with a Meru and other processes until one gradually starts seeping within. Of course, after being helped with all the external gifts of nature like places, books, guides, idols, rituals, etc, eventually a time has to come where one starts experiencing everything within, otherwise everything can be considered nonfutile. The Master does not need a Meru or incense sticks or dhoop or lamp or idol or photo to do sadhana – to reach to elevated state of consciousness but we, as learners, need.
So as seekers evolve, there will be a stage where one does not need to go anywhere, read anything, do anything, but every action and word and deed is done in unison with Divinity. At that stage, from that point of view, where one has realized the truth, one says from the core that “everything is within” or “God is everywhere” or “I am God” or “Everything is maya” and so on. When these come from Masters, they are experiential expression from that state and never a by-hearted statement or a statement stated like a quote. Till such ecstatic states are reached, it is only preaching bookish knowledge. One must be careful not to wander off from the truths behind the Divine words of wisdom.
Just like the story about the man who hears that one must see God in everything. With that prideful knowledge he moves around seeing God in everything or rather trying to see God in everything. At one place, he sees people running towards his direction shouting “Elephant! Elephant!” But the man full of knowledge keeps moving ahead while two to three people warn him, but in the proclaimed state he says “God is in everything, so why fear? Can’t you see this truth?” People leave him with his truth and run. When the man reaches near the elephant, the elephant unable to see God within this man, picks him up and trashes him on the ground and moves on. Bewildered internally and externally, he angrily questions the Saint who had said that God is in everything. The Master replied, “True, God is in everything. If you had realized that why couldn’t you see God in the people who warned you about the mad elephant?”
|Siddha Pulipani, Palani|
This is what gathered knowledge can do, if it is not linked with experience or true realization of any teachings or the word of God. It is true though that there are such states where in one’s vicinity wild animals also become calm. This is the Ahimsa Siddhi, where one’s each cell reverberates with pure non-violence that he has becomes naturally gifted with no fear for anything. Lord Buddha had naturally developed the Ahimsa Siddhi with his deep practice of compassion and non-violence. In His presence not only wild animals but even the dreaded killer Angulimala who came to kill Buddha, lost his ferocity and dropped all his wickedness then and there itself and followed him. Without being a Buddha, that is, without practising and realizing the quality of Ahimsa in totality, what else could happen when one talked about seeing God in a mad elephant?
Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa worshiped the form of Ma Kali so intensely that he even fed the idol and talked to the idol even though He was already a great elevated soul. Eventually, He realized the formless form of the form – Ma Kali, which was possible due to His Guru Totapuri ji, who made him cut the image of Kali in an experience. (read this real story) So the form and the formless are both one aspect. That is why all paths must be respected. Every path or tradition or cult or Guru or religion is all the diverse form of that Supreme One. Until this is realized, there will always be dos and donts in everything you touch or everything you look at and that is enough to prevent you from looking further. Just like even in sadhana, as the Master says, if you get stuck in the dos and donts like having bath and other formalities, you will be stuck with that itself and not get to go further. Baba further states that when you are in divine places, instead of running behind pushing around for darshans or prasad or artis, rather find a secluded corner and connect to that place or idol from within and experience oneness with it. This connects one to the subtlety.A real Master will never bind you with formalities like these that the world is busy producing infinitely and maintaining also. Likewise, even if you are stuck in fear and greed based factors like washing your feet, taking off shirts, folding the lower crease of trousers, covering your head, hailing praises, worrying about bathing, etc, etc, the real essence of it is gone. But doing these things with utter devotion and knowing the significance or science behind these or of circumambulation, breaking coconuts, etc, then it is a different thing altogether.
So, if one goes anywhere but with the right understanding of what one is doing, it helps rather than building up further ignorance. For eons of time period all Masters have been telling that God is within. Though this is the ultimate truth, even if one only believes this, how many have experienced it? By reading you don’t get God, by travelling you don’t get God, by understanding about God you don’t get God, but by knowing you know God, by experiencing you experience God. To get to that, one must work upon oneself, karmas have to be got ridden off, self-defeating patterns have to be changed and that is where a Guru enters in life to show us certain ways and sadhana, that help clear off that dust which is creating all these differences. Guru comes to give experience not preachings. Guru comes to give wisdom not knowledge. In this path of Shaktipat, everything is experience. This path does not deal with knowledge only, it simultaneously gives seekers experiences to relate with the teachings of the Guru and everyone’s experience is totally different. Not two people can have the exact same experience. So, why compare? Why judge?
Some truths about our travels:
Spiritual travels are not the same as casual relaxing or sight-seeing travels nor is it a darshan-based travel neither it is a treasure hunt for something 🙂 It is not a crowded picnic. No antakshari is played…. lol… That is why there are hardly any people in our travels. So many write to us so that they can be intimated for visiting places, but my experiences say that it does not work that way. But surely all attempts are made to share about these places and people, and if there is intensity one will surely go there with the right spirit and also receive what has to be received. These travels are more over focussed on spiritual connections and involves no idle chats or unwanted discussions neither any members keep exchanging their experiences during sadhana there. They are more of aloof activities. They are more intense because of continuous and spontaneous activities. It is not like you climb up and down a hill and want to rest for an hour or want to sit under a tree’s shade or want to have a cold drink. It is also not like you spend some time in contemplation in the mornings, rest in the afternoon, and visit a beach in the evening. There are times when we have walked for hours, climbed peaks in the remotest places only to find no proper place to stay or eat and then having to spend the night on bare floor in cold or heat and then early morning descent down for hours by foot and then get on to a bus and travel again for hours. There are times we may have to sleep at 1 a.m. and get up at 3 a.m. At times there are no toilets or bathrooms and at times there are no other options but to use the dirtiest public toilets. Food choices and delicacies are almost nil. All these are deliberate choices but most of the time the places are such that we don’t have to make such choices but they most naturally present themselves. We never choose AC or comfort rooms for nights. Luggage is squeezed to the most minimum of one bag pack, to make it light. A thorough study is made of the place most of the time before reaching there and many a times many unexpected places have turned up for which we rely on google or talking to people. So, these trips are total involvement in what it is meant to be. This makes it meaningful and fulfilling or rewarding, though it is not primarily made for this purpose. Moreover, since it is not a fun trip, many things are not required like clothing and shoes and slippers and night dresses and day dresses and make-up kits and bathroom kits and soaps and detergents and iron boxes and meditation chairs and tiffin boxes and eatables and games… lol.. With all these definitely God cannot be found but pleasure and delights and fun can be. Masters mention how the essence of real pilgrimages have fallen in Kaliyuga. Earlier pilgrimages would be bare-footed, all by walk, sustaining on bhiksha, carrying nothing but pair of clothes and going through everything the journey has to offer – harsh conditions to praise to insult to hunger to hardships to discomfort. Pilgrimage was always penance unlike it is today. We may not be able to match completely to that but the least dependency on comfort and more on intense involvement can be made.
So, be it books, be it travel, be it ritual or any external activity…. They are all just certain external gadgets but the main tool is sadhana. With sadhana, all these gadgets can enhance your journey. Without sadhana, all these gadgets become sources of ignorance and/or waste of time. Moreover, these are all my hobbies, which many feel is awkward and crazy. They find my earlier hobbies cool. I believe my today’s hobbies are much better than the earlier ones – boozing, smoking, watching movies, chilling out with friends, attending marriages, parties and functions, chit-chatting, ‘seeing’ great places, eat-outs, discussions of world reforms, knowing the latest news, television serials, discussing other’s life, etc. Being a learner, with travels, i get more opportunities to learn so many things from the diversities of the Creator’s world. People ask how do i get so much of time for these activities such as sadhana, travel, reading, writing, and music. I say when you replace all those 20 horrid hobbies with just these few hobbies, there is time and only time all the time 🙂
Divine Love and Light..
If you like to read on the divine travels you can, at Divine Spots where all efforts have been made to describe about the importance of the place and it’s relevance with Masters, Saints and the Divine so that you may receive what you seek. And more on the Mystics are on www.TheMysticalMystics.com