The kitten attitude

adoration

How many times do we worry about lack of clarity in our understanding of reality and about our purpose in life! How many times we wonder why we are put up in such miserable circumstances! We try hard to find out the cause of our misery whenever we go through bad times, as if by finding the cause we can set things straight… (curiously, we never try to find the cause of our happiness, we just go about enjoying the happy times). Can we really trace down the cause of whatever happens to its very origin?

The truth is, we can never precisely find out the cause of everything that happens. We may satisfy ourselves with different astrological theories, scientific theories, but none of these is infallible. At a particular time or a particular circumstance a theory may seem to make sense, but at some other time, it looks incapable. That’s because the field of human perception is very limited. What we see, what we hear, what we perceive as the world is only a tiny fraction of the totality of what really is. The moment we think we have figured out the secret of all life, something totally unexpected happens and we are baffled.

Then, what is the way? The way is to accept that we can’t know everything, and then accept things as they are, drive away all our worries and do our best according to our current level of understanding.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa says,

Well, give God the power of attorney. If a man entrusts his affairs to a good person, will the latter do him any harm? With all the sincerity of your heart resign yourself to God and drive all your worries out of your mind. Do whatever duties He has assigned to you. The kitten does not have a calculating mind. It only cries, ‘Mew, mew!’ It lies in the kitchen contentedly if the mother cat leaves it there, and only calls the mother, crying, ‘Mew, mew!’ It has the same feeling of contentment when the mother cat puts it on the soft bed of the master of the house.

(The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, chapter 32)

The reality is too big for us and we can’t know all her secrets. A calculating mind only ends up in frustration. So it’s better to resign yourself to God (or nature or reality or whatever you call it) and drive all worries out of your mind.  If there is anything you need to know, it will be revealed. Be sincere, enjoy all that happens. All that happens, just happens.

Also read: The entire universe is yours!

(Photo by Malingering)

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Be a child, be happy

Blanka Almendra

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

— Jesus

“One cannot be spiritual as long as one has shame, hatred, or fear. … Great men have the nature of a child. They are always a child before God; so they are free from pride. All their strength is of God and not their own. It belongs to Him and comes from Him.”

— Ramakrishna

Be a child, free yourself from pride, free yourself from guilt. Free yourself from concepts and opinions you have about yourself. All past, even upto the last second, is gone, good or bad, it’s never going to come back. All those things people said or thought about you, opinions people had about you, good or bad, all is gone. The present moment is the only real time, the universe renews itself every moment. When you free your mind from the past, you give birth to yourself each moment, you join the flow of life, you are alive!

Be a child, be happy 🙂

Photo by ValetheKid

The Self neither kills, nor is it killed (Bhagavad Gita 2.17-21)

Know for certain that That which pervades all is imperishable. None can cause the destruction of That, the Imperishable. (Bhagavad Gita 2.17)

Only the material bodies of the Self are subject to destruction, it is said, while the Self itself is indestructible, immeasurable and eternal. Fight therefore, O descendant of Bharata. (2.18)

The basic thing to understand: ‘I am the body’ is a false idea. The bodies come and go, they change form, they each have a beginning and an end. The body you have now is entirely different from the body you had when you were a newborn baby. Therefore identifying oneself with the body is an illusive idea. The real Self, of which the body is just a tool, is indestructible, immeasurable and eternal.

Here is a quote from Ramakrishna Paramahamsa that helps us understand the Self by which all is pervaded.

Take the case of the infinite ocean. There is no limit to its water. Suppose a pot is immersed in it: there is water both inside and outside the pot. The jnani sees that both inside and outside there is nothing but Paramatman. Then what is this pot? It is ‘I-consciousness’. Because of the pot the water appears to be divided into two parts; because of the pot you seem to perceive an inside and an outside. One feels that way as long as this pot of ‘I’ exists. When the ‘I’ disappears, what is remains. That cannot be described in words. (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p. 915)

Even the idea that the material body undergoes destruction is such a false idea. Matter doesn’t come out of nothing. We know that energy can neither be created nor be destroyed, it only changes from one form to another. Similarly, the basic particle of matter, call it ‘atom’ if you want, can neither be created, nor be destroyed. The particles only combine and recombine with each other to change forms. Even after the death of the physical body, the particles that made up the body don’t go away. They just disperse and recombine with other particles to form or feed up other bodies. So what is born and dies is just the idea of a particular form and the name you attach to the form. Take away the name and form and the whole idea of birth and death, creation and destruction, goes into pieces.

One who takes the Self to be the slayer and the one who thinks He is slain, neither of them knows; The Self slays not nor is He slain. (Bhagavad Gita 2.19)

This (the Self) is never born, nor does it die at any time. This has never come into being, never comes and never will come into being. This is eternal, permanent, the most ancient, is not killed when the body is being killed. (2.20)

One who knows this Self to be indestructible, eternal, unborn and immutable, O Partha, how can that person slay or cause to be slain. (2.21)

Also, the idea of separation exists only when we identify with this body, a particular name and form. We say ‘I’ and ‘the other’ only with respect to name and form. When we understand that the identification with name and form is just an illusion, there is no more separation, there is only One. Then there is no more selfishness, there is no harming somebody else to do good for yourself. All ideas of fear, hope, worry, anxiety, desire, craving, killing, being killed, all these ideas vanish. You know yourself to be the One Self, you are the only one. With this knowledge, you live in the present and do the most appropriate thing you can do at this moment.

Formless God, or God with form?

Question: Sometimes I like to meditate upon formless God and sometimes with form. Which is the right one?

Swami Brahmeshananda: A great saint used to recommend that if you can meditate on the formless aspect, well and good. If you can’t, imagine that there is a formless light all around which has taken the form of your chosen deity. Then, meditate on Him and at the end of meditation, again merge the form into the formless.

(From the July 2009 issue of The Vedanta Kesari)

Think of Brahman, Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, as a shoreless ocean. Through the cooling influence, as it were, of the bhakta’s love, the water has frozen at places into blocks of ice. In other words, God now and then assumes various forms for His lovers and reveals Himself to them as a Person. But with the rising of the sun of Knowledge, the blocks of ice melt. Then one doesn’t feel any more that God is a Person, nor does one see God’s forms. What He is cannot be described. Who will describe Him? He who would do so disappears. He cannot find his ‘I’ any more.

(The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p. 148)

Be free from all dualities

Narendra — All is one, isn’t it?

Sri Ramakrishna — No, beyond one and two.

(source)

When the mind perceives duality then there is both duality and its counterpart, which is unity. When the mind drops the perception of duality there is neither duality nor unity. When one is firmly established in the oneness of the infinite consciousness, whether he is quiet or actively engaged in work, then he is considered to be at peace with himself.

— Yoga Vāsiṣṭha (tr. by Swami Venkatesananda, p.66)

The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the self.

— Bhagavad Gita 2.45

The one religion

“There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“We want to lead mankind in the place where there is neither the Vedas, nor the Bible, nor the Koran; yet this is to be done by harmonizing the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran. Mankind ought to be taught that religions are but the varied expressions of The Religion, which is Oneness, so that each may choose that path that suits him best.” ~ Swami Vivekananda

“The candles are many, but the light is one.” ~ Rumi

“Truth is one; only It is called by different names. All people are seeking the same Truth; the variance is due to climate, temperament, and name. A lake has many ghats. From one ghat the Hindus take water in jars and call it ‘jal’. From another ghat the Mussalmāns take water in leather bags and call it ‘pāni’. From a third the Christians take the same thing and call it ‘water’. Suppose someone says that the thing is not ‘jal’ but ‘pāni’, or that it is not ‘pāni’ but ‘water’, or that it is not ‘water’ but ‘jal’, It would indeed be ridiculous. But this very thing is at the root of the friction among sects, their misunderstandings and quarrels. This is why people injure and kill one another, and shed blood, in the name of religion. But this is not good. Everyone is going toward God. They will all realize Him if they have sincerity and longing of heart.” ~ Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

“I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.” ~ M. K. Gandhi

“All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.” ~ Albert Einstein