śrī mahāganapate namaḥ
śrī sarasvatyai namaḥ
śrī pādavallabha narasimha sarasvati
śrī guru dattātreyāya namaḥ
oṁ namo hanumate namaḥ
oṁ aiṁ hrīṁ śrīṁ lalita parameśvaryai namaḥ
The veena recital during Sri Chakra Archana today was a rare bonus for you. It was a surprise given there was no scheduled program for me to do perform Sri Chakra Archana in the first place. I was going to be here for two days, calmly do Dhyana and return to India. Everything changed today. We had Sri Charka Archana as well as music seva. This is possible because this is my second Ashrama. I may be away physically, but this Ashrama is very close to my heart.
Physically, it takes me 19 hours to travel to Dallas, but it does not take even 19 seconds to travel to Dallas mentally. Think about Mysuru Ashrama or Dallas and you will travel there mentally. What a wonder God’s creation is! You may be situated in the same place, but travel wherever you want with either your mind or your intellect. Offering worship mentally – Manasa Puja is very important. Practice it everyday. Take a dip daily in the holy river Ganga mentally. Everything you would do with your body – taking a bath, picking flowers and all the preparatory activities for the worship and then performing worship – do with your mind. Close your eyes and go through each of these activities mentally. Manasa Puja is very, very powerful. I gave instructions on Manasa Puja in the Ashrama monthly magazine Bhaktimala. I also printed a small booklet on this topic. This is very important for Datta devotees. Of course, perform physical worship, but also practice Manasa puja. Then, when you test your own mental and physical health, you will experience the power of Manasa Puja.
Everyone should practice Manasa Puja. There are no hindrances or passport requirements, or vehicles needed for mental travel. No physical issues can come in the way. You can talk with Pujya Appaji, chat about good things with Him and call out to him in your heart. You can be with Pujya Appaji at all times, whether you are sleeping or eating or doing other activities.
Before Namadev Maharaj got initiation from Saint Jñānadev, he was used to offering physical worship to Lord Vitthala. He used to worship the Lord every day and even talk to Him and offer Him food. Sometimes Lord Vishnu would even sleep in Namadev’s house. The Lord would appear only to Namadev, who was able to physically touch the Lord and discuss the principal of the ātman (ātma-tattva) with the Lord. The Lord bestowed knowledge of the Self on Namadeva. Namadev and Lord Vishnu had such a wonderful relationship.
Ego is a hindrance and a big enemy. Who displays ego? Only the incompetent fools do. Remember that. The wise man – the one who knows everything – has no ego. He has equanimity of outlook. He has equal love and compassion for all. He only sees God’s love in everything. Sadguru always looks at everyone only with love and affection. A human or half-learned man always has ego because he is ignorant. He is at loggerheads with his Ātman, intellect and sense organs. The ignorant man is never satisfied and always quarrels with himself and those around him. He despises himself and feels defeated. He is always negative and has a poor opinion of himself. He feels that no one, not even God or Guru care for him. Such people are incompetent fools.
Why should someone do anything for you? God is not responsible for your karma. Your karma is solely your own responsibility. Your suffering and happiness is all due to your own actions. You spoil your body due to your inordinate attachment with it. You never let any pain come to the body. You pop pills into your body at the slightest ailment and cannot live without bodily comforts and luxuries. You eat the moment you are hungry, sleep the moment you are drowsy, pull up a blanket the moment you are cold, turn on the AC the moment you are hot. You show anger at the slightest annoyance. Everything you do boils down to pampering your body because you are attached to the instant gratification of your sense organs. You only want to safeguard your body. You crave and eat sweets for instant gratification. You feel happy at accidentally finding $1 on the road even though you have $10,000 in your pocket. What a sinful life we lead. You praise Goddess Lakshmi for the unexpected find and feel like you’ve won the lottery. Who gave you the $10,000? Isn’t it the same God? We lead such a deceitful life. We do not realize at that point that some poor soul lost that money and may be searching for it. We only think about how lucky we are to find the dollar bill. “Today is Friday. According to astrology, I get lucky on Fridays. I found a $1”. People fall over each other for free stuff, even if the stuff is stale and useless. I do not understand this mentality. People are very happy to get freebies, but not happy to work hard. We only seek comforts.
Big amounts of money – the size of elephants – keep going out the window. Yet, these ignorant people want to account for a mustard seed that is missing from the house. They throw a barrage of questions to track the missing mustard seed. That is the way of the world. No one cares about the money flowing out the window. We are penny wise and pound foolish. This is all due to ego and the temporary happiness we indulge in through our body.
If we want real happiness, should we go after physical happiness or should we go after mental happiness? We need friendship with God. That is what happened to Namadev. He had only a physical relationship with God, not a heart to heart connection. He did not want to pray with his heart, he wanted to do rituals outwardly. He would offer grand worship to Lord Vitthala. That show business of offering worship with the sense organs would satisfy him.
You must practice worship without the sense organs. Jñānadev is an incarnation of the Lord. Jñānadev’s followers were all aspects of the incarnation. They all had a mental connection with God. Mental connection cannot be severed. A physical connection can lead to anger, suspicion, doubt, grief, misunderstanding etc. whether that is with God, Guru, a spouse, parents or any other person. Physical relationships lead to situations that increase distance between people. There is always misunderstanding. We cannot all do the same actions physically. We do not always like the same things. At the mental level, it is always pure. But even in that plane of citta – the inner heart – there could be ego. This kind of ego might, for example, prompt us to seek recognition as an elevated seeker. That is when we need Guru. To fix that ego, we need Guru’s help. Our need for Guru is not in the physical plane, but in the mental plane. Because we are in a physical body, we need to have Darshan of the Lord physically, but liberation can only be attained through the mind. The body is left behind, the mind alone travels. That is why, it is important to keep the mind pure. Fill the mind with good thoughts, good habits, merit and single-minded spiritual practice. That will automatically enable you to travel with Sadguru. Constant travel with Sadguru in the physical plane is impossible. You might catch a fever or there could be any number of things that take you away from the Guru. But when you have a mental connection with Guru, you cannot go anywhere else. You always travel with Guru. There is no question of the Guru letting you go. Only at the physical level, the Guru may have separation. You worry the Guru is not looking at you or smiling at you. I am always smiling watching your mind. But your ignorance prevents you from realizing that.
You are an unfit student if you worry about Swamiji not looking at your or smiling at you. You need to be debarred from class for those anxieties. You should not have been admitted in the first place. Why are you looking at Guru as confined to a physical body? The physical layer is just a flash; it is like a thin transient layer. It is like the layer of dust on a mirror or like the placenta covering the embryo. This layer disappears when cleaned. Having Darshan of the Sadguru is like that transient, illusory layer. But behind that is the real bliss of the Sadguru. That is what we need, in reality. But in order to attain that bliss, we need this physical interaction. The physical interaction though is not permanent. Sulking because Swamiji did not look at you or smile at you is confining Swamiji to the physical plane, akin to an argument between husband and wife. We should not bring the Guru down to that level of physical interaction. The Guru should always be elevated. Serve in all his projects. “That is why the Lord gave me this life and got me married and gave me kids. He made me a householder because He wants me to serve with family and friends”. “That is why He gave me some money so I can serve with it. He is doing all this on purpose”. “Even if I have no other work to do, he wants me to clean or sweep or dust the place. He wants to me serve in many different ways”. “He wants me to serve with my physical body by cleaning the place of worship”. Do not just sit idly saying you have no work to do. Join hands to work as a group. “That is why Swamiji kept me unemployed for four months so I can serve. If I were employed, I would never have had this opportunity to serve”. Work in the kitchen, clean, cook and serve food.
There is no need to serve visibly in front of Swamiji. See Swamiji in your heart while doing any activity – whether you are cooking or sweeping or serving food. Know that he is witness to all your actions. That is real worship. That is why Manasa Puja is the best method. Those who are very busy should do Manasa Puja. You will not worry then about missing physical Puja. Many people serve in Mysuru Ashram. They do not even see me regularly. They pine to see me, but they get to see me only once in 15 days or so. Serving in Swamiji’s mission and tasks is more important to them. That is the kind of attitude you must cultivate.
For example, Pingala Naga did not care for knowledge. He only wanted to serve his Guru Lord Dattatreya. Washing the Lord’s clothes was his penance. He even refused knowledge. He wanted nothing more than to serve. Learn to be satisfied rather than hanker after more. Do not try to acquire things because someone else has them. Everyone has what they deserve. Do not be dissatisfied or envious. That will ruin everything for you. Offer whatever you do to the Lord.
Whatever I told you thus far is the essence of Karma Yoga in Bhagavad Gita.
Parents who have Appji on their phone can send one Bhagavad Gita shloka in the children’s voice each day. Swamiji will listen to that.