Shree Swaminarayan Temple, Itasca

Jay Shree Swaminarayan

Ekantik Bhakti


Attributes of Dharma

Ego v/s Atmic Bhava

On the first day of the first fortnight of the month of Margshirsha of Samvat 1877, Shriji Maharaj was seated at night in the Durbar of Shri Sura Khachar at Loya. He had put on a white jersey and a white turban. He had fast end his side face and chin by one additional cloth, leaving other end of the cloth loose on the top of his turban. He had covered his body with a white cotton shawl. Paramhams and the devotees from the different places were assembled before him in a meeting. Shriji Maharaj then asked the Paramhamsas, "What is the most coveted at- tainment that a devotee should aspire to attain after he gains this holy Satsang ?" The Paramhamsas2 could not quite reply. So Maharaj said in reply, "The develop- ment of Ekantik Bhakti is the most coveted attainment. What is Ekantik Bhakti ? One who has fully developed the attributes of Dharma, Gyan, Vairagya, and with these redemptive attributes, what one offers as exuberant devotion to God is regarded as Ekantik Bhakti." Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Which are from the various attributes of Dharma4, if developed fully, makes one immune to the strict Observance of the other attributes ? And which of the various adjuncts of Bhakti, viz. chanting, introspective reminiscences, singing devotional songs, listening to discourses, even if abandoned due to adverse factors, would amply compensate for all in worship ?" Then he himself replied the same by saying, "One who is entirely devoid of carnal desires retains all the attributes of Dharma even if outwardly they seem to have been relaxed. And out of the various adjuncts of Bhakti, if one retains the knowledge of God decisively, all other adjuncts of Bhakti will become fulfilled.

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Which Buddhi8, when kept fixed does react favorably and when changed make an unfavorable impact ? And which Buddhi when kept flexible react favorably and when kept fixed produce adverse reper- cussions ?" Then he himself extended the answer by saying that, "Buddhi which has known God and has decisively established such knowledge within should be kept fixed. Such knowledge should be reinforced by. probing the infinite glory of God. If, however, one allows one's-Buddhi to licker, even after attaining such decisive knowledge, it would react unfavorably and would deflect him from the spiritual path. And one who, of his other accord, has decided to adopt a certain course of Sadhana, and when he is advised by the saint to change such course, he should in such case be flexible and should not stick to his decision. If he does not so remain flexible hut sticks to his decision, his spiritual progress will be hampered."

Shriji Maharaj then asked, "What type of the devotee should be avoided from the those who found to observe all the tenets of Dharm ?" Then replying to the question Shriji Maharaj said, "One who observes Dharma4 fully and also possesses the knowledge of God should yet be avoided if he has gross attachment to worldly objects; viz he is pragmatically wise and yet has ego of his position. When the ego of such a devotee is hurt by God or by the saint, he will begin to think adversely of them both. He will then begin to malign them before others and dislodge them from their spiritual path. Even if he is in this holy Satsang, his contact should be totally avoided."

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "What type of the saint should be avoided from those who found to observe the rules of Dharma4 and possess the knowledge of God ?" Then he himself said in reply, "A saint who indulges in loose talk and believes that all saintly attributes can not be imbibed during one birth, but that they can be imbibed only by God's grace, and Jivas also can not be redeemed during this birth, they have to take various births to attain inal redemption; association with such a saint should therefore be totally avoided. And a Sadhu who feels that he is fully fulfilled and has courage to drive out by the grace of God and the saint, the evil instincts of passion, anger, pride, envy, ego etc. should always be sought for active company."

Shriji Maharaj asked, "What type of Sadhu, even if he talks courageously, should be avoided ?" Then in reply he said, "A saint who simply indulges in tall talk about his own spiritual endeavors and does not crave to seek the grace of God and does not desire to propitiate him, should be avoided totally.

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Which type of saint should be sought for com- pany and which should not ?" Then he replied, "A saint who observes all the rules of Dharma, possesses such knowledge of God but is very sot and remains non- responsive to the spiritual needs of disciples should, even if he may be as great as Muktanand Swami in worldly esteem, be totally avoided. And such a saint who always raps his disaples hard for their evil instincts, and does not cease till such instincts are totally eradicated, who can not tolerate loose indulgence, should always be sought for active association, even if such a saint is not esteemed greatly by others."

Shriji Maharaj then asked, "A saint possesses all the redemptive attributes of Gyan, Bhakti etcetera and yet because of which drawback, should his association not be sought ?" In reply to this Shriji Maharaj said, "Such a saint, in spite of his other attributes, if he is lethargic in performing the rituals and is idle, his associa- tion should be avoided.

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "One devotee talks proficiently on spiritual mat- ters; and yet due to which deficiency of his, should his talk not be listened to ?" Then replying himself said, "One who talks tall about his own Bhakti, Gyan, Vairagya and Dharm and belittles others; because of such drawback of him, his surrrions or talk should not be heard."

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Which type of speech is it, that is, rather harsh and yet should be sweetly enjoyed like nectar ?" In reply he himself said, "If saint who during his talks, talks derogatorily about the relations of the body,, should be heard with interest, since hearing him, one would feel that such a saint has no attachment towards his parental relations, and therefore, he is esteemed highly. His speech, therefore, should be enjoyed like nectar."

Then Shriji Maharaj asked further, "Where should one preserve one's own respect and where should the same be discarded ?" Then in reply he said, "Before a devotee who is meek, humble and poor but is firm in knowledge of God, one should stoop low with respect. And one should maintain his self respect before one, who has receded from the spiritual path and who talks in derogatory terms about Satsang. Even in the exchange e of dialogues, he should be paid back in the same coin with an upper hand.

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Where should one resolutely restrain and where should one relax in alteration for God and his saint ?" Then in reply he said, "When I suggest in the assembly that someone should go to Burhanpur and Kashi". And nobody from the assembly heeds my; ..suggestion, then one should stand up and say "Oh Maharaj ! If you just order me, I am prepared to go." He should thus try to win my grace by obeying my commands, but in no way on such occasion should one sustain a desire to have my Darshan or to hear my sermons here. Again, when I have or my saint has reprimanded some one owing to his drawbacks and expelled him from here, and if another one who is totally excommunicated appoches him and speaks to him in indecent words against us, one should not hear such words and should exhibit great love for us. He should deal with him squarely and should say, "l am the lowest of the low before Maharaj and his saints and even if lam cut to pieces, I shall bear no ill feelings for them because they only would redeem me." He should exhibit such affection for us."

Then Shnji Maharaj asked, "Which is the true code of behavior you should accept by which even if I order you to obey certain of my orders, you should not obey them and thus displease me, and even if..I am so displeased, you should continue to behave in such manner ?" Then answered, "If my orders are not in consonance with the observance of your Dharma, you should not immediately carry them out, but should pause for a while and think about them. Shri Krishna ordered Arjuna "Cut the head of Ashwatthama". Arjuna hasitated for some time and ultimately did not carry out the orders of Shri Krishna. Even if I am displeased, evne if I desire you to do so. Even if God is displeased, let him be so displeased but in no way should one obey such orders which tend to violate the principles of ethical conduct."

Then Shriji -Maharaj asked, "When a devotee sits in meditation, the mind immediately plunges in the ocean of repulsive thoughts. Now should the mind be retrieved out of such entanglement ?"Answering the question Shriji Maharaj said, "When such thoughts arise in the mind and they can not be suppressed, one should leave meditation at once and should at the top of his voice chant the Swaminarayan' mantra. He should pray to God, pray to such great saints like Muktanand Swami. With such chanting of the name of Swaminarayan and prayer, the mind will revert in its placid state. There is no other remedy to drive out such evil thoughts from the mind."

Then Shriji Maharaj said, "Strict observance of the holy tenets is a great virtue appreciated by all and yet the same should be discarded and the apparent drawback of non-observance should be accepted. Which is this virtue and which is such drawback ? How should such apparent anomaly be accepted discarding the virtue and accepting the drawback ?" In answer to this, Shriji Maharaj said, "Strict observance of the holy tenets is no doubt a great virtue. Muktanand Swami - the great amongst the Paramhamsas - has been implicitly following such a traditional way of behavior.. However, if such strict observance accepted by Muktanand Swami tends to frustrate all other disciples who in fact are not able to observe it strictly, such strict observance, even though in itself a great virtue, should be discarded and the drawback' of the observance of the rules at par with others should be accepted."

Shriji Maharaj then asked, "Which is the great evil which when discarded, all evils are discarded, and which is that virtue which if imbibed, all virtues are imbibed ?" In reply to this Shriji Maharaj said, "The ego of one's own self is the source of all evils. If that is discarded, all evils go away. And the great redeeming virtue of believing and behaving as Atma - separate from the body - if imbibed perfectly, brings in all other virtues.

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Which sense objects when enjoyed would en- lighten the Budhhi and the sense objects which when enjoyed would denigrate it ?" Then in reply Shriji Maharaj said, "Those sense-objects which have a bearing on God, when enjoyed, would enlighten the Buddhi and those mundane objects which have no bearing on God, when enjoyed, would pervert Buddhi."

Then Shriji Maharaj asked, "Which type of Desh, Kala, Sang and Kriya should not be sought even if God orders any one to do so ?"' Replying this, Shriji Maharaj said, One who is a renounced one, should avoid such Desh, where association with one's family relations is frequent. And if I summon you to a place where I have been addressing women - and order you to sit along with me to enjoy my Darshan, you should not obey such orders of mine and avoid it to leave such a place immediately under some pretext. Again, one should leave such place where law and order are in chaos and murders are committed or the riots apring up, as such atmosphere vitiates better conditions of thyme. One should not insist on remaining there and suffering injuries."

Shriji Maharaj asked again, "Which scriptures should be studied and which should not be studied? " Replying himself, Shriji Maharaj said, "Such scriptures which do not describe God as having a divine form, which do not recognize his various incarnations, should not be read, even if they discuss pure Vedana sup- porting the theory of absolute but Nirakar Brahm, irrespective of whether they are composed by the learned or not. the Kirtans composed by Ranchhod Bhagat which describe the divine form of God should be sung and such scriptures which describe the divine form of Goad should be read and heard."

Thus Ends Vachanamrit : Loya - 6.

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