Friday, May 8, 2009

Welcome to e-Sri Sanai, Buddha Purnima, 2009

by Sri Sandip Dasgupta
Welcome to the Buddha Purnima 2009 edition of our blog, e-Sri Sanai. Our maiden venture has in general been well received, and Sri Sri Babathakur has now provided us with some suggestions on picking topics. He has constantly been encouraging us to use this informal medium to express ourselves as we try to see the eternal guiding light that He is showing us. He has asked us to begin studying some of His teachings (e.g. a chapter from Sambodhi Param) and then write up whatever it is that we have understood about the topic. I am sure all of us can do that once a quarter, can’t we? So, here is a request for all of you to do the same and send in at least one article for the Janamashtami issue that will be published on August 13, 2009.

In one of the Bhajans, His bhaktas refer to Him as ‘Jini Nitya, Shuddha, Buddha, Mukta’ (He who is Eternal, Pure, Buddha and free). So, let me try to look at why he is referred to as Buddha, the Enlightened One. After 49 days of intense meditation under a Bodhi tree, Lord Buddha is said to have realized complete awakening and insight into the nature and cause of human sufferings. According to Lord Buddha, the root cause of all sufferings in this world is ignorance. He also urged his devotees to follow an eight-fold path to eliminate suffering.

Prajnanpurush Sri Sri Babathakur is a Self-Realized soul who has realized the total identity of the Truth Divine with His own Self, as also the Self of all, symptomatizing the I-Reality. He asserts that Absolute I-Reality is the only Reality and everything else is a reflection of this I-Reality. According to Him, we have forgotten the existence of this background Consciousness and are always identifying ourselves with our physical body, family, relatives, friends, the world we live in, the objects of this world etc. This false identification causes us to establish relationships amongst each other, as well as between us and the objects of the world. We thus feel sad when somebody insults us or does not pay us the respect we expect of them. We feel sad when we do not obtain certain objects that we desire. This false identification causes us to attach ourselves to certain people or to certain objects of the world. We feel sad when those individuals leave the mortal world. I believe that this false identification (Ajnan) is the same ignorance that Lord Buddha had referred to as being the cause of all sufferings in the world.

Sri Sri Babathakur begins by asserting “All Divine, For all time, As It Is”.

What He is saying is that everything and everybody in this world is made of the same essence – and that is indeed the Divine Saccidananda. This is what he means by “All Divine”. He urges us to accept everybody and everything as the same. He further goes on to tell us that the apparent differences between people are caused by our minds and are not real. When we go into deep sleep, the mind is absent and these differences disappear! That’s why He says – “Accept All, Reject None”.

Sri Sri Babathakur is also saying that this Divine essence is so homogeneous that It does not change ever – in space or in time. What this means is that if we go from place A to place B, the nature of our Divine nature (Saccidananda) does not change – just as the sky is the same, no matter where we go. Similarly, He is asserting that the nature of our background Consciousness remains completely unchanged with the passage of time. Hence His august proclamation – “All Divine, For all time, As It Is”.

Sri Sri Babathakur also tells the worldly people to make- Right use of time- Right use of money- Right use of energy- Right use of education and- Right use of environment

This teaching is very similar to Lord Buddha’s prescribed eight-fold path of right faith, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mental attitude and right meditation. I will now attempt to present my interpretation of Sri Sri Babathakur’s aforementioned teachings:

Right use of time – Sri Sri Babathakur has repeatedly urged us to move towards perfection, no matter what action we are performing. He has told us that we are performing all the actions for the Lord and hence the results of the actions belong to Him. We must keep this in mind while going through our daily chores. Sri Ramakrishna had said “Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, hold to God with both hands”. Sri Sri Babathakur is similarly asking us to keep some time aside regularly for bhajan, satsang and contemplation on His teachings. He is also asking us to spend some time for charity and volunteer work – because we can utilize the opportunity to serve the Divine (as explained in “All Divine, For all time, As It is”).

Right use of money – I believe that he is asking us to not splurge money on things that will please the physical body. Instead we should spend some money on charity and serving others by remembering that the receivers are divine too - and that we should consider ourselves lucky to be given the chance of serving them.

Right use of energy – Can we imagine doing anything without energy today? So, if we do not want to become a completely inert being that wants to sit idly in one corner of a room – then we do need energy – whether it be bodily energy needed for movement, energy needed to power appliances, or energy needed to power a car. The amount of energy available to us is finite and constant - we must make the best use of that energy and conserve energy.

Right use of education – Sri Sri Babathakur refers to education in a very very broad sense. He repeatedly tells us that the formal education in schools and colleges are necessary for us to do our daily duties. However this education is not sufficient to bring us eternal happiness and joy. Hence, his repeated call for all of us to get acquainted with the I-Reality that lives within all of us, contemplate on It and become conscious of It. According to him, once we become conscious of our I-Reality, we will be working on behalf of this I-Reality. The results (happiness and sadness) will cease to belong to the individual. This “Right Knowledge” will be our path to salvation.

Right use of environment – As said earlier, everything in our environment is divine too. We are being given good food, clean water, sunshine, rain etc – all because of our environment, which is essentially divine. Therefore, it is very important for us to not waste the natural resources given to us by the Lord, and to take care of our environment properly.

It can easily be concluded that Sri Sri Babathakur is shining the direct light of Self-Realization onto the ignorance referred to by Lord Buddha. Like Lord Buddha, He is showing us a path to remove that ignorance (darkness) and realize the Divine within us. So, on this auspicious occasion let us resolve to listen to His words, reflect on them, follow the light being shown to us by Sri Sri Babathakur – and share our reflections with others by contributing our thoughts to the Janamshtami issue (and beyond) of e-Sri Sanai.

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