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...Becoming A Ritual

Date: Sat, 19 Jul 2008 23:29:11 -0400 To: From: Pradiip Subject: ...Becoming A Ritual Baba "Shun'echi tumi dayalu, ka'je keno anya dekhi..." (P.S. 2125) Purport: O' Parama Purusa, I have heard that You are the merciful one-- why then by Your work and by Your action do I see something different. For You my eyes are showering; my days are passing in calling and longing for You. Baba You know that I love You. Although I am meagre but even then I am Your atom. The pain of the unit is the pain of the Universal; the pain of the atom is the pain of the Cosmic. Don't You understand this simple truth. O' Dearmost, please go on doing according to Your desire. Only my request is that You keep me along with You. The pain and grief of my heart cannot be covered. The suffering of my heart will not listen to Your various justifications and excuses; it cannot be appeased by the merejugglery of words. Baba, I want Your proximity and closeness. Baba, in the scriptures and by seeing Your glory, I heard from other devotees that You are love personified and merciful. And that You are caring for others. So many good attributions You have. But when dealing with me I see something totally different. Here I am crying in longing, and You do not care. Why like this? Please grace me and come close...
Namaskar, Ours is the path of true spirituality, but, little by little, it seems that-- in some cases-- one of our dharmic practices is turning into a mere ritual. As we know, our Guru sakash sadhana has a distinct method, so merely reciting the Guru sakash shloka, "Pratah sirasi...", over and over again is not going to bear any fruit. That is not the way to do Guru Sakash; yet unfortunately, some are succumbing to this ritualistic approach. And it was displayed in this dogmatic way in one of our AM movies as well. So we should be vigilant. Of course not everyone is doing it like this, but a few are-- and if we are not careful this will spread.
Falling into ritualism is not at all uncommon. This has happened to all the major religions. The Christians just recite their prayer 'Our Father who art in Heaven...', the Jews chant lines from the Torah, the Muslims just repeat their namaz; and the Hindus and Buddhists recite a few verses and then bow their head in front of an idol etc. So the present day practice of all the religions are 100% ritualistic. Because that is the easy way to go. One can merely mechanically repeat the required lines and haphazardly pay salutations to their chosen deity, and voila, finished-- everything is done. In such cases, there is little or no attempt towards realisation or enhancing the quality of mind; there is no dynamism. Just it is a static practice where in a few moments one recites their chosen verse. It is so easy for undeveloped or common people to fall into such dogmas-- and they do not question it either. They get praised by their church or temple for participating in those external rituals and that is all. In His discourse, 'Ism and Human Progress', Baba vividly describes this phenomenon.
For Ananda Margiis things are different. We have a clear-cut spiritual ideal where rationality not ritualism guide us along. And so long as we adhere to AM teachings then we will remain true to the path of spirituality. That is why we should all deeply evaluate the way we practice Guru Sakash as well as how it should be practiced.
We must bear in mind that our Guru Sakash shloka, "Pratah sirasi...", is not like our Ista mantra. it is not meant to be repeated again and again. Rather, we are to merely follow what the mantra says to do. "In the have to meditate on the Guru who is dvinetra [endowed with two eyes] and dvibhuja [endowed with two hands]. In what posture is this Guru endowed with two eyes and two hands? In vara'bhaya mudra [the gesture imparting fearlessness and bestowing grace]. He is your well-wisher and your benefactor. Whatever words you use mentally to address the Guru at the time of dhya'na or Guru dhya'na, should also be used at the time of this Guru dhya'na. You should always address the Guru for an extended period. This is Gurusaka'sha." (YP) So in His above directive Baba gives us many instructions regarding Guru Sakash: 1) Practice in the morning upon waking; 2) Meditate on the Guru; 3) Visualise His form with two eyes and two hands; 4) See His varabhaya mudra; 5) Call Him using the dhyana mantra; 6) Practice for as long as possible. Thus, the shloka about Guru Sakash contains several key points for adhering to the practice of Guru Sakash. And nowhere in that shloka does it say to repeat the shloka itself over and over again. That is not the practice of Guru Sakash. Rather we are to visualise Him in varabhaya mudra and then call Him using our dhyana mantra.
So if anyone is just reciting the Guru Sakash shloka over and over again-- but not following what the shloka says to do-- then they have merely fallen into ritualism. Of course most margiis are doing it properly but some have fallen into this ritualistic pattern of just reciting the shloka 5 or 6 times and then getting up and attending to natural call etc. And tragically, the AM pracara movie, 'Kiirtan Mahima', projects this same dogmatic message. This film propagated this myth that repeating the shloka entails the whole of our Guru Sakash practice. So the error in this film needs to be addressed.
The other issue involved here is that our Guru sakash shloka is printed differently in our various scriptures. In Yoga Psychology (1994) it is printed one way; and in Shabda Cayanika (1990) it is printed a different way. In that case, if really we were just to recite the shloka when doing Guru Sakash, then which version of the shloka should one choose. That is another problem. And even worse, all the major religions have experienced huge feuds over such issues. If we fall prey to the ritualistic approach when "doing Guru sakash" then we are heading down the same road as those religions-- arguing over the validity of passages etc.
So the only way is to follow the path of rationality and do Guru Sakash according to Baba's teachings. That means seeing Him in varabhaya mudra and then calling Him using our dhyana mantra. And verily many margiis are doing it in this way and they are deriving huge benefit. Because when one feels His divine vibration in their Guru Sakash practice then that makes the entire day blissful. So we should be strict in Guru Sakash and maintain the practice for as long as possible. And if morning duty calls, then directly after we should again continue our Guru Sakash. One acarya told me about this and I have found it to be a big boon in my spiritual life, by Baba's grace. So we should all take advantage of this wonderful practice of Guru Sakash and use our dhyana mantra to call Him again and again. Of course, if one wishes, at the beginning one may repeat the Guru Sakash shloka one time, as that will remind oneself about what to do. But to go on repeating that shloka again and again thinking that is the main practice is just ritualistic dogma-- nothing more.
By Baba's grace He has given us all the practices, including Guru Sakash, to lead a truly spiritual and dynamic life on this earth. By this way we may goad our minds to the culminating point of human existence-- life divine. Baba says, "Now, there is a regulating point or pra'n'akendra for each of the innumerable nerve cells in the brain. Over and above these many pra'n'akendras or regulating points of the brain, there is one regulating point which controls the many pra'n'akendras. This point resembles, to some extent, the tip of a blade of kusha [a type of grass]. In this point is the Guru cakra. From this point human beings receive a thousand and one kinds of inspiration and propulsion. The humanity of human beings...depend on this point. In this point is ensconced the Guru, Parama Guru, Para'para Guru, Paramesti Guru. It is the loftiest point for the purposes of meditation and contemplation. It is at this point that the meditation on Guru has to be undertaken." (YP) Namaskar, Pradiip

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