Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Welcome to the Buddha Purnima issue of e-Sanai


by Sri Sandip Dasgupta

Welcome to the Buddha Purnima edition of our e-zine.  Starting with this editorial, I will begin reflecting on various speeches that were delivered by our Master (Sri Sri Babathakur) and express my personal thoughts on His words.  In this editorial, I will summarize what Sri Sri Babathakur has denoted the function of a Sadguru to be,  the need of a Sadguru, and how to obtain the Right Knowledge from a Sadguru.

At every stage of our life, we are guided by a teacher or Guru.  Life begins with our parents being our Guru.  They teach us the daily life skills and emphasize the need for us to grow up and become independent, ideal citizens of our society.  Our school teachers take over by teaching us the alphabet and imparting the academic knowledge necessary to be successful in our professional lives.  In all of these scenarios, we notice that we are being taught/guided by a person who is a subject matter expert.  A teacher who does not know the English alphabet cannot teach us the English alphabet.  A teacher cannot teach aspiring medical students unless they are subject matter experts in medicine.  A faculty of an engineering college cannot impart knowledge of engineering unless they themselves aren’t engineers by education and/or profession.  Likewise, a Guru can only impart the Knowledge of Oneness if He/She has Realized the Absolute and has that perfect Knowledge.  We call such a teacher, 'Sadguru' – i.e. one who has attained Knowledge of the Truth (Sat).  Moreover, a seeker of this Knowledge can receive it only from a Sadguru.  

In all cases though, the Shishyas can only absorb the imparted knowledge if they surrender themselves to the teacher. Similarly, although our Sadguru may bless us by showering His teachings, the benefit we derive from the teachings is completely dependent on how much we are willing to absorb.  We should not only listen to His teachings, but should also reflect on them and put them in practice in our daily lives.

Sri Sri Babathakur, in His august proclamation has asserted – “All Divine, For all Time, As It Is”. Essentially He is stating that we all are Divine by nature; however it is the delusion of our intellect that has caused us to forget this True-Self, the Divine Self.  Outwardly, a Sadguru is also an embodiment of the same Divine Self like all of us.  However, a Sadguru has realized His identity with the Supreme Divine Nature and comes to this mundane world to help us uncover the ignorance that has deluded our intellects – so that we can all reach a stage where we are always conscious of our True nature, the Divine Self. 

Blessed are we to have come in contact with our Sadguru.  Now it’s up to us to benefit from His teachings and reach closer to our True nature, the Divine Self.  In all our daily actions, words, behaviors, we must remember that we are simply manifestations of the same Divine reality. This thinking will help shape appropriate behavior and culture in society.  Jealousy and hatred will disappear if we begin believing that our origins and destinations are the same (The One Divine Self).  Competition amongst individuals and organizations will have no meaning.  The desire to differentiate ourselves from others shall disappear.  Violence seen in today’s society shall have no meaning. That is why Sri Sri Babathakur has repeatedly said that the “Science of Oneness” is the panacea for today’s society.  He has repeatedly pointed out that we are blessed to have been born as human beings, and even luckier to have come in contact with a Sadguru who is imparting the science of Absolute Reality.  Hence He has urged us to practice the “Science of Oneness” in everyday life.  He goes on to state that this will lead to the re-appearance of Satya Yuga.

A very concise introduction to this Knowledge can be found in the book, “Science of Oneness”. The second edition (2014) of this book can be obtained from Saccidananda Society, A-190 Metropolitan Housing Society, Kolkata -700105. ISBN-81-86571-40-8.

Joy Babathakur! Joy Babathakur! Joy Babathakur!

Rag Picker - The Teacher

by Sri P.C. Lahiri

A few days back, on my way back home on foot after leaving my vehicle for servicing, I was struck by the highly joyful demeanor of a rag picker sitting under a tree with his huge HDPE yellow bag next to him on the dirty pavement of a very busy main road.  He was enjoying and seemed to be gleefully soaking in the all around cacophony, smoke and flying dust with a smiling face. The childlike innocence that he exuded was captivating and pulled me like a powerful magnet.  I was observing him from a distance till I reached in front of him and stopped.

He looked up curiously, saw me smiling at him, smiled back and waved me to sit next to him. Like a robot, in a flash I was on the ground seated next to him, simply allured by the purity of his smile. In one breath, in full throttle, he blurted a lot out in a language that was Greek to me. Since I do not know the local language, I got up to request those passing by to help me converse with the rag picker.  One good and helpful Samaritan agreed to be the interpreter, more out of sheer curiosity (I think) than anything else.

“I am relaxing and enjoying every moment here.  Have been rag picking since sunrise.  Police get after us if we earn our livelihood at night.  Night time earning of livelihood is their prerogative and you know who the others are”, said the rag picker smilingly.  It was not a snide remark, nor did it have any remorse attached to it.  It was plain fun blurted with a hearty laugh. Given his circumstances, how can this man be so joyful and playful?  I asked this question to myself. Bang came Master’s utterances in my mind that love and joy know no bounds and do not require a reason to explode; even the tiny ants are driven by ananda (bliss) in them. The simpler and uncluttered the mind, the more is the revelation of joy in it, irrespective of all other so called highly uncomfortable and demanding circumstances.  I continued with my probe; replies came pouring out spontaneously to the extent that the interpreter had to ask him to go slow.

“I am used to working from sunrise to sunset on a daily basis.  Yes, I do get tired.  Then I take rest like I am doing now.  On returning home, I give the day’s collection to my mother.  Father is an alcoholic.  I have two brothers, one older and the other younger to me.  The younger one is very interested in school and studies.  We are trying our best to see that he gets educated.  Yes, when he needs books, we reduce our expenses including those on food to buy him books.  Lot of resistance comes from father but mother handles him.  He sometimes tries to beat us for money but mother helps.  My mother takes care of the house and deals with the buyers.  She is great.  Elder brother is a rag picker in a different area.”

All these statements came out from him as if he was narrating a story. I found neither hatred nor malice towards his father in either his eyes or in his body language.  It seemed that life was fun for him.  Such flowing joy under the most challenging circumstances every minute of the day, was simply captivating.  How is this possible?  My ever curious, so-called educated mind was unable to accept the revelation of Sadguru/Divine Mother in and through him in the form of reasonless ananda.  Master said that in the exuberance of joy, Saccidanandamoyee Maa plays this world game of ‘sportful dramatic sameside game of Self-Consciousness’.  The worst expression as also the best is the same Divine Mother in this universe.  I had heard this statement in one form or the other so many times from Sadguru, but still cannot accept it in totality.  A prayer went out from within—“oh Lord, oh Sadguru, please bestow on me the light to see and experience your presence in each and everything in this universe.  You are self-revealing, self-perfect, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.  Please reveal Yourself through this body instrument.”  I am ashamed to call him a rag picker; he is Mr. Joy.

“Yes, we have a lot of competition.  We have to always struggle to be the first at a place for picking worthwhile goods. I try to avoid fights as much as possible.  I travel a lot to go to remote areas and places in search of goods.  I always try to find the best time to reach a place to get the first pick.  Sir, to tell you the truth I have been tempted and still get tempted to steal.  Many in my profession do, but I have never been happy after stealing. So I don’t steal any more. God is kind and helps me.  Why should I steal?  I do not know any other work.  Hence, I try to do this to the best of my ability.”

There was so much honesty and integrity in all that he expressed. He was doing to the best of his ability whatever he knew or was taught. Sadguru revealed the Supreme ‘Science of Oneness’ to us, beyond which there is no knowledge.  Have I tried to live in that or practice that in day-to-day life to the best of my ability, despite being under much better circumstances than Mr. Joy?  Can I say with the same honesty that I have tried?  No, definitely not.

“I fully rely on my mother. So I do not keep any track of how much money I earn.  I also do not know how much my elder brother brings in.  We are all together and live happily.  I am fine.  I do not have to marry.  If mother insists sometime, I will see.  I am about 27, my mom says so. Yes, my friends are mostly married.  I rarely fall sick.  I do not smoke or drink.  Almost every day someone or the other gives me food. I do go without food on some days, but have always got food from mother on return home.  I have to go now sir.”

He waved and humming some song danced away.  I kept on watching him till he was out of sight. He not only left an indelible mark, but inspired me no end.  Any time lethargy tries to overpower me, his face appears and I am charged.  Any time I get swayed to while away some time, his face appears and I get the courage and strength to extricate myself from the pitfall. If owing to work or some other reason a meal is delayed or missed, it no longer bothers me as soon as I think of him.  Any adversity of whatever intensity has no longer any affectivity. Sadguru Vani has become far more meaningful to me.  The world is becoming better and better with each passing day.

When, how and in what form will Sadguru appear, we do not know.  How through live demonstration our needs shall get fulfilled, we do not know.  Nor do we have to know - for as long as all our prayers, thoughts and actions are as intense and sincere as we possibly can make them to be (as is the case with Mr. Joy), we have nothing to worry.

Submitted at the lotus feet of Sadguru.      

Friday, May 9, 2014


by Smt. Susmita Devi

As I looked at the Saccidananda Society’s calendar for 2014, the quotation under the picture of Sri Sri Babathakur shows one of his aphorisms: “Silence is the true language of the Self”.  The ‘silence’ mentioned on the calendar and referred to on innumerable occasions during His talks, is the inner one – the one that we must go ‘within’ to become One with the Self.  One may, however, function part-time outwardly as per the requirements of the society one lives in.  Practicing inner and regular outer silence is bound to create the appropriate psychological condition for spiritual progress, and will eventually result in a changed behavior pattern that is sure to facilitate one’s daily living.

I was subsequently pondering over how many kinds of silence the individual ‘I’ has experienced:  Silence of speech (practice of ‘moun’), Silence during a meditative state, Silence due to lack of conversation topic, Silence rooted in an offended ego, Silence to spare another’s ego from being hurt, Silence following anger, Silence during intense listening (not mere hearing!).

Silence of speech (practice of ‘moun’):
For a number of years while living in a joint family and when doing social work, I practiced silence of speech for 24 hours once a week. In the beginning, it was just to avoid answering random questions, which was rather difficult as people around me tried to get me to talk so that they could subsequently gloat over their success in breaking my silence.  Later that became easy and the next step was to still the thoughts as much as possible for that period of time.  This also was achieved by and by.  It was actually lovely to have a ‘blank’ mind for some time, for it meant some period of ‘ananda’ which is not only ‘happiness’ in the conventional sense but rather a deep feeling of peace and harmony.  At such times, non-verbal guidance from higher sources would happen.  To observe moun also permitted me to withdraw from the hustle and verbal bustle of some of the social engagements - although I performed the normal duties without speaking.  At that time I regularly went by bus to sit at the feet of Sri Sri Babathakur in the afternoon – and so as not to break the silence, I made sure I had the exact bus fare ready the evening before.  That allowed me to remain silent even in the bus.  Later on it became rather easy to maintain the silent days, and now, being alone most of the time, silence has become an integral part of life.

Silence during a meditative state:
Anyone having meditated regularly recognizes the ‘inner silence’ slowly manifests during meditative periods. The mind, when not busy finding words to tell or comment on outer events, turns towards higher spheres where verbal communication is not needed. The whole idea of speech belongs to humanity which inherently knows silence (but has forgotten the importance of non-verbal communication from higher awareness levels in the form of vibration-creating thoughts). Such silence has been compared to a half-empty glass which can be filled up with better-quality ideas and teaching.

Silence due to lack of conversation topic:
Silence may be of both positive and negative character in society.  When in company of people who, for various reasons like language difficulties, paucity of thought, stammering, mental deficiency, preoccupied with work etc., find it difficult to communicate, it becomes easier to maintain a positive silence.  It may also be that two or more persons have different occupations in the same room.  Such a positive silence is a companionable silence.  If hostile vibrations are present, the silence becomes negative and creates new negative thought pattern.  One must learn to become aware of which aspect is the prevalent in one’s life and eventually deliberately counteract the negativity through positive spiritual practices (e.g. by not responding with mental negativity to the off-putting expressions or feeling of others).

Silence rooted in an offended ego:
I have often deliberately avoided both verbal and other non-verbal expressions when the ego is hurt. It is a very efficient way to stop negativity from spreading to others.  The subsequent part is to self-analyze how and why the ego was offended, whether the reprimand was deserved or not, and then deciding to not being subject to negative feelings and explore how to let the ego remain positive or neutral in perceived negative situations.  It is, of course, a question of constantly being ‘on your guard’ and practicing not to let the small ego be in command.  The same goes for one’s interaction with others.
Silence to spare another’s ego from being hurt:
It is a common practice to point out negative aspects of another individual and ignore one’s own.  Being compassionate amongst other things entails refraining from reporting the negative aspects uttered by someone.  People’s egos are, in general, rather sensitive to their reputations and don’t like to be talked about in a negative way. One should therefore avoid participation in gossip mongering.  If directly asked by another whether the color combination selected is good, avoid being blunt if the combination does not tally your sense of color.  I used to answer such questions by saying that if the person concerned is happy with it, then another’s opinion is irrelevant.  Another aspect of avoiding hurting an ego is simply to avoid expressing one’s own opinions in a forceful or contemptible way; that will only enhance your ego and not serve the other.  Another constructive response may be to suggest an alternative combination. To be courteous is an also a way to spare the ego of friends and foes alike.  Don’t forget that the ultimate repository of courtesy is the inherent Self.

Silence following anger:
It is common practice to strongly counter any negative comment about oneself.  Regrettably, most people willingly participate in scorning others.  A prominent ego is, indeed, a very fragile part of the personality.  When angry for whatever reason, it is rather easier to abuse the other person verbally than to silently accept that the criticism may or may not be justified.  My father repeatedly told me to slowly count to ten before retorting against anyone who made me angry because it would give me time to reflect if the slight was justified or not.  To keep up anger-silence for longer periods can be detrimental to any relationship and such silence creates very strong negative vibrations in and around the unvoiced one.  It is far better to sort out any disagreement once the sense of hurt has been reduced to a level where a sensible discussion may take place. I learned to soothe tempers by smilingly saying:  ‘Let us agree to disagree’.

Silence during intense listening (not mere hearing)!:
During the first couple of weeks of sitting at the beautiful feet of Sri Sri Babathakur and listening to Him talk, I could hardly keep my mind on the intrinsic meaning of what I heard.  I was only hearing, not truly listening.  My mind worked concurrently on other topics of daily happenings and observations of how the other followers behaved and dressed.  This is a common occurrence - for one’s attention span must be trained to listen instead of merely hearing (which allows only bits and pieces of the instructions to be remembered).  The practice of meditation may help one to focus for a longer span of time, which in turn may lead to true listening, so that the essential teaching can be fixed in the mind and stored in the memory and thus be useful at a later stage of one’s spiritual development.  Now-a-days, the electronic age has promoted recording devices galore; however to hear a rendition of a lecture through an electronic medium doesn’t easily penetrate the depth of one’s mind and memory.  Recordings allow one to hear any given talk over and again when time permits!  Self-effort and discipline therefore become minimized and the results manifest, but slowly.  Recordings are, of course, a blessing to those who have not been able to be in direct contact with the Guru and may serve to spread the teaching far wider than a live talk.  Recordings, at least, represent the direct words of the Master.  The written words, rendering the talks and happenings, may have slightly more impact than a recording. They are, however, prone to individual interpretations, if not if failed memory.

Willingness to train one’s mind in a specific direction is necessary, as is assiduous adherence to a practice regime.  One of the important practices for me has been to maintain silence, notwithstanding the surrounding people trying their level best to disrupt it.

Spiritual Consciousness - The Fourth Dimension of a Human Being

by Sri Ajit Halder
It is commonly accepted that humans are three-dimensional beings and belong to the world of objects displaying a variety of forms, shapes and patterns. The three dimensions referred to here are the dimensions of length, width and thickness of any object.  Their measured values give an overall idea of the physical size of that object. A human body falls into the same objective categories. Humans share features with other living species of this planet like birth, growing up and gaining strength to be able to move about from place to place, engaging in life-supporting activities, and suffering as a result of ageing and progressive health decay.  Ultimately life ends with the death of the body. Although these human characteristics have parallels in higher forms of animal life inhabiting our world, in one respect we notice a significant difference.  Unlike other living creatures, humans are endowed with the divine gift of a higher level of consciousness which is a “spiritual consciousness” of metaphysical nature. This attribute of spiritual nature belongs to the human’s affective domain and is integrated with the innermost mental world of humans - which suggests that every human being is a spiritual being as well as a physical being, and the two aspects are inseparable. This article proposes that spiritual consciousness of the human mind and heart adds one extra dimension to complement the already existing set of three spatial dimensions of a human body.  This concept of possessing an additional dimension uplifts the human species to the status of four-dimensional beings.
A discussion on the concept of dimension as is understood in the realm of science and in everyday usage will be relevant to appreciate the theme of this article.  This discussion will also prepare the ground for making a smooth progression towards the concept of a four-dimensional human being. Here the word ‘dimension’ points to a physical measure of an object as a reference point to help forming a clear spatial idea of any object under consideration.  Conventional wisdom in the field of physics tells us that Time is the so-called fourth dimension.  However, Time is not a part of space and therefore cannot be considered as the fourth spatial dimension.  We are looking for the fourth dimension in humans which should be integrated with the personality of individuals.  One only needs to look deep inside a human mind for the fourth dimension, and our assertion is that Spiritual Consciousness rightly fits into our premise as the fourth dimension of a human being.
A solid block of wood has length, width and thickness as its three distinct dimensions.  One can measure these dimensions to get an estimate of the size of the wooden block.  A sharp point mark is without a dimension.  A line drawn on paper has length, the first dimension.  The front (or back) surface of a sheet of paper can be used to represent a two-dimensional plane. The thickness of a ream of paper represents the third dimension of the pile of sheets forming the ream.  Viewed from another angle, a point is the projection of a straight line that possesses just one dimension.  Likewise a straight line is the projection of a two-dimensional plane, and a plane such as the blue-print plan of a house is the projection of the three-dimensional structure of that building. It may be mentioned that a two-dimensional entity includes and controls i.e. limits the magnitude of a single dimension, and that a three-dimensional entity includes and controls the a two-dimensional entity.  Hence by natural order and the method of induction, the fourth dimension empowers a human to exercise dominion over the three-dimensional objects of the material world and can influence a person to lead a morally enlightened life.  Extending this line of argument, one can say that our three-dimensional world (including its human inhabitants) blessed with spirituality, is the projection or the foot print of the creator of the world, the divine personality of Godhead.
So much for the narrative on physical dimensions - now our discussion will focus on the subject of spiritual consciousness. Firstly, a note on the word ‘consciousness’ is provided to help consolidate our thoughts on spiritual consciousness.  In the words of Sri Sri Babathakur, we read: “Consciousness Itself, which is the innermost Self, is independent by nature called the Kutastha, the immutable Consciousness, the ever–witness of Itself and everything else. That is the permanent and eternal nature of life which is ever transcendental….”.  The ordinary human being is only conscious of the material world in which the person lives and acts. The experience any human gains in the pursuit of worldly life is the aspiration to enjoy a comfortable living, seeking happiness, acquiring assets, and enjoying life in general. And most of us cannot think of anything beyond our existence in this world. This state of being engrossed in worldly affairs is due to the character of the untrained mind, the influence of mostly sensory or phenomenal impulses upon the three objective dimensions, and preoccupations in the worldly matters.  As a result, what any individual perceives as reality is a picture of the gross world filtered through his/ her unconscious mental conditioning. This objective experience is incomplete and insufficient to satisfy the inner and higher needs of life. We start enquiring within ourselves if we can improve our consciousness to have a subtler, finer and wider view of life - leading to a life of morality and spirituality.
In the spiritual traditions of India, consciousness is understood to be obscured by mental imperfections as a result of past actions (karma) and experiences. The goal of spiritual practice is the transformation and higher integration of these contents so that any practitioner following a spiritual path has his/her delusions dissolved and gradually moves closer to reality. Spiritual consciousness may be realized by pursuing religious observances and believing in the idea that the universe itself is consciousness.   Meditation can have a calming influence on the mind that is usually restless and distracted by the happening in the world.  It would be a good idea to follow a meditation session by reciting the Gayatri mantra or any other inspiring verse like Surya Bandana, the Argala Stotram or Shiva Stotra 
Traditionally, a person seeking spiritual enlightenment spends a period of tutelage with a Guru who oversees the disciple’s progress in these observances and guides him/her in the cultivation of spiritual awakening. The devotees of the Sacchidananda Society have been blessed by Sri Sri Babathakur over several decades through the receipt of His divine message and guidance to lead a righteous life.  His advice, contained in His many publications, is a source for spiritual enlightenment for His followers.
Seekers of spiritual consciousness have all passed through the gateway of heart into stages of conscious evolution designed into our human experiences.  These range from the basic will to survive in this world, all the way up to ultimate spiritual consciousness. The stages are divided into two tiers of conscious evolution - the basic tier, which then progresses into the spiritual tier. The basic tier of human development involves knowing and respecting the laws of the country one lives in, belonging to a religious community, and engaging in discharging duties and responsibilities to his/ her family and to the community. The consciousness that any individual has in this state resonates mostly with the physical, three-dimensional world in which he/she lives and acts. As persons evolve up the ladder of consciousness development, their viewpoints expand to a wider worldview and, yet, they retain all that they have learned from the lessons of the lower levels of consciousness through which they have already passed. The supreme state of consciousness is associated with spiritual enlightenment and union with the divine. This awareness enables us to identify human spirit with the universal spirit, and enjoy chidananda, or the bliss of knowing.
In conclusion, this article has brought the trio of the human body, mind and spirit together to focus on spiritual consciousness. This higher mental awareness allows us to act in the greater good of ourselves and of our fellow humans, and leads us to God Realization. This type of consciousness can be reached by progressing through several stages of development of the mental power into spiritual power. It normally remains dormant and has to be realized through concerted efforts. Human attributes like intelligence, the ability to make moral decisions, and to separate right from wrong help in reaching the higher level of consciousness. In this developed state, attention is improved, thought is refined and perception enhanced.  We can achieve a greater awareness of reality in its four integrated dimensions.