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The All-Important Point of Ista

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2012 22:54:32 -0800
From: "Hitendra Deva"
Subject: The All-Important Point of Ista



Each and every A'nanda Ma'rgii is aware that the point of Ista is one of our Sixteen Points. Specifically it is point #10.

Baba says, "Observe non-compromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of Ista." (Pt #10 of Sixteen Points)

So everyone is aware that this point of Is't'a is included within His guidelines, but even then it may be exactly clear what it means.


In comparison, many of the other aspects of Sixteen Points are comparatively much more straight forward. Such as point #1: "After urination wash the urinary organ with water." This point does not need a lot of explanation to understand the meaning. No one is confused or in doubt about the meaning of this point.

And same can be said about so many of the aspects of Sixteen Points such as:

"Do not cut the hair of the joints of the body" (#3)


"Regular participation in the weekly dharmacakra at the local jagrti should be considered mandatory" (#15).

Both of these above points are quite literal and easy to understand. It is readily apparent as to what the meaning is and what one is to do. Indeed most if not all of the Sixteen Points are like this.


However the point of Is't'a is less defined-- less specific. Naturally one may wonder then what exactly does it mean.

To get the answer then one must treat this point #10 of Sixteen Points like a sutra. To understand its full meaning it is necessary to take help of Baba's other discourses. Because the point of Is't'a is itself extremely dense and is not at all explanatory-- not descriptive. By the wording itself, it is not evident what it means to be strict in Ista. In that case point #10 of Sixteen Points must be treated like a sutra since an explanation of this point has to be found in other places of His vast body of teachings.


Certainly there are many ways and interpretations of this point of Ista, such as in His discourse titled 'Ista & Adarsha' as well as in the 'Seven Secrets of Success' discourse where Baba elaborate on the point of Shraddha'-- deep reverence for the Goal. These are all important places to gain a deeper understanding about what it means to follow point #10 of Sixteen Points: "Non-compromising strictness and faith regarding the sanctity of Is't'a."

In addition here below Baba gives us deep insight as to what it means to be established in Is't'a.

Baba says, "When people are established in devotion, they attain a state called is't'a nis't'a--- devotion for one's goal. In that stage there is but one dominant thought: 'Whatever I do, be it social, political or socio-economic service, the motivating thought in my mind will be to please Parama Purus'a'." (AV-8, p.101)


By Baba's above teaching of Is't'a nis't'a, we can understand that one is established in the point of Ista when one does each and every thing in order to please Him. That is the key point and the defining factor.

So throughout the day all our activities and duties are to be done with this singular aim in mind-- to please Him. This is the secret of Is't'a nis't'a.

Thus whether we are bathing, taking food, doing sadhana, reading svadhyaya, raising our family, engaging in business, or organising social service projects, everything should be done with the sole motive of pleasing Him. We are doing these things to make Him happy. This pure intention must be the only guiding force in our engagement. Then alone can it be termed as Is't'a nis't'a.

And Is't'a nis't'a-- doing to please Him-- is what it means to be established in Ista, according to Baba's above teaching.


At the same time it has to be recognised that being truly established in Is't'a nis't'a is not an ordinary affair.

Because in their general dealings and movements in life, people are mostly if not always guided by their own selfish desires. That is the overriding idea behind the bulk of their actions: selfish pleasure. Some fall into this predicament to a greater degree than others. But it is a fairly pervasive tendency.

But not only those in the general society, often people in our Marga perform social service work also with the idea to gain some self-satisfaction, i.e. to get some lift and pump themselves. By doing that service work they derive some ego satisfaction. This also happens.
Here the point is that it is not the activity in and of itself that dictates whether one is established in Is't'a nis't'a or not. What qualifies whether one is established in ista nista is the idea or motivating factor behind one's action. If one is doing solely to please Him, then that is Ista nista, otherwise not.


By analysing the motive behind their actions, everyone can freely determine how far they are established in the point of Ista. If one is doing to please Him then they are marching ahead on this sacred pathway and if one is doing for some other reason then they are not established in Ista. Baba's definition is very clear cut about this.

So with full sincerity we should use this measuring rod of Ista nista to gauge our intention behind our every action or work. By this way one can understand how far they are strict in Ista or not.

And then with renewed efforts we can again take His name and ensconce our minds in His thought and move ahead. So we should always try to understand what is the motivating factor in our actions and simultaneously infuse more and more devotional feeling in our lives by sincerely doing our prescribed practices of bhakti yoga etc.

Through this dual approach one is sure to get more established in the point of Ista. And the key point behind it all is to sincerely evaluate one's own actions and not try to befool oneself. If one is honest with themselves then they can surely progress on the path of ista nista.


May our each and every action begin with the sincere desire of pleasing Him. With this pure intention in mind, success is sure. This is Baba's blessing on us all.

Baba says, "You too should keep moving forward, and you will also attain victory after victory - there is no doubt about it. Therefore continue your efforts tirelessly, do your duty and you will surely be crowned with success." (SS-18)



Here Baba tells more about this all-important point of Ista.

Baba says, "There are many meanings of this word "Is´t´a." One is the fulfillment of the goal. In other words, by ideating on Him, all sorrows of the mind and bad thoughts go away. That is called "Is´t´a." Ideology is an impersonal element. To go toward "Is´t´a," we need only love; whereas to follow an ideology we need courage and efforts. If we have love for our Lord, then we do not need anything else. We cannot get devotion by going to pilgrimages. The minimum requirement for getting devotion is the human mind. By simply exerting little efforts, you get development. If you desire devotion, you will get it. If you have love for the Supreme, you will get established in your "Is´t´a"." (23 November 1971 DMC, Purnea)


PS intro: This below Prabhat Samgiita, song #324, is a neo-humanistic song given by Baba on 10 March 1983. Thereafter Baba expressed this same theme in His RU address and DMC discourse of 28 and 29 May, respectively. In both those discourses He has given the same type of idea but in greater detail. However, as the DMC speech has still not been translated into English, a portion of Baba's RU speech is cited below, after the purport of the song. In that RU address, Baba is specifically telling that everything is the expression of Parama Purusa: He is expressing Himself throughout this manifested universe. That is the central idea of His RU discourse and Prabhat Samgiita #324 is based on this same concept.

"Moder dhara' ru'pe peyeche toma'r ru'per sa'je..." (PS 324)


O' Lord, this world has become beautiful because of Your infinite charm. That is why I behold You everywhere in all Your creations. When I look at any expression then I see that You are there. You are expressing Yourself in that form. Baba, You are expressing Your grandeur in the form of all these created entities-- animate and inanimate. Baba, You Yourself are One but Your expressions are many. You express Yourself in innumerable shapes and forms. You are hiding within Your creation.

 Baba, You are present everywhere-- in all the flows. Nothing is outside Your mental arena; everything is within the purview of Your mind. That is why nothing is ever lost. I am in Your mind and I do according to Your desires. This entire creation is in Your mind and I am one part of that. I am working according to Your exact wish. Because this entire creation is Your thought projection.

 Baba, You are present in each and every thought. Whatever human beings think is known to You since You are the Witnessing Entity of that thought process. Baba, You are very vast: Everything is in Your mind. Baba, You are very small: You are present in everyone's thoughts. Baba, You are smaller than the smallest and bigger than the biggest. Baba, even by mistake I do not think that besides You anything else exists. You are everything.

 Baba, by Your grace I always think that You are the quintessence...

Note 1: Here is a portion of Baba's RU address of 28 May 1983 wherein He is expressing this same type of idea as has been expressed in the above song.

Baba says, "Neohumanism includes within its scope not only human beings and animate creatures, such as plants and animals, but all inanimate entities as well, for the scope of Neohumanism extends down to the smallest particles of sub-atomic matter... Why should the love and affection of developed human minds be restricted to human beings only? Why should it not include all living beings, including plant life? This is the new explanation of humanism - neohumanism - for within neohumanism the entire animate world is included...And that golden day is sure to come when that perfect stage of structure, that is, unit existence in the intra-atomic world, will be reached, when human intuition will realize that the essence in the sub-atomic world is pure Consciousness." (NHNS-1)

Note 2: Materialists think that everything comes from matter while Baba's AM philosophy states that everything comes from Brahma. This then is the fundamental difference between the crude world view of materialism and our spiritual outlook. Needless to say, our spiritual perspective changes our whole view of this universe as well as our relation with it. Materialists think that the world is for their self-satisfaction only whereas in AM we think that we have come to this world to serve others since all are the expression of Parama Purusa.

Proper Plan of Life

Baba is revealing how ignorant, short-sighted people think and plan in their dogmatic way.

Baba says, "Some people consider that one should start intuitional practice in old age when a person has more leisure, after one has spent the prime of one's life earning money. People are afraid that they may face insecurity and difficulties in their old age if they do not accumulate enough wealth before their bodies weaken with age, rendering them incapable of hard work. They regard the prime of life as the period intended for earning money, and old age with its decreased capacity for hard work as the time to remember God. They are labouring under the misconception that hard work is not necessary for intuitional practice and that old age is therefore the proper time for it." (AMEP, '98, p.131-32)

Now here following Baba is giving the answer.

Baba says, "Whoever is born is bound to die and one is constantly approaching death, not knowing when it will come. It is never certain if one will live to grow old. Yet people reserve the most important work of practising sa'dhana' for the time when the body has become completely enfeebled and the fatuous mind of old age has become entangled in the reactions of this life to such an extent that it is afraid of starting anything new. Ordinarily it is fear of one's approaching death that makes one think of God in old age. One's evil deeds begin to haunt one, and one starts praying and imploring God to save him or her from the consequences of one's deeds. There is no value in remembering God in old age, when it is not possible to concentrate the mind due to the weakness and disease of the body and its preoccupation with the reactions (sam'ska'ras) of the deeds of this life. The mind then is caught up in the infirmities of the body, in the diseases of old age, impending death, and most of all, in memories of past incidents, and it is impossible to concentrate it. For these reasons one is incapable of intuitional practice." (AMEP, '98, p.132)

Note: This problem is such a common ailment that 99.9% of the people in the present society are caught up in this whirlpool. And by this way their whole life gets wasted. It is our duty to think again and again and reach the conclusion about what is the best approach to utilise this priceless human life.

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