Some are deluded by their own thinking and some are illumined by Divine Grace - Sri. Ravi Yelluripati
Pujya Sir, my dear brothers and sisters, my humble pranams.
1. In this letter Master, Pujya Babuji is expressing the importance of the need for taking help from a spiritual guide in the path of yoga. It is clear from the letter of the Master how some are deluded by their own thinking relying only on self-acquired knowledge and practices, while ignoring the selfless spiritual service rendered by the masters in the path of Satyapad. In this paper I would like to elaborate my understanding of the message, the key points that would be presented being:
2. It is the belief of many that by self-effort one can realize God and it is probably true as in the case of very few saints of the past. But the path is very difficult to tread and attaining liberation in the first place, in one’s lifetime is very difficult. The march on the path of Satyapad is very slippery and difficult, and the help of an adept is indispensable for advancing into higher realms. From the current day thought pollution that is seen the goal chosen by self-effort itself may be materially oriented, could be seeking miracles or the attainment of powers or Siddhis. For the most part the goal remains an enigma, obscured by various dogmas and notions. It may be true that a person has become a saint by taking a lifeless object as his guru; what is important to note is how difficult and how practicable are such paths to pursue. And the quest too is more often a “Who am I?” than a “Forget thyself”; and as Pujya Babuji further says, “Self-dissolution is the only way for securing complete success” [SS Page 209, 2004 edition].
- 1.1 Pitfalls in Self-Effort only
- 1.2 Self adopted practices
- 1.3 The need for help from master
- 1.4 PAM
3. The goal is further complicated by the half-baked knowledge obtained from various sources like books, and from multi-traditional worship. Some even adopt hypnotic means of practice and for some the mirage of kundalini is enticing enough to pursue! The way of life is a mere do’s and don’ts of life, that of morals, and leading a pious life. Leading such a life by itself is no doubt good but how much it contributes for spiritual advancement needs to be observed. Further, among the lot of such self-effort souls are also the intellectuals. They think ‘knowing’ and ‘being’ are the same and refuse to dive in or peep in to Reality, and hence are happy ‘knowing’ from the books. Seminars and discussions are no good when they are not duly supplemented by proper sadhana.
Without sadhana I do not know how can one attempt in finding that Duality is a delusion? With such ideas in mind the journey of the soul continues without proper guidance citing nowhere the goal of life. The journey is similar to that of a boat, without a fixed destination, in the ocean moving as the wind takes. Perhaps the mountains in the emblem of ISRC are representing such difficulties of man! And as Rev Babuji says, “All of us are proceeding towards Divinity or the goal of life - some consciously and some unconsciously. They, who proceed consciously, are as if swimming in calm waters. Those who are proceeding unconsciously, are beating their hands and feet in the sand of the desert” – SDG Pg 103
4. Further the propagandists of self-effort question why is it that a person like Duryodhana has not been transformed over-night (may be) by Lord Krishna? Such people are probably mostly those who yearn for power of God or Guru, or are expecting miracles rather than girding up their loins for doing their part of sadhana. In the eagerness for power or miracles they forget that the laws of karma have to be followed by all, including Avatars. Pujya K.C. Narayana garu clarifies, “We go through Bhog in meditation, dreams and cleaning sessions. If all the karmic load is cleared off where is the being? Karmic Law is inviolable and one has to go through the effect in some plane or the other” [TTTD, page 270]. Well! - If Bhog is happening in meditation, dreams and cleaning sessions, it is prudent to adopt proper means for sadhana than face the likelihood of the miseries in the physical plane only. One would think of it as basic viveka.
5. In Dynamics of Spiritual Life Pujya Dr K C Varadachari says, “Now-a-days people are confronting the materialistic world with so called Bhakti, devotion and devotion to what? Devotion to ancient past modes of behavior, devotion to certain types of worship and without any kind of desire for real emancipation. Now therefore the static condition has arrived. We are now in a static condition. As against this static condition, Sriramchandraji has provided a dynamic mode of approach to the same problem. There is no use merely confronting man with duties of the society or towards the society nor by confronting with formula of Vedanta-Advaita, Visistadvaita, or Dvaita or any in betweens, as we may know. Nor is it alright to say it is enough to say we are listening to Puranas and Ithihasas and spend time chanting the names of God only. What really matters then, is, we do require a higher consciousness into the consciousness of the unliberated. The slave must certainly safely feel the presence of the emancipator and one who emancipates man from his past and his bondage is real emancipator.” [Dr KCV Vol I, page 618].
6. Need for a spiritual trainer. By now it should be obvious to all that experimenting with life can be done endlessly but to get a meaningful purpose for life, one has to get serious and walk with adepts seeking the goal of nothingness. In my own case, I remember before joining the Institute how difficult it was to assimilate so much of tradition and seek the true path. The connections to the traditional approaches have largely got shaken due to various social, political and historic reasons in the past few centuries. The various practices advised by the seers of the past is being followed very ritualistically lacking the spirit behind it. When I meditated during my young age going to a mutt, my only prayer was – I wish if there is someone to talk to, so I can relate my thoughts, get help and do any other meaningful exercise. Then the blessing of the Divine came to me when I got in touch with ISRC in 1993. I continue to feel that the need for a spiritual trainer is indispensable in spiritual path. I would like to note few points below:
7. In PAM, the support of the Master comes in the form of yogic transmission called Pranahuti. “Power of transmission is a yogic attainment of a very high order by which a Yogi can infuse by his own will force the Yogic energy or Godly effulgence within any one and remove anything unwanted in him or detrimental to his spiritual progress” [SS Pg 227, Basanth 2004 edition].
- A. Progress on our own is quite possible but it is limited to the first few knots of Pind Desh. As Pujya K.C. Narayana garu makes a note in Path of Grace, “It has been observed that most of the sages of the past who had tried it by self-effort only, remained lingering for whole life on the very first or the second stage and could not cross it [Pg 123]”. Under such circumstances instead of getting stuck like in a whirlpool, it is but viveka to seek help of a worthy master of high caliber who can push one to higher realms so that the journey towards Infinity continues.
- B. It is but common that miseries are part of life. I personally was of a brooding nature and used to think that greatest miseries have dawned only on me. Had I been an advocate of self-effort only, I would have been stuck in the middle of nowhere and there would be no emancipation in sight. The pitfalls due to ego, caste, attachments, have been no less and the limitations imposed by the kosas also hinder our progress. Further the complacency due to some spiritual advancement also hinders spiritual progress. We buckle under our own weight and more likely will be too late by the time we find out! That is the truth or the fact of life. Unless the watchful eye of an adept is around it is sure to be an arduous journey. The sessions of Pranahuti, the practice of the Ten Commandments and the various meditational practices are being of immense help to firmly tread the path of Satyapad. The way of life is more vivid and balanced than before, and of course there is long ways to go.
Pranahuti helps greatly to resolve the mental tendencies of the mind- a task for which great many methods have been prescribed in yester years. The detailed notes on various knots in the work Path of Grace by our spiritual guide Pujya Sri K.C. Narayana garu provide ample clarifications for true seekers. Seminars, workshops, training programs, Chit Lake, and such programs are being conducted to gain in-depth knowledge of the subject, in the spirit of Bodhayanti Parasparam. I pray that PAM benefits more and more seekers.
Pranams to all.