MESSAGE OF PREM
Prem is the flower of flowers. It is the rarest of all flowers. It is cultivated in the hearts of devotees. Prem or Bhakti is intense love or highest form of devotion to God. It is supreme attachment to the Lotus-Feet of the Lord. It springs from the bottom of the devotee's heart. There is not a bit of effort. There is a genuine, natural, spontaneous longing to meet God in the heart. Just as fish cannot live without water, just as the sun-flower cannot live without the sun, just as the chaste wife cannot live without her husband, so also a true Bhakta cannot live without God even for a moment.
Bhakti or Prem is of the nature of nectar. It gives freedom to the devotee and makes him perfect and fully satisfied. It takes him to the Lotus-Feet of the Lord.
For all beings a human birth is difficult to obtain, more so a male body. There are three things which are indeed rare and are due to the Grace of the Lord viz. , human birth, the longing for liberation and the protecting care of a perfected sage. The man who, having by virtuous actions in previous births, obtained a human birth with a male body and good intellect to boot is foolish enough not to exert for Self-realisation. He verily commits suicide, for he kills himself by clinging to things unreal.
There is no hope of immortality by means of riches. Such indeed is the emphatic declaration of the Sruti: "Na karmana na prajaya dhanena tyagenaike amritatvam-anasuh-Neither by rituals, nor by progeny, nor by riches, but by renunciation alone one can attain immortality. " Mere giving up of objects will not constitute real renunciation. Dear friends, remember this point well. True Tyaga consists in renouncing egoism, mine-ness, selfishness, Moha, Deha-Abhimana, desires and cravings.
Even the greatest of persons will in course of time become the lowest of the low. Countless kings, earls, barons, emperors and millionaires have come and gone. Where are those distinguished poets, intellectual geniuses, reputed scientists with boasted intellects? Where are Shakespeare, Kalidas, Byron, Newton, Kant, Plato and Faraday?
In youth you are enveloped with total ignorance, in adult age you are entangled in the meshes of women, in old age you groan under the burden of Samsara and debility. You eventually die and pass away from the scene. Being thus always occupied, when will you, dear brothers, find time to devote yourself to the commission of virtuous deeds, Nishkama Karma, Bhajan, Satsanga, Kirtan and meditation?
Why should you realise Atman? Because Self-realisation gives you freedom from the Samsaric wheel of birth and death and bestows on you supreme peace, illimitable Ananda and unalloyed felicity. Hear the emphatic declaration of the Srutis: "This Atman (Self) which is free from sin, undecaying, undying, free from sorrow, hunger and thirst, with true desires and true resolves, that is what is to be sought after and which one must wish to understand. One who has sought after this Self and understands It, obtains all worlds and all desires. " "The Infinite (the great) is Bliss. There is no bliss in what is small. The Infinite alone is Bliss. But one should wish to understand the Infinite. "-Chhandogya Upanishad.
Religion must educate and develop the whole man-his heart, his head and his hand. Then only he will have real perfection. There must be integral development. One-sided development is not commendable. You must have the head of Sankara, the heart of Buddha and the hand of Janaka. Vedanta without devotion is quite dry.
Pure love is divine Prem. It is the spontaneous outpouring of affection and devotion from the bottom of the heart of a sincere devotee towards God. The only Sara-vastu in the world is Love or Prem. It is eternal and undecaying. Physical love is passion or Moha. Universal Love is Divine Love. Cosmic Love, Visva Prem, Universal Love are all synonymous terms. God is Love. Love is God. Selfishness, greed, egoism, vanity, pride, jealousy and anger contract the heart and stand in the way of developing Universal Love.
Who of us is really anxious to know the truth about God or Divine Love? We are more ready to ask ourselves: "How much money you have got in the Bank? Who said that against me? Do you know who am I? How are your wife and children doing?" and questions of this sort, than questions like: "Who am I? What is this Samsara? What is freedom? Whence have I come? Whither shall I go? Who is Isvara? What are the attributes of God? What is our relationship to God? How to attain Moksha? What is the Svaroopa of Moksha?" How many of you, sisters and brothers, ask questions of this nature?
Sravanam kirtanam Vishnoh-smaranam paadasevanam; Archanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam-atmanivedanam.
"Hearing the Name of the Lord, singing (His) praises, remembering (Him), serving His Lotus Feet, worshipping Him, bowing before Him, attending on Him, loving Him as a Friend, and surrender of the self completely to Him-these are the nine ways of developing devotion. "
Sri Vishnoh Sravane Parikshidabhavad Vaiyasikah Kirtane Prahladah Smarane Tadanghribhajane Lakshmih - Prithuh Poojane; Akrurastvabhivandane Kapipatir Dasye cha Sakhyerjunah Sarvasyatmanivedane Balirabhat Krishnaptirevampara.
"In hearing was Parikshit; in Kirtan was Vaiyasika (Sukadev, son of Vyasa); in Smarana was Prahlada; in serving the Feet of the Lord was Lakshmi; in worshipping was Prithu; in prostrating, Akrura; in serving, the Lord of the monkeys (Hanuman); in loving Him as a Friend, Arjuna; and in surrendering completely to Him was Bali. Thus the highest attainment of Lord Krishna is to be had. "
Just as taking of food brings Tushti (satisfaction), Pushti (nourishment to the body) and cessation of hunger, so also Bhakti brings Vairagya and Jnana.
Have Avyabhicharini Bhakti. It is undivided love. The devotee loves God and God alone. His mind is ever fixed at the Lotus-Feet of the Lord. His whole mind, heart and soul are given to God. This is Avyabhicharini Bhakti.
No development of Prem or Bhakti is possible without right conduct (Sadachara). Just as a disease can be cured by medicine as well as dietetic adjustment, so also realisation of God can be had by devotion and Sadachara. Bhakti is the medicine. Sadachara represents dietetic adjustment or Pathya.
What is Sadachara then? To speak the truth, to practise Ahimsa, not to hurt the feelings of others in thought, word and deed, not to speak harsh words to anyone, not to show any anger towards anybody, not to abuse others or speak ill of others and to see God in all living beings is Sadachara. If you abuse anyone, if you hurt the feelings of others, really you are abusing yourself and hurting the feelings of God only. Himsa (injuring) is a deadly enemy of Bhakti and Jnana. It separates and divides. It stands in the way of realising unity or oneness of Self.
You injure another man on account of ignorance. If you always bear in mind that you see God in every man and animal and that God is seated in the hearts of all living beings, you will not injure anyone. You begin to injure others the moment you forget to see God in others.
Keep a spiritual diary. Note down in the diary when you become angry towards others, when you hurt the feelings of others and so on. This is very important.
Even for a quarter of a second, the time taken for the eyelids to close and open, if your mind does not run away from the Lotus-Feet of the Lord (if your devotion is, in other words, like Taila Dhara) at all times, you will have the whole wealth of all the three worlds at your disposal. The Lord gives you a word of assurance to this effect. He follows such a devotee wherever he goes. He wears the dust of his feet as His Tilaka on His forehead.
Some say that Bhakti should be cultivated in old age when one retires from service and gets pension. This is a serious mistake. Is there any guarantee that you will live to such an old age to discharge your higher responsibility? Has God given you a written document to this effect? Make hay while the sun shines. Winnow the corn while the wind blows. Sow the spiritual seeds when you are young. In old age you will have no strength of body and mind to do rigorous Sadhana.
Kamala and Krishna had no children. They were building castles in the air one night when they were sleeping on a raised bedstead. Kamala asked the husband: "How will you manage for the sleeping place of our son, if I get a child?" Krishna replied: "I will make room on this very wooden cot itself. " He moved some inches from his wife. She again asked: "What will you do if I beget a second son?" "I will make room on this very cot itself. " He moved actually a few inches further to the edge of the cot. Kamala again asked: "My dear husband, what will you do if I get a third son?" The husband said: "I will make room for him on this very cot. " While he was moving to the very end of the cot he tumbled down and fractured his left leg.
In the morning Krishna's neighbour came and asked him: "Krishna what is the matter with your leg?" Krishna replied: "I broke my leg on account of my false son. "
Such is the case with the people of this world. They suffer on account of Mithya Abhimana (false identification), Mithya Ahamkara (false egoism) and Mithya Sambandha (false relationship through body).
That from which this universe has evolved, That in which this universe subsists and That in which this universe involves should be understood as Brahman, Atman or God or Supreme Being.
That in which there is neither East nor West, neither light nor darkness should be understood as Brahman.
The highest end of human existence than gaining which there is no greater gain, than whose bliss there is no greater bliss, than knowing which there is no higher knowledge-that should be understood as Svaroopa or Brahman or God.
A drunkard is not one who drinks liquors, but one who is intoxicated with the pride of wealth, power, position, rank, intelligence and false learning from books and passion. A blind man is not one who is not able to see with these physical eyes, but one who is not able to perceive the One Imperishable Essence "Avinasi Vastu" that is seated equally in all these beings through the inner eye of intuition or Divya Chakshus. A dead man is not one whose Pranas have departed from his physical body, but one who spends his life in eating, drinking and sleeping only and who is not doing worship of God for his liberation. A cobbler is not one who manufactures shoes but one who talks of body and its relations and who has Charma Drishti and not Atma Drishti.
There are two ways for attaining God-Consciousness. They are the Pravritti Marga and Nivritti Marga. Pravritti Marga is the path of action or Karma Yoga. Nivritti Marga is the path of renunciation or Jnana Yoga.
Three things are indispensably requisite for attaining Moksha. They are: (1) Guru-Bhakti, devotion towards the spiritual preceptor, (2) Jijnasa, a keen longing for liberation and (3) Satsanga, association with Bhaktas, Sadhus, Mahatmas and Yogins. He alone who is endowed with these three requisites can cross the ocean of Samsara.