The Gifts of Awakening and Service

Navaratri Satsang, at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 07 October 2019

On the ninth night of Navaratri, Paramahamsa Vishwananda celebrated Ma Siddhidatri, and spoke about the spiritual power which helps to elevate the devotees and transform their lives into true selfless service.

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Jai Gurudev, everybody!

So, today is the last night of these nine wonderful days where Mother was praised in all aspects. If we analyse it deeply, it’s a purification, a reminder for ourselves of what our life is here for. Yesterday Maha Gauri reminded one of that true knowledge of the Self, and today we are celebrating Siddhidatri Devi which is none other than an aspect of Maha Lakshmi. Siddhidatri: Siddhi means She has all the aspects, all the gifts inside of Her.

You see, very often the word ‘siddhi’ is misinterpreted. In the outside world, they think that siddhi means powers. But it is spiritual power, spiritual strength only which can help to elevate one, make one ready, make one’s service become selfless. Otherwise, very often in our service to the Lord there is always ‘I’, ‘I am doing this’. We don’t think about Him. We forget about Him. We are always thinking, ‘I am doing that’, and we like to talk about what we do. We do little things, we like to play the drum, ‘I have done this, I have done that.’ So, Ma Siddhidatri is reminder of this gift of awakening beyond the limitation of the mind. She reminds us that in a devotee’s life, our life is a continuous service.

Yesterday we were talking about service, about this Maha Vishwas, this great faith; but if we have that great faith, we can’t just sit idle. We can’t just say, ‘Yes, we have faith’ and then not do anything. Some will say, ‘Yes, any action will entangle you into this material world’, but that’s what has to be clear. For normal people, for people who don’t know about service, of course, every action entangles them here because they are enslaved to their minds. And when one becomes enslaved to one’s mind, that personality of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ is always present, ‘That belongs to me’. Then you become possessor of that thing, not knowing that death will snatch everything from you. What have you taken? What have you brought into this world? Nothing! Through the Grace of the Lord, through the Grace of Guru you have received the most precious of all things: to be on the path of devotion, to be on the path of service to the Lord. Not only waiting until you die to serve Him afterwards. No, He said, ‘You don’t need to die to serve Me. You can start by serving Me here.’

If one does this selfless service to Guru and God and offers every action, every result, fruits, to the Lord unconditionally, that becomes bhakti. And bhakti is that shakti which helps you to move forward towards Him.

Paramahamsa Vishwananda 

Often people have this in their minds and say ‘Okay, when I get old, I will start doing my spiritual practice.’ You think that when you are getting old God will give you that Grace just like that? No! You must have that inside of you. That’s why service which is offered selflessly to Giridhariji doesn’t create any kind of entanglement. So, the devotee is not bind by the law of karma because everything that you do you will have a certain result. But the devotee’s life doesn’t hang upon that result. They don’t even expect the Lord to reveal Himself to them. They don’t hold upon the good or the bad. Such is the mind of a devotee. A mind of a devote is freed from the chain of the cause and effect. The mind of the devotee has attained the divinisation of the mind itself. Being here, one has attained deliverance from that cycle of birth and death. One has attained that freedom, that liberation. In such a state of mind, when the mind is fully absorbed into the remembrance of Giridhariji, any action you do does not create any sort of bondage. And such is a devotee that everything that they do becomes a tool of devotion. Every action that they do becomes a tool of bhakti itself.

If one does this selfless service to Guru and God and offers every action, every result, fruits, to the Lord unconditionally, that becomes bhakti. And bhakti is that shakti which helps you to move forward towards Him. It is through that shakti which awakens in bhakti. That is Ma Bhagavati in that aspect today, Siddhidatri, Maha Lakshmi who holds everything. One becomes neutral to all kinds of desire or expectation. Here siddhi doesn’t mean only to gain, gain, gain. No, you become neutral to the outside. Things may awaken, yes, but you are not attached to it. Because, you see, on the spiritual path, many tests will come and also these gifts will awaken as a test. I have met many people who come to me and say, ‘Oh, look at my power’, ‘I want to show you.’

Once we were invited by a saintly person and that person sitting next to me was always boasting about, ‘I want to show you what I have.’ A few days ago we were talking about that too with Swami Paranthapa, and I was saying, ‘No, I don’t want to see anything!’ And he said, I want to show you!’ It’s not about to show. It’s good if you have it; God has given it to you, so use it in a right way.  But when you are boosting your ego, you still have not understood what is the purpose of life itself. You still are chained to this world; you are still entangled in this world. So, how can you say you are free? You can’t be free, because only when service becomes selfless and surrendered to the Lord’s Feet, that is the most important thing. In that the bhakti, the true devotees rise. They feel the joy of the soul itself, not a superficial joy which is here now when you are enjoying something, but then after that it disappears. No. The joy of the soul is beyond any limitation. Bliss. So, when one comes to that state, then one can say, yes, you are truly a devotee of the Lord. Sadly, very often you meet many people who say, ‘Yes, I am devotee of Bhagavan’, but when you talk with them, they are so full of judgement and they are so much full of attachment to the outside world itself.

Last week I was talking to somebody and she claims to be very spiritually advanced, and there was some help needed, and of course, I knew that she had the means to help, and she said, ‘Yes, yes, yes, we will help.’ But when the day came to help, she changed her mind. So quickly! Because of attachment towards her material things. So, people can even say so many things, ‘Yes, we are very elevated, we are very great, we are very detached’ - nice words that they will tell everybody, but yet, they have not truly reached to the level of selfless service. Understand that you are born and life has been given to you only for the sake of serving. Not serving in a limited way, but serving the Feet of the Lord Himself. Only through this service one will overcome all the worldly temptations which the mind is in control of. So, when the mind loses its power, attachment also disappears in that person. Otherwise, there will be so many desires, so many expectations, so many dreams.

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Whenever we talk about something, people always have a certain dream of life, no? One has a certain expectation of life. So, instead of focusing the mind and the heart on the Lotus Feet of Giridhariji and making one’s life only that aim, one focuses it elsewhere, one focuses it on the fear of never being happy, of never being enough. In the Gita Krishna said, ‘Even if the whole wealth of the universe is given to somebody who is longing for wealth, it will never be enough.’ So, you see how is the complexity of the mind. If you have not focused that mind and made the Feet of the Lord your refuge, it becomes difficult. When we talk about bhakti, bhakti means completely willingly surrendering yourself to the Feet of Giridhariji. A person who has surrendered himself to the Feet of the Master, the Feet of the Guru, cannot say, ‘I have this, that’s mine. I own this.’ No, not if you have surrendered, which means you have given yourself to the Guru.

How can you claim ownership? Can you claim ownership when you have given something away? You can’t, no? Then where is this ‘I’? ‘I am doing this, I am doing that.’ Why don’t you transform this ‘I’ and say, ‘He is doing it’?

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Those devotees who can really call themselves true devotees are in the Grace of the Master. So, that’s the result that one attains, like carrying the orders of the Master; that’s what bhakti is, actually. For those devotees who have surrendered themselves, every action, every deed is a reminder that they are doing it for the Lord Himself. Then only will they not be attached to the result, whether the result is good or not good. If the Lord Himself is doing, do you think there will be no good things in it? He will give you what you truly need. He will assist you in everything. He didn’t say that He will take away something from you. No. Through karma you will have to go through it, but He will become the strength in assisting whatever you do because you are surrendered to Him, you belong to Him. This is where karma doesn’t work, karma itself ends. Through this action you get closer and closer. So, the more you think about Him, the closer you get to Him, the more you get attached to Him. So, what can you do without Him willing it? Nothing! It may appear terrible to the mind, it may be shocking, but in every action you will be guided and you will be free from all consequences.

Ma Siddhidatri is a reminder that everything will come to you when you are ready.

Paramahamsa Vishwananda

But those in the world who keep the mind active and alive get different results. You see in the world how people get miserable, how people are worrying constantly, about everything and that every little thing make people jump, scared. And you see in the world outside how it is. Those who are devoid of bhakti, you see how miserable they are. They just go. This is not through judgement, but through observation. There is no life. They don’t radiate. They may say to you, ‘Yes, I am happy’, but that light which you perceive in a devotee’s eyes, you don’t see it in everybody’s eyes.

That glimmer, that joy, that inner joy which the Atma reflects, through your eyes you see it, you perceive it. That’s why many people can’t handle you people! No, the world will never be able to handle you. Because you are an alien to them. Alien in a sense that you are a stranger; you’re an alien to these people. When they see you, the devotees will embrace you, but others will say, ‘Oh, my goodness, not this one again.’ Your own friends will say the same thing to you, because you radiate a different light inside of you, which they want to comprehend, but they can’t comprehend. They try, they will tell you, ‘Yes, yes, I am very happy for you because you are happy’, but are they truly happy for you? No, they are not truly happy for you because they can’t understand why you are like this; why do you view a certain situation and instead of getting crazy, angry and frustrated, you are just happy about it? They think, ‘Ah, there is something wrong here.’

You are laughing, I am sure it has happened to many of you. Because they can’t comprehend that strength, they can’t comprehend that happiness which is derived from the soul itself. They can’t understand why are you so simple and still you are happy. You know, to become simple is shocking to the world nowadays. In ancient times they will tell you, no, you have to become simple, but bhakti is simple. It is through that kind of simplicity. But when people outside look at that, they can’t, because they like their life to be complex. When their life is complex, then they will think that they are happy.

You know, few days ago we were rocking here you know, it was already 2 o’clock in the morning, you all were dancing, we were singing, and Prithu told me, ‘Swamiji, sing some bhajan’, and we were singing. So, when we finished, we were going up. As I was going up, I saw two big policemen walking, huge ones, walking, and I said to one of the guys, ‘Go and talk to them!’ So, luckily they saw Anishwari on the way. So, Anishwari tried to explain to them. The first thing she said to them, ‘We are having party. But there are no drugs or alcohol.’ And she made it clear that we were having a party but there was no drugs or alcohol. We are happy! You go and tell this to somebody in the outside, they will wonder, ‘How can you be happy without alcohol?’ And yet, it’s reversed. The world outside, they think they are happy. So, for sure they say, ‘Yes, yes, we will come and see that.’ How can you be happy without anything secondary? It’s very difficult. But yet, devotees are happy, more happy than those who claim to be happy, because they have the most precious thing with them, because they have the Lord with them in every action whatever they do, whether they are aware of Him or not.

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Ma Siddhidatri is a reminder that everything will come to you when you are ready. When you were ready, He brought you to your path. When you are ready, the Lord Himself reveals Himself. But what you have to do, in that state of being when you call yourself a devotee, you should not become mental, you should not become worried. You devotees should trust that He is with you, that His Grace is a loving and saving Grace. And for Him to have graced you to have shelter at His Feet, meaning that He cares for you and that He is there as a sole refuge, means that you have to surrender everything to Him, all your duties, all your actions, and you should stop worrying that He is there for you, He is there even to cleanse you.

Sage Valmiki in the Ramayana said to Lord Rama, ‘O Lord, a person who does everything and then offers them to You wanting nothing but only the affection of Your Lotus Feet…’ You know, only the affection of Your Lotus Feet, nothing else, I don’t want anything, I want only that service to Your Lotus Feet. So, Valmiki is saying, ‘For such a person who has this deep longing to serve Your Feet, to serve You, for sure that person’s heart is Your dwelling place, it is a place where You live. You don’t live anywhere else, but for those who have that longing, You are living there.’

That’s why a devotee is a temple. Whenever you create offence to a devotee, you create offence to the Lord itself. That’s why aparadha: whenever you do aparadha to a devotee you are not doing aparadha to the devotee himself, but you are doing aparadha to the Beloved Lord who is seated inside of the heart of that devotee. So, imagine what karma will come to you. That’s why when you read the Shreemad Bhagavatam you see all those who have commit offences have to go and ask that person for forgiveness. And if that person forgives you, Bhagavan will forgive you, the Lord will forgive you. But if that person doesn’t forgive you, imagine even the Grace of the Lord, He Himself will not save you on that. So, for offending His devotee you will be sorry. A devotee who doesn’t want anything for themselves and has faith and affection and surrender, their heart is the residence of the Supreme Lord and the Lord acts in a very affectionate way towards them. And all this happens in a very simple way. He is not complicated. You are complicated! You complicate your life and ask, ‘Why my life is complicated? Why am I unhappy?’ when the Lord wants to act, and enjoy your relationship the same way you want to enjoy His relationship. And He is ready to do anything for you.

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There was once – have you ever heard of Guruvayur? A very famous temple of Lord Krishna in Kerala. So, you see, in Guruvayur every prasad which is offered is offered as a coconut, because if you have been to Kerala you have seen that there is only coconut there. It is a jungle. When I was there, there was this paragliding thing I wanted to do. It was a motor and a parachute, and I said, ‘Okay, we will do.’ So, we went up, and there were just coconut trees. One side was an ocean, the other side were just green coconut trees. It’s beautiful!

So, coconut is the main prasad which is offered in Guruvayur temple. There was this village who they didn’t have anything to bring for Thakurji, for Krishna. They had only these coconuts, so they packed their cart with lots of coconuts and they were going. On the way there were some dacoits, some thieves, who stopped them and said, ‘What are you bringing? What do you have here?’

They said, ‘We have coconut and this coconut belongs to Guruvayur.’ The thieves didn’t believe them. So, they started to force the bags open. The people said, ‘No, no, please!’

And the thieves said, ‘Why are you protecting the coconut? Does the coconut have horns, that’s why you are protecting it?’ They said, ‘Yes, yes, it’s for Guruvayur.’

So, the thieves forced opened the bags. When they opened the bags, all the coconuts did have horns! Because the thief had said it, no? ‘Are you protecting these coconuts because they are so special they have horns?’ Bhagavan had changed them and all the coconuts had horns. And this coconut even today, well, you will not be able to go inside the temple, but you can view this coconut inside the temple of Guruvayur which Bhagavan Himself made what they said happen. See how much care He has for each one!?

There is another beautiful story of a small boy who went hungry for many days, with nothing to eat. So, one day after many days of not eating, he stole a banana. And when he stole the banana, since it’s said that a devotee would not take anything for himself, so he would share with the Lord, no? You start to think about yourself right now. Even a thought that is on Him is an offering to Him.

So, this boy stole this banana. Instead of eating this whole banana, he took a piece of that banana and put it in a hundi and said, ‘Lord, that is for You.’ And he ate the rest. So, as he came out from the temple, the shop owner caught him and said, ‘You, I saw you stealing my banana and you will be punished.’ But he saw that there was certain sincerity, a certain glow in that eyes of that kid that he said, ‘Okay, you must go around the temple a certain number of times.’ And the boy accepted it. And as he was going around the temple, the shop owner was looking at him. And all of a sudden he saw Guruvayurappan also walking around behind the boy and he said, ‘Forgive me, I’m so sorry.’ He could not understand, but he saw the Lord walking behind that boy and he was wondering why. So, at night in his dream, Lord Krishna came and explained to him, saying, ‘You have punished him because of a banana, but I also had a share of that banana, so I also have to have share in his parikrama of the temple.’

And this is the beauty, of Bhagavan; the lover and the Beloved, that relationship. And this is what Siddhidatri represents. It’s not about siddhi powers, it’s about reminding you of who you are in essence, who you truly are. Not what you understand through the mind. That you are this, you have this relationship with the Supreme Lord, and that the Supreme Lord has this relationship with you and He is ready to do anything for you.

Are you ready to do anything for Him? This is a question you have to ask yourself.

Jai Gurudev!


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