Navaratri Satsang, at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 30 September 2019
On the second night of Navaratri, Paramahamsa Vishwananda spoke about the Divine Mother as a symbol of knowledge, bhakti and purification. He ended His satsang with a delightful story of Hanuman and His dedication to serve Lord Rama.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!
Today we celebrate the second day of Maha Devi by the name of Brahmacharini.
Actually, Brahmacharini, is not only for the brahmacharis. You know, very often people think that Brahmacharini, it is only for those who have renounced and live a certain way. Of course, when we look at Brahmacharini, She holds a rosary and She holds a pot. That mala which She holds symbolises knowledge. Knowledge is infinite. Like, you think that you know something, but there is always something to learn. Knowledge never finishes. And the mala also represents bhakti, because if knowledge doesn’t awaken bhakti inside of you, that knowledge is useless. When we talk about knowledge on the outside, we talk about education. The education which you learn in school helps you only in the outside world, makes you somebody, and gives you a certain job in life. But that is not the only aim.
As much as you say, ‘Yes, I am on the bhakti path, I am doing my devotional service’, if your mind itself has not been purified, you will never get to know who you are and who Bhagavan is. You may know everything in the mind, but the mind stays the mind.
Knowledge is more than that; knowledge is about knowing oneself. And to know oneself, one must have a pure mind. If your mind is tarnished with negativity, if your mind is tarnished with attachment to this world and to the outside reality, if your mind is turned only towards the outside, you will never get to know who you are. As much as you say, ‘Yes, I am on the bhakti path, I am doing my devotional service’, if your mind itself has not been purified, you will never get to know who you are and who Bhagavan is. You may know everything in the mind, but the mind stays the mind.
That’s why She holds a pot in the other hand; to remind you that you have to purify your mind. That’s why She is wearing white. This is who you are. You are that eternal source of all energy. You are the representative of Sriman Narayana. It is a spark of Sriman Narayana inside of you, and that spark is not touched by anything. She is a reminder of that, but inside of you. As much as your mind can be dirty and it needs to be purified, still, deep inside, your Atma is pure. That’s a reminder. It doesn’t mean that you just sit idly like that, say, ‘Okay, my Atma is pure, that’s it, I don’t need to do anything.’ This is also the rosary again as a reminder that you have to purify yourself, you have to cleanse yourself. Of course, you don’t know yourself, but you know your mind, no? You know how you think. You know how you act.
Somebody asked me once, ‘Why is it so easy to become negative rather than positive?’ You experience that in your life itself. It is true that it’s so easy to become negative, because to become negative is effortless. The mind is always running towards the outside, and something from the outside when it comes to you, it becomes natural, easy. That’s why the mind takes that negativity very easily. But when you have to do something positive, it takes an effort from you. Everything that you do which will bring you closer to your true Self takes an effort. It is your sadhana, it is – bhakti doesn’t awaken just like that. Through lives and lives of sadhana you had that Grace that you feel Bhagavan; He has given you that Grace to be part of His family. Of course, everything is His family, but some people stay far away. But for those who are ready, He calls them, He makes them ready, and gives them certain understanding. But that you should not take for granted. You should always remind yourself why are you here, you know. Things may not turn out the way you want, but if you trust in Him, you will know that in everything He is with you. There is not a single moment [that He is not]. He has planned that for a very long time, and this is the relationship which the bhakta has with Bhagavan. You may not remember, but He is reminding you constantly. Whether you are living in The Ashram or you are living in the outside, it doesn’t matter where you are. He is constantly reminding you of His relationship with you. You are thinking that you are doing something for Him, no? In reality, He is doing everything for you, but what He does is invisible to your physical eyes. For that your Atma rejoices inside; your Atma notices that, but yet, the Atma is not ready to reveal itself.
That’s what Brahmacharini stands for: that purity of the mind, that positivity of the mind, where She is that Shakti that can transform and attract the Lord. Awaken that bhakti inside of you, but first learn to keep that mind positive.
Earlier Shyam was saying about the Bhagavad Gita, where Arjuna was asking the Lord, ‘Please, reveal Yourself to me!’ Everybody wants to have that vision, no? But why have only a very few really come to that point? Because only a few have made themselves ready. Everybody wants it and everybody takes that want itself for granted. Understand that, even that want, that feeling, ‘I want to have this relationship with Him’, even THAT one takes that for granted. Because one thinks that one is a centre of the world, no? Thinking that the whole universe is rotating only for that person, and that God has created only that person, no one else. Many people think like that. Many religions think like that: that God has created only them and God is only for them, nobody else. God has created only you and your family and He cares only for you and only for your family. All the other people, no, He doesn’t care. But who has created them all? Who has created everybody? Isn’t it that same Supreme Lord Himself? But not everybody can feel Him, not everybody can have that relationship of knowing Him, and not everybody has that Grace to say, ‘Yes, I want to build a relationship with Him.’ Because very often you fear Him. That’s what you have been told, ‘Fear God!’ But on the Bhakti path, Bhagavan says, ‘No, you should not fear Me. You should love Me. As I love you. Why should you fear Me? Love Me!’ But to be able to love Him the way He loves, that mind must transcend into the same as His. That mind has to become ‘divinised’. If that mind doesn’t become Divine, you will never be able to love Him. Forget about loving people; love in itself is beyond that mind’s understanding. That’s what Brahmacharini stands for: that purity of mind, that positivity of the mind, where She is that Shakti that can transform and attract the Lord. Awaken that bhakti inside of you, but first learn to keep that mind positive. It may sound very easy as I’m talking about it, but it’s also easy to do it if you really want it. You know how difficult something can be, but if you want it, you will have all the power, all the strength to do it, because you are not alone. Guru and God are always with you. You may not notice it, but invisibly their hand is with you, pushing you.
Hanuman's Extraordinary Service
[Gurudev tells the following story based on traditional oral retellings of the Ramayana.]
You know, after the coronation of Lord Rama, Hanuman chose to stay in Ayodhya. So, as they were sitting and discussing it, Hanuman said, ‘I will stay here. I will serve my Lord. That is what I am here for. I don’t have any other aim. I am here to serve Lord Rama.’ So, He started to serve Lord Rama. Every task that there was in the kingdom, He would do. Everything!
Shatrughna, Lakshmana, Bharat, Sita, they didn’t have any tasks. They tried their best, but Hanuman was so fast in doing all the tasks that they didn’t have the chance to do any. So, they were getting upset, ‘Why is Hanuman doing everything?’ They grouped together and they made a master plan. They had a discussion with themselves to discuss it, saying, ‘Hanuman is doing everything, but we also have the right to serve our Lord. So, let’s make a plan.’ So, they made the schedule for each one and what they had to do: Lakshmana, Bharat, Shatrughna, and Sita. So, they would have to keep the schedule of how they had to go through [the tasks]. But of course, being such devoted bhaktas of Lord Rama, they can’t just bypass Him; they have to ask Rama for His permission, no?
So, Sita went to Lord Rama and said, ‘My Lord, we also would love to serve You, and as You know we are trying our best to serve You, but Hanuman has taken over everything. We have made a schedule, please, we need Your approval.’
Of course, Rama just had a look and said, ‘I will read it.’
Sita said, ‘No, no, no, You don’t need to read it, just put Your stamp there.’
Rama made a smile, signed the letter, and Sita was very happy and said, ‘Yay!’
So, as they had boycotted Hanuman completely this time, because they had thought very meticulously, and every single service they had taken over, so Lakshman had thought; every single service. They had not let go of any service that Hanuman could have. They had taken it upon themselves to do it all.
When their time had come, and Hanuman was going to serve, they stopped Him and said, ‘Hanuman, you can’t serve. Look, we have made a schedule and we have planned how we will serve the Lord and the Lord has approved of it. Look, His signature is there.’
Of course, there was the signature of Lord Rama there, so Hanuman couldn’t deny it; He couldn’t disapprove of that. Hanuman looked at the list, didn’t see His name and inside He was saying, ‘My name isn’t on it.’ And He looked at all the services, and all the services had been taken between these four. Hanumanji said, ‘Okay, there is no service for me.’ And so He thought for a while. He closed His eyes and thought, and He came up with a brilliant idea. He said, ‘Listen, I am looking at your list, but there is not the yawning-snapping service.’
And they were thinking, ‘What is this yawning-snapping service now?’
Ramji was laughing because putting all these four together, they could not even equal the knowledge which Hanuman had. He was a monkey, but through His bhakti to Lord Rama, He had all the knowledge inside of Him. Even Maha Lakshmi in the form of Sita Devi, you know, and Adishesh in the form of Lakshmana, Shanka Chakra as Shatrughna and Bharat could not equal Hanuman in His service. So, Rama was laughing, and said, ‘Wow! He came up with something!’
And then they asked Him, ‘Please, explain to us what is this yawning-snapping service and why this service is so important that You have to do it?’
Hanuman said, ‘This service, I tell you, it’s so special and very, very, very important! Because when the Lord yawns, I have to snap my fingers so that nothing evil happens to Him.’
How brilliant it is!
So, yawning is unpredictable. It can happen any time, anywhere, so Hanumanji had to stay with Lord Rama all the time. Imagine the other four!
So, the other four were finished with the yawning service. Hanuman was always walking behind Rama with His fingers ready to snap. He would not even eat with His right hand. He would eat with His left hand, keeping the right hand ready to snap whenever the Lord would yawn.
As it was evening time, Rama and Sita were going to their bedroom. And Hanuman started going to the bedroom also.
Sita said, ‘Stop! That’s my domain there! I am not having you in my bedroom. It is me and Rama!’
So, what to do? Hanuman said, ‘I have to be there!’ And He started arguing with Sita.
Seeing that, Rama said to Hanuman, ‘Please, you go.’
Hanuman looked at Rama and said, ‘You want me to go? I can’t go away from You!’ So Hanuman thought, ‘He doesn’t want me in His bedroom, okay fine, I am going to the balcony.’ So, Hanuman went out and sat on the balcony. But how would He know when Rama would yawn? He started to think, ‘If He yawns and if I don’t snap what will happen, because this is my service?!’ So, throughout the night, He started snapping His fingers. The more He snapped, the more Rama had to yawn.
So, you see the change of things? First He was saying that, ‘I will snap only when Rama yawns’, but when He started snapping his fingers, Rama started yawning.
So, He kept snapping, kept on, kept on like that, and what happened? Rama was getting tired and He collapsed with His mouth wide open because His jaw had locked itself. What a shock! Sita didn’t know what to do, seeing Lord Rama with His opened mouth and locked jaw.
At the same time, Veda Vyasa was passing by. He saw Lord Rama in such a state with His mouth opened big, and he understood what was happening. He understood that relationship between bhakta and Bhagavan. So, he said, ‘Call for Hanuman!’
Everybody looked for Hanuman everywhere, but they could not find Him. Finally, they found Him on the balcony, and they called Him and said, ‘Hanuman, what were you doing?’
Hanuman, seeing Rama’s mouth like that, was shocked, ‘Why are You in such a state like that, my Lord? Why? Who has done such a thing as that?’ Rama managed to readjust His jaw and said, ‘Hanuman, please stop snapping Your fingers.’
Hanuman realised that when He was snapping his fingers, the Lord had to yawn. It was not the Lord's yawning that made Him snap His fingers, it was the snapping of His fingers that made the Lord yawn.
And this is what the Lord is calling each one to be. If your mind is like Hanumanji, which is always absorbed in the remembrance of Lord Rama, that’s when bhakti will awaken itself inside of you.
So, as much negativity as there is in this world, don’t let your mind be absorbed into it. Because it’s not the world which will lose; YOU will lose everything. In anything where your mind becomes negative, it is you who will suffer. That is what Brahmacharini represents, that purity of mind.
Jagadambe Mata ki…Jai!
Giridhari Lal ki…Jai!
Prem se bolo Satgurudeva Sri Swami Vishwananda Mahaprabhu ki…Jai!