Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Hari Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Today is a very auspicious day. I always describe Gurupoornima as the most holy and benedictory day in the Indian almanac.
What is true knowledge
Everything in the inner personality of humans is ‘in the nature of knowledge and knowledge alone’; and this knowledge can never be gained by anyone except from a teacher. Children are born in homes. And parents anxiously wait for the day when the children can be sent to school for learning from teachers. In schools, the teaching and learning are about the objects of the world and the sciences and technologies relating to them. But, is that the real knowledge?
True knowledge is the one about our own reality, about the knower, knowing process and knowledge itself. This is what we mean by spiritual knowledge. When it comes to this supreme true knowledge, Guru is indispensable.
Our people have considered this Gurupoornima day as extremely important and holy. Disciples are anxious to reach the Guru and spend some time learning from him. All our great scholars and knowers have written their scriptural compositions beginning from this sacred day, during the Chāturmāsya (four months following Gurupoornima). So, this day has great, ineffable importance for us. Its importance cannot be described amply at any time by anyone.
It is on such a day that you have assembled here. I am exceedingly happy to see all of you. This indicates how our culture was spread in this holy land, and how it remains strong even today. We cannot say when it began; it began from prehistoric times! And from then on, it has been passed on from generation to generation.
Brahmavidya – an eternal blessing
Austerity is something very important. Every time I do it, I make people also do it. We shall chant three times the auspicious monosyllable – Omkara. While chanting, I would like you to have a specific thought – a saṅkalpa – that our joint recitation spread over the whole earth, showering its benedictions on all creatures.
Interlock your fingers, put them on your lap, sit comfortably erect, close your eyes, open the mouth and heart, and join me. O-M. O-M. O-M.
Wonderful! All of you are blessed!
We have been assembling in this Vijnana Bhavan every year for many years now to observe, rather than celebrate, this greatly holy day. Guru is not just a teacher; he represents a legacy, a heritage. When Nutan Swamiji was chanting the Guru-parampara shlokas, it commenced from Brahmā! Brahmā was the first source from whom the entire creation started. Mundakopanishad says (1.1.1):
ॐ ब्रह्मा देवानां प्रथमः संबभूव विश्वस्य कर्ता
भुवनस्य गोप्ता । स ब्रह्मविद्यां सर्वविद्याप्रतिष्ठामथर्वाय
ज्येष्ठपुत्राय प्राह ॥
oṃ brahmā devānāṃ prathamaḥ saṃbabhūva viśvasya kartā
bhuvanasya goptā . sa brahma-vidyāṃ sarvavidyā-pratiṣṭhām-atharvāya
jyeṣṭha-putrāya prāha .. 1.1.1
First of all, Brahmā was born. We cannot say how he was born. He became the source for the whole creation. But he was not sourced by anything. That Brahmā called his children and imparted to them Brahmavidya, knowing that it would be indispensable for the children to live in this world and fulfill their lives. And those children imparted this vidya to their children, and so on …. Like that it has come. So, our Brahmavidya has a beginningless, timeless origin.
I am now representing the lineage of Gurus, which goes back to Brahmā. Understand this! To be present on this occasion in front of your Guru, and to spend a little time in an austere manner is a rare blessing. It is a kind of an inspiration, strength and invigoration, effects of which cannot be amply described by any words whatsoever. I would like you to understand this. Your presence here and participation in this function link you to the infinitely ancient past. Every one of you should feel that you are enriched and empowered by it.
The Invisible Power
I would like you to think. Tell me what is the force that makes the earth move on its orbit? And tell me what is the force that makes your heart beat, lungs breathe, the body preserve its heat. Can you tell me if there is any difference between the two – the power that makes the earth revolve and that makes the heart beat? Now listen from me that both are the same, one!
By the glory of your human birth you are automatically connected to the supreme Divinity. You don’t have to go to a temple, or to any holy place, to feel connected to the Supreme. Only humans can understand this. None of the other creatures has the brain to understand, comprehend, realize and effectively articulate it. That is why, Krishna says to Uddhava in his last message from Dwaraka: “I created several bodies. No-legged, onelegged, two-legged, three-legged, four-legged, many-legged, but I was not happy. Only when I created the two-legged human, I was happy.” Why?
अत्र मां मार्गयन्त्यद्धा युक्ता हेतुभिरीश्वरम ।
atra māṁ margayanty-addhā yuktā hetubhir-īśvaram
gṛhyamāṇair-guṇair- liṅgair agrāhyam- anumānataḥ – Bhagavatam 11.7.23
Lord says: “Only in this human body, one will be able to probe into Me.” The ability, the skill, the potential, to delve into our own body and unearth what is the presence there, which thinks in the form of mind, analyses in the form of intellect, and asserts in the form of ego – what is that wonderful presence?
In the whole universe, in the whole creation, there are only two substances, my dear souls – matter and energy. There is no third factor at all. Earth is matter, Sun is matter and energy. Anywhere you go, matter and energy alone are there; they are inter-convertible. If there is a third factor, it is the inner presence in our body. So, when you are walking as human, you understand that you carry with you both matter and energy with which the whole universe is created, plus the third factor – the Inner Presence! Tell me what is your status then! How valuable, glorious and edified you are!
All that I want you to do is to get into your room, close the doors and windows, and sit on an Asana. Close your eyes and commune with your own mind and heart. Meditation means to commune with your own inner presence. Would you not like to do it? It will empower, enrich and enlighten you. It will elevate, expand and fulfill you. Get connected to the presence within you.
Guru awakens us to the Inner Presence
In our personality we have a fullness, abundance and magnificence, which you can find nowhere else. Gurupoornima is marking the importance of the Guru who awakens you and makes you realize this supreme truth.
I was a religious boy – very devotional also. I was born 25 km away from here in Paralikad. Along with other boys of the village, I imbibed the religiosity of the land, and our devotional practices. So, I lacked nothing, in terms of tradition and devotion. But my mind was restless. I could not find anything in this world to make me interested in.
Anyway, I followed my brothers to Calcutta in search of a professional life. Very strangely there, may be within 2 or 3 months, I happened to meet my Gurudev. From the moment I saw him, my whole life changed. He must have been above 60s, skin and bone. With a sitar in his hand, he climbed the steps to the first floor of the flat where we were living.
My brother told me to prostrate before him. We are people who prostrate very well – like a stick we fall. He lifted me up and gave me a kiss on my forehead. This is something about which I have spoken many times. I felt: ‘What is this? I gave him a religious or traditional prostration, and he gives me an excellent human response, an emotional response, the like of which I never had from my mother, father or sisters! I was the last child in the family. None of them had ever given me this kind of a response. What is that freedom, that emotional content in him that made him do so?’
I never knew anything about him. I knew that a spiritual man was being brought by my brother. That’s all. He stayed with us for more than a month. He was mostly with my brother; I was only an observer. My brother got initiated by him. I, however, one day approached him and said, “I have a restless mind, I am not able to concentrate. So, will you be able to help me?”
“Concentration, it is the last thing in human life! And you are too young,” he said. One is a compliment, the other a denunciation! (Swamiji laughs like a child)
I kept company with him and at one point of time I told him, “I also want initiation.” We fixed a date and I went to him. I got initiated. Then I requested him, “Please don’t ask me to read any book. I will do the practice and pursuit which you have given me. He laughed and said, “OK, don’t read. When you have to read, the book will arrive on your table.”
Ever since, my dear souls, I plunged into meditation – two and a half hours on working days, and four hours on holidays. It was always making me feel a presence within my body which I was not otherwise experiencing. Sometimes my sadhana gave rise to intolerable ecstasy. This is the way I entered into spirituality. I never knew about it. Today is Gurupoornima, and I am talking to you about Guru and what he means to a seeker.
I kept in touch with him through correspondence. Sometimes, when he would come to Kolkata, I used to go and see him. Occasionally I used to go to Dakshinkhanda for 2-3 days. I don’t remember these things. Like Ma, I should have kept a dairy. Whenever I saw him, he was doing nothing. Mark my words – he was doing nothing! Except standing on his head, playing his sitar, or playing harmonium and singing.
A state of fulfilment
In our Shastras, this is called Naishkarmya Siddhi – a state of fulfilment where one does not have any motivation to to get anything new or to get rid of anything old.
When he was working as an engineer at “Cossipore Gun and Shell factory”, one day, he was about to be crushed by a flywheel, but fortunately he was thrown away. Subsequently, he resigned the job. Can you imagine a very active and vibrant person leaving the job and remaining at home, doing nothing? I could understand how wholesome can the embrace of spirituality be!
He was a fulfilled person. He had read a great deal! Almirahs full of books he had read. And in all the books you can find his notes in the margin. Nutan Swamiji has seen them. It is all in Bengali. The point I want to tell you is that spirituality is something that requires your wholesome involvement. What is the time you give to spirituality – to act on you, to sublimate you?
I would have continued with my job, but I left it. To stay with my Gurudev, or simply to see him, I would go on Friday evening and return on Sunday evening or take a day’s leave and come on Monday.
Sensing the living Presence
When a Guru looks at the disciple, you know, it is something very special, very effective. We have three illustrations: Fish, bird and turtle to show how they hatch their eggs. The look of a Sadguru is like that of a fish, his touch is like that of a bird, and his thoughts are like that of a turtle, for unfolding the inner growth in the disciple. So, do not say anything; let him look at you. His seeing is not like the seeing of your mother or father, wife or husband, children or uncle, friend or well-wisher. His looks are totally different. He looks at you spiritually. When I look at you, I am not seeing your bodies. My eyes are spotting the bodies but my mind is sensing the spirit that makes you alive.
Are you able to understand me? I don’t think. When you look at your child, have you ever felt that you are seeing the livingness in the child? No, you cannot! You are ignorant! It is the wise man who can sense the living presence in the living bodies. You may not believe me. I can very confidently say, you are all souls, not bodies:
शृण्वन्तु सर्वे अमृतस्य पुत्रा: ॥
śṛṇvantu sarve amṛtasya putrāḥ .. Shvetashvatara Upanishad 2.5
Recognize & remove inner hollowness
Devotees and seekers are coming and staying in our Ashram. Some of them are initiated disciples. But, you know, many of the initiated disciples do not keep in touch with me at all! I don’t know whether they are living or not. Imagine, that is their contact with the Guru! How do you expect to progress? This is such a wonderful lineage. I am giving deeksha, where no pooja is to be performed. It is all a pursuit of your mind and intelligence. Even then why are you not doing it?
Out of the 16 – 17 wakeful hours of the day, can you not spend at least 20 minutes for your mind and intelligence! You use your mind and intelligence, but are you ever nourishing your mind and intelligence consciously, purposefully? Every day, how many hours you are spending for your body! You take bath, shave, decorate the body, dress up, answer the calls of nature, and four times you have your food. Correspondingly, are you feeding your mind, feeding your intelligence, nourishing them? No. So, there is a grave hollowness in you, grave imbalance!
Gurupoornima reminds you about this innate hollowness, and at the same time, about the truth of the inmost fullness. Put the two together, that is called spiritual sadhana. Spiritual sadhana is to recognize the hollowness in you, and comprehend the fullness reigning within. Then Remove the hollowness and fill yourself with fullness.
Becoming what we value
Some of you know that Baba had put a board on the wall of his room: “Come to a man of business; talk of business; finish your business; leave the man of business to his own business.” This was the way he was living. He did not entertain idle talks. Spirituality makes you like that. Seeing him, observing him, I got all the confidence, clarity, insight, to say goodbye to the professional life, goodbye to Kolkata which gave me all the exposure to the modern world, corporate functioning, and everything associated with these. Although brief, it was a very good exposure for me – religiously, spiritually and also professionally.
There is something called intrinsic loyalty. What is that? Suppose a teacher teaches you or somebody helps you, should you not remember it and be grateful? I am wondering, of so many people who have been listening to me (I started speaking to people as a Sannyasin from the age of 23), should not at least a few think – “Spirituality has made Swamiji like this, I should also be like him”?
When I learned about Krishna – and he says, “Many people following my advice have become like me” – I became like him. Understanding Rama, reading about Shankara, I have become like them. Similarly, I want one or two youngsters, who will feel and say: “Swamiji, I will be like you. I shall come to the Ashram and be with you.” Why is it that none of you is feeling so? My body has already passed 90 years. Nutan Swamiji and Ma are also old. Of course, we are a few persons here, we three Sannyasins and six other renunciates. We have now 4 generations. I am more than satisfied.
Your whole body is inert. Your senses are inert. They are made of matter. Matter cannot generate an experience or knowledge at all. Then how do you have experience and knowledge? The inner Presence is neither matter nor energy. Spirituality exposes you to that. I am very happy that all of you have come here and I want to bombard you with this wonderful theme: You are carrying the infinitely potent God in your being. What do you further need from this world?
I am always telling God; My dear God, I want nothing. I am happy with you. Whether you are happy with me is your look out. But I am very happy thinking about you. I don’t want even to remember you. To remember means to forget you first. So, I don’t want to remember you. I don’t want to chant your name because you alone are there. I am ashamed to say – ‘God’. Are you not ashamed to say ‘I am, I am, I am, I am’? Do you go on repeating to your mother – ‘you are my mother, my dear mother’? No. because your mother is your mother. Similarly, God alone IS. Everything is God. World is God. We are God. Our body is God. Mind is God. Intelligence is God. Ego is God. We are surrounded by God and also penetrated by God!
All this I can say because I have seen my Guru. I got the confidence, clarity, and enlightenment from him that made me what I am. I don’t think any God will make anyone like this. Is there anybody who worshipped God and became God? But, certainly we can go to a Guru and become like him.
स्वीयं साम्यं विधत्ते भवति निरुपमस्तेन वाऽलौकिकोऽपि ॥
svīyaṃ sāmyaṃ vidhatte bhavati nirupamastena vā’laukiko’pi … Shatashloki.
A Sadguru has no parallel in the whole world, says Shankara. If you think of a Paraśa-mani (philosopher’s stone), it can convert everything it touches into gold, but not into another Paraśa-mani. But, Sadguru transforms the disciple into a Sadguru like him! What my Guru did I am doing. What I am doing, my disciples will do. The parampara (lineage) thus continues, and will also! It is such a great blessing. An awareness of all this is what is expected to be gained and cemented on Gurupoornima day.
I mentally embrace all of you and bless you for having come here, and being in the sacred ambience of this holiness, this promise, this assurance, and the wonderful realization which the human is destined to have. By the glory of your birth, you are all great, noble and glorious!
Harih Om Tat Sat.
“True knowledge is the one about our own reality, about the knower, knowing process and knowledge itself.”
“To be present on this occasion in front of your Guru, and to spend a little time in an austere manner is a rare blessing. It is a kind of an inspiration, strength and invigoration, effects of which cannot be amply described by any words whatsoever.”
“By the glory of your human birth you are automatically connected to the supreme Divinity. You don’t have to go to a temple, or to any holy place, to feel connected to the Supreme.”
“Meditation means to commune with your own inner presence. Would you not like to do it? It will empower, enrich and enlighten you. It will elevate, expand and fulfill you. Get connected to the presence within you.”
“Spirituality is something that requires your wholesome involvement. What is the time you give to spirituality – to act on you, to sublimate you?”
“When I look at you, I am not seeing your bodies. My eyes are spotting the bodies but my mind is sensing the spirit that makes you alive.”
“Spiritual sadhana is to recognize the hollowness in you, and comprehend the fullness reigning within. Then Remove the hollowness and fill yourself with fullness.”
“You are carrying the infinitely potent God in your being. What do you further need from this world?”