What is limitless beyond nationalities, beyond religion, beyond species, beyond castes? There is, in fact, an eternal order that exists in the universe. The Indian Constitution has called Hinduism a way of life. Sadly today, it has been misrepresented as a religion “The reality is one without a second”.
Secret India brings you wisdom from the Vedas from the mouth of a powerful spiritual master or shall we say a spiritual activist Swami Chidananda Puri. He is like none other, tirelessly spreading the age-old science of Advaita throughout. He’s also authored more than 30 books on the subject and is the founder of the center of Vedanta studies. Advaita has been a classical age old system of spiritual realization in India.
The greatest Contribution Bharat gave to the world is the concept of Dharma. The concept of Dharma is the greatest contribution. Then comes the question, what is Dharma? The word Dharma Comes from the root dɑːrmə (Sanskrit: धर्म) That is “to hold”. Dharma means “that which is holding everything together”.
That which is holding everything together, that is Dharma. Let me explain a little more.
We are living in this world, we are seeing this world, and just to observe different strata, or the phenomenal planes which we see, that with the smallest particle we can imagine. Take the case of an atom. How an atom is existing? What is an atom? How it is existing? When we analyze it we will realize incessant movements of the subatomic particles. An incessant movement that makes an immovable atom. And see these subatomic particles in specified orbits they are moving, without breaking an order. So, an order is there. A scheme is there. Or to use a more appropriate word, a rule is there. Obeying that rule all subatomic particles are moving, and, it makes an atom exist. And look at this universe. The extent of the universe we do not know How many trillions and trillions of galaxies are there, we do not know. But, one who is chanting Shiva Sahasranamama or Lalitāsahasranāma, will of course know. That means there are innumerable Brahmāṇḍas. Crores and crores of Brahmāṇḍas are there. And in one Brahmāṇḍa there will be millions and millions of stars. And how many planets are there around one star, we do not know.
The extent of the universe we do not know. We cannot say at all, but there is an order. There is a scheme, which is abiding everything together. So, right from the subtlest atom to the grossest universe everything is held together by a rule, by a scheme which is existing and that rule no one can break. What is that?
That rule or that scheme which is holding everything together we are calling it by the name Dharma (धर्म). “By which everything is held together”, that is dharma. So, Dharma is the universal scheme, the scheme, which is holding everything together. That is dharma. When we understand dharma like this, naturally a question will come “What is dharmic life?”
In our Shastras and in our day-to-day life we are speaking about dharmic life and all.
Our life must be according to dharma. We must lead a life of Dharma. So, what is that? If the order of the world, the order of the universe is meant by the term Dharma what is the meaning of dharmic life?
The replay is, we must understand the rule, the scheme, the order which is holding everything together,
and live accordingly. Our life must be tuned in such a way, as it will not distract or disrupt the scheme of the world. My thoughts, my words, or my deeds, they must not disrupt the world order. The universal pattern. With that thought within, I have to live in this world. Because each and every person, everybody is living here to have happiness. To get happiness. Whose happiness? One’s own happiness.
And to get that happiness, I am working here. I am living here in this world, and in the course of my life or in the course of the activities, which I am doing to have happiness I must not distract or disrupt the universal scheme, which is Dharma. So, when our life is attuned to that dharmic values, attuned with that Universal order, then our life is a dharmic life. Bhagwan Veda Vyasa in the Mahabharata says: “You please come and hear the essence of Dharma. I am teaching you the essence of Dharma. What it is. And after hearing what you have to do, abide by that. Adhere to that”. “Don’t perform to others what is not acceptable to yourself”.
We must not do anything to others which is not acceptable to ourselves. That is the crux of Dharma.
So, dharmic life is such a life which is attuned to the universal life. Which will not disrupt the scheme which is holding everything together, that is: by my words, by my thoughts, or by my deeds, I must not make any problems or troubles, I must not create any trouble in the universal scheme.
Such a life is a dharmic life.
Truly, Dharma is such a small word, with just two syllables, but the meaning can be explained for hours.
We often speak about right and wrong. The prejudiced nature of our mind dilutes the truth.
What is truth anyway, is it relative? There is in fact an eternal order.
Sanatana Dharma is Dharma and by the term, Sanatana eternal is met. Never-ending, eternal.
Rishis who discovered Vedas through their tapasia, through their inquiries realized reality on which all the universal phenomena are existing and after that realization, they exhorted to the world what they have realized.
What is real? What is the goal of human life? How you can reach there? They taught all these things.And that teaching is Veda. Even though they taught many things, what is the greatness of human birth what is our goal how we can reach there? What is the connection between the microcosm and macrocosm? Who is controlling the whole system? So many things they taught. How we can reach there. What are the hurdles, how can we cross those hurdles? So many subjects they taught through Vedas.
But the very base of their teaching, there is no doubt, is Dharma.
Based on Dharma they taught.
And that teaching which comes directly from Veda It is called Vaidic Dharma or Vedic dharma.
Because it is Sanatana. Sanatana means eternal. Never-ending.
Because it is not some revelations of one person. It is not some ideas or some calculations of one person, but it is based on the order which is abiding, or which is holding everything together.
It is there. It is not a religion, it is not a philosophical proposition, it is not a set of dogmas It is not a bunch of mythological aspects, it is the very base on which all these are existing. It is the value system.
So, Sanatana Dharma is the Dharma which is the base of all philosophies, all mythologies, all rituals, all religions, and everything. By the term Sanatana Dharma, we must understand it is not something created or something made. Because, one thing or whatever be it has a birth, it will have a death. If there is a beginning there will be an end. There is no dispute in this.
When we say Dharma is Sanatana- eternal, it must not have a beginning also. So, Sanatana Dharma is that dharma which is prevailing here without birth and death. It was here, it is there, and it will be there.
That universal values, that eternal values on which all religions are built on which all social systems are built, on which all philosophies and everything are resting, that very base is called Sanatana dharma.
When Swamiji Vivekanandaji addressed the world through the Parliament of Religions, in his very first lecture he thanked the organizers of that fest with the word: “I thank you in the name of the mother of all religions”.
Sanatana dharma is not another religion. It is not another religion. It is the very substratum, it is the very base on which all the social systems like, religion, nationalism, everything is resting. It is the very base. That is Sanatana Dharma.
And because this Dharma spread in the world from Bharat, from the land that is in between Himalaya and Indus, this dharma is also called Hindu Dharma. It is called Sanatana dharma because it is eternal, it is called Vaitica dharma because it’s coming from Vedas. If we are going to explain Sanatana Dharma it will not come within the scope of a small question answer session. We will have to talk for hours and hours together, but this is a very basic idea of Sanatana dharma.
A basic teaching of Veda is: Reality is one without a second. The truth is one and the same.
“Oh, my son, the truth is one, one without a second”. That is the basic teaching of Veda.
There are no many. Many are not there. Of course in the phenomenal plane, we are seeing many. Everything is different. One thing is different from another, nothing in this world is staying as identical. Differences are there everywhere. In all manifestations, differences are there, but, when we go deeper analyzing, we find out what is the existence absolute. Then, we will come to that reality, which is one without a second. And this reality our rishis called by the name Brahman (ब्रह्म). Way they used to such a word because everything else developed from that one existence absolute.
Everything else is just a manifestations of that reality. The very cause of all manifestations, they called by the name Brahman. Because, the process of manifesting, the phenomenon of manifesting came from it. That is why it is called Brahman. And in the phenomenal plain we are here, we are in this universe. So we as jiva are there, and the world in which we are living is there and, as the world is there, and there is a scheme which is holding all particles of this world. There is something or there is someone, who is controlling everything, so there are three things, one-the jiva, and the other, jagat-the world and Ishwara, the controller of our phenomenal existence.
And all these three jagat, Ishwara and jiva are manifestations of one and single truth. From one reality all this came, and that is Brahma. This is the basic teaching of Veda.
And, as long as we are living in this world as jivas, identifying ourselves with these limited objects of course, we have to obey the universal rules, we have to worship that which is controlling everything.
And that controlling faculty we are calling by the name Ishwara. Iswara is one who is controlling. Nobody can negate that Iswara.
If a scheme is there, if an order is there, there must be something or somebody who is controlling this scheme. Him we are calling Ishwara. How many Ishwaras are there? There is only one Ishwara.
There are no two Ishwaras. And this is Ishwara is responsible for all universal phenomena. That is creation, sustenance, and dissolution. These phenomena, we are seeing. Because of these phenomena, this universe is existing. Though in the phenomenal plane we must not, or we cannot negate this creation, sustenance, and dissolution. The aspect of Ishwara responsible for the creation, we call him by the name Brahma. And the same Ishwara when we look upon him from the viewpoint of sustenance we call him Vishnu. And the same Iswara we are calling by the word Rudra or Shiva when we look from the point of view of the dissolution. One and the same Ishwara is called Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.
And these three are gods with differences in guna structure. Creation happens from rajas. Brahma is rajasic. And sustenance is always connected with sattva, and Vishnu is sattvic. As dissolution is connected with tamas, Rudra is tamasic. When we take trimurtis, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, as those responsible for creation protection and dissolution, they are rajasic sattvic and tamasic. But we must understand another thing for Vaishnava, Vishnu is not limited to sattva guna alone, because Vaishnava sees Vishnu as the all-powerful, all-pervading, Omnipotent. In the same way a Shaiva is seeing Shiva as, not as a God of dissolution, but as the Omnipowerful, Omniscient. In the same way, those who are worshipping Brahma they are reviewing Bramha is All-powerful Omnipotent and Omniscient. So, there are two levels of worship, one as different devatas with different qualities, and from the higher point of view, it is Ishwara, it is the manifestation of one and the same Ishwara. So we must understand that the Shiva of Shaiva, is the same as Vishnu of Vaishnava. There are no two Ishwaras. Because Ishwara is one and the same.
The same Ishwara Vaishnavas are calling Vishnu and, Shaivas are calling Shiva. And what is responsible for all these differences that is guna structure. And the collective of this guna we call it the Shakti. Shakti is the collective of the three Gunas, rajas, sattva and tamas. There are Shaktas who are worshipping Shakti, and Shakti also is being worshipped in different levels of manifestations, and different the permutations and combinations of this gunas roughly we can classify them as Shaktas. Amongst them also there are more sattvic, more rajasic, and more tamasic. Different groups are there, and different styles of worship are there. Shaktayas are there, Vaishnavas are there, Shaivas are there, and of course, Ganapatias are there, those who are worshiping Ganapati. The Skandhas are there, those who are worshiping Skanda Subramanya.
But we must understand, all these are different ways to reach the same goal. And all these are different manifestations of the same reality. The truth is one and the same. The reality is one and the same. Scholars are calling it by many names.
The word meaning of the Rishi is one who has realized or discovered mantra. Rishis are seers of mantras. That is those who realized or those who saw Veda mantras, and taught to the world. They are called Rishies. And there is another definition of Rishi, that is those who have realized the truth, they are called Rishis. So, in the common language, Rishi means one with the realization of the truth, and one who discovered Veda mantras is a Rishi.
But when we go to the root meaning the shabda Rishi comes from the root? When we take that root, the meaning of it will be “one who is moving”, “one who is traveling” One who is moving in the front, showing the path, showing the way to others. One who is leading the whole society is a Rishi.
And when we are qualifying him with the word “mahat”, to show his greatness, then Rishi becomes Maharshi. (The great Rishi). When he is qualified as a mahan, a great man, then he is a Maharishi. And, if we are qualifying him with the word “rajan”, that is to show he was the king earlier-before entering into the position of Rishi he was a king, who ruled a certain area like a king. To show that we will call him Rajarishi. Raja+ Rishi, Rajarishi. In the same way, one who has realized Veda fully or when we speak to Veda, one in whose hand, or in whose hold there is Veda he is called Brahmarishi. Bramha means Veda, and in common language when one and one person identified as a Brahmana and when he becomes a Rishi, he will be called Brahmarishi. Brahma + Rishi, Brahmarishi. In the same way, when devata becomes a rishi, he will be called Devarishi. All these are rishis. Mahan, Rajan, Brahma, Deva. All these are qualifying words, all these are rishis.
And now there comes the word Muni. What is the meaning of a muni? Muni is one who is immersed in the contemplation of the truth. He is a Muni. One who is always contemplating on the ultimate reality or meditating on the ultimate reality he is a Muni. A Muni need not be a Rishi. Or rishi does not need to be a muni, both are different, distinct.
Then there is a sannyasi. Sannyasi is one who has denounced all bondages. That is after renouncing three bondages like “my wealth, my children, and my world”. By the word world name and fame, all these things are meant. So, renouncing these three, one who is trying to reside in himself, one who is in quest of the existence absolute-Ishwara, he is a sannyasi. Or, in other words, Sannyasi is one who has renounced all Vedic rituals
One who has renounced all Vedic rituals to get Buhu, Buvaha, and Swaha, that is this world enjoyments of this world, and the worlds above, the one who has renounced all these words and rituals to get or to attain these words he is Sannyasi.
Rishi can be a sannyasi, or a sannyasi can become Rishi, but there is no rule that a Sannyasi will become Rishi or Rishi a Sannyasi. In our Shastras scriptures, especially in Puranas and Itihasas, almost all rishis were householders, almost all except a few were householders. They were living there with their wives and family, and still there were rishis. This is to be noted very carefully because in the present-day world, many time people think that rishis were sannyasin. I have heard even many scholars speaking that the sannyasins were giving advice as two kings in their palaces. No, they were all rishis. Sannyasins were not living in palaces and giving advices to kings, that were rishis. Rishi is different from sannyasi. Of course the Sannyasi can become a Rishi, or Rishi can become Sannyasi
For example, in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, we can see a great Rishi, Maharishi, becoming a sannyasi
He had two wives. And there is an incident explained in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, when he calls one of his wives and tells her: ” I am going to accept sannyasa. I am going to become a sannyasi”. ” I am dividing my whole wealth and I am giving to you…” Such an incident comes in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. It shows Maharshi who in later days, became sannyasi. You must understand they are different. Muni, Rishi and Sannyasi.
And there is another category, Siddhas Actually, Siddha is a guna, guna means a set. That is within the celestial beings. There are so many sets of celestial beings amongst them comes in Siddha, also another meaning for Siddha is “One who has accomplished something”. Accomplishment is siddhi. The one with accomplishment is Siddha. So, what is the accomplishment? It varies from person to person. We cannot say such and such a person he is a Siddha. Don’t say that. Because in the eyes of one, will not be a Siddha in the eyes of another person. It is it is purely relative. Siddhi for one man will not be a Siddhi for another. It all depends on the attitude, it all depends on your vision. For example, when one man or woman take some basma from the air, waving his hands if he is taking basma, and common people may call he is a Siddha. He may be a Siddha, there is no doubt, but at the same time, he may be a magician also. A magician can do that. The same way, if he is waving his hand and he’s taking or jalebi, then he may be considered as Siddha. Of course, he may be Siddha, I cannot say he is not, but at the same time magicians can do the same thing. We cannot say who is the Siddha, observing from outside. But when we go deep into our Shastras, the greatest Siddhi human being can have is the absolute knowledge of the self. Ramana Maharshi says: “Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render the world”.
Swami ji has only touched upon the belly with these questions. His knowledge has so much depth that one episode is simply not enough. We do have some more interviews with him lined up.
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– Devaki, you want this beggar to say something?
-Yes, Bhagavan, please.
-I have nothing to say.
This episode of The Palak Mehta show celebrates the life and teachings of a great saint, Yogi Ramsuratkumar, who left his body in 2001. He had spent most of his post-enlightenment period in Thiruvannamalai. Today we’re blessed to have his closest disciple, Ma Devaki with us. She will share beautiful stories of his life.
He was wearing two or three very colorful shawls, and a very carelessly tied turban over his head. His eyes were shining. My God, he was extraordinary!
-What do you want from this beggar? What do you want?
-I want to see God.
-What? You want to see God?
I felt so terrible. I wanted the earth to open and swallow me. And then his face softened. And he said:
“Devaki, this beggar has not seen God. How can he help you? This beggar has not seen God. You want to see God.”
And then he said: “Oh, Devaki is a good soul…..she will see God.”
Yogi Ramsuratkumar was born on January 12, 1918 in a small village called Nardara near Kashi (Varanasi), in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. Like Ramana Maharishi who was born in Tiruchuli near Madurai, he was a very different boy even from childhood, very different from the other boys. One thing he loved was swimming in the beautiful Ganga – the village was right on her banks. And when other boys would go to assist their fathers in the fields and would be grazing the cattle, this fellow would come and sit there and gaze at Ganga for hours. He kept himself aloof from the other people and mostly he was given to contemplation.
There was one Khapadia Baba who was his earliest mentor. When Khapadia Baba appeared in the village, the children would be frightened and would run away from the place. But this little boy Ramsuratkumar would go in search of him, sit near him, prostrate before him, and then ask for upadesha (spiritual teachings). Khapadia Baba loved him so much that he began to shape this little boy
towards his future. Since Khapadia Baba was a realized soul, he knew the future of Ramsuratkumar.
It is hard to believe but as early as the age of four, this boy Ramasuratkumar would spend time with sadhus (itinerant monks), and what was more, he could not bear to see any sadhu hungry. And this boy would run home where his mother would have piled up lots of chapatis (unleavened flatbread). And then he would look here and there, and if his mother was not around, he would take the whole lot and run out to the sadhus and distribute among them. He had such great traits in him. He was also quiet, a boy of very few words.
An event at the age of 13 was a turning point in Ramsuratkumar’s life. He used to help his mother with household chores and one day, his mother asked him to fetch some water from the well. It was dusk. The boy took a bucket with the rope to the well. On the well dike was perched a bird and when he saw it from a distance, he shouted “Shoo”, and then threw the rope just to shoo it away. Though it was unintentional, the rope hit the bird somehow, and it fell dead immediately. This was a great, great shock to this boy. This boy did not realize however that the bird had passed away. In great desperation, he took the bird in his hands and cried. Then he went to the river, and taking some Ganga water, he poured it into the bird’s mouth and prayed and prayed and prayed, but in vain. Then realizing that the bird was completely dead, he left it in the Ganga.
That whole night, the boy was crying his heart out, thinking, “Why would this happen? I never meant for this to happen. In playful innocence, I threw the rope just to shoo it away. I never meant to kill it. But still this happened. Who made it happen? Because I did not intend it. It happened by itself. Then, who is directing our life? Who is running our life? What is life? What is death? What was in the bird before, that left the bird later?” The serious issues of life began to plague him. This playful boy of 13 years was whipped into a new type of consciousness. It must have been too sudden for him. That whole night he did not go home. He just spent it on the bank of the river, crying and thinking, and thinking, and thinking. After that, his spiritual search deepened.
He began to seek solitude. And then, of course, Khapadia Baba came, and instructed him to go to Kashi to have the darshan (sight of deity) of Vishwanath (Lord Shiva). So at the age of 16, this little boy went to Kashi alone, and when he entered the sanctum sanctorum of Kashi Vishwanath temple, he found the whole place suddenly filled with golden light. Yogiji, as a mere boy of 16, had this vision and he almost fainted because the energy was too much. And then of course, he came to the ghat (bank of the river), Manikarnika ghat, where dead bodies were being burned. He came there and sat for quite a few hours and again, went into a higher state. It was happening very naturally to him. He did not even know that he was meditating.
Being very fond of a Lord Buddha and knowing that Sarnath was only 13 kilometers away, the 16 year old boy walked all the way there. And he went to the stupa, the place where Lord Buddha had sat and given his first sermon, after his enlightenment. This was the first place he had come to with his five disciples in Sarnath, where the stupa is now. So when this boy approached this stupa, he again went into a higher state, into a trance. What does it mean? These highest states were already inherent in him – he simply had to go into serious meditation and touch those levels, and then they would develop to perfection. That was the pivotal event that triggered, and made him even more serious about spiritual life.
After that, he even got married. Because in the North, they insist: a 20-year old boy and he is not married?! People would start gossiping in those days. He tried to escape – he ran away from the place the first time the prospective bride was seen. And then she had to be married to his brother. By the second time (they knew now), they were very ready, very tricky, and they arranged something which he could not escape at all. He had to see the girl, Ramaranjini Devi, and as soon as he saw her, just like it happened with Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Sarada Devi, he said “Yes”. So they were married and he began leading a married life with children. He was also working in a school as a headmaster sometimes and as a teacher. While teaching also, he would go to a Shiva temple nearby and sit for meditation. And he was also following the instructions of Khapadia Baba. One day, the call became irresistible and something very interesting happened. He was returning from Khapadia Baba’s ashram. Suddenly he heard a voice, something like an oracle. It said, “What you are doing now is not your work. This is Vivekananda calling you! What you are doing now is not your work!” When he looked around wanting to know who spoke, there was nobody there. So he ignored it and walked away. And when he was returning from school, he again heard the same oracle. The voice said, “This is Vivekananda calling you! What you are now doing is not your work!” And this time, something happened to him after hearing this – there was a fire in his body and he could rest no more. He had to go in search of his guru, because Khapadia Baba had said to him, “I’m not your guru. Your Guru is in the South.” He told him there were spiritual giants like Ramana Maharshi and Sri Aurobindo there.
And that is how he took a long leave of absence from school and started the journey in search of his Guru.
He started on a train journey and bought the train ticket. He had some money left over in his possession and he was wearing a kurta (tunic). When he was boarding the train, there was such a crowd and people were jostling each other to get inside. And as he joined the crowd, because he was right in the middle, and more people were coming in, he was getting pushed into the train. So, after boarding the train, the ticket collector came to ask for the ticket, and he put his hand into his pocket, only to see the hand coming out of the other way. It had been cut clean. Somebody had pickpocketed the money, ticket, everything. So he had nothing at all. When he started his spiritual journey, whatever possessions he had, he had now been deprived of. Then he collected some money from people around and bought a ticket up to some place near Pondicherry, and had to walk the rest of the way. But here you see a remarkable thing about him. See, had it happened to me or any ordinary person, what would we have thought? Oh, I’m starting my spiritual journey, and this has happened. We would have looked upon it as a bad omen. And we would have probably come back and not started again for some time. But Yogi Ramsuratkumar, the young man, thought, “Ohhh, I’m starting on a spiritual journey. And this money and everything has been taken away from me. This is God’s will – which means God does not want me to depend upon money. Money is never a security.”
See the mindset – see the way he thought, and the way we think. It makes all the difference. He came to Sri Aurobindo, and spent some time there. And then he heard about Ramana Maharishi, he came to Tiruvannamalai and spent about two months there, sitting before Ramana Maharshi. In both places, he could go into higher reaches of consciousness, yet there was no final fulfillment. So he returned to the Himalayas and was just roaming there. He went to Swami Sivananda’s ashram, and served there for some time. And that is when he heard about the samadhis of Ramana Maharishi and Sri Aurobindo. He became very desperate. When Ramana Maharishi passed away, he had seen a comet passing across the sky, and known instantly that he had attained samadhi, because by then he had developed siddhis, by his own meditation. Even then, he was already an advanced soul, but he was awaiting the final fulfillment. When he had been in Ramana’s ashram, he had heard about Papa Ramdas of Kanhangad, Kerala, and had gone there, but was not very impressed by Papa Ramdas. The time had not come for him, so he returned.
Now, back in the Himalayas, after he heard the news of the mahasamadhis of two great spiritual giants, he felt terrible and desperate, and the only one that came to his mind was Papa Ramdas. So, he immediately rushed to Kanhangad. See, the previous time, when he had gone there, he had not been interested. But people had said to him that Papa Ramdas was a great soul. So that had kind of impressed upon the fabric of his soul. It stayed with him, but he never gave it a thought, because he was all the time bent on Ramana Maharishi and Sri Aurobindo. But now it was an eye-opener to him and suddenly he knew he had to go to Papa Ramdas. There is no reason for such things. Why had he not been impressed? Because Papa Ramdas had been seated on a beautiful chair, he was being served by Mataji Krishnabai and the life seemed very comfortable. He felt that Papa Ramdas was living like a king, not like Sri Aurobindo, or Ramana Maharishi. All I can say is that he was already an advanced soul, he could not have missed out the greatness of Papa Ramdas, but only that the time had not come. Maya plays a role in these places. You see, the time had now come.
Papa Ramdas had also ignored him at that time.
Now, when he rushed all the way to Anandashram, Papa Ramdas’ place, Papa Ramdas was waiting for him. He knew about Yogi Ramsuratkumar. He knew his future mission too – he was waiting for him to turn up. And this time Papa Ramdas was very sweet to him. What was more, he not only welcomed him with such love, he narrated some of the incidents that took place in Ramsuratukmar’s life, which no one else knew about. So that convinced Ramsuratkumar, the youth, that Papa Ramdas was truly a great person and that his future lay at his feet.
Papa Ramdas also asked him to stay for two months in his ashram. But then what happened? Hardly 15 days later, Papa Ramdas was initiating a lady into Ramanama. And there was a crowd standing around watching this. Ramsuratkumar also joined the crowd and suddenly he felt an urge to be initiated into Ramanama by Papa Ramdas. Without any hesitation or fear, he went straight to Papa Ramdas and said, “Please initiate me too”. He was a very shy person by nature, he wouldn’t do anything of this sort. But suddenly he was so taken, so overwhelmed by an emotion, something took over. And then he found himself approaching Papa Ramdas and speaking these words. And what was more – Papa Ramdas turned his face away for a second or two, and then he turned back to young Ramsuratkumar, smiled, and said, “Okay, you sit down”. And immediately spoke this mantra, OM SRI RAMA JAI RAMA JAI JAI RAMA, three times, making Ramsuratkumar repeat it. And then Papa gave one instruction, you chant this mantra all the 24 hours of the day. And the way he was instructing him was so powerful that Ramsuratkumar later said that Papa did not only give Ramanama, but also Ramabaana (baana means arrow). Because it came like the killer arrow of Rama, and triggered something inside him. He immediately walked up the hill where there was a cave. He sat there, and began to chant the mantra day and night, with no thought of food or sleep. And Yogiji told me much later, years later, that he did the chants for only six nights and six days. On the seventh day, Papa Ramdas killed him, murdered him. And then it became eternal living for Him. In the death of his ego was born Yogi Ramsuratkumar.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Secret India | The Palak Mehta Show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQlYQMjfV4w
Proofreading: Geeta Iyer
Transcription: Lea Kosovac
Editing: Hein Adamas
Sufism is not only the sublime poetry of Rumi; it is also how we relate to others, how we receive a guest, how we fulfill our responsibilities. The work of Sufism is not primarily acquiring information; it is more about clearing the mirror of consciousness. As rich as the treasure of Sufi knowledge is (an immense intellectual heritage), most of us would not have been drawn to this path if we had not encountered its love embodied in human relationships.
Recently I began to ask the question: What are the practical lessons we have learned from our spiritual teachers and friends on the Path?
Practical Sufism does not reduce Sufism to mere physical or social activities. It is the expression of the divine in everyday life. Sufism is more than an intellectual amusement, a literary past-time, or mere metaphysical speculation. Sufism proves its value in our actions, in our relationships, and in the quality of our lives in general.
For millennia prophets, messengers, and saints have brought spiritual teachings to humanity. But people have often reduced these great teachings to an empty shell of dogmatic assertions and formalities. Sufism focuses on the guidance of Prophets and Saints that leads to the refinement of human sensibilities.
The fully conscious human being is the threshold between two worlds: the realm of spiritual essence and qualities, on the one hand, and the manifest reality of this world, on the other. In bridging the two worlds, we fulfill the purpose of being human: the embodiment of spiritual meaning and qualities.
From the vantage point of contemporary human life, we face certain challenges, distractions, and distortions that compromise the soul. One aspect of spiritual teaching is to unblock the expression of the soul’s qualities. When the soul is primarily involved in the material satisfactions of comfort, food, and sensory pleasure, it develops a spiritual deficiency. And when the soul is confined within the “box” of egoism, it forfeits its most comprehensive happiness, which is attained only when the life of “the world” is infused with the qualities of “heaven.”
Here are some of the practical aspects of Sufism that we hope to focus on in the coming months:
A Sufi will increasingly become someone with a highly developed power of attention. What we put our attention on we magnify. Therefore, we learn to become aware of our awareness, noticing what attracts our attention and why. We can be simultaneously aware of our environment, how we are relating to it, and where we want to hold our attention. To give a very simple example: If we are in sohbet (spiritual conversation) with our teacher, and someone arrives late, our heads don’t automatically turn in the direction of the person who just entered, even though we are aware that someone has walked into the room. Similarly, we gradually learn to keep our attention more and more focused on what we really value. We notice how we allow ourselves to be distracted by trivial matters and neglect our highest aim, but we eventually learn to take full responsibility for our attention. We become doorkeepers of the heart.
How we interact with others
A true Sufi is someone whose egoism is diminishing every day. What we mean by egoism is whatever promotes or draws attention to the self; in other words, anything that reinforces self-importance.
On the one hand, almost every human being has personal insecurities, and, on the other hand, we want to be appreciated by others. How can we unify these disparate conditions? Every attempt to appear as more than we are is counterproductive. Self-praise does not go very far. Nor does false humility.
The Sufi is engaged in the fine art of becoming nothing and no one. Shams says: When the “I” disappears, God appears.
How hospitable, openhearted, compassionate, inclusive, and non-judgmental we are
When Westerners, especially Anglo-Saxons or northern Europeans, first encounter real Sufi culture, they are blown away by its warmth and inclusiveness. In this encounter we begin to see the many self-protective behaviors that we adopt, rather than openly expressing our hearts. Even with people we love and trust we may be reticent to express the full range and depth of our feelings. Perhaps we fear rejection. Perhaps we fear that we will be perceived as needy or weak. Worse yet, we keep accounts of what we owe, and who owes us how much. Perhaps we withhold ourselves from others because we think that giving too much of ourselves implies subservience. In truth, the greatest human beings are the humblest servants. As Rumi says, “Rather than begging on the street for bread, the Sufi begs to give you his life.”
How we care for the world around us, balancing the energies within our living space and general environment
The Sufi learns the hidden relationships of pattern, proportion, and how to maintain space. Beginning with a prayer carpet and the qiblah, the direction of prayer, sacred space is created in our lives. The Divine creates with order and proportion. The conscious human being incorporates a sense of order, proportion, and space. Once one of our teachers asked: “What is the difference between sacred space and the environments of the secular or commercial world?” Within sacred space, as opposed to secular or commercial space, every object has a meaning or an intention. Eventually we come to know how to maintain the sacred space of our lives.
On the spiritual path we will inevitably encounter subtler and subtler forms of vanity and egoism. The crude self-righteousness that demonizes other races, religions, or cultures may be obvious forms of prejudice we would not condone. However, what about our own subtle idolatries, our attachment to having inside knowledge, special channels of grace, or association with powerful spiritual figures? Are we to smash all idols or just some of them? In reality when we say this teaching is the purest, deepest, greatest truth, what we are actually saying is this is the greatest truth to me. We fail to recognize our own subtle tendency to deify what pleases us.
A Sufi saying goes,
For the man who loves kabobs, he would like to call them divine if anyone would allow it.
Step by step, as a matter of principle, we strive to transcend our vanity and egoism with humility and the discipline of selflessness.
How much we are open to the ecstatic nature of being
It is important that we know that through spiritual ideas we can resonate with higher realities. There is a big difference between the kind of conceptualizing that blocks reality and the true metaphysical speculation that opens us to spiritual Intellect. There is something in the soul that is not created and not creatable. This is the true Paradise. This is what the Complete Human Being (al Insan al Kamil) comes to know. The human being can connect to all levels of being through the Ruh (Spirit), the axis at the core of our being. All the practices, customs, and relationships of the Path serve to make that connection real, and this is the most practical outcome of all. We call this being a friend of God.
Author: Kabir Helminski, www.sufism.org