Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Surrender to God: The most confidential of all knowledges!

Shree Krishna says to Arjun in the Geeta:
सर्वगुह्ातमं भूयः श्रृणु मे परमं वचः । (Geeta)
“Arjun!  I have disclosed some confidential knowledge, and also some very confidential knowledge to you.  Now listen to the most confidential of all knowledge.”  After hearing about the paths of Karm, Gyan and Bhakti, Arjun had not yet reached the point where he would be ready to fight the Mahabharat and kill everyone as per Shree Krishna’s instruction.  Arjun did not have the courage to say, “I will fight not one but ten Mahabharats; I will kill them all.”  So God said to him, “Because you are very dear to me, I will disclose to you the most confidential of all knowledge.”  Shree Krishna said :
सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं वज्र । (Geeta)
Most acharyas have explained this verse to mean, “Renounce all dharm, or pres
cribed Vedic duties, and surrender to Me alone.”  Only Shankaracharya has explained it as:
धर्म अधर्म च ।
“Surrender to Me, abandoning all types of Vedic duties and irreligiosity.”  This commentary has been ridiculed by everyone, laymen and learned scholars alike.  Why?  Because, it is understandable that Shree Krishna would say, “Abandon all types of religious duties and surrender to Me,” but what is the need of mentioning that adharm, irreligiosity, must also be abandoned?  Even fools know that adharm has to be renounced.  This commentary of Shankaracharya just shows his obstinacy in not wanting to accept devotion to the Personal Aspect of God.  The meaning he has given to this verse is so incorrect that even the common man laughs at this commentary.
Pay close attention.  If Shree Krishna had intended to say dharm and adharm both are to be abandoned, he would have used the umbrella term karm, or all actions and said: 
सर्वकर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
“Renounce all types of actions and surrender to Me.”  Shankaracharya’s motive in saying dharm adharm was to recommend the renunciation of all karm.  Shankaracharya was a sworn enemy of the path of karm and an advocate of karm sanyas. He would do anything to justify the abandonment of karm, and that is why he explained this verse in this way, “Surrender to Me, renouncing all actions, dharm as well as adharm.”  Even Madhusudan Sarasvati, who has boldly acknowledged himself as Shankaracharya’s disciple and who  has admitted that his commentary on the Geeta is in accordance with his Guru’s commentary, has criticized this interpretation.  Even he could not tolerate the words of Shankaracharya and therefore proclaimed them wrong.  It was not Shree Krishna’s intention for Arjun to practice karm sanyas, and give up karm, or his duty as kshatriya.  This is why Arjun’s response to Shree Krishnaa’s instruction to surrender was:
नष्टो मोहः स्मृतिर्लब्धा त्वप्रसादान्मयाच्युत ।
करिष्ये वचनं तव ।(Geeta)
“O Shree Krishna!  By Your grace, my illusion is gone, and I will now act according to Your instruction.”  The entire world knows that Arjun fought the battle, and did not take sanyas.  If the verse had meant renunciation of all actions, Arjun would have become a renunciate.  Moreover, Arjun was already saying in the first chapter, “I will not fight.”  He was already willing to become a sanyasi.  Then why did Shree Krishna give him all this lecture of the Geeta? 
If, as Shankaracharya says, this verse means ‘renunciation of all actions,’ then Arjun was already taking sanyas.  He had put down his weapon, and that too at a time when Shree Krishna, along with the Pandavas, would have become an object of ridicule.  If the Pandavas had no intention of fighting, they could have sent a message from home, “We just want peace.  अिहंसा परमो धर्मः । “Non-violence is the ultimate religious principle.”  This is a Vedic principle, and had the Pandavas embraced it right from the onset, it would have passed off as greatness.  But they had asked Shree Krishna for help, and the army was already on the battlefield.  The opposing army was all prepared to fight.
शंखान् दध्मुः पृथक पृथक् ।
The conches had sounded, indicating the start of the battle.  Arjun chose such a moment to say to Shree Krishna:
सेनयोरुभयोर्मध्ये रथं स्थापय मेऽच्युत । (Geeta)
 “Place my chariot between the two armies.”  Shree Krishna, the charioteer, took the chariot to the middle of the battlefield.  Arjun inspected the enemy forces.  Seeing his respected elders and teachers there, Arjun was shaken and said, “I will not fight.”  “But you knew beforehand whom you would be fighting: Dronacharya, Bheeshma, Kripacharya, and Ashvatthama.  You knew beforehand that you would have to kill them to win.  Has something new taken place?”  But Arjun put down his weapon, preferring the path of sanyas, and refused to fight.  And he did not do it whimsically; he justified his decision.  “Shree Krishna, I accept Your superior capability, so pardon my impertinence.  It seems wrong to me to kill these people who are my elders.  And even if I ignore the fact that they are my relatives and kill them thinking them to be my enemies, I will be doing something wrong.  I am a mighty warrior, the wielder of the Gandeev bow, and I have You on my side.  These people are sure to be killed, and then their wives will become widows.”  “Yes, yes, if you fight the war, they will become widows.  Not just a few hundred, or a few thousand, but millions of them.”  “O Shree Krishna!  If these women become unprotected, many of them will become unchaste.  This will result in unwanted children.  Why should I incur this sin?  For the sake of procuring a kingdom?  I do not care for a kingdom.  Presenting this logic, Arjun boldly announced his decision to take sanyas

But, this was not pleasing to Shree Krishna. He started His Geeta lecture in which He explained the nature of the soul, Karm, Gyan, Sankhya, Vedant and Yog. He summarized the entire body of scriptures, but then seeing that Arjun had not understood, He said, “I will now reveal the most confidential knowledge.”
सर्वगुह्ातमं भूयः श्रृणु मे परमं वचः । (Geeta)
This was said at the end, in the 18th chapter.  If this verse meant that Arjun should take sanyas, then what was the need to give such a long lecture when Arjun was ready to be a sanyasi right at the beginning?  And at the end of the Geeta, when Arjun responded, “I will fight,” Shree Krishna should have rectified him, “I am trying to get you to take sanyas and avoid fighting.”  Quite obviously, this verse is instructing Arjun not to give up action, but to fight the battle.  It should be obvious to everyone how much Shankaracharya has twisted the meaning of this verse to support his viewpoint. 

What does Shankaracharya mean by mentioning sanyas?  What does he mean by renouncing all actions?  If this is what Shree Krishna had meant, He would have said to Arjun, “You fool!  You don’t understand anything.”
  सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं वज्र । (Geeta)
If this verse means, “Become a sanyasi; do not fight the battle,” Arjun would have said immediately, “Maharaj!  Why such a long lecture, when I was already willing to renounce the battlefield?” 

So, I have explained in many different ways – I think even the simplest person will understand – that Shankaracharya has taken such liberties in interpreting this verse as meaning:
  सर्वकर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।
“Renounce all karm and surrender to Me alone.” 

Another point is that the idea of renouncing all dharmas goes against Shankaracharya.  Why?  Because he follows the path of dharm.  He has not renounced dharm, and so this verse was going against him, and this is the reason why he deliberately misinterpreted this verse, thinking that innocent people may thereby accept his viewpoint of abandoning all actions.  You may think, “Shankaracharya was a sanyasi; he did not follow any dharm.”  But remember, even sanyas is within dharm.  There are four stages of life included in Varnashram Dharm, and they are: Brahmacharya, or celibate student life, Grihasth, or married family life, Vaanaprasth, or the stage when husband and wife practice detachment while living together, and Sanyas, or renounced life.  There are many Vedic rules prescribed for a sanyasi.  For example, he must shave his head, discard his sacred thread, not come close to fire, keep a staff in his hand, not stay more than one day in anyone’s home, and so on.  There are many very strict rules and regulations to be followed by a sanyasi.  At present, there is not one sanyasi in the whole of India who follows the rules of sanyas properly.  If you were to question a sanyasi, “Are you living a life governed by the Vedic duties prescribed for a sanyasi,” he will have no answer.

So, sanyas is also within dharm.  Therefore, if Shankaracharya had interpreted the verse correctly, he would have had to renounce his sanyas dharm and surrender to Shree Krishnaa.  Then how could he justify the opposition of the path of Karm in his commentary on the Brahm Sutras and the Geeta?  This is why he deliberately misinterpreted the verse.  But the fact is that without surrender to Shree Krishna, neither the sanyasi, nor the grihastha, the vanaprastha,brahmachari or any other adherent of dharm can attain the ultimate goal.  No matter what dharm one follows, he will have to surrender to God.
  मामेव ये प्रपद्यन्ते मायामेत्तां तरन्ति ते ।
The word ‘eva’ has been used in the Geeta, which implies “only.”  “Only he who surrenders to Me, can free himself from the bondage of maya.”  Some modern interpretations of the Geeta maintain that Arjun was representing all souls, and this is why Shankaracharya has interpreted the verse in the way that he has.  But this is not so.  Why?  Well, it is stated very clearly:
  इष्टोऽसि मे सर्वमिित
Shree Krishna says, “Arjun, you are dear to Me.”  Such words would not be used for a representative of the entire human race.  Further, He says,  ते हितम् "I am speaking for your personal benefit.”  This is addressed to Arjun directly and to souls in general.  Further, Shree Krishna says: 
मामेकं शरणं वज्र
You come and seek shelter in Me.” 
अहं त्वां सर्व पापेभ्यो
“I will protect you from all sins.”  So it is not being said to Arjun as a representative of the individual soul, but to him personally.  Arjun accepted it as such and fought the battle.   This proves that this verse means “surrender to God,” and not “renunciation of action.”

Shankaracharya has said one more thing that is quite amusing.  He says, “Arjun was not eligible for the path of knowledge, since he was attached to the world.  This is why he was asked to fight.”  Now consider this!  Arjun and his brothers had borne great difficulties.  They had been banished to the jungle; they had tolerated the abuse of King Virat as his servants; they had lived incognito for years and years.  Still Arjun opted for the help of Shree Krishna alone, without weapons.  He could only have done this if he had knowledge of who Shree Krishna was.  Before the battle of Mahabharat, both Arjun and Duryodhan approached Shree Krishnaa for help.  When Shree Krishna found out that both Arjun and Duryodhan were coming to see Him in Dvarika, he pretended to be asleep.  Arjun entered the room, paid his obeisances and sat near Shree Krishnaa’s lotus feet.  Duryodhan also came.  When he saw that Shree Krishna was asleep, he sat down near His pillow.  Kings have their pride, after all.  How could Duryodhan sit beside the feet?  When Shree Krishna opened His eyes, He first noticed Arjun was sitting beside the lotus feet.  “Arjun,” He asked.  “What brings you here?”  Duryodhan interjected, “I am also here.”  “Oh!  You are here also.  Namaste Namaste.”  Since He saw Arjun first, Shree Krishna asked him, “You get the first choice.  Tell me what it is that you want.”  Duryodhan objected, “No, I should get the first choice.”  Both Arjun and Shree Krishna consented.  Shree Krishna said, “On one side will be my eighteen army units.  On the other side I will fight, but without weapons.”  Duryodhan asked for the eighteen army units of Shree Krishna.  This is what he had come for.  Arjun was pleased, because he had wanted Shree Krishna, even unarmed, in the first place.  Now just think.  On the one side were only the five Pandavas and their wife Draupadi, and on the other side, so many mighty warriors, like Bheeshma, Karna, Dronacharya, Kripacharya and Ashvatthama.  Not one of them could have been defeated by the Pandavas, if it were not for the trickery of Shree Krishna. Bheeshma, Karna and Dronacharya could not have been killed merely by the arrows of Arjun’s Gandeev bow.  It was the cunning of Shree Krishna in each of these encounters that led to their deaths.  Somewhere He arranged for someone to beg for Karna’s armor and earrings; elsewhere He got someone’s chariot wheel stuck; somewhere He ordered someone shot with the arrow from behind.  He told Yudhishtir to shout out loudly, “Ashvatthama is no more.”  Dronacharya asked, “Which Ashvatthama, man or elephant?”  When Yudhishthir gave the reply, Shree Krishna blew His conch so as to prevent Dronacharya from hearing the answer.  In other words, He used every trick possible, just so the Kauravas would get killed.

Thus, the Pandavas happily opted for the weaponless Shree Krishna despite the great trouble they were in.  The reason being that they were fully aware of who Shree Krishna was.  If they had not known, they would have objected to the choices given by Shree Krishna, preferring to fight without any help from Him.  Angrily they would have said, “We will fight the Kauravas on our own, no matter how powerful they are.”  Or, they would have said, “What partiality Shree Krishna is displaying!  He is offering Himself without weapons to one party, while to the other He is giving his fully-equipped army.  Fine!  We do not want anything from Him.”  Else, they would have refused to fight the battle.  But no, these five Pandavas and Draupadi were absolutely delighted to have Shree Krishna on their side.  This indicates that they knew Shree Krishna to be God even before attaining the knowledge of the Geeta.  It is widely known that Arjun and Shree Krishna are descensions of Nar and Narayan.  How did Shankaracharya have the audacity to say that Arjun was not a fit candidate for sanyas

Moreover, the words मामेकं शरणं वज्र mean “Surrender to Me alone.”  Shankaracharya interprets the word माम् as Brahm.  “Seek shelter in Brahm.”  And since the soul is Brahm, this would mean, “Seek shelter in yourself.”  What a wonderful interpretation!  I could tell you of many more explanations of his different verses like this, but I do not wish to waste your time.  If I had met Shankaracharya I would have taken him to task.  But you need to understand clearly that this verse of the Geeta मामेकं शरणं वज्र
is the most important.  It is an unfailing remedy for souls.  You see, there is no one in the world who can follow the path of Karm or the path of Gyan or the path of Devotion properly.  I strongly feel that out of 6 billion people, there may not even be six who are genuine karmis, genuine gyanis or genuine bhaktas.  These are very, very rare to find.  For the general aspirant, the most direct path is the most beneficial.  It is risky to walk on a crooked and thorny path that meanders through rivers and canals.  The foolhardy may follow such a path just to prove how bold they are, but why should we not follow the safest and surest path?  And that path is the path of self-surrender:
सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं वज्र ।
Surrender gives one the biggest claim on God.  God and the Saints give more inportance to the surrendered soul than they do to even their own father, mother, brother, and son.  I will tell you a historical incident to illustrate this point.

Once there was a realized Sage by the name of Gaalav.  One day he was making offerings to the Sun.  A gandharva by the name of Chitrasen was traveling in the sky at the same time, and inadvertently spat into the water that Gaalav Muni was offering while reciting the verse:
सूर्यश्च मामन्युश्च मन्युपतयश्च मन्युव्रुतेभ्यः पापेभ्यो रक्षंतां यदात्रया पापमकार्ष मनसा वाचा हस्ताभ्यां पद्भ्यामुदरेण शिश्ना रात्रिस्तदवलुंवतु यत्किंचिद्दुरितम् । (Ved)
Gaalav was beside himself with rage.  He immediately went to Shree Krishna and said, “Maharaj!  The gods that you appoint are very insolent.  Look how Chitrasen has misbehaved.”  Seeing Gaalav’s anger, Shree Krishna pacified him by saying, “Chitrasen has indeed committed a grave mistake.  I vow to kill him within 24 hours.”  Such harsh punishment for an offence that was committed accidentally!  Yes, for the sake of Gaalav Muni, who is very special! 

In the meantime, Narad Muni heard what had transpired and felt compassion towards Chitrasen who was going to be killed without any good reason.  Narad Ji thought to himself, “I cannot sort things out with either Gaalav or with Shree Krishna.  Gaalav is insisting that Chitrasen should be punished, and Shree Krishna has taken a vow to kill him within 24 hours.”  Anyway, Narad went to Chitrasen, who pleaded, “Lord, please save me.”  Narad Ji said, “I give you my word; I will protect you.”  What can Narad Ji do now that Shree Krishna has taken a vow to kill Chitrasen?  He cannot ask Shree Krishna to take back His vow.  What to do?  Should he approach Gaalav?  No, if he does that, Gaalav may destroy him also.

So Narad approached Subhadra, Shree Krishna’s sister and Arjun’s wife.  He said to her, “Tomorrow is a very auspicious day.  Go for a bath in the Yamuna early in the morning, and if you hear some pleading voice asking for a boon, do grant him what he wishes.  By doing so, you will gain unlimited merit.”  Subhadra said, “Narad Ji, I will do as you instruct me.”  In the meantime, Narad Ji said to Chitrasen, “Tomorrow morning, go to the riverbank.  There, start crying bitterly, begging for help.  If a woman approaches you and asks what trouble you are in, first extract a promise from her to help you, and only then tell her your story.  After she promises to help you, tell her that Shree Krishna has taken a vow to kill you.  That is all you have to do.” 

The following morning Subhadra went to the Yamuna river to bathe.  There she was approached by Chitrasen who extracted a promise for help from her.  Chitrasen said, “Your brother has vowed to kill me.”  Subhadra promised him, “Regardless of what vow my brother has taken, I will give you my protection.”  At home, Subhadra said to Arjun, “As my husband, you must honor the word I have given.”  Arjun said, “Very well.  It does not matter right now that Shree Krishna is my friend, or even that He is God and I, His servant.”  Now there was a Mahabharat battle right at home.  Who could sort things out when such great personalities were involved?

Shree Krishna took up His Sudarshan Chakra, ready to sever Chitrasen’s head.  He warned Arjun, “Go and sit at home; your Gandeev is useless in front of my Chakra.”  Arjun said, “I know that.  But perhaps You do not know that I have another weapon that I did not use during the Mahabharat.  And that weapon is the Pashupatastra.  Shankar Ji had given me this weapon which can bring about the annihilation of the entire universe.  Be warned; I am about to release this mighty weapon.”  Both the weapons, Chakra and Pashupatastra, are unfailing and if both were released simultaneously, the entire universe would be wiped out, with the exception of Arjun and Shree Krishna.

Shree Krishna and Arjun started reciting their respective mantras for invoking their weapons.  As the weapons were released, the entire world fell into a state of chaos.  Lord Shankar renounced his samadhi and came immediately from Shivlok.  Standing between the two weapons, He asked, “What are you two doing?”  Shree Krishna’s weapon, the Sudarshan Chakra said, “I am going to cut off Arjun’s head.”  Shankar Ji’s weapon, the Pashupatastra said, “I am going to sever the head of Shree Krishna.”  Shankar Ji pleaded with both the weapons, “Do not carry out your plan.  Everyone knows that neither Arjun nor Shree Krishna will die.  But the entire world will be destroyed.  It is not time for the final dissolution of the world.”  With these words Shankar Ji pacified both weapons.  But now Gaalav’s purpose was frustrated. He was furious and thought, “Shree Krishna, Subhadra and Arjun are brother, sister and brother-in-law.  They have joined forces.  And Chitrasen has not been punished for his offence.  Fine!  I will reduce all four to ashes.”  He took up some water in his hand and started reciting a mantra.  Just then, Subhadra came and stood in front of Gaalav.  She also took some water in her hand and said, “I will render the power of your mantra useless with this water.”  The mighty power possessed by Subhadra was the power of Self-surrender. And with this power she rendered the power of Gaalav Muni’s asceticism absolutely ineffective.  Consequently, the water did not leave Gaalav’s hand.  He kept trying to offer it, but it would not fall. 

Here I am merely pointing out that self-surrender is so great that nothing and no one is greater than it.  Not mother, not father, not brother.  No one.  This is why God has called the instruction to surrender to Him as the most confidential knowledge:
सर्वगुह्ातमं भूयः श्रृणु मे परमं वचः ।
However, even after countless lives we have not yet surrendered to God.  This is the reason we do not have faith in God or Guru.  These are the two personalities to whom we must surrender.
यस्य देवे पराभक्तिर्यथा देवे तथा गुरौ । (Shewtashwatar Upanishad)
“Worship Guru in the same way as you worship God.”  Considering both to be equal, we must keep the same sentiments towards God and Guru.  But we have not managed to do this yet.  The reason being that we are not yet surrendered.  We do not have faith.  To have faith in a personality means to always think favorably of him.  That is all.  Only favorable thoughts.  A woman, who is fully surrendered to her husband, is having her meal.  Her husband comes along and adds ghee to her food.  The woman is happy.  A short while later, he comes along once again and this time mixes garbage into her food.  She is happy just as she was earlier when he had added ghee.  Is there any such woman in existence?  No.  This proves there is no woman who is surrendered to her husband.  The vow of fidelity, whether to father, mother, Guru or God, means to keep your desires in line with theirs, not to apply your intellect to their actions and to always think favorably of them.  This constitutes surrender.  If you look at the life of Tukaram, you will see that he retained full confidence in the actions of God despite the loss of wealth, even despite the death of his wife and son.  But, someone who is foolish, will start questioning, “I went to the temple for a keertan and a robbery took place at home.  What did God do?  What kind of protection does the Guru provide?”  The fact is that whatever happened, was for your welfare.  The different methods utilized for our upliftment are understood only by God and Guru.  How can we possibly understand?  If we could understand the secret behind each of their actions by our intellect, and realize how it actually caters to our well-being, then what would be the difference between us and these Divine personalities?  We could all don the robes of Masters.

So, we must have faith, and this faith arises from detachment.  This is why every acharya has said आदौ श्रद्धा “Faith must be present first and foremost.”  In the absence of faith, we will not make any progress despite listening to countless lectures, or meeting countless Saints and Descensions of God.  We will keep standing where we are at present.  Only one who does not find fault with the one he loves can succeed in surrendering himself.  One who has a habit of constantly employing his intellect, cannot surrender even in infinite lifetimes, nor can he attain God’s grace.  He will try to comprehend everything with his material intellect before accepting it, which is utterly impossible.  Even in the world we do not understand everything in the beginning.  First we accept, and then we understand.  A little child is told, “This is your Mommy; this is your Daddy.”  Hearing this, the little child also says, “Mommy, Daddy,” without knowing what these words mean.  He starts understanding later.  You people use many electrical gadgets, like the radio and the tape-recorder.  Someone asks, “What is this machine?”  You answer, “It’s a tape-recorder.  It can record everything you speak.”  “But how?”  “I don’t know.  I just use it.  Why should I waste ten years in finding out the science behind the workings of a tape-recorder?”  You see, we accept so much in the world.  Later, if you wish, you can make the effort of finding out how the machine works.  But it is impossible to attain this knowledge right from the start. 

So, first you have to do sadhana, i.e. practice devotion, and then you will attain practical experience.  Then your knowledge will be complete.  You cannot attain practical knowledge without first accepting the theory.  Children learn Mathematics at school.  They draw lines.  What is a line?  It is defined as something that has length, but not width or breadth.  “But what you have drawn has width as well as breadth.”  “Yes, but you must assume that it does not.”  A Mathematics teacher tells his students to subtract five from five.  One student does not write any answer.  When asked the reason, he says, “If you subtract five from five, you have nothing left.”  The teacher scolds him, “If there is nothing left, you must write zero as the answer.”  “But when there is nothing left, why should I put a zero?”  “No, no, this is compulsory.  You must comply with this rule even if you don’t understand it.”  Those of you who have studied algebra know that you have to begin solving the problem by making assumptions.  The teacher says, “Suppose Ramesh’s age is ‘A’.”  “What does that mean?”  “First you must accept his age to be ‘A.’   Then when you solve the problem, the actual age will be worked out.”  So all this is done on faith.  And as you learn how to solve the problems, you begin to see why it is done.

So you see how in acquiring material knowledge you accept so many notions simply on faith.  Then you learn on the basis of that acceptance, and then finally you understand why it is that you had to accept Ramesh’s age to be ‘A.’   In the Godly realm, you do not accept, because you are bereft of faith.  You become proud of your so-called knowledge.  Your knowledge in even your area of specialty is so small that you are not able to understand anything much with your material mind.  You have not even understood your own family members so far.  Sometimes you say, “Oh, today my eyes were opened.  Now I understand.”  This means that you were ignorant so far, and even what you have understood today is very limited.  Who knows what you will understand in the future?  It is your misconception that you have understood.  You do not possess true knowledge yet.

Thus, Self-surrender is the highest path.  We can attain Shyamsundar’s grace only by surrendering to Him.  And I had told you one day that the most important thing to do in surrendering ourselves to God is to become humble.  The most important of the eight verses in the Shikshasthak of Gaurang Mahaprabhu is:

तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरपि सहिष्णुना (Shree Gaurang Mahaprabhu)
 “If you wish to attain God’s grace, you must become more humble than a blade of grass.”  Humbler than a blade of grass!  What do you have that makes you proud?  Why do you think and feel that you are someone very important?  What are you, and what will you become after death?  A dog, a cat, a tree or some insect?  In the body of a tree you may well be asked, “Were you not a professor in your last life, with a doctorate in literature?  You had been told to seek shelter of God, to humble yourself.  At that time you had said, ‘I am a D. Litt., I don’t put blind faith in anything.’  Now look at your condition.  At that time your educational qualifications were not allowing you to humble yourself before God.”  So, without humility you cannot even begin your spiritual practice.

There was once a Saint called Venkatnath.  He was a wealthy man, and when he made very quick progress on the spiritual path, he met with tremendous opposition.  One day his opponents made a garland out of old shoes and hung it from the gate of his ashram.  They knew that Venkatnath was always blissfully absorbed in God and so would not notice the garland.  They thought, “When the garland of shoes falls on his head, he will be very offended.  Then we will laugh at him.  Then he will shout and scream at us in anger.  We will also get an opportunity to ridicule him.” When Venkatnath entered the gate, the
कर्मावलम्बका केचित् केचित् ज्ञानवलम्बकाः ।
वयं तु हरिभक्त्तानां पादरक्षावलम्बकाः ॥
“Some take shelter of the path of karm; others take the shelter of the path of gyan.  I have attained God by taking shelter of His devotees’ lotus feet.”  Instead of feeling angry towards his tormentors, he manifested humility and surprised his opponents.  Whosoever has a hunger for attaining God must develop humility.

You must have heard of the great philosopher Socrates.  His wife was very short-tempered.  To hurl abusive words was her entertainment.  I am not talking about all wives here, just about the wife of Socrates.  One day, she swore at her husband for a long time.  Socrates merely smiled.  He knew that the poor woman was suffering from the disease of the three modes of maya.  He actually felt sorry for her, knowing how troubled she was by her own anger.  Seeing that her abusive words did not have any effect on her husband, Socrates’ wife dumped an entire bucket of water on her husband’s head.  She wanted to make him angry.  But Socrates said calmly, “This is good; this is good.”  A friend of his was sitting nearby.  He asked, “What do you mean by saying that this is good?”  Socrates replied, “You know there is always a shower after a thunderstorm.”  His friend said, “And you call yourself a man!  If I were you, I would give her a sound beating with a stick.”  Socrates said, “You are my good friend.  We are not fighting; we are just putting on a show for you to watch.”  The friend was stunned to see Socrates make light of such bad behavior of his wife.  This is humility.

Once there was a Saint by the name of Usman.  He was walking down the road with his disciples, when someone threw down a basket full of ashes on him from the third floor.  The person who threw it did it innocently.  It was not a deliberate act.  Covered with ashes, Usman looked up and addressed God, “I am fit to have burning coals thrown on me because I love the world instead of You.  But You are so merciful that You merely covered me with ashes.”  Instead of anger, Usman responded with humility.

We too have to become humble.  At present our condition is such that if someone tells us something absolutely true about us, we can not control our anger.  This is true even of those who have taken to the renounced order, let alone householders.  So, humility is paramount, without which your spiritual life will not begin.  

Those who sit in sankeertan and cannot shed tears should think of themselves as fallen, destitute, and insignificant, and think about why tears do not come to their eyes. Time is fleeting.  When will you do it, if not now?  You have received the great fortune of a human body, and that too in India.  You have left home to participate in satsang in such a conducive environment.  Still, when it comes to doing serious sadhana, you become careless.  You must deeply regret sorrowful this.  The more you reflect on your carelessness, the faster you will move towards God. 

So, you have understood that humility is the main feature of self-surrender.  However, you have still to find out how to love.  That will be disclosed to you some other time.
बोलिए वृन्दावन बिहारी लाल की जय
All Glories to the Lord of Vrindavan

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