take milk but also eat pickles after that.”
Sri K.C.Narayana garu
1. This sentence of the Master
expressed in one of his letters to Dr.K.C.Varadachari
on 26th July 1968 is of great spiritual significance.
I shall quote the context in which this was made.
“I also frankly express today that I have
been transmitting South India every time for the
last ten years. The results are good but not according
to my labour. The case may be that they are mostly
dogmatic instead of Godmatic. To be more plain
I should say that they have in mind the value
of the grosser type of worship and one link is
attached to God and the other to the devil. Thus
they take milk but also take pickle after it.”
2. It is our common observation
that after a good meditation there are some who
would like to hear their voices having already
exhausted hearing the voice of Master in the heart.
The time to dwell on the thoughts that arose during
meditation and ones’ orientation to Master
is swiftly given up to the meaningless chatter
of their mind. Though the Masters words of God
and Devil in this context may appear odd, if we
take the words in a broader sense it would mean
the replacement of the opposites.
3. I was accustomed to the custom
of eating food followed by some good delicious
sweet dish and in the end eat some thing that
is peppery and hot. That is the way the majority
of South Indian festival eating is. A Muslim senior
officer came to visit us when I was working at
Vizag. As usual the practice of eating sweet dish
was completed. Then when we were about to serve
him something peppery, he exclaimed why we are
taking away the sweetness in his mouth. That is
the first time I started reflecting on this practice
and ever since I have the habit of ending the
dinner or lunch with the sweet dish only. We need
to retain the sweetness instead of losing it too
4. But sweetness also is repulsive
when it is beyond the limits. Perhaps that is
the problem. Master however says it differently.
We seem to have developed a taste for the peppery
that we prefer to mix it with sweet. The adherence
to the rituals and idols some how is of the form
of addiction and the concepts of infinity and
immortality get confused in our minds. We can
experience infinity during meditation but immortality
which some crave for however is not a product
of meditation. It is to be noted that Infinity
is the continuity of existence and immortality
is the continuity of consciousness. Instead of
realizing that the immortality sought after can
only be in the realm of consciousness when our
idea of body-self and its boundary is crossed
we tend to think that somehow the body-self will
continue to exist immortally. It is here the crux
of belief in the idols and gods and goddesses
5. The great holy traditions
try to teach and inspire this illusion as if it
is truth through images of omniscience, eternity
and immortality. These images do inspire us to
elevate our consciousness from the finite physical
world to all that is everlasting and present in
creation. But it only inspires and unless we perspire
in the path the elevation of consciousness does
not occur. Without any such perspiration even
when we do have such moments of elevation of consciousness
the habituated mind seeks solace in the rites
and rituals of the gods and goddesses. That is
why many who pursue the path also tend to continue
their old practices of prayer. And this is what
Master was lamenting about in the quotation that
we are discussing.
6. While the oneness of being
is imperienced by us, we have been hearing our
traditional thinkers tending to explain away the
physical plane of manyness as an illusion. The
illusion it is explained is in the seeming separation
between one another. However it is undeniable
that both the experience of the many and the oneness
that is imperienced are there.
7. It is necessary to understand
the infinity in terms of polarity with a beginning
and an end, it is everywhere and nowhere, it is
all and simultaneously nothing. We should realise
that duality is integral to infinity because aggressive
and receptive principles are part of all Creation.
Energy moves because of these principles. That
is why Master says that Krodha and Kama cannot
be totally eradicated.
8. Obstacles, in the context
of spiritual growth, are a person's intellectual,
emotional, or physical veils or Kosas that keep
him away from evolving to a higher state of consciousness.
Our purpose is to try and see ourselves as we
are and remove the obstacles that keep us locked
in self-centredness. We need to understand that
Prapanna gati is an improvement over the Para
Brahmand where we are still serving the individual
self as an infinite self in glory and happiness.
That needs to be sacrificed at the feet of the
Lord so that we get dedicated in the real service
of the Divine. Resignation is not the word here.
It is dedication to the service of the Divine
and realising that it is something only He can
fulfil, we relegate our capacities totally and
leave ourselves at His disposal.
9. Real surrender or Prapanna
demands that we surrender to all existence even
as Master stated. Oneness perceived should lead
to serving the many perceived as one. Real Surrender
is surrender to all and surrender to all means
service to all. Oneness is perceived even at the
first knot but the meaning is gained only when
we cross the para Brahmand and enter Prapanna
gati where we start serving all with a feeling
of not just fraternity but because of a perception
of divinity every where. There are then no deliberations
about whom to serve or when to serve or where
to serve. Service is the mode of living then.
10. We may feel that there is
no scope to serve unless we are qualified in a
particular profession to serve. But we can serve
people in a much more subtle way than providing
medical aid, food and shelter for the sick, hungry
and homeless. By the grace of the Master we have
gained a perspective on life that has eased and
enlightened our way, which we could pass on to
others. The help we have to give may be sharing
our spiritual understanding. We also serve when
we are alone. In meditation we serve the whole
creation by dedicating ourselves to expanding
our consciousness. Whether alone or in a group,
wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we
are being of service when we meditate. The Prapanna
is always in a state similar to meditation and
is a natural servant of the divine and His creation.
11. Sometimes when we begin
to serve with involvement we get attached to how
well the service goes. We do tend to worry about
our service and this is a fall from the state
of Prapanna where our being a ‘doer’
erases our performance. There is an ancient Sufi
saying that states "Trust in Allah, but tie
up your camels." It means to take responsibility
for our part, and then leave it where it is. If
the universe sees it fit to unleash the camels,
well, who are we to think otherwise?
12. It is true that milk and
pickles may be opposites. This is true also when
we reach the condition of Prapanna we naturally
start serving Him. But service brings in the capacity
to serve and a mastery of its own. That is the
origin of Prabhu gati. How can Prapanna and Prabhu
co- exist? That is the point we realise when we
come to the position of Prapanna Prabhu. Seers
found it necessary to explore this duality, the
pairs of opposites. Our lives for millennia have
been spent in understanding good and evil, hot
and cold, light and dark, science and spirituality.
The great masters throughout time have brought
to themselves the awareness that Light is the
perfect union of the Krodha and Kama and we know
that the origins of life are there. Any student
of elementary science knows that when positive
and negative wires are brought together there
is a light (spark). Our Master stresses the fact
of our inter connectedness with infinite wisdom.
Through his works and Pranahuti he leads us and
inspires us to imperience and understand and enable
us to grow infinitely.
13. The problem of worship of
forms which hinders our progress is really tough
to tackle. Master expressed his anguish that inspite
of his labour not much progress to relieve sincere
and devoted disciples from the gross forms of
worship. But I think this problem is inherent
in the nature of thought itself. Imperience of
Infinity is surely one that is formless. But we
know every time there is a thought there is a
form. As a matter of fact many of the educationalists
believe that we should understand the thought
from the form only and the whole primary school
education starts with pictures and forms of various
objects and things. Form it appears is a must
because in understanding the finite we come to
know the infinite. The thought of numbers and
their sequence is one of the preliminary ways
of understanding Infinity. Through Imperience
during meditation we learn that Infinity is oneness
with the Master and we have complete awareness
in our entire mind His presence. The very nature
of our mind as Master puts it leads us to this
final condition and it is the form of our mind
which gets transformed from its gross form to
the subtle and original that serves as a means
for our awareness of Infinity.
14. But if we get stuck with
the attributes of the pure essence that the mind
enables us to imperience we get impeded in our
progress. This is a real slippery zone and I had
enough problems of crossing the attractive borders
of the Formless. This leap from the form to formless
is the crux of overcoming the limitations of the
Manomaya Kosa. Infinity is formless. How then
can we comprehend infinity? We can never do that.
It can only be imperienced through expanded consciousness
and expanded awareness. The surrender of our effort
to comprehend or understand through intellect
the nature of the Infinite is an essential requirement
because knowing Infinity is not in the realm of
reason but in the realm of imperience.
15. Imperience I make bold to
say is not possible unless a person is initiated.
Initiation is not just introduction to the methods
of meditational practices. The aspirant who moves
in the path and comes to the level of consciousness
where he/she fully realizes the interdependence
with the Master and accepts the Master in all
respects alone gets initiated. An uninitiated
person can not see beyond his or her own vasanas
or habits of mind and finds anything other than
his habits as impossible. We may think that once
people are initiated into the spiritual states
of consciousness like the Para Brahmand there
will be automatic awakening to the truth of their
own Being as a matter of natural progression.
16. Unfortunately it is not
so. These spiritual states and statuses themselves
produce a peculiar grossness which forms a center
of identity. A person who really takes the milk
( as Master puts it) and is saturated with it
may because of past habits or vasanas feel that
he/she is awakened but when the experience fades
into a memory, then the identity is in turmoil.
This, the aspirant feels creates the need to go
deeper into the technique or to have more faith.
This is presumed to be the solution to the problem
that caused the experience to fade. The aspirant
then starts thinking constantly about how he could
maintain the imperience. Instead of total surrender
to the Divine the aspirant resorts to taking steps
(compared to taking pickles by the Master) to
remedy the situation instead of growing into the
states of consciousness offered by the Divine.
With respects to all such victims who get attached
to the forms of the Infinite I may say it is their
inability to live upto the teaching of the Master
constantly, and perfectly, that is the problem.
This problem of the aspirant even Master found
it difficult to solve.
17. The entire problem is our
attachment to form. We imperience Silence but
Silence is not a form. The mind takes Silence
and starts converting it into an object and also
starts evaluating it. Now we are not being silent,
we started moving in our ideas about Silence.
We then have our theories of Silence and while
we know nothing of it we think we know. This inquiry
is not into silence, it is into what we "think
about" silence. When this is the case we
have missed and are lost in the mind. And this
lapse into mind from Silence is the product of
our unverified notions and beliefs.
18. When we are fed with milk
by the Master our mind gets obsessed with all
this new imperience of the silence. In fact the
Silence has been with us from the beginning it
is we who were not noticing it because of our
fixations on how spiritual events should be and
trying to find meaning for Silence in the language
that we know. This is where the mind plays all
its jokes and we remain away from the blessings
of the Master though he confers it beyond measure.
Silence does not limit us. Being is not an object
to be grasped. It is what we cannot be without.
If we put the question “what remains in
one moment of Silence” and also give up
the habit of self-enquiry and intellection we
get at the base of what is behind Silence. That
is Reality and that is the Essence.
19. I thank you all for providing
me an opportunity to share my thoughts on one
of the most enigmatic sentences of the Master.