Talks on ‘Ayodhya Kand’ – Part 4 – June 2019

Talks on “Ayodhya Kand – Based on Valmiki Ramayana” – Part 4 – by Swami Abhedananda

(Gyan Yagna conducted from 1st June till 6th June, 2019)

Key Points from the Discourses

Day 1

The monthly yagna on Valmiki Ramayana got off to a scintillating start as Swami Abhedanandaji drenched the listeners in the soothing showers of Shri Bharatji’s enamoring character. Here are few of the memorable takeaways from the first day’s satsang:

Shri Bharatji’s exalted love for Bhagavan Ram

When Bharatji heard that Bhagavan Ram had left for forest, he had tremendous pain. He was not carried away by the joy of power and kingdom. The joy of power is a very big joy, and to leave that joy is only possible when there is an even bigger joy in your heart. Bharatji had the biggest joy.

  1. A person is defined by – whose joy & sorrow is reflected in his heart. A person is not what he does, but he is what makes him sad and what makes him happy.
  2. You should ask yourself – ‘What makes me happy? And what makes me suffer?’ If you are happy or unhappy about something personal, such as getting or losing something, or because of some praise or insult, then understand that such kind of joy and sorrow is very low class.
  3. In Shri Bharatji’s heart, the importance of joy of Bhagavan Ram was too big, and therefore the pain of Bhagavan Ram (going to the forest etc.) was also very big.
  4. Bharatji’s heart did not have any reflection of his ahankaar (ego).
  5. Unfortunately, in our hearts, it is our ahankaar alone that reflects, because all our sorrows and joys are selfish and self-centered.

Shri Bharatji’s Plight
Bharatji was devastated. He could have used many excuses to justify accepting the kingdom, but his thinking was too exalted for that. He found no joy at all in the prospect of power and throne.

  1. When everyone in the Kingdom, including the Mothers, the ministers and Guru Vasishthji advised Bharatiji to accept the throne, Bharatji said, “It is my bad luck that you all do not understand my plight. My brother Ram is suffering in the forest, he is going through the pain of sleeping on the floor, and eating out of his hands, and my misfortune is that none of you understand that I am not able to think of anything other than the pain that he is going through.”
  2. Here we should see where Bharatji’s mind is going. You are what your mind is!
  3. Bharatji continued, “One should follow the teacher and mother and father without thinking, but I am very sad today as I cannot follow anybody. My plight is horrible.”
  4. “Only one thing can quieten my mind,” Bharatji added, “and that is the darshan of my brother’s feet. This throne belongs to Him. You are asking me to sit on that throne and give it back to Him when he returns after 14 years. Have you heard anybody eating and then giving the Prasad to the God? One first offers to God and then takes.” Such was Bharatji’s heart.
  5. Then Bharatji insisted that they all should go to Chitrakoot to Bhagavan Ram. When the people of Ayodhya heard this, they got their smiles back. Everyone was delighted and said, ‘Bharatji ki Jai!’
  6. We all want to become a hero but we don’t know that for that, we have to first become ‘zero’. Those who don’t become zero, but try to become a hero, they are made zero. Either you are made zero, or you yourself become zero. Choice is yours!

Traits of a Mahatma
As Nishadraj praised Bharatji for his intention of persuading Lord Ram to come back and rule Ayodhya, Valmikiji writes, “The Mahatma Bharat was not available (mentally) to listen to these praises.”

  1. Who is a Mahatma? A Mahatma is the one who lives for God. We generally live for our family, son, daughter etc. and are conscious of their joys and sorrows, but a Mahatma is the one who is conscious about the Lord’s joy alone. He constantly checks how he can do better, and please the Lord.
  2. Shankaracharyaji describes a Mahatma as “akshudra chitta”, one whose heart is very big. Meaning, in whose life, there is nothing called as a personal agenda. He eats, and lives for the Lord alone.
  3. A Mahatma does not desire something very cheap (of the world).
  4. In his heart, the Lord feels very comfortable, because there is no kaam (selfish desire) & krodha (anger) present.
  5. An unclean person will not bother about where he sits. But if someone is very clean, he would prefer to be seated in a clean place. Similarly, the Lord will only reside in a heart which is clean, i.e. without kaam, krodha, etc.
  6. A Mahatma is the one who acts only as a representative. He doesn’t act in accordance to his ego or attachment. He constantly scans, what will please his Guru or God and acts accordingly.

Bharatji’s teaching as Avatar Purush
As the fire hidden in the hollow of a tree burns the tree from within, similarly, the fire of anxiety for Bhagavan Ram burnt Shri Bharatji.

  1. You cannot enjoy something bigger, unless you have suffered for it. Who is a Guru Bhakt? One who has suffered without a Guru for many years.
  2. Unless there is a pang of separation, Bhakti is not possible. This is the basis of love.
  3. Unless you have love for higher, your mind will never be quiet. By reading good books you can never be quiet, you can at the most be an intelligent person. Intelligence does not guarantee happiness.
  4. Happiness comes only from higher love. The challenge in life is – changing the heart, not the head.
  5. Bharatji is an Avatar Purush, he has demonstrated through his whole life how to love the Lord.
  6. Unless such depth comes in our heart, unless such joy comes in the heart, our small ego will not go.
  7. What is ego? Ego is nothing but the feeling of, ‘I did not get this, he did like that, he made me bigger today, he made me smaller today’ etc.
  8. Talented people, intellectuals, singers, dancers etc. are many in this world, but people with such depth and joy are rare. Life of a person changes when he discovers this higher joy.

Essence of Spiritual Life

  1. Spiritual life is very difficult. It is easy to do puja, path, aarti, havan, go to the temple etc., but real spirituality means – you have no independent joy and independent sorrow. God and Guru’s joy is your joy, and their sorrow is your sorrow.
  2. Bharatji had a much evolved intellect because he could think very big. Our thinking starts from ‘I’ and ends there itself. ‘What I got? What about my job, my house, my money? etc…’ That’s it!
  3. Our thinking is very small. We are not able to drop the small issues to think about something bigger. We don’t think about God or Country or Guru.
  4. To love the bigger, you can’t keep the smaller in your heart. One can’t love his Guru, his God, and his own ahankaar at the same time. One can’t love his comfort and his Guru’s comfort at the same time.
  5. This is the essence of spiritual life, which we can learn from Shri Bharatji’s vast character.

Day 2

On Day 2 of the Valmiki Ramayana yagna, the audience experienced Swami Abhedanandaji take the sharp needle of fine discrimination (viveka) and prick the balloon of our delusion (moha).

With his unparalleled insight into the Ramayana, Swamiji stressed upon us, with much love, how we should see the characters in Ramayana as a subjective teaching in our own lives—to learn from and evolve with—and not simply as an objective history that took place in Treta Yuga.

We bring you some take-aways:

Our Three-Balloons: Journey from womb to tomb

  1. It takes lifetimes for a jeeva to understand that the world is not the source of his problems and sorrows. Problem is—not any person, or any situation, but his very own ahankaar (ego, or “I-ness”) and mamkaar (attachment, or “my-ness”).
  2. We rarely realize that if our ego and attachment are lessened; we would be much quieter and more serene.
  3. These two bondages (ego & attachment) express through three balloons of grossified ahankaar:
    i) Self-importance: Seeing ourselves as important in others’ eyes
    ii) Self-project: Undertaking projects for self-expansion
    ii) Self-joy: Seeking constant joy from the people & the sense objects around.
  4. It is only for the promotion of these three balloons that we study, seek degrees, marry, have children, earn money, build a big house, buy expensive cars etc.
  5. All our life we try to protect these three balloons; but situations keep pricking these balloons from time and time, and they are blasted.

As we fail continually to protect them, we become miserable. People don’t give us the love and importance we want, our projects keep failing, and the joy we expected never comes.

This is our pathetic journey from the womb to the tomb.

What is the Solution?

  1. First, we have to understand definitively that this chase just doesn’t work. One cannot satisfy these three things (self-importance, self-project and self-joy). They are non-satisfiable. We must understand that our projects won’t work, everybody won’t give us the importance we crave, and nobody will give us lot of joy at all times.
  2. Once we understand this clearly, then we can work on ridding ourselves of the two root causes of our sorrow: I-ness and my-ness. And the only way to get out of these is – to have love for the Higher.

Beware: The difference between Love and Attachment

  1. Love has a beautiful nature. It is an ahankaar-dissolver, mamkaar-dissolver. In love you don’t want self-importance or self-joy. You don’t want your own identity. You want the joy of the one whom you love.
  2. Attachment has the opposite nature – it is selfish and looks for self-interest: ‘Are you making me happy? Am I important for you?’ These thoughts dominate.
  3. Love has one very big theme, that is give up, renounce! This is the soul of love, which we see shining through every pore of Bharatji’s character. Without sacrifice, love cannot flourish.
  4. Attachment on the other hand, is demanding: ‘sacrifice for me’.
  5. More you give up for the beloved, happier you will be. People do prarikrama (circumambulation) of Giriraj Parvat in Vrindavan, where they walk for 22 kms barefoot, with the only intention of pleasing the Lord.
  6. If somehow, ‘pleasing the Lord’, becomes the goal of our lives, our character will change.
  7. Bharatji’s character is not easy, some people say, ‘I don’t understand Bharatji’s character’.
    His character is not for understanding, it is for identifying with!

Love of Lord: Only source of permanent joy

  1. What does Lord’s love do in our life? We learn to forget our own problems. We learn to accept even the harshest of situations smilingly. We are able to sacrifice easily.
  2. When this love is present in us, then we continually see that beloved Lord in the heart, and there is a lot of joy.
  3. Our only attention is – ‘What can I do for the Lord? Am I pleasing Him or not?’ And if we are not able to please, then we have pain. This is the only pain of a lover’s heart. And this pain is only worth having for the Lord, because He is the only One who will turn that pain into joy.
  4. Why is loving the Lord so unique and joy-giving? Because the Lord alone is ever-present and ever-available.
  5. For love to be fulfilling, it should not be scattered, it should be with one only, and that One should be Infinite, not finite.
  6. Finite love is dangerous. It only leads to sorrow. Infinite love is our urgent need, and that is possible only when we feel the love for the Lord.
  7. Bharatji had no other pain other than the pain of Bhagavan Ram’s hardships in exile. He had only One source of joy and sorrow, not many. His love was not scattered.
  8. In Bharatji’s mind, only one thought was prominent at all times – ‘How much joy can I give to Bhagavan Ram?’ This is the gist of Shri Bharatji’s character.
  9. It is only someone very evolved who doesn’t have his own personal sorrow. ‘My sorrow doesn’t mean anything. The only sorrow I have is that I could not please God today’ – That is called being a Mahatma.
  10. A devotee asks only one thing from the God – ‘Give me a lot of pain… not for worldly matters, but of not pleasing You!’
  11. We are so hard-hearted that we don’t have love for God. We don’t feel that God has given us everything in our life. Our character, our nature won’t change unless this love is born in our heart, and becomes the most important love of our life.

How can we evolve to become a Sadhu?

  1. Seekers have a lot of pain, not because of somebody else, but because of their own nature. They spend numerous days and nights in remembrance of the Lord and seeking forgiveness. This is how Sadhus are made.
  2. Sadhus constantly refer to the Lord. They have sensitized their minds to what will please the Lord. As a doctor sensitizes his mind to what is the disease, a Sadhu sensitizes his mind to what will make the Lord happy.
  3. Whole spiritual Sadhana is sensitizing our minds towards the Lord. When we feel for the Lord and realise His unhappiness with us, we can go to any extent to please Him. This is how a Mahatma is made, this is how a character is made, this is how a pure mind is made.
  4. If we don’t understand this, we will have the same, thick, gross, insensitive mind, and will commit the same mistakes repeatedly without ever rectifying them. Such a person never evolves, and has the same amount of kaam (lust), krodha (anger), iirsha (jealousy), dwesh (hatred) etc.
  5. We must try to touch Bharatji’s character and personalize it. We should not see Ramayana objectively as some story which happened in Treta Yuga, we should try to see ourselves, and our own solutions in the characters.
  6. A person becomes insensitive because he has made his mind deaf to the words of the Lord. He does not hear, what is right or wrong. When we do same mistake repeatedly, our shame too goes away, and we become highly insensitive.
  7. We do not bother, whether the Lord is happy or unhappy. In Bhagwat the Lord Himself declares in the 3rd Canto, “Those who hate anybody, I don’t take their Puja.” Lord Krishna did not go to Duryodhana’s house, because he tried to disrobe the Lord’s devotee. We need to understand this point Bhagvana is making very, very clearly.
  8. The day we will become sensitive to Lord’s joys and sorrows, we will become a devotee!

Day 3

On Day 3 of the Valmiki Ramayana yagna, Swami Abhedanandaji explained why our mind constantly drives us to crisis after crisis. We need to learn how to make our mind employable, said Swamiji, and explained how, through the mesmerizing example that is Shri Bharatji’s character.

Key take-aways from yesterday’s discourse:

Our whole life is a training on various aspects. If you do something for which you are not trained, not only it creates disturbance outside, but it also creates dissatisfaction within. Just as a person who is not trained to drive, if he starts driving, not only will he hurt himself, but also hurt others.

Train the mind to follow Dharma

  1. First aspect of training the mind is – Understanding clearly what is our respective dharma and duty; what we must do and what we should not do. Some actions are ordained for us and some are not. If we do that which is not our duty, it will be detrimental for us.
  2. If we are honest, we will accept that there are a lot of things which we like and we do, but they should not be done. Similarly, there are a lot of things which we don’t do; which we should be doing. We have an untrained mind, but the good news is: it can be trained.
  3. To live a dharmik life is not natural. Natural is to live how we like and want to live, without thinking about dharma. To respect parents, to sacrifice for them is not natural, because it involves leaving our comfort and ahankaar (ego). Serving is not natural. Speaking truth at all times is not natural. To drop laziness, anger and lust is not natural. Dharma is not natural. But when we do only what is natural, we land up in big problems.
  4. Dharma gives us the reins to keep our mind under control. A controlled mind is one that can do everything as it should be done. Not as we want. We should be in control of what we speak, when we sleep or get up, when to stay calm, when to focus on a topic etc.
  5. Dharma provides you with the mind which you need. Adharma makes our mind scattered and untamed. It is an untamed, raw mind which runs after, or runs away from people and situations, or which has moods, which gets over-excited, or becomes stubborn.
  6. Currently, our mind is unemployable. Such a mind is a liability because we are not able to do what we need to do. Dharma makes our mind refined, focused, and available, just like a servant who listens to you. The mind should be tamed and trained to serve us correctly.
  7. We have unconsciously given wrong training to our mind. We have given it wrong things to do such as ‘Think bad about that person’ or ‘Get attached to this person’ or ‘Be jealous of that person’ etc. As a result, we have a mind which is unfocused, non-serving and arrogant.
  8. Because our mind is in such an uncontrolled state, the initial training in following Dharma is very difficult.

But if a person puts in sustained efforts, he can get over his likes and dislikes; he can cross over all his weaknesses. It may take 20 or 30 years, depending on how his mind was when he started the training, but he does cross it and becomes much more refined later on.

Train your mind to Love God, with Bharatji as your Acharya

  1. How to learn to love God? Follow Shri Bharatji’s character.
  2. In Valmiki Ramayana, entire chapters are given to describe Shri Bharatji’s character and his love for Ramji. The teaching is for us, not for Bharatji.
  3. The manifested form of thirst of Ramji’s seva is Bharatji. We should look deeply inside Bharatji’s heart, and see where his attention was at all times.
  4. Bhakti means having one attention – ‘What is happening to my Lord?’ That’s it. The ability to give joyful attention to God is devotion.
  5. Unless we identify with somebody’s joy, we cannot serve them. Who can serve God? One who feels the pain of not pleasing God, one who is restless to give joy to God. Such was Bharatji’s mind.
  6. You are nothing but where you can give attention for a long time, where you can stay absorbed. Bharatji’s attention never wavered from ‘What is the joy of Lord Ram’.
  7. We have to train our mind to feel, think and react like Shri Bharatji – ‘My joy is not important. Only God’s joy is important.’ This is the difficult portion of devotion.
  8. Devotion is not easy, because you have to always find out what God wants, and you have to be ready to sacrifice.
  9. Repeated practice of putting God’s joy first, and sacrificing our joy for the Lord’s, inculcates devotion.
  10. Practice means – we repeatedly do something which is right. It may be very difficult, but still we persevere for a long time, and with a lot of effort. We have to keep practicing until what is right becomes effortless and easy for us.
  11. Please note, Ramayana is a not mere story, for entertainment. It is to tell how we should be. If we are unable to take the essence from Ramayana then our problems won’t be solved.

The Lord knows His devotee’s heart, and He responds

In Chitrakoot, when Lakshmanji saw the army of Ayodhya coming towards them, he was infuriated and proclaimed that he would kill Bharat and everybody, if they tried to harm Lord Ram. Of course, this is only Lakshmani’s leela. He was not really infuriated at all, but wanted to bring out the stunning love between the Lord and His devotee, for us all to see. He wanted to bring out the glory of Bharatji, taking bad name on himself. We can never truly fathom the greatness of these characters!

  1. Bhagavan Ram on hearing Lakshmanji asked him to quieten down. Lord Ram assured Lakshmanji that Bharatji’s heart was full of love for Him.
  2. Love is where one cannot tolerate any mental distance from the beloved. Mental distance means, what gives you unhappiness, gives me happiness.
  3. In love, you can tolerate poverty, insults and hardships, but not any mental distance from the beloved.
  4. Lord Ram reiterated that Bharatji could never mean him harm, even mentally.
  5. In Ramcharitmanas the Lord says, “Even if Bharat gets the kingdom of Brahma and Vishnu, he will never be intoxicated. Like in the milky ocean, if one squeezes one lemon, it won’t curdle; in the same way, kingdom and power cannot change Bharat’s heart, because it is full of love for Me!”
  6. Can we honestly claim that the Lord is right now thinking of us as He thought of Bharatji? The answer is ‘no’. And the reason is that we have never really truly loved Bhagavan.
  7. Love is a strange thing, unless the mind becomes absorbed in the Lord, the attachment to the world will not go. Worldly love only gives a lot of problems and takes us through the cycle of birth & death.
  8. The love for Ram is rare. It is difficult to bring Bhagavan Ram to our mind straight away, but easier to bring Bharatji, Hanumanji and Lakshmanji. Let us start to emulate the great love of Bhagavan’s most exalted devotees, and they will surely bring Bhagavan Rama into our heart.

Day 4

On the 4th day of the Valmiki Ramayana yagna, Swami Abhedanandaji, after having given a lot of emphasis on why one should develop a relation with the Lord, shared Shri Bharatji’s deep emotions and thoughts in order to explain how loving the Lord is very difficult & how one should give up his ego and be ready to renounce in life to cultivate true love for the Lord.

We share with you some snippets from the talk:

Seek your solutions from the Altar within

  1. We should develop the habit of seeking solutions from the Lord, and not the world. Even though world may have some objective solutions to our problems, it cannot solve most of them. Seeking refuge in the Lord for finding solutions to our problems is called devotion.
  2. As a small child runs to his mother for any problem, we must do the same and run to the Lord for all our problems. We have one Altar and Puja room inside our heart. When we do Puja outside, we are actually doing puja inside and trying to we make that Altar alive.
  3. One must develop extreme closeness with that Altar inside so that a strong thought develops – ‘He will be there for me; I don’t need anybody else in my life. I have someone very big to solve my problems.’ This conviction is called devotion.
  4. As you grow in your sadhana, you will find that devotion is of utmost importance for a quiet life. The acceptability of the outer situations, the ease of going through difficulties, the insecure future, the anxiety & worry about our present – all are taken care by the Lord.

Develop a deep relation with the Lord

  1. Our relation with the Lord is very precious. We should try to build it every day and it should become strong gradually.
  2. One simple way to find out if the relation is getting stronger or not, is that – you start missing the Lord and you are not able to tolerate any distance from Him. Our misfortune is that we don’t miss God.
  3. The depth of a relation increases when you have no other area that gives you as much joy or makes you suffer. You have no sorrow regarding any issue except one – ‘I could not make my Lord happy… I should have pleased my Lord more!’
  4. This is a very high stage of a seeker and it is portrayed very beautifully in Shri Bharatji’s character. His single-pointedness and his tanmayata in Bhagavan Ram was beyond any comprehension.
  5. His only attempt was to see Bhagavan Ram smiling. His only want was that his beloved brother, Ram, should come back and be coronated on the throne of Ayodhya.
  6. The more single-pointed a devotee’s love is towards God; more powerful he is.
  7. Why are saints always happy? Because the love that an ordinary person seeks from the world, the saint gets it from the Lord. Meera bai used to say – ‘Why should I wed someone who will die? Let me wed Krishna, marrying whom my marriage will become immortal.’
  8. One who starts experiencing the joy of loving the Lord and starts getting responses from the Lord, he doesn’t want anything from the world.

Shri Bharatji’s pure love for Bhagavan Ram

  1. Shri Bharatji was very anxious and he rushed to reach Bhagavan Ram in Chitrakoot. When you have love, you are in a hurry to meet your beloved. Just as when you are very hungry, you are in a hurry to eat.
  2. As Bharatji entered Chitrakoot, he saw Bhagavan Ram seated on deer skin, with bark of the tree around his body and his matted hair. Bharatji got extremely sad with this sight because he was used to seeing Bhagavan Ram in royal attire and nice ornaments, adorned with flowers and sandalwood paste.
  3. Bharatji started wailing badly and exclaimed, ‘Fie upon me! I am the cause of all problem!’ To be sad in one’s sadness is not a big deal, even animals are sad when they are attacked. But to be sad for God, one needs a very big heart, because one’s ahankaar (ego) has to be crushed.
  4. Love and ahankaar cannot co-exist. Ahankaar is – giving joy to oneself, while Love is – giving joy to the beloved. Thus an ahankaari person can never be a true lover.
  5. This path of loving the Lord is the path for destroying our ahankaar (ego). Just as sandalwood doesn’t give out fragrance unless it is destroyed (rubbed), similarly unless a person is ready to demolish his ahankaar (ego), raag (attachment) & dwesh (hatred), he cannot love the Lord.

A devotee has a single-pointed desire of pleasing the Lord and he is ready do whatever it takes for making the Lord happy.

Love is futile without renunciation

  1. One cannot Love without taking pains for his beloved. Hence loving is always difficult. Similarly, doing seva is difficult, because one must go through pain for serving. Unless one goes through pain he cannot serve and unless one serves, he cannot give joy to his beloved.
  2. World demands lot of sacrifice. Any role we play, it demands a lot of sacrifice. There is no attraction or life in a person when he does not give up fulfilling his role and duties. ‘My style and my way’ doesn’t work on this path.
  3. We must ask ourselves ‘for whom have we gone through pain in our life?’ Going through pains for our family and relatives does not count, as we do it because of our attachments. One must go through pains for the Lord alone. It is the Lord alone who always responds to our prayers and love.
  4. It is for God that we should feel, ‘I should give all joy, I can leave all comforts, I can leave all insistences, I can leave anything to please Him.’ This is how Bharatji used to feel. He is the manifestation of renunciation & sacrifice for Bhagavan Ram.
  5. Sorrow is nothing but our insistence on not dropping an issue. We try to resist and go against God’s will. Lovers don’t fight. Their only mantra is, “Thy should be done! Not mine.” Victory in love is, ‘I am defeated by you’. Stubborn person can never be a lover.
  6. If you cannot merge with the God’s desire, then be assured you will be sad, because your desire will not be fulfilled.

Once there was a Mahatma who was going in a boat. When his boat started drowning, he started filling the boat with water. But when somebody saved him, he started removing the water from the boat. When asked why he was doing so, he said, ‘If the Lord wants to drown the boat, I also want to drown it. If He wants to save, I too want to save it. Whatever God is doing I am just helping Him.’ This is what makes love difficult. Therefore, it is very rare to find Ishwar Bhakt & Guru Bhakt in the world. A very big heart is required to be the lover of God!

Day 5

On the fifth day of the monthly yagna, Swami Abhedanandaji, in all his compassion, assured the listeners that if one keeps on listening to Satsang, a time comes when one becomes a devotee. Swamiji also clarified with his insightful examples how devotion has very big role to play in our lives.

Let us see below some highlights from the satsang:

Know your Strength & Weakness

  1. One should know his strong points as well as his weak points, along with their effects. Only after developing this understanding, there can be quietness in the mind.
  2. Anybody’s strong point is his ability to easily identify with something bigger. The ease of identifying with a bigger thought, bigger goal, bigger joy and God, is a person’s strong point. While the inability to identify with something big and only remain contented with the joy of the small self, is the weakness of a person.
  3. Any bad habit in a person indicates his identification with some small joy which is very dear to him and hence, difficult for him to leave. For a smoker, the joy of smoking is very strong in his mind, and when that joy of smoking comes, it prevails over joy of God, joy of conscience, joy of dharma. There is no reflection of bigger joy in his mind.
  4. This same logic can be applied at the emotional level too. Attachment with a particular person or object shows that a lot of joy appears in a person’s mind when he thinks about that person or object. And that joy has nothing to do with God’s joy, Guru’s joy, or the joy of conscience. It is a very small independent discreet joy that he experiences.
  5. Why is it a weakness?
    • Because that joy is very vulnerable; anything can snatch away that joy. There is dependency and sorrow associated with it.
    • Another problem is – for this small joy, the person is ready to renounce the bigger joy.
    • Thus, the person who is addicted to this impermanent body and its needs, or some lower emotion, puts in a lot of his time & efforts to get that joy.
    • Therefore it is very important to get out of that small joy. And for that, the reflection of some bigger joy is a must in the heart.
  6. Scriptures claim that if someone doesn’t have the reflection of the bigger joy or the inherent love for God, then they should deliberately try to repeat in their mind that ‘Joy of God is big’. Then gradually that joy will become bigger. And to help us repeat that thought, the characters of Shri Bharatji, Lakshmanji, Hanumanji have been elaborated so vividly in Ramayana.

Devotion is Mandatory!

  1. Some people feel that devotion is impractical but they don’t understand that without devotion, we will always have worry about our uncertain future and the inner problems such as attachment, anger, hatred won’t be eradicated.
  2. When there is devotion and love for the Lord in your heart then all problems get sorted out:
  3. There won’t be any thought of “doership” in your mind; you will think that the Lord alone is the “doer”.
  4. Attachment will go away because you won’t need anybody when you have already opted for the One.
  5. If Lord’s joy is there, them naturally you will do actions for the Lord. Karma yog will become very easy to practice.
  6. If love for the Lord is there, you will accept even the harshest situations that come in your life with the thought, ‘I accept it. After all it is from my beloved.’
  7. Devotees like Sudama, Shabari or Kewat, didn’t have good situations in life, but that didn’t make them sad or unhappy. They had immense love for Bhagavan and that made them very quiet.
  8. Therefore, having devotion is not optional, rather it is mandatory! Otherwise your problems won’t get solved.
  9. Without devotion, Karma-yog, Bhakti-yog, Gyaan-yog, nothing is possible.
  10. When devotion is less in a person, he is not able to assimilate and absorb the higher knowledge because his mind is not purified.
  11. More is the devotion, more a person will be fit to receive that knowledge; he will be quieter, surrendered, sacrificing, composed, and much closer to the God.

Give up your small self

  1. Those who have a difficult life, it is because they are holding onto their own desires. There is no other way to get a quiet life other than to leave one’s small desires. Bharatji’s thoughts were – ‘I don’t want anything. What are my desires? Let God’s desire alone be there.’
  2. Bharatji had no desire of his own. His heart was shoonya (zero), free from his own thoughts. Such people alone can serve and love God.
  3. The difference between a saintly person and a worldly person is that – a worldly person is constantly running after his own agenda, his wish; but a saintly person constantly tries to find out what God wants from him and how God wants him to act in every situation.
  4. The irony of our life is that we never think what Bhagavan wants from us. When this question starts troubling us then we will start doing what Bhagavan wants. Our ahankaar (ego) and our desires are so dear to us that they don’t let us get close to God.

Why is Spiritual path difficult?

  1. Spiritual life is very difficult because you have to give up false. Vedanta says, ‘Your ahankaar is false. Body is false.’ All Upanishads, Gita etc. try to remove our wrong notions, and they repeatedly instruct us to falsify and negate the finite self. But we are not able to do that. And this is what makes our bhakti.
  2. When we read about characters like Bharatji, for sometime, we start travelling with them. And even if we are not able to love Bhagavan as should we loved, at least we see how their love was for Bhagavan.
  3. Loving means – giving your own self. You can’t love while holding your own self. We have to give up our raag (attachment), dwesh (aversion), ahankaar (ego).
  4. It needs a hero to say, ‘Yes, I will give up. I will offer it all to God!’ This makes devotion difficult.
  5. Meerabai went to her Guru (Raidasji) who gave her the mantra ‘Ram Ram’. When when Meerabai’s Ishta devata was Lord Krishna, he didn’t question her Guru even for a split moment. Her surrender was immense. When she used to chant Ram Ram, Krishna murti only appeared in front of her.
  6. Let us not put a fake devotee and present ourselves as a devotee. People very easily say, ‘I am a devotee of Lord Ram or Lord Krishna,’ but there is no reflection of Lord Ram or Lord Krishna in them. The absence of anger, absence of laziness, soft speech of Bhagavan should be imbibed by us. That is when we become a devotee.
  7. Like a good university student sincerely wants to achieve good percentage like his peers. We too, on observing the life of saints feel how we can become like them. When we hear Bharatji’s character, we must aspire to become like him. ‘Why I cannot have that emotion, why I cannot have that sincerity’ – these thoughts must arise in our heart.

Bhagavan Ram’s Advice to Bharatji

It is written in Valmiki Ramayana that when Bharatji met Lord Ram, He spoke very lovingly to Bharatji and started advising him on how he must rule the kingdom. Those instructions were not for Bharatji, he already knew them. They are intended for us. Some of those instructions are as follows:

  1. It is better to prefer one intelligent minister rather than having thousands of foolish ministers.
  2. Appoint that person as general who is dhritimaan, i.e. the one who has extreme patience.
  3. Encourage priests to conduct sacrifice (havan etc.)
  4. Do not fall prey to excess sleep or sleeping less.
  5. Distribute provisions and salary to servants in due time. Never delay their wages.
  6. Win over the hearts of elders, children etc. by good bhaav, daan (charity) and sweet speech.
    • A person should try to win the heart of others, because moment you win heart, you win everything.
    • If one does not have a good speech, he can never win other’s heart. And to have good speech, our bhaav should be very good. And we should not have anger, ahankaar or expectation. Otherwise sarcasm and hardness is expressed in speech.
    • Pujya Gurudev, is a beautiful example of this. When Gurudev started, nobody knew him, but after 60 years, he had earned place in millions of hearts. Gurudev was a pioneer in daan as well, if anybody needed any help, he gave it immediately.
    • A person is not known by what he gets, but he is known by what he gives. If anybody will remember you, it would be based on what he got from you.
  7. Always greet (offer namaskar) your Gurus, elders, deities, and even the trees along the roadside.
    • ‘Namaskar’ comes from the word ‘Namaha’ (Prostrations). Namaha means – ‘In front of you, mine will not be done, na-mama. I have come to take your wish and fulfil it.’ The gesture itself is to suggest that, I have taken your wish and kept it in my heart.
    • In namaskar this bhaav has be to maintained that ‘I am not coming to get anything, but to give.’
    • Namaskar is not just a physical act, but it is an emotional matter. It is as if saying, ‘May you win.’ The one who chooses to lose from somebody, he wins the person but the one who tries to win somebody by argument or by qualification, he loses that person.
  8. Perform such actions which result in devotion.
    • The fruit of any karma (action) should be that we get closer to God. Action should be to realise that unless God had helped, we could not have been able to complete it.
    • Maturity of a person is the ability to feel, how many components were involved in an action to complete it and how small was his role? ‘How much stake should I have in the success of this action?’ – The ability to analyse this and become humbler, is the fruit of any action.
    • An ahankaari person does not think on these lines and credits all the success of action to himself.

Day 6

Ayodhya Kand of Valmiki Ramayana can be very broadly categorized into two portions. One is focused on Shri Bharatji’s immaculate character which gives a description of the love for Lord that is required for reaching our ultimate goal. And the other portion is where Bhagavan Ram instructs Bharatji & talks about the various aspects of Dharma, Satya (Truth) & Tyaag (Renunciation).

On the last day of the June monthly yagna, Swami Abhedanandaji took the second portion of Ayodhya Kand and shared some extremely relevant & noteworthy points regarding Dharma. We present below some snippets from Swamiji’s illuminating discourse:

Understanding the role of Dharma
After Bhagavan Ram explained the duties of a King to Bharatji, He illustrated how Dharma is very important in one’s life.

  1. Each one of us is ordained to perform certain duty, and act & think in a certain way. Those duties and actions constitute our dharma. Just as a mango tree’s dharma is to give mangoes, and not any other fruit, similarly we are supposed to do only that which is ordained for us, and nothing else.
  2. Dharma is that, when followed, it makes you feel confident, strong & composed. Even if it gives pains, you go through the pains and you do your respective duty what is tailored for you.
  3. This applies not only to external actions, but to thoughts at the mental level too. You entertain only those thoughts which you are supposed to, and ward off all other thoughts.
  4. The most straight forward way to find out what you are supposed to do is – Read the scriptures. Scriptures have a lot of details about each individual’s role (husband, wife, children etc.) and their dharma.
  5. But if one is not able to go through the scriptures, another simple way to find out is – what is the general expectation of the society from us? What are the expectations from a husband, from a wife, from a teacher, from a disciple, etc.? We should analyze if we fit into that criteria or not.
  6. Dharma should be at all levels – body level, vritti (thought) level, conduct level, projection level. And thus, a person who follows dharma, he leads a difficult life because he has chosen not to do only what he likes. He conquers his likes & dislikes.

Fruits of following Dharma

  1. When you follow dharma, it increases your confidence and inspires you to take on bigger challenges & bigger vows in life. It gives a feeling of fulfilment. But if you don’t follow dharma, you lose self-confidence and you feel that you are not meant for anything big in life.
  2. Second fruit of following dharma is that it helps you get out of your certain vasanas, selfishness & weaknesses like anger, hatred, greed, jealousy, laziness, harsh speech etc.
  3. Dharma is a panacea through which we get out of our habits that pull us down and make us weak. If we don’t follow dharma, then our weaknesses may increase.
  4. Life should be led such that, as we age, we should feel lighter, less attached and much quieter at the mental level. Most of the times, as we age, our tensions also increase. And that happens because we don’t follow dharma.
  5. Third thing that dharma does is that – it brings outer prosperity. You become capable of giving a lot to the people, to the society around you.
  6. It is a person’s negativity that stops him from giving to others. A person is not able to give when some aspect of his personality blocks him such as: his expectations, laziness, ahankaar (ego) etc.
  7. Anybody who has not been able to give to his family, his parents, children etc., it is only because his nature was not good, and he was not dharmik. Hence, such a person does not have much blessings and grace in his life.
  8. If one lives a dharmik life, then his death is very consoling and his next birth is better. Gurudev used to say, ‘It is a transfer with promotion.’ When you do good actions, those actions say ‘I will protect you now!’ It is said, “Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha” – Dharma protects those who protect dharma!

Consequences of not following Dharma

  1. The biggest consequence of absence of dharma is one’s life is that God will not be pleased with him. And when God is not pleased, He doesn’t give good thoughts, a Guru (teacher) and scriptures. He sees that we don’t get the best and He takes away the lovable people from our life. To have God displeased upon us is a very big loss.
  2. When God is not pleased, then we become a liability for others. But if He is pleased, then He supports us in whatever we do, and thus all our endeavours are successful.
  3. The power of dharma can be so much in a person that whatever he touches, it can convert into gold, whatever he says becomes possible. His reliability and dependability is very high.
  4. When you do things randomly without following dharma, then there will be no strength in your actions. Your presence & your words will not have any value. Contrary to this, if somebody has dharma, he will be like a magnet who pulls others.

How to ward away your weaknesses?

  1. One must not think that a person who follows dharma is dry, and without any emotions. A dharmik person has lot of emotions, but the main difference is that he is not weakened by his emotions. No person or object can become his weakness.
  2. What do we mean by “Weakness”? Weakness means nobody can be the source of my disturbance, neither positively nor negatively.
  3. When we like someone, we miss them and we want to live with them. We constantly think about them, when they are not around. This is a positive kind of disturbance. Similarly, there is negative disturbance when we do not wish to see a person, and his thought creates agitations in us and we mentally deride him.
  4. A person may be good, beautiful, excellent in his conduct, but he should not become our want. The moment we put a want; it gets us in big trouble. We should make it our goal to get out of such disturbances.
  5. One must be intolerant to his weaknesses. Don’t cuddle, love and pamper your weaknesses. You ‘have’ to get out of them… the sooner the better! Only then your mind can be free and when you reach the end of your life, you can be easily absorbed in the thought of the Lord.
  6. Our weaknesses are the hurdles in our contemplation of the Lord. The moment we think about the Lord or do Japa, or do seva, the thoughts of our weakness (particular person/object) come and we are unable to think beyond them. It is as if, we get blocked by our attachments and aversions from all sides.
  7. Thus, it is important to overcome our weaknesses, so that when this life ends, we can depart from our loved ones without pain. We have to make our mind and nurture it so that we become emotionally painless.

Physical pain at the end depends on our prarabdha but to reduce emotional pain depends on how much dharma we have done!

Right of Elders
Bhagavan Ram, while giving all valuable lessons to Bharatji for ruling the kingdom, also explains to Bharatji that it is the right of one’s parents (elders) to ask anything of their children.

  1. Elders have have given a lot to the youngsters and hence, they have the right to ask & demand. We can make someone feel they are elder, by giving them the right to ask us anything, and if required, even to scold us.
  2. However, if we question the elder’s requests or orders, it means we are robbing them of their status. Elders don’t suffer because they have less money, they suffer more because they have no right on you.
  3. We owe a lot to our elders. Elders are like a bank; we have taken a lot of things from them – their time, energy, experience, protection and given them a lot of pain too. So, we already are under a big debt.
  4. And when they ask us something, we should see it is as a good opportunity to payback. If in such instances we don’t do what is asked of us, it is adharma on our part. This is of course when our elders are not asking us to do anything wrong. It is our dharma to follow the legitimate and dharmik desire of the elders.
  5. Dharma expresses as some desire of elders for you. Elders may want you to fulfill a certain desire of theirs, it could be your father, mother, teacher etc. When it is a legitimate desire, it is our dharma to follow and fulfill those desires. We are thus, not just fulfilling their desire, but via them we are following our dharma only.

Essence of Serving
Giving up your right is ‘Seva’. Bharatji could have chosen to be the King and rule the kingdom. But Bharatji chose not to take the throne, instead offered it to the Lord and took care of the kingdom and performed seva.

  1. When you have earned your money righteously, it is your right to enjoy that money. You can go on vacation or spend it as you wish. But when you donate that money to an ashram or an institution, you are giving up your right to enjoy it and that becomes your seva.
  2. More right you can give, bigger will be your seva. God has given you, hands and feet, it is your right to use it for yourself, but when you use it to press somebody else’s feet and work for someone else, it becomes your seva.
  3. More you are able to give up your right; you evolve more and become free from the bigger pains in life. No seva is without pain. Moment you chose pain to give joy to the higher, you transcend certain lower pains in life.

Humility: the ornament of every individual

  1. Humility is the ability to see ‘how small I am’. To the extent one can become small, to that extent he is liked by others. Moment you try to be bigger and impose your bigness, people do not like your company.
  2. When we become small, our speech becomes very soft. Humility should not only be portrayed just externally, but we must sincerely feel it inside too. Gurudev used to joke, ‘Humility is a strange thing, the moment you think you have it, you have lost it.’
  3. We hardly possess any special qualities . Our knowledge and physical endurance is also very little. There is no reason for us to think that we are great in any aspect. Even if people are praising us, we must think that they are praising the Lord and not us. We are not the one who deserve any praise. Therefore, humility should come naturally to us.
  4. Arrogant person on the other hand, feels ‘why should I serve, why should I leave my sleep’ etc. Most of us are quite complicated people, full of laziness, ahankaar (ego), kaam (desires), krodha (anger) etc. We are so full of our own thoughts, ideas and desires that nobody can put their good thoughts and sankalp in us.
  5. Serving means – someone is willing to execute their higher and dharmik desire through you. But because of lack of humility and our fullness, we are unable to take their desire and execute it.