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Seeing my Self
A talk given by Shri P. Rajagopalachari
After a good sitting, there should be a feeling of intoxication-spiritual intoxication. What do you say in Telugu for intoxication? Maththu. Divya maththu! So normally, one should not disturb that condition by coming out immediately, talking about politics, about so many other things, you see. And even a speech is normally not welcome, at least to the speaker, because he doesn't want to disturb his own condition.
Anyway brother Bikshamgaru told you about how even Avatara Purushas needed gurus. In fact, everybody needs a Guru. Kabir, the great saint, has said, "Guru bina kachchu na paye"-without a Guru you can get nothing. Nothing ante [means] paralokaprapthi kosaram [for attaining parloka], not here. Here your samskara gives you what you have to get. Nobody can change it. So in our physical life, material life, loukika life, our samskaras are acting all the time-giving, taking, making us happy, making us sad, putting somebody to become a Chief Minister, somebody pulling a rickshaw. That cannot change at all. Ashtavakra could not change his physical form, though he could change his inner self into that of a very great saint. So we must know the limitation of our physical life, of the teachers who teach us to live here in this bhoolokam, mrithyulokam, to achieve whatever we have to achieve, professors, philosophers-that is one category. As far as spirituality is concerned, only the Guru can do something for us because spiritual life is not conditioned or limited by samskaras.
Now all traditions say that, when we are born, anybody, whether it is Rama or Krishna or Bikshamgaru, Parthasarathi, anybody you see, Raghavan, we are all born with a divine consciousness, which existed before birth but which is erased when we are born into the bhooloka. To renew that consciousness, to make us aware that's a different life, higher life, a spiritual life, an adhyatmika jeevanamu, as you say, is the Guru's function. In ritualistic Hinduism it is called Upanayana, but it doesn't work. Because unless the Guru who does your Upanayana and gives you the upadesa of the Mahagayathri Mantra has achieved a certain spiritual elevation, he cannot do anything except mutter into your ears the mantra itself. So this ritualistic Upanayana is a failure. Because today, you must believe this and understand this clearly, no shastri, no pundit exists who can give you the upadesa from heart to heart, only from mouth to karna [ear]. Similarly temple-worship may have been useful once upon a time. It depends on the worshipper. It depends on the object worshipped. If it is an idol in a temple, something called prana-prathistha has to be done before that murthi becomes worshippable. Otherwise it is only a piece of art. You can buy it from a handicrafts emporium. It is not to be worshipped. But our tradition has been so degraded that even a picture of Hanuman you know, scrawled on a wall by a child, and you go and worship it.
We have become totally ignorant, of the traditions, of the values, which were existing, may be in the Dwapara Yuga, or the Thretha Yuga, but certainly don't exist in the Kali Yuga at all. Today there is nobody, absolutely, who can do a prana-prathistha to a vigraha, who can do upadesa to a shishya. So mantras are useless, tantras are useless. Achaaram, anushthaanam, all are useless. Even yoga is only for physical health. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, over! "I am doing Pranayama, Sir." Good! Your lungs will expand, some psychic problems may arise, but then you'll need a psychiatrist. Asana? Good-physical health. You must remember what Babuji Maharaj answered when I questioned him about asanas. He said, in the olden days, the rishis had to do meditation almost continuously, sitting, you know, in meditation. They could not go walking or jogging or play tennis or go swimming. So they evolved a system of asana so that the positions are changed even while they are meditating, and some physical health, psychic health is maintained. That is all. That is the limitation of what you call Hatha Yoga.
So if you look at it sensibly, all of that we incurred, all of that we have inherited, as a yogic tradition, as a sampradayic tradition, as a cultural tradition, are today useless, except to play on the stage like drama. We can have Ramayana on the stage. We can play Krishnudu on the stage. N.T. Rama Rao did it with great success, but he never became Rama or Krishna, you see. It is like children playing with bommalu [toys], you see. Rama Rao did it with great credibility because the people before whom he was playing were emotional, satisfied with drama, with natakam. They did not look for anything more. They never expected a real Rama, you see. Anybody dressed as Rama, and talking like Rama, they are happy. "Hanumantha Raa ikkada." [Hanumantha, come here.] Hanumanthudu came. "Ravanudu ippudu ekkada?" [Where is Ravana now?] "Ayana visramam chesthunnaru." [He is resting.] "Oh!" Finish.
So people of Andhra Pradesh especially, you see, you will excuse my saying it, but it is a fact, it is not a criticism, it is an observation, are subject to a lot of emotional mooda bhakthi [blind faith]. Now I have been travelling from Visakhapatnam upto here, and I have seen may be 60 or 70 of these Hanumantha statues you see. Big-20 feet, 30 feet, 40 feet. Nobody seems to bother about it. I don't know why they are there. Good sculpture, you see. It is useful to answer foreigners when they come and say, "Oh! One more monkey-god? How many do you have in India?" So apart from that there is no importance to these things. In every village there is a Kali temple. There is a Vishnu temple with a Nandi on the outside. Now Vishnu is not supposed to have Nandi as a vahana [vehicle]. There are Shiva temples with Hanuman outside. Chaala [Lot of] confusion! People don't know what they are worshipping, whom they are worshipping, why they are worshipping. Why they worship is because they have a fear that if I don't worship, something may happen.
Have you ever asked yourself the question, "I have been worshipping these so-called gods and goddesses all my life. Nothing in my life has changed. If my husband is a drunkard, he continues to be drunk. If he beats me, he continues to beat me. If my children are disobedient, they are still continuing to be disobedient. If I am you know, happy with sarees and jewellery, I am happy with sarees and jewellery. I have not changed, they have not changed, nothing in this prapancham [universe] has changed because of my worship. Why should I worship?" Have you asked yourself? "Naa chinnakalam nunchi chesthunnanu." [I am doing it from my childhood, Sir.] Sir, maa thaathagaru, maa nayanagaaru." [My grandfather, my father.] They have gone. If you could contact them today and see where they are, you would be shocked. Because let me tell you, this worship did not take them to swargaloka or any other loka. They went where they deserved. And most of us know where that is. I am not saying this to disrespect anybody's thathayya or nayana [grandfather or father]. It is fact. If I get into a train from Madras to Visakhapatnam, I can go only to Visakhapatnam. I cannot go to Calcutta, or Delhi, or anywhere else. So doing what we are doing, living as we are living, believing what we are believing, where else can we go except to a particular destination which I do not want to name? There is no other choice. It's a one-way street going only from here to there, for the enormous majority of human beings.
There may be one in a hundred thousand million souls, which escapes out of this because of either Guru kataaksham or some shock which awakens it into reality, which is not available as long as we are happy and contented. Suddenly we are shocked you see. "What happened? I am 32, my wife is 27. She died of cancer. I have three young children of 5, 6 and 7." We make the mistake of immediately becoming naasthikas [atheists]. "Ekkadayya bhagavanthudu?" [Where is God?] We become like Hiranyakaship. From moodha bhakthi to asura bhavana. This is the transition. Now there is no more God for me. "Vaddayya naaku." [I don't want it.] No temples. "Anthaa ppoi. Anthaa abadham. Ekkadayaa mee devudu, choopinchu?" [All lies. Where is your God? Show me.] I cannot say you know, like Prahlad, "Kick this and see where He is." Because that would bring terrible chaos into this world. So shocks are very good, if you can accept the shock in the right way. But hopefully, if you pray properly, we won't need shocks, because as Kabir says, "If you have known God when you are happy, you don't need sorrow." No? Everybody prays when there is sorrow and unhappiness. Had you but prayed when you are happy, joyful, why should you need sorrow to awaken you?
So our samskaras are created by ourselves, to remind ourselves that when we come into this world, an automatic system must work within me, which if I permit it to work without distraction, from the senses, from my desire, they will lead me in the right way, through joy, through suffering, to my goal in this life itself. If I could only find a sensible human being, had I been a sensible human being, who permitted my samskaras to act without my interference caused by my desire, I would not have needed a Guru. Let me tell you this with hundred percent accuracy, conviction, faith. Guru comes only to those who have not permitted their samskaras to work, samskaras which they have created for themselves, very much like a computer programme, that I will be born, let us say like Gauthama. I will be prince, I will marry a princess, I will have a child, I will go for a (inaudible), and I will see a sick man, a dead person being carried to the ghat, etc. you know, and I will awaken and I will come. And I will leave my wife and child in the middle of the night and walk out and become Buddha. No desire, no attachment. He became the Buddha. Who was Buddha's guru? Nobody knows. He did not need because in his pre-life existence, he has planned that this and this and this shall happen, so that this must happen and I shall leave this world as an evolved soul, call it Nirvana, call it swarga, call it what you will-Brighter World.
So with the small exception of those people who don't need a Guru because they permit their samskaras to operate without distraction, without disturbance, without deviation by "my desires", for everybody else, there is needed a Guru, because such people are rare. Why are they rare? Because if I have carved out a future of suffering for myself, I rebel against suffering. I see everybody enjoying, I desire enjoyment, I desire pleasure. So I do things which I should not do, which will affect the operation of my samskaras as planned. It is like I am travelling in a passenger train, and I see a fast train going somewhere else-beautiful blue paint, you know, gleaming new locomotive, and I leave my train and get into that and go somewhere else. Good food, air-conditioned, but destination wrong. Is the story any better in the West? Not at all. Because not only they don't believe in samskaras, but they think they are the masters of their destiny. "I am the master of my destiny!" Of course you are. But then you must achieve that mastery-to master your destiny. Without mastering, how can you be a Master? You can be a Master of Philosophy, only when you have studied Philosophy to such an extent that the degree of Master of Philosophy is bestowed on you. You cannot just go around and say, "I am Master of Philosophy, I am Master of Psychology, I am Master of Medicine." Isn't it? So their situation is perhaps even more deplorable, more to be regretted by us, because while we know we are doing wrong, going after bangaru [gold]
Even in Tirupathi, we are only admiring the Bangaru [golden] Kireetam forgetting the Devuda [God] inside. We stand for 20 hours in the dharma seva queue, and before you can even enter the Garbhagruha, "Pondi, Pondi, Pondi" [Go, go, go]. You have a 30 second exposure to God after a 20-hour wait under miserable circumstances, herded like pigs through pens, and this is yatra. "Edukondala Swaami!" [Lord of the Seven Hills] "Devuda! Govinda!" Ekkada Govinda?[Where is God?] Why do you go there? If twenty hours if you meditate continuously, you can perhaps, stand up and be a saint. You have no faith. We prefer to go there, be cheated by robbers, cheated by everybody, cheated by bus drivers, cheated by bus conductors, cheated by purohit, given rubbish as laddus.
You know, once a minister of Andhra Pradesh Government, came to my house in Madras, with laddu prasadam. And it was gone rotten. A mantri-Pidathala Rangareddy. He was Finance Minister. And Finance Minister gets a laddu like that. Have you understood what is happening in your temples? Of course, every so often, the Executive Officer makes a new rule, changes the size of the laddu, changes the price of the laddu, but the quality of the laddu is always the same. And we take it as prasada. Now prasada, according to the Vedic Shastra, should take away all your, what should I say, troubles, illnesses, everything. "Prasade sarva dukhanaam haanirasyopajayathe," says the Veda. Sarva dukhanaam. You take a little prasad, all your dukhas should vanish. You ate that laddu, and you only get stomachache, diarrhea, and we still believe in it. "Endukante, poojari eeyaledu, saakshaath Govindudu ichchesinaru, brahmalokam nunchi, devalokam nunchi, akkada pavithramga atuvanti chaala pavithram. chesi akkadi nunchi direct ga bhakthudi karamlo ichchesinaru - Theesuko." [It is not the priest who has given it. The Lord Govinda himself has directly from brahmaloka or devaloka given this most holy prasad in the hands of the devotee saying, "Take."]
So Andhra Pradesh is awful in this respect, and it's a money making institution. Tirupathi Devasthanam, everybody knows. Crores of rupees are going. Fools like us go and put our money in the hundi, isn't it? I was once very shocked when Dr. Varadachari commented about Tirupathi, you see. One preceptor, I don't want to name him, because he is no more, he came to see Dr. Varadachari when I was sitting there. And after a few minutes, he took leave of Dr. Varadachari. He said, "Where are you going?" He said, "No sir, I am going to the temple." "Hmm! You are going to that fellow who ran after women and he had to take a loan from Kubera and he cannot even pay the interest?" Idi mee sampradayam. [This is your belief.] I am not saying anything new. He said, "What do you think he will give you? He is waiting for you to give him some money so that he can pay another installment to Kubera." This is the truth. Of course you can say, "This is all divya natakam [Divine play]."
Divya natakam ante this is also divya natakam. No? That I am here is a natakam. I am not here. Where am I? I am a universal soul, free like the soul that is the Brahma soul you see, the cosmic soul. Why am I bound? Because I think I am in this body, I am a slave of my body, I am imprisoned in my body, I am a slave of my bodily desires for pleasure, for satisfaction and for comfort, therefore I am bound. Nothing binds me. In this prapancham [universe], nothing can bind me unless I bind myself. This is true for every one of you, from the lowest to the highest, from the chandala to the Brahmin of the highest quality. We are all bound. How to release ourselves? Guru kataaksham, of course, but we have to meditate and see that there is an inner light, lose our body-consciousness, and then we find that this liberation was always there. I am a fool because I have bound myself and I am telling everybody let me go, let me go. "Liberate cheyandi." Who will liberate? You must all have read that small story that Babuji told me about the parrot. Have you read it? Read it again. A little advice was all that it was asking for.
This rich man in Arabia had this beautiful parrot in a golden cage, and he would not let it go. One day he was going to India, and it said, "O Master, I have many relatives in India, all over India. Will you please ask them how they are, convey my greetings to them, and please ask them for advice how I can be liberated?" So he went to India and toured for 6 months forgetting the parrot, but just before he was leaving, there was a mango grove and a lot of parrots. He suddenly remembered his parrot. So he asked a parrot, "O parrot, I have a beautiful parrot at home in a golden cage. It asked me to ask you how it can be liberated. The moment the parrot heard this question, the parrot fell dead. He said, "Ayyo Devuda, what have I done?" And he became very sad. So when he came back to his parrot in Arabia, it asked him, "Master, did you ask this question?" He said, "What to say you know, I am very sorry about it, my dear parrot." So the parrot said, "What happened? Did you ask or not?" "Yes, I asked the parrot this question. It immediately fell dead. I am so sorry." His parrot fell dead inside the cage. So he became very sorry. "I have not killed one, I have killed two parrots." So with great sorrow, he opened the door of the cage, took out the parrot and threw it away, and it flew away. So we have to fly away ourselves you see. And this advice is the Guru.
Guru is not going to take you physically and put you in some loka of your imagination, where you can still have your bhaarya, your bhartha and your bangaru. Not at all. Bharyas and bharthas are here. There is no bharya, no bhartha there. This attachment has to go. My children, my wife, my husband, no? My kshetram, my Andhra Pradesho, my Kakinada. Ekkada my Kakinada? Where is your Kakinada, can you tell me? So forget all this foolishness. Andhra people are wonderful people because they have this inner aspiration for truth. But they have not the courage to follow it. So you have to become as Babuji Maharaj said, Lions. Don't say mehehheheh, No? You know that story of Ramakrishna.
A lion gave birth to a cub in a field where there was a flock of sheep, and the mother lion died. So these sheep brought up this lion cub like a sheep, and it went around eating grass and mehehheheh meheheheh, you know, all the time. And three years later, even though it was a big lion, it was still a sheep. One day a lion came, a giant lion you know. He said, "What is this nonsense? A lion among a sheep?" It took him by the scruff here, put him in a pond and said, "Look!" Grrrrrr! Because he saw himself.
The Sakshaatkara in even the dhyana paddhathi, in this adhyatmika paddhathi, is Sakshatkara, is seeing my Self. Not seeing some foolish god here(pointing to heart). We are not Hanumans to open our chest and show Ramlakshmamma and Sitalakshmamma and Hanumanlakshmamma here. You people here are famous for Ramalakshmamma. Every third woman in Andhra Pradesh is a Ramalakshmamma. Why these composite names? So you see, if I open my heart, I must see my Self, which is my Eternal Divine Soul.
So please give up all foolishness, get into the practice wholeheartedly, forget sampradya, pracheena kala, the thathudu and nayanagaru etc. They lived their life. You must live your life. And if you live your life properly, you can even help your thatha and your nayana wherever they may be. I pray that Babuji Maharaj will bless all of you.