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january 2013
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Posted on : Jan 03, 2013

SOS: Swami On Sadhana




Part 03



GSS: What does Swami say about the importance of good company?

SG: Swami used to say, “Tell me your company and I shall tell you what you are”.

AD: I think that’s a very important prerequisite to Sadhana. An example that comes to my mind is Swami talking about dust and the wind. When dust is company of the wind, it rises up and achieves great heights. But the same dust, when it comes in company with water settles down.

SG: It becomes slushy.

AD: Using the example of dust, Swami beautifully explains the impact of company.

SG: Swami also used to give the example of paper. A newspaper by itself doesn’t have any fragrance of its own, but when you wrap a beautiful jasmine garland with it, the newspaper acquires the fragrance of the flowers. And when you use it to wrap dry fish, it would get the smell of dry fish and would continue to emanate the stench even after the fish has been removed.

GSS: Possibly for a longer time than the jasmine flowers.

BP: I am reminded of an incident that happened with Bhagawan during His trip to Kodaikanal. Bhagawan used to travel by car and the students who accompanied Him travelled in a bus that followed His car. After sometime, Swami would come and join the boys in the bus. But people on the road would continue to offer salutations to the car thinking that Bhagawan was travelling in it. Bhagawan pointed this out to the students and said that even though He was not physically present in the car, it continued to receive adulations from people because of its association with Him – it had God as company.

GSS: And very humorously Swami extended that example a little more. He said, “Now I am sitting with you students. See, nobody is offering Namaskar to me. I am in your circle of influence.”

BP: Swami also gives the example of iron and magnet where God is the magnet and man is iron. Swami says man should naturally get attracted to God because man is also divine. However, as the iron is covered with rust it does not get attracted to God. We should remove the cover of rust through Sadhana. Swami says laziness is rust and dust. We have to make efforts to be in good company to get it off this rust.


KMG: In fact when we talk about company we generally look outside. Swami says it’s not just about looking outside - you have to look within yourself because we are a combination of many qualities - good and bad. Swami here gives the example of milk and curd.

Some people may think that if they are 95% of the time good and maybe 5% of the time not good, they may go off the track either because they don’t have the strength to control their vagaries of mind or they feel 100% commitment is humanely impossible.

If an entire garden is full of flowers, one may fail to notice a few patches of weeds here and there. Similarly a Sadhaka may become complacent while weeding out seemingly negligible bad qualities inside his heart. But Bhagawan warns that this analogy does not work in spirituality. He says that if there is even a little bit of curd in the pot, even if you put many litres of milk in the pot, over night the entire pot of milk will turn into curd. That is the reason why many spiritual aspirants are often found complaining that despite singing bhajans and chanting Vedam every day, they don’t seem to find deep connection with Bhagawan. Why? This is because he or she has not given up certain traits or unpleasant qualities which are like a spoon of curd. And Bhagawan, like a Divine Mother, is waiting patiently to pour the divine milk of love and grace. If only the individual with a little effort cleans the pot!

BP: Yes

SG: In fact, Ganesh, it is also said that just one drop of poison is enough to poison the entire pot of milk.

KMG: That is correct.

BP: It is important to have good friends as one’s company. Bhagawan says that a tame elephant can immobilize and bind a wild tusker, similarly a spiritually minded person also can turn around a doubter.

GSS: I think there is no end to the number of examples.

KMG: Nobody is perfect. But we have to put effort to improve. In fact, effort is more important than the result.


GSS: In this section, we have seen the importance of good company and have used many examples to drive home the point - dust and water, a newspaper that covers fresh jasmine and dry fish, iron and magnet, and the example of curd and the milk.

Ganesh, Swami also gives the example of water and milk. If you add one glass of water to 99 glasses of milk, the water will also become milk. This is like joining good company. However, if you add one glass of milk to 99 glasses of water, the pure milk also becomes water. This is like joining bad company. That’s why He says, “A-B-C - Avoid Bad Company”.

The next topic under Sadhana is the process. When you talk of Sadhana the first thing that comes to our mind is what Bhagawan says. In Kali Yuga, the easiest Sadhana one can do is Namasmarana, chanting the name of God, not yagnas and yagas (ritualistic sacrifices).


AD: Swami gives a beautiful example. Decades ago, villagers used to light lanterns and place them on the threshold of their homes. By placing the light on the doorstep, it would provide light both indoors as well as outdoor. He says chanting the name of the Lord is like keeping that lantern on the threshold of one’s self. It sheds light not only inside, but outside as well.

GSS: The threshold here is one's mouth.

AD: Swami says that the mouth is very important - it’s the threshold of the entire body. It connects the inside with the outside.

KMG: Namasmarana is not something that can be done part time. It has to be done continuously because life is one long journey and every one of us is a sadhaka, a spiritual aspirant. Some people fail to see the path of spirituality. They choose to sleep. They say that they are scared to walk as the path has no light. At any given time it is only the next few meters that one needs to see and for that even a small lamp is enough to give the confidence to move forward - provided one has the will to move forward. This light is Namasmarana. When we chant His name we get the clarity to see and move forward. Being spiritual aspirants we have to trust the Name and take one step at a time - we will definitely reach the goal.

SG: Swami gives another reason why Namasmarana is very important for all of us. Mind, Swami says, can be a “monkey mind”, sometimes a “drunken monkey’s mind”, sometimes the “mind of a drunken monkey bitten by a scorpion”.

GSS: A mad and drunk monkey bitten by a scorpio!


BP: It can’t get worse than that!

SG: What it basically means is that the vagaries of the mind have no limits.

BP: Absolutely!

SG: And it can go to any extent. So Swami always used to compare the idle human mind to a genie or a demon that is waiting to devour you if you do not engage in some work or the other. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop! Swami says the best way to engage this genie called the mind is to erect a pole and ask the mind to climb up and get down until you have some work for it to do. He says that the pole is the beautiful form of the Lord and the process of climbing up and down the pole is the process of doing Namasmarana.

BP: Regarding Amey’s example on power cuts, I am reminded of another beautiful anecdote that Bhagawan used to give concerning this issue. Swami used to say that when electricity enters our homes from power stations it comes passing through several electricity poles - it doesn’t come straight from the power station. It has to come through many small sub stations. And then you have all these poles stationed at regular intervals. Swami says for you to access electricity it has to come through all these poles stationed at regular intervals. Similarly for you to get recharged, for you to tap into the power that is God and obtain His grace, some kind of regular Sadhana is necessary. And what is the best Sadhana? Namasmarana.

GSS: In fact that’s what Swami says. Namasmarana is the hot line to God. However, just as with our networks we find that there is no connectivity. The reason, Swami says, is because the connection is not constant. He gives the example of a chain highlighting how every link in the chain is important to keep the chain intact. If you give up Namasmarana for sometime it’s like breaking the chain; you would have to start again. Therefore constantly keeping Him in the mind is what really keeps up this hotline connection.

We have seen many examples with regards to Namasmarana. We have heard how beautifully Swami says that the mouth is like the doorstep and the light should be lit on that so that it lights both inside and outside. Ganesh talked about taking the light with oneself so that at least the next few feet is visible and one can keep moving onto his/her goal. Giridhar talked about the genie and keeping the divine form as the pillar and engaging the mind on that. Bishu shared Swami’s example of the electricity poles and the chain, and how it is important.

But Sadhana does not stop with this. Swami has time and again reminded us that this is just the first step. Ultimately one needs to seek Swami within each one because God is not someone outside us but is someone within us.

Now let’s discuss about the higher Sadhana which is about seeking God within.



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