One evening, C arrived from Delhi. He was set to leave for Hyderabad the same night and return to Delhi the following day. So without further delay, we all assembled at our common friend G’s shop. Good spiritual discussions ensued amidst our talks and here are a few highlights from it.
G is a good theologian. He doesn’t appear so outwardly but words of great value hurl forth when he speaks. He is a disciple of Nrisimhananda Bharati Swami from Guntur, who belonged to the lineage of Kalyananda Bharati Swami. He was a pure vedantin, a real swami and also a very good astrologer.
Apparently, he once said, “Do you know what the use of astrology is? It will simply tell you that there is a rough path ahead in your life, or that it is about to turn dark, or that it will be very hot etc. You can then take necessary precautions by wearing shoes, carrying a torch or an umbrella. That is its purpose! One must still go through the rough path, darkness or heat. Astrology cannot remove prarabdha, but it can forewarn us to be cautious.”
Once, someone asked him:
Question: Swami, isn’t it true that a sanyasi does not have any prarabdha?
Swami: Why do you think so?
Question: Since sanyasa means second birth, wouldn’t the prarabdha of first birth be wiped out?
Swami: My child, even taking sanyasa happens according to one’s prarabdha. So, where is the question of escaping from it?
Someone later asked:
Question: Swami, aren’t you supposed to carry yogadanda and kamandala? Why did you forsake them?
Swami: Is there a need for me to showcase that I am a swami or a guru? Not at all. Hence, I abandoned them.
Listening to this, C said:
Someone asked Ramana Maharshi a similar question, “Swami, why did you not marry?” To which, he replied, “It is not my prarabdha, hence I did not.”
In another instance he was asked, “Swami, why did you not take sanyasa?”
For this too, he replied in a similar fashion.
I chimed in, “Even if Maharshi had taken sanyasa, he would have faced a similar question. ‘Swami, you are a self-realized soul, what is the need for you to take sanyasa?’ Hence, it is wise to not pay any heed to what people say and just do our work.”
The conversation drifted towards chanting and meditation and friend G mentioned a great point.
It is said that there are three states related to body, speech and mind and in each of these states, one needs something to hold onto. Outwardly, one needs the support of an idol. Speech needs the aid of either a prayer or chant and similarly, the mind also needs something to meditate upon. Once these three are overcome, what remains is only formless and baseless. Such a person need not rely on anything. That is the state described as the formless, unmoving and full of light.
Saint Tyagaraja, in one of his compositions said - “Once the mind is in control, what is the need for mantra or tantra? He also said, “Why seek the blessings of planets, it is the grace of Lord Rama that matters”.
Our discussion thus continued for a long time. C said, “I have been wondering for a long time how to tell whether or not a person has evolved spiritually. Only recently did I find an answer. In my opinion, the lesser the identification with one’s body, the greater is the person’s spiritual evolution. What do you say?”
I nodded my head in agreement.
Man faces three obstacles in the form of the body, worldly matters and scriptural knowledge. One’s inner progress depends on how much one can cut down on these attachments. One who can forget his body, the world around him and the knowledge that he attaches himself with, is a true saint and is the one who has experienced the self.
We then concluded our meeting bidding farewell to each other.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ranganath D, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on August 31, 2010. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.