Articles By H H Maa Purnananda Ji

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Preparations Before Pursuing Spirituality

H H Maa Purnananda

“Mokshdwaarey Dwaarpaalaashchatvaarah Parikeertitaah; Shamo Vichaarah Santoshashchaturthah Saadhusangamah.” (Mahopanishat)

Last month the vices of the mind, identified as Kaam, Krodh, Lobh, Moh Mada and Maatsarya were mentioned in the article - “Work with dedication & count your blessings”. Also, the virtues which are Daan, Puja, Tapa, Teerth, Sewa and Shravan respectively, that should be inculcated and developed in the character to counter these six Vikshepa-s, were mentioned. In the verse given above, virtues such as Shamah (mental restraint), Vichaarah (thoughtfulness), Santoshah (contentment) and Saadhu Sangamah (company of the virtuous) are extolled, as the four sentries at the Mokshdwaar (door to liberation).

Having such harmful vices in the character, as mentioned herewith, and then expecting a harmonious life, full of peace, happiness and prosperity, is highly contradictory indeed. Firstly, man should understand that the transient world is defined by the Shaastra-s as “the womb of sorrow” (Dukkhayoni). Once convinced by this Scriptural declaration, now with the changed perspective towards the world, rather than finding faults externally in the world around, he should sincerely work upon himself very carefully and sincerely, with complete observation of his own characteristics that work as the indicator of his inherent tendencies, to identify the predominant faults within himself. Thereafter, he should practice mental restraint (Shamah) very diligently so that his mind is refrained from further contamination. When he succeeds in keeping the mind comparatively less extroverted, then he should steadily counter his shortcomings with the virtues mentioned above, by practicing them regularly in his day-to-day life. Each vice would have to be ridden by the respective virtue very thoughtfully (Vichaarah).

After a long and successful practice of Shamah and Vichaarah and because of having brought certain positive changes in his character, in due course he is bound to find certain amount of contentment (Santoshah) within, even though the external circumstances and the surroundings would not have changed at all! Now, up to this stage, all that the man would have learnt and practiced, nothing of it can be categorised or called as “Spirituality”. But yes, all this is what one is supposed to learn from cultural and religious practices prescribed by the Scriptures. Therefore, it is important to be sufficiently cultured and religious and practice the both sincerely with proper understanding and specific purpose, much before even peeping into the Spiritual Texts and Spiritual practices.

Once he thus finds contentment within, the “door to liberation” (Mokshdwaar) would open up for him, wherein man, now as a seeker, would aspire to Know the Truth by “Self-inquiry” (Aatmaanusandhaanam) and would have “burning desire for liberation” (Mumukshuttvam). From here is where the seeker’s Spiritual journey begins. Surely the seeker would soon understand the importance of being in the company of the virtuous (Saadhusangamah) and he would be keen to be in close association with the noble and learned Guru, to learn and practice Spirituality. Spiritual practices are prescribed for the removal of the “veil of ego” (Aavaran) created by the power of Maya, that is blocking the Vision of the Self (Aatman).

So then, what is jealousy? It is a very subtle inferiority complex in mind developed due to lack of self-esteem and confidence in oneself leading to the feeling of inadequacy. Such a mind-set makes the individual feel jealous of others. To counter this subtle and hence ‘difficult to identify’ fault of mind, should be tackled by studying the Sacred Texts. By studying the Sacred Texts the mind of the student gets elevated, because of the indirect association with the Man-of-Wisdom who has authored the Text and that with the very subject-matter of the Text wherein the Self Itself is the subject-matter. Once the mind thus gets elevated, slowly it starts getting rid of the faults that are the outcome of jealousy. By regular study of such Texts, soon the student grows out of one of his major mental obstacle called jealousy.

In Sree Hanuman Chaalisa, Sant Tulsidas ji mentions about this terrible obstacle of mind as the demonic character named ‘Singhika’ who used to catch her flying preys, grabbing them by their shadow. On the way to Lanka, while taking a long leap over the ocean, Sree Hanuman ji felt the pull of this demoness and due to being extremely agile, He overpowered her in no time to continue His journey unabatedly. Wasn’t it possible due to Sree Hanuman ji’s close association with Sree Ram? Similarly, man has to identify this ‘singhika’ hiding in the ocean of thoughts (his mind) who subtly carries away his rationale and before he realises, she devours it completely, leaving him in the depth of complexes. But, if he keeps a close watch on his mind, this vice called jealousy can be tackled efficient by him by studying the Sacred Texts as mentioned earlier.

We shall continue to deal with the rest of the five vices in forthcoming article. Till then, we have this “home-work” to accomplish!