Navaratri Satsang, at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 06 October 2019
On the eighth night of Navaratri, Paramahamsa Vishwananda spoke about Maha Gauri as the most serene, calm, and focused aspect of the wisdom of the Self. He also explained a key component on the bhakti path: Maha Vishwas. This is the highest form of faith, focused on the Supreme Lord Himself, that cannot be shaken by anything. Here are some excerpts from that talk.
Jai Gurudev, everyone!
So, today is the 8th day of Navaratri, the 8th night of the Mother, Maha Gauri. Maha Gauri, when we look at Her, what do we see? We see purity. She is calm, serene. She is not wild. That’s what She represents, that wisdom of the Self. She represents that knowledge of how to attain that Self.
We all say, ‘Yes, we know ourselves’. But even for those who are well versed in scriptures and may know everything through the scriptures, it doesn’t mean that they have a glimpse of themselves. Forget about the glimpse of God, but even a glimpse of who you are. I’m not talking about the monkey that you see in the morning in the mirror. Because the monkey mind only perceives a monkey, no? A mind that is agitated, a mind that is always jumping around, what would that mind perceive? It would perceive only a monkey that is constantly jumping from one thing to the other. This is the state of the mind. But when that mind has calmed itself through your sadhana, through your meditation, through your japam, that same mind starts to reveal a different aspect of yourself. That’s why Maha Gauri represents that serenity, that calmness, that awareness. Because those who are anchored within oneself, they don’t bother about anything of the outside.
[Referring to a verse in the Bhagavad Gita]:
Here Bhagavan at the end said, ‘I take special care of them, look after their welfare, I become their saviour.’ And that is called Maha Vishwas; it is called “anugraha”, where the Lord Himself cares for you, takes charge of you, looks after you. Vishwas means faith, but Maha Vishwas is great faith, reverence, belief, conviction. So, it should not be thought of an ordinary sense or common way when it comes to bhakti, when it comes to that devotional service. It’s not just simple. You can’t just say, ‘Yes, I have faith’, randomly. Because that faith must have also that conviction in it; conviction that the Lord Himself is with you, caring for you, looking after you. This Maha Vishwas is that absolute faith in the saving Grace of Bhagavan Himself. That’s what is called anugraha: to have this conviction that, ‘It doesn’t matter, I may hold Him, I may not hold Him, but He will hold me.’ And that is something very strong.
How wavering is your mind, how wavering is your faith? Today you are very faithful, tomorrow you are not faithful at all. This is the mind. But when we talk about really devoting ourselves, we must look at ourselves and ask this question, ‘How faithful I am in my path? How faithful I am towards my Beloved Lord?’ Because that faith can’t just be shallow. It must be deep. It must be strong so that whatever wind blows, whatever mosquito bites you, it doesn’t waver around, it doesn’t flicker around, it doesn’t go around.
The kind of faith that the saints have, it’s amazing, like when we look at the saints who have been martyred for their faith. They are going to be killed, but yet, what strong faith they have inside of them so that they say, ‘Yes, I would rather give my life than betray my faith.’ Very often these people have never seen or encountered God Himself. But yet, inside of them there is a strong faith. When we look at the saints, they will never go away from that.
To cleanse your mind, He sent you on your spiritual path, but yet, you must awaken that complete trust, called Maha Vishwas, inside of you...This kind of faith is indeed the most excellent virtue.
So, this is what Maha Vishwas stands for: this absolute faith that Bhagavan Himself will care and look after. Bhagavan Himself will save you. Because by yourself you can’t save yourself. What can you do by yourself? You can do only limited things. How do you think you will save yourself? Only when you dedicate yourself to do what you can from your side, which is your bhakti, no? But even that Grace, Kripa, comes also by His mercy. To get to know Him it is only by His mercy, His Kripa. So, for that, He has made you able to know Him. To cleanse your mind, He sent you on your spiritual path, but yet, you must awaken that complete trust, called Maha Vishwas, inside of you; it is that trust that nothing can move you.
This kind of faith is indeed the most excellent virtue. It is a very important component on the bhakti path to have such devotion and such focus on the Feet of Sriman Narayana. Such Maha Vishwas can only be dedicated and applied to the service of Bhagavan Himself. It can’t be for ordinary things or common purposes. This excellent objective is to attain that liberation, to attain that service to the Lord. This is how you will be liberated from that cycle of birth and death. Otherwise you’ll get entangled continuously into that cycle of birth and death. When you have this strong faith inside of you, that cycle of birth and death is removed. You attain eternal servitude to the Feet of Sriman Narayana which is, actually, the sole aim of every individual soul to attain this supreme bliss, this eternal state of awareness. This can happen only when you have Maha Vishwas inside of you. But if you have vishwas for the world, then it’s a different thing.
Very often you mostly have trust in the world, faith in the world. You say, ‘Yes, we have faith, we believe in God’, but actually, you do lots of worship, believing in God only as a form of business. Like I said a few days ago, you worship the demigods or you worship ordinary deities which are not in form or not with the purpose of bhakti. Merely having faith or belief in a deity or worshipping that deity with reverence is not bhakti. It’s not true bhakti because you are "doing business".
Why are you still miserable and through your misery you feel jealous when you see people happy, so you want to make their life miserable also, thinking that, by making their life miserable, you will be happy? No, you will never find that happiness, because this is devoid of bhakti itself. You may have faith in what you are asking for, you may have faith in what you are praying for, but it is not bhakti because bhakti is only for the Supreme Being; He is the only one who can really give you true satisfaction. He is the only one who can give you final liberation and deliver you from that cycle of birth and death.
An ordinary deity can’t do that no matter who they are. They can fulfil all your material wishes, but they can’t deliver you, they can’t free you from that cycle of birth and death. So even if you are dedicated to them, you may have faith in them, you may think that, ‘Yes, I am doing bhakti’, still you are deluded and you become ignorant.
Having this Maha Vishwas is what bhakti is about; this is what true devotion is about and it is an important and crucial component of it. Only then will you bear the fruit of it. But for that you have to be very careful and very attentive. You can look at the nine Goddesses and see how Maha Devi purified until you come to that point of Maha Gauri, who stands for that supreme wisdom, that supreme faith, that supreme devotion. But it’s not just mere faith or mere devotion.
Yesterday we celebrated Kalaratri, and that was showing you how She absorbs everything, how Krishna absorbs everything inside of Him. To purify you He will take everything upon Him. So, today you come having this clarity, being bright, like Maha Gauri, but that brightness comes only when you are paying close attention. It's not just a mere kind of devotion, but devotion to the Supreme Lord Himself. Here when we talk about bhakti, it’s only towards the Supreme Being. Because even She is fully absorbed in service to the Feet of Sriman Narayana. She helps the devotees to attain the Feet of Sriman Narayana. And that happens when you have that strong faith.
This Maha Vishwas relates to the heart because of faith, conviction, belief, acceptance, love and reverence. Because this is the basic root of the heart of hearts. In the mind, it is different. In the mind you have lots of logical things, intelligence. You like to analyse things, you like to rationalise things, the mind always is in constant movement with that, constant movement from left to right, right to left. But in the heart of hearts, it’s a different matter. In the heart is where Bhagavan Himself resides. And this is the place where you meet Him. So, therefore that strong faith is directly related to your Atma. The faith of the Atma is not just the faith of the mind; it’s a yearning, it’s a longing, it’s a crying, a crying that, ‘I want You’. But how many are ready to listen to that cry? Bhagavan is listening, but are you aware of that crying, are you aware that your heart is crying for Him? Many will say, ‘Yes, yes’. But if your heart is really crying for Him, why He doesn’t reveal Himself? When your heart really cries for Him, that cry comes from your Atma itself. That is what Maha Vishwas is, that kind of faith, when bhakti really awakens, when Bhagavan graces you, and then that becomes the first step towards bhakti, the first step towards His Lotus Feet, the first step towards service to Him.
Maha Vishwas is glorious. It is that which gives you the Realisation of who you are.
Yes, He has called you all, He has given you glimpses of it, but very often your mind has betrayed you. No one else but yourself! You have taken it for granted. But those who have taken it seriously, they have not. You can’t treat what He has given you just randomly like that, like it is so ordinary. Transformation must happen. Imagine you are closed completely, all of you are submerged in amrit, what would happen to you? You would become automatically immortal. Whether you want it or you don’t want it, you will become immortal, because you are fully absorbed into it. So, the same thing, when Bhagavan reveals Himself through devotion inside of your heart, it’s not just random. He is everywhere. He has taken control of you.
You have always understood an ordinary or common form of faith. That common form of faith which once you have understood, ‘Yes, I’m lighting an incense in front of the deity once a day, or I am just putting a little bit of flower to the deity once a day’, you are saying, ‘Yes, I am doing lots of worship.’ And you are going around doing your japam mechanically – who are you thinking you are fooling? Nobody but yourself! You see, this is called a common form of faith. It is completely different from Maha Vishwas. Maha Vishwas is glorious. It is that which gives you the Realisation of who you are. Self-Realisation is revealed to you only when you have that Maha Vishwas.
Let this great faith awaken inside of you. Let bhakti awaken inside of you and trust. it’s not just a superficial trust, it’s not just a superficial love, it’s not just a superficial reverence, it is all done with conviction. It is done with complete faith. When we talk about bhakti, we talk about devotion, we talk about love – for a bhakta, all these are selfless, all these are turned only towards Sriman Narayana. So, such who have faith, these real devotees of Bhagavan, are considered to be perfect. We are not talking about the outside perfection. We are talking about the inner perfection. Those who have attained the state of a yogi. Yogi doesn’t mean only the one which is seated in the cave, in the Himalayas. No, Bhagavan said, even in daily life everybody can go on with their chores, but yet, they are great yogis. So, that word ‘yogi’ who has found this communion with Bhagavan within them, those who are enjoying the sweetness of His Love at all times in whatever they do, those are true yogis, those whose minds have attained the oneness or the relationship with Giridhari, for them, they know God.
This firm faith: don’t lose it! That trust, don’t lose it! Don’t let the world corrupt you. This faith has come to you; don’t take it for granted. Because once you lose it, then you will know what a precious thing you have lost. It is also your choice. Bhagavan is so merciful, He has given it to you because He sees how humans are. To have this human body itself, for countless of lives you have looked for Him. Let this faith be directed towards Him. Let this bhakti – let this bond of Love between you and Him – let it cement itself, because that bond of love must be so strong that nothing can move it. It is important that you have firm faith, conviction, love, and trust to reach to that supreme level.
If you look for God with the mind, the mind is very uncertain. The mind is always flickering, the mind is always there to corrupt you; just as people are always there to corrupt you, the mind is also always there to corrupt you. But the heart is there to make you feel His Love. So, if you see that your mind is flickering around, if you see that your heart stops to feel something, this shows that there is a lack of faith inside of you, there is a lack of belief or conviction. And that will lead you nowhere. Even in the material world, you must have a certain conviction – no? - in what you are doing. If you don’t have conviction in what you want to do, you don’t have faith in what you are doing, do you think you will achieve something in life? You will not! Even in the material world you have a certain faith, you have a certain belief, you have a certain conviction in whatever you do, then you can do something.
So simple is bhakti when you dive into that ocean, when you don’t restrict yourself. So simple it becomes, but so complicated when you try to understand it with the mind; you become crazy. That same mind makes you crazy and the same mind makes you liberated depending upon who is in your surroundings and how you make that awaken inside of you. Bhagavan is so merciful, He is ever ready to give, but are you ever ready to receive Him?
You must have this Maha Vishwas inside of you. That’s why Lord Krishna said in the Gita, ‘Of all the yogis, those who worship Me with immense faith in Me in their mind and heart are regarded as the best of all yogis.’ He said earlier when Arjuna asked Him, ‘Those who worship Me with their mind and their heart.’ He didn’t say only the heart, he didn’t say only the mind, He said both the mind and the heart. Because if you worship Him only with the mind, it’s fake. If you worship Him only with your heart, it is still fake, because you are not giving your fullness to Him. Here He said, ‘Worship - those who worship Me completely in the fullness in their mind and the heart, such is a state of a yogi’, such is a state of a fully realised being, such is a state of those who have truly had a glimpse of Love.
Sri Maha Gauri Mata ki…Jai!