For Universal Well-Being
Dear and Blessed Souls,
Harih Om Tat Sat.
It is gratifying to note that CIRD NA is publishing, on the occasion of the jnaana-yajna
(Fall 2016), a Souvenir to commemorate the 10th year of its existence and activities.
Reading and listening are two important pursuits for
an individual as well as a society to ensure refinement,
balanced growth, elevation and evolution. The
distinction of human life consists in the application of
mind and intelligence to gain true Wisdom. Any
neglect in this regard is bound to bring degeneration
and downfall, as is apparent from the present material
indulgence of global civilization, with utter disregard
of its spiritual well-being.
Spirituality is a search for knowledge – knowledge of
our own real identity and potential, that will make our life fulfilled. To probe into and
unearth the spiritual presence in our personality, to comprehend its potential, and harness
it for all round welfare of oneself as well as the society, is the sole purpose of spirituality.
By its very nature, it is experiential, making it supreme, scientific, and fulfilling.
May CIRD-NA, whose objective is to disseminate the science and practice of spirituality
amongst the people of America, be able to reach more and more enquirers and seekers,
awakening them to a new horizon of knowledge and inspiration.
“Looking Within – for Universal Well-Being” is a fitting title. I compliment the
Managing Committee and the volunteers for their laudable effort to make spiritual
wisdom available to people, for the enrichment, harmony and welfare of all.
Love and benedictions,
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Vedanta for Knowledge-Oriented Living ................................ 1
Ashrams, Saints & Saadhana ....................................................... 8
Enquiry and Self-Discovery — the Essence of Hinduism... 16
Eternal Moments........................................................................... 25
Spiritual S¡dhan¡ in a Nutshell ................................................ 29
Center for Inner Resources Development - North America (CIRD-NA) is a 501c (3) non-profit educational
organization that strives to disseminate Vedantic Wisdom based on the teachings of Poojya Swami
Bhoomananda Tirtha. Swamiji’s is a Knowledge-oriented pursuit with special focus on application to
interactional life. The pursuit leads one to freedom and excellence through deeper understanding of
the mind and its potential.
CIRD-NA is an entirely volunteer-run community dedicated to work for spiritual elevation and
welfare of all. Annual programs organized by CIRD-NA are led by Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha and
his Sannyasin disciples Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha and Ma Gurupriya.
Activities in North America:
● Application-oriented Vedantic Knowledge dissemination through discourses, retreats,
meditation sessions, and interactive panel discussions.
● Jnana Yajna series in Fall
● Enlightened Living series in Spring
● Management and Leadership workshops for professionals
● Weekly and monthly satsangs.
● Books, CDs, and journals
● Support Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha’s mission of helping the poor for education, sanitation,
medical treatment, marriage and self-employment.
● Support Anna Vastra Daana Satra (Food and clothing distribution in India)
● Environmental protection awareness
Who can be benefitted?
People of all ages and walks of life participate in the program to learn from a living Spiritual Master:
Who am I? What is meant by Self-realization?
Where lies the power of our mind? Where lie freedom and excellence?
How to find lasting happiness?
Through exposure to the eternal spiritual culture and values of India, one readily experiences
enrichment in all spheres of life. It becomes an experiential discovery that by strengthening the inner
personality with the knowledge of our real identity, anybody can live with joy and freedom, and
assimilate all impacts from the world.
Founder - Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
“There is a way of living in this world, without being bound by it. Spiritual wisdom is
aimed at making the mind light, the intelligence clear and the ego extinct, resulting in
dawning of an illumined and expansive personality.”
Founder Saint of Narayanashrama Tapovanam, Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha (Poojya Swamiji), has been
disseminating Vedanta for the past six decades, transforming the life of seekers on the path of spiritual
awakening and fulfillment.
Poojya Swamiji received Brahmavidya initiation from Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa of
Dakshinkhanda (West Bengal). Embracing Sannyaasa at the age of 23, he dedicated himself to the welfare
of mankind through dissemination of eternal knowledge. His focus has always been on Mind and
cultivation of Values to empower the individual and unify the society.
Swamiji's interpretation of Bhagavadgeeta as an “Administrative Gospel”, his inspiring discourses on
Sreemad Bhaagavatam, Upanishads, Vivekachudaamani, and other spiritual texts coming from his
experiential depth and mastery of self-realization have inspired people working in any field to apply
Vedantic Knowledge in their life and interactions.
Poojya Swamiji upholds that all problems in human life are born of the mind, and so the solutions
thereof are also to be found within the mind. The path is simple: One must make the outgoing mind
look inward. This is effected through two means:
● Meditative Introspection, where the seeker discovers the real nature of the mind as well as the
world, and realizes that for all joy and fulfillment, one needs look into the mind and the inner
resources alone, not outside.
● Interactional Saadhana, a technique of shifting our focus from the external situation to the
mind's response to it, and treating the mind through knowledge. Any interaction will then lead
to inner enrichment. Every moment of our wakeful life will then be transformed into a spiritual
pursuit of inner refinement and evolution.
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha
“As the knowledge of Physics, Chemistry, or Mathematics does not depend on whether
you are an American, an African or an Indian, whether you are a Hindu, a Christian or
an Atheist, the knowledge of one’s own Real Identity too is independent of one’s racial,
ethnic, and religious identity. Even if you follow the so-called Hindu rituals or Hindu
ways of worship, you have to transcend all that to actualize this knowledge.”
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha was deeply spiritual right from childhood. At 24, he was initiated
into the pursuit of Brahmavidya by Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa of Dakshinkhanda, West
Bengal. In 1987, he renounced his professional life and dedicated himself wholesomely to the service
of Poojya Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha in all aspects of his mission.
Right from the beginning, Scientific Quest and Spiritual Pursuit have been complementary in
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha’s search for the Ultimate Reality. His exposition of the Upanishads
and Bhagavad Geeta excels in analytical clarity as well as experiential profundity.
A comprehensive understanding, striving for perfection, gentle humor and love evinced by
Swamiji are a source of inspiration and guidance for all seekers. Swamiji’s deep and powerful
chanting of Sanskrit slokas touches the core of the listener's’ heart.
“Absorbed in silence, sitting amidst the crowd of devotees, I prayed: Let me be more and
more grateful each day; let me remember Thy Grace every moment and feel blessed. Not only
on this special occasion, but every moment, let this feeling permeate each thought, each
action. Through this constant remembrance, let my surrender at Thy feet become more and
more complete and wholesome.”
Ma Gurupriya's spiritual journey started at a young age when a feeling of overwhelming dispassion
evoked an intense yearning for the Eternal. She received deeksha from Baba Gangadhara Paramahamsa,
who, before attaining Mahasamaadhi, entrusted her spiritual welfare to his disciple Poojya Swami
Bhoomananda Tirtha ji.
Ma renounced her professional life in 1984 to dive deep into the knowledge treasure of Sreemad
Bhaagavatam. In 1987 she dedicated her life wholesomely to the service of Poojya Swamiji in all aspects
of his mission.
Ma has a special knack of explaining the essentials of spiritual saadhana at a down-to-earth level. The
practical examples, together with her powerful chanting of shlokas, make her discourses easily relatable
and inspiring for the listeners.
Guru-bhakti and Guru-seva remain the predominant notes shaping Ma's life, and are expressed
through her discourses, writings, management of the Ashram, and loving guidance to seekers. Ma’s
soulful chanting instantly inspires the listeners with the power of devotion and dispassion.
Loka-sangraha - The mission of World Welfare
Jnaana Yajnas: CIRD centers across the world host annual Jnaana
Yajnas and Retreats. These programs are key initiatives of Poojya
Swamiji's efforts to disseminate
They are held in
(Kerala), and CIRD Centers in New Delhi, Jamshedpur, Malaysia,
Virginia (USA) and Southern California (USA). ‘Experiential Vedanta’
workshops are held regularly in different Centers.
Annual Sreemad Bhagavata Tattva Sameeksha Satram: An
event that functions as an open platform for ten days of
knowledge festival in which about 40 renowned exponents
deliberate on how to apply the essential values and ideals of
Sreemad Bhagavatam in daily life. It benefits thousands of
devotees from rural areas.
Cultural Heritage Classes for Children: Along with value education that
has brought significant cultural transformation in the nearby villages,
financial assistance, school uniforms
and books are also provided to poor
children. These Cultural Heritage
Classes are held regularly in the
Trichur Ashram, CIRD Delhi, CIRD Jamshedpur and SIRD Malaysia.
Rural Welfare: Narayanashrama Tapovanam constructs wells,
houses and sanitary toilets for the poor; provides financial support for
medical treatment, marriages and higher education. Special projects
are undertaken where sewing machines are distributed to generate
self-employment for indigent women.
Anna Vastra Dana Satram: Rice and clothing are distributed to
indigent families during monthly and yearly daana satras. The 29th
annual Anna-Vastra Daana Satram in 2013 benefited over 28,000
families. The distribution has now been extended to other cities
including Vasundhara in Uttar Pradesh, and tribal villages near
Jamshedpur in India.
● Enlightening books on Brahmavidya, Bhagavadgeeta, Yogavaasishtha Ramayana, and Sreemad
● Audio and video CDs, DVDs.
● Monthly journals 'Vicharasethu – the Path of Introspection' (in English and Hindi) &
'Vicharasarani' in Malayalam.
● Ashram Website hosts extensive collection of free e-books, articles, audio and video.
● Web Newsletters on the application of Vedanta in daily life.
● Videos of discourses by Poojya Swamiji, Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha and Ma Gurupriya on
and on Livestream: - http://livestream.com/Ashram1/
● Muktisudhakaram on Asianet Channel in Malayalam, based on Sreemad Bhaagavatam and
Bhagavadgeeta (started in March 2010).
● Inner Spiritual Splendor in English on Disha Channel, based on Vedanta (started on June 2011).
Foundation for Restoration of National Values (FRNV): Poojya
Swamiji has led several mass movements to bring about social
reforms. Through his inspiration and guidance, FRNV was
established to create ethical and value-based leadership in all walks
of life. FRNV's main focus is to restore the eternal national values to
build a value-based society.
Seeking spiritual fulfillment, I prostrate before Sri Bhoomananda, my guru who has a smiling
countenance resulting from the experience of full bliss, who sheds lustre like the full-bloom moon,
who is the treasure-house of self-knowledge, is ever tranquil, desire-free and supreme in every way,
who is adept in discriminating between the real and the unreal and is freed from the spirit of
competition, who is ever pure and bliss incarnate!
Our pranaams and deep gratitude to
Poojya Swamiji, Nutan Swamiji, and Maa.
We welcome Poojya Swamiji and Maa to
Southern California this September 2016.
CIRD-CA Satsang Group
Ashrams, Saints & Saadhana
Morning talk by Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
[December 25, 2000. A group of Western seekers – mostly Americans – was brought to the Ashram by the
Integral Yoga Institute, Coimbatore. Ever since, visiting Narayanashrama Tapovanam to meet Poojya
Swamiji has become an annual event for the Western seekers taken on pilgrimage by the Institute.
Swamini Divyanandaji, from Integral Yoga Institute, wrote: “We are thrilled that a group of Western
devotees are going to have your Darshan on this Holy Day, Christmas…. Nothing can give us greater
happiness than to be with one who has evolved the Christ consciousness from within him….”
Somehow, they got delayed on the way, and there was not much time for Satsang. Anyway, a short question-
answer session was arranged. Poojya Swamiji welcomed them with a long hearty laugh, making them relaxed. He
then recited a few invocatory verses.]
Let me know what do you want from me? What am I to do?
Blessings? Blessings you get whenever you come here. Even when we were told that a group is coming,
blessings started flowing. What is the role of the sun? – To spread illumination. Just as the sun spreads
the rays of light, we are spreading the rays of blessings. What else shall we do?
Q. Would you meditate with us?
See, to tell you something about meditation is one thing and to meditate with you is another. I don’t
generally sit for such sudden meditation with people. I do sit with seekers. I initiate people into the
process of meditation and for that I generally sit alone with them, closing the door. Then, with such
initiated people I also sit in a group for meditation. But I don’t do it suddenly. It is not necessary or even
Q. Tell us something about the Ashram. What is an Ashram?
Well, do you know that any spiritual institution in our traditional language is called an Ashram? An
Ashram is actually a growth from and around an individual Saint. Initially, it is an individual who
becomes ascetic, who becomes spiritual and becomes exclusively so. The Ashram comes later, as a natural
flowering of his spiritual personality and mission. The Ashram grows basically in response to the needs
of the spiritual seekers and devotees who happen to come to him for knowledge and guidance. On one
hand, the activities of the Ashram provide a basis for spiritual saadhana of the seekers and devotees
residing at or related to the Ashram. On the other hand, they are verily meant for the long term welfare
and evolution of the society as a whole.
A seeker grows into a Saint by virtue of an inner (mental) growth or evolution. Maybe he had begun his
pursuit when he was a householder. Gradually his saadhana grew in intensity, and at one point of time he
felt that he must pursue his goal exclusively. When that time comes he becomes an ascetic.
A Sannyasin is a renunciate. Leaving his home and profession, he surrenders his life completely to
Chance or Providence. He may either roam about or get settled somewhere. Wherever he stays, people
may come to him for spiritual knowledge and guidance. And through such spiritual interactions, new
spiritual relationships grow, leading finally to the growth of an Ashram around him. Instead of blood
and matrimonial relationships of a household, the spiritual relationship forms the basis of an Ashram.
This is one aspect of an Ashram. Another aspect is that an Ashram is always different from a temple or a
church. A temple or church is a place for the worship of God. Basically, there is an external focus for you
to pray. In the Hindu temples, the focus is the idol – a symbol of God.
But in an Ashram, the focus is the Saint. So we call it Guru-sannidhi – presence or proximity of the
Teacher. It is the abode of the Guru. Here people do not come for praying to God. They come to know
about God and to pursue the path of God-realization.
So, first of all, we see the Saint and then we start communicating with him. What will you
communicate? Whatever is in your mind and heart. If it is a seeking, you express your seeking. If it is
distress or torment, you seek redress from him. If you have inquiries, you seek clarity. So, you open
your heart and mind and ask for his guidance. All this is not possible in a temple, before the idol.
If you go before an idol, the idol doesn’t know whether you have prostrated before him! It has no eyes to
see. The idol became an idol because we have installed it. We have pronounced that this idol is godly.
Even the divinity of the idol is imparted by the priest, who installs it according to the installation science,
using his own inner power.
Q. Swamiji, some people say that the idol speaks to them when they pray. What is that?
The communication between the devotee and the idol is not perceivable by others. It is an affair between
him and the idol. Inasmuch as it is so, it is only in the devotee’s mind. If it were not so, others also would
be equally hearing and seeing what the devotee experienced.
So, an Ashram is a spiritual abode where a Saint lives, and where one can go to communicate and
interact with the Saint, so that the problems or the quests of his mind and heart can be treated, and he can
get clarity, peace and fulfillment. Generally, people are afflicted and they come to get relieved of the
affliction. Some people come with a curiosity or inquiry. Others may come with some specific objective –
say, a person is going to start a business, and he wants Swamiji to bless him for success in his business.
Rarely one comes with the real quest for the ultimate Truth. He wants to know the Truth and he is unable
to have clarity from any quarter. So he goes to a saintly Knower who has experienced the Truth himself.
The Teacher speaks to him, and explains the Truth again and again variously, until at last the seeker feels
comfortable with his own enlightenment and knowledge. The communication and interaction with a wise
Teacher can grow to the extent that the seeker equally becomes a Knower. The role of the Knower is to
make the seeker like himself in the matter of knowledge.
Q. How does this happen?
I will explain. What happens when you keep some green plantains in the company of ripe plantains? The
green ones ripen faster. The same thing happens when a seeker lives in the company of a Knower. What do
you get when you come near fire? Heat. What will you get then when you come close to a Knower?
Yes. All your interactions with the Knower will have only one effect on you – knowledge. Because he will
communicate and transmit only knowledge, knowledge and knowledge. I have been speaking to you.
With every word, what did I transmit? Is it not knowledge? And what else is there? It is energy.
Yes! Energy – far superior than objects. Along with the knowledge and enlightenment, don’t you feel
inspired? We call it peace, bliss, freedom, a sense of relaxation, composure, elevation and buoyancy. All
these are natural associates of spiritual knowledge.
Well, have you understood what is an Ashram? Now, this particular Ashram is set as an abode of
learning – it is a place of learning. We propagate and disseminate Brahmavidya.
What is Brahmavidyaa? – It is the knowledge related to the supreme Reality. That alone is being done here.
Whatever we write is about Brahmavidya. The only treasure of India is Brahmavidya.
‘Vidya’ is a Sanskrit word meaning knowledge. ‘Brahma’ is the Sanskrit word for the Supreme Reality.
What is the Supreme Reality?
The world is endless; it is stupendous and imposing; but the fact remains that it is transient, fleeting. The
Reality is not changeful. Generally, when you live in this world, you miss it. You are so overwhelmed
with the changeful variety, that you miss the unchanging reality behind all these. Brahmavidya deals
with the single Subject of all objects. It teaches you to find out the Subject which is far more extensive
than all the objects put together.
Q. How to find?
How to find? – It is right within your being! Actually you are interacting with it every time you think.
Where is the thinking process taking place? Your attention is always on the objects of your thought. Try to
focus your attention on the knowing process, until at last you are able to get into the source, the Knower.
That is why we meditate. The purpose of meditation is to discover this Knower – your real identity.
Q. Swamiji, you teach your students; they understand theoretically. But how do you teach them to experience,
See, in India we always have the benefit of Satsang – the spiritual association. Great emphasis is given to
the association of the Wise. We say that one must get exposed to the Truth through a Knower. After
listening to the exposition of spiritual truth repeatedly, one gradually feels like getting initiated in the
path of practical saadhana. After taking initiation, some pursue saadhana earnestly. They become closer
and closer to the Guru and pursue the process of mind purification. And, out of many who try, some may
reach the goal.
Q. So, it takes time!
Q. What is the saadhana? Is it meditational?
Meditation is only one part of it. Nowadays, I am emphasizing more and more the pre and post
meditational saadhana. I call it ‘interactional saadhana’.
People are meditating but they are not able to strike the right chord. Even after decades of practice,
they say, they have not made any progress. It is because they lack purity of mind, subtlety and
refinement of intelligence. They don’t have qualities like love, sympathy and tolerance. That is why
we become Sannyasins.
The possessor of 10 billion rupees will bequeath all the money to his only child – not even to his brother’s
child who may be living in privation. See how constricted the mind is! Do the children need so much of
inherited property? Mostly it will spoil them! But the parents don’t understand. This is the constricted
nature of the householders. That aspiration for expansion is not there in them. That is why they fail to
succeed in spiritual saadhana.
So, we try to prevail upon them to have an expansive mind; to have concern for others to have enough
control over the senses. Once we understand that the greater joy is in expansion and sharing, the life
becomes different. It is our birthright to generate joy from within.
I think, L, you will agree with me that with many things we can be miserable but with nothing we can
Desire is the killer of the mind. That is the robber of all contentment. When you have no desire you have
fulfillment. You are joyous when the object of desire is gained. You think that the joy comes from the
fulfillment of desire. Actually it comes from the extinction of desire. When a desire is fulfilled it becomes
extinct. Absence of the desire enables you to feel the joy that comes from within you, until another desire
constricts the mind. So, if you can have a mind free of all desires it is equal to that mind where all desires
have been fulfilled.
Q. But, what about the desire for enlightenment?
Initially it will be there. Thereafter, when you become enlightened, that also will drop. As long as it is
there, you are not enlightened. In fact, the desire for enlightenment should make you free of all worldly
desires. And once you are free of all worldly desires, the desire for enlightenment also will drop.
Q. How much importance do you give to Sanskrit?
I always speak on the basis of Sanskrit texts alone, and that too, very ancient texts. I don’t use anything
else. In India the listeners are generally attuned to Sanskrit although many may not know Sanskrit well.
When they come to close quarters I teach them Sanskrit. I teach here Sanskrit in a practical manner to
serve the purpose of understanding the texts. I do not go very much into the linguistic details.
Q. Will you tell us about your teacher and your awakening experience?
I have already written about my Gurudev in the book “My beloved Baba”. I have written there how an
engineer became a Knower, how I happened to go to him and how I became what I am now. The whole
story and the intricacies of Guru-sishya relationship are explained there. It will be very useful for the
earnest seekers. It is a book of saadhana – devoid of all mysticism and miracles. If you read it a few times
it will give you a very good insight.
Q. How is it that in India you have Guru and spiritual traditions, but in America we don’t?
My dear girl, your American society is only 200 years old. It has to live 2000 years; then only healthy
traditions will be established. But, with the modern communication and international relations, it should
be possible in a much lesser time. I bless America and Americans only for one thing: Very soon they must
develop this ascetic tradition. There must be ascetics and Sannyasins there, who will live and move about
freely as we do in India – for the benefit of the society and also supported by the society.
We are supposed to move in this world only for one reason: There are some seekers. They want to
know the truth. Many of them may be poor people, handicapped in many ways. When we move about,
providentially they come in touch with us and get exposed to the spiritual treasure. That is why it is
enjoined upon us to be travelling. It is called “sancaara-samaadhi”. We don’t stick to a place.
We move from place to place so that people in different parts will get an opportunity to get exposed.
When they come to know that a Sannyasin has come they will come to see us, make their inquiries and
get a spiritual touch. Sometimes they get initiated, do saadhana and get salvation.
In this way, America should also develop proper spiritual, ascetic orientation in a very organized
institutional manner. Your society should start recognizing such ascetics and must play host to them,
welcome them, have Satsang with them.
So, I bless America!
Harih Om Tat Sat. OM.
[After a pause, Poojya Swamiji rejoined: “Well, I shall sit with you in silence for a few minutes, as you
have desired. Close your eyes and be relaxed. Don’t become tense.” Poojya Swamiji chanted OM a few more
times, and then ‘Silence’ descended in the Ashram verandah; perhaps, more so in the minds of the listeners.
Many of the faces looked radiant. Well, is it not an experiential proof of what a Saint transmits, apart from
his words of wisdom?]
With best compliments from
Sreekumar Unnithan and Family
Do not feel tense at all. Have no fear. Best Wishes From
Your life is like a river. The water in it is Radha &
decided by rains or springs on the ground.
The flow is determined by the terrain in Narayanan Natarajan
which the river flows. Effortlessly it flows.
So too you will flow. 13
4010 Barranca Pkwy, Suite 120
Irvine, CA 92604
India Community Center Inc. Washington DC welcomes Poojya Swami
Bhoomananda Tirtha Jnaana Yajna 2016 visit
Please come forward and become a member of India Community Center Inc.
The Washington Metropolitan Area is home to the third largest Indian American population in the country. In the past three
decades, several community organizations and leaders have worked hard for fulfilling the dream of having a community center
in the Washington, D.C. area. Being the capital of the most powerful nation in the world and the seat of power, it is highly
important to have a community center right here. Unfortunately, due to several reasons, that dream has not materialized so
far. However, Indian community has now decided to work with determination and with rejuvenated vigor for establishing a
community center in Virginia or Maryland. Mission Statement to provide a meeting place for social, cultural, recreation, and
community activities and avail support services made accessible to, for different age groups of the Indian Diaspora with a view
to enhancing the quality of life.
One can become a life member by paying $1,000. Following are the benefits of life membership:
Members’ names will be inscribed in the Center, Get free access to facility, Get priority reservation on halls rooms etc., Get
legal, medical and Tax advice for free, Get discount on reservations, Can become a member of executive committee, Can work
in the center as a volunteer, can work in the center as an employee
SPONSORS AND DONORS
ICC Inc. offers following benefits to sponsors/donors:
1. $1M+ - Name the center after the donor, or his/her dear and near ones.
2. $500K - Name the main conference/banquet hall after the donor or his/her dear and near ones.
3. $250K - Name other halls/ rooms such as library, gym, break out rooms, after the donor, or his/her chosen ones.
4. $100K- Name corridors, streets, garden etc. after the donor, or his/her dear and near ones.
5. Below $100K – Committee can decide; for example, to name parking lots, gates, door etc.
Please contact following for more information about the project
Dr. Parthasarathy Pillai, President, 301-935-5321, Mr. Sunil Singh Vice President 571-233-1292
Mr. Anadi Naik Secretary 410-489-5887, Mr. Mukund Agashe Treasurer 240-4535133
Mr. Pradeep S Sengar Member 703-623-0360 Dr. Sambhu Banik Member 301-530-7539
Address for Communication
9000 Acredale Court, College Park, Maryland 20740, Phone: (301) 935-5321, Fax: 866-230-5536
http: www.indiacommunitycenterdc.org, email:[email protected]
Exempt from Federal income tax under section 501 © (3)
Established in 2013 For the Service of the Community Service is our Trademar
Pranaams to Poojya
Girija and Narayan Arakoni
Pranaams to Poojya Swamiji
Gurudeep and Balan Arakoni
Enquiry and Self-Discovery — the
Essence of Hinduism
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Very often I find Hindus, both in India and abroad, wondering as to what is the basic tenet of Hinduism,
what practices constitute the fundamentals of the Hindu way of living. This is a question which arises in
their own minds. Often, the question is not pursued consistently by the questioners, either independently
or in the presence of those who are quite well-versed in the Hindu lore. In fact, the consistent pursuit of
religious and philosophical questioning is itself the basis as well as the finale of the Hindu life and saadhana.
There is no wonder that such questions are arising in the minds of Hindus. For Hinduism is so vast,
complex and multifarious in its structure and expressions that an ordinary man/woman finds it
extremely hard to gain a precise knowledge of what it is exactly. At the same time, vast, complex and
multifaceted character is what has made the Hindus and their thoughts an immortal religion and
philosophy of the entire mankind. If one tries to assail Hinduism in any aspect of its expression and
pursuit, it will reassert itself in another form and expression with redoubled force and enthusiasm. The
practices of Hindus are as various as human beings and their individual dispositions. Again, they are as
complex as Nature Herself, manifesting in the endless universe before us. In spite of their variety,
multiplicity of expression, they no doubt carry their own unique and intrinsic oneness, as for instance, do
the humans and Nature when closely studied.
It is no doubt that today you find in India a number of temples- a landmark of the Hindus, their
religious culture and wisdom. But it is a fact that these temples were not there a few thousands of years
ago. Yet the Hindus were quite the same and their attainments even greater and more common among
Look at the Vedic literature, which is the first evolved religious wealth of the Hindus, of the whole
mankind as well. The Vedas begin their contents with a reference to a number of super human deities,
called devatas. These are not the gods and goddesses presently known to us and worshipped. They were
not idolized and installed in any temple. If at all, their seat and abode were the minds of the Vedic
religionists themselves. As a means of offer of gratitude to those deities were evolved, not the practices you
find today in the temples of our country but the ceremonies in the form of sacrifice and Yajnas. Even these
sacrifices had to be dispensed with at one stage, in the advent of old age and the attendant troubles.
Hence, an innovation or substitute was called for. The staunch religionists, the votaries of Vedic thought
and culture, took to the practice of meditation done all alone, sitting still in a place, casting aside all
involvements in external rituals and sacrifices.
Greater Depth Probed
The meditative disciplines and practices taken to as a result at that time were the ones that blossomed
into the spiritual and philosophical questions, which became almost the inevitable beginning of a new
phase of religious life. When these questions compelled what became a dedicated pursuit of the heart and
the intelligence, engaging them both in a deep and penetrating probe, then emerged the zenith and
fruition of the whole religious life of the Hindus. The Upanishadic declarations, the revelations setting
forth the immortal and all-comprehending nature of the soul of man, were the direct and ultimate result.
You find the Vedic culture culminating in these Upanishadic discoveries and the way of life based upon
them. Also the religious life is led to its destined goal and ideal, thereby fulfilling itself in every
understandable way; the assertive and ambitious human nature standing face to face with peace, harmony
and wisdom, realizing finally that there remains nothing else before it to enquire into and know in the
religious and spiritual spheres of living and that the ultimate truths have already been discovered and
So the destination for the Hindus is very clear. It is the discovery of the Supreme Truth about
themselves, about the world in which they live, about the Creator of the universe from whom arise the
promptings for all quests and discoveries. The whole of the Hindu religious and secular ways of living are
aimed at leading every man and woman to this ultimate end, this finale, which one may picture in any
manner, using any terminology.
The question you must ask now is: What in essence will be the factor which will lead toward the phase of
questioning and answering? In other words, what should be the cardinals, the pursuit of which will take
man to a state of thinking or mental evolution, wherein he will find himself compelled and inspired to seek,
to enquire into and to know the Supreme Truth about himself, about the world and about its Creator?
The cardinals, whatever one may argue, cannot be too divergent. The modes of approaching them
may, however, be different. The recipes may be different, yet they can be made to suit the ones who eat,
taking into account their divergent tastes. But the one common factor evidently is that the items prepared
must be edible and acceptable to those who eat. And on eating them, the eaters must beget pleasure, have
appeasement of their hunger and get nourished as well.
Apply this principle to the religious recipes, their intake and the benefits produced thereby. Then you
will find your questions answered.
The external modes of religious living may be anything. Today, they are mostly temple worship in
India. To the better section, it is the worship offered individually in their own homes and pooja rooms. To
a yet rarer few, it is the practices like Yoga-aasanas, praanaayama, etc. To some, it is the discipline and
refinement to their actions and the way their minds accept the results brought in by what they do from
time to time – invariably uniform results can never be had.
Centers & Activities in India
Jnana Yajna, Thrissur
Narayanashrama Tapovanam, Thrissur, Kerala
Corporate session, Tata Auditorium, Jamshedpur
CHC Class, CIRD Delhi
Every moment of your life, you are being carried to fulfillment, irresistibly.
Everything that comes to you does so to improve, correct or alter your nature,
thereby taking you nearer to perfection. Ponder over this truth again and again,
whenever agitation assails your mind.
We welcome Poojya Swamiji and Ma Gurupriya
to the 2016 Jnaana Yajna in USA
Kamala and Seetaramayya Nagula
Likes and dislikes are an
inevitable part of all
individuals. To moderate
these and be in harmony
with the likes and
dislikes of others around,
is the success of human
life. In this consists true
effective yoga and
Some are prone to take to regular japa (chanting) of a mantra. Some may recite hymns and shlokas.
Some supplement their pursuits with periodical fasting, study of religious texts etc. Some take to the
exclusive worship of the Guru and his behests, taking special care to serve him and cater to the needs of
his personal life and the work he does.
The list can be extended to cover one and all practices and ways as well. Thus, a Hindu recognizes all practices
as handy and fruitful towards one’s religious evolution, provided the practitioner pins his/her faith and
remains watchful about him/herself and what s/he does. The practices are but a medium, by which s/he tries
to reform his/her personality and cultivate introspection. As a vehicle is helpful in reaching one's destination
while travelling, so the practice is a vehicle that takes the human inwardly to where he wants.
Obviously, therefore, the practices have to bear this fruit. Their roles must be such as to take into
account the personality of the practitioner in all its aspects, and then process it in such a way that every
aspect gets reformed and tuned to what s/he intends to achieve in the end.
Among Hindus, there were and there can be, those who believe in God as well as those who do not. It is not the
literal recognition of God that matters any time. Like many other things, at best this can only be a belief.
What does such a belief or the non-belief mean to the believer or non-believer is the prime
consideration for a true Hindu. If one believes in God, but does not take the trouble of thinking, talking
and acting in the way that his belief and devotion to God would expect of him, then not much purpose
will be served by his claiming to be a believer and devotee. In the same way, if a non-believer chooses to be
so for his own reasons, but has equally some sound principles of living and looking into his mind and the world,
which principles can be quite philosophical, spiritual or yogic, then he will be able to hit at peace and freedom for
himself, which the former is yet unable to achieve despite his pet belief.
Here come, thus, two distinct considerations: the belief or non-belief which is the object and then the
believer or the non-believer, as the case may be, the subject. Between the two, the object and the subject,
the subject is what truly counts. If for reforming and improving your nature and insight you feel it
desirable to foster a belief in God, well and good. If for the same end, you find some other course
preferable, that too is equally good.
With this kind of an understanding, look at the thousands that go to worship in temples, churches,
and mosques. For all of them the place of worship is the same, be it the temple, the church or the mosque.
The deity or God installed or represented there in one way or another, is the same. Being so, do all get the
same progress and purity, or even the attainment of what they aim at? Not at all. Each worshipper has his
own story of devotion and its fulfillment to narrate. If the pursuit of devotion and its fulfillment
depended upon the place of worship, i.e. a temple etc., and the Deity or God represented there, why this
difference for the devotees?
The only answer is that the practice of devotion solely rests upon the devotee himself. And the devotee, this
is true of every man, devotee or not, and that too in any walk of life, is no other than what his personality
and its expressions are. The knowledge one has gained, the attitudes in general and in particular, the
actions and their ends for which he lives and pursues, these are what precisely represent him in the
world. If all these are not in tune with what poses to be in his devotion and piety, then of what practical
importance is his devotion?
The confusion between the subject and the object, taking one for the other and thereby getting lost to
the importance of the former, is congenial for all humans. When I say ‘it is not so much the belief in
something that really matters, but the believer himself or herself,’ many of you will not take the statement
with the gravity it deserves for the meaning it contains!
Looking at the subjective devotee or seeker and his personality, you cannot overlook the ultimate
factor of all religious and spiritual living.
Knowledge Sine Qua Non
Right knowledge cannot be divested from any pursuit of man. This is so in respect of his religious and
spiritual or yogic pursuits as well. What is the pursuit, what does it propose to gain for him, is he
getting nearer to that end, are the qualifications required for achieving his end present more strongly,
etc., — these are very vital questions. Whatever you may say on the ground of faith and its merits, you
cannot oust these considerations. Even faith, closely viewed, is the refined form of an ultimate
knowledge and its acceptance.
How can this quest for knowledge be met except by taking the knowledge pursuit itself as an
independent item of dedication? To gain knowledge, in any field whatever, the only course available is to
approach it in all earnestness. The approach is through questioning and introspection. Unless you put the
‘why’ before a thing, the knowledge about that thing will never be revealed to you. Ask any question you
like: Why morals and morality? Why dharma or restraint? Why God? And His realization? What is Yoga?
Why should it be sought? What is the soul and where does it reign? What is its relationship with the body?
Why should the soul be considered at all in the context of life? Where lies the secret source of all powers,
external and internal, we find manifest in the world? How many such sources are there? Are they one,
indeed, as the religions and scriptures declare? If so, is this not the source of all my powers, of all other
things, including those of the sun and the moon? If this be the case, the search for it and its discovery and its
direct apprehension is rather easy, practicable in any way.
In this way, there can be dozens of questions. One or more of them can be quite delightful and gripping to
anyone. Everyone should take those which interest his/her mind most and pursue them. That will mark the
true beginning of religious and devotional evolution for him. In fact, this kind of enquiry and the pursuit of it
thereafter is the last stage of religious life. The Upanishads, enjoined at the end of the Vedas, are an immortal
proof for it. So too, the various stories, dealing with the enquiries and searches contained in all other
scriptures, devotional, yogic or otherwise, are an equal proof.
For the devotees too, the same is the course, not different. I am reminded of what Sri Krishna's parents,
Vasudeva and Devaki, one day asked of the Sage Narada, when he visited Dwaraka in the course of his
wanderings. Seating him with honour, they enquired of the Sage: "What are the characteristics of the true
devotee of the Lord by which the Lord himself would be propitiated and pleased, and by the pursuit of
which they can evolve themselves and be absorbed into the immortal being of the Supreme Lord?"
Is this not an enquiry? In his answer, Sage Narada repeated exactly what transpired between the Nine
Sages of yore and the Emperor Nimi who too enquired of the former in precisely the same way as did
Vasudeva and Devaki. The whole conversation which consisted of questions and answers was
reproduced by Sage Narada to Sri Krishna's parents.
That is how I say that enquiry and introspection become the final constituent of any valid pursuit of
Hinduism. By enquiry alone your inner being can be made to rise and reach the heights you want to. By
introspection alone can you rate yourself as to where you are, what you are now and how and where you
should be. Hinduism becomes Hinduism only when this enquiry and introspection form a vital part.
“Wherever you are, remember the land of Bharat, its great heritage and the fact that you are a great son of Hers. Let
the fondness for your family and lineage constantly dwell in you. Represent Bharat and Her best in all your talks,
thoughts and deeds.”
Manish, Meenal and
Reyansh Singh welcome
Poojya Swamiji’s Jnaana
Yajna 2016 USA visit
1211 Farmington Ave. Accokeek, Maryland
Phone: (301) 292-5299
For more information, call Suresh Iyer @ (805) 907-9116
It was after lunch. I was sitting on a chair in the lower verandah of the Ashram, talking to Jaya and
Skandaswamy. Others were busy with their respective work. We were waiting for Poojya Swamiji to
return from Vyasa Tapovanam. He had gone there in the morning for a meeting on the Bhagavataa
Tattva Sameeksha Satram and was getting delayed.
As we talked, I could see an old man coming through the gate. He was walking very slowly with the help
of two walking sticks held in his hands. "Must be one of the regulars whom Swamiji gives some help," I
thought. I also wondered how much money Swamiji would give him usually. As Swamiji was not in the
Ashram, it was my responsibility to give him help.
I went inside, came out with a ten rupee note and stretched it out to him. Instead of receiving the money,
he spoke in a very shaky voice. Most of his words were not even audible.
"Amme!" he said, addressing me, "I need thirty rupees, Amme. I have to go to Kozhikode for treatment.
Medicine and food are free there. I need only the fare to reach there - only thirty rupees! It would be a
great help to me if you give me that amount".
As he spoke, I observed him closely. He was very old - too old even to stand erect. The two sticks
supporting him were made crudely out of bamboo stems, may be by someone who took pity on him. His
face was swollen. His eyes also were swollen and watery. I wondered whether he could even see properly.
His dry, rough skin gave him a shabby appearance. He wore a ragged, dirty dhoti and a shirt equally dirty.
With a blank expression on his countenance, he evoked a lot of sympathy in my mind.
I asked him wherefrom he had come. He came from a distance, he said. Somebody had directed him to
this Ashram, assuring him that the Swamiji here would certainly help him. When I handed over the thirty
rupees to him, his face lit up. He looked at me with grateful eyes and tied the notes carefully in one
corner of his dhoti. I asked him whether he would need more. He nodded negatively and murmured,
"Amme, normally I would not have come this way. Only because somebody suggested, I came. And see, I
got the thirty rupees I needed!"
"Amme!" he said, "you have done me a great help." He kept on repeating this over and over again with a
lot of emotion.
I asked about his family, only to hear that he had none to call his own. I was visualizing this forlorn
figure in a hospital far away in Kozhikode - lying all alone in a bed. In this condition of health, how will
he go there and with whom? Will he be able to reach the hospital? Will thirty rupees really be enough?
But he refuses to take more... what else can we give him, which may be useful to him... all these thoughts
rushed past my mind, while I listened to his murmur.
I remembered that some poor villagers come to the Ashram asking for old bed sheets whenever someone
in their house is ill or has to be hospitalized. They express their relief and gratefulness on receiving bed
sheets especially during the rainy season.
"Do you need a bed sheet?" I asked him, thinking he might need one in the hospital. His face lit up with
happiness: "It will be nice to have a bed sheet. Then I can cover myself when it rains." Jaya went in to
fetch a bed sheet from our stock of old clothes. On second thoughts I asked Jaya to get a new dhoti too. I
was sure Swamiji would have given him all these and even more had he been present.
When Jaya gave me the packet, I went up to the Neem tree under which the man was standing. With lot
of love and sympathy, I hung the polythene bag in his stretched out hand telling him about the contents.
The old man's eyes were gleaming. Were these tears in his eyes? Did he feel touched by the love and
concern we expressed?
Looking up, fixing his clouded gaze on my face, he whispered: "I had asked for only thirty rupees, but
you have given me so much! I was destined to get all these things, perhaps. I never come this way, but
today someone guided me here. It is all God's wish! Oh! What a day! How much of love and compassion
I got today!"
"If our Swamiji were here, he would have given you even more. You would have experienced divine love
and compassion. He would have talked to you a lot," I said.
Looking at me with his watery eyes, he said, "I will go to Kozhikode now and get admitted in the
hospital. Somebody will definitely help me get into the train. I will cover myself with this bed sheet; I will
cover my head with this mundu (dhoti)... it is cold in these rainy days..." He went on murmuring in a
happy and delighted note.
But he stopped abruptly as if something painful had struck him and he was not able to contain the pain.
He gazed at me intently and said, "Amme, you have shown such compassion and given me so many
things without my asking. But old and sick as I am, after going to Kozhikode I do not know whether I
will be able to come back and see you again. Will I ever come back? Will I ever see this Amma again?" His
voice was soaked in sorrow now.
He turned to go. His each step was painful. It was then that I noticed that he was wearing torn slippers of
two different sizes and colours! His feet were bruised and heels cracked, swollen. There were dirty big
nails too, protruding out of the toes.
I looked at Skandaswami. He understood my mind and said, "Amma, we have chappals to give." I went
to the man who had moved only a few steps by now. "Wait, wait! Your chappal is very torn. We are
bringing another pair for you." He stopped, turned slowly and looked at me. With a beautiful loving but
sad smile, he said: "Madi Amme (enough, Mother), these chappals are enough for me. I can walk."
"Wait a little," I pleaded, "we will give you some bananas (nendra pazham). You must be quite hungry by
now!" But he did not agree. "Amme," he said hesitatingly, "I don't want anything more. What you have given
me is more than enough." I stood under the Neem tree in front of the old guest house and watched the frail
figure totter towards the gate. Apparently a forlorn figure, cared by none, owned by none, except by the
Creator perhaps! But how contented was his face now - as if the whole world meant nothing to him after he
received the thirty rupees he sought for!
I got back to my daily chores, but the scene remained in my mind – the old man’s wrinkled face, his
gleaming eyes, the contentment he enjoyed, his refusal to accept more than ‘his minimum needs’! How
many of us can take such a stand? How many can accept their unfavourable fate without grumbling
and brooding? Apparently very poor, is he to be called poor? Was not his mind rich with contentment
The last two lines of the verse Poojya Swamiji often recites from Bhartrihari’s Vairagya Satakam (Verse 53)
kept ringing in my ears:
Sa tu bhavati daridro yasya trisnaa vishaalaa
Manasi ca parituste ko’rthavaan ko daridrah
When I had first heard Swamiji recite the verse, I was struck by its rich content: “They alone are poor,
who foster raving desire. When the mind is contented by itself, how does it matter if one has wealth or no
wealth?” I also remembered what Baba used to say: There are people who live happily with contentment
even if they are living under a tree eating pounded rice. But there are others who grumble and are
unhappy even though staying in palatial mansions, eating lavishly.
Throughout the day so many things happen. But there are moments which remain etched in the mind.
One more pearl gets added to the garland of eternal moments.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
Greetings to the Great Teacher from
Dr. C. Girija Vallabhan and Family
The mind is a divine product. If
properly heeded and nursed, it
will take you to wherever you
should rightly be, but not
creating disharmony or
degeneration. So rely on your
own heart. Keep it an open
treasure, transparent, so that
others nearby can see it through.
Look to Providence for
everything. Ask it to correct and
purify you. And rely upon it to
guide and lead you. Never bring
about disharmony at all.”
Spiritual S¡dhan¡ in a Nutshell
Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha
The infinite variety of the world is always pulling us away from our real Identity, our inmost
anchor. Know that this centrifugal force is not generated by the objects themselves, but by our
mind’s preference and prejudice towards them.
To interact with the world variety remaining anchored to our core identity, we have to balance
the centrifugal force by generating enough of centripetal force (seeking the center).
How to constantly generate the centripetal force?
1. Look Within. Shift the focus FROM external events and situations TO the mind’s
response to them.
2. Follow that which makes you feel inner expansion, lightness, and strength. Avoid that
which makes you feel shrunk and weak within. Remember, spirituality means
expansion. It is a pilgrimage from selfishness to Self-ness.
3. Have a fixed place and time for daily non-interactional s¡dhan¡. Interactional s¡dhan¡
should go on all the time. Do not quote interactional s¡dhan¡ as an excuse for not
pursuing non-interactional s¡dhan¡.
4. V¡k-samyama. Before blurting forth – stop; look into the mind; and then speak what is
necessary. Just express what you want for whatever they are worth; and do not cling
egoistically to what you said. Watching and restraining words will increase your inner
strength, poise and attention tremendously.
5. Ëh¡ra-¿uddhih. Purify all inputs. Ëh¡ra does not mean only oral food; it means
whatever we are taking in through the five senses and the mind.
[Ëh¡ra-¿uddhau satva-¿uddhih; satva-¿uddhau dhruv¡sm¤tih; sm¤ti-lambhe
sarvagrantheen¡m vipramokshah … “.
Through purification of all sensory intakes (by transcending r¡ga-dvesha), the being
becomes purified. Through purification of the being one gets unbroken remembrance of
the Self, his real identity. Remembrance of the true identity leads to complete freedom
from all internal knots (i.e. from ego and desires).
- Chh¡ndogya Upanishad 7.26.2].
6. Love virtues. If you really love some quality, you should be happy seeing it in
7. Never find fault in others. Blaming thoughts about anybody pollutes our own mind.
Not finding fault in anybody or not blaming anybody does not mean not seeing the
defects. You should be unhappy seeing defects in yourself as well as in others.
Impersonality means seeing things as they are – whether in myself or in others.
8. Never fight with the negative thoughts or traits. Fighting with them will allow them a
greater hold on your mind. Instead, fill the mind with positive thoughts and liberal
qualities. When the negative thoughts come, ask them in a friendly way, to leave you.
But, make sure you do not indulge in them anymore.
9. Never dwell in the past (either lamenting/repenting or boasting). Never loiter in the
imaginary future. Accept everything of the present with evenness and unaffectedness.
[“Ateeta-ananusandh¡nam bhavishyad-avich¡ra¸am audaseenyam-api pr¡ptam
Be attentive to the present. Plan very well, learning from past experiences, and
considering all future possibilities and consequences. Do not desire-fully indulge in the
expectation of gain and happiness that may come after completion of the project.
- Vivekach£·¡ma¸i 432]
10. Any treatment or correction becomes most effective when applied to the causal level. To
correct a wrong behaviour, look for the thoughts giving rise to such behaviour. To
transform the thoughts look into the mindset that is giving rise to such thoughts. A good
liberal mindset will generate good liberal thoughts; which in turn will be expressed
through good liberal actions/behaviour.
In spiritual s¡dhan¡, the mindset (bh¡va) is transformed by repeated contemplation
on the one, universal, changeless Soul, which is free of any taint, affectation, doership,
11. Thinking constantly about the worldly likes and dislikes, we become slave to the world.
By thinking more and more about our own unaffected, unchanging, universal identity,
we become master of the world.
12. Spend time with the sky, sun, mountain and ocean, thinking about their qualities:
“Like the sky, stainless am I. Like the sun, self-luminous am I. I am ever poised &
unshakeable like the mountain. I am vast & unbounded like the ocean.”
(Ref: Kathopanishad 1.3.3 to 1.3.9)
The intelligence (charioteer) should look for guidance from the soul (master of the
chariot) – The inner voice of Truth.
The mind (reins) must heed the guidance of the intelligence (viveka), winning over the
influence of desires and intolerance.
The senses cannot be controlled directly by the intelligence. The intelligence has to guide
the senses through the mind. Only disciplined senses will act according to the guidance.
o Discipline the senses (horses) through sensory austerities.
o Strengthen the mind (reins) through mind-related austerities and disciplines.
o Sharpen the intelligence (charioteer) by practising viveka (discrimination).
o Listen to viveka (the voice of Truth).
The disciplined senses following the mind, mind guided by the intelligence, the
intelligence always looking for guidance from the Soul, will lead us to the
ultimate auspicious goal.
Role of self-effort
Real Identity Master of the World
Viveka-buddhi Mind Physical Attraction &
(Intelligence guided Body with Repulsion
by viveka) 5 senses
Vishaya-buddhi & situations
clutch of worldliness)
Life controlled by raaga-dvesha
Slave to the World
Bhagavadgeeta repeatedly highlights the role of self-effort and discipline in attaining
fulfillment in life (verses 6.5, 3.34, 2.64).
Right from birth, we are slave to our attraction and repulsion (raaga-dvesha) towards worldly
objects and situations. The senses are tied to the external objects and objective situations. The
mind is driven by the attraction and repulsion of the senses, and also by its own desires relating
to our position and status in the external world. The intelligence analyzes and decides, driven
by the desires of the mind. So, the whole personality becomes slave to the outer world.
Bhagavadgeeta says that the way to freedom is to reverse this order of control (verses 3.42 &
43). Tie the intelligence to our true identity – the one universal Soul. Awareness of this identity
will free the intelligence from the constrictions of partial vision tainted by ‘me & mine’. Led by
the free intelligence, the mind will be able to overcome its clinging to constricted selfish vision
produced by preference and prejudice. Employed by such a free mind, the senses will do
whatever is ultimately auspicious for oneself as well as the society.
Although we may not have a clear understanding of the Soul, its voice is there in everybody as
the “inner voice”, because it is our real identity. Being under the spell of external attraction and
repulsion, we don’t heed this voice.
Spiritual S¡dhan¡ – a Comprehensive Sketch
1. Opt for Sreyas (ultimate auspicious goal)
2. Look within – Inner expansion & strength introspection)
3. Comprehensive vision (Universal Identity)
4. Wave identity to Sea identity Discovering the Real Identity
5. Listen to viveka (Inner voice)
All actions transformed into Yajna Subject-object duality
Interactional sublimity Result Meditational absorption
leads to better helps attain interactional
sublimity & impersonality
Grand integration of personality
Our life proceeds from knowledge.
It persists throughout in knowledge.
Ultimately it finds its
consummation also in knowledge.
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
An exclusive application of the mind
Meditation is an exclusive effort - an exclusive pursuit and application of the mind. Sitting in front of a
deity and chanting God's name need not be meditation. Meditator sits in a comfortable pose of stillness
and the effort is made by the mind and mind alone. The effort is to make the mind clear and still.
What happens to the mind when the body is completely still? Mind continues to generate ripples and
vibrations - thoughts and emotions. A particular thought may produce fear, another, intolerance. All
these are emotional evolutes of the thought process. A thought generally implies a word, letter or an idea.
Mind can also do figurative imagination. When we meditate upon the figure of Lord Vishnu, the mind
becomes that figure. The figure can be substituted by a letter or a word as the object of meditation; figure
or word, the common factor is the application of the mind in an exclusive manner.
Observation and regulation
The first factor the meditator discovers is that his mind is not under his control. He is unable to employ
his mind with the mastery and control with which he would hold a pen in his hand and write on a paper.
Just as one writes the words of his choice, the mind must be employed to produce thoughts of one's
choice. This efficacy is called meditation.
The mind, unlike the objects of the world, the physical body or the senses, is non-physical and intangible
and is therefore an elusive entity. So initially the seeker has to recognize the mind to be a powerful
working force within the body. This awareness helps focus our attention on the mind and mental
processes. Intense introspection provides an insight into the manner in which thoughts are generated,
and gradually into the whole complexity of the mind's functioning.
The next step is to observe the reactions of the mind. One has to get to the subtle levels to know how
various reactions arise in the mind when it comes in contact with an object. The reactions may sometimes
be undesirable, calling for refinement. To bring about improvement in the quality of the mind, mind
needs exercise. Continual exercise and practice thus will improve the quality of as well as the control over
the mind. In other words, one gradually gets mastery over the thinking process. One gets into the mind
process as it were and directs it.
Mantra - an efficient aid
For this purpose a mantra comes to the saadhaka's aid. Mantra is defined as: mananaat traayate iti
mantrah - Mantra is that which by virtue of its repeated mention, rumination and contemplation,
protects. The Guru initiates one to this mantra for attaining salvation and gaining mental purity.
Mantra is a thought - a chosen thought. Normally, mind produces a succession of thoughts one after
the other. The Mediator has to interfere with this uncontrolled generation of thoughts. Suppose there is
a line of people and you want to get into the queue. Get into the queue somehow and move along with
the others. In the same manner, one has to get into the train of thoughts. Mantra is an effective aid in
this exercise. Mantra is a suggestion, an idea or a chosen optional time to delve into the source of
interaction and glimpse its depths, magnitude and thought. As this optional thought gets into the
thought process, retain it there for as long as possible. The retention establishes control over the mind,
while non-optional thoughts get suspended.
Preservation of the mantra is the next important step. Hold the mantra in your mind as tenderly as a
mother would her baby in her arms, and allow it to permeate your entire being. There should be no
tension, no disharmony. Just as no two things can occupy the same spot at the same time, when the
mantra fills the mind other thoughts get naturally eliminated.
Whenever you propose to meditate, sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and take up the repeated
chanting of the mantra. In the beginning to gain control over the mind, chant the mantra in the same
speed with which thoughts emerge in your mind. The mantra is handled in the mental sky like the
flying of a kite. Repeated chanting ensures that the optional thought exclusively permeates your mind.
Gradually reduce the speed of chanting, make it slow, slower, feeble … feebler. Consider the case of
running man who wishes to stop running. His speed reduces gradually and at a point you find him
walking; ultimately his legs cease walking altogether. In the same way, mind also slows down and
reaches a state of complete calmness.
The great discovery within
When the thinking ceases and all thoughts stand dissolved, what is left is the thinking substance or the
thinker. When all objects are eliminated, the Subject alone is present. Most people are unable to perceive
the distinction between thought and the thinking substance. That core in your being from which all
thoughts and perceptions arise, is the Subject. It is the original singular substance from which multiple
object processes evolve. Meditation familiarizes you with this Subject - the Self within.
It may be argued that the self-absorption and resultant experiences are induced by self-hypnosis. In
hypnotism one comes under the control of someone else. It is laya (stupor-like state) produced by the
spell of a suggestion. An act of induction.
In Goudapaada's words, "laye sambodhayet cittam vikshiptam samayet punah". In meditation when physical
activity and thoughts are stilled, we may tend to enter the state of sleep. We must, with all alertness,
awareness, attention and control, dissuade sleep. Through a subtle process of absorption and conscious
effort, we have to take the mind above and away from distractive multiple thoughts and stupor to the
state of serene supreme awakening. In this state, keenness and attention are never lost. This state of
awareness, attained by efficient application of the mind on mind itself, is therefore not a hypnotic state.
In this spiritual introspection through meditation, one comes close to something which constitutes the
core of our being. This core undergoes a constant interactional process. Just as the hand is used for
writing various words and letters, the being by its process of thinking produces a number of thoughts
and emotions and also reasons with intelligence. As a result, our whole consciousness gets confused
partly by emotions, partly by thinking, partly by reasoning, partly by understanding, partly by
comparison and partly by distortion.
This whole gamut of interactions and their outcome are woven as a complex into the consciousness
through the mental and intellectual process. In meditation, the effort is to unwind this whole
understanding, thoughts and emotions are simply removed. Suppose our body is covered in 10 layers of
cloth. Just as we remove the layers one by one to uncover the body, in meditation we remove
interactional knots one by one till the Self reveals Itself in its pristine, purity.
In the initial stages of meditation, we come to know of an entity called the mind which is the cause of
everything. Once the focus is on the mind we try to gain control over it.
Adopting a mantra - an optional thought - aids us in the effort to gain control over the mind. Using the
mantra we enter into the thought process and keep away other thoughts. After preserving the optional
thought alone for a length of time - say 15 minutes - we slowly reduce the speed of chanting the mantra.
We ultimately bring the mind to a state where even the exclusive optional thought ceases to be. When
thus everything else ceases and stands eliminated, the last 'thing' that survives is the Indestructible Self:
Yaavat sarvam na santyaktam taavadaatmaa na labhyate |
Sarvavastu-parityaage sesha aatmeti kathyate ||
Until all is not renounced, the Self cannot be accomplished. When everything is renounced what survives
as the residue is the Self.
There is no alternative, no substitute. You may choose to do twelve thousand years of austerity - "I will
not see, I will not sleep, I will constantly torture my body…"; but all these are physical controls exerted on
the body. What we need is an exercise and analysis applied to the mind, to the subtle working of the
mind. Liberation is of the mind; so the practice needed is also of the mind. So, get rid of all tensions;
become relaxed, as light as possible. In the ultimate state of lightness and freedom, the Subjective Essence
Yathaa deepo nivaatastho nengate sopamaa smrtaa |
Yogino yatacittasya yunjato yogamaatmanah ||
Like an unwavering flame, the consciousness in you shines forth. The Self reveals Its "brilliance".
Whenever we use words like flame, brilliance, lustre, etc., our association instantly goes to sun, lamp or
fire. But these are all visual brilliance; we are not referring to any visual brilliance here. The luster of the
Self is that 'light' in which we 'know' everything. The Self alone reveals everything, and reveals Itself too.
yad¡ yad¡ hi dharmasya
gl¡nir bhavati bh¡rata
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O
descendent of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that
time, I descend Myself
Salutations to Swamiji from the Chari Family in Irvine, California.
We seek your blessings.