What the three main requisites of spiritual progress?
What you need for spiritual progress are three things. A heart free from attachment and hatred, a tongue that is not tainted by untruth, a body not polluted by violence—the one who has these three is of sacred birth. Without these three, all penances and religious practices are of no use. You have to pray incessantly for Divine grace to confer these qualities. Realize that the Divine is within you.
Divine Discourse 13 Feb 1997
What is the ultimate aim of performing rituals?
There used to be a preceptor and a disciple. The disciple used to carry out the preceptor’s commands. He did not know what for he was doing all that the guru asked him to shut himself in a room and perform sadhana. The disciple was doing as he was told. Meditation had to be done three times a day–morning, noon and evening–according to the guru’s directives.
One day he was offering worship to the guru at noon. At that moment the guru came to his house. It was very warm outside. The heat was scorching the feet. The preceptor could not bear the heat and cried out- “Shishya! Shishya!” and knocked at the door. The disciple asked from inside, “Who are you? You are disturbing my puja.” The preceptor answered. “I am your guru.” The disciple said: “You should not interfere with my sadhana. Please wait for a while.” The guru asked- “Whom are you worshipping?” The disciple replied, “I am worshipping you.” The disciple was worshipping the guru, but kept him standing in the scorching heat. This is the way spiritual sadhana is being done these days. What is the purpose of worshipping the guru ? Why all this sadhana? They are being done out of self-interest and not to revere the guru truly. Likewise, what is the use of claiming to worship Rama without realising Rama as the indweller in the heart? It is only a physical exercise related to the body. The first requisite for all spiritual aspirants is Aathma-abhimanam (spiritual yearning). Attachment to the body should be given up.
Divine Discourse 16 April 1997
What does God really expect from us?
Today, on Shri Ramanavami Day, in spite of the good fortune of being born in the Rama Janmabhumi (sacred birth place of Rama) you are not recognising the Rama Principle. There is nothing great about celebrating the birthdays of great persons. You must put into practice the teachings of those great figures. What is the use in celebrating birthdays and ignoring the teachings? Practice is the touchstone of devotion.
Divine Discourse 16 April 1997
What is true sadhana?
Sadhana means elimination of the evil tendencies in man and acquiring good and sacred qualities. True sadhana is the eradication of all evil in a man. Study of sacred texts, meditation and penance do not constitute the whole of sadhana (spiritual exercise). To remove all the impurities in the mind is real Sadhana.
Divine Discourse 15 May 1997
What is the benefit of going to temple?
Temples are intended to instruct men in the art of removing the veil of attachment that lies over their heart. That is the reason why Thyagaraja cried at the temple in Thirupathi, “Remove the veil within me, the veil of pride and hate. “The fog of Maya melted away before the rays of grace and so, he could discern and describe the image of Divine charm in the song, “Shivudano Madhavudano” and drink deep this sweetness of that Form. The churning of his heart by the Divine formula produced the spark of Jnana, and grew in to the flame of Realisation.
Divine Discourse 15 May 1997
What should one pray to God?
Divine love has no equal. It stands supreme. You pray to God for trivial worldly things. You should ask for something that you do not have. You are not having selfless love; hence you should only ask for love which the Divine has in plenty. God is the embodiment of bliss. Pray for love, peace and bliss. You should be able to distinguish between earthly happiness and Divine Bliss. Today, people pray for many trifles. God knows what is good for the devotee and gives it. He is a witness to all the thoughts, words and actions. Therefore, surrender whole-heartedly without any reservation whatsoever to God, and lead an ideal life.
Divine Discourse 17 July 1997
Why to chant the Shanthi mantra?
We always chant at the end of all prayers and bhajans: “Om Shanthi! Shanthi! Shanthi! Why are we mentioning Shanthi three times? It is to invoke peace for body, mind and Atma (Inner Self). Atma Shanthi can not be there without Shanthi of body and mind. Hence we invoke peace of all the three entities.
Divine Discourse 18 July 1997
How to ensure spiritual endeavours offered to God fruitful?
Devotees should, realise that what matters most is the intensity of feelings. Kabirdas declared that he could not attain God by spiritual exercises of any kind. But he said that there was one most powerful weapon with him to realise God. That was his love for God. With that love he said he could bind God. God submits only to the power of the devotee’s love. Without love, all forms of worship are of no use. That was why the Gopikas appealed to Krishna to fill their parched hearts with the love flowing from His flute so that saplings of love could sprout in their hearts.
Divine Discourse 25 Aug 1997
How should one offer everything to God?
Do not calculate what you have offered to God in terms of money or otherwise. Whatever you offer, consider only the feeling with which you offered it. Even a small thulasi leaf offered with love becomes a great offering to the Lord. Offer anything with a full and loving heart. By offering with love, you become the embodiment of love. That was the case with Prahladha, Naradha and others. Identify yourself with the name and form of the Divine of your choice. You may carry on all your normal daily duties, but keep in mind always the name of the Lord. That is the injunction of Krishna.
Divine Discourse 25 Aug 1997
What is the inner significance of worshipping the elephant-faced deity?
The elephant is a symbol of might and magnitude. The elephant’s foot is larger than that of any other animal. The elephant can make its way through the densest jungle. In this way, it signifies the quality of a leader who shows the way for others. The elephant is highly intelligent. The elephant is also known for its fidelity and gratitude. In any circumstance it will not forget its master. Even in its last moments, if it hears the voice of its master it will open its eyes and look for him. It will sacrifice its life for its master. These are the lessons man should learn from the elephant. Intelligence without gratitude is valueless. Every man should be grateful to those who have helped him.
Divine Discourse 7 Sep 1997
Why is it important to understand the meaning while chanting vedic hymns?
Embodiments of Love! Today the Vedha Purusha Jnaana Sapthaaha Yajna has been inaugurated for promoting the welfare of the universe. Every individual has to play a part in this endeavour for world peace and prosperity. Whether you understand the meaning of the mantras or not, the vibrations emanating from the chanting of the Vedas will have a spiritualising effect on the listeners. There is bliss in the vibrations of the Vedic hymns. Brahman (The Cosmic Self) is described as the embodiment of cosmic vibrations which permeate the universe, fill it with effulgence, wisdom and bliss. Make use of the opportunity provided by the Yajna to purify your life and raise yourself from the human to the Divine.
Divine Discourse 10 Oct 1997
What is the correct path to experience the divine?
There is no need to pursue difficult spiritual exercises to experience the Divine. Many of the physical postures recommended by some Gurus for spiritual exercise are anything but comfortable. The real need is to have a heart filled with compassion and meditate on God. Physical postures are not so important. It is in making one aware of the difference between the physical body and a compassionate love-filled heart that the Buddhi plays its vital role.
Divine Discourse 8 Oct 1997
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