Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha
Poojya Swamiji’s 90th Jayanti Message (13th May 2023)
[Poojya Swamiji’s message, on the day his body completed 90 years, was an excellent, stunning testament to the power and vigour of living spiritual Knowledge. Inspiring and insightful, Swamiji’s words filled our minds and hearts with immense blessedness and gratitude for this great fortune of having been brought to His Holy Lotus Feet.]
Dear and blessed children of Immortality,
This is the way our Upanishadic seers address us. Every human is anointed by birth with a twofold heredity – one is the mortal body, and the other is the immortal Soul. Our body is mortal. That mortal body is enlivened by the immortal spirit. I would like you to realize this. For that realization, you should have the grace, the loving association of a Sadguru.
Many of you have assembled here today to mark the occasion. This time also I felt I should address you, though it will necessarily be the same message every time. What is the message? You are not the body! You only have the body. Just as you have a house, your dress, your car, your family members, so too you only have your body.
That “I have a body”, is also a notion our mind generates and preserves. It is only a notion, an idea! That is why after 16 hours of wakefulness every day, the mind wipes off the waking state and puts you to sleep. In sleep, you have no body, no mind, no intelligence, no ego; the world is certainly not there. It is only from sleep you wake up. This entire wakefulness has sprung from sleep. Understand the connections and value of sleep and wakefulness.
Magnificence of human intelligence
What I see is the display of human intelligence – the wisdom it is able to access, the subtlety, the precision, and confidence with which it is able to perceive truths without any technological help! Sometimes I keep quiet, wondering at the greatness of India in having produced this splendid wisdom! Let the whole world look into it, get benefited by it.
It is entirely a probe within the body, where the genesis of this visible creation is reigning with its supreme splendour! The Rishis have been able to discover it, realize it, relate it, with so much of authority and sovereignty, that their revelations stand un-assailed even today. I throw a challenge to the entire world to study what Vasishtha Deva had spoken, what Sage Valmiki had recorded! It is in written form for anyone to read and comprehend! This is the greatness of India.
Grace of my Gurudev
I am an ascetic, and whatever words I utter come from the power of asceticism. What is this ascetic life, I would like you to think. Biologically, I had my parents. Like all others, I too had my formal education. I was not able to find in the schools and further educational levels that which, knowingly or unknowingly, my mind was looking for.
But when I went to Calcutta, I happened to meet my Gurudev, whom my brother brought to our flat. He was an old person, more than 60 years. With only skin and bone, he walked up the staircase holding a sitar in hand. We were living on the first floor. My brother told me to prostrate before him. I prostrated, falling flat like a stick, at his feet. He lifted me up and kissed my forehead.
It was something unique. I was touched by the feeling of intimacy and fondness he felt towards me and expressed so well. I was a boy from the South. He had never seen me earlier, but how could he feel so much of fondness and freedom! I don’t remember even my mother or father had ever done anything like this! I felt that something rare is there in the human heart which makes it feel this kind of fondness and freedom. What is its source? Somehow, I felt an irresistible fondness for him; that fondness continues.
My spiritual sadhana
I used to write to him, and he used to reply. At one time I felt I should get initiated by him. He had initiated my brother during his stay in our flat. So, I knew a few words like “initiation”, “deeksha”, brahman and “brahma-jñāna”. After initiation, I was very specific that I should do the sadhana my Gurudev initiated me into. What is the sadhana? To sit in a room on the āsana, closing the door and windows, then to close the eyes and commune with one’s own within.
After initiation, I had told my Gurudev, “Baba, don’t tell me to read books. I have not come to you to read books. But I will do this sadhana. I want to realize the Supreme Truth as a personal experience.” He smilingly said, “Okay. But when you have to read a book, the book will appear on your table!”
And exactly so it happened. After about two years, Mundakopanishad came to my table. I opened it and started reading. It was a great discovery in my life! I started reading the Sanskrit based scriptural compositions at meteoric speed. While travelling in the tram, whenever I could snatch some time, I would open the books and read. And what books did I read? Scriptural compositions! I also read the biography of Sri Ramakrishna Dev and Vivekananda, Vivekananda’s eight volumes, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s biography, etc.
My scriptural learning gave me an exposure into the unknown, beautiful world of knowledge – very alluring, inspiring and engulfing. I could easily understand Sanskrit compositions and translations. I was not interested in commentary.
Wonder of Asceticism
My interest grew. Sadhana also grew. Scriptural study intensified the sadhana, and sadhana led to deeper scriptural understanding, like the two wings of a bird! I started flying into the spiritual horizons. I found Gaudapada’s words in Māṇḍūkya Kārika, a clear exhortation: “This knowledge is to be pursued whole-heartedly and exclusively. There is nothing greater than this knowledge.” He says: “Niḥstutiḥ nirnamaskāraḥ niḥsvadhākāra eva ca – Never praise any God. Never prostrate before any deity. And do not think of performing any piṇḍa or udaka-kriya for the departed.” Are you with me? Or, are you afraid? “Be an ascetic. Depend upon chance alone.”
My dear souls, I had found what I wanted. Are you hearing me? I found what I wanted! My course was not to pursue any profession. It was not pursuing resources for making a living! I found something greater. I used to wonder as a child – what was the call that made Shankara leave the widowed solitary mother and walk to see Govindapada, living in a hermitage on the bank of Narmada!
Inspired by these thoughts, I put in my resignation, to be an ascetic. I went to my Gurudev. Wearing the gerua cloth he gave me, shaving my hair and beard, I said good bye to my profession. I always say: “From then on, it was the streets of India that welcomed me, and the invisible Providence that graced me.”
After taking up sannyasa, wandering without having any money, the first place I went to was Chelakkara, a village in Kerala. There the villagers made me talk. For the first time in my life, I spoke on Bhagavad Gita in public. That one talk changed the whole plan. People started inviting me for giving talks. I became an eloquent speaker.
When I spoke on the Bhagavad Gita, don’t think that I had completely absorbed it or known it. With whatever little knowledge I had, I spoke. I used to speak thunderously.
After seeing my Gurudev I wanted to see none else. I observed whatever he said and represented, asking him whatever questions I had and heeding the answers he gave. He also told me many things on his own. One day I asked him, “Baba, are you happy with us, your disciples? Do you have sufficient fulfilment?” He said, “YES, quite much. All of you who are associated with me, have received something special from me, and you will know about it as days pass.”
Once, he said, referring to me: “Here is an unexploded volcano.” I remember the words. I never asked him what he meant, but I heard him. And his statement had sufficient impact in my mind. I am advitīya, second to none! Nothing can shake me, not even God!
Bhagavad Gita says (verse 2.17): avināśi tu tad-viddhi yena sarvam-idaṃ tatam, vināśam-avyayasyāsya na kaścit-kartum-arhati. There is one presence pervading the whole Universe. That cannot be destroyed by any one. Shankara adds: “ईश्वर: अपि – even Īśvara cannot”. What! Are you hearing! I don’t think. Even God cannot destroy It! That is the spirit I have. Wherefrom did I get this strength? From my Baba! How? Due to my Guru-bhakti.
Any spiritual institution is founded only on the Guru-bhakti of the founder. It survives only because of Guru-bhakti. In the Ashrams you will find something you will never find in any temple. In every temple, the idol is installed by people, by the priest. The divine brilliance, the benedictory power the idol has, is bestowed upon the idol by the priests through mantras and tantras, rituals. That divinity gets exhausted as more and more people come seeking blessings from the Idol. Every 12 years, the idol has to be rejuvenated by priests again, infusing power and brilliance from their own mind!
This Guru-bhakti is the most important factor. When I think of my past 67 years, I can only find a big zero in me. I am a zero. I am nothing and I want nothing. Every one of you should wonder about this What can make the human heart say – “I am nothing and I want nothing”! Can you imagine the fullness and ecstasy the mind must have in order to say this? Not a speck of sand from the world, from the Creation, can confer you this! Nothing I want! I am full within myself.
Dear children, your house, your car, your money, your bank deposit, your gold and your silver – all will remain only outside. They cannot make the heart or the mind full. Something else is there to make you divine! And that is what I saw, felt and gained in full measure. That is what makes me say this! This is the greatness of the ascetic plunge into possessing nothing – “Yatiḥ yādṛcchiko bhavet (Mandukya Karika 2.37) – depend upon chance. Depend upon Providence. Nothing else!
We wanted to build a Sabha Niketan in Naimisharanyam (Paralikad) for disseminating Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. The architect gave us a plan for seating about 3000 devotees on the first floor and feeding them in the ground floor, with an estimated expenditure of about 7.5 crores. We did not have the money. But we started. Even the Covid helped us by delaying the work for two years! And now it is complete.
People ask, “What will you do with Sabha Niketan?” After the last Śrīmad Bhāgavata Tattva Sameeksha Satram (SBTSS), we held a residential retreat for children in April 2023 for seven days in Sabha Niketan. I am so happy that 110 children from Kerala came and made it their home for a week.
So, let the facility be there for disseminating our spiritual treasure. Only when a place is available, can one think of conducting something there. We can teach Śrīmad Bhāgavatam as a science, not just as a devotional text as all people do. It is full of values for enlightened living, for evolving an enlightened society. It is to be read in a research-oriented manner by all seekers, devout students and even erudite people; it is said: “Vidyāvatāṃ bhāgavate parīkṣā” – for the scholars, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is like a test paper.
Poornashram in Dakshinkhanda
We are re-constructing Poornashram where our Baba lived. I am waiting for the day when the construction will be complete. We shall go there and speak to people. Now I don’t have enough of Bengali vocabulary. I told Ma that I have decided to gain this resource soon. Then I can thunder in Bengali. I have typed on my computer Vishnu-sahasranāma in Bengali. After entering the text, I have corrected the words. I will enter Bhagavad Gita also.
In Dakshinkhanda some of the devotees were asking: “Will Swamiji speak a few words in Bengali for us?” Yes. I want to speak a little in Bengali.
Poojya Swamiji started speaking in Bengali.
(Translation of Bengali speech presented below.)
Devotees of Dakshinkhanda, listen to what your Swamiji is saying. I heard, and I also saw pictures, that today morning, all of you together went around the village in “Prabhata-pheri” – doing Nāma-saṅkeertana. I liked the pictures very much. I think Dakshinkhanda village has again become holy, very holy. Why?
Haven’t all of you walked around in procession singing God’s name? What more is there? In Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, Lord Krishna tells Uddhava, “mad-bhakti-yukto bhuvanaṃ punāti – taking My name, with lot of fervour, those who move about are purifying the very earth.”
Dakshinkhanda has become holy today. After this, a lot is to be done. I am waiting anxiously to see the completion of what we are constructing there. When it is over, we will come there. We will stay for at least 5 days. There I will relate to you whatever I have heard from our Baba. More than me, Ma and Nutan Swamiji will tell you. Whatever is taking place there, let us do it well.
Hariḥ Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.
“Any spiritual institution is founded only on the Guru-bhakti of the founder. It survives only because of Guru-bhakti. ”
“Every one of you should wonder about this What can make the human heart say – “I am nothing and I want nothing”! Can you imagine the fullness and ecstasy the mind must have in order to say this?”
“Our body is mortal. That mortal body is enlivened by the immortal spirit. I would like you to realize this. For that realization, you should have the grace, the loving association of a Sadguru. ”
“Depend upon Providence. Nothing else! ”
“That “I have a body”, is also a notion our mind generates and preserves. It is only a notion, an idea! ”
“It is entirely a probe within the body, where the genesis of this visible creation is reigning with its supreme splendour! The Rishis have been able to discover it, realize it, relate it, with so much of authority and sovereignty, that their revelations stand un-assailed even today. ”