Subtle Teachings from the Ananda Ramayana, Part One
Part Two is available here.
Shri Anandi Ma’s Birthday Blessing
October 11, 2008
Artha na dharma na kaama ruci
Gati na cahaun nirabaana,
Janama janama rati Raama pada
Yaha baradaanu na aana
Very dear and worthy of worship, my parents, and all of you, my precious to the heart and soul disciples,
On this day I bow down to Lord Ram, to Guruji, and to my parents a million times; and pranams to Lord Ram and Sita, who reside in your heart.
In the Ramayana, Tulsidasji very beautifully portrays the characteristics of Lord Ram’s brother Bharata. Bharata makes a request to Lord Ram, saying, “I don’t want any of the four fruits of life: material well-being or even the aspect of action; I don’t expect dharma in terms of behavior, nor do I choose the path to be liberated. All I ask is that, for lifetime after lifetime, I attain unflinching and stable devotion for your feet.”
Today I feel extremely blessed that I have such parents in my life who instilled very positive samskaras, positive values in my life, opened my heart for faith, love, and devotion, and most of all brought the gift of the priceless Guru. What Guruji and my parents gave is so priceless that many lifetimes in their service won’t repay that debt.
. . . today I want to give you something unique and priceless. This is something that is very deep in its essence, very profound. In the Indian languages it is termed as rahasya, which means secret, not openly given out, not easily and openly discussed, but rare and privileged information.
Many thanks to you for coming here today and expressing your love on my birthday. But in reality, how can I ever express or give my thanks? The very goal of my life is Guruji’s wish and work, and Guruji’s sole wish was that the individual, the disciple, reach the goal and merge with God. For that goal to be attained He gave us the priceless tools of shaktipat, the Ram mantra, and the bhut shuddhi mantra. Within these practices, the essence of the absolute principle is enclosed. But today I want to give you something unique and priceless. This is something that is very deep in its essence, very profound. In the Indian languages it is termed as rahasya, which means secret, not openly given out, not easily and openly discussed, but rare and privileged information.
Who was Ram, and what is the Ram tattva, the essence of Lord Ram? That is the main thing to understand, for us to realize in this path. In one of the scriptures, the Ananda Ramayana, this has been beautifully described by Valmikiji.
On one occasion, Lord Ram and Sita were sitting together, and the story goes that Sitaji had just been praised immensely by Lord Ram, and at the end of that, Sitaji said, “Lord, if I have your permission, I would like to ask you something.”
Lord Ram said, “Oh, my dear one, whatever you want to ask, please feel absolutely free and open to do so; do not have any resistance, any doubts in your heart as to what you can or cannot ask. Whatever you ask, however deep or profound it is, however secretive it may be, I am more than willing to share it with you.”
So Sitaji said, “Lord, please give me such a teaching, such a lesson, so that I can understand who you are completely.”
Lord Ram was extremely pleased and said, “Your question is very beautiful and profound, and I will give you the essence, but be sure to listen very attentively. I’ll talk about how one can attain realization; that will increase your curiosity, so please, again, listen attentively.”
Lord Ram began, “There’s a huge ocean in the form of the state of sat, the absolute truth; chit, the ultimate consciousness; and anand, the state of absolute bliss. From a ripple in that ocean in the form of desire, a drop of awareness separated and manifested as the extremely pure individual soul, the atman.
“The mother of the soul became the intellect. And what is pure and sattvic, the antah-karana, became the father.”
Antah-karana is the inner hidden mechanism that is part of our functioning, constituting the chitta, which is our entire thinking and functioning mechanism. So, chitta, antah-karana, and buddhi (intellect).
Just as the mother would control her infant, not allowing it to hurt itself, that level of care and control needs to be established and maintained with our own soul.
The text continues:
The soul has sevenbrothers, bheda, which are divisions. The first four brothers are the four states of consciousness. The most elevated state is the turiya, where the yogi has merged with the infinite. Below that state is jaagrat, or the awareness we are now experiencing. Below that is the dream state, known as svapna. And the lowest is the dark state of sleep, unawareness, known as sushupti. So these four states—turiya, jaagrat, svapna, and sushupti—are residing in the space of the heart, the hrydaya-akasha. Because of the activity and fast pace of the mind, these states quite often go outside. As a part of this, the state of the mind, the activities of the mind, and its attitudes are distorted. This, in turn, creates subtle impacts on the different states of the mind. Through the influence of the external maya or the falseness, this turmoil in the internal states of the mind creates suppression. If in the midst of all these activities, the buddhi, or the intellect, begins to attain faults, then it has to wander in the forest of physical creation endlessly. Therefore it becomes essential that the activities of the mind be slowly and surely brought into very strict control, to stop falsehood and ego, thereby taking the mind back to the soul, which is influenced by the five elements. Just as the mother would control her infant, not allowing it to hurt itself, that level of care and control needs to be established and maintained with our own soul.
The only true place of completeness, of total peace, is the heart, the residence of the soul itself; anything outside of that is never peaceful or complete. Only within the heart of the soul, which is completeness itself, will true peace be found. Everywhere else, there is turmoil. Within the heart, the negative attributes of fear, anger, lust, greed, revenge, jealousy, and hatred cannot exist. Even hope does not exist there. The true heart is beyond hope. Within the heart, attachment is completely controlled; it is gone. Here, only the pure and absolute sattvic state of reality can exist. The rajas state, which causes the actions that take the soul outside as well as inside, resides in the liver, the place of fire. When these two are active naturally, with the sattva predominant in the space of the heart and rajas to some degree, at that point the tamas, or darkness and inertia, is completely gone, completely under control. Here, that transcendent state is then manifest. When the soul perceives the tamas state as predominant, it is like being surrounded by dark clouds all the time. But when that is transcended, even that state of despair breaks away. When that state is transcended, the true state of discrimination begins to sprout within the space of the heart. Along with that, the sprouts of devotion also begin to emerge, ignorance is destroyed, and love, with enthusiasm, begins to well up. The primary duty of the body, which constitutes the three qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas, is to deliver the soul from the bondage of darkness and ignorance through whatever means and tools possible. When that darkness is dispelled, the person can completely control the mind.
The bhut shuddhi mantra comes in here with linga shariram soshay soshay swaha, where we ask for purification to set in so that the subtle body is cleansed to the extent that we are not bound by that darkness but become free from it. So the mind needs to be controlled and won over so that the transcendence of all the negative attributes can occur. Once that is possible, then and then only is one able to be free from ego.
That is when truly we have control of the subtle body, where the samskaras are stored. The bhut shuddhi mantra is about controlling the ego, the mind, and whatever negative attributes come through the subtle body’s purification process—Om yam linga shariram soshay soshay swaha. Once complete purification happens, the ego and all the negative attributes are removed.
The text continues:
When this is reached by the individual, maya is defeated. What is the truth beyond, regarding maya? It is the attachment or the partnership, the combining of functioning with the negative faults, like hatred, fear, jealousy, and anger, through which maya is manifested. And when the individual is able to be free, is able to defeat them, then he is also free from maya. When maya, attachment, is put aside, the sattva—pure and noble attitudes and samskaras—comes up and remains dominant. Then there is nothing but happiness forever, and the individual begins to live within that space of the heart and remains in that state of infinite and ultimate bliss.
Next, by transcending the space of the heart, one goes to the even greater space outside, the maha-akasha. It is in this space that that absolute tattva—the state of absolute truth, consciousness, and bliss—is ever present. By jumping into that ocean of sat, chit, and anand, the soul is then liberated and attains the state of liberation known as saayujya-mukti, merging with the infinite. Just as sugar is dissolved in milk, similarly the soul merges back with God.
Then Lord Ram continued, saying, “Sita, it’s because of your love and your faith that I opened this treasure chest of my knowledge for you. These are the absolute true words of all the scriptures, the Vedas and the Puranas put together. This knowledge can destroy the ignorance and the darkness of the mind. It is through the contemplation of these mantras, these verses, that you can reach me at my source.
“Sitaji, I am opening this treasure chest for you, but please guard it very well. Think over and over about it very deeply, with tremendous contemplation and concentration. Over time, as you contemplate and concentrate, you will reach my true essence.”
So in this way, Ram described the treasure chest of this knowledge, and as Sitaji listened, she very deeply and profoundly held on to every word within the space of her heart. As Ram had instructed, she then opened it, and in a very concentrated and minute way, she began to explore that chest. She began to understand the significance of her own existence and her own actions. As her understanding of that knowledge took hold, she began to smile, and finally she fell at Rama’s feet and she experienced an infinite level of bliss. Her tears began to flow, her hair stood on end, chills filled her body, and she lost consciousness. She went very deeply into the knowledge of her own self.
Ram was watching her, and when she awoke, he said, “Oh, Sitaji, what did you see that is bringing you such joy? What are the satisfying aspects that you witnessed, which are bringing about such a profound happiness, even through the expressions of your face? Is your ignorance gone? Tell me what you understand about me. I want to hear that from you now, so I can understand whether you really understood me or not. And if there is something that is lacking, something that you have missed, then I will reaffirm that with you.”
This made Sitaji even happier. She said, “Oh Lord, the one who destroyed the ego of Ravana, I have begun to look deeply within the treasure chest of knowledge that you have granted me. With deep knowledge and concentration and vision, I have begun to explore and I am beginning to see and understand who you are. You are the one without any qualities; you are the formless. But whatever you do with me and through me, each and every action that you perform has a single purpose, and that is the welfare of humanity. The fifteen verses that you have given me through the treasure chest are indeed the state of absolute knowledge. Nothing more is required.”
Like Sitaji, may you also, within the space of your heart, contemplate and think deeply. Guruji said that butter needs to be churned from milk, that simply by looking at milk we cannot see the butter. With the process of making the yogurt, and then getting the butter and churning it, you attain the invisible butter from within the milk. Similarly, the true essence of sat, chit, and anand needs to be attained through the churning of the heart, of the consciousness. Whatever is essential has already been given by the Guru. The effort of practice, the churning process, needs to be done by the student; then the cream, the butter, will be attained. The Ram tattva is infinite, and therefore it is not possible to summarize it, but study it and use the tools that have been given to deepen your practices and explore the truth for yourself.
Kaamihi naari piaari jimi
Lobhihi priya jimi daam
Timi Raghunaatha nirantara
Priya laagahu mohi Raam
As he’s concluding the Ramayana, Tulsidasji writes a beautiful verse and says that a person who’s obsessed with sex thinks of the partner or the person constantly. That constant thought is predominant in the person’s entire being. The miser is constantly counting his money; even in his dreams he counts how much he lost or how much he still needs to make. Tulsidasji requests of Ram, “Just as these people are obsessed with money or another person, let my mind be in that state of constantly thinking of union with God. May it be so absorbed that it cannot let go, even if it wants to. Let my mind reach such a state that I never lose you, even for a moment.”
That is a unique state to be achieved, and on this occasion, we seek the blessing that, like Tulsidasji, we may attain that state where we do not forget or miss the Lord even for a moment.
We conclude here with a prayer on this day, again seeking blessings of God and Guru, that may you attain the essence of the Creator as Ram by the grace of Mother Sita, and just as she was inquisitive and worked hard to receive that knowledge, may you also be inspired to do the same.
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah
Sarve santu niramayah
Sarve bhadrani pashyantu
Ma kascid dukhabhag bhavet
Ma kascid dukhabhag bhavet
Om shantih shantih shantih
Shri Ramachandra bhagavan ki jai!
Sadaguru Deva ki jai!
May everyone everywhere be happy.
Let each and every be filled with love, peace, and joy.
May all miseries be destroyed,
And may each and every soul thirst to reach God.
Om Peace. Peace. Peace.
Editor’s Note: Ma’s comments are additional and are not a part of the original text.
Image: ⓒ British Library Board, detail from (Add.15296(1) ff.71r)
Part Two is available here.